S6 E7: Making $500k/year with time to enjoy it!
Meet Diana Fairbanks a Real Estate Agent with Coldwell Banker, from Fort Lauderdale. She is known as the Queen of Consistency. Diana explains how she makes nearly $500k per year with plenty of time leftover to enjoy life and travel the world. Her goal for the year is 50, 5-7 listings monthly. Diana has been in Real Estate for 14 years and her average commission check is $7,600. She has the dream formula where her business is 75% listings, 25% are her sellers who are now homeless, motivated, loyal to her, and need to buy. Diana’s seller business givers her time to enjoy a big life. She says if your not at least 60% sellers, you’re working too hard and have little time to enjoy success. Her business comes from 50% sphere and 50% prospecting expired, FSBOs, FRBOs, and probate.
Ren Jones (00:03):
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 several listings each month, 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. My co-host is on assignment this week, and 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 52,000 members, so we have a large audience there today as well. And we will 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, is it Ocean Boulevard, in Fort Lauderdale is sitting there right now, Diana Fairbanks. Welcome, Diana.
Diana Fairbanks (00:59):
Thank you. The beach is right outside my office.
Ren Jones (01:02):
I know. What a nice thing. You just open the window and you hear the roar of the ocean.
Diana Fairbanks (01:07):
Yeah, pretty much. Yeah. I never walk over there, but it’s there.
Ren Jones (01:10):
It’s a wonderful thing. I asked Diana if she would be on the show because we have a lot of people that are successful like Diana and the other people that would like to be successful in this way. They don’t want to make a million dollars a year, but they’re happy with making somewhere close to a half a million a year, and they want to have the time to enjoy it, which seems to be a problem for folks. People, when they start making four or 500,000, are working six and a half days a week and taking very few vacations. And Diana’s got the formula figured out, and she’s here to share it with us today. Welcome, Diana, I appreciate you being here and what say you, does that sound right?
Diana Fairbanks (01:51):
Thank you, Ren. Thank you. Yep.
Ren Jones (01:55):
So the goal for this year, we’re almost done with the year. We got a few more months. What is that goal?
Diana Fairbanks (02:04):
The goal is 50, not going to make it.
Ren Jones (02:06):
And what’s an average commission check?
Diana Fairbanks (02:10):
Ren Jones (02:12):
Okay. All right. So somewhere around $400,000 a year.
Diana Fairbanks (02:16):
Ren Jones (02:16):
Somewhere in there is your typical number. And you’ve been doing this for a little while.
Diana Fairbanks (02:20):
Yeah, 14 years.
Ren Jones (02:21):
14 years. Okay, good. And I was telling Diana earlier-
Diana Fairbanks (02:27):
If you back that up, that was 2007. Started at a perfect time.
Ren Jones (02:31):
Well, actually, in a funny way, that is a perfect time.
Diana Fairbanks (02:33):
Ren Jones (02:33):
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, right?
Diana Fairbanks (02:33):
Yeah. Nobody told me that. I didn’t know what a down market was, so I just went out and sold stuff.
Ren Jones (02:42):
There you go. At least it’s, it isn’t hard to find inventory to sell.
Diana Fairbanks (02:46):
No, it wasn’t. It wasn’t.
Ren Jones (02:49):
Especially in the state of Florida.
Diana Fairbanks (02:52):
Ren Jones (02:52):
Yeah. What’s the name of the buildings they called? They had a name for, because they were building all these condos and you could look through them.
Diana Fairbanks (03:00):
Oh yeah. They were pretty empty.
Ren Jones (03:01):
Because they were empty. What do they call them? See throughs or something?
Diana Fairbanks (03:02):
I don’t remember.
Ren Jones (03:03):
They had some nickname for that.
Diana Fairbanks (03:06):
Ren Jones (03:08):
So you are making the money and you have the time to enjoy it. I was telling Diana before this show started that last night, I was talking to a friend of mine who’s been in the business a little bit longer than Diana, and doing similar number of transactions, working six and a half days a week, working nights and weekends and very little time off but there’s a big difference in how Diana does it, and she’s going to explain it here today. So let’s… How much of your business is sellers and how much is buyers?
Diana Fairbanks (03:38):
It’s 75% listing side and then the buyers that do come in are almost entirely the sellers who need to move into something.
Ren Jones (03:47):
Because they’re homeless.
Diana Fairbanks (03:49):
Ren Jones (03:50):
So folks, take a look at this. 75% sellers. For those of you watching the show, where are you on that spectrum? If you’re not at least 60% sellers, you’re working too hard and you don’t have time to enjoy it. She’s at 75% with the rest being homeless people. Well, what do we know about buyers that you just sold their home and they have nowhere to go? What do we know, folks? They’re loyal right?
Diana Fairbanks (04:16):
Ren Jones (04:17):
Diana Fairbanks (04:17):
Ren Jones (04:18):
They’re motivated. And… They don’t take long.
Diana Fairbanks (04:23):
No, they really don’t.
Ren Jones (04:24):
And my favorite thing is they’ll go out at Tuesday at one. They won’t wait and they don’t want to look all day Saturday and all day Sunday. They’ll go out at Tuesday at one O’clock.
Diana Fairbanks (04:33):
No, they want to get the job done because we got to close the date.
Ren Jones (04:35):
That’s it. That’s it.
Diana Fairbanks (04:36):
Ren Jones (04:37):
So there’s the dream formula folks. I’m happy that she can be on here because that is the formula. So then the question is, how do you do that? So where’s your business coming from?
Diana Fairbanks (04:49):
It’s coming from 50% sphere referrals, past clients. I’ve been in business long enough now that I’ve got that database and the other half is coming from prospecting. Just regular, traditional expireds, FSBOs, all that good stuff.
Ren Jones (05:06):
Good. And then so expireds, for sale by owners is half your business and you do probates?
Diana Fairbanks (05:12):
Ren Jones (05:14):
Yeah. They’re dying to sell.
Diana Fairbanks (05:15):
Ren Jones (05:16):
And she sent me a picture of a signed listing contract for sale because she started using our FRBOs. Folks, those are investors. They’re offering a home for rent and then you call them and talk to them about how many homes they have and would they like to sell either that one or perhaps a different one or do a tax exchange for a different home ’cause investors play old maid, they have 10, 12, 20, 30 homes and they’re always playing old maid selling this one, buying another, selling one, buying one. So we want to get in the way. And Diana did that last week. She goes-
Diana Fairbanks (05:53):
Ren Jones (05:53):
… I got my first one.
Diana Fairbanks (05:54):
It is, I used your script and it was the… They were such easy calls because they haven’t been bombarded by 17 other agents that just called them in the last half hour.
Ren Jones (06:05):
Diana Fairbanks (06:06):
It’s just a very straightforward. If you don’t rent this, are you considering selling it at this time?
Ren Jones (06:12):
Diana Fairbanks (06:12):
Such a simple script and you know? Either they are or they aren’t.
Ren Jones (06:17):
Yeah. Well, or and more, even more likely they aren’t, but sometimes they are, but if they aren’t, how many homes do you own now? How many investment properties do you have? Well, I have 11. 11? That’s amazing. How long you been doing this? Oh, about five years. Great. Do you have anything now you may want to sell or exchange for something more lucrative?
Diana Fairbanks (06:40):
Ren Jones (06:40):
I mean, there you go. All of a sudden you start collecting investors.
Diana Fairbanks (06:42):
Ren Jones (06:44):
Yeah. All day long. So we want to encourage people to do that. So your database, the people you know, and they know you and they love you. How often are you staying in touch with them?
Diana Fairbanks (06:55):
I’m calling them quarterly. We email them monthly and we also hard mail, you know, post office mail.
Ren Jones (07:04):
So you’re coming at them in all… So a typical morning, what time do you start calling people?
Diana Fairbanks (07:09):
Ren Jones (07:10):
Eight o’clock. And then you wrap up around?
Diana Fairbanks (07:12):
Ren Jones (07:14):
Noon, okay. So all morning you look for business.
Diana Fairbanks (07:17):
Ren Jones (07:17):
Early afternoon you work on the business and then you have an appointment or two or none in the afternoon, and then you go home and have a great life.
Diana Fairbanks (07:23):
Ren Jones (07:24):
So it’s a weekday job. This is a weekday job.
Diana Fairbanks (07:27):
Yeah. I would say that it’s maybe, maybe once a week I’m out in the evening. I-
Ren Jones (07:33):
Diana Fairbanks (07:33):
… try really hard to make the appointments either two o’clock or four o’clock.
Ren Jones (07:38):
And when you are a listing agent like you are, you can leave town, come back and have three sell. Try that with buyers folks.
Diana Fairbanks (07:46):
Ren Jones (07:48):
Diana Fairbanks (07:49):
Doesn’t work at all.
Ren Jones (07:50):
So have you taken any time off?
Diana Fairbanks (07:53):
Yeah, it was in February. I was in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Thailand. I was gone for 22 days.
Ren Jones (08:00):
What’s the next trip?
Diana Fairbanks (08:04):
Next trip is a week from Saturday to Australia and New Zealand for 16 days.
Ren Jones (08:07):
Okay. Folks, do you hear this? Folks. You don’t have to make a million. You can make a half million, have money and this is a weekday job for some people. It’s a weekday job.
Diana Fairbanks (08:18):
Ren Jones (08:18):
You know? Monday through Friday, nine to five or nine to four or eight to four. Eight to three some days.
Diana Fairbanks (08:24):
Ren Jones (08:24):
Diana Fairbanks (08:25):
Ren Jones (08:27):
It’s exciting. So every month you’re taking what, 2, 3, 4 listings? A listing a week, maybe average? Is that it, or?
Diana Fairbanks (08:36):
The goal is five. Five to seven.
Ren Jones (08:40):
Five a month. Okay.
Diana Fairbanks (08:41):
Five to seven a month.
Ren Jones (08:42):
Five to seven a month. Okay. That’s fun. And you live in a beautiful place or it’s a very beautiful place in February.
Diana Fairbanks (08:49):
It is, yes, it is, yes. Very nice from November to April. Yeah. It’s a little warm in the summer, but it’s not too bad.
Ren Jones (08:53):
What are the challenges that people have on that are watching is, what do I say? I haven’t called my past clients in years and I’m going to call them up and reconnect and it’s been four years. What do you say?
Diana Fairbanks (09:07):
Well, I don’t really know because I got that beat into my head really a long time ago by a great coach named Ann Baker and she just was relentless. It took me a year to get the database up and running, but then once it was, was just clockwork. You just do it and do it and do it and do it. And it’s the same thing when we’re told to touch base with our current clients every week.
Ren Jones (09:31):
Diana Fairbanks (09:32):
Same thing. If you get consistent and you do it every week, the price reductions are a no-brainer because you talk to them every single week at the same time. And they know.
Ren Jones (09:42):
So your follow up with your clients, your current clients is every week too.
Diana Fairbanks (09:46):
Ren Jones (09:46):
Okay. So I hear that C word. Consistency.
Diana Fairbanks (09:51):
I think that.
Ren Jones (09:51):
That that works, doesn’t it?
Diana Fairbanks (09:53):
Yeah. If I’m really good at one thing, that’s probably it. I learned to prospect every single day early on. I wasn’t very good at it. It took me a long time to get even halfway good at it, but I just stuck with it every single day and now I don’t feel like I went to work if I didn’t prospect.
Ren Jones (10:11):
There you go. And so you are good at it. What’s a typical conversation with a past client, somebody that you’ve talked to on a regular basis?
Diana Fairbanks (10:20):
Well, the big challenge is bringing value. Not just, “Hey Ren, it’s Diana, your realtor. Who do you know that needs to buy or sell?” That gets a little old if you’re calling them with that same line every quarter so it’s coming up with something a little bit different each time to give them value. “Hey, I’ve got a great list of vendors. You planning any home renovations? If you are, give me a call. I’ve got some great vendors that’d love to pass on to you.” Or…
Ren Jones (10:45):
Diana Fairbanks (10:46):
Some… You know, the other one has been “Your tax bill’s come out in November so if you know, think your tax bill is too high, let me know. I’ll tell you how to go to the tax assessor and protest your bill.”
Ren Jones (11:04):
These are good value items.
Diana Fairbanks (11:07):
Yeah. Just so something, there’s something to talk about besides who do you know that would like to buy or sell in the next seven to 10 days?
Ren Jones (11:13):
That’s beautiful. Okay, so every time you call them you’ve thought, okay, it’s the fall market. I’m going to bring this value item to you, to them.
Diana Fairbanks (11:26):
Ren Jones (11:27):
And it’s winter, I’m going to bring this value item to them. Okay, well there’s two for them to get started with. And then they can mull over what they’re going to do.
Diana Fairbanks (11:34):
And if you really think about it, you only have to come up with four.
Ren Jones (11:37):
Diana Fairbanks (11:40):
‘Cause you’re talking to them four times a year so the same topic for all of them for each quarter, so-
Ren Jones (11:44):
Diana Fairbanks (11:44):
… it’s not, it’s only four things.
Ren Jones (11:47):
Right. And I’ve heard people will call and they’ll, when they’ve closed, they’ll call near the end of the year and say, I have all your settlement papers and whatnot.
Diana Fairbanks (11:59):
Ren Jones (11:59):
If you need a copy of those for tax purposes first of the year, things like that. They like that.
Diana Fairbanks (12:04):
Ren Jones (12:04):
And then I also hear, do you adopt the other side? You ever done that?
Diana Fairbanks (12:09):
I’ve done it. Usually either you have a strong agent and you’re not going to get them, or it’s just so easy, it’s just because the other agent has just disappeared on them and it’s just-
Ren Jones (12:22):
Diana Fairbanks (12:23):
Yeah. Super simple. And then when they sell, they list with you.
Ren Jones (12:27):
Great. Yeah. Yeah.
Diana Fairbanks (12:27):
Ren Jones (12:28):
I want to welcome you to the neighborhood.
Diana Fairbanks (12:30):
Ren Jones (12:32):
That’s good. Fantastic. What else should we share with them? How do you do it on the days you don’t feel like it, but I guess there are a few of those because you’re enjoying-
Diana Fairbanks (12:40):
No, I mean that’s definitely out there. There are plenty of days I don’t feel like it. It’s the first call, just starting, you know, you got to pick it up and begin and after that you’re in a roll and it’s going and the dialer’s running and you just…
Ren Jones (12:59):
Is it a very exact time that you start?
Diana Fairbanks (13:06):
Well, yeah. I mean the whole morning schedule’s pretty specific. I’m up at 4:30. I’ve got an accountability partner at 5:00 who we talk to each other every day. I’m at the gym at 6:00 and then from the gym I’m going straight to the office so I mean, maybe there’s a little variation in there, but it’s pretty solid through to about noon. It gets haywire after lunch.
Ren Jones (13:28):
That is solid.
Diana Fairbanks (13:31):
Ren Jones (13:31):
So your day really ends at lunch basically. And then you have an appointment or you don’t.
Diana Fairbanks (13:37):
Ren Jones (13:38):
So the old adage, the early bird gets the worm. It really works.
Diana Fairbanks (13:42):
Ren Jones (13:43):
Yeah, starting early and would it be fair to say that that whole piece in the morning with the working out and the… The role-play partner, the accountability partner and all those pieces cause that routine so it would be weird not to start making that first call?
Diana Fairbanks (14:02):
Ren Jones (14:03):
I mean, it seems like that ritual pulls you.
Diana Fairbanks (14:07):
It does, absolutely. And then that’s always something that coaches have always said is get the morning solid, the rest of your life will be fine.
Ren Jones (14:16):
Perfect. Yeah. Everything else does take care of itself, that’s for sure.
Diana Fairbanks (14:18):
Ren Jones (14:19):
You set an appointment, you’re going to go.
Diana Fairbanks (14:22):
Yeah, exactly. Yeah.
Ren Jones (14:24):
What do you say for sale by owners? What are you experiencing with them right now?
Diana Fairbanks (14:30):
I think the thing I try and keep in mind is, I know you know Steve Futch and I always just picture him, is that he was, he’s so relentless. He always was saying, “Okay, it takes me eight to 11 times to get them to list.” And I’m like, “Oh my God, you are the king of for sale by owners.” So try to get the appointment on the first call, but understand it’s going to be a process with them and that you got to keep in touch with them every three to four days until they either list or sell.
Ren Jones (15:01):
Perfect. Yeah, and to be fair, sometimes it’s on the first round you get them. So we can’t count on it being the fourth or fifth round.
Diana Fairbanks (15:10):
Ren Jones (15:11):
And sometimes it’s just like that.
Diana Fairbanks (15:13):
Yeah, ’cause they’re literally, like Mike says, they’re literally looking for an agent and they didn’t know where to find one.
Ren Jones (15:19):
Right. And you’re the first person that comes along that makes some sense.
Diana Fairbanks (15:23):
Ren Jones (15:24):
Okay. So good. Good, good, good. And expired listing sounds like you’re doing a fair number of those.
Diana Fairbanks (15:28):
I’ve always loved them, I mean-
Ren Jones (15:32):
Can you say that one more time?
Diana Fairbanks (15:33):
Yeah. I do. It’s just, they’re so, I mean, it’s so perfect. They want to sell their house, you know they want to sell it. They just need a better agent.
Ren Jones (15:43):
That’s it. And somebody else has already measured the rooms and everything else for you, so it makes it a little easier.
Diana Fairbanks (15:49):
Yeah, and they’re just-
Ren Jones (15:49):
Done all the work.
Diana Fairbanks (15:49):
… frustrated. Yeah.
Ren Jones (15:51):
Well, we know what didn’t work.
Diana Fairbanks (15:53):
Ren Jones (15:54):
Yes, yes, yes. Perfect.
Diana Fairbanks (15:57):
Ren Jones (15:57):
Okay. And any other thoughts on expireds? Now, I know you don’t want to give away all your secrets.
Diana Fairbanks (16:06):
The South Florida market is super, super competitive. Mike Ferry’s been doing retreats down here, I don’t know how long. 20 years probably.
Ren Jones (16:13):
Diana Fairbanks (16:14):
So there is, I have at least 10 micro agents in my company.
Ren Jones (16:21):
Oh my goodness.
Diana Fairbanks (16:22):
Yeah. So the broader marketplace is heavily saturated with people who are prospecting for expired listings.
Ren Jones (16:31):
Well, yeah, I mean, it makes sense because if you could just work during the day and then have a life on the nights and weekends, I mean, Florida’s a great place to do that. There are some places way up here in the north where it’s cold, cold and rainy, you might as well just be working at night.
Diana Fairbanks (16:48):
That’s right. Yeah. So my philosophy on expireds is I need to get to them as fast as possible, find the ones who actually are trying to do something as quickly as possible in the eight to nine o’clock hour.
Ren Jones (17:02):
You know, that’s what it really is, Diana, isn’t it? The person that, yeah, I was called expired listings, like a Mexican pinata. The kids who get in there early, get all the good candy.
Diana Fairbanks (17:12):
Ren Jones (17:13):
You got to be get in early. What about old expireds? When do you consider them old expireds?
Diana Fairbanks (17:21):
Well, okay, October 1st, there were 295 expireds in my marketplace.
Ren Jones (17:25):
Diana Fairbanks (17:26):
So, you know-
Ren Jones (17:29):
When do you think it’s good to call them back as an old expired? Do you know? Or do you even think about that?
Diana Fairbanks (17:34):
Oh wait, no, I call… Yeah, I think my database at this point is back through 2012.
Ren Jones (17:43):
I love it.
Diana Fairbanks (17:43):
Yeah, so I like three month old, I like six month old but the October one, after I went through them the first time, and I’m now going through them the second time to see if there was any gems that got missed the first time through.
Ren Jones (17:57):
Yeah, there you go.
Diana Fairbanks (17:59):
Ren Jones (18:00):
Good deal. Well, this has been wonderful. Any other little piece of advice you’d like to give people? Because now you’re talking to all types here. You’re talking to people that are three months in the business, three weeks in the business, three years in the business. They’re at all walks of life. Hopefully some of the ones that have been doing this for a decade and a half can be more of a listing, lean towards the listing process and have a little more time in their life. Any other little tidbits you’d like to share?
Diana Fairbanks (18:30):
I think that the thing that besides consistency is accountability and that everybody talks about… I’ve got somebody in my office, if I don’t make my contacts, it’s a hundred bucks for every contact. It doesn’t have to be that aggressive, it just, somebody that you need to report to.
Ren Jones (18:49):
Yeah, just showing up. It’s sort of like, and you may be doing this, I know for me, if I have to meet somebody at the gym.
Diana Fairbanks (18:56):
You show up.
Ren Jones (18:57):
I will always be there. If I’m going to go there on my own.
Diana Fairbanks (19:01):
Ren Jones (19:01):
I might not always be there.
Diana Fairbanks (19:03):
Yep, exactly. Mastermind groups are fantastic. When I started in this business, I didn’t even know there were business books. I just thought there was fiction. So it was being a part of these masterminds and finding out about all these other things, dialers. I didn’t know about dialers. I was using my finger. So by masterminds you learn all these new things.
That you didn’t know about. Yeah, thank God it wasn’t rotary, at least. Yeah.
Ren Jones (19:36):
Good deal. And then one of the things, and Diane’s been dancing around at the old show, but when she is getting ready, she’s done. She’s done her prospecting, she’s talked to 37 people, she’s set two appointments and she deserves a treat. So as a listing agent, she goes into the freezer and gets delicious Graeter’s mint chocolate chip. This is the one for listings. If you’re working with buyers, that’s Rocky Road or something. But this is the one for listings. If the listing is slow to sell, in Fort Lauderdale, what they do, and all over North America, they dig a hole in the front yard and bury it upside down and that listing will sell. Just. Like. That. So I want to thank everybody for being here and thank Diana, what a wonderful, wonderful treat this is to help people become more efficient.
Diana Fairbanks (20:23):
There you go.
Ren Jones (20:24):
And I hope you have fun. Where are you going to go in Australia? Sydney? Melbourne? Perth?
Diana Fairbanks (20:30):
Cairns. Cairns to the Great Barrier Reef, and then down to Sydney and then across to Auckland, Queenstown and Rotorua. I don’t know how to pronounce that one.
Ren Jones (20:40):
Diana Fairbanks (20:41):
Ren Jones (20:42):
Wow, wow. What an adventure.
Diana Fairbanks (20:45):
Ren Jones (20:45):
Gosh, folks, you want to go to Australia, if you want to go to Vietnam, you want to have a… You’ll be able to go for two or three weeks, be a listing agent, follow the model.
Diana Fairbanks (20:51):
Ren Jones (20:55):
Reach out to Diana. Oh, if they, ’cause a lot of people want to buy first or a second home in Fort Lauderdale.
Diana Fairbanks (21:03):
Ren Jones (21:03):
Or I don’t know how far you work-
Diana Fairbanks (21:06):
Ren Jones (21:06):
… north and south.
Diana Fairbanks (21:07):
Yeah, I serve the basically South Florida, Palm Beach, Broward and Dade so that’s Miami, Fort Lauderdale, Palm Beach, all three counties.
Ren Jones (21:16):
Okay, good. And if they wanted to reach out to you for that, to send you business. Somebody who wants to buy or sell, or both. What’s the best way?
Diana Fairbanks (21:25):
Probably my cell phone, which is (954) 600 4003. My website is dianafairbankshomes, but that’s so freaking long that you know, misspell it here.
Ren Jones (21:40):
Diana Fairbanks (21:41):
Ren Jones (21:44):
Okay, dianafairbankshomes.com. Everybody say it three times. Okay. We got it. Thank you, Diana.
Diana Fairbanks (21:49):
Thank you. Ren. Send ice cream.
Ren Jones (21:51):
All right. Have a good… It’ll be, it’ll just be turning spring where you’re headed.
Diana Fairbanks (21:55):
In Australia, yeah.
Ren Jones (21:58):
Is that it? All righty. Enjoy the spring season down there.
Diana Fairbanks (22:02):
You got it. Thanks.
Ren Jones (22:03):
Diana Fairbanks (22:04):
Ren Jones (22:04):