In this episode of the Broker’s Playbook Podcast, Richard Robbins joins us to talk about how agents can get a bigger piece of the pie. Richard has more than 20 years of experience in the real estate industry and offers some great advice on how agents can increase their income and grow their businesses.
As always, our goal is to provide you with the tools and knowledge you need to succeed as a realtor or broker. So whether you’re a new agent just starting out or an experienced professional looking for ways to take your business to the next level, we hope you’ll join us for this journey into the world of real estate.
This is a great episode for any agent looking to take their career to the next level!
So be sure to like, subscribe and share this episode with your fellow real estate professionals. Also, don’t forget to follow us on social media for more great content! Thank you for listening!
Thanks for tuning in to the latest episode of our Broker’s Playbook Podcast. We hope you found Richard’s advice helpful, and if you did, you can work with Richard and his team directly by clicking HERE.
Ep. 54 – Profit With A Bigger Piece of the Pie w/ Richard Robbins
What’s up? Broker Playbook Nation, This is your boy, Simeon. And today we are dropping some fire with Richard Robbins. Richard has been in this business for decades and he’s a renowned and world-recognized real estate coach that has helped tens of thousands of people increase their production and become far more efficient than they ever thought. I went back into the vault and I picked a conversation that I had with him just a few months back on the importance and return of live events belly-to-belly sales and of course, making the connection count in person. I hope you enjoy this episode. Good afternoon to my entire Broker’s Playbook nation, and to all my brothers and sisters in the business. This is Simeon, Papailias. And this afternoon I have the immense pleasure of being joined in studio for once, not online by the amazing, talented, the extremely well-respected Mr. Richard Robbins of Richard Roberts International. Richard, welcome to Brokers Playbook.
Richard Robbins: Simeon My pleasure. Thank you for having me, my friend. It’s good to finally sit here with you in person.
Simeon Papailias: That’s right. In person. We said that again in person first. Richard, welcome. I think having you in the studio today is not only a pleasure from from a recording and having a nice coffee and breaking bread before the recording. But I think it’s the timing of our recording and what we’re going to discuss today is going to be extremely helpful and will resonate with every single salesperson above and beyond real estate for that matter. But you are one of the most respected real estate coaches you’ve been around for, for more than most of us in the business. You’re going, what, 25 years in the business?
Richard Robbins: Well, actually, I started when I was 24 and I’m 61. All right. So there you go. Four decades in the business. Yes. We’ve been rocking for a long time.
Simeon Papailias: Well, I think, again, I’m keeping the topic a secret, but I’ll let the cat out of the bag. Now, we’re going to be talking about navigating change. A couple of years ago, we got hit by that pandemic, that COVID 19 pandemic, which changed the entire world. And the way we do business, there was winners and losers in that. And right now, once again, we are seeing a major shift in the market as a result of the pandemic, where the inflation has has kind of ran ran out on us. And it’s as the government tries to wrangle control of inflation, then we’re seeing a shift from a record market in just the beginning of the year to now what looks like the real estate apocalypse. If you’re if you were to believe the papers. Yes. How and where does a broker start in identifying the issue or what do they make? Where does an agent start? So they wake up, interest rates go up, market sentiment changed. What’s next?
Richard Robbins: Well, I think what we all have to do is, first of all, realize that the numbers that we are comparing to this year as opposed to last year, because last year was record year. You go back and look at March, look at April of last year, they were record months that we had not only here sitting in Toronto but in Canada. So all of a sudden they go, Well, let’s say Toronto is an example. Sales are down 44%, but they’re down 44% from a record record year. So what I say to all the agents is the only thing at the end of the day matters is your supply and demand. Right? So price is going to be driven by supply and demand. So we’re looking at it right now and we say, well, we went from, say, one month of inventory to less or less 0.74. While you’re right, Simeon two, now we’re operating with two roughly. So the market is still very, very strong in terms of price appreciation. But what we’re seeing is we’re seeing the pie getting smaller. So if you go back to say, you know, pick any month but say, April of last year, while the pie was huge, it was a big pie, the biggest pie we’d ever seen in one month almost.
Richard Robbins: Right. And then all of a sudden what happened is the pie starts to shrink a little bit. So what happens? Panic sets in. Everybody is really worried about it. Of course, the press picks up on it, as you know, would bleed read. So it’s crazy what’s going on in the press. But at the end of the day, we’re still faced with a very good market. So I said, Everybody, here’s what you want to watch. Watch your months of inventory, because as long as you’re below four months of inventory, you’re still primarily in a seller’s market. Prices just won’t rise as fast. Right now. There’s going to be some pockets that if have a lot of inventory, you might see prices weaken a little bit. And the second thing, understand that the amount of sales that is being done month per month, per month now is still very good.
Simeon Papailias: So but how does so if I if I’m an agent and this happened, I see the basics. I understand that what I’m looking for from you, Richard, is tell me, what can I actually implement? I need to understand that the last couple of years there may have been a lot of clients looking to get into real estate. Buyers were everywhere, right? Because everybody wanted to fear of missing out. They’re reaching out. It had become almost order taking what is going to set me apart or what does what do our brothers and sisters need to do to get a piece of a shrinking pie? So if there is going to be less transactions and we know there is going to be less transactions and there is never a shortage of real estate agents, there’s more and more coming to market, right? How do we make sure we get a piece of that pie? What needs to change?
Richard Robbins: Well, you’re right. Many things you said are so actors. In other words, buyers in the past were low hanging fruit. They’re everywhere. Buyers didn’t have to be motivated, did they? They were self motivated because they knew they didn’t make the proper offer. They weren’t going to get the house and many people would lost two or three or four times before they’re finally willing to put in the right offer. Now all of a sudden buyers are scared. Buyers are saying things like, Well, maybe I should wait because I think prices are going down. You know, interest rates are way up right now. So all of a sudden that’s all changed. And then if you look at the seller side sellers the same thing. All you had to do is get it on the market and of course, appropriate marketing, but it was going to sell with multiple offers. So we got to move from acting more like an order taker, trying to satisfy the needs of all these people that are running around this crazy market to now becoming a professional salesperson. Because in this marketplace, what is a consumer need? Consumer needs accurate information to help them make the best decision for them.
Simeon Papailias: And interpret the accurate.
Richard Robbins: Interpret. So if you’re not studying the market and if you don’t know exactly what is going on in your micro market, wherever it is you were, if you don’t know that sales are down by this. However, we’re still in a seller’s market because of months of inventory. Average days have gone from whatever number to whatever number. So this is where we can sit down and have conversations with people now, because at the end of the day, sales is this. Sales is giving the people all the information they need to help them make a decision that will best serve them. The consumer does know what we know. So we’ve got to start studying the market, understanding the market. And right now, I think knowledge and having valuable conversations is what’s going to settle a lot of real estate agents apart 100%.
Simeon Papailias: I can share anecdotally that March 2020 I was actually with my director of operations. We were in Vancouver doing an investor speech and we had a we did education for our organization. So real estate investors, this is what you need to do. This is how you win in real estate. All the things and the way back, you could see the airport was halfway. It started like he came to Canada. It was becoming real. Mid March, April one, we get closed down, whatever it was, March 26, whatever it was. That very month when I met with my partner and we had payroll of, I don’t know, like 600 K a year in payroll for our team, for all the things that we do, our expenses. And we’re like, Well, what’s going to happen? Nobody knows what’s going to.
Richard Robbins: Happen, right?
Simeon Papailias: So there was no data to use. But it’s at that time, at the time of change, when you see so many people scared and they’re calling out on the top of their lungs that they’re contracting, oh, I get a phone call, I just let go of six people. I just let go of 12 people. Me and my partner look at each other. Everybody’s contracting. This is the time to go on the offense. And we went all in and we literally have doubled our business in the last two years, literally double our agent, count our revenue, our transactions. We went from not knowing to creating an absolute online value proposition that was suitable for COVID and beyond. What actionable step would you recommend today to anybody looking to go on the offense or should they be going on the offense? Do you see value in going all in on yourself? What what is an actionable step to you?
Richard Robbins: Well, I think if your pie is getting smaller and you want to maintain the same amount of market share, you’ve got to take a bigger piece of the pie. Right. So if you want to take a bigger piece of the pie, this is the time to step back. This time to step up. We’ve got to get into the game like never before. So here’s here’s the greatest downfall that I think agents struggle with. A great coaching client. Darren German said to me one day, he goes, Rich, I wish when I had a gut in real estate that they had taught me, I’m not in the real estate business. I’m in the lead generation business. And that’s the secret, right? You’ve got to have greatly generation. So let’s think about the difference between sales and marketing, and this is where a.
Simeon Papailias: Lot of that is. That is the greatest of all, that people think that sales is marketing. That’s not the case.
Richard Robbins: No, no. Let’s see if you do a really good job on the sales side, it can be a piece of marketing because you might get referrals from that. But if you think about sales, sales is where you’re helping somebody make a decision, right? You’re having a phone call with somebody, you’re sitting in front of them, you’re on Zoom, right? You know, whatever the case is, you’re trying to assist somebody in making a decision that will best serve them that sales. Now, if you don’t have enough leads right now, you don’t have a sales problem. You’ve got a marketing problem, right? So everybody goes, well, you know, I need more leads and need more leads and you get a marketing problem. So you start to look at that and you say, Well, if we’re going to move from being a little bit I don’t want to say complete order taker, but where all of these leads were everywhere because we’re having record months of sales and all of a sudden the pie starts to get smaller. Well, maybe, maybe we need to do is say I’ve got to start to market more than everybody else, whatever that marketing is for you, maybe it’s picking up the telephone, phoning all your clients and finding how they’re doing and having conversations with them. Because for the last few years we’ve had time where we had trouble finding time to do that. It’s been so busy, like we’ve just trying to keep up, to keep up and we’ve been too busy being busy to be productive, right? So now we’ve got that. Interesting. Now we’ve got to step it back and we got to say, okay, I’ve got to get out into the world and I’ve got to get back to marketing like I’ve never market before.
Simeon Papailias: So too busy. Being busy has cut down productivity. I find that extremely interesting. And I also find it extremely true. I think what we need to look at and I think what’s coming, what what I’m taking away from what you’re saying is this is the time to literally stand back, sit back, dissect what’s happening, understand the actual forces of your micro market. So I need to understand if I’m if I’m in Brampton, if I’m in regular Alberta, if I’m in Calgary, it doesn’t matter. I sit down, study my market, know everything there is to know, is this the perfect then opportunity to reach out? Because we haven’t been doing that because we’ve been so busy. So if we’re going to go back into a great communication plan, you know, your your ten calls a day, your whatever the case may be, whatever is your connectivity plan, is this the right time to go in and say, I’m calling to ensure you understand what is happening and bring, drive, drive the conversation with value up front.
Richard Robbins: 100% and produce content you can supply to them. So if you’re studying your market every month, which I think we should do every month, regardless of the.
Simeon Papailias: Market, no matter what.
Richard Robbins: Forget what’s going on, right? Like start studying our market, get to know the market we work in. We give you all the numbers you probably should consider studying. And then if you’re having conversations with people because everybody tell me who doesn’t have questions about the real estate market right now, it’s everybody, right? The whole world. So imagine that if you start making phone calls to your past clients, your friends, people, you know, and just say, I’m sure you know, man, the market all of a sudden has changed. And what we have found, a lot of our clients have questions. I just want to check in, you know, see how you’re doing, number one, obviously, and see if there’s any questions you have regarding what’s going on, then I might be able to help you with. And then another great way to stay in touch is to be producing monthly content that keeps them abreast of what’s happening, like what’s coming up for sale.
Simeon Papailias: And are you referring to social media content? Are you talking about email template and bomb bombs? Is there something that. Is there a strategy or something that you are more fond of than others?
Richard Robbins: Well, I think video is no question. This is the best, right, like video right now because it’s so accessible. Right. It’s easy for people to watch Now, one day it wasn’t I remember it one day trying to get a video to go on your phone. So possible So video, I think is the strongest play when it comes to communication. But when you think about producing content, you really could and you know this better than anybody. I mean, you could produce any piece of content. You can use it anywhere, like anywhere. As soon as you produce the content, you could do it in social media, right? You could turn it into an email, you know, you could turn it into a video. But I think the number one thing we all should be doing right now, in my estimation, is getting back to getting in touch with people, phoning them, checking in on them, see how they’re doing, see if they get any questions.
Simeon Papailias: Regarding my business partner is the absolute biggest proponent of belly to belly, including phone, because that is belly to belly. Everybody thinks, you know, what is the shortcut here? What is the best there? But nothing beats a phone call. Nothing beats a phone call. Not a text, not a WhatsApp, not anything. Tell me why in your career, in your experience in the hundreds or thousands of people that you’ve helped create powerful businesses in real estate, how do you explain the value to a lot of the new agents today? And I’m not I’m 42 years old. I’ve been in the business 15 years, but I already see there is a schism. There’s already a gap that’s visible on how people view technology. So our new 27 year old agent is far more likely to text me than call me. Yes, it’s just facts.
Richard Robbins: Yes.
Simeon Papailias: How do you translate or are we perhaps am I seeing things skewed or is it is it better for them to learn to communicate better on the phone? Or are their generation, all their peers better at texting and extra expectation? What is your take on that?
Richard Robbins: I think what we have to do is we got to realize the way people want to be communicated to. So something that we have done as an example and this anybody could do this. You all know you’ve got you’ve got a huge database people, right. So that database, the question you need to ask them is how do you want to be communicated with? And something we created called the Likes list. So a likes list is we take all of our clients so they become our client, right? And they just check off this form. Best way to communicate, text, phone, call, email, whatever the case is. Then we find out what kind of wine they like, you know, all these really cool things so that we can sort of wow them when it’s their birthday or their anniversary or something. We call that the likes list. So I look at it and I say, I asked my daughter one day, here’s an example. I said to my daughter, Will you be freaked out? She’s 29 years old. She I said, Would you be freaked out if all of a sudden somebody started picking up the phone and calling you? Right? And she said, only if I didn’t know them. So there’s the answer. I think if you know people, you’re going to be better to make a phone call because, listen, when your phone goes off, what happens? The name comes up. And if you can recognize that name, if your name doesn’t come from my phone, it goes right to voicemail 100%. Take the call. Right. So I think if you know somebody, I do think the best way to communicate is by phone right now saying that if somebody is uncomfortable with that because of the way the likes list is and maybe you need to text them, maybe you need to create a video and send it by text, there’s all kinds of ways to get people’s attention. But at the end of the day, the number one thing we got to realize is that the currency today, or I should say the new currency today, is getting somebody’s attention. So you.
Simeon Papailias: Look at the attention business.
Richard Robbins: How do you get people’s attention? We’re all sitting on our phone and we’re scrolling through our feeds and everything else, right? And every single scroll that you’re doing, somebody is trying to get your attention, right? So you look and say, what is the best way for me to somebody’s attention? Well, at the end of the day, in person is about second is going to be the phone. No matter how you do it, there’s going to be video, Right. So that the third would be video logic 1%. And then after that, then probably text because people read texts quicker than they read emails. Right. And then we go down the list. Now we move into email. So that would be your top five in terms of how to communicate. But in person is always going to be number one. And I think phones are always going to be number.
Simeon Papailias: Two is a connectivity plan. I’m not going to even ask the question. I know as a fact that a great intent, full well planned out connectivity plan is crucial to success. Do you see is there in a time of change and navigating navigating change inside our businesses right now? Is there something that needs to be specifically adjusted interconnectivity plans as a result of a big news event like the pandemic happened, now the inflation and the war and all these things that are making huge changes, you’re creating change? Sure. Is there something in our connectivity plan that needs to change? Do we need to go more frequent and less frequent? Do we give people more space? Do we just get in front of them and, you know, try to really get their attention and bring that message home? What’s your advice to.
Richard Robbins: Two things I would say, number one. I highly, highly, highly recommend sitting down every morning and talking to five people on the phone. Let’s get back to the phone. Right. And just phone people Check, check in on maybe I’m talking a while because we were so busy. Right? Once the market picked up for COVID, it was crazy. And so many of us got away from that. Now, whether it’s five people or ten people or three people, you pick your own number, but every day start talking to people. The second thing that I recommend right now, because we’re coming out of COVID and a lot of people have a lot of our members have crazy success is back to in-person events. Now, I don’t care whether it’s an event you’re doing with your investors or whether it’s a movie morning, you’re having to get everybody together. But again, I think people are ready now, right? This is an opportunity that we have right now where people are probably ready for that. So I think because it’s a great way to get in person in front of a lot of people. Right. And the cool thing is, if you do have these events, one suggestion I have is have a little three by five card where they can fill out their name, address And then a couple of questions. You know, would you like a free opinion of value your home? Are you thinking of selling this year? Anybody that might be thinking of selling and then have a draw so when they fill out these cards, you throw them into a drawer. At the end of the event, you have this drawer. But what do you have? You get all this contact information with all these leads. So I think right now I really think just phone people, check in on them, see how they’re doing, see if they get any questions. And number two, have some in-person events.
Simeon Papailias: Having in-person events. If you again, of course, this is for everybody who’s comfortable and I am very comfortable, I’m triple, quadruple vaccinated. And I’ve kind of seen in understood how this virus changed us and what it did. And now thankfully, that we’re so far through it and all the good indicators, I’ve been to a lot of events and I can definitely say there has been nothing more heartwarming, more engaging and more business forward than having in-person events. How does one so where do you start? So you want to organize a little event. You just reach out to your database, phone them, get them in. Throw a little party. Everybody wants something to do. What kind of things can you present at an event? Where should it be focused on the entertainment? Should it be educational? Is this an opportunity to put the market perspective into something in a fun way? What’s your thoughts on that?
Richard Robbins: My thought is you got an an event that suits your personality. So, you know, there’s one of our clients. He’s just such a fun guy and all he wants to do is have fun. He’s like a big kid. And his words, not mine, Right? So he does these crazy, fun events like he is, you know, these these fields where people are searching for things like, I mean, stuff.
Simeon Papailias: That’s productions.
Richard Robbins: Yeah. And he like, oh, I mean, huge productions. Like, he spends a lot of money on these events, right?
Simeon Papailias: But he wouldn’t be doing it again if he didn’t get it all back. And then some. Oh, so you get rewarded.
Richard Robbins: He has said events have made him seven figures in a year. So but that’s his personality where I would take me as an example. I’m a bit of a numbers geek, right? Like I study numbers. I like to know numbers. I want to know what’s happening in the market, Right? I look what happened before, What’s happening? I’d be more, more tempted to do something like that for me because that’s my personality, which.
Simeon Papailias: Is a presentation at dinner kind of thing.
Richard Robbins: Yeah. What I would do is I’d probably set up a cocktail party or something. This is one example. You know, go to a bar and say, Listen, I want to rent your bar for 3 hours and have snacks or d’oeuvres, right? And you come in and everybody comes in. Like I said, get them to fill out the little form. Right? And then I’d have some really cool draws, or we’re probably done by businesses that are in my database, Right. You know, give away some really nice bottles of wine at dinner for two here. That way I get those three by cards filled out. So I might have some leads on there. Right. Plus I can update all their contact information, my database, make sure it’s right, and then I’d get them all there. So, listen, thanks for coming. It’s been so long. We’ve been together. You know, I thought while we’re here, I just talked maybe a little bit about the market and tell you what I see going on. I take 10 minutes. I won’t take very long. I just want to be a social event. Let’s have some fun. Let’s hang out, right?
Simeon Papailias: That’s right.
Richard Robbins: Because right now and that’s what I mean by opportunity, because people, I think, are looking for things to do right now. Right. And you’re right. Maybe some people won’t show up. No big deal.
Simeon Papailias: No big deal.
Richard Robbins: But I guarantee you a lot of them are because I can.
Simeon Papailias: Events are.
Richard Robbins: Packed. They’re packed. I know it’s crazy.
Simeon Papailias: Events are packed. So, again, we’re navigating we’re talking about navigating change in a real estate market where us the salespeople need to step up. And I just kind of want to bring you back to a summary because I think a lot of really nice key items have come out of here today. The difference between a tremendous a very record, a banner year in 2021 has spoiled many. Yes. And this is going to separate the pros from the order takers, the pros from the amateurs. Right. Anybody who’s not taking their business seriously is about to be exposed.
Richard Robbins: No doubt about it. Right.
Simeon Papailias: Action. Simple steps. We need to look at strong education for ourselves. We need to get back to the telephone, get people on the horn. And I think what’s coming out in the last few minutes is we can do two things. A, we can see what value proposition we can bring, but then we can also use the opportunity and the change in the market to create an event, an event that puts our database inside a room, a captive audience, an audience that took the time to be there. They see value in you. And at this point, we can further give value and hopefully have them transacting and or referring transactions in.
Richard Robbins: Right. We’ve gone back to everything that we were having trouble doing in COVID days, right? And that’s why I see it as an opportunity, because nobody’s been doing it. So now all of a sudden we’re going back to that. And it’s like whenever you have an opportunity to do something that hasn’t been done in a while, I just thinking, Oh, wow, I need to take advantage of this moment. Right? I just got to take advantage of this moment.
Simeon Papailias: No different than what I was speaking earlier when people were firing people. We were hiring people. We got the best people in the business, all working for us, which propel propelled our growth. I think the opportunity I think my favorite piece is going to be the events. I think the number one thing that I’m going to tell my team to do is to start looking at events. And it started today with a web series of events. One of my agents said, you know, it’s June Siemian and I’m not near my my goal for the year. She she wants to do 250 this year in resale and she want to do 20 transactions and pre-construction. Right. And she’s at less than half right. So she came to me with concern today saying, what am I doing? I said, Where are you doing those investor meetups last year? She goes, Yes. I was like, I haven’t heard you doing one. I haven’t been a guest on one. What is it you’re doing? She goes, Well, there were too much work. I’ve been too busy to do that, too. Like, put that is your business. Go back to just that.
Richard Robbins: That’s marketing. Remember we talked with the importance of marketing.
Simeon Papailias: Marketing with an inside sales system, meaning as your marketing providing value, your sale is actually happening because they trust you to be the source of information. It’s one of those key times that you can kind of do two things at once. While you are marketing your services, you’re actually proving the value that you can have by facilitating the transaction for them. I think it’s brilliant. Richard, I want to thank you so much for your time.
Richard Robbins: My pleasure. Thanks for having me, buddy.
Simeon Papailias: My man, all the respect to Richard Rogers International, the entire organization and the team over there, we look forward to having you here again and we’ll see you soon.
Richard Robbins: Thanks, Bob.
Simeon Papailias: You bet.
Bobby Puim: Thank you for tuning in to this episode of the Brokers Playbook podcast. For more of our content or for help leveling up your business, check us out at Brokers Playbook on YouTube or wherever you listen to your favorite podcasts.