The Mike Ferry Organization Blog: Mike Ferry's Thoughts on Communicating with People

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Mike Ferry's Thoughts on Communicating with People

It's interesting that the Real Estate world is convinced that the web ... the internet ... social media ... are the answers to all the problems that we deal with. As most of you know, I get criticized on a daily, weekly, and monthly basis on the fact that I don't support this type of thinking. If you really do spend any time on the internet today (which I hope you don't) you'll see that the amount of information that is being put out is so extraordinary that it makes getting to good solid information more difficult every day. For those of you that question this, even the experts are saying it's becoming a useless tool because anybody can put anything on the internet and it immediately becomes ... "law."

I keep saying the same thing ... if you learn how to communicate with people and you improve your communication skills, you're going to win the game, whether it is sales, or management leadership. I can't imagine that you're going to blog, text, or twitter one of your children when they're doing something wrong ... and if you are, there's something wrong with you.

We use social media ... the internet, etc. as an excuse for communicating and most people that are "thinking" understand exactly what I'm saying, and all those people, whether they be in Real Estate or other professions, who aren't "thinking" will continue to use any device they can use to avoid human contact. Take a look at the following series of numbers ...

We have 77,000 customer names in our database. We have 55,000 with email addresses, we have 30,000 of what we call "good emails" ... 25,000 of those addresses are changed so often we can't keep up, so therefore they are no good.

We sent an email invitation to the 2011 Superstar Retreat to 20,000 of the 77,000 ... we scrubbed all MFO clients, and those already registered for the Retreat ... an invitation to come to the Retreat.

16,000 actually received it ... 4,000 disappeared into space.

949 actually opened the email ... 671 went to the website ... and 3 actually bought a ticket.

So here's what's interesting ... we at The Mike Ferry Organization have access to all the latest technology, and we've sold 4000+ tickets by talking to people and 3 through technology ... well, that isn't going to shut up the technology people but it sure keeps my mind clear on the fact that if we're not talking to people, we're not going to make sales.


Mike Ferry - The Mike Ferry Organization
Mike Ferry
CEO - The Mike Ferry Organization

39 commentsMike Ferry • July 27 2011 05:47PM

Comments

I understand what you're saying, but if I hadn't have read this message on your blog, I never would have recieved it.

Posted by Malcolm Johnston, Trenton Real Estate (Century 21 Lanthorn Real Estate LTD., Trenton, Ontario) over 3 years ago

Mike all great points, the internet is just one of many tools a real estate agent has to use. Along with that my tool belt has many more, mailings, community projects, neighborhood groups, local papers, clubs, etc etc.

Posted by David Popoff, Realtor & Property Manager, Fairfield County, Ct. (DMK Real Estate ) over 3 years ago

You wrote:

"4,000 disappeared into space.

949 actually opened the email"

Mmmm.  Perhaps your mail was a tad "spammy"??

Posted by Lenn Harley, Real Estate Broker - Virginia & Maryland (Lenn Harley, Homefinders.com, MD & VA Homes and Real Estate) over 3 years ago

I say we take an adventure into to space and find those emails a home. Great points. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by John Saari, "The Mortgage Buddy" over 3 years ago

Good post, but Malcolm has a point at #1. Technology can never replace personal contact, but it is, and will continue to be, the mode of primary communication in the future. Thanks for sharing.

Posted by Scotti Jowers, Realtor - West Monroe, Louisiana Homes for Sale (CENTURY 21 Shackelford French, Search West Monroe Homes ) over 3 years ago

Have you been inside my husband's brain? You sound just like him! I agree with a lot of what you say. I think a good strategy is a combination. You can't rely only on email. You got almost 700 people to go to your website though and who knows if they will come back, buy something, etc...

As I was reading your blog, I was thinking the same thing as Malcolm.

Posted by Kristi DeFazio, Colorado Springs Rea lEstate 719-459-5468 (RE/MAX Advantage) over 3 years ago

... and yet, here we are reading and "communicating on the internet".

Posted by Alan May, Evanston & Northshore of Chicago real estate (Coldwell Banker Residential) over 3 years ago

Go Mike go. I would say that its a combo of effort from all sources. On the three that did respond to the SuperStar Retreat offer, that was three that you did not have to entreat,  and it was a lot easier than standing in front of a group of 300-500 individuals trying to persuade this group to get involved with going.

I understand Mike that you have an IPad now.

Posted by Lorraine or Loretta Kratz, Certified Negotiation Consultants (Crescent Moon Realty, Inc. & Land N Sea Auctions.) over 3 years ago

I think it's fair to say that utilizing any means to get in front of prospects and clients is a good bet. I'd also say that many Gen X and Gen Y consumers are turning to the internet as a means of information and taking it as "law" as you expressed and if that is the case, I want to be there. Like David, the internet is just one of many tools in my tool box and by leveraging my presence on the net I have also been able to get more face to face relationships started.

Posted by Dominic Tartaglia, GRI, SLO first-time homebuyer specialist (Tartaglia Realty) over 3 years ago

I get what Mike's saying. I too feel that the majority of the relationships we form on the internet are completely superficial. Granted, we may form meaningful connections on rare occasion. But in reality, most people are unfortunately caught-up in all the "noise" - battling for their own share of electronic dust in cyberspace... and more often than not, oblivious to the opportunities which exist each day to form meaningful relationships in person.

it's critical to keep it all in balance.

 

 

Posted by Anthony Gilbert, REALTORĀ® - Issaquah, Sammamish & Snoqualmie (Coldwell Banker Danforth - Seattle) over 3 years ago

It's not about the technology. It's about the content, transparency, sharing, establishing expertise and communicating. Technology can't replace human contact but today's consumers don't neccessarily want human/personal contact.  

The Times They are a changing!

Some results from a consumer suvey we conducted between April 2009 and March 2010.

Only 9% of those polled primarily communicate with their real estate agents face-to-face

How do you primarily communicate with your real estate agent? Email 65%

How do you prefer to communicate with your real estate agent? By Email 52%

How did you find your real estate agent? On the Web 40%

When hiring an agent to list your property what is MOST important? Experience 40%

When choosing a real estate firm to work with, is it important that it has a good website? Yes 92%

Do you have a land line in your home? Yes 52%


Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC (The Corcoran Group) over 3 years ago

@Mitch -

"Only 9% of those polled communicate with their real estate agents face-to-face"

Wow...  Should this say "exclusively communicate"? I'm having trouble wrapping my head around the thought that 91% of respondents in any survey said they never communicate with their agent in person.

Regardless... I'm somewhat amused by this. Perhaps this may partially explain why the "general public's" satisfaction with real estate agents is relatively low.

Posted by Anthony Gilbert, REALTORĀ® - Issaquah, Sammamish & Snoqualmie (Coldwell Banker Danforth - Seattle) over 3 years ago

Mike, if I am reading correctly what I am interpreting you saying is the need for balance and good communication is vital in working with anyone.  With your organization technology is strong & used but you find person to person contact works the best.  In the SRES coursework they talked extensively about different personality styles and I want to always remember that we communicate in different ways (as you have shown here).

Posted by Kelly Young, Colorado Springs Real Estate ~ 719-226-0126 (The Platinum Group Realtors) over 3 years ago

Mike, what is the difference between what is written in magazines, newspapers, textbook or any print media and the internet? Are those publications not seen as "law" as well? 

I completely agree with you about direct communication as the preferred method, but the internet has it's place as well. Just as you need to filter the information on the net, you also need to filter information coming from every other source as well.   

Posted by Ray Waisler, NMLS #6621 - Specializing in Jumbo FHA & VA (Evolve Bank & Trust-Atlanta, GA Lending Nationwide) over 3 years ago

Anthony, Not exclusively. The pimary method to communicate with their agent and their prefered method is email, next phone then face to face. If you're with buyers you spend more face to face time with them showing properties. It's not necessary to communicate daily face-to face with a seller.

I may be in a more high-tech market than most. Many of my clients work on Wall Street they can't take calls or talk during day, they all prefer e-mail. The phone is still used and face-to-face but no longer primary method and I've learned how to use various communication methods appropriately and more effectively.

Posted by Mitchell J Hall, Lic Associate RE Broker - Manhattan, NYC (The Corcoran Group) over 3 years ago

Mike,

Does your tracking software for who opened the email recognize when it's opened by a smartphone, blackberry, iPad, etc? I use tracking software on ocassion, and it doesn't.

Rich

Posted by Richard Iarossi, Crofton MD Real Estate, Annapolis MD Real Estate (Coldwell Banker Residential Brokerage) over 3 years ago

Mike - I was waiting for a blog post like that. I can't believe in all those thousands of "firends" on FB and Twitter.

Posted by Jon Zolsky, Daytona Beach, FL, Selling Daytona paradise for heavenly good prices (Daytona Condo Realty, 386-405-4408) over 3 years ago

I love being able to communicate in the various ways however I think there still needs to be talking via phone and/or in person because no matter how clear you think you're message is, you loose actual tone and experssion via the internet.  I often pick up the phone to reply to an email.  I still meet with my clients face-to-face for info sessions and taking their application.  Helps them understand the loan better.

Posted by Beth Paterson, CRMP, NMLS #342859 (Reverse Mortgages SIDAC, NMLS #173899) over 3 years ago

Mike you are a legend and I have the greatest respect for you and all those you’ve helped. Let me take a closer look at the numbers you gave.

949 opened the email and 671 went to the web site. Most marketing gurus would say that is a good conversion ratio, especially in this economy. But only 3 out of 671 bought a ticket. Marketing 101 says that either the message or perceived value missed the target. 668 people didn’t benefit from the value I believe you had to offer. Many of those 668 agents do want to improve. Tweak the message or the value proposition and try it again. Thanks for trying to help us.

Posted by David Gibson, Colorado Springs, Castle Rock, Denver, Parker (Broker / Owner Colorado Home Sales LLC) over 3 years ago

Mike--I hear what you are saying.  For me there is a place for both.  The Internet gets the word out there, but I don't let it do all the work for me.  It will not develop a relationship with a client, but it will develop credibility if used appropriately. 

Posted by Janet Jones, Home Staging, Interior Redesign Kihei, Maui, Hawaii (Just Your Style Interiors, LLC) over 3 years ago

The majority of our recent clients have found us on the web, researched us on the web by our blogs, sites, and contacted us by email, then a phone call.  Our technology helps us to reach the people overseas much like the couple from Ireland who found our website and decided to list their land with us.  Or maybe the couple from Missouri that found our Facebook page and we're helping to find a new home in Arizona. A recent buyer from Boston said that by the time she met us, she felt like she already knew and trusted us. I just received a referal from an out of state agent off Facebook.  We post our properties on Craigslist and have sold many of our own properties from it and have had several buyers from them as well.  So, if you don't believe in technology and teach your followers that it's not worth it - Good!  I'll take them technology leads all day long!

Posted by Billie Hiser & Gary Lott Kingman Mohave County homes for sale, A New Way to do Real Estate in Mohave County (Re/Max Prestige Properties) over 3 years ago

Mike- I disagree. I have a great email list, I send out great video tutorials to lead up to a launch. I get great results from my list. I get great results from my blog here on Active Rain. 

We list most of our short sales without ever meeting the seller in person because they are mostly absentee owners. We can go from the web to signed listing agreement all over email and phone. So yes, we are talking to a person on the phone however they found us on our blog. Katerina

Posted by Nestor & Katerina Gasset, Realtors, Wellington Florida Homes For Sale (International Properties and Investments LLC) over 3 years ago
I don't think Internet is being used as an excuse to not communicate. On the contrary, it opens up additional avenues of communication. Internet is powerful and avoidance is not the answer.
Posted by Irina Netchaev, Pasadena CA Real Estate (Pasadena Views Real Estate Team, Inc.) over 3 years ago

    Mike   I have not heard of you in years.  I am glad I ran across you on the internet. I am with you .  It is for finding prospects. Closing sales is still face to face. The more facetime, the better.

Posted by Ron Climer (Ron Climer ) over 3 years ago

Mike, although your numbers maybe being challenged a bit . . I see and I hear your point loud and clear.

Posted by Fernando Herboso - Broker for Maxus Realty Group, 301-246-0001 Serving Maryland, DC and Northern VA (Maxus Realty Group - Broker 301-246-0001) over 3 years ago
That is an interesting point. I have to mull that one over.
Posted by Cheryl Ritchie, Southern Maryland 301-980-7566 (RE/MAX Leading Edge www.GoldenResults.com) over 3 years ago

Never put all of your eggs into one basket.  Being successful in the business of real estate is executing on multiple means to "touch".  And in this age of technology while we are blessed with ease, it has also made us dependent and lazy.

Posted by Lisa Moroniak, SFR - Short Sale & Foreclosure Certified (Keller Williams Realty | Northern Virginia | 703.635.0388) over 3 years ago

Mike, since a large percentage of people who look for a home do so on the Internet, its a mistake not to utilize this media. Although face-to-face communication works, you have to pursue all options. In your case, I guess the good news is those are three attendees you wouldn't have had if you didn't send out the emails.

Posted by Michael Setunsky, Your Commercial Real Estate Link to Northern VA (Michael's Commercial LLC) over 3 years ago

Internet technology should not replace human communication. It's just another tool. I have has to accelarate on the "super information highway" but I won't speed past humanity.

Posted by Daniel Rogers, Virginia Beach Home Inspector (Final Analysis Home Inspections) over 3 years ago

Mike....Interesting thoughts.  Your numbers indicate there is something wrong with the way you are reaching your clients.  Please watch this video as it has some stats that are useful.  

Posted by Kerissa Payne, ABR, SRS, e-PRO, SRES (RE/MAX Legacy) over 3 years ago

Mike,

 

Your right nothing replaces Face-to-Face marketing.

Posted by Charles "Chuck" Martin, Commercial Advisor (Leasing & Sales) (ROG Commercial) over 3 years ago

Hi Mike.  I have thought about this overnight...

I bet when the telephone was first invented, the salesman of the time said it was worthless...

"I gotta look in a man's eye if I want to sell him something.  Stop wasting time on the phone.  Get out there and knock on doors!" a salesman would probably have said back then...

My guess is you approve of the use of telephones for cold calling, no?

Technology comes along to help us.  You can either get involved, or get run over...

Ken

Posted by Ken Tracy, Naperville Illinois Real Estate (Charles Rutenberg Realty - Naperville) over 3 years ago

So are our kids, and what do we tell them to do? Get outside and live. Toyota is even making fun of social media and online. Take it a look yourself http://www.facebook.com/l.php?u=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.youtube.com%2Fwatch%3Fv%3DTUGmcb3mhLM%26feature%3Dshare&h=lAQBpVTCb     Hint Hint Social Media and online does not work. You getting out there in person does.

Posted by James Sanson - Ranked in the TOP 1% of Arizona, Homes for sale in Maricopa AZ (Sonoran Properties) over 3 years ago

Mike - Frankly, I don't know where to start. This is one of the saddest attempted rants about the uselessness of the internet that I've yet witnessed. This was actually forwarded to me from a friend, who wanted to hear my opinion on what you said here. 

You make a lot of assumptions that are unfounded. You seem to assume that if someone is spending time online, they are doing so at the exclusion of face-to-face contact. I have used blogging and other online tools to enhance my face-to-face interaction, not to supplant it.

Why do you trash blogging in a blog post? Am I the only one who sees the irony here? It comes across as supremely hypocritical for you to leverage a social media tool to try to convince us of what a waste of time it is. It makes me think that you're waiting to be convinced, or you're trying to fool others.

Have you considered the fact that maybe you're just plain doing it wrong? I missed this post initially because you have a logo as your avatar picture, rather than a photo of yourself, so I skimmed past it. It comes across as less personal and less interesting to me when I see a logo. It feels like someone is trying to sell me something, and I am immediately defensive. If you ever care to make a bigger impact online (and I'm not convinced that you care about that), think about using a picture of your actual face, rather than a logo.

Here's an anecdote that I'd like to share with you: I'm in the middle of closing a $3.1 million residential sale with a client who found me....on the internet. They also bought a $3.4 million home from me five years ago, after calling from my website. I've had many, many other sales from my website and blog, some of which were also multi-million dollar clients (most were not), but those two sales alone made us nearly $200,000. Hard to convince me or anyone else who actually understands internet marketing that it's valueless.

Your anecdote about ticket sales is unconvincing at best, and sour grapes at its worst. You managed to sell a lot more tickets by talking to people because that's your main focus, not because the internet isn't effective. I will say that email marketing is a tough gig, and one that I've never bothered with myself. People have been tired of emails and spam messages since the 90's.

I've heard a lot of good things about you over the years, but this post makes you seem like a sad dinosaur. I know that you had similar fallout from the Coldwell Banker convention a few months back. Maybe the controversy is working for you, so you are continuing to stir things up?

I've found that people are usually most critical of things that they don't understand. That clearly applies here. 

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 3 years ago

Mike - I forgot to mention a couple of things:

1. Don't refer to yourself in third person (the title of your post, in this case). It comes across as pretentious and detached. Imagine speaking to a client and saying, "Mike Ferry wants to list your house." 

2. I do agree with you about talking to/with our kids. This is essential for them. As a father of four, I'm thankful and blessed to be able to spend a lot of time with my family. 

Sorry if my response was a bit visceral above, but it pains me to hear someone well-known speak of the uselessness of a tool that has made me a LOT of money since 1998 in real estate sales. For several years in a row, the internet was responsible for about 60% of our sales.

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) over 3 years ago

Yes, I see the same thing here-unless you're offering free iPads, you'd better be talking on the phone or in person.

Posted by Michelle Carr-Crowe-Selling Silicon Valley Homes in Top Schools San Jose, Cupertino, Saratoga, Palo Alto-Just Call 408-252-8900, Family Helping Families Buy & Sell Homes 40+ Years (Just Call (408) 252-8900!) over 3 years ago

You do have to watch the reliability of the statistics.  The numbers are only trackable based on how the receiver follows through and uses the links in the email.  When I want to visit a site listed in an email, I always type it into the webpage myself - just out of habit to avoid SPAM.  As soon as I bypass the link in the email, I'm not tracked in the statistics.

I'm sure there were at least 3 sign-ups due to the email but I imagine there were more than that.  The number will be somewhere between the 3 traceable ones and the total number of people who signed up online after it was sent.  And that doesn't include people who called in for sign-up because they received the email.

Posted by Peter Preston-Thomas (Real Ottawa) over 3 years ago

Mike, I had the same thought as Lenn - spam. I'll bet many of the emails ended up in spam folders, unless you broke them down and sent in batches.

Many of my clients prefer email and texting for many phases of the transaction. Of course there are times we need to talk, but for routine stuff, texting and email is great. It is less disruptive to the buyer/seller's schedule and makes me more efficient. And I don't think that my value is decreased - quite the contrary, I was hired by a relocating buyer BECAUSE I had a smartphone and was internet savvy.

We have had much success with our blogging/social media efforts. It has put money in our pockets and we find that the clients we attract already have a trust factor and are very like-minded and a pleasure to work with.

I personally think you have taken this stand because it is putting your name in the spotlight, because you surely can't really believe what you are saying. You are too smart for that.

Sharon

Posted by Sharon Alters, Your Fleming Island Relocation Agents. (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty) over 3 years ago

Thanks to the Mike Ferry Organization. I've been away from real estate for about 3 years due to an illness. In three weeks of prospecting using mike ferry scripts and dialogue i have 4 schedule closings 3 listings and 150 people in my sphere of Influence. Im looking forward to sign up for one on one and all the coaching and training material. See you at the TOP!!!!

Posted by Darryl A. Lewis over 3 years ago

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