What’s up everyone and welcome to another episode of Become A Local Leader. In today’s episode, we have Greg May, Real Estate Investor and Co-Founder of Renovating Lives.

67 Strategies to Get More Referrals

Meet Greg May – Our Featured Local Leader

Greg May owns a company called Renovating Lives, San Diego’s premier all-encompassing home renovation company. Renovating Lives is the easiest most cost-effective way to renovate and sell a home for top dollar.

Co-founder Greg May and his team do it all with the homeowner’s best interest in mind. Renovating lives will inspect a home, make value, add improvement recommendations, provide a contractor quote, funding, project management, and agent recommendations with no out of pocket cost to the homeowner.

There is also no cost or obligation to receive the recommendations. They are living by the belief that no one should ever sell their home as-is. Renovating Lives understands that there is always something that should be done to improve a home’s value before it goes on the market for sale. Renovating Lives is there to help. 

Where are you from? Which part of San Diego do you currently live in?

I’m an old farmer from Indiana. I grew up in the Midwest in the middle of cornfields-and-nowhere. I couldn’t wait to get out of there so I went to college as a political science major. There are not a lot of job openings for liberal arts degrees so I ended up in construction My dad was a contractor so having grown up on a farm and being raised by a contractor, building and renovations are always in my blood. 

I went to law school for a few years but I could not stand it. As an entrepreneur, I really want to build businesses that help people. In the practice of law, you either extort money out of insurance companies or you take advantage of people with a problem. Nobody wants to pay you to keep them out of trouble. So, it really wasn’t an avenue for me. I loved the construction trades. And then, I formed an advertising company that I grew to a nationwide scale. I ended up selling it to a Fortune 500 company.

We kind of had a unique mantra there, where we really helped clients with their marketing. For any business, when you spend money on marketing, if it doesn’t come back you’re in big trouble. And so, we guaranteed our work if they listen to us, which was rather an anomaly in the advertising world, which caused us to blow up. We helped build a lot of companies around the country. That was very rewarding. 

And then, I got into the mortgage industry after that. We’re helping people get loans and financing for their home. But the entire time, I’ve always been involved in real estate. I’ve always flipped properties, built properties, manage them, invested in them. In 1989, I bought my first property in San Diego County. I’ve been doing it ever since. 

My last stop here has landed me back on a ranch in Alpine. So, back to my old hic self. Using my experience and everything that I know over the years in how to invest in real estate, how to improve real estate values has all now landed in Renovating Lives. And so, I’m going to spend the rest of my career helping homeowners, helping real estate agents maximize the value from real estate, and use my skills, my experience, my capital, my contractor relationships to help people do that. I couldn’t be more excited about it.

Each morning I can’t wait to get out of bed. I can’t wait to meet homeowners, meet more agents, and put the word out there that there is hope. There is an alternative. You don’t have to spend your own money and overpay for construction work. You don’t have to worry about that. We’re going to do it in a very short time on a budget, or those contractors don’t work for me again. I have a massive amount of leverage because of the volume of work we do. So, I can be the homeowner’s ally in that process so they do not have to worry about construction running over budget over time. We’ll get it done quickly. We’ll get it done on a budget. And we’ll put the extra profit in the pocket that we say we’re going to put there. So, pretty cool. 

Why would you say it’s so important to you to help homeowners or even just anybody that you work with? Why is that important to you? 

As an entrepreneur, I know the most successful businesses are businesses that solve problems. And so, I get up every day to solve problems, not to make money. I think if you get up every day and your focus is on the bottom line or the top line and it’s all about money and profit, you’re really missing out on what makes a successful business successful. You have to care about people. 

I looked at this market and I see a huge problem in the market and that many homeowners don’t have the money to fix up their houses. A lot of agents don’t care. They just want the listing. They want to sell it and the homeowner takes pennies on the dollar. I see that as a problem in our country, San Diego especially. We’re not building acres and acres of tract homes anymore. We have a very limited amount of real estate here, which means the existing homes have to be improved to improve the quality of life, improve the neighborhoods, and increase the standard of living for everybody. No one is addressing that problem.

So, that’s why I focused on this because I really believe I can help a lot of people and build a very successful business that’s centered on helping people. I think that’s what’s going to make us successful. When thousands and thousands of people have walked away with tens of thousands of dollars more in their pockets because of our program. That’s going to make the business successful. Not because we’re driving every day or we have smoke and mirrors or any gimmicks. It’s like, “Does this benefit the homeowner or not?” If it does, it makes sense. That’s something I can get my heart around, my head around, and all my energy and experience committed to. 

With all these people that you helped you create so many different winners. What would you say are things people rave about you when it comes to you and your services?

Well, it’s kind of crazy because people are very skeptical at the beginning. It if sounds too good to be true, it’s too good to be true. Right? This program sounds like it’s too good to be true. We have to overcome the skepticism because people have been ripped off by contractors. They’ve been falsely promised the world by real estate agents in the past. They’ve gone through the process and they have a lot of doubts. “You’re going to do this in three weeks?” I have people who don’t believe it. Well, time is money in this game. After 31 years, we got it down to a science. 

I was up on a site the other day with a real estate agent and she could not believe that we were actually going to finish two days early. She said, “I didn’t even plan for the stager to come out here until a week after you told me you are complete because every contractor I’ve ever worked with my entire career was always late.” And then, we were standing in the house on Monday and we’re like, “We’ll be done Wednesday.” Our deadline was Friday. She’s shocked! 

I think what’s amazing is that it sounds too good to be true. So, when we do deliver, and we deliver every time, the homeowners are so shocked they just can’t believe that we did what we said we’re going to do. I mean, how sad of a commentary is that on our society, where you can’t look someone in the eye and shake their hand and take their word for it anymore. Nobody believes it. Especially this program because you’re going to bring the money, you’re going to bring the contractors, you’re going to knock this out in weeks, and you’re going to put 50 grand in my pocket. They don’t buy it. They just call, “Yes. Got it.” So, when we do deliver, they’re just so amazed and so grateful and so shocked that they honestly just can’t believe it. Crazy, right? 

I want to introduce that to the world. I want people to know there are people they could still look in the eye and shake their hand and count on them to do what they say they’re going to do. So, that’s our biggest obstacle. No one believes it, in the beginning. But in the end, oh yeah, they’re elated. They’re also like, “Wow! They’re shocked. They did what they said they were going to do. I have 50 more grand.” They don’t even really know how to react.

But it’s really sad to me that this is the expectation that people have. It feels good that we make believers out of all of them. It’s crazy because other real estate agents especially, they just want to sell it now and get their commission. It’s going to take too long when they realize, “Oh, wait. If the house is in really poor condition and the potential buyer has to bring contractors in to look at it, that takes time.” By the time they do all that, we already have the project done and sold and they don’t need contractors to come in and evaluate. It’s turnkey, move-in ready, and tip-top. They actually sell faster than the other homes. 

Can you let us know a little bit more about your current volume? 

At my peak since we started a few years ago, I had about 23 projects going in one month. That goes down to 10 or 12. We probably have the capacity to handle 30 or 40 projects a month. We’ve never really hit our capacity. I like to have as many as we could have because that just means we’re helping more people. But during this COVID thing, I mean, we had a lot of projects going, and then they were selling in days. Then all of a sudden, our submissions online stopped coming in, our phone calls stopped coming in for job walks. After we sold through all the projects, we had like a week or two where we had no job blocks. This has never happened. I’ve usually gone on 10 or 12 inspections a week. They flatlined. They went to absolutely nothing during the COVID lockdown.

I think that was a misconception amongst home sellers that it was a bad time to put their home on the market. “Oh, we need to pull our home off the market.” But all that did was shrink inventory to the lowest levels I have seen in my 31 years. I was corrected the other day because someone said, “Well, that’s because it’s the lowest level in the history of the MLS, Greg.” I was like, “Oh, okay. Well, there you go.” I’m not MLS but I’m getting there. And so, that with low inventory and low-interest rates were driving buyers into the market but there’s no house to sell because everybody was pulling them back thinking it was a bad time to sell. Absolutely untrue.

It is a great time to sell because interest rates are so low. I mean, they’re historically low for the last 30 years. That’s driving buyers into the market. If you’re thinking about selling your house, get it on the market, because inventory is super low and there are more buyers than there are homes to sell right now. That’s because the misconception among homeowners was, “Oh, it’s not a good time. We’re going to wait.” That’s not true. We are selling homes in days. In fact, last year this time, our average on top market time was 25 days. Today, it’s 12. We’re selling homes in three days. Same weekend. You name it. I mean they are flying out of here at unbelievable prices after 31 years.

I am shocked at housing prices right now but it’s San Diego. Home prices are not going to go down. We are not building acres and acres of tract homes. What we have is what we got. And everybody wants to live here, right? It’s okay to pay the sunshine tax because it’s an amazing place. How could you not love San Diego? 

What is the median price for your contracts? 

I think we average construction on a project between $40,000 and $70,000, somewhere in there, in terms of the remodel because again, I’m not going to put lipstick on the pig, I’m just not going to do it. We’re going to do it right, ensuring that the buyers are going to fly through escrow because every home gets inspected when it goes into escrow. We’re very mindful of that. I’m very conscious of making sure that we have smooth escrows and there are no issues. And if there are, our guys are going to take care of them. 

So, we typically turn back. I think on average, we increase profit for the home seller of around $62,000 to $63,000 in added profit, which means we increase the value of that property by an average of $114,000. Now, that’s the average. I think it’s a pretty median number obviously if we’re doing a $2 million property and we increase it by $400,000. That skews things. I tend not to kind of count those in the lower but if I look, we’ve kind of have the bulk of the business we do. That’s kind of where the numbers live. And we’re fronting all that capital in with no out of pocket costs to the home seller.

Our fees are very nominal, I think, in comparison to what the agent makes versus what we make for the homeowner. We’re at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to fees. That’s for sure. People are asking, “How can you do it? Why do you do it?” Well, I also do it because I want to develop relationships with realtors. If I could help benefit their client, and they have an off-market property that somebody wants to sell for cash and they can call me and I get an opportunity to do that, then that benefits me as well.

What would you say the percent is for relationships, referrals, and advertising? 

Most of our deals come from referrals. We have started to do quite a bit of social media marketing, quite a bit of direct mail, a couple of interviews here and there. But predominantly because we are realtor agnostic, most of our deals do tend to come from trusted relationships. Either it’s the CPA, or the attorney, or the realtor, or the financial planner that knows us that will refer the client over. I’m happy to work directly with the homeowners but because it sounds too good to be true if you haven’t worked with us in the past and you don’t know my reputation. They don’t know that we’re for real and so it’s very difficult for a homeowner to get their arms around the idea that this is legit.

So the agents that we’ve worked with, the brokers, the professionals, they know we are going to help their client. I think most of our business tends to come from trusted partner relationships, where the homeowner has a trusted relationship with whatever professional they’re working with and they happen to know about us because we’ve helped their other clients and that grows exponentially every year because the more people we help, the more people we meet, the more people that realize we are for real. It just keeps that snowball effect going so long as we can avoid another pandemic. 

Is there anything that hasn’t really worked for you, marketing wise or advertising? 

Well, we learned the hard way in the early days. If there’s not any equity in the property, it’s a huge risk for us to invest money. So, there were a few projects early on that didn’t have enough equity to really cover our investment but the bleeding heart that I am is trying to help them anyway. We had a couple of deals where the bank swept and foreclose. We got our cash wiped out. So, we’ve learned over the years how to safeguard our investors, how to safeguard our capital, and know when to walk away from a project.

There’re some projects where no matter what we could do to the house, it’s just not going to have the right result for the homewoner. You just have to say no. I try to evaluate every property where everything matters. Where is it? School district. What condition is it in? What size? What’s the neighborhood? What are the taxes? How close is it to employment opportunities? To really get a good gauge on what the value of the home is. So, I think we’ve become exceptionally good at identifying home values more than anything. That comes from learning some tough lessons. 

We’ve learned some tough lessons over the past 30 years, especially in the last five or six years of doing this program to help homeowners. It wasn’t just automatic. We had a lot of trial and error in the early days. We made a lot of mistakes. But I think we’re way past that today. I really feel that we’ve got it wired. 

The other day, I had a homeowner who want to flip their house but he’s like, “Oh, my cousin lives there. I really want to build an ADU in the back so he can rent it.” I’m just like, “Look, you can’t sell a property and build an ADU on it. It’s never going to pencil.” You hear these ads on the radio, oh granny flats, conference and how you can make more money and make your property worth more. That’s only true if you’re going to hold the property.

But if you want to sell it today, the last thing you want to do is build another unit on that property. You’re just going to be washing money because it’s not going to immediately improve the value so much that you’re going to get a profit on the existing home and a profit on the ADU. It’s not going to happen. People that don’t know what they’re talking about will tell you that. But I can tell you and I can show you the math. It will not work. If you want to hold that property and rent it for 5-6-7 years, absolutely build the ADU today because they’re waving all kinds of fees at the county and the city right now to make that happen. That’s their answer to the housing crisis. They won’t let me develop any more land, but they’ll let you build an ADU. 

What would you say are some other mistakes people make in terms of wanting to renovate their properties? What are the things that you think are big no-no, and then a couple things that you say definitely have to do? 

One of the big mistakes we made in the early days was allowing homeowners to stay in the property while we were renovating. Huge mistake because they get involved in the process, they slow down the contractor which is going to ultimately cost them more money, or they call up and say, “Yeah, my mom is coming to visit this week. Can you guys not come here for a week?” It’s like, “Wait. Wait. What? We plan, we execute. You don’t just stop construction. What am I going to do with those six guys that are out there today? I can’t put them somewhere else for a week. It doesn’t work that way.”

So, the biggest mistake we ever made in the early days was allowing homeowners to stay in their homes. It’s not good on any level. Plus, it costs the contractors more money. That’s a different level of insurance when you have a homeowner living in a construction site and if you’re doing an empty property. The risk increases, right? Your risk goes up when homeowners are living on a construction site. I don’t want it. They don’t want it. The contractors can’t stand it because they drive them crazy every day wanting to make changes, they question this, or question that. It is about time. The faster we can do it, the more benefit it is for the homeowner. And so, they have to go. 

I look at the homeowner I’m like, “You’re selling the house, right? So, if you had a 10 day all cash offer you got to be out of here the next eight days. You are moving no matter what if you’re selling your home. Why are you prolonging the inevitable?” So, don’t prolong the inevitable. Have a sale. Call a charity. Donate what you want to donate. Put what you want to keep in a pot or a cool box and one of the storage boxes. Take what clothes you need, go get a temporary place which will front the money for, or go live with a relative. Have that cool box out and leave all the garbage.

We’re Americans, right? We accumulate junk, we can’t help it! We go to the store and buy more than we need. Sometimes buying multiple of everything. And then, when you get ready to move, you’re like, “Oh, I don’t need this. I don’t need that. Why did I buy that?” And it just accumulates and it’s a dump run all your stuff in your neighbor’s trash cans full of stuff for weeks before you get out of the move. None of that. Leave it behind. Our construction crews will clean that house out. You don’t have to deal with any of it. So, it’s the easiest move any homeowner will ever have in their lifetime. 

It’s shocking because I tell them that and then once they start the move process and they look back at everything they left behind, they’re like, “Wow. I dreaded the packing and the moving part but I don’t have to deal with any of this. All this junk, your guys will take care of and they walk off. And that’s it.” So, it’s pretty amazing. That’s really helped us overcome that objection of “Oh, I want to stay in the house ‘till it’s sold. We can’t afford to rent a property.”

I’ll often say, “How much do you need? I’ll advance you whatever you need. We just add it to the bid. It’s just an advance on your equity. But if we’re going to make you $50,000 more, do you care about the two or three grand you have to spend to be displaced while we’re helping you do that?” “Not at all.” 

Another problem is cutting corners. I learned early on, there’s really no half-way to do this. If the house needs $60,000 worth of work, it needs $60,000 worth of work. You can’t do it for $40,000. You’re just going to lower the back-end value of the house. That house is going to sit longer, and you’re going to have to overcome those objections. Either do what needs to be done or don’t do it. As simple as that. If it needs a new water heater, that’s not something we can avoid. It’s not sexy, like new flooring or new granite countertops or quartz countertops, but roof it needs a new roof. We’ve spent $40,000 making it look beautiful. And then, when it gets in escrow, and then the buyer’s inspector comes out and goes, “The roof is at the end of its life.”

Then you’re like “Okay, it needed $60,000 worth of work”. That extra $10,000 for the roof, we needed to do the water heater and we need to do the windows. Yeah, they’re not sexy but they have to be done. So, that’s another lesson I learned. Don’t try to make the budget fit. The house needs what the house needs. Do it right or don’t do it. Homeowners get scared. “Oh, $60,000.” I’m like, “Yeah, spend money to make money.” That $60,000 will put an additional $40,000 more in your pocket at the end of the sale.” Who cares? That’s money well spent. That’s it. A house needs what a house needs. Don’t cut the corners. It’ll sit on the market longer, you’re going to have issues in escrow. You’re probably going to end up discounting it or doing the work anyway. So, either do it or don’t do it. 

Do you do Facebook ads? 

Yes, we do Facebook ads. We have several different avenues that were running Facebook ads and testing constantly because it’s a very unique animal to market directly to homeowners. So, with that, I think when we solve that problem, we have solved the lead generation problem for the entire real estate world. We’re really getting better at the funnels and dialing those messages in so we have multiple platforms running on Facebook, testing everything, and really truly refining our methods and our message. Facebook ads are absolutely something we use. 

What about Google ads? 

Yep, we’re running Google ads as well. We run a lot of LinkedIn. We’re leveraging Instagram. We’re doing direct mail, believe it or not. I’m a big believer in that. A lot of my background came from that world. I really don’t believe there’s any medium that you shouldn’t market in. I think everybody has a preferred touchpoint. Whether it’s Instagram, or Facebook, or Google ads, or direct mail, or phone, or television, website searches. I think everybody has their preferred way of doing it. Some of that is generational tide. 

My kids are not on Facebook but they’re on Instagram every day. I’m not an Instagram guy, but I’m on Facebook. That’s just because of my age. I think if any company that dismisses one platform or media channel over another is really remiss in their marketing efforts because I think it’s a consistency that wins and crossing all channels. If you don’t do that, then you’re probably not going to get the results that you could if you hit everybody’s preferred touchpoint. 

Budget drives a lot of those decisions but I think you have to spend money to make money. You just have to bring your budget down to a level where you can hit all platforms and not go too crazy on any one platform. So, shrink your budgets, shrink your target market, and really focus to cover all your bases and do it consistently. If you’re not doing it consistently, then just shrink your target. If you can’t market the entire county, then pick a neighborhood. Own that neighborhood on all channels. And then, as your business expands, keep expanding the market you’re marketing to. That’s always been my strategy. It’s always been successful for us. I really think that’s the right approach. 

What about retargeting, do you do that? 

I don’t think we’re doing any of that right now. In the past with a lot of other clients and other businesses I have used it. 

The reason we’re not doing that now is that retargeting works really well when someone’s searching for something. No one’s searching for us because no one knows we that we exist and that this program is out there to actually help homeowners. They might be searching for a real estate agent or they might be searching to sell their house but they’re not looking for someone who’s going to renovate their house with their money and help them make more profit.

So once that happens and the Renovating Lives name becomes known as people start searching for us, retargeting will become part of our effort. But it’s like if I’m searching for birdhouses and I’m selling birdhouses, you bet I want to retarget to anybody searching for birdhouses. But that doesn’t really work for us. They’re not looking for a cowboy who’s going to come in and help their home. 

Do you get anybody to do your social media for you? Do you do it yourself? 

We’re doing it all in-house right now, only because the co-founder here at Renovating Lives is a former television producer. And so, he has years and years or currently still. I mean, he has years and years of experience doing a lot of well-known shows. And so, he’s able to produce a lot of really amazing content for us.

And so, between him and my wife and his wife and our staff here, we all try to chip in and do a little bit because social media is such a dynamic thing. To outsource that, I’ve never seen that work. You have to really be involved and engaged personally with your prospects and your customer base. And so, we tend to do a lot more hands-on organic social media work because I just think that works. That’s what this channel is about. I’m engaged with you on Facebook, then we’re engaging together. Not that I hired somebody to push content to you from me. It’s all organically and if it comes out of here, then we’re all involved. 

What are your social media handles so people can follow you? 

Renovating Lives has a Renovating Lies Facebook page. Renovating Lives has Instagram. We have the website and all of our press and media are all over the website. So, anything Renovating Lives, you’ll find us. 

What about things like bus benches, grocery carts, or any display advertising? 

We haven’t currently done any of that. We’ve done a lot of direct mail. We print a lot of flyers that we also cobrand with real estate agents. So, if they’re in their far markets, they can put door hangers, they can hand flyers. I use a lot of flyers when I’m speaking engagements but we haven’t done any of the smaller types of marketing like that. 

What about blogs? Do you write any blogs? 

I don’t personally write any blogs but my business partner Andy is working on a few of those, I believe. It’s a big family up right here. 

What about video content? 

Well, I think that’s where we really excel because of Andy’s background coming from television production. I think some of the video content that we are producing and putting out across social media platforms is some of the best I’ve seen in the market. And so, I think that’s really going to differentiate us and is really proven to be getting some attention from people because of the quality of that content.

What about newsletters? Do you do any newsletters? 

Yeah. As a matter of fact, we’re working on a newsletter right now. We just had a meeting last week where we’re getting pretty close to getting refined. We haven’t decided on what the frequency is going to be yet. I’m pushing for once a month because I think newsletters can get really overused. We have a developer working on it. I saw actually just yesterday in my inbox, the results from our last edit round. I’m thinking within the next couple of weeks, we should have that newsletter where we want it to go out on a regular basis to our former clients or current partners and just kind of keep everybody apprised of what we’re up to and how they can benefit. Most importantly, to put some of our properties that we’re currently under construction, which haven’t hit the market yet.

Because the market is so tight, I think, it gives some folks an opportunity to see what’s out there that hasn’t come on the MLS yet. So hopefully, that’ll be valuable content that we can push after the newsletter.

In terms of following up with your database, do you do any of the following? For example, popping by. Do you do that? 

Yeah, we are follow-up machines. We don’t want anybody falling through the cracks. I really credit my business partner Andy on that. He’s hell-bent on making sure nothing falls through the cracks and follows up every single person. We have a weekly meeting here every week discussing the various stages of where things are in the works. So, with our system, typically it comes in through our website, or an agent or homeowner will fill out a submission form.

That kind of starts our ball rolling and starts our appraisal process on the property, starts our analysis, our comp research. And then, so we’ll make contact with the homeowner or the realtor or the construction contractor. So, as we work through the phases, we have a blanket database in here that flags every stage of the process so that nothing falls through the cracks. We are constantly updating that. Anytime we get an email that gets updated. Anyone in this office can take a look at the database and see where we are in the process from start to finish. 

What I want is service. And so, if you’re waiting for a call back from me and I’m doing an interview, you’re not getting that callback. That’s why it’s really important that everybody in here can answer any question for any client for any prospect for any agent any day, anytime. You don’t need to talk to me. You don’t need to talk to Andy, Lauren, or Jose. It doesn’t matter who it is. We can generally answer that question and take care of that consumer or that real estate professional and give them an immediate answer. I just think that’s critical. 

We are all busy and we are all going in different directions. Many of us are available at different times but if they absolutely have to talk to me that somebody here will be able to tell them when that can happen so that everybody’s needs are met and we answer the phones. You’re not going to a voice tree. I think that’s where a lot of companies fall down. You have to pick up the phone and talk to consumers. You can’t do everything through email or through other digital methods.

I mean, people buy from and do business with people they like. That comes from trust and personal relationships. That’s where I’ve seen in my career business has gone so digital and so phone and so automated in text and email, that we are losing the human element in business. Being old school, I’m never going to lose that. I still want to meet you face to face., I want to give you assurances that I’m on this. I still want you to know who you’re doing business with and you’re not just a number. 

Now, I don’t fault the millennials, I mean, they grew up with that. They don’t know anything different. They need to grasp that it’s still a face to face. There’s still a person behind whatever product or service you’re buying. I think that’s what we’re missing now. I’m never going to lose that. I hope to bring more of that back and illuminate that more that we realize that we’re dealing with human beings, not just numbers, not just corporations, not emails, not texts. Everything’s not digital. There are real people behind everything in the world. 

You need to talk to people. There’s so much that gets misconstrued through emails and text that could have been resolved in a 30-second phone call with no misconceptions whatsoever. If you could just read the language a million different ways. What your real intent is I’m going to glean from your facial expressions, from your tone. Those things are absent in the digital world. I think so much drama gets created and problems from somebody reading into something or not understanding what you meant with your text or your email. Pick up the phone. Talk to me. I’m human. We can resolve this. We can work through it most efficiently. 

They don’t get afraid of rejection on the sales side of things so they won’t pick up the phone. I’m not a big cold caller fan because I don’t want to be cold-called myself. I think it is kind of rude and I know a lot of businesses do it. Realistically, I think it’s evasive if you call me on my phone in the middle of my day. I may or may not be interested in your product or service but I’m pretty calendar. If you hit me at the wrong time, I can kind of see that as rude.

I want to respect people’s time and really try to engage with them but I want to talk when it’s convenient for them not when it’s convenient for us. I’ve never been a fan of dial marketing. I don’t like it and I don’t see us ever really doing it. I think we have enough value to offer that they should want to talk to us. They should be able to talk to us when it’s convenient for them. We encourage the phone call. We respond by email or respond by whatever avenue or vehicle the consumer or the professional wants but there’s really no substitute for a face to face or a phone call. 

What would you say to real estate professionals out there who want to become recognized as the local market expert and the go-to person in their community?

Accessibility. I don’t care how many homes you are selling a year or how many people you’re helping. If people can’t talk to you and people can’t feel confident and trust in you that comes from accessibility. I’ve worked with a lot of loan officers and realtors in the past where they build teams. Getting them on the phone is almost impossible. I don’t ever want to be that guy. I just don’t think that’s good business practices.

If they’re doing business with a company that I’m involved in or that I’m a co-founder or co-owner, they should be able to talk to me. And so, that can happen. You just have to be very well organized and structure your day and make it happen. But when you think you’re a little too big for your britches to be talking to customers, I think that’s a sad day for that business.

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