Gary Lanham is the team leader at The Gary Lanham Group, a Coldwell Banker real estate agency in Fort Lauderdale. Mr Lanham and his team do over $20 million in sales each year – and that’s not by accident. Mr. Lanham and his team have invested heavily in updating their agency for the digital age; a difficult task for someone who was neither born nor raised in the internet generation.
Mr. Lanham, who is know for being upbeat and optimistic, saw the opportunities that the digital world held for real estate, and decided to take the plunge. According to Mr. Lanham, there are six things that anyone can do in order to adapt to the future, no matter what age they are.
“One of my favorite quotes is from General Eric Shinseki,” explains Mr. Lanham during a presentation to other realtors.
“It goes, ’If you don’t like change, you’re going to like irrelevance even less.’ To me it means, it’s time to get onboard.”
Change isn’t necessarily something that we’re all keen on. It’s pretty easy to get comfortable in your little bubble, or be insulated just in your community. Unfortunately, in the internet age, that means your missing out on the opportunity of connecting with potential clients around the world.
Just because you haven’t grown up with Snapchat isn’t an excuse to not use it, or understand it’s importance in marketing to a certain client group. Balking at change won’t make the future go away, so it’s better to just get onboard and get yourself, and your business, up to speed.
The Gary Lanham group is leaps and bounds ahead of other real estate companies in terms of adapting to a globalized world. The Lanham team speaks five languages, encompasses seven cultures and connects with people internationally in order to promote sales, even in their relatively small South Florida region. They weren’t always like this however. It was only five years ago that Mr. Lanham decided to add video to his team’s marketing repertoire to connect more internationally.
“[I realized] I’m missing a big opportunity if I’m not using video to try to market to other countries. My team has agents from Vietnam, agents who speak French or are from the Middle East, so we need to connect internationally. People from everywhere want to move to South Florida. ”
The Gary Lanham Group’s listing videos are quick to feature the ideal target’s community, whether it be young families or single gay men with an active social life. Some of the videos, in juxtaposition to Mr. Lanham’s outward appearance, might seem a bit out of place, but Mr. Lanham realizes the importance of adopting to his clients desires, rather than just keeping to his old habits.
Don’t Fool Yourself
Mr. Lanham, like many successful business owners, is constantly trying to improve. He quotes books like “The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People” and notes that much of his success is due to scheduling and time blocking effectively, a habit which his business coach taught him.
That doesn’t mean he’s fooled himself into thinking he’s naturally productive.
“I don’t wake up and say “how much can I get done today” I wake up and say “what does my schedule say I have to do today” Explains Mr. Lanham, of his ability to get things done.
Most people would find it easy to go back to bed for another hour when given the option, especially if you’ve got a difficult client or a hefty work load in front of you. Keeping a schedule for yourself and time blocking your time makes it easier to keep up with your goals, and is an effective way to adapt to a new way of working without the internal battle.
Learn On the Go
When the Gary Lanham group decided to add video to their marketing plan, it wasn’t easy. Mr. Lanham didn’t know anything about video, but he and his team realized it’s importance in the future of real estate marketing. So, he sat down and learned.
Some of the older videos, he notes, aren’t that great compared to the more recent ones, because the team didn’t really know what they were doing. Some of the difficulties lay in learning how to write a script, the ideal location to film, video components and the actual editing. Plus, he learned a lot about the use of social media in the promotion of his videos. All of that learning, he says, took place on the go.
Study the Numbers
“Five percent of users who watch videos stop watching after one minute. Sixty percent stop watching after two minutes. What does that mean? Your video should be two minutes long,” explains Mr. Lanham to a group of realtors looking to learn about adapting to the digital world.
Mr. Lanham is open about his love for numbers. They help him make intelligent decisions about topics he doesn’t have a lot of knowledge base on, and for people who don’t come from the internet age, that can mean a lot of things.
The numbers have also helped him become known as an expert in his field. Thanks to Mr. Lanham’s active online presence and desire to educate the community through his digital footprint, he has become known as the “digital major” of Fort Lauderdale real estate. A surprising title for a man who knew so little about social media and video half-a-decade ago.
Challenging his fellow realtors, Mr. Lanham asks, “If you did one video a day, for the next 90 days, and promote it on social media, would there be any question in the public’s mind that you are a professional realtor?”
Ask for Help
Very few people succeed going at it alone. Some of the best advice you could get in terms of adapting to the future, is to have a good team around you, and get experts in their respective fields to support you.
The Gary Lanham team isn’t just commercial brokers and residential realtors. Mr. Lanham has two videographers and a business coach to help him maximize his time and investments. Having a team around to support him in adapting to the market has been key to his success.
“The number one reason I have a coach is to give me discipline,” explains Mr. Lanham. “When I time block, and rely on my team, I can get two to three hours of work done in the morning, go to the gym and then I’m ready to give my best to my customers.”