S8 E14: Best Prospecting Strategies For Real Estate Lead Generation
Best Prospecting Strategies For Real Estate Lead Generation Featuring Dean Clark “You have to be a hunter,” says Hoboken agent Dean Clark. “If you rely on paid sources for your leads, you’ll always be at the whim of the market.” In this Roadmap episode, Dean shares how this hunter mentality, combined with the effectiveness of Vulcan7’s data, has led his team to generate more than 125 transactions per year. As with most top sellers, Dean starts his day prospecting expired and FSBO leads, before shifting to circle prospecting his “just solds.” Interestingly, nearly a third of Dean’s transactions come via referrals from past clients. He’s built, and continuously trains, a team focused on the critical importance of follow-up and service. In his 5+ years as a listing agent, Dean has learned that a great customer experience pays huge dividends. Learn about Dean’s best strategies by watching the entire Roadmap episode.
Dean Clark (00:00):
And so one thing that I’ve always loved doing, even in my finance days before real estate, was that you have to be a hunter and you have to go out there and actually look for business. If you don’t, and you always rely on either paid sources or something else, you’re always going to be at the whims of the market. And so if it goes down, then your product production goes down. But if you stay in the game five days a week and you’re consistently generating business, what was that saying that they said like, “Whenever you generate, you don’t have to tolerate.” And so it’s so true.
Ren Jones (00:40):
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 their knowledge as quickly as you can, and then use the-
Sarah Close (01:00):
Copy cat principal.
Ren Jones (01:05):
All right, let me introduce my co-host from beautiful Camp Dennison, Ohio. Sarah Close. Hi Sarah.
Sarah Close (01:12):
Thanks for having me. Happy to be here.
Ren Jones (01:14):
How’s the real estate business.
Sarah Close (01:15):
Real estate business is great.
Ren Jones (01:16):
Good. And Sarah has the joy of having what, 550, 560 agents, something like that. Where are you?
Sarah Close (01:23):
Yeah, we’re just under 550 with the three market centers. We’ve got all the good ones.
Ren Jones (01:30):
All the good ones and you have a team. And what’s the goal for the team this year?
Sarah Close (01:34):
The goal for the team this year is 250 units.
Ren Jones (01:37):
Good. And Sarah practices what we all preach, and that’s being on the listing side of this business and calling and taking listings.
Sarah Close (01:47):
Ren Jones (01:48):
And ringing the register. Isn’t that right?
Sarah Close (01:50):
Ren Jones (01:50):
Sarah Close (01:51):
Good to be on offense.
Ren Jones (01:53):
So let’s introduce our guest today from beautiful Hoboken, New Jersey. Dean Clark, welcome Dean.
Dean Clark (02:01):
Thank you for having me.
Sarah Close (02:03):
Great to meet you, Dean. Thanks for being here.
Dean Clark (02:05):
Ren Jones (02:07):
We’re going to have some fun today. When you look at, it’s easier to list property and Dean has gone through the process of spending most of his time on that side of the business, so we’re going to learn a lot.
Sarah Close (02:20):
Dean Clark (02:21):
Yeah, looking forward to it,
Sarah Close (02:22):
Dean. So kind of start us off, tell us a little bit about your path to the field of real estate and what that’s looked like since you’ve been part of the crew here and how your business has evolved during that time as well.
Dean Clark (02:35):
Absolutely. So I was on a team as a buyer’s agent actually for the first about six years or so of my career, just doing whatever it took to just put a deal together. And then when I left that team about five years ago in 2017, I was with Coldwell Banker before I went to RE/MAX here in Hoboken. And I was on my own before a coach and this was just kind of me figuring it out.
But I did what I did before what I knew, which was paying for leads and just working buyers. And that’s pretty much all I knew. But then I went on my own. I had no coach at all. So I always consistently did you know about on my own for the first two years from 2017, 18, I did about, from 22 to 25 million production. That was kind of my thing, but I never could break a certain transaction amount for some reason it was always in my head. So I said, “Well, who would be the best way to increase that production and go a different level?” And so obviously Mike Fares helped a lot of my colleagues here in the Hoboken area and I figured, “Hey, you know what? Let’s just see what it’s all about.” And then I got with Mike Ferry at the end of 18, and then I really started the system the beginning of 19. So this will market the first… This would be now three years in and yeah, it’s been this it’s been great.
Sarah Close (03:55):
Well it’s been quite the market to learn how to be a listing agent. Nothing like jumping in the fire.
Dean Clark (04:00):
It was just timing. I just loved… At the time when I started, it was perfect time to learn so that now we can capitalize on a market like this.
Sarah Close (04:08):
Sure, absolutely. When you say you’ve been working the system since 2019, what does that mean to you? What does the system mean to you?
Dean Clark (04:15):
That’s a good question. To me, it just means that you’re following all the steps that are in the sales process. And what I mean by that is, diligently prospecting for business. And so one thing that I’ve always loved doing, even in my finance days before real estate, was that, you have to be a hunter and you have to go out there and actually look for business. If you don’t, and you always rely on either paid sources or something else, you’re always going to be at the whims of the market. And so if it goes down, then your production goes down. But if you stay in the game five days a week and you’re consistently generating business, what was that saying that they said, “Whenever you generate, you don’t have to tolerate.” It’s so true. And so I’ve always kept that.
Sarah Close (04:55):
Ren Jones (04:56):
And you say hunter and it’s an action, it’s also a mindset.
Dean Clark (05:01):
Ren Jones (05:01):
Dean Clark (05:03):
Ren Jones (05:03):
Can you comment on that?
Dean Clark (05:06):
I just love the game. I love going out there and I love obviously doing what I have to do to obviously get the business. For me it’s fun to start new conversations with people that I don’t know. Especially… And then also revamping past clients and database calls that I’m just calling and just being top of mind for them. It’s always so great. And so that’s kind of what I meant. The game is awesome for me.
Sarah Close (05:33):
That’s great. Tell us a little bit about the anatomy of your lead generation time. How long are you generally on the phone? Who are you calling? In what order? What scripts are you using? What tactical things could we maybe share?
Dean Clark (05:46):
So it’s always from usually nine to 12. So it’s that three hour window. If I can start a little bit earlier, 8:30, I’m usually in the office by 8:15, 8 o’clock. And I do role play at 8:30, 8:45. And then I just get myself set up and then I hit the phones at nine and I really commit the best of my ability. I try not to be distracted with emails and texts and everything. I go until 12. Then from 12 to about two, I’ll either shoot a video from my social pages or we’ll do something else in terms of just a team thing that we have to get trained on. And then depending upon the day, I’ll have appointments set up for that day or additional prospecting if I need specific calls for it.
Sarah Close (06:29):
Yeah, that’s awesome. So within that nine to 12 timeframe, do you have a hierarchy or I guess a checklist that you follow as far as who you call?
Dean Clark (06:39):
Yes, actually I-
Sarah Close (06:40):
Who you going after?
Dean Clark (06:41):
Yeah. Well, first thing is Expireds, get them early, as soon as you can. That’s just tried and true. So I go to Expireds, all the new FSBO’s, then I go straight to my database after that and I start from past clients, go to Sphere, and then I go to any agent referrals that I’ve connected with. And then from there, that takes me to about 11 o’clock or so. And then from 11 to 12, I’m either calling any in internet lead sources that I’m getting from other sources there. And also a mix of just sold. And one of the things that my coach let me know about is wherever you can find your contact, just go and get it. So if you need more contacts, then call multiple sources. And so I try to hit five to six sources in a session for three hours.
Sarah Close (07:25):
So tell us what a just sold call means for you? What script do you use and who do you call around?
Dean Clark (07:34):
The just sold calls have been huge for us. We’ve already closed, I think five deals that were just sold calls already this year. And that’s a huge number for just one source. So for us and our average price being about 650, 700 thousand. What I’ve noticed for just sold is… I use the Mike Ferry script, but I kind of tailored it in a way that made sense to me and it just about… The best way to do it is get into a street or a building or wherever, the closest into proximity that you can get to that sale, the easier it is to get a deal that I found, because I’ve gone an entire town before, I’ve gone all different directions with that. But it seems to be like, the closer to proximity to that deal, then they like, “Oh.” They start listening to you more, then you ask more for… So that’s how I usually do it.
Ren Jones (08:22):
So you’re going to do about 30, 40 sales just from just sold?
Dean Clark (08:28):
Our target is 25 minimum from just sold, about two a month is usually what we’re trying to get to.
Ren Jones (08:32):
From that category, okay.
Dean Clark (08:34):
Just from that category.
Ren Jones (08:34):
And you’re running ahead of that. Okay, good.
Dean Clark (08:38):
Yeah, so far we’re doing pretty well with that. Yeah.
Sarah Close (08:41):
That’s great. And to get those 25 units closed through that, how many people do you suspect that you will need to contact to see that kind of a conversion come through?
Dean Clark (08:50):
Yeah, so I’ve actually done all these numbers. I’m a nerd.
Sarah Close (08:53):
Dean Clark (08:54):
As far as the numbers go, so I can talk-
Sarah Close (08:55):
You’re one of those people.
Dean Clark (08:56):
I’m one of those guys. Yeah, exactly. So for every hundred contacts, one listing should come of that. That, I found in my market based on my skill level of how I talk. For me doing that, and it’s funny, one of my team members actually just started calling the list around our sales and he already had a listing appointment booked within one week of doing it. And that was the hundred to one ratio. It just seemed to work.
Sarah Close (09:23):
Dean Clark (09:25):
But I also think you have to play the numbers as well.
Ren Jones (09:28):
The one listing taken, which is really one listing sold in the market we’re in.
Sarah Close (09:31):
Yeah, no kidding.
Ren Jones (09:31):
Which is really, and what’s an average commission?
Dean Clark (09:35):
Average commission is about 15 thousand.
Ren Jones (09:39):
$15,000 divided by a hundred contacts is $150 for every conversation. Is that what you’re saying?
Dean Clark (09:49):
Sarah Close (09:49):
That’s awesome. So you a hundred contacts to get one listing. Do you mind sharing with us what you consider to be your target conversions or maybe even your actuals for some of the other categories? How many people in your database, how many deals do you expect from that? Help us color in the picture a little bit.
Dean Clark (10:08):
So my actual database, true database, the real database is about 560 people total that I have personally. That doesn’t include my team, obviously. And we have a now then of course another database of just internet sources and all the other stuff. About 3000 to 4000 there.
Sarah Close (10:27):
A names list, if you will.
Dean Clark (10:29):
Correct. Yeah, it’s just another database, but it’s colder. So from there, because I’ve been diligent with it using the Mike Ferry system, I never worked my database by the way. That was also part of the reason I was always struggling to get to a certain level. I never called, I just waited for them to call me. That was what my approach was. And so then I’ve been consistent. So now two years later, last year we did 45 deals just from past clients.
Sarah Close (10:57):
Dean Clark (10:58):
And I’ve never had that in my career, ever. So it’s huge from that perspective.
Sarah Close (11:06):
Yeah good for you.
Dean Clark (11:06):
Sarah Close (11:07):
Well you guys are obviously delivering good service if you’re getting 45 repeat or referred clients from your database. I’m curious if you can share with us, after you do a transaction what is it like to be a client for life with your organization? What kind of contacting program are you following? What does that look like?
Dean Clark (11:26):
That’s a really good question. Something we are consistently tweaking as far as how we do it. So what we do is we do about two to three emails a month that they get hit with. I haven’t direct mail campaign, I haven’t done that yet, but my coach, Kevin actually did say, “When are you going to start doing that?” Because I’ve refused to do that for so long, so I call four times a year. Sometimes I’ll call maybe four to six times a year depending upon how good the conversation was and how good of a referral source that they are source. Yeah.
Sarah Close (12:06):
Yeah. That’s awesome.
Ren Jones (12:08):
There’s more to it than that because if your service was mediocre but you were great at following up, it wouldn’t get that far. So obviously you have a high level of service and something in your whole process is exemplary. Would that be a fair statement?
Dean Clark (12:24):
Yeah, that’s a very fair statement. I made it a point to make sure that my team, I have two staff that work on the marketing side and all the transactions and listings and I train them to the highest level I can to get me to the point where I’m always on the phones. But they do what they have to do. But the service part of it is huge. And one thing that took me literally three years to be okay to delegate was that part of it because I do actually care about my clients and I actually enjoy what I’m doing.
So I never want them to have a bad experience. So customer service is huge in terms of the team. And so we have the support now to do this and we have the training and I role play with my assistants to now, I actually role play this out to where my whole team, everyone role plays in every situation, inspections, appraisals, you name it. And so that way, the level of service, if I can’t be there all, because I can’t be there all the time, so how do I duplicate that process? And that’s how I did it.
Ren Jones (13:20):
Well clearly they feel well cared for or you wouldn’t have numbers like that.
Dean Clark (13:24):
That’s what I like to think. Yeah.
Sarah Close (13:27):
That’s great. Talk to us a little bit about how you went from buyer agent to solo. So what were your steps in getting from zero to 60 as far as the structure of your team and who was helping you do it?
Dean Clark (13:46):
When I was on the team, that was more of just like I was an agent on the team. I had support, I had direct access to all that, but I didn’t really learn too much in the business. So to get me from where I was a solo practitioner in that first year, to figure it out, it took me at least three to four assistants to get the right one. And it wasn’t like it was overnight. And now I have Teddy who has been lights out in terms of, she has grown with me in a way. So she’s been with me now for over three years. And it’s a testament also.
And I want also to create the environment. This is a thought that I have constantly is that, anyone on the team, that I want them to feel safe and I want them to feel like they’re in a good spot of growth also. So because what I realized on my former team, I learned so many lessons on my former team. So being on a team actually you can really learn from what not to do. And that’s kind of where I came from. And so I’m doing everything pretty much opposite of what I learned not to do. And I mean people stay for a long period of time it seems like. To me I love that and I’ve always wanted to do something like this in that way.
Sarah Close (14:55):
So what is Teddy’s title in your organization?
Dean Clark (14:59):
So she’s really my partner, basically to clients and to other agents. She’s my listing partner. Really to the team, she’s a team manager.
Sarah Close (15:09):
Dean Clark (15:09):
She manages everybody she checks in, holds everyone accountable. That’s her role of what she does there.
Sarah Close (15:15):
So she’s overseeing the sales part of the organization. Does she also oversee the operations part of the organization?
Dean Clark (15:20):
Yes. So she does and she’s handling the listing coordination side, the majority of the transaction management. And so there’s a lot of hats that she’s wearing right now. I mean eventually we are going to get to the place where we can now hire out from there, which we do have Joey, who’s our next in line to basically take over a lot of the transaction managing part of it. Because I feel like the listing coordination side, that’s really where there has to be communication because if you get five offers in the first week and you don’t know how to handle that conversation to the seller. It can as you know, but for me to have that conversation, I really don’t think I need to have that conversation anymore. I think Teddy can do it and that’s what we’re training her to be. So it’s all steps in the high level, hierarchy of how we do it.
Sarah Close (16:08):
So she’s handling your negotiations as well?
Dean Clark (16:11):
Sarah Close (16:11):
As far as that goes. Okay. So then Teddy, you’ve got Joey that’s backing up Teddy.
Dean Clark (16:16):
Sarah Close (16:16):
And then what do you look like-
Dean Clark (16:17):
And then does all the marketing.
Sarah Close (16:19):
Okay. And then on your sales side, what do you look like?
Dean Clark (16:22):
Three agents right now? We just hired a third in December. We had a second come in part-time in the middle of last year. But it was a part-time basis really. It wasn’t like a full-on thing. And I’ve had Veronica, who is my head buyer’s agent really. And she’s been with me since, so it’s about a little over 18 months now. So almost two years. And she works basically all my database buyers and then my other two basically do all the Zillow, realtor.com, everything else that’s in the process.
Sarah Close (16:53):
Awesome. And you’re handling all the listings exclusively?
Dean Clark (16:56):
Sarah Close (16:56):
Awesome. Great deal. How do you guys work the transition? If you have been working with a client as a seller, now they’re ready to buy. What does that transition look like inside your organization? How are they prepared for it? What is the script that’s shared? I know that can be a break in the system a lot of times on some of the teams.
Dean Clark (17:15):
Yeah, it’s more of a mindset from me honestly. I struggled with the mindset of giving up both sides of the deal when I had the listing. I learned a lot to be okay with delegation in that way to where I’m comfortable, it’s not even I thought anymore. I just have the conversation like, “Hey, I that we’re selling the property now, so great news. I’m going to put you in touch with my partner.” That’s how I always refer to everyone on my team. “My partner Veronica, to help you on the buy side. I’m going to make the connection a little bit. Is that okay?, Great. Boom. Done. It’s just very easy now to do that.
Sarah Close (17:53):
That’s great, very good.
Ren Jones (17:54):
And if you run the math, I know there’s a temptation. You sell their” $600,000 house and then they want to buy 4 million and you’re like, I think I’ll work this one.” But then you’re out for two or three weeks and you don’t take five listings.
Dean Clark (18:11):
Well that’s the decision I had to make as well, Ren. So as an example, my team knows I don’t work with any buyers really anymore. I’m done with that. That processes, I’m out of it. And I want it to be that way.
Ren Jones (18:24):
If you run the math, it breaks your stride and you think you’re coming out ahead, but you’re not.
Dean Clark (18:29):
Long term. It doesn’t pay. But in the moment it can very well like-
Ren Jones (18:34):
It can be tempting yeah. If you really need it, yeah the short term.
Dean Clark (18:39):
Yeah. Because the market’s now getting higher and now the city here in New York City area is now growing again. Where it wasn’t this way two years ago, mind you, I mean we went down 10, 15% where everyone else was blowing up. So we’re just coming out of that and we’re actually going up this way. So we’re putting a deal together. One of my past clients, we’re selling his place, just like what you said as well, he’s buying a million dollar property right now and I could have easily just shown it one time and be done. But it’s not about that. It’s about everyone has their place.
Ren Jones (19:07):
Yeah. There’s a rhythm, there’s a stride. And generally speaking, that’s what kills a lot of teams. They get rolling and then some of their listening sell and then they have these people that have nowhere to go and they get a little greedy and then they stop doing what made them the money and build up the team in the first place and then it goes back down. So we have to be real careful there.
Dean Clark (19:27):
And we have a saying here in the group, is, we drop the E and go. So there’s no ego. Just drop the E, go.
Ren Jones (19:35):
Yeah. Drop the E and go. I like that. I like that a lot.
Dean Clark (19:39):
Sarah Close (19:40):
Well, language is important. It sounds like you guys have kind of a vernacular with inside of your organization that is sending the right message to your clients and also to your team members. That’s some nice longevity with those guys.
Dean Clark (19:52):
Yeah. So far, so good.
Sarah Close (19:53):
It’s nicely done. It doesn’t always happen that way as Ren tell you.
Dean Clark (19:57):
Oh, for sure. Yeah, a lot of-
Sarah Close (20:00):
A lot of these.
Dean Clark (20:01):
Ren Jones (20:02):
You got some good stuff going on, good. And a lot of people like to move up where you are and we should set, get them to reach out to you. What’s the best way for people to reach out to you?
Dean Clark (20:13):
Yeah, you could just call me, text me, email. Hit me up on a DM on Instagram, if you follow us. dean@deanclark group.com. And number 201-240-8319.
Sarah Close (20:28):
Okay, now you got to slow it down for some of us that are from the south.
Ren Jones (20:32):
Yeah, there are going to be some people in the south listening and they’re going to wonder, “What’d he say? Oh, he’s from New York.” Ok, one more time.
Dean Clark (20:41):
So cell number 201-240-8319.
Ren Jones (20:42):
Dean Clark (20:47):
And my email is email@example.com. No E at the end of Clark.
Ren Jones (20:54):
And then y’all, right something-
Dean Clark (20:56):
Sarah Close (20:56):
There’s no y’all. Perfect y’all, yeah.
Dean Clark (20:59):
Sarah Close (21:00):
That’s awesome. So what are your aspirations for 2022? What is the goal for this year? And now we have some unit goals from different categories. What is the overarching?
Dean Clark (21:12):
So 75 listing side sales for me and Teddy and 50 deals from the team. So 125 total, which would represent in our market about 1.55.
Ren Jones (21:26):
Sarah Close (21:26):
That’s great. Very nice. And I’m curious, when you think about end of year 2021 to end of year 2022, and you’re looking at that kind of a jump in your production, what are the two or three key areas that you working with Teddy and your team have said, “Okay, this is where we need to really up our game or make a change or buy a tool.” What are the changes you’re making to guarantee that you’re getting that amperage?
Dean Clark (21:55):
It’s just a consistent effort. We try to do a meeting one time a month to make sure that we’re covering all bases in the aspects of customer service and what can we improve upon. So it is a constant effort to talk about different ideas on that. So it’s more of just brainstorming sessions that we do and that’s how we usually come up with ideas. And also being connected with other great agents throughout this organization.
And obviously using the… I’ve used Vulcan7 literally for probably at least six, seven years, at least. So to me is the biggest, and not to have a plug in here, but this is, it’s the reality is that Vulcan7 has the best data I’ve tested out in every single one. Yeah. So that’s why I’ve been using the system. But even through here and through Mike Ferry and everywhere else, you get great ideas. And so if it’s a great idea, I’m one to take action as soon as possible. You don’t want to wait. A lot of agents kind of sulk and be like, “oh, is that a good idea?” If it makes sense to you, just run with it. So anyway.
Sarah Close (22:58):
That’s awesome. So kind of an organic growth with more of the same good stuff you’ve been doing.
Dean Clark (23:03):
Ren Jones (23:04):
Awesome. Fantastic. That’s fantastic. You got that. The best of all worlds going on there and a great place to live too. Fun place. Good-
Dean Clark (23:13):
Yeah, a lot of good culture.
Ren Jones (23:16):
Good. Anything else we should cover? Got the mindset piece down. You got the whole thing. Good. This is exciting. We really appreciate this. This is going to help a lot of people get back on track. What’s that? They say if you’re on the right track but you’re not moving, you’re going to get run over. Something like.
Dean Clark (23:32):
Yeah, a hundred percent. Yes.
Sarah Close (23:36):
That’s kind of depressing but okay. And accurate.
Ren Jones (23:41):
Sarah Close (23:42):
So before you leave us Dean, one piece of advice you’d give to an agent starting out newly minted as so many are right now. What would be your signature sign off piece of advice for license number 2 0 2 2.
Dean Clark (23:56):
Stop overthinking it. Stay consistent.
Sarah Close (24:01):
Good, good. I love it. Love that. Yeah, good deal. Well we appreciate it. I appreciate it so much. Thanks, you. Thank you everybody for being here. We’ll see everybody next week.
Pleasure to meet you. Thanks for your time. Ren, thank you for letting me be here.
Ren Jones (24:15):
And thank you for being here and thank you Dean so much.
Dean Clark (24:18):
You got it. Take care guys.
Sarah Close (24:19):
Ren Jones (24:20):