#231 Mail-Right Show – How to Negotiate With a Marketing Agency To Market Your Real Estate Business
How to Negotiate With a Marketing Agency To Market Your Local Real Estate Business
Jonathon: Welcome back folks to the Mail Right Show. This is episode 231. This is going to be an internal discussion between me and my great cohost Robert Newman. We’re going to be talking about hiring a marketing agency. Hiring a company to help you get quality leads. And how you should approach it, what you should say, and just some insights about the whole process, which can be a bit mystical for the average real estate agent. I’m going to let my great cohost introduce himself. Robert, would you like to quickly introduce yourself to the new listeners and viewers?
Robert: I will. I’d love to. So I just shared this on my personal page. That’s going to be bad. All right, so Hey everybody. My name is Robert Newman. I am the founder of Inbound Real Estate Marketing. The website is called inboundrem.com. I’m a 13 year veteran of the real estate marketing industry. I’ve been a sales manager and an account executive. And now an entrepreneur and owner consultant. There is very little I haven’t done inside the real estate technology space. And I put a lot of content on my blog that you can check out that is intended to train you to be better marketers for in the real estate space.
Jonathon: And I’m the founder of Mail Right. I’ve been involved in the development and working in the Real Estate area for the past four years. And I have over 15 years as a WordPress front end web developer experience. And also if you’re interested in Mail Right, go over to the Mail Right site and we’re doing our free consultation. That will give you marketing, a one page marketing plan which you can utilize for this year to get better results for yourself. So let’s go on to the main part of the conversation, Robert. Now you brought it up. I thought it was a great subject. How are we going to start the conversation? Well what do you think is the key thing somebody, an agent or small boutique brokerage needs to know when they are considering hiring a marketing agency to help them promote their business Robert?
Robert: Okay. So the way that I phrased it to you, John, was we should have a conversation about negotiating with real estate marketing companies. Because it is shocking to me how little realtors and brokers understand that there is a negotiation to be had when you’re talking to real estate marketing companies about their services. Some strong points like what are you talking about? Because oftentimes if you ask about price, the company, the marketing company is going to go, the price is the price. I would say the same thing. The price is the price. And that could be true. But when you ask and you should ask for this real estate marketing company to send over an agreement to you to review. Even after I’ve taken, I take payment first and send over the agreement second because I’ve already sent them the written part of the agreement.
But you know what? You can review the agreement and actually negotiate certain terms within the agreement. And it’s funny because every once in a while you’ll stumble across a soft point for the marketing company who will then turn around and tell you that that unshakable price that they just denied you is actually not so unshakeable. If you’ll just come off talking to them about something that they really want. A great example of what every real estate marketing company like my own wants. And just assumes that they’re going to get is a link at the footer of your website. It says that the website was built by them. But there’s nothing that says that you as a client can’t negotiate to have that taken off. In my case, I say you can have it taken off for $250. So I talked to a monetary value to it because guess what?
We are advertising our product on your site and if you go out and advertise your website and it has my branding on it somewhere, even if it’s very small, you’re advertising me. You’re spending two grand to advertise me. Thank you very much Mr. Prospect. That has enormous market value and because when you deeply. So what I’d like to talk to people about today on today’s show, John, is various things that are assumptions that carry enormous value to a marketing company. And if you hear the show and pay attention, you might come across something that you can use to negotiate your next contract with a marketing provider and get items that might be in your benefit. Now, I’m not saying that you’re going to get a massive amount of stuff. I can’t afford to give a mass amount of stuff. But a client was just negotiating with me all morning, which is how this came up and they got three, four hours of a month worth of service out of me at no additional charge. They got something I didn’t really want to do out of me at no additional charge. And I’m not going to say what it is live.
Jonathon: One thing I would cite to people based on my extensive experience of web development of web design over the past 14 years. And I think the thing was, I think you would agree with this, I’d be interested if you do or not. Is read the documentation that is sent to you. I am dopes mites by people saying well I didn’t know that was in our agreement. Well you should have read it. And I’m really surprised the amount of people that don’t read. Now understand when it’s some unintelligible terms and condition agreement from Apple, Google, which no human being can actually understand or decipher. But if that is the case with some agreement that comes from you or me, I think the client should demand I don’t understand this. Can you explain this clearly to me what this means? But I’m amazed at the amount of people that just sign, send it back with a check and they haven’t read the document.
Robert: I am usually amazed by that too though. I’m so strong on reading documents that I actually insist that I review mine before I send it off as a contract. Like I say, there is no choice. If you’ve signed a contract with me, you’ve gone through 10 or 15 minutes’ worth of dialogue about my terms and conditions. Because you’re right, it stuns me that people don’t do terms and conditions. And you know what John, it’s bad for both the person and it’s actually bad for the vendor. Because if you ever go let’s say I have a cancellation penalty. I do, and it’s, it’s not insignificant, but just because I have it in my contract. And if they haven’t read it and now they want to cancel early and now I apply the contract. That’s how you get smoking hot, angry customers who then go online and trash your reputation, even though you gave them something to read that they just didn’t read. So whose responsibility is it in the end about that payment? It’s hard to say.
Jonathon: And the reason why Robert probably has a penalty if you want to get out the contract is. He’s at a topper end of the market. And on the lower end of the market he probably starts around $1500 a month. Mine starts at $500 a month. When you include the budget for your Facebook ads and Mail Right. And a lot of the work you do at that price point is a lot of its upfront loaded, isn’t it? What I mean is you have to do a lot of work that would only be affordable to your target audience. Because you can spread the cost of all that upfront works over certain period of time.
So it`s upfront loaded the work you do, isn’t it?
Robert: It is. Though you’ve got my pricing slightly wrong. It’s 600 to 1500 1500 is the top, not at the least. But I will say that I’ve been taking lately a stronger look at doing paid advertising. So if you add that in and to say that you’re going to cut down the time to get organic results, then maybe it’s fair to say somewhere in the neighborhood of 1500. And I’m definitely more higher on the scale in terms of costs than you are. There’s no doubt about that. So, but I don’t want to get lost in that sauce. So let’s go back to having conversations about. So guys, all of you lovely men and women that listen to this show. Here’s a couple of things that marketing companies usually do and are included in their TOC is the terms and conditions that if you bring up, sometimes they give you room to negotiate an unnegotiable price.
Okay, so I’ve already mentioned one. It’s the footer link. Number two, oftentimes service companies like mine and John’s, and I don’t know if John does this, but I do where I have an amount of service that I’m going to include monthly as part of your X dollars that you spend. For me, it’s one to three hours. So I say we’re going to give you like you can call us or get X amount of service. And many of these service companies include something in their TOC that says this is what kind of service that you’re signing up for that you’re supposed to get. But guess what? That has a hard dollar cost to it. So mine is about $150 a month that I have budgeted for service. So you could say as an example, I’m not going to need that. I don’t want it.
So can you give me some room or you can, here’s what’s more likely cause if you negotiated with price on me, I’m probably going to go no. However, if you said, can I get something additional under the website that you’re building me additional pages or things like that? I would probably say yes. And most marketing companies I’ve been a salesperson for, I mean like 20% of the real estate marketing companies that are out there. I guarantee you I’ve got this right. They have what’s called the back pocket. They have things they can offer you. You just have to get to a sweet point to find out what they are. You have to put something on the table and try to take it away. And for that you have to read the terms and conditions when they send them to you. And then go, well what about this and what about that? So the monthly services are another one. And another thing that you can oftentimes do is play around with the length of the contract. Real estate web masters have a three year contract. John probably doesn’t insist on something that long, I would imagine. How long is yours?
Jonathon: It`s month to month if you want the pay the month to month amount. Or we offer it this can and will be either if you sign up for the yearly we will be more in tune in, maybe offering you some of some extra goodies if you sign up for the year the yearly plan.
Robert: And I put that in writing. If you pay off your contract in advance or you sign up for extra time, I give you a 20% discount. And it’s actually on my pricing list, but many providers actually do that but they don’t have it on their pricing list. So once again, John is correct, there is probably an opportunity without, so you have a month to month provider, which is sweet of a deal is you’re going to get with a guy like John, like his company in terms of the contract. But if you say, I’m going to like if you look at everybody else and say every single person out there signing me up for a year, what if I say I’m going to sign up for a year with this guy, John. He’s already told you. He’ll say, I’m going to give you some extra stuff. It just depends. It’s probably going to be vendor to vendor and I’m not going to ask them to commit to anything live on the air because it’s going to depend client to client. However, with somebody like me, I can tell you in advance that you’re going to get like 20% extra labor, which is significant. That is like a hundred extra hours that I’m going to deliver inside of a contract because you asked me the right questions.
Jonathon: Well, I’m quite open with what you get. You get a 20% discount if you pay yearly and you get a lot more access to me and to my little team. Because it’s not only the cash and around cash flow, we’re all in business likes. We all know about cash flow. It’s also a sign of commitment from the client. It shows that they are going to be committed. Because no matter how good your product is my product is we’ve ever, we talk about if there’s time, lack of commitment from the client, it probably isn’t going to work out. Is it Robert?
Robert: That’s absolutely true. But right now I want to show like we’re just going to keep talking about what you could possibly do to negotiate with a real estate marketing vendor to sweeten the deal. To get maybe more from the money that you’re spending. Another thing about negotiating strongly when you come through the door with a vendor is you’re going to put it on their radar about what kind of client you are. So even though, let’s say you attempt a couple of negotiation strategies and they fail, the vendor says no, but you still want to use that vendor. There’s still your, your boy or girl, your company, whatever it is. Guess what? You’ve put it on their radar that you are going to be paying attention what’s happening on their account. And while I’d like to tell you that doesn’t matter with many of the companies that I’ve been with, not mine, but many of the companies I’ve worked for, it does matter.
The salesperson says, this customer has asked me a lot of questions and I didn’t negotiate really hard to get the contract. So when you’re producing the work, make extra special sure that you put the notes down that you’re supposed to put down anyway. But you sometimes don’t. That happened all the time at age and image, we had to fucking constantly sent over massive amounts of notes when we got a client that was basically paying more attention when they walk through the door. Or they had read reviews already that said this isn’t that great of a vendor. So they’re like, well we still want the product but we’re going to pay real lots of attention to getting it. This meant they were more likely to get good service and it shouldn’t work that way, but it sometimes does. So like what do you think John? Like when I say somebody should come through the door and negotiate more heavily with you, have you send over your TOC. How does it make you feel as a real estate marketing provider?
Jonathon: Well, it depends on if it’s done professionally and in a business way. I’ve got no problem with that. I actually think that’s a great sign because it means that they’re really serious about buying my product and really using it. And working with us to get the results. We hope we were pretty sure next we did a lot of tasting for the past six months that they’re going to get. So I have no problem with it at all. I actually have a problem with somebody that doesn’t ask, just says I’m signing up for the month. And I’ve listened to the podcast and I think you’re fantastic Jonathan and love your English accent. Which is really lovely to hear my beloved listeners and viewers, but I don’t want to hear that you think I’m a lovely person. Or I have a lovely accent. I think I love you to hear that you looked at a couple of the other competitors, you looked at what Mail Right is offering you and you decide that it was the better product.
Robert: There you go. So in terms of negotiating, so we’ve covered a couple of points. One of the main points is get your offer delivered to you in writing before you commit to it. I may not have sent it as plainly as that, but that’s certainly one thing that you want to do. I send out my offer in writing to every single person I talk to. And I insist that there’s anywhere from a two day to seven day cooldown period between the presentation and the signup. I am an extreme case because I’m committing people to an 18 month agreement, which I’ve increased from 12 months. When John and I started the show, it was 12 months, now it’s 18 months. That’s because SEO takes a long time. And so I want people to consider heavily before they sign up with me.
John is month to month, no need to worry about an 18 month agreement. So maybe he has a different philosophy about when and how people sign up. But for me it’s, let’s give somebody a cool down period. But all that starts with the written proposal. So you get something in writing and now that you look at it. A great example, once again with me is that I have social media stuff. I have backlinking. I have all these things I do month to month. And you as the prospect may not you guys listening to this show, you may not even understand what the hell I’m talking about right now, which is fine. But questions that you could ask this person that just sent you the agreement and says there’s X service for $600 a month. And you go list the service. So they do list the service.
A great question to open up a dialogue about negotiating is, so I’ve noticed that you’ve got an itemized list of things. What if I want you to do something different month to month? Now I’ll tell you what a guy like me right away is going to go, oh, fuck no. Like please no, because it’s going to mess my system up. However, I can’t really technically tell you no. I mean, I could, I could say, well, the service is service. Like I could say that, but you’ve opened a chink in the armor. Because now you’ve taken something that everybody takes for granted and you started talking about it like, what if I want to change something in this monthly service? It’s my service and the answers that you get from the person that you’re on the phone with are going to tell you what kind of vendor that you’re going to be working with for the duration of your agreement.
If you ask them nine different questions about their offer, and their answer is always, no, no, no, no. Just what they’re going to do when you’re actually a customer, do you really think that anything that’s going to change? No. So negotiating heavily in the front part of the process is literally going to tell you what kind of vendor that you’re dealing with. Because if they can’t adapt to any wishes or needs in the sales part of the process where they’re begging you for your business, what do you think they’re going to do when they have it?
Jonathon: Yeah, I think that’s a great point. I’ve got some points to discuss about what Robert’s just said, but we’re going to leave that when we come back from my break listeners and viewers. We will be back in a few moments.
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Jonathon: Discussion about what you should think, say and do when negotiating with a marketing vendor to help you get a better 2020 for you and your family. I totally agree what you said, but you also, you got to keep it in boundaries. Because I have a client last week who signed up. We had a bit of a chat. They say to me, well, I like the look of the product. I did a walkthrough of the product with them and they really liked it. But they said, well, we’re not sure about Facebook. We really want you to do Google ad words. Well, I had to say no because I know nothing. I know a friend that knows a fair bit about Google ad words. And I’ve got another friend that runs very successful YouTube campaigns in the political area. So I go on Facebook and WordPress. That’s what the company’s about. And that’s what we do. We don’t do Google ad words. I politely say sorry, but I can’t do that for you because I don’t know anything about it. But it just really depends on what they’re asking.
I’ve had other clients that wanted custom Facebook campaigns and at the time I couldn’t really do it. Because I didn’t feel I had enough experience. But now I have a specialist on bold and we came to specialize Facebook campaigns. We have a library at the present moment, which we are building up of campaigns that we’ve run for a small group of test agents that we know gets result. But you get our agents, they started because of the uniqueness of their market, they are looking for a totally custom. Well, I couldn’t do that because I didn’t have the experience, but now I have an individual that’s got a lot of experience that can do that kind of work. So it really depends what you’re asking for, doesn’t it?
Robert: Oh it really does. If somebody asks me about Facebook, I say no, but you know that to me, I know there’s two different types of marketing and I fall on the Google side. You fall on the Facebook side and that’s actually fine in both cases.
Jonathon: There’s no point in asking me about Google because I know nothing about it.
Robert: I know a bit about Facebook, but only enough to know that I don’t want to know more.
Jonathon: Well that’s the same with me and Google. I know enough to be dangerous, but I’ve got enough, keeping up with Facebook. And making sure the people that work for me. We keep up with it and we get some results with Facebook. We don’t need to add Google ad words into the mix.
Robert: Which actually leads to an amazing point and I’m glad you brought this up because it’s making me think it through. So there is something else. So we’re talking about negotiating a lot, but hey, there’s something else to be worthy to be said, which I’ve covered a little bit in other articles that I’ve written. But it’s incredibly important that you as an audience understand this. So there are a lot of companies out there that are bigger than John and I, and when you ask them about a service such as Facebook marketing work or AdWords, it’s not part of their core offering. It’s not something that they’re using to drive their primary funnel. Like you could say boldly. As an example where their primary funnels is done on Facebook? Just like John. But they do offer ad words. It’s there. I don’t think that they’re very good at it, but it’s there.
So when you’re saying about what, like you’re asking vendors to do one offs for you. You have to understand that vendors like most marketing companies, including the biggest ones out there. Their whole ideology is centered around volume service. You start asking them to do something that is a one off and it is, or a very minor request amongst their stream of business. And there’s a more than probably, I’m going to put, I’m going to guess, it’s just a guess. It’s just an opinion. Don’t take this to the bank, but in 80% chance that you’re going to get below par service. Because you’re asking them to do something that they’re not that great at doing in the sales guy that you’re talking to is not an owner. He’s not me. He’s not John, he’s not going to sit here and go, oh, it’s in my best interest to not tell somebody something that’s not great because I’m going to get a bad review later.
John and I are very worried about that. So we’re going to try to make sure that you get all the right information from us. Because we want a rock solid relationship and great reviews after the fact. But these guys that are on the phone know their interests are different. So you’re going to get them to say yes and then they’re going to do the ad-words thing for you. They’re going to charge you a butt load of money for it because they probably have one guy if they’re lucky. And he may not be an expert because he may be managing five campaigns, that’s it. And he’s kind of like, well, they’ll do them at a really high price and not the great best result. So when you’re talking to a service provider, I strongly recommend that you stay within their core current service set, like what it is that they’re known for, and stick with that as the services that you’re negotiating for as opposed to asking vendors to do one offs.
Unless you’ve been working with a vendor for a while and you have a relationship with them and now you’re seeing, I’ve spent $24,000 over two years with you. And you know the account executive like you know what their name is, the name of their dog. You’ve pretty sure that they’re going to give you a straight answer. If they say I can set up a one off, it’s more likely that they will because now you’re worth X amount of dollars to them. Especially if you offer them another $24,000 contract. Cause that’s how they look at it. When you sign up for a service at these marketing companies, they’re not looking at you at the $2,500 you agreed to spend. They’re looking at you at whatever the agreement is that you signed. So if you sign something that says you’re worth, like with me, it’s thirteen thousand twenty thousand and 30,000. When you come to the door, you spend 2,500, 3000 or 3,500. But I’m looking at the contract value. That’s how much you’re worth in terms of revenue to my company.
You can look at that total value after you delivered a little bit of it and then get something in the internal part of the relationship, which is another thing. Is that you can oftentimes renegotiate as your contract comes up and oddly enough, most people negotiate less and they should be negotiating more. The value of your contract has been proven to the service provider. You spent all that money with them. You’d be shocked, shocked to know what these guys have in their back pocket if you’re willing to sign another contract. Like I oftentimes had 20 30% in my back pocket if a client ever bothered to negotiate, but since it impacted my commission. Do you think I offered that up? No. No salesperson would, you can ask though and you’ll be shocked by the answer.
Jonathon: I know there’s multiple types of client aren’t there? There’s the client, you never hear anything from. And they renew, but it hardly asks you a question which is okay. But there is a problem there. They tend not to be great advocates of your products and service. They’re not passionate like can say value. So that’s why they resign, but they’re not going to be a cheerleader for your product. Then you got the type of client that’s asked you a lot of questions about what you’re doing and how are you going to do it. But they leave you to do it right. They tend to be the best because they’re spending money with you and they want to know what you’re going to do. But they leave you to it. That’s why they hired you. And then you’ve got the worst are the people that actually tell you how to do it and consistently tell you how to do it. They won`t listen to you and they make you want to do things which you know aren’t going to work well. They’re the worst possible client, aren’t they?
Robert: Yes. And just for the record, the client that has been the most time intensive in my whole database by far by miles like I probably spend a hundred extra hours on this client without and I had to change my contract because of this client. That’s how much time they took. They are also the client that has the most profitable website with me. They will make $10 million in real estate sales, 100% off website leads because they asked me a million questions. And they made us do, I mean I don’t even know what the number would be, but 50 to 75 customized, very minor changes because they were paying attention to every single detail. No matter how my newt, it was on the website, technically speaking, they would be considered a nightmare client by most web development companies. The thing is though, since I’m a long-term provider and I was talking to them, I got a chance to say, what are your numbers from all these leads I’ve started to see coming in?
And then their numbers were shockingly good because they had paid attention to every single detail on every single page and their audience responded to it. They basically leave them copious like pages of notes when they registered with the site. It’s incredible. It’s incredible. And so yeah, all of that was, you’re absolutely right. And despite them cursing us out a couple of times because they were really upset with how certain parts of the process, how long it was taking. But you and I both know what development can be hard, simple seeming things can be very difficult.
And they asked us a couple of those and yeah, it took us a couple of goddamn weeks how to figure out how to change a very minor thing on their IDX stream. But now that all that is done and the money is coming through, these guys will literally, like, they’ve already done a review video would offer to do another. Like it’s incredible because they’re making their entire living. So yes, you’re right there. They were a very tough relationship in the front and a very gracious one in the back. And I would have it no other way. We had to work very, very hard to get the results that they’ve gotten. And to be honest, I think that’s fair. And now they’re willing to shout our praises from any rooftop that we ask. Because they understood that we worked hard. Like they did.
Jonathon: Would you say the majority of the slight changes they requiring from you on reflection were logical?
Robert: Yeah, they were, they were just hard.
Jonathon: Some of them are hard, but you know, they’re helping you improve your product. So how much knowledge you’ve got based on your previous experience of the industry. You can practice for battle as much as you like. You could be part of the Navy Seals. You could have the best training that the American or the American Navy can provide. You can have the best specialist train you, but it cannot replace actual battle. It just can’t replace the actual visual experience of combat. It can prepare you more so you don’t get killed but it can’t replace combat. So it’s really simple. You can have all the bells and whistles, but you never really know how a product is really, really going to work until it’s in the battlefield. It’s in its live, you are getting feedback from clients. And that’s when you need to chat, it’s annoying, especially if they start curse you. Cause they think that something should be simple. And it actually is not. But on the other hand, if there is anything wrong with your product, you won’t fundamentally know until it’s on the battlefield. Will you Robert?
Robert: Oh, you are a hundred percent correct. I wish you weren’t, but you are right. Like it’s just, that’s been a staggeringly strong realization for me in the 12/13 years I’ve been in web development is that, Oh my God. Like the incredible amount of things that can go wrong that you just never expect that you just don’t know. Browser changes, technology changes, device elements, like all these different devices read the internet differently and some of the time. And then the problem as a technology provider is you have to figure out, is this me? Is the website the thing it’s at fault? Or is it the fucking device or the browser or a hundred other details. And that elimination that process of elimination, people doesn’t understand how long that takes.
And if they’re nontechnical and they call you with a problem and they go, this is problem XYZ, and you go, okay, well can you give me more details? And they’re like, no. It’s like, okay, great. You just gave me a fucking phone book of stuff I got to go through to try to figure out what’s wrong with your thing. But that’s neither here nor there. I don’t want John and I to get into a whiny Fest. Because we’re, we’re very lucky. We’re very blessed. We, we get a chance to do our business from anywhere in the world. And that’s something to be said for that. And we both have chosen this for ourselves.
Jonathon: So just the ramp up folks, ask some questions. Listen to this episode. You probably listened to the past three episodes when we delved into the world of the best website builders. If you’re a real estate company if you are looking at some of those vendors, you really need to also listen to this episode and start asking some questions and observe the kind of answers you get back. So, Robert, we’re going to wrap up the show. What’s the best way for people to learn more about you company and what you’re up to?
Robert: All right folks, you can go to my website inboundrem.com. If you’re interested in actually no, I’m not going to do that. I was going to say my phone number, but you know, it just got on my website. Look at my contact form. If you want to reach out to me, my phone numbers there, I’m easy to get ahold of. If for some reason you want to talk to me. Other than that, go check on my website. It’s got so much stuff on it, it’s not even funny.
Jonathon: And if you’re interested in the Mail Right product and using the power of Facebook to get you quality leads. And the host of other fantastic elements that we have as part of the Mail Right product range. And you can go to the Mail Right website and book a free consultation with me. And we will work out a one year marketing plan on one page that is simple to implement. And we’ll get you some results because you need a plan. If you’re going to lose weight,, why build a business, do anything. You need a plan. We will see you next week folks, where we have either a great guest or internal discussion between me and Robert. We will see you soon folks, bye.