#299 Mail-Right Show We Discuss Using AI to Replace or Improve Your ISA Service With Nate Joens of Structurely
We Discuss Using AI to Replace or Improve Your ISA Service With Nate Joens of Structurely
More Nate Joens Co Founder of Structurely
Nate Joens is the Co-Founder, Head of Innovation and past CEO at Structurely. Under his 4 years as CEO, Structurely experienced 10x growth in conversations processed in the real estate industry and built a proprietary conversational AI application that 99.9% of consumers believed was human. Structurely also became a Housing Wire Real Estate Tech Top 100 company, and grew to a team of 26 employees.
With over 3.5 million conversations with their AI Assistant Structurely’s Real Estate data set is nearing 10mm individually labeled messages.
With experience in Geographic Information Services (GIS), real estate, financing, urban planning, project management, and graphic design, Nate leads the product, engineering and machine learning teams at Structurely to align with real estate customer goals.
Robert Newman: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls real estate professionals of all ages. We’re super, super, super, super excited today to be meeting with Nate Joens. And just so that everybody is clear, Joens is J O E N S not J O N S. For those of you who are going to immediately stop listening to the show and start looking people up, which I know some of you do. And, and John and I are eternally grateful when you do so Nate is the co-founder at structurally and structurally is actually I didn’t have to have this explained to me by, by John. structurally as an AI chatbot that has many, many, many different uses. Some of which Nate, I am hoping is going to explain what he’s excited about in terms of how you would use it. It could be used in order to improve lead conversion rates or simply engage leads and keep them warm and nurtured. Anyway, it’s an interesting technology. We’ve never had a guest like Nate on the show before Nate, why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself to our audience?
Nate Joens: Yeah, I appreciate it, Robert. Thanks also, Jonathan, for finding me, having me on excited to be here, excited to talk about all things lead conversion. That’s what I get excited about every day. The AI side of things is just kind of a cherry on top, but excited to talk about those as well. I’m a, co-founder here at structurally. We’ve been in the market for about four or five years. I started this right out of school. So this is my one and only job ever which has been a journey. You know, we’ve really focused, exclusively on, on working with real estate agents, lenders, leasing agents, kind of across-the-board help improve their lead conversion. I always like to say, you know everyone gets leads, every business across the sun, but sometimes a lot of those leads get forgotten and that makes, you know, folks like you guys I’m sure crawl in your skin cause you, you know, the behind the scenes, you know, how the sausage is made when it actually gets to generating leads and then all that work goes for nothing because, you know, we’re kind of dropping the ball once we actually get the leads.
And I think especially in today’s market being so hot and crazy that feels okay because you’re still making money, but what happens when the market might shift at some point in the future you know, have those have the blocking and tackling of lead follow-up you know have you done your job to set yourself up for success in the future? That’s kind of all things that I’ve been thinking about talking about on my own podcast in the past, talking with inside sales agents, and just generally talking to real estate agents for the last four or five years.
Robert Newman: Awesome. All right. So before we dive deep into that, and believe me, we will I want the audience to get reintroduced to the man behind the scenes he makes he makes the Mail-Right show happen. I oftentimes say it. I just want everybody to keep understanding It’s very true. I’m like a personality I show up but John does all the production, all of it. He posts the shows. He does the show notes. He contacts the guests. He talks to the guests a few minutes before the show. He’s literally every single foundational moment that goes into this thing. It’s all John. And he also happens to be a very innovative entrepreneur in his own, right. Who’s created a really cool marketing system for real estate agents that would kind of be something that they could jump into maybe before they jumped into a bigger, more expensive system. I strongly recommend both him and his system the Mail-Right system. So if you get a chance, please, reach out to him, give him a call. But in the meantime, John why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself.
Jonathan Denwood: Thank you so much for that. Robert every, great man needs a good podcast wife. There we go we combine the power of WordPress and Facebook to provide you more leads, a great combination of two great platforms and much else. So go over to the mail right website and have a look at what we got to offer. I’m looking really forward to our discussion and just to finish, thank you so much. I was saying to Robert we had our biggest audience figures last month ever, and I think the podcast is growing. Thank you so much to all the new listeners and viewers you are much appreciated back over to you Robert.
Robert Newman: All right. So we’re going to dig into this a little bit. Nate has been kind enough and in true Mail-Right podcast show fashion, I actually want to start off with a curveball. You mentioned prior to the show as we’re getting started here that you used to do past tense, a show on ISA, and that you’ve, since it seemingly based on your language, abandon the show, I’m kind of curious to know before we get into structurally and some of the more common things like why did you decide to stop producing that podcast?
Nate Joens: Really no reason other than it’s a lot of work. So my hat is off to Jonathan for putting all that together. So it was a really good time. It was really successful. We learned a ton it’s still Public. It’s just the ISA radio podcast we interviewed inside sales agents from across the country about their setup, their workflows, what makes them tick. And it was a blast. I mean, we learned a lot of the content that we were able to produce was kind of far and away. Some of the most influential ISA were on the podcast with us. Honestly we just kind of started to wind it down because of how much work it was. You know, I think that you know, there’s always opportunities to continue to talk about inside sales agents. Cause I think it’s a huge staple to a lot of companies if they’re not using them yet.
Robert Newman: Gotcha. All right. So for those of you who are listening to this show who may be newer into your real estate career, when we talk about ISAs many more experienced agents’ teams, things like that, I’m sure all of you have experienced the pain of having to follow up with your own leads at the same time that you’re working with existing clients and trying to close deals. it becomes a very, very tough like Ockham’s razor of the average real estate agent, where you just don’t have time to do all the things that you should be doing. So something falls by the wayside, which Nate touched on earlier. It’s probably going to be lead nurturing or lead management lead’s not super-hot. You’re probably not going to chase it down. Call them five times. That’s when you’d hire an ISA, somebody from another country probably who get on the phone, call the lead for you, try to take it from a medium or a neutral state. It leads into a warm state. Good enough for you to get on the phone so that you didn’t have to follow them is that you feel like that’s a pretty good explanation, Nate.
Nate Joens: Yeah. That’s spot on for sure.
Robert Newman: All right. So now we’ve covered that weird curveball, that tangent for those that don’t know, and I promise you many of our, audience does not know. Can you explain in the simplest language, how you, like, what is structurally like, I’m your average real estate guy? What is structurally this supposed to do for me?
Nate Joens: Texts and email follow up with your leads similar to mail-right but also have the two-way communication back and forth once they reply. So it can actually plug into systems like mail-right Like others that do the outbound side of things. But once you actually get the response back, we have the two-way communication back and forth with the lead to kind of warm them up even further. A huge kind of paradigm shift that we’ve seen in the past little while, probably a year, two years, maybe three years. I’m sure everyone’s probably pretty familiar with the phrase [Inaudible 08: 36] the lead you get a lead. You want to be all on. You want to be on top of them within five minutes. Otherwise, you’re 21 times less likely to convert them. We’ve kind of beat that to death for the last while. And, we’ve put in systems like autoresponders that are doing that immediate reach-out we follow up with people for a long period of time, but what we’ve actually shifted to seeing more successful focus on is speed to response.
So from speed to lead, to speed, to response because all of these leads that you’re actually getting to engage with you now. you’ve done all the hard work you’ve generated the lead. You followed up with them in a quick manner. You’ve got them to reply. They’ve replied. Then you have to reply back and actually have the communication back and forth. That communication, especially over text and email compounds as your pipeline is growing, you might be talking to 50, 100. Some of the top ISAs we’ve seen are managing a 500 leads in their pipeline at a single time. So our product has that two-way communication back and forth with those leads over texts and email to either disqualify them or qualify them. So you can kind of follow up with those hot leads.
Robert Newman: Okay. I have a comment there, but guys here’s a good indicator for those of you who are listening to the show. So can you hear me, John?
Jonathan Denwood: Yeah.
Robert Newman: Okay. Sorry I seem to be, I thought I was blinking out there for a second there. Anyway, this is a very similar process and rumour is, it might even be the process like, like why Lobo would be using, so it’s something where you could create mini-steps. That’s why I’m so familiar with them John. I have already been introduced and seen versions of the technology many times over. So it’s something where you could add 20 or 30 steps into the process. If you wanted to where somebody sends you a response, you send them another response they send you a response and another response. So you could really nurture a lead a fairly decent way down in the conversation all without having to have a real human involved. Is that a good summation Nate?
Nate Joens: Yeah, absolutely.
Jonathan Denwood: Okay. So John, do you I can keep going at this all day long. Like really I can
We’ve got another five minutes and I’m quite happy to do the lead in this first half of the show.
Robert Newman: Okay. So an interesting thing that, a question that I have for you though, is that you’re building structurally as an AI. And I think that that’s slightly a misnomer because it doesn’t do everything automatically at some point, the agent and the realtor and the team get involved and they adjust the conversations to match their particular sales and communication branding style. Is that accurate?
Nate Joens: Yeah, absolutely we, by no means want to say that, you know, our scripts are the best. Our follow-up cadence is the best agents know best, they know their business better than we ever will. And obviously, you know, you want to tweak your vernacular to locality wise and our scripts, although we offer, pre-built kind of out of the box scripts across the board that you can use for buyers, sellers, renters, investors, kind of everything in between. You can absolutely customize every aspect of our conversations which, you know, is still kind of in line with AI. The AI side of things, like I said, kind of at the start of this is what I like to say is the cherry on top. Like we, we know the brains behind the system here is, you know, powerful for XYZ reasons, but it doesn’t really matter what matters is we’re having high-quality human like conversations with leads. Because at the end of the day, that’s all that matters. All we’re trying to do is convert leads from cold to hot. And we do that by building all sorts of rapport, having empathetic human like conversations and that’s extremely important in industries like real estate and mortgage,
Robert Newman: Right? And it also can the way that I would personally describe your service. And by the way, I have described your service many times to clients that have asked me about it. And my clients tend to be more like real estate vets that have been in the business for a really long time, like power agents or small teams and brokers that have an independent brand in various places. And the way that I usually describe it as, hey, this might be something to plugin in the middle of a lead generation system, where perhaps you don’t necessarily want to invest in a human being. Structurally would be a system that theoretically you could put in the middle of everything that might eliminate some of the necessity of a human.
I personally would not say all of the necessity. I would just say that it could, if you’re running a big enough lead generation system, it could eliminate the need for one or two bodies, depending on how comfortable you are managing an automated conversation and how responsive your operations person is to constructing the conversation. In other words, getting in there and making sure that AI is, or the automated version of the text messaging system is being scripted carefully by a responsive member of the real estate team. I’m going to give you a chance to retort to that. ‘
Nate Joens: Yeah, no, I think that’s a great spot, but you know, a system like this in, and, you know, one of the things that we’ve always said is the role of structurally is to augment the role of an inside sales agent. That’s really at the end of the day, what it does. If you don’t have an inside sales agent and ISA, you are an ISA, so everyone technically has one. You know if you don’t have someone who’s behind the scenes, dialling, texting, emailing constantly, that’s on you. And if you don’t have time for it, I understand. But, you know, that’s where it kind of comes down to it probably falls by the wayside and you have a product like ours alongside you acting as the ISA to augment your role in that way. But that’s spot on.
You know, you can kind of use structurally across the board, whether it’s on brand new leads, whether it’s on older leads that are kind of collecting dust possibly. I know in a previous episode I can’t remember which one, Jonathan, I think you were talking about, you know, what do you do in a hot market today? And it, I think you kind of made the argument that you should shift and put your focus on your existing database. That’s a huge use case for structurally or, or an ISA. Many of our ISAs that we’re working with are focused exclusively on nurturing and converting their existing database. That’s something that people use structurally for as well. So if you’re more comfortable with having humans upfront dealing with those net new leads that’s great. What we see in a lot of teams is using structurally for those older dormant colder leads to try and bring some back to life and kind of sift through and mine for some gold in your database.
Jonathan Denwood: I think that’s a good spot for us, Robert to go for our break and we’ll be back [Inaudible 16: 44] over to you, Robert.
Robert Newman: Alright, lovely so, stay tuned. We’re going to continue to have a conversation about structurally. I’m going to throw something at Nate that he will not be able to answer, but that’s fine. And then but I am going to give a huge use case that all of you are familiar with every single person listening to this show has already heard of and it’s probably an unacknowledged use case of structurally. So all of you can get a feel for how prevalent this service really truly is, how much you can truly do with it. Because I do think that it is an incredibly powerful tool it’s been proven to be so. it’s not even a guest anymore. They’ve already had a huge adoption rate inside a very powerful marketing company that’s taking over the real estate space. So with that, stay tuned for the second half of the show. And we’ll be back.
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Robert Newman: Welcome back. We’re in episode number 299, John, and I must be insane. We’ve been doing almost 160 of these shows together. How John has, [Interposed talking 18: 20] I don’t know,
Jonathan Denwood: I’m sure Nate is really looking forward to your other question.
Robert Newman: it’s more of a statement. It’s not a question. I’m not going to put him quite on the spot with a question. Cause I’m, I’m fairly certain. He probably has some kind of NDA that he can’t actually answer so I, and I figured this one out on my own, this wasn’t something that somebody told me or anybody revealed, but just so everybody knows, but here’s a great use case for structurally. And since I figured this out on my own, and I’m pretty certain of my answer I feel perfectly comfortable. This nobody made me sign shit.
That structurally is probably one of the key elements. That is part of why Lobo. And for those of you who don’t know what why Lobo is its big marketing company. And one of the primary uses that I’ve recommended why Lobo for is exactly the use that Nate just said on the show. It’s pretty much an almost unbeatable tool to take and then apply to let’s say, and I have a case study even. Nate, I actually have so much as a case study because I put a client to why Lobo. And let’s just pretend for a moment. They truly are using their own customized version of structurally. So what it does is it then reaches out to all of the customers through a series of triggers and the triggers are customed to why Lobo, I don’t know what they are, but they’re somewhere in there.
And once the trigger introduces a service like structurally into the process, like it’s got like a text that says, hey, you were looking at a property like a, in Monrovia, are you still looking at that property? Because we have some new details and we’d like to reach out and tell you what those are. Right? That’s a text message theoretically, that structurally could send out. Is that correct? They like that text message.
Nate Joens: All right. Yeah.
Robert Newman: So that text message gets sent out to a customer that has also already responded by clicking on like an IDX link. And now they’re in searching for properties. So it’s a double whammy in terms of follow-up, they’ve looked at a property now they receive a text message from you theoretically. it’s talking about looking at properties. It’s an extremely powerful response system where combined with other methods in general, you could really encourage people to, essentially get on the phone with you via- now the most. I’m not going to lie to you. I’m most excited about structurally in terms of text messaging. Like that personally for me is that’s the only use case where I personally, Nate have seen something like this really fire on all pistons in terms of like lead generation.
I’m sure there’s many other uses such as like Facebook chat and stuff like that. But I haven’t seen that like actually move the needle in terms of actual hard-dollar ROI. I certainly could make an argument for nurturing. Like I think you could, but I don’t, but the text messaging bit I’ve watched that take cold leads to warm. I’ve actually physically seen it, in a client’s account. So I can attest personally to the power of that. I’m not going to put you on the spot, man. I’m not going to make you respond to any of this. I’m going to ask you this you’re coming out of college. You’ve got you’re literally, you’ve never worked a job Like you said, what makes you decide to create a chatbot for real estate?
Jonathan Denwood: Can I intervene just for a second -Yeah I’m having a bad effect on you Robert your questions are almost as long as mine.
Nate Joens: I mean, I can certainly try and respond to all that. I think it’s all good. Good and fair points for sure. I think just generally out of college, you know, myself and my co-founder had always wanted to get into real estate in some way. We just didn’t know how so we ended up just talking to hundreds of realtors, like during school and saying, you know, hey, what’s your day like? what do you do? What do you hate doing? And it was constantly, I hate following up with leads. I hate the behind-the-scenes stuff. I hate the mundane set of tasks, create a, create a task, complete a task, send a text, send an email. I hate it. And I understand it. It’s the mundane part of sales.
The fun part of sales is getting in the field, get in face-to-face closing deals getting closer to that commission check. So we set out to say, hey, let’s solve this problem of lead follow-up and lead conversion with technology, not necessarily throw a bunch of humans at it, like a human call centre that have been around for 20 years. But we knew going into it that we had to say, we need to create a human-like experience through conversation. Just the same as a human call centre does, especially in markets like real estate mortgage, leasing that’s, especially true. People are typically moving because of a big life event, you know, the three Ds of real estate or whatever death, divorce disease, those aren’t that small things that people are typically moving because of those are more positive reasons like a new job. So that’s how we set out to build the product. It was a lot harder to build it that way rather than just a really rudimentary, basic chat bot.
So we set out on the hard path to make it feel really humanlike and put in, you know, purposeful typos that we correct on purpose, emojis, empathy, humanlike traits kind of throughout building this for the last four years, which has been fun, exciting, and eye-opening.
Robert Newman: Beautiful. I figured as much, but I would like to add one addendum as a, as a lifetime salesperson. And this is definitely something that I figured out over many years. So many salespeople won’t necessarily bet be there, but I will tell you this I’ll bet you, if he talked to talk to anybody that’s in the top 1% of their field they will think like this. sales isn’t about at a certain level. Isn’t about getting closer to the commission check. Yes, you want to get compensated and yes, you always keep your eye on that, but you know what a great salesperson will tell you at the end of the day, what they want to be doing is they want to be creating new relationships. That’s what they want to be doing. They want to be in the midst of creating new relationships. Chatbots kind of start that process, but the real relationship creation doesn’t start until you and I are face-to-face. So that’s what most really great salespeople will say is that they want to get deeper into the relationship developing process because some people buy from you. Some people don’t that’s part of the process.
I would absolutely agree with that. One of the things that we spent a lot of time talking about in our ISA podcast was the DIFC profile. If you’re familiar with that, DIFC and like through and through almost all of the real estate agents, top real estate agents that we see are really high eyes, super personable face-to-face people, they love the relationships. And then if you look at like top ISAs, the behind the scene folks really low eye, they don’t like that. They don’t like that relationship building at least to some degree. Not the degree that the top agents do bet the best ISAs do really like building relationships. It’s just kind of like, you know, they’d rather sit in their room on a phone call on a text, on an email and build their relationship that way less in person. So I completely agree. I think that you know, the best salespeople across the board, whether they are ISAs where they are agents or just salespeople in any field are looking to build relationships.
Jonathan Denwood: I’ve got a question and then we are probably going to have to wrap it up for the Podcast part of the Show Robert and then move on to bonus content. My question Nate is I’ve observed there seems to be two buckets where agent’s kind of fall into Nate There seems to be the kind of the [Inaudible26: 55] you have a small database might be 300 people. You keep them really tight. You invite them to the events, you send them a little present on there. You have a database that tells you that when they have their birthdays, when their children have birthdays you literally you keep them really basically tired. And that is strengths and has its own problems. And then you got to set of agents that really, they just want to get leads from Zillow, whatever source, and they ring them and they try and get there first, but they don’t nurture either. First of all, would you agree that, and secondly, I think the agent is going to be successful in the next couple of years, is the agent that can mix the two together in a career and structure what’s your remark about that?
Nate Joens: Yeah, I would, I would agree. I think that that’s a pretty fair assessment to kind of group different agents’ philosophies into, I would also agree that combining those two creates a really healthy business something that I’ve talked about a lot in the past is, you know, the, right answer is never just one answer or one solution or one silver bullet. a healthy business in real estate has leads from Facebook, pay-per-click Google you know, generated kind of on your own or with a system like mail-right. They also have a healthy flow of, you know, portal leads, cause portal leads are very expensive, but they’re pretty low in the funnel typically. And you have a healthy system in place to nurture those existing leads that you have and your sphere of influence for the long period of time, because essentially you’ve paid for all those leads over the, you know, over the course of 10, 15 years, we see people with databases in the hundreds of thousands and, you know, there are people in there who are ready to move.
So staying in front of them is essentially like free lead generation or at least covering your expense on the amount of money that you spent on that lead maybe 10 years ago to get them to convert eventually. So I think a healthy combination of, you know, your own leads, pay-per-click leads, portal leads, and a system to generate and nurture your existing databases is a really good healthy business.
Jonathan Denwood: So it’s time for us to end the podcast Robert and go on to bonus content.
All right. So ladies and gentlemen, boys, and girls, real estate professionals, all ages and sizes, we appreciate you tuning into the Mail-Right Show which apparently you are doing an ever-increasing number. We question your sanity, but deeply appreciate your insanity. So thank you so much for listening to John and I ramble on about real estate marketing. Thank you for joining us as we interviewed Nate, who has been amazing and exactly what I expected that we would have, which is somebody who’s on the bleeding edge of real estate technology. He’s probably a little bit stepped out in front of where many of you are, but I’m here to tell you, you probably want to follow him. You want to catch him when he’s talking about other podcasts, you want to listen to what he has to say about automating your process, especially for those of you.
Now, he hasn’t said this, but I will say this. I strongly believe that Nate and his team is structurally or probably something you want to look at. If you’re making like your personal income somewhere between 3 and $500,000 a year or more, this is something that you would be ridiculously. It would be dumb for you not to try to look at this and see where you could maybe take out like a human being that you’re thinking of installing in the process or optimizing the process. So that’s what I’ve got for you in terms of this. So, John actually wait, Nate, I’m going to go with you first. I’ve just plugged you pretty hard. So how are people going to actually follow up on this and like find you and follow you and all that good stuff.
Nate Joens: Yeah. Yeah. I appreciate that. I mean, all you can always just find us at structurally.com. We’re trying to put out as much content as possible. I think I always like to put my money where my mouth is too. We love when people try the assistant, the AI assistant themselves as a lead to get that experience first-hand. Which you can always do that yourself at test your AI assistant.com. Actually I think it might be test my, AI no it’s test your AI assistant, sorry, a momentary, a brain fart there, but it’s test your AI assistant.com. So you can fill that out yourself and you know, try and try and talk to it.
Robert Newman: Gotcha. Sorry. My dad’s calling me guys. I apologize. He never mind. Doesn’t matter. He’s a little unfamiliar with my podcasting schedule. All right. Thank you for that, John, if people would like to get in touch with you and perhaps talk about how brilliant of a human that you are, how would they go about doing that
Jonathan Denwood: It’s really Simple, just go to the mail-right website. There is a phone number on there. If you call it an available, I pick up the phone, and if you just want a quick chat for half hour about your marketing needs, and you’re looking for some advice, I’m more than happy to have a chat. So you’ll find that number on the website over to you, Robert.
Robert Newman: Lovely. And for those of you who wondering when or how you should call Jonathan in particular, I would say anybody in the first one through five years of their career, if you are not sure what you’re supposed to be doing about lead generation or you’re frustrated with the options he, he might not be quite as knowledgeable about all the lead systems, but he’s close.
He like me has interviewed hundreds of guys like Nate. And we like, just like you said about your podcasts, we picked up a thing or two. And so he can probably be incredibly helpful. And the offer of his time is really cool. If any of you would like to learn anything about SEO or any of the longer-term things that happen inside real estate marketing. I’m the dude for that? My blog is inbound rem.com. There are tons of world-class articles there that I’ve written myself or my team has written for me that talk about who the best real estate lead generation systems are, what tools you should be using, and the list goes on and on.
So thanks for tuning in. We deeply appreciate it. If you’re feeling inclined to be generous, please leave us a review on iTunes. I think we’re still lacking a few and Nate, are you okay staying for another five or 10 minutes?
Nate Joens: Yeah, absolutely.
Robert Newman: All right. So we’re going to do some bonus content. We’re going to leave it a secret. It’s going to be a mystery. You’re going to have to join us on the male hyphen, right. YouTube channel to find out what we decided to talk to Nate about for an additional five to 10 minutes after we end the podcast with no further ado. Thank you for tuning into the podcast.