S6 E9: BUILDING A LONG TERM CAREER
Ren Jones (00:05):
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. We have an exciting guest today. We encourage you to take notes and apply as much of their knowledge as quickly as you can, and then use the copycat principle. 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 (00:39):
Hey, Ren. Hey, everybody. Real estate is great. I love being a listing agent, and living in San Diego’s just even that much better.
Ren Jones (00:49):
Yeah, let it snow, let it snow. Okay, great. You get all the snow birds come visit you.
Carley Hathaway (00:57):
Ren Jones (00:57):
Before I introduce our guest today, I want to remind everyone that we are also simulcasting the 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 Richmond, Virginia, Mr. John Daylor. Welcome, John.
Carley Hathaway (01:23):
John Daylor (01:25):
Hey, Carley. Hey, Ren. Thanks for having me today.
Carley Hathaway (01:28):
Thanks so much for being here. We’re so excited.
John Daylor (01:31):
Well, good, good. I’m excited about it as well, thanks.
Ren Jones (01:37):
In my mind, John has a perfectly run business. It’s as good as it gets.
Carley Hathaway (01:41):
Okay, so like a well oiled machine. We can’t wait to learn all about it.
Ren Jones (01:44):
That’s it. That’s it.
Carley Hathaway (01:45):
Yeah. John, how long have you been a real estate agent?
John Daylor (01:50):
I’ve been in the real estate business for 30 years, started in January of ’89. I had been a CPA, worked in public accounting for eight years prior to that.
Carley Hathaway (02:03):
Great. So you know what you’re doing a little bit.
Ren Jones (02:07):
Yeah, he’s got the CPA part down, so he knows what to do with all that money.
John Daylor (02:12):
Exactly. No, it actually, my CPA background did help me just running my real estate business more like a business, so I kind of had a good start in the business when I got in, so that was good.
Ren Jones (02:27):
So you didn’t have to pay taxes, penalty and interest, huh?
John Daylor (02:30):
I paid my estimates on time.
Ren Jones (02:33):
Good job. Wonderful, wonderful. We’re near the year’s end. I don’t know when people are watching this. They may be watching this in 2020 or 2021. But where are you going to end up this year?
John Daylor (02:47):
Well, this is actually the exact time we’re looking at our numbers and trying to project out for next year. I’ve got my board on my wall here and I was just looking at that, so our goal for this year was 170 closed transactions. I started off the year by looking at my income for the previous year and try to project out what we’d like for the next year and how we improve on that number. And last year, our goal was to increase income 10% and translate that into units because the units are what we can control. So 170 closed transactions was the goal.
We’re going to end up at 166. I just found out because up until the end of November, we were unit to unit on track. And then my closings for December were a little light, so we ended up four short on our goal. But our income goal I think would’ve been … We’re going to be above that, not that I’m tracking that closely, but our average price home went up this year a little bit more than we expected, so that was really good, so it was a good year. So going from 170, 166, we’re not complaining.
Ren Jones (03:52):
No, that’s a good year, that’s a great year.
Carley Hathaway (03:52):
Good for you. That’s amazing. Yeah.
Ren Jones (03:53):
That’s a fantastic year.
Carley Hathaway (03:56):
So can you tell us what your team consists of to do that much volume?
John Daylor (04:03):
Yes. And actually, so I think we’re pretty lean as far as a team goes. I mean, my whole deal, and maybe it’s my accounting background and having been around Mike Ferry and some of these other trainers, the bottom line is the key, so we keep our expenses pretty low. So I have two salaried staff members, a listing coordinator and a closing coordinator, both of them full-time, both of them licensed realtors. They do a great job. I have three buyers agents, and one of them is my son, John, who’s only been in the business a year, who was also a CPA for six years, just came up and worked with me last year.
I have my sister, Chris, is a buyer’s agent. And then all three are rock stars, but Katie is my rock star buyer’s agent as well. And she probably closed 50 deals on her own this year. So pretty lean, I have a runner as well, so for the volume we do, I think we’ve got a pretty lean team, which is designed to keep our bottom line tight.
Carley Hathaway (05:10):
Right. I mean, so many teams are like an Exxon station, where they handle a lot of cash, but they only keep three cents a gallon.
John Daylor (05:17):
Carley Hathaway (05:18):
But not in your case. You got the expenses down. What’s your average selling price there now?
John Daylor (05:25):
It’s right at 450.
Carley Hathaway (05:28):
John Daylor (05:30):
450,000. But getting back to expenses, so this is what I look at a lot is my expenses run about 24% of my gross, of my gross, not my team’s gross, of mine, of what I bring in. The way I do the numbers is I look at gross commission income less my payments, the buyer’s agents split any referral fees out, and then what comes to me is where I base my expense ratios. And I try to keep it under 20, 25, somewhere between 20% and 25%.
Ren Jones (06:06):
That’s a great number, highly efficient.
John Daylor (06:09):
It is. And the biggest part obviously is salaries. We don’t have any marketing to speak of other than signs. And we don’t have any internet leads that we buy or anything like that, so that’s why we’re able to keep the numbers down.
Ren Jones (06:24):
Yeah. Why bother? I mean, as many homes as you list, you have a better buyer anyway. Why would you want to buy leads?
John Daylor (06:30):
Ren Jones (06:31):
What are you going to do with those?
Carley Hathaway (06:33):
So John, tell us: Where does the majority of your business come from? Where are you getting these listings?
John Daylor (06:38):
Having been in the business as long as I have, I’ve got a huge database, and we track the numbers pretty closely. I’d say probably closer to 50% of my business is past customers, co-op past customers are their referrals. Probably another 25% from my sphere of influence, and I’ll get 5% to 6% maybe on expired, occasional for sale by owner, and then people that just call in happen to know my name. And I don’t work as many on the FSBOs and expireds now because I worked them for 20 years, and now they’re my customers and they’re referring me business, and it’s all we can do to keep up with that right now.
Carley Hathaway (07:20):
Well, good for you. I mean, that’s the goal, right, is to keep getting that repeat business?
John Daylor (07:27):
Yeah. It’s one of the things when we first got in the business, our goal was to create referrals. And we look at every transaction that we do as a potential referral down the road, and it’s paid off.
Ren Jones (07:40):
Are you still adopting the other side of the deal?
John Daylor (07:43):
Co-op, the co-op customer, yeah. I mean, every single … I mean, that’s a huge source of business for us because in most instances, that agent that sold my listing is not going to call that buyer back, so we make every effort to capture their cell phone or email through the course of the transaction. People are tight on those, but my team does a very good job of getting that information, so we try to stay in touch with them just like they’re our customer. We can basically, like I said, adopt the customer.
Carley Hathaway (08:14):
Yeah. And what’s your strategy to keep in contact? Because you obviously have a huge database now, and you can’t just, “Oh, I’ve got to call Bob on Tuesday.” What’s your strategy there?
John Daylor (08:26):
So I mean, we have good intentions, aren’t always able to execute them as well. And that’s our struggle that we continue with every day. But 28 years ago, I was at a seminar with Karen Bernardi and she gave a simple strategy for calling your past customers. Call them the first day after the closing, the seventh day, the 30th, and then every 45 days after that for the first year. And we do that as best we can. The key is making those calls weekly, that often during the first year, pretty much cements the relationship going forward. And I’ve fallen off after that first and second year. I’ll have a customer call me from eight years ago that says, “Oh, gosh, you call me all the time.” And I look back, and I haven’t called them in two years, but they remember that first two years.
Ren Jones (09:18):
It’s still in there, yeah.
John Daylor (09:20):
It’s still in there. It’s still in their memory and they appreciate that call. And particularly, the co-op customers, again, if the other agent finds out and he objects, which is maybe one in 30 times, then I’ll back off. But otherwise, those buyers are the most appreciative. And when I do list their house four or five years later, they don’t even remember who their agent was. And their agent probably isn’t in the business anymore.
Ren Jones (09:45):
Right. Yeah, in most cases, they’re not in the business anymore, so you might as well adopt them because you are.
John Daylor (09:51):
Yep, and they are hard numbers to get, and I know you can solve that problem a lot of times with your systems that you have, so that helps a lot as well because if I can’t get a co-op’s number, it’s not like I’m cold calling them because they bought my listing. But you give me the number and-
Ren Jones (10:09):
We get you all those numbers, yeah.
So let’s put this in perspective because it’s not as easy as it sounds. It’s not like you’re going, “Hey, I think I’ll call,” like she was saying, “I think I’ll call Bob.” What is your morning … What is your routine for calling people? I mean, in order … It’s a huge database, 30 years. What is that, 3000 people?
John Daylor (10:33):
I was telling Nigel earlier, it’s just over 3000. And we’re constantly … Inevitably, part of our year-end process is when we send out our Christmas cards and we get the return card, they’ve moved. We miss a lot of them too because we can’t … We need to do a better job of controlling that database.
Ren Jones (10:51):
So you don’t get so many yellow stickers, yes.
John Daylor (10:54):
Ren Jones (10:54):
So 3000 people, that means that your day consists of talking to how many people a day, and what part of the day to you do this?
John Daylor (11:04):
Ren Jones (11:05):
Five days a week.
John Daylor (11:06):
Yeah, five days a week. And it’s really unlike my previous, have really cut down on my time, I seem to be working more now hour wise, but again, making phone calls is not very strenuous on me, so that kind of work, I kind of like. But we’ll call, my goal is 15 new contacts a day. Now over the last month and a half, we’ve doubled that number through the end of the year. We’re a little bit slower this time of year. And we know everything we’ve done over the last two months is going to dictate how we come out next year, so we doubled it. But during the normal course of the year, my goal is simple 15 contacts. My team has some contact goals too. Then we get a little bit loosey-goosey on that, but that’s ultimately our goal. And you asked me how we do this, I mean, I use Top Producer. I’ve used it for a long time and they’ve got calling schedules on there that I’ve used.
Ren Jones (12:00):
It’s been there for a long time, yeah. It’s an easy one to use.
John Daylor (12:03):
Yeah. They pop up every day on my calendar and I pick the ones I want to call.
Carley Hathaway (12:10):
I love it.
Ren Jones (12:12):
That’s not a tough life to sit there and just call all morning, return calls, go to lunch, have an appointment here and there.
John Daylor (12:19):
Yep, exactly. Well, so the morning, I go to the gym early in the morning. And then I try to be in the office as close to 8:30 as I can, don’t always do that. I don’t want to make calls before 8:30. And then I’ll call until noon, and then the afternoons, on appointments. And if I don’t have appointments, I’ll do some administrative stuff as well.
Ren Jones (12:42):
John Daylor (12:43):
That’s what the afternoons are for. And then appointments are usually scheduled for the afternoon, but inevitably I’ve got a couple of nights a week where I will go on appointments in the evening to accommodate people’s schedules.
Carley Hathaway (12:56):
And how long does your average listing appointment take? I bet you have it down.
John Daylor (13:03):
That’s going to change this year because my listing appointment goal, and ones I actually went on, decreased this year. I’m very selective on my … I pre-qualify heavily. But when I get to the house, a big part in our market, as in any market, the condition of the house is going to really dictate a lot of what needs to be done. So I will spend a little bit of time, probably more than I need to, coaching them on preparing the house. My average listing appointment will be just about 45 minutes. And a lot of that is simply going, helping them stage, prepare the house for sale. Keep in mind, these are mostly referrals and past customers, so a lot of them, I’m not even competing on, so I can probably narrow that time down. I just need to go on more of them, and not being selective.
Carley Hathaway (13:57):
Yeah. And I mean, the fact that you’re pre-qualifying very heavily, you’re already assuming the sale when you walk in because you kind of know. Right?
John Daylor (14:04):
Yes. The owner didn’t didn’t … So my numbers are way down. My listing appointment goal was 150. I only went on 105, and part of that was because we were selective. We want to stay in the general area. We’re a pretty wide area. But I get probably 90% of every listing appointment.
Ren Jones (14:27):
I was about to ask. So what’s your batting average? It’s nine out of 10.
John Daylor (14:31):
Close to 90%.
Ren Jones (14:32):
Because you pre-qualify that tightly.
John Daylor (14:35):
Ren Jones (14:36):
Good. Well, think about how much time you save.
John Daylor (14:39):
We can tell a lot before we go out as to whether this is going to be a house that we’re going to want to list. So now that’s going to change a little bit too. I’m the only listing agent in the office, but my son John’s come on board and he’s going to start doing some listings. He closed 25 transactions his first year. And some of those were his sphere, and some listings that he did. But he’s going to take a bigger role in the listing side going forward. My buyer’s agents do a great job with the buyers.
Ren Jones (15:09):
Great. When did 2020 start?
John Daylor (15:13):
It started probably in September.
Ren Jones (15:15):
September, okay. And the reason I ask this question is a lot of people, it’s the furthest thing from their mind that next year starts, many people, they say November one. In your case, September. The longer people are in the business, the more that next year starts three or four months before they even get to that year.
John Daylor (15:35):
Yeah. We’re going to go into the new year with about 15 to 20 listings already signed for the new year, so people that are-
Carley Hathaway (15:45):
John Daylor (15:46):
Yeah, some of which we signed probably back in early October because we’ll get them signed and in writing because we don’t want somebody else to come over, and over the holidays say, “Oh, my friend bought the house.” And there’s a benefit to them to do that because we’ll start looking around.
Ren Jones (16:05):
And that’s it, you go and sign it to start, because in every MLS, because there are going to be people watching going, “Well, you can do that in my MLS.”
John Daylor (16:12):
Yeah, we can do it.
Ren Jones (16:14):
You can do it in every MLS. Check your MLS rules. How do you pre-sign to start two months from now? There is a way. Talk to your broker. Talk to your MLS. There is a way. Don’t way you can’t do it, folks. You can do it, because if you keep them as a lead, like you said, John, somebody’s going to slide in between you.
John Daylor (16:32):
Yeah. And we tell them it allows us to market the house to potential buyers, even though they may not be ready to go on the market, we can make them more aware of it. It’s not a coming soon listing.
Ren Jones (16:42):
Right. But you can increase your double sides quite a bit just having it, knowing it’s coming up.
John Daylor (16:49):
Ren Jones (16:49):
John Daylor (16:51):
My main goal is just to eliminate that call you get. Hey, we sold our house over the holidays. Somebody came over for Christmas. They wanted to buy the house. So we try to eliminate.
Carley Hathaway (17:02):
That’s a hard phone call.
Ren Jones (17:03):
Always get that signature. Always get that signature. How many times people go, “Well, I’ve got to do this, this, this, this, before I’ll be ready.” Great. Sign here. Well, I’ve got to do these things. That’s fine, sign right here.
John Daylor (17:16):
Ren Jones (17:20):
John Daylor (17:24):
It’s good stuff.
Ren Jones (17:24):
Good deal. Well, it’s always a pleasure to reconnect with you and learn what you’re doing. It’s a very well oiled machine. If you do what John’s doing, you’re going to have what John has, and he has a great income and a great life in a beautiful part of the world, Richmond, Virginia. John, how should they get in touch with you? Because there are people that are going to want to send you a referral to list a property, or to work with a buyer, or whatever. What’s the best way for them to do that?
John Daylor (17:51):
I just give people my cell number. It’s 801-347-1122. That’s the easiest way.
Ren Jones (17:57):
John Daylor (17:57):
Carley Hathaway (17:57):
Good phone number.
Ren Jones (18:00):
How’d you get that one? 804-347-1122.
John Daylor (18:04):
Yep, yep, makes it easy. And it’s easier than my email address.
Ren Jones (18:09):
There we go.
Carley Hathaway (18:10):
Send referrals to John.
Ren Jones (18:12):
Say that again, Carley.
Carley Hathaway (18:14):
Send referrals to John.
Ren Jones (18:15):
Send referrals to John.
John Daylor (18:17):
If they’re coming to Richmond, yep.
Ren Jones (18:19):
I was referring to you as John Boy because I’ve known you for … I think we used to call you that now and then.
John Daylor (18:24):
Ren Jones (18:24):
And they go, “What’s his last name?” And I said, “Walton.”
John Daylor (18:29):
I get called that quite a bit, yep. It’s all good. Yeah. So that being said, you should be sending plenty of referrals now out to the Richmond area.
Ren Jones (18:42):
I know I should. I haven’t lived there since 2004.
John Daylor (18:46):
All your past customers are out there.
Ren Jones (18:48):
I know. There you go. I know, I know, I know. I should take a look at that. Look at that list. That was my real estate market. Yes, indeedy.
John Daylor (19:00):
You did very well there.
Ren Jones (19:01):
Say that again.
John Daylor (19:02):
You did very well there every year.
Ren Jones (19:05):
It wasn’t too bad, it wasn’t too bad. We definitely rocked it.
John Daylor (19:08):
Ren, you were the first person I knew that actually sold their business.
Ren Jones (19:13):
Yeah, yeah, yeah. And I’ve got to tell you, John, if I had it to do over again, I wouldn’t have sold it because there’s no need to. Technology is in such a place where you don’t need to do that.
John Daylor (19:25):
Ren Jones (19:27):
That’s just the way that works.
John Daylor (19:28):
Ren Jones (19:29):
So folks, if you are watching on Vulcan7 and you want to get involved with the lead gen Facebook group, they are at Facebook.com/groups/gotobjections. And if you are watching on Facebook and you’re not yet involved with Vulcan7, make sure to sign up at vulcan7.com/leadgen for a special deal. And people are texting me while this was going on saying, “What is John’s real secret? What is John’s real secret?”
Well, I’ll tell you what it is, he goes to the gym, gets into the office, makes three and a half hours of calls, returns calls, goes to lunch. But before he goes to lunch, he goes to the freezer, gets a big spoon, and gets some delicious Graeter’s mint chocolate chip. This is the one for taking listings. The other flavors, like rocky road, are for working with buyers. This is the one for listings. Go to graeters.com. You can buy it anywhere in North America at a store near you. And if the listing is slow to sell, what is John’s secret? He digs a hole in the front yard of the house and buries it upside down, and that listing will sell just like that. See everybody next week. And John’s going, “What the hell?”
John Daylor (20:36):
Carley Hathaway (20:40):
Thank you for watching. John, thanks for joining us today.
John Daylor (20:41):
Thank you, Carley.