Earlier this month, Nick Waldner, lead agent and associate broker for the Waldner Winters Real Estate Team was featured in Real Trends' August 2017 newsletter and blog. There Tracey Velt explored the team's impressive growth from $4 to $130 million in just a few short years. Check out the full article below where Nick reveals the key role that CINC's real estate technology solution played in the growth and success of his business:
With his start in the commercial division of Cold Stone Creamery, franchising and helping find retail locations, Nick Waldner, the lead agent and associate broker for the Waldner Winters Team of Keller Williams Realty Centre in Columbia, Maryland, found himself interested in investing in real estate for himself.
“My mom was in real estate for 20 years, so I told her I wanted to make offers on ten investment properties all at 50 percent of list price,” says Waldner. “She laughed, said it was a lot of work, and instead showed me how to write them. None of my offers got accepted,” he says. However, while out with a friend, Waldner pointed out one of the homes and his friend bought it. “That was my entrance into real estate.”
HOW HE GOT HIS START
Waldner ran as an individual real estate agent for ten years until he finally realized, in 2012, that the key to success was leverage and therefore he needed to build a team. He now has a team of 23 people, split between administration, support staff and sales associates. “The first person I hired was an executive assistant to take over the tasks that I didn’t enjoy or do very well. She handled my marketing, database and transaction coordination.” Soon after, he started to grow with agents and more support staff. He says knowing how to build a team is one of the biggest challenges agents face when attempting to grow their business.
INVESTING IN HIS TEAM
Five of his 12 current agents are in training. “Those five agents are seen as an investment from the team. We spend a good deal of time and money on them in their first year. Their production in years two through five more than makeup for that investment,” says Waldner, who also hired a chief growth officer whose job is finding, hiring and training top talent.
The key, he says, is using a system to help agents, so they can stay focused on five tasks- Lead Generating, Lead Follow Up, Appointments, Negotiations and Attending Settlement. He finds their database of past customers is also the best source for new customers. “If you can give incredible service; your clients will refer other buyers and sellers your way,” he says. “For every twelve people in your database, you should be getting two sales a year—one repeat and one referral.”
Waldner first built his database using a Microsoft Excel spreadsheet. “But it lacked the cognitive ability to tell me when I needed to do something, and it wasn’t easily searchable. I needed a better system, so I moved to Top Producer, which didn’t work for me either. I had gone through ten different systems before I found Commissions Inc. (CINC),” the web and app-based lead generation and CRM service that powers real estate teams around the country. “CINC was the first system I found that was intuitive. The lead generation portion is incredible. It collects all my leads in one spot and features great follow-up plans to stay in contact,” he says. “I let CINC be the expert in lead generation so I can be the expert in customer service.”
Waldner finds the best part of CINC is that its app allows his agents to access the program from anywhere. “There are two things CINC does from a high level,” he says. “It keeps us in contact with past customers in our sphere to grow our business through repeat and referral,” he says. Second, according to Waldner, is CINC’s website development capabilities and Google AdWords and social media leads advertising team. “It’s like a driverless system; it takes care of itself. It goes out and collects buyers and sellers who are looking for help allowing our agents to gain new clients. They do a lot of lead generation, so my agents can focus on servicing our customers.”
LEAD GEN AND FOLLOW UP
The website CINC created allows him to get current and past customers to register for a home search where they can enter their criteria and receive notifications when homes that meet their specific requirements come up for sale. “When it comes to internet-based leads, only 1 or 2 percent are actionable leads. That means 98 percent are either garbage or far off in the process. CINC allows us to gather every lead and intuitively tells us who we should be reaching out to and when.” It does that by tracking leads and what homes they’re searching for on the website. “I can see their favorites, how many times they’ve been to the website in the past week and more. My agents can focus their time specifically on those who most likely will turn into a customer.” He notes that “with CINC, we’ve increased those 1 to 2 percent lead conversion rates up to 4 to 6 percent.”
For his agents, having one system that has everything from customer information to contract information—numbers, email addresses and notes—in one place is “useful for agents who are on the road.” CINC also makes it easy for Waldner’s team to reach out to past and current customers. “We do a lot of community service. Once a quarter, we reach out to the past and current clients. We don’t ask for money; instead, we offer them the opportunity to get involved, such as go shopping with us for Christmas gifts for underprivileged kids,” he says. For every referral received from a current or past customer, Waldner donates $100 to the charitable cause. “Agents can go into CINC, and the system will tell them which 35 people to call about the community service event. Auto-emails are sent, and we’ll then use the system to send photos and videos after the event,” says Waldner, who notes that it allows them to touch each past client three to five times over a two months span. “Last year, we got 28 leads from this campaign,” he says. Waldner donated $2,800 for holiday gifts that were handed out to hospital children who couldn’t go home for Christmas. “It’s about making a difference in your community.”
CHANGING REAL ESTATE MARKET
“The real estate market has changed,” says Waldner. “It used to be hyperlocal. People would walk into the office and ask for help. Now people have unlimited information and search possibilities online. We need to offer the information to customers, so they keep coming back to us and not to Zillow, Trulia and Realtor.com. With CINC, I can introduce our customers to a place that will keep them with me, using our systems and I can watch what they’re doing and see how they’re reacting.”
Interested in learning more about how CINC can help you grow your real esate business? Check out CINC's industry- leading marketing team's webinar, Maximize Your 2017 Lead Generation to find out:
- Why CINC's Cost per lead for our clients decreased a whopping 24% this year
- Why some ads generate 80% more appointments than others