How to Serve Your Local Community at Scale & Grow Your Real Estate Business
In this episode, Brain Weiss from TheFacesOf.com joins Zach Hammer to talk about why it is crucial for Real Estate agents to serve their local communities if they want to grow their Real Estate business. This is such a powerful concept that helps Real Estate agents market effectively—long term!
Here is a quick rundown on everything we talked about today:
How did Brian Weiss get involved with TheFacesOf.com ?
Brian Weiss is the VP of Sales for a marketing company called Veugeler Design Group based just outside of Atlanta, Georgia.
Now, along his journey, Brian Weiss came across a Real Estate Agent who has had a lot of success in Gainesville, GA with a project called The Faces Of Hall County and realized that there should be somebody doing this in every community in the country.
This Real Estate Agent, named Brad, had a lot of success with community engagement. Brad sort of became ‘Mr. Gainesville’, as a result of this project. And so, Brad visited Brian’s office with an idea.
“How do we find a way to have a Real Estate agent partner in every community in the country that serves their community? How do we have incredible success in becoming a highly visible, very influential, unofficial mayor of their community?”
As Brad was sharing his story, Brian thought,
“Wow, this is really great. I would like to be a partner in this.”
So both entrepreneurs spent the last three and a half years ebbing and flowing, through trial and error, to figure out the easiest way to productize what Brad has been doing. And deliver it in a way that would be easy for a Real Estate agent to implement and execute.
“This is definitely one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of. And it’s making a real impact in different communities.” Brian added.
What is the inspiration behind TheFacesOf concept?
It does not matter where you are. Real Estate agents are always competing for market share nonstop. Two very important things happened to Brad during this journey.
One, he connected with someone at the local high school who asked him about bringing in a high school intern to learn about small business and marketing. Brad agreed despite not yet having a project to delegate.
Two, he had just finished reading a book called “The Go-Giver” by Bob Burg . That story is about how to build a world of abundance by serving others without keeping score. It speaks so much about how they operate TheFacesOf .
Brian continued, “So, Brad used the framework in that book to create a project for that high school marketing intern. That project was called The Faces Of Hall County .
“The motivation was to be more visible and to create influence.”
Brad decided to go out and try to tell the story of Gainesville, GA through its citizens — one smiling face at a time.
Brian recalls, “He went out to collect those interviews, their high-res pictures, and put it on our website. Brad shared two stories a week on social media as a way of introducing the people of the community to each other.
“This website became a time capsule that represents the story of Gainesville, GA. So if anybody wants to know what it would look like to live in Gainesville, they can visit Brad’s website and listen to what its people are saying — what they love about it, where they came from, what their favorite places are.
“That project gave him permission to go out into the community, sit down, and have coffee with virtually anybody. And everybody spent a couple of minutes giving them attention, which is a big premise from the book. How do we serve others?”
If one can play a role in giving other people attention, that connection created with them is meaningful. It is real.
Through this project, Brad wanted to go out and give others attention, recognize them, and celebrate them for the role they played in making Gainesville, GA a special place.
Brian shares, “It was 2015 when Brad started this project, his Facebook Page had about 100 followers. Brad’s website had about 600 monthly visitors and his digital presence back then was relatively weak.
“I met him in 2018 — three years into the project. And his website traffic grew to 8,000 visits a month. His social media grew to 3,000 followers. In 2015, he did $25M in production and now in 2021, his team did $52M.
“And that is how they enjoyed massive growth without Zillow, or ‘Just Listed’, or ‘Just Sold’. Brad simply poured himself into his local community. And as a consequence, he has become a sort of Mr. Gainesville. That made him influential enough in the community that a large number of people want to work with him when they have challenges with Real Estate.”
Halo Marketing: two-fold direct networking opportunities in your local community
Next, I asked Brian about the benefits of networking directly with the people in the community. By shining the light on somebody else—and this is especially true with businesses—there is a natural inclination on their side to shine that light back to their community.
I call that, ‘Halo Marketing’. You get the opportunity to have people spread your message on your behalf at no cost. We talked about how often Brian sees this happening in TheFacesOf .
Brain said, “That is a kind of molecular growth. We highlight a person in the community and their entire Facebook circle ignites to see them being celebrated.”
He went on to add, “The community thinks of that individual in a positive way—so people follow Brad on social media so they can continue to see him celebrate others in the community.
“We provide a way for people to nominate others so they may get emotionally involved and co-author the story. Everybody gets positive value delivered in layers.
“Through storytelling, we begin to weave connections. It has been remarkable to see the impact an entire community has—when people put their arms around a single project like TheFacesOf .”
And Brian Weiss is absolutely right. There is great significance in simply giving your time in a way that is completely selfless with the intent of establishing why your local community is a special place to be.
Other topics we covered on the show:
- What makes TheFacesOf strategy so effective? [00:24:17]
- Then, we identify what it takes to start running a locally-focused & community-driven site like TheFacesOf . [00:32:00]
- Now, we understand what is needed for this strategy to run. But after the site is built and social media is leveraged to drive traffic into the site, how do we actually implement these strategies? How do we go about interviewing people from the local community to celebrate their stories? [00:44:23]
- Next, we discuss key ideas on how interviews are conducted in line with TheFacesOf strategy. [00:50:00]
…and more valuable topics covered! Be sure to listen to the whole episode!
Ready to Get Started with The Faces Of or Still Have Some Questions?
Support the Real Estate Growth Hackers show and tell them we sent you by using this link to check out The Faces Of & connect with Brian: RealEstateGrowthHackers.com/go/TheFacesOf
Connect with Brian Weiss:
- Website: Veugeler Design Group
We Have Resources for You!
Also, Brian Weiss mentioned this book on the show. You can find that on:
Brian Weiss 0:00
One of the reasons this has grown the way it has is because it’s not just an agent shooting a video or taking someone’s picture and interviewing them. But it’s part of the story of Gainesville. It’s the messaging that he’s used along the way to establish his motivation. He never talks about real estate. He talks about how much he loves this community and how much we have to celebrate; and how much we have to be thankful for. And I’m going to prove it to you. And that is the kind of thing that endears and captures people’s hearts and minds and gets people want to play a role in that. And that’s one of the reasons why we continue to have a lot of success through our partners.
You’re listening to the Real Estate Growth Hackers Show.
Zach Hammer 0:41
Welcome to the Real Estate Growth Hackers Show. I’m Zach Hammer. With me today, I have Brian Weiss from TheFacesOf.com. Today, we’re going to be talking about how to serve your local community at scale, and grow your business in the way. This is a this is a really powerful concept. We’re gonna dive into how real estate agents can market effectively, long term! Because the reality is, market isn’t always—you know. The average person in your community isn’t always in the market for a real estate transaction. So how do we keep that awareness up? How do we do that effectively at scale without only talking about real estate content? Because honestly, most people don’t want and don’t need to be hearing about it. So Brian is gonna be talking to us about that a bit today. Brian, go ahead and tell us your backstory. How did you get yourself into this picture today of being part of TheFacesOf.com?
Brian Weiss 1:38
Well, I appreciate the introduction, Zach. And it’s a privilege to be here. I am the VP of sales for a marketing company called Veugeler Design Group. We’re outside of Atlanta, Georgia. And there is a real estate agent that sort of solve the riddle for some of those challenges that you were describing. And he’s had a lot of success in Gainesville with a project called the faces of Hall County and was realizing that there should be somebody doing this in every community in the country. He’s had a lot of success, engaging his community. He’s sort of become Mr. Gainesville, as a result of this project. And so he came to my office with this idea, like how do we find a way to have a real estate agent partner in every community in the country that serving their community having incredible success becoming highly visible, becoming very influential sort of becoming the unofficial mayor of their community? And the impact that that would have on the community through the way that he’s done it. And so, as he was telling me the story, I was like, wow, this is really great. I would like to be a partner in this. And so we have spent the last three and a half years ebbing and flowing and trial and error, figuring out what’s the easiest way to productize, what Brad has been doing, and deliver it in a way that it’s really, really easy for a real estate agent to implement and execute. And they just have to go to the energy supplier, they’ve got to go engage and have conversations with people in their community. And fortunately, it’s been very successful. Obviously, you and I have found each other in some way as a result of some of that success. And so I’m sure we’ll get into that a little bit.
Zach Hammer 3:09
Brian Weiss 3:10
Zack, it’s probably one of the most rewarding things I’ve ever been a part of, and it’s making real impact. And I’m looking forward to talking about – conceptually – what we are doing. And why is this something that Real Estate agents should be thinking about or considering as part of how they market their business.
Zach Hammer 3:26
Absolutely, And yeah, I mean, obviously, through our conversations, I’ve become familiar with what you guys are doing with TheFacesOf.com and I’m excited about it, too. I think, we’re probably like, six months (maybe a year) from when we initially connected to actually recording this podcast. And I don’t know, if you recall, but actually, when we first started talking, I mentioned I’ve actually had the same sort of vision. The same idea of what do you do to actually get your message out there as a Real Estate agent in a way that appeals to the community and isn’t just training people to ignore you. And I think you guys are spot on with what you guys are doing. So let’s go ahead and dive into the impetus of this. So your involvement comes in partway through the story, right? You came in and connected up with Brad after he had sort of started figuring out this concept. So let’s go back to the beginning of Brad’s story, where did this idea come from? What did it look like? What he started implementing, and what the results started to look like? So let’s go back to the beginning. Where did the idea for what you guys are doing with TheFacesOf.com come from?
Brian Weiss 4:38
Brad has been very successful in real estate in Gainesville, Georgia, which is about 45 minutes outside of Atlanta. It’s a community of about 40,000 people, and he’s been doing real estate there for 27 years. Grew up there, born and raised with the high school there, left, went down into Atlanta, went to school at Georgia Tech and went right back up there to start his real estate career. So he’s very much into his community. But when he started this in October 2015, he had his seventh consecutive years, the number one producer in his market. So he was already pretty good at what he does. When it’s a commission only job, you want to maintain that position. And so he’s always felt pressured to be the most visible, relevant person in Gainesville. And through that visibility, hopefully, he can maintain that top spot as a real estate agent, when he started, there were 1700 different agents that had done a transaction in his market of 40,000 people. So it’s a highly competitive market. This industry, frankly, is highly competitive, it doesn’t matter where you are, there are a lot of real estate agents. And so you’re competing for market share nonstop, with not only people that are existing and trying to grow their business, but continual new entries into the market.
Zach Hammer 5:47
And on that point, real quick, just to put that in perspective, when you say a lot, we literally just ran the math on this because it was brought to mind with the client of mine. In Las Vegas, for instance, there are eight times as many real estate agents as there are listings available to sell. So eight times as many agents even as there is inventory. Right? And I mean, obviously right now all across the country at the time that we’re recording this, most markets are dealing with incredibly low inventories. That’s even more pronounced now than it has been. But you’re exactly right. The level of competition is is crazy. So anyway, but continue so understanding that level of competition, and the impact that you’re looking to make, what happened next?
Brian Weiss 6:35
So two really important things happened. He connected with someone at the local high school that asked him to bring on a high school intern and learn a little bit about small business and small business marketing. And so he agreed to bring on this intern at the moment that he agreed to do that he didn’t have a project for this intern. But he just read a book called The Go Giver.
Brian Weiss 6:57
And if you’ve not read this book, this book lays out the story of how to build a world of abundance by serving others without keeping score. One of my favorite books of all time, it very much speaks to how I operate and what I think is really important as we kind of make our way through this journey. So Brad use the framework in this book to create a project for this marketing intern to help him with and it was called the faces of all County. And again, the motivation is to to be more visible, to create influence. At the time that he started this his business Facebook page had 100 social media followers, his website was getting between five and 600 monthly visitors his digital presence in 2015 was relatively weak. So he’s like, maybe I can grab another 100 followers on my Facebook page, maybe I can grab another couple 100 visits to my website. I’m going to go out and try to tell the story of Gainesville, Georgia through the people that live here, one smiling face at a time. I’m going to collect those interviews, their images, and I Cyrus picture them I’m going to put it on a website. And I’m going to share two stories a week on social media as a way of of introducing the people of our community to each other. And this website will become a time capsule that represents the story of Gainesville. So if anybody wanted to know what it would look like to live in Gainesville, Georgia, you can visit Brad’s website and listen to what all these people are saying about what they love about it, where they came from, what their favorite places to have lunch. And you will get a sense of the quality of the people that live there, you’ll get a sense collectively of what they love about Gainesville, and you’ll have a really good feel for Gainesville, Georgia. And that project gave him permission to go out into the community and sit down and have coffee with virtually anybody. And everybody spent a couple of minutes giving them attention, which is a big premise from the book, right? How do we serve others? But the service doesn’t stop there. There’s a kind of fundamental understanding that we’ve arrived, people need four things, they need food, they need shelter, they need water, and they generally need attention, right? We’re in a peaceful world. And so if you can play a role in giving other people attention, then that connection that you create with them is meaningful, it’s real. And so through this project, he wanted to go out and give others attention, recognize and celebrate them for the role they played in helping make Gainesville a special place. Then through introducing the people to the rest of the community through social media, we could bring the community closer together by introducing people to each other and create conversations in the community that we’re not a part of. But because we’ve created them, the community collectively will think about us in a positive way for the role we’ve taken in helping celebrate and shine a bright light on the place that we live. And frankly, who better to do that than a real estate agent. I mean, that’s your job, it’s to showcase your community. And so, he had been doing this and started in 2015. He and I met in 2018. So he was three years into doing this. And his website traffic grew from 568 visits It’s a month to 8000. And his social media following grew from 100, social media followers to 3000. And business in 2015. He did $26 million in production. At the time of this recording, this is March 2021. So last year 2020, his team did $52 million. The gap between first place Brad in 2015 in first place Brad now in 2021, has grown significantly. And he doesn’t do anything else to market his real estate business. There’s no Zillow lea ds, no just listed, there’s no just solds, Brad has just poured himself into his local community. And as a consequence, he’s sort of become Mr. Gainesville. And becoming Mr. Gainesville has made him influential enough in the in the community that a large section of the community wants to work with them when they have challenges and when they need help with real estate. And it’s a really rewarding way to go build a visible brand. And like the book says, how do you serve a community or an audience, whatever your audience might be at scale, and Brad has just creatively come up with a way to do just that. And so we’ve productize that, as I said, and we’re now showing agents all over the country how to do exactly what Brad did, but it’s super rewarding Zack.
Zach Hammer 11:20
Yeah, and it’s such a powerful concept. I mean, there’s a lot that goes into this, that makes it work so well. One of the things that you mentioned that I want to pull out and talk about it, at least to draw a point from, you mentioned that one of the things that people need is attention, right? And I think there’s a lot of different ways that you could word that. But part of what makes this so magical to me, is most things require like some level of meaningful energy expenditure, in order to create value in the world. Like doing a real estate transaction, there’s a reason why real estate agents get paid what they do, they’re complicated things, keeping them together can be stressful. Generally, that stress is more often on maybe one side of the transaction than the other. It’s a little bit harder right now to work with a buyer than it is to work with a seller in most markets. But still, you kind of have the complexity that comes into there. Anyway, so that kind of creating value takes a fair bit of energy expenditure, right? And, you you can’t do an infinite amount of that without like scaling up your teams and your process. But I’ll tell you what, giving somebody a compliment, lifting somebody up, is one of the easiest ways to create value in the world out of thin air with basically no energy, right? Like literally just saying, hey, I love what you’re up to, let’s put some spotlight on you, let’s talk about what you’re up to and give it some attention. You create value out of thin air, having those conversations are one of the easiest things in the world to do. Because you’re just shining good feelings on people. It’s not hard, right? And yet it actually creates value in the world. It creates value for that person, it creates value for the community, in terms of being able to point two great businesses are great people in the community that are doing cool things. And so what I found, is inevitably, when people are in the habit of creating value, it’s like the deals and the money, just sort of find it, they find you. If you’re creating enough value, then the money sort of takes care of itself. And especially when the level of energy expenditure is so low as basically just having to have a conversation. And yeah, so I think that portion is part of what makes this so powerful. One of the other things that you mentioned about this, the networking opportunity on this, I see that as being twofold, and I’m sure you could speak to this as well. You’re gonna get the benefit of the direct networking with the people you’re talking to. You’re gonna get the conversations meeting business owners, meeting other people locally and literally that work by itself. I’m sure there are deals where just through those conversations, it’s like, hey, yeah, oh it just so happens, I need to sell my home, like, can we talk about this? So you’ll have that but even aside from that, by shining a light on somebody else, and this is especially true with businesses, there’s a natural inclination on their side to share that back out to their community as well. We call that Halo marketing right where you get the opportunity for their spreading your message for you at no cost. Have you guys seen a lot of that happening as well?
Brian Weiss 14:55
Yeah, I hadn’t heard the term Halo marketing, but it’s kind of molecular growth, when we highlight a person, and their entire Facebook world sees them being celebrated. And they think about that individual in a positive way. There’s sort of a transfer of trust to the person that enabled them to feel that way. And so, not only does the person that we’ve interviewed, have a great experience and feel like a celebrity for the day, every time they see someone in the future highlighted, they’re remembered about that experience, and they think positively. And so do their network, right. And so this is how Brad has arrived at 3000 followers on Facebook is that the Friends of the people that are being interviewed are seeing it, and they’re like, wow, this is really great, I feel good watching somebody else be recognized for being a positive member of our community. And so I’m going to, like Brad’s Facebook page, so I can continue to see him celebrate others, because I’d like to see who else gets highlighted. And we actually allow them, we provide a way for them to nominate others so they can get emotionally involved and kind of co author the story, which, again, everybody gets value, the value is delivered in layers. And to your point, when we interview someone that owns the barbecue joint in town that somebody has recommended we interview because it’s their favorite place to have lunch. And we finish and we share the link to their story online, before we even promote it on social media. They’re going to beat us out there, they’re going to put it out there for us. Because they’re going to say, Wow, this great project that Brad Abernathy is doing that is so impactful in our community just recognize me as an important member, I’m proud to have a business here. And I’m proud to share this project, check out my interview. And so you begin to weave connections, right through storytelling and through value giving into your point, that value given is 20 minutes, just recognizing them for being happy and being positive. And just listening to them about why they arrived in Gainesville. And what do they love about it? And it can seem so insignificant, Zach, but it’s been remarkable to see the impact that it has when you get an entire community to put their arms around a project like this, in restaurants that have been highlighted have run out of food for days after being highlighted as part of a project like this. So how does that restaurant owner make? How do you think he feels about Brad or any of our other peers that are doing this that have had such an impact on his business, that he’s out of food. And he’s not just serving people, but the people coming in to get food are talking about things they learned about them, and they’re having real human conversation. And so now the people that are becoming customers with his feel like they know him, and they’re more likely to come back again in the future. And so I don’t want to overstate, but it’s hard to understate the significance of simply giving of your time in a way that’s completely selfless, with the intent of establishing why where you live is a special place to be. And that’s because we have a lot of positive people that contribute to that. And so let’s create a project that’s going to highlight those people and then wait and see what happens because it’s pretty amazing.
Zach Hammer 18:09
Yeah, yeah, exactly. And man, I mean, the the the level of power that comes from building up the people in your community, it really is. It’s kind of staggering, you’re right, most things seem to be very overhyped, in terms of what you what you could potentially expect from them. But honestly, this is one of those things where it’s like just talking about the real world implications of what you’re doing. Feels like it’s overhyped, but it’s not, there’s a lot of power here. And not all of the power is going to be directly like a financial ROI. Like you already mentioned, shoot 26 million to 52 million, there is a financial ROI for sure. But part of this is literally, the kind of thing where as a real estate agent in your local community, you might by doing this be the person that makes a difference for whether or not that business shuts down in a year or so. Because they get that influx of cash that keeps them afloat that lets them bridge the gap to stay in business and I don’t know if you guys have heard of stories like that where those kinds of situations are happening, you may not always because they may not always feel comfortable enough to share it, but I would bet that that’s exactly the kind of thing that’s happening occasionally, where it’s this kind of attention actually really keeps somebody going. And as the real estate agent, you keep your community in business you keep food on the table for somebody for another month for another year, just by going out and having a 20 minute conversation. I love to talk about projects. I like to lift up and and be involved in projects whereyou are simultaneously doing good while doing well. So you go out, you do good in the world, but it’s still helps you to do well as a as a business owner. Like, you want something out of this, but it’s not so much of like a tit for tat kind of thing. It’s not you’re gonna go out and and talk to this person you’re expecting that person to give you x number of deals, it’s not that kind of thing. It’s, you go out and you focus on giving value. And you know that naturally the universe conspires to give that value back. Right?
Brian Weiss 20:33
It’s just the sense of belief that has to play a role in that, the way we’re doing this isn’t necessarily a fit for everybody. Because one, you have to get satisfaction out of helping. A lot of our partners, now we have partners in 32 states. They tell us that they do their interviews the first thing in the morning, because it sets the tone for the rest of their day, because it’s such a positive energy change. And they just feel good about it. And so if you enjoy that, I had a lady signed up today out in Tempe, Arizona, she said, I don’t even care if I make $1 out of this, I feel so fortunate to have met you guys, I just can’t wait to go learn more about my community and learn about the people in my community. And so if you feel that way, I can guarantee you two years from today, if we go back and revisit how Elizabeth doing, her business will be in a different place. And she personally will be in a different place because of the role she now plays in our community and the impact she’s having on others. And to your point, I don’t use the word power. Not that I think power is a bad thing. But I think about it more as influence, like, how do we as individuals become influential, and for me influence is by turning us turning ourselves into a magnet? How can we do something so positive that people are drawn to us? And that’s what this is, you know Brad was approached during the holidays last year in the city of Gainesville asked him if they could paint a mural in downtown of the project and all the people that have been interviewed as a way of continuing to celebrate this project. So here’s a guy that just a real estate agent, that’s a well producing real estate agent, that had this idea and wanted to try to have a positive impact. And five years later, it’s changing the way the community thinks about itself. And I just don’t know how else you could go do that for two coffees a week. That’s the fact of what we’re doing.
Zach Hammer 22:29
You’re probably having the coffee anyway. Coffee right now, right?
Brian Weiss 22:33
That’s definitely should be part of your program. And so you should be able to fit that out without any trouble. And it takes minutes to put together social media posts, but the reach. Social media is your distribution channel from the website to get people back to the website to read stories. And it allows things to go in a viral way, literally, for the cost of two coffees a week, an hour, on average, his world has changed, and so has the community in the city of Gainesville. And, yeah, as you said, a lot of things are overstated, and I’m not a big fan. I’ve been in sales a long time, I try really hard to set expectations and try not to overstate things, but watching how this has played out. And now have three years of adding partners and helping them do the same things and seeing similar experiences happen. Whether it’s this way, or you find another way. And we probably get into why this works. But I’m a big fan of the story Zack, like a lot of agents, now get on YouTube, and they go interview business owners, and I think they shouldn’t be doing those things. One of the reasons this has grown the way it has is because it’s not just an agent, shooting a video or taking someone’s picture and interviewing them. But it’s part of the story of Gainesville, it’s the messaging that he’s used along the way to establish his motivation, he never talks about real estate, he talks about how much he loves this community and how much we have to celebrate and how much we have to be thankful for. And I’m going to prove it to you. And that is the kind of thing that endears and captures people’s hearts and minds and gets people to want to play a role in that. And that’s one of the reasons why we continue to have a lot of success through our partners.
Zach Hammer 24:18
I think you just touched on this, but I’m going to re-emphasize this. I think that’s an incredibly important point about why what you’re doing is working because I have seen other strategies. So first off done is better than perfect, right? If people are out there going and interviewing businesses, that’s gonna be way better than doing nothing, right. But you and I are very much in alignment on this portion because even the projects that I was working on that was similar. I have the same basic idea of saying, like, when we go out and we and we do this thing where we’re going to spotlight the local community, it’s not just designed to be a commercial for that local business, right? We’re not saying like, hey, what do you do? What are your offerings? How long have you been in business? What are your hours? It’s not just like a commercial, that sort of gives people the play by play of what they could get because that’s not going to be enough to keep people entertained, to like, actually take time out of their day to go and find your commercial. So the thing that makes this work and be successful is that you’re pulling out the thing that we always find entertaining in other people, which is the story. The idea of sure we’re gonna talk about the fact that you have a business, it’s not like we’re gonna hide that. But that’s not the crux of the interview. That’s not the crux of what’s going on here. The main point is that we’re going to draw out the story is like, who are you? What do you love about the area? What makes you come alive? Even deeper than what are the services that you offer? Why do you offer them like what are you looking to do with your restaurant? It’s finding out the things like, I started this restaurant because I loved my grandma’s recipes. And I thought the world should get to have my grandma’s recipes every time that they might want to. And it’s like when you hear stuff like that you’re like, oh, now I’m connecting to this business. And yes, sure. I want to hear the hours and whatnot now, but it’s the story that’s interesting. It’s a story that makes the thing spread. It’s a story that keeps somebody interested enough to take time out of their own day to go and read it, and continue to subscribe and want to read more, right?
Brian Weiss 26:49
Zack, I think all of us as people want to feel like we’re a part of something. And in a foundational way. It’s our community, It’s where we live. That’s kind of where it starts, whether that’s in a small level at your neighborhood, like I live in Buford, Georgia, outside of Atlanta, there’s a lot of pride in our community of Buford, right. And so really start hearing the stories of people that live amongst us, we have something in common. And that’s where we live in an appreciation for where we live. And now we get to kind of dive into the story of how other people arrived here what their backgrounds are. And that becomes fascinating. And I think we’re all curious about who lives around us. And how we arrived at how we have such a great community. And so to your point, let’s meet John Jones owner Above His Barbecue, but that’s the last time you talk about Above His Barbecue. It’s why did you open a barbecue in Gainesville? What do you love about Gainesville? What was your inspiration to start a restaurant in the first place? Like that’s how we begin to emotionally engage people to the point where they start following your Facebook page because they want to see the next person that’s celebrated. Storytelling is such an important aspect of communication here in our country. And I think people that are good at storytelling, they can be influential and they can be persuasive, I guess, is the best way to say it. And so we created a platform that enables our partners to be good storytellers. And they just have to consistently celebrate a couple of key themes. And it completely changes the way that they position themselves, and they showcase themselves up in front of the community and there’s a lot of gravity to that.
Zach Hammer 28:31
Yeah. And I mean, that’s the key. So you think about, how many TV shows start, every year, and then don’t get pulled in for another season? Like, how many things start and just don’t continue? The reality is, for most people, it can be kind of hard to be interesting, right? And what I love about what you guys are doing, is that it’s not something that you need to overthink too much. Right? Because it’s naturally interesting, because if you look back through the history of television and entertainment. You’ll see that there was a pretty big shift into reality TV, and how real it is, who knows, but there was a big shift into reality TV more and more and more compared to the fabricated stories because we do connect with real stories, and it’s a whole lot easier to just sort of put a camera on somebody who’s living out their life. And that’s interesting enough then it is to create something. And so what’s nice is just by uncovering those stories, there’s kind of a multi-fold aspect to this where everybody’s story is going to be somewhat unique. And that’s the spice that makes it interesting. And yet everybody’s story is also going to share similarities, right. And that’s the thing about like, the human condition that keeps us connected, where it’s like, there are things that’s like, oh, I’ve never experienced a life that way, that’s interesting. But then similarly, it’s like, oh, but you still have the same, goals, desires, passions, like the same things that inspire you inspire me. And that’s where you get kind of that it’s interesting, but also connecting at the same time. And it’s really a powerful equation, that’s simple and fairly easy to do. So yeah, so let’s go ahead and dive in and talk a little bit about how this actually works. Okay, so say somebody wants to go out and do this. And first off, one of the things that I do want to note. So again, Brian is here representing TheFacesOf.com, we have a link that we’ll be giving you toward the end of this show as well, where you can basically go there and learn more about it through the fact that you can through this podcast, we’ll give you that link in a bit as well. In the future, we might even have some bonuses and whatnot available for you as a result. Right now, we don’t currently have any but if you’re listening to this in the future then we might. But we’ll get that to you in a bit. But the main reason why I want to bring that up is that we’re going to talk a little bit I think about the more tactical step by step, how you do some of this, how you actually go out how you make this happen. But I want people to understand aspects of this may feel a little bit daunting. But TheFacesOf.com is going to be part of what makes this easy. So if you hear what we’re about to describe, and you sound like a little bit more than what you know, to know how to do and know how to achieve. That’s where TheFacesOf.com comes in, it’s going to make this process a lot easier for you. So that all you have to do is go out and have the coffee, rather than then having to think through building up a website and all that essentially you can implement the system. So let’s go ahead and dive into that. So so starting out, somebody wants to get started with this strategy. What does it look like to get up and running and to start running a locally focused, community driven site where we’re interviewing and getting the stories of our community.
Brian Weiss 32:11
So if I were to start without having the experience I had, I would probably actually consider starting a group inside of Facebook, and highlighting people in my community and starting, like in Buford, the Buford community Facebook group, and then I would go out, and I would highlight and introduce people through that as a fundamental like, this is easy, it doesn’t cost a lot of money. Here’s the reason why I don’t like that strategy. And it’s going to happen at a faster velocity as we move forward. But district like social media channels, our audiences are going to fragment across lots of different social media channels. And I would not put all of my assets and all my time and effort and energy into any single social media platform today. So we took a really hard position on the idea of building a standalone website and then leveraging social media as my reach to tell the story and get people back to the website because the website will always be there. And these people that are being highlighted there will be there forever. So if you don’t like social media, go ahead. Sorry.
Zach Hammer 33:12
Yeah one thing to note on that, I mean, that’s an incredibly powerful point. So everybody should be thinking about this regardless, and how they’re doing their marketing. Social media is really great and really powerful. And yet it’s not yours. The phrase has been coined a while ago already, but they call it digital sharecropping, where you’re farming on somebody else’s farm. And sure, you might get paid out a portion of that, you might be able to capitalize on a portion of that, but it’s not your farm. And at any point, they can decide, I don’t want you here anymore. And you could lose everything that works for you. And it’s not always getting kicked off the platform, it’s not always as aggressive as that sometimes it’s, hey, they figured out that groups aren’t getting the reach anymore. So they stop showing the posts to people in their newsfeed. So what used to go out to 1000s of people goes out to 10. And they do that for a lot of different reasons. Some of them are more benevolent, in the sense of, they figured out that certain types of posts, people were just not enjoying, and we’re ignoring. But over time, I mean, these places are here to make money too. So the other thing that ends up happening is they start decreasing reach so that they could force you to pay to keep getting that reach. And so it is, it’s really important, that your strategies are not centered 100% around social media, but that you leverage social media to get them to something that you control a website and email list, something that you own and you control. So I love that. I love that point. Go ahead and continue.
Brian Weiss 34:43
Right. So let’s move past that. We don’t want to take advantage of something that’s free on social media. So we’re now, we’re going to have the website right, should I do this on my real estate website? Or should I build an independent website and there’s a lot of dialogue around this too. I think a lot of the reasons that this has been so emotionally powerful is because we’re building sites that are dedicated to this project, they’re not a tab on a real estate agents website, where you have to go to the realtor’s website to read blog posts, right, this website is dedicated to the community. And all you’re gonna find out there is a celebration of people so that would suggest authenticity, it would just suggest that you’re sincere in your efforts to do something really special for the community. And so, the stronger my ability to develop trust at scale, in the same way, that we deliver value, the more people are going to buy in and be interested in what we’re doing, and that creates more impact. Go ahead.
Zach Hammer 35:46
Yeah, I was just gonna say, to your point on this part of what you got to think about, whenever you’re doing any marketing as a real estate agent is, everybody’s busy, everybody has a short attention span. And so you want everything that you have set up to be immediately understood at 60 miles an hour, right? Where think of the equivalent of how clear your message would need to be on a billboard, in order for somebody to actually remember it take action after they’ve seen it, right. It’s the same kind of idea where you want somebody to see the website name, see what’s going on there, and not have to do a mental jump to say, what is this about? Because unless they’re looking for real estate help. They’re not looking for your real estate website. But they may be interested in learning more about the community, regardless of they’re interested in looking for real estate help right now. And that’s part of the point of this is that this is a strategy that, it’s more the equivalent of building the dam, and collecting the water of attention and influence, so that when the time’s right, it flows out, it creates the momentum, the power of those real estate transactions and whatnot, as you need them. But you essentially have to wall it up first and start building that attention. And you don’t do that with real estate information, you can only do that with this more local information. So anyway, I completely agree. A website dedicated to this purpose is going to actually really build up the momentum around this. So continue.
Brian Weiss 37:18
A 100% yeah, and so then you get into what are the elements of the website that are important, you can build a WordPress website today for a couple of $1,000. With a firm like ours, you don’t have to spend a ton of money to build a functional site that looks great, that serves its purpose. And so then what all should be a part of the website itself. We built it out of sort of a blog site where the homepage just flows with people’s stories. And then, there’s a menu with a couple of different things that we want to celebrate the person that’s sponsoring the project. So there’s an about your host page where they can actually go read the story of the individual, there’s an about your community page where you celebrate the community and what makes it a special place. And why do people love it and direct links to the Chamber of Commerce into the school system information and the site itself should be a resource. And it’s not just stories of people in the community. But when they get there, it’s like, wow who possibly could know our community better than the person that’s doing this project, like, look at all the people they’ve met, look at how well they know our community. This, again, removing it from your real estate website, and doing this on its own, who is a person that just happens to be a realtor is going to have the community looking at you and saying, this is who I would have to work with if I needed help because nobody can possibly know our market better than that person does. So that’s the first step required to create that.
Zach Hammer 38:45
Exactly. And that’s a really big point there, too. This sort of strategy could technically work with other industries as well, right? Where the person could stand to just get that local awareness, and that helps them. But I would say it’s more pronounced and more powerful in the real estate community because it’s one of the few industries where that local expertise matters so much, right? Like, an insurance agent might be able to run a strategy like this, and they’d get the benefit of the attention. But the fact that it’s local only matters and that they’re communicating with their local community. They don’t necessarily need to be a local expert in order to do their job well as an insurance agent. But as a real estate agent. This is part of the perceived expertise that you need to have. And so what’s cool is that it fits so well, we’re sure it doesn’t communicate everything that a real estate agent needs to have in terms of expertise to be able to do business and do it successfully. Like you have to know how to do a real estate transaction and this doesn’t communicate that portion yet. But it does communicate one key and very important portion, which is that local expertise so what’s cool is that, you simultaneously get to build up this massive amount of local attention, while still building up your authority on an aspect of your credential and credibility that does matter as a real estate agent being a local expert.
Brian Weiss 40:20
Yeah it’s very true. We talk a lot about do we want to stick only with real estate agents? Because we could go after financial advisors, we could go after attorneys, I’ve talked to a bunch of people in State Farm Insurance exploring the fit. And the reality is, in my opinion, and having watched this play out now, this is how a real estate agent should go about their presence in their local community. And for what you’ve just said, that’s the reason why we’ve had different types of businesses kind of traveled down this road with us, and have a couple that is still with us. But we always come back to the real estate agent is who this was built for it was built by a real estate agent, and who else should be the local community resource more than they should. And touching on that for just a second, Zack, most consumers don’t even know how to go figure out what a good agent looks like. So you talk about a lot of the other criteria that aren’t a part of this, I don’t know how heavily that weighs into making a decision to work with a real estate agent, because such a huge percentage of people that get into the business end up getting out because it’s just a really hard industry to be really good and be consistently producing in. In the consumer, once they make their mind up like, man, we’re going to sell our house in the next two years, we’ve got to find an agent, Hey, how about Johnny that’s doing this project in our community that everybody seems to like and trust, why don’t we go talk to him, he’s a real estate agent. Well, I’m gonna go on his business side of what he does, and go read his testimonials and go see how he communicates on social media. And they’ll find those other things out about you. But this has the light shining so bright, that at least you were considered. And this was how Brad describe it when he first started. His goal in Gainesville, Georgia, if anybody were to come into Gainesville, and ask anybody there, who are the top three agents in this town, he didn’t have to be listed as number one every time. But he wanted to make that list every time that conversation was had. And I would say that he’s been successful, and grabbing as much of that attention as he could.
Zach Hammer 42:21
Yeah, and I think the key to having the expertise in the real estate side of things, you’re right, it is less important for winning the business on the front end, it’s more important for the long term momentum and success. Especially if you’re building up this referral network, this group of people that are going to be talking about what you’re up to, you have to have that expertise on the service end, otherwise, the momentum stops at that one transaction. And to really have this leverage and grow big. You want the deal that comes in the person that you’re working with on this transaction, you want them to say this was a fantastic experience, and tell everybody else that they know, when they need a real estate agent that they loved working with you. And so you’re right, this kind of strategy gets you the opportunity. The real estate expertise is what wins you the next one, it’s what builds the momentum.
Brian Weiss 43:23
No doubt, right. And I tell people this every day as I’m talking to people that are interested in partnering with us, we can get you visibility, and we can earn you some additional business. But your real success is how capable are you? And how much better are you than your competition in your market? So Brad has been 26 years in the business. He’s really, really good at what he does. And so people felt good about connecting with them and getting his help. And then they got to experience how Brad approaches it. And that made them even more endeared to the project and more willing to talk about Brad in a meaningful way. And so you have to have both no doubt about it. But we all start somewhere, right? We’re all 20 right in the business. And so you’ve got on the job, and you just have to have an appreciation, a sensitivity to how important every single experience is for the people that you’re able to serve. And that’s one of the recipes to success and building a sustainable business in this business.
Zach Hammer 44:23
Absolutely. All right, cool. So going back to the strategy, the tactics. So far, we’ve got the understanding, we want to build this out as a website. We’re going to leverage social media to drive traffic to the website, as part of the way that we build attention there. And so we’ve got our website, our website is going to house more than just these stories. It’s all it’s going to be like a community resource center with key links, things that people might want might need in terms of interacting with the community. What comes next, what do we do? How do we actually implement getting those interviews out or maybe there’s something else that I’m missing that comes before that?
Brian Weiss 45:02
So the key there, there’s a lot of different ways on how to go out and conduct an interview and get that interview on the website. And so you can talk to, depending on who you’re having helped you. As far as building the site and stuff, you can explore those options, we’ve been fortunate, we’ve got a really great team here, we’ve automated the entire process. So it doesn’t require a ton of effort and energy to get people’s stories on the site. And now we just go have coffee. But once you’re there, we’re recommending that we’re sharing two stories a week. And so, early on in your project, you’re going to want to learn how to boost posts. You don’t want to just share these stories with people that are following you organically. We want to grow our audience. We want people that aren’t following us organically to see what we’re doing. And so we recommend spending $3 or $4 letting that post, so you send a post on a Monday or Tuesday, spend a couple of bucks. So everybody in your local geography sees it, let that run for two or three days to maximize its engagement, and then send another one out. So twice a week, we’re doing that so that we’re always out-driving engagement, which is keeping us top of mind. And so, the frequency matters. And we’ve arrived at that through trial and error. Some partners are like, I’d like to do four a week, and some are like I’d like to do two a month. Well, the one thing I’ll say about this Zack is distribution is really important, our ability to stay out in front of our consumers is a really important factor in this and we have to be super consistent for it to work. This type of effort isn’t nearly as impactful. If I say, wow, I’m going to be really busy in March. So I’m going to highlight 20 people in February, take March off, and come back in April. And get back on my rhythm because you will lose momentum in March if you’re not out there in front of the community. And so we always recommend having more people on your site, than you’ve actually highlighted out on social media so that you’ve always got people to share. And you’re consistently sharing stories two times a week. And then you’ll have to pay attention to the impact you’re getting through social media, Facebook, and Instagram are still the two highest-performing platforms. But we have partners all over the country that are they’re experimenting with a lot of the other options that are out there as ways of getting visibility. And then you let the community participate. We have lots of partners that have a local newspaper, go ahead.
Zach Hammer 47:32
Yeah, real quick, before you get into that, I want to touch on the boosting, because I know we’ve probably got people, listening, watching that have maybe tried running Facebook ads in the past have tried some level of that. And I just want to put it out there for people of all the types of stuff that you could throw some money behind of all the types of things that you could do. This is one of the easiest things in the world in terms of its working readily. There’s not a bunch of advanced ninja targeting that you have to do, you don’t have to do a lot of work on the exact right copy and headlines to make it perfect. This is the kind of thing where just by sharing these stories out there, by getting this information out there, it’s spreading really effectively. And it’s actually I don’t know if you’re familiar, you probably are. But this is exactly the kind of content that actually Facebook does want, right now. They are very big on re-emphasizing the local community local news like they found that that’s a big portion that people are engaging it with. So they want it out there. And so when they start to see this type of content, come through your pages through your site, it actually builds momentum on its own with Facebook in a number of ways. So first off, sure you’re going to pay to get it in front of the first handful of people. But a lot of those people are actually going to share it out themselves, they’re going to help spread it organically for you. So you’re going to get way further reach than you might like it. Let’s be honest, very few people are going to share your what’s my home worth value calculator? They’re not likely to share that. But they will share these, they’ll tag people on them, they’ll spread it out for you. So it has a fair bit of organic reach even after you’ve paid to get it that first boost of amplification. The other thing is that over time, we talked a little bit about this Facebook has decreased the reach for the most part on the organic side of what you post on a Facebook page or it’s a little bit less a problem in Facebook groups, but it’s happening all over the place. This is the type of content that actually can still get good organic reach. Even without paying, completely with you, I would still pay just to make sure. But what’s nice is that you’ll do a post on something like this and Facebook will actually show it to a good portion of your audience. Even without having to pay for it yet. Paying for it’s going to give it that extra juice. And really, it’s a worthwhile thing to do. I completely agree. But there is a nice benefit of as Facebook sees this local natural content, they will actually start showing it to people more, even for free. So there’s a lot of power in that, for sure. We can get to this in a second one thing that I do want to make sure that we talk about, we sort of glossed over how those interviews are actually conducted. I do want to talk about that at some point, just that we could give people a couple of key ideas of maybe what sort of questions to ask, but you were talking about the partnerships with newspapers. So let’s go ahead and continue that train of thought real quick. And then we’ll come back to the interviews?
Brian Weiss 50:45
Well, I think what we’re trying to create is visibility. And visibility, I think people assume that that is almost entirely through social media. So we had a lot of partners that came up with a lot of different ideas like anytime I interview somebody, I’m going to give them a T-shirt. Anytime I interview a business owner, I’m going to give them a little three-inch round branded sticker. And they’re going to put it out on the storefront of their window. So we actually built a marketing store so that our partners can get their local market branded anything they want. Because we want visibility in a bunch of markets. Local media has picked up this project on behalf of our sponsors, and have said, Hey, I’d like to put one of your stories and every issue of our Saturday newspaper, or, hey, if the local news, I’d like to come to do a feature on you interviewing somebody. And I’d like to promote your project because of the impact you’re having. And so if you have an abundance mindset, and you keep your antennas up for the potential doors that could open as you have conversations with people, I just am always thinking about how can I impact more people? How can we be more visible and through our visibility, we know will have a bigger impact on people. And the community has a way of wanting to help because you’re not selling ads, you’re not asking for anything. And so they’re helping you helps the people you’re helping. And so communities generally in a community may want to be a part of that because everybody wins. And that’s honestly, Zach, that’s part of what makes it so special is everybody that’s helping showcase what you’re doing is actually doing good. So they feel good about it, they know that they’re helping serve other people. And that’s actually making you more of a celebrity, which actually is going to have a really huge impact on your business down the road. And so I just wanted to mention, it’s not all social media as a way to get distribution. But to your point, when you’re building that dam, so that you have the water, you’ve got to put the work in and build the dam, your asset isn’t getting any traffic when you first start. So you’ve got to go, you’ve got to put a few months in of interviews, and you’ve got to be a good storyteller, and you’ve got to be super positive with people. And then as that momentum wheel starts turning, that little hamster wheel starts to spin. It just only gets that bigger and better if you’ll be consistent in your effort.
Zach Hammer 53:04
Have you guys found that there’s a timeline for when the stone that you have been pushing up the hill starts to feel like it’s crested the hill and starts rolling down of its own momentum at the other end? Is there a timeline that you sort of see where the momentum of the project itself starts to take over?
Brian Weiss 53:26
Now we have all of our partner sites on analytics, so you can see right away a huge jump, like you’re gonna go from a website that has zero traffic to a website that’s getting 2200, 2500 visitors a month on it. And that doesn’t take hardly any time at all, because of the convenience of social media distribution. And so, we can make sure to our partners that they’re being seen. You never know when that first conversation is going to happen or they say, hey, I saw you as part of the faces at Tucson, and I’d like to talk to you, because we’re thinking about selling our house, right? I got a note last week, somebody out in Oregon, her first interview with her dad, her second interview was with her dad’s friend. And her dad’s friend coincidentally needs to sell his house. And so the second interview she had, as part of this project, wanting to highlight his small business as a buddy of her dad’s. It was like, oh, gosh, we actually need some help with a real estate agent, do you mind helping us and the commission on that house will significantly cover what it costs to partner with us for a year. And so, if you’ll do the work, and not be so tied to the analytics of how is my traffic doing? Like every once in a while a partner will say hey, I just put a post out there and I thought it was going to be great and it only got 33 likes. Well, if you track that trail, you can actually see somebody that saw it from there, shared it 12 times, you don’t really understand your extended reach from doing the work, and just how much value you’re getting. But if you’ll just stay consistent with it. And I say this all the time, we asked for a 12-month commitment when we sign a partner up. And the reason for that isn’t something you try for a month or two, you really have to have a long line of sight than that. But you don’t have to renew your agreement with us at the end of 12 months, it converts month to month. And the reason for that is, if you’ll get two months with us, you’ll not be with us like you’ll be doing this forever. You will sense the gravity of it, and the impact and the potential it has, and you will likely have gotten some business and the money won’t be the reason that you’re not doing this anymore. And that speaks to what you’re saying. But it isn’t crystal clear. And there’s not necessarily a breaking point or this point you describe, because it’s just gradually growing, and you’re gradually growing in it. And the biggest thing that people comment on is, hey, I just went downtown to have lunch and somebody that I’ve never seen before walked up to me and told me they saw me as part of this project, right? It’s like, all right, we broke through, like people are seeing us and it matters to somebody and I had a public comment about it. And that’s always fun, to hear partners get because they’ve already had a bunch of really positive conversations, they already have a lot of energy around it. But now they can sense that their communities appreciating it. And that really fires you up and gives you that extra juice to keep it going. And then it just starts happening more and more and more.
Zach Hammer 56:35
Right, yeah. That makes tons of sense. Let’s ahead and go back to the interview. So let’s just walk through a couple of key points. So that people understand at least a high level. What those interviews might look like? What kind of questions they might ask? How do you get a good story out of a person? And correct me if I’m wrong, you guys probably have clear and in-depth guidance on how to get these interviews done, when they sign up on TheFacesOf.com. We don’t have to go in complete depth on everything is probably more than a week to have time to cover in this interview. But if you could give just a couple of the best questions to ask or some of the top-level things that people could be thinking when conducting an interview like that?
Brian Weiss 57:23
Well, to your point, it’s really about what are they interested in? How can I, through reading about them arrive at a place where I’ve just discovered some things about them that I didn’t know, or maybe I find interesting. And I find some things about them that we share in common. And it’s often those things that they share in common that people talk about when they see each other in the grocery store. Okay, I saw you on TheFacesOf.com and I didn’t know that you’ve been to Alaska recently, my husband and I were just there. And now we’re creating conversation, which is part of the end goal. But I will say a couple of things that are critical. I don’t know how valuable it is to just walk through an interview list. But we don’t draft an offer a story as an outcome. Today’s consumer and you mentioned this earlier, they don’t want to read eight paragraphs about that hammer. So when we actually share the content, it’s actually as an interview, it’s a question-answer. You can read the interview as though the person actually did it themselves. Because we want them to be able to consume a story in three to five minutes, not in 10 or 12 minutes. I think short form content is important. One of the things that I get asked all the time is why is this not a video platform? We do it with high-resolution images, and question interview stories. We want it to be easy to administer. We want it to fit into our everyday as real estate agents. And not require a ton of work to be able to get our two stories out every week, because that’s how we drive maximum engagement. And if I were to try to sit down and physically, like video interview, a 20-minute conversation, and then edit that and pop in produce that and get it to a place where I’ve got 12 or 15 minutes of meaningful content. One, that’s a lot of content. That’s a long video in today’s marketing world. Two, it’s gonna take you half a day, and so you won’t be able to consistently do that twice a week for now into forever. You just won’t, you’ll arrive at doing that once or twice a month. And I think that it becomes really important with social media in small form content. We can captivate and capture the attention of a ton of people and it doesn’t have to be video. The other part of it I’ll mention is the lady that’s been with the same school system for 20 years working as a crossing guard that everybody knows but nobody really knows. She’s a great story. She might not be comfortable hopping on video. Like, the who’s stuff like all your business owners and your chamber of commerce people, it’s not going to do a video together, they do it all the time as part of their marketing. This project works because that’s not the only people we’re celebrating, we’re celebrating everybody. And so I would say, while everybody in America today is going to tell you to leverage video more, and I think it should be part of your lists, to do something like this in the frequency that we’re talking about, I would shy away from that. So it is something, as it relates to what to ask. You know, how long have you been in Gainesville? Tell us about my background, what do you do professionally? Tell us a little bit about your family next, some stuff that everybody would be generally curious about that you would ask everybody, but then it’s like, Where’s your favorite place to have lunch? Who’s the most interesting person you’ve met in Gainesville? It’s things about what’s your favorite movie? What’s your favorite TV show? It’s just things that give them some insight into the last trip you took, if you could name one thing in the top five of your bucket list, what’s that? It’s just things that give you some insight into who they really are. And that’s generally what people like to learn about others as a way of discovering, what do we have in common? And if you really love stories, right, so I’m not a big TV guy. And there are a lot of popular shows that have come out on Netflix and stuff. If I ran about 30, or 40 people in my community over three or four months, and 18 of those 30, people said that they all watch the same show, I’m suddenly going to become intrigued, right? And so there are elements of it, where we describe what we love about Gainesville, and what’s unique about us as individuals, that we’ll all identify within our own way for different reasons Again, this is an area that I wouldn’t overthink.
Zach Hammer 1:01:58
Right, and I think that’s one of the key things that I’d have people pull from that is that really simple questions will work well for this. Like, if somebody went out and did this, they might even find that they start changing up some of the questions as they figure out what produces more of an interesting answer or not. And so it’s going to be an ever-changing ever-evolving thing. But I mean, really, it comes back to some basic questions. That’s gonna extract some of those interesting stories and interesting bits of information. And I love that you describe, why it makes sense to do this as a write-up and just kind of a natural conversation. Just real quick, what do you do? Do you just throw down like an audio recorder or something like you just record the conversation on your phone? On on like a Zoom recorder or something? Or how do you do the technical portion of that?
Brian Weiss 1:02:56
So that’s how we started doing it. When this all first started, all of our partners were sitting down and doing these interviews in person, and they would take their smartphone or handheld recorder, and then you would have to go back and transcribe a 30 or 45-minute interview and create your draft on the dashboard, the back end your WordPress site, which none of this is super highly technical, anybody can learn to do this. It takes a lot of time. So we were helping our partners, they could send us the audio file, and we would do the transcription for them. And then they would clean it up. So it takes 30 minutes of editing. Well, COVID happens, and people stopped having coffee. And so I had a really strong desire to continue to have these stories be told. And so we actually coded an interview form on the back end of all of our partner sites. And so you could send them a link through a form online, and they could actually fill it out for you, prior to meeting in person are hopping on Zoom, or having a phone call. Again, for three months during COVID, nobody was going outside. So I would say Zack, I’m doing this community project, one of the members of our community has said, you’re a really positive person, and that you’d be great to highlight and recognize as part of this project. Can we set up a phone call, I’d like to ask you a few questions about what you love about our community next Tuesday at nine o’clock. Before we get on the phone, I’m gonna send you an interview form. If you’ll just fill that out for me, it’ll give me a lot of context about you before we connect. And so now we send this form over and they go through and they fill everything out we need, the little introductory paragraph, they answer all the questions, they download a picture, they pick the category that best represents their background so that we can identify what they did. And when they publish that form, it automatically creates a post on the site. So there’s some technical ability that we have access to that has made the effort required to actually get stuff on the content on the website, it now takes minutes instead of hours. And you would have to talk to whoever’s helping you with your site to figure that stuff out because there’s a level of coding expertise that goes into that. But shy of that, you’ve got some work to do. You’ve got to create an audio file, I would highly recommend against it while you’re interviewing somebody taking a bunch of notes. Like you want to connect with them, you want to listen. I’m kind of a sales geek. And so part of building rapport is listening intently to what the other person is talking about. Because when they feel that they’ve been heard, they feel understood. And that level of understanding creates a connection. So during the interview, we want it to just flow. And so I would definitely recommend recording it. Know that you’ll have a little extra work in sitting back down and taking that recording and writing out questions and answers and filling out and creating that draft on the site. But none of that is should be too complicated to create. The reality is if you’re spending an hour to an hour and a half per interview, in total, with all your work, and you’re doing that eight times, so we’re 10 or 12 hours are eight times a month, so we’re 10 or 12 hours in a month in the way we used to do it, I still think the return and all the things we’ve discussed are highly worth the effort
Zach Hammer 1:06:11
I still worth it.
Brian Weiss 1:06:13
We’ve reduced it now to where you can do this probably in five or six hours a month. And it changes the game in terms of workload and effort required. To your point, you just got to go have the coffee.
Zach Hammer 1:06:31
Yeah, and I really like that of setting it up. So that essentially, the work of the thing that everybody else is gonna see actually happens before you even have coffee. The coffee is just more like it’s the connection, it might be an opportunity to clarify some of the elements of the story that they filled out. And if you wanted to go out and beef up an element a little bit more, maybe it needs just a little bit of refinement, because the way that they write may not be as clear as when they’re talking about it. And so but when you have both, when you have the rough draft, and then you have the actual interview with them, then you could quickly make a minor change, a little update, and it’s easy to make that powerful. Yeah, that makes a ton of sense. I love it, I love the concept. So then, so we’ve got our site live, we’re leveraging social media to get attention on it, which will naturally start to create other visibility opportunities as well. And you talked a little bit about that, our site is going to be a community resource. And we’re going to have more than just these interviews. And so we’re going to have things like that though the site itself is branded as this idea and not just a separate tab on your blog site or on your real estate site. And then after that, we want to make sure we got about two interviews going out a week, depending on how these conversations go, you might actually get that a little bit front-loaded, you might have more conversations and have more of these armed and ready to go. So that you can release at about two a week. Correct? And then I guess from there, the next question is. And I feel like I already know the answer to this. But is there anything that real estate agents are having to do at this point in order to see the effort that they’re doing on a site like TheFacesOf or the equivalent for their community? Is there any extra effort that they’re having to do to turn that attention into real estate transactions? Is there any other work that they’re doing on that side?
Brian Weiss 1:08:54
I think this is up to the individual. I used to be licensed in real estate, I’m not licensed anymore. And this is all I do now. But if I were doing this, personally, everybody I talked to through that exchange, I’m gonna finish the interview by asking them when you think about TheFacesOf Buford, where I live, who’s one person that comes to mind that should be recognized. And so I’m going to ask for access to their network, their sphere of influence, and have them sort of refer me in. And it’s going to give me a sense of the level of connection we just created. And it’s not an interrogation. It’s not like I’m the one asking all the questions. They’re asking questions about me too. And so we’re getting to know each other. And so what I’ll say is this, Brad, now five years in, is on the board of four different companies. He’s had 15 different High School interns come through his office to help with this project because he got involved in interviewing teachers. He’s been the guest teacher at a class and that class created a competition for schools in small business marketing that they have here in Georgia. They placed third in the state by highlighting this project out of Gainesville. And so they ended up going to nationals in Denver. So when you use the word work, opportunities, naturally, doors will open things will crystallize or become available to you that you would have otherwise never even known about. And you will have to decide, do I want to invest more time, my time in going down those paths and down those rabbit holes because of the benefit that gives me and growing more connections with more people in my community. And so my hope is that you’re eager to have those opportunities and that you flush those out. And I actually listen for that as feedback from our partners. So you’re sharing your two stories a week, and so you’ve got three deals, that’s great. How has your influence translated to your involvement in the community? What have you been invited to go be a part of, because that really is a suggestion of how impactful you are, people are going to want you to be a part of things they’re doing. And so that would be what I would describe as more work as an outcome of this, in my mind is incredibly beneficial. And that plays out very differently, depending on the person that’s driving the project. And how they see that the world and how they chase after abundance and things like that.
Zach Hammer 1:11:17
Yeah, that makes sense. And honestly, that’s almost exactly where I was thinking is, the reality is, this isn’t the kind of thing that, you’re going to do all this work to build up this influence locally. And then you still have to go out and do a bunch of prospecting in order to get it to convert, this is the kind of effort that’s going to be very front-loaded, you’re going to do the effort up front, but then the way that the deals are going to start coming in are going to be people picking up the phone and saying, hey, I need to list my house, can you help me? Not like you’re having to track people down and having to track down those opportunities, it’s very much more natural, just the same way that like, somebody in your friends, your family, your personal sphere might reach out to you for that kind of help, that’s the kind of result that you’re going to see from something like this, where those kinds of deals are going to come naturally, as a result of the front end work that you do building out something like this. And then further, just like you mentioned, the work that ends up coming of this tends to be more involved in the community. And more opportunities for doing good while you’re doing well. And having more opportunity for that. So that makes a ton of sense. I love it. So I think at this point, I think we’ve covered as much as makes sense to cover in this interview about the process for people. So what I’d say is the next step, for anybody who’s interested in this concept, I highly encourage you, if you like this idea, get out there and start doing something with it. Now, it may not be the fit for everybody. The kinds of people who are going to be the right fit for this are going to be the kind of people who, yes, of course, you want to be successful in business, you want to make money, you have to make money, a successful business needs to be profitable. So as a marketing strategy, it ultimately has to pay off down that way. But a big portion of the ROI of an endeavor like this is out of the purpose and impact. And that has to have a lot of meaning to you as well if you’re going to go out and do something like this. Because otherwise, while the strategy works, you may not have the energy or the bandwidth to do it if those kinds of interactions don’t light you up as well, where you get to see the impact that you’re making in the community. It does take work, it does take effort to do something like that. So if you’re the kind of person that if you were hearing about the impact that you’re making in the community, if you’re hearing that kind of stuff and that makes you come alive and makes you excited to do more than this is likely a really good fit for you and your personality. And I would highly encourage you to take action and start on this idea. And even further, if you want it to be easy, I really recommend you check out TheFacesOf.com sets, you don’t have to reinvent the wheel you can get started, get going, and really just dive in and make that process as easy as possible. To help you along that path we did set up a link where you can essentially let them know that you came through the Real Estate Growth Hackers show that you heard about TheFacesOf through this episode or through Real Estate Growth Hackers and to get there through that link it’s going to be RealEstateGrowthHackers.com slash go slash the faces of that will also be available in the show notes and wherever you’re seeing this there should be a link to that around this as well. So definitely if you want to go check them out and you want to let them know that real estate growth hackers sent you that’s the best way to do it. RealEstateGrowthHackers.com slash go slash TheFacesOf and one other question that people may have and I don’t know exactly how you want to talk through this cuz I know sometimes pricing changes. But what’s the cost involved if they want to work with TheFacesOf and feel free to answer that, however, makes the most sense for you right now.
Brian Weiss 1:15:22
No, I appreciate it. I am actually am proud of the fee structure that we put together, it’s very affordable. So one thing I’ll mention when we partner with somebody in a community, and when we talk about community, we probably want to have more than 25 or 30,000 people, because we want to have some reach, we want to be able to get out in front of a decent-sized audience, we probably don’t want to be much bigger than 100,000 people because, at some point, we stopped identifying with that as our community. Here where I live in Atlanta, we would never do the faces of Atlanta, which has 100,000 people because people that live in Atlanta, identify with some of the smaller communities inside of Atlanta as Buckhead and Midtown indicated. So there’s a little work in defining your community. But when we work with a partner in a community, it’s an exclusive relationship. So we’re partnering and licensing this platform exclusively to one agent in a community. So as we continue to grow, there’ll be fewer and fewer markets available. And I’ll just say that for the benefit of those looking that are on the fence, at least check us out, at least allow me to show you what it is. Because if you’re interested in the content, then I’m pretty confident, you’ll be pretty excited about the way we’ve done it. We have a private Facebook group where all of our partners from all over the country are a part of this Facebook community. So we’re building a national network of like-minded people that like to serve others, and I have a feeling that community in and of itself is going to be a pretty high reward as we get to 6, 7, 800 a thousand partners across the country. I have a real estate coach that I hired, that has coach real estate for a long time that I hired to coach our partners and how to leverage this platform in their business. So you’ll get a coach to make sure you understand how to build a social media strategy to understand how to use the technology, to understand how to ask and position an interview when you want to reach out to somebody in your community. And so there’s a ton of support in that way. But we’re licensing the market for a one-time setup fee of $650. And I use that to get their site live within a week. And there’s a monthly license fee, that’s exclusive with them for 250 bucks a month. And you can start within a week of signing up. And if you’ll go do a hundred coffees a year with us, and do this the way that we recommend doing it, I guarantee you have no trouble paying for your $3,000 a year that you’ll spend with us to be able to do it. And you’ll be able to be a part of a brand that is really committed to creating community impacts from coast to coast. And that’s frankly, the part that I’m most excited about is what this brand will be recognized for in the future and not necessarily the business impact we’ve created for the people that are sponsoring it.
Zach Hammer 1:18:01
Right. And I want to let people know, the reality is that pricing part of why it’s as cheap as it’s able to be is because you guys have done the legwork of figuring out what exactly makes this successful, right? Because you and I talked in the past I had been looking at running a service, where we’re going to be doing a similar thing. But with video, and you can imagine, I know going against this, if you’re running this kind of service with video, the cost has to be higher, because the amount of work is drastically higher. And so part of why you’re able to keep the cost so effective as you figured out, you don’t need the video. And actually, there’s a lot of benefits and maybe not doing the video and in terms of getting people to be ready to do those interviews ready, actually getting that content out and making it more easy and natural. And you still get all of that benefit of being in the community. So I’ll just encourage everybody, that pricing sounds fantastic. Even if by the time you get there, and maybe the pricing has changed a bit, just to put this in perspective, I was looking at charging about $2500 a month in order to run a similar sort of service with video. So the pricing and shoot would have been worth it. But the pricing of this is very affordable, I think for most agents, you’re exactly right. I mean three grand a year, even anywhere near that most agents are going to easily pay for that as long as they get and do the work. So I would encourage you if this sounds like something that you could be passionate about. You care about your local community deeply, you want to get out there and build some influence, for yourself while also spotlighting and lifting up your local community, this is a fantastic project. I’m really excited that it exists in the world. Brian, thank you, I fully believe that entrepreneurs and business owners are a big part of what actually solves problems in this world. Thank you for creating this service and creating the opportunity to make this easier for agents to impact communities, I know that you guys are going to be doing big things you’re already are. So I wish you the best of success in this endeavor. As a listener, if you’re listening to this, and you’re not sure if you want to sign up or not, I highly encourage you, if anything, at least reach out. If it seems like it might be a good fit, reach out, learn more about it, and have that conversation, especially before your areas taken and the opportunities removed from you. So again, if you guys want to check it out, you can feel free if you want to let him know that you came through real estate growth hackers, that’s real estate growth hackers.com slash go slash the faces of if you want to check it out directly. It’s TheFacesOf.com, so feel free. I don’t mind, either way, just get over there. If it sounds like it’s something that you’re interested in. And then otherwise, we’ll catch you on the next one. I hope this was valuable for you again, Brian, thanks so much for coming on. And and we’ll be in touch and we’ll see you on the next episode.
Brian Weiss 1:21:02
Thanks a lot. I appreciate it very much Zack, I enjoyed the conversation.
Zach Hammer 1:21:05
Thanks for tuning in to the Real Estate Growth Hacker show remember done is better than perfect. To turn the marketing ideas and tactics you just learned into real growth for your real estate business, visit us at RealEstateGrowthHackers.com If you liked this episode, consider sharing it with another real estate professional who could benefit from the information or maybe you’d like to subscribe to the show to never miss an episode. You can leave a rating or review on iTunes with your biggest takeaway, helping this show to reach and help more people just like you. Thanks again and we’ll see you on the next episode.
Real Estate Growth Hackers Founder
Zach Hammer is the co-founder of Real Estate Growth Hackers. Over the last 36 months Zach and his team have managed ad budgets well over $100,000, generated over 25,000 real estate leads, and helped create over $50,000,0000 in business revenue for their clients. Zach is also a highly sought after speaker and consultant whose work has impacted some of the top Real Estate teams and brokerages across the country.