Operating out of Austin, Texas (which is dubbed as the hottest housing market for 2021), The Heyl Group’s Tim Heyl and Matt Patulski stand unintimidated in the face of low inventory and high competition. In addition to Austin, the 70-plus agent team covers the Dallas, Houston, Atlanta, and Denver markets, securing about 35 deals per agent per year.
“Austin is an extreme version of what’s going on in the country right now,” Heyl shares. “We have less than a month of inventory, which is unheard of – lowest we’ve ever had in Austin,” Patulski says. Yet, in these unprecedented conditions, the team still managed to pull in more than $10M in GCI for 2020.
Here, Heyl and Patulski share a glimpse into the practices that have set the team up for success and garnered widespread recognition, including a spot as one of Wall Street Journal’s Top 25 real estate teams and an Inc. 5000 fastest-growing company.
1. Change With the Times
Twelve years ago, when Heyl initially entered the real estate world, his business revolved around calling expireds and FSBOs. Fast-forward to 2021, a time of stringent laws around Do Not Call lists, and the business has gotten a complete makeover in an effort to stay not just compliant, but effective. “We decided it’s not going to be a quantity game for us. It’s going to be a quality one,” he shares.
In order to stand out and provide value in Austin’s oversaturated market, the team has been deeply focused in putting themselves in their clients’ shoes and posing a very important question: If I were in their position, what would the problem be?
“There’s an unlimited number of family situations that people are in, and they each represent a problem,” Heyl says.
At the macro level, Heyl shares three types of customers:
– Someone who is just buying a home
– Someone who is just selling a home
– Someone who is doing both
“Our job as agents is to ask tough questions and get in their shoes and understand where they are and what they are experiencing,” he says.
Currently, Austin is dealing with one main problem: If someone decides to sell, they are uncertain about where they will be able to go. Instead of constantly hammering your sphere with the question of whether or not they are ready to sell, the first step is understanding the roadblocks that may be keeping them at bay.
2. Account for Objections
Once you have identified these roadblocks, it is time to shift your focus toward creating a solutions bank. By familiarizing yourself with the solutions – both traditional and modern – available to you, you can deepen your expertise so that when a potential client shares a problem or objection, you are able to pull from your knowledge bank and offer concrete solutions. “That’s when they’re going to call you back and hire you,” Heyl says.
For example, the team sees a lot of dependency between the buying and selling process – in particular, with the flow of having to sell a property before buying a new one. Given that the current market is not a space where you can wait to put an offer contingent on sale, clients are in need of financial solutions. For this reason, Heyl founded Homeward – a home finance company which allows homebuyers to make an all-cash offer in order to secure the house before going through the process of getting a mortgage. “That way, if they have a home to sell, they don’t have to sell before they buy. Or if they have a mortgage, they can be more competitive and don’t have to wait for the appraisal to get done,” Heyl says.
3. Get Creative With Your Inventory Sources
While agents may think they are fully aware of what’s going on within their communities, the team encourages them to look beyond the obvious and connect with new home builders. Patulski shares, “For instance, there is a builder community opening right next to where I live. It’s not listed anywhere, and I don’t know of any of our agents that knew about it. That’s a great opportunity for clients that have a longer timeframe to be able to get a house.” At the same time, he suggests looking at potential buyers’ needs and using them to engage the Keller Williams community and nurture lukewarm sellers.
4. Invest in Training and Education
According to Heyl, home buyers don’t necessarily submit the offer that is their highest, or their best. Rather, they submit based on the offer they think is most likely to win and makes the most sense for the particular home. “If the agent has extra intel, a strong relationship with the listing agent, understands the dynamics of the multiple-offer situation, knows how to navigate it, understands values in the neighborhood and knows what is going on with the appraisal situation … when they know all of these pieces, they know the right questions to ask, who to ask them to, how to help the buyer navigate what they want to do. So, there’s a whole element of training and education to take your agents to the next level.”
Embracing education does not just help your business get ahead on offers, but it can fuel mindsets and crush self-doubt. “We got everyone together and we went through what’s currently happening in the market, and where things are going in the future,” Patulski shares. “You should feel excited and inspired to be able to go out and help people buy the house that they want.”
5. Identify the Core of Your Success
In previous years, as they were expanding into additional markets, Patulski shares that the team started to put focus on the wrong things, taking them away from the core of what made them truly great. This led to the team entering a paradox that co-founder and exec. chairman Gary Keller has previously mentioned: They relied on agent count growth to force their success instead of letting their success with generating appointments force their growth. “Fully realizing this principle made us scale back on agent count, shut down markets, refocus all of our resources on appointment generation, and our results went through the roof,” Patulski says. “Very simply, the core of our success is listing appointment generation and appointment conversion.”
In refocusing, the Heyl Group stripped down their strategy to three important steps:
- Be the rainmaker: Solve your lead generation problem and make it rain with appointments.
- Think of yourself as a talent scout: The best in any business do an exceptional job at always recruiting to make sure they are surrounding themselves with the right talent.
- Make “thinking time” a priority: This is simple and so important. Calendar specific time to slow down and think about where you are, where you are going, and what you need to do.
“The majority of our success has been about just being in business with the right people,” Patulski shares. “So becoming great at recruiting and hiring is something that has been invaluable. Because of that, there has been no more impactful class than Career Visioning to master these skills.”
What are some problems your clients have been struggling with? How have you created innovative solutions and established yourself as their first-choice Realtor? Let us know in the comments section.