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. I am your host, Lindsay Favazza. Sitting here with me on the screen, we are on a Zoom call today is Marie Lee. She is with luxury brokerage in Nashville called Tyler York. It’s kind of a small boutique that she was kind of explaining to me earlier. I wanted to bring you on Marie mainly because I saw how much of a powerful following you had. Let’s start there and go back to when you first started in your business, and then the transition into real estate.
Marie Lee: Thanks for having me, Lindsay. I’m excited to be here and talk about what I’m so passionate about, which is real estate and social media.
Lindsay: Me too.
Marie: Yes, love it.
Lindsay: We have that in common.
Marie: Right. I’m with a luxury boutique brokerage here in Nashville called Tyler York. They are very small and specialized. We’re looking to grow, but their main focus is on helping agents create an entrepreneurial business. They want agents who specialize in specific aspects of their business, whether that’s a geographical location or a lead type.
For me, when they reached out to me and we were talking about potentially partnering together, they were very interested in my interest in social media. I felt like that was just aligned to how I wanted to grow my business. I took the leap of faith and transitioned from a really large big-name brokerage, who everybody knows about, and transitioned into the smaller brokerage. Just hoping that I could harness my skills with social media and feel support there. Once I made that transition, my following, my business just exploded.
I was at this previous brokerage where I was trying to dabble with social media. I felt like this is how I wanted to go ahead and found my business. There were some people who were supportive, but for the most part, I had a lot of hesitation and a lot of people who were questioning whether or not what I was spending my time on was worth it. I don’t think it’s ironic that once I made that transition to a brokerage that was very supportive and encouraging with growing my business with social media, that things really began to take off with me.
Lindsay: Yes, it’s like a parent saying to you, “No, no, no, you can’t be a doctor, right?
Lindsay: Then you start to believe you can’t be a doctor, even though that’s truly what you want to do. I probably shouldn’t use doctor. I should probably use like musician or something like that. Do you know what I mean? Then once you have that support of people being like, “Yes, try what works for you,” then it’s going to help you to really flourish. Take me back into, you started in real estate, truly in September 2020. Tell me how that kind of transition worked for you, getting into it, from being more of like a marketing, social media job that you were doing before, and to where it’s at.
Marie: Right before I had made the move to real estate, I had started up a business. I had just left teaching. I was a teacher up until October of 2019. I was trying to find another job, but at that point in time, it was really difficult for a teacher to break into a business role just because there’s no transferable skills per se. I decided to start my own business.
I got into eCommerce. I was selling products online and my main way of selling those products was through social media marketing. I did a lot of paid marketing. I learned a lot about ads. I learned a lot about organic marketing, and things were going very well with that, but once COVID hit and the supply chain stopped, I had to make a pivot.
I could no longer sell these products. My partner was a mortgage banker at the time, and I thought, “Oh, well, if he’s going to do financials, why don’t I get on the relational side?” I decided to pursue real estate, went through my courses, and got started right at the tail end of 2020, right as the housing market started getting crazy.
Lindsay: You definitely came in at a funky time.
Marie: Right? I didn’t know what I was getting into.
Lindsay: If you can survive this, you’ll survive anything, right?
Marie: Thank you for the belief. Yes, it definitely was quite a whirlwind, if there’s a lack of a better term, I think that’s the best way to describe it. When I got started, I had joined a coaching club with my brokerage. They were trying to hold some accountability meetings and things like that, but they were very, very much pushing cold calls, door knocking, all of the traditional methods of business marketing. I was thinking to myself, “This doesn’t really seem scalable to me. As a young woman here in the middle of the city, I don’t know how safe it is for me to do some of these things.”
I thought, “Maybe there’s a way for me to piece together my educational background as well as the social media background.” I started focusing on creating educational content, with short-form videos like reels and TikToks. I remember the first time I did it, I went to a coaching meeting. They were asking, “What was I doing for my business?” I mentioned to them, “Hey, I’m putting together some TikToks and reels,” and they made a comment, “Hey, we think you should be focusing on income-producing activities.” Little did they know that that was my income-producing activity.
I spent a lot of time working on that content, even though the people around me were not really believing it, but now they’re seeing it. People are asking me to talk more about it. People are asking me to share my experience and my strategies. It’s very interesting to go from one end of the spectrum where I wasn’t really supported, people were really questioning what I was doing and why I was doing it. I had that belief and that mindset all along that, “Hey, if I just continue putting good content out in the world and doing something that I believe, eventually, there’s going to be some sort of success from it.”
Lindsay: Tell me how that’s translated into your deals that you’ve had over the last year or so? What kind of business have you actually gotten from this?
Marie: Great question. When I first started, I was receiving business from my sphere. The majority of my sphere does not live in Nashville. The majority of my sphere lives in other states. I relocated here, so I’m kind of here on my own. I had some people who were looking to make the move who were part of my sphere previously, who reached out. There like, “Oh, hey, you’re a real estate agent in Nashville.” That was my first few deals.
I would say it was part social, part sphere. They kept me at top of mind just because I was putting out content regularly, then I had several referrals that were coming in from some different marketing groups and things like that. The reason why they chose me is because I was putting out consistent content so it started paying out. Then, in December, I had one or two reels that went viral, and because I had so much content previously, I had this influx of followers and an influx of referrals, which has been really how I have built my business.
How my business is running right now, I would say is about 80% of it is probably social media referrals directly. People are seeing a reel and they’re like, “Hey, I have a client that’s moving to Nashville. Would you be willing to take on another buyer client?” It has very much transformed my business and is continuing to grow my business regularly. I think this week alone, I’ve had five conversations with referral clients about making the move, and we just keep welcoming them in and seeing how we can help.
Lindsay: Tell me, do you think when you talk to some of these people, I am looking at your Instagram page right now, you have 12,000 followers, right?
Lindsay: Is it possible for you to know 12,000 people? Do you feel like when some of these people do reach out that they feel like they already know you because they have been using your content? Like seeing your content and digesting all of that, do you feel like they are already somewhat familiar with you?
Marie: Yes. I think that’s the basis of marketing. People want to do business with people who they know, like, and trust. Because I’m showing up on video, especially because I’m showing my face on video, and there are several videos where I am talking one-on-one to the camera, people do feel like they already know me. They have a sense of what it would be like to work with me, my personality. I want to go ahead and convey those things because I want to attract business people who have the same mindset, people who have the same perspective.
I know that I am not the right agent for everyone, but by going ahead and putting out that content out there and people seeing what my personality is like and what kind of value I’m able to go ahead and bring and establish, I think it already leads to people liking me and trusting me. By doing it so consistently, it definitely goes up to a higher level than I could face to face or in more traditional marketing methods.
Moderator: Let’s take a quick break and hear from the number one loan originator, Shant Banosian, of Guaranteed Rate, as he gives us his monthly mortgage tip.
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Moderator: Thanks, Shant. Now let’s get back to the show.
Lindsay: Sending out a postcard to 12,000 people is very expensive. It’s actually a lot cheaper to go on and do a video and have them watch it at their own leisure, and like it, follow it, and all of that. I think for agents, a lot of the times, they feel like Instagram and TikTok are, maybe it’s too much for them to bite off.
They don’t know how to use it. It’s new tech to them in some ways, especially like reels, since those are so fresh and all that. Tell me, what are some of the things that you’ve learned about Instagram and about TikTok that have helped you to grow that following? What are some of those key things that you can give to the audience today?
Marie: Right now, I’m experiencing or experimenting with several different forms of content on TikTok and on Instagram. What I’m finding is that when I’m providing value, when I’m providing easy to digest value, especially things that people feel like they can do, if they feel like this is something that they’re able to complete, that’s the content that gets the most views, the most saves.
I think, recently, I had done a video on, just what documents you’re going to need for a preapproval letter. That was saved over 5,000 times and shared around 3,000. It was just me noting, “These aren’t the documents that you’re going to need.” There wasn’t anything special about that. It’s just breaking down these big and complex topics, into really small bite-sized methods.
I think short videos work great. You want to make sure that you’re not overloading with information. You just want to go ahead and give just a little bit, like a breadcrumb, and you want to leave people with a desire to come back for more. That’s been my biggest piece of advice. People will always ask questions about, “Oh, do you need to use trending audio, or do I need to use Instagram trends or TikTok trends? I think that can help in some form or fashion, but what really matters, isn’t the trend, it’s not the audio, it’s the content that you’re putting out there.
You can do these things. I watch people do these things, and they’re like, “I can’t grow my following. I’m not getting business from this.” Well, they’re coming from a mindset of how can I make myself go viral or how can I increase my following rather than how can I use this trend to provide value to potential clients or to potential business partners?
Lindsay: I’m sitting here literally like preach. I say this all the time to agents. The first question they say to me is, how do I use Instagram to get more business? You’re already looking at it the wrong way. If you’re looking at any social media platform as this is going to generate immediate leads, then you’re on the wrong page.
What you need to do is, just like you said. It needs to be, how can I help one person today on social media with some tip or suggestion that will help them in their journey, whether they use me as a realtor or not. Then what ends up happening is, they end up following you, they end up getting these tips, and now they’re like, “Why would I use anyone else? Of course, I’m going to go to Marie. She’s the one who taught me all the stuff that I now know.”
Marie: Right. It has just blown my mind at the reach of social media. I have all these different agents from other countries who were following me like, “Hey, you are inspiring me with this content.” I connected from somebody with Poland last night and we were just talking about how can she really showcase her business with social media.
I think you said it perfectly. If you have the mindset of how can I do this to reach thousands or go viral or get immediate business, that’s definitely the wrong mindset. You have to think about it in the long-term game. I think it took three months before I closed my very first deal, then it was another two before I got my next client. Then, after that, I was consistently closing about one a month, and those all came from social media.
It’s a long-term game, but once you start building up enough content, you have a library where you’re giving repeated advice and you’re showing your personality repeatedly. People are going to be more inclined to do business with you, and even just rely on you for your professional advice and information.
Lindsay: One other question I get a lot, and I’m sure you do too. Let’s cover it from your perspective is, I don’t want to do video. I don’t like how I look or sound on video. I don’t know how many times I’ve heard that as like the comeback of, “You should be doing video,” “but I don’t like how I look or sound on video.” What do you say to the people that say something like that?
Marie: If you don’t like how you look or you sound on video, then what do you think the perspective is for the people who are working with you directly?
Lindsay: It’s your face, it’s your voice. It is who it is.
Marie: You have to embrace it. I won’t lie. I have been feeling quite vulnerable probably within the past week. I’m going through some deals right now that have been quite stressful, and my face is broken out like crazy. I’m like, “Maybe I should just wait.” I’m like, “No, just slap a filter on and let’s go.”
Marie: It is very humbling, but I think with that, you’re more relatable. You can even talk about that. People want to know that you are a person behind this business, that you are a person behind this brand, and they want authenticity. I think that is the biggest thing that 2020 is going to be bringing us. We’re going to see less of a curated feed, less of curated content, more real and raw stuff. I think that’s the way it needs to go.
Real estate has been this big mystery over the last several years, or just this mirage of, “Oh, I drive this really nice car and I only threw these really nice homes.” What does it really take to be successful? I think the people that are going to be the most successful, really moving forward, right now are the people who are authentically showing up and doing the work and people get to see that, and they’re along for this journey.
Lindsay: This has been absolutely awesome. It’s funny because you and I spoke for just a couple minutes prior to starting this, and yet you’re literally saying all the things that I say. It just seems so simple, but at the same time, people will second guess it, and they’ll make any excuse not to do something that they don’t feel totally comfortable with. The bottom line is, start doing it and you’ll feel more comfortable just like anything else in your life.
We only have a couple more minutes. Tell me, in closing, just one other piece of advice that you would give to the audience. Maybe it’s someone that is similar to you, has only been in the business for a couple of years, but they’re not sure how to drive more business through social. What advice would you give that person on how to start or how to start doing it more consistently?
Marie: I think you have to find accounts that you want to emulate. I don’t think that has to be within your industry. I follow so many different accounts that I find inspiration from. I follow multilevel marketing, social media content creators. I follow Instagram coaches. I will follow people from all of these other different backgrounds. I feel that if I can take anything and spin it in a way that I can answer a question with my business or I can provide value with my business, then that is more beneficial than anything else.
It’s me getting inspiration from the people who are around me and finding a way to use that to inspire others. That is by far the biggest piece of advice. It doesn’t matter who you follow as long as they’re giving you the energy and the motivation to do it, and then you channeling that into your own business, then you’ll find success if you just consistently do it.
Lindsay: Marie, thank you so much. What we’re going to do is provide in the show notes, we’re going to provide links to her social media channel, so you can go and check it out and definitely follow her because like she said, follow people that are doing it well. You are one of the ones that are doing it really well, so nice work, keep it up, and thank you so much for spending the time today and sharing with our audience. We really, really appreciate it.
Marie: Thanks for having me, Lindsay. I appreciate it. Always love talking about social media and how it can help with your business. I’m so glad we got to do this.
Lindsay: Absolutely. All right. Thank you so much. We’ll see you guys on the next episode of Agents Who Crush It Real Estate.
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.