Think of the greats – Bob Dylan, Bruce Springsteen and Aussie bands like Powderfinger – they know that if they don’t have an audience, they won’t have success. Not only do musicians work their butts off to grow their audience, but they work equally hard – every show – to keep their audience coming back and have that audience tell all their friends.
Real estate is no different. Your success is limited without an audience of loyal fans and subscribers. You need to drive growth and retention of clients and prospects – that will always be the case for sales people and property management professionals – but are you trying to build something bigger? Does your marketing serve a purpose for your audience? Is there something more?
In this episode of Real Estate Pros, we’ll explore the lessons that real estate agents can learn from rock stars and how to build an audience around your business that will subscribe, purchase and sell with you for many years to come.
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Before starting my career in real estate in 2004, I spent most of my teenage years at high school playing in bands – touring around the country in the hope of one day making music my full-time career. I was fortunate to have toured around the country a number of times, we had songs on the radio, played alongside some pretty big names in the Australian music scene and my band mates and I had a number of opportunities to sign with record labels. We were by no means a huge mainstream success but we were doing OK and we had a lot of fun.
But if you didn’t already know, it is extremely hard work to make a name for yourself in the music industry – let alone a steady income – and I had the unfortunate disadvantage of having not much talent. So with my tail between my legs, I moved back to my home town of Brisbane from Melbourne – the so-called music capital of Australia at the time – and at the ripe old age of 21, I knew I wanted a career with a more steady income than I had encountered trying to make it as a musician.
With an unfinished degree in sound engineering from the Queensland Conservatorium of Music, I had two options really – go back to university and finish my degree or work on forging a career in an entirely different industry. It was then that I decided that I wanted to explore real estate sales. I saw the level of income that some agents were achieving and naively thought, “Surely it can’t be that hard, can it?” How naive I was.
I went for a few interviews but with no experience behind me, all I was being offered were commission-only positions – something I wasn’t all that excited about. So instead of jumping straight into sales, I started exploring property management with the view of learning everything I could about the industry, gaining a little more confidence and then one day moving into a sales position.
But on my first day in property management all those years ago, I got a lesson in what a rent roll is worth to a real estate business and I knew straight away what my new career path would be – it was property management.
I spent my first few years doing all the things property managers are supposed to do, from routine inspections to entries and exits and on the odd occasion, attending a tribunal hearing – what was known as small claims back then.
But after a few years, I wanted to get out there and sell, so I started to learn everything I could about prospecting, sales strategy, sales psychology and marketing. I would spend every Friday morning with the sales team in our office role playing and learning what I could to help me grow our property management department.
Not only did we start to improve client retention and increase revenue by increasing fees, but we were growing the number of properties under management quite considerably. But no matter how much I wanted to enjoy it, I hated prospecting, I hated cold-calling and the way in which real estate sales is supposed to be just didn’t sit well with me.
Instinctively, I knew what people thought about real estate professionals and even though I was pretty good at bringing in new business, it wasn’t fun for me having to cold-call people, knock on doors, send out letterbox drops with offers of three months free management – all the stuff you probably do extremely well. It just wasn’t for me. So I started looking for other ways to market – ways that would result in more people calling us, rather than us interrupt them. I started to think about my days as a musician and what makes someone successful in the music industry and one day it hit me – success in the music industry is directly proportionate to the growth and retention of an audience.
Think of the greats – Bob Dylan, Bruce Springfield or Aussie bands like Powderfinger – they know that if they don’t have an audience, they won’t have success. Not only do musicians work their butts off to grow their audience, they work equally hard – every show – to keep their audience coming back and have that audience tell all their friends about them.
Say what you want about her, but there’s a quote by Taylor Swift that goes like this:
“Musicians get record deals because they have fans – not the other way around.”
Take Troy Sivan for example. Before signing with major record label EMI in 2013, Troy was creating content on YouTube from his bedroom. He would record himself performing the songs he’d written and give his thoughts on topics that he cares deeply about. As of October 2015, Troy had amassed 3.6 million subscribers, over 213 million total views across his YouTube videos and his YouTube channel is the third most subscribed channel in Australia – not bad for someone who is only 20 years old.
This is how a lot of musicians “make it big” today – they start by building an audience on their own and they are approached by record labels or other major acts who would benefit from access to that audience as well.
So what does this mean for you as a real estate professional? Well for starters, if you aren’t building an audience for your business, you’re going to find it extremely difficult – especially in a down market – to compete against businesses who have loyal subscribers to the content they are creating.
Take Gary Peer real estate in Melbourne. Their weekly GPTV episodes feature Gary Peer and Phillip Kingston wax lyrical on the week that was. Each video is highly entertaining, educational and informative. By consistently creating these weekly videos, Gary and Phillip have built a loyal audience of subscribers who know exactly who they will call when they do decide to sell their home one day. Their videos aren’t a sales pitch – it’s helpful content. But more than anything, it’s establishing Gary Peer real estate as the leading informational provider on real estate in their local market and earning them a huge audience.
I know you need to drive demand today. You need to drive growth and retention of clients and prospects – that will always be the case for sales people and property management professionals. But are you trying to build something bigger? Does your marketing serve a purpose for your audience? Is there something more?
That is what I want to challenge you to find. That’s the real key to your marketing. Are you – in everything you communicate with your clients and prospects – driving value outside the products and services you sell?
That is the essence of marketing today. That is the key to building an audience around your business that will subscribe, purchase and sell with you for many years to come.
And I hope that’s you.
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