In episode two of Condo Artist: The Other Side of Real Estate, hosts Uri Vaknin, Shahn Douglas and Mark Bunton walk condo marketers through the steps of identifying their best buyers and explain how to use data to make sales faster and more efficiently. Learn how Uri and his team, through real-time data analysis, identified a seismic shift in traffic to one community and started selling condos to buyers relocating from Northern California even before the Raiders’ announced their move to Las Vegas.
Discussed in this episode:
Uri Vaknin 0:15
Welcome to the second episode of Condo Artist: The Other Side of Real Estate. I’m your host Uri Vaknin, a condo sales strategist who has developed and sold out thousands of condos in Atlanta, Las Vegas, all over Florida, Detroit, Texas, Nashville, and all across the United States. Each week I along with my co hosts and colleagues, Shahn Douglas. Hello, hello, and Mark Bunton.
Mark Bunton 0:41
Hi, it’s Mark.
Uri Vaknin 0:43
We will bring you the latest insights, best practices and sales techniques to sell out more condos faster. No matter the market. This podcast will pull back the curtain on condominium sales. This is Episode Two: Who Is Your Buyer? You know, guys, and starting today’s episode, I want to share a little story with you. Since we did our first episode, which was The Pivot, I was speaking to our two of our agents. And two of the contracts that they have written coincide with exactly what our podcast was about the pivot. One buyer actually was someone who registered on our website or one of the websites and wouldn’t respond to an email or phone call got on one of our zoom open houses. And eventually now they’re under contract to buy a condo. Another one actually did respond, attended a zoom call, and then went from the zoom call to coming into the sale center, checking out the condos and going under contract. You know, I would love to see that, you know, the things that we talked about are actually coming true in real time.
Shahn Douglas 1:57
That’s great Uri.
Uri Vaknin 1:59
You know, I think with us selling here in Las Vegas, and particularly selling condos here in Las Vegas, it literally teaches us how to sell to the world. Would you guys agree with that? Absolutely. I mean, I know we’ve sold everywhere all over the country. But there’s something about selling in Las Vegas. You know, the old adage, if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere.
Shahn Douglas 2:21
New York, New York.
Uri Vaknin 2:23
Well, you know, it’s also a song, but it’s more about selling condos for me. But I believe that it really rings true for selling here in Las Vegas more than anywhere else, because we’re literally selling to the world. So today’s episode is focused on who is your buyer? It’s funny when I ask people buy people I mean, typically real estate agent is pretty good condo, real estate agents. How do they target their market of buyers? They all say the same thing. They list off the ordinary things that any real estate agent or any real estate marketing company would would do, which is they talk about MLS they talk about e blast ads, both print and digital, and even talking about some social media. Yeah, I did. I did I did. That doesn’t answer the question, Who is your buyer? The purpose of this podcast today is to understand and to learn how to learn who is your buyer, and then how to take that information and market to them. You know, obviously, when you start a condo project, or even when you have a single condo listing, you’re going to start off with a comprehensive marketing plan. Today, we’re not going to go into the details of a comprehensive marketing plan and how to create that. That could be a whole podcast series in itself. We’re going to talk about something that is basic, but important and often ignored. And it’s really focused on data. I think data really drives everything. And if you don’t have the right data, you’re not going to make the right decisions. You’re going to waste time, money and effort if you don’t have the right data. And I don’t care if you’re thousand condo tower, or if you’re single listing data drives everything. You know, as I said the most basic but important often ignored places to start is with your website registrations. Now, there are two ways of looking at this. There’s sharpshooting and there’s buckshot. And sometimes you’ve got to do a little bit of both.
Shahn Douglas 4:32
What’s a buckshot, Uri?
Uri Vaknin 4:35
You know buckshot is where you just you know when you’re not sure who your buyer market is, is rare. You just put it out there as widely as you can. Obviously, buckshot is more expensive than sharpshooting the goal. And you know, real estate marketing is really sharp shooting and the way you can successfully do that is by having the right data and having the right demographics. analyses. And to understand exactly who is your buyer, the number one place to start off with understanding who your buyer is, is the most basic, often ignored. But most important, website registrations. People take this for granted. They look at website registrations, and they respond to them, they get a response to they don’t get a response. So what we do on our website is we set up a registration. And you have to be careful what you what kind of information you ask for, and how much information you asked for. And we’ve had decades of experience of knowing what people will give you and what people won’t give you what’s really interesting, if someone will write their zip code, and website registration form, before they’ll give you their actual city. I don’t know why, but we’ve just seen it. So we typically ask for five pieces of information, Shahn helped me.
Shahn Douglas 6:05
First off, we asked for their name.
And sometimes they don’t even give us that one of the requirements is an email address, I mean, obviously, we want to have some way to get ahold of them, even if they aren’t comfortable giving us their phone number, but required are his name, email address, how you heard about us, you know, we really want to know if they saw an ad or song, you know, us online, or if it was a referral, and then we ask for, you know, zip code, so we can determine what part of the country they’re coming from.
Uri Vaknin 6:39
And there are also field for city and state, right, but the zip code for us is most important, because you could really drill down for zip code. So you know, what we do is we take that information, and we actually dump that information into our database. And then what’s really key is adding on to that information, building upon that information. And the way you build upon that information is by when you get in touch with the buyer, and when you speak to the buyer, you get additional information, when they come in for a visit, you get in additional information. And then on top of that, when you know and the whole ultimate goal of all this is that when they actually become a buyer, you can really get the full demographic information. And then, you know, as you get more and more web registrants, and you actually don’t need that many, it’s surprisingly, you know, the amount of data points you need to understand what real trends are. And so, you know, you’re obviously going to prioritize your buyer demographic information over your, you know, broad more, you know, just web registrant information, because you really want to focus on who is your buyer, and that’s what this whole podcast is about, um, Mark, you know, you’ve really been the keeper of these demographic analyses. Um, you know, what’s interesting is, every time any of our sites, get a web registrant, I get copied on them. I know, some people might think that’s micromanagement, but the two seconds, that I just review that information, like I’m able to see, literally from day to day, if there’s any changes, if there’s any, you know, up to ticks that are different, that may become a trend, something that I want to start, you know, I say to you, Mark, Mark, let’s look at this. And let’s keep track of this. And then I’ll say, Shawn, you know, I’ve been noticing this, you know, the sources are working, these sources don’t seem to work in. And one of the key things about what we do is that we know real time, what is happening at all of our sites, and with what we’re doing. And I gotta tell you, that information is gold. Because when you whatever article, you may read, whatever, you know, great economist comes up with information or your national, your local board of realtors, well, that is all good information. By the time you’re reading it. It’s old information. And so what we love to do, and what we have to see is what is real time happening. Um, you know, Mark, I think this might be a great chance, opportunity for you to really talk about, you know, the demographic information that we do gather and how it gets built up upon and how you see it. And you know, how you aggregate it. I mean, it’s just so fascinating.
Mark Bunton 9:46
I think you’re absolutely right, or even in, you know, pulling back the curtain on our demographics, a little bit. We get information from people from various sources. We get them from our web registrants. We get them from leads that we’ve discussed, we also get them from the traffic that comes to our sales center doors. And all of this information is collected and entered into a CRM. And we like to go into that CRM and extract this demographic information in Mark, CRM, contact, customer, customers nation.
Uri Vaknin 10:23
Yeah, it’s so funny. It’s such a use term that I record customer, customer relation management systems. It’s so funny, we use that term, and no one knows what that term means. But yeah, CRM and example not to do a commercial for Salesforce. Salesforce is listening, and wants to sponsor our podcast. But Salesforce is what we use, but it’s a highly customized version of Salesforce.
Mark Bunton 10:49
Alright, so what we’d like to do is we, you know, we compile all of this information in our CRM. And then we, of course, like to use it, and we go in, and we take this information out of our CRM and put it into a spreadsheet. And we’d like to take a look at, you know, what Shahn mentioned earlier, is how people are hearing about us, what are the sources that are driving buyers and potential buyers to our doorstep? We’d like to, you know, see the location that they’re coming from, you know, are they coming from California? Are they coming from Washington, DC, and, of course, this information is provided by them. And we use that to to market to those people exclusively as necessary.
Uri Vaknin 11:29
Well, it’s interesting mark, you brought up a really good point, talking about location. And that goes back to that zip code. And we talked about, you know, when people put in that zip code, oftentimes, we’ve had to research where zip codes were right. And, you know, especially now with COVID, and it was we talked about in Episode One, and the pivot, and how people are not just buying real estate, but it’s also how they’re thinking about real estate, right. And so, when I was getting copied on these web apps, or getting copied on the web leads, I started noticing zip codes that I didn’t recognize, and this was around the same time. And I know this is very Vegas specific. But with COVID, you know, the sort of shifts of people moving to new places, and feeder markets, you know, shifting is really important for people to look at, you know, the Raiders were talking about moving to Las Vegas, even before they were finally announced, people from the Bay Area. And you know, what’s funny is, when people say the Bay Area, we know that they don’t live in San Francisco proper, we they mean somewhere in the Bay Area. And it was funny, it really started turning out to be Oakland, and, you know, the area around Oakland. And so I was able to react to having to research, you know, where these zip codes were coming from. And so from what we were talking about real time, you know, these zip codes, then we all huddled, and we started really looking and mark you pulled together in one of these demographic analyses. And we saw for, you know, an inordinate amount of new leads coming in from these markets that were not typically feeder markets for Las Vegas. And for you know, our listeners, you know, the feeder markets for Las Vegas, historically. And historically. I mean, going back to the 50s have been, you know, Southern California, the Los Angeles area, and I mean, Los Angeles area, I don’t necessarily mean Los Angeles proper. It’s typically the suburban areas around Los Angeles, and Hawaii. And then also some foreign buyers have come on, you know, but those typically have been feeder markets that you can generally count on. Just like if you’re selling condos, you know, on the east coast of Florida or the west coast. On the east coast. We always knew that it was people coming down the 95 corridor, that’s a highway 95. And if it was the West Coast, they were coming down the 70 interstates, yes, interstate 75. So you could always count on those feeder markets. But with our real time, you know, data drive that we go after we started to notice this incredible shift. And it was it was a big deal. And it became a seismic shift in who our buyers started becoming here in Las Vegas because they were no longer just web registrants. And this was pre covered so they were flying down. And they were buying condos now in Las Vegas, when historically people from Northern California if they were going to move to Nevada they were going to buy in the Lake Tahoe Reno area. And so that was a really incredible thing to see. And this was by taking just one small component of Our comprehensive marketing plans. And that component is the one that I always say is the most basic but important and often ignored, which are the website registrants. And we’ve just as one small component of our comprehensive marketing plans, we’re able to understand this seismic shift in our market. And that was really important for everything that we were doing. You know, I mean, Shawn, like that was when we were like, wow. And then that was when we got together with our internet marketing company. And when we got together with our creative agency and said, Guys, we see a seismic shift, and we have to address it.
Shahn Douglas 15:49
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Uri Vaknin 16:41
Now you’ve got this information, right? And, and you’ve got your you’ve got your demographic analyses. But then you also want to understand is not just okay, there’s a shift of buyers coming from these markets, but you want to look at the data points that you’ve collected, to understand who your best buyers are, and why. So they can close on the sale. Exactly. Because that way you can be most efficient with your marketing and more importantly, with your marketing dollars, to target people who are most likely to buy your property. And that, for me, is like the what is the thing called it that of Jesus’s that everyone is looking for? Oh, the Holy Grail is a holy grail of what we do is really trying to find the best buyer is. And by that we mean the people who are most likely to come in and be able to close quickly. And we brought up a lot of information, you know, we brought up, you know, the seismic shift, we brought up, you know, or demographic analyses, you know, just pinpointing one component of your marketing plan, and it you know, your website registrants. But you know, Shawn, you always like to say or not just website registrants, and Mark likes to say it’s not just website registrants, you know, you know, Mark, you always say, let’s not forget, if two people come in the door and the information that they give, and Shahn, what do you always say?
Shahn Douglas 18:18
Well, I think we’ve got to consider the times right now too. And we know web web leads are a way people are interacting with us versus the traffic that we get through the door. But it’s also who’s calling who’s calling the website or the sales office. So one of the things that we’ve been able to do very successfully is to track our marketing efforts back to our who’s calling. So how do we do we have a service that we use called call rail, and they you know, provide a specific number for whatever type of advertising it is. So if I’m doing a flyer, the flyer is going to have a certain number in it. And anybody that calls in from the flyer, we know that’s how they heard about us, or if it’s an ad, or an E blast. So it’s a great way to learn more about what advertising is working, because you can’t discount the phone calls. And I think a lot of times people don’t count that as part of their daily activity, but it really is a big part of daily activity for our on site agents. So
Uri Vaknin 19:30
what do you mean by daily activity?
Shahn Douglas 19:32
What are they doing all day? What are agents doing? They following up on web leads? Are they answering web leads? are they meeting with people that come through the door? Are they getting phone calls and giving information away but yet not getting any information back from the caller? You know, it’s real easy to have someone call and say hey, what how much your condos? Well, they’re from in the start from the two hundreds for jewel for example. And you know Okay, great. Okay, thanks. Bye, you know, and there’s compete a potential prospect or sale. So you’ve got to really count your phone calls and really nurture those just like web leads, or traffic through the door.
Uri Vaknin 20:15
So I think what’s really important right now, especially during COVID, and you know, and what happens during post COVID, whenever that may be, is, with buyers not necessarily coming in the door as much these web registrants, see web leads, people calling in, it’s really key to get this information from them
Mark Bunton 20:36
with the onset of COVID. You know, we almost immediately noticed a shift in our traffic, no longer were we seeing people, you know, come through our front door, but we’re contacting them reaching out to us in other ways. And you know, they were doing our web leads, they’re registering on our website, they were calling our sales centers. And we quickly realized that, you know, we have to make the most of this and get these people to
Shahn Douglas 21:00
buy. Yeah, and I think, you know, you have to qualify people on the phone, just as you would qualify a web lead. And that’s probably another topic for another day. But, you know, you’ve got to ask the right questions to know who your buyer is, you just have to,
Uri Vaknin 21:15
okay, so now we figured out, we know who our buyer is, and, and hopefully now our listeners will understand, you know, how to focus on, you know, finding out who their buyer is. So what do we do with that information? So we have the information, and how do we use it to target our buyers? How do we use it to message our buyers? And how do we use it to sell to our buyers? I think that’s a, that’s, you know, what the meat of today’s podcast is really about, you know, while we can talk all day long about demographic information, because, like, I love data points, and I love all that, you know, the market intelligence behind what we do, it’s so key. A lot of people don’t find that interesting, unfortunately, because they get better at what they do, if they did, but what we have to now, you know, help our listeners understand is how we take that information, and actually make sales and make sales faster and more efficiently, you know, in talking about how to target Shawn ism. So when we saw that uptick, and that eventually became a trend, but we were on the forefront of it. Um, you know, of the buyers coming from Northern California, or, quote, the Bay Area, you know, what were some of the things that we did to really reach out to those folks,
Shahn Douglas 22:37
we reached out to those markets with web ads with banner ads. So we saturated that market. We worked with our partners and had all of our online advertising focus on that area. And the messaging was that one of our properties one Las Vegas that’s also for sale, was located near the proposed stadium site. So we really changed our messaging to let people know that they could live right down the street from their favorite football team. So that was one thing we did, we also developed a landing page, where when we did get interested people from the website, they landed on this page that was designed all with the graphics that look like Raiders and location map showing the the distance from the condos to the proposed site. So again, it just reinforced the message of living close to stadium. And
Uri Vaknin 23:42
in case any Raiders marketing, people are listening, we actually did not use any Raider specific imagery, because we know we can’t do that. But we did include a lot of football related imagery. That was one of the things we learned was you can’t use, you know, trademark imagery,
Shahn Douglas 24:01
check with trademarks and being you know, because a lot of things are trademarked and that’ll get you in some hot water.
Uri Vaknin 24:07
So one of the things that we did was so now we get the information, we no longer there was no more buckshot. It’s now a sharp shooting. We knew who our buyers were, we still had to address our buyers from Southern California. But we had this whole seismic shift, where we now had buyers coming from Northern California, and we went to to directly market to them. And it was really great was we were able to I love the idea and I love what we did was we created this landing page which is basically like a web page that is sort of the first page you you hit you come to before you go to the full website for the property and it really spoke directly to the Raiders but not through Raiders specific imagery because you’re not allowed to do that as we said, but rather through you know, real football imagery You know, Shahn, as he said, we show distance from, you know, our condo building to the proposed Stadium, which people loved. And it was really amazing people started coming, and people even started buying condos. Before the Raiders were formally announced. I think people in Oakland knew that it was a done deal.
Shahn Douglas 25:21
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Uri Vaknin 26:17
That is one example of how you use your data information and your demographic analyses to directly target and to understand what’s going on. But then one of the other things we learned was you know who our best buyer was. And our best buyer was a California buyer between the ages of 45 and 65. They were going to spend, they were going to buy their condo with cash. And they were either relocating from California, or they were planning on relocating from California, because they were looking to retire in Las Vegas, a lot of them were already pre retirees. And they were moving because of cost of living. They wanted to simplify their lives, they wanted to be able to live better, and Las Vegas, and they were living in California, and they were no longer tethered to a job. And especially now, this is really important, you know, in these times, you know, COVID and eventually post COVID. But people are not gonna be as tethered to a location because of a job that this demographic analysis information is really important. And really understanding, you know, where people coming from the reasons for leaving who these buyers are, is really key. And so what we then were able to do was take this information because we want to sell it to our best buyers, because we knew that or we know that they will, they’re most likely to buy and to close. And so what we’ve done was some really cool stuff, we really focused our messaging. So we knew how we knew who to direct our marketing to. And the great thing about the internet, it’s International. And so we knew who to market to. And then our messaging became really important. And so what we also know about this buyer type is one is that they use terms like they’re looking to downsize, we never used that term, we use the term to right size, because no one really wants to downsize. But a lot of people are coming from single family homes, and they’re going to a condo, and they don’t really necessarily understand, you know, living in a condo just yet. We knew how to market to the buyers. And the messaging we did was, you know, we really went to to focus on these cash buyers. So especially now at this time during COVID. What we and we know that their number one objection is HOA fees, people are moving from the house to a condo, I’ve never paid HOA fees. So we went to handle that objection. And we went to speak directly to the buyer. So in our messaging, and our you know, eblasts and our website and even when you Google us the Google My Business, it will say what our incentives are, which are prepaid Hoa fee, significant prepaid HOA fees, I don’t want to say what the actual number is because I don’t want to be held to that, you know, significant prepaid HOA fees on cash buyers who closed within 30 days. And that worked. You know, we were able to pull out the woodwork buyers who were who those things appeal to, because also from our demographic analysis, one of the things we know is that 40% of our buyers are paying cash and of those 40% the bulk of those who pay cash are coming from California and then One last thing that I want to bring up is one thing we’ve been really lucky with being able to do is an understanding who our buyers are. We’ve done this marketing thing over the past years. And whether you are a major condo community or a single, you know, selling a single condo, what we did was we did these advertorials, they look and feel like editorial, but it’s actually an ad. And it’s a focus on a buyer and why they chose to buy at our property. And what we did was, we looked at through our demographic analysis, the, our best buyers, and, you know, we picked buyers who purchased from us and did stories on them. And so that was done either as an ad, either as a blog, or we also were able to do for agents is to be able to take those stories and send them to our hot prospects, who are similar to those folks. And so there you have it, folks, that is, who is your buyer, and on our next episode, it’s gonna lead right into know your buyer, because you want to find out who your buyer is, you better get to know exactly who they are, if you want to sell to them, and close them. Thank you very much for listening to Episode Two of Condo Artists: The Other Side of Real Estate. See you next time.