Robert Dodd and Joe Solano are co-founders of XL Technologies, a digital agency with over 20 years of experience helping US-based real estate brokers grow and scale their brokerages. As CEO, Robert works with real estate agents and brokers to execute sophisticated omnichannel advertising and recruiting campaigns. On the other hand, Joe is the COO and oversees all of XL Technologies’ research, development, and engineering groups.
Robert and Joe created proprietary software for brokerages called eCampaign Pro, a system that helps build targeted agent-to-agent email marketing lists.
Here’s a glimpse of what you’ll learn:
- How the co-founders of XL Technologies met and started the agency
- The genesis of eCampaign Pro
- What you need to know before creating a software product
- Cold email mistakes that brands should avoid
- How to get traction through cold emails
- Why XL Technologies is niched to serve real estate brokerages
- What is the agent acquisition system?
- How XL Tech works with brokerages
In this episode…
Cold emailing is a powerful marketing strategy for b2b companies but is often misunderstood. One of the biggest mistakes businesses make is getting too aggressive with the frequency of emails and giving out too much information to an indifferent audience.
You need to have the right balance of cadence and messaging in your cold emails to get the traction you want. That includes setting up an email sequence, pain point agitation, sending emails at the right time, tracking performance, testing, and much more. What else should be considered?
Listen to this episode of Inspired Insider with Dr. Jeremy Weisz, featuring the CEO and COO of XL technologies, Robert Dodd and Joe Solano respectively. They discuss avoiding cold emailing mistakes, getting traction through cold emailing, email marketing software for real estate brokers, and more!
Resources mentioned in this episode
- [Top Agency Series] Growth Through Acquisitions – What is Your KPI and Northstar? With Jason Swenk
- Building a Great Team and More Helpful Insights with Jason Swenk Host of The Smart Agency Master Class Podcast
- [Top Agency Series] Most Valuable Advice When Selling Your Agency With Todd Taskey of Potomac Business Capital
Sponsor for this episode
At Rise25, we’re committed to helping you connect with your Dream 100 referral partners, clients, and strategic partners through our done-for-you podcast solution.
We’re a professional podcast production agency that makes creating a podcast effortless. Since 2009, our proven system has helped thousands of B2B businesses build strong relationships with referral partners, clients, and audiences without doing the hard work.
When you use our proven system, all you need is an idea and a voice. We handle the strategy, production, and distribution – you just need to show up and talk.
The Rise25 podcasting solution is designed to help you build a profitable podcast. This requires a specific strategy, and we’ve got that down pat. We focus on making sure you have a direct path to ROI, which is the most important component. Plus, our podcast production company takes any heavy lifting of production and distribution off your plate.
We make distribution easy.
We’ll distribute each episode across more than 11 unique channels, including iTunes, Spotify, and Google Podcasts. We’ll also create copy for each episode and promote your show across social media.
Cofounders Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran credit podcasting as being the best thing they have ever done for their businesses. Podcasting connected them with the founders/CEOs of P90x, Atari, Einstein Bagels, Mattel, Rx Bars, YPO, EO, Lending Tree, Freshdesk, and many more.
The relationships you form through podcasting run deep. Jeremy and John became business partners through podcasting. They have even gone on family vacations and attended weddings of guests who have been on the podcast.
Podcast production has a lot of moving parts and is a big commitment on our end; we only want to work with people who are committed to their business and to cultivating amazing relationships.
Rise25 Cofounders, Dr. Jeremy Weisz and John Corcoran, have been podcasting and advising about podcasting since 2008.
Insider Stories from Top Leaders & Entrepreneurs…
Jeremy Weisz 0:19
Dr. Jeremy Weisz here founder of inspiredinsider.com Where I feature inspirational entrepreneurs and founders and leaders and today is no different I Robert Dodd and Joe Solano of Xltech.net. You could check them out before we get started. You know, Robert and Joe, I always like to point out other episodes, people should check out of the podcast, you know, and since this is an agency focused podcast today, Jason Swank actually did two interviews with Jason Swank. And that’s actually how we met. And one is how he purchases agencies what he looks for in that. And the other is how he built his other agency up to the over eight figure mark. And so it’s great. Also, Todd Taskey is another person he actually helps a buy and sell agencies. So he kind of acts was taking private equity with agencies, puts them together so they can get The Second Bite also, and so you can check out his podcast, his podcast is The Second Bite podcast. So check that out, and many more. And before I introduce today’s guest, this episode is brought to you by Rise25 and Rise25. We help b2b businesses give to and connect to their dream 100 relationships and partnerships. How do we do that? We help you run your podcast. You know, for me, Robert and Joe, like the number one thing in my life is relationships. I’m always looking at ways to give to my best relationships. And I’ve found no better way to do that than profile the people and companies I most admire on this planet and feature them on my podcast. So if you’ve thought about podcasting, you should if you have questions, go to Riise25.com. We’ve been doing it for over a decade now. And it’s the best thing ever did you know, Robert, I’ve gone to people’s weddings. I become best friends with people. This is amazing. You know, hopefully when you guys come through Chicago, we’ll go to dinner and hang out. So check that out. And without further ado, today, let me introduce Robert Dodd and Joe Solana their founders XL Tech. They’re a digital agency with over 20 years experience specializing in helping us based real estate brokers grow and scale their brokerages. They do this using their proven tested agent acquisition framework. And I want to hear about what that entails because I know we can all use it in our different niches and how you guys think about this. So we are going to go through what the agent acquisition framework is. They also created proprietary software for brokerages called eCampaign Pro and Zendio eCampaign Pro is an email marketing system that helps build targeted agent to agent email marketing lists, it sends beautiful email marketing campaigns and tracks the results. And you guys can correct me on the numbers here. But I think it supports over 37,000 real estate professionals from around the country. And they also created Zandio if that was enough, you guys weren’t busy enough Zendio all allows you track your emails in Outlook. And thanks for joining me. They’re a pleasure to be here. Thanks. And so start me off with how you both came together. And first and that.
Robert Dodd 3:32
Yeah, so you know, both Joe and I have been involved in, you know, Internet and Internet related activities from the early days, you know, considering, you know, the early days back in the you know.com Bubble era. And, you know, I started a firm called XL technologies, after coming down to Florida, to work on a startup that, you know, like so many other startups at the time, you know, kind of ran out of gas, and never really able to meet the objectives that they wanted to meet. So, you know, coming from New York, you know, we came down to Florida, we were kind of my wife, and our, you know, new parents didn’t know what to do. This company looked like it wasn’t going to survive. So we decided, hey, let’s just start our own thing. And, you know, see where it goes. So, Joe, and I ended up coming together through a mutual project that we’re working on at the time. Things got a little bit crazy back back then, you know, we kind of struggled with some lost clients and some, you know, ups and downs in business in the early days. And it doesn’t, right, exactly. And it ended up you know, forging a relationship and a friendship that’s, you know, spanned more than, you know, close to 20 years. And we’ve been together ever since. So, you know, in that timeframe. You know, we co developed the campaign Pro, built it out, grew it successfully, you know, incredibly quickly in the early days and things were going great. You know, we had You know, in large team, we were growing, you know, month over month, everything was phenomenal. And then like with everything else, you know, life comes in and decides to throw you a little bit of a curveball, we had some issues with getting on the Google naughty list, where a couple of our customers had gone ahead and done some things that Google didn’t like. And it was before we could catch it. And it ended up getting us into hot water with Google blocking a lot of our email traffic, which causes significant disruption in our business. And anybody who’s had any issues with Google knows, it’s not like you can pick up the phone, call the Google gods and say, hey, you know, could you give us a mulligan on this one, they basically just blocked us. And it caused us to have to really double up double kind of double down and you know, try to figure out how we’re going to solve this problem. And it took a little bit of time and doing it. But out of that birth, you know, our next endeavor, which was building this agency, and that was birth on the precipice that a lot of the people that were using our software at the time were real estate brokers, and they were using it to reach out to real estate agents in an attempt to get them to join their brokerages. And for those of people out there that don’t really understand the business of a brokerage, real estate agents, their business is to get buyers and sellers who they can sell homes for, but they can operate their business without being affiliated or associated with a brokerage. And brokers make their money based on the transactions that the real estate agents are doing. So from a brokerage perspective, their business is getting more productive real estate agents, from a real estate perspective, the real estate agents job is to get buyers and sellers and you know, learn the business work those leads, and hopefully, you know, generate some commissions. But those Commission’s also get, you know, basically put back into the brokers pocket as well. So the brokers want more agents, because agents generate revenue, revenue increases their bottom line, and that’s how they grow. And that’s how they scale and that’s how ultimately they exit the brokerage model. They either get acquired, or they sell it to some other, you know, company that’s looking for, you know, hundreds of agents or whatever the you know, the particular metrics are that they’re looking at. And what we saw was a lot of the brokers in the market, were using the camping Pro and using what we call a spray and pray approach, meaning that they didn’t have any strategy behind what they were doing. And because there’s no way to look into a particular market and know if an agent is potentially looking for a new opportunity or a new position or a new job, because they’re all independent contractors working for themselves. Viewer basically, in a situation where these brokers were sending out 1000s of messages, these messages were getting flagged as spam. Agents weren’t seeing them. As time went on agents inboxes, were getting more and more crowded with other messages that other agents were sending that other software vendors were sending, etc, etc, etc. And what was happening is a lot of this stuff was falling on deaf ears. And we just saw this as an opportunity one to help them strategically map out the right approach to doing a cold email outreach campaign, but then also realizing that that was only one channel that you could reach agents on. And as social media became a bigger and bigger thing, and more and more agents gravitated to the social platforms, like Facebook and Instagram, not only to source and generate their own leads, but obviously, you know, to catch up on family and friends and everything else that you do on social media, we saw it as another opportunity to reach out to that audience in a more directed way, and leverage our understanding of real estate, what the pain points are of the you know, the agents in the in the market, and what motivates them to potentially want to look at new opportunities to create what we call an agent acquisition framework, which is a multi channel omni channel approach to advertising a brokerage as opposed to trying to, you know, either cold call or email mass everybody in the market and see if they’re willing to come over and you know, kind of work for you. We take the approach of we advertise their brand and their brokerage and position them uniquely in the marketplace against the competition, so that agents want to work for them. So that agents come to them, as opposed to you trying to pound the pavement and trying to get the agents to come to you. When agents come or any lead comes to you on their terms. They’re much more open to having a discussion and potentially pursuing that discussion with some, you know, with what you know, with with purpose, you know, and as opposed like if you call somebody up and say, hey, you know, would you like to join my brokerage, that could work, but what happens a lot of times is people just like to be polite, and they’ll be like, Sure, I’ll have a meeting with you. And then when that meeting comes along, on data don’t show up, or they’re not really well qualified, and you end up wasting a lot of your time. So we’ve done is we’ve created a system and a framework that allows you to get out, get your message out to every interest, you know, every potential real estate agent in your market. And then as those leads come in, we found that a lot of these brokers were just too darn busy running their businesses, like any other small business to deal with these effectively. And people would inquire and then we would reach out to the brokerages and we were like, Hey, did you speak to ABC, you know, realtor, oh, no, I got tied up, I’ll call them tomorrow. Well, it’s been two days, like chances of you getting in touch with that person, or, you know, pretty much diminished at this point, they’ve already been, you know, off on the new thing or got, you know, distracted with a shiny new object in front of them. So we realize, too, that there was a hole, we can great leads, and we can get the message out. And we can do it in a very strategic manner. But if they don’t have an effective way to follow up with these people, and manage them effectively, then it really doesn’t work for them. So the element that we added to our framework was a full time appointment setter dedicated to that particular brokerage, so that as the leads come in, they can be pre qualified, vetted out, make sure that they are a good fit based on what criteria we have established at the beginning of a project with that particular brokerage. And then if they are a good fit, we basically book them on a shared calendar. And then we nurture that appointment to make sure that those brokers that those agents that are inquiring are actually showing up to those appointments. And if they don’t show up, because life happens, or because something else occurred, that prevented them from getting to that appointment, we continue to follow up with those people. So we essentially, take everything that you would need, from the creative development or the strategic direction, to the research to the competition analysis, everything that’s necessary to create, you know, a fully functional, omnipresent marketing campaign to get the message out. And then as those leads come in, we also handle all the pre qualification appointment setting and follow up for those people all the way to the onboarding process. Once they’ve committed to joining the brokerage, then it’s up to the brokerage at that point to onboard them into their system. But we facilitate everything up to that point, which allows them to scale much faster because because our system, and because of our experience, we have some we can come at the problem with a level of predictability, that we know certain things are going to work in certain markets. And that allows not only them to even out the ebbs and flows in their recruiting cycles, because even though you’re bringing new people in, there’s always an attrition factor. People leave the business people retire, people just decide they’re not going to do it anymore, especially as the market tightens up. So this helps them even out those cycles of boom and bust and make it more predictable month over a month that they’re going to bring in a certain number of qualified agents that are at different stages of consideration. Because not every agent is ready to move the day that they inquire. Sometimes it takes a couple of weeks, sometimes it takes a couple of months, it depends on their particular situation, there could be contractual obligations that are preventing them from leaving, there can be deals in their pipeline that they want to make sure close before they move to the new destination. So we figure all that out. And then we decide what’s the best way to follow up and nurture these people to make sure that when they are ready to go, that they think of our