Lance Kirshner has always kept a client pipeline. Whether on a spreadsheet or just on random bits of paper, the team leader of LAKE Group within @properties wants to stay in touch with the people in his network who might be in the market to buy or sell a property.
“It’s how I built my business,’’ he says. But like most busy brokers he doesn’t always have time to stay on top of it. That issue became even more pressing this past summer when his long-time assistant left to follow her spouse to a new job out-of-state.
“There is always a fire to put out,’’ says Kirshner. When his company decided to offer its brokers First’s artificial intelligence platform to better understand their network, along with its human-staffed appointment setting service, he thought he would give it a try.
Using data science to boost relationships
First’s marriage of machine learning and relationship management made perfect sense to Kirshner. First’s model combs through a broker’s network to identify the hottest opportunities among people they already know. The intent is to predict who will sell by tracking 700+ signals across 214 million people nationwide.
These recommendations give Lance the focus he needs to prioritize who he will connect with. He chooses which people he will add to his follow up list so his appointment setters can coordinate on his behalf, virtually extending his team bench and his time. Lunch dates? Coffee? A round of golf? The appointment setter works with the broker to make it happen and the intelligent platform works rounds the clock.
“I can put notes in the appointment queue. I don’t want to meet for coffee, but sometimes I want to meet in a specific neighborhood. Or for a high school buddy, I wanted to set up a time to play tennis,’’ Kirshner says.
“It wasn’t a hard sell for me, because I know it works. It’s what I’ve been doing the last five years to grow my business,’’says Kirshner adding. “Where First helps is that there are only so many hours in the day. Sometimes you get out of the habit of doing the thing that made you successful, and the appointment setters help me get back to doing that.’’
The other aspect he likes is First’s ability to find prospects who weren’t on his list. “The big advantage for me is knowing who will be selling, the surprise of people who wouldn’t have been on my radar.”
Scoring a Quick Win
One of the initial meetings that an appointment setter arranged for Kirshner involved a former client that First identified as likely to need Kirshner’s services. “We set up the appointment. He took his keys out of his pocket and said, ‘Here you go, here’s the listing. I’ve just moved into my fiancee’s place.’ It was impeccable timing. Obviously, I don’t anticipate that result on a regular basis. But I don’t see any negative to a face-to-face meeting with someone I like.’’
Meeting with people he enjoys talking to is incredibly important to Kirshner. He doesn’t ever want to meet with someone when the only possible topic of conversation is real estate. It feels forced. And he’s not about that. “People know when you are in it just for the deal.” He says his goal is to leverage his connections wisely.
And he’s perfectly happy to meet with people that might not need his services － at least not yet. “Meetings are about catching up with people and staying top of mind and being valuable. People know I know a lot of people. I know accountants, movers, storage places, handymen. If I can help you out, great. I’m going to be the first call they make when it is time to list because I’ve already earned their business.’’
Boosting His Client Appreciation Events
Kirshner has been hosting regular client appreciation events for several years. This year, he decided to use First to reach out to clients who hadn’t RSVP’d. He had 26 confirmed attendees before First got to work. After? 88. He also put people in his appointment queue who could not attend his event for a follow up one-on-one meeting.
“People definitely liked (the calls). They can tell I’m having success because I’ve got people who can reach out on my behalf. At first, I thought it would be a little awkward, but it isn’t. People are responding positively.”
Taking a long view to his business
The value for Kirschner is that he has nearly 15 years of contacts from relationships built when he was a licensed appraiser. His reputation is earned around his expertise as an authority on pricing homes perfectly and wants to continue to share this knowledge.
“Most of my clients are repeat clients so they know some of the successes I’ve had with pricing. But it’s more about building that long-term relationship. In 5- to 7 years I can be the one they, and their friends can turn to.”
What would he tell someone who was thinking about First?
“They need to think about what they are looking for with the program. If you aren’t someone that likes or does in-person meetings, you’ll have to get over it. Having First set up appointments could force them out of their bubble.
If you are the type of person who does this on a regular basis it can help you with consistency. Brokers often have success with this method, but they’ll stop it when they get busy.’’ Kirshner says First’s search function is also helpful.
Kirshner also likes that he can manage his relationships when he’s between appointments. The recommendations make it easy to dash off an email or text to check in with someone. “This is so useful. I want to get rid of my scratch pad. I want to make this my connections app.”