S4 E10: TEAM SYNERGY
Meet Erin Caraway from San Antonio, TX. You will learn how to create a powerful prospecting environment in this episode. Erin has created a powerful team environment that dramatically harnesses the power of lead generation to create sales.
Ren Jones (00:01):
It’s that time. Welcome to Roadmap, how to take three listings a week until you’re ready for more. Each week we interview a great agent who’s consistently taking two, three, four listings a week, and we have an exciting guest today. We encourage you to take notes, apply as much of the knowledge as quickly as you can, and then use the copycat principle. If you’re watching on Vulcan7 or the lead gen Facebook group, you will have an opportunity to ask questions during the broadcast. Let me introduce my co-host, from San Diego, Carley Hathaway. That’s carleyhathaway.com. Hi, Carley. How’s the real estate business?
Carley Hathaway (00:40):
Hi, Ren. Hi, everybody. Real estate’s great. Of course, it’s always a good time to be a listing agent, so doing good.
Ren Jones (00:47):
Good. Yeah, I don’t see the scripts on your wall today.
Carley Hathaway (00:50):
No, I know. I’ve got them internalized, I think.
Ren Jones (00:52):
Oh, you got them internal. Oh, okay.
Carley Hathaway (00:53):
But they’re in front of my face still.
Ren Jones (00:56):
Good. Before I introduce our guest today, I want to remind everyone that we are also simulcasting the show on the private lead gen group on Facebook. They have around 52,000 members. That’s a lot of people. So we have a large audience there today as well. And we’ll be pausing for a commercial message during the show, as a thank you to the lead gen folks. Let’s welcome our guest today from Central Texas, San Antonio, and surrounds, Erin Caraway. Welcome, Erin. Welcome to the show. Glad you’re here.
Carley Hathaway (01:27):
Oh, Erin, you’re on mute.
Ren Jones (01:28):
You’re on mute, Erin. Mute.
Carley Hathaway (01:32):
Ren Jones (01:33):
You’re on mute.
Carley Hathaway (01:33):
Push the mute.
Ren Jones (01:35):
There we go. Got it.
Carley Hathaway (01:36):
Erin Caraway (01:36):
Oh, thank you so much for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.
Ren Jones (01:40):
Glad you’re here. Good.
Carley Hathaway (01:41):
Yeah, we’re excited.
Ren Jones (01:43):
Yeah. We hope to learn a lot. From what just the little bit that I’ve learned so far, you’ve got some exciting stuff going on down there in Texas.
Erin Caraway (01:50):
Yeah, we are really excited about next year.
Ren Jones (01:54):
Good. Good. And this year, too. Is the trajectory kind of?
Erin Caraway (02:00):
Ren Jones (02:01):
Erin Caraway (02:01):
Yeah. We actually took 2018 to build out some new programs and some new training for agents. And with everything that’s changing in the real estate market, we look forward to building a solid foundation for lead generation.
Ren Jones (02:15):
Wonderful. Well yeah, that’s the gas in the engine, is that lead generation. So, good. Well, we hope to learn a lot. And what’s the goal for this year?
Erin Caraway (02:28):
So for 2018, we’re on track to close about 125 transactions for about 30 million.
Ren Jones (02:34):
And next year?
Erin Caraway (02:35):
And next year, 2019, our goal is 250 closed transactions, and that would equivalate to about 50 million.
Ren Jones (02:42):
Good. So to get that momentum, that means November and December’s going to be kind of busy.
Erin Caraway (02:48):
Right. So we had to put together a really heavy lead generation plan for the last quarter of this year, and also make sure that we are in communication with the agents that we need to be in business with in order to hit that goal for next year.
Ren Jones (03:04):
Good. We want to hear some of the team structure and things like that. Carley, why don’t you chat with her about morning schedule. Usually, you-
Carley Hathaway (03:14):
Yeah, I know. I love hearing about your guys’ morning schedule. So it sounds like you have a really strict schedule that you rolled out. Can you kind of share?
Erin Caraway (03:27):
Right. So we know that being successful in this business requires us to have a very consistent routine and a very consistent schedule in the morning, and that includes myself as well as the agents. And so every morning, we start power up, which is where the entire team gets together at 8:30 in the morning. We share our one gratitude for the day, what our one goal is to accomplish that day in our business, and then also we do 15 minutes of script practice.
So we partner up, we script practice together for 15 minutes, and this also includes the operations staff. So it is the entire team coming together. And then one of the leaders in the room will provide a lesson on leadership or some sort of inspiration for the day. And then at 9:00, myself and the agents are on the phone and we’re lead generating till about 11:30. And then from 11:30 to 12:00, we’re putting in any new leads that we have received for the day, making sure that all of our follow-up is complete. And then at noon, really, the agents are on their own for what happens in their schedule the rest of the day.
Ren Jones (04:45):
Carley Hathaway (04:46):
Sounds like a good, tight schedule.
Ren Jones (04:48):
I want to hang out there. That’s great.
Carley Hathaway (04:51):
And how many days a week are you doing this?
Erin Caraway (04:53):
So we’re doing it five days a week. The energy is really awesome in the room, because they’re all lead generating together in a salesroom. They help each other with objections. They get off the call. If they had a really powerful call, they high five each other, they ring bells. The operations staff will hear them down the hallway, they’ll start cheering them on, and it just gives them the energy to keep going and keep making those calls. And that’s where we really have found our success. We used to have office space where agents individually officed, and we actually tore those walls down and made one big salesroom where we all lead generate together, and that has really changed our business.
Ren Jones (05:37):
How does that help?
Carley Hathaway (05:38):
Ren Jones (05:40):
What specifically helps when you remove those walls?
Erin Caraway (05:43):
Well, one, it creates comradery. So the agents, they all have different personalities, they all have different goals, but during the morning, their one thing is lead generation. And when everybody else is in the room lead generating, there can’t be one person that’s not doing it. And so you just feel accountable to each other as team members to make sure that they’re all hitting their numbers, they’re all putting in new contacts, doing their follow-up, and they’re all just accountable to each other. And that has created a really awesome culture and the energy has changed within our business so much.
Ren Jones (06:23):
Wow. And I would almost imagine they overhear each other.
Erin Caraway (06:27):
Yes. Yeah, and they learn from each other. Agents that are new that are coming in, into the mentorship program, they are also lead generating in the room with agents that are doing three to six transactions a month, and they get to hear them have those conversations. So I feel like the conversations really elevate with the newer agents much quicker, because they’re able to hear the other agents speak to their clients, and they just can’t help but elevate those conversations that they’re having with their clients.
Ren Jones (07:02):
I know that’s the fastest way to learn.
Erin Caraway (07:02):
Carley Hathaway (07:02):
Yeah. It seems like keeping that energy level high is so key for you guys and for everyone, really.
Erin Caraway (07:06):
Right. I mean, the biggest challenge is really, honestly, I’ve been lead generating for 10 years, the biggest challenge is really doing it on your own. I know that some agents don’t have the option, but if you can just get someone in the business and do it together where you have that accountability and that support system that requires you to show up, the energy that you get from other people is what you need to get through those calls every day.
Ren Jones (07:34):
Yeah. Yeah, because there’s so much pressure to-
Carley Hathaway (07:36):
Yeah, I definitely agree.
Ren Jones (07:37):
Yeah. Because, Carley, you go solo.
Carley Hathaway (07:40):
I do. And it is hard to stay on the phone sometimes. I sometimes talk, oh, let me go get another cup of coffee. Oh, let’s see what’s going on over here. Let me look at an email. And if you have someone right next to you or a team, like you said, you’re not going to stop calling, right?
Ren Jones (07:57):
So in a worst case, and there are several of them, there are groups of people on Google Hangouts where there are four or five of them all watching each other and listening to each other.
Erin Caraway (08:10):
Carley Hathaway (08:10):
So find a way.
Ren Jones (08:11):
But live is the best. Is the best. They do-
Carley Hathaway (08:12):
Yeah. And I like how you guys are high-fiving and ringing bells and screaming. That’s awesome.
Ren Jones (08:16):
Carley Hathaway (08:16):
Yeah. So you guys start calling at 9:00 AM every morning. Who is your first phone calls?
Erin Caraway (08:25):
It depends on the agents. So we don’t assign to them who they’re calling. We allow them to choose that. For the agents in our mentorship program, their first phone calls are going to be neighborhood calls. They’re really learning the scripts and just starting to build their pipeline. And so they’re calling neighborhood calls. They are also making their open house calls and their database calls. For the agents that have already graduated our mentorship program, their first calls are typically going to be expires for the day. And then they move into neighborhood calls and then doing follow-ups. So our goal on our team is that everyone generates five new nurtures per day to put into their system. And we consider a nurture, I know everybody considers it a little bit different, we consider a nurture is anybody that is considering buying or selling real estate within 12 months. We will also put them in as long as they’re thinking about buying or selling within 24 months, but they actually get moved into a long-term follow-up plan.
Carley Hathaway (09:35):
Okay. And what does that long-term plan look like? How often are they reaching out to those ones? Are they sending emails? What are they doing?
Erin Caraway (09:42):
Right. So it really depends on the customer. And we always ask the question if they would be interviewing real estate agents when that time comes? And if they say yes, perfect. Would it be okay if we followed up with you and stayed in touch? We get their email address, we send them a thank-you email, and we just let them know to be expecting that. And then also, they will ask them, when would you like for me to follow up next? And we really go off of the customer. So if they say six months, then the agent will follow up in about five or six months. Some of them will say a year. Some of them will say, yeah, if you’ll follow up with me in a month. So we really kind of design our follow-up program based off of that customer.
Ren Jones (10:31):
Gotcha. Okay. Yeah, their motivation, their timetable. Yeah, you have to work off their timetable for nurture.
Erin Caraway (10:37):
But the agents do send out monthly videos. So they record a market update and they send out monthly videos to their database.
Ren Jones (10:47):
Erin Caraway (10:47):
So that way, those people that are not being called every single month are also receiving a market update.
Ren Jones (10:53):
Fantastic. That really-
Carley Hathaway (10:54):
That’s awesome. And I love that you guys are doing the videos, because I think that’s so important for people to really start to recognize our faces, you know what I mean?
Erin Caraway (11:03):
Ren Jones (11:03):
Feel that little connection that you’re there almost live, versus text.
Carley Hathaway (11:11):
Yeah. So that when you do go to the listing appointment, it’s almost like they recognize you, they’re seeing a friend, or a friendly face.
Erin Caraway (11:13):
Ren Jones (11:14):
When you’re doing your neighborhood calls, your circle prospecting, do you guys work very limited geographic areas or are you covering lots of areas based on, I mean, is there a strategy around that? Because I hear different types of strategies for that.
Erin Caraway (11:28):
Right. So for our mentorship program, we are really covering about a 60-mile radius, because of the area that we service. And so we’re covering a very large area whenever we’re making those neighborhood calls. For the agents that have already moved through the mentorship program, they’re doing more of a farming target approach, where they’re calling into a neighborhood that has been assigned to them. So that way, they’re becoming familiar with the homeowners of that specific neighborhood.
Ren Jones (12:06):
Okay. So there’s a little of both going on there.
Erin Caraway (12:06):
Ren Jones (12:06):
Carley Hathaway (12:06):
And for all of these phone calls, you guys are using scripts.
Erin Caraway (12:09):
Right. So we have scripts. And this took us a while to put together, but if you just work on it a little bit every single day, and for us, as real estate agents, we don’t realize all of the things that we know how to do that we actually haven’t put on paper to teach other people. And so what I suggest is just writing out your scripts or knowing what scripts that you utilize, and then we actually put that into our training program and we put together very basic scripts. Because when agents start in our program, most of them haven’t used any scripts. And so they don’t even know where to begin on that. And so we have very basic scripts, and then we move into more intermediate, and then they move into the advanced scripts, based off of learning the language of sales.
Ren Jones (12:57):
Right. And the biggest problem in round one is helping them understand why they would want one. And then from there, it builds. So explain that, because we have people watching this show right now that go, I would never use a script. What say you?
Erin Caraway (13:16):
Right. So agents that have never made calls before, the biggest question and their fear is, what do I say? And what happens if they say this, how do I handle that? And so by them learning these scripts, they know exactly how to take control of that phone call and where to go. If they were to say, you have the wrong number, or I’m not interested, or yes, I’m thinking about selling, they know which way to direct that phone call, based off of the scripts. And it gives them the confidence to know how to get on the phone and generate business.
Ren Jones (13:55):
Okay. So it creates some consistency then.
Erin Caraway (13:57):
Ren Jones (13:58):
So in other words, without scripts, anything can happen.
Erin Caraway (14:02):
Ren Jones (14:02):
Yeah. Yeah. I mean, so you’re a big believer.
Erin Caraway (14:04):
Yeah. I’m a huge believer on scripts. And we’ve trained our team so much on scripts that now they want a script for everything. So they come to us and they go, what’s the script for this and what’s the script for that, because they’re so embedded into the scripts that they use. They know they’ve seen them work and it gives them confidence. So without scripts, for every scenario right now, they feel like they’re kind of walking blind, and so we have to help.
Ren Jones (14:31):
Right. They’ll hit a dead end without a script. Now some people go, well, scripts are offensive. Actually, the poor use of a script is offensive.
Erin Caraway (14:39):
Ren Jones (14:39):
So we have to internalize that and make it sound conversational. So you guys have this down. In fact, you were telling me earlier about how in order to be on your team, they can’t start at square one. You’re really mentoring and teaching general agent population at your company, and then if they reach a certain level, they could get an invitation to be part of your team. Is it something like that?
Erin Caraway (15:02):
Right. So we developed a mentorship program this past year and it’s a 90-day mentorship program, and the agents in that program are actually not a member of the team. They would graduate every 30 days from the program based off of the activities that they’ve completed. And after the end of the 90 days, once they graduate, they have the opportunity to partner with us as an agent with our team.
Ren Jones (15:31):
Right, right, right. Because you know what their batting average is at that point.
Erin Caraway (15:34):
Absolutely. And I like to say we date for a little while, so they get to date us and we get to date them, and we really get to understand their work ethic and they get to see how a team truly operates and make sure that it’s the right fit for both of us, before joining business together.
Ren Jones (15:52):
Make sure they play well on the sandbox.
Erin Caraway (15:54):
That’s correct, yeah. Culture is really, really important to us, and that’s the other reason. But we built this training program around lead generation. And so this program really allows us to see how the agents are going to lead generate and if they’re going to learn the scripts and if they’re going to do the things that is a part of our culture. And if they are, those are the people that we want to join in partnership with, because the agents that make it through this program, they only want to be in business with people that are going to be accountable and help them grow and help the team grow as well.
Ren Jones (16:29):
Yeah, you don’t want anybody there poisoning the well. Everybody’s drinking out of it and so you got a good thing going. And so if there’s synergistic qualities and everybody’s supporting each other, you got the magic then. So going in a little different direction, what about your database? There are people your team has sold homes for, bought homes for, you’re building up this, I mean, it’s probably a pretty big number by now. What are you doing with your database?
Erin Caraway (16:57):
This year, we’re really video enhanced on our database and really leveraging video. We find that more and more people are tuning in to see what’s going on in the market and just really providing information. Like I said, there are so many real estate changes right now with different companies and how the way houses are being sold, and so we just have to be the resource and the expert on what’s going on in the market. And so we’ve really utilized video this year, in addition to staying in touch on a quarterly basis with our clients.
Ren Jones (17:30):
And then they feel that closeness. I mean, how long have you been selling real estate?
Erin Caraway (17:35):
So I’ve been doing this for about 10 years.
Ren Jones (17:37):
So 10 years. So there are people eight, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four years ago that haven’t seen you.
Erin Caraway (17:43):
Ren Jones (17:43):
Back when you had red hair.
Erin Caraway (17:46):
And I get calls-
Ren Jones (17:47):
I’m just kidding. Just a joke.
Erin Caraway (17:49):
I get calls from clients and they say, “Are you still selling real estate? Because we would love the opportunity to work with you again.” And I say, “Absolutely.”
Ren Jones (17:59):
But they see that video and it’s like time’s been pulled together. So it’s like it’s only been a moment, even though it’s been six, seven, eight, nine years.
Erin Caraway (18:08):
Ren Jones (18:08):
Good. And so that really helps quite a bit. Fantastic.
Carley Hathaway (18:12):
I like when you’re talking about lead follow up, that you want to be the in information for people so that you’re the go-to for their market update.
Erin Caraway (18:21):
Ren Jones (18:21):
And how about with the team, tracking numbers? How do you guys measure numbers? Are they visible? Is it something you just report once in a while in a meeting? Or do they see on a wall or see on their monitor? Are there yardstick measuring performance?
Erin Caraway (18:39):
We measure number of nurtures put into our database every single day. So Rebecca, who is our launch coordinator, and that’s our training program, she goes in and she monitors and makes sure that everyone’s numbers were put in accurately for the day. And then every single day at 4:00, by 4:00, that’s the deadline, we submit all of our numbers and we track pendings, so number of contracts pending for the day and listings taken, and we report that out. So they email all of that information in and a scorecard goes out to the entire team and it has everyone’s name on it, with mine included, and it shows who took a listing that day and how many pendings they had for the day and what their weekly total is. So that way, everybody knows who’s doing what production. And it also helps with our culture, because you see a new agent put a house under contract and then you get to email back, hey, congratulations on taking that listing or putting that house under contract. And it just really creates this opportunity to have a great culture.
Ren Jones (19:49):
Yeah, acknowledge each other. So having that visible that everybody sees, everybody performs better when numbers are posted. So let’s go to some questions from folks. I didn’t ask for them earlier, so it’ll take about three minutes before everybody types them in. But Jay Coates, mainly he’s asking, he’s got a 10-sentence question, but basically in lead follow up in your nurtures and talking to your past clients and sphere, he feels like he’s bordering between being persistent and being annoying, not going too far. Any ideas you would offer him to be in good touch with these people without being over the top?
Erin Caraway (20:34):
So our number one question that we encourage the agents to always ask is, “Great, when would you like for me to follow back up with you?” And let them guide that conversation on how often you follow up.
Ren Jones (20:48):
Okay. So they feel the control and they feel, yeah, so they can call that shot. Good. I like it. That’s a great idea. So Harry Rostarin says, I guess it’s something here he is hearing from, must be for sale by owners, get me a buyer and then call me back but I won’t list with anybody. So that must be up for sale by owner objection. Yeah. What do you say to the for sale by owners to get them to realize they have a problem that you have a solution for and then list their property?
Erin Caraway (21:22):
Well, I think that we just come from a place of asking more questions to really understand why it is that they’re not wanting to put the home on the market and why that’s important to them. And I just encourage the agents to ask more questions, because there may be a reason why they’re not wanting to put the home on the market that we could help overcome and provide more value, too.
Ren Jones (21:45):
Okay. Okay, great. Great, great, great. Let’s see, Jay. I’m not sure I’m following you, Jay. He was asking about prior to initial contact with expireds, you just call expireds, right? I mean, those things are hot, you have to move fast. By the time they get something in the mail, they’re already re-listed. Or do you do things like that? Do you send them anything or only after you’ve talked to them?
Erin Caraway (22:10):
We actually don’t send them any mail. We are just on the phones with expireds every day. And then if you can’t get them on the phone, keep calling through that list maybe that afternoon or the following day.
Ren Jones (22:22):
Okay, good. Good, good, good. Any other questions? Let’s see. No, that was not one. He says-
Carley Hathaway (22:31):
Erin, are you guys sending out pre-listing packets before you go on a listing appointment?
Erin Caraway (22:36):
If we send anything out, it is through email. I know that we used send out a lot of mail, but everybody wants something so fast these days. And so we are working on putting together an about us video, which would be helpful for part of the pre-listing packet, but then also sending them the things that they’re going to need in addition to their seller’s disclosure, things like that, to just help expedite the process.
Carley Hathaway (23:03):
You send out the disclosures, the contract, everything, before the listing appointment.
Erin Caraway (23:07):
Everything except for the contract documents, just because I don’t want to scare them. They’re so wordy these days, right? But sending them the documents that we would need for them to complete that are a little bit more time consuming at the appointment.
Ren Jones (23:22):
Carley Hathaway (23:22):
Gotcha. I like it.
Ren Jones (23:24):
Erin, one of the things I wanted to ask you, because 100% of the people that have been on this show, and it’s not a coincidence, it’s just the way it is, they’re involved in some sort of a coaching program. I haven’t asked you on here about that and maybe you’re one person that’s not involved in anything coaching wise.
Erin Caraway (23:41):
So I’ve been in this business for almost 10 years, or I think this month is just about 10 years, and I have had a coach nine years of this business.
Ren Jones (23:53):
And if you didn’t have one, where would you be right now? Or would that be a factor?
Erin Caraway (23:57):
I probably wouldn’t be in real estate, honestly. I started in this business when it was a down market, 2008. And you really had to have a coach to navigate through the waters. So many agents try so many different things and by the time that they’re done trying those things, they’re out of the business, because they need an income. And so you just have to make sure that you have assistance and accountability and that support that can help navigate those waters for you.
Ren Jones (24:28):
Okay, great. And by the way, who is your coach?
Erin Caraway (24:32):
I was coaching with MAPS coaching, Mitzi Jasnicki, for several years, and currently, I’m coaching with Adam Hergenrother. Adam’s my boss.
Ren Jones (24:38):
Okay. He sells a lot of real estate, that’s for darn sure. That’s a real opportunity, to be in his coaching schedule. He must do it at midnight. He sells so much real estate.
Erin Caraway (24:51):
Ren Jones (24:54):
Well, good. That’s exciting. Good, good, good. It’s a lot easier than reinventing the wheel, I would imagine.
Erin Caraway (25:00):
Having a coach that really provides the direction and the accountability and just making sure that you stay on track, and really just honing down on the basics of this business. We can make things so complicated and it doesn’t have to be that way.
Ren Jones (25:16):
We do over-complicate it. It’s all about what you guys are doing between first thing in the morning all the way to 11:30. It’s all in that lead generation. Anything you’re going to be doing differently next year? Because you have a nice jump to 250 transactions. Or is it just the efficiency of all that, doing the same thing more efficiently?
Erin Caraway (25:38):
It’s more of the efficiency of it and it’s about getting into business with the people that want that accountability and want that structure to be part of their lives.
Ren Jones (25:50):
Just building up a powerful team, having all the right people. What do they say? All the right butts in the right chairs or something like that, or seats in the bus or whatever that is. Good. Well, this has been a real treat. I think we’ve all learned a lot.
Erin Caraway (26:03):
Well, I appreciate it.
Ren Jones (26:04):
And I’m excited you’re here. And I’m going to read a little tidbit here. If you’re watching on the Vulcan7 network and you want to get involved with the lead gen Facebook group who broadcasts our show every week there at facebook.com/groups/gotobjections. And I want to thank Aaron Wittenstein, who runs that program, runs that Facebook group. He also runs a program called trajectorynow.com. And finally, if you’re watching on Facebook and you’re not yet involved with Vulcan7, imagine that. Make sure to sign up at vulcan7.com/leadgen for a special deal.
And then down here, I have Erin Caraway’s team secret. What they do, this is what they do, they do their gratitude, they get on the phones, they encourage each other. And then at around 11:30, you think they’re just doing the follow-up, going to lunch. No, they go get out some delicious Graeter’s mint chocolate chip ice cream. Really good. This is the one for taking listings. Now, if you’re working with buyers, there are different flavors, but this is the one for taking listings. If the listing takes a little bit of time to sell, dig a hole in the front yard and bury it upside down, and the listing will sell just like that. We appreciate you being here, and thank you again, Erin. And I look forward to seeing you at the next big event.
Erin Caraway (27:26):
Yeah, thank you so much. Yes, thank you so much for the opportunity.
Ren Jones (27:28):
And join us all next week, when we interview somebody taking two, three, and four listings week. See you guys, everybody. See you next week. Thanks again.