Howard Tager, TigerLead’s co-founder (pictured above), sat down with Client Services Coach, Dave Martin, for an exclusive Q & A podcast about the upcoming TigerLead Success Summit! Have you been wondering what makes this year’s Summit unique? We’ve compiled an abridged interview that hits on key points and provides awesome tips and advice for taking your business to the next level.
Stream the abridged version here:
Or click here for the full interview:
Dave: Welcome to TigerLead Talk. I’m David Martin, Client Services coach, and today we’ll be having a very special Q&A with Howard Tager, co-founder of TigerLead Solutions, about the upcoming TigerLead Success Summit. Just as a reminder, if you haven’t yet registered, that will be on May 27th– May 28th on Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, NV. Thank you for joining me today, Howard!
Howard: It’s great to be here, Dave, I’m super excited to talk about the upcoming 2015 TigerLead Success Summit!
Dave: This is hardly your first Summit. How did the TigerLead Success Summits first come about?
Howard: TigerLead, we’ve been around since 2007 and I think it was some time in 2008 when we had enough money to venture out to our first conference. So we went to the Howard Britton Star Power Star Conference, and eventually we started going to RE/MAX and Keller Williams conferences. We realized that we had a few clients that were going to these conferences, and we thought, what a great idea to get a few of them together, just informally, and start sharing Best Practices and brainstorming with lots of folks that were using the same system. So it was a little more sort of informal, a little more organic, just kind of brainstorming sessions. It was just great for the clients because they got to kill two birds with one stone when they were going to a conference anyway. They had paid for their flights and hotels, and so we’d have them come in a day early, get everybody together, and you know, it was just like 50-60 people in a room, lots of brainstorming and we just really facilitated a lot of best practices sharing.
Dave: Now, a lot of our clients don’t get to go to Vegas that often. What’s your favorite “can’t miss” experience in Vegas?
Howard: Well, I loved the helicopter tour where you take off in this jet helicopter from Vegas and you ride low-level through the desert with some music. It takes you into the Grand Canyon and swoops around in the Grand Canyon, and you stop on a perch and have some champagne, crackers and cheese, and I just thought it was really neat. Then it takes you through the strip at sunset and downtown Las Vegas, so I just remember, I mean, I’m not a HUGE Las Vegas fan, I mean, I like Las Vegas, but I’m not a huge Las Vegas fan, I’d sort of rather be out in nature, but that was the best thing that I’d ever done in Las Vegas. Of COURSE, the number one thing is the TigerLead Client Appreciation party, the Success party at the end of the two day conference. This year, we’re actually one of the first corporate clients in the world to be able to have the privilege of renting out the Omnia nightclub which is going to be the biggest and best nightclub EVER in Las Vegas, and so that’s really, really exciting!
Dave: So who would you say is the ideal TigerLead Success Summit attendee?
Howard: That’s really a great question. I really firmly believe that the Success Summit is well engineered for both newcomers to Tiger and veterans of Tiger; clients who have just come on board in the last few months and clients who have had us for years. I think that the TigerLead team does an amazing job of interweaving lots of topics that folks who are new to the system are going to eat up and literally be able to make more money the second they get back from the conference. What I’ve found from the veterans of Tiger who’ve had us for a number of years who have been to many Success Summits is they always walk away saying this is the best Success Summit they’ve ever been to and they’ve learned even more. Some of them have even completely changed their business models based upon what we’ve covered at the most recent Success Summit.
Dave: So, do you have any advice for someone who’s coming to their first Success Summit?
Howard: Well, this may sound sort of mundane, but don’t party too much the night before the Success Summit and don’t party too much the first night of the Success Summit! Even though we’re in Las Vegas, there’s ample opportunity to party your brains out after the Summit, and you can stay the weekend. We’ve perfectly engineered this Success Summit to be right before the weekend, so you can stay through the weekend, but this is a HIGH energy Summit where folks take pages and pages and pages of notes on things that are going to completely transform your business, and they’re long days. We really cover a lot of ground in two days straight. So, that’s my advice for anyone coming to Summit, is be well rested, have your energy, and then when it’s all said and done, then you can party like a rock star in Las Vegas!
Dave: That sounds like the voice of experience, there! So how many attendees are we expecting this year?
Howard: Well, the really cool thing about Summit is that we’ve really grown every year. Like I said, we started with 50-60 people in a room, and every year we’ve grown. Last year we had the most attendees we’ve ever had – we had around 300 attendees at the Success Summit and we’re shooting for more like 400-500 this year. That’s our goal.
Dave: Fantastic, I do want to remind everyone that registration is still open, even if you can’t make it yourself please send a team member along, send them with a camera and notebook, make sure they get everything down. Alright, great, so what’s unique about this year’s Success Summit that no one will want to miss?
Howard: Well I think that we should talk about what’s unique about the Success Summit every year and then what will be even more unique about the Success Summit this year. I think the TigerLead Success Summit is truly unique in terms of a real estate conference, in that we’re very, very specific and very, very concrete about what we’re teaching at the Success Summit. I think a lot of times folks go to conferences and they get motivated, they get inspired, they listen to eloquent speakers, but when they come back home and they come back to their office on the following Monday, they don’t have anything really specific, nitty-gritty, tangible stuff where they literally can make more money that next day after the conference than prior to that conference. And I think this is where the Success Summit becomes really, really unique in the market place. Another thing to understand is that everybody at the Success Summit is on the same exact system. That’s another thing that makes it really unique. Again, when you go to a larger RE/MAX conference or a larger Keller Williams conference, everyone’s on different systems and employing different methodologies and protocols and processes, and here we’re all on the same system and we’re all sharing Best Practices, tips, strategies, success formulas for people that are using the same system every single day. So I think that’s what really makes us unique. This year what will make us even more unique is we’re going to not just expose the success strategies and tips from the biggest producing Tiger clients, the folks doing 200-300 deals a year, but we asked everybody after last year’s success Summit, what was their constructive criticism, what else would they do in future Summits? And a number of people said, “It’s all well and good to hear from these big players who have big teams and are doing big numbers, but hey, I’m just one agent that has TigerLead or maybe I’m just a two-person team that has TigerLead. Give us some more nuts and bolts and tangible strategies for smaller teams as well.” So I think that this year we’re going to have a very even focus from small to mid-sized to large teams. I think the other thing that we are going to do this year is make it much more interactive and fun and participatory. Again, last year I think we had the best Success Summit we’ve ever had, the feedback that we got from everyone was just absolutely amazing – they just said it was transformative and every year we set our goals even higher. So I think we’ve got a bunch of tricks up our sleeve, matter of fact, I shouldn’t say I think, I know we’ve got a bunch of tricks up our sleeve this year for some really fun, interesting, interactive, participatory events at the Summit.
Dave: Alright, great. Will you have sessions that cover both long-range strategies as well as tactics from the trenches?
Howard: Absolutely, I think I’ve already mentioned a number of times that we really roll up our sleeves. We get into the nitty-gritty from what you and your team need to do from the second they walk into the office in the morning if you’ve got TigerLead, to exactly how you’re using the Paws dashboard, exactly the things that we want you to write and email and say to folks; your short, mid, and long term strategies in terms of following up with the leads. We cover a WIDE range of topics from staffing and recruiting, motivating, incentivizing, structuring your team, structuring your day, measurement, accountability, innovation, testing, communications, scripts, dialogues, protocols, all of this stuff that we’re constantly learning from our clients and then passing out to the rest of the community. So, we’re absolutely going to be doing this. So lots of in the trenches nitty-gritty stuff, but I think that we’ll also talk about looking around the corner. I think that it’s very, very important for folks to extract themselves as well from the nitty-gritty from time to time, and I think we’re going to be talking about that a lot as well. How to extract yourself from the day-to-day, from the nitty-gritty so you can have some time to really THINK through what is happening around the corner, what long term strategies you should be employing, what should you be using from a technology standpoint, what are the technologies of the future? We have some great speakers that are coming to talk about the real estate technologies of the future, so I think we’re going to have a really nice blend of the short-term nitty-gritty stuff that will literally enable you to make more money the minute you get back from Summit, to long-term strategy stuff, and where the real estate market is going. We’ve got the chief economist from Move who’s coming, Jonathan Smoke. He’s an incredible speaker. He completely has his hand on the pulse of what’s going on with the economy and with real estate; it’s a not-to-be missed session at the Success Summit. We’re going to get into some long term stuff as well.
Dave: Well quite apart from the presenters, there’s going to be a combined years and years of experience amongst various veteran clients. How do you enable and encourage attendees to share their knowledge with the greater TigerLead community?
Howard: Dave, that’s a really interesting question. One of the things that we do is, while we can’t call everyone, obviously, we try to call as many Summit attendees as possible prior to the Summit to engage with them, and basically interview them and find out what’s working, what’s not working. They’re coming to Summit; we know they’re coming to Summit, what topics would they add the most value to? So we are going to do a lot of pre-Summit work to know who’s coming and who should be speaking about what. We have just the most amazing teachers and coaches within our client ranks and it’s our job prior to Summit to engage with them and know who’s the best out there at what they do. Some are great at staffing and recruiting, some are great at team structuring and some are great at talking to leads and great scripts and great things to text people, how they use the tiger system in a unique way, our job is to know that going in so we’re prepared to get these folks to engage, share, and participate. And we’ll say it now prior to Summit and we’ll say it at the beginning of Summit, and that’s if everyone comes to the Summit with the mentality of “I am going to give more than I take”- if everyone comes with that mentality, “ I AM GOING TO GIVE MORE TO THE COMMUNITY THAN I TAKE,” then again, this is going to be the BEST Summit that we’ve ever, ever had, because we’re going to take a lot. We’re all going to take away an amazing number of concrete things to do, but if we’re all giving, that’s how we’re going to learn the most. So, I think that’s what we’re going to do prior and during the Summit and it’s just going to be an amazing two days. I know that when people walk away from Summit, they come up to me and their head is spinning, they’re more motivated than they’ve ever been, they’re more inspired than they’ve ever been, they have twenty pages of double-sided notes, they can’t believe how many concrete things that they’re taking away that they didn’t know before that they know now. The one comment that I always get is, “Howard, I almost didn’t come to the Summit – I had all these closings, my kid had a soccer tournament, I had so many things going on and I came so close to not coming to Summit but I just decided to come, and Howard, I cannot believe that I almost decided not to come,” and then they tell me, “you’ve got to tell everyone they’ve got to come to Summit, they’ve GOT to come” and you’ll thank yourself as it being an amazing investment in money and time.
Dave: So what have been your most memorable moments from Past Success Summits?
Howard: Dave, for me, that’s a really easy question. I think my most memorable moments have always been at the ends of every Summit, especially as we were coming out of the great recession, because if you look at the chronology of events, TigerLead started in sort of mid 2007. We didn’t have a lot of clients in 2007- we really busted out with a lot of success and a lot of clients starting in mid-2008, and there we were. Then we went into 2009 and 2010, 2011, so you know, folks had TigerLead in the worst of times. Absolutely the most memorable moments for me at the Success Summits were after the Summits, as we were having one-on-one hellos and goodbyes and recaps, and folks coming up to me and saying, “Howard, if it wasn’t for Tiger, I would not be in real estate”. Straight up, “if it wasn’t for Tiger, there’s no way I would have made it over the last year without having this system producing business for us when every other team out there and every other brokerage out there was dying,” and I’ve just have had so many of those conversations where people out there have told me. I’ve had one guy that told me he would be working at Footlocker. I had another woman who told me she would be an admin assistant. I had another woman tell me she would have lost her whole entire brokerage. I had probably the most amazing conversation was basically a husband and wife team whose child had a catastrophic illness, and it was the money that they were making from Tiger that helped them pay the excess bills that insurance wasn’t covering, and their kid was better. And it wasn’t TigerLead who made their kid better, but Tiger who helped them economically to get everything done that needed to get done. So I remember all of those conversations and without naming names, those are absolutely the most memorable moments for me, and it’s what makes it all worthwhile.
Dave: And speaking of the economy, how do you see the real estate industry evolving in 2015?
Howard: That’s another interesting question – it’s a question that I get asked often, and of course, I am a CEO and an entrepreneur – I’m not an economist, but I like to do a lot of research and I really like to be embedded in reality. I have clients all over the country so I can learn from clients who are in wildly disparate markets, so I feel like I have a pretty good pulse in terms of what’s going on. I believe that 2015 will only be challenging because of some limited inventory issues. If it wasn’t for that, it would be a wildly bullish year. Interest rates are low, we have out of a 105 million renters out there, we’ve got over 5 million renters who have stated, unequivocally they would like to buy in the next 12 months. Now mind you, we roughly do 5 million unit sales a year, so there’s another 5 million folks out there that would like to buy. So as long as inventory could possibly loosen up a bit, I’m very, very bullish on the real estate market going forward. I don’t see a major spike in interest rates coming. I obviously, like everyone else think interest rates – there’s only one place for it to go, which is up slightly, but I think that it will be a moderate progression of interest rates. I think it’s going to remain much more affordable to buy, than to rent, the millennials are taking over the Gen X’s as the largest population of home buyers as they continue to age, get married, have dual income households – these are all the macro-economic signs I’m looking at are very, very bullish for real estate. And for me, I like to see a gradually increasing market, I like to see a market that’s balanced between buyers and sellers. I don’t like the overly heated markets where everyone just wants a listing as soon as you get a listing you have multiple offers and people don’t care about buyers anymore. There are always vicissitudes in the real estate market – the ups and the downs, and I think that having the best balanced business is the healthiest thing for any real estate agent; always have buyers so that you can put them into your listings – always have listings so you can attract more buyers, and know that the markets go up and down. But I see, for 2015, 16-17, I see a moderately bullish market with prices increasing moderately as well. Again, having said that, Dave, I’m not an economist and my guess is just as good as anyone else’s and that’s just what I see.
Dave: For TigerLead itself, what’s the main goal for TigerLead in 2015-2016?
Howard: That’s an awesome question, David, because obviously we need to be looking around the corner, we need to have concrete goals, we have to walk the walk not just talk the talk. So what we’re really focusing on for the next year is two things – obviously, every single day we wake up and we’re obsessed with lead quality, not just lead quantity, and lots of folks want lead quantity, but we’re really focused on lead quality. So we are always looking at how we can continuously improve lead quality. We could deliver lead quality, but if we don’t also add in more tools and technology to enable our clients to better communicate and develop the communication with the consumers, then we’re failing them at what we do. So focusing on things like texting, and instant chat with consumers, and rapid dialing, all of these types of communication technologies that we can interweave into the Tiger system will allow our clients to extract more touch points, field points, communication points, with the existing consumers that are in their database, so I think that’s a big, big focus for Tiger going forward.
Dave: Now, something that’s been on a lot of people’s minds is the Zillow acquisition of Trulia, NewsCorp’s acquisition of Move that’s still very fresh to everyone – any predictions for the future of the industry?
Howard: It certainly gets a lot of press if you subscribe to let’s say Inman, I think that at some point there was an absolute glut of those articles, and lots of folks were blogging on it and commenting on it. I think now when the dust is pretty much settled, I think people realize that not a lot has changed. So if you take a look specifically at what happened, you had the two most frequented portals that combined. The two portals with the highest number of monthly unique visitors basically combined. I don’t see a tremendous number of synergies or obviously operational/corporate synergies for those two organizations, but I don’t see a lot of synergies that get released for real estate agents, and I don’t see the world changing that much for real estate agents. I think that the NewsCorp acquisition of Move is far more interesting and unleashes more synergies for its real estate clients because you took a multi-billion dollar media conglomerate with lots of eyeballs from Barrens to Wall Street Journal to all the Fox programming, and you now have the ability to direct all of those eyeballs, the millions of eyeballs, to the Realtor.com portal. The Zillow and Trulia eyeballs we know are not growing at the same rates as they were growing before. So you’re taking these two audiences – nothing has really, really changed, but here, you take millions of eyeballs that were part of this media conglomerate that really weren’t in this game and space and now you’ve added them to the space. So I think that a lot more of the synergies were released which specifically for my clients will be a good thing, as we’re part of that Move/Realtor.com organization.
Dave: Now, a slightly more personal question – if you had the power to teach every real estate agent one thing instantly, beam it straight into their heads, what would it be?
Howard: Well, Dave, I’ve said for a number of years, and folks will hear me talk about this at the Summit because I’ve mentioned it at every Summit, that real estate agents need to stop thinking like real estate agents. So it sounds interesting, right? But real estate agents need to think like a CEO every single day that they wake up and step into the office. Thinking like a true CEO of a much larger organization has a profound impact and effect on any real estate agent’s professional career and life. True CEO’s do a lot of things that real estate agents don’t do but need to do. A true CEO doesn’t do all of the work themselves, because a true CEO knows that they’re a prisoner of their own hours. They can’t create a 25th hour in the day, they can’t work an 8th day of the week. So a really good CEO is very good at leveraging technology and most importantly, leveraging other people to produce more value. A good CEO has the ability to think about what is around the corner, and I’m definitely gonna to talk a lot about that at the Summit, but how do we force ourselves to at some point extract ourselves from the day to day and do strategic planning. That’s what a great CEO does. A great CEO is not in the day to day and makes every single day only thinking about the problems that are coming up today. A great CEO can take themselves out of the day to day mix at certain times, not all the time, just at certain times, and really think strategically which means thinking long term and thinking around the corner. What’s coming? How do we unleash more value for the organization? A great CEO is always being very precise in terms of their measurement of everything they spend money on. They are doing a return on investment analysis on people, on technology, on everything that they spend money on, they are looking at it from a return on investment standpoint, and I think as real estate agents, we don’t do enough of that. A great CEO is a great leader, not just a good manager, but a great leader, and there are differences obviously of being a manager and being a leader. Finally, a great CEO innovates, is always innovating, is always trying new things, and I think a lot of times we as real estate agents, that are again, just putting out the fires day to day, we stop innovating and we’re reactive and we’re not proactive. So I think that’s the one thing that we would continue to try and teach, which is to really – how does the typical real estate agent think more like a CEO. So, hopefully that answers the question, but that’s really what I believe very strongly about.
Dave: It absolutely did, and what would be one word of advice that you would want to give to a TigerLead client?
Howard: So, for a TigerLead client, my one word of advice would be “don’t be insane”, and insanity to me would be to be spending the amount of money and effort that you spend on TigerLead but not coming to the Success Summit. To me, that’s total insanity, because here’s your opportunity in a very efficient number of hours- two straight days to impact your business and your bottom line and your return on investment for the entire rest of the year, and to not do that, to not pull yourself out of the day to day, it’s too easy to say “here are the reasons why I can’t come to Summit” – it’s just too easy, and you have to pull yourself out. Once you do it, once you go to Summit you’ll be really, really thankful that you did. It is by far the greatest use of your time and money, and the bottom line is, it’s not very expensive, at $99, a lot of these conferences deliver a fraction of the value of the Success Summit, yet could be $500 or $1000 to go. At $99 this conference is really a no-brainer. So force yourself to come, you will be absolutely thankful that you did, and you will literally make more money than the following week than you did the prior week to Summit.