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The trust formula: Tom Ferry

Widely regarded as the best real estate coach in the business, Tom Ferry was on hand to share his wisdom at Transform 2021. He shared with agents how mindset and a clear plan are the cornerstones to creating their best year ever, and how they could use video to build trust with prospects and win more listings.

Real estate agents need to build trust to win over potential clients, and the best way to do that is through video, a world-renowned industry coach told Transform 2021.

Tom Ferry said, “video is king”, and with 81 per cent of consumers watching a video online before they make big decisions, agents need to move with the times.

“How do you get to have more people knowing who you are, what you stand for, what you’re all about, what your promises are, what you like and what you don’t like?” he asked.

“People are making decisions about me and about you every day, and 81 per cent of that is because of the videos they watch.

“So what happens if you don’t have videos?”

Donkey versus unicorn

Mr Ferry said many agents shy away from creating video content because they fear they will come off looking silly.

Agents put so much pressure on themselves not to appear like a “donkey” in an attempt to create a video that goes viral, which Mr Ferry called “a unicorn”, that they end up doing nothing at all.

“The reason why the vast majority of agents will not shoot videos is because they’re afraid of the donkeys,” he said.

“They all want the unicorn, the bananas video, the one that everybody loves and makes you so popular.”

Since he launched his first YouTube channel in 2007, Mr Ferry had one video that went viral with 10 million views.

The rest usually generate between 3000 and 80,000 views.

But he stresses even those lesser-watched clips have far greater reach and impact than other forms of marketing. 

“If you shoot a video and go on Facebook or Instagram and 653 people watch that video, even just for three seconds, ask yourself this question: How much time would it take you to talk to 653 people over the phone or by knocking on their door?” Mr Ferry asked.

“Today (with video) the answer is 90 seconds. In 90 seconds I can touch that many people, and if I boost it, I can target who sees the message.

“All of those donkeys add up over time.”

Get your mind right first

Another critical factor holding agents back is their mindset.

Mr Ferry stressed you can have your best year ever, but you need to believe it.

“Do you believe that you could go out and make it happen, or do you believe there are these outside forces that are stopping you from going out and achieving the things that you want?” he asked.

Mr Ferry said a key “mind hack” he uses is waking up every morning and declaring it’s the best day ever.

After that, he urges agents to stop focusing on all of the “noise” and zero in on who they will help that day and how they will get a listing appointment.

“I want you to decide to be an appointment-setting, value-delivering, trust-building machine,” Mr Ferry said.

The trust formula

Mr Ferry muses that one way to get noticed in your community is to go for “shock value”, with high-profile billboards or risque mailout postcards, but he notes there are far more compelling ways to raise your profile with video.

The key is to create trust, let people know about who you are, what you do and why you do it.

Mr Ferry said there’s a simple, but highly effective formula to create trust, with content frequency creating familiarity, authenticity and relevance, all of which builds trust in the eyes of potential clients.

“Maybe you like the sports channel, and you watch them frequently, and you get to know who they are, you get to understand them, and you know what happens? You begin to develop trust in that person.

“It creates familiarity, and if this person is revealing more and more about themselves, their wisdom and what they understand, all of this helps your trust levels go up. 

“Then if they’re authentic, and not every photo is perfect, if they’re coming out of the gym and they’re a mess, you really understand what they’re about.

“Then there’s relevancy. They’re bringing me relevant information, and that could be the best new pub in town or it could be the hottest new restaurant.

“All of this is the formula for trust.”

Video is king

In a marketplace that’s more competitive than ever, Mr Ferry said agents can’t afford to wait for the “come list me” calls, where clients call them out of the blue.

They need to generate the “I trust you” calls, where potential clients are on the phone because they feel they already have a relationship with them after seeing their video content.

Mr Ferry firmly believes video should come before any other marketing, including phone calls, emails, texts and even open homes.

“Video is king, always and forever,” he said.

One of the biggest hurdles to overcome is knowing what to create content on, and Mr Ferry noted that many agents draw a blank in this area and dump video in the too-hard basket.

But it doesn’t need to be complex, and it doesn’t need to be all about you, your work or the properties you’re selling.

In fact, it’s better if there’s some diversity.

Content creation hacks

Mr Ferry recommends starting your own show, where you pick a topic you’re passionate about and talk about that.

“Maybe you do a show where you talk about cricket,” he said.

“Maybe you do a show about cooking or whatever you’re excited about.

“The fact that the banner at the bottom says your name, your email and maybe your real estate company is just a byproduct.

“This is how people get to know you, and like you and trust you.”

Once you’ve decided on your theme, Mr Ferry said to name your show, hire a wedding videographer, set aside one day a month to film, get your videographer to edit and produce the content, and push it out every week.

He said other content ideas include local micro-market updates targeting specific areas, which boosts your profile, your Google ranking, as well as showing your knowledge and creating trust through frequency, relevance and authenticity.

Another option is for agents to ask everyone in their database what their one burning question about real estate is and answer them in short social media videos.

“You can say, ‘Hey guys, in the next 30 days I’m going to answer 30 questions about housing, my neighbourhood, mortgages and insurance… so I can continue to bring my clients value’,” Mr Ferry said.

“Then, when you see lots of comments, boost it. Put some money on it and get more and more people activated and seeing the answers.”

Share your knowledge

Further content ideas include ‘did you know’ shows where you provide snippets of information such as what type of property you can get for $500,000 in Sydney, or the seven things you need to do to get a higher price for your home.

“The more you share with people, the more you become the knowledge broker,” Mr Ferry said.

About town videos, where you share insights into your area, such as the three best pubs, can generate content gold too.

“The more you’re sharing the local insights on your communities, you’re saying to people ‘I’m more than just that person who wants to list your house, I’m part of the fabric of the community’,” he said.

Mr Ferry also urged agents to take a Million Dollar Listing approach and shoot behind-the-scenes videos such as how you style a home for sale or what happens on auction day.

Authenticity wins

It doesn’t matter what content you’re creating, it’s important to be yourself, and Mr Ferry said some of the best-liked videos are not directly work-related but about someone’s personal life. 

Agents could film themselves engaging in their spearfishing hobby or with their family.

“Every time I do a photo with my wife, it goes off the charts because everyone hears that I love my wife, I married her three times and I’ve never been divorced,” Mr Ferry said.

One of the biggest questions Mr Ferry said is asked time and again is, “How do I get more business?”

He said you have to “shake the tree” and do the actions or tasks you know generate results.

If you don’t make phone calls, you won’t get appointments. If you don’t get appointments, you won’t generate listings.

Know what you want

Agents need to be crystal clear on their goals. You need to know how many listings you want this year and have a simple plan to make it happen.

Design your day to generate the results you want. 

Mr Ferry recommended starting with exercise and getting in the right mindset, then devising your ideal business morning routine around the 5-5-4-2 principle.

That’s where you call five people in your database, talk to five new people, make four lead phone calls and shoot two new videos.

“If you want 30 listings, but your behaviours and routines are over here, then guess what? You get your behaviours and routines; you don’t get your goals,” Mr Ferry explained.

“You’ve got to align the two.

“That’s how you win.”

Brilliant basics to attract listings

  • If you’re not contacting everyone in your database, you’re already starting with an error.
  • Ask prospects how COVID-19 has changed the way they think and feel about their home. It’s a great door-opener.
  • Know your numbers and ask potential clients things like, “Did you know home price appreciation was expected to go down 10 per cent in June of last year, but we actually finished the year 3.8 per cent up?”
  • Speak to your local knowledge and know your statistics.
  • Remember, you’re always being interviewed. If someone at the coffee shop asks you what’s happening in the market or what a house sold for, you need to know. If you don’t have an answer, the prospect won’t trust you as a knowledgeable source.
  • Engage with prospects and ask them what area of the market they’re interested in? Are they looking to buy, sell, rent or invest? Then tailor your answers.

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Deputy Editor at Elite Agent.