Raising the Real Estate Bar with Raj Qsar

via PLACESTER

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Years ago, real estate agents were the gatekeepers. If you as a consumer wanted to know what was on the market, you had to go through an agent. But those gates are gone. Real estate consumers now have access to all the property data they could ever want. Today, you need to give them something unique, something they can’t Google—and Raj Qsar has a few ideas about how to do it.

Raj is truly on the cutting edge of the real estate business. In 2015, Inman News named him one of the 33 People Who Are Changing The Real Estate Industry. As principal of The Boutique Real Estate Group in Orange County, California, Raj has led the charge to create content and experiences that provide value for real estate consumers far beyond the MLS.

“I wanted to do something that was different,” Raj explained. So, in 2009, Raj worked with a local filmmaker to produce an emotional short film about one of his listings. “Not only did we sell a price record on that home, we got like every listing for the next three years in that neighborhood.” Today, The Boutique Real Estate Group continues to produce high-quality videos that offer prospective buyers a beautiful, intimate look at their clients’ listings.

Whether it’s through video or some other avenue, Raj says, today’s agents need to focus on adding more value for their clients. “Give them something they don’t know,” Raj told us. “‘Hey, did you know that this neighborhood on the 4th of July actually shut down the streets? There’s a live band, a taco cart, and the local fire department comes up and does a parade with all the kids?’ [That’s] the stuff that…provides value to these people who wanna spend a couple million bucks on a home.”

Of course, it’s not just the agent’s responsibility to add value: brokers also need to step up and provide for their agents. “They need to create value within the brokerage to be able to push it to their agents, so the agents can push it to their clients, and give [them] the opportunity for success,” Raj explained. That value consists not just of modern tools and great design, but also intensive, one-on-one training in how to use these resources effectively.

“Most of the agents [we hire] are at these big brokerages with 500, 600, 800 agents,” Raj told us. “They feel like a fish. They feel like they have a number. They come here and they’re like, ‘I can’t believe how much one-on-one time I got. I can’t believe that you sat down for three hours and didn’t look at your phone one time.’”

In this interview, Raj explains how video can tell powerful stories around your listings and neighborhoods, and describes how today’s brokers should be investing in each of their agents.

Listen to the Podcast here.

– Matt & Seth

How to turn Starbucks into a lead goldmine

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Get out of the office and make personal connections that generate leads.

  • Starbucks and other places like it are great locations to generate leads.
  • Be consistent and focus on creating relationships that build credibility and lead to sales down the line.
  • Always bring marketing materials and discreetly advertise yourself with branded accessories, such as a laptop cover.

Starbucks isn’t only the place to pick up your daily triple nonfat latte with a drizzle of caramel and extra foam on the side — it’s also a great place to find leads.

In Lab Coat Agents, James Michaelin recounts how he got two leads in one morning at Starbucks thanks to good listening and quick action.

“I overheard a business meeting that someone was starting a business and they brought up needing to find a Realtor for a location,” he wrote. “Well, [the] keyword Realtor was said so of course I introduced myself, gave my card to both of them and they [wanted] to get together soon.”

Twenty minutes later, James got another lead from a man who overheard his conversation with the two businessmen.

As it turns out, Michaelin isn’t the only agent who uses Starbucks as a lead-generating tool. There’s been a lot of chatter online over the past two months about the power of Starbucks and other places like it, such as Panera Bread or even Dunkin’ Donuts.

Here’s some of the advice agents gave on how to make Starbucks work for you:

1. Mark it on your weekly schedule

Raj Qsar goes to Starbucks three times a week to do local real estate research and work on handwritten thank-you notes. Because of his consistency, customers expect Qsar to be there and look forward to asking him questions.

2. Make your presence known

Agents aren’t the only people who use Starbucks as a second office. Most of the people are there are to get work done and rarely look up from their phone, tablet or laptop.

So how do you let people know a Realtor is in the room? JT Takacs suggests telling the cashier to write “Realtor (insert name)” on your cup, so when the barista calls your name, everyone will know your profession.

3. Discreetly advertise yourself with branded accessories 

Order a customized laptop cover that has your name, logo, website URL and a great call-to-action. Amanda Miller Hudson says: “I have the Realtor ‘R’ logo in sticker form over the apple on my MacBook Pro. It works! I picked up a seller lead last November at Panera.”

4. Focus on making personal connections before generating leads

What agents love about Starbucks is the chance to get from behind the tech wall and make real-time, face-to-face connections. Don’t stop in with the expectation that you’ll walk out with a handful of deals each day, because as many will attest, there will be days and weeks when you won’t.

But you will build the relationships and familiarity crucial to establishing your brand and long-term success.

5. Offer on-the-spot advice

When Zillow evangelist Jay Thompson goes to Starbucks, he brings a sign that says: “Have a real estate question? Fire away!” And he buys a cup of coffee for those who are brave enough to take the offer.

6. Bring marketing materials

This seems like a given, but some may feel apprehensive about bringing their regular marketing materials with them into Starbucks. David Fresquez suggests having a set of “ready-made buyer or seller folders that includes information about you, your latest accomplishments along with some social proof.”

Keep these folders in your briefcase, backpack or bag and give them to your potential lead once your conversation is done.

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7. Small sacrifices can hook a big fish

At Luxury Connect in October, Josh Altman shared a story about how he was able to snare a sale at Starbucks. He frequents one Los Angeles store in particular and had purchased his coffee when he saw a well-known celebrity join the line.

So Altman threw out his just-procured drink and stepped in line behind the celeb, struck up a conversation and discovered he was looking for a home. He offered the star $1,000 to come with him to a place he thought would fit the bill — certain it was perfect. And it was. Being willing to throw out the coffee and offer money to show sincerity generated a happy ending to the story, a $12 million sale.

Do you have any extra advice for getting leads at Starbucks? What are some other places you like to hang out? Share them in the comments below.

Via Marian McPherson and Inman News