Mike Putnam has averaged OVER 100 transactions a year in personal production … for almost 20 years! Read on for details…
When Mike and I did our interview I was really amazed and impressed with him. I didn’t know what to expect, and I left the interview saying to myself, “Wow! It’s no wonder he’s so successful!”
When Mike started in real estate almost 20 years ago he closed around 30 transactions in his FIRST year. Today he does about 144 transactions a year. He has a proven process that consistently works, all the time, and drives in sales.
And what suprised me the most was his dedication to family. Normally when you talk to a top-producer, he’s a top producer at the expense of the family. But not so with Mike. Family is a priority, his wife is a priority, and his children are a priority. And … he spends lots of time with each of them.
If you want your business to grow, if you want structure to make it thrive, and you don’t mind hard work, you’ll learn a lot from Mike Putnam!
Transcription (was completed by automated process. Please ignore any speech-to-text errors)
[00:00:01] This is the get sellers calling you marketing podcasts for real estate agents. And I’m Beatty Carmichael for simple to do. Proven marketing strategies focus exclusively on finding sellers and getting more listings. Visit our Web site and get sellers calling you dot com. And now let’s begin our next session of get sellers calling you.
[00:00:23] Hi, I’m Beatty Carmichael, and welcome to the Get Sellers calling you realtor podcast, and I’m excited today because I get to interview another client and just an amazing agent, tremendous volume. And I just did a short interview with him on another topic and I’m just really impressed. So this is Mike Putnam from Northern Virginia. And Mike, say hello. How are you doing? I’m doing what if I were you? Well, I’m doing really great. I’m really impressed from our short visit just a moment ago and just excited about what you can share with our listeners on this call. So I just really appreciate your time because I know you are busy on that. I appreciate being here. Well, I’m also as a reminder for those listening in. This is an Internet call. So if there are any Internet interruptions, just a part in that. So my first of all, can you tell us just a little bit about yourself and your real estate career, maybe the type of volume you do and just same thing that might hold some interest?
[00:01:19] Yeah, I mean, I’ve actually been doing real estate, believe it or not, for almost two decades. And that time I’ve sold over twenty one hundred houses. Last year I sold one hundred and forty four houses. This year, you know, we’re on track to be close to one hundred and seventy.
[00:01:33] So if my math is right, that’s over 100 hundred houses a year since the beginning of when you started.
[00:01:41] Absolutely. I got to ask this question. When you started the first year to how many sales that you do in those years?
[00:01:47] My first year that I did real estate, I did thirty nine.
[00:01:51] Wow. OK, so now, you know you know, that’s way beyond what most agents even do after 10 years. What is your secret? What are you doing this driving in that business?
[00:02:03] The one thing that I did early on is that, you know, I got on the phone every day and I prospected, you know, back in two decades ago. I had to phone dial one number at another. You know, at that time, you know, probably get to 300 calls in a day, whereas now, you know, you have auto dialers. So even today, although I’ve been selling for close to two decades, you know, I still make between 500 to 750 calls a day. Do you really? One of the keys is just making sure that you’re going out. You’re talking to people because, you know, real estate is a sales number.
[00:02:35] The more people that you contact, the more people get in front of the war business and where people can serve so lonely through kind of the average day from Ike Puttnam, from the time you get in the office about what time. What does your day look like?
[00:02:48] Every day I wake up at 4:30 in the morning, I get up, I pray I do some morning priming to connect to my higher power, text with my mind, workout for an hour, get showered, eat, get to the office at 7:30 and between 7:30 and 12:00, I’m on the phone crosschecking, talking to leaders, talking to customers, have lunch when I get done. Lunch, probably somewhere between one and two is when I talk to all of my current clients, any clients that are under contract. Interesting questions that they have in the afternoon. I go on to claimant’s and the very few days that I don’t have a clue means I get the pleasure of staying on the phone and prospecting until 6:30.
[00:03:29] Wow. So you’re regimented throughout your entire day. Every group of hours has its specified purpose.
[00:03:38] You have to be a lot of people go into real estate to be flexible. But truthfully, is that, you know, flexibility is power. But at the same time, so is discipline. You really have to have habits. One of the things I’ve been fortunate enough is to be mentored by some of the top real estate agents in the country and looking at what they did to successfully grow their business. And I’ve been able to kind of model and follow what those people did.
[00:04:00] Now, is all of your business generated from your phone calls or are you doing advertising and marketing in other areas? I mean, give me kind of an idea of sources of business that comes in.
[00:04:11] We do some Zillow’s I would say probably 50 percent of our business comes from Zillow. We also about twenty five to twenty seven percent of our business comes from past clients, you know, sphere of influence. I think 50 percent or expired, probably another 10 percent are for sale by owners. And then the majority of the rest are us just doing circle prospecting around listings and sales.
[00:04:38] Wow. Now our do you have other team members that are on the phone with you during the deal?
[00:04:43] Now, you know, as I scout out, you know, I might say so every single day, I have two people that make on average between one hundred to one hundred twenty five contacts a day.
[00:04:52] Ok. So for those people who are either they had their own, I’d say they’re thinking about doing that. They want to be a machine like you. Can you give me some ideas? I’ve always want to ask this question. What are the what are the couple of things that you say are most important that you’ve learned? And what are the things that you can tell us don’t do because they just didn’t work for you at all.
[00:05:16] I think one of the biggest problems that people have is they outsource, you know, the sales process know. Essays that have been personally trained by me. You know, you have to realize something in real estate. You need to understand your scripts in your dialogue. One of the reasons that most real estate agents are successful is they don’t know what to say.
[00:05:34] And then they don’t know what to do.
[00:05:35] But if you know what to do, what you don’t know what to say, it doesn’t matter how many customers you go through. You’re not going to be able to convert. I think what a lot of real estate agents forget is that you really don’t sell houses. We’re selling urgency because the reality is that if you can get people to do something now, you can sell more house. The challenge is that everybody wants to wait. So as real estate agents, our job is to take people that are thinking about doing it in six months or a year and have them do it now, because you have to realize something. The closer people get to making a decision, the more people they talk to. And then you always lose out to another referral. And our friend won’t even do as good a job as you. In many cases. But they get it because of the referral. Because referral obviously is one of the most important sources in the real estate process.
[00:06:20] So this is interesting. Really interesting. So when you’re prospecting is not so much looking for that person that says I’m thinking about selling right now.
[00:06:28] You’re finding those people and then creating the urgency. So they’ll choose to sell right now, because that’s really something.
[00:06:34] I mean, if I talk to someone who said they want to sell in 12 months and I provided information and I provide value. Are they going to give me 12 months to solidify the relationship? Because at the end of the day, real estate, whether you like it or not, it’s a relationship oriented.
[00:06:48] Is this in the more trust, in the more honesty and the more value you can provide people upfront, the better chance you have of converting and long term.
[00:06:57] All right. So now with as much value you have you have a lot of systems in place so that every prospect kind of runs down his own little.
[00:07:05] And it’s a consistent system. Am I correct? Correct. OK. So you find a prospect, whether Susilo whether it’s through your phone calling or anything else, help push the prospect like like that prospect. You’re just timing. They’re thinking about selling in six or twelve months, so you stay in touch. Help me understand. What are you doing to stay in touch? How do you. What type of system to use?
[00:07:25] And it’s a great question. You know, my very first year in real estate, the coach and I had said one of the most important things you’ll ever have is a real estate agent is a stack of no cards. I was like, why? He’s like any customer that you get. Write them a handwritten card. So when every single person that we talked to that’s interested, I’ll write them a handwritten card that says, you know, thank you so much for talking to me today.
[00:07:48] I look forward to having the opportunity to help you get your home sold for the best possible price whenever the time is right. Might I stick it in an envelope? I put it with a seller package that we have, which basically talks eight is about the process of selling their house and then we mail it in a big write off blow.
[00:08:04] It’s shiny and you can’t miss it. And then we send that out. Now, you know, that whole process is, you know, three dollars and fifty cents. But by just sending that postcard out and by sending out just that package. I would say I probably get fifteen to twenty listings a year or nothing more was done. But we send out people, take it aside, they keep it. And when they’re ready, they call us back. Because now real estate is also is not always working harder or smarter. So how can we get more people to call us? And I found my radio handwritten card and providing some type of information upfront. People tend to remember more than just saying, hey, I’ll call you back in three or four months because we call back in three or four months. In many cases, they’ve talked to hundreds of people. They have no clue who you are.
[00:08:48] You know, I was speaking with another friend of mine, actually, who’s about 20 some odd years in real estate. And he was talking about those handwritten notes.
[00:08:58] And that’s all he does. He doesn’t you know, he just sent out he calls and talks to friends and sent out handwritten notes and gets a ton of this. And so that personal touch is really amazing.
[00:09:08] What do you have to do? And what people don’t realize now is that the Internet has changed the game. I mean, when people go on Zillow, truly, I mean, every listing they call on, they’re getting a different agent. So people have more and more agents and information bombarding them. So it’s ages. You really have to do something to separate yourself. So, you know, the next step for me after I send it out, you would probably be to call you back in a month and say, hey, I just wanted to make sure that you got the package. I’m going to be in your area sometime next week presenting an offer. Would it be okay if I stop by and let you face to face in spite of all the tools and gadgets we have in real estate? It is still a people business that I just like to come by and shake your hand and just meet you face to face with that. OK. Ninety nine percent of the people would say yes. Most people invite you in. We’ll talk to him. And I mean, I’m actually taking listings at that second point without even having really.
[00:09:58] Wow. And these are people you found just from circle prospecting and everything else. I mean, just call prospects originally.
[00:10:04] But what I’m trying to do is I’m trying to solidify the relationship I provided to my handwritten card. I provided him information. But I also need to attach a face to again. Typically, the first person that people meet and trust is the one they go with. So if I can get that in the first month and let’s say they’re going to do it in six months, that gives me six more months to solidify who I am and what I can do for him.
[00:10:24] So from that point on, you know, every Monday, you’re going to get an e-mail from the marketing. We do. You know, we’ll be sending them stuff out once a month. So, I mean, you know, our name is going to be in their face, but now they know who I am.
[00:10:36] I love it. You know, I’ve there’s a number of studies and I don’t know, you probably are familiar with a lot of the stats out there, but the difference between someone who’s never met you versus those who have met you is like somewhere between four and 10 times more response have been working with you.
[00:10:53] Just that one meeting is huge.
[00:10:55] Absolutely. You’ve got to get in front of people is one thing that I would tell any agent. If you’ve got to get in front of people face to face, just talking to people on the phone. You just can’t do I could do it 10 years ago, 10 years ago. I could talk to an Internet lead, sedum properties.
[00:11:07] Tell me to meet me at the first property now is nonexistent. I got to meet people face to face. And even on the buyer agent that if anybody calls off on Zillow, our property, the first thing that we do is we say, great, let’s meet you at the first property and we just meet him out face to face just to get in front of him. And then we try to find out after we meet them face to face what their needs are, because, you know, when people are talking to 10 different agents, the last thing they want to do is give 10 different agents all their information. What you find is that the consumer today doesn’t want to give you that information upfront like you did 10 years ago. So you have to really earn the business, which means you got to get out in front of them and provide value.
[00:11:43] You’re listening to the Get Cellar’s Calling new podcast to increase sales from past clients and sphere of influence or from a geographic farm, learn about Agent Dominator. We guarantee your sales in writing or give your money back. To learn more. Visit our Web site and get sellers calling EW.com and Slyke Agent Dominator from the menu.
[00:12:02] And now back to the podcast.
[00:12:05] You know, that’s really neat. I want to share something from years back when we started in college, kind of geographic farming as our primary source.
[00:12:15] Before we did, we found so we were identifying sellers before they came on the market. And our typical client would only convert 10 percent of those sellers that actually went on the market. So, you know, if we identified 10 people who went on the market, our average client would only win one of those listings. And as we perfected the follow up process for our clients over the years, what we found is we got our clients to get an app. If they followed it, an average of 90 to 100 percent win rate on the listings that came on the market. And would you like to guess the number one thing that was the big difference between 10 percent versus 90 to 100 percent?
[00:12:54] What was it? They met them face to face. They actually walked up to the house, knocked on the door and said, hello. Can you believe it?
[00:13:02] The most important thing in real estate and somebody people think that technology is taking away technology is making it more important than ever.
[00:13:09] So I’m I’m really impressed even with your Zillow lead. You’re meeting them face to face rather than just dropping them into some sort of follow up system. I’m you’re you’re driving that face to face meeting.
[00:13:19] Absolutely. Face to face meeting is the most important thing. And real estate, if you can’t get out in front of people, you’re not going to sell a lot of houses. And that’s why you see to production of agents go down so much. The average age is doing one or two deals a year and technology is taking that away. But what people don’t realize is technology can help you, but you also have to know the system. You’ve got to get out in front of people. It’s not enough, as I said, just to talk to them on the phone. Again, most people aren’t just going to give you their information like you did five or 10 years ago.
[00:13:44] That’s that’s really neat. So let me go back to your follow up system, because I want to make sure I’m understanding the process.
[00:13:51] So your initial touch, handwritten note. I love your bright, shiny red envelope, I bet. Do they hold on to that?
[00:14:00] And D unsighted I come to the house, they’ll have the ability to pull it out. My booklet seller package will be there and they’ll still always have the handwritten card with the business card attached to it.
[00:14:09] Well, you know, as soon as you mentioned it because I love marketing, I’m thinking that’s brilliant because it stands out. They’re not going to throw it away. It’s shiny. It’s professional. I bet it just sits there. And every time they see it, they think of Mike Puttnam.
[00:14:23] Absolutely. You have to take if you send out a hundred a month times 350 x $350 a month, and that’s you know. But think about that.
[00:14:31] If you get one deal a year, it doubles its income in terms of what you can get. You know, we’re getting fifteen to twenty.
[00:14:37] That’s amazing. So then after that, about a month later, you’re going to call them back in the area and just try to do a face visit.
[00:14:45] Correct. And then from there on that, your follow the system, is it mostly automated or you still touching them personally with a phone call or note or something like that?
[00:14:55] Based on our call up to that point, I probably would talk to them like every other month.
[00:14:59] Ok. My they would get a email from us and then once a month we would mail them something out very fast thing.
[00:15:08] So now what have you done? That has been an absolute failure. You say I’ll never do that again. It just.
[00:15:14] Anything that you can share with agents listing that, maybe give them some insight on saving some heartache and some heartburn?
[00:15:21] Well, I mean, you know, you know, we tried doing like home done comedy. We did. Trulia didn’t have any real success with that.
[00:15:30] I mean, as I said, I’ve never been a person that buys a lot of leads. You know, most of my business has been generated on the phone. To me, getting on the phone is one of the most productive and one of the most moneymaking activities because it’s free. I mean, outside of paying for an auto dialer, which is one hundred and seventy five dollars a month. I mean, you basically are investing your time to talk to lots of people. I mean, I don’t know any other place that you can talk to 20 or 30 people in an hour outside of getting on the phone and talking to people in what a lot of people don’t realize is that what they do not call list have fewer and fewer and fewer people that are actually doing it, which is making that activity one of the most profitable activities that you can do. It’s actually more profitable now than it was when I started 20 years ago, 20 years ago. That’s what everybody did. Now you have probably less than three or four percent of real estate agents in the marketplace actually doing well.
[00:16:21] Now, do you. Do you worry about the do not call list or how do you manage your calling around that?
[00:16:27] I mean, we can scrub the list, but at the end of the day, you know, there’s some people they just don’t want to be talked to on the phone, and that’s fine. You know, you have to realize that in any business, there’s 3 percent of people that are looking to do something now. My job as an agent is to find that 3 percent. So, you know, one of the things that I look at is that last year I took my income divided by the amount of people that I talked to in last year for my average contact. I got paid two hundred seventy six dollars. So the way I look at it is that for every, you know, I’m getting paid. Two hundred and seventy six dollars.
[00:16:57] That’s amazing. OK. Couple of questions on just the process. So.
[00:17:03] This I’m an agent, I’m thinking, well, who are you calling? So what are you doing? Circle prospecting. You’re calling in a neighborhood. Can you tell me where you are? You. What type of leads are you?
[00:17:15] Are you reaching? The first thing we do every morning is I called expired listings, which are listings and for whatever reason, other agents couldn’t sell. My job is to call and find out what happened, to see what I can do. Definitely. The second group of people we call up for sale by owners are people that have tried to sell the property themselves, which, you know, this time of year. It’s interesting that, you know, if you get into April and May step on us, you’re so confident. And then as you get into June and July and August, orders are not as confident. So typically in July and August or two, in the most profitable month for for sale owners, because they’ve had all summer to do it, now they realize they can’t. And so most of them at some point are going to list with the real estate agent, the next group of people that we call or just run our listings and sales to let people know that you just listed one down the street. And we know that statistically when one home sells, typically two more will go off in the next couple of months. So our job is to find people that are interested in selling. And obviously, since we just sold one on the street automatically, we want to bring buyers directly. It’s about.
[00:18:10] That’s just really amazing. You got quite an amazing system last couple of questions and then I’ll let you run of work and family.
[00:18:19] Do you. Is it a constant juggle or have you been able to maintain really good balance?
[00:18:24] Not talk to me about that. I don’t know that you ever have complete balance. I think balance to me is being rever.
[00:18:31] I am. So when I’m at work, I’m at work. And when I’m at home and I’m at home, you know, I think that people forget that, you know, you could be at home for five hours and not connect to your family and you could be home for two hours and have the most amazing experience. You know, my job when I get home is to really be with my family. The only day that I take off is they take off every Sunday. Every Sunday is my family day. That’s the day that me and my family go out and we do our fun stuff. You know, every other week I take my daughters out on daddy date night. Sometime during the week. So they look forward to that. Me and my wife go out on a date night with a babysitter every Friday. So, you know, I think it’s like if you don’t plan those things in advance, they just don’t happen. Because at the end of the day, you know, we don’t work just at work. Our job is to work to provide better lives for our family. And part of providing a better life for our family is actually being there to be able to experience amazing life that we’re creating with them. So family is the most important thing.
[00:19:26] You know, as I’m talking with you, I get this picture of a highly structured man.
[00:19:32] Everything is focused and there’s probably no wasted effort or wasted minute because it’s already predetermined what you’re going to do. Now, I love it because you have to realize something.
[00:19:44] That’s one of the things that most real estate agents, especially at a high level that they miss out on, is their family.
[00:19:49] You know, they don’t plan the activities with your family. And, you know, in real estate, there’s always something to do. I mean, if I wanted to, I could make appointments on Sunday. There’s always something I could do to save time. You know, family is the most important thing. I go to work to provide an amazing life.
[00:20:05] You know, there’s there’s a book that I’d read years back. It’s called Boundaries. But the whole idea is just what you’re talking about, setting up boundaries.
[00:20:12] There’s always more time you can put on something, but you set the boundary and you hold to it. So I my hat’s off to you on that. Thank you so much. Before we wrap up, is there anything else that you’d like to share? Anything else that you think would help our listeners or add value to them or anything of those sorts?
[00:20:31] I just think that, you know, right now, the interest rates being so low, I think that anybody out there that’s selling real estate really means making sure they’re telling the buyers and sellers the advantages of taking rates from four or five down to three nine. I mean, when I’m talking to out with buyers and sellers, I’m able to turn over so many more people really showing up. Because what people don’t realize is that, for instance, in December, the rates for 5 percent and other below 4 percent, that’s a 20 percent difference and someone must pay. That means people are qualifying for 20 percent more than they did in December. But a lot of people, they don’t intuitively tell people. And our job is ages to make sure we give people the information they need so that they make decisions now, not later.
[00:21:10] Ok. So role-play with me or just kind of show me what you mean. So I’m an agent. I hear what you’re saying.
[00:21:17] I go, but how how do you do it? So you’re on the phone with someone, you’re engaging with them. How do you use that to get them to move forward right now? OK.
[00:21:27] So if you’re a seller, I would say, well, let me ask you something. Know for you, is it more important to kind of take your time and do it, let’s say, down six months from now? Or is it more important for you to put your house on the market at a time when you can get the absolute most amount of money tied, probably at a time to get the most money, which you may not know right now?
[00:21:45] Is that the Fed actually taking rates in December from 5 percent to 4.5 down to three point nine? You know what that means to you as a seller?
[00:21:53] No, I don’t.
[00:21:55] It means that today a buyer is qualified for 20 percent more than they get in December with their payments, 20 percent less. In addition to that, inventory in the area is the lowest it’s been in almost six months. And you have to realize what most sellers want when they’re selling anything or two things.
[00:22:11] They want low inventory and a lot of buyers. And right now, the market offers both. So let me ask you a question. If moving your timeframe up a little bit got you a lot more money for your home, would that be something you would consider? Absolutely. Why don’t we do this? Why don’t we set up an appointment tomorrow so I can come out and go over exactly what the advantages of selling now versus later? Does it make sense?
[00:22:33] That makes a lot of sense. Great. Come on over. So this is really just that easy.
[00:22:40] It is. It’s just providing information and doing with a smile.
[00:22:43] I love it. Well, that’s one thing I’m knows of. For those who who aren’t watching the video, Mike, every time the screen goes to you, you’ve got this great big smile on your face.
[00:22:54] And I remember years back, I had to teach myself how to smile on their phone because people hear the smile and it makes you friendly. And they love to do business with you because you’re friendly.
[00:23:07] A lot of people don’t realize that, you know. You do with your body determines how you sound over the phone. You know, tonality is such a small portion.
[00:23:14] It is. And that smile on the face of I’ve turned so many. We used to do coaching for telephone sales years back and we turn people around just for one thing. Put a smile on your face when you’re tall. That’s good. Well, Mike, thank you so much for your time. I know you’re very busy at one hundred and forty transactions a years that I hear that, right? Hundred forty four hundred forty four. OK. Sorry I missed that for. That’s really amazing.
[00:23:43] And you’re you’re really I don’t wanna use the word overuse it, but I’m real impressed. I’m amazed with which I appreciate it. Thanks so much. So for those listening or watching, if you do like this podcast, please subscribe to it like it on i-Tunes and YouTube and please visit like our guest sellers calling you Facebook page. So if you want to learn more about us or even how to grow your business, there are some great resources at get sellers calling you dot com. So, Mike, have a great day. And thank you so much.
[00:24:12] Thank you.
[00:24:15] If you’ve enjoyed this podcast, be sure to subscribe to it so you never miss another episode and place like our gets, Hella is calling you Facebook page. Also, if you want to increase sales from past clients and sphere of influence, dominate a geographic farm or convert home valuation leads. Check out our Agent Dominator program. We create custom content that differentiates you from other realtors, then use it to keep you top of mind with your prospects with postcards, targeted Facebook ads, email campaigns, video interviews and more. And the best part is we guarantee yourselves or give all your money back. Learn more and get sellers calling EW.com and Select Agent Dominator in the menu. Thanks for listening to the Get Sellers calling you podcast.
[00:24:57] Have a great day.