#164 Mail-Right Show We Discuss Internal & Marketing Processes
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If Want To Be a Truly Successful Real Estate Agent You Need To Develop Internal & External Processes!
Jonathan: Welcome back folks to the Mail-Right Show. It’s episode 164. We’re doing an internal show the week folks. I’m in holiday vacation mindset because I’ve gone back to the UK. So if you’re watching the video, that’s why you can’t see me because it was using up too much bandwidth. But it’s going to be a great show folks. We’ve got a good subject. We’re going to be talking about internal processes and I’ve got my great co-host, Robert Newman. Robert, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?
Robert: I would love to. My name is Robert Newman. I’m the founder of InboundREM Inc, which is a service provider that does SEO and Real Estate lead generation. However, my website mostly just educates people on how to do it themselves. So, if you’re looking for any of that kind of information, you can always check out the website.
Jonathan: And it’s a great resource folks. Our pre-show discussion, you suggested this great topic so would you like to do the lead in about what we’re going to be discussing during the show Robert?
Robert: I would love to. So, as Jon mentioned what we were talking about pre the show was I do occasionally consult. I consult with Agents directly and I consult with Brokers. It always comes out that the one thing that comes up in almost every single consultation that needs to get done on the Broker/Agent side is they need to set up processes. So it’s not a matter of they don’t know what to do, they just seem not to know how to do it or they have not acquired the proper tools to do it. And so, I suggested to Jon that we have a conversation about that today and he said that that works well. So, Jon, if you don’t mind, let’s just jump right into it. I would like to start off with explaining a process. Would you like to take that explanation or would you like me to?
Jonathan: No, you go for it. You go for it, Robert.
Robert: Okay. So, dear listeners, a process is when you know that you have a repetitive task, which they come up often in Digital Marketing. An example would be, let’s say you’ve created a blog post and you, in theory, know that this blog post should be promoted socially. You’ve got five different social channels. So, a process would be having either a tool in place that you can put the blog post into once, write your little introduction and it automatically populated to all five of your social channels.
Or option B, that you have a team in place where you email them and then they operate within a process and make sure that your content is distributed everywhere and leave you a notification about where you can check the work because your process says that once it’s done, they have used your tools to leave you a notification saying that whatever the work is, that your contract has been done. So, real quickly let’s dive into tools.
So, Jon, I know what I use. On the Agency side, we use Basecamp, which is a project management tool where we communicate with clients. We use Trello, where my development team has a process in place for building WordPress websites. I’ve since hired a whole team to do my social, but before I did that, I used, oh what was it called, God, who’s the really big social, Hootsuite. I used Hootsuite to do my social promotions. I now do them manually and have my team report into Basecamp. But before I was big enough to have a team, I did them out of Hootsuite.
Jonathan: That’s a good tool.
Robert: And let’s see here, what else? I use Wunderlist for day to day tasks that come up that are not processes, but they’re individual tasks that need to get accomplished. But still, if you’re a busy person, you probably have more of those come up, than you do actual process related things. And then, I use Slack for communication internally.
Jonathan: We’ve probably lost a part of our audience already, haven’t we?
Robert: You think? Okay. Take it away. Save me.
Jonathan: I don’t know. Can you explain what Slack is in a little bit more detail? I know what it is, you know what it is, but what does it do for you and your team? You said Wunderlist and I’ve never used it, but it’s very popular, Wunderlist, but what does it precisely do for you Robert and it does for your team?
Robert: Okay. So, Wunderlist, it’s like a notepad that has tasks and there’s many, many applications that have this. It’s a list application and what you do is you create lists. The difference between Wunderlist and others is you can add people to your list. So, I could create a list for you Jon and then I could say, “These are my four ideas for our next podcast,” and I’d throw them into our list and you can comment or leave notes and we would do it all through the list and it would be only related to that individual task. That’s Wunderlist. It’s a task management system. Slack is a communication tool.
What it does is it allows everybody on my team to instant message, but what it does is it makes all of the communication between everybody visible. There are private messages that you can send one on one to person to person, but there’s oftentimes things that we as a group need to discuss that are general. For instance, everybody in the company knows I’m doing a podcast right now. The way that they know that is because I put a message in the general chat box in Slack saying, “I’m getting ready to do a podcast.”
So now, all my guys can come and listen to the podcast if they want and they know that there’s one going on and Slack enabled me to communicate seamlessly and easily. I didn’t have to send out a group email. It takes 2 seconds because everybody is already where they should be inside that tool. And what’s more, my team posts what they’re working on day to day too. So it creates a sense of unity in terms of communication.
Jonathan: I think it’s a great product. I think if you’re in the kind of set up like your a main Agent and let’s say you’ve got a couple of sales junior Agents and let’s say you’ve got an administrator that helps you with all the back-end. Let’s say you’re a team of four to five and there’s a lot of those teams around. I think Slack is fantastic because they do a paid and they do a free version, but the free version has almost 90 percent of the functionality of the paid version. There are some things missing, but I think it’s almost got all the functionality and you can keep all your conversations and they’re threaded so you can see a history of the conversation really easily.
You can set up what they call channels, which are really buckets or projects, but they can be different conversations. So it’s really easy to add members or ask the administrator to add members or take them out and add them to other channels, other buckets. And it’s just a central depository which you can also search and find previous conversations and it just kind of cuts back on all the email you’re doing with an internal team and it can be a kind of like a central hub, can’t it? What do you think? You think I’m on the right track there Robert?
Robert: Yeah. I do indeed. You could create channels for individual projects. Let’s just say that you, like as a Real Estate Agent you’ve got five or six, let’s pretend for a moment that you’re doing larger, more complex types of Real Estate transactions and each one of these properties needs to have inspections and they need people to go out and there’s all sorts of things that happen with each project. So, instead of having general conversation buckets you would have, you create a channel for the project itself so that you can separate the conversation for each of your major transactions so that all those conversations and everything that had ever been said, like, “Lisa, I need you to run out to the property. The owner’s going to be by and they need to do X, Y, and Z.” And now, you have something to reference that is only related to that specific property or transaction. And then, you can close the channel down when you’re done with the deal.
Jonathan: Yeah. The other good thing about it is it has an app for Android and for iPhone. It has an app that works on your Android tablet, on your Apple tablet. It has an app which you can put on Windows or Apple desktop. The one thing I was going to ask you. So, you’re very similar to me is that you’ve also got a project management, which, in your case, you’re using Basecamp.
Jonathan: In my organization, we use something called Teamwork. They fundamentally do the same task. Why do you feel that you still have Basecamp and Slack? What functionality does the project management give you that you can’t get in Slack?
Robert: Well, mostly it just communicates with the clients. So, in Basecamp, what we’ve discovered is that it’s just a really good repository for client communication. So we create a document every time, like we match up a page inside of Basecamp when we create a page on a website. And then, we start listing all the work that we’ve done on the page. Every time that we’re listing this work in Basecamp, the client’s getting notified.
So it creates a real-time reporting system for tasks as long as my team is using Basecamp and it’s not instant messenger. It’s going into everybody’s email. It also creates a real good, overall reporting system that says, “We’ve done this on this page and we’ve sent this communication to this client.” Now, that doesn’t mean that they get it all the time, but we have something that says that we’ve sent it and Basecamp does all of that for us.
Jonathan: I just want to see if Robert agrees with this. When it comes to a Real Estate scenario folks, the difference between Basecamp, let’s say you choose Basecamp and Slack, is Basecamp, you can set up all different kinds of tasks and have a scheduler system. Wunderlist is kind of small task. Basecamp, you can have quite a multi-step task list and you can put documents in. You can attach video, PDFs, Word documents.
You can share them with certain members of the group and not other members of the group. It gives you the ability to set up a more private conversation with certain members. It’s a bit like Slack, but on steroids really. In a Real Estate scenario, you would be using something like Basecamp for the actual, let’s you had like a million dollar home you were selling and you had different members of the organization and you had a lot of different tasks and like three or four individuals that were dealing with separate parts and you were the overall head Agent or the kind of project manager of getting that home sold. So, it just gives you the ability to have control over the whole sale of that home. Do you think that’s a good synopsis really?
Robert: I think that is certainly one good way to look at it. And guys, I want to circle back around and explain what we’re really talking about here. So, Digital Marketing, which is obviously my bread and butter, that is getting online and getting traffic or leads. So, as a Real Estate Agent, let’s just say you want more leads. Well, that’s a very simple thing. But even if you’re going to pay for them, let’s just say you’re going to go to Zillow and you’re going to spend a bundle of money. Well, you’re going to then have 50 or 150 people that you need to speak to. So, a process, what we’re referring to in this over large conversation is going to be how do you address those leads. Now, everybody says, “Oh, I’m just going to use a CRM.”
That’s not a process, that is a tool. What do you do with the tool? How do you set the tool up? Do you set the tool up so that each person that comes into the tool is sent an email, a voicemail, a text message? That is a process. And that is why I’m saying, this is why I want to have the conversation. A process is a secret to Digital Marketing. You, everybody, that’s listening knows that they probably need to follow-up with a lead when they get it. But what they don’t know is how do they follow it up. What tools do they use?
Jonathan: Yeah. I think you’re making a good point there, which we haven’t made clear. You can utilize these processes for organization of your internal process, but you can also use these processes for your online marketing. We’re going to go for our break folks and when I come back, I’m going try and clarify that a little bit more and see if Robert agrees. We’ll be back in a few moments folks.
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Jonathan: We’re coming back. I’m in holiday mood. I’ve been freed from the office.
Robert: No more Nevada. You’re in sunny England enjoying your fish and chips.
Jonathan: Yeah. I have actually. But it rained a lot last week, but it’s really brightened up this week. It’s been a really lovely sunny Autumn day in the UK. So, it’s been a lot better and it’s been nice to see my family and some of my old friends. So, I think that was a great point that you made before we went for our break, Robert. I probably confused the listeners because I was talking about internal processes. But the truth is there a couple of CRMs specifically made for the Real Estate world. There’s a lot. And the three leaders that I would suggest that people go and have a look at is Follow Up Boss, Contactually and LionDesk. They’re the three and I couldn’t pick one from those three because they do different things well. There isn’t the perfect CRM for the Real Estate industry, but if you look at those three that I’ve just suggested, I think they’re top of breed at the present moment and they can do the internal stuff but they can also help you set up processes for your online marketing as well. What do you think of that statement Robert?
Robert: I’m going to drill down a little bit more into the CRMs. I’m going to say that Follow Up Boss is, it’s a great tool, first and foremost. In terms of your processes, it’s probably something that you should look at if you’re a Broker. It is a much higher value process-oriented tool if you have a team. Now, I feel like LionDesk, because of the cost, because it’s not ease of use. I’m on a trial account right now with LionDesk.
Jonathan: I totally agree with you there as well.
Robert: So, I’m hours into setting up my fake LionDesk account and so I can tell you for sure that it’s not necessarily the easiest to use tool. However, it is incredibly robust. It is the only tool out there that I’ve found that’s kind of one size fits all. If you’re an Agent, if you’re a team, you could use it, but it would be a little unwieldy. Whereas Follow Up Boss, which is far more expensive, but it’s far more oriented towards teams. And then, Contactually, I don’t know enough about, so Jon, I’d have to leave that entirely up to you. I have not looked at it. I know that we’ve talked to Zvi and he seems to be a great guy, but I don’t know that much about the tool itself.
Jonathan: It’s a bit of a hybrid. It has the ability of Follow Up Boss, but its focus is really keeping in contact with that lead list and sucking in their social media profiles and setting up some Drip marketing and it’s very social media kind of focus building, finding out about your leads and doing what I call a Buffini online kind of campaigns, like building up relationships and using online social media tools to do that. Did that make any sense actually Robert?
Robert: Yeah, yeah it did. Now, I want to circle back around because I really want to stay on point here. I want to make sure that our users really truly understand what I’m saying when I say process.
Jonathan: That would be extremely difficult as me as your co-host Robert.
Robert: Especially when you’re on holiday. You’re like, “Wooo. I’m having tea. Who wants to talk about Marketing?”
Robert: So, process. You’re going to want a system no matter what the task is and I feel like repetitive tasks come up probably more in Digital Marketing than any other business that I personally have ever seen or been around. It’s just little things that need to get done a certain way over and over again. Optimizing websites. It’s not complicated. It does involve like 50 individual tasks though so you have to have a list of all these tasks that get looked at when you’re getting ready to launch a website. And some of these tasks, while very small and very simple, have very big impact if you don’t do them thus a process. That’s why you have a process. You have a list that you check off every single time that you tackle the process. Every single business, Real Estate, any business, but Real Estate in particular. You have your Real Estate transaction processes, which I feel like a lot more Real Estate Agents are more on top of than their Digital Marketing processes. Because they feel that like they don’t know Digital Marketing.
And guess what guys? They’re people out there that have processes that are already put together for you inside the Digital Marketing space. Don’t recreate the wheel. Steal somebody else’s list. They’re going to give it to you for free. Steal their list of tools. Don’t break your brain about it. Go to a website that says, “These are excellent WordPress Marketing tools and then use some. Don’t worry about it. Just use some.
Having a process in place is far more important in general than having a perfect process, so having anything in place at all that automates your systems. Because once the system is in place, you then circle back around and you improve upon it. My biggest job as the CEO of a Marketing company is to make sure that no matter how rudimentary, I have a process in place for each and every single new thing that we tackle and then, of course, I circle back around during countless operations meetings and our job becomes to improve the process, so over time and years, it gets much, much better. Yeah, sorry. Are you still there Jon or did I lose you?
Jonathan: No. Like I say, there’s actually probably three buckets that you can put what we’re discussing. You’ve got the internal systems, especially if you’re going from a sole Agent, you’re going from that to actually building a small team, that’s when you’re going to need to develop internal systems.
Then, as we discussed, the other bucket is helping you with your online marketing, for your social media, Drip email, Drip text messaging. And then, there’s a third bucket which a lot of Agent’s fail on, especially when they’re growing into a small team and that’s keeping in contact with their actual clients, the people that are either selling their homes or buying a home through your Agency. I do see a sizeable minority of people say, “Well, as soon as we signed up for Agent, we never heard anything from them. They kind of disappeared and we had to ring them.” Especially when you’re growing that Agency from that one person to that small team scenario, there can be bandwidth. So, if you automated some of your touching clients, so you say you’re still on the radar, you’re still there, can be beneficial as well. What do you reckon Robert?
Robert: Yeah. I would say that that is an amazingly good point because you’re talking about an after, like after action sale is what I call them, but really, it’s like you sign somebody up, somebody has agreed to do business with you and then, how do you service that person is also a process. It could be a process. We have a process where we review accounts and send out live videos to our clients reviewing their accounts about once every 60 days, which is probably not as often as I would want to do it.
I’d prefer to do it every month. But in addition to that, I sign up all my clients for Email Marketing list just so that they’re hearing from me, like they see that there’s a company, it’s active, there’s things that are going on and then they can get their reporting as well, but that’s a process and it’s absolutely, like what you’re saying. What happens after you sign somebody up? How do you nurture them? How do you make sure that they feel value? A process of automated emails or voicemails or things like that or a little thank you card or flowers or whatever it is, depending on your business and your personality. These are excellent ideas in terms of creating value to your client.
Jonathan: It’s basically folks, if you’re in the happy position of your business growing, your Agency growing, your personal brand, the amount of homes that you’re selling each month, each year, it’s really starting to. This is when the thoughts come to light and you’re just tearing around town like a maniac and you burn out. Basically, any person will burn out and the quality of service that you’re providing starts to break down. But when you’re building processes, it just gives you more bandwidth basically. What do you think of that Robert?
Robert: No. I agree 100 percent. We are at the end of our 30 minutes.
Jonathan: It’s getting close. It’s getting close.
Robert: What I was in the middle of earlier is one of my cats, like it attacked the bird and then it kind of like left it wounded. So I threw a basket over it and I’ve got a bird that is half wounded in my yard. So, I need to actually go save a bird’s life.
Jonathan: So, what Robert is saying is that we need to wrap up this show folks, which is great. So, Robert, how can people find out more about you and what you’re up to Robert?
Robert: Well, guys, listen, I’m a big believer in giving away everything for free. And what I mean by that is all the things that we’re talking about processes and how I do Real Estate SEO, how I get leads for my clients. A good amount of that information is actually on my website. You don’t need to hire me. You need to talk. All you need to do is go to my website which is InboundREM.com and you should get a lot of answers, not only to your questions about Real Estate Marketing but I’ve taken the time and energy to review a lot of Real Estate Marketing companies, their products, their services. I drill down real deep. So if you’re thinking of a website and you’re going to buy one, you should go to my website and see if I’ve reviewed some of the companies you’re looking at because I think you’ll find information that will help you make a decision.
Jonathan: And if you want to find out more about Mail-Right and what I’m doing, go to the Mail-Right website, that’s Mail-Right, R – I – G – H – T.com. And we’ve got loads of stuff on the website. We’ve got over 150 of these internal and also interviewing some of the best experts on Marketing and Real Estate lead generation, a fantastic resource and I’ve got some articles on there. And if you want to chat with me, you can book a free consultation and I’m happy to discuss anything with you that would help your online marketing. We’ll be back next week where either we’ll be having an internal show or we’ll be talking to some Agents or we’ll be having an expert join us. We’ll see you next week folks. Bye.