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Amy Donaldson, Coach and Author of: Get off the Cash Flow Roller Coaster

Justin Stoddart
Welcome back to the Think Bigger Real Estate Show, I’m your host Justin Stoddart. Today we’re going to talk about swimming with sharks. You’re probably thinking, what in the world does this have to do with real estate. Right now in our industry, in our economy, it has everything to do with real estate. So before we get too much into swimming with sharks, what that means for you, I want to remind you that we have show notes, you can get summary and everything that you’ve missing that you’ve been missing on this show if you go to thinkbigger.realestate and sign up to get that weekly review. I’ve got people praising me thanking me for that summary that comes to them that allows them to choose what episodes are most relevant to them. So be sure to go sign up thinkbigger.real estate. I also want to remind you that my mission and my purpose is to help you to think bigger. My overall passion is to help you have a life of impact, but you have to do more and get better results in order to have that happen and the only way for that to happen is to put you around big thinkers that help expand your thinking, expand your possibilities. I’m excited to bring to you today, another big thinker, somebody who not only has done it in her own life but continues to do it the lives of other people. So, Amy Donaldson who is a real estate agent here in the Portland metropolitan area. She’s also an author of get off the cashflow roller coaster, which is a great book. I’ve read it. It’s wonderful. And she’s also a coach. So I want to thank, and welcome, all at the same time. Amy Donaldson, thanks for joining us today on the Think Bigger Real Estate Show.

Amy Donaldson
Thank you, Justin. Thank you. What a fun introduction.

Justin Stoddart
I love it. So talk to us about swimming with sharks. You literally had an experience recently that like this could have been a very, very real possibility. Please explain what happened.

Amy Donaldson
Yes. So um, last Friday, I was down in Southern California. And you know, I love to go in the water with my nephew. So I’m surfing with my 13 year old nephew in Manhattan Beach and I see something out of the corner of my eye but I don’t really I don’t register and I don’t ask. Kayden looks at me he was Aunt Lulu, which is that’s what he calls me. Aunt Lulu, I just saw a fin, like a shark fin. Um, and I’m like, really? And I’m thinking like, I saw something, you know, it’s kind of like a gray, black. You know, like, Are you sure? And he goes, yes. I’m 100% sure I saw a fin and then it went under. It that far away from us, either. So of course, we’re heading back into shore. Um, and I’m just going to leave the story. There was a point out all of us have maybe seen these images of helicopters, or from helicopters flying along the California coast, which was surfers out in the water and you see sharks like, not that far away from them and it’s like, “Do people have any idea like what’s in the water? Like, maybe that’s a whale. Maybe that’s a dolphin? I don’t know, right? But it looks a lot like a shark from the images.

Justin Stoddart
Just like in here you are out there with your nephew.

Amy Donaldson
That is where sharks live. We are in the ocean.

Justin Stoddart
Yeah, you’re in their home, right? This isn’t you sitting at your home. You went into their home.

Amy Donaldson
Yes.

Justin Stoddart
Okay, well, let’s circle back on that story. We’re gonna let everybody that’s watching this. Hang on just a little bit to hear what happened. It looks like you have your limbs. It looks like you’re you made it I don’t know about your nephew yet.

Amy Donaldson
We went back in the water that day. So I’m gonna let everyone sit on that and think why on earth? What not? Why did my sister let me bring her kid back in the water? Right?

Justin Stoddart
So So talk to us about this. What in the world does this have to do with real estate right now?

Amy Donaldson
So here’s the thing. There is so much going on in our industry and there’s a lot of stuff in the waters of real estate. So that’s the parallel that I saw. People we see things and there’s a lot of chatter, is this thing a threat, is that a threat, is this friendly but but nobody’s swimming to shore to assess this. Not nobody a lot of people are but a lot of people aren’t a lot of people are just kind of like hanging out and and debating whether things are a threat or not.

Justin Stoddart
And are, I’ll interject, and or just doing what they’ve always done assuming that they’re going to get the results that they’ve always gotten, right I mean, I, I have kind of an interesting perspective, being in the title and escrow industry, we see all the listings that go live, and we see that in a very short period of time right OpenDoor, who is an ibuyer, who has become probably the biggest listing agent in Portland in no time, which is really, really interesting. These guys were a no name a year ago and new to our market in a very short period of time, through a mass mailing effort and they just came up in my Facebook Timeline the other day. Last night, actually it said “OpenDoor, see how much, or if we will make an offer on your house.” Right? People are seeing these, your best clients, the people who have used you and referred you are at least getting these letters, they’re at least getting this stuff in their newsfeed and yet people are in my opinion, there’s a little bit of complacency. Now again, I think that there is some concern, no doubt, but many are doing what they’ve always done and they’re expecting to get the same results and I I just don’t think you’re going to get the same results. So go ahead.

Amy Donaldson
That’s right. No, that’s right. That’s exactly that’s exactly right. There’s people who are pretending it doesn’t matter are people who are saying that’s, that doesn’t affect me. It affects us. Now, I personally don’t believe the iBuyers are a threat, but to be clear, they affect us. It’s a major, major part of our of our market and you know, and I see agents post these things all the time of, you know, list with an agent versus iBuyer and it’s a financial breakdown and let me tell you, this is absolutely the wrong way to go because it’s the exact same thing that iBuyers are showing the consumer. This isn’t new information. So the people who are selling their home to OpenDoor, to them the bottom line, the finances is not their motivation. Like think about that for a minute that they are the largest they are that they’re listing more homes than anyone else, which means they’re buying more homes than anyone else and there’s there’s a reason for that and real estate agents or not, as a group, really paying attention. So I had an interesting experience a couple years ago, that made me that really made me take notice that there was a moment… it’s something someone said to me that I thought you know what this, this is a powerful statement and it could be easy to miss.

Amy Donaldson
So I was having, you know, just a networking meeting have a one on one with somebody in the in a networking group that I was with and he texted me and said, “Do you want a cup of coffee?” Pretty normal, you know, so I told him what I want, you know, gave him my order. When he showed up to my office with both of our coffees, he was super excited. So this was right when Starbucks was rolling out their app that you can order it ahead of time. So the first time he had used that app, or he had pre loaded some money on to his, basically on to his card on his phone. So anyway, he gets to my office he’s so excited telling me about and I hadn’t heard of this new feature yet, but so he says, I was in my driveway when I texted you and I placed the order. So when I texted him back, he placed the order from his driveway, he pulls up to the same Starbucks that he always go to where he normally waits in line. He walked in both of our drinks were on the counter right with his name on them. So he was he was like, this was amazing. I walked in, I got to walk right up to where the mobile orders are because I picked them up. And this is what he said that was powerful. And he was grinning ear to ear because “I didn’t have to talk to anybody.”

Amy Donaldson
Right, and I just I thought, that’s a that’s a powerful statement. Because in our industry, I hear so many real estate agents say, “Well, I’m relational, and I can’t be replaced by a computer. While I agree with that statement, the problem with it is people aren’t understanding that sometimes the consumer just wants the convenience. Like in that moment on that morning, Alex did not want to spend five minutes waiting in line and another two or three minutes talking to the barista. “How’s your morning going? Good. How’s it… “right? You wanted to grab the coffee and get to our appointment. That’s what he wanted. He wanted to walk in and have the coffee waiting for him, which is what Starbucks was able to deliver and it’s one of the reasons why they’re so so popular is that they continue to deliver what the consumer wants. And frankly, it’s not great coffee. Like I feel like many, many places offer better coffee than Starbucks. But nobody offers a better, more consistent, predictable experience.

Justin Stoddart
So how do we apply this to real estate? Here’s some thoughts that I have and then I’d love to have you add to them. At the end of the day people are coming to a real estate agent because they need to either buy or sell a home, right? That’s at least initially why they’re coming to you. Maybe some people want a relationship in that process. Maybe some just want to get the job done. I believe that if you are trying to make more of something than what it is, consumers don’t want that. For example small chat with a barista is not what I want. That’s not a relationship to me. Right? And it’s friendliness. I’m not against I’m not opposed to it, but that doesn’t make or break my day as to whether or not I get that now.

Amy Donaldson
He wanted to hurry wanted to get to our appointment talk to me, right, right.

Justin Stoddart
Now if that barista tells me that, hey, were you aware that if you, and I’m pulling this out of my head, so this probably isn’t a good example, if you buy five cups of coffee, you’re going to get the sixth and seventh for free. Stuff that I didn’t know that actually makes my life better. Right? Or maybe that’s not a very good example because the app could have told me that as well. Right? But let’s say I’m standing in the line getting my drink. And she says, “Hey, Justin, do you know John? John comes in here all the time. I think John’s in your same industry. You guys should totally meet.” Now all of a sudden, she stepped outside of the silo of being just a barista and now she’s a connector. She’s connected me to John who happens to be an attorney who happens to need some of the services that I offered. Now all of a sudden, that was a delight because the baristas again added more value than what I expected, not trade them tried to make more out of something that she did for a living, if that makes sense.

Amy Donaldson
Yeah, yeah. Well, I think the way I think the way that it that it really translates into our industry is to think about what, like when I hear real estate agents, and I feel like they all say this, “Well, I’m relational.” Which, if everyone says that, that’s not a differentiator.

Justin Stoddart
And so’s the barista, right? Sure.

Amy Donaldson
Sure, sure. And so is the barista. So, um, but to think about what does that mean like when a real estate agent when I’m coaching someone, and they’re like, oh, but I focus on the relationship. I’m like, okay, so are you throwing client appreciation parties, most of them aren’t. Are you throwing housewarming parties? Most of them aren’t. What system do you have in place to foster this relationship? Are you sending them birthday cards? I always sent my clients you know, handwritten birthday cards. It’s pretty easy to get their birthday. And then I always would, you know, look a week out so I can set and then I send them a text. And now I send video texts on I sent you a video text on your birthday.

Amy Donaldson
I remember, you were in a van full of other athletic sweaty people

Justin Stoddart
I was in a van full of sweaty women.

Amy Donaldson
Was it Hood to Coast? Oh yeah. Yeah. So males and females. I was thinking, which van was I in? Those are things those are systems that I have in place to foster relationships with people, right? I every day I look through Facebook see birthday it is and the people in my inner circle. I seen them happy birthday on a video. That’s actually I know now, you know, but it’s a system I have in place.

Justin Stoddart
I thought I was the only one. I thought I was the only one. It’s okay. Go ahead.

Amy Donaldson
That doesn’t take away. Well, I mean, does it still make you feel special?

Justin Stoddart
Totally. You know how many birthday videos I got that day? Um, 1. Lots of birthday wishes one birthday video.

Amy Donaldson
Right. So, so that’s like my thing that I do. And for my buyers, I always got a big red bow that I put on their front door and those are systems that I have in place that foster the relationship. So when I ask people “What are you doing? They’re just like, “Well, I really care about my clients.” You have to put systems in place that you do the same thing every time and that’s what a part of the relationship with Starbucks, it’s not that they’re going to like suddenly become your network and start introducing you to other people in your field right or even know that about you. But part of that relationship is when you’re wanting to… a lot of times people meet their when you’re wanting to meet there you go through the whole process, you know, you wait in line to get the thing you know and you have these nice comfortable chairs for you to sit in and have your meeting. And when you don’t want to meet there, they have a system in place where you can walk up your order is already ready, you grab it and go. They are delivering both and they’re delivering what you want and what you need when you need it.

Justin Stoddart
Right, some people want the relationship. Some people want the small chat with the barista while others are all about convenience. Now, I want to add something to your point there, Amy about the birthday video. The fact that you did that and you showed up as somebody who genuinely cares about me in my life. Something that that then opened me up for us to have additional conversations, right. We had a lunch couple weeks ago and we strategized on each other’s businesses. You gave me feedback on mine, even asked you know about my feedback on yours. Like that, that was the foundation of value in my opinion, right? The like the value didn’t stop with the fact that you sent me a birthday video. I think that’s where a lot of agents get hung up. And they’re like, why didn’t they choose me? “I sent them a dang birthday video, just like Amy said.” The reality is that’s valuable on a personal level, but to really go above and beyond and stand out in a crowded marketplace, that’s the foundation that you then get to build a house on. And the house has to be something really, really valuable. So for example, for me, I launched a website, you said, Justin, this looks great. Have you thought about this? Have you thought about that? Here’s some feedback on that, now all of a sudden, you’ve stepped into my life as not just a friend, great, I value the friendship, but now you’re an advisor, you’re a mentor, you’re, you know, a partner like that. That’s the again, apart from other relationships, and I know that I’m sharing that as an example because I know you do that with your clients. And that’s maybe the point that I hope people are taking away from this is that it’s not enough just to be relational, that’s necessary and not the relational like you’re talking about me hat people typically do like “Oh yeah, I’m friendly to them,” right? I’m barista relational. No, we’re talking about the kind of relationship that you are where you say, “Let’s go to lunch. I want to get knee to knee with you and I want to learn what your concerns are and then I’m going to follow up with those concerns with key introductions, key insights that are going to help you actually reach your goals. To me, you have you become an integral part of someone’s life and business.

Amy Donaldson
When I’m when I’m working with real estate agents and helping them grow their business and and I asked them what that means to them to be relational, the overwhelming majority start telling me how much they care about their clients, which is this is this is a this is like the perfect foundation, but that’s the foundation, it’s not the building. They think it’s the building, right? You need to care but where the where the return on is on letting them know that you care and how much you care. That’s the value of having systems in place and birthday is great. That means you’re going to hit everybody at least once a year. Right? Like you’ve got that for sure, but having having systems in place and things that you do, religiously and to everybody because here’s the thing, the fact that I care about other people and send videos to other people on their birthdays, doesn’t diminish how much I care about you and what our relationship is.

Justin Stoddart
Yeah. tells you your systematic.

Amy Donaldson
Yeah, I’m very systematic and intentional and that comes back to me. The other thing is when you have a system, it becomes a numbers game because I sent videos to people who literally don’t even send a thank you text in reply. Okay, now had that been the only video I ever sent. I’d feel rejected. Because every single day I’m sending these videos. If someone doesn’t respond, it doesn’t even register on my radar. And honestly, I’m assuming if they don’t respond to that, they’re probably busy. Like they probably got it enjoyed it and was like, Oh, you know, I’ll respond later or because they wanted to respond with a video, but aren’t in a place where they can record a video and then they, right, and then they do it. Oh, yeah, I’ll do it. And it’s like, and it’s no big deal because I’ve also gotten like, it’ll be weeks later, “Oh my gosh, I never responded to that,” but it’s like, it’s fine. If you only send one, whatever the thing is, whether it’s a card or a video, but if you only do it once, that’s too small of a sample size to, you need to be doing things systematically to see what kind of results like overwhelmingly the birthday videos get fabulous, fabulous results.

Justin Stoddart
So taking us back here into the water, right? Yeah, we’re, you saw this fin. And you guys start moving very quickly, you realize like, we have to get out here. I don’t know what that fin was, but we have to get out of here. Talk to us a little bit me about something that you’re launching and don’t know if you want to tell the end of the story yet or not, but we can talk about that. You’re launching something to help agents like get moving fast. Talk to us about why like December 1st, is what I understand, you’re launching a 30 day challenge.

Amy Donaldson
I’m doing a 30 day challenge. So finish strong because this is not just the end of the year, this is the end of an entire decade. So it’s based on my book, Get off the Cash Flow Roller Coaster. It’s the 30 day finish strong challenge. So every day we’re going to have different assignments to get moving fast, hit the ground running in 2020. Real estate agents are notorious for taking December off whether they literally take it off or they just like essentially… December can be a fabulous, fabulous month in real estate. I should finish that story because obviously I did not get eaten by any sharks. So we get back on shore and my sister and my cousin and the rest of my family is sitting there going, Oh my gosh, did you guys see all the dolphins there’s a whole pod and they were like, did you know how close you were to them? It was a which I told her “Funny thing is we saw a fin and thought it was a shark.” And it was it was it was hilarious to them because they had been watching this like so just over the crest of the way there were these dolphins that we’re swimming and so of course Kaden and I were like let’s get back out there because who doesn’t want to surf with dolphins which, by the way, was a major thing. Ahh-mazing. I mean to see huge pods of them. I mean, there was probably 50 of them. So I believe that one was the first that we had seen, but I mean to see dolphins out in the wild like that, and up close was pretty incredible and like one of the most exciting things I’ve experienced and so the parallels to our real estate thing is I think a lot of these things that we’re seeing in in our industry really are to our benefit if we understand them and if we know how to approach them. So a huge key for us and feeling safe and having a good experience was knowing that they were dolphins. While you can actually get pretty close to dolphins, and they’re not going to bother you and they’re just going to play around the when you see a fin in the water, the thing to do is not let’s go approach it and see if this is a dolphin or a shark.

Amy Donaldson
So this coaching program, it’s a way to get yourself on shore where you have a lens, you can look at the entire landscape, see what’s out there, what’s safe, what’s friendly. Most things are friendly.

Justin Stoddart
You know how to interact with them, right. Like you’ve described, given us a great parallel with iBuyers, that there’s a segment of the market that they’re like Alex getting his coffee, “Get out of my way, just get my house sold. I don’t even care so much about the numbers, I just want to get rid of this thing,” right? And there’s a group of people that we all have to be okay with that that’s actually in their best interest. And there’s a whole group of people that actually want top dollar for their house and they actually want a great experience and they actually want to be connected to your powerful network in the process. Those are the people where you need to spend your time, right. Most most people want top dollar for their house. Yeah. Okay. So that’s an easy conversation and you’re going to win that one every time. The people that want the convenience that an iBuyer offers, you’re not going to win by showing them that they’re getting more money by listing with you, that’s not what’s important to them. The way for some of those people selling to an iBuyer is the best option but for some of those people, if they could list it with an agent and have a slightly better experience, still have that convenience, that might be better. So having a pool of cash buyers to say, “Hey, if I could get you a better offer than the iBuyer, but also without putting it on the market and bringing a bunch of people through, would that be of value to you. So the people who want the convenience, you have to meet the convenience for them. You can’t ignore that that’s what’s important to them and the overwhelming majority, yes, want top dollar and so we don’t have to, we don’t have to have these graphs and these charts and they’re already going, they’re going to figure it out to list with an agent.

Amy Donaldson
What needs to be addressed as these people who want the convenience. Is there a way that we can offer the convenience and still work with them? Yeah and not looking at if they sell their house to an iBuyer, what are they doing? Are they buying something else? Can I represent them on their purchase? Right? Just embrace this don’t don’t try to fight this to the point where you’re now alienated but okay, great. You sold your house what do you, what are we doing with that money? Are we purchasing something else? Are you moving out of the area? Do you need a referral to another real estate agent? You know, like when you just don’t fight, don’t fight the current? Yeah.

Justin Stoddart
It’s awesome stuff, Amy. Yes, get moving right and get the help and the coaching and the mentorship that you do to get moving. I don’t know that I’ve heard of somebody being bold enough to go through the month to do a 30 day challenge in December, right. I think it’s absolutely brilliant of you. There’s a lot of stuff that goes up until December, but people just kind of expect that, this is a month you take off. Whereas I’ve seen that when you do it right, you can actually have it’s actually a great time to be connecting with people. We don’t have time to go into exactly what’s all going to be in your challenge. That’s for people to determine, we’re going to put in the show notes, there will be a link to it.

Amy Donaldson
Let me say one thing. So it’s $49. And I’m offering a double money back guarantee. So if somebody takes the challenge if they do all the things that that I recommend and do not see immediate results in their business, I’m going to refund their money plus another $49. Wow. So money back guarantee. They’re definitely going to see immediate results in their business.

Justin Stoddart
I love it. Any signature question the show you got 30 seconds. Okay, what is what does a big thinker like you continue to do to be a big thinker and expand your own possibilities teach us?

Amy Donaldson
Yeah, um, I spend as much time as possible with people on both ends of the spectrum. So youngest growing up, yeah, the little kids and the old folks, there’s so much wisdom on the fringes and those of us in the middle I think, is when we get it all screwed up. Sometimes.

Justin Stoddart
Interesting. Amy, would you do everybody a favor? Go follow Amy. She’s going to tell you later today a story she told me yesterday as you can tell it via live. This is my request of you, Amy, the story of your dad at 80 years old. He’s like, in other words, flying through the air being caught by hands and feet at eight years old. Like you guys are gonna love this story because it ties in perfectly with what you just shared, the things that we can learn from both the young and the wise. So yeah, maybe I’ll tell the full story on a live.

Unknown Speaker
I can’t wait to hear it again. So folks, I want to thank you again for tuning in today. Amy, thank you for what you’ve poured into us. I would encourage everybody to make your December differen. Get moving. Are there sharks in the water, that there could be right and the best way to get the life that you want regardless of what’s happening is to get moving and December is a great way to end off this decade in action. It’s you taking control of your business in life as opposed to letting it happen. So I want to make the final request everybody that’s listening, three very simple words you hear me say all the time which are go, think bigger. Thank you, Amy for helping us do that today. And thanks, everybody for tuning in.

Amy Donaldson
Thank you, Justin.

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