If you want to learn how to succeed in real estate, you should learn from the best. That’s where Jeff Lobb comes in. He got started in real estate in 1988 and worked in sales prior to that. Since then, he’s become a speaker, trainer, coach, consultant, and podcaster who has helped countless agents grow their businesses. We’re so happy that Jeff took time out of his busy schedule to speak with us about all things real estate!
Hi, Jeff! Thanks for taking the time to speak with me today. Can you start off by telling me a little bit about yourself and your professional background?
Sure. I got started in real estate in 1988. At the same time that I was getting into real estate, during my college years, I had an opportunity to go work in a sales role in St. Maarten and Aruba. So I booked my college classes to take place on Mondays and I would fly out on Tuesdays to the islands, where I would sell radio advertising. I’d come back on Sunday and go to class on Monday, and do it all over again the next week. That job was a great way to learn about sales!
Then I got into real estate and did that for a while, until I got into the .com boom. That was at the time when cellular phone data was just starting out. I had a 10-year run which gave me a lot of different experiences, both in sales and the corporate world, because I worked with everyone from startups to Fortune 500 companies in a sales leadership capacity, helping to run internet companies.
I kept my license throughout that time, so when the .com bubble burst I was ready to jump straight back into real estate. I then started taking real estate to the next level. I’ve been a top-producing agent, I’ve run teams, I’ve run brokerages, and I was a corporate executive for a franchise brand that gave me that level of exposure to the business, before parting ways with them and starting my own company Sparktank Media, which is about eight years old now.
Wow, what a story! What made you decide to create Sparktank Media, and to focus on coaching agents?
Before Sparktank, I was working with EXIT Realty. That was a forward-facing executive role, so I got a lot of face time on stages and I started speaking at conferences like ‘Explode.’ That stage time got me speaking at Inman and NAR events, etc., and I really liked that. Over the course of many years of doing that, I built a reputation from my speaking and there were a lot of people coming to me who wanted me to help them with their brands. However, being an executive at one brand, I obviously couldn’t do that. So I eventually started my own business where I can help anyone who wants to grow. I want to help people who have the right attitude and the right passion and are open-minded, and who really just need the guidance and direction to make it all happen.
That’s awesome. Can you tell me a little bit more about all the great things you do to help agents?
Sure. First of all, I offer one-on-one coaching. Then there’s also Coach52. That was built on a 52-week, on-demand platform as a way for me to take all of the coaching strategies that are making people money – the things we talk about in our sessions that I speak at, the things I’ve learned from other colleagues in the industry, and the other things we take from our one-on-one coaching sessions. This allows that information to be delivered to a mass scale of agents who maybe can’t get to the one-on-one level yet, or a team leader who would like all of their agents to receive training, and/or brokerages that can deliver that information to agents. So I wanted to scale all of the cool ideas and strategies that we build top producers with. So Coach52 is goal setting and tracking, and weekly and monthly coaching sessions on-demand. It’s got training modules built in, and it’s got a built-in marketing center to do all your marketing, branding, and social media in one platform.
Basically, we know that the strategies and ideas that we put in place are the ones that are being implemented by the people making the money right now. We know those work because people are doing it. That’s a fact, we can prove it. So those who want to spend 30-45 minutes a week on their business to really understand it, and have the discipline to show up and do it, will absolutely win new business by taking part in Coach52.
Do you help agents all across the country, or are you more targeted to those working in major cities?
I work with agents across the country, taking them from where they are to where they want to be. And because I’ve worn the hats of agent, top producer, team leader, and broker owner, I can put myself in their shoes. If they’re not ready for that top level one-on-one commitment, the Coach52 platform will give them a ridiculous amount of value for a really affordable price.
“I see huge value to migrate to teams.”
It’s also worth pointing out that we’re focusing a lot on teams right now. I see a huge value to migrate to teams. Teams have a lot of leverage in this market. Agents need leverage, they can’t do it all themselves. We can help scale and shape teams. The only way to find balance in a real estate career and still have the volume is through a true team, so we like to help people make those teams happen.
It’s been an extreme seller’s market for the past couple of years and many agents have found that they don’t have to try very hard once they win the listing. What would you say to agents who feel it’s okay to slack off under those circumstances?
I think there’s going to be a huge cleansing of real estate agents in the next two years. I’ve had seasoned agents tell me that they can’t believe my advice is to work as hard and prospect as hard as they did decades ago. I always ask why they thought they could stop in the first place!
“When the fish are jumping in the boat, it’s easy. But that doesn’t mean you can stop working hard.”
When the fish are jumping in the boat, it’s easy. And when referrals happen, that’s great. But referrals are a reactive part of the business, not proactive. You never know when they’re going to happen. So when that starts to slow up and the lead sources start to slow up, and your business pipeline is getting smaller, you have to go back and do the hard work. Do the things that make you uncomfortable that you thought you didn’t have to do anymore. Those who don’t want to do this will most likely be the ones that suffer in this business. The ones that do it will thrive, even in a downward or changing market.
How do you feel about the use of tech in real estate? Is it the only thing agents should be using, or is there still a place for the old-fashioned way of doing things?
I think it’s best when you can find the marriage of both new and old. For example, if you’re going to do print marketing, do it with the right call-to-actions that deliver some tech in the deliverables. For example, if I was going to use print marketing, I’d have a QR code on the postcard. And then maybe that code takes them to a HighNote which delivers great information to them.
I’m glad you just mentioned HighNote! Can you tell me about all the different ways you use it?
I’m always looking to provide value to my clients in ways that they can improve and level up their performance, so I use HighNote in a way that teaches them about problems and solutions.
“HighNote is hands down one of my favorite tools to use to win business.”
I also use it to share my own speaker coaching content. My audience can use the HighNote I provide to see my speaker reels on YouTube, my speaker media kit, links to some of my website stuff. They can get a snapshot of everything I do on one platform.
Lastly, we’ve used it to hire and potentially bring on new clients with what Coach52 does, and we use HighNote to show all the benefits and features they can get from Coach52.
“HighNote’s analytics let me know when I should follow up, and that’s magical.”
The big value to me is getting stuff across visually, because I’m a big visual person versus email. Not only am I able to deliver the stuff that I do for a living via a visual platform, I can see the data and see when they’ve opened it. If I’m trying to get myself noticed by a brand or an association to possibly get an opportunity to be on their stage or do something in partnership with them, having that data of what they clicked on and knowing when to follow up makes all the difference in the world, versus me sending out bulk emails and hoping they respond. So that’s magical. Because of all that, HighNote is hands down one of my favorite tools to use to win business.
That’s great, Jeff. Thank you for sharing your expertise with us!