#153 Mail-Right Show With Special Guest Akbar Sheikh We Discuss Principles of Ethical Persuasion
Akbar helps you scale ethically to 7-figures using my 7 Principles of Ethical Persuasion
So far Akbar has helped 7 funnels hit 7 figures. Akbar is also a father, #1 International Best-Selling Author, philanthropist with a concentration on orphans and giving the gift of vision to blind children, and on a mission to make the world a better place one entrepreneur at a time.
Before all this, Akbar was homeless, overweight, in a terrible relationship, and I suffered from a crippling anxiety disorder.
I do what I do now because I believe that entrepreneurs are inherently good people that want to make more revenue so they can give to their families, communities, and favorite charities, hence making the world a better place.
What you can do to ethically scale to 7 figures:
Watch the free masterclass to learn the exact steps I used recently to take SEVEN funnels to 7-figures
Join the free Facebook group where ethical entrepreneurs unite to give each other the secrets of scaling to 7 figures and beyond
Here’s A Full Transcription of Our Interview With Akbar
Jonathan: Welcome back folks to the Mail-Right Show. This is episode 153. We’ve got a great guest. We’ve got Akbar Sheikh, the Ethical Persuader as I call him. Akbar, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to our listeners and viewers?
Akbar: Sure. My name’s Akbar Sheikh. I’m from Dallas, Texas. Well, we like entrepreneurs. We think they’re inherently good people so we like to help them scale and we like to help them generate more income because we know they’re going to take a portion of that revenue, give it to their families, communities and favorite charities, hence making the world a better place.
Jonathan: That’s great Akbar. As we were discussing in the pre-show chat, I thought my first question was if you were a Real Estate Agent in 2018 and you were starting off, what would be some of the tactics and methodologies that you might use to build up your leads and your client base?
Akbar: Yeah. It’s interesting. It’s real interesting. I was looking for a Realtor recently and I actually just found one and I’ve worked with several Realtors. I’m really not impressed with any of them. I’m impressed with this one. For me, let’s look at a few things. A. How did I start working with this Realtor? I’m actually going to write this so I don’t forget. How did I start working with this Realtor? Well, somebody on Facebook, she works with a friend of mine on Facebook and my friend had a very positive experience with her so she gave her a shoutout on Facebook. She said, “Hey. Just closed a great deal. My Realtor’s awesome.
” How did that happen? Now, you can ask for that stuff because buying a house, selling a house is daunting. If you do a good job for someone, the reciprocity, which is one most powerful principles of persuasion in the world, is there. The person you helped wants to help you back. They want to refer you. So what you tell them is, “Hey. Listen, give me a shoutout on Facebook. Tell everybody your experiences about me.” People are 70 percent more likely to use someone that’s been recommended. So, if you go on Facebook and you see your Uncle whose local or your cousin or a friend or whatever, had a phenomenal experience with their Realtor and you need one, what are you going to do?
You going to contact them? But then on social media, it’s a larger network. Now, it’s interesting. When I clicked on this Realtor, actually, I clicked on their profile and the profile said, “Father of four kids, Texas Realtor.” Now, I never would have contacted this person if I never got that recommendation because their profile tells me nothing. Father of four which, okay, I mean, I’m a father of two. The fact that you’re a father of four doesn’t mean much to me and you’re a Texas Realtor, meaningless because I know you’re a Realtor.
Now, it depends. Who are you working with? For me, for example, I’m an entrepreneur. What does that mean? That means I want stuff done quickly. That means I want stuff under market value. That’s me. I’m an entrepreneur. Maybe you don’t work with entrepreneurs. Maybe you work with regular 9 to 5ers, then you have to see what’s important to them. So, for example, if I was a Realtor who’s going after entrepreneurs, I would say on my profile, “I am,” you know, you just be truthful. Obviously, as a Realtor, you have some sort of skill-set. “I get you in homes quickly under market value.” And I’m like, “Yeah. That’s exactly what I want.” Message, “I want to talk to you.” You’re saying exactly what I want to hear. You’re telling me you’re going to get me something quick. You’re telling me you’re going to get me something under market value. Love it. I’m with you. Now, that’s just an entrepreneur target audience. Maybe you have a different target audience but you have to just speak to them. When you say, “Father of four, Texas Realtor,” you’re not targeting anybody because you’re not showing anything. It’s basically useless.
So, people are searching on all social media. You have to make sure that your message is there because everyone else is saying the same thing. “Friendly Realtor,” or, “California Realtor,” or, “Let me help you with your Real Estate needs,” all useless, all useless. So, if you actually give a specific message, a niche message, then that will help you. Now, for me, again, I’m an entrepreneur. I need a different kind of person. I need the kind of person who responds late at night or early in the morning, doesn’t maintain 9 to 5 hours. That’s the kind of person I like to work with. Maybe the normal 9 to 5 people, maybe they respect those boundaries, maybe they’re fine with that context. So you need to know what your audience wants and you need to be willing to give them that. It’s interesting because I had a goal of getting a six-pack on my stomach. I wanted to be nice and fit so I started doing kickboxing and I was doing it.
Jonathan: Funny enough Akbar, my wife does that on me.
Akbar: Yeah. You’re not alone. I’m doing it and the most interesting thing happened. A matter of fact, I have the Groupon here. I’ve saved it because I going to frame it. Let me see if there is any sensitive information. Here’s the Groupon. I’m going to frame this actually. And for those of you who don’t know what Groupon is, it’s just a coupon for kickboxing and I’m not a big coupon person but anyway, I should be. Here’s the thing. Right in the middle of class, this is my third class, right in middle I get up, I take my gloves, I don’t talk to anyone, I walk right out. And the reason was is because I hate it. I said, “Man, I hate this.” I actually have lost 70 pounds. I know what it takes to get a six-pack. I know the work needed to get a six-pack. Guess what? And I think this is beautiful and this should be celebrated.
Some people don’t understand this because they think that you gave up, that’s shameful, like you walked out of class, you gave up, that’s bad. I say it’s good because I know the work needed to get a six-pack and guess what? I’m not willing to put in that work. So, I’ve come up with that realization that, “Hey, guess what? That’s not me.” Now, at that point, you have to change your goals, which is what I did. I changed my goals to just be healthy, which I know what it takes to be healthy, which is basically just eating right and walking briskly 30 minutes a day. Again, talk to your own doctor. I’m willing to do that and I have been doing that. You see I’ve got all these nuts and all these healthy snacks and stuff and just drinking a lot of water. Know what your limits are. So, if you want to target entrepreneurs but you want to maintain a 9 to 5 boundary, you’re targeting the wrong dude.
Jonathan: Definitely, definitely.
Akbar: But honestly, it’s easy man. I always salivate thinking about it. I think I’d crush it as a Realtor, to be honest with you just because most Realtors just don’t have any idea how to market themselves. They just don’t. You’re lucky because your competition stinks too. They just don’t know how to market themselves. Even that one little tip I gave you about messaging. You’re way ahead of your competition. Then, of course, it’s a (inaudible 07:56). People are like, “Oh. I get a lot of referral business.” But when you get referral business on social media, it’s a lot bigger.” The old school way is, “Oh. I helped this guy buy a house.” Then, he tells his neighbor. He tells his friend. On social media, you’re telling a whole lot of people. You can get a whole lot more referrals. Do you know what I mean? I mean, I’m a shark, right? I would be competitive. I would charge a lower rate in the beginning. I would charge a lower rate in the beginning. Then, I would get a brand. I would get a good following.
Then, I would probably raise my rate because then I would establish myself as the best. “You want a property quick, under market? I’m the best.” And I charge accordingly. And guess what? Entrepreneurs like myself are willing to pay top dollar to get top service. Again, I’m just giving you an example. Another thing about Realtors is content marketing. They should be advertising on Facebook locally. They should be putting together a Facebook group. They should be putting out content in the other localized groups how to get a house under market, how to get a house quickly or whatever your specialty is. Put the content out there and people will flock to you and then do Facebook lives. Talk about, “Oh. Today I closed the house and this is the story. I closed the house today. I got a new client.” Show yourself as that expert. You’re basically building a brand. There’s no reason you can’t do 7 figures as a Realtor. Your competition stinks. Everybody needs a house. Few people are properly utilizing social media. It’s a wild wild west right now.
Jonathan: Yeah. I think you covered so many interesting areas there Akbar. Thank you so much.
Akbar: Yeah. It’s my pleasure.
Jonathan: Just to take the example of your Realtor in Texas, depending on which part of Texas he’s in, he could market himself that he specializes in ranches, ranches of like 5 to 15 acres and he specializes, “If you’re looking for that architectural ranch setup on the outskirts of a major city, I’m your man.” And by choosing that specific niche, then all his social media content should be around what’s going on in the ranch market, pictures of people that he’s meeting that have ranches, clients that he’s helped by ranches. It should really be all about ranches. Would you agree about that?
Akbar: Yeah. He should be known as that ranch dude. He should be associated with that. Here’s the thing. People might think, “If I’m known as just a ranch guy, then I’m eliminating all the people who want, whatever, (inaudible 11:01).” People have got to understand that there’s a lot more in the niche. Don’t think about all that, what you’re missing. There’s a lot more money in the niche than being a, what do they call it?
Akbar: A generalist or like a, what do they call like a, “I do a little bit of everything but I’m a master of none.” You know what I mean?
Jonathan: Well, it’s so tempting, isn’t it, you know, for the reason you’ve just explained because you get worried, especially at the beginning and it’s counterintuitive, isn’t it, Akbar? It really is very counterintuitive by finding a niche and I see that as one of the most major problems with so many Real Estates Agents and Realtors, even those that have been in the industry a reasonably long time is that they haven’t found that effective niche and that’s why their marketing is very ineffective.
Akbar: Yeah. Absolutely correct. And then like, you know, they should have email lists. They should have bot lists. It’s interesting. They need to get on social media. I think a lot of them don’t know how to. That would be a good business for someone to start is like, “Hey. We help Realtors get on social media.”
Jonathan: Well, funny enough, that’s what Mail-Right does actually.
Akbar: Is that what you guys do?
Jonathan: Well, specifically with Facebook. We have a SaaS product where we provide landing pages, a set of Drip email.
Jonathan: Also, we provide social media content that can be automatically pushed to an Agent’s Facebook page and Instagram but it’s all focused for providing a set of tools to that Agent, Realtor to help them market on social media and also generate leads through Facebook advertising.
Jonathan: So, that’s our platform.
Jonathan: We eat our own cat food really. I have niched the product to a specific industry and then we market to that Agent that’s been in the industry between 1 to 5 years. That’s our target, our audience. So I’m not telling you the audience and listeners to do what I don’t believe in myself. This is why I resonate so much with what you’ve been saying. I totally believe that if you want success in 2018 in any kind of business, you’ve got to find that niche, haven’t you?
Akbar: Yeah. I know. That’s a phenomenal service you offer really. It’s much much needed. Gosh. I haven’t seen any Realtor get on social media actually now that I think about it. That’s a great service you offer. I think people should really take advantage of it.
Jonathan: Well, it’s a little bit tricky, isn’t it, because let’s take Facebook. If you don’t utilize paid advertisement or you don’t do a lot of video, your Facebook page, your posts aren’t going to get a lot of views. I would suggest that you’re probably going to have to use your profile and bit.
Akbar: Yeah. That’s what I do.
Jonathan: Well, this is the tricky bit. I’d love to hear, before we go for our break, to hear what you say about this. This is the tricky bit. How do you find that balance in utilizing your personal profile but also, you know, it’s a personal profile so the terms and conditions of Facebook, you can’t use it for direct marketing but you’re an entrepreneur so your business is your life. So, have you got any insights how you could use your profile effectively without breaking the terms and conditions of Facebook?
Akbar: Yeah. I mean, look, it’s a very interesting point. It’s a very, very interesting point. There’s got to be a balance. There’s a business page. There’s a business group. There’s Facebook groups. There’s your personal profile. But, no. I mean, look, you can actually talk about your life. You’re a Realtor. You can absolutely talk about your life and give tips and stuff like that. It’s probably, just say like you can’t try to do a live webinar and sell something. You know what I mean?
Akbar: Yeah. I think you’re very much free to give people Real Estate tips and all sorts of things of that nature.
Jonathan: Yeah. I don’t think they can hit you too hard as long as it’s not blatant marketing because you are a Realtor, aren’t you? That is your life, isn’t it?
Akbar: Yeah, absolutely.
Jonathan: And you’re going to talk about that in your personal profile, aren’t you?
Akbar: Yeah, absolutely.
Jonathan: I think we’re going to go for our break and when we come back, I’ve almost agreed with everything Akbar has said already, and we’re going to delve a bit more into some of the key areas that he covers on his online content. We will be back in a few moments folks.
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Jonathan: We’ve had a great discussion. I’ve enjoyed it so far. So, let’s go into the Ethical Persuader. Would you like to talk a bit about that whole concept of ethical persuasion and what you’ve learned in your own journey about persuasion actually?
Akbar: You know, it’s interesting. We were doing a background check on someone yesterday and it was disgusting, on a website.
Jonathan: It wasn’t me, was it? No. I’m totally open. I’ve not been a bad boy.
Akbar: No. Not their report. The report wasn’t disgusting. The website was disgusting. First of all, we put in someone’s name. It’s like, “Okay. We need a background check on somebody.” It did a bunch of fake downloading. “Okay. We’re scanning this person’s criminal records. We’re scanning this person’s personal records. We’re scanning wherever they live.” Nonsense because that information is instantaneous. They do that on purpose to just delay the process to keep people engaged, to keep people hooked. Then, it was like, “Hey. Warning. These reports may contain embarrassing details about this person. Are you okay to see that?” Yes. “Warning. There may be graphic, very personal details that they don’t anyone to know. Are you okay to see that?” All lies and bs and principles of persuasion, not ethical but they’re principles of, tapping into everyone’s like, “Yeah. Of course.” If you’re looking up like your boyfriend or girlfriend or whatever, of course, you want to see those embarrassing details. Like yes. Now, you’re salivating. Yes, you want it, like, “Oh my God. Yes.” All lies, all bs.
They put you through 100 steps because at the end, guess what? They charge you for it. So, basically, they’re (inaudible 18:47), “Okay now. Now, by the way, you’re going to see everywhere they’ve ever lived and we don’t hide anything. It’s very in-depth.” These are unethical principles of persuasion. Now, you can do the same things ethically. Social proof. Put an honest, nice testimony. Scarcity. Give them an honest like, “Hey. Listen,” as a Realtor, “Hey. Deals go quickly,” and give them statistics. “On an average, deals are gone in 3 days so you want something? You’ve got to get it now.” That’s honest scarcity. Honest testimony. “Hey. I was working with Mark. Oh my God. This Realtor knew exactly what I wanted. They showed me my dream houses and he got me a great deal very quickly.” Hitting all the pain points. You want to obliterate all pain points. You want to obliterate all objections.
Jonathan: I just want to interrupt there. I just want to see if you agree with this. One thing I would criticize about my route in Online Marketing and also a lot of Real Estate Agents and Realtors, I don’t really think they really understand their clients, their pains, their wants. They just presume they know. I don’t feel that they really do and it’s taken me to realize that I’ve got to spend time. If I’m entering a new market or I’m branding myself, I’ve really got to make a sizeable amount of time to really attempt to understand my target audience. What do you think about that?
Akbar: You would know your target audience like the back of your hand and you should know them better than they know themselves. When you talk to them, they should be like, “Oh my God. Has this dude been reading my diary?” You need to know exactly what their pain points are and exactly what their wants are, exactly where they want to be. For a Realtor, that’s not hard man because the best way to do this is to talk to your target audience and that’s what Realtors are doing all day. They’re talking to them.
Jonathan: I’m sorry to interrupt there. I think I caught you in mid-thought there but I just wanted to point out because I really think that if you don’t get that, doing all the other excellent things we’ve discussed isn’t going to get the results that you hope for. I just wanted to point that out. So, let’s get back to the ethical persuasion. Sorry.
Akbar: Yeah. No, I mean, present yourself as an authority. “Hey. We closed 30 houses this month,” or whatever. Present yourself as that dude because sometimes, again, it depends on your niche. A lot of people want to work with the best. A lot of people want to work with someone who knows what they’re. Do you know what I mean? So you want to show yourself as an authority. You must have something. You must have some award or something, some sort of authority, something that shows that you’re really good at what you do. And if you don’t, then you need to fine-tune your skills a little bit before you start marketing.
You need to fine-tune your skills a little bit. Get a little bit of success organically and then it’s easier to start marketing or do it in baby steps. So you know, authority, scarcity, likeability, show your personality, show that you would be a nice person to work with, an understanding person to work with that listens more than they talk. You know what I mean? Things of this nature is the ethical principles of persuasion.
Jonathan: Do you think you, because we covered it in our discussion last week that a lot of Agents, for understandable reasons, want to come across a little bit bland. I don’t mean you should delve into politics or something. But what I mean is that they just want to come across as a bit bland and they won’t upset anybody. They won’t reject any possible client that comes their way. But by doing that, they just become another Agent. They just become a commodity. What’s your thoughts about that?
Akbar: Yeah. It goes back to that thing about the niche, right? People who are afraid of niching down. They’re afraid of losing people that are not in the niche. I think the most profitable person you can be is yourself. As a matter of fact, if I ever say anything about my thoughts or my beliefs or whatever, I’m not afraid to say any of it all on Facebook because some people might unfriend me. For example, there was a hotdog eating contest on ESPN last week. I thought the whole thing was stupid. I was like, “Dude, this is so stupid. This guy ate 73 hotdogs. You have a bunch of people cheering him on. This is not what society is about. This is gluttony. This is about greed. People should not be cheering this on.
This is a sad thing. This is excessive behavior.” And a lot of people agreed with me. First of all, some people disagreed with me and they’re no longer friends with me on Facebook because they disagreed very strongly with me. They don’t follow me anymore. But then, other people agreed very strongly with me and those people now feel closer to me. Do you know what I mean? So it’s about building your tribe of like-minded people who really resonate with you. Because not only do people buy from those that they like and trust but they also buy into what you believe. So, I honestly tell people the most profitable person you can be is really yourself.
Jonathan: I love that actually. Where’s the balance though? A lot of Real Estate Agents and Realtors are going to be listening to this and then think it’s so counterintuitive that. I’m not trying to be nasty to anybody but you see a lot of Agents that have very outdated photos. They have a kind of persona. And also, would you agree, I think it’s a little bit harder for a woman. The Real Estate industry is dominated by women. Do you think it’s a little bit harder for a woman to do some of the things we’ve just discussed?
Akbar: No, I don’t.
Jonathan: No. You think it’s just as effective.
Akbar: I think there’s no difference at all.
Akbar: I think there’s no difference at all. I think if anything, women have a little bit more of an advantage. They say, “Well, who makes the best CEOs?” Females. I would prefer to work with a female Realtor. Why? I think they’re going to work harder. I think they’re going to be smarter and I think that they’re going to be more organized and I think they’re going to be more on top of things. As a matter of fact, the Realtor I’ve chosen is female.
Jonathan: All right. That’s really fascinating. Thank you for being so frank about that. When it comes to persuasion, obviously, you’ve got two parts for an Agent. You actually attract somebody, somebody’s recommended you on social media or you’ve done some advert or some content’s attracted a possible client. And then, you have that first meeting, that meeting where you attempt to persuade them to sign up with you. Have you got any insights about some of the factors that will make that meeting successful?
Akbar: Yeah. I mean, God, I did this. I went to an open house recently and it was pathetic. The Realtor was trying to get us to sign up with them and they gave us no reason to. They’re like, “Hey. Well, look, I can help show you some houses. If you just want to work with me, just sign this paperwork.” And I was like, “Dude. This Realtor can’t be doing well.” It’s like this. It’s like going on a date, first date and asking someone, in essence, what you’re doing is on a first date, you’re asking someone to marry you. Now, the problem is a lot of these people, they’re just going up to some random person at the bar and say, “Hey, will you marry me?” Like, of course, the answer is going to be no. You’re probably going to get a slap in the face. You know what I mean? The thing is now you’re talking about a lot of the principles of persuasion. It’s the first meeting. How are you going to get them to sign up with you?
Put them at ease. Listen and show them that you understand. Make it about them. Number 1. What is it that you’re exactly looking for? What’s your dream home? And write everything down. And then, guess what? First, diagnose the problem. What’s your story? Why do you want to move? What does your dream house look like? What is your budget? What’s your time frame? Ask that in a very friendly manner, like you’re a friend trying to help them out. Then, once you diagnose the situation, for example, me, why am I moving? Well, we’re in a loft and I have two kids and there’s not enough space and they’re nuts at home. I need a backyard. We need a little bit more space. I actually want to start working from home. And then, you repeat it to them so that they understand that you get it. “Okay. So, you’re looking for a nice, safe house. You’re looking for a nice yard for the kids to enjoy. You’re looking for maybe like a nice little office for yourself. Just a little bit bigger so you can enjoy your life.” And they’ll be like, “Yes. Exactly.” Like, you get it. Do you know what I mean?
Then, there’s a connection. And then, you tell them. You look them right in the eye and say, “Listen, I can totally help you with this. We could start right away and we can go at your own pace. You want to go quickly, you want to go slowly, at your own pace and I’m going to be here for you 100 percent.” Give them the blueprint. “I’m available for you,” whatever, 9 to 9, 9 to 5, whatever. “You can contact me directly on my cell or right on Facebook. I’m going to show you things. You tell me exactly what you want to see. We’re going to take a look at it. I’m going to negotiate the best deal for you and have your best interest at heart. I know exactly what you want and we’ll make it happen. We’ve done so far 50 people in the past 30 days,” whatever. Add some authority. “Just sign right here and let’s start getting you into your dream house.”
Jonathan: Oh. I’m just about to sign myself actually. You mesmerized me there a little bit. We’re going to finish up the podcast part of the show folks. Hopefully, Akbar is going to stay on. He’s actually got a fascinating personal story connected to his own personal challenges which he’s been very public about so I’m going to ask him, hopefully, some questions about that and what he’s learned about his own personal journey which is fascinating actually. Akbar, how can people find out more about you and what you’re up to?
Akbar: You know, honestly, the best thing is, two things. Follow me on Facebook. Number 1. Number 2 is, I actually have a book, a best-selling book called 7 Figure Funnels and it will talk to you a lot about these persuasions and it will talk to you a lot about how to increase your practice as a Realtor. It’s $47 on Amazon right now but I’d love to give it to your audience for free. If you just go to 7figurebook.com and then you go ahead and enjoy that book.
Jonathan: That’s very generous of you. I’ll be tempted to get it myself actually. If you want to find out more about me or have a chat, you can go to the Mail-Right website. You can book a 30-minute consultation with me directly and we’ll talk about how to put your Online Marketing and do some of the things we’ve discussed during this interview and that’s totally free or if you want to see some of the other interviews that we’ve done with similar great experts, you can go to the Mail-Right website and there’s a full library of interviews. It’s almost like a university course 101 in Real Estate Marketing and it’s well worth your effort to look at those videos because they’re some of the best experts in the industry and in marketing in general. Akbar, I really have enjoyed our discussion. It’s been fantastic. I think we’ve actually touched some of the core things that are rare to a Real Estate Agent has to get right in 2018 and I thank you for coming on the show and we’ll see next week folks where we’re going to have another expert which should help you grow your Real Estate business. We’ll see you next week folks. Bye.