Tom Ferry on the Innovative, Motivated Agent of the Future

On a recent trip to LA, Coach Tom Ferry gave Claudio Encina some tips for agents on mindset and innovative marketing. Watch the interview video here.


Claudio Encina: So, Tom, tell me, you were one of the forefronts in technology. I remember going through all your summits. You were always one of the ones who was predicting the trends and they came true. I remember even that little flip video that you said, “I went to Australia, and I couldn’t find it anywhere. I had to order it in America, and it took me three weeks to arrive,” but what does the innovative agent look like today, and, perhaps, maybe, going into the future?

Tom Ferry: So, yeah, I mean, I was early on Myspace, and email marketing and websites in 1995, so-

Claudio Encina: YouTube.

Tom Ferry: Yeah, YouTube, no doubt, and I was blessed there to meet somebody that was running a big division of Google, who said, “We just bought YouTube, you should do this,” and I was doing audio blogging at the time, and he told me that’s bad, which, today, it’s obviously good.

Right now, in a 2017 environment, you need to be thinking video first. So, when you reset, and you’re like, “Hey, let’s do a video,” it’s like, “Right on.” You know, I like magazines, but a typical print-only. The challenge is, there’s less distribution.

What we’re talking about with our clients today, and we’re the only coaching company that does video-first coaching. You with me?I need to be able look in your eyes and really get where you’re at when we’re in a coaching conversation.

We tell our clients ‘video-first marketing’ means when you take that new listing, when you get on your phone immediately, and say, “I just listed this beautiful three bedroom, two bath bungalow on the corner of Humma Humma, Nunna Nunna,” and whether you’re live on Facebook telling your base there, or you’re shooting it to then edit it, and email it out, and put it on the social channels.

That’s who’s winning today, because here’s the stat, you ready? My friends at Google and Facebook have made it very clear. Google says 85% of the world’s content will be consumed on your phone in video. 85% of the world’s content.

Claudio Encina: That’s huge.

Tom Ferry: A couple weeks ago, in the US, they had the Emmy’s, it’s like this television hoobidoo. You know what, the people that were winning the Emmy’s now, are Hulu and Netflix, people that are only in an internet-based environment.

So, that, to me, if I was talking to an agent today, I’d say, “You need to over-index on video-first marketing.”

Claudio Encina: Quick question. Where is this suburb, “Bananahammahamma?” (laughter) I love that. Where is that?

Tom Ferry: I don’t even know where that came from. I used to say that everything was ‘Main Street’, and then it just sounded too funny to me.

Claudio Encina: I actually love it.

Tom Ferry: So, it’s Humma Humma and Nunna Nunna, and somebody actually got me one of those street signs that say ‘Humma Humma’ and ‘Nunna Nunna’.

Claudio Encina: So, don’t look for it on Google Maps, we’re not going to find it, right?

Tom Ferry: Yes, and if you search my real estate company, it’s called Banana Real Estate. It’s just a neutral, funny way to describe it.

Claudio Encina: I love it, I love it! Okay, the next question, Tom.

Agents in Australia and New Zealand, and we have over 30,000 subscribers with Elite Agent Magazine. One of the things they’re finding right now, as a challenge, is listings are really tight.

What advice would you give to agents at the moment that could say, “Well, my market is really tough right now, listings are tough, even my vendors who are selling their home, they’re thinking, ‘Six months ago, prices have come down,'” what should they be doing right now?

Tom Ferry: Okay, but do the vendors know that? Do the agents know, but the vendors still expect a higher price?

Claudio Encina: Yeah.

Tom Ferry: Okay. By the way, that’s only every marketplace I’ve ever worked in around the world. In Munich, Germany, it’s that way right now. In parts of the Czech Republic, especially Prague, it’s very similar. New York City, prices are here in terms of the seller expectation, but this is where the buyers are buying. So, that’s different. Do you want to talk about getting them sold, or do you want to talk about getting them?

Claudio Encina: Let’s talk about getting them. Listings are probably the main challenge right now.

Tom Ferry: Okay. Here’s what we believe, right, that most agents are myopic in their approach. They’ve got one way that they do it. They’re a one-trick pony. So, here’s the challenge, when things get tight, if your trick doesn’t work, you’re out of business. Rule number one is, obviously, where does your business come from now? Where do your listings come from?

And then, how do I make it better? How do I make it more consistent? How do I get more for less without spending another dime? That’s the first thing. Secondly, can I outsource pieces of that, so I can leverage my time, and get more listing opportunities? That’s a big one. But, once you’ve done those two, you’ve got to expand your multiple channels of listing regeneration.

So, here’s what I know. Geographic farming works. I don’t care where I am in the world, you take 700,000 homes, where the turnover is three, five, seven per cent, and you do direct mail, you do open houses, you knock on doors, you run Facebook ads, etc, etc, but that’s only one.

One of my clients in New York City took this same concept of just a geographic farm. Now, he’d be in Sydney, vertical living kind of city. He’s high rise New York City, he can’t knock on doors. You can’t even, really, do open houses. So I said, “Just pick two farms,” he laughed and said, “There’s no farms in New York City.” I said, “Two buildings.” 268 homes, turnover was about four percent, but the average sales price was a million, so the economics made sense, right, if he got a decent conversion.

Well, fast forward. That was six years ago, now he has 85,000 apartments he mails to, so he spends between 400 to 450,000 dollars a year in direct mail, for a four million dollar GCI return.

Claudio Encina: No brainer.

Tom Ferry: You got to expand and have multiple different ways that you’re attracting sellers. You can’t just rely on your database to produce the most results. Facebook ads, right, online ads, Google Search ads, landing pages, obviously geographic farming, open houses, there’s just a plethora of ways you can do it, but you need multiple ways, that’s the answer.

Claudio Encina: So,  any tips around mindset stuff for these guys, as they’re feeling the squeeze at the moment with listings, like to get up every day and just get motivated? What does Tom Ferry turn to when times get tough?

Tom Ferry: Listen, you don’t want to mess me when times get tough, because when time’s get tough-

Claudio Encina: He’s not soft.

Tom Ferry: No, I explode. So, here’s the thing, and you’re exactly right, and Branson, he’s dead on. What I see is that most people, when the market gets tough, or things get tough, they contract back to what is safe and easy, but all the money and all the growth is outside of your comfort zone.

You can see that motivational thing on Instagram all day long, but it doesn’t mean crap until you, finally, are in that moment of truth, and you say, “Wait a minute, my back’s up against the wall, I need to go expand.” So, this is what I’m going to say to every one of you:

You don’t have enough money in your savings account to be acting the way you’re acting right now.

God bless you. One person in your family gets cancer, or has a financial problem that shuts you down, you’re screwed. I, literally, would say to you, you need to be operating today from the standpoint of fear you don’t have enough money. Until you’re sitting on piles of cash, you don’t have the right to be sitting back and doing so little. You can’t have goals like this, and have behaviours like this. We’ve got to align your behaviours to get what it is that you want.

So, forget mindset, toughen up.

Claudio Encina: I love that, so powerful. I love that message, Tom. Thank you for sharing.

Tom Ferry: I probably just made a whole bunch of them mad.

Claudio Encina: But I love it, I love it. The message is so strong.

Show More