Craig Leo: Acumen and Accolades on the Peninsula

When I stumbled across a Facebook video of Craig Leo, the renowned director of Barry Plant Rosebud speaking on the benefits of ActivePipe, I was stoked to see such a superstar sharing his excitement with the world.

Craig is a well-respected and sought after leader on the Mornington Peninsula. He’s also the recipient of numerous accolades that celebrate his business acumen and his dedication to establishing and maintaining relationships that last a lifetime. I think that Craig makes the perfect spokesperson for our platform, so I couldn’t wait to catch up with him to learn more about how he and his agents are harnessing the power of ActivePipe.

Hi Craig, thank you so much for sharing your video. We love nothing more than a happy client! I want to talk about the beginning of your ActivePipe journey. When were you first introduced to the platform and how receptive were your agents to the new system?

It was part of an initiative from our corporate group. We were given training on it and we certainly found it beneficial and the agents were really supportive of it. They recognise that it’s something that’s there to help them, so it’s really been fine.

Can you tell me a bit about how you incorporate ActivePipe into your daily routine?

One really good example is a couple that we missed out on a listing for. They didn’t sell with the current agent they were with and they ended up heading off for a holiday. Whilst they were away they were still searching for properties, so we knew they were a genuine buyer. Through ActivePipe we could see that as we alerted properties to them they were clicking on them multiple times. We always contact a buyer if we know that they’re clicking multiple times, so I was on the phone to them everywhere they stopped at as they travelled up the coast of Queensland!

By the time they were back from their holiday, they were looking to relist. They invited us in unopposed because they liked the fact that we’d kept in contact with them and that was with the help of ActivePipe. We ended up selling at auction which was great and from there they bought from us. So, by keeping in contact we were able to facilitate a buy and a listing unopposed.

You’ve received an amazing 24 appraisal requests so far. How many of those have turned into listings?

When we have a prospective vendor or an appraisal request, 9 times out of 10 we’ve listed and sold that property.

Wow, that’s incredible. Would you say that ActivePipe is allowing you to have better conversations with your prospects and that’s why you’ve been so successful in turning them into listings?

Well, first of all, it’s relevant conversations because we know, first of all, that their active in property. Secondly, we know the conversation is a relevant one because we can see what we’re sending them which results in a far better conversation. Thirdly, I think it’s the consistency of the conversation that ActivePipe is allowing for as well.

It’s not just a typical database call where you’re trawling through your prospective vendors. We’re making as many warm calls as possible.

As a director, do you find that ActivePipe helps you in managing your agents?

Getting reports back from ActivePipe that we can sit down and talk to the agents about is great. More importantly though, it’s giving them direction. Rather than coming in of the morning and making a series of cold calls or prospective vendor calls off a database, they’re able to have a really relevant conversation.

So now when I talk to agents I find that the majority of the conversation is, “What has been happening on your ActivePipe. Who’s clicking on what?” It’s not just about the vendor referrals or request for appraisals or finance referrals.

Have you had any feedback from clients on your communications with them?

I make people aware when they come through our opens that we are going to provide them with a series of updates that are relevant to their needs. I also tell them that if they’re not happy with it they can unsubscribe.

What’s really cool about the system is that when we’re doing an appraisal, we can generally do what we call a ‘buyer match’. This is where I go into ActivePipe and determine how many people are looking for say a 4 bedroom, 2 bathroom, double-garage home. I can show the prospective seller the results and the search history of the buyer. Then I’ll say, “Let’s give them a call now” and I’ll dial them up.

So, it’s just one of those really neat systems where you can actually show the vendor that you’ve got relevant buyers who have a search criteria that’s relevant to their property and that I can call them as easily at that. It’s actually hilarious.

So, do you use ActivePipe as a marketing tool when you are meeting with prospective sellers?

So many agencies say to their vendors that they’ve got “this buyer” in their database and “this red alert system” and they print off a list of ad hoc buyers. To me that’s just a number and anyone can do it. But when you actually show someone that a buyer has clicked on a property that’s similar to theirs, in a price range that is similar to theirs, and in their area, that’s really powerful.

Every agency says, “We’ve got the buyer”, whereas we tell our clients, “Look, everybody has the same buyers.” The difference between us and the other agencies is that we’ve got a much more accurate way of determining who the buyer is and we actually demonstrate that in a follow-up rather than just pulling up a list of names that may not even be real people.

What would you say to other directors who are thinking of giving ActivePipe a go?

I can sum that up in one sentence. It will change your business. Off the back of a really good market in the 2017/2018 financial year we made a 61% growth in our business. There was good training and marketing and all the things that we implemented in our business but ActivePipe was certainly a catalyst for that. So yes, do it.

That’s an incredible achievement that we are so happy to be a part of. Thank you for taking the time to chat today. Before we finish, is there anything else you’d like to add?

I’d say, just try to be consistent with your training, and consistent in updating your database.

One more thing! We were alerted by one of your team members that we were sending out far too many emails and that feedback helped us to cut down on some of the unsubscribes that we were seeing.

So I have to say that the service we’re receiving from ActivePipe is really good as well.

Check out Craig’s original video:

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How Edward Smyth Uses Cold, Hard Data to Sell with a “Human Touch”

How can an agent with under three years in the real estate game win awards, become a Director and feature on the cover of Elite Agent Magazine?

It sounds like an urban myth but Edward Smyth and the team at NGU Gold Coast are a force to be reckoned with and Edward has indeed ticked all these boxes in just three short years.

Edward started his career in the fast-paced game of international finance. Joining forces with business partner Karen Stewart, he’s gone from trading stock to trading houses and brought with him an expertise in big data to help nurture leads and build a fit database.

Central to his method is an eagerness to increase user ‘touchpoints’: points of customer contact, such as Facebook ads, a phone call or email.

We managed to steal some time with Edward, who told us how capitalising on user touchpoints with clean ActivePipe data helps the team convert leads.

This is how Edward Smyth uses a human touch.

In your recent interview with Elite Agent, you spoke about the human touch being so important to selling real estate. How does ActivePipe help you personalise the emails you’re sending to keep that human touch alive?

If you liaise with marketing specialists, they will tell you that it’s normally six touchpoints before you call to action. In my opinion, it’s probably closer to 20, based on the evolution of social media and the internet and associated ways to get to market quicker.

Having something like ActivePipe, where it creates a lot of the touchpoints, is crucial because it provides a real estate agent with a shortcut to touchpoints.

What layers of automation are you using across the platform? Do you have any sort of methodologies?

Yeah, my belief is that technology and automation increase the probability of the human touch. If you find an upsizer or a downsizer through the ActivePipe dashboard, jump on that, right away. I mean, if you don’t jump on that get out of real estate.  

Somebody’s asked for an appraisal; it couldn’t be more black and white.

Deliver that and deliver it quickly.

ActivePipe gives us enough alert so that we can deliver that within seconds of receiving the inquiry, and we do. Our rule is that no lead will ever sit in our pile for longer than eight hours.

In terms of efficiency and time management, how’s ActivePipe helping you and your business colleagues?

It takes a short amount of time to come up with the data for each weekly email. My secretary, Shannon Greaney, will pin an alert on my calendar and put in a time, saying ‘ActivePipe blurb’.

It’ll take about 30 minutes to come up with something because there’s enough information circling around the real estate sphere. It doesn’t need to be your own idea. You can show the biggest story in real estate from the week and talk about that.

How do you leverage your ActivePipe Dashboard to have those better conversations?

We have to digitally stalk everybody before we engage in conversation with them.

You digitally stalk them by doing a name search in RP Data to see what homes are associated with them. Then you go to LinkedIn, then you go to Facebook and you learn a little about them.

What I try to do is not make a phone call until I know everything that I can. What ActivePipe does is, it alerts me to somebody who’s active in the area, then the rest of the job is on me.

ActivePipe is an alert system.

It doesn’t do the job for you, but it alerts you to a possibility.

The way we kind of look at it is we give the agents the ammunition and the insights to be able to have those superior conversations, but it’s up to them to make the phone call and be proactive.

That’s right. If someone tells us, through ActivePipe, I’m a downsizer, looking for a townhouse that’s around 500, 600 grand, you don’t call them up and say, “Hey, you’re a Downsizer looking for a place that’s 500, 600 grand.”

What you do is you think about it. You look around and you consider somebody who might sell within that rationale.

You call the seller, the potential seller and say, “Look, would you sell at the right price?”

Then the seller says, “Yes.”

You call the ActivePipe buyer and say, “Look, I might have something for you, would you like to come and have a look on Wednesday?”

Then they say, “Yes.”

You match your buyer and your seller because that’s what real estate is.

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5 Ways ActivePipe Differs From Every Other Marketing Automation Platform

Last week I was sitting in a boardroom in San Francisco waiting to demonstrate ActivePipe and our products to a group of real estate agents and their marketing teams.

I’ve dealt with some tough crowds before but they were nothing compared to these agents. I was going to have to bring my A-game to turn those straight lips into excited smiles.

I got to the end of my skit; I told them about our company and what we do and how quickly we had been adopted by some of the biggest real estate networks in the country.

On my way out a young lady approached me. She laughed and shook my hand and said,

“This is wonderful. I thought I was going to be sitting through another boring email marketing presentation. You surprised me”.

When I got back to the hotel later that evening her comment came back to me. How many people hear “email marketing for real estate” and think the exact same thing?

Here is what sets ActivePipe apart from every other email builder in the industry:

ActivePipe is Personal

Some people think we’re the same as other e-marketing platforms that do nothing more then send out generic emails. We’re much more than that! With ActivePipe you can personally curate the content of your emails so that no two campaigns are ever the same. You can drag-and-drop blogs, images and videos to create bespoke emails that make your contacts say ‘Wow!’

ActivePipe is based on a hierarchical system

We provide marketing automation solutions for big businesses at a local level. This ensures there is brand consistency across the entire network, maintaining the same look, feel and customer experience across all offices.

ActivePipe’s analytics are local

Our analytics are meaningful. We don’t just throw numbers at you, we classify contacts as high value or up-and-coming based on their interaction with your emails. This information gives agents insight into their contacts interests and helps them build a relationship with them.

ActivePipe is built specifically for real estate

All our features have been designed with current real estate agents to facilitate negotiations that take place in the real world. We help them streamline their day-to-day business by integrating with their CRM and effortlessly incorporating property and contact data into their campaigns.

ActivePipe sends surveys that give real estate agents insight into their contact’s property interests

ActivePipe profiles new and existing contacts to discover their property interests. This profiling is continuous and based on their behaviour and interaction with your emails.

ActivePipe unlocks the potential in your database

ActivePipe is in regular contact with your contacts and picks up on their changing behaviour. Agent’s often report being surprised by the names that pop up in their call lists, proving that ActivePipe goes a long way towards connecting their new and old database.