Real estate professionals who put themselves in coaching compared to those who don’t, do better. When it comes to real estate coaching, look no further than Tom Ferry. Jason Pantana, business coach and National Speaker for Tom Ferry, is here with your host Bill Risser. Join Jason as he talks about his journey into real estate and coaching. Find out how the Tom Ferry International has been so successful for all these years. Learn how to market through social media and how to find your niche in all this. Discover all this and more in today’s episode with Jason Pantana.
Jason Pantana, Business Coach and National Speaker for Tom Ferry International
I’m excited. Sean Carpenter, who’s probably my number one guest-getter on the show, has connected me with somebody I’ve known for a long time because of what he does in the industry. We’re going to be talking to Jason Pantana. He is a business coach and the national trainer for Tom Ferry. It’s going to be a lot of fun. We’re going to share a little bit about where he grew up and how he ended up in Nashville. What I want to get to with Jason is talking about how important coaching is in the real estate space, and why not talk with the number one coaching operation in the country? It makes sense. Jason, welcome to the show.
Thanks so much for having me. I’m pumped. I owe credit to Sean Carpenter. He’s been a long-time friend and an awesome guy.
I’m sure you guys have run into each other many times in different cities around the country.
We have spoken to different events. We’ve got a long history. I’ve known him for most of my real estate career.
We’ll talk about getting to Nashville and what took you there. First, let’s talk about Lynchburg, Virginia. As we are doing this episode, where you live in Lynchburg are buried in a bunch of snow. As a kid who grew up in San Diego, I have no idea what it’s like. Share a little bit about growing up in Lynchburg?
I grew up in Lynchburg, Virginia. I moved to Nashville when I was 21. That’s where I am now. Lynchburg is a small college town. There are several colleges. There is Liberty University, Lynchburg University in the area and Radford. Tech down the road and UVA up the road. It’s definitely a college town. Everybody calls it a cul de sac town and I love Lynchburg. My family is still there. It’s home. It’s a cul de sac town because it’s one of those places that people come and they don’t leave.
They don’t leave because it’s a nice, not too little, not too big, right size town. It was peaceful. I had a great suburban life, family, friends and school. It was a wonderful place to grow up. I don’t know what else there is to say about it, other than it was what a lot of people would hope for as far as a place to grow up.
There’s a huge benefit to small-town living. What family feels like, neighbors are neighbors. It’s not like growing up in a city where everybody pulls into a garage and it goes into their home.
I was there over the holidays visiting family and I was like, “There’s where I ride my bike.” I was showing them stuff because we were driving down the area. I was like, “It was such a different way of living too because I’d be on my bike and gone literally all day with all the neighborhood kids.” We had a blast. It was a good grip in the ‘90s. It was a good life. It was fun.
You ended up going to school in your hometown, which is awesome. I always liked to find out what was the field of study? What were you focusing on? What was this big plan as you’re eighteen years old, which turned out always a little bit different?
I went to Liberty University. My dad is a retired professor from Liberty. He taught Statistics and various other things in that department. I was always destined to go there. When I went to Liberty, my motivation and intention were to leave and become a rockstar. I have a twin brother. We are musicians. We grew up and our dream was to be successful musicians. College was the waypoint on the path to where we were. I had no focus or interest in doing college when I went to college. I had bigger and different plans. Those plans didn’t pan out the way I expected, but life’s beautiful in the way that it works out for your best interest over time.
I went there. I studied. I initially started studying Computer Management Information Systems. Mostly because I was afraid of Computer Science and I was like, “That’s going to put a damper on my ability to be a musician and a rock star. It’s going to be time-consuming, so I’ll take the lesser of the two.” I have an older brother. He’s a software engineer and an entrepreneur. I wanted to be like my big brother. I was going after technology. I got into classes and I was like, “This is not where I belong. This was not the right place at all.” I changed majors and went into Business Marketing. I did that for three years. My brother and I had a producer who caught ahold of one of our EPs, invited us to move to Nashville and record.
We were like, “We made it,” which couldn’t have been more untrue. We moved to Nashville. I dropped out of college and did what all aspiring musicians do. We waited tables at the Macaroni Grill at the Opry Mills Mall to make ends meet. We played gigs. We did whatever we could. Honestly, that went on for a few years of trying to make it and not knowing what we were doing. It was the 2000s. The economy was crummy, not to blame it on the economy. You always look back and say, “You could have done things differently,” but it worked out the way it was supposed to work out.
After 2 to 3 years, I was like, “This is going nowhere.” I decided to reinstate myself in my college program and finish. I finished the last remaining credits remotely, which I enjoyed doing that way. When I went into college, I was lucky enough to have had several full rides. My dad worked there and I had a full ride. I went to a high school that gave me a full ride because it was associated with the university. I played in a band there that gave me a full ride. I used one I hadn’t already started to finish up. I got my degree in Marketing a couple of years late.
Business Coaching: Social media platforms these days are becoming much more unique with greater optimization.
It’s Nashville, so does that mean it’s country music? Was that your thing or is it going to be anything going to that?
It could be anything. Nashville is super eclectic. We were directed into the pop-country scene a little bit. As to how far we got into that scene, I will leave that undisclosed, but it wasn’t far enough to wait tables at the Macaroni Grill.
If someone does a deep enough dive online, we can find something, but it’s pre-YouTube, which is good for you.
We were MySpace users back in the day. It’s the 2000s.
Let’s talk about real estate. How does that come to the picture?
Real estate was completely random, unplanned and never part of anything I was ever thinking about doing ever. A lot of people say, “I’ve always loved houses. I used to go to our open houses for fun.” That was not me at all. That is not why I got it. The way I got into real estate was while I was waiting tables, I got married. My wife and I purchased a condo. Our realtor was pretty lousy. It was a pretty lousy experience, but we got the condo. I was intrigued by the process and was aware of a lot of gaps like, “You could have done this.” I was thinking about it, but then I never thought more about it.
I went back to trying to be a rock star, waiting tables, all that kind of stuff and finishing up school. Anyways, when I would wait tables, it was a super busy turn and burn restaurant. For one reason or another, I was pretty good at selling people stuff. I could sell them all. I could upgrade things. I knew not to sell dessert because I wanted the table to leave, so I could get the next table seated and then make more money that way. I was pretty strategic about it.
I had several tables that, for some reason or another, they would take an interest in me. They’d ask me questions about my life and what I was doing. I don’t know why exactly they did, but it would happen routinely. They would say, “What are you doing here in Nashville?” I’d say, “I’m a musician.” It’s like dad’s advice. They’re like, “What are you going to do if that doesn’t work out for you?” I was like, “You didn’t want marinara on the side or you did?” I got to segue because I’m like, “Where are we going with this?”
They’d be like, “What are you going to do if the music thing doesn’t work out?” I was like, “I’m going to be an actor because I was a smart alec. I’m going to be an astronaut,” just to say, “Screw off. Don’t invade my life.” I remember there was this one guy. I don’t remember what he looked like, but he was a table I waited at. He was instrumental in getting me to go back and finish my degree. I basically said, “I don’t need that degree.” I have my reasons.
He was like, “I don’t think you know when you may or may not need that degree. The way I would look at it as you’re endeavoring in life. You’ve got this quiver on your back and it’s one more arrow in the quiver. You may or may not need it.” I thought about that for a long time. It was a long time ago. I decided, “Let’s see if I can get one of my scholarships reactivated,” and I did. I was like, “I guess I’m doing this.” He was instrumental and there were several tables that would say to me like, “If it doesn’t work out, you could do great in real estate.”
For whatever reason, that would keep coming up. Honestly, my cynical thought was that must be what people say to college dropouts working at the Macaroni Grill, “You should go into real estate.” I don’t mean to be overly cynical about it, but that was my perception as a young twenty-something at that point in my life. I was like 21, 22 or 23 when all that was going on.
I would hear it again and again. One day, I guess it would’ve been 2010. Nashville had these historic floods that showed about nowhere. The restaurant I worked at was located on the Cumberland River, which completely came out of its banks and this mall that I worked at went entirely underwater. I was there the night that the water was creeping up. They basically told us all to leave and go home.
We have security footage. The restaurant got destroyed and then the restaurant decided that they were not going to fire us because I don’t know the specifics of it, but if we quit, it would not obligate them to as much financial commitment to us. We all had to quit our jobs to get money. People were like, “I’m going to get unemployment.” I was like, “I’m going to get a job. I think I’m done.” It was a pivotal moment for me. Within that flood, I graduated a week later. It all came to a head and I was like, “I’m going to get a job in marketing. I now have a degree in Marketing.” I put my resume out, literally everywhere, to every company I could possibly think of.
It was 2010. There was no money anywhere. Nobody can hire me. I have no experience. I have this weird gap in my college resume. I could not get hired anywhere. I had my resume in so many places. I was on a walk with my wife one night unemployed and I got this voicemail from a robot saying, “You’ve been selected for an interview at X time on this day. Please come prepared.” It didn’t say who the company was. I put my resume in so many places. I thought to myself, “I’ll look up the address and I’ll figure out what the company is.” I couldn’t figure it out. I was like, “I’ll just generic-fy my resume and hope for the best for the interview, and then I’ll figure out what the company is when I get there.”
It’s a reasonable location, but it’s like several businesses and there are no signs anywhere. I can’t figure out what this business is. I walk in and there are 30 other applicants sitting in the waiting room, filling out clipboards. I’m like, “The clipboard will definitely tell me what I’m interviewing for.” I got this thing to fill out and there is no information at all about what I’m applying for. This is a testimony to how many resumes I put out there. They called me back to go interview and there are two interviewers and me. The first thing they asked me out of the gate is, “What specifically caused you to apply for this position?”
I looked at them and I was thinking quickly on my feet. I was like, “There are about 30 other people out there interviewing right now. I’m guessing you’ve been at this all day and you’ve been asking that same question to every single person. I’d be curious for you to tell me, ‘What attracted you to this position?’” They were like, “We love that question.” They proceeded to tell me what I was applying for. Somehow my resume had gotten into the pot where they wanted me to sell benefits and insurance to people who were dying. I was like, “No. Thank you. I do know why you did not promote this now as to what it was.” They probably bought my resume off Monster.com or something like that.
I was getting nowhere with getting a job after like a month or so. People go for two years looking for jobs, but I was young and didn’t know. I said to my wife, “What does it look like if I try to go into real estate? I used to hear it all the time. I should go into real estate. What does it look like if I try to get a job as a real estate agent? I didn’t even know it was 1099. I had no idea.” She was like, “I think it’d be good.” She was working, so we had some money, which was great, but I didn’t have enough money to cover getting licensed or whatever was involved. I called the guy who was my loan officer because my realtor was already out of business by that point in time because he did not make it.
My loan officer told me not to do it. He’s like, “I don’t think you’re the right fit for this. I don’t think it’s a good idea. I wouldn’t do it.” I was like, “I’m going to,” but in that conversation, I understood that there are things called brokerages and brokers. I would need to call the broker and get instructions on what their requirements are to be licensed at their office. That was what he told me. I went to Google and searched for real estate brokerages, real estate firms in the area. I made a list of twenty firms in order. The last one on the list was the one I wanted. I figured I was going to be doing some swing and a miss.
I proceeded to cold call these brokers and get on the phone with their principal brokers that I thought were the boss. I didn’t understand how the office worked. I tried to convince them to pay for me to get licensed and bring me on. I got hung up on. They are like, “We don’t do that. Are you kidding me? No,” again and again, but I was able to polish my script a little bit. I made the last call to this company called Village, an independent firm in the area that I had known some of their agents and thought they were cool. I was interested to work with them.
I get this guy named Todd, who answers. He’s the receptionist. He answers the phone, who is also a musician. He’s a cool guy. I started chatting with Todd and he started asking me questions. He wants to connect me to the right person. He’s like, “Here’s the deal. I can connect you with Bobbie. She’s the principal broker. She’s in charge of all the agents or I can connect you with Jen. She is Bobbie’s daughter. She runs our marketing department.” I’m like, “Get me Jen,” because it was unexpected. I go to Jen and it goes to her voicemail. I hit zero to come back and I was like, “She didn’t answer. Let’s go to Bobbie.” I go to Bobbie. I talked to her and lo and behold, she says, “Come see me tomorrow morning at 9:30.” I was like, “Okay.” I put on my awful suit. I had long hair and earrings.
I went into the office to interview for what I thought was a job. I had no idea. I thought I was going to get a paycheck, but I went in there and I told her what I needed and what I was wanting to do. She told me, “No. We don’t do that. I’ve invested in agents in the past and it’s always turned out to burn me. It’s never worked out.” I kept countering her politely until eventually, she said, “I don’t think I can say no. I have to say yes. I’ll make a deal. I’m going to recoup it out of your first three closings and then we’ll be even.” I said, “Sold.”
They funded me to get licensed, the money I needed to get my exam. I took it. I was their Rookie of the Year. I did very well in sales. It was at that office that I met another mentor in my life. His name is Brian Copeland. He was an agent at that office. He got me started in the speaking world. There was a random day where an agent was supposed to be teaching a class on how to use a Mac. This is 2010. This is old school. He got sick and couldn’t do it. They knew I had a Mac, so they’re like, “Could you fill in for him?” I’m like, “Okay.”
Brian was in the class who also had a Mac, but for whatever reason, he thought I was pretty good at teaching and training. He started throwing my name in the hat as I was building my real estate business to speak at boards of realtors and things like that. Before I knew it, I was traveling and speaking. There was this big opportunity that came up from the National Association of Realtors. They were starting this initiative called REThink Real Estate’s Future.
It was going to be basically a traveling roadshow of a handful of pretty established speaker types in the real estate community. Brian recommended they use me. I filled out an application. I was completely under-qualified, but they agreed to meet me. I went to DC for mid-year to meet with the team, get grilled and interrogated. Long story short, they selected me. I got on airplanes and went all over the place. I traveled and spoke. I’m still selling during all of this, but I ended up getting a booking agent.
I’m now on the road speaking and training more. Talking about technology, marketing and how to build your business as an agent, all the while building my own business. I did that for several years. Eventually, I got a phone call from Coldwell Banker Corporate, their headquarters. They were like, “We’d like you to stop selling real estate. Move to Jersey. Work out of our Realogy headquarters as our Director of Learning and Engagement.” I thought about that. I took the time. I talked to my wife about that. It wasn’t an easy choice, but it was a good choice. We did it. We sold our place in Nashville and we moved to Hoboken, New Jersey. I worked as their Learning Director, which is where I met Tom, in that process.
Many stories have that same beginning for people that are educators, trainers and coaches in the field. They were an agent and somebody said, “You’d be good at this. You should give it a shot.” It’s very cool.
I am indebted to a lot of people along the way.
Business Coaching: You need grit if you want to go into real estate. Go to Google and search for real estate brokerages or firms in your area. Then start cold calling until you get one that’s willing to give you a shot.
What is it like meeting Tom for the first time?
I get up there, and my boss’ name is Dave, but he was very kind, not rude at all. He was a great guy. He said, “We have to do a regional event in California. I need you to plan the event.” That was my job. At this point, I had been doing a lot of real estate events, so I knew what I was doing. I was like, “Any specific speakers I need to book? Matthew Ferrara or something like that?” He goes, “Book Tom Ferry.” I had never heard of Tom at that point. I was like, “Who’s that?” I YouTubed him. I was like, “Who is this guy? I’d never heard anybody like him in my life.”
I got ahold of his people and I booked Tom Ferry to be the keynote speaker for the regional event. I would typically go out to host, emcee these events and do some of the speakings too. I remember it was the first time I heard Tom Ferry speak and I was like, “I did not know that there was a person that could do this in this industry.” To me, this was like watching Tony Robbins. I was like, “This dude is absolutely phenomenal. His content is amazing. I learned so much watching him.”
I would do lots of events over the time at Coldwell Banker with Tom. I got to know him pretty well. We worked with other speakers, Stefan Swanepoel, some other great people, Katie Lance and lots of great people. For Tom, for whatever reason, I was like, “I want to be like that guy.” I would study him. I would watch the Tom Ferry shows.
I would say everything he said like I said it after him, as practice from speaking at home when nobody was watching me because I thought he was awesome. There was a running joke at the office. They would all watch me like studying how he was and they’re like, “You’re going to quit and work for him, aren’t you?” I was like, “No. Stop it. It’s never going to happen.”
I won’t go into the details. It wasn’t a direct transition to Tom’s company, but I made a decision to leave and reinvest in my own self as a speaker, and then there was an opportunity with Tom that was lightning-quick where we formed a relationship. That was in 2016 that I started working with Tom and the rest has been an amazing journey.
I’m sure you’ve heard this before, but if I close my eyes, if you had an audio doppelganger, you sound a lot like Tom.
I do and I’ve heard that a lot before. Obviously, it’s because I studied him and he became the person I was trying to emulate. Some of the base programmings and the foundation came from that. I would literally sit there, put YouTube on, turn the volume up and repeat what I was practicing to Tom, which I don’t know that I would advise people doing that necessarily, but it’s what I did.
I’ve heard of Tom Ferry. I think everybody that read this show knows who Tom Ferry is by now. What are the size and scope of the Tom Ferry real estate coaching and the company?
It’s the number one coaching program for many years consecutively, according to the Swanepoel Power 200. I don’t have the exact number of how many contract holders we have, but we have over 10,000 agents in our ecosystem involved. It’s significantly large. There are other coaching programs I suspect where they might have higher agent counts that aren’t involved. We’re talking about agents that are actively in the program. It’s a pretty big chunk. I haven’t gotten the updated numbers, so I won’t misquote anything here.
I would say this in general, real estate professionals who put themselves in coaching compared to those who don’t do better, plain and simple. It’s because they and an objective third party are looking at their business and making strategic choices about what’s working, not working, “What do we need to do more of? Where are the opportunities? Where are the threats?” They’re making that analysis and running their businesses more intelligently. I’m happy to report that inside of our coaching program, we have sizable improvements in folks’ production because ultimately, our coaching program is about you. It costs money. It’s an investment in your own business as any coaching program is, but you’re worth the investment.
I’m happy to report that my coaching clients have, in a way, paid absolutely nothing because they’re profitable and we’ve been able to accelerate their businesses from well beyond where they were. Another benefit that’s been nice is given the size of our ecosystem and the level of engagement between clients, there’s a lot of referrals that go on. We’ve done business planning to get ready for 2022.
We have to make an agent to agent referrals from the Tom Ferry Organization, from our ecosystem and the actual lead source because there is so much of it going on. There’s that level of investment where it’s like, “If you’re not getting referrals and making your coaching free, you’re not networking effectively,” because even if you didn’t sell a house from the coaching, the referrals alone should give you opportunities. Hopefully, my points are clear on what I’m saying there.
I want to talk to you as a coach. Let’s get some good takeaways for the people reading. There’s got to be some common areas where when you sit down with somebody and you’re having that initial consultation that you go, “I’ve seen this over and over.” It’s something they’re not focusing on that they should be.
There are several things that I would say and I’ll go with what’s fresh in my mind. There’s almost like a mirror to it where they’re almost opposite of each other. I’m seeing a lot of folks who I’ve talked to and these aren’t necessarily my own personal coaching clients, but I talked to other clients in our ecosystem, agents I’m talking to in general. I’m seeing a lot of people who are like, “I’m making videos. I’m posting on social and it’s not the silver bullet I thought it was.” I go watch the videos and I’m like, “I can’t tell if you’re trying.”
I know that sounds harsh, but one of the things I’ve been realizing now is no matter what you do from a marketing, sales or life standpoint, if you want it to work, you’ve got to work it hard. That’s the bottom line. If I want to build relationships with my database, past clients sphere of influence, and I don’t call them, or if I do call them, it’s like a slide dial and is completely inauthentic, am I building a relationship that cultivates referrals? I’m not. In the same way, if I’m farming in my videos and not doing it. It’s all canned content and I’m filling in the content on social for the sake of having content, that’s not content.
I’ve been asking a lot of the folks I’m working with lately a couple of different questions. One, “Is your content filler or is it legitimate content that people would want to follow? Would you want to follow you? If your videos or content isn’t doing that, nobody’s going to want to follow you.” The other piece to it is, “What is the thing you’re insanely obsessed about when it comes to your social media content? What are you giving away? What’s your value proposition?”
If you want to be followable, if you want people to refer you business, to DM you and perceive you as an expert in the marketplace with whom they want to work. If you want social to work for you, what are you insanely obsessed with? What are you giving away? What’s the value proposition in your content that’s going to make people come to you like a beacon in the night? I’m speaking abstractly, but I’m definitely seeing a lot of people specifically with social media where they assume doing it is enough, but it’s not.
Again, another analogy. If I go to the gym and I lift lightweights, I’m not going to build the muscle. You got to do the work. There’s the flip side of it where I’ve seen agents who are not diversified enough sometimes. It’s super important, especially in 2022, to make sure you’re looking at all your lead gen that you’re diversified.
I think you should do video, but I don’t think you should not do traditional lead gen. I don’t think you should not, not call your database, prospect or things along those lines. My business advice is to have 4 to 6 lead sources where you can definitively say, “I get business from these groups of people by doing these actions and then do those actions again and again. Track and measure so that you know what’s actually producing, working, what moves the needle and that you don’t lose sight of it at the next shiny penny.
A great follow-up for me is how do you hold them accountable if you have that conversation and they say, “I’m going to do this.” Isn’t that a big part of what you do?
It is. I wrote it down and then the next week, when I talked to them, I say, “Did you do it?” They say yes or no and we deal with it accordingly. Accountability is a buzzword, but it’s, “Did you do the thing that I wrote down that you said you were going to do last week? Yes or no? We have your business plan right in front of us. We have a software called Along that I can look at and say, ‘These are the lead sources you committed to yet. I’ve seen no actions that you prescribed for yourself taken yet.’” “Did we bite off more than we can chew? Do we need to adjust your plan? What does that look like?”
My last episode’s guest was Katie Day of MOVEMETOTX. She’s amazing. You’re her coach. She mentioned that on the show. She said that you’re pushing her hard on video. It’s funny because you talked about that a little bit because Katie’s good at that. We talked in the episode a particular video about the pros and cons of Houston, how she knocked it out of the park with that video and trying to find more topics that are in that vein. For the people reading, what would you share? If there’s something simple to say about the video, what would it be? You’ve touched on it. You want to be passionate. It’s got to be something you or others care about.
It’s not a super tangible strategic statement. Be passionate about it. With the pros and cons example that you cited with Katie, one thing I’ve noticed in the major platforms, YouTube, Instagram, TikTok, Facebook, etc., is they are all becoming much more unique unto themselves. Several years ago, I would have prescribed a content strategy that was, “Make your content in a laboratory and then distribute your content across all the different platforms.” Now the level of optimization is such that you have to have, “This is my short-form content strategy. This is my long-form content strategy.” You got to be much more specific about it.
The pros and cons, I would call that more of an SEO YouTube strategy because YouTube is a search engine. It’s owned by Google. It functions differently than TikTok or Instagram, for instance. Think about the typical behavior of a user on TikTok or Instagram. They are scrolling through a feed. They are no different than my dad was late at night flipping through channels. They have not committed to watching, viewing or parking on anything. They’re just scrolling through the feed. The onus is on you as the content creator to make something that is going to capture their attention very quickly or they are gone.
On Instagram and TikTok, for instance, it’s about capturing attention, but on YouTube, it’s about holding attention. YouTube is a search engine. The fundamental way of using YouTube is still you go type in the search bar the thing you want to go watch. Based upon the relevance of those videos and how they performed over time, there’s going to be ranked results just like Google searches ranked.
I could go on for days about how to get your videos to rank better on YouTube. That’s an art and a science unto itself, but the pros and cons, it is like, “The pros and cons of moving to Houston.” Given that she’s in Texas, this is strategic because a lot of people are considering moving to Texas that had never considered moving to Texas before. There’s search volume built up for those types of search phrases.
Business Coaching: If you want to be followable and perceived as an expert, you need to ask yourself what’s the value proposition in your content? What’s the thing that’s going to make people come to you like a beacon in the night?
There are other agents in our ecosystem like Jeremy Knight, who will do like Moving From California To Texas, Best Cities To Live, To Move To In Texas. He’ll create all these different videos that are specifically predicated on the searches people are typing into YouTube. When someone comes to YouTube to watch a video, they come with a greater attention span because they came looking for your content.
It’s holding attention versus capturing attention. You got to capture it. I don’t want to act like you don’t have to. You have to hook them to view your video, but they will watch for 6, 9, 12, 50 minutes or 1 hour if it warrants watching for that long. My videos on YouTube are much longer than when I’m posting in Instagram and TikTok.
What I would say to anybody who’s thinking about doing their video game is, decide what are the results you want. If you say to me, “I want to generate leads off of video.” It seems to me, your choice is clear, YouTube. The downside of YouTube is it is highly competitive. On a search results page, there are maybe five or I don’t know the exact number of videos that’ll show on the first page of the results.
If you’re not on the first page of the results, you’re buried in the ground. You need to be able to optimize your videos accordingly. However, if you want leads like Jeremy Knight. I was talking to him in December 2021. He, Katie and several others were at a video mastermind. Jeremy Knight is literally, generated in 2021, $100,000 of GCI per month off of his YouTube channel.
It’s not monetized. It’s actual lead gen because he positions himself as the knowledge broker, the expert for people who are relocating or selling in his marketplace. He gives real estate news. He talks about the best neighborhoods, the pros and cons of certain neighborhoods or certain types of houses or underperforming, over-performing areas and why not go to some areas.
He thinks like a search engine in the videos he creates, so does Katie like pros and cons, the same kind of a strategy. Think what are the search phrases people are entering in and then if you optimize your videos right, you rank in the search results, they watch, and then they watch next, which is another video of yours. Eventually, they land on your website or click the about tab on your channel and they email you. They say, “We’re moving to the area. We’re thinking about leaving the area. We need to talk to you about selling or buying.”
What I like about YouTube is its greater intent and the probability of generating end market leads organically is much stronger. That’s the organic side of it. You got a whole paid side that’s a different conversation for a different time that’s freaking phenomenal. There’s TikTok land Instagram. I’m a strong believer in reels and a vertical short-form video too. I look at myself as a generalist when it comes to marketing. I coach people differently.
I have some clients where I’m like, “You’re in a 2nd and 3rd home vacation on the market. You live in Texas. You live in Florida. There’s a lot of search volume on YouTube for people entering in things about real estate. YouTube is a no-brainer for you,” versus some people live in marketplaces where there may not be a lot of search volume on YouTube, so your ability to generate leads may be lower than other people or the personality of the individual could be different where it’s like, “You’re a Glennda baker. Your personality is so amazing. You would crush TikTok and Instagram.
I go with analogies. I think about agents as trees. They’re all trees, but they’re all very different. Some of them are on hillsides, on fertile, by water, far from water, cold conditions and warm conditions. There are all these different environmental factors that influence how the tree grows. There are all these external variables and internal variables that influence how they grow. As a coach, you’ve got to recognize that if you’re going to be the arborist of agents. You got to do that. You got to recognize how they’re different.
Short-form video is another avenue, but you’re fighting for attention, which means you need a lot of content. Katie Day does everything. Her superpower is she is not confined. She doesn’t get stuck in detail. She crushes it. She blitzes everything. She has a short-form vertical video strategy where they record one day a week. They’ll sit down and record for 1 hour or 2. She’ll knock out 10 or 15 videos that she can use for reels and it’s her point of view about how to buy real estate, sell real estate or invest in real estate. What do you need to know? She positions herself as a knowledge broker.
Some agents are funny so they can do well with like TikToks and short-form videos. Some agents think they’re funny and they’re not funny. The key is there’s plenty of room out there to be successful with video. You have to look at, “What do I want to get out of this and what am I working with? What is the best path for me to take given the different options?”
Algorithmically speaking, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and Facebook, all of them, it is important that you niche to get rich. What is the subject matter that you want to communicate in your videos and all of your content, not just videos, posts too? If Instagram were looking at your page, would it be evident to Instagram what your content is about and, therefore, who it is for?
Algorithmically, Instagram, TikTok, YouTube and every one of those platforms, their algorithmic job is to size up who you are as a content creator and then go find people who would like that content. If you’re giving them this vast variety of content material or if it’s filler content, it’s not really you. You’re straining the ability of the algorithm to position you to the people who would actually follow you. Is that too abstract of a thought?
Not at all. Being focused makes perfect sense.
A lot of the agents think, “I’ve got to be entertaining and funny to be successful on Instagram.” No, you don’t because there are a billion users or whatever. There are enough people out there that if you allow the algorithm to understand who you are, it will find out who you’re for and it will bring you your customers that way. That’s the organic side of it.
We have to talk Google. I’ve seen you online and a couple of other places having conversations about how important the Google Business Profile? It’s changed again.
It’s formerly called Google My Business, Google Places and Google+ Local. Every iteration is the same thing. My theory is a new marketing director comes in and they’re like, “I want to put my stamp on this thing. Let’s change the name.”
If we could talk about the importance of that and the Local Services Ads are unbelievably mindblowing.
If you’ve ever seen or done a Google search for best plumber nearby or best realtor nearby, you may see at the very top of Google, arrayed from left to right the pictures of three individuals, star ratings and a phone number. It’s a little box you can click on and contact that agent directly. Those are called Google Local Services Ads. They might say Google Screened or Google Guaranteed. Those are subtypes of Google Local Services Ads. If you are not running Google Local Services Ads, you’ve missed out and you’re going to continue missing out if you don’t start. Type in Google Local Services Ads, click the ad at the top, follow the steps. It is a bit tedious because they want to see proof of insurance like errors and omissions.
They want to see your license. They want to prove that you’re legit before they start recommending you to customers and then start running your ads. There’s not much to do other than say, “How much do you want to spend? What kind of leads do you want? Do you want renter leads or do you not want renter leads? Do you want first-time buyers or do you not want first-time buyers?”
Turn those things on and off. It’s a very easy technical ad to run. It’s tedious. It’s like going to the DMV because you got to be able to have your license and stuff to show them that. Run them because you’re paying for the leads. The way the program works is you specify a monthly or a weekly budget and then you only pay for legitimate leads.
They will estimate how many leads you get. Oftentimes, their estimates don’t come true. You don’t get nearly as many leads, so you don’t pay the money. I have clients who are willing to pay $1,000 a month or something like that. Some months they might, sometimes they don’t, but it boils down to either you got the leader or you didn’t. They’re not going to charge you $1,000 for one lead and say, “Sorry. It was only one lead this month.” They have some integrity behind what they’re doing.
The reason I say it’s a no-brainer is because you’re only paying for what you get. Here’s the fundamental difference about these leads. If you think about original or historical Zillow Premier Agent, it was basically consumers on the website. They find 123 Banana Street. It’s the home of their dreams, “Come look at this house with me.” They’re so interested in the house that they likely want to see the house. They saw a button on the screen that says Contact Agent.
They hit the button Contact Agent, knowing they probably want to see the property. Instead of scheduling a show at that time, Zillow showed them the images of three agents, Pick One. The agent became the middle person, “I got to work with this agent to go see the property. They’re dispensable to me. It’s a game of chase.” I’m not discounting the quality of that lead, it’s a lead, but they didn’t come for you. They came for the house and they got you instead versus Google Local Services Ads are triggered when somebody types in a search phrase like, “Best Realtor Near Me.”
They didn’t go looking for a house. They came looking for you, which is consistent with seller intent, more than buyer intent. I’ll leave it at that. You need to be running Google Local Services Ads. A couple of pro tips is to answer the phone. They’re paying attention. If that phone rings, you don’t answer, it’s going to diminish your ability to rank. Spend the money. If you don’t want renter leads, turn them off. If you don’t want certain things, turn them off. You have the ability to dispute. If an agent calls to sabotage you, you can dispute that. They’re not going to charge you for that.
I would also suggest that you need to try to get reviews on the actual Google Local Services Ads. You can sync it with your Google Business Profile, formerly Google My Business, but those reviews may not all show up. It’s not the same thing. They can be synched, but you have to realize these are entirely different departments at Google, probably in different cities of different people who do not talk to each other, running two different things.
Google Business Profiles and Google Local Services Ads are not the same things. There’s your organic side of this, which is your Google Business Profile formerly called Google My Business. If you were on Google Maps and you see all those little like, “Best pizza near me,” and you see all those little red pins that pop up on the map. Every one of those red pens represents a Google Business Profile. They are industry-specific. Maybe they could be plumbers, arborists, pizza, restaurants, realtors or whatever. You need a Google Business Profile.
I have published a lot of content on your Google Business Profile. If you just Google my name or type in Jason Pantana Google My business or Jason Pantana Google Business Profile, you’re going to find video, content and blogs on what you need to do to optimize your profile. Your Google Business Profile is free money if you understand how to make it rank. I did a blog where I talked about the top four things you can do to get your page to rank. Where does it rank?
Business Coaching: Instagram and TikTok are all about capturing attention. YouTube is all about holding attention. When someone comes to YouTube, they come with a greater attention span.
If somebody does a Google search for, “Best realtor near me,” typically, as long as we’re in the states, not all parts of Canada have Google Local Services Ads, but typically the first thing that searcher will see at the top is your Google Local Services Ads. The second part of the screen they’ll see is your traditional Google Search Ads, which are very expensive because you’re probably advertising against home light or somebody like that. The third section is what’s called the Google Local Pack. It is the portion of the screen that’s half a map and has three listings. You can click to View More Listings. Those are Google Business Profiles and they are organic.
I have coaching clients who are generating their ranking on 15,000 to 20,000 searches per month. They’re generating 50 inbound customer calls per month plus messages per month. They’re getting 1,000 people to their website or more per month. The opportunities with your Google Business Profile are nuts. One of the benefits is it’s one of those things where you do the work in the beginning and the maintenance is not nearly as labor-intensive as making videos for Instagram because that is a constant hamster wheel.
Your Google Business Profile is more like a bicycle. You got to pedal it, but it’s got some gears to assist you. It’s a lot of upfront work of optimizing your name so that it’s ready for search, understanding to choose the right business categories. The only required work ongoing is to add photos, videos and get reviews. That’s pretty much it.
People don’t understand that at the very bottom of that Google Business Profile, there’s a feed. You’ve got to fill that up. You got to put content.
Plus your Google Posts. I wouldn’t say the same thing you put in Google Posts could also be out as a Google Photo. If you have 30-second reels, for instance, that you’re publishing to Instagram, Facebook or wherever it is, publish them to your photo section. It’s more content and impressions.
I’m going to get to the final question. It’s funny you mentioned, “Pick up the phone.” I’ve asked this question to every guest since Jay Thompson, who was our first guest. I said, “What one piece of advice would you give a new agent who is just starting out?” His answer was, “Pick up the damn phone.” You can’t use that answer, but Jason, what’s your answer to that question? What one piece of advice would you give a new agent who is just getting going?
Respect that I’m reaching into a hat of other things I could recommend. I’m going to tell you, get over it and start making videos. We had a conversation. We did a video mastermind at Tom Ferry’s office. I was listening to Glennda Baker talk. She was saying she used to do one hour a day of just lead follow-up and calling her leads and stuff like that. This is not excusing calling your database. Call your database. She would do her cold calling, which there’s nothing wrong with that at all. It works, but she was like, “In one hour, I could maybe have 30 calls. Maybe I talked to 30 people,” and that’s being a big stretch.
When I post a video to TikTok, that gets one million views. I can reach 30 people in about three seconds. I can have conversations with people who are coming to me and building my brand. At the end of the day, what is marketing? Marketing is communication. This is a relationship business. The job of marketing is to be a marketing channel through which, with which, by which, I communicate with my prospective customers or my past customers.
The tools are the tools and the channel by which you can communicate, I would argue one of the most effective channels is video. Whatever your reservations are about the video, get over them because it’s the tool. If the phone had come out and you hadn’t used it because whatever, looking back in hindsight, you’re like, “How silly of me? I should’ve used the phone.” You will one day look back and think, “How silly of me? I should have made the videos.” That’s my thought.
If somebody wants to reach out to you, what’s the best way for them to do that?
Thanks so much for your time. This was awesome. I’m excited to see what you’re doing in the future. I pay attention to what you’re saying. I think a lot of people should be doing that.
I’m super pumped up in here. Thank you.
- Sean Carpenter – Previous episode
- Jason Pantana
- Tom Ferry
- Katie Day – Previous episode
- Jeremy Knight – YouTube
- YouTube – Jason Pantana
- Google Business Profile – YouTube
- Local Services Ads
- Google Business Profile Optimizations for Realtors
- Jay Thompson – YouTube
- @JasonPantana – Instagram
About Jason Pantana
Jason Pantana is a coach, trainer, and speaker for Tom Ferry International the world’s leading real estate coaching program, as well as host of the popular seminar, Marketing Edge. His dynamic sessions arm professionals with the tools they need to stay current, competitive, and, above all, successful.