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You may remember a post I published last year, about Matt Landau, hailed as “the Tony Robbins of the vacation rental marketing space.”

In case you missed it, here is the short version—I took Matt, a die-hard skeptic of video email, and turned him into a raving fan.

As soon as I accomplished that mission, the next person I set my sights on was Kent Davis, the CEO of Panama Equity, one of the leading real estate agencies in Panama.

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Starting The Conversation

I started by shooting Kent an impromptu phone call to introduce myself and told him I’d send him a video email as a follow-up. I then sent Kent that video email immediately afterward to put a face to the name.

Here’s the video email I sent to Kent after our first phone call:

Some back and forth ensued, but ultimately Kent invited me to his office.

But First, Why Kent?

Kent’s the perfect candidate for video email (even though he doesn’t know it yet) because his conversation begins with the client, when they fill-out a form on his website or make a call to his office.

In real estate, these are what I call "Feelers" from the client. They’re sort of window-shopping for a broker and usually go on to contact several brokers to see which one they vibe with the best.

It’s the bane of the real estate agent profession: to invest several days (sometimes even months) building a relationship with a client, only to discover they’ve chosen to work with someone else.

Some brokers handle this by scoring an upfront conversation with the client, others with an exclusivity contract. However even a rookie broker knows, nothing beats the client raising their hand and saying “I only want to work with you.” And you'll only get this response, when you make a top notch first impression. 

Below, you’re about to discover how a single video email can take a potential new client, who’s window-shopping for a broker, and have them raise their hand and saying “I only want to work with you.”

Getting to Kent’s Office

After navigating to Panama City using the handy GPS app called Waze, I arrived at the Sortis Tower and made my way up to Kent’s office on the umpteenth floor.

Admittedly I needed a little assistance. The elevator outsmarted me. It didn’t have buttons. I quickly learned you program the floor before getting in (that’s a first for me). Feeling quite accomplished for (a) grasping how to use both the swanky elevator, and for (B) for scoring an invitation to such a prestigious establishment in the first place, I arrived at Kent’s office with a big smile on my face.

I shook Kent’s hand and he showed me into his office that has a magnificent view of the Panama City skyline. We jumped right into the nuts of bolts of how sending video email could help him close more deals.

Lighting Challenges

Each office has its own unique challenges. In Kent’s case, we wanted to backdrop the view of the city skyline through his floor-to-ceiling windows…but had to deal with an overload of light coming through.

So, in addition to a Logitech C920 Webcam (for Windows), USB Blue Nessie Microphone and Tripod he’d already purchased, Kent needed to purchase a high-powered softbox light (specifically, the Impact Octacool-9 Fluorescent Light with an Octabox.

The softbox costs $250 and is perfect to balance the light coming in through the window. 

This would allow him to balance the light on all sides. (It’s rare a member needs lighting to create video email. But in Kent’s case, to showcase the skyline, it was a necessity.)

Create the Habit

I told Kent EXACTLY what I tell every new member—make sending video email messages a habit. It’s the foundation from which everything else flows.

Commit: 

  • Follow-up every first phone call with a video email
  • Keep the video duration under 1 minute for each clip
  • Focus on recapping the key points from the call

NO EXCUSES for not making the quota. It doesn’t matter if they’re a new lead, long-time client, employee of his firm, or even one of his golfing buddies. If you’ve got concerns, create and send them to friends and family. If you’re still trigger shy, create a video log to yourself.

Priming

I revealed one of my best practices:

You MUST prime the recipient to receive a video email because it’s still a very new technology and they’re likely not used to getting video email.

Priming is easy: all you need to do is tell them on the phone that you’ll be sending them a video email and to look out for it in their inbox.

You only need to do this once. As once they’re received and watched it, they’ll be hooked.

Kent’s Crazy (Yet Ingenious) Method to Test Video Email

(Now this is where Kent threw me a curve ball. BEFORE he would commit to creating the habit, he wanted to put video email to the ultimate test.)

At the end of our meeting, Kent said,

“This all sounds great. But what happens when conditions aren’t perfect?”

His question caught me off guard. But I quickly connected with the spirit of his message. To send a video email to the right person, at the right time, in the way I showed him: that much is easy. But to have poor lighting, poor framing, even poor sound?

Kent’s Logic: If the client responds positively to a sub-par video email by my standard, they’ll be blown-away by the birdie (when the video email is better than par).

The ACTUAL Video Email Kent Sent

Here’s the video Kent sent to a web lead, who called the number on the Panama Equity website:

You’ll instantly notice everything that’s wrong with the video email.

However, he got the fundamental ingredients right:

  1. Priming: At the end of the cal, he told her to keep an eye out for his video email.
  2. First-Touch: He sent a video email immediately after the call.

The WORD-FOR-WORD Response He Got

Here’s the word-for-word response he got:

Fantastic to meet you ‘in person’, Kent! Thanks so much for the link and the good information. You certainly seem to have your finger on the pulse of the luxury market in Panama. Look forward to working together in the future.

Conclusion

What Kent did was ingenious because he stripped video email down to its very essence, then put it to the ultimate test to see if it worked.

He reminded me that you don’t have to be perfect. The key is getting out there and going after it.

Something Kent’s clearly a rock star at—as he runs one of the top real estate agencies here in Panama.

Are you using video email to follow-up with new leads? Do you have any tips to share? Perhaps, you’re curious about trying video email out, but have a question. Let me know by leaving a comment below!

About the Author William Franco

Will is the Managing Director of jiveSYSTEMS and creator of the Digital Handshake™, a digital version of a time-proven tradition that turns tedious follow-up into a closing conversation. Will’s a hands-on guy, with a decade of experience enabling sales teams to leverage video. Will's an instant catalyst for positive change, once you get to know him, you’ll completely understand why.

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  • Paul Sokol says:

    Wow! That’s a killer case study. Especially for those kinds of industries with a larger ticket price / longer sales cycle, its no wonder he’s a diehard video email fan now 🙂

  • Adam Zais says:

    This is indeed a terrific story Will. I loved the point Kent made about “…you don’t have to be perfect.” That said, the new light is going to add a lot. Maybe he’ll even consider a mic? 🙂

    • Will Franco says:

      Thanks for the kind words. Coming from you that means a lot. And 100% “You don’t have to be perfect.” The key is to get out there and start creating and sending video email messages, and improve a little bit each day.

      P.S. The Blue Nessie (Mic) is on it’s way to Panama for Kent as well amigo.

  • matt says:

    I know Kent personally and firmly believe video will help him break every sales goal he’s ever reached.

    With a fancy new office, chances are his overhead is a bit higher now. The beauty of video emails is that he can probably spend less on marketing considering his conversion rate (the ratio of inquiries to people who actually buy) will go up…without having to increase lead generation.

    Excited to see how this one turns out!

    – Matt
    P.S. Nice backdrop 🙂

  • Beverly says:

    I think this is a super powerful way for RE professionals to connect quickly and build strong relationships with prospects. Love that the video lighting wasn’t perfect and it still worked perfectly. Wonder why more people don’t do this.

    • Will Franco says:

      Thanks for sharing Beverly. I love hearing from people who get it at go!

      re: I wonder why more people aren’t doing this

      Over the years, I’ve whittled it down to two things: 1) I don’t have enough time (i.e. I don’t see the value); and 2) camera anxiety.

      The latter being the biggest obstacle, even for current members, and myself. I’ve fallen in and out of the habit of creating video email messages (and video blogs) many times over the years. The habits gets lost, when you start saying things like “I didn’t shave today.” or “My hair needs to be cut.” or “My shirt isn’t pressed” or “It’s too noisy in this cafe.”

      I always come right back to “Did you send a video email to someone and what kind of response did you get?” The typical answers “Yes and they responded positively.” I then reply “So correct me if I’m wrong, you tried something new in your business and got great results, and then stopped?”

      Ultimately, what keeps getting me back on track is a community of like-minded people, who’re all making videos. Our members, often blow me away, even new ones like Kent who just get out there and do it. Having that community is priceless. And that’s my goal with jiveSYSTEMS, to not just provide a piece of software. It’s create a thriving community of sales pros who are all going after the same thing–to accelerate trust and build winning relationships with their clients. In this way, we can all continually learn from each other.

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