Kevin: So tell us man, tell us how did you get started in real estate how did it all begin and then like let’s get to a progression from like where you started, how you got into it, what you did and then and to where you are today like mega producer you have a team, like first of all what are you doing, what’s going on you have better Homes and Gardens in Virginia Beach Virginia tell us a little bit about your team and then like how you got into real estate.
Barry: So current snapshot I have a team of 16 agents, four admin, only seven or eight of them are full-time and I’ll get more into that later, and we should do right around 200 transactions all the transactions are in my name, so it’s good for marketing and I’m out of production almost completely. I still go on a couple here and there if I feel like at listing appointments and most of my day I come in at 9:00 a.m. normally leave around lunch, of course I’m available virtually I don’t turn my phone off the rest of the day. But the systems that we have in place are allowing people with zero experience to hit it really hard and really fast, and so yes we should do around 50 million this year, the average sales price is 185 thousand, so like 250 million.
Kevin: You’re burning man.
Barry: Yes real fast 20 transactions a month so you got to be real organized and it’s great, current status is I’m living the freaking dream. And so going back in time I started in the business I was managing a shoe store and athlete’s foot kind of like Foot Locker, and I was making $8 an hour and there was a hard money lender that was either crazy or smart enough to lend me $50,000 to buy a house to flip it with a balloon payment of 60,000 at the end of one year. So I did it, I sold it on the 11th month before the balloon payment was due, and I remember when I finally closed it never looking back it was on Cuter Road in Virginia Beach Virginia, I’ll never forget that house sometimes I drive it back it’s here just kind of.
So that’s what got me interested in real estate was I flipped a house, and so then at 20 I got my license and so I’m 37 now so 19 years in this business. I was at a hundred percent company, so they didn’t provide any training, they didn’t provide any resources [00:03:00.14] not that there’s anything wrong with hundred percent companies but there was nothing; they didn’t add any value it was just a place to hang my license. Which was fine because in 2003 stick a sign in the yard begin like 12 calls shooting fish in a barrel super easy, so then my phone stopped ringing 2008, 2009 I had like million dollars short sales fall apart at the closing table because the bank wasn’t sure what they wanted to do, it sucks like royally, that year I made a thousand dollars. So here I was popping 19 years old make it twenty-thirty thousand dollars a flip wasting all of that money by the way buying rims and everything just so, wasted every penny of it because I was young, I didn’t and the value of what I was doing.
And I racked up I think it was fifty thousand dollars from credit card debt that year buying groceries, gas, I had one son with my wife and if you could imagine losing almost I was a week away from bankruptcy, seven days away from losing everything. And if you can imagine with financial troubles come lots of other troubles right, so marriage troubles my son had some health issues, I didn’t have any money so I had to get a job to support my family and I started at a steel building company and so I had to call a hundred people a day and sell steel buildings over the phone and these buildings were between 50 and a $100,000 that was the only place that was hiring.
Kevin: Do you buy steel buildings?
Barry: Yes I don’t have them; I would never buy a steel building over the phone that’s weird. Anyway I did that for a year I became their top salesperson, I was also miserable because if you can imagine the grind of creating a sizzle, enough of a sizzle on the phone to buy a $50,000 building it’s exhausting. And so then I went into the life insurance industry for another six months, and convincing people that they’re going to die and they should spend money to protect their family is incredibly hard. You have to create the need right like hey you’re going to die, so I did that for seven months and learn how to follow up.
So the reason why that’s relevant to this is I took immediate success in real estate that got me in the business, then I lost everything at 30 and I started to have to work in sales industries and realize how hard you have to work for the sale. So then I was able to secure an REO account back in I don’t know maybe six or seven years ago and that was my shot. I remember looking at my wife I said if I can get 60 days of money in sales I want to go back full-time, she was not happy but to her credit [00:06:00.26] she let me do it and we never looked back. And so what I want to tell you all is that that experience of failure I’m very grateful for, one because I never squander an opportunity, any opportunity I have to develop a stream of income a sale, a lead source, conversion methods better organization people ask me how did you get to the point where you don’t have to do that much anymore.
My favorite t-shirt says overnight success years in the making and it’s a white t-shirt and because everybody sees wow man Barry I never wear a colored shirt anymore, I always wear t-shirts I did this for Kevin it just actually works better. But people ask me all that and the answer is I just try to make everything better every day, that doesn’t mean I’m freaking out all day but like let’s say there’s a process that sucks with our workflow, well if it sucks I’m going to try to figure out a way to fix it and the thing about automation and investing in your life is the dividends that come as a result of those decisions they pay off for years to come. So if you take $1,000 invested in cryptocurrency, you take a thousand bucks you invest it you might not necessarily get a bunch of money right away, it’s going to take a few years but then eventually people are going to look at you and be like man where’d you get all your money from, how’d you do this, the dividends of the investments in your life pay off later on.
And so what I want to tell you guys is if you’re getting leads from the team and you’re consistently not performing, somehow your system is broken and you’re squandering your opportunity, and what a lot of agents do if they have a lot of opportunity we subconsciously train ourselves to feed from the firehose and wait for low-hanging fruit. So if the lead doesn’t say yes I’d like to see the house on 123 Smith Street tomorrow, in our mind we check move on to the next one and what I want you to understand is that’s the difference between somebody that makes a lot of money and somebody who doesn’t. The person that catches every lead, snatches it, works it finds a way to systematically nurture it and stay connected with those people, that’s the difference between a money maker and somebody who’s barely making it and you’ll see it in their eyes. When they walk in, some sales people come in and they’re just broken down, they’re depressed, they’re bummed out and nine times out of 10 it’s all in those little details.
And so figuring out what’s broken, what doesn’t work in every piece of the business very slowly has resulted in me feeling like I won the lottery. I haven’t won the lottery, I still I still go to work every day but I’m only doing things that I enjoy. I mean right now as we speak a contract was just ratified, [00:09:00.18]two listings are going live, we just procured hold on hold on a second I’m looking at my CRM within the last 24 hours seven eight nine ten eleven leads, no I’m sorry twenty leads have come in, all of them are being nurtured right now by an ISA, this is while I’m hanging out with you all talking about how happy I am.
So I’m not here to say like look at me I’m so awesome, it’s more to say what you want in your life and as far as income and sales it’s within your grasp, you have the ability to make what you want to make and the thing about it is the good thing about real estate is you can make it what you want, the bad thing about real estate is you can make it what you want. And so where we’re at now for me it’s all about making everything a little bit easier whether through automation, whether through systematizing my admin, training and really getting inside the head of the lead and knowing where the leads coming from. So that was probably a little bit longer winded Kevin than you preferred but…
Kevin: No it’s great, it’s awesome, it was fantastic and I really appreciate you sharing all that information, I think it was very valuable everything you said. I have a question and that’s speaking of people chasing low-hanging fruit and like you’re saying like drinking from the fire hose and then you don’t get someone that answers a question the way that you want them to and you kind of let them go and then you focus on lower hanging fruit, how do you how do you overcome that temptation like how do you overcome that, like what did you do and what are some tips that you would use or share with us?
Barry: Fear, fear is an incredible motivator when harnessed appropriately. I’m not walking around having a panic attack right, but I am legitimately afraid of losing everything all over again, and I think if you have a correct viewpoint and a correct perspective with fear it can motivate you, so people think courage is the lack of fear it’s not, courage is doing something while afraid and so I’m afraid of losing everything like I did back when I was thirty, and so no opportunity, no stone gets unturned.
And so part of the problem with agents on a team is they view themselves like an employee, and so they don’t take advantage of every opportunity because they’re going to work today and it’s very unfortunate because the agents that I see that come into my office that make a good living, they’re owning their own business yes they’re working on my team but they own their own business. And those are the ones by the way [00:12:00.21] when I’ve got a hot opportunity I know they’re not going to squander it, and so now they’re getting even more opportunity because of the person they become.
Kevin: That’s awesome, yes I love that I think it’s sort of encapsulating your fear and utilizing it and using it as a motivators, that really helped me too starting out because we’re in 100 percent commission based industry, so I mean there’s got to be some fear there. So then you got into it you guys started doing the REO’s and then like how did you progress from that point to getting into like systemizing and things like that?
Barry: So my REO accounts, I kind of had to earn my stripes and so the REO’s that I was receiving a lot of them I needed police escort because they were drug houses it was really bad, people were buying them with, you how you get on your credit card they’ll send you like a cheques you can write, like I had a guy actually buy a house with one of those credit card checks, he was just getting in the investment game but anyway. But so I took those and I was responsible, I did a good job and I started to see the same investors coming through, and so what I started to do was I started to really service those relationships really well and eventually I got to the point where a lot of them were only buying through me. And so if I got sixty REO’s I was maybe selling sixty or seventy to the investor.
And so I remember the first year I sold a hundred and twenty homes by myself, it was five or six years ago and I looked at my wife and I said I am miserable, this is not what I signed up for. So I went from not enough to being motivated by fear to having too much and also being reasonable. So the team came about by leveraging the investor sales, the REO accounts and the finished product of those flips, those flips that was great inventory I was getting buyers and so then I started to develop the team and the team for me I worked backwards so normally people start a team so they can build a successful business, develop wealth and all those things are great. For me developing the team was not to develop wealth, it was to maintain my level of income but increase my quality of life.
Kevin: Well it was also out of necessity it sounds like.
Barry: Good point, it totally was.
Kevin: I mean 120 deals by yourself that’s like crazy.
Barry: And you’re either all in or you’re all out.
Kevin: You’re definitely all in or all out. So you did it you, you did it out of necessity, so for someone that’s like starting to get leads now like how do they get to that point, I mean it takes [00:15:00.16] each person each client at a time like focusing 100% fully on that individual and then like taking one client at a time, what do you think about that?
Barry: Yes, and so the thing for me is I don’t want to go to the country club and like be the known agent there, I mean there’s nothing wrong with that and there’s some people listening where you’re that type of personality. You go to the wine and cheese tasting and you’re the center of the attention, so for me if I’m in a group I can speak in front of thousands but if I’m in a group I’m over in the corner talking to somebody privately, I don’t want to be the center. And so developing my business in that way wasn’t interesting to me, that’s why procuring leads killing it, serving them, putting them first, making them happy, making them raving fans where they tell all their friends I know a guy.
Now we have a database of 200 people that were internet leads, that we sold homes over the last five years that think we are awesome, and we mail them gifts and we email them updates on their home value. I drop voicemails on their cell phones letting them know I was thinking about them on a Friday evening, like we’re top of mind, we run targeted ads to all those 200 people on Facebook and Google reminding them hey I’d love to help your friends and family the way that we helped you. And so realizing that each current client is a referral source, on average each person normally knows three to six people a year that are moving, the question is did they like you enough to share your name. I’m not talking about the person that comes up to your previous client and says do you know a realtor, you’ll probably get recommended but to see somebody that’s looking for real estate and then your previous client pushes in and says oh you’re shopping for a house I know somebody, that’s the difference between someone that doesn’t mind referring you and a raving fan, those raving fans are money.
Kevin: I totally agree, so how do you get those, get into that like how do you create raving fans, what do you do?
Barry: Sure, so the idea here is the reason why I don’t hire full-time to start for a lot of agents is because they’re transferring into the industry, and I really want them to treat other people the way they want to be treated right the golden rule. And as cheesy as it sounds that’s what we try to do put them first, put them first, put them first. And so not rushing them to search, negotiating repairs well and asking them on the front end we have like a form that we send them what’s your favorite coffee, what’s your favorite color, where do you want to travel one day, what’s on your bucket list and so then the idea here is when they go on their home inspection, like we just had a guy who said his favorite drink is a vanilla latte, a hot vanilla latte from Starbucks. So my agents surprised him during the home inspection with a hot vanilla latte, they blew their mind.
Kevin: That’s awesome, you mind sharing that list with me [00:18:00.18] and I’ll share it with everyone?
Barry: Yes no problem, I’ll share the form and what it is after the contract is ratified five days later they get an email says we want to get to know you better and the ideas is we want to be relevant to them after the sales. So if they tell us where they want to travel one day, six months to a year later we’re going to send them a book on the place, the destination they want to go to. Now that you’ve conquered your real estate, you bought the house that you always dreamed, now it’s time to start cleaning for your next adventure here’s a book that talks about the place you want to go to, of course our cards inside. And look man like I forgot the number, but it’s like 90% like a year later they say that they would use their agent again but they don’t remember their name.
Kevin: Right, it’s like eighty something percent of agents where asked after the sale if they would use their realtor again or when asked if they’ll use the realtor again eighty seven percent said they would, but then only like 12 percent really end up doing it, so why is that?
Barry: Well it’s because I don’t know about you, but I’m horrible with names and the agent after the sale they got their money they’re like alright finally I’m done. And so we have an action plan and follow up on. So I wrote it and it comes from my agent when they marked the transaction closed, for every month and a half two months they get an email from the agent, things like how’s the new house treating you, I was in the area the other day and I thought of you what do you think of the place now that you’re living there for a while.
Another two months later another email that goes out that says hey I’m not sure who you do have do your taxes but there’s certain things about the transaction that could be a write-off, do you want me to have the attorney send you some information. Three months later hey I always like to revisit my previous clients, did you want to grab coffee one day I’d love to talk to you about how you feel about the home.
Kevin: So awesome I love that, we focus so much and I am guilty of it. Like I’m focused so much on conversion, like we’re getting all these leads, thousands and thousands leads with the converter, we’ve got all these campaigns man I have like the 7,000 campaigns I have text messages. We have all these campaigns man like we’re like campaigning out of our ears, but I’ll tell you the truth we do not have one campaign for post-sale.
Barry: It’s money.
Kevin: Wow I’m like this is it I’m inspired man, I’m going to come up with a campaign. Dude if you would share yours that would be absolutely…
Barry: Yes absolutely, I have no problem sharing that. Just reply back to that email with Louisa and [00:21:00.21] so again…
Kevin: You have shared a bunch of stuff already I appreciate it.
Barry: Yes, all right so previous clients, raving fans we approach it through email via that drip campaign and there’s tasks in there, there’s a text message it’s a template you just send it and say hey I’m in the area just checking on you, don’t have anything important to say just wanted to see how you were and that’s a text message. So it’s text, its email, retargeting so what we use ad works. So we upload all of our previous clients to an ad works, you have heard of ad words right?
Kevin: Yes of course, it’s a retargeting, go ahead tell them.
Barry: You upload your email database and then add work sends an ad and like when you go to Yahoo there’s like advertisements, so you’ll be on Yahoo, CNN, you know Drudge Report, Fox News like all these news websites you’ll be in their newsfeed and it’s an ad and you create the ad copy. So we’re on Google, we’re on Facebook; we’re reminding them of who we are, but go ahead.
Kevin: How much does ad word an ad works cost?
Barry: I feel like it’s like $70 a month.
Kevin: Well I as I said 89 bucks a month but yes something like that.
Barry: I think there’s like a discount 20% discount you can get, but so we’re following them there we bought send out cards and so the card is in our handwriting, and we have a campaign that goes out four times a year, we send them anniversary card on the birthday. So we’re touching them through mail, we send them quarterly home evaluations in their email. So every quarter we’re sending them a survey of what their home is worth, that’s automated by the way we use Market Snapshot for that, which I’d love to be using something else but that’s the only one that links up with our MLS and then I would say twice a year we don’t do Popeye’s because people don’t want to hang out in our community, people move in and out but we’ll mail them a gift and the gift the cheesier the gift the better.
So we sent them a card with a five dollar gift card to Starbucks, and we just put thanks a lot say for being our client. We sent them pumpkins, we had somebody drop a little pumpkin off there was like a $2 of pumpkin and it had a card on top of it that said, we’d love to carve out some time to talk about your long-term real estate goals we, did a little potted plant with a flower [00:24:01.00] something spring. I don’t know but it’s overtly ridiculously cheesy
Kevin: Yes this is funny, it’s clever but it goes a long way.
Barry: Yes, so yes we touch them with gifts, we touch them with cards, we touch them with home value, with a drip they don’t forget about us and the idea behind that is that’s where our is, our money is not in procuring new leads, that’s what’s giving us to the real money which is referrals. And then when we sell a house, we run a targeted ad to the neighborhood look what we just did, we send core fact postcards. The reason why we use core fact is it does a CMA for each house, so let’s say you mail 300 homes each home is going to have a custom market analysis on the front to their house with registration so they can see more info about their home, and we’ve listed three homes from postcards.
Kevin: How much does that cost you about, roughly?
Barry: Yes so I would say 250 cards is like 300 bucks something like that.
Kevin: How often do you do it?
Barry: It’s really based on the house, like if we killed it and I sale real quick we’ll do it there. And then we do have a farm neighborhood that we mail out maybe two to three times a year, but other than that it’s just case by case.
Kevin: So we had a question, I missed this question early but you kind of answered it but then maybe get a little more detailed, so would you say like how often would you stay in touch with people after you sold the property, let’s say in a year how many touches do they get from you roughly I mean I know you probably don’t know exactly.
Barry: Four emails, three texts, two voicemails, four cards, retargeting and two gifts, what’s that like twenty two touches?
Kevin: It’s a lot; I’m not good enough at math to figure it out.
Barry: But so here’s the thing though like, if you call 22 times and say hey how are you, hey how are you, hey how are you they’re going to be like leave me alone.
Kevin: That’s crazy yes.
Barry: So the idea and we do this with our new lead conversions as well, we come from the place of contribution, so it’s not just relationship either. So like if it’s just like want to hang out, want to hang out, when I hang out they’re not going to want to hang out, but if I’m emailing them how’s the house any issues, you have text questions, hey here’s a gift I mean like they’re not going to mind those touches and then the ad what’s funny about the ads that they see they don’t know that I’m pushing it to just them, but they’ll tell us like man I saw you on CNN the other day, you were on the side.
Kevin: You’re a big shot.
Barry: Exactly that’s what happens.[00:27:00.12]
Kevin: And then when you’re mixing it up like that with the coming from contribution and providing gifts and doing different things like that, then you can throw in if you want to hang out, let’s meet.
Kevin: Then it’s appropriate; you’re not just like at this annoying little kid who’s like asking to meet right?
Barry: Exactly, and then 8 months later I’ll actually part in the script on one of the emails I think or text or something says, by the way and I make a joke about it and I put in parenthesis insert shameless plug if you know anybody looking to buy or sell soon let us know we’d love to help them, so like it’s super obvious.
Kevin: Exactly yes, it’s like I get it it’s funny, but let me ask you this do you do that on every connection or is that like your doing on every time?
Barry: I mean unless the person’s not happy, like if they’re not going to be a like an a referral client then no we don’t add them to that drip.
Kevin: No my question is do you throw in that shameless plug every time?
Barry: No, like six to eight months into the trips, because otherwise it’s obvious that’s the only reason we’re talking to you is to get referrals, and some agents do that and they make it work, for us it’s not our style.
Kevin: Well then also it becomes lost, you just don’t see it anymore.
Barry: And they’re happy, like they’re going to refer you because they’re happy and so eventually though I want to remind him like I love to get a referral and then another thing we do is…
Kevin: And the other thing with that is that you have given then all these stuff, now it’s like now there’s the reciprocation kicks in, the human nature forces back in.
Barry: And who do you deal with in business that sends you gifts for years to come, I don’t deal with anybody that does that, my insurance guy doesn’t send me anything.
Kevin: I think I’ll buy a house from you, I get all these stuff, I get like calls, cards…
Barry: We’re doing a car wash, we’re planning so to me I wouldn’t go to say hey come to our event party and hang out and have cheese and wine, I know that works for people but like our community they don’t do that, but I think I’ve got a good idea I’m going to run an event party and say hey this Saturday from 9:00 to 11:00 we want to wash your car, and I’m going to have two college kids that I’ll pay them so it’s not a detail it’s just exterior interior, and just hanging out. And when it closes if it’s a good client they tag it and follow up with the word review, and that fires an agent legend campaign where I am asking them for review and for their time I’ll send them a gift card, and we went from getting maybe two reviews to a month a month to like ten [00:30:00.21] on Zillow and on Yelp which is a big deal. So yelp is actually my most profitable lead source now.
Kevin: Really, how many working sales do you have on Yelp?
Barry: Sixty but only twenty four count.
Kevin: Because they are the ones that are filtered?
Barry: Yes, but I’m actually number one in my market on Yelp, so under me…
Kevin: That’s amazing; in our market I think there are people that have like a thousand reviews.
Kevin: Well here’s the thing, Yelp is not popular for real estate on the East Coast, everything cool starts where you guys are and then eventually gets to us in real estate. But people are relocating from the west coast to here and started using Yelp. So know you to big mountain to climb if you’re going to be number one on Yelp and real estate in your market.
Barry: But it doesn’t hurt to ask especially I was going to mention, you mentioned agent Legend a lot of the things that you’re doing like with your you said you’ll leave which I wrote down two voicemails, three text messages, four emails, outside of the cards and the retargeting couldn’t you use agent Legend for that?
Kevin: Yes, and like if you’re tagged in our CRM PCW past client weekend on a Friday they get a voicemail from me and an email and the email says hey I just left you a message and it just says hey it’s Friday we haven’t spoken in a while, just wanted to let you know I appreciate you as a client, don’t have anything important to say if you have any issues or questions or concerns feel free to call.
Barry: Let me ask you this, what about current clients that you have, what do you think about doing something like that with them?
Kevin: Yes, so with current clients they get Bob on videos at different points in the transaction, so we have like a really cool infographic that goes over the real estate purchase process, and videos for me because again they’re starting with seeing my face and then they don’t get me anymore, so I want to leverage that and be relevant to them and so when it closes they get a video me saying congratulations that kind of stuff, but I leave the relationship piece to my agents they know the client better than I do and so I try to trust them with the gifts and things like that, but me asking the questions about coffee and where you want to travel the idea behind that is to stay relevant long term.
Barry: Do you think it’s appropriate to do that, those types of things with clients that you’re currently working with?
Kevin: No, anything to set you apart right?
Barry: Yes, I’m just thinking like you can apply it to both, you can apply it to current clients and you’re going to it’s the difference is with current clients if they’re buyers I mean you don’t know for sure if anything’s going to come from that at least with a past client if you’ve already been paid like and you can get them as a referral so it’s a little bit more of a risk. However I think if you have a good solid client, [00:33:01.00] the more you’re in front of them and everything you’re saying it’s just top of mind; it’s just top of mind with them. But you don’t want to stay in front of them so often that they… I think I lost you okay all right yes no I agree and also notice though like not that there’s anything wrong with this but we’re doing all this and my agents aren’t doing any of it, like there’s systems in place because if I were to say to you and to me hey I want you to focus on Legion.
I want you to focus on lead conversion, I want you to focus on post client follow-up there are agents that do that right they are but they are also exceptional, very unique in how they manage their day, their machines like I don’t even know like they’re probably not even human, but figuring out ways to do it and not have to invest a lot emotionally the tools that you probably, you and I talk a lot like the tools that you have at your team’s disposal, you can do all of this if you want to, it just comes down to the one.
Kevin: Definitely I mean we have the tools, we have those systems in place, the campaign’s I’m going to steal your past your past client campaign but we definitely have tons of campaigns on the front end for sure and want to start implementing the back end as well. Post sale but I’d say be exceptional, you got agents do you new things, get out there, separate yourself, in order to succeed you need to be willing to do what others are not willing to do. So like that’s what it’s all about. Well cool man well dude you’ve been so gracious with your time, so gracious with what you’ve shared with us today it has been unbelievably valuable, thank you so much man.
Barry: No problem, appreciate all you guys good luck, you guys have a great team lead in Kevin, it’s good dude always helping me out, so I had no problem coming on and sharing what’s working for us on the East Coast.