GAIN THE PASSION
GAIN THE PASSION
Nov. 5, 2021

Chris Smith - Conversion Codes & the Curaytor Culture

Chris Smith - Conversion Codes & the Curaytor Culture

Chris Smith is a USA Today bestselling author and the co-founder of Curaytor, a social media, digital marketing and sales coaching company that helps businesses grow faster.

In less than three years, he used the blueprint in his book, The Conversion Code, to grow Curaytor to over $5 million in annual, recurring revenue. His work has been featured in Forbes, Inc. and by many other publications.

Prior, Chris worked for two billionaires, a near billion dollar publicly traded company and a startup that was acquired for $108 million.

Chris is a highly sought after keynote speaker and is a perennial on the most influential people in the real estate industry lists.

Follow Chris on Twitter
https://twitter.com/Chris_Smth
Find out more about CURAYTOR
https://www.curaytor.com/
Buy Chris' books including The Conversion Code on Amazon
https://www.amazon.com/Chris-Smith/e/B00GH5TS00%3Fref=dbs_a_mng_rwt_scns_share
Episode Transcript
https://www.successcoachingpodcast.com/chris-smith-conversion-codes-the-curaytor-culture/#transcript

Find out more about GAIN THE PASSION Coaching
https://www.gainthepassion.com
Access past episodes and more of the GAIN THE PASSION Podcast
https://www.gainthepassionpodcast.com

Transcript
Voiceover:

This is the SUCCESS Coaching Podcast with hosts, Todd Foster, Alyssa Stanley and Kelley Skar.

Alyssa Stanley:

Hello, everyone. Welcome to the SUCCESS Coaching Podcast. My name is Alyssa Stanley and I am here with Todd Foster and Kelley Skar. Today, we get to sit down with Chris Smith, who is a literal genius when it comes to marketing and sales in the real estate industry. And today, we're going to take him off track a little bit, all the other podcasts I've listened to. He really focuses on how he helps his real estate clients market online. But I think we're gonna dig a little bit deeper into Chris, the entrepreneur and the businessman.

Chris Smith:

Awesome.

Alyssa Stanley:

So thanks for being here. We're excited to chat with you.

Chris Smith:

I'm excited to be here. You know, I go way back with Kelley, it's great to see him we've you know, feels like the olden days, quite frankly, at this point.

Alyssa Stanley:

Do you have any embarrassing stories about olden days? Kelley, you can share with us?

Chris Smith:

No, I just feel like the days everyone. You know, no one knew what they were doing. And it was sort of this, you know, blogs and YouTube and Facebook. And you know, everything was starting to pop off and went from there. They used to joke that I went from like, if people were watching you on the stage, you know, now they had their heads down. And in the past, that was a bad thing. Today, they're taking a note or they're tweeting in real time, or they're doctoring up something on their phone to actually put into an Instagram story. And that was kind of we kind of watch that unfold, like from stage way, way back in the day with Inman and some of the realtor.com tours that I've been on. It's been fun to watch. Yeah, really has I mean, so why don't you Why don't you take us back into your quick elevator pitch about you know who Chris is where he started, maybe throw in the story about the being on the TV show your acting days. I know you and Todd on get along. Have a probably good conversation about your acting days and whatnot. But kind of take us back and you know, let our audience know who you are. Yeah, great. Great segue. I was on Buffy. That should be my whole bio, quite frankly. But I was on Buffy. I was in Looney Tunes. I was in a prequel to Romy and Michele. But just as background, we called it background talent, you know, like to call it background talent. I think you made 53 bucks a day, you sat around on a you know, movies movie set for 12 to 15 hours doing mostly nothing. And then they'd call you and you do the shot. They they'd bring you back. But I just was always sort of like drawn to, you know, why are these people way more well known, then these other people, they don't seem that different. I would always watch interviews with celebrities and athletes and musicians, and they didn't feel that different than me. So I'm like, I'm gonna go for it. I don't know exactly what I'm going to do. And I just failed miserably. I was terrible at I didn't know how to act I like totally under sold the challenge of the craft. So that you know, the idea of like the gift of gab, it doesn't really segue into like, being it doesn't work like that. So I failed miserably and then tried to open a business and that failed. And then I basically just like got into sales for the same reason all of you did, and anybody does is they don't have a lot of other better options. And I was broke and I was kind of back on my parents couch and it was sort of just sucked. And I'm I got into sales. And it really changed my life. I worked for two billionaires, a billion dollar company, a company that got bought by a billion dollar company for 100 million bucks. And then now I've got my own company curator. And so I just through all of those experiences, my obsession was just sort of lead generation lead conversion, what does that machine look like? Marketing and Sales, kind of merging? in a digital world, right, in an internet enabled tech first world what the new marketing and sales is lead conversion. So I work with all these teams and they were like, We cracked the code on lead generation, we're good, like, we've got like 1000s of these things. But we are struggling to convert. What do we do and they actually asked us to teach sat at our conference like six years ago. And I was like, Well, I I know how all of that works. Like let me just put it all down. I wrote the conversion code based on them having that challenge and that put me into doing the research you know, on where's the world really at when it comes to this stuff? You know, things like response time things like how many times you have to reach out to actually get in contact with someone all the time. First sort of data that comes with emails and SMS and websites and Facebook ads. And at this point, it's fairly complex. So yeah, that's that's my quick bio. It's not really a bio, but it's sort of my journey and working with dotloop working with Inman News working with realtor.com. Working with Curaytor it's it's been a really unique process.

Kelley Skar:

What made you choose real estate?

Chris Smith:

Yeah, well, it really chose me I was working at Quicken Loans, doing phone sales, you know, boiler room with mortgages and like, oh, a when it was crashing and burning. I remember there was a contest to get a trip to Puerto Rico all all inclusive, if you wrote the most neg am loans that week. I mean, that was like, that was the industry, we had a loan called Nina, which was no income, no assets, like we we actually don't need anything. Like we just, we trust you. So I was I was doing mortgages. And I was really good at it and making great money, and I got married How to child like, and I just didn't want to live in Cleveland, because I was from Florida. So I had to leave that when I came back to Florida put my resume online like anyone else would. And it had certain keywords in it like real estate technology, internet leads, phone sales, whatever. So a recruiter found me and had me apply as one of four people to work for top producer. Top Producer was the internet explorer of CRMs. Yeah, right. The the one that everyone had at one point that not really anyone still using now. But when I was there, they were the dominant player. So I was I got the job in Florida, through the recruiter, it was doing outside sales of CRM, primarily plus Market Report tools as well. And my territory was, you know, Central and South Florida. So I went to two real estate offices every single day, for three straight years. And I would basically do mostly trainings, we do little hotel trainings on the weekend, get a bunch of people to show up on a Friday. And I was the number one salesperson by far, this is actually my trophy from when I worked at realtor.com President's Club, you know, number one in sales at top producer. So that was how I got into real estate, just sort of, I guess, semi relevant experience at Quicken. That got me the interview at top producer, huh. And then from there, you know, they were owned by realtor.com. They had a booth at every trade show. They had people filling my calendar, you know, with trainings and in office demos. That's how I got in it. I mean, not on purpose, necessarily.

Todd Foster:

So you're 10 years old. And you tell everyone, I cannot wait to be a an actor that isn't very good at it. And then I cannot wait to launch a failed business. And I'm going to get into the loan industry when the markets crashing. And I'm going to move from Cleveland, back to Florida. And start all this over again. At what point did you think yourself I finally figured this out?

Chris Smith:

Yeah, that sounds like a good book. Why would anyone read that book? They really shouldn't, I would say, sort of twofold. Like when I was really good at Quicken Loans, which is a massive organization with 1000s of salespeople to compare yourself to, because I was in the upper stratosphere there. I knew I was really good at that. So at that point, I was like, okay, cool. I'm good. Like, because I had already worked for a guy named Lou Perlman selling vacations, and I killed it, but it was really sleazy. And then I went to work for Quicken Loans, and I killed it. So at that point, I feel like it was like, okay, like, I am going to make six figures minimum, you know, in sales. I'm good to go. Like, I don't have to be a waiter, because I had always been in food service. So that was probably the first time and then beyond that, it was like, well, there was this situation. I was doing a blog called tech savvy agent on the like burning the midnight oil and it started blowing up and I was it was illegal. It was like against the rules of my company. So yeah, I started kind of getting in a little bit of heat for that certain people were very open minded and embraced it because I was number one at sales. Certain people at the organization it was just like, we're a publicly traded company. He can tweet stuff like that. So I got got a lot of heat there. But I think when I also sort of like felt good about it was when I told them I was quitting because I wanted to go do my own thing. And I was going to Brazil for the summer to be with my wife's family. They were like, cool, we'll keep paying you. You don't have to do anything. Like you can live wherever you want when you come back, like I had never experienced that, you know, sort of negotiation where they were, like, wooing me to keep me. And that also made me feel in a good position of, okay, I'm good, you know, those two moments come to mind.

Todd Foster:

So let's go back to the Perlman days you classified as sleazy.

Chris Smith:

Watch, the documentary is all I'll say.

Todd Foster:

And so you go back to the days when working with Pearlman there yet, do you also see that was probably a huge factor in why you're hired through Quicken Loans and succeeded there because with Pearlman, you had to have the power of close.

Chris Smith:

Mm hmm.

Todd Foster:

And it was a boiler room, it was pretty much what you went on to move to the next job, except it was instead of loans. It was vacations.

Chris Smith:

Yeah.

Todd Foster:

Did you at one point go, man, this isn't cut off for me or, man, I can't wait to be just like Pearlman, or man, what the hell am I doing with my life?

Chris Smith:

Yeah. When I looked around the room, and I saw the people that were there alongside of me selling I felt like it was sort of the bad news bears. You know, it was like sort of all the people to kind of been thrown to the side. And this was sort of their only chance was this or nothing. I used to work at a place called Dial America. I mean, that is a cold call. It's like, everyone's elite a Dial America is dialing America. So you know, yeah, like I, I didn't want to be there long term. And then I went on the internet and read all this stuff about, you know, the stuff that they had done like, my coach at Lou Pearlman's company had actually gone to jail for telemarketing fraud in the 80s. And he was like, really, really good. He was so good. He was the best sales coach, probably on the planet, really, really talented guy and just taught sales in a way that dumb people like me could understand it. You know, it just really made it simple with the acronyms and with the sort of visuals he would do on the chalkboard, it just all made perfect sense and clicked. And then he leaned into money, right? Like it was the kind of place where like, if you got three deals the day prior, you had a couple $100 bills the next morning, and he talked a lot about, he said you're gonna want to drive her Mercedes when you're in your 60s. You know, like, you need money for a long time. And he would talk quite a bit about the upside, because all these places are built for average. And so if you bust the comp plan, you can make so much money, that's what I would always end up doing is like breaking the comp plan because they'd set it right here. And I'd beat it by so much that they had almost like rethink the pay scale. I think I made $4,000 in like one day a looper omens thing. Wow. Because it was like, they were hoping you'd get one or two people to sign up and I got like, 12 people. And it was just like, they never had to, like do the math on that before. But it wasn't a career. It wasn't an environment I wanted to be in long term. In my book, I say, you know, if there's like blackhat seo and white hat SEO, like Lou Pearlman's group was Black Hat, quicken loans was white hat, same infrastructure, same processes, same scripts, same sales techniques, same closing techniques, same sort of attributes that define a successful salesperson, it was just mortgage versus vacation. And then it was dotloop. And then it was curator. And then it was you know, I've sold shoes, like it really is insert product here. That's what I think I learned across all these companies was that the product is virtually insignificant.

Alyssa Stanley:

So I'm always curious when I get to sit down and talk to extremely successful people, what their childhood looked like, like did you grow up with incredibly successful parents and that's where you got your drive to keep going. What did you keep going when you acting didn't work out because you knew you needed money? Like where did your drive come from?

Chris Smith:

Well, I had talked so much shit about being an actor that I had to do something cool to know for so long. To be famous, and then it didn't work out so I had to I had to make up for it somehow. My childhood I'm from Polk County like it's orange groves cow pastures, chicken farms the acronym pulk is people have little knowledge. It's it's sort of a known, you know, the whole like Florida man stuff that you see on the internet, like Polk County is like the, the home base for this stuff. Okay. And so my grandfather was a mechanic, but dad was a cop. And I think growing up in many ways, like a lawyer was maybe the next level up or something like that. I never really tried to like, never really thought like the acting thing was about it. And I had a very middle class sort of suburbia upbringing, on one side with my dad. And then on the other side, I had more of the trailer park, drug dealer, you know, barefoot world that I lived in every other weekend. And I think it just gave me tremendous perspective on people that are just different, and in a totally different world or situation in you, which obviously creates empathy and empathy, super helpful in business. So yeah, I saw the every other weekend, you know, I saw kind of the, the underbelly of, you know, society versus the sort of pretend everybody's happy, everything is awesome Summer Society. And then the other thing that really molded me was I actually, they rezone the schools to diversify the races, like sort of as I went to high school, so I lived really close to the sort of oh, why preppy, middle middle upper class high school called Lake Gibson. The year before I went to high school, they rezoned everything and just said, if you're like, on this side, or this side, you go here, here. So I ended up going like 25 minutes away, Kathleen high school up until then, had been mostly a black high school, like, I was the second best player on our basketball team. But I was the second best white player, and there was only two white players. So I was the worst player. So it's weird because I was like, in this like, kind of hillbilly world of Polk County, like one of my black friends got ran over on his bike, and like, almost died, he became an NFL player, my other friend once at the NBA. So I think like being around those guys, when they were going through high school, and like up and coming, it was just sort of like, Man, I want I want to be like that, you know, these guys are on TV, getting millions of dollars, my friend went to UCLA, like, hanging out with famous people. So I think that would be part of my sort of childhood that molded me to was just seeing success based on talent. It didn't matter your color didn't matter, like your family situation. It was really stats, like how fast are you? How high can you jump? How many shots do you make, and I think sales is the same. I think, you know, sales is not real gender bias or any of this stuff that you hear about, like if you're really good at sales, and you put up really good numbers. Like if you're the king, you're the queen, and a man. And I like that. I like that if you're extremely talented you when you win big. And I saw that in sports, but I just wasn't good. And just like acting, I wasn't good enough at basketball either. But I just saw like, man, there's people flying here from the west coast to watch my friend, like, catch some passes on the weekend like this is legit. So it made me want to like you know, you're with your friends in high school, you're all trying to be as cool. So I had a couple that were like, way cooler. So I didn't want to pretend that I couldn't kind of elevate to now I realize in business, man, you know, you can actually do it for a lot longer than sports. All of those friends are way done with being pros. They're their sort of careers are behind them. And I feel like my career's still way in front of me. I sort of feel young for business even at 42.

Kelley Skar:

Yeah, so let's let's go there. Chris. I mean, you you know, you're an employee, you grew up in kind of an employee type of a household right? Your dad was a cop, your grandfather was a mechanic. Here you are 42 Very successful entrepreneur. I mean, you could have you could have stayed with top producer, you could have stayed, you know, kind of in in that in that employee realm. What was it that kind of, you know, said to you that you need to break out of this and go go your own way blows blaze your own trail?

Chris Smith:

Yeah. Well, you know, if if somebody tells you your kids cute, you just thank them, but if like, I don't know this, because I guess my kids aren't cute enough. But if lots of lots of people tell you that your kids are cute, you know, then maybe modeling makes sense. You know, I looked at it the same way I had so many people during the top producer tech savvy agent, Inman News like dot loop during that little run where I was an employee. I just had person after person after person asking to hire me. They just kept asking to hire me. Every time I spoke, I would get like five job offers. And it would be the most successful top agents and teams in the market we happen to be in. And they're just like, how I don't care how much it costs. Can I hire you to do all this? Like, you know, they wanted basically digital social website email, like, they kind of became believers during the conference, but they didn't want to have to, like add it to their plate, you know? So I had so many people try to do that I had these technology companies wanting to give me equity that consult and advise and be on their boards and stuff like that. And eventually, I just got tired of turning that stuff down. Kelley, so I was just like, I'm gonna try, you know, to say yes to those people. And it was the right call. It really was like, one of my bosses. And he wouldn't even mind me saying this. But like, when I worked for Brad Inman, Brad can be tough. Brad's a tough guy. And, you know, he said something that really like, it motivated me. He said, I can't wait to see what you do when you stick with something interesting. Yeah. And it was kind of, you know what I mean, it was shots fired, for sure. But I never had a job more than three years, in my whole life curators about to turn nine. So I guess in that case, Kelley, I needed to scratch that itch, because I've never stayed with anything for three years, I'm going into year nine, happens to be the thing that I own for the first time. So yeah, I think if if you if a lot of people, like if you're a server, and a lot of people are telling you like you should be in sales, or you should be a real estate agent, or like, whatever, you know, just listen to the signals of the world telling you that lean into it, you know, especially if you're hearing it more than once my old boss, Max pigman, who was the VP of realtor.com, the national speaker at the time, he said, Because he would get the same offers Kelly, you know what I mean? People want him to do private consulting, pay him to help or whatever. And he said, just, you know, don't like take the bag, don't you know, walk away from the sure thing until the thing on the other table has more stacked up than the thing on the table now. And I just kind of felt like that was where I was definitely making great money.

Kelley Skar:

So let's talk about the birth of curaytor obviously, you know, you're you were in the real estate realm, top producer, Quicken Loans, Inman News. You know, you'd speaking you're speaking at these conferences, you're getting, you know, offers from all of these top producing agents. Were to, first of all, I'm really interested in you know, how you and Jimmy Mac and your business partner wound up meeting, I believe, was probably through an Inman event or something like that. But I'm interested in that story. And then second, what like, what, what was the genesis of curaytor like? It just kind of walk us through the birth of of your of your baby?

Chris Smith:

Yeah. So Jimmy, who's the CEO of curaytor, we co founded the company together from from day one with a couple other people. But Jimmy and I have, for the most part been kind of the faces of the company and the brand. We met online, like, like, tender, but like, I was doing all the stuff I was doing. And he had built an MLS home search tool for Facebook Pages him and his friend Andrew, who became part of curator too. So they basically built the world's first idax For Facebook pages. So you can just search for homes, save homes, look at the pictures. They are one data feed, which was from Massachusetts, because that's where they were from. And so my at the time I was blogging, I was kind of, you know, trying to keep people ahead of the curve on what was coming out. And so I saw that and I put it into an episode of my web show called the queue. And I talked about it and it was a part of the email and everything else that we did for the show. And they got like a massive bump. In users. They got this huge wait list of people all over the country that wanted to help them get the MLS data feed signed off on in their market. So Jimmy, I sort of met Jimmy by promoting the thing that Jimmy had done, which was a new cool, interesting thing. They built a couple other apps for Facebook, they had one called the lead conversion app, which was basically like, you would land on a Facebook page, but you would land on a video. And then there would be like, newsletter, subscribe below the video. And this is early days, it was called FBML. People don't even remember that. Like you, you could literally build like almost anything in a tab on a Facebook page. But that went away. So I met Jimmy through that process, we became sort of buddies, and I'm like, these guys are smarter than me, they're younger than me, they know how to build technology like that seems like good people to go work with. And then birthing curator, it was just sort of very obvious out of the gates, like I don't want to be an agency and a consultant where my time is what hits the ceiling. Because I would have capped out at 20 or 25 people at the most that I could have worked with and done good work for. So I could have made a bunch of money doing that. But from day one, like we wanted to build products that scaled software as a service. You know, we are heavily a service based company to like we we do the marketing for people, we run the ads for people because that's why it started. And that's still hugely in demand to get competent help to do your marketing and ads for you. So you could check that box and kind of get refocused. But, you know, we started off Kelly with all other people's software, it was like other CRMs other websites, other IDs, other email. And we were more of like an API company like Zapier, we were just like, going behind the scenes and telling these two companies, they had to do a deal together. So like we got top producer to integrate market snapshot into follow up boss, which was like, Wow, no, like, we just got that deal done. Because I knew Warren and I knew Dan and I'm like, guys, like, you guys both have a good thing. We want our clients thing to be, you know, as few logins as possible, and they they made it happen. And then slowly, Kelley like MailChimp is not that easy to use as an agency with 1000 customers, it doesn't work like that. And then the, the teams have all these people on the team, they want to be able to send as themselves or some kind of sub log in. So we ended up building along the way, we couldn't find a website provider that we really loved, you know, the design, the flexibility, the usability, so we built one, you know, CRM, we still partner, you know, email marketing, we couldn't find an email marketing tool that we love. So we built one, you know, segment your list based on your website traffic based on your CRM based on all this data. Landing Pages, there wasn't really a good real estate Landing Page tool there just sort of templates inside of other stuff that didn't factor in real estate agents are busy and not always tech savvy. And just, they want a landing page. And we'll log in and build one edit one approve one, find one, that if you'll give them one, they'll go put it in an ad or a campaign. So we built, you know, a landing page tool. So it's still a little bit of a hybrid between plugins and integrations. But, you know, the software that we build and the problems that we can help our clients solve through that, you know, we can have 1000s and 1000s of people that we help not, you know, dozens so let's call it, it's I, you know, and I think you guys are affiliated with exp, and I think about like, the way that it's, you know, promoted to build a team there, versus the sort of teams 1.0, right, where like, everybody was local, everybody worked with you in your office. And then maybe you do another team across town, or maybe in a city near you are, then people even started trying to do it in other states, but there's all this friction. So the I think it was sort of that way, the modern way to build a team is sort of what exp is doing, they're eliminating all the friction of the infrastructure and the licensing and they're providing all these like crystal clear financial benefits of being a part of the network. So I just wanted to bring that up because I, I think what they did with success.com and you know, acquiring success, which is really a great, like ROI, or what did you do today and Glenn's like we acquired success, like awesome, what a great day. But anyway, the there's a new way to do stuff. And we're just still trying to figure it out. How do we help people at scale? Right? So I want to have 50,000 people that I help not 15 at exp, it seems like I can have 1000 people on my team without the massive headache that that would have been in the past to actually have 1000 people on your team.

Voiceover:

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Alyssa Stanley:

Two things real quick. One, I want to talk to the listeners for a second, if you listen to Chris speak, every single thing that he created, solve a problem. So if you're sitting here wanting to break into the entrepreneurship or start a business, the key element to Chris's successes, he solved consumers problems. So number one, that's huge. Two, regarding partnerships. That sounds great, right? Starting a business with your buddy, because you already get along and everything will be copacetic. But we all know that that also can be a giant bomb going off. So what are your top tips for creating a partnership and making it sustainable?

Chris Smith:

Yeah, well, a couple of bombs did go off.

Alyssa Stanley:

Okay.

Chris Smith:

You know, it's, it's tricky to have multiple business partners, you know, it's hard enough to run a business by yourself or with one person, we originally had four co founders. And over time the Situation's changed. But I think when I think about partnerships that work really well, which is really all people should care about figuring out when they don't work well, it's pretty clear. But the to me, the ones that work really well have a really clearly defined line in the sand. And the work that's being done on either side of that line is equally valued and important. So we use the restaurant analogy, front of house and back of house, you know, the front of house is the bartender, the server's the, you know, hostess, the back of the house is the kitchen, the bussers the dishwasher, right? And you don't have a great restaurant, unless both are great. You know, you know, five star Michelin rated, whatever, whatever it is. And so, the front of the house, in our analogy is marketing and sales and hype and brand and, you know, customer facing, you know, potential customer facing stuff that we do. And then Jimmy has always worked in the back of the house, which is like, okay, client acquired. Now Jimmy takes over. So versus having, you know, this guru that gets you pumped, and you come on board. And then it's like nothing but like, customer service people we had, you know, figureheads in both environments, a really good cook, and a really good bartender, basically. Right. So I think for for Jimmy and I, the reason we're still partners, nine years in the reason we'll probably be partners on future endeavors, you know, for the next 20 years, is because we bring equal and different value. So I can't say what's right for everyone in a partnership, but I know in, in my best business partnerships so far, we both care tremendously. And we our specialties are clearly different. You said all the time with like a founder, that's a developer, like he writes code, and I don't so like, he's gonna write the code, and I'll do the marketing and bizdev. And like, makes sense. So that would be my advice is just sort of like, do they care as much as you and do they complement what you do and vice versa. So you've had lots of wins in business, I mean, massive wins, and it goes back to your sports analogy of, you know, you can lose, or you can win big. You also lose bigger, I guess. And so have you ever had an experience in your life in business where you had to go? I mean, everything was going great for you. And then either you took the eye off the ball or you just weren't really paying attention, where it went miserable to the point where, you know, I won my first million dollars, and I've lost my million dollars. Have you ever had anything like that ever happen before? Yeah, there's a moment that comes to mind with with curaytor for sure where it was just rocket ship up into the right, you know, massive growth. And the more customers you get, the more requests you get, you know, every technology company deals with this. And so I'll never forget, because it's so painful in hindsight, because we botched it. But basically, one of our best clients, his name's Tim Smith, he's in Newport Beach, Laguna Beach, California $20 million properties, like his brother, Alex is his marketing person. And our original sort of website, it was a hard coded theme, where you could do all kinds of stuff inside of it, but there, you couldn't really customize it, personalize it, we made most of the decisions for people, which in hindsight, was the right way to go. Well, I remember, you know, Alex kept what are the button and the call to action that we had across all the themes was like kind of a teal color is a really nice color, it popped off the screen, it would have been a recommended, you know, color to use when you're trying to create contrast and attention to something on the internet. And Alex, because he's a really good marketing person, he cares deeply about his brother Tim Smith's brand. He said, I need the button to be Tim Smith green, you know, because his Green was different than our green, and it bothered him every single day. And you could apply that same thing to like the fonts, right? It's just certain things that they couldn't control. So instead of allowing Alex to change the color of that button, we kind of just went too far. And it was just sort of like, unlimited customization have fun with it. Versus here's world class design. Enjoy it. And so like, people's websites got worse, not better. And then the rollout of it. And the training that came along with like, oh, you can do anything like Okay, great. Where do we start the training, you can do anything. Versus before it was very simple new posts, new page, new listing. And it hurt us it backed us up in product because the it's really hard to build that right. Like it's really hard to build that versus building one theme. It backed us up in sales because people were buying and they couldn't launch for months was a terrible experience. Did the the bleeding edge early adopters that switched over first, like got the worst paper cuts, which kind of sucks. You want all your people to give you that trust to have the best experience. And we did it because we created false deadlines for ourselves. And we were just too stubborn not to hit him. It really was a air of pride, quite frankly, because we had gone on stage. And we said you can have Tim Smith grain. And you can have all this other stuff too. And we're going to get it to you by the end of the year. And it was like roar you're gonna make as you were saying like, like, up and then down, man. It's like a roar from the stage and Austin, Texas. And then by like, March, it was just like, we had to do something called the summer of service, we stopped selling, we only worked through the backlog, we only there was literally no marketing and no sales for like four straight months. It was just, we got a we got to get these people up and running. So that would just be there's a lot of reasons that happen. But we you know, we pushed it back once into January. And it's like, we got to get it out the door. And then now it's February 1, like just release it, who cares, right. And we shouldn't have done that. And you know, we're digging ourselves out of that hole for a long time.

Todd Foster:

With your track history of staying in a job three years and moving on. And now we have curaytor who's nine years old, getting into the tween years, which is always exciting for a company or kids in general. We know there's gonna be issues that pop up and where things aren't working like they were. What really made you decide to say, You know what, I'm sticking with this bad boy. I mean, it's been three years. My routine usually is three and I'm out. Was it because what Brad told you before was because you finally found your passion. And you're seeing the success or was it a challenge? What was it that made you keep going at it?

Chris Smith:

Yeah, I mean, part of it was I just didn't have any better ideas. Like it was my best idea. And I already did sort of the first few years of grinding it out to get it past the hump of like it will exist for a long time and be a real business. Part of it is the financial upside of me getting curaytor, right is a lot bigger than any sort of smaller thing that I could do in the shorter term. So as an example, you know, I could make three $400,000 a year, just from speaking fees, that's all I did. I could have, you know, hundreds of 1000s of dollars a month in passive income coming in through courses and coaching and consulting. And it's tempting, you know, it's tempting. But getting curaytor, right? Right. Like, if you get a SaaS business, right? In a, in a world where prop tech is this big category, with all these billion billion dollar players in it on the brokerage side, and on the tech side, on the b2b side, and on the consumer side, you know, companies like ours, get 6x 7x revenue, you know, so I know are my revenues that and I know what that is times seven, and I know what percent of that I own and so I'm like I should work on curator. So it is partly financially motivated, because yeah, nine years in, it's like, already cleaned the bathrooms, you know, like, I don't want to clean them again, I already cleaned the grill, I don't want to clean the grill anymore. I don't want to mop up the grease anymore. But the I think the other thing with the dynamic with Jimmy and I is it's sort of an always be testing always be innovating. So within the curator timeframe, we shipped a product called magic moments, we shipped a product called slash magic, we shipped a product called convert, we shipped a conference called excellence, we shipped a book called The conversion code. You see what I'm saying? Like, to me, all of those feel like the kind of startup within the startup. And we're still doing that now to this day. So I think that is part of the reason that it's easier to kind of be a part of something long term is because you're always starting new things within within the old thing. So yeah, that's why I stick around as well as i i have a lot of freedoms, my company.

Kelley Skar:

You said something interesting here just a moment ago, you would you'd mentioned kind of these businesses or ideas within the business or idea and you know, like conversion code was one and excellence conference was another and how do you know what's going to work? Like? How do you know what's going to push traffic towards the ultimate goal, which is obviously sales and marketing, this is going to be the marketing piece to get to drive the sale? So you know, this isn't? This isn't I think part of marketing success is not just throwing spaghetti, spaghetti at a wall and hoping something that's some some something's going to stick. Right. So how do you guys know what's what's going to work? And what isn't? Have you got kind of a proven model or a method? Was it a lot of, you know, always be testing or, you know, kind of what's, what's the process now, I guess, at this point, because there was probably a lot of spaghetti again, getting thrown at the wall early on, is that would that be fair to say?

Chris Smith:

Yeah, yeah, we were the world's first company to give people two CRMs when they started, like, not enough to get them to learn one, where we were like, you're gonna have follow up boss for your internet leads. And you're going to have to actually for your sphere. We had to set all that up. That was our job way to teach it coach, it was part of why they bought it through us. So I would say I would definitely have more wins and losses just watching Real Estate tag dot loop. I think part of it Kelley is like, can you understand the need for and can you explain it quickly? Right. So like there's a 60 second video of dotloop online and it's like, hey, yeah, there's already signatures and there's already you know, DocuSign or whatever. But here's what happens. It gets passed around it changes what if you could just work on top of one doc, that's what dotloop does in the light bulbs go off, right. So I think does it pass the say it out loud test? would be part of it like would It would it benefit curator to get all of our customers together for three days once a year? Would it cause us to get more referrals? Would it increase LTV. Because a lot of times you lose a ton of money on these events on the surface like you're, you're sort of in the red to put the thing on, especially if it's for your customers, it's if it's not really like a big sales opportunity. So we just we use our gut a lot. And then sometimes it's data to Kelley, like we polled our clients like, hey, what do you guys want to learn the most? And they were like, oh, lead conversion, like by far was what they wanted to learn. So I'm like, Okay, well, I'll just write a book about it. So that was sort of how did I know that would work? Because 500 of the best real estate teams in the world filled out a survey. And they wanted to learn that more than anything else. So that sort of sample size within the curator community kind of proved that beyond my own paid community. That's probably in demand, too, if all these smart people are asking for it. So and then a lot it's like, so it's to say it out loud to us. Like, what if you could create a landing page for your listing in one second? Done? Like, let's figure that out, right? And then part of it is a little bit of user research, what are they doing? What are they using? What are they asking for? But we missed a lot. I mean, you guys have heard me explain a whole mess, you know, where we just screwed the whole thing up. So this is not going to be I think, in business in general. If you think about sports, like basketball, if you can shoot 40 to 45%, from three point range, right, you're Steph Curry. You know, the best hitters in the issue of baseball, three to 400. Average is like world class. So they, they actually do miss more than they hit. And we look up to them. And then in business, we, if I were to say the next 10 things you're going to do five are going to fail, you would avoid all 10. But it's a good hit rate, it is a good hit rate to go 144245347. Because what happens is those things that work, you know, we have a department called marketer, you know, a person will do your marketing for you every single week, everyone was asking us to do that we turned it into a product, we sold it for millions of dollars. You know, that was an easy one to figure out. But I'm not telling you all the misses or even within that department What hit and what Miss. But man misses are a big part of this stuff. You know, like as much as Glenn and exp has been on the rise? Like, I bet he would tell you that eight things he screwed up in the last 24 months as well. You know, for every success acquisition or Grant Cardone partnership, right, there's a there's something else that didn't work out and didn't do as well as they had hoped. But he can't go 10 for 10. So Chris, you wrote three books, is that correct? I co authored two and I wrote one. So yeah, three awesome books. Okay. And those are people work conversion code, and exactly what to say? Correct. And those can be found on Amazon? Is there anywhere else you would like to direct listeners to where they can learn more about marketing and how you have reached your success? Yeah, they I'm hard to find on social media because my name is so common. Chris Smith is like the most common name of all time. But the conversion code.com opens up Amazon and audible to get it there. Oh, all my informations in the book. So email social, like, I use Instagram the most. It's Chris underscore, S M T. H. If anybody follows me there, say hello, send me a message. Let me know that. You learned about me from the success podcast. That'd be great.

Voiceover:

Hold up! It's time for the lightning round!

Kelley Skar:

Alright, so we've we've got, we typically have the lightning round portion of this podcast where I fire off questions. But, you know, I part of I think part of your draw early on Chris, you know, especially kind of going back to the Inman days and the realtor.com days when you're on stage. You have this innate sense this this ability to these these prognostications for technologies specific to real estate and you know, how you had this really crazy way of describing what the future could potentially be and especially now with Prop tech and the way that, you know, things have really blown up. I'm interested maybe if you could give us your top three to five, you know, predictions for what the future of tech and real estate could potentially be, as opposed to me asking you five ridiculous questions about, you know, your favorite color, that sort of thing?

Chris Smith:

Yeah. Well, some of the big things that come to mind. I was talking with Jimmy the other day, and he said, do you know the number one agent in Raleigh is Raleigh, North Carolina? And I'm like, No, we have a great client there. We have a few clients there. And but I didn't know. And he said, it's open door. And I'm like, Well, what do you mean by that? He said, Well, the open door has more market share than any individual agent. Right? Typically, you would compare them to like, you know, out of the total number of deals that are getting done, what percent go through ibuyer. And then it's like, Oh, 1% 2%, no big deal. Or you'd look at like Redfin, and say, Yeah, but they don't have any market share. You know, if you look at total sales by sides by volume, they don't. I mean, that's true. But if you look at them as just a team that's in the MLS, like everybody else, do the number one team in every market that they're in. So I would actually look at that and go, Wow, and 24 to 36 months, somebody came into my backyard with a message and became the number one agent, what was that message? Jesus, let's look at it right. And it was selling your terms, no hassle, instant offer, like Carvana for houses, right? And that funnel and then Zillow, following along and rolling it out. And every brokerage. Just a bow has some version of it now, too, right. So I would look at that Kelly, and I would just start reverse engineering, like, I have to have that as an option on my plate to compete, you know, like, because for some people, they're gonna want to take that option for some people, they're not but like, if you don't even serve that dish, they're not going to eat at your restaurant at all. So I would be like, there's a startup that I've I don't work with them in official capacity. I've done a couple interviews and stuff like this with them for Inman, they're called zoo dealio. And it's like, every agent should be an i buyer. So those kinds of things Kelley are in arguable trends, I also think there's going to be like an exp of everything, meaning the upside of what's happened with exp around rev share stock options, you know, the these types of true financial incentives, I think that should, in theory, be a part of the software space and be a part of the lender space, like whatever it may be. So as an example, if I use MailChimp for the last 17 years, and I told hundreds of people to join MailChimp, you know, I mean, I like evangelists for MailChimp. And then I see MailChimp gets bought for $12 billion, I get nothing. You know, dot lubes power users didn't get any money when they were sold for $108 million.If you're a broker, ReMax, or exp that stands up and says, You guys should all go hire a curator to help you do X. There's no passive income. You know, maybe they give you a $50 gift card or some kind of, you know, free month or something. Right. But I think it would be really cool if ownership and profit share on a residual monthly basis was sort of just baked into the terms of every agreement that you signed. Not just in this case, the brokerage, right, the brokerage deal. So I think that's kind of an arguable trend. And I've already seen like press releases and other startups that are, you know, mimicking that model. To put it bluntly, right, they're, they're sort of trying to mimic that financial incentive within their brokerage retrospectively, in most cases. Sort of reminds me of DirecTV saying, Oh, we have streaming now. Yeah, I mean, it's like everyone cut the cord. Everyone knew your three year contracts weren't gonna last. Everyone knew your $220 a month bills stupid. You didn't proactively spring them into the future. Right. Now everybody's got Netflix, Hulu Plus, Paramount Plus, Apple Plus, Disney Plus, HBO Max, everybody's over here and they cut your cord. And now it's like, no, we've got DirecTV stream, like you have to offer it. But it doesn't make it look real good for your brand that you're sort of retrofitting into the future. So I think that's another big trend, quite frankly, in the industry is that type of stuff. Beyond that, there's going to continue to be pressure to just sort of clearly articulate the benefit and hiring you. Like, that is still lost. In many cases, people just say, service experience, like all that stuff matters. But in marketing differentiators are really tricky. I happen to own a marketing company, I know that most real estate marketing is bad or invisible, it just doesn't happen. So I think being able to go in and say I'm the best agent at marketing that you're interviewing, I know that. So if you care about marketing, you should hire me. If you want the best agent, I'm not the best version does Veronica you know, man, she's on all the billboards. We all know it. But I'm better at marketing than her. Or I'm better at video tours of homes than her right. Like, what is the thing that you're the best at and we have a client up in Canada. He's in like, Calgary, I believe. Yeah. Yeah, Brad McCollum. He's the number one luxury agent in his market within 24 months. And that shouldn't be possible. But everyone on this call knows that there's like 1000s of really good agents that don't do any really good marketing, you know, so him being able to be number one, because he has ridiculously great videos of listings, the fact that in 2021, making great videos of listings, that one specific thing can bring you to the top of the luxury Martin in Calgary. That's crazy. But the consumer benefit is so specific. Kelly, you know what a man. Like? Is he's not going in there saying I'm a better negotiator than her. Yeah, hard to quantify. But he can go in there and say we do the best videos. And they already know that when he goes there, by the way, his listing appointment, is them saying you should do a shout out the back at six o'clock, because that's when the son says, yeah, that's not an appointment. You know, I mean, that's not a, that's a deal. That's not a pitch. So I think, for me, like I would basically say, don't trip over nickels to pick up pennies, you can still be a real differentiator in your market and get more listings by being really, really, really good at marketing the listings you already have. We have a guy named Joe Herrera in Vegas 200 deals a year from Facebook ads, they're all buyer ads, they're all listings that look almost exactly the same. Very, very few of them are even his because he went around to all these listing agents to get all the listings that get all the clicks on Facebook and said, Can I have your permission to market your listing on our page? It's really popular people love our page. Sure, sure. Sure. You know what I mean? So just being the best at Facebook ads for listings. Put Joe Harar and Taylor in another stratosphere just being the best at video took Brad McCollum you know, pretty high up on the totem pole very quickly. So even though there's more agents than ever and more competition than ever and more pressure than ever, it is actually still very easy to stand out. So I think what you're saying is maybe what you're recommending, not to try and be great at every aspect of say real estate or find something that you are really good at that will allow you to stand out and quantify the shit out of that. Yeah, we have the most subscribers on our channel, we get the most views we get the most, you know, visitors looking for x like, you can quantify it. It's, it's critically important. Yeah. And for some people, it could be the most five star reviews. But like if no one else can say that and you can say it, you should say it everywhere. So yeah, something that's quantifiable, and there's only so many things that people care about, you know, when they list their home with you. And then within the marketing world, there's only so many things right. But if if you came to me and said look at this Instagram account that we created for people that love homes in Calgary, we have 220,000 followers. That alone might be compelling enough to be like because remember everything else people perceive as even. Anyway, you're all kind of the same open house just listed just sold website home search Market Report. CMA, you know, I mean, a lot of what you guys do is the same. What is that one thing that's going to pop out. And it could be a Facebook page. It could be videos, it could be Instagram. You know the video that went viral about Zillow was on Tik Tok. You know, the guy talking about the the sort of ibuyer conspiracy to drive prices up. That was a tick tock video. Like, he's really big on tick tock, he's not really big anywhere else. That's all he needs to be just that sort of one place that he can own. So I would do a little recon, but for me, I'll be looking at YouTube really closely because YouTube is wide open when it comes to YouTube ads, and nobody's doing them. So not only can you get the benefit that people obviously love videos of their homes, you also get the benefit that hardly any agents are doing any ads at all on YouTube. And you could really own that one little space.

Voiceover:

Thanks for listening. Make sure to follow or subscribe to the SUCCESS Coaching Podcast and like us on Facebook at Success Magazine Coaching.