S8 E12: Why You Should Refocus From Buyers To Sellers
New Jersey-based agent Raj Sinha provides some invaluable listing agent tips, and insight into being a listing agent vs a buyer’s agent. “Listings give you leverage.” Focusing on listings has allowed Raj more time with his family as well as gaining more control over his time and transactions. Raj spent the first six years of his real estate career hosting open houses. In this Roadmap episode, he talks about shifting his focus to prospecting a year ago, using Vulcan7. Focusing on expired listings, Raj admits to being anxious in his early days of prospecting. He stuck with it, and now has more closings than he could imagine, most within a range of $500,000 to $1.2 million. Raj has found success with old expired listings, citing they aren’t called on as frequently, and that they are typically a friendlier conversation. He also states that they are very receptive to learning about the market. Regarding success as a listing agent, Raj says: “Everybody has the capacity to do this. It’s all about mindset.” Watch the entire episode for more insights from Raj Sinha.
Raj Sinha (00:04):
The first listing was from, it was an old expired that I would’ve never found on my own, and nobody had called them because it was from a year ago. I just simply clicked on, old expired. I just called them, from Vulcan. They called back. I went over there and they said, “We also want to buy.” So, I got them 12 offers in four days, they sold 70 over asking, and they bought for 1,800.
Sarah Close (00:31):
That’s a good day.
Raj Sinha (00:32):
Yeah. They put my name everywhere. They’re like, “He’s amazing. He’s fantastic.”
Ren Jones (00:37):
Yeah. It’s funny. It gets a chain re… I mean, one phone call can turn into several transactions over time.
Raj Sinha (00:44):
Oh, yeah. Then unrepresented buyers from there, it really gave me hope.
Ren Jones (00:57):
It’s that time.
Sarah Close (01:00):
What time is it?
Ren Jones (01:02):
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, and 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 horse country, beautiful Camp Denison, Ohio, just outside Cincinnati, Sarah Close.
Sarah Close (01:30):
Thanks for having me. Glad to be here.
Ren Jones (01:32):
Glad you are here, Sarah. You own and co-own several real estate offices in Cincinnati, Ohio, with about 550 agents.
Sarah Close (01:43):
Yeah, it’s a good group.
Ren Jones (01:43):
A busy group that serves Northern Kentucky, Southern Ohio, and…
Sarah Close (01:47):
Even in Indiana now.
Ren Jones (01:50):
There we go.
Sarah Close (01:51):
We had to branch West.
Ren Jones (01:53):
There we go. In Indiana, which is all just 20, 30 minutes away. Let’s welcome our guest today, from Hudson County, Bergen County, that part of New Jersey. Everybody’s familiar with that area. Raj Sinha. Welcome, Raj.
Raj Sinha (02:10):
How are you? Glad to be here.
Ren Jones (02:12):
How are you, Raj? You are newer at the game of prospecting for listings, not even a year yet. We’re going to learn a lot from Raj today.
Raj Sinha (02:22):
Very excited about it.
Sarah Close (02:24):
Raj, tell us a little bit about your business. I know that you’re using prospecting. Give us the brief history of Raj and real estate.
Raj Sinha (02:33):
So, I’ve been in the business almost seven years, but really the first four to five years, I was in a different county and I was doing a lot of open houses. So, most of my business came from open houses. Then as a few years passed, I would get referrals and some from family and friends. But one of my challenges was, two years ago I moved to a different county so I was trying to find a way to break into this. So, really using a prospect, starting a prospecting, started about a year ago, less than a year ago.
Sarah Close (03:09):
So, what are your favorite forms of prospecting? If that sentence should even exist in the universe.
Raj Sinha (03:16):
No, I mean my focus is expireds right now.
Sarah Close (03:17):
Raj Sinha (03:19):
That’s what I like to do. I’m sure there’s other ways to do it, but those guys are raising their flag and they want to sell. So, I time block it and I call every day.
Sarah Close (03:33):
Absolutely. So, when you’re thinking about calling expireds, when you’re planning your week and tackling what you have to win the day, what are you generally… How do you set up your day? How many people are you attempting to target? What does the anatomy of that lead gen process look like for you?
Raj Sinha (03:49):
Yeah. So, we’ll have a company call, but then right at nine, and even that I feel is too late, I try to do it earlier, because I just cut up everything. I have all my scripts on the board, a lot of great scripts, and I’ll just start calling right at nine. I’ll tell you, from the time I first started, I believe it was the December, those shakes and anxiety, what are they going to say? All that stuff, it was all in my head because once you do it and you click that first success, and now I’ve had multiple successes, it’s like it becomes an addiction. It goes from reluctancy, to I need to make calls. If I didn’t make them in the morning, I’ve got to make them in the afternoon.
Ren Jones (04:38):
I guess that could be an addiction. What’s a typical commission check?
Raj Sinha (04:42):
Up here, average price point’s like six to 700.
Ren Jones (04:45):
So, what is that average commission check? Because I know you guys cut commissions up there a lot.
Raj Sinha (04:49):
At least $15,000.
Ren Jones (04:51):
At least $15,000. So, there’s the drug.
Sarah Close (04:58):
Ren Jones (04:58):
That’s why, when you think about it, when people hire people to make calls and they’re making a couple of hundred bucks, it doesn’t work. But when it’s 15 grand, oh, that’s sweet.
Raj Sinha (05:07):
It pays for Vulcan for a while.
Sarah Close (05:11):
Yeah. Makes that look pretty cheap. That’s all good.
Raj Sinha (05:13):
Sarah Close (05:14):
So, you said you have your scripts up. What does your prospecting space look like?
Raj Sinha (05:17):
So, I have a second monitor, so on one side I will have my laptop in the center, and a second monitor on the side. But I don’t really check the status of them. I have the bulk in on one side and the dialer in the center. So, maybe I’ll click on the Zillow logo, just to see what’s going on. Just see if I need to get into that. Then on the left side, I have an iPad where I’ll just watch Roadmap videos or other.
Sarah Close (05:50):
Keep the inspiration going.
Raj Sinha (05:52):
Absolutely. But, yeah. I did that. I purposely did that at my home so that I could have this focus. Then I have the scripts on the wall. I have a vision board with what I want to buy, and a picture of my family on the left side. So-
Sarah Close (06:07):
Raj Sinha (06:07):
… if something’s getting tough or something, that keeps me going.
Sarah Close (06:10):
Oh, that’s awesome. So, you indicated that when you first started very actively pursuing expireds, that it was a little daunting and maybe a dark place to go to. What changed for you? How did you build that muscle and get into the place where you are now, where you’re looking for your fix to get it done?
Raj Sinha (06:33):
I think it was just that, after a while, sure. Just like anything, you’re going to have those types of people and you’re going to have really nice people, and for the most part… Sure, you get all types. Then it was just like, don’t stop, don’t stop, don’t stop. One day it’s going to click. One day it’s going to click. Sure. It could be a spoke on your lead wheel and you could do other things in the meantime. But for me, when I first got that first one, like, “Oh, yeah. Can you come over?” It just felt… “Oh, yeah. We’ll sign.” We’re like, oh, my God. Here’s the key thing. As I mentioned before, I didn’t have a lot of knowledge or closings in this county, so this gave me an opportunity to really get my name out. There were these, quote, unquote, dominant agents. So, I’m like, “Oh, I can’t do this. Maybe I should go back.” But no. I mean, I have closings now I couldn’t have imagined. I mean, I have listings in five of the cities in this county now. My signs out in front of all of them, from-
Ren Jones (07:42):
Raj Sinha (07:43):
… 500,000 to 1.2 million. That’s just like, okay. Now I have more. What really came out of it was this feeling of abundance. If the newest expires are listed, then go back to the old expires. My first closing where I… The first listing was from, sure they wanted to… It was an old expired that I would’ve never found on my own, and nobody had called them because it was from a year ago. I just simply clicked on old expired. I called them from Vulcan, they called back. I went over there and they said, “We also want to buy.” So, I got them 12 offers in four days. They sold 70 over asking, and they bought for 1,800.
Sarah Close (08:27):
That’s a good day.
Raj Sinha (08:31):
They put my name everywhere. They’re like, “He’s amazing. He’s fantastic.” So, yeah.
Ren Jones (08:36):
It’s funny. It gets a chain re… I mean one phone call can turn into several transactions over time.
Raj Sinha (08:43):
Oh, yeah. Then unrepresented buyers from there, it really gave me hope. It really gave me hope. So, it’s very cool.
Ren Jones (08:52):
Compare a fresh expired versus an old expired. What do you notice is the difference?
Raj Sinha (09:00):
Well, for a fresh expired, I feel like you have to get to them sooner than other people. But it’s not impossible. I think they are frustrated, and you just really have to be on their side. So, if they’re mad, you have to pattern interrupt that, and try to empathize with them. Learn your conditions or learn your objections. Now, all the expireds, for the one thing is, and also new expireds will get a lot more calls unless you are one of the first. Old expireds nobody’s calling them, nobody’s calling them, because people have just been like, “Oh, they’re dropped off the list.”
Ren Jones (09:38):
Do you find them to be a friendly call? The old expireds?
Raj Sinha (09:42):
Old expireds, yes. Yes. Because if anything, they want to know how the market is. They gave up on their hopes a long time ago. If you could tell them, “I can connect you with more than the home is worth,” it’s a great thing.
Ren Jones (09:57):
So, if somebody came into the business and only called old expireds, it would be a pretty happy experience, wouldn’t it? Because they’re a pretty friendly group.
Raj Sinha (10:04):
Ren Jones (10:05):
So, I look at it, people watching this right now, because you’re right. The fresh expireds, it’s very competitive. They’ve gotten 37 phone calls, you’ve got to somehow shine. But if you call an old expired, it’s just you and you alone. Odds are pretty high that you take 10 of them, that five or six are going to end up putting their arse on the market pretty quickly. Or not quickly, but at some point.
Raj Sinha (10:30):
I called the $2 million one, and I’ve called them multiple times, and finally he picked up. Not multiple times, same week, but over six months. But I said, “I’m not going to give up till I at least get him on the phone.” He finally called back, and he was expired in 2019, and he said, “Well, we have some family issues but call me in January.” So, it’s not like… I would’ve never found that. Or as simply as clicking a button. So, I went over, dropped my packet at his beautiful home, and I would’ve never found that. That was also in a mindset of price points. I was always nervous about, okay. If it’s over a million, but in my neighborhood you have to get used over to over a million. You just have to, that’s the average price point here. But that’s a sweet price way to be in. Now, the other thing I’ve learned is, if they say call back in a month, you call back in two weeks.
Ren Jones (11:23):
Yeah. The old cut the… Yeah, that’s what they say. You cut it in half. Whatever they say, you cut it in half. Whatever they you do, you cut it in half. Yeah.
Raj Sinha (11:31):
If they say call me December 30th, you call them December 1st. Because that’s so important because they need to have… Or if one is like, “Well, just send me…” My other thing is, I try to… No. No trying. I go over and… No try. I go over and I have a system where I have a pre-listing packet ready, and I have a binding machine, so if they call me, I just simply change some things, print it out, find it and I’m out the door. “Call me tomorrow at two o’clock,” I’ll happen to be in their area and be like, “I’m just going to drop you this off.” They can put a face to a name. That’s helped me sometimes as well.
Sarah Close (12:15):
Yeah. What’s in your pre-listing bind, your bound pre-listing? What do you generally include in there?
Raj Sinha (12:20):
So, in there it is some reviews about me, and then they can… I always out in links for my other reviews on Zillow and Google. Why choose me, and then why choose my company. Also, some information on marketing and pricing. But I don’t give that much out.
Sarah Close (12:43):
Raj Sinha (12:44):
I definitely don’t give comps. This is something that is very generic for everything, and then just some information about me. If they know any of that, they call me and we sit in person.
Sarah Close (12:58):
That’s great. That’s great. So, you mentioned that you do a role play every day as well. What does that call look like? Is it a set call, is it a certain group of people?
Ren Jones (13:08):
But the nice thing, Sarah, and you know this, with mobile callback, but for the people that don’t know, a lot of times by the time you figure out who they are, they’ve figured out who you are and they hang up. But with mobile callback, you’ll say, “Mr. Green?” “Yes.” “You had your house… Is this Mr. Green?” “Yeah.” “I tried to reach you earlier, your house on Liberty Way,” blah, blah, blah. Because that information comes up, so you know who’s calling, what listing it is, where this house is, how much it was listed for. So, you’re very informed when they call.
Sarah Close (13:46):
Yeah. That’s awesome.
Ren Jones (13:47):
Because how many times do we lose the deal because they call back, they realize you have no clue and they hang up on you.
Raj Sinha (13:54):
Yeah. I used it before. I’d be like, “I’m sorry. I made a lot of calls.” You sounded like they’re not important. Whereas with mobile callback, the other day I was in the store, and I was just finishing, and I was by my car so I saw the number come in. I went in my car and I have my script on my phone.
Sarah Close (14:14):
Oh, that’s great.
Raj Sinha (14:17):
I went, “Hi, how are you Mr. Oh, yeah. I was calling about your home on Main Street in this town.” Then I went right through the script and had it right in my phone, and it’s just like a normal thing.
Sarah Close (14:29):
Raj Sinha (14:30):
… 10 seconds, and you have to create it to five minutes and make an appointment. So, that is a game changer for me, to be honest with you.
Sarah Close (14:36):
That’s very cool. Good deal. Good deal. How many people do you aim to talk to every week when you’re doing your prospecting? Do you have a target or a goal that you try to hit?
Raj Sinha (14:47):
Yeah. A contact, I consider just somebody, even if you’re just talking, not around numbers, but it’s just talking. I would say 25 to 30. It should be 50, I’m trying to do 10 a day. But 25 to 30.
Sarah Close (14:59):
Okay, that’s great.
Raj Sinha (15:01):
That’s easily achievable.
Sarah Close (15:04):
Ren Jones (15:04):
I mean, the good news is that everybody you call has a home for sale and no agent.
Sarah Close (15:10):
Yeah. That’s exactly right. That’s exactly right.
Ren Jones (15:14):
What about for sale by owners? You doing them?
Raj Sinha (15:18):
So, yes. I’ve converted some for sale by owners. I do call for sale owners. I have great scripts for that, and I have a follow up system for them. So, I will go in, because you could preview their property and see how it is. It’s easy… When I say long game, it’s like two to three weeks, rather than maybe that same week. Eventually they will list. Every FSBO I’ve seen lists.
Sarah Close (15:49):
Raj Sinha (15:50):
Very few, even if they say, “I’ve sold homes of my own, I can do it,” they don’t net more than they think they can. I just listed this expired last week, and I already got him 22 over asking, and he’s shocked.
Ren Jones (16:04):
You’ve got to love that. I have to make the observation, although somebody may be watching this in May or June, but because we’re in November, December, when a for sale by owner comes on the market in November or December, because that’s not what you’d normally do, they have to move and they have to move right away. Because they wouldn’t pick November or December.
Raj Sinha (16:27):
Yeah, exactly. Exactly. It’s not the normal time.
Ren Jones (16:30):
There’s a hand raise if I’ve ever seen one. They’re going to want to list with an agent, because they’re on a short timetable.
Raj Sinha (16:38):
They really are. Like we were saying about cutting the timetable in half, I really feel with them, they say, “Call me back in a month.” For them you call back in a week.
Ren Jones (16:48):
I don’t even know if I’d wait a week. Yeah. Because who lists their house over Thanksgiving or Christmas? Unless you have to be somewhere pretty quickly. The other thing is, when you think about the mindset of a for sale by owner, they’re thinking, “Oh, this is the wrong time to do this.” So, they’re going to really be open.
Raj Sinha (17:08):
There’s something compelling that’s pushing them to do it. I feel like, for them, I’ll call on Mondays and say, “Hey, how was your open house?” “Oh, we decided not to do it.” Or you look at their online listing and they don’t even have a picture. It’s like a picture from a map, and they’re like, “We’re not ready yet.” It’s like, okay. You’ve been on market for 35 days, when are you ready? When are you ready? With them, I’m ramping up more on that. I’ve tried to focus on the expireds, but for sale by owners, I think it’s just a simple follow up system, and you call them enough and you go visit them, they will list. I have converted. I converted one that specifically said, “No realtors.” I called him and he’s like, “Can you be here at four o’clock?”
Ren Jones (17:55):
Yeah. The nice thing about that, when they say that is, a whole bunch of real estate agents won’t call them. Then you do, so your numbers work a lot better. The odds of getting that one go way up.
Raj Sinha (18:06):
Ren Jones (18:07):
Because nobody else is calling them. They don’t even remember that they put that in there.
Raj Sinha (18:13):
They don’t. They don’t. He signed that day. That was the funny part.
Ren Jones (18:16):
I love that. That is fantastic. Now, what do you do on the days you don’t feel like it? You mentioned you’re watching Roadmaps, and you’re got a vision board, so you’re really working on the mindset. Anything else you want to add to the mindset piece to do it on the days you don’t feel like it?
Raj Sinha (18:31):
It’s mindset. It’s really believing in it. Everybody has the capability to do this. Everybody has the capability. Will it take calls? Sure, it’ll take maybe several hundred, but whatever. When you get that check it makes it all worth it. Vulcan makes it super easy to make those calls. You can get through those calls in two days. You’re going to get an appointment.
Ren Jones (18:58):
When you think about how you can make two, three, four, five, six, $700,000 a year, I don’t know where you can do that anywhere else. It can get exciting.
Raj Sinha (19:08):
And change a person’s life. That couple that I got, and got them a home, they had two little babies and they were, at the closing, they were in tears. They’re like, “This is our dream home.” It was just everything. So, you’re finding a purpose in this too.
Ren Jones (19:21):
Yeah. Yeah. You’re serving people, so that’s a great thing.
Sarah Close (19:25):
Ren Jones (19:26):
Yeah. Good deal.
Raj Sinha (19:27):
Or you came in our life from a cold call, and now you’re our great friend.
Ren Jones (19:31):
Anything else you’d like to share? With people looking at this, should I try this? Should I get into this? I’ve been working with buyers and writing a deal and writing a deal and writing a deal, because it takes what? 87 offers till you get a buyer deal to stick, something like that.
Raj Sinha (19:47):
Buyers take time, listings take skill. Just do it. You can continue working with buyers, but have other agents showing your listings while you’re working with buyers. Eventually you’ll tip the scale, because I don’t mind working with buyers, but this has given me the power to have more time with my family, more time with other things, control the transaction.
Ren Jones (20:13):
Because you’ve been on both sides of this. I mean a year or two, a couple years ago, you were mostly buyers. Now you’re mostly sellers. So, you’re saying you have more time with your family.
Raj Sinha (20:24):
Ren Jones (20:24):
You can control your time.
Raj Sinha (20:27):
Ren Jones (20:27):
Raj Sinha (20:27):
Absolutely. All of this and all from… I make the calls here, I’ll step in on appointments in the afternoon. Once you have the control… I’ll get the showing request. This last property I got 20 over asking, there were like 50 showings. I’m like, yes, yes, yes. I’m sitting with my son at a park. Whereas they’re physically going to the property, they’re physically going to the property, and it didn’t take that long. I met the guy, he signed it, I got top, I do great marketing and things like that. But this gives you an ability to be… Listings give you leverage. Then from one listing, everything else is born, unrepresented buyers, possibly another seller, circle prospecting. There’s so many things that come out of one listing.
Ren Jones (21:15):
I know. This is exciting. There’s been a lot of good advice on this call today, and we appreciate it so much. Raj, I appreciate what you’ve shared. I think for a lot of people that want to make the switch, you’re over here working mostly buyers, and you want to go over here and work mostly sellers, and get your life back. I mean, nothing worse than years later people looking at all the photos of the family over the years, and mom or dad, whoever the real estate agent is, that’s glued to their phone on a Saturday night, because they’re working buyer deals. Whereas if you’re a listing agent, I mean, you can leave town for two weeks, come back and have five sales.
Raj Sinha (21:55):
Yeah. Absolutely. You can have everything remote. I mean, you could be on the beach somewhere and accepting showing requests, and doing everything electronically. But even if you’re away and you have somebody wanting to see your property, you have to find somebody to show that property. You may have to compensate that person. You have to coordinate it. That buyer may be like, “Well, I want you to be here.”
Ren Jones (22:17):
Right. Exactly. I mean, yeah. Try going on vacation and putting together five buyer deals while you’re gone.
Raj Sinha (22:24):
Ren Jones (22:25):
It’s not happening.
Raj Sinha (22:26):
I did that on a cruise in 2017, on a Disney cruise in the middle of the Atlantic. I was like, “Oh, my god.” I had to pay some crazy internet price. It’s insane to be on a boat. So, it’s really given me the confidence to be a listing agent, which is honestly something for a long time I had-
Ren Jones (22:48):
Yeah. That’s awesome. You’ve been set free. Well, good deal, Raj. We appreciate this so much. This was a wonderful, wonderful experience, and I think a lot of good ideas for everybody out there. What’s the best way for them to reach you if they have a referral for Hudson County, Bergen, up that way?
Raj Sinha (23:07):
Ren Jones (23:07):
Raj Sinha (23:08):
Anytime. Easy phone at (917) 826-7000.
Ren Jones (23:14):
That’s a cell number too?
Raj Sinha (23:16):
Yeah. I got it years ago.
Ren Jones (23:18):
Yeah. You got lucky on that. (917) 826 7000.
Raj Sinha (23:22):
Ren Jones (23:23):
That’s great, Raj. Good deal. Well call Raj, and we’ll see everybody next week.
Sarah Close (23:30):
Awesome, Ron. Thanks for being with us. Very exciting to see where your business goes next year.
Raj Sinha (23:34):
Ren Jones (23:36):
We’ll be checking in with you.
Raj Sinha (23:38):
Excellent. Thank you. Glad to be here.
Ren Jones (23:40):