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EXECUTION Starting a service business for real estate agents

jaceytome

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Apr 19, 2021
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  1. Get a CRM.
  2. Craft your ideal personal plan.
  3. Align your business plan.
  4. Build a consistent marketing plan.
  5. Get a website.
  6. Prospect consistently.
  7. Nurture leads.
  8. Have good time management.
 

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Real Deal Denver

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Wow, are you making this hard.

As a real estate agent, my number ONE best purchase is a TC. The vast majority of agents would agree with me.

My number TWO area of assistance would be marketing.

THREE would be a virtual assistant that would answer the phone 24/7 - and follow my basic script. I want more than "I'll have him call you as soon as he's available."

How long did that take to figure out? You don't need interviews. Just call a few good agents and ask them how they handle each of those tasks. I guarantee they know, and most engage with, these services. This is like selling hamburger buns to McDonald's. They are interested and are already going full speed ahead.

Ask agents if they're happy with their service - and what they pay. Ask them if you gave them a VIP membership at LESS cost, would they sign up? Many won't because they have a great working relationship and won't sacrifice that for a few bucks. Some will. Using this direct and simple method, you should be able to sign up 3-4 a day with practically no effort.

Then deliver results. There are great software programs that do most of the work for you. No sweat.

I had a "virtual office" leave me a text message. I could use them, so I called them. My call went to voice mail. They called me back - good technology there, as they knew who I was even though I didn't leave a message. I didn't call them again. They failed their test. And that was that - not rocket science.

Have I ruined your day? I hope not, cause now it gets worse. I like your name. I don't like your website - it's way too pale, unexciting, no hook to grab my attention, and your pricing plan sucks. I pay $350 per transaction for a TC. Simple - I build it into a deal. I don't give a whit what you pay your people or how long they've been with you. Do you care what I pay my hired help?

I know several TCs. I also am on the edge of hiring a 24/7 phone/chat service. That's about $800 a month, and it's a live person. I like it. I have a gazillion marketing people that can do digital ads for me.

So - you're not doing anything new. But, you might be able to do it better. And the services are in demand. Need a few more weeks to figure this out? This post just handed everything to you. It's no secret, and you could do well with it. So do it.

I seriously thought about doing this myself, but my time is better spent doing other things. So I have looked at this much deeper than typical agents would.

One more thing - there are dozens of website designers that could crank out a stunning website in less than 48 hours for you. Probably less than 24, even. Although you have a catchy name, throw your website out and start over. Tell me what I want to hear to help ME. Don't tell me what you do - every agent knows that. Don't tell me how you run your business or how you treat your people - I don't care. It's all about me, baby! Get that straight right now, and have some head-to-head ABC conversations with agents. (ABC = always be closing, i.e. what could I do to earn your business TODAY - right NOW!... The gold level at Silver level pricing - intro offer - VIP extra services included at no charge - get it?)

This is a slam dunk business. But don't take it for granted - your competition has the experience and a reputation that you have to compete with on their terms. Don't underestimate them.

Hope this helps. Stop being a professor and start grabbing this bull by the horns.
 
Last edited:

SeanODG

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Wow, are you making this hard.

As a real estate agent, my number ONE best purchase is a TC. The vast majority of agents would agree with me.

My number TWO area of assistance would be marketing.

THREE would be a virtual assistant that would answer the phone 24/7 - and follow my basic script. I want more than "I'll have him call you as soon as he's available."

How long did that take to figure out? You don't need interviews. Just call a few good agents and ask them how they handle each of those tasks. I guarantee they know, and most engage with, these services. This is like selling hamburger buns to McDonald's. They are interested and are already going full speed ahead.

Ask agents if they're happy with their service - and what they pay. Ask them if you gave them a VIP membership at LESS cost, would they sign up? Many won't because they have a great working relationship and won't sacrifice that for a few bucks. Some will. Using this direct and simple method, you should be able to sign up 3-4 a day with practically no effort.

Then deliver results. There are great software programs that do most of the work for you. No sweat.

I had a "virtual office" leave me a text message. I could use them, so I called them. My call went to voice mail. They called me back - good technology there, as they knew who I was even though I didn't leave a message. I didn't call them again. They failed their test. And that was that - not rocket science.

Have I ruined your day? I hope not, cause now it gets worse. I like your name. I don't like your website - it's way too pale, unexciting, no hook to grab my attention, and your pricing plan sucks. I pay $350 per transaction for a TC. Simple - I build it into a deal. I don't give a whit what you pay your people or how long they've been with you. Do you care what I pay my hired help?

I know several TCs. I also am on the edge of hiring a 24/7 phone/chat service. That's about $800 a month, and it's a live person. I like it. I have a gazillion marketing people that can do digital ads for me.

So - you're not doing anything new. But, you might be able to do it better. And the services are in demand. Need a few more weeks to figure this out? This post just handed everything to you. It's no secret, and you could do well with it. So do it.

I seriously thought about doing this myself, but my time is better spent doing other things. So I have looked at this much deeper than typical agents would.

One more thing - there are dozens of website designers that could crank out a stunning website in less than 48 hours for you. Probably less than 24, even. Although you have a catchy name, throw your website out and start over. Tell me what I want to hear to help ME. Don't tell me what you do - every agent knows that. Don't tell me how you run your business or how you treat your people - I don't care. It's all about me, baby! Get that straight right now, and have some head-to-head ABC conversations with agents. (ABC = always be closing, i.e. what could I do to earn your business TODAY - right NOW!... The gold level at Silver level pricing - intro offer - VIP extra services included at no charge - get it?)

This is a slam dunk business. But don't take it for granted - your competition has the experience and a reputation that you have to compete with on their terms. Don't underestimate them.

Hope this helps. Stop being a professor and start grabbing this bull by the horns.
Hey @Real Deal Denver-thanks for the feedback! I'm not totally following everything though so playing this back so I'm understanding your points. I'll also push back in a couple of places

  • I'm not sure what you mean by making things hard. I did talk to a bunch of agents before starting (took a few weeks, no big deal) but the business is wildly profitable now and growing fast.
  • I hear you regarding giving discounts to sign up and that you prefer a pricing plan at $350/transaction. $350 is already cheap (market average is closer to $450) and I do not want to compete on price.
  • The problem with your recommended per-transaction pricing is that the business is now entirely dependent on the agent's business. That means Close Concierge is worth about 1.5X EBITDA.
  • With a recurring monthly fee, the business is now worth ~7.5X EBITDA. I'll take the "Hit" monthly for the enterprise value
  • The website feedback is actually extremely surprising. I've had a ton of great feedback from agents, and agents who told me they've signed up because of the website.

Happy to talk in more detail. I understand this model might not be a great fit for your business, but I am growing super fast
 

sfarieri

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Wow, are you making this hard.

As a real estate agent, my number ONE best purchase is a TC. The vast majority of agents would agree with me.

My number TWO area of assistance would be marketing.

THREE would be a virtual assistant that would answer the phone 24/7 - and follow my basic script. I want more than "I'll have him call you as soon as he's available."

How long did that take to figure out? You don't need interviews. Just call a few good agents and ask them how they handle each of those tasks. I guarantee they know, and most engage with, these services. This is like selling hamburger buns to McDonald's. They are interested and are already going full speed ahead.

Ask agents if they're happy with their service - and what they pay. Ask them if you gave them a VIP membership at LESS cost, would they sign up? Many won't because they have a great working relationship and won't sacrifice that for a few bucks. Some will. Using this direct and simple method, you should be able to sign up 3-4 a day with practically no effort.

Then deliver results. There are great software programs that do most of the work for you. No sweat.

I had a "virtual office" leave me a text message. I could use them, so I called them. My call went to voice mail. They called me back - good technology there, as they knew who I was even though I didn't leave a message. I didn't call them again. They failed their test. And that was that - not rocket science.

Have I ruined your day? I hope not, cause now it gets worse. I like your name. I don't like your website - it's way too pale, unexciting, no hook to grab my attention, and your pricing plan sucks. I pay $350 per transaction for a TC. Simple - I build it into a deal. I don't give a whit what you pay your people or how long they've been with you. Do you care what I pay my hired help?

I know several TCs. I also am on the edge of hiring a 24/7 phone/chat service. That's about $800 a month, and it's a live person. I like it. I have a gazillion marketing people that can do digital ads for me.

So - you're not doing anything new. But, you might be able to do it better. And the services are in demand. Need a few more weeks to figure this out? This post just handed everything to you. It's no secret, and you could do well with it. So do it.

I seriously thought about doing this myself, but my time is better spent doing other things. So I have looked at this much deeper than typical agents would.

One more thing - there are dozens of website designers that could crank out a stunning website in less than 48 hours for you. Probably less than 24, even. Although you have a catchy name, throw your website out and start over. Tell me what I want to hear to help ME. Don't tell me what you do - every agent knows that. Don't tell me how you run your business or how you treat your people - I don't care. It's all about me, baby! Get that straight right now, and have some head-to-head ABC conversations with agents. (ABC = always be closing, i.e. what could I do to earn your business TODAY - right NOW!... The gold level at Silver level pricing - intro offer - VIP extra services included at no charge - get it?)

This is a slam dunk business. But don't take it for granted - your competition has the experience and a reputation that you have to compete with on their terms. Don't underestimate them.

Hope this helps. Stop being a professor and start grabbing this bull by the horns.
What's a TC
 

SeanODG

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A TC is a transaction Coordinator. It's the title of a full time job or freelancer, or the job I'm trying to replace with Close Concierge
 

Real Deal Denver

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Hey @Real Deal Denver-thanks for the feedback! I'm not totally following everything though so playing this back so I'm understanding your points. I'll also push back in a couple of places

  • I'm not sure what you mean by making things hard. I did talk to a bunch of agents before starting (took a few weeks, no big deal) but the business is wildly profitable now and growing fast.
  • I hear you regarding giving discounts to sign up and that you prefer a pricing plan at $350/transaction. $350 is already cheap (market average is closer to $450) and I do not want to compete on price.
  • The problem with your recommended per-transaction pricing is that the business is now entirely dependent on the agent's business. That means Close Concierge is worth about 1.5X EBITDA.
  • With a recurring monthly fee, the business is now worth ~7.5X EBITDA. I'll take the "Hit" monthly for the enterprise value
  • The website feedback is actually extremely surprising. I've had a ton of great feedback from agents, and agents who told me they've signed up because of the website.

Happy to talk in more detail. I understand this model might not be a great fit for your business, but I am growing super fast

Well, I was wrong. The websites I found were pitiful. I've seen plumbers and electricians (boring!) have better sites.

But here is one that is one of the best I've found, although I think it is still lacking in some areas; Transaction Coordinator | MyOutDesk Virtual Assistant Services

This site has an eye-catching header - a video - a great CTA (call to action) - and testimonials. In short - that's pushing buttons for me - that's what I want to know about. That website feeds my desire to know more.

If you get compliments from agents, that could be because agents rarely know a good website. Their own websites are too often nothing more than a glorified billboard with their smiling face with a background view of a home or a room in a home and some WEAK tagline, such as "put my experience to work for you." For those of us that don't think drinking yesterday's leftover cold coffee is THAT bad - that's a great website! It says nothing - it doesn't grab attention - and it does nothing. The only thing good about it (and I use that term very loosely) is that it is a clone of so many other sites, so by comparison, it blends in, and - bland as it is - it isn't actually "bad."

And speaking of agents - most of them somehow manage. It's a mystery to many top agents how they do it - but they do. Your business is a numbers game - there are so many agents out there that you are all but guaranteed to NOT fail. It's a lot like a commercial cleaning business - the demand and the market are definitely there for the taking.

I read once that a person is the average of the five people they associate with most often. So, with that said, average (or above average) is certainly a sliding scale that is highly individual. Do your thing and even have fun in the process - that's success. Of course, success has degrees from 1 to 1,000. As far as success is concerned, I know agents pulling in over five mill. That's a whole lot of success.

After seeing the sites of TCs in my market area, I may have to revisit getting into that biz. It's scalable and has huge demand. I am not impressed at all by the competition I see here, although I do use a lady that is an excellent TC - even though she uses the most basic marketing possible. This is a business ripe for conquering.

One more thing - the monthly hit you talk about taking will buy a LOT of marketing. Marketing is the lifeblood of a biz. When that is done well, everything else falls in place. There is a reason agents don't buy the newest computers, cell phones, and any other type of overhead. It's overhead. A G a month will get me well over 50 leads. I don't need a new computer or any other overhead expense - I need more customers and more cash.

Oh well - I think I've wasted my time here. You missed all the information in my earlier post - so take what you can and use it the best way you can. Just remember - I don't care about how you pay your people or the hours you work. It's 7:00 am now, and I'm typing. My earlier response was several hours ago. Do my working hours matter? Does anyone care that I put in 16 hour days sometimes and work 7 days a week? Nope. Your customers care about THEIR world - not yours or mine.
 

Real Deal Denver

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Oh, just give me a break... I just took a look at one of the TC websites...

Remember the story about me calling the virtual office people - and they didn't answer their phone? Well, here we go again. This TC office doesn't even know what they're selling - it's supposed to say PEACE of mind. I also highlighted how they say I will be impressed with them. Everyone on the planet says that. Why even say it - just do it.

Call me a grammar nazi. Call me unreasonable. Call me a crybaby. In my world, there is VERY little room for mistakes. Most professionals think the same way, so this is something to know and get used to - real fast.

No, I'm not impressed with them - and no, I'm not using the virtual office people. But they sure don't hesitate to tell me how impressed I will be...

Right.

Your customers with the highest expectations are your best friends. Learn from them and exceed their expectations.
 

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SeanODG

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I agree with you in that the market competition is absolutely horrible.

It's why agents have responded really well (not to be an a$$, but transparently) to me as an ivy league guy with F500 leadership experience when most TC's in the market have grammar mistakes and make actual mistakes during a real estate transaction.
 

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Real Deal Denver

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Thank you for the information. I'm just starting as an agent. Got my license last week.

IF you don't have a backup plan on paying your bills, real estate can starve you to death.

If you need a backup plan, being a TC or getting into rental property management are two areas that can supplement your income.

It's a tough business - so have a working backup plan. Don't depend on being an agent for all of your income right away. That is a slow process and can starve you out.
 

Nash33d

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May 18, 2021
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Awesome progress Sean, been following you in twitter too, may I ask you how do you deal with demand?
You told that you contract freelancers and deliver the product, your service costs 1K month, what is the margin for the freelancer? How do you convince them to work with you? Why working with you is better than just keep freelancing? And how do you organize the demand, what's the amount of work you outsource to each employee, in other words how many TC related stuff each employee do in the month to keep this business sustainable?
 

SeanODG

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Hey Nash33d

A couple questions here, I'll try to unpack:

  • Myself, or someone else at CC, handles the demand to deliver the product. My team is all full-time, it's our competition that is freelancers. Our goal is simply to be better than the freelancers
  • We have some metrics internally regarding how many agents can a person handle/how many transactions per month. Depending on person, it ends up in teh 100-150 range per person

Please let me know of any thoughts/questions!
 

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