S5 E3: How anyone can take 3 listings a week right now
Meet Adam Merrick from Peoria, IL. He went from 100 sales a year to 100 a month. In 2018 he had sales of 937 homes. His goal for 2019 is 1,147 homes with a $140k average sales price and a population of 350k people. He aggressively pursues expireds and FSBOs. As of today, he has 30 listing appointments set, 18 of them are previously expired listings. He initially has a prospecting-based business, but now it is a marketing-based and prospecting enhanced business. Adam recommends pursuing expireds and FSBOs 2 Horus daily and not leaving the office until 1 pm. When asked about how to avoid roadblocks of nurturing pendings and/or allowing buyers to control schedule, Adam acknowledged that success is “simple but just not easy”. His advice is “Don’t hire people too quickly” and “don’t get away from what is working”.
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 is consistently taking 2, 3, 4 listings each week. And we have an exciting guest today. We encourage you to take notes and 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, we welcome you. Let me introduce my co-host from San Diego, Carley Hathaway. That’s carleyhathaway.com. Hi Carley, how’s the real estate business?
Hi Ren, hi everybody. Real estate is great as always. Really good time to be a listing agent and I’m really excited for 2019.
Great. Yeah, welcome to 2019. Now some people are watching this two months, three months, four months later. This is an exciting show. We’ve got some good stuff. Before I introduce our guest today, I want to remind everyone that we are also simulcasting this show on the private lead gen Facebook group. They have 52,000 members, 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 beautiful Peoria, Illinois, Adam Merrick. Welcome Adam, it’s good to see you again.
Hey Ren. Yep, good to see you too, Ren. Thanks for having me.
Thanks for being here. It is great. I mean you have just been blowing it up every year. Every time I check in, I mean you’re like, whoa, you got to be kidding me.
Yeah, so we’ve definitely seen some big growth over the last few years. Excited about what 2019 has to offer. We’ve got a 20% growth initiative that we’re going to push really hard and we’re already starting to gain some traction. As you know, this is one of the most exciting times of the year when the new year clicks over with expired listings and for sale by owners. We’ve had an amazing week so far. Our inside sales agents been blowing it up and we’re excited.
I love it, I love it. I was just startled at your numbers because last time I checked in with you, you were only selling a few hundred homes a year, which is funny-
Only a few hundred.
I mean, last year you did nine hundred and…
937, and the goal for this year is?
1147, so roughly a hundred sales a month.
Or 25 a week. But people will say, my market’s not big enough to do that kind of business. Now you’re in Peoria. Peoria is like Peoria, I mean it’s not like Chicago, it’s like Peoria. I mean, that’s pretty amazing, don’t you think?
Well, we think so. Of course, we have 350,000 people in our metro area and we cover about a 50 or 60 mile radius from where our home base is so there’s opportunities everywhere. I’m a firm believer that if you want to find business that’s out there, you just got to go out there and find it.
That’s a good-
What’s the day today? Today’s January… We’re not even the one week. We haven’t had a full week of this year so far. If I heard you correctly earlier, you have 18 listing appointments set so far for this year so far with expireds, only with expireds and FSBOs. Is that right?
That’s correct. Yeah. Start a business today, we were at 30 listing appointments set, 18 of those are expired listings this week.
So it sounds like a majority of your business is coming from expireds, is that right?
It’s seasonal. It depends. I mean, here’s the thing about us. I was a very prospecting based business when I was new into real estate and we’ve added some marketing enhancements. As our team has grown, we have almost 40 people on staff and we have, I don’t know, 25 agents right now that work for us. And so we are marketing based and prospecting enhanced right now on the listing team, but prospecting has been a staple in my business, no question about that.
Yeah, and up until you were doing about 350 transactions, you yourself would go in every morning with a solid routine and spend hours setting listing appointments with expireds and for sale by owners every morning for many years. And a lot of agents don’t do that.
Well, I think what I’ve found is, of course I come from the Midwest. We’re in Peoria, little Peoria, Illinois. Average sale price is around 140,000. There’s really nothing sexy about my market. But what we bring to the table or one thing that I brought to the table early on in my career was the Midwestern work ethic. In real estate, I see a lot of brokers look for the flash and what’s fun. I call it sexy. Success sometimes in this business isn’t sexy or fun and you kind of have to roll up your sleeves and get right down to just doing some work. Drive and desire has taken me a long way in my career. When it comes to prospecting, that’s exactly what it is. And you have to find a way to make it fun. Set goals, crush those goals, keep daily records and weekly summaries, and work really hard to improve your skill set every single day.
That’s a really great mindset to-
Yeah, and a lot of cash. Carley, last I checked in, he was building a mansion, this huge place, having this big home built. He is selling several hundred homes a year and he himself is every morning grinding, grinding, grinding, grinding, grinding, going on listing appointments, and going home. Up until recently, that was the way you do it. And so many people are like, “Oh, I don’t want to do that anymore, I’ve got this new mailing system or I’ve got this new social marketing program, or I’ve got this and that,” and they never really hit orbit. I mean, I guess you have to-
What would you tell somebody, Adam, that’s watching this show and they’re not even taking one listing a week, they’re taking maybe three a month? What do you say to them to help them move up the track and get into orbit? What’s a good advice for 2019 for them?
Well, if someone is watching this and they want to go from a few listings a month and increase their business, it’s going to come down to the daily discipline, having a set schedule. If you’re going to be a prospecting based agent, you can’t do it every once in a while. You can’t catch a fish on the couch if you will. You have to get into the office the same time every day, you need to start your prospecting at the same time every day and stop at the same time every single day, and make that a staple in your business. The moment I did that in my real estate career, everything changed for me.
Does prospecting first thing or do you do it in the afternoon when you can fit it in? Where do you do it?
It’s the first thing you do every day. It’s the first thing you do every day.
Is it early? Do you work an early day or do you come in at 10:00?
No, no, no, no. I was always the agent that turned the coffee pot on in my office. I wanted to get to the office early, no distractions, tighten up any of the contractual obligations I had, send out my emails that I made promises the night before, and when 9:00 hit every single day, I knew exactly what my schedule was. I was going to make my first dial at 9:00 in the morning. But everything that I needed to do to get organized, I needed to run three CMAs before 9:00. As I started growing my team, I needed to dispatch my buyer agents and my administrative team, but I had to be ready by 9:00 every morning. At the end of the day, it gave me a lot of discipline to further my career and some of the other things that I do now on a daily basis.
I think that’s fabulous. And I think having that exact time to start is so important, and I think that goes back to your really strong work ethic. So when you get on the phones at 9:00, how long would you stay on the phones for?
Solid two hours? And then are you using scripts?
Absolutely. And so you want your script books close to you, whatever that is. If you’re calling expireds, you want your expired scripts, your objection handlers. I always also kept a stack of some past clients. The reason for that was is that if I’m having a rough day, everybody has a rough day, you get hung up on, you get some rejection, somebody doesn’t want to talk to you, and you kind of find yourself in that place where you’re not wanting to make that next dial. Prospecting is prospecting. Of course my goal is to spend two hours on expireds or for sale by owners, but sometimes you get beat up.
Instead of finding yourself in a place where you’re not having fun to doing what it is that you’re doing, I’d pick up my past client list and I’d switch gears quickly and call a few of my past clients. Most of the time, they’re happy to hear from you. They’re telling you about their family, how you impacted their lives, and it can help put some more air in your balloon if you will so you can maybe turn the page and pick back up where you left off on your expireds with a positive mindset because that’s huge.
That’s really good advice.
So you just take it off, you go to past clients. That is awesome.
Well, yeah. If I was not having success, I found my head in the gutter, I knew if I kept pushing through it, I mean I could push through it, but if my mindset wasn’t right, I wasn’t going to be successful.
Yeah, because they’re going to hear-
So many people, they do something like stop prospecting, you go to your past clients. I love it.
One other thing, you said, if I heard you, you have a couple stacks of past clients. That’s physical paper cards or whatever, is that right?
Yeah, I didn’t want to be distracted, I wanted to be able to shift gears quickly.
So it’s tactile. You go, okay, this one, this one, this one. Okay, so it works. Okay.
And what does that phone call look like? Are you just checking in, seeing how they’re doing? Are you giving them market advice?
Sure. No, I would simply call and if they answer the phone and say, “Hey Carley, it’s Adam Merrick. Just wanted to give you a quick call. I was thinking about you today and wanted to see how you and the family are doing.”
Awesome, okay. I think that’s great. Yeah. And you’re right, that is going to be a much more positive phone call for sure.
Well, and so obviously as we get to the end, I say, “Glad to hear things are going well,” or “Sorry to hear that your cat passed away,” or whatever they might tell you. And I’d say, “Hey listen, part of this call is also business related. I’m still growing. We’re having a lot of success helping people buy and sell in Peoria in metro market. Do you happen to know of anyone? Who do you know that’s thinking about buying, selling, or investing in real estate that I could talk to today?” And pause and wait for your response. Most of the time, they think about it, they would try to come up with a name or a contact.
If they told me no, I’d go after it one last time and say, “Is there anyone you can possibly think of from work or school or church or anything that had mentioned real estate recently?” And if I get another no, then I say, “Thanks so much for thinking about that. Now here’s the thing, now that I’ve planted this seed, you might find someone in the next week or so, do me a big favor if you do.” And they go, “Sure, no problem, Adam.” And you say, “Hey, do me a favor and ask them if it’s okay if I call them. And will you call me direct with their contact info so I can touch base with them? Because in a weak moment I don’t want to see them hire a weak agent.” And usually they agree and we part ways. If they had a referral, it was game on, right?
Yeah, love it.
Got a lead, now I have some additional prospecting, some of the fruit of my labor.
Yeah, love it.
Can I ask you about two roadblocks? They come up and this is what a lot of you out here watching are going to run into and you’ve run into it last year and the year before. What happens is, Adam, they hit their stride, they actually get a morning routine, they turn the coffee on when they get to the office because they’re the first one there. They’re making their calls, they take all these listings, and then we know two things happen. All of a sudden you have homeless people and somebody has to take those people around and show them houses. All of a sudden you have all these pending contracts and somebody’s got to take them from pen to close. Maybe they’re understaffed, they don’t have enough staff to take them pending to close, or maybe they feel like they’re staff isn’t good enough, or they feel like they don’t want to refer a buyer up because they sold their $180,000 house and the people want to buy a $600,000 house and they’re afraid, they don’t want to give up that money. So what say you to those people? Well, how do you get beyond that?
Well, I think success in this business is simple, it’s just not easy. Very simple. Ren, you’ve been doing this for a long time, talked to a lot of brokers, you’ve traveled the world talking real estate to everyone, and you know that this business can be very simple but it’s just not easy to put these pieces together. The one thing that I commonly see when agents start to have success, they distract themselves and they get away from what’s working. Meaning that the prospecting’s working, they have listings, then they have buyer leads coming in from these listings, then they priced it right and they’re marketing correctly, and the listings are going pending. Now they have homeless people, everything you said.
And so now their time is starting to get divided. The pie, the pieces are getting smaller, and this is where you have to become more effective. A lot of agents that find themselves with these struggles, they immediately think they need to hire more people quickly. So now all of a sudden they need to complicate their world faster than they need to when really they need to work more effectively. So in my opinion, I think a lot of real estate brokers hire a buyer’s agent way too soon. And they don’t take the right steps of maybe building their administrative team to support them. So all they do is what they are paid, hopefully they’re rewarded really well to do prospect, negotiate, show properties, list properties. That’s really the basic functions of a real estate broker with a license, in my opinion.
The paperwork, they need someone to handle some of that paperwork for them, but they have to be able to afford it. So it’s kind of that red light, yellow light, green light. I mean, you kind of have to understand where your revenue’s coming from, how predictable is it… To give you my best advice there or the listeners my best advice is pay attention and you have to become very effective before you hire people too quickly. So with that being said, I would say the first thing you need to do is look at your skillset, become very efficient and become very effective, and then you’re probably looking at building an administrative team to support you so you can do the fun part of real estate.
Okay. So technically when you look at it, even if they had to take their own buyer out in the afternoon, they could still make their prospecting calls. They don’t have to show a property at 9:00 AM, they could show it at 11:00 AM or 1:00-
Well, I think that… Yeah, so Ren, part of my daily routine was I would not leave my office until 1:00 PM.
Okay, that’s it folks-
I’m in my office-
That’s it, folks. That’s it. I love that. He can’t show property till at least 1:00 PM if he shows it at all.
Well, and if you effectively line up your schedule, you should be able to have four appointments in the afternoon starting at, let’s say 1:30, 3:30, depending on if you’re working with buyers or sellers, it only takes one hour per client so you can put four clients on your calendar as long as your drive time’s not tremendous. You can meet with four people a day. If you meet with four people a day, five days a week, there’s 20 people. I don’t know that a lot of agents have that trouble of meeting with four people, they just have a problem scheduling themselves because they’re their dispatcher, they’re also the agent, they’re also the closing coordinator. They have to understand that you can do all of those other things in the office between the hours of 8:00 and 1:00 PM, prospect, work on contracts to close, do follow up routines, schedule photographers, whatever it is that you need to do, schedule buyers, set up e-alerts. You can do that from 8:00 to 1:00 and meet with 20 people a week.
You can. What we have is a challenge. There are people watching that says, I can’t imagine going on more than one listing appointment a day because of all the preparation. And then they end up spending two and a half hours there, don’t know why.
Here’s the thing. So I think a lot of people that start having success and they leave their daily habits, they have success, and like, oh, this prospecting thing, I’ll put it on hold. Well, your future follow up, now other agents are sneaking in on your future follow ups, the relationships that you’ve built with prospects that want to do business with you in the future, you’re going to lose all of that momentum that you started if you get away from your prospecting. You’re never going to see the outcome that you want if you start to orphan the future follow up. So your schedule’s going to be your best friend as a productive real estate broker. It is down to the CMAs, right? I’m sure agents across the country that they might take two hours to whip out a CMA when if you’re very effective and you’re preparing multiple CMAs every single day, you can have them done in maybe an hour, half an hour per CMA. So you should have those done before you start prospecting.
So you’re saying get everything ready for your listing presentation for that day before 9:00 AM or whenever you start calling?
You don’t want to get to 1:00 and go, “Oh gosh, I’m not ready for my appointments.” So you need to get your preparation done before you start prospecting. That meant for me turning the coffee pot on first. I was first in the office, so my day sometimes started really early.
I was about to say, it was dark when you turned that coffee pot on.
I mean, there was a lot of 5:00 mornings. And when I was really busy, but I was at that empathy stage of trying to grow a business, not just have a good month. I wanted to grow a system, grow a business, and be able to live the life that I wanted to live. And I knew that it took some sacrifice to start that.
Wonderful. I love it. This has been wonderful, Adam. Really appreciate you dropping in and giving some insight for folks that are trying to build a huge business this year. It’s inspiring that you’re up to where you’re close to about a hundred sales a month. That’s mind boggling, but I know you can do it. And next year when you’re at 15, 1600, we’ll have some fun again.
Well, thanks so much for having me. I really appreciate it.
Thank you for being here.
And folks, if you’re watching on Vulcan7 and you want to get involved with the lead gen Facebook group that airs this show as a simulcast, go to facebook.com/groups/gotobjections. And I want to thank Aaron Wittenstein, who has a program there called TrajectoryNow.com. And finally, the secret Adam Merrick didn’t tell you about, he didn’t tell you. Adam Merrick didn’t tell you. He turns on the coffee, but then when he’s done making all of his calls, he goes underneath the coffee pots, a little refrigerator, and he gets out some delicious Graeter’s mint chocolate chip. It’s the one for listings. This is the one if you’re taking listings, the mint chocolate chip. The other flavors are for working with buyers. Buyers take time, listings take skill. If the listing is slow to sell, dig a hole in the front yard, bury it upside down, and that listing will sell just like that. I want to thank everybody for being here. Thank you, Carley. Good to see you again. Happy New Year and happy prospecting for you in San Diego.
Thank you. Thank you so much for joining us, Adam, and what a great show. I have some great takeaways. I’m going to reign in my schedule for sure this year.
Good. Yeah, she’s in a market and her… What’s your average selling price there, Carley?
I know. And that’s a condo.
Yeah, no, it’s a condo. Houses you can’t touch for under a million.
Oh man. What a hoot.
Anyway, thank you so much. It’s been a great show. I’m so excited to get prospecting right now.
Thank you Adam.
Thanks for having me, guys.
See you real soon.
Okay, see ya. Bye now.
Take care. Bye bye. Thanks everybody.