Bill has been a top producer since 2012 and shows no sign of slowing down. His latest addition to his repertoire — which includes monthly CE classes and a weekly video emailed to his list — is making contact with 10 agents a day. These aren’t cold calls but touchpoints with existing contacts.
Ten. each. day.
As Bill reminds us, there are a hundred reasons to contact agents. This “chore” doesn’t need to feel unnatural or pushy. In today’s episode, he explains how.
We also learn how Bill uses classes, events, and old-fashioned hustle — especially around the holidays — to attract prospects.
IN THIS EPISODE YOU’LL LEARN:
- How providing monthly CE classes keeps Bill top of mind
- How to make 10 agent contacts a day in a naturnal, non-pushy way
- Why it pays to work around the holidays when others are taking time off
- Why it’s important to give back to your community
- Why, when it comes to video, you’ve got to just do it and know that it will get better and easier over time
- Why word-of-mouth reviews are not enough
- Ideas for connecting and engaging with agents
LINKS FROM TODAY’S EPISODE
- Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation
- Fairway Independent Mortgage Corporation Facebook page
- Mortgage Coach
- Steve Harney, Keeping Current Matters
- Darren Hardy’s Living Your Best Year Ever Journal
- Chelsy Peitz on LinkedIn
- Agent Legend
- Motivator CRM
- High Trust Selling by Todd Duncan
- Toys for Tots
- Make-a-wish Foundation
- Dana-Farber Cancer Institutue
- Email Bill at [email protected]
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Geoff: My special guest, born and raised in Worcester, Mass, my old stomping grounds, Boston, Massachusetts, Bill Murphy. See, when I grew up in Massachusetts, I had lots of friends, and their last name was Murphy, a big Irish influence. But we never called them by their first name. It was always “Yo, Murph. What’s up? What’s up, Murph?” Right? That’s how we always referred to our friends named Murphy.
So, what up, Murph? Murph’s here on the podcast sharing, dropping his wisdom. First of all, just an all-around individual, human being, doing a lot to give back, whether it’s Make-a-Wish Foundation, whether it’s the Dana Farber Organization, he was selected and awarded the Affiliate of the Year in his local board of REALTORS®. He’s among the countries top 200 producers, according to the Scotsman’s Guide, Mortgage Executive Magazine top 1% in the country from 2012 to 2017. The guy’s a rock star. 2017 — $64 million, 266 units. Folks, that’s like five units a week. Five families per week that he’s helping get into a home or refinance.
So one of the things that we talk about with Bill is what’s his number one source of business. It’s about 50% agents. The other 50% is past-client database. So we spend much of this call talking about how he’s getting engagement from agents, and his number one source of agent business and referrals is classes, teaching agent classes. Some are CE classes. Some are not.
And you’re going to hear his who process for how he does that. He has about 25 agents attend his classes every single month. He does one class a month. We’re going to unpack his marketing plan, his post follow-up plan and process. And then, what’s cool is Bill’s really doing some really advanced stuff with video. I say “advanced.” What I mean by that is he’s actually doing video. Okay? For some of you listening, it’s advanced for you to even start with a video. And I need to start with video.
But we’re going to put links in the show notes to his business page, his Facebook page, which you can get on his page and see all his videos in there. His pie giveaway video has 284 views. He’s got other videos in here that are passing a thousand views. So great lessons in here on how to leverage video, how to really become… You’ve heard this term if you’re a follower of Gary V or whatnot — “Digital mayor.” Bill’s really become the mayor of his local real estate community. He’s taking everything that I’ve been preaching for years — which is get active in your local REALTOR® community. Join the board of REALTORS®, attend the affiliate meetings.
I think when we recorded this, there was an installment of the new officers or something. There was going to be 400 agents at that meeting. He has a goal to have a meaningful engagement with 10 agents a day. That could be a phone call. That could be a person meeting. That could be a text or one of the videos he sends out. But 10 engagements, 10 touchpoints with a response, something back from agents virtually every single day.
Imagine if you were doing that, the impact it would have to your business. How do you do that? That’s what Bill talks about. He also believes in casting a wide net with classes. Do one class. That’s 25 agent contacts in a day. It’s the law of large numbers, and it works in your favor.
I hope you enjoy this episode. I sure as heck did. Make sure you not only listen intently to how Bill is building his business, what he’s doing differently in 2019, but make sure you take one big idea. What’s your one big idea from this interview? Maybe it’s the classes and start doing your own agent classes, whether it’s from us here at MortgageMarketing.pro or it’s from some other source.
With that said, without further ado, let’s get into this week’s show.
Geoff: Hey, Bill, welcome to the show.
Bill: Thanks for having me, Geoff. It’s an honor.
Geoff: No, man. It’s an honor to have you on. Love featuring top producers like yourself. Before we hit the record button, we were commiserating on the Patriot’s recent loss, so all you haters out there that want to hit me up on social go ahead. And I know there’s a few. You know who you are. They always do it, Bill. They always do it.
Bill: We can’t talk after this loss yesterday.
Geoff: I know. We’re just moving on. That’s all. Like Belichick does, we’re like, hey, we’re on to the next one. So tell the listeners who you are, how long you’ve been in the business and why do you still love what you do.
Bill: My name’s Bill Murphy. We’re on the East Coast, Central Massachusetts. Of course, Boston title town here. Been in the business 20 years, still going strong with it with crazy passion. Love this business.
This time of year, you just gotta keep focus. We’re in the middle of December and the holiday season, so you just gotta make deals happen. You gotta make loans happen while everyone else is coasting and sleeping, your competition, you gotta work. That’s what we’re still doing.
Geoff: Give us your — I don’t have it in front of me here — your stats for 2017, units, volume.
Bill: 2017 was 64 million. 64 and some change and 266 units.
Geoff: 266 units, man. That’s a lotta making donuts. And you’re the only originator?
Bill: Yeah, that’s my production, and then I manage the branch.
Geoff: So 266 divided by 12. That’s basically 22 units a month. Five a week. What’s the main source of that business?
Bill: REALTORS®. You work the agents and past database. Past clients.
Geoff: Let’s unpack this. What we try and do for the listeners is unpack. Let’s get more specific. I know with REALTORS®, it’s right on your webpage here, first of all, you’re a CMPS. Is that right?
Bill: Yes. I think I have to renew that.
Bill: I’m in the process.
Geoff: I’m just reading off your bio right here. You teach a lot of CE classes. How many classes do you do a month, on average?
Bill: We do one CE a month, at least.
Geoff: Average attendance at those?
Bill: About 25 now.
Geoff: That’s good.
Bill: 25 agents.
Geoff: And where do you get your CE information content from?
Bill: In the state of Massachusetts, there is a curriculum that we follow, and then we incorporate our own material as long as it’s relevant to the curriculum. It’s an array of titles that we’ll use that are mortgage specific. One is financing, one is credit, one is FHA, MDA, and we’ll typically take those. We offer the CEs.
Geoff: Are those where agents have to pay a little bit of money to come in because they’re getting CE credits and all that.
Bill: In our board of REALTORS®, it’s part of their membership.
Geoff: Got it. I know it’s different in every state and all that. If I’m hearing correctly, are you submitting the course curriculum to get CE approved?
Bill: I’ve been doing it so long, we just submit it to a proctor and then they issue the CEs.
Geoff: They sit in on your class.
Bill: Yeah, sit in on our class. I’m not a certified instructor. Within Fairway, I talk to a lot of loan officers about getting into this, and it’s state specific, so be careful how you don’t try to take a Massachusetts state curriculum and teach in North Carolina, because it’s not going to be the same. But check with your state. Check with your local board on what that takes. But basically, in Massachusetts, you just have to be subject matter expert. So if you’re a loan officer and you’re licensed, that would qualify, at least in Mass. So then you take the curriculum, and we run with it.
We have fun with the curriculum. We make it interactive. We present stats. Give the agents a lot of tools that they can go out to their sellers and buyers, the cost of waiting, the cost of rent. We’ll package up a PowerPoint and give them material, not just to sit through a two-hour class, but to take information back to the street and add value. They’re going to leave and add value.
Geoff: So the cost of waiting. What was the other one?
Bill: Cost of waiting, cost of rent. We put some slides together. Purchase power.
Geoff: Mortgage Coach.
Bill: Yeah, a lot of that stuff comes from Mortgage Coach, a lot of Steve Harney stuff, Keeping Current Matters, local statistics. We’ll put up there.
Geoff: I love it. Shout out to Mr. Savage and the Mortgage Coach community. Great tools and resources. I want to touch on that for a second because I have a number of loan officers who ask — you may or may not know I have this Mortgage Marketing Pro membership where I provide turnkey classes for them to teach agents, and I oftentimes get that question, “How do I get this CE approved.” Also my answer is it’s very state specific. This has happened since the last time I talked to you.
Subject matter expert, you said. We can unpack this a little bit. But I have, for instance, a class. This loan officer — I forget what state he’s in. It might be Virginia or something. But we have a class on Millennial Marketing, and he submitted it his local state board, association, whatever, and got it approved for CE credits. So all you gotta do is try. Find out what’s required to submit it, and then submit it. And they may come back to you — you may know better than me — and go “Hey, you need to take this slide out” or this word or whatever.
Have you ever had that happen? Do they ever pushback?
Bill: No. Just because we’ve been doing it every month consistently for…
Geoff: Now, yeah. Here’s Bill. Rubber stamp Bill’s information.
Bill: At the beginning, I imagine they’re going to watch you a little bit more closely.
Geoff: Yeah. So you’ve got about 25 agents attending this. That wasn’t always the case, was it?
Bill: No. Not always the case. But consistency gets them coming. They know it’s going to be there every month. There’s going to be a class every month that we’re going to teach, and we’re going to try to give them some information that they can take out and use in their own business. So we try to separate ourselves from other classes.
Geoff: By being consistent?
Bill: No, sorry. By adding value so they can take it to the street. If someone else wants to teach a class, it’s not going to help them in their business. That’s our angle, how we can help you in your business.
Geoff: How do you fill your classes?
Bill: We market on social media. We’ll send out a couple of email invites. We do video marketing. We’ll do a video leading up to it.
Geoff: Let’s pause there for a second. I don’t mean to interrupt you, but you have nuggets I want to pull out. When you say you do video marketing, explain how you do that. What’s the platform, all that.
Bill: I’ll record a video. We’ll send a video out based on what the topics are going to be, how that will help them with their business moving forward. We’ll try to throw a little teaser out there. I think this last one was “Hey, come to this class because conforming limits have been raised. What does that mean for you and how can that help you? How can that information help you?” So get a little teaser out there. Then look for taking momentum into 2019, some of the predictions you can expect, where interest rates are headed. So just kind of leave them thinking and information. Everyone wants to know what rates are doing. Everybody wants to know what the market is doing. So we can kind of tease that up a little bit and get intrigue and curiosity where they want to come.
Geoff: And how are you sending that video out? Is that over email?
Bill: We’ll do an email BombBomb blast. We use BombBomb.
Geoff: And you get good open rates on that?
Bill: Yeah. We do. I sent that specific video out. So with the BombBomb videos, we send out one every single week, every Saturday morning. And I know a lot of loan officers, really successful loan officers would send out rate sheets on Saturday mornings or just a newsletter on a Saturday morning. And Saturday morning is a very good day to send out information because, think about it. If you’re working Monday through Friday, even as a loan officer, you could get 200, 300, 400, 500, in some cases, we get five to 700 emails a day, especially during a busy time. You’re not going to open up a video that gets sent to you. But on a Saturday morning when you may only have a handful of emails that you need to get through, you may think, “I wonder what Bill’s saying” or Geoff’s saying, what he has to say today.
So we send it out on Saturday morning. It goes out to them by 9 a.m. every single Saturday morning. And consistency has been the key. So a lot of agents, I’ll see them at a class or whatever. And they’ll comment on it. “Love getting the Saturday morning videos.” So just by putting that consistency on it, every single week, it just brings more credibility and more awareness, just buying the brain cells, Geoff.
Geoff: Exactly. Buying the brain cells. So you’re using BombBomb. That works for you as well. Are you using BombBomb in any other ways in your mortgage business, whether it’s consumer-facing, that kind of stuff?
Bill: No. We use BombBomb just to send the videos to the agents.
Geoff: So no milestone updates? Just all class-related?
Bill: Right. The Saturday morning videos aren’t just regarding the class. Like a loan limit video we went out. Just even some random topics. What’s important? An area specialist real estate agent or somebody that lives 40 millions away trying to market in your area? We try to get debates going with the agents.
Bill: Real topics. Yeah.
Geoff: What do you mean? You have them asking for a response?
Bill: Yeah, we ask for a response?
Geoff: Really? That’s pretty cool. And you get people hittin the reply button, leaving their two cents.
Bill: Yeah, that’s more on the social media. When we send out the videos, then we release it on social media. It will go on our Facebook business page, and then that’s where the response happens.
Geoff: Now we’re going into some strategery here. That’s awesome. I like that. I’m going to pull up your Facebook page while we’re talking, see if I can pull that up because I want to see the videos on there. But I like the fact that we did clarify that you are sending these videos, these Saturday videos, it’s not necessarily always about a class, but at least you’re consistent with videos on Saturdays that are kind of topical, mortgage-related information. Right?
Geoff: Look at you, man. Doing some green screen?
Geoff: Love it. Sweet. Look at that. 500 freakin’ views. That’s awesome. I don’t know if you know how good that is.
Geoff: 500 views on your increasing conforming loan limit video.
Bill: Okay. Good.
Geoff: Shit. 2018 finished strong. 530 views. Pie giveaway, 284. I love that. Listen, I’m three cups of coffee in. Tell me about the pie giveaway. We’ll come back to the classes in a minute. Tell me about the pie giveaway.
Bill: So the pie giveaway was leading up to Thanksgiving. I think this was, before we get on our call, during this time, a lot of the competition is sleeping. Right? They’re coasting. They’re going to their holiday parties. And they’re not really working. We’ve got a lot of deals coming in just because agents are saying “I can’t reach my loan officer. They’re not calling me back. Deal’s blowing up.” It just seems like everybody is on cruise control during the holidays. That’s the way it is. The true professionals are working. And that goes for the real estate agents too. They’re out there pounding the pavement. They’re putting in the time and the effort to get business.
So we, purposefully, going into the holidays, we try to create events where we’re just, even though it may not bring in business, we’re just staying in front of everybody, letting people know that we’re still around. The first thing we do is a pie giveaway leading up to Thanksgiving. It’s currently called our client appreciation and REALTOR® pie giveaway. And then we also send pies. I think we donated like 25 pies to local food pantries and shelters in our town in addition to the pie giveaway. But it’s a chance for them to come in, have some non-alcoholic cider.
Geoff: Pick up a pie is basically the thing.
Bill: Yeah. That’s it. We send out invites and do the video for that. Then we also, during that time, we start talking about we do a Lunch and Learn at the last of the year. So we hype up the last of the year with Lunch and Learn, information you can get to finish your year strong and to take momentum into 2019. We do a success series where we did, just last week, a business and life planning, Living Your Best Year Ever. This was non-CE. Had about 15 or 20 people come to that. That was a lot of fun, and we teach it based on the Darren Hardy Living Your Best Year Ever Journal book. So we have a lot of fun with that. We do that for two hours.
Every time we have a CE, we always have an attorney or a title company, Massachusetts Attorney State, so we have one of our attorneys sponsor lunch. But we’re not going to get a Subway sandwich. We get a good catered lunch, because the agents like that. You bring in a good lunch, you feed them and fill them up, and they’re going to be appreciative of that.
So we try to add a little class to the Lunch and Learns. Then we do a holiday party every single year at one of the local, fine establishments. And we’ve been doing that every single year. That’s our client appreciation holiday party. And then we have all our staff and some of our referral partners, our attorneys, bring some nice gifts for raffle prizes. We’re talking about Patriots tickets was one of the grand prizes. We had an Apple Watch last year, an iPad, a Fitbit. There’s all kinds of fun stuff. All kinds of prizes. So people have fun. They get drink tickets, but in order to be entered into the drawing, they have to bring a toy for Toys for Tots. So we fill truckloads for Toys for Tots.
The whole point of this year end stuff is to just keep in front of everybody while the world is coasting. We’re just out having events. Go out in front of people. Go to their events. Be professional. Watch your drinking. Get their early before they start drinking, because you get the situational deal when you go to these holiday parties.
“What about this situation?” You always here that. “What about this situation? I’ve got this deal, and I’m not really hearing from the loan officer.” The next thing you know, on Monday, you’re picking up a couple of deals just by being out around the holiday time being disciplined. We kind of do that on purpose.
Geoff: I love it. It reminds me of the question I ask agents in classes. “What’s more important — being knowledgeable or being well-known?” Clearly you’re becoming well-known. You’ve got this nice brand and tracking a lot of activity and buzz about town. That’s smart, what you’re doing, the branding. Seriously the Toys for Tots thing. First of all, it’s a good cause. People love to be associated with brands that are cause-oriented. You clearly are. And I preach this all the time too. You’ve gotta make it fun. People would rather be entertained than be educated. But if you can combine the two, now you’ve got a winner. So I just love that, man. You’re right out of that classic playbook of “How do I drive engagement in my local market with agents?” Folks, that’s the chapter right there. A blend of the credit, the classes, CE, and you do the “How to have your best year ever” class. I love that. That’s not always just mortgage-related, which some people tune that out over time.
Bill: Of course.
Geoff: Good stuff. I’m going to put a link in the show notes to your Facebook page. Are these videos anywhere else, like YouTube or anything? Or all on Facebook?
Bill: We’ve been putting them on YouTube and naming them on YouTube as well. So we started doing that just to get the search engine optimization up.
Geoff: That’s great. Seriously, I haven’t looked at your video page before, but I didn’t know you were such a playuh when it comes to video.
Bill: You know, Geoff, seriously, you just get it over time. That’s their biggest fear a lot of times, is starting videos. It’s really just doing the videos and staying consistent. And you just get better. There’s no Academy Awards in any of these videos. We’re not winning any of that, but just staying in front. Be natural. Just be yourself. That’s what it’s about. Don’t try to be something or somebody that you’re not in the videos. You get to be liked that way. You get to be authentic. They get to know a side of you that they may not have understood, the people that are watching.
Geoff: Somebody I follow and respect a lot in the industry, Chelsy Peitz, she’s with Fidelity Financial Title, and she posted, she was on the postcast, episode 99, for those of you that are looking, but she mentioned something today on LinkedIn. It’s that many times, people in real estate, they think the brand is the house, the property, the this or that, or the company. And you just highlighted a point where, no, the brand is you. And you use the word like people get to know you and like you. That’s the key in the business we’re in, is people have to know you to like you. Cliché. Right? Knew you, like you, trust you. But it’s true. That’s why it’s a cliché.
And you do a great job. That’s why I’m highlighting and hanging on in video for a minute, is you do a great job of becoming and belong that know, like, and trust. Because you’ve got information people need to know — buying versus renting — but then you actually let your personality shine through, whether it’s the pie giveaway, whether it’s the Halloween thing you’re doing. That looks like you with the wolf mask on, I’m assuming.
Bill: That was just being goofy. You’ve got to be goofy sometimes. You’ve got to be silly.
Geoff: Then you’ve got this one that makes me curious, which is a creeper at an open house. That looks awesome.
Bill: What we did was we took the theme of October, I believe it’s REALTOR® Safety Awareness month, and you read the horror stories about agents being at an open house, not being aware of their surroundings and something bad happens. The female agent that got cornered by some creep, you know. God forbid, you don’t read of too many murders or anything else, but it’s happened. Safety awareness, we kind of stayed with that theme and on that creeper video, we just highlighted some different things that an agent could get backed into a corner, literally and figuratively, by somebody just out stalking. Some of these agents have their dolled up versions of themselves all over the place. And they announce that they’re having an open house. It’s public information. They could be by themselves. So we just stress that, because you don’t ever want to see a headline where someone just wasn’t being intentional. God forbid, the unthinkable happens.
Again, that’s adding value. Not necessarily giving them financing tips but just be aware of your surroundings. Awareness. Have a buddy.
Geoff: It’s adding tremendous value. And if I’m looking at these, this is for the month. September is REALTOR® Safety Awareness month. Is that correct?
Bill: Is it September? Yeah.
Geoff: So I’m looking. You have one, two, three videos at quick glance, and you’ve got over 3,000 views across those three different videos.
Bill: Those were a hit.
Geoff: Yeah, they’re a hit, because it is on agents’ minds. Because it does happen. Like you said, thank God it doesn’t happen every day, but once a year, it happens. And that’s enough. And it actually happens more than that. And for those listening, by the way, if you feel like “Oh my god. I missed that.” You can team up with somebody. Bring in a subject matter expert. You know who loves to do this? Cops or self-defense experts and people like that would love be on video with you sharing tips for the REALTORS®.
Bill: That’s great. We did some self-defense classes, not this past year, the year before, and we did a podcast leading up to it. And we probably had 15 or 20 agents come for a self-defense class. Just little tips to help them.
Geoff: How appreciative are the agents after that class?
Bill: Oh, they love it. I think some of them even joined self-defense. Just think about this for a second, Geoff. When some of these agents go into a house, they’re on their phones. They’re in the kitchen. The things that you see in an open house, just how agents behave, they’re not paying attention. They take everything for granted. The big set of steak knives are right on the counter. Why not put those away? Just stuff that you wouldn’t even think of. Leading first into a room when the show is be behind. There’s just little things that you see on a consistent basis that just, they’re oblivious.
Geoff: By the way, not to be on a morbid side for a moment, but I think it was about a week ago where a REALTOR® was, unfortunately, killed inside a listing. It was a male REALTOR®, interestingly enough. But for those listening, don’t wait for REALTOR® Awareness Month in September. That is a topic that you could do every quarter, and you could do the quarterly self-defense classes.
Bill: You could take that to another level and say, “Listen, we’re available on the weekends for open houses. Not only can we help you with your sign-in sheet and help you promote and market the property, but we’re there to have your back as well.” Not a bad angle to take or approach to take.
Geoff: Right on. Love it. Cool. Back to the classes. Are you teaching these pretty much solo, other than you’ve got sponsors and stuff? But are you pretty much running them yourself?
Bill: Yes, that’s correct.
Geoff: What is your post-class follow up process like?
Bill: We always tell them we’ll send them the slides, and then we always ask them, when we send them the slides, then we engage them a little bit and ask them if there’s anything we can do. We add them to our BombBomb video, the Saturday mornings. They like that. Now we just constantly drip on them.
Geoff: How many REALTORS® are in that BombBomb video list?
Bill: I think about 350.
Geoff: Is it once a week they get that message? Is that it?
Geoff: Not over the top. Not beating them over the head. Once a week. It’s video, which is unique and different. Have you experimented with every other types of video, like texting video? Anything like that?
Bill: Yeah, we were trying to work with Agent Legend. I need to really follow up on that, the video texting. That’s a work in progress.
Geoff: It depends on your application of that. But I’m sure, as you know, there’s the individual one-off video text where you just send somebody a video instead of a text message as a text. But then there’s the ability to do that from BombBomb as well, download the app and stuff on your phone. But I get it. Agent Legend full-blown CRM. Is that your CRM?
Bill: No, we have our Motivator CRM in house.
Geoff: If I go back here and recap correctly, of the 266 units, you said it REALTORS® and past clients. Do you have a rough attribution, what percentage of that is actually REALTORS®? Then we’ll get into past clients.
Bill: Probably 40%, 50%.
Geoff: Let’s make some math. It’s easier. 50%. So 30 million or so comes from REALTORS®.
Geoff: Are you actively going after, prospecting new agents all the time?
Bill: Yeah. We’re in front of them. That’s kind of how we prospect, how I prospect the agents, is by being in front of them.
Geoff: Classes and the other ideas you just talked about.
Bill: Classes, dripping on them. Go to a ton of board of REALTORS® events. It amazes me when I talk to LOs. These LOs that are trying to get to another level, maybe it’s a $10 producer trying to get to 20. Or a $20 million producer trying to get to 30. They’re not involved in their board of REALTORS®. The second they get involved in their board of REALTORS®, and they start showing up, their numbers just skyrocket. Huge percentage increases just doing some internal coaching with a few of the loan officers in Fairway, just by doing these two things. By getting involved in their board of REALTORS® for the whole year, I had one loan officer increase his production 30%. Another loan officer, 25%. That was one of the biggest things that changed for them.
Geoff: Just getting active in the board of REALTORS® and attending affiliate-related functions and all that?
Bill: Everything. Yeah.
Geoff: Come on, Bill. It’s gotta be harder than that, man. We’ve got to cold call.
Bill: No cold calling.
Geoff: You don’t cold call, do you?
Bill: I don’t cold call, but I’ll call 10 agents a day, or I’ll get in touch with 10 agents a day that are on my list. And that’s just a discipline I’ve implemented since August. We’re talking numbers. And the 60 million plus, I’ve been around that number, between 60 and 70 million for seven or eight years. But this year I think was my hardest year in the business ever. I know nationally we didn’t have inventory. Central Mass really didn’t have any inventory. And 25% or 28% of the business last year was refi’s and this year, I think I was under 10. So we still were able to replace some of the business with new purchase business that we didn’t have in a rising-rate environment. So although I didn’t hit the goals that I had set for myself, there were some things that we added where we could set ourselves up for 2019 to increase business.
Geoff: Do you want to share any of those things you added.
Bill: The one single thing we did this year that I didn’t do consistently before is make those agent calls, the 10 agent calls. I said “call.” It could be a text. It could be an email. It could be phone call. But I don’t count the 10 a day unless they engaged or were interactive. So, of course, the correspondence has to be reciprocal. So I may call agents on both sides of a transaction, just past agents I’ve done business with and haven’t heard from in a while, follow up on two months ago all the people that were in our class. Just “Hey, how you doing? How are things? Where you able to use those slides in your listing presentation?” There’s always a reason to call an agent. And if you really want to get them engaged, we find that into knowing something about them… “Hey, I just read an article that you were number one this past quarter on your team. Congratulations. How did you go it?” “Hey, I’m reaching out. I just wanted to see how you were able to do such great business low inventory this year. Just wanted to get the opinion of all the top producers in the area.”
And when you start talking to them about “Hey, I want to reach out to you as one of the top producers, this is what others are saying…” There’s a little jealousy. What’s everyone else saying? I need to respond because… You start to work that angle that they think if they didn’t respond, they’re missing something. That’s how we get a response, if they typically wouldn’t, otherwise get them talking about themselves.
Geoff: You said something I think is important for people listening. You make it a point to contact…was it 10 agents per day?
Geoff: And then you clarified what qualifies as a “call.” That could be a text. But the point is, you want to have engagement from them. So means some level of response.
Geoff: How do you decide who gets on your daily outbound list? How do you manage that to keep that flow of 10 a day on your calendar?
Bill: Monday would be pretty easy just following up with all the pre-approvals from the previous week that you sent the agents or sent to the clients of the agents. Say, “I was working the Smith file and just wanted to see how they made out at that open house and if you guys were able to pu in an offer.” Just get them engaged in that way. So Monday calls are easy.
Tuesday calls, we’ll maybe take some past agents that we’ve worked with. And a lot of times, they’re calling in anyway. They’re calling in the situational deal. A couple of weeks ago, we picked up a couple of deals right after Thanksgiving just because loan officers weren’t around or there was a communication breakdown in a lot of areas. And finding that during the holiday season…
Geoff: I love that. I get that. I want to make sure everybody is getting you’re a very conscious and intentional about making sure you have some type of a connection, touchpoint with 10 agents per day. And the thing I want to highlight about that is I know loan officers are listening, going “How the hell am I going to do that?” The point that you’re making that I want to make sure people get is, like you said, there’s a hundred reasons to contact an agent, but how many agents have you come in contact with in the past three months, six month, year or whatever that you haven’t spoken to our reached out to that have fallen off the radar? I don’t know if you do this, but this would be my vision, you’re mapping out your week and going, “Who’s my 10 agents?” I don’t know if you actually get that granular about it.
Bill: Sometimes it comes. Also, I always have my Excel spreadsheet open from the list of agents that are in the board of REALTORS® in my county. So there’s 1500 agents, and sometimes I’ll go through lists and just say, hey, I haven’t talked to this agent in a long time and just reach out — emails or text or phone call — and just say, “How you been? What’s going on? Haven’t talked to you in a while? How do you see the market?”
Geoff: When do you decide to go for the “Hey, you want to grab a coffee?”
Bill: I don’t do that a lot because I try to get in front of them. I do that with the agents that I really, really would be intrigued to work with. So maybe once a week I’ll do a coffee or a lunch with an agent. I used to do the two a day every day, and I felt like it was so taxing and time consuming that there’s gotta be another way. And that was to cast the net wide. Casting the net wide is going to the events. And then you’re at an event. We’ve got an installation of directors event this Wednesday. There is going to be 400 agents there. I’m going to have my 10 conversations easily. I’m going to go around the room and pick my favorite agents that I want to talk to.
The classes, the follow up there, the classes.
Geoff: I’m curious, to the follow up to the classes, you’ve got those 20 or so agents coming through your classes. Some you already work with. Some you don’t. It’s probably a moving parade. What is your criteria for identifying an agent you do want to pursue?
Bill: Their numbers or just knowing who’s doing what in the area, who they’re working with. If there’s a competitor that they’re working with… The old Todd Duncan stuff with the High Trust Selling, when you get up close and personal, what are they doing right for you? They’re going to tell you what they’re doing right. When they say what they’re not doing right, what could they be doing better, then they’ll kind of give it to you when you present it that way. And then you can say, “Oh, they don’t send you weekly emails? They don’t send you weekly status updates? They don’t communicate that way? We have a milestone. Next deal you get, if you want to give us a try, we’ll certainly show you how that works and provide that high-level of service for you and your clients.”
Geoff: Interesting. Do you ever fire agents? Maybe you haven’t told them.
Bill: I redirect. The ones that really want to suck your time or you know if you talk to them on the phone, they’re going to keep you on for 20 minutes, I’ll try to text or email those. “Hey, got your message. I’m just really busy. I just want to give you a quick update. Here you go.” Or Slydial them if you have to, and it will go right to their voicemail and leave a message.
Geoff: By the way, is that a tool you use frequently? Slydial, Slybroadcast?
Bill: Only if I didn’t get my 10 calls in, and it’s at the end of the night, and I want to go home, I’ll Slydial a bunch of people and leave that message.
Geoff: Awesome. Wow. I like that. “I don’t fire. I just defer, delegate.”
Bill: You can coach up. There’s some rookie agents you just gotta coach up. There’s some bad agents that want to keep sending you business. They want to work with you. And you’ve got to tell them how it is. You just set the boundaries, the parameters and try to coach them up.
The one thing that I will not tolerate — I may have to go back on this, Geoff — is I had an agent yelling at my staff. He got the tread. “If you ever call my office and you yell at my team again, we’ll never work together.” And it was on his own loan. I also said, “We will send you back to the bank you came from.”
Geoff: Send you packing.
Bill: So that’s the one thing we won’t tolerate.
Geoff: That’s good. You gotta draw the line, man. Some people, like you said, they can be coached, and if they can’t, it’s all about the right fit. The synergy of the relationship. And so wrapping it up for the sake of time… First of all, I want to further acknowledge you for all the good work you’re doing as well in the local community. Not only the great stuff you’re doing with the agents, but I know you’re active in various organizations. We don’t have enough time to even go into all your accolades and awards. The Young Distinguished Alumnus Award, Affiliate of the Year… Plus you’re doing a lot of great stuff with Make-a-Wish Foundation and Dana Farber Organization. Hats off to you for giving back.
Bill: You’ve gotta give back. That’s another way. And that’s just an indirect where you reap the benefits in business without really even trying. You gotta give your time. You gotta give your service to whatever you’re passionate about. It comes back to you. Again, that’s not the reason why we give back. You gain the benefit there where people are going to know, like, and trust you by just seeing your community involvement. Again, don’t start getting involved in community or philanthropic work to get business, because that’s the wrong way to do it. Find your passion. Find what you care about and give back and the business will follow later.
Geoff: Amen. That’s one of the benefits of doing well, is you can help others and contribute.
We’ve got a minute or two left. As you’re planning out for 2019, anything you’re doing differently, adding, taking away from your business plan?
Bill: Just more focus on the prospecting, making sure I’m hitting all the events. We’re setting appointments. We’re setting up our schedule. We’ve already setting up our schedule for 2019 for our Lunch and Learns. Our follow up is going to be more thorough with our agents that attend. We’re going to plan that out a little better with our follow up. Our follow up with people that we’ve done business with on both transactions is going to be a little bit more strategic.
Lastly, where we’re going to focus on is the reviews. We’re getting more and more. And this is the way it’s going. Word of mouth is kind of dying out there a little bit, where it’s reviews online. The first place people try to find things is online now and then maybe a colleague at work that may refer the loan officer because they had a great experience. But then that home buyer is going to go verify it or confirm it on your reviews. So making sure you get reviews on Zillow and Google and Yelp, Facebook, Social Survey, whatever you need to do. Just ask your clients for the reviews at high points, especially. That will help your internet traffic.
Geoff: Right on. That’s the new currency of trust today, is online reviews. I can see on your Facebook page, you’ve got 4.8 rating, which is awesome. That’s awesome. Double down on the reviews.
I know you’re busy. You’ve got a team to run, loans to do, plus we’re getting towards the end of the year, so I think this is a little bit more crunch time. If people want to connect with you, what do you recommend — website, Facebook, email? What do you want to give out?
Bill: They can email. I’d be more than happy to talk to anybody, especially if they want to get involved in classes, just how we run our classes. I’d surely share that. [email protected]
Geoff: I’ll put a link in the show notes as well, to everything else, your Facebook page, so people can look at those awesome videos you’re doing too. Bill, thanks so much for being here, man. I appreciate it.
Bill: Thanks for having me. Lot of fun.
Geoff: You bet. Listeners, as always, we appreciate you. If you like this episode, let us know. Share a little love on the interwebs. Speaking of reviews… Leave us a review on the podcast. We’d love to hear your comments and help us reach more people. Until the next one, bye.