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- Who: Jess Lenouvel
- Website: go.thelistingslab.com
- Course Topic: Real Estate Agent Mentorship
- Interesting Stats: 70,000 people on her email list
Who are you and what course have you created?
I am a Real Estate Marketing Expert and Founder and CEO of The Listings Lab. We offer a virtual training and mentorship program for Real Estate Agents. The training helps realtors create relationships at scale with their ideal clients through targeted lead generation and omnipresent, automated follow-up systems.
What market does your online course serve?
We serve real estate agents looking to overhaul their advertising and scale massively while leveraging the power of online marketing. We don’t rely on old-school, traditional methods used in the industry like cold calling and door knocking. Instead, we harness the power of social media and targeted omnipresent advertising. This helps agents create predictable, scalable lead generation engines in their business.
What’s the biggest benefit of taking your course?
Lead generation is one of the things that agents spend the most money on in their business. It yields the lowest results and isn’t infinitely scalable. When you’re outsourcing your lead generation and having to call hundreds of people a day, you have no freedom. You have no control over your schedule and you’re searching for crumbs. While we help people set the foundations for scaling from six to seven figures, the biggest benefit of that is that it’s infinitely scalable and doesn’t require doing hundreds of calls every day.
The omnipresent nurturing that we guide agents to create through our program allows them to build an audience of people who actually value them and what they have to offer. When you do that, you regain control of your business. You have the ability to turn your phone off, to be more present for the things that matter to you, and to regain your time on the piece that matters – service.Business is ultimately about putting the solution to someone’s problem in front of them in the right place at the right time. - Jess Lenouvel Click To Tweet
That’s exactly what we teach agents to do in The Listings Lab, and the results are massive. Our member, Ashley, for instance, went from working a full-time job to $200K in GCI. She was able to take maternity leave when her son was born.
How did you get into the market?
My mother was an agent, so I grew up with a million real-estate-related memories. Like the time I was shoved through a client’s window as a tender 5-year-old because they locked themselves out of the house! After I graduated from college, I didn’t know what I wanted to do, so I got my license.
But I was a 22-year-old who looked 16. I knew nobody was going to trust me with their listing if I didn’t build a relationship with them first. So I used this (I’m about to date myself here) new tool called Facebook to start creating connections with people.
And I definitely wasn’t perfect at it. I fell into the cold calling trap even though social media was working for me. That led to me spitting out my spaghetti to answer the phone in the middle of a dinner date with my husband, Yves.
Something had to change …
The look on his face made me never want to get up from the table during a date again. I knew something had to change. Worst part? It wasn’t even a good lead that called me back! We started thinking about how to build the business differently. I leveraged online marketing and social media strategically to grow.
Soon enough, other agents started coming to me asking for advice and guidance on how they could do what I was doing. Taking whole weeks off to go on vacation with my husband without having to fear that my clients wouldn’t be well cared for.
Nobody was doing online lead generation the way that I was, and I knew that as social media continued to boom, it was going to become more and more important for agents to leverage social media and paid advertising. No one wants to be interrupted in the middle of dinner.
That lit a fire in me and I knew it was time to start The Listings Lab. Many of our agents had their best year ever in 2020 in spite of the pandemic. That’s because while their colleagues were scrambling for six months to figure out how to talk to people when they couldn’t knock on doors or hold open houses anymore, they already had automated follow-up systems in place.
Why did you decide to create an online course in the first place?
As an industry, real estate has to do better. We’re one of the least trusted professions. That comes from the perception that all agents are interchangeable and we’re just door openers for people. In reality, real estate agents have a tremendous amount of value to give to their clients. They are shepherding people through purchasing and selling what is likely their biggest asset. Having good counsel along the way can make all the difference for clients.
I wanted to connect more good agents to their dream clients and help agents do it in a way that didn’t come at the cost of their lifestyle. Too often, agents end up stuck working with clients they just don’t like. They have to sacrifice their personal and professional freedom to be at the beck and call of others. And when they try to hire lead generation companies, they end up with low-quality leads who need a tremendous amount of follow-up and nurturing.
As a mega introvert, being on the phone with hundreds of people was exhausting to me. Once I had created a system that was more leveraged and allowed people to come to me in my inbox and say “hey, I’m ready to work with you. When can we get started?” no haggling on commission, no interviewing a bunch of agents, I knew I wanted to help others get this time and freedom back in the same way.
Did you have any moments of doubt before you created/launched it?
Every entrepreneur has a certain amount of doubt before they launch anything. I knew I had the tremendous ability to change the lives of agents and to, more broadly, shift the perception of this industry. But I was very successful as an agent. I sold $300 million in real estate in my last 3 years. It’s scary to walk away from what you know for the uncertain.
If so what made you turn it around and do it anyway?
I knew that what I had to offer could change lives. And as much as I loved helping my clients, I was ready for that next new challenge and adventure. It has been both, but every day has been so worth it. It was definitely the right choice!
What’s your online course like?
Over the course of 12 weeks, we show real estate how to custom build an automated system that effortlessly generates an abundance of high-quality leads who are eager and excited to work with them.
Our four modules walk agents through creating strong messaging, creating content that converts on social media, and creating powerful marketing assets that eliminate competition and commission haggling. Lastly, we establish automated lead generation that takes the onerous task of nurturing leads and automates it (which means no phone calls unless you want to make them).
How we’re different
Unlike most other programs in the real estate industry, we don’t expect our members to just read the concepts and figure them out on their own. Our robust videos and worksheets help our clients create strong marketing that speaks directly to their ideal clients.
We personally vet every piece of marketing along the way. There’s no point in putting out marketing that isn’t going to work. If it’s going in your funnel, our expert team of coaches and strategists are giving you feedback. They are editing your documents and giving you advice and strategy to make sure your marketing is as strong as it can be.
We also have weekly support calls where every member has an opportunity to get their program questions answered. There is a dedicated ads clinic for support with technology and making strategic decisions about advertising.
This is supplemented by the knowledge database of our most frequently asked questions. We also have a members-only Facebook support community where you can get your questions answered by our team quickly. We never want our members to feel stuck or alone.
Given that marketing changes, we’re constantly making updates and tweaks so our members are on the cutting edge. They are ahead of the curve of what’s happening in marketing. That’s why we give our members lifetime access to the program. Once you’re a part of the family, you’re always welcome!
How long did it take you to create your course?
The initial version of the course took about three months to build. We pre-sold the course and built as we started selling it. If you’re in our ecosystem, you’ll hear me say that ‘we never ask you to do anything we haven’t done ourselves’ and that has been true from day one. I did extensive market interviews with agents to get really clear on the messaging and on the pain points so I was creating what people needed (as opposed to what I thought they needed).
Since then, though, we’ve greatly refined the course. We actually just finished another round of updates to the curriculum to add in new content and make the experience even better for members.I don’t think a course is ever really “done” - especially in marketing. There’s constant evolution, and a course needs to evolve accordingly. - Jess Lenouvel Click To Tweet
Tell us a little about the process of launching your course and getting your first sale(s).
I leveraged social media – both organic and paid – to build my audience. The Listings Lab Guide was created as a lead magnet to explain the system I was offering to agents and why it would shift how they ran their business. I created a Facebook group (it started small, but it’s now grown to over 15,000 agents) where I provided valuable training and content to help my prospective clients, and I started booking sales calls.
Then I also used the same systems we teach our members to continue to grow my audience size and enrolled through phone calls into our program. Some of my first sales came from agents in my market who had watched what I was doing and knew me, but many of them came from places like Florida, California, and Washington and had never heard of me or met me before they encountered me in an ad.
Do you have a lead magnet?
Yes, we have a few lead magnets, but our primary lead magnet, The Listings Lab guide, can be found here. One of the most important things you can do when you have a service-based business is creating a powerful marketing guide that shows someone you understand their problems. That you know what will happen if they keep going as they have been and that you have a solution and the expertise to help them.
What’s the traffic strategy that works best for you?
We use a variety of techniques – content marketing, a targeted Facebook group, and paid advertising on Facebook and Instagram. We use the same systems we have in place for our agents for our own marketing because it works. Creating relationships at scale is something that’s required in a human-to-human business.
What online course platform are you using?
We use Thinkific as our course platform.
Do you like it?
Thinkific is great. We were pondering a move to another platform, but with hundreds of students, that wasn’t viable, and we didn’t feel that the user experience would be better for our members. Thinkific is easy to navigate, cost-effective, and allows for a high degree of customization.
Are there any features you wish it had?
It would be great if it had an integrated knowledge base for FAQs as we had to use an outside company (Document 360) for that portion of our course.
What made you decide to use your chosen platform over others?
It was what my mentor was using and recommended to me. He’d been creating online courses for years, so it made sense to take his recommendation, as he’d tried pretty much every course platform that existed at the time.
What other tools do you use to run your online course business?
We also use Slack to manage our internal team communications and Airtable to track student progress and KPIs. Document 360 houses our internal FAQ. We use a Facebook group to manage member support. Loom helps us troubleshoot tech and Facebook ads manager issues with our members. And we use Zoom for our program calls.
What books or training programs have you found useful on your journey to a successful business owner that others might find valuable too?
The suggestion that I always make is “Willpower Doesn’t Work” by Benjamin Hardy. It’s something that I suggest every entrepreneur read.
Do you have any big mistakes you’ve made along the way that you’d be willing to share?
Our delivery model wasn’t scalable at first. We were doing weekly 1:1s with every member. That was the model that my mentor recommended to me, and I was new to the online course world, so I trusted that guidance. But we were capped by the number of hours that our coaches could do and so our revenue growth was slow.
With the way we’ve restructured our model in early 2019, we can welcome many more agents into the program each month without losing the quality and high level of support that our members have come to expect.
Please share some ideas of revenue.
Through my course, I have built a multiple 7-figure business. Our email list consists of 70,000 people.
Please tell us a little about what the money you’ve earned from your course has done for you.
We recently bought our dream home – well, it will be a dream once we’re done with the renovations.
A big milestone for us was creating a physical office space for us to have live events, welcome members of our 7-Figure Agent mastermind, and provide co-working space to agents in the broader Toronto real estate community. Our space is in the heart of Leslieville and has a soundproof recording studio, equipment to film content, meeting tables for masterminds, and even a few private offices.
In addition to revenue are there any numbers you would like to share?
We have almost 17,000 agents in our Facebook group, The Listings Lab Method™ for Real Estate Agents. The group has gone through curated, intentional promotion. We link it in most of our emails in our email sequence.
Every time I appear in the media, I link to the group as my call to action. I also promote it via Instagram Stories from time to time. We are running a referral challenge soon to continue to grow it.
What has creating your course done for you personally?
My course has given me the gift of gratitude. Producing results for yourself can only make you feel so good for so long. The real reward that came from my work and this course is how I’m giving tools to thousands of other real estate agents to create the financial freedom they deserve. This course allows people to create a whole new lifestyle for themselves, whether it’s a lifestyle change or a financial change. Students can take what they learn and apply it for years to come.
Do you have a story of a transformation from any of your clients?
It’s hard to pick just one! We had a member who got 17 listings from the second assignment in the course. One of our members got 8 new listings from social media in 60 days. We’ve had several agents spend $100 in ads and they’ll get their highest priced listing, no competition.
These kinds of results are normal for the agents who take our advice and follow the steps laid out in the program. The biggest and most consistent win for our members is that people message them or call them out of the blue. People they’ve never heard of or who they had no idea were paying attention to their business. And they ask them to come and list their property.
What advice do you have for people just starting out?
Too many people get stuck in shiny object syndrome or perfectionism. And perfectionism is just procrastination in a cuter outfit.
Every day that goes by that you don’t get your work out there, not only are you losing out on revenue, you’re also keeping your ideal clients stuck because they are looking and waiting for the solution that you have.