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|StevenHattan private msg quote post Address this user|
|(WARNING...I'M A WINDBAG)
I've received several requests to share my business plan. At first I wasn't going to share it as I thought it might cause controversy. However, being an atheist and also being a former flat fee listing provider I become extremely comfortable in this roll of controversy.
Goal: 365 scans for 2016 - All of them FREE
In 2001 I was one of the first three Realtors to adopt the flat fee service in Chicago. I rode the wave during the bull market and make a KILLING until 2007-2008 when competition was ridiculous and the market dropped.
I believe there is a new VR wave to be ridden but I think it's going be be much shorter. The good news is I have MUCH more potential with Matterport than I did with the highly successful flat fee model during the early-mid 2000s.
I can share this simply because I'm in a unique position that will be extremely hard to compete against and duplicate.
MY BUSINESS PLAN (MARKETING STRATEGY SUMMARY)
Illinois is an attorney state. I've personally done thousands of real estate transactions and my wife has done even more transactions as a title rep/real estate paralegal.
A few years ago I joined the Dark Side (the legal side of real estate) through a local attorney as a 1099 Independent Contractor and started The Paralegals, Inc. It's a simple concept...the attorney gives me the file/contract and I do EVERYTHING (EVERYTHING!) except attend closings (I can do them in my sleep but clients want the attorney to show up at closing) and when the property closes I get anywhere between $200-$300 per transaction.
However....and this is the best part...if I find/procure the file/sales contract, I get paid between an average of $1,000 per file.
I thought it would be easy to have Realtors use 'my attorneys'. Well, I was hugely mistaken. Most Realtors already have relationships w attorneys so it was like pulling teeth to get let me do their files under one of the attorneys I work with.
I needed something so 'valuable' to offer Realtors that it would make them consider using The Paralegals, Inc.
The plan is simple. I'm offering a free scan in exchange for a 'recommendation' from the listing agent to use The Paralegals Inc (TPI)and one of the attorneys I'm associated with when they get a contract on their listing.
Without all the boring details, I did my first scan and sent the link to all the Realtors who had a listing in that town that and told them I would do ANY of their listings absolutely FREE if they'd CONSIDER TPI.
Well, I immediately received a bite and did a scan in the next town over. I repeated the email/link concept and wound up doing six more scans over the next two weeks.
As of last week, I've already received a contract from this concept ($992 will be my paralegal fee when it closes).
This week alone I've receive 12 calls from Realtors I've never heard of before and already have more scheduled for this weekend and next week.
It's a phenomenal win/win/win/win. The Realtor gets a free scan (win), the home owner gets a free scan (win), I get paid a LOT of money (win) and the attorney I work with gets a 'free' contract (win).
The feedback has been spectacular.
Interestingly, I tell people it's a free scan but IF (if) they want, I'd take a $20 donation to cover my hosting cost and explain that this is my physical, out of pocket, cost to do this for them. So far I've received $20 from nearly everyone and they are HAPPY to do it.
Yesterday an agent asked me to do a presentation for their entire company for free scans and to talk about both the Matterport and my legal services.
Of course, agents can't force their clients or steer them to TPI. I get it, and that's ok. I just let them know that if THIS seller already has an attorney then simply refer the next one to me..or the next.
The bottom line is, its working and every time I send an email link to the local Realtors, it has turned into another scan.
There are 30,000 Realtors in the my MLS and by January 1, 2016 every single Realtor will know about Matterport and The Paralegals Inc.
The flat fee model had an extremely low barrier to entry. Anyone who wanted to do that type of model could do so almost instantly, and they did. Fortunatley, this business model is NOT easy to duplicate, not at all...not unless you are a real estate paralegal with your own company who has a 20 years of marketing experience.
As mentioned, I think I have about two years to ride this new wave. By then I will have created a deep, deep Realtor referral base and will no longer need the Matterport to be a lead generator. 2016 should be an exciting year, indeed!
1. Will I ever charge for a scan?
Yes. I'm working with a builder as of this week who has had a relationship w an attorney for 25 years. He will not use any of my attorneys. He is paying me cash.
2. Will you become too busy?
No. When I can no longer do scans AND my legal work, I will hire someone to do my scans for me. By this time the legal work pipeline will already be producing money (first closing scheduled for Jan 15) and I'll easily be able to afford to have this done for me (as you know, it's not hard to master).
3. Will I offer anything else free besides scans?
Yes. If someone wants pictures I'll do pictures but probably ask them to refer me a fellow co-worker who wants a free scan. If they want other services (floor plans, movies, etc.) I'll negotiate. For example, I might offer floor plans and movies at cost and still go for the referral.
4. Am I hurting the VR Industry?
No. In fact, quite the opposite. Hundreds, if not thousands of people will experience the power of Matterport and VR that otherwise wouldn't have. Think Henry Ford.
5. Will this affect my competition?
I have no idea but I sure hope it does.
If you're struggling with getting people to pay for this service the market that you're targeting doesn't find value in what you're doing. I simply found a way to show real value and lucky that I had the discipline, dedication and the years to learn an entirely different aspect of a real estate transaction (the legal side is much, much, MUCH more involved than the selling part).
My best advice...if you're not getting business you have to show more value. People pay stupid money for stupid things because they perceive value (pet rocks???). It's difficult, at best, to simply approach someone, show them a virtual walk-through and get them to hand over their cash, especially Realtors. Sure, you'll get a few here and there but the time, effort and cash flow will, most likely, not be worth it.
The good news is, if you're not a paralegal with your own company that specializes in real estate and marketing, there is still hope. If you're NOT in the Chicago area I might even share my ideas w you. :-)
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|cdpmedia private msg quote post Address this user|
|I applaud this bold idea and your willingness to share it... despite your devotion to the religion of atheism ha ha. Thanks and good luck.|
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|mpmare00 private msg quote post Address this user|
|That sounds like a great plan. I'm in Texas and I was thinking of something similar with mortgage brokers and title companies. I spoke to a couple and it is illegal for them to pay a referral fee. Any suggestions?|
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|Jamie private msg quote post Address this user|
|Great work Steve|
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|txgreg66 private msg quote post Address this user|
|You're absolutely right about the perceived value and on other threads the people who think Realtors are dumb are not communicating the value correctly (among other things).
Well done for your endeavor and openness. I'll introduce you to my eXp Realty colleagues in Chicago.
Regarding the existing relationships you can try something like:
" i respect you have an existing relationship with your attorney, I'm not asking for all your business, can I ask you send one file my way and try us out?"
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