Article: Neil Mathweg of The Onion Juice Podcast

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Real Estate Advice So Good You’ll Cry

Neil Mathweg has spent the last 15 years in real estate working Wisconsin, first as an agent and more recently as the CEO and “Offensive Coordinator” (according to his business card) at Madison-based Realty Executives Cooper Spransy, a branch of the national Realty Executives network.

“I help agents score more touchdowns and grow their business,” Mathweg says of his role, in which he is charged with coaching Cooper Spransy’s 50-plus agents.

On the national stage, Neil is the mastermind behind The Onion Juice Podcast, a weekly real estate podcast that is one of the best reviewed on the iTunes store. The podcast was actually developed as a tool for in-house agents at Cooper Spransy but has grown to be not only a recruiting tool for the agency, but also a way of sharing Mathweg’s unique philosophy with a wider industry audience. Recorded at a studio in the Cooper Spransy offices, The Onion Juice Podcast has been downloaded just shy of 30,000 times after its first 60 episodes.

We highlighted The Onion Juice Podcast in a September post here at zBuyer.com. and were so entertained we reached out to Mathweg for an interview. He graciously agreed to speak with us about his philosophy on marketing yourself a real estate agent (particularly a beginning one), the importance of content as a marketing strategy, and the podcast itself.

If you would like to learn more about The Onion Juice Podcast, go to www.onionjuicepodcast.com.

What is your philosophy on real estate coaching?
It’s different than a lot of coaches out there. I believe in doing this differently and working with strengths. If someone is not good at cold-calling and doesn’t enjoy it, then he or she shouldn’t be doing that. There are many other ways to run your business; for example, being a media company that happens to sell real estate.

What does that mean?
Highlighting your city and always looking at ways to feature where you live. Being a news reporter – almost a journalist – and finding content about where you live and writing about it… or recording a podcast… or writing a blog… or shooting and posting video. Being entrenched in the media world just like you would if you were a TV station or a radio station. You’re never going to run out of content if you’re a media company for your city. Most people aren’t interested in real estate content. We as Realtors are, but I don’t think the consumer is.

What does the consumer want, then?
The consumer loves to read about a new restaurant or see old photos of a place that no longer exists. THAT content creates engagement. People love to hear what grandma down the street remembers from 50 years ago when the town was 1,500 people, and is now 15,000. But really, my main thing is helping agents find their strength and coming up with a clear plan and helping them stay consistent, and that’s what I talk about a lot on the podcast as well.

When does the podcast drop?
Weekly, every Monday. Out of every 10 episodes, two are usually interviews, seven or so are going to be my thoughts on topics that are dear to my heart or questions that come from listeners or agents within our office. Every tenth episode is a Q&A featuring listener questions, which we call “The Juice Bar.”

So why DO you call it “The Onion Juice Podcast”?
We wanted something that was tangible, something you could hold in your hand, so we envisioned the listener consuming the content… “drinking” the content. So I thought “juicebox.” But we wanted to do things differently. Most agents all do the same things — generating leads and getting better at cold-calling and working harder. They’re trying to find a silver bullet. I think EVERYONE is drinking the “orange juice.” We want to be the other OJ.

That sense of fun with the name and imaging for the site, does that carry through to the content?
Definitely. I want people to enjoy this business. So many people get into it and then get caught up chasing money or doing just what they were taught, but don’t enjoy it. We as Realtors have the ability to be the reason someone smiles today, to impact lives. Not just in sales, but our ability to impact lives… some of us have the flexibility to volunteer and serve our community. I really want my show to be a little fun and a little quirky and little different and a little weird. I want to lighten people up a little bit and let them know they can enjoy what they do.

So how did you come to embrace the strategy of media content as a sales tool?
My first manager 15 years ago handed me my scripts, but I was horrible at it. I spent two years pounding my head against the wall trying to be like him. Then I realized that if I started creating content and writing and empowering people and serving my community and not worrying about every sale that came in the door, I started to enjoy what I was doing.

Did it work?
Business took off. It went up 400 percent… I don’t even know the numbers. It went up a lot. But then it was during the recession that I really started doing this heavily. It was the only way I could afford to get my name out there. It only required work, whereas I had been spending $5,000 a month on ads. I had to quit all that, but there’s always content.

What advice would you give someone interested in starting out?
Get a blog or a platform and a Facebook page. Make it about your city and not about you. Decide what other media you’re going to use — video, blogs, audio, or a photo-heavy platform like Instagram.

Can you ever do too much?
In the beginning you CAN do too much. You can get overwhelmed. Start small and add more as you get going. I recommend keeping it simple because consistency is so important.

What next?
Start engaging community Facebook pages in your area. You have to be careful not to make it about you, but it’s important to engage with other people on whatever platform you use, and that will lead them to yours. Then, if you interview business owners, they’ll promote your post or story to their own audience and it starts to build or snowball, just by networking and interviewing people.

What are the downsides to this strategy?
If an agent doesn’t want to spend his or her time on content, if they’re not willing to go all in, they’re going to miss out. It’s a time investment, it’s not expensive. It’s perfect for the brand new agent who doesn’t have a lot of money to spend. Instead of four hours a day spent doing nothing, write content. Be busy and get out there and meet people and record stuff. You’ll be amazed at how many people want to buy in and help you.

What is the future and your ultimate goal for the Onion Juice Podcast?
This is kind of where our show is going. I see so many new agents lacking confidence and a plan they can stay consistent with. There are so many agents coming and going and it breaks my heart. There are so many podcasts that interview the guy who sold 400 houses last year, and it just doesn’t help the brand new agent.