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First Person

Conversation With David Greenspan

Your biggest asset, as Dave sees it, is your book of business -- your relationships.

David Greenspan has a question he asks audiences, and they never get it right.

“What’s your biggest asset?” he’ll ask them. And they often answer, “My house!”

Wrong. Your biggest asset, as Dave sees it, is your book of business -- your relationships. And that’s why I wanted to sit down with the Vice President of Keep-in-Touch Systems in first person.

I think a lot of people get so tossed up in the technology of it all, he told me. It doesn't matter if you're selling real estate, selling marketing, selling bandwidth or whatnot. It's all about relationships.

It should be no surprise that Dave loves people. “I love being with people,” he said. “I love having fun and talking with people.”

He’s a speaker, a video-maker, a blogger. He’s always creating content to help real estate agents do more with their relationships. But every now and then, he likes to get away from it all.

The Tao of Harley

Dave lives in the Toronto area with his family and is a die-hard Maple Leafs fan. And to recharge, he does what he calls yoga. But it’s not the yoga I know.

“It's really a big fat Harley Davidson that I take on three, week trips across the country, just to get away from everything,” he told me.

But once he’s back, he’s really back. And you can catch any of his Facebook Live videos on marketing, where he’s often reminding real estate agents about the basics of relationships.

Don't let the technology, don't let the marketing, don't let any of the gimmicks or the bright shiny object get in the way of any of that, he told me. If there is something that's new, that's helpful to building relationships, take advantage of it! Learn about it! But never sit back and say, ‘That's going to be the primary focus on what I'm going to do communicate with somebody.'

Blend approaches to reach your sphere of influence

Dave says you have several ways to communicate: text, email, video, direct mail, and phone. Use them all to build those relationships. Because the message you send via direct mail is not the same as the one you send via video. And the phone call isn’t the same as the email.

Use the right channels to deliver the right message to the right audience. And capture it all in your CRM.

Even as we were talking, Dave told me straight out that he’d be putting that conversation between us into his CRM. That way, he’d recall all I shared with him -- about my kids, my interests -- so we can pick up where we left off next time we connect.

The impossibility of scripting authenticity

But I wanted to know: how does the typical agent have the everyday conversation, and still remind people about her role in real estate? How do you self-promote without actually promoting yourself?

Dave suggests turning the focus on its head. “Instead of going, ‘Look at me,’ I'm like, ‘Look at my client. Look how happy he is. Look how happy his family is.’

This kind of promotion is more of a show and tell than a screaming billboard. But it’s not a recipe. Dave doesn’t believe in recipes, per se.

When somebody says to me, ‘Dave, can you script that for me?' No. I don't want you reading a cue card. I want you to believe it. I want you to feel it. That's where people begin, I believe, to trust you.

CRMs aren’t a substitute for relationship marketing

As he notes, 70 to 90% of an agent’s business comes from existing relationships. And I asked him, what’s hard about acting on that? Why is it a struggle for agents?

Being organized with a contact list, Dave answered. CRMs have been a big thing over the past, what, decade in our industry? You gotta have a CRM. And everybody's like, okay, I got a CRM. What are you doing with it?

But what if your contact list is on your smartphone, one tap away? Dave says it’s not enough.

“If I had 100 lottery tickets right now and I said, ‘Hey, man, can you send these out within half an hour to 100 of your top clients?’ If you're sitting there going, ‘No,’ you're not doing the right things with your CRM.

So I believe that the biggest challenge for most of these folks is actually getting themselves organized with that book of business, and tracking the notes, and then planning to schedule ahead.”

Can buying a lead ever lead to good things?

All this talk of relationships and sphere of influence doesn’t mean Dave is anti-lead generation. But two questions stand out for him: what are you doing to attract that lead? And what will you do once you get it?

People aren't just coming to your website just because you have it. You've got to create. Now [when] they get there, you might have the free ebook, but why are they actually signing up for it? he challenged. “Then what are you doing -- once you've got it -- to put them into a CRM, continue to market to them, to then create enough desire to work with you?

Leads, in their very nature, are suspect to Dave. They are unknowns. There isn’t a relationship to build on.

“Who are these random people going to a random website so some random REALTOR can call them about a random property?”

How to parlay the “How’s the market?” questions

Whereas the people you meet every day, that’s not random. That’s an opportunity. But Dave encourages agents to resist the hard sell.

I get this question a lot, he told me. I'm out at a cocktail party, or I'm at a dinner. I'm a REALTOR, so everybody's like, ‘How's the market?’ And I don't always want to have that conversation with people. So I say to agents, ‘Well, if somebody asks you that question, one thing you can do is go, 'Hey, great question. Don't want to go there tonight, but why don't we follow up on that tomorrow?'

That move might seem like a missed opportunity. But Dave likes the message it sends: talk business when it’s appropriate. Don’t be desperate. And carve out opportunities to connect. The same approach actually applies to relationships you’ve neglected.

Just pick up the phone, own up to the fact it has been a long time, and breathe new life into that conversation. But I had to ask: how does the typical agent manage those calls together with all the work of being an agent?

Finding the right time for warm prospecting
For Dave, it’s about balance.

“Figure out your realistic time,” he advises. “When am I good at making my calls? If I play hockey on Thursday nights, I'm gonna tell you now, Thursday night is not a hustle night. So block that time off and make a list the day before.

Then it’s about maintenance, and this is where the value of a CRM comes in. “Go through your database and go, ‘Who haven't I spoken to?’ or ‘Who's up that I gotta call?’”

Dave recommends you pick 5 to 10 people. Which is about the same number of people the First Conversations app suggests for each day’s follow up. The people that the app suggests are also chosen based on an algorithm, helping you identify the people you already know who are most like to sell in the next nine months or so.

And just know who you're gonna call. This way, when you're in the car and so the windows are open and the tunes blasting -- call people.

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