- Length of time using the books: 2 months
- Listings received with the help of the books: Within one week of sending off eight books, she got one listing and one likely listing. She also held an event where she used the books and got five leads.
- Biggest benefit of using the books: "I can set myself apart from the competition. And what's nice is there's not anything new or over the top for me in the book that I'm not already doing anyway."
Katie did an interview with Marki. Here are some of the highlights:
- She sent the book, along with other materials to a seller who was thinking about selling next year. After receiving the information and talking with Marki, the seller is now planning to list her house before the end of the year.
- Marki gives the books away at housewarmings she throws for her clients. She takes a mix of buyer and seller books. The books — along with the housewarming itself — impress the recipients and make sure they remember her. One housewarming led to one investment lead, one seller lead, and three buyer leads!
- She has a stager on the team who spends 3-4 hours which each client, free of charge. This aligns with the information in the books about staging, which gives her even more credibility and shows her expertise.
- If people she knows ask how she had time to write the book, she explains that she used a ghostwriter. If other agents ask, she tells them about Smart Agents because she feels it’s important to help each other.
- Her advice to struggling agents: Get out of your own head and don’t worry about getting a no — each no just means you’re closer to a yes!
Here’s how Marki gets her listings:
#1. She sends a folder with a personal note, a book, FAQs, and other relevant information to potential leads. These leads include FSBOs that have been on the market for over 30 days and people who’ve mentioned they want to sell at some point.
#2. She throws housewarming parties for clients 2-3 months after they’re settled into their new homes. She gives away books and leads a game of Housewarming Bingo to connect with potential clients.
#3. She follows up by asking if they got the materials, if they have any questions, and how things are going.
In the interview, Marki told Katie how she’d sent packets to people she knew would be selling their homes soon. A week after the conversation, Marki landing a listing for $265,900, although she believes it will be a multiple offer situation and sell for more.
And that’s not all. Marki also followed up on another idea she’d mentioned in the interview: sending packets to FSBOs, then following up a week later. It turns out she didn’t even have to follow up with one seller. She called Marki only a few days after the packet went out! Marki toured her home two days later and landed the $285,900 listing then and there. They took professional pictures about a week later and the listing went live a few days after that.
For those of you keeping track, with the help of her Smart Agents books, Marki has received the following in just a few months:
- A listing for $285,900
- An upcoming listing (agreement already signed) — $265,900
- An upcoming listing for 1st quarter of 2019 — $275,000
- A future purchase from the same owner for 1st quarter of 2019 — $330,000 maximum
- An upcoming listing for March — $340,000
Listen to the Interview Audios below for more details on exactly how she does it.
Here are the highlights of the Audio Interview:
Here is a transcript of the interview with Katie and Marki:
Smart Agents: First, I'd love to know, how long have you been a Realtor?
Marki: I have been a Realtor here in Georgia for about a year and a half. I was previously licensed in Maryland, many, many moons ago, probably around 2000 to 2003, before we relocated to Georgia. But I fully got into this career full-time in Georgia in January of 2017.
Smart Agents: OK, cool. And do you have anything you specialize in?
Marki: I specialize in working with investors. I specialize in listings. And the other specialization is my marketing strategy.
Smart Agents: OK. So how do the books play into that marketing strategy?
Marki: I'm sorry, can you repeat that?
Smart Agents: Yeah, how do the books play into that marketing strategy?
Marki: Well, I've only been using the books for, I believe I'm going into my second month. I think I got the books on the first week in August, and then, right after that, I received my books and I wanted to try them out, particularly the ones that focus around listings. And what was interesting is that I downloaded the materials that you all had, as it relates to photography.
Smart Agents: Mm-hmm.
Marki: And how photography has such a huge advantage, as it relates to marketing. So I downloaded that material and printed it out. Actually, I didn't print it out. I sent it over to Office Max to print. And I created these folders. And so they're black folders, and I have my logo as a peel-off label, so I just peeled the logo on the front of the black folder.
Inside of the folder, I had a couple of different materials in there, one of which was the photography brochure.
Smart Agents: Mm-hmm.
Marki: I also had another piece that I had. It's kind of a two-page FAQ. So it's a condensed version of what I do and how I stand out. So it's an FAQ to sellers that really speaks to how my company is different, as it relates to marketing their home, the different strategies. What is videography? How do I go beyond just sticking a sign in the yard? How I attract buyer clients, how I use social media, and all of those things.
So it's a really nice document that I created that goes in there, as well. And I also included a book.
Smart Agents: Awesome.
Marki: And I sent the materials out to eight seller leads. I think two of them were FSBOs that I had identified, and then the others were folks that I had in my database that softly mentioned to me that they were interested in selling, at some point. And they were either in the process of trying to get their home together, or just trying to figure out what the market was doing. And for whatever reason, the timing just wasn't right.
So one individual that is thinking about selling her home, and she mentioned she'd probably wait until some time next year, I sent her the material. She immediately responded, I think two days later in an email. And that's the email that I sent you, that you have on record.
Smart Agents: Mm-hmm.
Marki: She's already reviewing the book. She's read the book. She thought it was great information. And then, we started talking about the conditions of the market, and how, if she's looking to sell, it's best for her to start putting some things in place now, because the market is slowing down.
But although the market is slowing down, you have the most serious buyers out there right now. So what that means is, meaning the seller, you're not having to compete against all of these other properties that are on the market, as opposed to if you decide to place your home on the market in the spring. And then, a competitive advantage for her is, on the flip side, because she's looking to buy, but she's looking to actually upsell, probably about a hundred thousand dollars.
And so she's not having to compete with all of these other buyers and multiple contracts, and things of that nature. So I have been in constant communication with her since then. And then, she's now starting to move a little bit more quickly, and we're looking at listing her home, probably the latter part of November. No later than the beginning of December.
Another opportunity was a FSBO. And she called me, and he was very impressed about the book and the material that was in it. And I talked with him about the property. Unfortunately, that one didn't turn into a listing as I had hoped, because on the phone, he had mentioned that he wanted me to come out, take a look at the property, and he would be ready to do something, because I could see from the picture, there were some things that he needed to do. And he was looking at putting it on the market in November.
But some things have changed, personally. So he's still wanting to do that, but it's gonna take him a little bit of time, so I've been in constant communication with him.
Since I sent the email off to you all, I've now been starting to use the books during my housewarmings because that's another marketing strategy that I employ. So I usually give my clients, after they close on a home ... Typically, they're buyers. After they close on a home, I give them about 60 to 75 days to get acclimated. And I host a housewarming party for them.
Smart Agents: Cool.
Marki: And I take care of all of the invites. The reason why I take care of all the invites is because now, I have all of these people that I can put in my database. So I have their email. I have their phone numbers. I have their names. And then, what I do is, I manage that through evite, and I take care of all of the food. I take care of the set up, and then, I also encourage my clients, "Hey, tell me what your favorite places to shop are." Or "Go ahead and get registered at a Target or a Bed, Bath and Beyond." And that information is included. So the client is actually receiving gifts that they really like, from their favorite stores, and things of that nature.
So I just had a housewarming on Saturday, and I took three of the buyer books, and then, I had four seller books. I had a couple of different variations of the seller book. So I took those with me, and I tied them in a nice bow. And then, I had another little gift that was tied with the book. And then, during the housewarming, what I do is I do something called Housewarming Bingo. And Housewarming Bingo, after everyone has toured the property — because I kind of set it up like an open house — so after everyone has toured the home, and then they've gotten something to eat, and now, they're just kind of standing or sitting around, and a lot of folks don't necessarily know each other.
And so I came up with this idea back in November of last year, when I did my open house. And I did the Housewarming Bingo. So it's a sheet. It's a bingo card, but I have different topics within each box. And their job is to go around and start mingling and finding out what individual actually meets that trait. So for example, one of the things is, born in a different state. I'm in Georgia, so born in a different state. So say if that were you, I'd try to find you. I'd be asking, "So who's born in a different state?" And then, once you mention, "Oh, I have," then I'll write Katie in the box. So that's how I could share that square for the bingo.
But then, more importantly, I have other things on there, too, like who's looking to purchase a home in the next year? Who's looking to sell a home within the next year? Who's looking for investment properties? Who knows the name of their Realtor when they first purchased their home? So there's some personal topics mixed in, but then, there's some real estate-related topics, as well, and so then when they say bingo, I review the card with that individual, and I'm looking, and I'm like, "Oh, wait a minute. Marsha here, she's interested in selling a home." And then, I'll ask, "Well, who's Marsha?" So then I'll get a visual of that individual. I'll check off the box, but I'm making a mental note, before the housewarming is over, to talk with these individuals.
And that's what I did. They come to find out. I walked away with one investment lead. And that was me actually talking to the neighbor next door, but I also walked away with two buyer leads, and I gave them a book. No, three buyer leads, and I gave each of them a book, and then, I walked away with a seller lead, which I gave her a book, as well.
And then, of course, all of them were impressed. "Oh, you have your own book. This is great. Gee, my Realtor never did anything like this for me. This housewarming, and all of those things." So that's another way that I've started to incorporate the books in how I market for business.
Smart Agents: That's awesome. I love that idea. That's so creative. And it sounds like it really works, so that's awesome. I would love to know, what do you feel is the biggest benefit of using the books?
Marki: The biggest benefit is basically, I can set myself apart from the competition. And what's nice is, there's not anything new or over the top for me, in the book, that I'm not already doing anyway. But a lot of agents, just the basics, they're not doing that. But then, I come in and the document that I was telling you, that FAQ on how I treat listings and things of that nature, it coincides with the information in the books, and so literally, I'm walking the walk, if you will, talking the talk.
Smart Agents: Yeah.
Marki: One of the other things, I have a stager that's on my team. And so, in one of the books, this is the one with the dollar signs. It's the one with the dollar signs on the front. It really speaks a lot about staging, and I already have a stager on my team, and that's one of the benefits that I offer to every single listing client, at no charge to them.
Smart Agents: Oh, that's awesome.
Marki: I have a stager come in and coach them, and then, she spends three and a half, no more than four hours, helping them to stage. Now, of course, there are some things that they need to do beforehand, to get their home stage prepared, stage ready. But then, my stager comes in and she spends three and a half to four hours rearranging furniture, changing the outlook of certain things. But they've read the book, so it's like, "OK."
So again, this kind of coincides with the print resource. So it not only sets me apart from the competition, but it also gives me another layer of credibility. And then, it also promotes me as the expert in the market.
Smart Agents: Gotcha. Makes sense. OK, cool. Let's see. I would love to know, what would you say to someone who's struggling to get listings? Or even if it's that first listing, and nothing that they're doing is working. Do you have any suggestions for them?
Marki: I think you have to just get out of your own head. I know with me, sometimes I allow the mental, internal chatter to get the best of me, and sometimes, you literally just have to do it. You have to just ... I now have the mindset of the more nos that I get, that's a good thing, because I'm getting close to a yes.
And so there's a book that I've read. It's called Go for No, and it talks about this individual, that he had so many people tell him no, tell him no, tell him no, and so he would actually tally the number of nos that he received, because then he started making a goal: "If I get X amount of nos, then I know that I'm getting close to a yes."
So he was able to identify, OK, for every 20 nos comes a next yes. So he had to figure out how many calls he had to make, how many folks he had to talk to and see. And so, I just feel like that's OK. It's not gonna be the end of the world if someone says no, but I feel like if you don't go after it and get outside of your own head, you have more to lose than you do to gain, if you don't do that. And so like, right now, today, I have a few more of the seller books, and I've been identifying those FSBOs that have been on the market for more than 30 days.
And I'm going to be sending them that folder that I told you about when we started the conversation, and there's a little postcard that I attach to it: "Hey, hope you find this information helpful as you continue to market your home. So I'm coming from the spirit of contribution. I will follow up with you by the end of the week to ensure that you receive the package, and if there are any questions that you have, or if you would like any additional insight on the value that I could provide, we could chat about that then."
Smart Agents: That's awesome.
Marki: So that's kind of the approach that I'm taking now.
Smart Agents: That sounds great. That's great reframing, too. And it sounds like you really put an emphasis on following up with people, too — following up on the process.
Marki: Oh, yeah.
Smart Agents: So I guess —
Marki: I make —
Smart Agents: Oh, go ahead.
Marki: I make it easy, because I'm not just following up: "Hey, I just wanted to find out what you thought about the material. Are you ready for me to list your home?" I'm following up to say, "Hi, this is Marki
I just want to make sure that you received your package, and if you have any questions that I can answer about the material as you continue to market your home. I know this has been on Zillow for 34 days. How's it going?"
Smart Agents: Gotcha. So it gives you a good reason to follow up, in a non-pushy way. That's awesome.
Smart Agents: I love what you said. The spirit of contribution. So I guess my last question is just, have there been any surprises for you, with using the book?
Marki: You know, the folks that are closest to me, they say, "Oh, my goodness. Where did you find the time? I know you have great ideas, but where do you find the time to create this book?" And so for those individuals who are closest to me, I do share. I do share, and I say, "Well, as you know, if you were to flip through the book, these things, a lot of them, I've already been doing. But I partnered with — I use the term ghostwriter — to provide my ideas on paper."
And so they're like, "Oh, OK." And if they're other agents, I will freely give them Smart Agents as a resource, because I feel like, because I know in this business, it can be cut throat. It doesn't have to be, if you come from the position you're just trying to help. You're just trying to help the individuals with their most important and expensive asset that they will likely purchase or sell.
And so I just feel like there's enough business out there for everyone, so even if it's someone in my office, more than likely, we're not targeting the same area. We're not going after the same clientele, so I don't mind sharing the information. Now, the reaction that I've gotten from individuals, like for example, I've used the housewarming since since last weekend. I don't think that there was so much going on, and then, I'm having these conversations. And the book, I had ribbon. I had ribbon tied around the bow. And so I feel like these people kind of fully took in that it was my picture and my name on the book, and it was mine.
I think that they thought, "Oh, this is a great resource because when I found out that they weren't interested in buying." I said, "Here. I want you to have this book. I want you to take a look at it. Anything and everything that you need to know about purchasing a home." And so, like I said, because it was like a party type thing, I don't think it kind of set in, but I'm sure when they got home and when they took the book out and took a look at it, they probably went, "Oh, wow. This is her book."
And that was just because of the environment. You know what I mean?
Smart Agents: Right.
Marki: So if they were a little bit more quieter and slower-type environment, I think, folks would have been like, "Oh, wow."