930: No Paid Leads, $30 Million+ in Annual Sales Volume: Tara Carter

September 21, 2020
Realtor Tara Carter is living proof that you don’t need paid leads to succeed in real estate. Just last year, she sold over $30 million in volume without buying a single lead. This year, she’s on track for even better sales despite the ongoing pandemic. On today’s podcast, Tara shares how she built a booming business based on relationships and referrals. Listen and learn how to win business instead of buying it, Tara’s “chosen one” script, and the most important goal of any appointment.
Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • Tara’s brief bio [1:48]
  • Tara’s sales stats for 2020 [3:10]
  • How to get hundreds of clients with no paid leads [3:50]
  • How Tara targeted luxury listings as a new agent [8:50]
  • The key to winning new business [10:15]
  • How to find other professionals who can help your business [17:40]
  • The goal of any appointment [20:37]
  • The ‘chosen one’ script [27:20]
  • How to reward referrals [37:45]
  • Home-buying seminars and business highlights [42:50]
  • Ways to get business just by going to the bank [51:20]
  • How to break through your goals.
  • Plus so much more.
Tara Carter With years of hospitality management, new construction, and marketing under her belt, Tara is one of the most sought after real estate agents in her area. Her team closed $30 Million in 2019 alone through almost 100% referrals. She says the 7 Levels Of Communication by Michael J. Maher (7L) strategies ‘feed her soul’ and is passionate about teaching others on how to generate thousands of new referrals. Tara teaches several classes each month and regularly speaks on Top Producer panels all over the country. Tara is endorsed by America’s Most Connected Agent, Michael J. Maher, and was a Founding Member of his Certified Referral Trainers course. After attending all of the GenGen events for the last 3 years, Tara was requested by Michael to speak on his Mastermind Panel in Vegas in 2017 hosted by Magic Johnson. She is praised for her enthusiasm, relatable teaching style and personalizing the client experience. Tara is known among her peers as a trailblazer for ideas, ethical business and leading the industry in love, generosity and appreciation. Tara lives in Fort Lauderdale and enjoys all kinds of music especially Frank Sinatra, completing the bucket list of visiting all exotic islands and paddle boarding on the ocean when she isn’t closing deals. She is described as a ‘Rising Super Star Producing at the Highest Level using Love, Generosity, and Appreciation!’ Tara Carter has years of experience helping others and the real estate business runs through her veins. She comes from a family of realtors including a start-up company she assisted in operating her family business rehabilitating homes in New Orleans after Hurricane Katrina. Even though Tara has been given many wonderful titles by the business world, the titles that mean the most to her are daughter and godmother. Tara grew up in Coral Springs, Florida and now lives in Fort Lauderdale. Related Links and Resources: Thanks for Rocking Out Thank you for tuning in to Pat Hiban Interviews Real Estate Rockstars, we appreciate you! To get more Rockstar content sent directly to your device as it becomes available, subscribe on iTunes or StitcherReviews on iTunes are extremely helpful and appreciated! We read each and every one of them, please feel free to leave your email so that we can personally reach out and say thanks! Have any questions? Tweet meFacebook me and ask Pat anything. Don’t forget to head on over to Bare Naked Agent for Pat’s answers, and advice. Thank you Rockstar Nation, and keep rockin!

Paul: Okay. Real Estate Rockstars, I am here today with Tara Carter. Tara, thanks so much for joining us.

Tara: Well, thanks for having me.

Paul: I met Tara a couple of times, but I had Tara come on our webinar that we do for our agents and our region, and did it together with Tristan and Lab Coats. You were so phenomenal that I knew immediately we had to get you out to the folks that listen to Real Estate Rockstars.

Tara: Well, I’m excited because Real Estate Rockstars is an awesome podcast so I’m super happy to be here and the Lab Coats Agents with Tristan are amazing too. It was nice to meet you.

Paul: That’s great. Getting right after it, first of all, tell us about how large is your business? How long have you been in the business? What area are you in? Just give us a little bit of a background?

Tara: Obviously, my name’s Tara Carter and I am a third-generation realtor. I’ve only been in the business from now about going on my fifth year and I am in business with my family as well. They have been in the business for over 30 years and we are a small team. I’ve actually built my own team within the team. I did 30 million last year and never paid for a lead before, which is pretty awesome.

Our brand is pretty much situated around Flamingos which has been very helpful because the great home’s team name. Our team name in the Fort Lauderdale and South Florida area has been pretty well known for a while. Of course, I came in and had to shake things up a bit [chuckles] because that’s what we do best. Just my background, I come from preschool teacher turned hospitality nightclub manager for high-end venues for 10 years, did all the marketing and branding through all the biggest parties that there was. Then I jumped into real estate after landing a $90 million project with no license.

Paul: Wow. Okay. I love that. 10 years ago you were the person we needed to know to get into the parties that we wanted to get into. Now, so while turning that into a $30 million business, what’s your average sell price or how many units are you doing?

Tara: This year we should be on track to do close to 100, if not a little more. The price range for me has gone up a lot. I started out pretty easy in the beginning when I switched over to residential. Then I would say– we went from 356 to a little over 480 right now.

Paul: Wow, and on track to do 100 homes. Looking really at an increase in your volume.

Tara: And never paying for a lead.

Paul: I love it. We’re definitely going to get onto that. How do you do your business such that you don’t ever pay for a lead?

Tara: Pre-COVID [chuckles] because pre-COVID to COVID, 60% of my business was pretty much sphere of influence networking stacks, which I know we can talk about. Basically, everything from the seven levels book of communication to the book, Seven Levels of Communication written by Michael J. Maher, who was my coach when I first got into the business. Now I am a certified referral trainer for Michael and now get the pleasure of teaching others how to grow a referral business, which all in reality, it basically works for any business.

It doesn’t have to be real estate by any means. It literally works for anything. The other 40% was open houses, basically, all the open houses, as many as you could think of. I would even make them my office because let’s be honest, who’s coming into your office to talk to you about real estate, other realtors? [chuckles] They don’t pay my bills so I would rather work at vacant houses, I would just pop up shop, or I work at a– I have home-court advantages, which are basically restaurants where I work out of specifically targeting that database, that clientele, and to make sure everyone knows my name.

Paul: Nice. Okay. I spent a lot of time working out of a couple of restaurants too, just because my office is in Beverly Hills. I live in Santa Monica, so I would pick a spot in between and it was home court. That’s cool. That’s a cool way of saying it. Now, as we transition into a time where people are going to be using less and less office space, that’s a very interesting, interactive way to do it. One of these I got from you the first time, I have an advantage in this interview, is that you’re very purposeful, you know?

One of the things that you said, it kind of happened to me just by being nice and having the same waiters. I even went to a different restaurant. It happened to be owned by the same restaurant group. I didn’t even know that, and the waiter pops out. He’s like, “Oh, Paul, how are you? I haven’t seen you in so long,” because the other restaurant had closed, you know? I was like, “Wow, I’m getting like the heroes treatment here.” That is a home-court advantage, right?

Tara: Yes, it’s a total home-court advantage because the thing is this, when you’re in– The networking stack, when you invite others that either– be they’re strangers. Let’s say you have nobody that you’re inviting to lunch or to coffee. They just coming, you’re just sitting there and working like, I’ll literally work out of the bar. Now, you’ll meet people that way. When people come in and say, “Hey, Paul, how are you?” You ask them maybe, “Hey, Suzanne, how’s your kids?” People will see that and they’re like, “Oh, that guy must be a regular.” It’s more powerful when you actually have people that you are looking to do business with and you are the connector and you don’t have to establish your credibility. You don’t have to talk about how amazing you are and people know you, because the rest of the audience that’s there already does that for you, from the hostess when you walk in, “Oh, you must be Paul,” because I already described you with the hostess. “Oh, follow me to meet Tara right this way.”

Then when you sit down, the waitress comes over and says, “Hey, Tara, would you like your usual?” “Hey Dan, it’s so great to see you. How’s your wife doing?” Then it’s a banter and conversation when the busboy walks by, that one’s impressive. The managers or the chef, and they say, “Hey, Tara, just checking in. Want to see how everything’s going. Oh, by the way, meet so-and-so, you have to meet them.” It’s so great because I didn’t have to do any of the credibility, that people did it for me. Does that make sense?

Paul: Absolutely. Yes. I’m a firm believer in it. I do it. I do it sort of naturally. I don’t do it as well as I could do it if I did it as perfect. There’s no question you’re a natural at this. However, being purposeful about these things is really interesting. Establish a home-court advantage and make sure you know it’s– you’re talking right out of my own life experience too. I’m nice to the busboy because-

Tara: They know all the secrets. [chuckles] They know all the secrets and the tricks. [chuckles]

Paul: It just feels right to me. Then it creates an environment around you. It got to the point with me, for example, this particular very high-end restaurant, but if you go two, three times a week, sometimes I’d feel bad. I’d sit down, I’m like, “Oh, I’m not that hungry.” I wouldn’t really even eat a meal, but half a meal and I’d be there for so long. I’m like, “Oh, I’m cutting into the waiter’s income.”

I would make sure I tip– my bill wouldn’t be very much because sometimes I wouldn’t eat very much, but I would tip as if I ate a whole meal. I’d be like, “Hey, sorry I feel like I’ve monopolized to the table here.” I would just give them a tip. They’d be like, “Oh, okay, duly noted.” You don’t have to say, “And here’s the extra.”

Tara: I’ll be honest. I was broke as hell and to be getting– I was that struggling realtor. When I learned about this whole networking stacks at your home-court advantage, I said, “Well, I can’t afford to eat out every day and be there from lunch and then the dinner shift.” What I would do is eat a big meal and just go and order an ice tea or something and an appetizer. If the bill was $8, I’m leaving $20.

Paul: Yes.

Tara: Then they eventually get to know you. If anyone’s like, “I don’t have a place. Where can I go?” You need to think about the people and the clientele that you want to attract. If you’re a beer guy and you want to maybe go to your favorite burger joints or your favorite wings places, for me, I targeted the high-end venues on one, particularly on the beach in Fort Lauderdale that I’ve already worked out of, so everybody knew my name. Then another one on the beach that was a different clientele 25 minutes away. Then one that was in suburbia and higher-end clientele as well, because that was the clientele that I wanted.

I wanted to raise my price range. I wanted to make sure that I was only seen as a luxury agent from the very beginning. That was pretty much it. I have to tell you, I just did– Everyone’s like, “I can’t do that.” I did that in the beginning of my career and in my little– this is my four and a half weeks in Margaritaville. I just know for sure I have accomplished it here for sure.

Paul: I love it. Tell me what you mean by that.

Tara: When I was home stuck for COVID, and being– I, unfortunately, got COVID and then I was stuck home even more and being a single female stuck inside a condo by yourself. When I’m a high I on the DISC Profile and my love language is physical touch, is not good for your mental health. [chuckles] Whatsoever. I love people. I can’t do open houses. I can’t do networking stocks. All of that has been taken away from my repertoire, my little treasure box of tools, which is essentially 40% of my business, if not probably more.

I decided to go to Margaritaville, which I came here and visited a friend. It’s in Orlando, but you feel like you’re in Bimini, it’s really cool the vibe. What I did was I rented a four-bedroom house and I utilize this opportunity to let everyone come up and experience a little slice of heaven and a little bit of happiness each time. I literally have a schedule. I am on my seventh family right now, they actually came back. They were the third family and they came back again. They get to experience this slice of heaven and I get to do my networking stacks. These are people that they’re not close to me, either people I want to do business with or people I’ve done business with, and they’re bringing their dogs and their kids and it’s just a free for all.

However, at the pool, because there’s a big pool, I knew that I needed to make sure everybody at the pool knew my name. I needed to know the best servers, I needed to know the best bartender and I needed to know the best magician. The magician, I actually put it on my Instagram story today. You can go watch it. He literally said at the pool today, “Oh, there’s the world’s greatest realtor.” [chuckles] I’m like “Ah, this is great.”

This first week, a week and a half here, my tab was completely comped, my girlfriend’s lived here for two years and she’s like, “I’ve never had that happen before.” It’s because you got to take care of the good people, you have to recognize the good people and you have to take care of them. Hospitality is the key of any business. It’s the same thing of how are you treating your customers that they remember you? I got the local card. I just made this a home-court advantage. I’m doing things, breaking the rules, and I’m not getting in trouble because they’re like, “Oh, it’s Tara.”

Paul: Let me ask you, okay, so great. Now, I’ve established a home court, which I did. I did that. That’s good. I know how to do that. How do I transition from having– or maybe there’s no transition, you do it together, but I don’t, so I’d like to know, how do I then let everybody know I’m a realtor, I’m looking for potential business? How do I make that shift? Home-court advantage, I’ve got it. What do I do? What am I missing?

Tara: One of two ways. One, first, if you’re working independently and you don’t have any meetings, you would be sitting at the bar. Basically, you always want to sit at the bar in between the hours of 2:00 and 4:00 because that’s when the transition shift, and you would wear a name badge. I have a sticker on the back of my computer that says, “Have questions about real estate? Let’s talk.” And it has flamingos all over it.

Typically, always have a name badge. You can tell based on my conversations on the phone and I’m usually the only one working during happy hour, that I’m working, so naturally, people come over and they’re like, “What do you do? You must be a realtor.” I’m like, “What’s up?” That usually leads into, “Well, can you look and see how much my house is?” That’s one way to think that presence speaks for itself.

I still do my negotiations, I still do anything I need to do and I have my little setup. You never want to have your back to the front door either, because you want to make sure you see everybody that’s going in, coming in and out. If you want to do networking stacks, what you do is you invite people that you want to do business with. For example, let’s say that you invite an attorney. Let’s go brand new in the business, you invite a lender and you want to do business with an attorney, and maybe you want to add an agent to your downline.

I’m going to book a lunch appointment from 12:00 to 1:00 and I’m going to book probably maybe with the attorney. Book the 12:00 to 1:00 with the attorney, the 1:00 to 1:30 coffee with the lender, and a 1:30 to two o’clock with the agent. What’s going to happen is when I sit down at the twelve o’clock lunch and he comes in because the hostess greeted him and told him to come to my table, is I’m going let him know, “Hey, I’m letting you know, I do have a one o’clock. I’m really excited to talk with you.”

We get done at one o’clock, the hostess already knows the person’s name for my one o’clock because I already told him I have brought with a piece of paper. They come to the table and then what’s really great is, and this is a little– it’s all in the book, I swear. When the lender comes up for my 1:30, and I don’t even drink coffee, so I just drink tea or just for dessert. I make sure because now the guy knows, “Oh, you have a one o’clock.” so he’s watching the time.

When the one o’clock comes, I introduced the lender to the attorney because I want to make sure that they connect. Then I always excuse myself to the restroom, whether I need to go or not. It’s just a little tactic. By doing that, when I leave to the restroom, what do you think they talk about?

Paul: They talk about business and they talk about you?

Tara: “How do you know Tara?” “Oh, I live an hour from here. Isn’t she great?” Another credibility. Ding-ding, checkmark, and then I do the exact same thing for the second person because now, do lenders need attorneys? Yes. Do lenders need agents to work with? I have the third person that’s an agent that I want to introduce the agent to the lender, the lender to the agent. I am always seen as the connector. People love a connector. [chuckles] They always want to come to you and ask you– solve all your problems.

Paul: That’s awesome. Let me ask you, to be more basic, so I want to have an attorney but I’m a new agent. How do I get an attorney? I mean, how do I get an appointment with an attorney?

Tara: I love the power of Facebook. For example, your status should be this at least once a week. I’m looking for a great divorce attorney, or for down here definitely divorce attorneys. [chuckles] I’m looking for a great real estate attorney, who do you know that I should know? I guarantee you you’re going to get a few tags of people that you should probably know. What you do is you call and introduce yourself. It’s not a cold call because you already have an in. “Hey, so and so, I was looking for the best attorney in town and they said that you’re the person and they referred me to you. I wanted to learn more about your business. Are you available for coffee next Tuesday at two o’clock or is Thursday at three o’clock better?”

Paul: People love that, when you say, “I was looking for the best and then they referred you.” It’s such a good way to get an appointment because they’re just going to be predisposed to do that. You said divorce attorney which I agree with wholeheartedly. I would throw in there trusts and estates lawyer. People that handle wills and estates. Then real estate lawyer, I just wonder if I would do that because I wonder will they already have so many connections?

Tara: Although, there’s nothing like my relationship with my real estate attorney because when I call him at ten o’clock at night, he answers the phone [laughs] like, “That’s a good question.” Having those guys in your back pocket are great, but I don’t necessarily see me getting– I don’t really get referrals from them.

Paul: Right. Okay. One of the things that– You talk about stacks, I had it halfway written down, we’ll put it up in the notes for sure. Tell me the name of the book again.

Tara: Seven Levels of Communication.

Paul: Okay, and author?

Tara: Michael Maher.

Paul: Okay. You mentioned your Instagram. Tell us your Instagram. Again, we’ll post this stuff.

Tara: Yes, that’s good. It’s mstaracarter, @mstaracarter. M-S, I’m not married so mstaracarter. [chuckles]

Paul: Okay.

Tara: The one more thing I was going to say is when you ask how do you find those attorneys if you’re a brand new agent besides posting on Facebook? The best thing is if you think about the most successful people that you know, and you call them and you just say, “Hey, you know I look up to you as a very successful individual. I wanted to know if you had a referral for somebody that you know that’s a great trust attorney.” Because if they’re already successful, then the people they work with are probably outstanding. Then you already have an end from that person to be able to call and introduce yourself to that person and asking them, “Would you mind doing a quick introduction via email or text?”

Paul: What are you doing during that meeting? Fine, I got the trust lawyer to come have coffee with me, now what am I going to do?

Tara: Talking about them. People love to talk about themselves. You shut up about yourself. Nobody wants to hear about you. It’s just so the person who talks the most dominates the conversation and the person who asks the most questions, controls the conversation. Do you want to dominate that appointment or do you want to control that appointment? I like control. [chuckles] It really comes down to asking them. You never want to run out of questions.

Stick to the four, family, occupation, recreation, dreams, or a F.R.O.G and occupation and goals. It’s basically the same thing. You’re asking them about them. The goal is though, is you want to find a homework assignment. You need to find something that they are currently struggling with. You need to find something that you can take away from the meeting. That is your homework assignment, that you can now use that as a follow-up.

Paul: I will tell you, this was my big takeaway. When we talked last time, is going into again, remarkable, I love how high I you are. You’re obviously an easy connector and that sort of thing, but there’s such purposefulness behind what you do. This is a massive takeaway. What Tara said is when she meets with somebody, and let’s be clear, Tara wants something from them. She wants them to see her as a great realtor, as a great landing place for their referrals.

Tara: And that they can trust me. [crosstalk]

Paul: What she’s looking for is an assignment. When she’s meeting with the trusts and estates lawyer, she’s like the whole time as I remember you telling me, what’s the assignment I’m going to get? What’s the assignment I’m going to get? Explain to me what that is, then what’s an example of it. What will that look like?

Tara: You can go about it in a few ways. One before– you don’t just jump in and be like, what’s your biggest problem in life? [laughs] We don’t do that. You dig down deeply. You ask them. When you ask people how are you too, especially during this whole new normal, they usually give you a fake front answer. Asking them again, no, really, how are you? How has this affected you or how is your business? That would be a conversation now, but if it’s just in general, you ask them, you stick to that. It doesn’t have to be an order, but asking them about themselves and their business. When you ask somebody about their business, you say, “How is business?” Nine out of 10 times, they’re going to reciprocate that as well and ask you how’s business.

However, when you dig down deep for how is their business, if they say, “Oh, everything’s great.” Okay, great. What would make it better? What would make it awesome? Would you say you’re like a 10 plus in every aspect of your life, especially business? What would they do to make it better for you? Oh, I’m really looking for a– I just can’t find a great receptionist. It’s just driving me nuts. I can’t find anybody great.

What does a great receptionist look like to you? Ask questions, all your questions, turn into another question. If you don’t know what to say, you just repeat it back and then spit it back out. If I find out exactly what a good receptionist and I have a pen and paper, because I want them to know that I’m listening, so I am taking notes. I even have a pen and paper here because I knew you were probably going to drop something on me that I wanted to write down.

When you were taking that, you’re like, “Okay, great. Do you mind if I put this out to my database and ask people?” I just want a homework assignment. I just found a homework, like a problem. You can even ask them straight up, “Hey, what’s your biggest opportunity in your business currently right now? What’s your biggest room for improvement that you have currently in your business life, family life, it depends on what your level of intimacy is with them?

Paul: Then that’s your homework assignment. You’re actually, in that instance, it’s a tall order. That’s a tall order for example, but in that instance, you’re actually going to make some efforts to find an assistant for them.

Tara: Even if you put it out, let’s say you don’t even have a big database. You’re like, “I don’t know any good assistant.” Let’s say you just posted on Facebook a few times. You sent out some emails and you did your best, your follow-up call now with that person is so easy because you can say, “Listen, I put some fillers out there. I really haven’t had too much engagement. However, I just wanted to let that I am still looking. Have you found anybody yet?” If the answer is no, they haven’t, but you tried, do you think that that person’s going to be receptive and appreciative that you even gave a shit? Excuse my French. [chuckles]

Paul: It’s the internet, I think we can

Tara: They’re going to know that you care. People want to do business because they know, like, and trust you. You now came to them with sincerity. When you help them solve a problem, this is the catch. This is why you have the homework assignment. When you help somebody solve a problem. I never asked for business once during this conversation, during the lunch meeting, during the follow-up, I never asked for business. You know that you had a great appointment and you did your job when they say to you, after you’ve solved the problem or you didn’t solve the problem. The fact is you actually tried to solve the problem.

When you follow up with them or at the meeting and you try to help them and connect them. Sometimes right away, I’ll just pull out my phone and I’ll start connecting people like, “Hey, do you mind if I try right now?” If they say, “Wow, you’re just so awesome. What can I do for you?” Then you know you did your job. [chuckles]

Paul: Let me ask you and maybe it just doesn’t– maybe you set it up so well that it doesn’t happen that often, what happens if I’m the lawyer and when you’re establishing these relationships, there have to be some people that are just take, take, take.

Tara: Always.

Paul: Now you’ve worked your tail off. You’ve got, “Oh, Tara what a fabulous– I hired your person. They’re phenomenal. Thank you so much. I can’t wait to have lunch with you again so I can give you my next problem.”

Tara: [chuckles] I’ve had that happen before. Those people are typically going to get. If I didn’t already do this in the beginning, you need to know where you need to spend your energy at because you can’t put all your eggs in one basket, you need to divide your energy up. I track the referrals that I’ve been given from who it’s coming from and who I give them to. I understand if I see at the end of the year or the end of a quarter, that I see that Joe, my electrician has received 20 referrals and I’ve received zero from him. Then that’s probably my fault because I haven’t asked enough times.

When it comes to somebody like a lawyer who says, “Thanks so much. When can we go to lunch again so you can help me solve some more problems?” Then it’s probably going to say, “I want to go for a cup of coffee or for lunch or happy hour or whatever it is,” or I can have a conversation and say it’s the chosen one conversation, conversation one script. It says, when you– Joe, let me ask you, when you, your family member, coworker, or spouse have a real estate need, who do you refer that business to?

Paul: The chosen one script, here it is.

Tara: When you, your family member, neighbor, coworker have a real estate need, who do you refer that business to? Sometimes it is, “Oh, well, I’ll send it to you.” I’m like, “Okay, great.” “I have a big goal this year and I’m looking to accomplish 100 units for the year. I wanted to know if you’d be willing to send me at least two referrals in the next three months.” You have to be very specific. However, I don’t get that one so often. Down here, I have 63,000 realtors in my area, which I’m sure you do too. Everybody is a realtor. I usually get, “Oh, we have somebody that’s worked with our family for a while.” I say, “Okay, great. Do you work with them because they work with your family or do you really have a great relationship with them?”

Usually, when I dig down deep, because you ask questions, I find that the person is like part-time and a bartender or part-time and just– is happened to get laid into the family. I’ve learned that they don’t really like them. The next conversation is, “Would you be willing to give me a shot and see how I do business?” Then that’s usually my end. If they say that they’re completely loyal to somebody, “Oh, I have the most amazing realtor.” Listen, there’s enough money to go around. I ain’t mad about it, but I’m not going to spend no more energy.

Once I ask the next question, if they say that they have a phenomenal realtor, they love their realtor, then that’s amazing, kudos. It is hard to find a great realtor. Let me ask you, would you be willing to send me a referral the next 90 days to see how I do business differently? Now I’m not asking you for all your business. I’m just asking you to see how I do business differently and wanted to know would you be willing to refer me business to see how I work.

Paul: There’s probably a few different scenarios, one is I say yes and I do it. One is I say yes because I don’t want to be in an uncomfortable conversation and I don’t do it. Then the other one which is probably less likely to happen is I go, “You know what? It’s my third cousin’s niece and I just don’t want to rock the family boat.”

Tara: I’ve had that happen.

Paul: enough and you’re phenomenal at this and part of doing it is not worrying about the negative but just doing it. You do it enough, you’re going to get that.

Tara: Oh, yes for sure and I’m not going to lie, being totally transparent, I still get that little tingling feeling in my stomach when I know I’m getting ready to ask. I think it’s just that human instincts of a fear of rejection because they could say that, they could say that they have somebody and they’re totaly loyal, and they’re never going to use you. I’ve come to terms with that, that’s okay because there’s enough business to go around.

However what happens is I grade my database, so if that is the case, they get a D for delete or just drip, “You’re going on a drip campaign homie, I am not paying any more attention to you. I am not putting any more energy into you. You can follow me on Facebook and that’s about it.”

Paul: That’s what I mean about being very purposeful.

Tara: If they were a– Remember when you were asking me and you were like, “Well, what about a CPA?” One was my CPA but they were competition to me so I let them go and found somebody else who did answer the chosen one script better.

Paul: What Tara is referring to is in the last interview that I did with her, Tara is so nice and she’s so kind and she’s really coming from contributions truly. She really wants to help the person when she’s asking them that question of “What’s the one thing that is really a difficult spot in your business?” Are you okay with that script?

Tara: Yes. You can change it any way you want for the most part- [crosstalk]

Paul: I still wanted to grade them open to a B- or C or whatever if I can improve it so we do it live. Tara is really coming from contribution and saying, “Hey,” learning more about their business. What’s the one thing that you really struggle with in your business right now? What’s an area that could be better? I know that Tara comes from contribution when she asked that question and then the follow-up for her is natural for her to do. That I can see from the interview, from interviewing you. The thing I wanted to get behind that on was what happens if you don’t get it. I use the CPA example because everyone has different vendors that they use.

What if I have a CPA that’s phenomenal with my books, I’ve been using them for 15 years, they do a good job, they’ve just never sent me a referral? I was talking to Tara, how hardcore are you on this? She’s like, “Wow, funny you mention that because-“

Tara: I was sitting in my CPA’s house. [chuckles] The one I fired.

Paul: There you go. I forget what Pro Athlete it was. I was watching a documentary but just a standout athlete at the top of the world. It asked the question about who’s on your team or whatever? He just said, “Look, it’s not personal everybody has to be rowing the boat in the same direction.” They got to be rowing the boat in the direction for me. Just doing a great job on your taxes, that’s great, that’s a baseline but you want to establish your referral network of people that are really helping enhance your business. You know what? Here’s the truth, you can find another person that does a great job on your taxes who will also refer you at least one piece of business. Let’s make that happen.

Tara: Absolutely. I think that the expectations can’t be like well, you know I’m a realtor so you should refer me business. That’s not how it works. Don’t even ask one time like if I have the chosen one conversation with them and they said that they would give me the opportunity in the next 90 days to at least work refer somebody that they come across and see how I do business and they don’t, I’m not going to be upset if I didn’t ask once or twice maybe three times within that 90 days as a follow-up or give them an item of value as a follow-up from our conversation.

Because there’s something in that conversation that not only was a homework problem for me to help solve for them, there was also something in that conversation where I was taking as a follow-up for an item of value either to use then or to use later. For example, I know when we were speaking, I told you about the one, he said that I asked him for the goals was what are some goals that you have? His was, “Well, I’m looking to travel, me my friends, to take my friends to all the baseball stadiums around the United States.” My item of value later on as a follow-up was a book of the history of all the baseball stadiums around the United States from Amazon that was like $24. I sent it with a little gift wrap directly to his store. That was an item of value.

Paul: Super personalized and what if anything do you do when they send you a referral? Do you reward that behavior?

Tara: Always. I chuck it in my CRM and I also have a board in my office/now dining room. The board is– literally, I have a tally mark and I take it down every month. I have a tally mark of who gave me a referral tally, and then who did I give referrals to. When I’m on– first it was Zoom, the people who were coming into the office too, and they were like, “Wow, how do I get up on that board?” I’m like, “Well, you can send me a piece of business.”

In my CRM, it goes the same way, so I’m able to go back and see and track it. If you don’t track it, you’re never going to know. By rewarding the person who gave you the referral, I just use AMcards for the brownie box and the card.

AMcards.com is an automated service to where you can use a card. I think I pay like $2 a card and then I add on a box of brownies, which they’re really delicious and they come super pretty packed. I have my own branding on the card, as Flamingos and a picture of my mom and the areas that we serve and whatnot.

Paul: I love it. I love it, okay.

Tara: That takes two seconds to send, the templates already made. You just hit brownies and hit the address and the name and call it in.

Paul: Do you do that for every referral? Do you do a special? Do you let people know who’s referring more? Do you have an inner circle club or anything like that?

Tara: I have to say that a lot of that stuff has gotten so fan clubby. I was that one that would always, always announce and ta-da-da-da but I started to notice some agents that were purposely going after my referral client, my partners that I was praising. I do, not as much however more was through social media because the more successful you get, the more haters you get. If you don’t have at least 10 haters, then go get 10 haters. If you have 10, then go get 10 more. I’m good with that. Right now, I’m like, “You know what? My hater count has gone down a little bit because I did it in Margaritaville. I need to come up and ban some stuff up again.” [chuckles]

Because that circle got so tight, I got really good about Facebook list and now all realtors, local realtors, especially, are in a Facebook list so the majority of my Facebook post I blocked them all out of it.

Paul: Oh, okay. All right. Interesting.

Tara: If you can get all your realtors into it a Facebook list, you can block them out of everything. [chuckles]

Paul: Tricks of the trade. Okay, all right, fair enough. You don’t want them to see if you don’t want people to see.

Tara: No. When I post my client events or ideas of fun stuff, I block them out of all that stuff.

Paul: That’s interesting and I appreciate you sharing those tips here. Mainly, we have a national audience. I really appreciate your contribution for sure. Another thing is probably, do you get outside referrals from agents? People have people coming to Fort Lauderdale and now Orlando too is that

Tara: Yes, I can pretty much sell anywhere but, yes, from Margaritaville in Orlando but mostly just South Florida and Fort Lauderdale. I don’t know, I’m not an expert here by any means but I will sell new construction in Margaritaville.

Paul: I love it.

Tara: I will say that the other power of the list on Facebook, not just– I just tought about, it is the out-of-area realtors are also in their own list. I will post specifically just to those people. Because let’s be honest, people don’t always care that I’m getting referrals and most people that are not realtors, they just look at us like because we just post, another closing, just listed, under contract, ta-da-da-da-da. They just think it’s an established lifestyle and they have no idea what goes on behind the scenes.

I will post thank you and congratulations to the Facebook list that I have that is out-of-area realtors, but understand that nobody knows that they’re on a list. It’s not a private Facebook group or anything. It’s just a targeted way of targeting your audience, your friends’ list.

Paul: I love it. I’m looking to see what your-

Tara: On your desktop– actually, if you give me a share screen I can show you. On your desktop, you can only access it at first from the desktop, but you can actually access the Facebook list, you can make your own. I have a whole bunch of lists. This is not a millennial thing because my mom is 63, sorry, mom, I just said your age. She’s 63 and she does this herself. She does it at a higher level than I do. She even has a list that says “Don’t Know” for the people that doesn’t know. Every week she goes through and tries to take 10 people off the Don’t Know list to put them into another list.

Paul: Wow, okay that’s cool A couple of questions specific and that is what if anything are you doing differently during COVID because as you said before, open houses were a huge thing for you and now not so much. What’s changed in order for you to keep your business thriving during COVID?

Tara: Besides taking a six-week staycation and inviting families as networking stacks, got my new home-court advantage. I would the home buyer seminars. The first-time home buyer seminars have been pretty successful and the seller seminars. Those two have picked up a bit. I personally have not felt comfortable to do open houses yet except for the luxury market because I get a little bit of a different clientele there. I can’t even keep anything on the market to do an open house [chuckles]. I would say just the seminars really have been the biggest pivot.

Paul: Are you doing the seminars, are you doing them via Zoom?

Tara: Yes, Zoom and the interviews. We started interviewing small business owners and that was pretty awesome. Even in the beginning, I interviewed the spa owner of the biggest spa in town. She did a live tutorial on how to take off the girl’s nails because everybody is freaking out about that. [laughs]. I even did a men’s beard trim. We interviewed the local barbershop owner who is a big guy in the charity. He does a lot of charity work. We did a live beard trimming online on Zoom, on Facebook Live. He had to trim up my partner’s beard and we talked about him and his overcoming addiction and reached out to that community. I think it’s just really tapping into the locals in your community and checking in on them and then the buyer seminars or seller.

Paul: You’re doing the local business interviews, are you doing that on Facebook, Facebook Live? How are you promoting it?

Tara: That’s promoted via the Nextdoor app. If the people in your team are friends, they can promote it because they live in different neighborhoods. Facebook for the neighborhoods as well for the community pages Then personal Facebooks, because think about it, if you have a reach and you’re reaching out to somebody and they have a bigger audience than you, then you just doubled your audience by promoting them and giving them their own marketing material as well.

Paul: Right, it’s a great tip. If for example, it’s a great tip even for as we look at Real Estate Rockstars. If I wanted tons of views which of course we do, a great way to do that would be interview people and have a massive social media presence. I focused on that a little bit but it’s certainly something and then as the realtors that we’re talking to right now, to put that into perspective. If you’re looking to do a neighborhood shop owners interview, you could look at 20, 30 shop owners. Check to see who has the massive Instagram or the massive Facebook or Twitter following and do it for them, right?

Tara: Yes, in double, and now I just thought of my homework assignment for you.

Paul: Oh, you did? Okay, good.

Tara: I’m going to do some intros to follow-up from this.

Paul: Oh, good I love it.

Tara: You see how you just gave me a problem? It’s not a problem but problem is not the right word. I don’t know what the right word is. You just gave me something that would help you in your business. The light bulb just went off in my head. I was like, “Oh okay, Rachel, Andrew.” These are the three people that I have to introduce him to because their social media is ten times bigger than mine.

Paul: Oh, I love it. Let me ask you the question that you ask your vendors. That’s what’s one thing in your business that could be working better? What’s a pain point? What’s one problem that could be solved?

Tara: Make COVID go away [laughs]. Honestly, that would probably be the biggest and that’s unrealistic at the moment because I just miss the energy. I feed off the energy in the office. I’m usually the energy in the office where just teaching and speaking and traveling. I love that and I just not able to do that. That hurts my soul a little bit. That’s the struggle. If anything, I would say more opportunities to each and speak and maybe help. If I can just help one person a day, my day is good.

Paul: Okay. I was getting ready until Tara finally moved it around, I was getting ready to ask the question again because I didn’t get an answer that. I was just getting ready to ask it again but before I did and demo that. We’re doing this live but since in the end I did get a homework assignment and that is a way for you to speak to a larger audience. A way for you to communicate value to people. Now think about that and get back to Tara. Say, “Hey, Tara, thanks so much for being on Real Estate Rockstars.” I’ve been thinking about your issue.”

I might even pivot that a little bit honestly and say, “What are the things that I’ve been doing that have been keeping me sane during COVID?” I just came back from doing cryotherapy. I just read a study on cryotherapy and how it does a lot of different things including mood elevation and that sort of thing. Now I could send Tara an article and say, “Hey, I’ve been thinking about what you said and I’ve been doing cryotherapy. I just did 11 out of the 12 past days. Here’s an article on that.” I might even look and see if there’s one near Margaritaville.

Now it’s just a couple of minutes to do that and find out maybe they have a promotional deal where they already give the first one free, or maybe you could buy as a gift the first one free or whatever. This is the multiple steps that Tara does so purposefully that really– I do some of this stuff just naturally but I know that when doing it with a purpose, it’s so much more effective that– I was inspired by Tara and looking at all the different things that I do naturally. I want to create more– I intend and will create more purposeful action around-

Tara: Oh, you just caught yourself there, I love that.

Paul: Yes. One of the example I gave before is just that my doctor, my internist, he’s wonderful by the way. I haven’t asked him for any real estate referrals but I’m going to.

Tara: First send him a gift first. [laughs]

Paul: What I wanted to tell you was that when I go for a checkup, just an annual checkup, I always send him a card and a bottle of wine. I’ve asked him, “What kind of wine do you like?” He’s like, “You know I’m not really a wine drinker but I do like wine but you’d be wasting money if you send me a fancy bottle da-da-da-da-da. I just send a really nice bottle of wine for like $20 or whatever, card and bottle of wine every time I have just a routine checkup.

Then I ask him, “How many of your patients out of your thousand patients do something like this?” His answer was, “You know I get the gift card or I get the note if I save someone’s life.” The family’s like, “Oh, wow you saved our life. Here is the bottle of wine or whatever.” He said, “You’re the only one who does that.” People love that. It’s so easy. Don’t we want– It’s just an example, it’s outside of the realm of what we’re talking about maybe, but don’t we really want our doctor to have us on the A-list of the patients. Because I will tell you, I’ve been with him for 10 years and I can promise you this, if I ever have an after-hour question or whatever, he calls me back so fast, you can’t believe it. It’s not just so that I will get that service in return. I like being the only person out of a thousand patients that send him a card.

Tara: I just wrote down, I’m sending a gift to my doctor. [laughs]

Paul: Good.

Tara: I’m totally doing that. Just to appreciate him. He’s always there. I think that we forget about those people. Even as simple as I told you, pre-COVID. I go into the bank, every time I go to make a deposit, I don’t always do it on my phone. It takes a little bit longer and it’s annoying but guess what, I’ve gotten eight referrals from my bank in the last year and a half. Is it worth going driving there which, and getting out parking my car, instead of just going through the drive-thru?

I don’t drink coffee but if I did, I’d be doing the same thing. I make sure that barista and Starbucks or wherever you go, knows my name. I do that at my pharmacy too. I always walk in, pre-COVID. [chuckles]

Paul: I’m sorry to ask the question-

Tara: Ask whatever you

Paul: Well, you may have answered it five times in this interview alone, but I have to ask it again. That is, now I’m going to the bank instead of making the deposit online, which is a little more efficient for me, I’m going to go into the bank. I’m going to go in the bank because it’s more person-to-person contact and you’ve said you’ve gotten eight referrals from the bank. I go into the bank, I don’t get any referrals. I need to know what’s happening in the bank.

Tara: I can tell you, Vince is a gay man and just found new love and he’s super excited and he has a new dog. I can tell you that Rose is somebody who loves my nana and she’s a grandmother of eight, and her youngest one was just born. I can tell you that Laura, that was the new person that just came in, and she moved here from Kansas. She’s a good old Southern girl, and she loves Southern food and gave her some recommendations. I can go on and on. It just comes down to the fourth and final conversations.

Paul: Now you’ve proven to me that you know them, you care about them, they are going to know that. Now, how do I get the referral from them? Where’s the bridge?

Tara: The bridge usually, and honestly, I’m usually not asking that much. Sometimes it’ll usually just come naturally, however, I have been a little more purposeful at the bank. When I sit down with them, sometimes I’ll just say, “I just wanted to say that I just appreciate you very much. Thank you for always taking care of me.” Because they’re really amazing there, and it’s a small community bank. My financial advisor is so mad that I won’t leave this baby bank because it’s the worst website, the worst app. I won’t leave, I just won’t leave. Nobody’s going to give me the service that they give me.

Asking them, “Who do you know?” It’s a simple question that we always ask, “Who do you know that’s looking to buy, sell or invest in real estate that I could help?” Or it’s the chosen one conversation, but the chosen one isn’t one of those things that I will just walk by you in passing and say that or while you’re counting money for me, I’m not going to say that, because that’s a lot. I feel like that’s more intimate if I’m sitting down with you and having a conversation like at the bank. Does that make sense?

Paul: Totally. I really, really appreciate you sharing all that you’ve shared with us today. One homework assignment that I have for you. You get your own homework assignments but one of the things that we always do on Real Estate Rockstars is we always provide a gift from the person that we interview, I wonder what do you think would make a great gift? Is that something you want to think about or maybe it’s the chosen one script and maybe your vendor for follow-up? What’s a good-

Tara: A gift for me to give?

Paul: Yes, so that we can post that. A digital gift, it could be a few scripts.

Tara: I will share because we’re not successful unless we take care of ourselves first. One of the things that I’ve really perfected and I’ve been teaching to a lot lately has been so fun has been the nightly routine, the ritual. I’m really big about rituals, that set me up for success, and it’s called Sweet Dreams. It is a full breakdown of an entire ritual that has completely changed my life. It changed my business. It’s changed my relationships. It’s saved me money. It’s saved me time and energy. It’s just made me a better person.

Now we’re teaching hundreds of people right now. We’re actually in the middle of our second series teaching it right now and I’ll just share that list with you.

Paul: I love it. You can find us, you can find me at Paul Mark, M-A-R-K, Morris on Instagram and Facebook. We’ve got, it’s at MsTaraCarter on Instagram. We can probably follow you. It’s COVID, right? So we got dogs barking.

Tara: Yes. I’m in my bed [chuckles] in Margaritaville.

Paul: I love that. Thank you so much for– I knew that you’d be a phenomenal interview and I learned a bunch of stuff from you the first time we interviewed you, I’ve learned a bunch more. I’m going to run out and buy that book and you can expect that I’ll be sending you stuff as well. Looking forward to staying in touch. I encourage realtors watching this podcast to follow Tara, follow me. We’re going to put up items of value that you can use during COVID and beyond.

Tara: I’m excited. Thanks for mingling with me today. That was fun.

Paul: Thanks so much.

Tara: Bye.

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