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How to grow your brand and feel fulfilled – Interview with John Wood, Parkbench Sponsor

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So why did you decide to get started with Parkbench?

I started with Parkbench either a week or two weeks after I got my license.  Parkbench was the first thing I did outside of the setup of my own brokerage.  Parkbench’s strategy and structure resonated with what I already wanted to do.  The clip you use with Gary Vaynerchuk talked about being your own digital front, which I knew was fundamentally was true, I’d already looked at doing it on my own, but Parkbench provided a formal platform, where it was all organized and it was a polished image which I could then present to people, rather than uploading videos interviews and posting to Facebook.  Parkbench looks much better and looks a much cleaner product to business owners and the people in the community.

Have you used other avenues of promotion or marketing in the past to grow your business with real estate?

At the end of the month, it will be a year since I have been licensed, most of what I have done is through Parkbench or through the opportunities and doors that have been open because of Parkbench.  One of the big things I have been able to be a part of in a meaningful way is a monthly community street fair.  Because I am able to be involved in that, so many other realtors and service providers, insurance agents, and banks are able to be involved.  A lot of my marketing is built around that and that door opened because of Parkbench.  


What business wins have you seen so far?  What has come out of Parkbench so far for the past year?

A couple of them come to mind.  Number one, Wednesday was a week since I closed on a house that was a direct referral from Parkbench.  That was one of the first interviews I did, a month from when I got started with Parkbench.  I built a relationship with the owner of a hot sauce shop.  He told me that the week after I posted that video, he had $800 in sales from people who came in from seeing the video that I posted.  That helped to build the foundation in November last year when he referred me to someone.  I made sure that every once in a while, I’d stop in and say hi and I included some of his stuff in some of my raffle baskets in fall last year.

Another one I had a lot of fun doing was the Historical society in town.  They really appreciated it and a lot of people watched it.  The niche I am carving out is Senoiahistoric homes.  So interviewing them and helping them with projects has helped me build a foundation in the historical home person of the area.

Why do you think growing your business through relationships is a good fit for you?

I would say the brokerage with the big O [Open Door], Zillow, Red Fin, and Offer Pad will never be able to do what an individual agent can do through Parkbench. They don’t develop relationships.  They can’t afford to pay somebody to walk around and interview all the small businesses and important people in town.  They can’t afford to do that at scale. 

I think that’s why it’s important to build relationships to build your business.  And plain and simple, longevity.  Look at the statistics, internet leads and their repeat business rate is awful. Some people throw away a lot of money chasing down cold, internet leads. And going into it you know you have to keep paying money because the vast majority of people have no loyalty or relationship with you. They won’t be back for the second transaction no matter how good you are.

What was coaching like when you first started off with Parkbench?

It was awesome.  The one on ones were good, and they still are, checking in to see what’s working and what isn’t.  I was struggling with booking interviews.  I have a tendency to do over-the-top, complicated things. Towards the end of summer last year, I put together a hundred or two hundred of these red folders with a letter explaining what I was doing and getting down into the details about what Parkbench is. I then went around and handed it to every business in town, and I got nothing.  What I created was so complicated and so over the top. So, through the coaching, we walked through simplifying it. People want things in simple terms. So, I focused on the fact that we are talking about your business and putting it on social media. Then it turns into “when’s a good time?”

What do you suggest to people who are considering Parkbench?

There are two fundamental things about leveraging Parkbench.  You have to bring real value.  You have to be willing to leverage the backside.  I have talked with business owners who understand the full concept.  I spent  $4000 on Parkbench a week after I got licensed, and I tell business owners that.  That I love and value Senoia enough to go out there and buy something like this. This isn’t something that you are going to spend money on and put on the back burner. This has to be at the forefront of your marketing. You build other marketing branding avenues around it.

I am a solo agent right now, I don’t have a team, and I don’t have an admin. I want to be consistent at it and get it done.  For the first couple of months, I had ideas of blitzing through all of the businesses in town, but that wasn’t sustainable. So now I’ve changed my pace and I’m doing a couple a month and being consistent at it.

Interested in finding out more about Parkbench? You can, here. Want to learn more about how other agents are building their businesses? Check out our Local leader’s section!

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