What changes did I make last year that worked?

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

Endre Barath, Jr., challenged us to recount the things we did or changed in the past year or two that worked for us. I'm not sure I could put all of the changes in a single blog, but let me share a few things that have changed for the better.

One, I took a blow torch to my marketing over the past two years. It's funny. As I'm writing this, a Zillow rep just called. She was sweet and obviously trying to sell their services. One of the things I did in the past two years was drop Zillow. There was a time in the past when Zillow was a primary lead supplier. I paid a boatload of money to them, but they also provided me with 85% of my sales one year. I didn't flinch at the dollars going out because they came in twice as fast during that period. And then, nothing. 

I guess it was 2017, I noticed the quality of the Zillow leads diminished drastically. Most of the folks contacting me couldn't buy cat carrier, much less a $300000 house. I told myself month after month to drop them, and finally I listened and did. Ironically, I've sold more homes from Zillow leads since I stopped marketing through them than I did the last year I was with them.

But, Zillow wasn't the only boondoggle in marketing. I also dropped disappointing websites, blog-sites and marketing programs. Ironically, business didn't go down from the absence of those things. It actually increased, and my SOI referrals increased, and my available cash increased. Don't waste money on hype. Too many online marketing companies are like clouds with no rain. They make big promises but deliver very little. 

I did pick up one marketing practice that I continue to do today, thanks to Barbara Todaro. Barbara is a postcard marketing wizard, and I adopted her idea and I've put it in practice. The first few rounds of marketing with postcards didn't produce anything, but based on Barbara's success, I didn't quit. Then, a listing resulted. I took that location and turned it into a farm, and I get a listing nearly every time I send out a postcard to that market. I believe we took on 5 listings last year in that market area alone based on postcards.. It was the result of Barbara's postcard marketing practice.

Another change took place on the health front. I have had knee issues since playing football in high school, so I've dealt with them for a long time. I previously ran 6 miles a day for nearly six years, but the pounding on my knees ended that. I picked up cycling and it doesn't negatively affect my knees at all. So, when I have the opportunity to cycle, I do. In the interim, I still needed something to help with the knee pain. Mid-year in 2019, I started taking a daily dose of CBD oil.

I really didn't imagine it would make a difference, but within a week or so, I had no knee pain. That was the first time in decades. I ran out one month and my knees didn't hurt until about the fourth week. I picked up another bottle of CBD oil and within 24 hours, I was back to no pain. It appears to affect different people in different ways, but it has been incredible in my life. I incorporated turmeric late last year, and it has also helped maintain a pain-free status.

Those are a few of the bigger things I've done in the past year or so. In each case, they have brought awesome benefits to me and I haven't looked back. My marketing is more simplistic and consistent and it is also more effective. My health is solid and I continue to do whatever I want to do, including extreme sports. It really is true that age is just a number, and I choose to identify as a 35 year old *-). So, fun and challenges are seldom far away. Have a great 2020, and I look forward to seeing what the rest of the great group have done. 


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Michelle Enciso
Pikes Peak Dream Homes Realty - Colorado Springs, CO
Exceptional Service for Exceptional People

Love this! Very thoughtful personally and professionally. Thanks for sharing!

Jan 14, 2020 10:09 PM #12
James Dray
Fathom Realty - Bentonville, AR
Exceptional Agents, Outstanding Results

Morning Mike.

I've go to try some of that CBD oil.  The issue is there is so many, I can't decide which one to try

Jan 15, 2020 01:59 AM #13
Realtyna Inc
Realtyna - Newark, DE
Realtyna- MLS RETS Integration software & services

Hi Mike Cooper, GRI , thanks for sharing this wonderful post! It's great to see people investing in themselves professionally and personally.

Jan 15, 2020 02:43 AM #14
Sheila Anderson
Referral Group Incorporated - East Brunswick, NJ
The Real Estate Whisperer Who Listens 732-715-1133

Good morning Mike. Sounds like you have focused on what works for you and reaped the benefits.

Jan 15, 2020 05:47 AM #15
Kat Palmiotti
406-270-3667, kat@thehousekat.com, Broker, Blackstone Realty Group - brokered by eXp Realty - Kalispell, MT
The House Kat

I really enjoyed reading this. I have a friend who was having neck pain (he subsequently had surgery) and he tried CBD and was surprised at how well it worked for him. 

As for marketing, I do think we have to adjust our processes over time - everything changes. 

Have a wonderful day!

Jan 15, 2020 05:53 AM #16
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Los Angeles Pasadena 818.516.4393

Hi Mike - your success stories on various fronts are inspiring.  There is hope!  When it comes to effective marketing, a course in Todaro 101 is a good one to "enroll" for all real estate professionals who want to succeed.  All it takes for enrollment is to follow Barbara Todaro on a daily basis.  Read.  Learn.  Follow her advice.  

I am happy to hear that you are pain-free(or close) and found the solution that works for you.

Continued good luck and success.  

Jan 15, 2020 06:13 AM #17
Lyn Sims
RE/MAX Suburban - Schaumburg, IL
Schaumburg IL Real Estate

Glad it works for you like it does for me. I have done it for years & once you get a rhythm with it - the listings/sales will flow in.

Jan 15, 2020 06:19 AM #18
Beth Atalay
Cam Realty and Property Management - Clermont, FL
Cam Realty of Clermont FL

Hi Mike Cooper, GRI, I know of several agents who dropped Zillow within the past two years, I've never been a fan of their platform. Glad to hear you broke away from them as well.
I take CBD oil as well and give it to Buddy(my chocolate lab). He was having seizures when I first adopted him since he started taking CBD oil, not seizures for the past four years. Wishing you a great 2020!

Jan 15, 2020 06:27 AM #19
Mike McCann - Nebraska Farm Land Broker
Mike McCann - Broker, Mach1 Realty Farmland Broker-Auctioneer Serving Rural Nebraska - Kearney, NE
Farm Land For Sale 308-627-3700 or 800-241-3940

I have an agent who sells CBD oil and swears by it.  I also like postcards and direct mail. Thank you for sharing the good and bad at what works.

Jan 15, 2020 06:31 AM #20
Leanne Smith
Dirt Road Real Estate - Golden Valley, AZ
Relocation to NW AZ with elbow room & more freedom

Congratulations on this well written piece being featured. So true about investing the time to reflect what is working and what is not working this helps to avoid insanity.

Jan 15, 2020 06:31 AM #21
Barbara Todaro
RE/MAX Executive Realty - Franklin, MA
Marketing Agent for The Todaro Team

Mike Cooper, GRI that's great news that your direct mail marketing is working for you....and you'll find that as your SOI grows because of those mailings, you'll have a steady flow of listings, not only when you do a mailing.... consistency will work well to stay top of mind...

and I smiled as I read your post..... LOL

Jan 15, 2020 07:56 AM #22
Debb Janes EcoBroker and Bernie Stea JD
ViewHomes of Clark County - Nature As Neighbors - Camas, WA
REALTORS® in Clark County, WA

Very cool, and thanks for the Zillow testimonial. I really am not a fan of that huge portal that forces members pay big bucks in order to play the game. Wouldn't it be great if all real estate pros refused to play?

As for the rest, the post card mailings are something we need to revisit. We tried it last year, but only got requests for CMA's - didn't turn into much. I'm not giving up though. D 

Jan 15, 2020 10:56 AM #23
Keller Williams Select Realtors-Buy a home in Washington DC. Sell a home in Washington DC - Bowie, MD
I don't make promises.I deliver results.SOLD HOMES

Mike I just started today reading a book that Helene Kelbaugh who is a Real Estate Agent now with EXP Realty sent me called The Power of Human Connection: How Relationship Marketing is Transforming the Way People Succeed. Great read so far that is reminding us that we need to follow up with our business contacts and when you network give instead of looking to receive.

And I might have to try CBD Oil. I last jogged about 4 months ago and I run about amount of miles you run a day. But you are 9 years younger than me-LOL. And I have and will never be a fan of Z Leads-Too many Real Estate Agents are still using them and I don't know why. Thanks for sharing.

Jan 15, 2020 11:30 AM #24
Raymond Henson
eXp Realty of California, Inc. (lic. #01878277) - Elk Grove, CA

Good to hear your marketing is more effective and even better to hear that you found something to help with your knee pain.  Congratulations!

Jan 15, 2020 12:29 PM #25
Michael Eisenberg
eXp Realty - Bellingham, WA
Bellingham Real Estate Guy

Great to see positive changes having great results in your life

Jan 15, 2020 12:53 PM #26
John Henry, Florida Architect
John Henry Masterworks Design International, Inc. - Orlando, FL
Residential Architect, Luxury Custom Home Design

Love to hear success stories.  And I may start running again if that oil works!
Things that you have done previously may work for awhile but do not always last.  You have to keep your eyes open and try some other gambits and tweak what you have.  If you find the 'golden formula' make sure you let us all know!!

Jan 15, 2020 03:01 PM #27
Endre Barath, Jr.
Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices - Beverly Hills, CA
Realtor - Los Angeles Home Sales 310.486.1002

Mike thank you for sharing your changes with us and  participating in the AR Challenge I am hosting:) with that said all good stuff, just don't cook with the oil:))Endre

Jan 15, 2020 04:26 PM #28
Bruce Hicks
Best Homes Hawaii - Honolulu, HI
Your Lifetime Friend/Helper!

Thanks for the great Article Mike Cooper, GRI ! When I send out 2,500 postcards over a period of 2 months, it seems that it generates one or two sales.

Jan 16, 2020 05:54 AM #29
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

I've read about Barbara's' postcard success and happy it works for you as well! But also appreciative you included the story about the CBD oil--interesting!  Ihope some reader finds that helpful as well!

Jan 17, 2020 06:44 AM #30
Joe Pryor
The Virtual Real Estate Team - Oklahoma City, OK
REALTOR® - Oklahoma Investment Properties

Mike, even the search function on Zillow has gone downhill. one recomendation I am going to make for thiose who want to change marketing is Storybrand. There online course at $297 is one of the biggest bargains on training I have found Have a great 2020!

Jan 17, 2020 07:50 AM #31
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