Raj Qsar is the principal/owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group and spends much of his time traveling to far flung destinations educating those in the real estate industry on the finer points of effectively using technology and social media.
The Southern California-based influencer will take the stage during Inman’s Indie Broker Summit on Monday, August 7 to address brokers from across the country on how to strategically think about their technology choices in their own practices.
So, how can agents replicate the success that Qsar gained from an “undesirable” listing? He says it’s all about hustling and “doing it right.” Here are some of his tips on how to get your hustle on:
Be prepared and willing to hustle 24/7
Qsar said one of the first questions he asks potential hires is “What is your hustle like?” He looks for agents who have the natural drive to build face-to-face connections rather than those who prefer to stay cooped up in an office all day.
These type of agents are harder to find, Qsar said, because many professionals in the business think that becoming a top producer is an overnight process.
“Most people think they can show up, do some social media posts and all of a sudden they’re going to be a top agent in their area,” he says. “It’s not like that. You have to meet people where they are.”
“We’re able to look the tenant and the tenant’s agent in the eye, we’re able to open the door for them, make sure the beds are made, the lights are on, the music is playing, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming.” – Raj Qsar
Qsar says agents must realize that real estate is a total hustle. “You wake up hustling, during the day you’re hustling and you go to bed hustling, and then you dream about hustling,” he says.
So, what is the hustle? Qsar says it comes down to never saying “no,” executing each listing the right way and always putting your best foot forward.
“Even on million-dollar listings, if agents can take a reduced commission or they feel like it’s overpriced or whatever, they’re not going to put their best foot forward,” he said. “That’s just too bad that they’re not thinking downstream. ‘Cause the world is able to see anything that we drop on the Internet, and who knows what opportunity that will bring. It’s all downstream.”
Always do it right
Qsar says he knew he wasn’t going to make any money from the initial lease listing, but he decided to take the opportunity anyway.
He invested in professional photos and brochures, staging, a single-property website and even ordered custom signs that were up to the neighborhood’s code.
In addition to stellar marketing strategies, Qsar provided five-star customer service through appointment-only showings.
“We’re able to look the tenant and the tenant’s agent in the eye; we’re able to open the door for them, make sure the beds are made, the lights are on, the music is playing, the birds are singing and the flowers are blooming,” he says with a laugh. “We’re driving, taking time out of our day to make sure we can open the door for someone we don’t even know. That’s doing it right.”
Qsar says he treated the leased property like a million-dollar listing to “give the client the best chance of success.” Plus, he knew that his current efforts would lead to future rewards.
“What we preach at our brokerage is that it’s all about downstream. You’re not taking a listing for this listing, you’re taking it for the next listing,” he says. “You’re taking a listing for the digital content you’re going to produce, and you’re taking it for the online leads you’re going to generate from that one listing.”
Furthermore, Qsar says most agents are transactionally trained, which means they are trained for “this one and only transaction.” Basically, agents are playing a game of checkers when they should be playing chess, which puts them behind in the long run.
“[Agents are] not trained digitally, they’re not trained for content, they’re not trained to meet real people in real life,” he says.
Focus on making personal connections
Out of all the aspects of being a successful real estate agent, it’s clear that Qsar treasures his ability to make personal connections the most.
“Something that everyone seems to forget is that you’re going to meet real, live human beings from this listing,” he says. “That’s an opportunity for you to connect with people in real life, and when you connect with people in real life your chance of success is much greater.”
Qsar says that personal connections not only make it easier on the agent but also the client, which is what the work of real estate is all about.
The term “chef’s kitchen” gets thrown around in real estate listings, but it can mean a lot different things. Whatever your definition, the culinary playground at 22750 Hidden Hills Rd in Yorba Linda, CA doesn’t disappoint. This home’s kitchen was designed by its owner, Carlito Jocson, the executive chef for Yard House Restaurants.
We asked Jocson to dish his home’s kitchen secrets. Here are 5 features we love.
We’ve all been there: stirring a boiling pot when you realize you need to add something from the fridge. With refrigerator drawers in his kitchen island, Jocson has quick access to common ingredients. No fishing for things in the back of the main refrigerator — the essentials are an arm’s length away.
Wine staging area
A mini wine fridge is a common amenity in luxury homes, but Jocson uses his as a staging area. The main course is downstairs: a temperature-controlled, 1,200-bottle room.
Jocson brings up what he needs to chill for the next meal or two, making his wine decisions before he starts cooking. This is both a time-saver and great way to ensure your meal and wine pair well.
Open shelving has been trendy for a while, but Jocson doesn’t worry about pretty displays. He’s a functionalist, stacking dishes so they’re easy to grab, like in a commercial kitchen. Plating is an important final step in meal-prep, and this kitchen makes it easy.
According to Jocson, chefs love good flow. He wanted his space to feel more like a tasting kitchen, with ample counter space and a breakfast bar with barstools.
Jocson says there’s room to cook for 50 people (he did so last Christmas), and four to six people can sample the food while he’s cooking.
We couldn’t help admiring Jocson’s huge outdoor kitchen. But, this space isn’t just about the grill. A Wok Range, pizza oven, sink and ample counter space allow him to prep, cook and plate a meal without having to step inside.
Like what you see? Jocson’s kitchen is just one selling point of his $8.68 million Yorba Linda listing. (Check out the master bedroom overlooking the pool. The walls disappear, so you can jump out of bed into the deep end!)
But with a bombardment of banners, popups and ad word choices filling the margins of their screen, how are real estate agents going to grab potential clients from cyberspace and bring them offline, where the lead becomes your client?
Is your head still lingering in the circa 2006 cyberspace, where you register a domain and start a website with a landing page that forces people to register?
An obituary for this bygone process might read like this: beloved agent bought a lead capture website from one of the hundreds of real estate website providers, ran some Google AdWords or general Facebook ads that linked back to a landing page and watched the leads roll in.
Some very successful agents still swear by the simplicity of this method and utilize a widely cast net of web presence. Expert agents build sites with offers to buyers and sellers and then run their offer everywhere — Craigslist, Instagram, Facebook, blogs and search engines.
But again, the system is getting increasingly chaotic, so simply spinning a web on the internet and waiting for a client to fly into it is not enough.
Like sand through the hourglass
Funneling leads has gotten more sophisticated as attention has become an increasingly precious commodity.
Agents are establishing what are called marketing funnels. Think of sand through the hourglass (unless you are having a midlife crisis, then think of something else) — there is a lot of sand in the top of the hourglass, but only a few grains trickle down at a time.
For a moment, single grains are falling, unique and isolated, before they land and get lost in the sandy shuffle. So it is with the faceless, nameless and impersonal masses of potential clientele on the web.
Funneling, then, sounds a bit too automated. It is not so simple, and it requires the lead nurturing of agents and inside sales agents (ISAs) through phone calls, voicemails, text messages and emails.
You have only moments with your prospect — while that sand is falling from the mass of grains — to educate and nurture the prospect enough times to get them to choose to do business with you.
Your marketing funnel can have singular sources or many. There are the sources online that we discussed above.
Classic ads and print mail can also drive your leads to landing pages where, hopefully, the lead registers, and, generally, they get an automated response from the agent’s CRM.
This then sends the agent an alert, and the CRM continues to follow up with the lead until they respond.
An effective hyperlocal approach
But, in a recent post to the Facebook group Lab Coat Agents, Raj Qsar outlined a more complex (but comprehensive) view of the modern marketing funnel — the necessary paradox of appearing hyperlocal, but also everywhere.
Note the current web of interconnectivity necessary today to get in front of a prospect and stay there until they are a client.
This is where the digital lead machine comes to fruition. Qsar’s example is specific to Zillow’s platform:
Lead registers via your online portal.
Agents are notified via text or email (contact receives a notification as well — a phone call from a live assistant in under five minutes).
They are transferred to an ISA.
Prospect is uploaded (generally this is automated) to the agent’s CRM.
CRM drips lead content such as stats, blog posts, events, etc.
Prospect is uploaded to listing alert software.
Zillow adds contact into drip campaign with 19 touches in 30 days.
Ideally, you also have a retargeting digital ad campaign in the same ZIP code or city where this lead is looking, so you are “following them around the web” with your digital advertisement (various ads) creating brand and agent recognition.
Print mailing campaigns in the same ZIP code or city as the initial lead.
The print mailing has a lead capture landing page and retargeting pixel so you can follow them around the web.
Handwritten letters are sent to any leads interacting with your marketing, and emails, generated from sign-ups or subscriptions, are dispatched weekly or monthly depending on volume.
The more data received from these leads, the more you can hone and focus social media marketing campaigns, like city or ZIP targeted Facebook ads, Facebook groups and broader Google Ads to cast a wider range of coverage.
At this point, it is time to get local — get seen! Take the hyperlocal campaign from the web, where your ZIP code specific prospects are seeing your presence, to the streets — to “real life” through local appearances and events.
We asked in the opening paragraph: how do you pluck a prospect from the web?
Well, sometimes you need to make your presence known on the web through focused marketing efforts, and then move yourself from cyberspace into the real world.
This is where the moment of realization occurs for your prospects: “Hey, I’ve seen those ads, those emails, mailers, listings, etc. Let’s talk.”
If the commodity is a moment of attention — the moment the sand is falling from the hourglass — then focusing your digital lead machine with the above-mentioned tweaks could make all the difference.
Dale Archdekin is the founder of Smart Inside Sales and the current director of lead generation for Global Living Companies at Keller Williams in Philadelphia. Follow him on Facebook or checkout his Facebook group.
Get to know Raj Qsar, Principal/Owner of The Boutique Real Estate Group, the exclusive representative for Leverage Global Partners in Newport Beach, Corona Del Mar, Balboa Island, Newport Coast, Huntington Beach, and Sunset Beach, CA, USA.
What was your vision in founding The Boutique Real Estate Group?
I reflect back on a quote that crossed my news feed some years ago. “Excellence is never an accident. It is the result of high intention, sincere effort, intelligent direction, skillful execution, and the vision to see obstacles as opportunities.” The Boutique had our “ah-ha” moment back in 2008 as technology and social media found Real Estate. We knew there had to be a better way of not only marketing luxury real estate but there also had to be a better way of managing the mountain of paperwork and people involved in a real estate transaction. Our vision was clear. We had to digitize the real estate experience. The world is on the web – advances in technology are changing the way businesses interact with clients. People are on their smartphones, heads down and focused in a hyper-local world, yet our listing content grabs worldwide attention.
We know we need to be where our clients are, so we can be at the forefront of their minds all the time whether it is on a smartphone in Newport Beach or on an iPad in China. You will never find our clients running to a fax machine and most likely our clients will never even pick up a pen to sign anything. We are a paperless office, completely mobile and can run an entire real estate transaction from our iPads and iPhones. Our technology does not require our clients to be tech savvy – it only requires our agents to understand the benefits of technology and to implement that technology into our client experience. With this simple direction built on technology first, our brokerage concept came to life and then layered on in-house design, creative marketing strategies, world-class social media and internet optimization.
How has social media, creative marketing, and in-house design changed or impacted your approach to business?
Real Estate marketing has truly evolved over the last 10 years. The Boutique has developed a comprehensive in-house strategy which showcases our client’s home through real-life video (actual movies with creative storylines), Architectural Photography, 360 HD V-Tours (amazing technology), custom built individual property websites for each & every home, in-house staging & interior design, custom graphics & design, and a social media content strategy that reaches people on a global scale. We have had the pleasure of being able to bring all aspects of our marketing standard completely in-house. What that means to our agents & clients is that we have complete control over our designs, feel and strategy when marketing luxury real estate. When surfing the web for real estate, our listings stand out: they have a unique look & feel and buyers recognize our listings as being “boutique-ified.” Every part of the marketing strategy has been touched by our in-house team to ensure the story has been told on that particular home. Hours of storyboarding a listing video, post-production of each and every photograph, creating a content strategy for each social portal and custom in-house designed print brochures & booklets for each of our listings. This is all done with intention and skill to give our clients the upfront best chance of success when marketing their home on the open market.
How do you like to spend your free time?
I am an Orange County Native and growing up, my parents would always take us to the beach to play, surf, BBQ and just enjoy our time together. So this tradition has carried onto my family as we spend most of our free time on the beaches of Orange County. When we travel we look for resorts on the beach anywhere in the world. One of our fav spots is Nantucket Island off the coast of Boston. We have spent many summers on Nantucket and it truly has a piece of our hearts. Most recently, we have developed a true passion for wine and all the intricacies it brings to life. Most family gatherings as we break bread we are also opening a nice bottle of wine, which of course always has a story behind it.
Leverage Global Partners is proud to have Raj Qsar and the team at The Boutique Real Estate Group as our partners in the network.
We wanted to keepintouch with you over the years and present to you, the amazing real estate company that we work with, The Boutique Real Estate Group.
After ten years in real estate, we noticed a fatal flaw. The industry is consistently 5-10 years behind in everything they do. Instead of coming up with new ideas, most real estate agents react to old ones or just “keep up”.
We love real estate. That’s why we’re fixing it. No other real estate brokerage in California offers everything we are capable of offering to you. We believe sellers should expect more out of their agent. After all, your agent is marketing one of your family’s most valuable investments. Why not do everything to defend the highest possible sales price?
Corona del Mar, California – October 22, 2014 – The Boutique Real Estate Group, Inc. (www.TheBoutiqueRE.com) announced today it has signed a definitive agreement to acquire Fitzpatrick + Prince, Inc. (www.FitzPrince.com), the Orange County real estate agency known for its unorthodox real estate marketing strategies. Fitzpatrick + Prince provides real estate brokering and marketing services for Southern California luxury homes. The agreement combines the strengths of The Boutique Real Estate Group and Fitzpatrick + Prince by leveraging The Boutique’s powerful in-house technology, national & international recognition, strong sales history, design sensibility, and marketing strategy and Fitzpatrick + Prince’s creativity in interactive media and lead generation.
“Fitzpatrick + Prince has been known as a powerful creative force in the Orange County real estate market for the past five years.” said Raj Qsar, The Boutique Real Estate Group’s Founder / CEO. “The Boutique Real Estate Group and Fitzpatrick + Prince share the same vision for raising the bar of luxury real estate marketing in both Orange County, Los Angeles County, and beyond, and the combination of the companies’ local relationships and promotional experience will help deliver an unrivaled level of marketing excellence to Southern California sellers. We look forward to bringing together the two companies to make The Boutique Real Estate Group an unrivaled voice in tech-driven, innovative real estate marketing.”
“By linking the promotional success and lead generation systems at Fitzpatrick + Prince with the tech-forward digital strategy at The Boutique, the outcome is an even stronger, faster-growing force in the real estate market. No other real estate brokerage is putting this much attention on defending premium prices through technology and creative marketing techniques. The future looks bright for The Boutique, and this is just the first step,” said Mark Fitzpatrick, CEO of Fitzpatrick + Prince.
The Boutique Real Estate Group is aggressively positioning themselves as the real estate brokerage of the future. By integrating Fitzpatrick + Prince’s lead generation strategies – which return an average response rate 18 times the national average – The Boutique can now provide a greater number of seller and buyer leads for its agents. “Being wildly experimental with our lead generation is what makes Fitzpatrick + Prince such a unique brokerage. Like The Boutique, our smaller corporation has the ability to fail, try again, improve, then knock it out of the park. I would have never imagined the one marketing idea we first laughed off the table would actually turn into millions in earnings with an exorbitantly high response rate. It was all worth the risk. I’m glad to see a company like The Boutique carry that torch,” says Opie Opfer, Fitzpatrick + Prince’s Director of Marketing.
Fitzpatrick + Prince’s clientele will continue service with their existing agents at The Boutique with the added benefit of the firm’s experienced leadership, extensive national & international network, preferred referring partners, and industry-leading technology. The creative team and executive leadership of Fitzpatrick + Prince will transition to RUHM, Inc. (www.RUHM.com), the destination marketing company, which combines real estate brokerage experience with a global marketing firm to promote luxury homes, hotels, and yachts around the world.
Under the terms of the agreement, The Boutique Real Estate Group, Inc. will pay an undisclosed amount for all outstanding Fitzpatrick + Prince, Inc. shares related to its real estate brokering operations. The acquisition, which is subject to certain conditions, is expected to be completed in November 2014.
About The Boutique Real Estate Group, Inc.
The Boutique Real Estate Group is a boutique real estate brokerage founded in Orange County, CA, that focuses on brilliant design, beautiful marketing & luxury services. The Boutique has created a culture that spurs collaboration, technology and social media with a unique marketing approach. This design and tech-forward approach has earned The Boutique Real Estate Group accolades and awards worldwide: 2014 Inman News Innovator Award nominee for “Most Innovative Real Estate Agent,” 2014 “Next Generation Real Estate Brokerage”, 2013 and 2014 “Top 100 Most Influential Real Estate Leaders in The USA”, and 2013 “Top 20 Real Estate Videos in the USA.”
Enter RUHM, Inc., the “Destination Marketing Company,” and home base for Fitzpatrick + Prince’s previous creative team. Specializing in packaging, producing, and promoting luxury homes, yachts, and other remarkable destinations, the executives, artists, and marketers who made Fitzpatrick + Prince a success are now taking their skills to every part of the globe with an even higher standard of quality and service. Employing additional copywriters, cinematographers, and marketers from various industries, RUHM has created a powerful creative force in the luxury real estate marketing world. Starting with Maui’s most expensive beachfront estate, our team has proven its ability as an innovative marketer of the world’s finest properties.
COOKING DEMO | Ode to the BurgerUnleash your inner chef. The theme of this month’s cooking class will be Ode to the Burger. Perfect for cooks of all levels.
YOGA IN THE PARK | Self NavigationYoga and meditation that will focus on self navigation. Perfect for beginner and intermediate yogis.
FRIDAY NIGHT HAPPENINGS | Honky Tonk NightCountry music is about storytelling. Join us for a night of music in the great southern tradition, by the Freightshakers. Plus a convoy of food trucks, including GD Bro Burger, Bear Flag Fish Co., the Viking Truck, and Drive Me Cookie. And pottery demonstrations.
YOGA IN THE PARK | Strength and SoftnessYoga and meditation that will focus on strength and softness. Perfect for beginner and intermediate yogis.
GARDEN WORKSHOP | Surviving the Summer HeatThe heat of summer can take a toll on gardens and gardeners. Discussion to include irrigation techniques, how to operate irrigation timers, water conservation, runoff friendly hardscape, and the benefits of mulching.
YOGA IN THE PARK | Creating SpaceYoga and meditation that will focus on creating space. Perfect for beginner and intermediate yogis.
Please register in advance for Cooking Demos, Garden Workshops and Yoga Classes.
Laguna Beach is like no other place in Orange County. Take a moment and soak this in. The landscape, culture, people and the colors (ohhh the colors), makes it even hard to compare even to it’s neighboring cities. Even the scent of the ocean is different. The people of Laguna Beach know what I’m talking about, so this may be a odd concept to picture if you’ve never been here before.
But for those of you that live here and had to narrow down the best thing that this city has to offer, what would it be? Would it be the effect that the cool crisp air has across your skin as you open up the door for the first time in the morning? Or what about the grains of sand in between you toes as you walk along the beach? Maybe it’s the sound of the splashing waves as they hit the shore?
For me Laguna Beach is like a botanical garden. So alive, surrounded by diversity as every element changes so subtly. A collection of organic specimens that thrive and flow freely like a poem in harmony. Nothing ever stays the same but nothing really ever changes either.
So have I done it? Have I lost you in translation? Good, because this is the essence that makes Laguna Beach so unique and abstract. Everything that this city has to offer culminates to understanding this concept. But to understand this, you have to come and experience it for yourself. Your path might be different but you will all end up in the same place. You will understand that magnificence is a word that falls short in describing this city and all that it has to offer.
For a private home tour of Laguna Beach please contact Chris Kwon at Chris.Kwon@TheBoutiqueRE.com