Welcome to the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast where you’ll hear the good, the bad and the ugly of how real estate agents overcame challenges and grew their business. Check out the Episode Notes at CrushItinRE.com/podcast. Here’s your host, Lindsay Favazza.
Lindsay Favazza: Welcome back to the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast. Today’s guest caught my eye one day when I was scrolling through Crush It’s Instagram page. Her name is Lynda Hafner of ERA Key Realty in Spencer Mass. Before I truly start the interview, let me give you a little bit of insight as to why you should really pay attention to this episode. Lynda has been a realtor full-time for seven years.
For the last five years, although she had a strong Instagram presence in the fall of 2021, she started experimenting more with video and in particular reels. She has an impressive knack for creating branded engaging content, which, like I said, never failed to pop up when I logged onto Instagram. Before long, Lynda’s infectious and vibrant energy had me hooked, and I just had to reach out and show her my appreciation for what she was doing on social media.
She quickly responded, which made my appreciation grow, and then I dove in even further. She is not just this bubbly social presence, she can really sell some houses. Welcome, Lynda. As you can see, I am so thrilled to have you here with me today.
Lynda Hoffner: Thank you. I’m really honored to be here. I’m really happy that you asked me to come.
Lindsay: After seeing your videos, I remember thinking to myself, “I’m going to ask her and hopefully she’ll even respond to me, but she needs to be a guest because she’s awesome.”
Lynda: That really makes my heart so happy. Thank you.
Lindsay: Take me back to the very beginning. Why did you get into real estate full-time? I know you said you’d been licensed for longer, but tell me why you decided to dive in full-time and what the transition was for you.
Lynda: When I initially got into real estate many years ago, it was because my father was a builder and a realtor, and I joined in with his business. However, I was a single girl. I could not pull it off at that point in time. I could not support myself through real estate, but I remember thinking, “This is what I want to do.” I knew in my heart and soul I was going to return to it when it was a more of a financially feasible time. Basically, once I was married and [laughs] I had someone else’s income that I could rely on because real estate money is not reliable, especially the first couple years when you’re getting started and you have no leads and you have no business. It’s really tough getting started.
Once I knew my husband had that dependable income, I’m like, “You know what, I’m going to do what I love and it doesn’t have to necessarily be a make or break as far as how much money I make.” I wasn’t focused on the money. I was focused on doing what I love. I figured if I follow my passion and I do what I want, the money will come. That has been my philosophy with building my real estate business. I love what I do. I love helping people and I love my home. My own personal home is what inspired me to help share that joy with others.
Lindsay: Tell me, seven years ago when you got in full-time, what were some of the things that you were doing from a marketing perspective to get your name out there and to make a success out of this for yourself?
Lynda: Seven years ago, the way I did it was I was like a sponge. I went and listened to all the gurus. I went to my managers within my company and I researched, I am a research buff. I just went on the internet and every single day I’m like, “How do I get leads? How do I get people to want to work with me? How do I do this?” I’m a big fan of Jared James, and Jared James is probably who inspired me to go the video route. Was I comfortable with it at first? Absolutely not. I don’t think anybody–
Lindsay: No one ever is.
Lynda: Who’s ever comfortable with the idea of making videos? It makes me very self-conscious and I’ve over time have had to get over that. I also felt like that was the future of real estate and I wanted to be part of the future. I’m like, “If that’s the future, I need to start getting into that now.” I think I also do have the personality that can go with the whole video thing. I knew it was where I wanted to go seven years ago. I knew this but I didn’t implement it. Instead, I started with open houses. I was a huge fan of open houses because I love talking to people. [laughs]
Lindsay: Yes. I love that.
Lynda: I remember my office manager telling me, she’s like, Lynda, “I’ve never seen so many closed homes from open houses other than you.” I thought, “Oh, that’s so interesting.” I had no idea that that was the case. Not only did I go to the open houses, but I followed up with them. I called them, I would send them homes that were similar. I think that’s where I started is I started the typical real estate just throwing spaghetti at the wall, doing everything I possibly could to get business because I didn’t know what I was good at.
Then over time, after a certain number of years, I’m like, “Wait a minute, why don’t I do the video thing and see how I do it with that?” Before I did Instagram, I actually had a YouTube channel. My YouTube channel, however, is still a struggling process. [laughs]
Lindsay: I am going to so go and research this now because I’m dying to see. [laughs]
Lynda: Oh my gosh. I struggle with the YouTube. The problem with my YouTube channel, which is a little different than with my Instagram, is my Instagram I did the research. My YouTube, I just made videos and I didn’t focus on the stuff I needed to like the SEO, and really dive deep into what topics I need to be creating. I think I’m at a point in my business now where I’m working with a real estate coach to help me improve my YouTube channel and coordinate the YouTube with the Instagram and the TikTok because I’m on TikTok also and just try to channel it so that it’s less time consuming because it is definitely time-consuming. [laughs]
Lindsay: It definitely is. Which would get me into my next questions for you. Are you the one that’s doing the editing, uploading, doing all those things? How do you budget the time for that? Because what I loved about you is that I followed you because I saw these videos that you had posted, but I didn’t pay attention to how often you were posting. Then every time I would go on, it was a fresh video that was populating for me and I thought, “She’s very consistent,” which is really what you need to be. I think a lot of people, they start out, they finally get that kick where they’re like, “I’m going to do video.”
Then they do maybe 10 videos over a span of a month and then they stop and they don’t do it again. Now it’s been since fall of 2021, like I said, that you’ve been really consistent. How do you stay consistent? What is your process for getting this content done?
Lynda: It is an ever-evolving challenge, [laughs] trying to run my business because I’m usually involved in at least 25 sales a year. Trying to manage everything I need to do with that and my social media, it is always evolving. I can tell you that I segment it into pieces where I have a day or a morning where I focus on collecting my ideas. Then I organize once I have the ideas, then I have another place where I have topics. I’m in the process now of creating a yearly topic book. A lot of it too I bring from my business.
If something comes up in one of my transactions, I talk about it because oh, it’s fresh in my mind. This situation just happened. Let’s talk about what’s going on and how to avoid this problem in real estate.
Lindsay: I do a lot of trainings with our agents and with agents through our training group and stuff. The one question I get the most, which blows my mind is what do I post about? I think it’s where a lot of agents get stuck, which is so crazy to me cause it’s like you have all the content on your day-to-day. If you were even remotely active and you’re talking to leads or you’re talking to clients or you’re talking at open houses like you had mentioned, if you are out there doing the activities, then you have content every day.
Think of what questions keep coming up. When you go to a family party and someone says to you, “How’s the real estate market?” Those are the things that– what are they asking you about? That’s your content because that’s what other people are thinking about. That’s what other people are wondering and that’s what you make. I love that you use those real-life examples as ways to get ideas. You have ideas and then you come up with topics and then what do you do?
Lynda: I have a couple of newer ways of doing this. I’ve been using Canva the Magic. I’m just starting to get into the Docs through Canva and using the Magic Wand and typing in an idea and having them generate that. That’s a new thing. Also, Chat GPT
Lindsay: GPT. Awesome.
Lynda: Just starting to implement that a little bit.
Lindsay: It’s been down the last couple of weeks too.
Lynda: Then honestly, a lot of my ideas I get, I follow a lot of other realtors and I make note of topics that I think are good. I don’t copy their reel exactly, but I take the content idea. Do you know what I mean? I spend a certain amount of time every single morning and I follow other realtors and I’m like, “Oh, that’s a great idea. Let me copy this reel and say, use this idea in a different way.” I try to take the concept and apply it to my real estate business.
Lindsay: That’s overall content. That’s how blogs get started. That’s how other people’s videos– we always say in our company, imitate before you innovate. It’s like, take someone else’s idea and then you can tweak it to match what you want. That represents you. That’s the greatest way to do it. Who are some people that you follow? Who are some of the people that you’re like, “I get some really great ideas from them”?
Lynda: Actually a lot of them are mortgage people. Interestingly enough. There are so many amazing mortgage tips that I get and then of course for info, I follow NAR Research. I follow all of the realtor associations. I follow HousingWire, I follow all of the financial data companies. I like to take those ideas that people wouldn’t ordinarily know. I like to transfer that into either a story on Instagram or make a content piece about it.
I like to follow all the financial news, all the economy news, any of those. Like I said, HousingWire. I’m just trying to think off the top of my head. As soon as I see somebody that has good content and is consistent, I follow them.
Lindsay: I love that.
Lynda: Every so often I put them as a favorite so that I’m notified as soon as they make a new reel so that I can review, “Oh, is that content that I want to use?”
Lindsay: I love that. That’s amazing. You’re getting these ideas, you’re getting these topics, you’re getting a lot of it from other people in the business. Whether it be outside of real– not realtors necessarily, but mortgage people so on and so forth. Then you budget time during the week to sit down and actually film? How do you take it from idea to conception?
Lynda: I do have a process. Every single morning I review reels for ideas and I save them in a folder. Then when I’m getting low on– I tend to bulk record. Once I feel like I have enough ideas or I’m low on content, I’m like, “Let’s take these ideas, and let’s go record.” Then I will come into my home office and I will go through all these saved videos and just I will start recording and I’ll save them. Then sometimes I know what the topic’s going to be and sometimes I don’t. Sometimes I just record and I’m like, “Oh, I’ll figure out something to fill in here.”
I’ll refer to my notebook or my idea thing later. Sometimes I just do a pointing thing like this and I’m like, “I’ll fill it in with about appraisals this time, or next time I’ll fill it in about home infections.” [laughs] The recording is tough because I don’t always get myself all dolled up and showered and everything. I pull in the content all around when I’m looking my best.
Lindsay: I think that that’s a great strategy because you want to do it when you feel like you’re at your best, like you said, I think that’s great.
Lynda: I do that too with stories. I also follow a lot of people who talk about how to create content. I follow them as well for ideas on what to do. Brock Johnson, he’s amazing. He’s a really good one. There’s so many social media gurus out there on Instagram that I follow to get ideas from them as well. One of the suggestions I got from one of the social media is when you’re feeling good or you’re showered and you’re looking amazing, take a bunch of photos and then on a different day when you don’t feel like getting all ready and you want to have a pajama day, you take one of those photos and then you just post some ideas about some real estate data or something about it.
Lindsay: Throw it up there. I love that.
Lynda: Like I said, it’s constantly evolving. I love to learn, I love to grow. I’m very passionate about that. I’m passionate about the people that I help. I think you have to be really driven, I think to do this. It may not be right for everyone. It was right for me. I think for me, I followed what I love to do and I found what lead generation source worked best for me and I went with it. I think as an agent, you really need to do that. If you’re terrible on camera, maybe you shouldn’t.
Lindsay: Absolutely. It’s not for everybody.
Lynda: I think you have to take your strengths, your desires, your personality and find what the best lead source is for you. For me, video works really well. I’ve run with that even though it doesn’t mean it’s not intimidating because it definitely is.
Lindsay: Absolutely. Tell me what your results have been. What has your result been from this? Have you had more people mentioning to you that they know who you are or that they’ve recognized you from a video? Have you had people direct message you with questions about real estate or had leads fill out forms on your site? What has come of these videos and this consistency that you’ve put into it?
Lynda: It’s very exciting. I started on Instagram in the fall of 2021, and then I would say about four months later, I figured, “If I’m making Instagram TikTok, why not put it on TokTok?”
Lindsay: Make them on TikTok?
Lynda: I threw some over to TikTok and I had one close sale last year in Worcester from someone in Boston who wanted to move to Worcester, and she’s now one of my greatest friends. She found me through TikTok and she initially found me through TikTok and then she went to Instagram to get to know me better through my stories and everything. We closed her house last year. I have people contact me regularly asking me questions. I have people saying that they want to use me and that they want to go with me. What I like about social media is I’m not just putting out videos. I really do want to connect with these people. I want to have relationships with them.
Lindsay: That’s what I was saying in the intro here. I wanted to make it a point that I said, I reached out to you. It was very quickly after, I don’t think I even left the message and I saw the little bubbles pop up and I went, “Wow, she is on it.” I love that because that means you’re on it with the clients that reach out and that’s what they want to know. They want to know that you’re approachable. You’re not just this person that’s creating these fun videos. That you actually respond and that you comment and you respond to people in the comments and that you’re engaged with that audience.
I think the biggest thing is that even sometimes people will get past the thing about making videos and then they get so honed in and focused on how many followers they have. but they’re not engaging with the people that they actually have following them. You don’t need to have thousands of followers, you need to just be more engaged with the ones you have. I love that. I’m so glad that you said that. Tell me, were you happy? Looking back now, I would assume, but you’re probably thrilled that you started this because these are people that you wouldn’t have met otherwise.
Lynda: I definitely am because I think it’s something that I can continue to grow. I feel like I’m just in the infancy stages of this truthfully. I know it’s been a year, but I still feel like there’s so much more I need to learn and grow. I absolutely love the community of people. I love connecting with people. I love talking with people. That is how I run my business. The thing that I value the most about me in being somebody’s realtor is my responsiveness. If you text me, I’m going to probably text you back within about five minutes. [chuckles] Unless it’s really late at night or something.
I have reasonable hours and limits, but I am very responsive to people and their needs. Probably because I hate when people aren’t responsive to me. Do you know what I mean?
Lindsay: Absolutely. That is so much a part of the success in this business is that when you start to– I think a lot of people get nervous about having uncomfortable conversations, so instead they avoid it and then you cause yourself even more problems. It’s like being responsive, being there for their questions, you stay ahead of some of those issues that could possibly come up.
Lindsay: Lynda, what advice do you have? I’m going to ask this question in two different ways, but what advice do you have for newer agents getting into the business? What they should be focusing on or what they should be doing to get fast-tracked and get up to speed quickly?
Lynda: I think to get fast-tracked, I would take every opportunity you can to immerse yourself in the business. Open houses are huge. If you can take open houses from other agents who have them going just to get out there and get experience. Open houses is definitely my pathway in. Also, I would do as much learning on YouTube from other realtors, educate yourself. I’ve read countless books. That’s another thing I didn’t mention, as far as my Instagram is, I use books like How to Hook People, How to Use a Caption.
You can’t just throw stuff out there. You need to understand the process before you do it and I wanted to do that. With getting started in real estate, take as many suggestions as you can. Then also, as you start to get more clients, you really need to listen to your own soul and follow what feels best to you. Yes, you have to push your comfort level with anything but if you want to generate leads, you also really do need to acknowledge what your strengths are, and use that to your advantage in getting business and leads and things like that.
Lindsay: What is your advice now for an experienced realtor who’s been in the business, and maybe they’re in a little bit of a rut, and they want to change things up, they want to try Instagram, or they want to get out of their own way as far as like video? They want to, but what advice do you have to push them in that direction?
Lynda: If you’re not comfortable being in front of a camera, there are a lot of other videos you can make that you don’t have to always have your face. At this point, I’m comfortable having my face in front of the video, so I’m okay with it. If you’re not, start with videos that don’t necessarily have to have your face on it. You could be talking in a video. You could do some Canva posts. Definitely, you have to go where the people are. The people on social media. Do you know what I’m saying?
Tag your location. Tag real estate. Maybe throw out some real estate data once in a while. Show that you’re the expert in your area in any way possible. Getting on social media, I definitely think it’s the future because that’s where people spend a good majority of their time. That’s where they’re scrolling at night. I want to-
Lindsay: It’s the present.
Lynda: -show up where people are and that’s where they are.
Lindsay: You want to be where people are. Absolutely.
Lynda: I feel like if we want to be successful, we have to be where people are and give them the information they want.
Lindsay: Exactly. This is why I wanted you on here because I think that you are saying all the things that I say and I’m so happy to hear someone who has done it and experienced it and had success with it. It’s awesome. This is pretty much my last question at this point. Although every single time you talk I want to ask more questions. Obviously, your favorite color is pink. I can tell that just by going to your Instagram profile.
Lynda: I know.
Lindsay: I love it. The other thing I’ve noticed is that you are putting in a lot of butterflies. I wanted to ask you what the significance is of the butterfly for you and why you incorporate that into your branding.
Lynda: Oh my gosh, thank you for noticing the butterfly. I cannot believe you noticed that.
Lindsay: I notice good branding and you have great branding.
Lynda: That is unbelievable. The butterfly is huge for me because buying a home completely 100% transformed my life. I cannot tell you. I bought my very first house when I was 30 years old. I wasn’t married. I wanted to be married, but I wasn’t. I was kept waiting to get married. I’m like, “Oh, I’ll buy a house once I get married,” and it wasn’t happening. I was like, “What the hell’s going on here?”
Lindsay: Because you wanted it so bad. [laughs]
Lynda: I’m going to take responsibility for my life. I’m going to do what I want to do. I’m going to stop feeling guilty about all the rent I’m paying, and I’m going to buy my own house. I did and I had no money. Let me tell you, I had zero. I had borrowed money from my parents. It was ridiculous, but I did it. Literally the power I felt internally when I bought my first house, completely turned my life around and I found my husband a year later. [laughs]
Lindsay: I love this.
Lynda: Isn’t that amazing?
Lindsay: It’s a transformative symbol for you.
Lynda: Yes, absolutely and butterflies because they come from such an ugly caterpillar, I felt like that ugly caterpillar. I knew what I wanted in my life, but I didn’t know how to do it. I didn’t know how to get to it.
Lindsay: You are a gorgeous butterfly.
Lynda: Literally I now have my garden in my dream house that I love. I have all these flowers that attract butterflies, and I sit in my little swing and watch these butterflies come. I think about all I’ve accomplished and feel so proud of myself. I feel like people don’t realize how much your life can transform when you do the thing that you most want, that your soul is calling you to do that makes you feel happy.
Lindsay: You are a beautiful butterfly, my friend. I have had so much fun. I was so looking forward to this. I had told you before, but I’ll tell everyone that’s listening, I was seriously fangirling about talking to you today and the girl in my office was laughing about it. She was like, “Lindsay, you need to relax.” I was like, “I’m just so excited to talk to her finally.”
Lynda: Oh my gosh.
Lindsay: This exceeded my expectations. I’m so thrilled that you took the time out. I really hope that you’ll come and join us at the Crush It event in a couple of weeks. It’s in Worcester at the DCU center.
Lynda: Oh, yes?
Lindsay: We have a bunch of people get on stage and do different training. There’s a bunch of agents that are going to get on stage and talk training. I’m going to do training and I would love for you-
Lindsay: -to be there. I’ll give you more information. For our audience of people that are listening, I would love-
Lynda: Send it to me, for sure.
Lindsay: -if you’re in the Massachusetts, Connecticut, New Hampshire market, it’s within driving distance from you. I would love for anybody that’s listening if you guys want to come, definitely I will put the link in the show notes for that so you guys can register. I’m also going to put all of Lynda’s links. I want to make sure that they can find you, get inspired by you. They’ll save you as someone that they’ll get inspired by and get motivation from. I’m going to do that for sure.
Definitely go on Instagram and look up Lynda, L-Y-N-D-A Hafner, H-A-F-N-E-R realtor, that is her handle, and you will find all of her amazing, awesome videos. Again, thank you so much friend for coming on here and doing this with me and imparting your wisdom on our audience. I’m thrilled.
Lynda: Thank you so much.
Lindsay: All right, everybody. We will see you on the next episode of the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate. Thanks so much. Have a great day.
Thanks for joining us on the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast. We hope you’ve learned some valuable takeaways. Be sure to take action and grow your business. You can check out the Episode Notes and more content from the show at CrushitinRE.com/podcast. And if you’d like this episode, and you’d like to hear more stories, please share with others, post on social media or leave a rating or review. To catch all the latest from Anthony you can follow him on Instagram at Crush It In Real Estate on Facebook and YouTube. Thanks again and we’ll see you next time.