How to become a successful probate real estate agent: Zac Mazur’s story

In this episode, Certified Probate Expert Zac Mazur shares his success story and offers tips for becoming a probate real estate agent.  Topics discussed include building attorney relationships, probate mail marketing, text messaging for real estate prospecting, and tips on how to speak to personal representatives.

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Chapters for How to become a successful probate real estate agent

0:00 Getting started in Probate Real Estate

3:56 Probate marketing plan: Letters, postcards, and cold calls.

5:04 Probate leads ROI and average time to close the transaction

5:39 Call reluctance and speaking to probate leads

6:40 Probate text messages: When should you be texting probate leads?

9:29 Real estate cold calling script: Get a prospect to call you back.

10:27 Email campaigns and real estate CRMs

12:07 How I built referral relationships with probate attorneys

13:10 Real estate cold calling scripts and probate objections “We have an attorney”

14:40 Surviving as a new probate real estate agent

Episode Transcript for How to become a successful probate real estate agent

Tips for probate real estate agents: Zac Mazur’s Success Story

Getting started in Probate Real Estate [00:00:00]

Bill Gross: Hey, good afternoon. This is Bill Gross the LA probate expert, and I have here today, a colleague, a real estate agent, but on the other side of the country, Zac Mazur Zac says,

Zac Mazur: Hi, good afternoon.

Bill Gross: And where we catch you today. You’re in Florida, right?

Zac Mazur: Yes, uh, in the Palm beach market.

Bill Gross: Got it. And so

just all background how’d you get into real estate. And then how’d you got into probate real estate specifically?

Zac Mazur: So from the real estate standpoint, I was, uh, running a lending team with HSBC for years. I went through the crash. Went through the banking side of things. And some clients pulled me over into real estate because I was helping them with different transactions and not getting paid.

And they felt that I had a natural niche in the field, for the side of the business. So I’ve been on this side of the business for about six years. I’ve been with the probate side for a little over four of that, or right about four of that. Wow. And the probate side was just one of those niches that sounded very interesting, a little scary at first! You know, death or divorce, tend to be real estate niches or needs. So that drew me in and Chad and colleagues like yourself being as supportive as you have over the years and willing to share and give different tips and tricks have transitioned into this being a major part of my business.

Bill Gross: Wow. Well, that’s exciting to hear. And so you’ve been here for the last four years. What was the original impetus? It sounds interesting. Or was there, uh, did you do a probate case that you decide to work on or what was the original impetus to get.

Zac Mazur: So I was listening to YouTube, I believe. And it had hit home because my father passed in 2011 and it was a natural tie because, from a real estate standpoint, you just think, oh, someone passed away.

It processes, and everybody figures it out.

Well until you go through it yourself, you don’t realize that there are so many needs and troubles out there to navigate whether it’s even the trust process or the true probate process.

And it opened my eyes to what my clients were going through and things that, you know, I kind of took for granted, you know, that, Hey, they were just gonna handle that: why are they taking so long to get over to me?

And all of those things are kind of how I built my business, doing small things for clients. initially, and then when I saw what the probate side was, those different pieces just come very naturally to me, you know, helping to do the extra small things, being very sensitive to people’s needs.

Listening more than talking.

Bill Gross: Yeah. You know, I use an analogy of a chess clock. I used to play competitive chess. I dunno if you’re familiar with the chess clock. And so you have a timer and your opponent has one and time runs. You make your move, then their time runs. And if you run outta time, you lose the game.

I try to think of it as I want the other person talking more than me. When they’re talking, they think I’m smart when I’m talking, they assume I’m stupid. So[laughs].

So when you decided to get into probate, what were some of the first steps you took and how did they work out? Is that, is it the path you’re on now?

Do you try a couple of different angles before you found the right process?

Zac Mazur: So it was a little bit of a process. Just like most of the agents we hear on some of these calls, a little nervous to spend some money on these leads or training and different things like that.

And one thing that I’ve learned in real estate is to grow your business, you have to invest in your business. If you’re investing in it, you’re kind of investing in your clients and your future success by planting those seeds. So I was watching the YouTube videos. I got involved with all the leads when Chad was there still.

They’ve been a tremendous help. And then whether I’m on the calls or just listen to the recordings on YouTube afterward, I try and listen to a call or two a week at a minimum, even if it’s just repeating some of the same things over and over until it gets ingrained in my head. And that’s allowed me to kind of fine-tune my value proposition in how I open those calls because it’s not a traditional solicitation call.

Bill Gross: Right. So all the leads like me, that’s where I started when Chad was coaching there and using their data.

Probate marketing plan: Letters, postcards, and cold calls. [00:03:56]

Bill Gross: And so, initially did you mail, did you call, did you do both, what was your initial process, and then how has that changed over.

Zac Mazur: So, I started with the mail, a piece of mail, and the calls. A struggle that I’ve had, like a lot of agents, is making all of the phone calls.

I average right around 400 leads a month.

Bill Gross: Um, wow!

Yeah. Whoa, whoa. That’s a lot. So is that just Palm beach county or is that the tri-county?

Zac Mazur: Yeah, just Palm beach county.

Bill Gross: Wow. That’s a lot. Cause LA county is about 500 a month total. I know we’re the largest. So you guys are pretty close. Wow.

Zac Mazur: Yeah. Well, I mean, a lot of people retire and you know, this is kind of that, you know yeah demographic and that capital.

But so the struggle has been, that I do the mailer each month to the brand new leads. I generally send one mailer. I started with the traditional letters that they had.

I revamped it a little bit to my letter and I find that an 8 and a half by 11, postcard with that same value works better for me than the traditional letter. It’s the same details, just more bullet points. And then I try and make a call to everybody that first month. I follow up with the people that I’ve contacted.

Probate leads ROI and average time to close transaction [00:05:04]

Zac Mazur: But in all honesty, I probably get to about right around 10% of the leads regularly, which is pretty sad. But at the same token, out of that 10%, I would say that I pull just shy of two deals a month from those leads. If you were to blend it over an annual basis, right. And, you know, if you have 400 leads, you call 40 and you’re getting two deals!

You know, there’s a lot of people out there that need the help.

And then we analyzed some of the back data.

Over 10% of those deals will go to a sale within that three to four-month timeframe down near us.

Bill Gross: Mm-hmm

Call reluctance and speaking to probate leads [00:05:39]

Zac Mazur: What I found over the period is you will have a couple of those people get mad and offended. But for the most part, I would say 80, 90% of the calls that you make, they’re pretty warm phone calls in that the people are more appreciative that you’ve reached out.

They might not be ready. They’re appreciative that you’re reaching out. It’s not an ambulance chaser-type call.

Bill Gross: You’re on the calls regularly. And I am too. And I hear people who assume that’s what it’s gonna be like.

And I always tell people, nobody likes a phone call from a telemarketer and they’re gonna be mad and hang up on them.

Everybody loves a fellow community member who’s calling to help them and listen to them. And you have to decide which one you are. If you’re gonna be the telemarketer, you get a lot of people hanging up on you, angry. But if you’re the community member offering to help really what they are upset about, they may not need you.

And if you don’t hear that and persist. You have a problem, but if you hear them and move on and maybe circle back at a more appropriate time later, then you have a chance to work with ’em. So it sounds like you’re right on.

Would you describe the west Palm probate market as competitive?

Zac Mazur: Fairly competitive.

Probate text messages: When should you be texting probate leads? [00:06:40]

Bill Gross: Do you have an idea of how many mailing pieces you think they’re getting in a typical month?

Zac Mazur: From what I’m told that eight to 10, eight to 11 pieces a month. From what I’m told, they get a lot of text messages.

Bill Gross: Yeah.

Zac Mazur: I would say almost a hundred percent of the people I’ve talked to that get a text message. It’s that’s highly offensive to them.

Bill Gross: I always say to them, have you ever bought anything from anybody who texts messaged you as an initial opening?

Right. You know, like my, I have a dental appointment tomorrow and so my dentist, you know, sends me a text. I have a doctor’s appointment and they send me a text reminder. Okay. That’s nice. But if some dentist just texted me saying, Hey, we’ll cut the price of your dental work by whatever. I’m not gonna do business with some stranger cuz he texts me that.

And, and I don’t know why. H just don’t understand that that just doesn’t work.

Zac Mazur: Well, I think it naturally in life, we want the easiest path.

Bill Gross: Yeah.

Zac Mazur: And we’re afraid to make those phone calls. I’ll be one to say that I wouldn’t necessarily say afraid, but I know that there’s more out there, more people to help more money to be made different things like that.

And I don’t make as many calls as I should. I run a very busy business as is, but it could be a lot busier just by spending even just an extra hour a day. Sure. You know, making the phone calls.

But to get back to the text message piece, one of the things that I appreciate the most about yourself is you, pride yourself on those phone calls and also just your tone of voice.

Your tone of voice is perfect for reaching out to people cuz it’s soft. Whenever we’re on the zooms, I can tell that you’re there listening to what anybody on the team and our community is saying. Those things all translate extremely well to this business versus… a text message, people don’t know your tone.

Bill Gross: Yeah.

Zac Mazur: People don’t know that you’re genuine. They automatically will assume that you’re that ambulance chaser or yeah. You know It’s a solicitation versus if you make the call and you come from, I am Bill Gross, or Hi I’m Zac Mazur, it’s a huge difference because I’m not calling them as a realtor. And sometimes I’ll do car title changes or walk them through different steps that we don’t make a dollar on.

Bill Gross: Right.

Zac Mazur: But it’s part of the value to the community. So if you sign up and you’re gonna offer these services, if someone calls you and needs help with something, that’s not something you get paid on, you help them out.

You plant that seed for the future, you know, positive karma is the way I look at it.

Bill Gross: Right.

It’s tough to dislodge you when you’re the one that’s helping them get something they need.

You know, I’ll put this out. I say this all the time. I’ve not met any real estate agent who’s built their probate business on texts or voicemail drops… Wouldn’t surprise me if there’s one, but I’m not aware of them if, if you’re that guy or, you know, me, that guy send me a, a message on the Facebook group or, you know, I’m sure you know how to get ahold of me.

 I know every realtor is enchanted by the prospect and I don’t know anybody who’s making money doing that. Just not, not one. So, uh, good for you to make those phone calls.

Real estate cold calling script: Get a prospect to call you back. [00:09:29]

Zac Mazur: Initially when I broke into the side of the business, I was nervous to talk to people about

you know that, oh, they’re gonna get the secret sauce. But most people do not come from a patient standpoint where they’re willing to walk this through the process. I’ve had plenty that is a 30-day turnaround and you have a listing, but I’ve also had some, I just had one recently that was a little over two years.

Bill Gross: Right.

Zac Mazur: It’s pretty amazing when you get that phone call, and a lot of them are in that year, year and a half out where they’ll call. I always tell people this pitch: “I’m here for you when you’re ready, whether that’s tomorrow, today, or whether that’s five years from now. There’s no rush on my end. I move at your pace.” And the clients that call back a year later, a little over two years later, it’s an awesome phone call to get when you built value enough where people will call you two years later because they saved your contact information.

Bill Gross: Yeah. That’s that, those that’s where it becomes fun to be in real estate this is a lot of fun.

Email campaigns and real estate CRMs [00:10:27]

Bill Gross: So you must have some system for staying in touch with people that long you can’t just be phone calling them directly. What else do you do to maintain contact with the lead over two years?

Zac Mazur: We have a, uh, CRM system set up and we have just transitioned it.

We were using top producer via a market leader and we’re transitioning into the Coldwell banker Moxie program. All of ’em have different strengths and weaknesses. I wouldn’t say that one’s necessarily better than the other. It’s what you’re comfortable with.

Bill Gross: Mm-hmm

Zac Mazur: But we do a seven email campaign that goes out and it starts every other week and then it kind of slows down and then after that, they go to like their traditional holiday drip or, market update type piece. And, when we make those phone calls, if the person is not ready and they are unsure what they’re gonna do with the real estate, or if they indicate that they will be selling down the road, we always ask for an email address where we can send them just a thank you and stay in contact. And that to me has been huge value because just slowing down and asking for that small piece allows us to stay in front of them in a very efficient but also cost-effective setup. It doesn’t cost us much at all to do.

And you’ll have some people that unsubscribe after a little while, but I would say that you’ll see people that are opening the emails and checking those things out. And it, it just builds in for that, timepiece, that time dynamic because you can’t possibly call if you’re getting 400 leads a month, you can’t stay in contact with those people two years down the road.

Bill Gross: Not with all of them, for sure. Yeah, no, with all it’s gonna be impossible at some point, the numbers become impossible.

How I built referral relationships with probate attorneys [00:12:07]

Bill Gross: Along the way, though, I’m sure you, in addition to working with, personal representatives, executors, administrators, and families, that you also come across attorneys, are there particular, do you have a strategy from marketing to attorneys or do you get them organically through your business?

What’s that look like?

Zac Mazur: So mine comes from an organic standpoint.

I haven’t had a whole lot of success building those relationships just one on one. But where I have had success and I’ve taken attorneys that have been very loyal to agents is showing them on a deal, how I walk their client from start to finish and I hold their hand, try and remove as much of the attorney’s plate.

Yeah, I take the same standpoint as the actual personal representative or the trustee, whatever I can pull off your plate. I want to be able to do that for you. And from the attorney’s standpoint, whatever, I can pull off their plate. I want to be able to do that. You know, if they’re having a hard time getting paperwork in or different documents, I like to be able to do that.

And then just staying on top of the docket. Over the years, I didn’t realize how much access I had to the docket and reviewing different things.

Bill Gross: Yeah.

Real estate cold calling: Probate objections “We have an attorney” [00:13:10]

Zac Mazur: And you can save your client money. A big value proposition that I have when I contact the client, I’ll say: attorneys typically are gonna bill you for every contact, every reaches out that you have and what I can do versus you reaching out to the attorney every day or every few days for an update, I can keep an eye on the docket when that update happens, I can share that so you reach out to your attorney.”

And what I’ve found is a couple of the attorneys will thank me for that. Because they don’t necessarily want billable hours for, responding to emails or texts or calls for, um, docket updates that just slow down their process. Right.

And it’s been a good value proposition for everybody. And that also builds your credibility with those attorneys.

Bill Gross: Yeah.

Zac Mazur: What they’re looking at in kind of some of those details and sometimes even reaching out to a client and saying, the judge just asked for this and they’ll send it over to the attorney and the attorneys, like, how did you know?

Just those small things.

Bill Gross: You know, one thing I coach agents who are looking to build a business with attorneys or even personal representatives is, you know, every state’s different and every county’s a little different, but whatever your county has, be the master of that, right?

I don’t think there’s anything on LA county probate that is online, that I’m not aware of, whatever rules, whatever systems there are. And I think that you hit it right in the head. If you know the docket, you create such value for the family. And for the attorney, it’s of incalculable value.

So this sounds great. What you’re doing. Let’s talk for just one last, just to kind of wrap up towards the end.

Surviving as a new probate real estate agent [00:14:40]

Bill Gross: To the agent who’s starting, he’s bought the data. Maybe he’s done some mailing. He’s done some phone calls.

He’s in the first 30 days. I, I tell agents, you gotta commit to 90 days, you gotta call all the leads in the right format. And it takes you time to get better at your skill. And it takes time for the numbers to accumulate. And it takes time for the seeds to germinate and come to be a crop.

What would you say to the agents just starting? They’re a little frustrated, they’ve made phone calls, and they are not getting what they see as a lead right away. They’ve spent money on the mailers. You know, their first Mailer’s out, maybe the second mailers going out, what would you say to them … do you see that it takes a certain time?

Do you see those skills come over time? What would you say to encourage them to keep pushing at it?

Zac Mazur: Yeah, so I was an agent, it took me right around that three months, maybe just a little over three months to get comfortable in that mindset in, with my delivery on those things. So I actually would mentally prepare them for about six months.

But I will say that, if you want a niche in your business, that’s always gonna be there. If you take care of people, you continue to plant those seeds. You could build your whole business off of this, you know, and I’ve, I’ve strictly thought of.

Cutting the rest of my business out and just strictly doing probate, does make me a little bit nervous, but I do think that there is that much business and value there. And sticking with it. I think that these calls, listen to the probate training calls, you know, spend a couple of hours most of the calls are only about an hour, so, you know, listen to two calls a week, whether you’re working out and just looking for something to do, going for a walk, morning coffee, different things like that.

Invest in that part of the business, just like real estate. You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. There are plenty of people out in our community that are willing to help and I mean, people in our niche are helping clients and we’re also willing to help each other. So don’t be afraid to ask.

You know, I’ve also partnered with a couple of agents. I’ve tried the ISA type thing over this time…. but a couple of agents who haven’t been able to, you know, either pay for the leads or limited leads, we’ve partnered where they make some of the phone calls for me.

And we do a referral type setup So, you know, using that creativity, there’s a lot of people in our industry, in our little kind of network that will help guide the people that probably won’t do it as if it’s in your immediate Palm beach county or that type of thing.

But, um, Stick with it. Each no gets you a little bit closer.

One of my colleagues that I’ve been teaming with trying to learn the probate. And she had a very rough phone call last week. And she was dialoguing that call actually with me this morning.

And at the end of the day, she felt that that got her that much closer to connecting to that next deal because she did get roughed up on the call. And it just kind of gave her a perspective of where that family was coming from. Each piece is just a little bit of a building block to that next step in actually helping someone who does want the help.

There are more people out there that don’t know what they’re doing and that need help and are a little defensive. And if you put out that genuine care, it’ll come back to you.

Bill Gross: So I appreciate your time today. Thank you for the insights. I think being able to open a little bit and show us what you’re doing and what’s being successful.

You know this call today is sponsored by Probate Mastery, which is a coaching program headed by Chad Corbett, my first probate coach, and Zac’s as well. And we have a call every week on Tuesdays at noon Pacific 3:00 PM eastern that’s free. And then there’s a Facebook group for the alumni of the coaching program where we get together and share as well.

I also host probate weekly, which is on Thursdays at 4:00 PM Pacific, and 7:00 PM. Eastern, probateweekly.com. And then we have a probate experts group on Facebook as well with questions. So feel free to reach out.

Zac assume we wanted to reach you, reach out to you, maybe have a referral for probate or real estate sale in the Palm Beach County area, what would be the best way for them to contact you?

Zac Mazur: I would just say call or text. Um, the calls are always better. (561) 376-6389 is my cell phone and pretty much 8:00 AM to 8:00 PM. Seven days a week. I’m available to you. If I miss your call, I promise I’ll call you back the same day. If it’s within those hours, try and keep my family happy after 8:00 PM.

Sure. And, I thank you very much Bill for having me on, and appreciate all that you’ve taught and shared over the years. Thanks.

Bill Gross: Well, thanks so much been a pleasure and well, I’m sure we’ll talk soon.

Zac Mazur: Thank you. Have a great day.

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