898: The Best Ways to Bring Value Right Now: Client Outreach with Robert Meche

April 10, 2020
Government officials are urging Americans to stay home. Local businesses are closed until further notice. These are uncertain times, but Dallas-based broker Robert Meche isn’t worried. He sold over $94 million in volume just last year, and he’s not going to let coronavirus crush his real estate business. On today’s podcast, Robert shares how his outreach efforts have shifted since shelter-in-place orders hit. Listen and learn about the types of touches you should be making right now to strengthen ties with clients and your community.
Robert Meche2 Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • How Robert became “The Smoker Broker” [2:37]
  • The benefits of working under a major real estate brand [6:06]
  • Why being involved in the business is more important than ever [10:56]
  • The silver lining of shelter-in-place orders [12:18]
  • Strategies for generating leads via social media [13:24]
  • The 10 percent 90 percent rule [15:45]
  • How to reach out to prospects right now [16:25]
  • Great ways to help members of your community [21:09]
  • What “essential” means for real estate agents [23:45]
  • High-tech alternatives to open houses [28:20]
  • Why Robert is hopeful about real estate markets bouncing back [30:34]
  • How to break through your goals.
  • Plus so much more.
Robert Meche Robert is Owner of the SWR Group @ Keller Williams: Home to the SMOKER BROKER. Swr has just over 125 agents and services the Dallas, Fort Worth, Austin and all surrounding area markets. Robert built his company on empathy and direct personal experiences. It is a unique brokerage in the fact it caters to both full and ESPECIALLY part time agents. They are one of the ONLY brokerages in the entire country who can provide full support for part time agents not wanting to be in the office while at the same time catering to those who do want to be in the office. Robert is not shy about telling all potential agents that he is either EXACTLY what you are looking for or the furthest thing from it. He is not a gray area type of guy and adheres to the highest level of ethics. Its either right or it is wrong. Robert reviews all documents before a third party touches them. One of the few brokers in the state of Texas to do so and probably one of the primary reasons he has never been sued. You can also see and hear Robert on his weekly radio show “Smoker Broker” from 12-1 Thursday on KVGI radio. Related Links and Resources: Thanks for Rocking Out Thank you for tuning in to Pat Hiban Interviews Real Estate Rockstars, we appreciate you! To get more Rockstar content sent directly to your device as it becomes available, subscribe on iTunes or StitcherReviews on iTunes are extremely helpful and appreciated! We read each and every one of them, please feel free to leave your email so that we can personally reach out and say thanks! Have any questions? Tweet meFacebook me and ask Pat anything. Don’t forget to head on over to Bare Naked Agent for Pat’s answers, and advice. Thank you Rockstar Nation, and keep rockin!

Aaron Amuchastegui: Rockstar nation, this is Aaron Amuchastegui. Paul Morris and I just got to finish interviewing Robert Meche. He’s called The Smoker Broker out of Dallas. He was kind of a famous barbecue pitmaster and also a broker. He gave us lots of information and actual stuff to do, how should we really feel about the economy right now. Paul, what do you think?

Paul Morris: I thought it was great. He gave us a message of hope, which is great, phenomenal, but more importantly, it was a message of hope backed up by real actionable things that we can do, so it was very– Use of technology essentially to stay connected to his team, but also what is he doing in terms of client outreach and how can we use this time to make yourself stronger, better when we come out of this at the end.

Aaron: Yes, great statistical comparison of 2008, 2009 too, something that’s been in a lot of people’s mind. I think people are going to listen, they’re going to come out of this with a lot of hope and a lot of action. Rockstars, hope you enjoy listening.

Real Estate Rockstars, this is Aaron Amuchastegui, here with my co-host Paul Morris. Today, we get to interview Robert Meche. Robert’s known as The Smoker Broker out of the Dallas-Forth Worth area. I can’t wait to hear about where he came up with that name. As we get started, Robert, thanks for being here today.

Robert Meche: Hey, thanks for having me. Always enjoy it.

Aaron: Awesome. I saw you on stage. I popped in, got to see a little bit of the KW convention up in Dallas and I don’t know, there are 30,000 people there, 40,000 people there. They brought you up on stage up there. Why were you on stage in front of that big of a group and where did you come up with The Smoker Broker?

Robert: Gary Keller, he’s always moving in many directions, but he’s had a lot of focus over the last few years on bringing in the independent broker model into the Keller Williams organization. As I had mentioned before we got on air, I started off at Keller Williams many years ago and kept my ties very closely, and I never burned any bridges. I always believed that’s real good business advice. I went through, and when the time came to where we started having a lot o f disruptors, it brought me back into the Keller Williams environment late in August of last year, which we became one of the largest teams in the Keller William environment.

The Smoker Broker name, it comes from my a little bit on the competitive barbecue professional team that we’ve been on for quite many few years. The name just comes from one day sitting around– Actually, it’s just kind of embarrassing, it was playing cards one day, and someone said that, they go, “Hey, you’re that smoker guy,” and then the other guy goes, “Hey, you’re that broker guy,” and then someone just said, “Smoker broker,” and it stuck ever since.

Aaron: You’re a competitive barbecue guy, and that’s funny and they’re sitting in the same place, it’s like, “Hey, you’re that persona.” “Hey, you’re that persona.” Why don’t we just pull these things together? [crosstalk] I love that first advice you gave too, probably great, you said, “Don’t burn bridges.” Even though you had left KW to do your own thing, you were still acting respectfully inside real estate and working well, because you never know when you need that bridge back, right, or when it’s going to be–

Robert: That’s a lot of thanks to Dee Dee Trosclair. She was very close to me over those years, always asking me to go to lunch probably once every six months or so. We became decent friends. That always a funny story too, the day I left Keller Williams was the day Dee Dee came in as a team lead, so we always joke about she was the reason why I left, but that wasn’t true at all. We remained friends all these years, and she’s the one that continued to pursue me. For years I’ve told her, “I’m not coming back. There’s no reason. I run my own firm. It’s very successful. I had no need to do that.”

That was true, right up until three years ago where the disruptors in the market started giving me things that I did not have. For once in my career, I actually did need help, and it wasn’t just something I could create on my own.

Paul: This is sort of a theme too is that, and you made that decision obviously before our current times which are unprecedented. One of the things that we’re looking at, you’re Keller Williams, I’m Keller Williams, this is very brand-agnostic shows, so we’re making sure that we interview people from all brands and we’re giving advice to lots of people from different places. I wonder, it just seems like there’s more need for a collective resource. Again, for you before the what’s going on right now, do you find that now that you’ve made this choice to go from on your own to a larger firm that you find, that’s an even better choice now that we’re facing this crisis?

Robert: [chuckles]It’s almost a godsend right now. Forget the crisis that we have, it was already starting to improve the status that we had in the market. This just makes it even more mainstream that we needed to do it. I have been saying for the last few weeks, I’ve done a lot of these podcasts with a lot of people and I’ve been telling everybody, I don’t know how I would have handled that on my own.

As an independent broker, you were cut off from the rest of the world. You have the expertise to run the firm and you wouldn’t be there if that was the case, but there are some things you just cant see in. I’m surrounded and I’m very fortunate to be in the government network. My mentors are people like Smokey Garrett, that I literally have just a text away to basically helps me, and molds me through, and gets me through these things. It’s hard to replace that type of expertise when you’re dealing with these types of things.

Paul: Sure. I know Smokey well and he’s a great mentor. To that same end, I think that someone, even with your level of experience, because a lot of our listeners, they’ve got great experience but they don’t have this level of experience, your level of experience. It’s interesting to hear from you that even someone of your level of experience, it still helps to have connection to people.

I find in my offices, as we’re in a shelter in place kind of thing, people can’t even go to the office, so we’ve now turned our great community essentially into a bunch of islands, and it takes a lot of work for us to keep that community going. What are you doing for your team or how do you keep in touch with your staff? Then ultimately, I think, what we want to know really is, how are you keeping in touch with your clients?

Robert: Well, for me, it is very fortunate in the fact that SWR, that comes from Small World Realty, it was run initially as a somewhat virtual firm. SWR was created with a part-time agent niche. A lot of my agents are part time because that’s how I started in the industry. For years, we had already been conducting business via this way, so this is nothing new to me. I’ve done that for the longest time. We had been involved in virtual showings, and interviewer, and all types of things way before this happened, so for us, at least my more experienced crew, this isn’t anything new to us. We’re able to adapt pretty quick to having to do things virtually.

Now, with the new staff that comes on, that’s hard. We brought on probably 15 agents in the last month that haven’t even been able to see the office, and that’s difficult. Thankfully, and I’m one of the few that can say this because I’ve done it before, I’m pretty much running another firm inside of a firm, so I can continue to operate like I had before because I have those resources in place. It’s very hard, because they don’t get the full appreciation of Keller Williams, so it’s difficult for them right now.

We are, just like everybody else, having constant meetings. Typically do once or twice a week, what I call, a hangout meeting. Seven o’clock at night after everything’s kind of calm down. I really don’t have an agenda, unless something major has happened in the day that needs to be an announcement, but I go on and say, “I’m here for you. Let’s talk about things. I don’t care whether it’s general training issues, if it’s something concerning about the Coronavirus, your business, let us know.” Then they start talking amongst each other, and a lot of conversation comes from that.

We’re also very fortunate in the the fact that the GO network via Smokey is conducting massive amounts of resources into the region with daily phone calls and daily accounts from some of their top agents and some of their top teams to basically be very enthusiastic about the market and tell us what’s going on. Just tons of resources that are thrown at us from every which way.

Paul: One of the things I’m getting from you is community. Obviously, community is very important, I get that. Are there any specifics, so when you’re on this call like, “Hey, we’re in this together.” That’s helpful. That really is. I’m not downplaying that. I want to know like, “Okay, so what am I supposed to be doing now?” What are you communicating to your team or what’s the company you’re associated with communicating to you? How has that pinned down into practical steps?

Robert: Again–

Aaron: Especially those new agents. You’ve got all those new ones who just came on this month and they’re saying, “Hey, what do I do next?” How are you getting everybody started?

Robert: For me, again, that was because I’ve done this on my own and we had virtual systems in place. I’m always involved in the day-to-day operations. One thing that’s very unique about me, I’m one of the few brokers in the state of Texas and possibly in the country that continues to review every single thing before it touches a third party. Nothing goes to anybody unless I’ve seen it before. Probably one of the number one reasons I’ve never been sued in this entire timeframe.

I’m not a gray area type of guy. It’s either right or it’s wrong. I tell people all the time and I can always make more money, but I can never get my ethics back. I always am involved in the day-to-day operations, so when we have something like this, it really doesn’t change what I’m already doing. Our agents, whether we’re in Corona or not, are always going through me with any type of deals they’re doing, any type of paperwork that they’re doing, it all goes through me.

I have five managers that I can push them off on. I insist on being the primary contact. I’m still the one that takes the phone calls at eleven o’clock. When we’re in a situation like this, it’s not as difficult for me because I’ve already incorporated those things with the agents as far as policies that they’re supposed to do, regardless of whether we’re in this type of situation or not.

Aaron: Is there a way to lead generate right now? Should people be lead-generating right now.

Robert: Yes, absolutely. I think one of the silver linings of this entire thing is that it’s forcing people who have just constantly ignored technology to finally accept that they have no choice but to embrace the technology because it is the way we do real estate from here moving forward. It has been the way we do real estate from here going forward. I think it’s forcing them to start adapting.

You have a lot of people out there that are going through these calls where they’re learning how to talk to a client via Zoom. I always enjoy watching the team leads and how they’re adjusting to interviewing somebody on Zoom. I go, “You know, nothing’s changed. It’s the same interview.” The background doesn’t have the normal stuff on it. Hell, even with Zoom you can actually make the background the way you want it if you wanted it to be there. I love the people out there that are messing with our virtual backgrounds like they’ve never figured it out before, so that’s been fun.

These are things that we’ve already done before and we can do from a lead generation part of it. We really have started pushing the social media side more so than ever. Social media has always been important, but now, we’re really focusing in on the social media aspects of lead generation. For example some of the things I’ve really been pushing recently, I enjoy the people who are out there that are doing like raffles online, some type of an event. They tag all their clients, and customers, and family, and friends and they say they’re going to reward like $50 or $100, I guess, certificate or something.

I love that because all these names are on there. These people have to provide their contact if they want to be considered for that award. Most people tend to give their real actual identity when they want an award. I don’t consider that a cold call because that’s someone who reached out to us for something we had, so for me, that’s easier to push. I’ve seen a lot of people who do their personal events. We saw one of our agents the other day who teaches yoga and she tagged everybody in her thing, say, “Y’all are welcome to join today.” I think she had like 95 people watching the yoga. We’re pushing a different alternative than we have in the past.

Paul: A different type of community, a different type of connection.

Robert: Absolutely.

Paul: I had to resist the, is it too soon to joke about, I think maybe we’ll make our raffle hand sanitizer, or a toilet paper, or wherever.

Robert: I think that’s a soft one right now. I really think everybody’s accepted the fact that that is just strange how those were the first things to go.

Aaron: Yes, we talked about having that be our gift to all of our tenants out there and all of our customers, like, “If we could just send just a pack of toilet paper right now.” A gal I was interviewing yesterday, she talked about taking this time to reach out to all of their customers or guys that work for them and actually have the long conversation. Maybe the conversation they’ve never had time to have before, because it was always so busy and so many different things. They’re having two or three clients a day or agents a day, and just having the real long conversation. Do you think agents out there right now are doing that enough? Do you think they’re taking this as the time to really figure out, like get to know their clients better? Is that something that you guys are doing?

Robert: Unfortunately, it’s the old 10%, 90% rule, is that no matter what goes on, the 10% are going to continue to do 90% of the work. No matter how strong we tell them that this time is perfect for that, they still resist in getting outside their regular day-to-day stuff. Yes, it is true that more people are answering the phone than they normally ever would. More people are actually wanting to talk about things that we talked about.

The ones that do it, it is a very good time for them right now because they do have a very engaged audience at this point and more so than they ever have in a long time. It started to encourage those things. We’ve pushed very hard in our group and in our region that it shouldn’t just be a sales call. There should be some empathy in there as to what they’re going through, reaching out to see if we can help in any way, and utilizing the financial tools that we have to possibly help.

I love the script with Keller Williams mortgage, where we reach out to them, and we’re telling them, “Look, let us know if we can help. If you are in the process of buying, we can help you out financially if you go through Keller Williams mortgage.” Those things are helping somebody. For me, it makes it easier to direct everybody as to what they should be doing and saying when they’re talking to these people.

Paul: For people who aren’t at Keller Williams, one of the value propositions there is just that they’ve created a no money mortgage. For people who are not with Keller Williams, I think the takeaway is find something of value. It doesn’t need to be Keller Williams mortgage. If you’re with KW, you have that tool, you have that quiver available and ready to go, but find something of value, so that you’re approaching these people and it comes from contribution on the sales call.

I’ve been talking to my people and I give them a script. One of the things I always make sure we do for our audience is we get great mindset, we get great ideas, and I want to give them really concrete actionable stuff. One of the things I’m saying is just go ahead and send what I’m calling an I care text message. You can start with a text message and you make it a little personal. You say, “Hey, Aaron. How are you doing? I want to check in with you and your family. I know that these are crazy times, hope you’re staying safe. If there’s anything I can do, let me know.” Then, some message of hope, which is like a, “This too shall pass.” I send that, and 95% of the time or more, I get a return back like, “Hey, wow.” A lot of times I get like, “Wow, I was just thinking about you.”

Because here’s an interesting phenomenon and that is, when I look on my inbox of my texts, it’s only close friends and family checking in on me. That’s not a bad thing. It’s what people do in a crisis. This gives us the opportunity to be the one that reaches out. Why reach out? They’re like, “Oh, yes, hey, I was thinking about you.” Then after I get that back, then I have a set message that I send back with some resources like, “Hey, here’s some recent resources.”

Robert: It’s funny you say that because for years, I was very big on– I’m very different than a lot of the Keller Williams machine, and I have to admit, I’ve learned so much just being back in, watching some of the professionals in here with their lead generation and their phone call systems. I’ve never been big on pushing the phone side of it, more of a sales side of it, which is unfortunate with the type of group I run.

I love the fact how you were talking about how you’re reaching out. That’s something that I’ve used for years now. I’ve always taught my crew that you should contact this base, but it doesn’t have to be about real estate. If it’s consistent enough, you have your name and your signature, with your firm name, and your group name, you have some type of name tag, they know what you’re doing, and I love your percentages.

Aaron: I’ve even seen agents lately, just like what you guys said, it’s like reaching out, offering value, checking in, and starts to like, “Hey, how are you doing? What can I do to help you?” I’ve seen that like grocery shopping, literally like, “Hey, is there anything I can go do for you?” Especially elderly clients, that maybe they even sold a house for a year or two ago that aren’t a current client, but it’s taking this time to rekindle relationships and going out there and saying, literally, it’s just about service right now because that can pay off later. Can you think of any tips or anything that agents could be doing right now other than–? I guess the client will tell them what they need, but anything that you’ve seen lately that’s been standing out to you?

Robert: Yes, we’re actually doing those very things. It’s funny you really see the true heart of the American spirit with people out there. There are people who genuinely do that, not even doing it for business purposes. They legitimately are trying to help the entire senior community in what we can do and help them. We have had several agents, more than probably several, reach out to those types of communities, asking what we can do to help.

I just think you see the good in people when you have such a terrible thing going on. The world can be a very hateful place at times, but if you really strip it down to its core, it is a very decent place with decent people. Sometimes things like this that are unprecedented really start to show people’s true colors. I think that’s what you’re seeing right now with a lot of the real estate agents and people, in general.

Paul: A lot of times, I think people actually have the– Sure, there are those that are taking advantage of times like this, but I think more often than not, there’s a lot of people that have it in their heart to do something and they just don’t know what to do. What are some examples of client outreach or whatever? Like you said, it doesn’t have to be all about getting business, but one of the things we’re doing is establishing ourselves as the leader in the community.

Robert: In some of our financially challenged areas throughout Dallas-Fort worth, we’re having the agents reach out to the food banks to see if we can help deliver the food to where it needs to go. You have numerous school districts where in this case, the worst, it’s the hardest one for me. It’s amazing how many students rely on the food that’s given by the school just to get by and eat. That’s the one that gets me the most. We volunteer to send out those packages as well and drop them off for people that are out there that need them.

There are just so many different things that people utilize. You’re really talking about a special person when they too have to risk going out and be careful what they touch and where they are, so there’s a limited scope as to what we can do, but what we can help with, we’re doing it every which way.

Paul: What are you doing with the–? I don’t know exactly in Texas but we’re getting mixed messages in California and I think a lot of states are getting mixed messages where, for example, in California, they just said, “Hey, it is deemed an essential business,” but then we’ve got all these overlays. Well, that doesn’t mean you can break the social distancing, it doesn’t mean you can go out of the office. How are you guys dealing with that?

Robert: We have had a significant change in that yesterday. The governor of the state of Texas deemed all real estate professionals essential. In the end, and we communicated this through our region and to our own personal group last night, it all comes down to this, unless it’s an absolute emergency, they shouldn’t be going out. Open houses are totally out of the question right now, that shouldn’t be happening. If there’s an emergency that has to be done, even in those cases, we’re telling them it should only be one person and they should be using every precaution they can.

There’s nothing that you want to where we realize infected by someone who is in that process, even if it’s two or three people and we were behind it. We’re being very careful. Even though we’ve been ordered that we are essential and we can show if we have to, it’s something that we’re just very backing off of and trying to use every virtual tour that we can before we do that.

Up until yesterday, we’ve been telling the crew, it’s what’s defensible to you. What would be defensible. Like you said, “Look, I had to do this,” and now that’s changed to, “Is that advisable? Is that really something that you should have done?”

Paul: One of the things, the advice that I had gotten because I’m in close touch with our council and again, it’s California rules and this isn’t legal advice, but one of the things that he talked about just sort of an awareness is, you’ve got the things like if you’re maybe breaking, bending the rulings, are they actually going to come out and prosecute you? The answer is no. However, are you creating liability? Let’s say that someone gets sick in that somewhere along that chain, well, they may have gotten sick from 40 different ways, but you could be the person of liability.

It’s not even that, really safety first. The way we’re going to get through this is by really adhering in a strong way. On the other hand, sometimes people still need to sell a house, they still need to do it. I believe the governors are correct and we are an essential service. The question, how do we do that and remain safe?

Robert: What are you supposed to do? Let someone who has relocated on this stand in a public lodging where they don’t want to be and where it’s not safe for them or their kids? It is essential. It is one of the core foundations of United States business, so, yes, it is essential, and it does have to be done at times. It just has to be done with common sense. That can be difficult with a lot of people.

Aaron: We had a listing this week down in the Austin area. An agent reached out to us a few days ago and they said, “Hey, are we allowed to go show your listing? It’s got a family of four that would be there. Has anyone else shown it in the last 24 hours?” For them, that was the family wanted to go out there but they were nervous about it, so they said, “Hey, can you either send us videos, or are we allowed to be there, and has anyone else been there?” It was, “Well, no one has been there in two days right now, so if you guys want to go show it, you’re more than welcome to.” I actually thought that was a pretty decent strategy. That was an agent trying to find a solution to it, like they reached out first, “Hey, has anyone else been there?” If I had said-

Robert: Communication is key.

Aaron: -somebody’s shown it a little while ago, they might not have gone but that felt like it was worth the risk for them. Do you think that was worth the risk? Do you think that’s–? [crosstalk]

Robert: No, if it’s a communication from both sides where everybody is comfortable, they’ve been talk– We had one this morning where the buyer from another firm wants to show the property, we’ve instructed all of our crew, first offer them to do a Zoom interview where the occupant’s going to walk us through the house and both agents are on the line, are in the interview and so is the buyer. We first request that.

This particular seller said, “Look, I’ve got no problem. I will disinfect everything. I’ll have everything very proper. I need them to understand that I’ve done that. I don’t feel like I’m symptomatic, but I don’t know. If they want to come in under those circumstances, that’s up to them.” To me, that’s all you can really ask for. Plus, it’s documented on the Zoom that those are things that we went through before we’re walking into that house. I think that it’s a general conversation that everybody has to have.

Aaron: Yes, that’s great advice. I think the end being able to step through those options. We do have the technology we didn’t have before. There’s a lot of people that are doing those. Now you can get pictures taken of the house that’s like a 3D walk-through when you click through.

Robert: Yes, I saw those. Those are cool. [chuckles]

Aaron: Do you think those are going to start booming? Do you think people are going to start using those more and more?

Robert: Yes, I think you’re going to see a massive intake into the technology side of it. That’s what started realtor.com was virtual tours, and that’s what really launched their platform. It’s funny, realtor.com as everybody else got into the same game, it started filtering off, but the 3D is a cool way of looking at the house. It’s a different way. I think because it’s different, it’s enjoyed, and the timing is very good for it in this market right now. Yes, I think you’ll see an adoption. Is it something that becomes a mainstream part of the market for years to come? I don’t know. It might be a fad, but I will say I saw that for the first time a few weeks ago, I thought that was really cool.

Paul: Yes. We’re seeing it quite a bit out where we are. In fact, we had already been using some of the top brands for the 3D tours and they do all sorts of views. One is a sort of 3D walk-through, and then another one is the dollhouse view where you can really three-dimensional look at all the different parts of the house. We were really moving toward that. Not as a way to supplant the actual walk-through, people we feel are obviously going to want to walk-through before they buy a home, but it really provides a lot of information.

Robert: You said it best too. These are just initial tools. That’s where the essential part also comes into play. We get them to do the technical side first and if they really want it, then we say, “Hey, look, this is an essential need for them to see the house. We need to get them in there. I think that’s something else that’s going to be adapted.

We have so many people who are looky-loos out there that we know and they want to look at five or six homes, and we know the moment they walk in, they’re going to be like, “No, this isn’t for me.” I think you’re going to see a real migration to when we have that type of buyer, “Well, hey, why don’t we try to do this on Zoom? Let me see if I can get the occupant in there so we can walk you through it versus having to go show 20 or 30 homes that we know probably would have never really been on the list.” I think you’re going to see a lot of that as we move forward too.

Paul: I think there are things that will change for the better. Is that one of them or what other things do you see changing when we come out of this? The world’s changed for the better.

Robert: It is a change, and you’ve heard it a lot over the last few days, this is a change that will forever be We won’t go back to normal, but maybe the new normal is something better and more improved. There is a silver lining to some of the things that are going on. I think people are gaining a little more appreciation for the things that they do, the life that they have, the businesses that they have. The people that have been extremely arrogant, and we have a few in our industry, I think they’ve been humbled by this process, and they will continue to be humbled. I think they’ll just take things a little bit easier.

As you move forward, you’re going to have a more concerned general public. Our industry is set up more than anyone to be able to move forward and conduct business in the new norm. This does get better. It is going to be awful over the next few weeks. There’s no doubt the death count gets higher and anxiety goes high, and nobody wants to hear 100,000 or 200,000 people passing away. Once it does pass, we do move forward as we always do. I think the real estate market comes back stronger.

One of the other benefits that we’ve seen from this type of crash to a– Well, not a housing crash, but just to financial crisis compared to 2008, the 2008 crash, we went into the 2008 crash not that strong. Jobs weren’t that great and the market had plenty of houses out there. Right now, we have a shortage of inventory and a very strong housing market, so it’s going to take this hit a lot easier than it did years ago.

The biggest threat to anything in the housing market right now is the obvious is when it comes to unemployment. Unemployment is going to be the thing that’s tough. Even there, you had massive numbers over the last week. Those are really transitional. A lot of those people who lost jobs, you got people like Amazon, Papa John’s, they’re hiring thousands of people. You’re going to see a transition from there to there. Those numbers do stable out.

That’s the thing that I watch most carefully though, is the unemployment because that can have an ultra effect on the real estate market, but moving forward, I think we’re going to be a lot better off, probably even a lot more euphoric to some extent that we can get past such a virus and show that we can continue on no matter what comes at us.

Paul: That was a great perspective. Really great. I too look at those unemployment numbers and when you see unemployment numbers that will soon be, if haven’t already, exceeded the Great Depression, you’re like, “Oh my gosh,” but there was such a terrible economic situation underlying that that caused, that this is really a black swan, lightning strike event. When we get through this, yes, our economy will be hurt, but I think there will be like you say, euphoria. It’s a great way to like, “Oh, wow. Hey, I’m feeling good, everybody’s feeling good, let’s get back at it.” People are going to be hungry for that.

Robert: One thing that the Great Depression lacked was $2 trillion to be able to pump back in to the economy. This is unprecedented and yes, nobody wants that to happen. It hurts. Eventually, we have to pay for that at some point. The fact is, we have been running high for the last few years on a very stable economy, and it’s going to hold us through on a shot like this. Again, very euphoric in the fact that if we could take that type of shot, what is it that can stop us? Because this is going to be a really tough thing to get past, but the initial indications is that we will.

I do think we’re responding appropriately. I don’t mean that medically, or anything else, or politically. I think that was finding the best we can to make things happen. Whether you agree or not with the administration, pumping $2 trillion dollars is really important to a lot of people out there. I think that’s going to help the housing market as well.

Paul: What a cool perspective because the three of us, we are not and probably a lot of people are glad, we’re not leaders of the free world. We’re also not virologists and-

Aaron: Absolutely.

Paul: but one of the things that we are is we are leaders in the real estate industry, and that’s a big deal. Robert, our audience listening to you and hearing that message of hope is a big deal. [crosstalk]

Robert: I genuinely mean it too. You hear a lot of people talking about the, “Yes, we got to get up. We got to do this, we got to do that.” I’m like, “I get that,” I go, “but I’m genuinely telling you from a business perspective.” Before I got in the real estate industry, I worked on the executive team at Foot Locker, Footaction USA and Just For Feet with their finance. I’ve seen these types of things before where you’re sitting there. I’m genuinely saying from a financial perspective, the way we’re set, we can overcome this and have better days. It’s just going to be tough before we get to them.

Aaron: What a great perspective at the end, and just like we said, that Robert is not a small broker. What was your volume last year?

Robert: We did about 94 million.

Paul: Wow.

Robert: No, it’s interesting though, and I love– Paul, your region, I met some of your crew at Family Reunion. It’s always tough for me because I have about 120 to 130 agents, but a lot of my crew is– My niche is part-time real estate. Half my crew is full time, half my crew is part time. It’s funny when I talk to the guys in the Bay Area, they’re doing double the volume that I am with a quarter of the people, so it’s a little humiliating, but it’s still– [crosstalk]

Aaron: I think my point with that, Robert, is you’re a leader. You got a lot of people that are following you. You got a big team, you’re doing big things out there. You’ve got that financial background. Just like what we were finishing with, a lot of people comparing it to 2001, 2008, and you said, “No, this is better than 2008 and here’s why.”

Robert: It is.

Aaron: That was a really clear, concise explanation. I appreciated hearing that. I’m leaving this with hopeful, with saying that, yes, that stimulus has the opportunity to really fix a lot of the things people are working out there. I think, again, a recap for our listeners out there, our agents out there, we talked about reaching out to people, we talked about reaching out just add value, whatever that value is right now, whether it’s groceries, or calling, and eventually somebody asks you about their house or they don’t, but it’s a great opportunity to have empathy like that human condition that we’re all growing from out here.

3D tours, floor plans. If you’re out there and you’re doing a listing right now, it’s time to step up with what technology is out there. Maybe open houses or virtually on Facebook Live or Instagram right now, instead of other ways. Starting with Zoom before scheduling the interview, constant communication with other people were great. There’s so many different things out there that people can use for action today.

Robert, if people want to find you, if they want to find you online, on social media, they want to reach out and ask you questions, what’s the best way for somebody to go find, or if they have any tips on how to become a smoking legend— [crosstalk]

Robert: Yes, you can always– My email is real simple, it’s smokerbroker@kw.com. I’m on a national weekly radio show on KBGI radio, Thursdays, noon to 1:00. It’s an internet radio channel. It is called Smoker Broker. The producer always liked that name. We talk about hardcore real estate events on a weekly basis. It’s a kind of training model for new agents, existing agents, veteran agents, and the general public.

Aaron: Very cool.

Robert: Of course, you can always reach us at smallworldrealty.com as well.

Aaron: Well, people will come find you. I’m sure a lot of them will be asking for advice out there. Robert, thanks for getting on here. Is fun getting to know you. Paul, any final thoughts? Anything I’m missing?

Paul: No, likewise. Robert, I really appreciate your message, message of hope. It’s a very heartfelt one. You’re a leader in this industry and we’ve– On behalf of Aaron and myself, and all of the listeners, we appreciate you coming on the show and really sharing a message not just of hope but also action. I know that we can come out the other side even stronger.

Robert: Absolutely.

Aaron: Thanks, Robert.

Robert: Thank you for having me.

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