Brian Stevens and Frank Garay of The National Real Estate Post Interview
Brian Stevens and Frank Garay of The National Real Estate Post Interview
Dave Sullivan here for The Credit
Guy TV I’m actually up at the Michigan mortgage lenders conference this year and we were fortunate to have The National Real Estate Post people and they have agreed to do a quick little interview with me.
Dave: so you both started out as loan originators correct?
Frank: I was doing a video for my loan officers and I had about fifty loan officers in 2007 and they were starving. Most of them were relatively new so I had been in the business for twenty years that point. I knew how to get through tough markets and they did not. So I was trying to find a fun way to teach them and motivate them to do the right thing.
Dave: So your videos were for your Loan Officers originally?
Frank: My personal loan officers and the idea for the video was just stumbled on and I won’t get into the details about that. I just did it one day and felt good about it. I decided I would do it every day and that was July 2nd 2007. I had my brother help me with those videos for about six months. Eventually, my company did not make it so we were absorbed into the corporate office. My brother had to quit, so I needed somebody else to help me with this daily video that I was doing but I was maybe getting 100 views a day, not very many. I went to my boss and said I need somebody and he said “Brian” and I said I hate that guy! My boss said “yes he doesn’t like you ether” but he threw us together and you know that’s how we get connected to work on the videos.
Brian: On my end of the whole thing. I had basically ruined my business in 2007. You know I had got a couple dollars in my pocket and thought I was pretty smart at the time. I realize that once that money disappeared that I was not as smart as I thought I was. By the time 2007 roll around and everybody’s wheels were falling off, my business was flushing
2007-2008 were two of my best years ever.
Brian: I was really focused on origination business and trying to fix my problems that I had. Then the markets started to fall apart. I always had a default ratio that was a little higher than some colleagues in the office and it wasn’t from fraud at all it was from aggressive originations. So I was taking a loan application, and our boss together comes in and said “I need to talk with you” I am thinking… why are you interrupting me in front of a client? I am thinking… did that default come in a little too high? Screw you!
Dave: yes, Brian would say to his clients “you guys come with me I am going to another Mortgage company.”
Brian: so anyways he takes off and Frank comes in and said how are you doing partner… Oh he wants me to do that stupid video thing with Frank so whatever, I am not getting fired so I will do it. Neither one of us went skipping along into this relationship, but it’s been a fantastic ride what we’ve learned is that we work well together small areas we had to do that you know we are basically like prison cell mates.
Dave: Right, when did you realize it was going to be more geared toward the other Loan Officers in the business and not just the company you worked at?
Brian: Well I think what happened was it was Frank’s model first we wanted to have a little sales nutriment and a little industry news about five minutes at that point where sending it to our Realtors and loan officers when I jumped on it wasn’t just intended for his loan officers
Brian: I don’t remember what it was like….I can tell you when it happened.
Brian: I will tell you right now. It was when we’re in San Diego association of mortgage brokers at that time, convention which is a fairly large robust convention. We are doing this video thing for forty bucks a day. I mean we were not making money but we decided this is who we want to be, so when we went down there. It was a real nice luncheon that you can go to and get a free lunch. We were starving over here doing this
Frank We are wearing flip flops and tee shirts and shorts…
Dave: Similar to what you are wearing now.
Frank: we actually look very nice right now.
Brian: I walked in there and this sounds terrible but it had Charles Mason with Charlie’s angels coming out of his hair. I had no idea what I was getting into I was so embarrassed.
Frank: that is the shirt he was wearing at the time.
Brian: So we are sitting in the back and everyone keeps staring at us. I was embarrassed beyond belief but after the speakers stopped and after they give each other all the awards everybody wanted to come back and take a picture with us. That is when I knew.
Dave: That is when you knew it would change your life, what strategies do you use to expand your audience/
Frank: The same strategy we have always used, which is never stop doing what we do. A lot of times we tell people that the only reason we have success in this video blogging space in the industry just too stupid to stop doing it. We get up every day and do it. Every day… I can’t tell you how many days we get in there and go I so hate you again so much and I don’t want to be near you and I don’t like being here… but yet we do it anyway.
Dave: was that right after the Maui trip?
Brian: you know a lot of it is tenacity. That is the one thing that I would like to get across to people to have tenacity about it. When we were on that trip to Hawaii we had coaching calls all day. Literally from four o’clock in the morning till five o’clock or six o’clock at night. This is when our families were going Zip stripping and drinking and eating. My wife said you don’t need to do this right now. I saw the moment, I want to do this right now this is my vacation this is what I enjoy doing. I think just having tenacity is our biggest attribute it certainly is not our intelligence or good looks.
Dave: What is the biggest mistake people make when people start video blogging? How would you advise them?
Frank: The biggest mistake is that they quite. The biggest mistake is that they do it one time and then stop that would be the biggest mistake there are sub mistakes we can dive into that would be the main mistake.
Brian: I agree with Frank completely, but I think it’s whoever’s recording the video, writing the video it’s the inability to understand their needs to be compelling reason for the recipients to open it. You know we’ve we talked about before upwards of 90% of FHA loans are for first-time home buyers. That means are past family and friends are really not collectively in a position to buy a house. Why the hell would I send them anything on rates?
Brian: Because if I am not buying a house or getting a refinance at that moment the message becomes boring. You want to stay in front of them but when you send them something without a reason, why somebody’s going to open that email whatever it is video or text. What we’re doing is we’re training at ignore us I think that is the biggest one.
Dave: It can take years to build up an audience like you said one video is not going to do much. It takes time.
Frank: Most people know the average Facebook friends list for somebody if you go buy what Facebook says is about 140. So the average person has about 140 friends on facebook Not the case with the Mortgage Professional we know this because of our fan page with our fan page we have a certain number of fans with give us a certain reach the average mortgage Real Estate has 450 Friends. Because we are all going Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes, Yes. Hoping we might get someone. It does take time to build an audience but with the power of having social media at your fingertips when you can get a little video message and get on to your Facebook page. Where now you have got potentially 400 people that can see it like that… you can build an audience much quicker than you could of in the past.
Dave: Than when you started.
Frank: yep absolutely when we started we did not have a facebook page.
Brian: In fact when we were on our old platform it had some inherent problems that were just were too difficult to overcome. It was sending our videos out. You know we have 110,000 people opted in and wanted to see our videos and we couldn’t deliver them to them regularly because the internet service provider was assuming that we were spamming. We had other people on our platform that were spamming. So they thought we were spamming we spent up to $7,000 bucks a month to trying to give somebody email they wanted see. We had changed our platform over to what we currently have and we effectively took that list and for the most part lost it. We had to build back up again we did so the second time around much more quickly of course we have the ability to message some of those people that we had to get them to opt in again. I think more important is we understand the whole process works more effectively
Dave: so you almost started from scratch, what year was that?
Frank: Two years ago
Dave: wow that is a lot of work! What is the best way to attract to attract advertisers to your site?
Brian: Hold on I have this one… Frank gets loaded with all the people the night before we have to speak and stay out to all hours of the night. That impresses the hell out of all of them. Ha Ha you know we have to stay tongue-in-cheek.
Frank: It’s funny because the advertisers we didn’t really go out and look for them they came looking for us. Word of mouth gets out that people watching, people are looking at this. Then they start inquiring what kind of views are you getting? What kind of audience do you have? It all comes down to trying to figure out what is that worth? What is that worth to somebody and settling in on a price that people are willing to write a check for?
Brian: You know on the daily we only have a limited space. We can’t just take on unlimited number advertisers. In the past we’ve been fortunate enough to where we’ve been able to pick and choose. We were looking for messages we thought kind of went along with what we believe. You know stayed away from credit repair for a long time. We didn’t find a credit repair company that reflects our values. We have in the past stayed away from recruiting opportunities because we did not want to alienate other parts of our viewing audience. Really trying to come to terms with what’s the right message for us it is not how we attract any advertisers it is how do we find ones that work for us.
Dave: Last question; So you have, the daily show, coaching, you have the raz room, you have the rate alert, you have you have the blog “Real estate marbles” What else do you have going on?
Frank: Grab a nap here or there
Dave: Is there anything else you are thinking about doing in the future.
Brian: I would really like to see is us focus on some the opportunities that we’ve got with real estate marbles. That’s a big one for me because it really comes down to the questions you’re asking. What is the biggest problems people are having? David Lkken he was completely spot on with everything he said up there in terms of how you look and we need to embrace technology. My 15 year old son has figured out how to do video editing that I have to club someone over the head to try and help them figure out for weeks and holding their hand the figured out fifteen minutes and that trend is not going to change. I would like to see like to see at least see real estate marbles take off a little bit more direction. I think we should work toward that goal. Frank and I are good at writing content and doing our show but when it comes down to the direction large blogging and social networking platform we’re very much like the daily. We stumbled quite a bit because it wasn’t our skill set I think as the years have gone on, I think we’re starting to find that voice I’d really like to see that continue to grow now.
Dave: thanks for coming out and speaking at the MMLA Convention this year at Traverse City
Frank: Traverse ya I like to say Traverse
Dave: Thanks for coming out guys and we will be watching the show. I have to introduce you to the Conference. I just have down here that Brian likes to cook and plan social events is that ok?
Brian: ya you bet
Dave: ok good that is what Frank told me
Frank: well not exactly what I said
Dave: Here is what I have for Frank; Ham radio operator plays guitar and has a BMW motorcycle. Brian likes to cook and plan social events…
Frank: I told Brian… Brian is the type of guy that is like he will be on the internet looking at something and he will look and see that girl is going to see the pugs The Pugs are playing right here we have to go right now then there’s 8 tickets bought and we’re all going to the Pugs right now. I mean is extremely spontaneous and always wants to do something
Other Guy: He is our ring leader, Brian is the ring leader
Dave: thank you for coming guys!