He decided at age 12 to be a real estate agent. Combining his love for homes and marketing, he found the perfect career path in the industry and hasn’t looked back since. He’s dynamic, quick to learn and adapt to changes, and never fears experimenting. This upcoming New Jersey real estate agent is one to watch out for, and we couldn’t be happier to talk to him as a part of our interview series. Read to find out how Drew became a name to reckon within the NJ real estate industry in a short span of time! Over to Drew Thompson of The Thompson Team.
For the people who don't know me, my name is Drew Thompson. I'm with Coldwell Banker Realty, Westfield, New Jersey, East team, leader of The Thompson team. I've been in real estate for just about two and a half years now, actually just going to finish up my second year. Before that, I spent about a decade working in advertising. And before that, I worked as a child actor on TV. Why I got into real estate? Interesting story. So when I was a kid, my mom and I, we didn't come from a lot of money, right? But we would always go out to Barnes & Noble on the weekends, and we would spend time just going through all the different books, right? Would walk into Barnes & Noble, go over to the coffee shop, pick up a whole bunch of books, put them on a table, and just read them. That was like the fun thing I did with my mom when I was a kid. Looking back, I realize all the books and magazines I got were about homes - beautiful, gorgeous houses. And I remember looking through the pages going “ These are outstanding. I'll have one of these one day, wow.” Fast forward, almost 25 years. And my mom goes, “You should be a real estate agent.” And I was like, “Wait a second.” It's a combination of my love for advertising and creative storytelling, my want to help people with a huge decision in their life, and this love of real estate. So I put all three of them together, and it got me where I am.
What drives me in this profession is knowing that I'm having a direct impact on someone else's life, helping them with one of the biggest purchases or biggest sales of their life.
I'm an entrepreneur. So I really enjoy running my own business and watching all the different moving parts. I like to create a lot of content that shows entertainment value and is entertaining, right? That is just different than anyone else does because that's what I think really resonates with people, right? They're not just looking to hear, “Hey, do you want to buy or sell? Hey, do you want to sell your home? You want to buy a home?” Instead, they want to be entertained. And so when I make content, I do it to entertain others. And I mean, that's kind of what drives me in this profession.
If I were to go back to the beginning of my real estate career, what would I do differently? I would look at leverage, right? What can I leverage? So I'm only doing the highest and best activities, right? So using an ISA (Instruction Set Architecture), using a VA (Virtual Assistant) all of these things to help me focus on one thing - getting in front of people and talking to them, creating relationships like this. I would have also made the hard realization myself that listen, it's going to take me 10 years to make this business into what I want it to be. And I'm okay with that.
I think the top three skills for an agent to have right now - grit, you've got to be gritty. You gotta know that the stuff you're doing today is not going to matter. Well, then put them away. You have to know the things you're doing today are going to have an effect 90-120 days from now. So you have to be patient. Another - things will pay off. And number three, you have to be positive and outgoing, right? Your vibe attracts your tribe. So if you're negative and always complaining about deals and about the market, that's what you're going to attract - negativity. But if you're positive, and that's one of your biggest skills, you know, you will be able to bring positivity into your life. You got to be a good negotiator as well, right? So, having a conversation from an empathetic point of view and being able to understand that you're trying to help someone, trying to solve their problem, not just sell them or sell their house.
How much does marketing matter in real estate? I think marketing matters a ton, right? The agent that markets is the one who gets the business. The market belongs to those who market. And I think that if you're able to successfully get your brand out there repeatedly to the same audience, it's just repetition, right? You got to tell them, tell them again and then tell them one more time, and then tell them after that. The tools that I use for marketing - So, I have a content creation agency that does all of my video production. I'm putting it out on every channel. I use a lot of GMB (Google My Business), so I can be a hyperlocal local agent. A lot of it is getting out there and talking to people in my town, meeting one or two new people in my town every single day. So I can just talk to them, introduce myself, tell them why I want to be the resource for them. But then when it comes to marketing listings, I use Styldod. I just sold a house is that really needed a lot of work, but using virtual renderings and Styldod, I was able to figure out a way to really show you what it could be if you did the renovations, and we ended up selling the house for $50,000 over asking price. And then other things, right?
I use my CRM. I consider that part of my client relationship and marketing tools - MailChimp, Bomb Bomb, Homebot, HighNote, RealScout, Calendly part of my marketing stack. And that's about it.
The biggest challenge I faced in this business was managing cash flow, right? Tom Ferry has us do our 5-5-4-2 every day. Talk to five new people, follow up with four leads and follow the five new people, right? And then post on social media twice a day. But cash flow is the hardest thing to manage in this business because you're high and you're low, you're high, and you're low. The goal is to be consistent and so doing things like a 13-week rolling cash flow forecast at times, understanding that this is my salary and what I pay myself, and running this more like a business. That is, how you get around that big challenge. People, this isn't just a job you get into and make a ton of money. This is a business. You run it with a P&L. You have to be profitable.
I think virtual showings and virtual stagings are huge. Huge. I just sold a house that literally looked like it was falling down. Okay, let's rephrase that. I just sold a house. It wasn't falling down, but it needed a lot of love. And by using some of these tools in your platform form, I was able to render what it could possibly look like. It was completely redone. And then people came in for the open house. And I was like, “See that home right over there? All the pictures you see in this house here are exactly what they did in that house that costs $95,000.” We made those renovations four years ago. It might be a little bit higher now, but we want people to get a style of what it looks like. You know, a feel of what it looks like. And people love that.
Listed the house, only for $350K, within two days the house sold for $415K, because of Styldod's tools and the architects and interior designers and graphic rendering specialists that they use. It made this house stand out. I will use them again and again and again and again and again and again.
So that was a huge tool using virtual staging, virtual renderings, and virtual tours. I think they're here. They're not going anywhere, especially in my market, right? Because this is New York City. People don't want to come across the bridge to be able to go see a home. So especially with the pandemic. So virtual tour helps them get to see the whole home.
Covid has severely impacted how I do business, and as much as people see homes and people show homes, right, you have to have proper protective equipment. You have to just take into consideration the fact this is someone else's home. So you don't touch everything. There are people living there, especially kids, but then also means people are buying houses left and right. You know, we're tracking a metric called immediate sales. Immediate sales are when the house on the market 48 hours afterward is already under contract or on attorney review. It's happening immediately. We don't see that changing anytime soon, because there is pent-up demand. And people want to buy homes right now.
This is not a nine-to-five job. Balancing my personal professional (lives). I have a very strict morning routine that involves waking up around 4, meditating, then going straight to work, and then finishing my day around 5:00, right? And then spending those next couple hours with my family, working out at the end of the night, going to bed. Do It All Over Again. Find what works for you.
I highly recommend getting on 5amcall.com, where you meet at 5 am for five minutes every single day you call into the number, and you get to just hear from some of the top producing agents in the country. I think that can really help. It's just not a 9-5 job. Speed to lead matters, right? The faster you talk to somebody, the more likely you are to close them.
With that advice to aspiring/ upcoming agents, I think I would tell someone who wants to be a real estate agent that your business is going to be nothing like Ryan Serhant's. Your business is going to be nothing like any of those huge agents you've seen in the past. That's okay. That's like saying, I'm not like Kim Kardashian. We're two different people. I'm not like a celebrity. We're two different people. Your business is going to be completely different from what you see on Million Dollar Listings. It's going to take time to build your business. It's going to take time to get your brand out there. So don't give up; just keep going. And I think using tools like these are huge. I wouldn’t have sold this house if I'd not used a tool like this. And I could have gone to someone to render out what it would have looked like in a lot more detail and paid four, five, six hundred, seven hundred, eight hundred dollars for it. But the fact is that would have cut into my margins, and it made no sense. So that's what I have. Thank you.
This New Jersey real estate agent understands the power of real estate marketing and does everything he can to make his clients satisfied. We are glad to have played a minor role in Drew’s mission of matching clients with their dream homes. We wish him all the best in his future endeavors. Found Drew's advice helpful? Here's a playlist of Drew's complete interview.
Click here to read our insightful feature with Michigan real estate agent Anita Beaman where she speaks about how she made the transition from being an engineer-turned mom to realtor and stay tuned for more such interviews. Want to try out Styldod? Click here for a free trial.
Styldod is a design-tech company that aims to simplify real estate marketing and help agents present homes in their most favorable light online by reimagining and automating the listing photography process. Having begun as a virtual staging company, today, Styldod has affordable and best-in-class products and services for every facet of real estate marketing and photography. Styldod’s suite of services include virtual staging, image enhancements, floor plans, virtual renovation, 3D renders, 360 degree virtual tours, and Matterport virtual staging, to name a few. We're trusted by over 10,000 realtors from all over the US and from companies like ReMax, Coldwell Banker, Keller Williams. Know more about us at https://www.styldod.com.