286 Mail-Right Show: Why You Need a Personal Story
To Be a Successful Real Estate Agent in 2021 You Need a Powerful Personal Brand Story!
What Your Personal Story? In this show, we discuss why it’s so important for a real estate agent to have a really powerful story connected to their brand.
Robert Newman: Welcome back ladies and gentlemen to the Mail-Right Podcast today is show number 286. And Jonathan and I are doing what we call an internal show, which means that it is just going to be the two of us. And today we’re going to be talking about the concept of using storytelling to sell or get leads on various digital lead-generating platforms. I’ve done a blog post recently that talks about using the story inside of your actual bios. I think that we’ll start there and see where the conversation takes us. But before we go there, I’d like to take a moment and introduce all of you, especially the new listeners and viewers to my amazing co-host Jonathan, who is the founder of Mail-Right. He’s the founder of this podcast, he has created not one but two marketing companies, one is a learning management system company, and the other is for real estate agents. He’s done amazing things, he’s a talented developer, he’s a talented entrepreneur. Jonathan, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself to the audience?
Jonathan Denwood: I don’t know what to say after that intro, I’ll take you everywhere I go Robert and you can just introduce me. Like Robert said, I’m the founder of Mail-Right and Mail-Right is a platform that uses the power of WordPress with a number of valid technologies to get you quality leads. It’s affordable saying that the solo power couple, small team segment of the market, go over to mail-right.com, and have a look at it and book a demo with me and we can have a chat and we can see if we’re a good partnership. Back over to you Robert.
Robert Newman: Wonderful, so ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, my name are Robert Newman, I’m the founder of Inbound REM. We are an inbound marketing company and that plays directly into what we’re going to be talking about today because this is a space that is not wildly served inside the real estate space. And basically, inbound marketing is selling through storytelling. It’s answering questions that people have in such a thorough way that they’re inspired to reach out to you. And there are marketing companies out there like Y Lobo that use very, very small amounts of storytelling. Like they do video in the form of advertising listings, but they really, barely touch on it. And so today the way I’d like to kick off a conversation about inbound marketing, is a piece of inbound marketing John, that I know everybody uses. You use it, every single person out there uses it. If you ever have a website online, you probably have written something called an about page or bio, would you agree with that John?
Jonathan Denwood: Yes, I do.
Robert Newman: So what I’ve noticed is that people treat these about pages or bio pages as almost throw away space on their website. Everybody is exhausted from talking about themselves and they don’t know how to talk about themselves. And so what they do, and see if this resonates with you John, what they seem to do is like if I say about Jonathan. If I looked you up right now, all better, they’ll say something like, I’ve been an entrepreneur for 15 years, I graduated from such and such a college, I live in Reno, Nevada and I currently have two companies. Would I be correct, if I made that guess?
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah, that’s about right.
Robert Newman: Okay, well, here’s the thing, when you’re communicating a message in the same way to everybody, all of us are communicating the message. The problem with communicating a message in a similar fashion is that very few people pay attention to the message that you’re trying to communicate. If what you’re doing with a bio page is literally saying, I went to school, I graduated in 1987, I have a high school diploma from such and such a school, I went to a trade school. Before, like, those of you are listening to the show right now, I think you probably already started to tune out in the 20 seconds I was describing a bio. Let alone reading a bio, how many bios have you actually read that work prospects that were contacting you to do business with you, John?
Jonathan Denwood: Not that many.
Robert Newman: Okay, so the reason that Jonathan and everybody else listening to the show has not read a lot of bios is that they are not sharing information in a compelling way. And here’s the funny thing in my own company, my own website, the number one way that I generate leads is actually through what is basically the longest bio that you’ve ever seen on a marketing website. My bio on my website is 30 minutes long and traditional knowledge says that you should actually be doing a three-minute bio if you’re going to be doing a video. So to say that you’ve done something that’s 30 minutes long is extraordinarily unusual. And most of the time, every single marketing expert myself included would say, hey, that’s a waste of time, don’t even do it. The way that I get away with it and the way that it generates me a massive amount of business is because I’ve decided to enclosed what is basically my bio inside of a story. And that’s what I want to talk to everybody, including you, John, about today. Because like when you talk about you, John, and I’m just going to use you as an example and you say you’re a developer, you own a couple of businesses. Really, if you think about it, it’s some of the least interesting things about your personal story. And what is your story? Like if you are going to say from an outside view, like, what am I talking about when I talk about your story? Well, you’re an import into the US and you add a reason for you leaving the UK, that is a really relevant part of your story. Now, maybe the story is, I left the UK to come to the US to marry a woman and that is part of your actual story about who you are as a human being. That one sentence communicates more about who you are than if I spent 10 minutes trying to list your achievements as an entrepreneur. Because that doesn’t say anything to anybody about who Jonathan Denwood is, what that says is that says what Jonathan Denwood has done, am I in my tracking for you so far?
Jonathan Denwood: Yes, you are Robert.
Robert Newman: So today in the world that we live in, the digital age that we live in, the power that digital holds for us. If we can communicate the story of who we are because if we can do that, we actually have a chance to make a connection to the other human. So to continue on, do you mind that I’m using you as an example?
Jonathan Denwood: No, not at all.
Robert Newman: Okay, so if we continue on and we say, for instance, I’ll give you another example, and this is slightly more personal, but we talked about on-air before, so I’m going to assume you will not mind if I talk about again. But another interesting thing about who John is as a person is he has dyslexia. And interestingly enough, part of his story about being an entrepreneur is the challenges and difficulties of having a disability ish and working for other people. Would you say that that’s correct because I think we talked about that one time?
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah, your spot on.
Robert Newman: Okay, so the story of John now becomes more like I moved from Europe, I’ve come to the US because I had these personal challenges, I decided to open up my businesses. And the interesting thing about opening up a business with a disability is of course you have to work twice as hard for yourself as you do with anybody else. However, this challenge that I face slows me down or speeds me up as much as I personally prefer for it to do, because now I get to work around my own pace, my own style. And I’m kind of just winging this as we go along, but here’s what I think for those of you that are listening, here’s what the true story of John is. The true story of John is somebody that left the country out of love, move to another country from love, worked very, very hard to overcome the personal challenges that he has. And we all have them, John just has his set, I have my stuff, which since I have so frequently put his stuff online, I’ll put a little bit of mine online. I’m a recovering alcoholic and addict, so 14 years ago I lost everything and so I’ve rebuilt up my business from the ground up. And here’s what I’m sharing with all of you, it sounds personal, it sounds like stuff that in the business world we want to stay away from. I’m here to tell every single person that’s listening to this show that if you think that you’re dead wrong.
That the way to connect with people is, to be honest, to share little glimpses of your life and interweave that with the stuff that you’re doing in terms of your professional life like you interweaved the fact. So now you know that John is probably very determined because he’s really burned all the bridges behind him. Same with me, by the way, I really don’t want to work with anybody else and while I could work with somebody else, there is a glass ceiling, if anybody did a background check on me. Like there’s literally a certain level that I could only like fly high up to, maybe it’s possible, but I don’t want to deal with it, it’s easier to work for myself, for sure. And so that’s something that you now know about John, which means that if you understand people, the chances of him being much more dedicated, much more determined, much more disciplined in his approach to business is very high. That’s in my opinion, but that’s what the story tells you, the story of somebody, the story of you. So now that I’ve shared that with you, John, let me ask you another question. So I’m starting to share with you right now in the middle of the podcast, and I jumped this topic in on you today, didn’t I?
Jonathan Denwood: You did, which is how we normally do it.
Robert Newman: Right, that’s true. But now that I’m talking to you about the difference between storytelling and a traditional bio. Do you think you might reconsider writing so many of your own bios on your website or someplace that you have it, you know what who cares where it is, just someplace?
Jonathan Denwood: I really think, yes, that was strange enough, we’re revamping on my other business. And I’m thinking about it, I’ll probably do the same on the Mail-Right about us page. It has changed a little bit because I did my partner that helps me with Mail-Right, Adam Brown. Or you have to get Adam on the show and interview him so he can tell how awful it is to work with me. But no, you’ve explained this really very well, actually. And I’m in the midst of improving the layout, go, my graphic designer, that you recommended to me, that it still works for us on WP tonic. He’s a great guy, Andrew, so he’s just done a mockup, but I will be based on what you’ve just said. I’ll be revamping the actual written and I think I’ll probably add a video on both of the about us pages as well. But that’d be interesting to see your views about utilizing video on your about us page. What you think of that as well, but it’s definitely been an eye-opener, what you’ve just said.
Robert Newman: Well, for those of you who are listening and Jonathan as well. Listen, I’m not, I’m not actually trying to promote myself like this is not go look at me. But I did like it, even though it’s extraordinarily long and I’m not necessarily happy with the length. In 2017, I had to do about four takes and what I was trying to do when I was doing my about videos, so if you’re going to ask me, do I think it’s effective, I know it’s effective. I’m not kidding with you, John, when I say that my about video drives 30% of my business. That is a very big number for a single video that I did back in 2017 and so what did I do on that video that drives so much business. I somehow managed to capture, I used a little bit of psychology, which may be everybody here listening, hasn’t studied as many business and psychology books and sales books as I have. So maybe that’s a little next level, but I didn’t use much. Most of what I did is I decided that I just wanted everybody to understand a couple of really important things. And I really didn’t want to start as an agency, it really wasn’t top of mind and I really meant it. I told all the people I was contracting within LA that I was never going to start an agency. So I felt that there was a compelling story in why did I change my mind and as a matter of fact. The video on my homepage is literally titled, Why I started Inbound REM, despite wanting to get out of the real estate marketing because that was true.
I have one thing up, that I feel is important if you are going to do an about video. I feel like people can sense honesty and integrity, that’s just my personal opinion, take it or leave it. But I strongly feel like people can sense when you’re being genuine. And so don’t make up a story to tell a story, tell your real story. But I thought the compelling part of my story was why when I had already thought many times about retiring out of real estate marketing. Why did I set to decide to basically recommit, dive in and build my first serious business in like the last seven or eight years in the real estate marketing field? And the video tells the story of how I arrived at that decision, which was very analytical. I looked around, I saw the competition, there was really nobody doing something and I thought it was desperately needed. As a matter of fact, this conversation plays into what I think is desperately needed for real estate.
Jonathan Denwood: Robert, before we go down that path, it’s time for our break. And then you can then go into what you were just about to say.
Robert Newman: Lovely, alright, ladies and gentlemen, boys, and girls stay tuned in your cars, on your cell phones, on your headsets. we will be right back.
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Robert Newman: Welcome back to the Mail Right Show. Jonathan is humoring me today; we’re having a conversation about using storytelling inside of you.
Jonathan Denwood: Well, I think it’s been fantastic, you put some ideas in my mind and I’ve actually learned something really important. So I think it’s been excellent Robert.
Robert Newman: Yeah, beautiful, I’m so happy to hear it. So we started off talking about real estate buyers and using stories. And we’re in the middle of talking about… I’m just going to say, go to inboundrem.com and look at my homepage video. And again, I want to be clear with everybody listening this show. I’m not trying to sell you anything, I’m not saying, go look at it and call me on nothing. I’m saying, look at it from the sense of, is there a story being told? And if so, do you connect to the story? Because a good story is personal, it explains the who, what, why, when of whatever your situation is. So the who is a guy that’s been doing real estate marketing for 14 years, then what was, you have to have a compelling element of your story. I’m going to circle back around to John because I don’t like using myself as an example as much as I have been. But like with John, one of the questions that I think I legitimately asked you at some point was, how did you end up here, and what in the world made you start a couple of digital businesses. I did ask that at some point, didn’t I?
Jonathan Denwood: Yes, you have.
Robert Newman: Okay, because I was curious to know what the story of you was. Like I really didn’t want to understand what motivated you, because it’s pretty intense to have even one digital company something that we’ve talked about privately many times. Like how consuming it can be to just do a single company, but you decided to start two.
Jonathan Denwood: Well, I didn’t plan that, it was a kind of a long-winded path that led to that. It wasn’t planned to end up in that way.
Robert Newman: Right, but here’s the thing, all of this stuff that we’re talking about today. All guests that are dedicated audience is probably starting to get much more interested and they might be curious to know why they feel so compelled. And here’s, what’s compelling, we as a species is actually very designed to learn through storytelling. We’re literally wired that way, every single great idea that’s been spread throughout all of history, regardless of language, it is always spread with one compelling start point. That is a story and stories contain interesting facts about somebody, what is your true motivation? And you got to be fearless when you’re telling a story. And what do I mean by fearless, John has openly admitted that he has dyslexia, I’ve openly admitted, I’m in recovery. People want to know the nitty-gritty details of whatever the story is they’re reading. And the first place that people go to on your website or on your LinkedIn profile or on your Facebook profile, strangely enough, if they really are interested in learning about you is still the about page. The problem is that most people haven’t put anything there at all, that’s compelling. So to answer your question, John, in terms of, do I think that video would work or would I use video on an about page? The answer is unequivocal yes, what I would suggest for everybody listening to the show today, just as an exercise and so we have something else to point you to. Just go to the inbound thing and look at my video, but here’s what I want you to pay attention to. Don’t pay attention to my company, don’t pay attention to my offer, don’t pay attention to what I do pay attention to.
Is there a story, are you compelled to hear this story? Because if the answer to those things is yes. If you’re compelled to simply listen to what the story of this other human is, then the job of storytelling has been achieved inside the video. And that’s what I’m trying to communicate to all of you today. The strange thing about stories, if I get you to connect to John if I get to you to connect to me if I get you to relate to our story. There is probably an 80 to 90% more likely that you will be compelled to do business with us and that’s the weird part about storytelling. It’s not so much trying to raise your hand and sell Mail-right as an example, as a service. I’ll bet you money that if you knew John, as well as I, knew him, you’d automatically want to do business with him because he’s a good guy, he’s a dedicated human. But I can say those things to you but they’re just not going to resonate and the reason they’re not going to resonate is that you don’t know the story of this person for yourself. You don’t know his long history and his journey from start to finish. And you have to share that so that the people that want to connect with you are given that opportunity. I’m certain that I blow quite a few people out of the water. They might get nervous or saying, oh, I don’t want to do business with somebody who’s a recovering alcoholic, like that would make sense. But for every person that I blow out the door, there are five others who either know somebody or they themselves are in recovery and already know the language of that world. And now they feel more connected to me as opposed to less connected to me, does that all make sense to you, John?
Jonathan Denwood: Totally, absolutely Robert.
Robert Newman: So I’m going to move on from the concept of bios and storytelling and video and storytelling. I’m going to wrap that all up, John, by saying, I feel like the concept, the core of inbound marketing, and everything that I do is actually based around storytelling. And I really deeply feel that way. It’s always just our job…like my whole job is to try to get my clients to become better storytellers, which is obviously very hard for a lot of people. And how do you get comfortable telling a story in front of the camera, how do you get comfortable telling a story, how do you get comfortable sharing details about your life that you might think are intimate? Like you might say, let’s say you’re not John and I, but you’re a realtor and you have a family of three, and you’re doing business in Tennessee, just as an example. But let’s say that one of your children has a learning disability as an example, maybe you’ve had to make a lot of alterations in your life. Maybe you have to work twice as hard and half hours because you have a special needs child at home. My advice to you as a realtor would be to share that information as part of your story, especially if this incredibly important element is dictating the way that you spend your time. It is very much part of your story, would you agree with that, John?
Jonathan Denwood: Totally, but I can also see why a lot of people are fearful and resistant to some extent to go down this path.
Robert Newman: Why do you say that?
Jonathan Denwood: Well, they feel a bit, do I want to share something that personal to people. And people online, I get about this show and a lot of feedback on my other show, I’m very much out there. And as you know, especially on social media, people can be very cruel, can’t they?
Robert Newman: Very much so, have you had people be cruel to you?
Jonathan Denwood: Oh, God, especially my other show. Read some of the comments on iTunes on my other show, an interesting show it’s a shame that the commentator talks too much.
Robert Newman: Wow, really that’s terrible.
Jonathan Denwood: Terrible, shocking, true though but shocking.
Robert Newman: I mean, that’s really too bad. I mean, I do know that John, obviously I know that and, and obviously I’ve seen it and I haven’t had to deal with that much of it. I have had people like take apart these reviews, I spend hours on though. Like I’ve had people on YouTube and things like that, just say, you did a bad job, or why didn’t you do this or why didn’t you do that? Or I feel like you’re like… here’s something that happened to me a lot. My [inaudible26:10] review kind of got out of date and [inaudible26:15] isn’t doing as well as it once did. And I had people leave me flaming comments on my blog about how they feel like I’m promoting a fraudulent company. Because I happen to give them a good review, but they had a bad experience. Now that’s happened to me quite a few times and it’s extraordinary to the levels that people will express their frustration. So I’ve had that, but not as much on we’re just doing a thing. I’m sorry, that’s terrible. How are we doing on time, how much time do we have?
Jonathan Denwood: It’s time for us to wrap up the podcast part of the show, but if you’re up for doing it, but probably getting close to one. I don’t know if you’ve got any spare time to do any bonus or we need to wrap it up. We had some technical problems getting this podcast dial in, but we kind of fought through them. And if you’re watching this, don’t worry, Robert’s not in witness protection, we just couldn’t get his camera to work. But on the other hand, though, I think I’ve really enjoyed this show, Robert. I think it’s been one of our best internal conversations for a while.
Robert Newman: You have no idea how happy that makes me hear that. You know, it’s funny because actually, you know what, we will do some bonus content if it’s okay with you, maybe keep it down to five minutes. But I would share, if you’ll allow me to John, it’s kind of strange how I came into wanting to talk to this and the reaction to this subject has been somewhat incredible. And I kind of like to share that with the audience, if you don’t mind.
Jonathan Denwood: So wrap up the podcast and then folks join us on the bonus content, which you can either watch on the Mail-Right website or on the Mail-Right. YouTube channel and also think Robert shares it on his own website as well.
Robert Newman: I do, if you don’t mind John, I’m going to change the format slightly. Feel free to jump in if I miss anything. But for those of you who are listening to the show my co-host John has his own lead generation system. And so all of you know, that I review systems, many of you who follow, maybe 30% of the audience that follows this podcast has found it through me, follows it because you know who I am already. And so I’m going to say to that 30% that already understands the kind of reviews that I do. John has a really good lead generation system to look at that that is leveraging Facebook, that is connected to a WordPress website, and some of the same tools that I use. He’s not doing custom work, but he’s doing a solid-like adaptation of the same strategies that I use. A real estate website that you own using IDX broker, he’s just using Facebook to generate his leads.
He has a partner who is, I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but he’s a world-class Facebook marketer. And so John has gotten partnered with him to help him with leveraging Facebook to the fullness of his ability. He still somewhat in beta testing, but I’ve looked at what he’s built, it’s compelling. And I think that those of you who are in the early stages of your career, maybe year one through three, who are looking for a foot into a new marketing system that isn’t just over-leveraged by all of your competitors. You should call John, you should go to his website, which is mail-right.com. You should go to the book of demo button, you should click on it, and there’s a calendar there and then you should look for a time and spend a little bit of time with John. And just so everybody knows, I’ve actually listened to him do his consultations. So I’m not telling you to go do a thing that I don’t understand what you’re going to be hearing and listening to. I’ve sent John a few customers, so I’m pretty enthusiastic about the possibilities of his services. Is there anything you’d like to add to any of that?
Jonathan Denwood: If you do have a consultation, don’t worry, if you decide at the end, you don’t want to utilize Mail-Right. What is trying to do in the conversation is provide some tips and insights that will help you anyway, even if you decide that Mail-Right, isn’t the right platform for you. So I still try and make sure for the consultation and through the demo that you do get some value from it, don’t I Robert?
Robert Newman: You do, and you do provide a lot of value, especially in the subject matter in which you’re actually far more seasoned than I am, which is basically WordPress development. So there’s a lot of questions if somebody had, if they had questions about WordPress, that they could probably get that extra value out of a consultation with John. And if you’d like to learn more about me, if this is your first introduction to me, and you really don’t know who I am. You can just go to my site, inboundrem.com. I am unique and that’s why I don’t spend too much time pushing like who I am. I’m really the only inbound marketer operating inside the residential, real estate space. So just go to inboundrem.com and find out more about me and the services that we offer. And with that folks, for those of you who are interested, I’d love for you to join us on YouTube, even though you can’t see me, which might be a blessing for some of you. And we’ll see you in just a few minutes here.