#211 Mail-Right Show With Special Guest Mitch Ribak
Mitch Ribak is The Principle Broker At Tropical Beachside brokered by eXp Realty, LLC
Over the years I have owned several businesses ranging from Paintball to Dating Services to an Internet Company and finally ended up in Real Estate. This is where I have found my calling. I started in Real Estate in 2001 and quickly shot up to number 1 in my office after my second year in the business.
After creating a unique business model, using the Internet, I opened Tropical Realty of Suntree in March 2005 which has thrived since its start. Through June of 2009, TRS currently has grown from 6 Agents to 27 Agents and the number 1 Real Estate office out of 500 offices in Brevard County in buyer transactions. In 2010 we achieved 329 transactions as a result of our Internet programs.
Jonathon: Welcome back to folk to the Mail-Right Show. It’s episode 211. We got a fantastic guest for the show. Actually I was so glad that he agreed to come on the show and it’s Mitch Ribak. Mitch, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the listeners and viewers?
Mitch: Sure. Mitch Ribak. I’ve been in real estate for 18 years. I’ve been generating Internet leads for 18 years. Well actually seventeen and a half, my first six months I was trying to figure it out. Yes, and these leads built a team, built a brokerage, merge my brokerage last year with EXP realty with about 40 agents. We average about 700 transactions a year. Up until this year we’re doing about 300 to 350 transactions of that from Internet leads.
Jonathon: I’ve got to say Mitch; I’ve watched some of these videos. He has a great way of explaining what online leads are, and how to generate them. It’s going to be a fascinating conversation. And also I’ve got my great cohost Robert. Robert, would you like to introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers.
Robert: Yes, my name is Robert Newman. I’m the founder of the Inbound REM, which is a, a blog and also a service company that builds websites and real estate lead generation websites. So I’m really looking forward to talking to Mitch as well. John why don’t you lead us down the–?
Jonathon: Alright. So Mitch, I’ve been watching some of your videos and they’re fantastic on YouTube. Can you give us what is working for you and your team? This is a kind of slightly broad question, but I’ll give you a few minutes on to answer it. What is working for you and your team in Florida in 2019 when it comes to online leads?
Mitch: Well, it really hasn’t changed. It’s been the same forever. In fact I wrote a new book called Rockstar Real Estate Guide. I’m sorry, Rockstar Sales Guide. It’s only three pages and I’m going to give you guys the book for free right now verbally. The first page says don’t text. The second page says don’t email. The third page I can’t say the real word because it’s not legal online, I think legally, but maybe it is, but pick up the [inaudible 00:02:25]. It’s the same messaging to everybody. The reason why we’re so good at converting leads is because we know the numbers.
I’ll give you an example. I know that you call a lead once you’ll get ahold of 21%. By the way, the whole thing that, if you call it like speed to lead, and stuff like that for a property inquiry really that’s true for regular registration lead, it doesn’t matter. If I call within five minutes, it’s 21% if I call within 24 hours, it’s 20% so actually if you call once. We’ve learnt over testing and testing over the years, that if we text, we get a 35% contact rate total. If we call four times over eight days every other day and this is on a rod registration leads, I usually talk about then we’re going to get a hold of 65 to 70%. It’s pretty simple.
Jonathon: I just want to slightly interrupt because obviously a lot of our listeners and viewers are new real estate agents or in their first, second or third year. What do you mean by registration, is that they’ve landed on a webpage, your landing page to register for something. And you’ve had no prior relationship with that possible lead, is that correct?
Mitch: Yes. The first thing I figured out when I was in early January 2002 when I first started my first website was in; nobody was doing forced registration which I didn’t understand. I’m like; you’re going to spend money on marketing why are you not grabbing leads? Everybody told me I was crazy. But I was looking at everybody else’s websites are out there I saw these really cute pictures of puppies and all this other stuff. And I say, I don’t think people really come to your site to look at your puppy, i think they come there to look at listings.
So if they are coming look at listing, let’s give them listings and that’s how the whole process started. It was just, what is the whole functionality in my website? It’s to get people to come to my website; I’m going to spend money, get them to register to look at listings and also giving me listings a search. So they’re getting listings that they want, very simple.
Jonathon: Right. So, what I think you said in your videos really very clearly is that this whole process is to build relationship. Your main criticism of a lot of agents is that if they don’t contact the person straight away. It’s not as totally they’re there to buy or sell home straight away. They don’t attempt to try and build any relationship. Would I be correct about that?
Mitch: Yes. So What I teach my agents is most realtors, if I get ahold of you today, right, so you’re a customer and I get a hold of you today, most realtors say, I’m not buying for six months. Most realtors say well, I’ll send you listings and give me a call if you see something you like and we’ll talk when you’re ready. That’s the majority of realtors, if they’ve have even called the lead and get a hold of him. I teach my agents it’s a six month opportunity to create a great relationship.
So if I’m calling them based on our callback schedules that we use, then we know that over time they’re going to use us because we’ve built that relationship. But what it also does, the average realtors registering now on five to seven websites, they are registering everywhere. If someone says are you working with a realtor? If you didn’t build a relationship, they say, no, I’ve got some guy named Rich or Mitch or Ditch is sending me listings. The reality is I built that relationship and he say, yes I’m working with this guy, Mitch.
Build relationships, it’s always about the relationship. That’s why the problem with texting is because texting doesn’t build an emotional connection. If for me, I’m really good on the phone and my IIC is really good on the phone. It’s all about making sure that we build a solid relationship and that’s what we teach our agents how to do that relationship building.
Jonathon: Yes. My position is how it work, it’s fundamentally, I agree with you, but my, my platform, we have text messaging but the text messaging is to try and get some response from the client. And then then called then build that relationship. So slightly different to your position, but fundamentally it’s the same. In some stage you make that call and try and build that relationship over to you Robert.
Robert: Well, I have so many questions but let’s start with some simple ones. You’re talking about the FSO of like how you follow up. First thing I’m hearing you saying, I just want to make sure I understand you correctly is you’re saying always call lead. That’s basically what I’ve heard you boil this down to.
Robert: Things are better. You’ve tracked the results in, you know beyond the shadow of a doubt that calling the lead yields better returns than texting. Am I understanding that correctly?
Mitch: Once you have a relationship I’m okay with the texting, but to have a conversation. That initial conversation, just based on the contact rate. The contact rate we’ve tested, I can’t tell you how many hundreds if not thousands of leads we did this with. Yes, we tested to see over six months we do everything over a six month period where we test. So the contact rate for a textually without a phone call, it was to 25% extra. In the contact rate with a four phone calls over eight days every other day for four times was 65 it’s actually 68% so 65 to 70%. And that was across the board. So I owned an IFA company for a few years and that was the numbers from the IFA company, not just my personal numbers.
Robert: Okay, all right. So you owned an IFA company and that’s a whole other conversation I’d love to talk about, but we’re going to skip that for the moment. I am going to ask you, so you are talking about what I’m noticing about this conversation is you seem to be commoditizing the lead quality. In other words, you’re not calling out a differentiation in the way that you generated a lead. You’re saying all leads generated in x way, I call same way four times over eight days. Is there no difference in lead quality depending on the area?
Mitch: Definitely, so a property inquiry leads once or twice a day for three or four days in a row. It’s a different type of needs. When I talked about leads, generally I try to about the hardest leads. To me the hardest leads are registration leads. That’s my hardest lead to do. Probably inquire leads are a different animal. We convert those around 15%–.
Mitch: –Great number. We rod registrations; we do 3.8% for short term and 6% for long term. Short term means a lead that came in this year, we converted this year. Long term, it was more than a year old before we have, not the same year you capture the lead. And that is skewed a little bit because of capturing leads in November and December and October. There really isn’t a great way to track that number, so we just set up a standard for ourselves like that.
Robert: Okay. So I want our audience to try to be able to keep up with definitions. So actually I’m going to test my definitions and see if I’ve got it right. Maybe our audience will learn along with me. When you say registration, what I think you mean is, I think you mean, you have a website or a landing page and somebody hits that landing page somewhere online and they leave you their name, email address and maybe a phone number. Really all they’re doing is they’re either registering to be a part of a mailing list or they’re registering with the website itself that says kind of like join. You need to register to have a system, like a search account like something to that effect. Is that what you’re talking about or am I misunderstanding?
Mitch: Exactly. So it’s a registration where they come to my website and we let them look at one listing and when they go look at the second listing, we make them register to look at more listings.
Robert: Okay. So that’s the registration lead. What’s the property inquiry that I legit don’t know?
Mitch: About the enquiry leads is either they click on one of our leads or a Zillow lead is the same idea, right, where they inquired on a property. So I acquired on 555 Main Street, could I get more information on that property? Obviously that’s a lot stronger lead, which is why Zillow charges is 60 to a hundred dollars a lead, right. It’s a lot stronger lead than somebody that just registered on my site.
Robert: If you’re still getting $6,200 old leads, you’re doing better than most of the people in the country.
Mitch: I’ve never done Zillow so I couldn’t tell you. I did it on for about, so that challenge for me, even though we had great conversion rate, I look at cost per sale. So with my registration leads, it’s about $212 per sale, with Zillow was closer to 500 to $600 per sale in the sense,
Robert: How are you generating your registration? So we now know that there’s differentiation in lead quality based on the type of registration it is. But how are you generating your leads to get these numbers in the first place? What’s the $220 ROI from?
Mitch: So we’ve used a couple of different sources over the years. Obviously Google ad words have done really well, using long tail keywords and stuff. Honestly, I used a company called Home Gate. I don’t if you’ve heard of them.
Mitch: Home Gate and they have a program called Buyer Link I’ve use them for the last 10 years. And mainly because I’m not really a paper click guy and staying on top of the changes that Google’s made over the years. I’m not a professional event. I used to be really good at it but over the last 10 years, it’s involved so much that I didn’t. I work 80 plus-hours a week. I didn’t really want to spend any more time learning that stuff. With Home Gate, I think I paid a buck 10 or a buck 29 a click better than I can do on Google anymore and at about an 8% capture rate. And so I figured out what my 80% capture rate, what it comes down to a cost per sale.
Robert: Okay. So you’ve always used the same small handful of companies that are doing PPC for you. Which is for the Google ad words is what a direct marketing is another word for it. It’s all the same thing though guys. It’s, you can drive your traffic from Facebook, and you can drive it from Google, right? You’re saying your method has been driving it from Google to some kind of landing page and that’s what’s delivering you the cost per sale that you’re talking about; do I understand that all correctly?
Mitch: That’s good, you got it.
Robert: Okay. Is there a secret sauce to your landing pages or you off? Do you even know that Buyer Inc. Or Home Gate are doing or do you just not, that’s their thing and you’re just leaving it in their hands?
Mitch: No, I know what they’re doing. I so with Buyer Inc. this is why I liked it so much. They have multiple partners. They drive traffic to their site. It’s like mls.com is one of their partners. So go to mls.com and you go to look at a search, you end up on a home, it looks like it looks like mls.com and it’s actually Home Gate driving that. So that would drive traffic directly to my landing page. I’m not using them anymore. Right now I’m changing my model since I joined EXP to get my agents do this their selves and not me doing it anymore.
Mitch: We’ve changed our whole system. You know, I’m old now, right? Look at this stuff grows. So what I’m trying to do now is to get my agents to become self-sufficient so I can retire the next couple of years. So I’ve stopped my paper click campaigns personally. I still have 36,000 leads with almost 7,000 active, which means they open their emails from the last 30 days. With 4,500 or so of those have phone numbers. So we’re still converting, but we’re not converting the number as we were before because I’m in a different place personally. Where I’m trying to go, I’m trying to get my agents to be who I was the past 15 years, 16, 17 years, if that makes sense.
Oh, well, I hope you can succeed because my fairly good understanding of marketing these days is that a $212 marketing costs almost in any marketplace around the US is amazing. So for my audience, for those people that don’t realize what Mitch is saying is that this marketing total is $212. So if his commission, let’s say a whatever the 3% is three or 5,000 or 10,000 whatever the number is, he’s still saying he’s bringing in his marketing costs of probably under 10% which is very, very low in real estate.
Especially in today’s industry because the marketing costs and again, I say this for my audience Mitch more than I say it the marketing costs have been rising. So Zillow and these other companies that have a lock on certain percent portions of the marketing that’s out there, they are all raising the cost of your sale. It’s all that those numbers are going up. They’re not going down right now. So that’s–.
Mitch: We’ve been able to do it mainly because we were a highly systemized. I mean, everybody is doing stuff that we’re doing now because I’ve taught a billion people how to do this. But it’s changed over the last couple of years. It’s definitely more challenging the last two years than it’s been the last 18 years. And that’s because of everybody and their mother and their grandmother has a website now, right? Every company is out there and trying to better themselves. You have Zillow’s, you have the realtor.com. This is just a lot more competition, which is all the more important why that phone call is so important because I’ll give you an example. Somebody who registers on Zillow to get a property, inquired. They didn’t just do that property; they did five or six properties. Now that means you have five or six realtors hounding them.
So you have to be really strategic if you’re hounding them. They’re not working with you. And again we were calling for, I’d say when we had the ISA company we were calling for over a hundred companies, but I would say about 30 of them are strictly just Zillow leads. We found that they called twice a day, four days in a row. We got ahold of about 70% I still don’t get a hold of a lot of people but it’s all in how you handle that call. The first things we hear are, I’m just looking, I was just on this.
Jonathon: Before we go into that Mitch, we need to go for our break and then we come back. You can tell us because that’s what I was going to ask you in the second half what you actually say in these calls. So it’s a great spot for us to go for our break. So listener and viewers we’ll be back and hopefully you can tell how fantastic this conversation’s been so far. And you join us for the second half. We’ll be back in a few moments.
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Jonathon: We’re coming back. We’ve had a feast of figures. Robert is salivating with all these fingers, he loves it. Mitch is just providing him more and more. I could see he’s woken up folks. Sorry Mitch, before I rudely interrupted you in the first half, you were just about to explain some of the conversations you need when you’re actually reading out some of these possible prospects over to you, Mitch.
Mitch: Yes, so what we found, and this is again why I had ISA is because agents will do and no insult to anybody out there. I hope you don’t take it this way, but agents aren’t the best at handling objections. The number one objection we get when we call is, thanks for calling, I really appreciate it. I was just looking, not buying for six months, not buying for a year, whatever that number is, doesn’t matter. And of course we totally appreciate that. Everybody’s just looking.
So tell me that by here it looks like he was looking for a feedback. We just go right past that. The challenge with most realtors, and I’ve listened to so many of them, they’ll say, well that’s great. Well again, I’ll send you some listings if you want to in the future, just let me know. So we don’t accept just looking as an answer, we just go right past that. We accept that, we acknowledge that and then we move forward because what we want to know, which is finding out what your buying timeframe and what you’re looking for, then making sure that the searches are set up properly.
Jonathon: So basically, you’re just trying to get a bit more detailed. So when you do send them things you’ve got some idea at the time scales so you can put it into your CRM and also the materials that you can send them or relevant.
Mitch: Right. There are things that you have to do on a search. Setting up new searches, one of the most important things to do and most people do it incorrectly. I’ll give you guys a quickie on that. So for instance, someone is looking for a three bedrooms, two bath home, $350,000. Most agents are going to set up in a home, maybe three 25 to three 75 you’re not going to get enough relevant matches for them to be getting in front of them on a regular basis with the email updates.
For instance, so someone comes to us with 350, we’re going to set them up between 300 and $400,000. So it’s a little bit broader search and we are not going to put any specifics in it. Now we’re only going to put specifics that they buying time is within 90 days. That will be a little more different, but most people are not buying in 90 days, so we’re going to be a lot broader because I want to get 25 to 35 matches of that search. Therefore my emails matching them are going to come to them two to three times four times a week.
Everybody loves to look at houses. Nobody ever complains because we sent them to the houses. That’s never an issue. Now they might say, well, why are you sending me this? I don’t really want that. I don’t want to spend $400,000 i don’t want to spend, $300,000, I want to spend 350. Yes, we understand that but we’re trying to give you an idea of the market while you’re looking. As we get a little closer, we’ll get a little tighter in the search, pretty simple.
Jonathon: Yes totally, over to you Robert.
Robert: Okay. So since I’ve got a numbers guide in my hand, you’ll have to forgive me because I can really get into this all day long. It’s pretty unusual as I’m sure you’ve already realized throughout your career that we get to talk to people that try to stuff it all up. I have clients spend tens of thousands of dollars and not try any of the things that we’re talking about right now.
Jonathon: I got Mitch on the show just for you Robert.
Robert: Thank you. So you’ve been talking about a couple companies, like Home Gate and Buyers Inc. A lot of what John and I talked to our clients about is digital lead generation. What you’ve boiled that all down to, is you just said, simply registration leads versus property inquiry leads, which guys is two separate types of leads. But I’m curious like let’s say you’re going to give a budget of $5,000 a month to Buyer Inc. What is going to be your expectation in terms of quantity of leads for that $5,000?
Mitch: So we figured things, and I don’t have a calculator in front of you, but $5,000 whatever, 12 bucks a lead. That’s pretty much my cost.
Mitch: So what does that’s five or 450 leads roughly.
Mitch: Calculators have destroyed our lives because I can’t do any math in my head anymore. I was terrible. So that was always our number then you’re getting our conversions from that. We were at our average budget was around $10,000 a month for marketing.
Robert: Okay, and all of your marketing was based on, let’s say direct marketing is what I would call PPC landing pages, that kind of thing. Doing any SEO, organic mail, mailing, anything like that.
Mitch: Yes. So all we did on the landing pages, how we did it, which are the reasons why I think we captured it so well. We use to capture 10 or 12%, but that number’s gone down as the market’s gotten more crowded as the space has gotten more crowded. What we made sure we did, we made sure that we did two things. We made sure every piece of marketing we did, they landed on a page that was relevant to that marketing. So if someone was searching Melbourne, Florida, they just didn’t come to my website, they came to my Melbourne page on my website.
That sounds to me like a no brainer. But it’s a lot of people who will just send them directly to their websites and don’t do that. When we were doing if they didn’t give me the detail, we had default price ranges for all of those cities. So for instance, we know in Melbourne, Florida, the average sale is between two and $400,000. What I’d do, I know there are some that will sell for 600 and a million dollars of course, but the average sale is two to 400. So they didn’t give me enough details, we’d automatically set them up in a two to $400,000 sale.
We were able to assign a default price ranges and to those specific link pages, they’re tied to our marketing too. When you search Melbourne real estate, you’ll end up on Melbourne page. And then we also did that with community pages. So I had page for every community and we did community marketing, that’s what I did. I didn’t use Home Gate, I did Google PPC for that and then we drive people to those landing pages specifically for those.
Those were actually a much better lead than a general registration lead because they’re inquiring on a specific community I didn’t get a lot of them by the way. It didn’t cost a lot either, but didn’t get a lot. But those leads are generally a stronger lead because they’re more specific than a general search.
Jonathon: I think the terminology I use for that listener and viewers, and I don’t know if Robert would agree. I call that evergreen content where you set up a number of pages about specific areas that you cover as an agent and you provide information and the search element as well. So that’s what I would say that Robert.
Robert: Okay. I’m going to leave that alone. I would define evergreen as something else but, but let’s not, I don’t want to do particular right now. Just so the audience once again understands what Mitch is saying is that he set up his landing pages so that the search criteria matched whatever the average is going to be from that particular neighborhood. So a landing page is a page in this case Mitch seems to be talking about a real basic page where it’s just properties and then he’s going to put the properties on the page that are going to have the price range that is average for the area that he’s marketing to. Did I understand you correctly Mitch?
Mitch: A little bit, but no. So we didn’t change. The landing page could be anything relevant that they searched within that landing page, any price range that when we set up our searches, we use those default price ranges. If they didn’t give us enough detail.
Robert: I got you. So if somebody’s clicking anything on the page or if you have saved links is what we call them these days. But basically pre-qualified searches that are already on the page for somebody to click, that’s how much. All right, so that’s what you’re doing is, you’ve then doing the average off that page and that’s to keep their attention on the destination that you’ve, that you sent him to, right?
Mitch: Well you want to make it simple for them to navigate. So they got to go to your page now they got to go look for other, the information they’re looking for, it’s extra clicks, right? So the least amount of clicks you get, the more chance you have of getting them to register.
Robert: I’m curious because these days, every single marketing company that I know of that’s out there has, has, has moved to a single philosophy, which you register, like they basically throw the registration gateway up. The second that somebody hits the page, nobody like real geeks is doing it. Pretty much everybody is doing it now. Where if you get a search at all, it’s one and that you have to register with the page. What did you guys do?
Mitch: Yeah, we’ve done both. I think right now, I could be wrong because I think XL hasn’t changed it for a while. I think we’re at one, we lately look at one. Yes, that’s pretty much standard. I mean, one or zero is pretty standard. The reason we know is some people say, you should let them look at five. Some people will never look at five if we’ve never given the registration opportunity.
Robert: I got you, okay, and all right. So somebody registers, you’ve got the same small handful of companies that you’ve been using, go to these registrations just for, is there any problem if I asked you what markets that you’re focused on so that everybody understands where this broker is?
Mitch: We’re in Brevard County, Florida, so that’s on Melbourne, Cocoa Beach, Melbourne, Beach, that area.
Robert: Okay. So your 40 agents that you manage are all in that area?
Mitch: Yes. Well, I have made these all over the country with my EXP stuff, but the ones on my team are local here.
Okay. So I actually don’t understand that secondary comment. Are you a trainer for your EXP or are you a
Robert: What is on my mind? So we merged our brokerage in 2017 with the EXP running your brokerage if there is any brokers out there you know its not fun. I’m going to have to have fun because again, we’ve kind of make it fun. The beauty of the EXP model that allows me to institute stages from anywhere in the US and Canada to the company and they’re all part of my, so I about 430 agents right now. But I only generate leads for actually 25 agents here locally. I have 120 here agents here locally, but I only generate leads for 25 of them.
Robert: So not only have you built up like what I would refer to as a hyper-local real estate sales team in your own market of Brevard, but you have also built up a national or maybe even semi global sales force or real estate agents under the EXP brand. I’m taking it that global sales force that you’re talking about; you manage or train them in some way or another.
Mitch: I offer training. I offer advice. I mean I’m always there to help agents. I hope anybody would be jealous if they’re with me and I do it on the phone all day long. They just said, I don’t even know who they are. They reached out to me and I helped them. I don’t care. I just loved helping people. It’s all about contribution, right? The more you can shoot at, the better life is. The agents that have joined my organization, I trained them in real estate. I trained them in building their teams, whatever they want.
If some people don’t reach out to me at all in that group, I just make a few bucks off of them and some people reach out to me on a regular basis and help them. So the beauty of where I’m at in my life right now is I’m really in the mode of, who can I help today? It’s such a fun place to be in my life because I’ve generated enough revenue doing what I’m doing with everything I do. I have a ball.
Jonathon: We’re going to finish the podcast part of the show. Hopefully Mitch can stay on a little while longer, which will be some bonus content. Are you okay with that Mitch?
Jonathon: I’m going to be asking Mitch a couple of things he said in these videos that I’ve written notes on that intrigued me. Mitch, if people want to speak to you directly, gets some of your wisdom, which you’ve shown so clearly during the podcast, what’s the best way for people to contact you, Mitch?
Mitch: Send me an email. It’s just really simple. I have multiple emails, but my easy one is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Jonathon: Right. And Robert, how can people find out more about you, your company in your words of wisdom?
Robert: Well, if anybody wants to, I’m going to do what Mitch did. If anybody wants to contact me from this show, you can always just email me at email@example.com and they can also always just reach out to my website at inbounrem.com and you can see what I’m up to.
Jonathon: If you want to find out more about Mail-Right and the exciting features that we have built into the system over the past six months, just go, you can either email me at Jonathan@mail-right.com or you can go to the mail right website and book a Free Demo, which will be done by myself, truly. That should be interesting, shouldn’t it listeners and viewers and how can they show you all the fantastic functionality of the Mail-Right platform. We’ll be back next week with another fantastic guest like Mitch offering you knowledge to make you more successful real estate agents, not only for yourself but for your family. We will be back next week, folks. Bye.