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First Person

Mortgage Pro Jason Frazier Talks About Connecting “Belly to Belly”

Jason Frazier believes that real estate industry marketing is about learning the science of relationships. Honored as one of the Top 50 Connected Mortgage Professionals in 2016 & 2017, by National Mortgage Professionals Magazine, he talked with First CEO Mike Schneider at the recent Inman Connect about using technology and social media in a smart way to build relationships.  

Three takeaways from the video:

  • It’s a myth that millennials don’t want deep connections. They use social media to foster those connections.
  • Technology, such as automated drip campaigns, should help you build relationships, not replace the need to build them.
  • When you reach out to people you haven’t connected with in a while, don’t ask for something. Just connect. And maybe use a little humor.

 Rather read it? Check out the transcript here.

Mike Schneider: Hey everybody, welcome back to another series of First Person. I'm Mike Schneider, CEO here at First and I'm really honored to be joined by Jason Frazier, the CEO, and Founder of the Agent Marketer. Thanks.  I'm really curious to hear a little bit of how you got into real estate.

Jason Frazier: I actually grew up in the mortgage industry. I had a lot of cousins and aunts and uncles that were in the industry, selling real estate.  My mom was actually the first woman president of a mortgage company in the U.S. back in 1980, for Mason-McDuffie Mortgage. So I grew up in the industry.

Mike Schneider: So you did grow up thinking about real estate. That's awesome.

Jason Frazier: I did grow up thinking about it. But I never worked in it until 2009. My background is in venture capital technology startups.

Mike Schneider: Okay.

Jason Frazier: In 2009 I took a sabbatical. Just was kind of burnt out of working all the time.

Mike Schneider: Yep.

Jason Frazier: And I just got an opportunity to join the family business. And the cool thing about that is, from where I'm from and then looking at the state of real estate tech and the state of mortgage tech, no one was doing social media. No one was doing any type of modern marketing or technology. No consumer experience to speak of, so I saw a real fertile ground for me to create something.

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Jason Frazier: And, of course being with the family business, they gave me a lot of autonomy to build new things.

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Jason Frazier: One of the things I created was a relationship for agents. A program for loan officers, we call the Agent Experience. So I did that through the mortgage company which allowed me to interact and do round tables with agents to really understand what will help their business.

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Jason Frazier: At the time, and this was 2012, I saw social media as being the next thing, especially for this business, because it's so relationship-oriented. And, through there I've been able to just amass a lot of connections in real estate. Start doing lunch and learns and speaking engagements because there's just really a good convergence of the two mediums between loan officer and agents. And doing business in a different way than what they were used to. The disruption was starting and so I just saw a way to get up. To be honest, I was trying to get our mortgage company in front of the competitors by offering agents something that I knew was going to be of value to them at that point and going forward.

Mike Schneider: That's great. Well, it's cool that you highlighted that relationships were so core and so from your other experiences knowing that social media was going to be a big part of it. That's what we’ve founded our company around and what these series are all about is how does relationship feed into real estate? I'm very curious to hear what's your perspective on building a company around relationships and building a business particularly since you know the mortgage and real estate side. What are just some of your high-level thoughts? And we'll go into some specifics.

Jason Frazier: The one thing that I think everyone has twisted with social media is understanding it in terms of Facebook or social media being an app. That's not it. Social media's a way of living your life. Right? Gary V. talks about it as being the current state of the internet. We're in an internet world.

Mike Schneider: Yep. It's real time.

Jason Frazier: So, if you're thinking about Facebook dying and then social media dead or social media's to blame for this, it's just how we are. Right? It's just how we are as human beings. And it provides deeper connections, deeper relationships. The one thing that has happened, though, with the rise of technology is people forgetting that this is a relationship business. But looking at Facebook Messenger or Snapchat and saying, "Oh, well, that's not belly to belly or face to face," when in fact it is. It's like the greatest lie that people ever say is that millennials don't want to be talked to or don't want to have relationships.

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Jason Frazier: In fact, they're a generation that wants to have deeper connections with the people they do business with more than any other generation.

Mike Schneider: That's right.

Jason Frazier: They just do it in a different way.

Mike Schneider: Yep. It's a different medium.

Jason Frazier: Exactly.

Mike Schneider: Right? It used to be, belly to belly was the only real conversation where you could see the person.

Jason Frazier: Yep.

Mike Schneider: So when you go from a phone to now I can see you and have that same conversation but through a different medium, I think that's interesting.

Jason Frazier: And it allows you to be more efficient. Instead of having to call and go out for meetings, you could reach a lot of people or you could do group calls using Skype, and all those different technologies. You can actually extend your reach and attention in ways that you couldn't do before.

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Jason Frazier: Getting back to the relationship piece of it. In this business, I think a lot of people have depended too much on the automation. For example, I'll put them on my drip system, and then forget about it, and they forget about the relationship.

Mike Schneider: Right.

Jason Frazier: Picking up the phone and having a call. Even if you don't connect with them, there's a call, right?

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Jason Frazier: Or a text, or something else. Don't forget the handwritten note, because that stuff still works and in fact, forget about the verticals of real estate or mortgage—if you're looking at consumers strictly from a psychology standpoint, we're being marketed to every single day.

Jason Frazier: TV, billboards, sports games, everywhere. On the cups that you buy; everything that you have.

Mike Schneider: Wait, what?

Jason Frazier: Yeah, I know. You didn't know. But as a consumer, you go through the shopping mall and you have to walk through the gauntlet of vendors in the hallways spraying perfume and cologne on you.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Jason Frazier: You're getting marketed to all the time and there's no personalization. There's not relationship value in what's happening. It's just being thrown at you. It’s funny, I was talking to a couple agents this morning about this but she was mentioning her millennial clients. If they get a handwritten note or she stops by with a gift, they're 10 times more grateful and more excited about it than boomers or any, any other age group because they're not used to it. They're not used to that personal touch.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Jason Frazier: If anyone tells you that that way of doing marketing is dead, it's not. I'm a big proponent of digital and moving forward and all that other stuff, but don't forget the foundation, because in the end, real estate and the mortgage is the only industry that when we do our jobs right, that the consumer fulfills the dream.

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Jason Frazier: And I'm talking about a dream, you know? They grew up in an apartment or it’s a single mom trying to give their kids, uh, you know, the white picket fence, the American dream, right?

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Jason Frazier: When that transaction -- and not even a transaction. When that journey's done and when it’s successful, achieving that dream -- that's an emotional connection. The worst thing you could do as an agent or a loan officer is then shove that off to an automated robot system that has no personalization.

Mike Schneider: So let's dig in on that really quickly and on a very granular level. So, we're talking about mediums and making sure we're in the conversation. How do you spark those conversations? Because I think you mentioned the 'extend your reach' part. I'm busy, I've got all these current clients I'm working with, I've got my sphere that's my referral group. But now I know that there are these others that are maybe likely to list. How do you spark those conversations with people maybe you haven't had a real conversation within two years? I'm very interested in the person. I've neglected the person. What do I spark the conversation with?

Jason Frazier: Yeah. So, to me, it's humor, right?

Mike Schneider: Okay.

Jason Frazier: Own the fact that you haven't reached out to them in a while and it's like, maybe send them, like, a card of a skeleton like, "You may have thought I was dead, but I was actually trapped."

Mike Schneider: [laughter] Okay.

Jason Frazier: "And I wanted to reach out."

Mike Schneider: Yep.

Jason Frazier: And just own it. Right?

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Jason Frazier: Because honesty and authenticity are going to get you all the way every single time. And just, if you haven't reached out to them, just say, "Hey." The worst thing to do is reach out to them and then say, "Just to let you know, I'm still in the business and I'm always happy to have your referrals. Don't do that with an instant ask. If you want to stay in touch then stay in touch. If you want to have a relationship, have a relationship. Just because it's a postcard or an email doesn't mean it has to be, you know, robotic.

Mike Schneider: Yes.

Jason Frazier: In real life, if you met them in the grocery store, you're not just going to hand them a flyer or something like that, and it's an ask. You're going to say, "Hey, how are you? How are the kids?"

Mike Schneider: Yes.

Jason Frazier: "How was that house? That was, that was a beautiful house. You know, I'm sure your family loved it." Right?

Mike Schneider: Well, that's worth noting for our sparks, is once you've sparked the conversation, what's really important is what happens after that.

Jason Frazier: Yep.

Mike Schneider: And that it's not an ask, because if you haven't talked to someone in three years and then all of a sudden, you end it with an ask they know exactly why you followed up with them. And you just destroyed that relationship.

Jason Frazier: Humor, I'm telling you, 9 times out of 10. And it's going to be well received, especially if you haven't talked to them in a while. Yeah.

Mike Schneider: Cool. Humor. Maybe you need to post some humorous sparks to re-engage. I love that. That's a really good point. The last thing is, I'm curious what are your best pro tips for how you manage your people? So, you've got a big network. How do you manage it? What are some pro tips?

Jason Frazier: CRM. I know it's not a pro tip. I know it's not something that is ground-shaking, but in order to properly manage people, you have to. I’m big into creating personas or avatars of people.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Jason Frazier: And that's really getting to know them. If you're going to be a relationship marketer, if you're really going to connect with them, you need to know about anniversaries, their kids, things that are happening in their lives. Were they going to buy a car? Take as many notes as possible about your people.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Jason Frazier: You have to have a single point of doing it, and if you have a CRM that has a social element so it can grab posts and grab life-changing events and stuff like that, even better. So that you're up to date.

Mike Schneider: Okay.

Jason Frazier: Set up your notifications. In this life, we're all busy. We're all trying to do our jobs. You need to have a single dashboard so you can keep control over that. And you have to be disciplined enough to time block that time on your calendar every single day. You cannot let your CRM just sit there.

Mike Schneider: Right.

Jason Frazier: You need to go on there. If you're really going to cultivate relationships. If this truly is a relationship business and referral-based business, then your database is gold and the best thing to manage that is your CRM.

Mike Schneider: Cool. Yeah, I think those are, those three letters together can be confusing but it sounds like get everything in one place, have some kind of system to notify you and remind you and make sure you're on top of it, and time block your day.

Jason Frazier: Everyone wants the CRM. Everyone wants the bells and whistles, but then, in the end, it gets overwhelming and they don't end up using it.

Mike Schneider: That's right. Or you get behind, right? If you didn't do the half an hour every day. You come in three weeks later, you feel like you're behind on everything.

Jason Frazier: Yeah. Absolutely. And, you know, the "R" is relationship. That is the importance of having that and being able to manage that effectively.

Mike Schneider: Cool. Well, thank you so much for being on. This is great.

Jason Frazier: Thank you.

Mike Schneider: There you have it.

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