“Hyperlocal” is a term that gets thrown around a lot in real estate, but what does it really translate to?
For Cory Wilson and Drew Hopley, owners of the Live Frederick . Sell Frederick Group, hyperlocal means being emotionally invested in the community and having a deep, intimate, lived-in experience and understanding of the city they call home.
It’s also strategy – paired with the team’s desire to sell and a growth-focused culture – that is setting them apart from the competition.
“What separates us is our unbridled enthusiasm, passion, and desire to share this incredible town with others. It’s given so much to us, and we believe the town and community can do the same for anyone who makes the choice to live here,” Wilson says.
The team grew sales by 40% and increased the number of units sold from 63 to 100 in 2020, their second full year in business.
“We believe that when agents make it about ‘why you do it’ and ‘where you do it’ that success and abundance will follow,” Hopley explains.
Their mission is simple: unveil their product – the city of Frederick – as an unparalleled place to live. They named their company after it because their mission is about location, not about them.
The duo met on a golf course in 2014. Then Hopley, a buyer specialist with The Donovan Home Team of KW out of Great Falls, Virginia, sold Wilson a home. He’d become a licensed agent in 2012, always with Keller Williams.
Hopley immediately recognized Wilson’s talent and potential in real estate even though Wilson was working in computer science at the time. Hopley convinced him to join the same Keller Williams team in 2014.
“I think every agent should join a team right off the bat. I think it’s a great learning experience,” Wilson says.
Toward the end of 2018, they left to create their hyperlocal partnership in Frederick out of passion for the city both had adopted as home.
“We have learned to keep our vision and mission in front of us at all times and to remember why we started this,” Hopley says.
The duo credit their friendship, their first coach, and KW MAPS Coaching for strengthening their partnership and making the business more successful. Coaches provide an unbiased, macro view of their business and taught them to embrace their differences.
“I’ll sum it up: I’m slow, Drew’s fast,” Wilson says.
Wilson, director of operations, is the numbers guy. He keeps them focused on their goals.
Hopley is the team’s director of sales. He’s developed expertise around scripts and dialogues and plugging into the language of sales.
Hopley’s advice to any new agent is to “learn what to say, and when to say it, and how to say it. Have confidence in that.”
3 Keys to Creating a Successful Hyperlocal Business
The partners have living and selling in Frederick as their focus. There are many factors to their success, but they advise the following when it comes to hyperlocal.
1. Market the location
Neither Wilson nor Hopley grew up in Frederick, although Wilson’s wife, Alanna, did. They consider that an advantage because they understand what it’s like to be “sold” on living there. They speak candidly about their shared experience of moving to and what they love about Frederick.
They “shine a light on all that Frederick has to offer.” That includes an award-winning public school system. Frederick, which celebrated its 275th anniversary in 2020, has a historic district and a vibrant, small city feel. Its population is about 70,000, but it’s only 50 miles from both Washington, D.C., and Baltimore.
Because he’s fully involved in the community, Wilson can document their town through social media and on their photo-packed website. They promote and participate in local events and shop, eat, and drink at downtown businesses. Instead of only featuring listings and sales messages, their social media highlights Frederick. Lighthearted but always professional, the posts include:
- Photos of Frederick’s quaint downtown district and historic sites
- A 12 Days of Christmas Giveaway of items and gift certificates from local businesses
- A pretzel-making kit from a downtown shop for the first five groups at a recent open house
- Photos of past gatherings with friends at their favorite local brewery
- Comments about the empty local baseball stadium, a sign of the COVID era
“That approach really caught a lot of attention locally,” Hopley says.
2. Treat everyone like family
Frederick prides itself on being very different from Washington, D.C., Wilson explains. People know their neighbors, support local businesses. It’s an inclusive, friendly community that appreciates authenticity.
Their candid and honest approach and treating people like family has served them well. “We are who we are. We don’t try to be anyone we’re not – and that resonates with people,” Hopley says.
Treating the people they meet as family means getting to know them. Having clients over for dinner, before and after a sale. Laughing, golfing, sharing stories – and becoming more than client and agent.
Family also means being there during the tough times. When a client experienced a house fire last year, the team quickly tried to find the family short-term housing. They rented a moon bounce so the little boy could enjoy his birthday safely during the pandemic.
“They, along with every family, deserve our compassion during the home-buying process. And they deserve our friendship and compassion well after the closing,” Hopley says.
3. Build a moat around your database
When Gary Keller talks about building a moat around your database, the guys think about building a moat around Frederick.
In their first year in business, Hopley and Wilson attempted to manage their database in Excel spreadsheets. “It was a nightmare,” Wilson remembers.
Late in 2019, they made the decision to jump into Command. They call it a “game-changer.” Through Command, they track their database and make the necessary follow-ups. Most of their business comes from that database.
“It wasn’t a coincidence that we went from $28 million to almost $40 million in volume in one year,” Wilson says. “Diving into Command allowed us to put our clients at the center of it all with features and insights and hyperlocal neighborhood information.”
Wilson recalls hearing, at an event, that you can do anything you want to do in Command in under five minutes. Wilson admits, at first it took a little longer than five minutes as he became accustomed to sending postcards, creating campaigns, and setting up his database on SmartPlans. “The beauty of it now is that we really can do anything in under five minutes,” Wilson says. “Let Command do the heavy lifting for you and that’s what we did in 2020.” They recommend the following to get the most out of Command:
- First, upload all your contacts right away. Get your database tight and organized.
- Use Opportunities to track where each contact is in the process and use the checklists as a way to create the customer experience.
- Create SmartPlans as a reminder to do certain tasks and to appropriately follow up as needed – then do the most important part: the follow-up.
- No database? No problem. Utilize FB Campaigns as a cost-effective way to increase your database.
“To sum it up, we love where we work, and we work where we live,” Wilson says. “It’s getting to know your neighbors and getting involved in the community. It’s being there for your friends and family in the big moments and the small. It’s never been about us. It’s about the product that we’re selling – the idea that living here is better than anywhere else. We truly believe that, not only do we live it, we sell it.”