Ricky Carruth is the author of Zero to Diamond, Become a Million Dollar Real Estate Agent, and List to Last: How to Survive Every Real Estate Market Crash. He appeared on Episode 74 of Stay Paid less than a year ago.
Today on Stay Paid, Ricky talks about what agents should be doing right now to continue building their business during the COVID-19 crisis.
- It’s more important than ever to reach out to clients and prospects
- Keeping your clients educated on the market can help you build relationships
- Why a positive mindset separates good agents from top producers
Q: Everybody is in a panic right now. What’s the advice you’re giving to agents?
The biggest problem is agents are focused on what they can’t do. The first step is to start carving out the things you can do. At that point you can go all in. Completely forget about what you can’t do. This is just the basics of success—the ABC’s. Successful people stay busy and productive. They try to adapt. The market will always be changing. You can’t get shocked when the market changes, you have to go with it.
When I lost everything in the crash and came back, I always talked about the fact that once I got to a million dollars a year, I didn’t really have to make cold calls any more. I had so many repeat customers and referrals coming in. But I always said if the market ever crashed or slowed down, I can’t cold call, I’m too busy selling. It would give me the time I needed to get back on the phone.
Through my coaching program, I like to do the three by three: three hours of calls three days a week. I like to do it Monday, Wednesday, Friday. But the next step is, outside of those nine hours a week, if you have downtime you’re going to fill those up with calls. Even though we did our three by three, if we don’t have anything in our schedule, we’re going to fill up our time. That’s what top closers do. It’s the same thing when the market shifts. It just gives you more free time to make calls.
Since this happened, I’ve literally been calling for eight hours a day. I’m at the point where I have thousands of clients. So it’s going to take me forever to contact them and ask how they’re doing and what I can do to help them. They’re always going to remember that Ricky called them during the pandemic. And they’ll also realize that I’m never going to get out of real estate if I made it through the pandemic. It really means something if you call and check on them.
If you get through all your past clients and don’t have a big list, now what do you do? Go back to what you always do. You have a huge number of property owners in the area to talk to. Give them a call. The top agents are going to come out of this with a much bigger business than what they came in with.
Q: How has the response been from your clients? Is there any activity in your area right now?
The older people are kind of scared. But it’s not just old people, there’s young people being affected big time. Everybody is trying to stay home hoping this blows over and that their family isn’t affected.
I normally sell a good 20–30 properties every March, and I put two under contract this year. So it’s a big slow down. But it’s fine, I’ve been preparing for this moment all my life. This was very predicted. I sold half my stocks two weeks before it crashed because I saw this coming. I kind of got lucky, but I did have a pretty strong feeling. There was going to be something that made it crash, it’s been going on for too long. Apple came out in January and said their earnings would be majorly affected by the virus in China. That’s when I started perking my ears up. And then when it landed over here I thought, OK this is what is going to bring us down for a second.
Normally crashes happen out of fear, and something you didn’t see coming. The economy was the best we had in so long and everyone was kind of confident. So it had to be some kind of outside force.
Q: If this goes on until June, how often are you recommending people call their clients?
Just call them one time. They should be getting a weekly email from you anyway. You should be informing them about how coronavirus is affecting your market. When they put the voice together with the email it should come together. So now they’re feeling good about you and if they’re looking to do something when they come out of this they’ll call you.
Q: How can agents tailor these education pieces to appeal to people in specific circumstances?
When you’re there to check on people and care about them and build that relationship, you’re not trying to sell them a house—we’re in a pandemic. Some agents are still using the old scripts. That makes people feel really awkward. It’s just a mess. If you understand the principles behind checking on people like they’re your mom, dad, or cousin, the results are dramatically better.
At the end of the day, humans are going to buy and sell properties. Lots of them. You can’t stop that from happening. So why do we feel like we need to force it or be salesy and handle objections? Why not build the relationship and let them do the deal on their terms. They’re going to do it anyway. Your number one job as an agent is to make your prospects feel comfortable with you. If you can’t do that, you won’t get to the transaction. You can compare it to when you’re talking to your best friend, the speed, tone, and pitch of your voice—you’re relaxed. You can tell them anything. They can tell you anything. That’s the same mood and energy you need to have when talking to your prospects. And you’ll close more deals.
Q: Do you have any more advice from a mindset perspective for agents who are feeling unprepared?
It’s all perspective. Use your work as your therapy. Stay busy. It will pass a lot sooner than you think. We’ll look back a year from now and think, “What the heck was that all about?” When you have bad things going on and you stay busy to keep your mind off it, a lot of incredible things happen. You’re not dragged into the negativity, and you do more business because of it. Stay on track and levelheaded. Don’t get discouraged. If you lose some deals, that’s expected. You can’t sit around and mope about things or wonder about this or get discouraged about that. This is the name of the game. This is what we’ve all been waiting on. This is going to be a hard reset. We get to start over. This is the foundation. We’re building a house. Right now is when you build your foundation to build that skyscraper of a business. You have a reason to call people, and it’s really going to mean something to them. The people who aren’t taking advantage, I don’t relate to that. That’s not the mindset of a future top producer. You have to look in the mirror and ask if you have what it takes. Every successful person knows how to take advantage of every scenario, long before other people even know there’s an advantage. They work harder. They’re over here getting it. If you’re a top producer, you’re enjoying this moment because this is what will separate you from all the other agents. Agents can take this situation and become the top agent in their market. This is the moment, right now.
Q: TikTok is a way people are staying entertained. You’ve been on there since 2018. What type of content are you making? Should people be using it?
You need to post on TikTok every day. I haven’t been great at it because I’ve been making a lot of calls lately. If you notice my YouTube, I’ll normally post every day. But I’ve been so focused on taking advantage of this moment. But TikTok in general is the most organic platform at this moment. The trick is to make something people will watch all the way through and comment on. If they watch it twice it’s even better. It will go viral. If you’re a creator, you really need to be there. I’m just creating content more so around my coaching business and success, but you can use it for anything. I’ve seen big time real estate agents getting millions of views just doing a video on their listings. It’s a younger crowd, but here’s the thing: that younger crowd is going to be buying houses in the next five years. And if someone messages you on TikTok and they’re looking for a house four states away, you can refer that out and get a referral fee. There’s so much opportunity on that platform no matter what your business is.