Craig has been a key player in the national real estate scene for more than 25 years. As a former Keller Williams franchise owner and regional director, Craig led his offices of more than 1,200 agents to consistently close $3 billion in sales volume per year. In 2020, Craig launched Reger Homes, an independent brokerage housing his personal sales team The Reger Group. They are one of the nation’s top performing and most recognized real estate sales teams, having closed more than 5,000 homes to date. Craig is most commonly known for his curriculum 90 Listings in 90 Days.
Chris Heller: Why is Connect, Set, Learn so important when meeting new consumers?
Craig Reger: Think about how the world has become on-demand (Uber, Amazon, etc). What if you pushed a button on your phone to request an Uber and they called you, saying "Hey it’s raining, are you going to get mud in my car? Is your Visa going to work?" This also applies for Amazon. The consumer wants to click the easy button when they're connected to you via OJO. On that first call, maintain high enthusiasm and emphasize that you are a local expert and they were matched to you because you know the local market best. These first 15-30 seconds are your opportunity to connect at a high level. Mirror and match their rate of speech and tonality. Setting an in-person meeting with them is the most important thing that can happen. A client is 300% more likely to work with you if you meet with them. Take this opportunity to build trust and rapport with your new consumers.
CH: What’s the best way to revive consumers who you met last year but haven't spoken to recently?
CR: Just because someone ghosted you last year, don’t think that it's not a good time to reach out and connect/re-engage with them after a few months. It is a gold mine of opportunity. The average buyer who bought a home with my team in March 2023 had connected with our agents 6-7 months ago. Instead of calling and checking in to see how they are after a few months (i.e.: "Hey consumer, how is everything going?), we give an item of value. Last week in Portland, there were 303 price reductions. Our strategy to give them an item of value was to re-engage with those consumers who we hadn't talked to in 3+ months (i.e.: Hi consumer, it's Craig Reger with Reger Homes. I don’t know if you plan to be active in the spring market, but last week we had 303 people say they’re willing to take less for their home to find a buyer. The reason I am reaching out is to let you know that I will give you a good deal if you pick my property. Would you like to get together to talk about what’s going on?) Anytime you can find an opportunity in the market, we label this a gold bar. It's an opportunity to connect with your consumers after time has passed.
CH: How do you coach agents who are getting fatigued with follow-up and experiencing burnout?
CR: I recommend working off of a pipeline (a written sheet or a spreadsheet) and categorizing your buyers as A, B or C.
- A: These are consumers who take your advice
- B: These consumers have the mindset of "If it works out, then it works out. If it's meant to be, it'll be"
- C: These are consumers who are waiting on a when situation. They're waiting for something else before they buy (a job transfer, their home to sell first, etc.)
Oftentimes, we burn through our As and get left with Bs and Cs. These consumers don't take our advice. I tell agents to get really clear on their clients and determine who they are spending their physical time with. Physically spend your time with As. Bs and Cs are consumers who you put into your CRM and share gold bars of information with, and As are consumers who you put in your car. Burnout is often a relationship (working with unmotivated people and lacking relationships inside your business). Your goal every day is to group your consumers as A, B or C. It's hard to have burnout when you are working with people who are winning and motivated.
CH: How are you effective in follow-ups while also managing to cut expenses?
CR: It's a discipline every day. Thinking practically, you are likely never cutting costs with your phone, so leverage this and reach out to your consumers via email, text and social media posts. There will be a group that resonates with this. Focus on this type of high impact, low cost activity. My team is hosting a snow-cone event next month, where we are inviting the database to join us for snow-cones. This will cost money, but the return on investment will outweigh it. Strengthen your relationships. Hold an open house or call 200 old leads. To be successful today, you need disciple and a time-blocked calendar.
CH: How do you balance "speed to lead" with developing a long-term relationship?
CR: Focus on the Connect, Set, Learn framework. Don’t blow the initial call. If the consumer pushes the easy button to get connected to a local real estate agent and you begin to pepper them with questions, you are going to hurt that relationship. Get in front of them, stay in front of them and keep proving items of value. It’s all about relationships. You cannot automate relationships. They are curated through effort and connection. The average person that we put in 'pending' status in Q1 had been connected with us just over 187 days ago. The majority of consumers are future business, and the best agents can convert on the consumers that take longer. This is where the gold is. Be careful to not to get too many leads. This is where you can get too tied up and not have the speed to lead. This is a script I use for established clients: "Hey consumer, I know we’ve been working together for a few weeks. I may get a couple of calls today while we are out showing properties. If I step out, I promise it won’t be more than 2-3 minutes, I just wanted to make you aware." I don’t want to miss the OJO connection when it comes in, and I don’t want too many connections that cause me to cherry-pick. I want a controllable amount of leads, and I want to set my clients' expectations and time-block my calendar."
CH: How are you coaching people to capitalize on listing opportunities in today's market?
CR: I suggest sharing the opportunities in the market. In the week of April 4, 2022, there were 820 listings on the market in Portland. During that week this year, there were 596. That is a 30% decline. It is a substantially better market for sellers than buyers. Get more creative with marketing and get more listing business off of your sellers with this out of the box strategy:
CR: Provide value to your consumers that they cannot find online, and respond immediately to their needs. The fortune is in the follow-up.
CH: What do you do when consumers never answer or respond to any communication?
CR: Keep following up. Unless someone is really mean, you keep following up. Check in with them, give them an update on the market, or give them a gold bar.
CH: What’s the best dialogue when the property is not available?
CR: I don't look at the MLS when I get an OJO consumer because I would lose focus of the Connect Set, Learn framework and lose enthusiasm. Set an appointment for a mutually agreeable time for your consumer and yourself.
CH: What do you do if a property is pending?
CR: I will ask my client, "What about that property attracted you/ interested you?" Then I listen and learn about what their interests are. For every 10 connections, set a meeting with 7. Hold the meeting with 5 and get 1-2 closings from those 10.
CH: Any final advice?
CR: Mindset, discipline and consistency are key. Check your mindset every day. Do affirmations, read books, listen to podcasts and webinars. Put yourself in a place where you start each day with the most positive mindset that you can possibly have, because there are a lot of things pulling at us. The second thing is consistency, and the third is discipline.
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