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First Person

Joe Rand of BH&G Rand Realty on unlocking opportunity through Client-Oriented Real Estate (CORE)

“By treating everybody like a client, you open up opportunities to service them and take care of them. And once you're taking care of them and you build that relationship with them, all sorts of good things can happen.” - Joe Rand, Managing Partner and General Counsel at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate - Rand Realty

Here are a few highlights:

  • Why orienting yourself to others is good business.
  • Why a personal touch matters most of all.
  • The value of a niche

Rather read it? Check out the transcript and Joe's new book "How to be a Great Real Estate Agent: The Principles of Client-Oriented":

Mike Schneider: Welcome to another episode of First Person, where we talk about the intersection of relationships and business, particularly in real estate. And today I'm honored to have Joe Rand--

Joe Rand: Thank you.

Mike Schneider: --longtime friend and influencer in the industry and the Chief Creative Officer at Rand Realty.

Joe Rand: Yep.

Mike Schneider: Uh, and you just wrote a book.

Joe Rand: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: Another book.

Joe Rand: Yeah, my second book is just coming out.

Mike Schneider: What's it called?

Joe Rand: Uh, How to be a Great Real Estate Agent: The Principles of Client-Oriented Real Estate.

Mike Schneider: Client-Oriented Real Estate. It sounds like a good topic for our conversation.

Joe Rand: Yeah, I would-- it kind of fits in exactly with what you guys are trying to do. You know, the book is all about what agents need to do, uh, to build their business by thinking about what their clients need rather than the short term gratification of leads and things like that. That, that-- you know, what, what do you do to cultivate, uh, people that, in your life and-- but not just even, like, your, your-- what do you do to treat everybody like a client?

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Joe Rand: And by treating everybody like a client, you open up opportunities to service them and take care of them. And once you're taking care of them and you build that relationship with them, all sorts of good things can happen. That's the theme of the book.

Mike Schneider: So-- I love the theme. I was honored to read a couple snippets of the manuscript.

Joe Rand: Yes. Yeah, I sent you some--

Mike Schneider: And I love that you have examples in it. and that's what this whole season is about.

Joe Rand: Mmhmm.

Mike Schneider: It's like examples because you have some life principles, some ways you life, some ways you treat people, that I think make for really good examples that some people just aren't doing and aren't thinking about.

Joe Rand: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: Give me some examples of how you build relationships and treat people like clients in your day to day life.

Joe Rand: Well, well, part of it you can't turn it off. Like, once you start orienting yourself and thinking that your first instinct is to say, "What does this person need? What can I do for them?" And to think expansively about what they need and then be creative about how you give it to them. Um, you can't turn it off. So, the-- you get lots of different opportunities. So, um, thinking creatively about the business-- I tell the story of an, an agent who had a buyer. Uh, it was a young couple, had a, had a baby on the way, and they really wanted to be in this condo complex. It was a tight market, they kept losing bidding wars, and so she went out and did the door knocking to try to find them a place. It was, "Any, any chance you're thinking about moving? Cause I have a buyer for your place." And that got her into trouble because the condo board doesn't allow that. And so then we came up with a more creative solution which was for her to hold, uh, an event about the market within the condo complex. They gave her permission to do it. And she ended up finding a couple listings, one of which her buyers bought. And that was, like, a great, like, out of the, out of the box-- I mean, it's not completely. People have done that before. But, like, she actually went and applied herself to take care of these clients. Um, and that's just a great example. Another, I think-- I love this example, is a guy who, what he used to do for people who weren't even buying or selling homes. This is just his sphere. This is just the people that he wants to maintain a relationship with. He, um, he buys them-- uh, at the first snow of the year-- and he's like upstate New York so it's like mid-August, it's the first snow of the year.  

Mike Schneider: That's right.

Joe Rand: And he, and he goes and he buys a 10 pound bag of rock salt and leaves it at their front stoop with a little note saying, "Thank you," right before the first snowfall. So when the snow's falling, like, "Oh, I need rock salt." And they go out and they see that it's already on their front stoop. Beautiful idea.

Mike Schneider: Mmm.

Joe Rand: But one time he does it and he get a call from a friend, somebody who was in his sphere, a referral source. And the guy calls him and say, "I gotta tell you. I'm with my wife. We're coming back from the doctor. She's been not feeling well. And we got some bad news, not terrible but just, just stressing and it's gonna be a difficult couple of months. And, we're both really bummed out. And we're coming home and it starts to snow. And I'm like, 'Oh, I gotta leave my wife at home and I gotta go out to Lowe's and I gotta go pick up the rock salt.' And as we pull up--"

Mike Schneider: There it is.

Joe Rand: There it is. And, I mean, think about that moment that this guy created by doing something as trivial as buying a bag of rock salt. And that's the kind of effect you have. It-- you know, you hit a bunch of singles. You do a nice thing. You do a nice thing. You do a nice thing. And then every once in a while that nice thing becomes, like, a--

Mike Schneider: Immortal.

Joe Rand: --something-- yeah, it becomes special.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Joe Rand: You know? And that's a-- when your orientation is to look out for the needs of other people, to look for, out for those relationships that you're trying to cultivate in an authentic way--

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Joe Rand: --then, the more you do that, the more good things start to happen. You just put yourself in a position for, you know-- luck is the residue of design. Like--

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Joe Rand: --deepening relationships is the residue of actually doing things to cultivate those relationships.

Mike Schneider: But it took the intentionality--

Joe Rand: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: --to say, "I'm gonna do it."

Joe Rand: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: "I'm gonna do it regularly. And I'm gonna pick a group of people and I'm gonna, you know, plan for this."

Joe Rand: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: And now he's got it built in.

Joe Rand: Yeah, it becomes-- once you do it a couple times, it becomes automatic. It's like, "Okay, first snowfall, I gotta grab my 15 year-old, grab the truck, go buy 25 bags, 30 bags of rock salt and start delivering them around." Like, that-- it becomes the automatic response and then once it becomes a habit, it's a lot easier.

Mike Schneider: So, so you're a broker, owner.

Joe Rand: Yeah. Yeah.

Mike Schneider: How do you, how do you teach that? How do you coach that? What do-- what are you doing to help people think about that? Cause I love the creativity too.

Joe Rand: Mmm.

Mike Schneider: It's not just that everybody's doing the same thing, but that's his thing.

Joe Rand: Yeah, that's his thing. I think-- you know, listen. We do a lot of training on this type of stuff and, and what you try to do is get-- you try to, as a broker, create systems that allow the agents to follow the path you want them to follow.The frustration of being a broker is that, there're independent contractors--

Mike Schneider: Yeah. Sure.

Joe Rand: --in almost every company in the country. I can't tell them what to do. I can't tell them how to run their business. All I can do is create the-- give the training-- make the training available that will teach them how to do things the right way. Make the systems available that if they take advantage of them, they'll be able to execute on these plans. Um, and then, um, give them the guidance and the management and whatnot to support them. And some people take advantage of it and others don't. But, I, I can't-- I, I'm not in the living room. I'm not, like, you know-- running a hotel is great cause you run a hotel, everybody's under your eye-- you can see all them at work. I can't see anybody at work. I never get to see what anybody's doing. So I have to, I have to trust that, you know--

Mike Schneider:Yeah.

Joe Rand: --put them in the right position and let them, trust. And, there are agents that do-- we, we create as many systems as we can. We have a lot of programs that the agents, if they take advantage of them-- we have mailing programs that they can send stuff out to their sphere on a regular basis. But, all of those mailing programs, all of that stuff, mailing, CM-- we send-- tell them to send CMAs, have a networking party, have all these things, right? They're all just reasons to call. That's what I say in the book, is that all the marketing in the world, on any, whatever the source of business you're looking at, is a reason to pick up the phone and call, or, I think, with certain types of clients, to text. Like, but you have to reach out individually, personally, not in email, not something that's going-- some person-- some sort of personal attention that you have to pay to them, and you have to, and it has to be individualized. And, that's what I think a lot of them miss. They just don't want to put the time in--

Mike Schneider: Yep.

Joe Rand: --to do that kind of one on one stuff. And they got to. Um, and for example, I think-- listen, one of the things that, that-- one of the challenges of building a sphere has always been, you start with 100 people and you're in the business for 5 years and you sell 10 houses a year.

Mike Schneider: Yep.

Joe Rand: So, like, after 5 years you've got 50 more people who are past clients that you want to-- but wait, now you have 150.

Mike Schneider: How do you follow up with everybody?

Joe Rand: What do you do with 150? How do you call everybody? And I think, one of things that predictive analytics, like what First does, which I think is really an interesting possibility, and an interesting application of what you guys do, is that you can build that sphere up.It can be 200, 300, 400 people because it used to be you would try to call them regularly. Now, people are not as open to phone calls as they used to be.

Mike Schneider: Right.

Joe Rand: So you're not gonna call them all that regularly anyway.  

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Joe Rand: So the question is, who do you call?

Mike Schneider: Right.  

Joe Rand: And if you have 500 people, you know, if you make 5 calls a day, you know, you, you're gonna wrap the, you're gonna do the whole database, you know, with, within a course of a year. It's gonna take you a, like, a year to get--

Mike Schneider: Just one year, not four-- you're not gonna call them every quarter, it's just a whole year to get [crosstalk]--

Joe Rand: No, once a year. Once, twice a year, maybe. Who do you call? And I think where, where First comes in, where predictive analytics comes in is the idea that you, you would follow the, the algorithm. Say, alright, these are the people that are most likely to either be moving or, if they're moving and thinking about moving, they're gonna be talking about real estate which means they end up in conversations with other people--

Mike Schneider: With other people who are thinking of moving.

Joe Rand: --who are thinking of moving and that's where the referrals come in.

Mike Schneider: Yeah. Yep.

Joe Rand: Um, and so, you know, there's something about the system, the, the secret sauce you guys have, that is teeing up these people being particularly keenly interested in real estate, which is a great time to call them.

Mike Schneider: Yep.

Joe Rand: And, and not call them and say, "Hey, my system tells me you're thinking of moving." That would be stupid. Right? Just-- it's-- call them up and just, you're, you're calling them up because you have a relationship with them. You, you've hopefully spent time and energy positioning yourself as their realtor, as their real estate agent. Well, if they think of you as their real estate agents, it's nice every once and a while to get a call from my accountant or my doctor, whatever, to touch in, touch base with me.  

Mike Schneider: Absolutely.  

Joe Rand: It's what the real estate agent should be doing. And so, when you do it, um, if they are thinking of selling, they'll be like, "Oh, my god. I'm, I can't believe you're calling. We just had a conversation last night." Or, "We just last week went to our first open house, I'm so glad you called." That's what you're putting yourself in the position to do.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Joe Rand: That's-- the idea is it just makes it, it gives you smarter insights into, uh, how do you approach calling what would otherwise be an unmanageably large sphere.

Mike Schneider: Right. Just a list.

Joe Rand: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: So, you brought up, uh, a great brokerage. Do you happen to know what percentage of the business across your agents comes from their relationships versus online leads or other sources?

Joe Rand: Uh, self-reported sources of business--

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Joe Rand: --from agents is always very unreliable.

Mike Schneider: Of course.

Joe Rand: They, they will, they will identify where their business is coming from based on what they want--

Mike Schneider: The last touch point.

Joe Rand: Well, what they want you to hear. Like, they never, they never-- my mother tells a story that 20 years ago she changed the commission schedule. The company-generated business was paid at a certain split and then agent-generated business was paid at a different split, and then immediately her company-generated business completely disappeared. Like, nobody was reporting.

Mike Schneider: Just went-- just gone.

Joe Rand: Just gone.

Mike Schneider: Poof!

Joe Rand: Absolutely [vocalization] gone. No one every got an, an offer-- nothing ever came on the up call line.

Mike Schneider: That's right.

Joe Rand: Nothing ever, nothing ever. It was all just personal referral. I do think, though, my, my-- from working with agents, I know that the top agents in the business, the ones who are doing 30, 40, 50, 60 deals, they're getting it really in two ways.

Mike Schneider: Mmhmm.

Joe Rand: One is, they have a lot of listings, and so those listings do generate. Listings are a great generator of leads.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Joe Rand: We all know that.

Mike Schneider:Yeah.

Joe Rand: There's a million ways you can take a listing and turn that into a lead.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Joe Rand: So that's-- they have a-- but how do they get all the listings? They got all the listings because they built up their sphere, they developed a reputation, they maintained relationships.For example, we have an agent named Margot. I don't wanna give her full name because she gets embarrassed by this sort of thing. But she's been with us-- the company's been around for 35 years, she's been with us for like 33 of them

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Joe Rand: She's fantastic. She's one of the best agents I've ever worked with. When I listed my home, she's one of the people I listed it with. She's, she's great. And, when she first got into the business, she was new. She was young. And she had no idea what she was doing.  

Mike Schneider: Mmhmm.

Joe Rand: She found a niche in condos. In fact, her first 10 years in the business, she was known as the 'Condo Queen--'

Mike Schneider:Wow.

Joe Rand: --cause she was doing nothing but selling condos. Well, what happened? Those were all her friends. They were all people in their late 20s, early 30s that were buying condos. By the late 80s, all-- by the late 90s, after 10 years in the business, those people were all selling those condos and buying something else. And who do they turn to? They turn to her because she was so great at her job, and she maintained those relationships. And then, she's done four generations of business. She's doing business now with the kids of the people she sold those condos to 30 years ago.

Mike Schneider: She's back into selling condos.

Joe Rand: She's back into selling condos, yeah. [laughter] So, [inaudible] for the second generation.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Joe Rand: She has a, she has a buyer agent now that probably sells those condos. She's been, she's been-- but she sold a hundred houses last year.

Mike Schneider: Wow.

Joe Rand: A hundred-- she sold a hundred houses in a market with every sales price is almost $500,000. So she's, she's killing it. She's not calling FSBOs. She's not calling expireds. She does follow up and she has a rigorous follow-up program for the stuff that comes in off her, off her listings. Um, and-- but she does that and she has a sphere of 1,500 people at this point.

Mike Schneider: Right.

Joe Rand: She has the-- she has the pages laminated.

Mike Schneider: Yep.

Joe Rand: She carries them around in her car. As she drives around, the way she thinks is-- she sees a neighbor and she remembers who she put in that neighborhood and she starts calling the people, "I'm driving through your neighborhood now." And she touches base with them.

Mike Schneider:Yep.

Joe Rand: And that's how she maintains those relationships. And she's got an unbelievable reputation, and everything else that works for her. But it started being, as being the 'Condo Queen."

Mike Schneider: Yep.

Joe Rand: It started as the 'Condo Queen,' selling them condos, and then maintaining those relationships over the duration. You know, I always say to people, "How long are you gonna be in the business? Are you gonna be in the business in five years? Well do some work this year that'll bring you business in year five, and year ten."

Mike Schneider: I think that's--

Joe Rand: You put a little time and energy in today.

Mike Schneider: I think that's the golden, that's the golden nugget here is, if you think about a five year time horizon--

Joe Rand: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: --then it gets to exactly what you're saying of how you're gonna treat everyone, wherever you go. Because if you, if you think about five years from now you're not thinking about the lead today, you're thinking about, what should I be doing with my rock salt and other things?

Joe Rand:One of the core points I make is, everyone moves eventually. The person who came to your open house who was just there to see the layout of the apartment, well they're a human being, they live somewhere. You know? They're most likely in the next 7-10 years going to move. If you can establish a relationship with them, cultivate the relationship, maintain the relationship--well they move in 7 years, well wouldn't it be nice in 2026 to know that you've mainted enough relationships, relationships, and built up enough equity with those people that you could almost depend on "x" number of deals that are going to come out of this group of people that you've been wo-- that you've been managing over this time. That you don't have to go and shlep to FSBO or anything like that the--It's predictable because if it's big enough, it's gonna start, it's gonna start following the law of big numbers, where you get 1000 people, 50 of them are gonna move this year

Mike Schneider: That's right.

Joe Rand: You know 30, 40, 50 are gonna move this year, which means, if you can get most of them, that's a good base for you to start with. Just there. Just start with that group right there. 

Mike Schneider: I love that. Well, um, we're out of time. What's your book?

Joe Rand: How to be a Great Real Estate Agent.

Mike Schneider: How to be a Great Real Estate Agent. I feel like that's gonna have more tips and tricks and I loved some of the stories in there. Joe--

Joe Rand: Thank you.

Mike Schneider: --thanks for being on.

Joe Rand: Thank you very much. I appreciate it. It was good to have-- good to be here.

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