Discussion Boards

How a former CIO turned agent markets his business

Content Strategist
Content Strategist
Christine Nedilsky
Christine is a Content Strategist, using language to create a delightful, human experience for our users. She digs camping and attending open houses around San Francisco (a girl can dream)!

Ted Jackson is new to the real estate world, although you’d never know it by speaking with him. His decades of experience working in marketing and customer service undoubtedly prepared him for his new career path. “I started in real estate 10 months ago,” Ted told me. “I finally made my way over to the dark side!”

Screen Shot 2018-06-12 at 3.55.02 PM.png

A real estate agent with a marketing background

Ted used to live in California, where he was the CIO of the sporting goods chain Sport Chalet. He also worked at Under Armour as their Senior Director of Global Direct to Consumer. “I found that bringing my skill sets from retail CIO to real estate is almost a 100% match,” Ted said. “It’s a different product, but at the end of the day it’s still all about customer service—understanding your customers’ needs and desires, and taking technical concepts and explaining them in simple language. The similarities are amazing.”

After Under Armour, Ted toyed with the idea of retiring, but instead found a more interesting adventure: He bought an old sailboat, restored it, and sailed the Chesapeake Bay for a year. Eventually he made his way down to Florida, and that’s when he decided to get into real estate. He’s been using Zap since day one. “I didn’t have another CRM. Why wouldn’t I use the product my company offers me?”

Capturing data where it matters

For Ted, one of the best features in Zap is its ability to capture data. “I like that I have one place where I can capture all my data—not just my customer data, but any correspondence I’ve had with customers, plus I have a mobile version to refer to customer info. I like to see when I’ve sent an email, review the notes that I’ve kept, and see what my customer has been viewing.”

Not every lead is ready to buy just yet, but give them some time and you might be surprised! “Some of your leads are going to be immediate, some intermediate, some very long term—you just have to find a way to constantly get fresh information in front of them so they don’t get mad at being bothered once a month,” Ted said.

Reaching out at the right time

After his many years in marketing, Ted understands the importance of a solid email campaign. He told me about one of his most recent customers, who he sold a home to thanks to Zap.

"I had a lead that came to me in Zap this past April—the buyer was from Maryland and was looking for homes in Florida,” he recalled. Ted reached out to her, but unfortunately she was already working with another agent.

This didn’t discourage Ted. He looked up the other realtor, and discovered that they served different markets. He wished the buyer luck, and told her if she was ever in his area he would be happy to help. “She wrote back immediately, saying ‘Oh my goodness, I have so many balls in the air! Vero Beach is actually where I’m looking to buy!’ I showed her 21 houses in one weekend and we went to contract on the last one.” That deal is scheduled to close the first week of July.

Send emails your customers want to read

One of the techniques that Ted’s broker uses is sending out a status report every quarter for Vero Beach and the surrounding areas. Ted compiles them into a Real Estate Market Quarterly Update and sends them to almost every lead in his database. “People read it and thank me for it. It’s a way to keep in front of them. I get the highest open rates on those emails.”

Here’s a sample of what one of Ted’s emails looks like:

“The intention of this email is to help keep people informed of where the real estate market in Indian River County is headed so you can make informed decisions about real estate actions in the future. Sometimes we drown in data, yet lack in perspective to help with our decisions. Hopefully this information will be of assistance to you.”

Don’t rely too much on bulk email

Bulk email is a great tool to use if you’re pushing out one email to all your leads. But if you want to take a more personalized approach, bulk email isn’t always the best way to go. Ted insists that if he can’t take the time to look at his customer’s activity and personalize the message based on that information, then he’s not doing his job–especially on the initial contact.

“I try not to do a bunch of bulk email,” Ted told me. “Almost everything I do is totally personalized. But if I have a large number of leads that require a touchpoint in one day, trust me, they’re getting the bulk email! It can be a very efficient use of my time.”


Ted proves that if you understand your customers' needs—and go above and beyond to deliver on those needs— there's no stopping you in this industry! How do you use Zap to market to your customers? Let use know in the comments!