Replacing outbound calls with a seven-and-seven process for value-led follow up

Mindset & Motivation
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Mike Renick is the perfect example of a thriving real estate professional who never pictured themself in this career. After decades in the business world, real estate brought Mike out of retirement and back into the fold as a Sarasota team leader obsessed with customer service.

But Mike’s career path isn’t the only thing that sets Team Renick apart. 

As the de facto ISA between the team’s two founding brokers, Mike doesn’t make outbound calls. In fact, the team primarily services the second-home market — another major team differentiator and one that requires a softer, value-led approach.

Oh, and another fun fact? Mike's team grew to 10 agents, then intentionally downsized to four  to maintain quality. An unusual path to be sure, but with higher-than-average newsletter open rates and an increasingly loyal customer base, it’s one that seems to be paying off.

Today, we dive into Mike’s thoughtful approach to continuous improvement and the “seven and seven” process that sets him and his team up to exceed expectations every time.

Table of contents

  • Building a team without sacrificing quality
  • Seven and Seven: A clear process for replacing outbound calls
  • Exceeding expectations as a four-agent team
  • Keeping growth and learning front and center

Building a team without sacrificing quality

After working at General Motors for over three decades, Mike retired with full pension at age 52 and migrated from snowy Michigan to sunny Sarasota, Florida.

Once there, he felt the tug of real estate and immediately brought his extensive business experience into game — only this time, without the red tape.

“When I look nationally, we can strengthen agent training and education. Agents aren't given a good business background. We're taught the laws and the rules, but each agent really is the CEO of their own company. They need to take some time to step away and run the company versus just reaching out to clients.”

As a two-person leadership team, Mike and team co-founder Eric Teoh can call the shots.

The duo started Team Renick as co-brokers and built it to a total of 10 agents. But they quickly realized they were spending most of their time putting out fires, instead of doing what they loved.

So they downsized. Today, Mike and Eric have an all-star team of four agents and more time to do what they love, without cutting corners on quality.

“That way, Eric and I can control the quality,” Mike says. “We're both co-owners of the LLC and we can control our destiny, if you will, here on Florida's West Coast.”

Sounds pretty idyllic to us. 🌴

Seven and Seven: A clear process for replacing outbound calls

For a small crew of four like Team Renick, understanding your role is key to success. 

Mike has become the ISA of the team, while Eric is the client-interfacing broker. And with every step they take, they’re always on the lookout for ways to improve their processes.

“I'm not someone that believes that, when the new lead comes in, I need to make 35,000 phone calls in the first five minutes,” Mike says. “I look at how I want to be treated, and that's our approach to follow-up. But the key is you have to be out there in front of the client.”

He and the agents at Team Renick contact people only when they want to be contacted, and they aim to offer value every time. And while Mike has a keen focus on responsiveness, he no longer makes any outbound calls.
The way he sees it, in the “old days,” life would stop every time the telephone rang — but not anymore. “Many times we'll look at our cell phone, we'll look at the number, and we'll let it go to voicemail,” Mike says. “So to me, phone calls aren't as effective as they used to be.”

Instead, Mike uses what he calls his “seven and seven process” for lead conversion:

  • As a first step, Mike sets up his Smart Lists in Follow Up Boss. 
  • Every morning, he looks at which of his prospects were searching properties in the past seven days.
  • For those who he hasn’t contacted in the last seven days via phone call, text, or email, he reaches out with a relevant update.
Smart Lists help Mike know exactly who to contact, without wasting his or the prospect’s time.

“I want to see people that are active — I watch behavior instead of listening to words,” he explains. 

In his experience, people who are actively searching on the website are closer to a decision compared to someone who regularly visits every six weeks or so.

From there, Mike creates a text and email template every morning structured as “a very soft touch,” he says.

For example, checking in about a prospect’s weekend. He then acknowledges that they’ve been using the website and asks if he can help.

Mike always makes sure to launch the touchpoint as a text message first. If the number comes back as a landline, he knows it’s likely fake. 

After the text, Mike sends his email touchpoints directly through Follow Up Boss. “If someone is really looking for help, they’re going to respond to one of the two,” he explains.

“I’m not in their face. I’m just offering to help, and that’s worked wonders.”

Instead of spending my day making phone calls and leaving voice messages that nobody returns, I can walk through this process faster and it’s working very, very well.”

This process leaves the rest of his day open for responding to any texts or emails that come back. 

Those who aren’t truly interested won’t respond to either communication. But the next time they come through the seven and seven process, Mike will be ready. Each day, he checks his Smart List and the process begins again. That way, whenever they need him — he’s there.

Tapping into integrations to consistently exceed expectations as a four-agent team

Meeting expectations isn’t enough for Team Renick: the goal is to exceed them.

This philosophy of deep care and attention was the driving factor behind the decision to downsize from 10 to two agents. Luckily, Follow Up Boss integrations help Mike streamline the processes they need to deliver excellent client communication and service, even with a smaller team.

With a connected real estate tech stack, Team Renick has the tools they need to surprise and delight at every step.

1. Maximizing newsletter results with Follow Up Boss and Sendgrid

Mike has long known the importance of sending a regular email newsletter. But simply sending it wasn’t enough — the content had to add real value to the reader. “We all get newsletters that we go through and delete, delete, delete,” Mike points out.

Team Renick started out with a weekly newsletter. At the urging of his real estate coaches, they increased frequency to twice and now three times each week, including a weekly market update.

The result has been worth it. Mike and his team typically see newsletter open rates around 30%

Using the Follow Up Boss and SendGrid integration, Mike doesn’t have to manage his 90,000 contacts in two separate databases. Instead, he has unified records of all emails sent and contact updates.

“If a client unsubscribes, I don't have to worry about whether it hit the email program. Follow Up Boss shuts it down right there.”

Team Renick also shares market updates via social media, keeping their audience up-to-date with all the latest insights.

2. Customizing outreach with Ylopo

Mike started using Ylopo for marketing several years ago. He loves that the integration offers incredible visibility into prospect activities.

Following his proven seven and seven process, Mike uses Smart Lists to contact individual prospects and can easily see each one’s activity and history — listings viewed, time on website, and how long since their last visit.

“It gives me information to be very proactive with the client,” Mike says. “The intelligence of what’s happening that they provide us is second to none.”

Ylopo’s AI texting program, Raiya, lets Team Renick further customize communication. 

Mike has found that, in general, his clients that come in looking at price points over $1 million don’t prefer to be texted. So when a client comes in based on price point, an automation between Ylopo and Follow Up Boss tags the client as “No Text,” and Raiya stops texting them.

In Follow Up Boss, agents can see a prospect’s activity history in real-time. With the right signals, you always know how to reach out next.

3. Creating delight with AM Cards

Not every tool “clicks” right away, but Mike is glad he and the team found their stride with AM Cards.

When Mike first learned about AM Cards, he loved the concept and quickly signed up. But in the busyness of running a team, he never actually used it.

Then one day he attended a webinar where broker/owner Barry Jenkins described his processes for using the embedded AM Cards app in Follow Up Boss. 

“That’s all I needed,” Mike says. For the first time ever last year, he sent out 150 Christmas cards with six gourmet brownies attached — all using the AM Cards integration. “You can do it by going through each field — each client in the embedded app is right there. You can order it right up.”

After sending the goodies, he was able to track by tagging each recipient. Now, he has a Smart List he can easily repurpose for future holidays and occasions. 

This one gesture not only exceeded prospect expectations, it set Team Renick apart from all the other teams in their area and gave them an opportunity to follow up later. Wins all around! 🏆

Keeping growth and learning front and center

Mike prioritizes learning and growth at all times. That’s why his philosophy is this: “Surround yourself with the best of the best — people that are better than you.”

Mike on stage at FUBCON 2022

Particularly newer agents, he advises, shouldn’t just spend their time with other agents at similar levels of experience. Rather, they should spend their time with those who have more experience than they do or are implementing unique, innovative ideas they’d like to emulate. 

In addition to spending several hours each week attending webinars, Mike is a Tom Ferry Coaching student and he works directly with Jason Pantana — a real estate coach who is half his age. Mike knows age isn’t the defining factor of teaching ability. 

“We learn from people younger than us. We learn from people that are older than us. You surround yourself with a lot of people, and you absorb,” says Mike.

Of course, he also passes his learning on, like mentoring a newer agent who was previously an ISA for Team Renick.

“There is so much more to learn, and it's changing all the time.”

Recently, local inventory in Mike’s part of Florida jumped from 100 units available to nearly 600. But for Mike, the shifting market continues to drive process improvements for Team Renick.

As always, he’s treating the changes as an opportunity to learn and improve. And he says he’s eager to revisit his scripts and drip campaigns for maximum relevance and value as the market continues to change shape. 

He’s also created multiple video series. In his most recent videos, he explains why a recession is a great time to buy and that home prices have always outpaced inflation.

While the content of his message may change as the market evolves, these efforts all come back to one central focus.

“It’s all about educating the customer,” says Mike. Now and in the future, Team Renick is ready to shift its approach in response to the real needs of buyers and sellers.

“We want to make sure that we're servicing the right customers when they want to be served.”

With a philosophy that timeless, we can’t wait to see where their journey takes them next.

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