Shannon Milligan of the RVA Home Team went from selling three homes in her first year as a solo agent to a whopping 63 homes sold last year. By any measure, it’s impressive growth. But it’s even more impressive when you consider that for most of that time, she had no system in place for managing the business.
When Shannon began looking toward the future, she came to realize just how crucial the right lead management system could be in helping her continue to sell, without sacrificing her personal life.
Making the transition from hobby to business
Shannon likes to refer to her real estate career as a “very successful hobby.”
That’s because she spent the better part of it building a highly successful business, without any systems for managing it.
“I have one system in place, which is loving on my clients,” Shannon says. “And I have that system down.”
The client-obsessed solo agent owes her incredible success to the many long hours serving as listing agent, buyer agent, admin, and marketing director. And the truth is, Shannon’s approach worked fine while she was just getting started and her transaction volume was still manageable.
But when her business really took off, Shannon realized winging it just wouldn’t cut it.
“I always heard about the importance of a database when I was coming up as an agent, and you don’t see it in the beginning because you ask, ‘Why do I need a database? I have five people to talk to.’ But the problem is when you go from selling three homes to 30 and then 40, it’s so hard to play catch up.”
For Shannon, the reckoning came last year when she closed 63 real estate transactions amounting to roughly $22 million in sales.
Loving on her clients was one thing, but if Shannon really wanted to grow her business, she would need a scalable system to continue to serve the clients she already had plus the new business she was generating — without pulling her in a dozen directions at once.
Leveraging a database to buy back time
Shannon admits admin isn’t her strong suit, nor is it her background.
She left her position as a marketing associate for Coldwell Banker when she moved with her husband and young twins from Syracuse to Northern Virginia. At the time, she did all the marketing to sell her Syracuse home, but she still paid the agent a commission. So Shannon decided to get a real estate license and joined a small brokerage to learn the ropes.
But when the family moved again, this time to Richmond, Shannon decided to strike out on her own. Her twins were still young, and she needed to be able to work around their schedules.
As a new agent in a new town, she also needed to get her foot in the door with the local community.
“I didn't know a single soul in Richmond, but I found something that nobody had been tapping into and that was blogging,” Shannon says. “I just got really dedicated to doing these blogs, and I just had blind faith that it would work, and it just exploded.”
She sold three homes the first year but by the next year, that number grew to 30. It was time to upgrade her systems.
“If you don't have a database, you are going to find yourself in a world of hurt,” Shannon laughs. “Especially if you become successful despite yourself.”
Looking back, she can’t help but wonder if what she thought were great numbers was really just a drop in the bucket compared to what might have been had she become serious about implementing her real estate CRM earlier.
“What really kills me is if I had my database and the system in place, if I sold 63 units last year, what could I really have done?”
But with a system comes a plan.
The idea that Follow Up Boss could actually help to close more transactions gave Shannon the incentive to work even harder to generate leads.
Instagram and Facebook have both been instrumental in helping her create a robust lead gen strategy.
Eventually, she also joined Clubhouse to connect with the agent community and invite the kind of input that would help take her business to the next level.
Shannon also uses her Clubhouse conversations to shape her video marketing strategy.
By using BombBomb directly with her drip campaigns inside Follow Up Boss, Shannon can stay in touch with passive leads, connect with active portal leads and reach out to those that click on her newsletter or visit the website.
A scalable system for anxiety-free growth
To get the most mileage from her video campaign, Shannon knows she has to put in some time to optimize her database.
Still a one-woman show for the time being, she’s ready to slow down in order to speed up if necessary.
“I'm trying to be very focused now,” she says. “I go into Follow Up Boss, and I add contacts to my database so I’m not freaking out. I have come to learn that the anxiety comes because I'm not prepared, because I didn’t have the systems.”
Along with recognizing that a scalable lead management system is necessary for moving the business forward, Shannon is also focused on creating the future she wants for herself and her family.
“Five years from now, I want to be out of production and probably as a team lead, and I'm going to own an ice cream parlor,” Shannon smiles.
Okay, so there may or may not be an ice cream parlor in the picture. But now that she has a smooth running system for tracking, nurturing, and converting leads, Shannon is looking forward to working on her own terms. For Shannon, that means doing the work she most enjoys — marketing listings and her business. And spending quality time with her family.