The Best Solution For Getting Ahead Of Listings

Learn why Brandon Doyle uses First to focus his 1:1 outreach on the right people and win more listings from his network.
April 2017
RE/MAX Results

Brandon Doyle is a second-generation real estate agent and team leader at The Doyle Real Estate Team in Maple Grove, MN.

Brandon's profile in the Real Estate industry has been on the rise for a while now. In addition to speaking at Real Estate events across the country, he's a frequent contributor to Inman News, and co-author of Mindset, Method, Metrics - Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent which has sold more than 3,000 copies on Amazon.

Brandon enjoys making dreams a reality for his clients. Known for being very forward thinking, he has been able to apply new technology to provide a better real estate experience.

Brandon has been nominated as Inman Innovative Realtor of the Year in 2014, featured on the front page of Star Tribune, and recognized again by Star Tribune, Pioneer Press, and Maple Grove Magazine for being on the cutting edge of technology in the real estate industry. Nominated for Realtor of the Year in 2016 at the Minneapolis Association of Realtors, and listed on Inman News as one of most influential people in Real Estate for 2017.

After working together for most of 2017, we decided to sit down with Brandon and talk to him about how he's built such a successful real estate business and how First has helped him win more listings.

"I haven’t found a better solution to get ahead of listings," says Brandon.

You can read our full conversation below.

Let’s start at the beginning, what did you want to be when you grew up?

Well… a real estate agent (sort of laughing). Yep… my dad was in it for more than 18 years. I knew all about the nights, weekends and open houses and I still got into it. I tried hospitality and commercial real estate appraisal for a while, but I was really pulled back to residential real estate sales.

Did you learn anything early in your career that you still think about today?

I had a broker who had us focus on relationships. He would have us send a CMA (comparative market analysis) every quarter to people on our list and have us actually call and talk to people. That stuck with me.

To be successful, I really think agents really have to get to know people on a human level. Talk to people in different ways, learn who you’re working with. Plus, it’s a lot more fun that way.

For example, I really like burritos. At least once a month, I invite a bunch of people to meet me for one. We all get there, some don’t even know each other. We have lunch and just talk. I never bring up real estate. I wear my shirt and yes, my car is wrapped, people know what I do, but I let them come to me about it. My goal is to just learn more about what’s going on with those people. I don’t really have an agenda other than to have a great burrito and catch up with a friend.

During lunch, you’re building relationships, right?

Yes, important ones! There’s a lot of talk in real estate about lead gen and buying leads and getting big lists. To me, relationships are like the lowest hanging fruit. You can spend thousands of dollars in online marketing and sift through lists of people who don’t want to talk to you. Or, you can work with friends who know you and who are fun to be around. Given the choice, I work with people who want to work with me.

What did you do to grow your business before you started using First? And, how has First changed that?

We had your typical drip newsletter and then we did physical newsletters as well because there are some people who respond better to that. And, that was working.

Then, we really started to focus on relationships and making sure that we were making quarterly calls, doing client appreciation events, doing lunches with our friends and family. We were managing all of that through our CRM system. And, that increased our sales substantially.

Then, we started with First and using that data and list to specifically identify the people who were highly likely to move. Now, those are the people who I want to invite out to lunch and go to sports games with and get in front of them just at that right time.

Where do most of your listings come from?

I would have said that get most of my listings by being around the people who I know, who I like and who like me. But now, using First, because I know who’s most likely to move, I re-prioritize my schedule and I make sure I’m spending quality time with those who are most likely to make a change. That’s helped me get ahead of listings.

Have you had any surprises with First? Has there been a person on the list or an event that really made you think about the data we provide?

I’ll tell you a couple of stories.

We’d been using First for about two months and I was really surprised to see two names show up on my list as highly likely to move. It was unusual because that couple had purchased with us about two years prior and they had bought what I would call their dream home. They had been clear that they weren’t planning on moving -- ever.

I was interested to know what was happening there, so I gave them a call just to find out what was going on in their life. Come to find out, they had actually broken up and were going through a divorce. The First data system actually predicted that before I knew or any news came out on Facebook or through any other source.

Wow. You also hinted that one of your own family members was on your list.

Yes! I thought for sure that this was wrong so I didn’t think much of it. Then, two weeks later, I walk into the office and there he is sitting at a closing with another agent!

Oh man, I bet that didn’t feel good!

No and I had to talk with him about it afterwards.

Overall with First, it’s been interesting to see the people who are identified as highly likely to move. In some case, they are people I’m already working with. In other times, I catch people on the list that I wouldn’t have normally expected. That really excites me because that means there’s more opportunity there than I would have thought. And, people on the First list have actually listed with us, so that’s great.

What gives you confidence that First is actually working?

Doyle: Well, I’ve learned from previous experience. I’ve tried another predictive analytics solution in the past. When I first signed up with one of those, there weren’t any contacts that were being flagged as likely to move at all. When I complained to that company’s sales department, they said it just takes some time. Then, two months later, there were like 180 contacts in there which is way too many for me to follow up. I found that when using First, the amount of people as highly likely to move are reasonable and accurate for my market.

You’re a geo-farmer. How has First impacted that work?

Our team has been geographic farming for about five years now. And, over those years, I’ve really refined the way that we reach out to homeowners. This year, I tried a new method by adopting the list provided by First in order to increase our average turnover percentage. Year to date, the list that First has provided has outperformed the list that I was able to produce on my own from our MLS system… by more than double.

When someone asks you why you use First, what do you tell them?

People really do ask me about First and I’ve been able to sum it up into three reasons.

One reason is to stay top of mind with our sphere of influence. Each month, First sends me a list of the people who are most likely to move so I make sure I take them out to lunch or have drinks with them so I’m in front of them before they decide to list.

The second way that we use First is to prioritize our leads. We have over 2,000 leads in our database so it’s not possible to follow-up with them every month. First gives me a list that let’s me prioritize and make the best use of my time for follow-up.

The third way we use First is with our geographic farm. We’ve been able to increase the average turnover percentage in the neighborhoods that we’re farming which has increased our efficiency and our overall ROI for direct mail.

You talk to people who you encourage to give it a try - and we thank you. But, are there agents who you’d tell NOT to use First?

Yes, First really isn’t for everyone. If you’re not willing to actually meet with the people that First recommends, then don’t waste your money because you’re not going to get anything out of it.

If you’re looking to find out who is most likely to move and you’re ok with having lunch with people you probably already know, then definitely sign up and make use of the data.

I haven’t found a better solution to get ahead of listings.