35-year-old Megan Hornsby of RE/MAX Preferred Associates in Maumee, Ohio (near Toledo), is one of a new generation of agents disrupting the traditional approach and investing heavily in social media for marketing, finding leads and staying in touch with clients.
Hornsby earned her way into the 100 Percent Club in both 2016 and 2017. Through July 2018, she had already surpassed the entire year of 2017, generating sales of around $7 million, and she has seen her sales double every year since getting licensed. But for Hornsby, like many Millennial agents, success means more than a six-figure income. “Having a good quality of life is always going to be more important to me than making a ton of money. I am never going to get this time back, especially with my kids.”
Here’s her story – and her insights – in 9 easy pieces.
- Her approach to marketing
“I don’t do postcards or other traditional real estate marketing. I want people to know I am selling and active, and social media makes it easy to stay in touch and remain top of mind. The bulk of my business comes through Facebook.”
- Her Facebook content
Hornsby’s Wisdom page is loaded with her listings and includes a weekly 2-3 minute video showcasing industry interviews, tips and other relevant information.
- Her emphasis on quality
She doesn’t hesitate to spend on professionally produced listing photos and videos and considers them part of the cost of doing business. Interestingly, Hornsby gets more activity from her personal Facebook page than her business page.
- Her targeted ad strategy
Hornsby’s digital reach extends beyond her Facebook pages. Hornsby uses Adwerx to target potential clients in specific neighborhoods. “For less than the cost of 200 postcards, I can do a targeted post that reaches 2,000 people,” she says. The ads really stand out among sellers looking for a more effective way to market their houses. And while veteran agents focus on open houses, she often uses professional cinematic videos for new listings instead. “I have never gotten a strong lead or closed a deal from an open house.”
- Her thoughts on social
While social media has been a cornerstone of her success, she hasn’t seen many veteran agents following her lead. “It’s hard for older agents to capitalize on the power of the internet,” she says, “But I also see 25-year-old agents using Snapchat and other new media, and I can’t even keep up with that.”
- Her community involvement
Community involvement is also high on her list of lead-generation must-haves, and she and husband Aubrey network through their country club memberships and a “…ton of community events and fundraisers.”
- Her start in the business
After earning her license in 2014, Hornsby joined a team at RE/MAX and was mentored by Mike Welch, an experienced team leader. The experience solidified her connection to RE/MAX, even as she went out as an individual agent in 2017. “I am so competitive and sales-driven that I want to be around people who are successful and closing deals. That gives me a place to see how I am doing compared to others, which leads me to ask what I can do to make sure I am not falling behind.”
- Her roots and life story
Hornsby grew up in Fremont, Ohio, about 45 minutes from Toledo. She graduated from the University of Toledo and moved to Atlanta, where she met Aubrey while working in retail. Their apartment manager soon saw her enthusiasm for their complex and offered a discount on their rent if she would work as a leasing agent. When the company built another complex, she went from a leasing agent to leasing director.
“I am so competitive and sales-driven that I want to be around people who are successful and closing deals.”-Megan Hornsby
A move to San Francisco in 2009 allowed the couple to live rent-free by working for the builder of their complex. After experiencing the problems of raising young children in San Francisco, they decided to head back home.
A large pay cut accompanied the move to Toledo, where a new mortgage, in addition to heavy student loan debt, made it difficult for the young couple to save money. On the dais at the 2017 NAR convention in Chicago, Hornsby spoke about her experience of getting out of student loan debt through real estate. There she shared how she had gotten started by leveraging her property management experience into buying investment properties. She met Welch through those purchases and soon went to work for him. To this day, many of her commissions are reinvested into purchases of Toledo real estate.
- Her appreciation for her mentor
“I had bought rentals through my mentor, Mike Welch, before I got licensed, and asked him if he would take me under his wing,” Hornsby recalls. “I knew it would be hard to make the monthly fees if I didn’t have someone making sure deals made it to the closing table. In the beginning, I would use his name and reassure people I was on a team with an agent with 27 years of experience. It helped me get established.”