Broker Cristina Grossu is a speaker for Inman, an investor, and a highly successful real estate professional. She’s also ranked as the number-one broker for social media in Charlotte, North Carolina. On today’s show, Cristina shares the action steps listeners should take to make social media a steady source of high-quality real estate leads. Hear how her inexpensive social media strategies work, where to start on Facebook and Instagram, and who to target for best results on this Real Estate Rockstars.
Listen to today’s show and learn:
- Cristina’s brief bio [2:27]
- Cristina’s sales figures [4:31]
- How Cristina keeps track of leads [7:07]
- Where to start with social media [10:12]
- The best social media platforms for real estate [13:43]
- What do avoid posting on social media [17:35]
- Cristina’s $15/week strategy for social media ads [18:59]
- Who to target on social media [21:15]
- How to handle rental leads [23:25]
- What and when to post on social media [30:38]
- Action steps to take on social media TODAY [38:14]
- The two types of fear and how to deal with them [44:17]
- The importance of investing in real estate [49:19]
- Where the industry’s headed and how to prepare [51:42]
- How to break through your goals.
- Plus so much more.
As a licensed real estate broker for the last 6 years, Cristina Grossu joins Realty One Group Select in Mooresville/Lake Norman ready to hit the ground running. She values all of her clients with respect and helps find them the best deals out there.
Before moving to Charlotte 6 years ago, Cristina lived in Los Angeles, California prior to her move to North Carolina where she was the Project Manager for a premier entertainment company, SBE Entertainment Group. Additionally, Grossu affiliated with MTV Networks in Santa Monica in the Human Resources department. She is a graduate of the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology, Forensics & Criminality.
She enjoys running, surfing, meeting new people, world traveling, and NASCAR. Cristina made the move to Realty One Group Select for it’s technological background and the ability to help clients of all areas, including Lake Norman and the surrounding Charlotte areas. Wanting to see properties in SC as well? She can help you out with that also!
Cristina Grossu can be reached via text, email, or phone at any time of the day!
Related Links and Resources:
- Grow Your Real Estate Profits with Our Agent Success Toolbox
- Get 6 Steps to 7 Figures by Pat Hiban for FREE
- Get Tribe of Millionaires by Pat Hiban and David Osborn for FREE
- Realty ONE Group
- Cristina’s Facebook Page
- Cristina’s Twitter
- Cristina’s Instagram
- Cristina’s LinkedIn
- Download Cristina’s 6 Simple Staging Steps from the Agent Success Toolbox
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Read the Full Interview
Ian Lobas: All right, Rockstar Nation, welcome to this episode. My name is Ian Lobas, and I am your gracious host. I am happy to have our guest, Cristina Grossu from Charlotte, North Carolina, an NAR 30 Under 30 winner, a speaker at Inman, an investor, owns a staging company, number one in social media in Charlotte. This lady is off the charts and we are so excited to get a ton of information from her today on all kinds of topics notably social media. There are a lot of other things I can say about Cristina as we’ve been talking for the last 30 minutes on her accolades, but she’s going to tell you. Without further ado, Cristina, welcome to Real Estate Rockstars.
Cristina Grossu: Thank you so much. I appreciate it.
Ian: Yes, our pleasure. Getting right into it, 30 Under 30 winner that’s no small feat. How’d you get that?
Cristina: It’s not. It’s my first year applying which I heard from other agents that they had applied a few years, but it was my first year. I was super excited. I saw it in Realtor Magazine and put my application in and I got it the first time. I’m super stoked. I’ve met a lot of amazing people and actually received a lot of referrals from that database of amazing colleagues.
Ian: How did you get into real estate?
Cristina: I graduated from USC in Los Angeles and I had, basically, a mental breakdown when I got stuck in traffic for two hours to go about two miles. My parents had just retired from Honolulu to Lake Norman, and my mom said, “Pack up everything and move to Charlotte. You’ll love it. It’s a growing city.” I did. One of our family friends was a real estate broker out here. He said, “You want to travel, you want to make as much money as you want, and you should get into real estate.” I did. This is my eighth year and my best year, of course, thankfully. It’s taken me a long time to get to where I am, but it’s been a blessed path that I’ve taken.
Ian: I love that. Your structure there, do you have a team or you’re by yourself? What’s that look like?
Cristina: I started on a team, realized that wasn’t really for me, went to myself, switched a few companies, and then I brought on my mom as my assistant. She was retired.
Ian: Nice. How did that work?
Cristina: It’s really good. Yes, she’s my best friend. She helps me out with showings, and I do all the paperwork and negotiations, of course, and all the nitty-gritty, but she loves meeting people and showing them houses. She got her license, came on board, and then I’ve had a few other mentees. I’m a mentor. I took another guy onto my team this year. The goal is to grow a big team, but I like it being small. It’s a lot easier to manage.
Ian: I’ve heard that from a lot of people. The money might be bigger, but the challenges and undertakings are a lot bigger too. I know you are super heavy into social media, so for everybody listening, we’re going to get really deep into that in just a bit. First, I want to get into obviously in your structure your team, which we just did, but how does your production breakdown? What was your volume? Let’s just say this year, if this were 12 months, we’re in December, what’s your volume for this year, how many sales?
Cristina: Yes, I took it back about 365, so probably at the end of December active and current under contract I’m about $18 million sales, but actually close I’m at $13 million. I’ve got a lot coming up in the next week that’s closing. It’s going to be my biggest month ever.
Ian: That’s awesome. Then, what’s your average sales price down there?
Cristina: Our market is a bit different than other markets. We have a lot of different price points. In the city center, which is Uptown Charlotte, you have the condos, they range from $250,000 up to, of course, one just sold for over $4 million, but then you go south and you have medium price points of $1 million, and then you come up to Lake Norman and it ranges from again $300,000 and, of course, we do have the $5 million, $6 million homes. I’d say our median price across the whole area is around $400,000 to $450,000.
Ian: How many units did you sell?
Cristina: I had that number, but sold I believe it’s 53 as of the end of this week.
Ian: Got it. You got a ton coming up?
Ian: I love that.
Cristina: It’s been really busy, but like I said, my best year ever.
Ian: Now, because it’s you and your mom and then this other agent that’s your mentee, do you guys work with a ton of different systems or you’re just organic and letting it flow the way it needs to?
Cristina: We’re pretty organic with my mom especially. If I’m out of town or if I’m assisting another client, I just let her know where to be and when to be, and she gets them in very quickly. I pay her per closed transaction. Then with my teammate, basically another agent on the transaction, he’s a newer agent, so when he pitches listing appointment he can say, “I have Cristina on my team as well.” They get two realtors for the price of one, but we do everything over text message. One of our favorite apps is Wunderlist. I’m not sure if you’ve heard of it.
Ian: Yes, definitely.
Cristina: Super easy to manage and a lot of people don’t know about it, but it alerts you as soon as you add something to it and you can cross it off and et cetera. It’s really good for teams.
Ian: Then obviously, do you keep your people in a database?
Cristina: I’m trying to.
Cristina: I started a new website provider this year, and it’s Real Geeks. A lot of people recommended it. I looked at a few. There’s the most affordable for what I was doing, but any lead that comes in through my website, Zillow, Facebook, not Instagram, but any of those other databases, will gather it all into one and it’ll send me an email with all their contact info. My goal for 2020 is to be a better follow-upper and get in touch with more people that have reached out as I’m sure a lot of other realtors want as well.
Ian: Yes, exactly. All right, let’s get into sources of business. Obviously, winning a top prize in social media marketing in real estate, people want to know what’s going on. We’re going to spend a majority of our time on that. Let’s talk about, what are your other sources of business besides social media? Then we’re going to get really deep into social media.
Cristina: When I first started, my number one source of business, which sounds crazy, is I would go out to restaurants and bars and I would meet just all new people. I just moved to where I didn’t know anybody. I’d leave my card in the bill and the check, and I ended up one or two years later and they call me. That happened in my first three years of a real estate, and now, most of my business is from referrals from my previous clients. Instead of that, Instagram, social media, of course, but I’ve been doing more Facebook advertising and I’ve watched some top producers and they said, “Do it. Don’t spend a lot of money on it. Spend $20 here and there,” which I have been doing, and it’s worked out. I’ve gotten a few leads that had come to fruition, and I’ve made more money than I’ve spent, which is good for any lead generation system, but everything’s done online now and most buyers that come to you have already found the home that they like.
Ian: Yes. What do you say? I have a friend who had somebody call them and basically tell them, “I found this house and I want a part of your commission because I found this house and you don’t have to help me with that part.” Do you ever get that?
Cristina: I haven’t. Most of my buyers and sellers are honestly my friends, and they get that, they understand, but if I do have a seller who is buying, I do sometimes give a discount, just because I understand. I’ve sold houses before and it is expensive. It’s a sticky topic, but everybody that I’ve met and worked with have been totally understanding and are very sweet to me, should I say, with taking care of me.
Ian: I love that. All right, let’s talk about the social media aspect. Where do we even begin? Let’s pretend that we’re talking to– like there’s somebody in their car right now. They could be a brand new agent that just wasn’t into social media even before, it could be an older agent that’s just getting into social media or it’s somebody that’s like, “Yikes, the stuff that I was doing for the last 10 years in my business isn’t working to generate as much business anymore. I need a new source. What do I do?” Where do you start?
Cristina: I’d start with being authentic. If you don’t know how to work Instagram or Facebook, you should post that you don’t know how to work Instagram or Facebook. It’s so true because you’re posting a story and you don’t know how to do it, and more people will message you laughing and joining in on your laugh and explaining how to do it, and you’ll probably end up getting clients just from your ignorance of using a new social media technique. You need to be authentic. You’ll see a lot of new agents come on board and they’re posting all this stuff that they know everything about real estate and-
Ian: They don’t.
Cristina: Their friends know that they don’t, and it doesn’t put you in a good light personally. That’s where I’ve succeeded in what I’ve done. I post a lot about my dogs and my travels. Most of my clients have dogs, and they understand, and they like to travel too. I’ve built my clientele based off of what I enjoy doing. Of course, what my friends enjoy doing because I can see what they’re posting and everything.
Ian: All right, so brutal authenticity. Now, what do you say to somebody, most people are afraid of what people are going to think about them, most people are afraid of how they’re going to look or looking bad, most people avoid looking bad, and/or think people thinking negatively about them, so how do you break through that? I know that’s a lot deeper question than not, how do you breakthrough– I’m thinking about that person, truthfully, I’m thinking about my mom. My mom just got into real estate and has joined us, like your mom, not on the admin side, but just on the open house and showing side. I’m starting to coach her and teach her about sharing on social media about her adventures in real estate. She wants to look good about things and I get that. I also think that there’s, like you’re talking about, there’s real meat in the authentic and the, “Oh my God, I screwed that up. Oh my god, I know what I was doing.” How does somebody break through that? They’re thinking about it, and they’re going crazy, “I can’t post this. It’s going to make me look like an idiot. What if people think that I can’t do it? What if I don’t get business because I say that I don’t know what I’m doing.” What do you say to that?
Cristina: I’d say, well, I know I’ve been there. When I first started, it was I had to post everything correctly, but now as I’ve gotten into the business, I realized that, well, if you look at any celebrity or any large influencer, they post about their lives, and they post the bad stuff and the good stuff, and they have millions of followers for it. In real estate, it’s a bit different because most of our stuff’s good, they’re beautiful homes, but I post the crappy homes, and I get more feedback from those houses because people are like, “Oh my God, how much is that worth,” or, “Where is that house located,” or, “If I flip that, how much could it be?” Then I know those people are looking for houses. I think just getting past– I don’t know. That’s a hard question. You have to just get into your brain that– The thing it doesn’t matter because it’ll last 10 seconds.
Ian: It’s true.
Cristina: If someone’s going to care about you for 10 seconds, you’ve got bigger issues.
Ian: [laughs] You got bigger problems.
Cristina: My mom won’t get on Instagram. It’s too much for her. It’s brain overload, and I get that. It’s more of a millennial platform, but the older agents who are utilizing it are seeing success.
Ian: You recommend that people be on which platforms?
Cristina: I’m active on Instagram and Facebook. Twitter, not so much. I feel like Facebook is getting a lot more accolade than Twitter is nowadays. Twitter used to be bigger. Instagram for sure is, I’d say, is the best place for social media branding. Social media is free, actual social media, not Facebook ads and all that. When you’re posting about your clients and congratulating them on their new home purchase, that’s free, and it’s free advertisement. I think a lot of people forget that. They don’t want to show a house and like, “Why not? It’s free. Why not post your new listing on Facebook or Instagram.” It’s just something to look at.
Ian: Yes, I get that. I’m just wondering, it’s so crazy because everybody’s opinion is so different. Obviously, you have a heavyweight to your opinion, because you’ve won some awards and you get a lot of your stuff from social media, but can I just go on Instagram, make my post, hit Facebook and Twitter, and just post to all of them, and just does that hurt you at all?
Cristina: No, it doesn’t hurt you. It’s easier. I know there are some apps that you could set them up and they’ll post at a certain time and all that. I don’t do that. Personally, to me, that’s more headache than needed. Like I said, I’m super authentic, so I only post things that I enjoy doing. If I see a beautiful home– you have to get the permission of the homeowner. A lot of people forget that. You see a lot more commission complaints about blind advertising and all that. That’s another thing to look up for real estate. It depends on your state and your local commission’s rules on if you can post a house, the interior of a house, of course, you can post the exterior because that’s–
Ian: Are you talking about the interior of a client’s home, the one that you’re listing, or just one that you’ve just shown?
Cristina: With my client’s listings, I have disclosures that say I can put it on social media, but when you’re showing other listings, I usually ask the agent beforehand, “Hey, I’m going to be showing your house on Instagram. Is it okay?” Most times they’re totally cool with it because our homes already online with all the interior photos. I’ve never had an agent tell me no. It’s always good just to get full disclosure, so you don’t run into any issues down the road.
Ian: I want this question to be bigger, but what do you avoid posting when you’re showing houses, and then what do you avoid posting, in general? I want to give people a framework of do this, don’t do that, start today. This conversation is about action for a lot of the listeners today.
Cristina: Sure. When you’re walking into a home, if you see something that is just beautiful, post it. Most people can post the price if you like. A lot don’t post the price because they’d like people to inquire how much is that house. I post the price. If they don’t want to look at the house, they’re not going to reach out, but if they do, they know what the price is and they want to see the house. I say just post whatever you feel is comfortable. If you see a cute dog in the house and you love dogs, post the dog. Just little things like that that make it more personable and it’s not just, “Here’s the house, here’s another house, and here’s another house.” Your friends don’t really care to be honest. They don’t want to see that. That’s another topic.
Ian: You’re getting deeper level. If you’re showing a house, or if you got one of your client’s houses, you’re posting things that are unique within that house that aren’t in every other house so people can actually lock on to that.
Cristina: Right. If the kitchen is gorgeous, post, “Who wants to live in this kitchen?” Then if you really want to, show the next house where the kitchen’s horrible and say, “Which kitchen do you prefer?” Something like that just to get an involvement and engagement from your followers because that’s the whole point of getting leads from Instagram and Facebook.
Ian: Sure. Now, do you have any campaigns where you– I want to talk about the Facebook ads because you don’t do Instagram ads, right?
Cristina: Facebook ads are now going over to Instagram ads. It’s because Facebook owns Instagram now. I guess they still do it. I don’t know if they transfer over.
Ian: I think they do. Yes.
Cristina: You can do Facebook adverti– I do $15 for a week.
Ian: What are we talking about? Are we talking about–
Cristina: New listings.
Ian: New listings, okay.
Cristina: I’ll post a new listing. $15 target at a–
Ian: For one week?
Cristina: For one week. Other agents I know do $1,000. That’s not me. I don’t know why. I just don’t feel like spending a lot of money is– It probably does get you a lot of leads but I don’t do it.
Ian: More leads isn’t necessarily better if you can’t work them, right?
Cristina: Right, and that’s the hard thing. You have to remember to follow up and work them, and if you don’t, it’s just a waste of money.
Ian: Yes, totally. $15, you’re setting up an ad on your new listing, it obviously links back to your landing page or your website, right?
Cristina: Right. When I post the ad, I’ll do a Bitly, which is this small link for the actual listing on my website. I don’t put the price. I don’t put the address. They click that, and then it can go on to my actual landing page of my page, and then it will send me an email with all their contact info because they have to sign up to view the property. Now I capture that lead through my website.
Ian: Then you call them. You just give them a call and you say, “Hey.”
Cristina: I do a lot of email first contact. When people are on Facebook, and they’re looking, they’re either on their phone or they’re at work. If they’re on their phone, they’re probably– Well, they’re at work probably if it’s during the day, and they don’t want to talk on the phone, or they can’t talk on the phone, so I do first contact email, and then I follow up with a text message.
Ian: Who do you target? I’ve been studying a lot about social media and I’ve been really into social media marketing and advertising in the last, let’s say, six– this year, really. It’s got a lot of traction. Do you do a target audience? Do you do a custom audience? How do you do that? Are you just like 18 to 65 males and females in the Charlotte area looking to buy a house?
Cristina: Sure. My target audience is– I’ve kind of tested with a few different age ranges and everything. Now I do roughly around 24 to 55 age, and then I do about a 30-mile radius around the listing. I found that that’s the best circle on the ad for maximum engagement. For example, I had an older home built in the 1800s that’s beautiful historic home and everybody shared it because they all knew about the home. That was huge engagement for me. That was because I did that radius, and then when they share it, it goes out to everybody else that they know.
Ian: What kind of results are you getting? Are you getting an influx of leads like just tons and tons and tons, or are you getting like three or four and they’re actually pretty decent?
Cristina: I get about a three or four. I get a lot of rental leads surprisingly. A lot of agents don’t work rental leads because in North Carolina– It’d be different in New York where there’s a huge rental market. Here there’s not that large of a rental market. I’ve always worked rentally since my very beginning, and I’ve come to find that in a year or two, they will buy. I think a lot of agents forget that because they just want the “right away”. My real estate career is a bit different. I like to wait. I’m not pushy. I think that’s why it’s taken off this past year.
Ian: I love that. I want you to talk about that a little bit more. I know a lot of agents that are either big and/or struggling that will not touch a rental lead. You’re completely right. I have had clients who were renters at a fizbo that I sold. They called me three years later and bought $900,000 houses because the relationship was there. Speak to that just a little bit more.
Ian: Is there a different way that you handle a rental lead, do you qualify? What’s your criteria there?
Cristina: I just ask them if they have any eviction history, just so I know upfront. A lot of landlords are willing to work with that. I’ve also realized that a lot of people who are looking to rent can actually buy for less than what their rent is so I always put them in touch with a lender just to run their numbers and say, “Hey, listen, for what $1,200, you could buy a $200,000 house and you can afford it, and you could probably save money,” which is insane. I had a client who did that and they actually walked away with some money in their pocket at closing.
Cristina: That was a big success story for me just to show on social media that, “Hey, listen, just because you want to rent, you can actually buy for the same or less than what you’re currently paying.”
Ian: I love that. Now, do you have the objection of downpayment? Like, “Oh I want to rent because I’m still saving money for a downpayment.” How do you handle that?
Cristina: Any of that, I send it directly to the lender. I give them a list of three different lenders, just depending on where they’re looking. They can call them, fill them out, and choose one that works for them. Of course, all lenders are good friends of mine. I know they’ll take good care of any client that I send them. Any questions like that, they can get help from a lender, and they don’t even need to run a full credit check. They can just compare your income to your income ratio and all that. Sometimes they’ll say, “Hey, listen, you can’t buy right now, but in six months if we work on your credit, you can buy.” People love when they’re given the homeownership goal.
Ian: What I’m hearing is that from a lot of agents that I speak with regarding rentals, be patient. It’s what I’m hearing from you. Be patient. Pre-qualify them, but don’t pre-qualify like you’re a criminal. Pre-qualify them like anybody else. Then build a relationship like you would any other. Just because you’re not going to get a $10,000 hit, you’re going to get a $800 hit, doesn’t mean that they’re not a valuable authentic relationship that could then benefit you in some capacity, whether it’s just a friendship or a sale.
Cristina: Everybody always seems to forget that those people have a lot of friends. If you take good care of them in the rental process, they’re going to refer you to five people, and those five people may all want to buy. It’s just situations like that. That’s my end goal. I’ve never looked at the money. I’ve never cared how much I make. I’ve lost money on a deal. There’s been all sorts of things like that. I think that’s why people hire me because they know I’m not– I don’t want them to get a horrible deal just because I’m making a commission.
Ian: Right. You’re not in it for the money, although the money is a bonus of you being authentically you and helping people. I love that.
Ian: Let’s talk about your structure for your posts. Again, this interview is to showcase your expertise. What you do is fascinating to me and how simple it is. I love that. I have been known to complicate many things like I’ve got 15 different systems, I don’t use any of them, but they all sound awesome, and I want my staff to use them, but they don’t use them because– It’s crazy. How do you simply run your social media post?
Cristina: In regards to my feed, which a feed, for those who’re listening that don’t know, is your actual– when you click on your name you see photos, it’s the grid between the three or three or three by whatever. I post on that just happy experiences that I do. My childhood–
Ian: You’re talking about Instagram?
Cristina: Instagram, I’m sorry. I just post things I enjoy doing, good times. Then when it comes to my real estate, I post my real estate things in my stories. I post as it happens. Like I said earlier, I don’t schedule any posts. I have before, so I won’t say I’ve never done it. This brings back to the whole thing of authenticity. You want to post things as it’s happening and your friends want to know it’s a rainy day, are you showing houses and you’re covered in mud. I’ve shown that before and people just thought that was the funniest thing ever that I was walking in red dirt and I [crosstalk]
Ian: That would be a story.
Cristina: That would be your Instagram story, correct. That lasts for 24 hours. It’s ten seconds intervals. You can delete that at any time. People can’t save it, technically they can, but unless they’re high tech. You post things that are happening throughout your day. You can post a lot or you can post five or you can post once a day. I encourage everybody to post once a day just so you keep you’re in everybody’s mind.
Ian: What’s the benefit of the story while we’re talking about those? What’s the benefit of the story? The first question, and the second question is, do you ever post business stuff as a post and not a story, and do you have ever post personal stuff as a story and not a post?
Cristina: When I first got started, I had a personal and a business page. I’d post my personal stuff on one, I post my business stuff on one. Then I realized I was posting work stuff on my personal and I’m like, “Why do I need two? I’m just going to merge them into one.” News shock, your friends don’t care how much your sales are. They could care less. I think that’s one thing that a lot of agents fail on is they post their numbers, they post bragging basically, like, “Hey, look at how much money I’ve made.” Your friends don’t want to work with somebody like that. They’ll work with you because they’re your friend, but other clients or other potential clients won’t want to work with you because you’re bragging. That’s one thing I always urge people at my office and friends of mine who are realtors just to stay away from that.
Ian: I like that. I get this question a lot. I have a business page that literally gets my real estate video content that I make. That’s it. You can either find it on my Facebook page or my YouTube channel. Then my personal Facebook page is just my personal stuff. I will post business stuff in there and it’s all really personal. I break it down to four categories. It’s me as the person, me as the businessman, love, and family. Love is just my wife and I, and then my family is my daughter, my parents, things like that. You can see the four important pieces of my life, and that’s all I share. There’s no politics, there’s no my opinion on things, I don’t pollute any of that stuff. Would you agree with that?
Cristina: I agree with that for sure. Like I said earlier, I have five dogs and people love when I post about my dogs. They care more about that than anything I do real-estate related. Most of my clients have dogs, which is a shocker.
Ian: Shocker, right. You’ve common interest.
Cristina: We have a common interest of animals and I’m also on a board for Lake Norman Humane [unintelligible 00:37:10] it’s a no-kill shelter. I post about that and people love that philanthropy and all that kind of stuff. I don’t have children myself. My boyfriend does have a daughter, but when we post that, it’s just a common thread for potential clients. They always want something that they can relate to. A lot of times I get new buyers from previous agents that they’ve worked with because they don’t have anything in common with them and they see houses and they’re just not– It’s just not the realtor for them.
Ian: It’s just a transaction instead of an actual experience?
Cristina: Friendship, yes.
Ian: I want to get your take on this. I ask mostly guests in the last couple of months, at least, and we talked about it on the state of the market, the industry is changing. You sit on a couple of boards with North Carolina Realtors, NCR, obviously, in NAR of 30 Under 30 winner, so you know a lot of stuff going on in the industry. It’s changing big time. Let me say something and you tell me what you think. If you’re not focusing a majority of your time and effort and/or marketing budget on social media, you may be missing the boat.
Cristina: Oh, yes, for sure.
Ian: Just give me your answer to this question. If you’re not doing it now, you’re slipping behind very quickly than people that are heavily putting themselves out there on social media on a daily basis.
Cristina: Right. Totally agree.
Ian: It‘s a PSA, everybody, from a social media expert, not me, Cristina.
Cristina: They’re going to Google your name from the time they find you online, they’re going to see what’s going on. They’re going to pull up your– I had a client who I showed a house to and he knew everything about me before I had even gotten in there.
Ian: Is that creepy, or is that cool?
Cristina: It’s hard to say it’s creepy because you’ve put it out there yourself. He knew about my dogs, he knew I had just been to Australia, things like that. I posted it. We had something to talk about. It wasn’t like, “Here’s the house, walk-in, hope you enjoy it.”
Ian: It gives you a common ground. I had somebody I showed a house to last week and they were like, “Oh, hey, congratulations on the new baby.” I’m like, “Oh.” My brain went into a creepy mode, “How the hell do you know we’re having a baby soon?” Of course, because hundreds and hundreds of people commented and liked on it so, of course, you googled me, and of course, you saw that pop-up. It was a huge piece on my social media feeds. I like that. That got common
ground because I know a lot of agents are like, “Sometimes it’s awkward showing houses because I don’t know what to talk about,” but when you have somebody bring something up to you, like, “Yes, do you have kids too? Awesome. Are you moving with your kid?” It just starts a cool conversation. You separate, but you’re not crazy about it. If you put a personal story, that’s okay, and if you put a business post, that’s all right. I want people to take action today.
Remember, you’ve got someone who’s thinking, “I don’t want to look bad. I don’t know what I’m doing,” and, “What do I post? It’s a rainy day in Baltimore. It’s a rainy day in Mooresville, North Carolina. I’m not out showing houses today. I don’t know what– I’m just in the office, hanging out, doing some work, catching up with some stuff.” How can people take action today?
Cristina: First, while you’re talking, I was thinking, if you do have a business page, make it a official business page so you go into your settings, make it a business. That way, you can get insight from all the interaction that people take on your stories. If they send it to a friend, or if they click on a link, or if they do all this type of stuff, it’ll give you basically a Excel spreadsheet of everything that you’re doing or everything that your engagement’s doing. They got some huge first step if you have a business page. You can’t do it on a personal page.
Ian: Is that Instagram and Facebook?
Cristina: Yes, correct. If you have a Facebook page, you can do- that automatically shows a business Facebook page, shows you all the engagement, how many likes you’ve gotten, or who’s visited your website, things like that are huge to know because you want to know if that post got more engagement than this post. I’m going to do more of these posts instead of this one, et cetera. That’s a huge first step. I have spoken to NC realtors about that. I’m doing a podcast next month about actually turning your Instagram from private to public to business. That’s a huge thing.
Ian: Is that hard to do?
Cristina: It’s not. It takes five minutes, and everybody seems to miss it. It’s pretty cool.
Ian: Do you have to pay for it?
Cristina: No. It’s free.
Ian: Cool. I’ve already done it, and I’m just asking you just to clarify because of the people.
Cristina: I like free things.
Ian: Yes, it definitely got a lot more traction because now I know what gets engagement.
Cristina: Right, and that’s a huge thing when you’re posting. You want to know what people like and what they enjoy seeing.
Ian: You’re in the world of sharing, or enrolling people and what you have learned, or whatever. Speaking of learning, I want to talk about personal development. I know we talked about this briefly earlier, I want you to tell people what you do for personal development.
Cristina: You asked if I listen to podcasts. I tried a few years back. It was when I was first getting started. I really should try again, but I enjoy listening to music in the car. I know some of my friends listen to podcasts strictly all day, every day. That is awesome. I wish I could do that, but my mind starts running so fast. I like to travel and I’ve learned a lot about real estate from traveling. I like to look at houses in different cities and that type of thing.
I do read books. I actually just did a giveaway on my Instagram for a lot of my favorite books for 14 days. I gave away 14 days of books to my followers who entered. You can have an enter thing on your story. That’s a whole other thing. They entered and I chose someone each day to give away some of my personal development books.
Ian: I love that. Then morning routine, evening routine, no?
Cristina: I wake up, I look at my phone. I know I shouldn’t. That’s what they told everybody not to do, but I get antsy in the morning seeing if I’m waiting for an email or if there’s something I missed. I wake up, have coffee, check my emails, and then I have a planner. I look at everything. I write down everything. I don’t do anything online. Online calendars. I’m still-
Cristina: -paper for my planner.
Ian: Nice, okay. I love this because you’re very successful and really simplified. Like in a really great way, a very positive way. That’s so cool. I think it’s inspiring to other people because they might be thinking, “I just want to keep it simple, but the model says this, or that person says that.” Let me ask you a question. Comparing yourself to others, for all of our listeners out there that are worried about the model or are worried about the agent in the next cubicle or in the next office who’s more successful than they are that they’re comparing themselves, how dangerous is that?
Cristina: It’s been a topic that we’ve talked about at the office, but I actually see more success in my friends excelling, and I’ve treated that the same since I’ve started my real estate. All my best friends are realtors. When they sell a house, I post on my story. I’m like, “Congrats on your sale today.” I think it’s important to compare yourself to others because it gives you a, “She sold this many houses, I want to sell that many houses.”
It gives you something to fight against. If she sells that many houses, that is amazing. She’ll take me out to dinner. [chuckles] it’s always just, in this career, we have to encourage everybody to keep doing well because that’s a huge topic, of course, and in the industry right now is taking away the real estate broker from the transaction, which I think it’s a huge mistake, but we have to encourage.
Ian: You’re talking about encouragement of others, not comparison to others.
Cristina: You still compare yourself to them. I do–
Ian: Like a positive way?
Cristina: Of course, yes. You see what they’re posting. When they post something bad that I know is not compliant with our commission, I’ll let them know too. Just because I don’t want anybody else to get in trouble, and there’s a lot of realtors out there that that’s all they do, is look for people who are failing, and want them to fail. I don’t want anybody to fail. That would be horrible for my business and horrible for our business as a whole in real estate.
Ian: I have a couple more questions for you. How do you deal with fear when it shows up? We’re all human and we all experience fear, and in this business, money brings an object of fear in some capacity whether it’s, you can’t provide, or you’re going to look bad, or your ego is hurt or whatever it might be, and it’s infinite variables in ways. What do you do and how do you deal with fear when it shows up?
Cristina: Yes, there’s two types of fear. There’s the fear from your client who’s just fired you, and you’re all upset. I’ve had those days. I’ve cried. I called my mom crying when I’ve gotten fired, but I treat it as a blessing. It’s hard to look at at the time, but everything happens for a reason. I’ve always been a firm believer of that. Then there’s a fear of actual safety. Fear of open houses. I’ve had a few run-ins with some bad experiences, and I’ve had other realtors that have had that experience as well showing properties. That’s a huge concern, and both female and male need to be aware of it.
Ian: Agent safety.
Cristina: What was that, sorry?
Ian: I was talking about agent safety.
Cristina: Agent safety, yes. We’re meeting strangers, and we’re taking them in our car. We’re meeting them in a house and locking the door behind us. We always seem to forget about that. I feel like it’s been more prevalent nowadays that we’re actually calling attention to it, and we need to be- we need to take action on it.
Ian: Definitely. I have two more questions for you. One is work-life balance. How do you live in a great place in a great area where you’ve got a lot of activities? How do you balance work and life? Let’s tackle that one real quick, and then I have one more for you.
Cristina: It’s interesting because I was this year on the Williams C. Bass Leadership Academy for NC realtors. There was an exercise where they took all 11 of us, and said, “Here’s work, here’s pleasure. Stand where you are,” and you’re worried obviously how you feel about both. I went straight to pleasure. There was an arm’s length away of people all at the work side, and I looked at them, and I’m like, “You guys not have fun? What do you guys do?” They’re like, “No, I’m in the office at 8:00 AM. I’m doing this, and this, and this.”
Personally, when I first started, I said, “I was going to travel take a trip for every house I sold.” At 53 houses last year, that would be a trip every day, or every week. I travel a lot, I enjoy traveling. People think I’m experiencing every new city I’m in, but I’m actually sitting in a coffee shop with their Wi-Fi, doing offers, doing everything. I realized that when I travel, I’m actually more successful because I can concentrate more. I would go and say it if I couldn’t travel. Work-life balance is huge. I encourage everybody to have a laptop. If you don’t have a laptop, you need to get one. Bring it with you everywhere. I have a MacBook Air so it goes in my purse. If I’m at a bar at night and I get an offer that needs signatures, I can whip it out, connect to my hotspot, send it over, and with my Zillow reviews, the thing that everybody always says is I have the best communication. I’ll reply to a text within two minutes. It’s just important to remember what you enjoy doing.
Ian: You’re right.
Cristina: If you enjoy shopping, go out and shop. You don’t need to sit in your office all day, it’s going to be okay. Just make sure to stay positive because this business is very stressful.
Ian: That’s a part of the authenticity. Right?
Ian: Is doing what you want to do within the business and I think that’s the comparison that makes people or drives people crazy is that, “I don’t want to sit in an office all day. That’s not me and nobody else seems to sit in an office all day. Why do I have to do that?” It can lead to a quality of life that you’re not into and then I think that will manifest itself into a frustration or a hatred in the business that you’re in, whether it’s real estate or not and that’s just not how it’s supposed to be because you look back and 10 years go by.
Cristina: You have to take advantage of the things that you enjoy doing as well. I have a friend who’s on a kickball team and if she was a realtor, I would market myself to the entire kickball team, make sure that they’re all aware that I’m a real estate broker and I’m on your team and I’ll work for you. Things like that. If you enjoy shopping, let every sales agent you know, give them your card. Just little things like that that I think people tend to forget and also, just one more thing before I forget. Social media is free and so is putting your phone number and that you’re a real estate broker.
A lot of people don’t disclose the third agent because they’re scared of what people are going to think, but if you just put Cristina Grossu, a real estate broker, it doesn’t hurt and it’s compliant with our commission. It’s free advertising. You’re going to get your name out there, and anybody who’s looking for a broker if they somehow happen to google your name, they’re going to see that you’re an agent.
Ian: I love that. All right, last question. I could probably ask you 15 more questions but the last question. You’re an investor, right?
Ian: You invest in real estate. This isn’t the last question, I lied. This is two more. You invest in real estate. Do you think it’s important that agents who give advice to investors on investing in real estate should own their own property?
Cristina: Personally, I think so.
Ian: I do too.
Cristina: I think a lot of newer agents think that, “Oh my clients are going to flip,” and all this stuff. There’s so much more to it that you don’t realize, permits and all those types of things that you don’t know until you’ve actually owned a house and you experience them yourself, lead-based paint or things like that that could be really sticky in a resale situation. I’ve owned $65,000 houses, they’re all rent. I do rentals so I’ve done one flip and I’m buying with the tenant in them, so it’s instant cash flow from this time I close.
Ian: Yes. Do you vet that tenant heavy?
Cristina: What was that?
Ian: You vet them really heavily, the tenant?
Cristina: They’ve all been in the property so I just made sure that they’re up to date on their rent and that the previous owner doesn’t have any issue with them, and so far, no issues. I did purchase one property that had a tenant in it and I do all myself, I self manage everything. I just felt that I enjoy doing it. I’m not a property manager, but I can self manage my own properties. She wasn’t paying rent and that wasn’t disclosed and so she had to get evicted before I had even, a week after I bought the property so I ended up flipping that one.
It is important to vet tenants because you never know what could come up. I understand that everybody has life changes and things happen so I’m super, super respectful of all that and that I get it, but I haven’t had anyone yet that has been my tenant.
Ian: Fingers crossed.
Cristina: Fingers crossed.
Ian: All right. Last question and I’ll let you go. The future of real estate. You kind of mentioned it earlier in terms of brokers going away, and I ask everybody this question because everybody that we interview on this show is very prominent in real estate in one capacity or another. Where is real estate going? Where is the industry going? On top of that, what do agents need to look out for, be concerned with, what should they be fearful of, potentially, and what should they be doing now to make sure that they are not one of the statistics?
Cristina: I think our industry it’s interesting because our market’s a bit different than other markets that have more iBuyers and all those types of things. It’s just starting to come to us, but that connection of having someone on your side to help you, I would need that. I would want that when I’m buying a house and most of the people I know, but I feel like, for the older generation, they’re getting older and they just want to cash out. If someone gives them an offer, and they take it, they’re more than happy. They don’t want to show their house to people, they don’t want to get out, they don’t want to do all that.
I feel as my generation, we’re looking purely on numbers. We want to see how much it costs? What are the repairs? That’s the other thing that I think a lot of agents should be doing is comparing the other companies I won’t say but comparing how much their fees are and all this and compare it to what the actual real estate brokers fees are and show that you can actually walk away with a lot more money using an agent.
Ian: Yes. I agree with that.
Cristina: Because their advertisements are good. They’re good and they’ll get you, and obviously, we don’t have advertisements on TV.
Cristina: It’s just important to stay in their face, stay in social media and just get your name out there and let them know that you’re always wanting to help them.
Ian: Sure. What I’m hearing you say is, educate these clients because the advertising is good and what they are, I hate to say fed but I talked to someone this week that had an iBuyer type situation, and they were fed a bunch of stuff and what they weren’t seeing in this little blind spot down here was all the other fees that add up to about 12% more net profit gone than if you use an agent. You’re talking less than if you try to sell yourself. We’re like, “We know those statistics,” so I’m glad you said that. It’s education to your consumer and you can do that through social media for-
Ian: What’s the operative word? Free.
Ian: All right. For free. Action steps today. Regardless of what you’re doing in your real estate game, showing properties, trekking through the mud, getting soaked in the rain if you’re out in California and it’s super sunny and you’re at the beach showing beach properties or if you’re in Colorado showing snow properties, hit your stories, you can join. I use Instagram stories and then they feed right to Facebook. Just hit your 10 seconds. It’s 10 seconds of your life that goes away in 24 hours. If you want it to go away sooner you can.
Just take action today just see what happens. Then what I like is I like to look at the views because it is shocking how many views you get on a story versus a post. A post might give 15 views or likes, but your story might get 250 views. It’s still eyeballs on what you’re doing. I love that. I absolutely love that.
Ian: This has been fantastic, I can talk to you forever. Cristina Grossu from Charlotte, North Carolina you have given us a lot of valuable content today.
Cristina: Yes. Thank you so much for having me. Hopefully, I could help out some other agents whether you’re new or seasoned more than me and hopefully, you learned some stuff for social media, Instagram and Facebook.
Ian: No, we definitely did, and we really appreciate you being on. If you, audience, if you want to learn more about Cristina or connect with her, you can go to hibandigital.com\Cristinagrossu. That’s G-R-O-S-S-U. Now, Cristina, you have a special gift for our audience as well?
Ian: What is that gift?
Cristina: I actually own a staging company as well and it’s interesting. We’ll go into a home and there’s just minor things that you can do to your house just to make it appear and you don’t have to pay a stager a lot of money to do it. The document I provided just six simple steps to stage your home for free by yourself. Check it out, go through it, and adding white towels or fake plants, things like that that do huge, huge things in your photos. You won’t even notice the room with just white towels, it’s different. Hopefully–
Ian: I love that.
Cristina: Yes, definitely.
Ian: All right. To learn more about Cristina, go to hibandigital.com\Cristinagrossu. G-R-O-S-S-U. You can find all of Cristina’s six steps for staging your house on your own in the agent toolbox. As always, thank you, audience, for listening, and thank you, Cristina, for being such a valuable guest.
Cristina: Thank you. I appreciate it.
Ian: All right. Take care.
Cristina: See ya.