March 23, 2022

How to Close Bigger Clients: Winning the First Meeting

I get asked a lot about winning bigger and better clients. I will walk you through why big clients are so foundational to growth, who to target, and how to land the first meeting.

Brendan Hsu

Welcome to our First Coaching Session

I get asked a lot about how Aerial Canvas has negotiated over 90 partnerships and exclusive deals with leading Agents and Brokerages over the last 4 years. It’s frequently the topic of conversation in my first coaching session with Agencies looking to grow their business.

I’ve put together some thoughts on the most frequently asked questions about winning bigger and better clients. I will walk you through why big clients are so foundational to growth, who to target, and how to land the first meeting.

20/80 Vision

Have you heard of the Pareto Principle, more commonly referred to as the 20/80 Rule? 20% of the work causes 80% of the result.

20% of basketball players produce 80% of the wins.

20% of customers make 80% of support calls.

And in real estate, 20% of agents are responsible for 80% of the deal flow.

These 20% of agents aren’t just moving the most volume; they also set the marketing standard for properties in your area. And if you win their support, they lead teams, or even brokerages and can introduce you to their network of agents.

One of the biggest mistakes I see in my students is the assumption that all top agents think the same. Step one in any sales strategy is understanding your ideal customer. I’ve broken down the three most common types of top-producing agents.

Who is your Customer

I see three common strategies the top agents use. Understanding their motivation is essential to winning their business. 

The Dealmaker

Dealmakers are about their ego. They are the Lamborghini of real estate agents. They demand the highest, stunning quality because that reflects their brand.

They also value content that features their presence on camera, their voice in video, and branding on content. Bring your highest quality content and discuss elevating their brand.

The Optimizer

Optimizers want a streamlined process for all of their agents. They want a simple checkout process where they select from pre-determined packages.

They also value custom-tailored packages that simplify the booking and delivery experience. Show them your booking and delivery process and how all of the communication with their agents will be automated. Show them your central portal where their agents can get all their content.

The Wholesaler

Wholesalers want good enough quality for a good enough price. Don’t interpret that as the “lowest price.” The lowest price won’t woo them because they know there will always be someone cheaper, not to mention the switching costs of going to another vendor.

Think of Wholesalers like the Toyota Camry or the Kirkland brand at Costco. Not winning any awards, but they’re dependable for a reason. Bang for buck.

Being attractive to Wholesalers means communicating dependability and availability at a good price. While it would be nice to have 24-hour turnarounds or a marketing website for every property, they’ll be worried that the cost is baked in somewhere, and they don’t want to pay for the frill.

Win the Right Customers

I don’t recommend targeting all of these customers at once. Pick one or two, depending on what is in your market. Make sure that you can offer what they’re looking for. Can’t produce 4k Oscar-ready footage? Don’t go for The Dealmaker. Just a single-person team? The Wholesaler will be a challenge.

I’ve helped agencies pitch to each type of big customer. While Dealmakers, Optimizers, and Wholesalers may all want different things, getting in front of them has the same general strategy.

But before you can win big clients, you need the ability to keep their business. Don’t smooth talk your way into a big deal you have no chance of executing on. You’ll waste your time, your money, your reputation.

Here’s what I recommend you be able to do before you start winning big customers.

Prepare to Win

Winning a big client requires giving them the confidence you can satisfy their needs at the price they expect. You need the staff, the skills, and the tools to not only win the deal, but execute with excellence every time.

But you don’t need to hire a ton of staff before you can win deals. 

Invest your resources in systems that multiply your time. Time and staff are expensive, and software/systems are cheap. You need to think about how to automate, simplify and scale your business operations so that you and your staff can spend their time on what matters most: winning and keeping customers.

Winning Deals

You know who you want to win, and you know you’ve got the stuff to keep them as a happy customer. What’s next? Here are the steps I recommend to my students.

Low Hanging Fruit

A lot of my students think that sales is overwhelming. You don’t have to start out by making 50 calls a day. It’s a lot easier to land a meeting with a brokerage if you have a good relationship with their agents.

Getting started in sales is easy. If I asked you to call 3 customers who you think you could do more business with and ask them to lunch, who would it be?

This first lunch isn’t about a pitch. As real estate professionals, you want to discuss what you both see in the market. Your value-add in the conversation might look different depending on their marketing strategy: Dealmaker, Optimizer, or Wholesaler.

     Dealmaker: Do you follow Tom Ferry or Ryan Serhant? I’ve been studying their video strategies and would love to start creating content for you that helps you stand out.

     Optimizer: Do you want your time back? I’ve adopted a new system that streamlines the booking and project delivery experience for you and your whole team. In addition, I can create custom packages for you 

     Wholesaler: Do you want a better price for all of your listings? I can offer you a discount code you can utilize on future projects. Could you introduce me to your brokerage or other agents?

Regardless of the agent, you want to cover the big picture as well: What are their goals for the year? What is standing in the way of achieving those goals?

If you are new to sales conversations, don’t go after your best shot or biggest customer first. Warm-up with 3-4 other discussions. If nothing comes of it, don’t beat yourself up. You’re learning new skills and getting comfortable for the bigger conversations.

This is just the first conversation. Future conversations can be less formal: DMs with articles related to what you talked about. A call at a time you know they’re less busy and asking how X thing went they told you about at your lunch.

Over time you should be discussing how you both can mutually grow together. You can work together to both achieve your goals you discussed at lunch.

Land the Big Fish

Paul Chareth at Flylisted pitching to Coldwell Banker after he landed his first few meetings with Coldwell Banker agents.

Alright, you’ve done your homework and got some agents to back you up. How do you land that first conversation with a brokerage?

Your agent should introduce you with a call or email. Remember, by this point; they understand that your growth is good for them. You can offer more services, or you’ll get them a free shoot or two. When you get on that call with the marketing decision-maker at the brokerage, you’ll ask a simple question:

“I’ve been shooting for [name drop XYZ top producers], and been consistently producing quality content that gets them the value and consistency they are looking for. This is how I’ve grown their business, and I am confident I can deliver results for your brokerage with my team. Can I come by your office to discuss how we can work together?”

And then pause.

Don’t talk next, wait for them to talk. If you’ve done your groundwork and the agent made a good introduction, it should be a “yes.” And that’s all you need. You just need the next conversation.

If it’s a “no” or they raise an objection, don’t give up. Dig into that and ask great questions.

  • “I’m not just a vendor, I’m looking to provide more value up front. What are you looking for in an ideal marketing partner?”
  • “Are your agents getting the results they’re looking for to stand out in this crowded marketplace? I offer videos that are proven to get you more exposure and a complete value package and an intuitive booking experience”

You want to fall back on your consultative sales skills you’ve been developing and understand their goals for the year, what their marketing plan is to achieve it, and how you can be a part of it.

Personalize your Pitch

At that meeting, you want to lean on what you know about them as a profile. 

  • Dealmakers want to be blown away by your quality and emphasis on the agent.
  • Optimizers want to see your dead simple process and automation.
  • Wholesalers want to see how you’ve tailored packages to cut fluff.

Whatever profile they most align with, everyone likes to see something custom to them. I would pull some of your past orders for the brokerage’s agents and build a custom pricing page based on what they ordered. Don’t go overboard; this is a first draft that’ll change. But something like this with their logos shows that you understand their marketing strategy and you can provide for it.

Our custom pricing page for a brokerage that serves as their landing page for booking with us.

This serves as the jumping-off point for what your relationship will look like. The conversation should always be about the value the agents are receiving. From here, they’ll have objections (“we don’t want 3D Matterport at all”) or requests (“can we throw in Dedicated Listing Websites”), and over time your offering will take shape. This is all good; these are buy-signs as you work closer to a deal.

Sales is a Numbers Game

I’ve walked you through the prep work of who to target, why, and how. When you go into your meetings, you should be 5x more prepared than most vendors they’ll have conversations with.

But with all the preparation in the world, no one can guarantee the sale. Just too much is out of your control. Real Estate may be going through a dip in your area. Maybe they just lost their biggest agent, and they’re a little freaked out. Perhaps you cut them off pulling into the parking lot.

You have to play the numbers. The more conversations with large clients you have, the better your odds of winning a deal. If you lose your first one, stick in there, get back on the phone, and prep for the next one.

Next Steps

Sales is a tough game. I won’t sugar coat it; you’ll get told “no” a lot, and it takes hard work to pick up the phone after one of those.

But I also think anyone can do it. If you’ve been reading this article and realized you want a little more direct coaching, I have a few more slots. You’ve already had our first session, so we can get to work fast on your areas of improvement and capitalize on your strengths.

I’d love to talk about growing your business. Enter your email below and our team will reach out to figure out how we can help.

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