When Barry Jenkins had to walk out of a movie with his young son in order to take an incoming phone call, he knew it was time for a change.
Now, he runs the #1 Better Homes and Gardens Team in Virginia with 120+ transactions per year, but work doesn’t run his life (or his agents’). To maximize production and minimize burnout, Barry’s built a human-first automated lead conversion system using a smart combination of Ylopo, Zapier and Follow Up Boss.
Turning solo success into team triumph, without burning out
As a solo agent, Barry Jenkins single-handedly closed 120 homes in 2011. There’s no doubt — he was killing it. But behind the scenes, he was totally burnt out.
“I still remember being at the movie theater with my son and having to leave in the middle of the movie to take a call. In those days, I was paying $500 for 4 leads on Realtor.com. I had no choice but to take the call. I was exhausted. I told my wife, ‘This is not what I signed up for.'”
Barry knew he needed a team, but he wanted to do things differently. Rather than the typical revolving door of agents, Barry envisioned a team where agents wanted to stay.
“I had to come up with a way to add so much value to my agents that they wouldn’t leave, and at the same time, figure out a way to spend more time with my family.”
His goal: To empower agents to focus on what they do best — and then automate everything else.
But to build it, he needed a stand-out sales platform at the core. He chose Follow Up Boss.
“With tools like Follow Up Boss and Zapier, there is no reason you can’t buy back a significant amount of time in your business and personal life.”
Automate to win the long-term follow up game
With automation, Barry can take what he calls the “science side” of the business off of his agents’ shoulders so they can do the things that only they can do.
So he started using Follow Up Boss and Zapier to send automated voicemails and videos to leads and customized them according to lead source.
“I call Zapier my digital duct tape. It connects everything,” Barry jokes.
But in all seriousness, Barry says the ability to leverage content through Zapier and Follow Up Boss is the key to delivering relevant, long-term follow up to help convert a large volume of internet leads.
“A few years ago, initial lead follow up was a big topic,” explains Barry. But these days, speed-to-lead is only half the game. According to Barry, follow up has to be more than quick — it’s got to be consistent over the long term and relevant to the customer.
“Now there are so many solutions that do that, contacting the lead within the first five minutes isn’t enough to make you stand out. What’s going to help you stand out is staying relevant over a six-month period of time. I believe long-term follow up is what will make agents successful in the future.”
And his human-first automated system is helping him and his team achieve just that.
“Everybody just wants to put their leads on autopilot. The problem with that is that robots and machines are never going to be as relevant as humans are,” explains Barry. “With Zapier and Follow Up Boss, what we’re able to do is create different tags that help us deliver super relevant content at exactly the right time in the buyer’s journey.”
Rather than blasting leads with generic content, Barry and his team focus on creating a relevant message and automating that message to be delivered in a way that feels personalized and never spammy.
To accomplish this, they use a value-focused drip campaign that touches long-term buyer leads at important points throughout their journey. “We always come from a place of contribution — that’s why our drip content is so popular. It’s not like those long campaigns where you can tell it’s pre-written content.”
According to Barry, smart automation is what gives his team the ability to scale and leverage. “We have the automation, but what really matters is that we’re able to wait and apply it relevantly,” he says.
"Automating lead generation and follow up gave my agents the flexibility to have some kind of rhythm in their life."
More deals in less time
Rather than being glued to their phones like he once was, Barry’s agents can close more deals in less time. “Automating lead generation and follow up gave my agents the flexibility to have some kind of rhythm in their life.”
Today, Barry and his team use 150 Zaps to automate the bottlenecks out of the business, protect their focus, and scale to massive growth (while still making it home on time for dinner).
And yet, as impressive as all of his technology savvy and team growth has been, Barry’s motivation to make it work is incredibly personal:
“I have a son with special needs and I need to pick him up from school at 2pm every day. So I go into the office at 9 o’clock and I leave at 2pm, Monday through Friday,” he shares. “In addition to running my team, I’m also the Realtor in Residence for Ylopo and I’m a Club Wealth coach. With automation, I can pack all that in within 5 hours each day.”
The average agent on Barry’s team sells 20 units per year on a normal 40 hour work week. That’s a far cry from the vast majority of agents who sell an average of just 3 units per year or the ones who sell much more than that, but end up working 60 to 80 hours per week.
Needless to say, agents don’t leave Barry’s team. They join it.
Barry’s advice to burnt-out agents?
“Start replacing the things that are getting in your way. With tools like Follow Up Boss and Zapier, there is no reason you can’t buy back a significant amount of time in your business and personal life.”