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Income Producing Habits of Agents and Teams

Ryan Rodenbeck

Ryan started in Austin real estate as an investor in 2001. He looked at all investment opportunities — Austin foreclosures, condos, homes for sale...

Ryan started in Austin real estate as an investor in 2001. He looked at all investment opportunities — Austin foreclosures, condos, homes for sale...

Oct 24 31 minutes read

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RYAN: All right, guys. We have an interesting show today. We’re going to go over the top income producing activities of real estate agents and real estate team leaders. I am Ryan Rodenbeck, and I am joined with Matt Edwards, my associate. Today we have special guest Lee Adkins from Amplified Solutions and John McCarthy, our sales manager. They’ll join us in one second and we will get off to it.

INTRO: Welcome to Behind the Scenes with Spyglass Realty, with Ryan Rodenbeck and Matt Edwards.

RYAN: Before we start, Matt, first of all we’ve got a little bit of a different format here. The room was getting a little tight with guests, so we separated and we’re trying to make it a little more interactive.

MATT: Ryan just got tired of sitting next to me, so he’s got me on this camera setup in another room. I guess I must go or something. [laughs]

RYAN: I needed a different angle, right? [laughs] So tell us, what’s going on in the news?

MATT: The number for September for Austin’s housing market just came out. Pricing was up 4.2% and inventory was down 12%. Basically there’s less homes on the market. There’s still lots of demand for housing, so pricing is going up. That should continue probably on into October.

And they just released a study that if Amazon selects Austin as its second headquarters, that it will have an 8.5% to 16% increase in housing prices just from that, because of the sheer number of people and jobs that will move to the city if Amazon selects Austin. It will just basically speed up the pricing of housing. It’s gone up every month, it’s continuing to go up, and that will only add to it. So there we go.

RYAN: Matt and I are on two different sides of this. I don’t think they’re coming, Matt does think they’re coming. We’ll have Lee Adkins in here pretty soon, and I think Atlanta is in the forefront of that.

MATT: We need to make this interesting. What can we do here?

RYAN: Also, in other news, I’ve been getting texts and Facebook messages from around the nation about the floods in the Highland Lakes. As of yet, it has not affected us in Austin. Lake LBJ, there’s definitely homes flooding. Kingsland, is that where Angelina’s family is from?

MATT: Yeah.

RYAN: Yeah, so they’re definitely feeling it over there. I believe they’ve released all eight of the floodgates, which could theoretically cause some flooding in Austin. I think the Pleasant Valley Ridge – I saw something on the news that it’s almost that high.

MATT: They’ve banned everybody from being on LBJ. They’ve shut down all the rentals of kayaks and paddleboards and things like that because the flow of the water now is so fast. The floodgates are open, and things are moving rapidly. But so far the city seems to be good. I’m guessing rain today, and I think we’re going to get some rain tomorrow, but it’s not nearly as heavy and consistent as it has been.

RYAN: Yeah. Lake Travis is full. Barton Creek Greenbelt is flowing like crazy. I have a friend that has a house overlooking the flats, and my wife was at their house the other day and saw – it’s flowing like crazy – saw some idiot on a paddleboard floating down there. So be safe out there.

MATT: [laughs]

RYAN: Yeah. All right, let’s get Lee in right away. Kelly, if you could plug Lee in?

LEE: Hello there.

MATT: Lee, how are you doing?

LEE: Great, how are you guys?

RYAN: Hey Lee, how are you?

LEE: I am great. Matt, I heard your little wager comment about HQ2.

MATT: Yeah, so what’ve you got? You got any suggestions?

LEE: To lean things your way? [laughs]

MATT: No, I’m just trying to think of something like if I lose, I’ve got to do something, and if I win, Ryan has to do something – whether it’s wear a funky wig for one of these videos, I don’t know. Kind of make some fun out of this deal.

LEE: That’s a good one. Let me sleep on that. I’ll come up with something good, though.

MATT: They’ve been going back and forth on it for months now, and it’s getting close. They’re supposed to make a decision by the end of the year, so we will see.

RYAN: Okay, we’re going to plug in Johnny as well. Let me do some introductions here. This is Lee Adkins, and he has been a consultant of mine for a couple years now.

Wait, let me just stop. If you are watching this on YouTube, hit the like button, subscribe. We’ve got more great content. A lot of agent training in the past, but even more coming up. If you’re watching this on Facebook, type the word “AGENT” in the comment section. If you have any questions about anything we’re talking about, put it in the comment section. We’ll get right to it.

For introductions, we’ve got Lee Adkins with Amplified Solutions, and we have John McCarthy. John McCarthy is our sales manager and trainer for Spyglass Realty. When I was looking for a show that was going to talk about income producing activities for agents and teams, I’m like, this is the dream time for several reasons.

One, a couple years ago I was trying to make more of a transition from a top-producing agent to a broker manager. What we figured out here is that I needed more structure. That is what Lee does. Lee, tell us a little bit about where you’re at in your career, how’d you get here, and what exactly do you do?

LEE: That’s a great question. I came up actually in the music business. We won’t go into that today, but it’s interesting. I will circle back to that in a minute. I did real estate sales for about 6 years, saw some changes come into the market, and decided I was more interested in helping teams and brokerages organize what they were doing than just being directly in the field myself.

Ultimately I’ve transitioned into an organizational role. I found I was very, very good at that, and therefore started talking with other top teams and brokerages about, “Hey, how do we make this a business and really move forward with a plan?” As you mentioned, most people who are great at selling real estate, it’s really hard to transition into being a business owner.

It’s interesting to me to crack that code. Sometimes it is a function of you just being a really strong agent and maybe hiring that person. For you, Ryan, you’ve obviously been able to move into more of a management role and that’s great.

Back to the music thing, I was a bass player, so it puts me in a unique place to help drive the train without having to be the front man.

RYAN: You’re a real estate agent for a little while, and you’re still working for a company. You do consulting for a company still, right?

LEE: Yes.

RYAN: For SOLD Sisters, is that right?

LEE: Yeah, I work with a team here in Atlanta called the Atlanta SOLD Sisters. It’s about an eight licensee team. It’s been bigger than that, it’s been smaller than that, but that is the sweet spot. That model is more experienced agents.

RYAN: Got you. The way I came to know Lee is I’m in the curator community where they’re a vendor of ours, they do some coaching, and at the first curator conference, Lee was basically talking about how to structure more of the logistics side. You call yourself a coach, but it’s not like you’re a “rah, rah!” coach.

It’s more like, “Here’s the strategy part of it. What do you do when you’re trying to grow your company? What systems do you put in place?” Because if you’re not with a business like Keller Williams or a big box firm, some of this stuff isn’t really cut and dry.

I had basically an assistant, Sunny Tracey. As we became bigger, she became so much more than that. We made her the office manager. As we started growing and I’m still doing my own production, we needed a sales manager.

Enter John McCarthy. Johnny, give us a brief outline of how you came to Spyglass Realty, how we found you, and what your experience has been the last couple years.

JOHN: I’ve been licensed since 2006 and spent 12 years in California. I was with some of the big brokers in the country. Moving here, I was looking for something specific that I could just plug myself into, hit the ground running hard, that already has everything that I knew I needed to grow into.

When I met with Ryan and he showed me everything that he was doing, he was getting started and just recognizing where it was going to go. I knew that was exactly the fit that I could plug into and really help take not only just my business, but grow even a brokerage as well. Thanks to Lee for some of that too, because I get now coaching from Lee as well.

RYAN: Yeah. We have structures that we’re working with. Basically Lee helped me put the structure of our team together. Speaking of that, Lee, tell us – what kind of structures do you recommend for people? What kind of structures do you see out there, and what are the ones that you recommend? How do you help a company go from 4 to 10 to 15 kind of like we did?

LEE: That’s a great question. I’ll try to give you a couple of definitive examples, but I’d like to think some of the magic is really assessing the players that are already there. If you take, let’s bring in somebody to help manage the agents.

In your case, obviously what we did was you were coming out of production, so we wanted to push you up – or push your price point up, at least, and then get Johnny in supporting the agents. What you do is then you grow. Johnny will recognize other agents that are strong, and then they move up the chain.

There’s definitely not a one-size-fits-all. I think a lot of times the strengths of owners are either marketing or sales. Really, those are probably the two that we see the most. Is it that we put them in a position to be a strong marketer and get out of the way?

RYAN: Organization is rarely one of those skills, right?

LEE: Very rare.

RYAN: What I realize is I’m good at sales, I’m good with people, but I also have a passion for marketing. After doing sales for 14 years – even longer before real estate – I didn’t want to fucking do it anymore. I just got tired of it. I would rather teach people sales, and I love marketing.

Agents call me at night, other agents, and have these problems with sellers at night you have to deal with. I remember about a year ago, one of my agents, Lauren, called me. She’s like “Sorry to bug you, I need to talk to you,” at like 9:00. I was sitting there with my family, and she had this really difficult situation going on. It didn’t bother me at all. I got off the phone, I was like, thank God – I’m happy to be helping her at 9:00. I wouldn’t want to be her at 9:00 at this stage in my career.

LEE: Multiplication is the thing. If you can teach more people to do that or teach your sales managers to do that, and then they each have five people under them, that’s a big –

RYAN: And that’s what’s happening now with Johnny and Sunny. It’s a beautiful thing. We talk about training. Johnny, this question is for you. We’re talking about income producing activities, and we’re going to talk about income producing activities for new agents and for seasoned agents.

But going back to training, what do you recommend as the actual training an agent needs to start off in their business?

JOHN: If they’re brand new, I think they need to know how to talk the business. That’s going to come with practice and messing up. You can learn that very easily by reading dialogue that someone else has put together, and you do that till you create your own experience. A lot of what we learn in this business is what we learn in the field and navigating through the negotiations and everything.

I think that’s first and foremost, and then knowing where to apply that. Who are you going to talk to? Where are you getting those people that you’re going to talk to? You don’t have a marketing plan? Find someone that does and help them. If you have what Lee’s provided, contact those people, because you need to start talking to real people about real estate.

RYAN: We have a curriculum here when we start at Spyglass Realty. It’s not like we’re in depth like Keller Williams or some of these guys that do 90-day courses, but we have The Conversion Code by Chris Smith that they have to go through, and then we have a series of video trainings that we do.

Johnny goes through and does coaching calls with our agents. I even do a pretty long one once they’ve gone through the curriculum.

What’s interesting was – we just hired a new agent. She’s not brand new, but she came from another company that didn’t provide the support. During the interview – we had it on Monday; she signed up on the spot – she said, “What do you do all day as a brand new agent?” Matt was in the other room.

Let me just give you a little history of Matt. I’ll let Matt take it here in just a second. Matt was a brand new agent, very smart guy, interviewed at probably five or six different brokerages, and he’s probably one of the best examples of being able to ramp up to top producer status in like 12 months.

Let’s bring Matt in here. Matt, what do you do? Go through what you went through with me and Christina on Monday.

MATT: Where I see most new agents fail is they stay in the comfort of their home office or wherever that’s at, and they don’t get around to listen and learn. I think that’s one of the biggest benefits you can do as a new agent, because frankly, for the first couple months you’re still going to be trying to figure out what to do, what to say, things like that.

There’s no better way to speed that up than by being in the office, being around other agents, being around the broker, the team leader, listening to their conversations, having conversations with them. If you’re sitting at the house and you have a question, you text or you call – it’s kind of hard to get the proper communication in.

Whereas when you’re in the office, if you’re going through stuff or you have a situation, you can quickly get help right there on the spot and have a more detailed conversation on how to best work through that situation that you’re in. It just drastically speeds up the learning curve. But you’ve got to pay attention, you’ve got to listen, and you’ve got to learn.

RYAN: Yeah. So when Matt interviewed with me, he said, “Is this your office?” We were in a different office at that time, and it was like one big huge open room. He was like, “Do you mind if I come in every day and sit here and listen to you?” It’s like, okay, sure.

People have said that before, but Matt’s been here every single day since that happened, and I would have conversations with sellers, I’d have conversations with agents, and Matt would stop what he was doing and listen.

That’s probably the biggest advice I could give to someone. If you’re going to start your business as an agent and you really want to learn, find someone that you can shadow. In this case it was me. He was in the office listening to me – and Sunny as well – because we were doing a bunch of deals.

MATT: And that didn’t add any burden to you as far as you having to take the time to talk to me for 30 minutes on the phone or answer questions or this or that. I’m just there like a fly on the wall kind of deal, and you’re just doing your thing, no interruptions, no getting sidetracked.

RYAN: What’s interesting about that is the agents that have done the best in the last couple years, in such a short period of time – besides Johnny, but Johnny was already trained; he was just a lead machine – have been you and Angelina.

Lee, were you going to chime in there?

LEE: I was going to just second what Matt said. The reality of it is, that goes two ways, because it starts to also instill trust in you that he knows what he’s talking about. So when a lead comes in and you’re like “That one’s 250, I really don’t feel like putting this dude in my car,” who are you going to give it to? It’s literally human nature. You’re going to be like, “Hey Matt, you want to take this?”

RYAN: Once again, guys, if you’re watching this – we’ve got a few people watching – if you have any questions, chime in. We’re happy to answer them. Kelly, if you see any questions, put them on.

Let’s see, I had another question here. One of the questions I got recently was: what are the income producing activities of a new agent? If you’re out there looking for your brokerage, the agents that we take from other brokerages – Lee, the average fallout rate is like 18 months, I believe?

LEE: Oh yeah, that’s probably okay

RYAN: I think a lot of that has to do with the fact that people are picking the wrong brokerage. If you’re new in town and you’re not connected and you’re going to a place that provides very little support and/or leads, then you’re destined to fail.

With our brokerage model and a lot of others, we have leads that we not only train our agents to take, but also supply them to the agents. We’re not giving out 10 leads a day, though.

I’m going to ask you guys first, what is it that you can do besides the company leads to generate more of your own leads? Johnny, I’ll start with you. What do you have for those kind of incoming producing activities?

JOHNNY: It’s kind of great with the role that I’m in because I work with so many agents that do a lot of different money-making activities for their business. Something simple is put together a marketing plan for your neighborhood where you’re branding yourself in your neighborhood and getting people to know you there through networking. That personal touch and that rapport that you build instantly is wonderful.

There’s networking events, philanthropic things in the community. Personally, there’s community events that I participate in where I attract referrals for business.

RYAN: Yeah, you work that area right.

JOHNNY: Yeah. Actually, I’ll pass the ball to Matt, because there’s a lot that he does that’s a little bit different avenue than that, which is you see a lot of his Instagram stories and stuff kicking off now.

MATT: Yeah. I’ll go back as far as when I first started out. I had just moved to the city, didn’t know anybody, no network, so it was in the office, and then on the weekends it was working open houses Saturday and Sunday. I generated a million dollars in business in the first 6 months just off working open houses. Factor in 2 hours one Saturday, 2 hours on Sunday – that’s pretty good when you factor income to hours off that million dollars in deals.

It was good, and it built my database up, meeting new people. Even if only one person came to that open house that Saturday, or nobody, it is what it is. Still, you’re getting practice and you’re getting your name out there. You just keep doing it every day.

RYAN: Yeah, you’re getting return on your investment.

LEE: That’s the point where a lot of people drop the ball, though, because that doesn’t feel as sexy as getting a bunch of online leads to running this ad or doing this thing or chasing people around. Get face to face.

MATT: Face to face, to me, there’s no better way. You can knock off your “know, like, and trust” categories right off the bat. If you’re doing your job at the open house and you’re actually talking to the potential homebuyer, you can do all of that in a matter of 5 or 10 minutes depending on how the conversation goes. Then boom, you’re off and running.

RYAN: I think the key to that is this. You really need to know what you’re talking about before you do this. That’s what comes together in the office, listening to whoever – I’ve got an echo here. The conversations you have with people, being able to regurgitate those conversations, and then you need that to have conversations out there in the real world.

What you want to do there is get the training. Listen. Know how to have conversations. Know how to use the conversion code. We were at a conference last week and they were talking about knowing exactly what to say. Basically you’re taking everything you’re saying already and turning it in a way that will influence them – not in a “trick you” kind of way.

Everyone needs to work with a real estate agent; they just don’t know that they need to work with you. That’s a big thing. This goes along with veteran agents as well that may get into a lull or maybe they’re having a bad year. Ongoing training is important.

So I want to answer that question in a different way. What can agents do that are brand new? First of all, get with a company that’s providing them with leads. Second of all, social media is king. Instagram is really, really important. Facebook as well.

I think you need to balance that out. You need to have a very delicate balance with that. In other words, Facebook is very personal, and you don’t want to be the brand new agent that’s posting five times a day about “I’m in real estate, send me a referral.”

You want to be providing value on social media. That’s what it’s all about. If you learn something that day – not just your fucking market reports or something like that, but how to upgrade a house, how to determine what the red flags are.

MATT: Yeah, obviously value, and then entertainment. Like behind the scenes. Just ongoing stuff. Johnny referenced my Instagram stories; I’ve got four remodel projects going on right now, so I try to give walkthroughs of the projects, updates, things like that on my Instagram stories. I don’t do the best job of it, but I try to remember to do it and just give a quick update so they can see the progress of all the stuff that goes into remodeling a home.

RYAN: Yeah. Speaking of Instagram, we did a training the other day – by the way, we’re doing ongoing training in social media. I just released one – I don’t even think I put it on Facebook yet – about how to pick your hashtags and what they call the stair step effect. Kelly, I can’t see the broadcast right now, but if you haven’t already, put the link into the description below so people can check out that post.

Another thing I want to talk about, just briefly – we’ve covered this before – tech tools. The CRM. Lee, I’m going to bring this to you. Lee is probably the master of the CRM. I don’t know anybody who knows it better. How do you recommend people organize their CRM? CRM is client relationship management, by the way.

LEE: Yeah. It’s like all things; it’s got to be simple. Everything is kind of simple but complex. You need to figure out, what are the primary “buckets,” for lack of a better term, that you want people to be in? If I can go ahead and just say it, a lot of us use Follow Up Boss. That’s one that I highly recommend. Certainly there are others. Certainly they’re great, if you have a strategy behind using it.

For Follow Up Boss, they have a really powerful – the primary categorization is what’s called Stages. If you categorize all of your new people that come in as a lead, then you should be having a different conversation with everybody who’s in the lead stage versus people that are in a nurture stage or a past client stage. Just categorizing at a high level.

Then things like knowing the source. You can have a lot better conversion if you realize that these people came in through Zillow or these people came in through your website or these people came in through Facebook. It’s a different conversation.

RYAN: Yeah, and that goes for all agents. I’ve met agents that have done really well that are not really inducing these past clients into getting referrals. What that all comes down to is content is key.

Again, market stats – you can google “market stats.” That’s played out. What I think you really need to do is do what Matt’s doing, like “Here’s how to renovate a property. Here’s before and after. Here’s the style that’s going.” What we’ve been doing for the last 6 or 7 years is show before and after videos of the properties that we do and then show people how easy it is and how cheap it can be to take a house and show it in a better light.

That’s my advice for veteran agents. Don’t just post market stats. Add value. Where do you add value? You add value in design, you add value in renovation, you add value in negotiations. You tell them what books you’re reading.

Then you have a newsletter. Look, my career is based off of my newsletter. Now it’s in video, but that’s how I got to where I am now. I have converted leads that registered to my site 4 years prior, and I cannot tell you how powerful that is. If you’re a new agent, even if you’re not comfortable with video, make a newsletter. Make a good one, and then build the content that can get everywhere.

MATT: They should get comfortable with video.

RYAN: They should get comfortable with video, absolutely. That’s the way of the future. But I think the most important thing is that you’re adding value to your clients, your past clients.

And then call your past clients. Not every day, not every week, not every month – and when you call them, don’t call them and say, “Hey, do you have anybody that wants to buy or sell real estate?” No. Just check in on them. You call them, you ask them how they’re doing, how their house is doing, if they need anything, any recommendations for plumbers, painters, if they want maybe a stager.

At Spyglass Realty we have two certified stagers. My team can call their past clients and say, “Look, I’m just curious. I know you bought that house a few months ago. If you’re thinking about doing any painting, we can come by and do a Facebook Live, and I can get you recommendations.”

MATT: You just hit on something I thought is overlooked by a lot of real estate agents. We’re in the business of real estate, which means plumbers, roofers, inspectors, the works. You need to have at least a reference that you can refer people to in all those categories. Don’t say “Oh, I don’t know.” That’s a terrible answer, and you’re doing yourself a huge disservice to a potential client that asks for that reference, because if you don’t have at least one, then they’re going to be like, “What are they doing in this business?”

LEE: Absolutely. You can’t just show up every 7 years and get a check. It doesn’t work that way.

RYAN: Yeah, we are lifestyle concierges for our past clients and future referrals. That’s the way I see it.

Let me just say, if you’re looking for agent training, Kelly, please put in – we’ve got an agent training on hashtags. We have the agent technology where we feature all the technology we use. And then I recently did about a 7-8 minute training on how agents should be following up on qualified leads. Matt?

MATT: We should throw a link in from the video me, you, and Johnny did a couple months ago talking about agents. I forget the video title.

RYAN: The top 3 things they need to succeed. Yeah. Kelly, if you can find that, put it in. if you can’t find it right now, we’ll put it in later.

Lee, any other advice you can give for either someone starting a business or someone that’s trying to revamp their career?

LEE: I love what Matt and Johnny said. I think it’s being consistent. It’s having conversations. It’s knowing what to say in those conversations – which doesn’t always meant that you know everything about everything, but watch the HotSheets if that’s a thing. Watch your area, watch your neighborhood.

Something to dovetail on Matt’s open house thing, too. If you’re holding an open house – which would probably be my number one answer. If you came to me right now and said, “What should I do? I just got my license yesterday,” do an open house. But show up with – in Georgia we print out the tax record, so it’s got the square footage, it’s got a bunch of additional information.

Print out every other listing in that neighborhood, because when that person comes up to you and they’re like, “That one around the corner, how many bedrooms did that have?” and you go, “Uh, let me get my phone,” you just lost that person as a client.

RYAN: Yeah. Be prepared and study that. By the same token, when you’re calling your past clients, have up the MOS, or maybe take a couple minutes before. I’m not necessarily saying that you need to jump into that with them, but maybe you should. Maybe if it’s been 6 months and the same house is for sale or hasn’t sold for 6 months, that’s a great conversation starter right there.

LEE: The other thing about open houses where people drop the ball – and it’s funny because I’ve heard people complain about it – people are like, “I just had this open house and just a bunch of neighbors came.” I’m like, dude, you just met other potential sellers. What’s so bad about that? [laughs]

RYAN: Right, exactly. You’re adding value to these people if you’re prepared.

LEE: Right.

RYAN: Lee, where can people find you?

LEE: The website for our consulting company is Pretty straight ahead. We’re focused on hiring and that growth period between hires. It’s sort of a growth cycle, we like to call it. You’re either hiring or you’re basically preparing to hire or otherwise grow.

RYAN: We’ll drop in your social media here in a little bit. To give a little bit of referral, I gave Lee a check about a year and a half ago, and I’ve been giving him a check every month since then. That’s the best testament of someone that you recommend. It helps me structure my business.

If you are a team leader or an agent that needs some kind of focus – and we’re not talking about your typical “how many calls did you make today?”, but if you’re trying to take your business from either single agent to a team or from a small team to a real brokerage, I can’t speak highly enough about Lee Adkins.

Guys, we’ve got to wrap it up right now. Thank you so much. Before we go, one more thing. If you’re watching this on Facebook, click “like” if you like what we say. If you have any questions, put them in the comments. If you’re watching this on Facebook, type the word “AGENT” in the remarks. If you’re watching this on YouTube, hit subscribe and let us know if you have any questions. And if you’re watching this on Instagram, go to our profile and go to the Facebook Live link, and you will be able to subscribe for future broadcasts.

All right, guys. Thank you so much. See you guys another time.

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