981: Become a Billion-Dollar Agent Before Age 30 – Jonathan Spears

July 19, 2021
29-year-old agent Jonathan Spears sold over one-billion dollars’ worth of property and is leading one of Florida’s top real estate teams. On today’s podcast, we ask Jonathan to discuss the steps he took to become so successful at such a young age. Tune in and hear how to supercharge your first year in the industry. You’ll also hear how to hone the right mindset for continued success and why top-tier customer service is the key to building a thriving real estate business. Plus, Jonathan outlines the biggest pitfalls to avoid as a new agent. Don’t miss it!
Listen to today’s show and learn:
  • About billion-dollar agent Jonathan Spears [1:42]
  • Jonathan’s first year in real estate [4:17]
  • Florida’s current housing inventory [5:46]
  • Why Jonathan isn’t worried about a bubble [8:19]
  • Buying real estate as a hedge against inflation [14:07]
  • Austin real estate [16:17]
  • Why the Florida luxury market is so popular [17:42]
  • Pitfalls to avoid as a new agent [19:53]
  • How to win clients as a young/inexperienced agent [23:30]
  • Tips for taking your real estate sales to the next level [29:12]
  • Why Jonathan likes direct-mail marketing [35:40]
  • High-tech tools for generating and nurturing real estate leads [38:53]
  • Ideas for client-appreciation events and gifts [41:07]
  • The “day one” work mentality [44:17]
  • Jonathan’s final thoughts: be an advisor, not a salesperson [47:22]
Jonathan Spears Jonathan has always considered himself an overachiever — someone who is unwilling to settle for the status quo. His exceptional drive was evident even as a teenager, when he enrolled in college before he could legally drive a car. Desiring to develop a greater understanding of the business side of the real estate profession, Jonathan opted to focus his studies at Florida State University on business and finance, graduating with a degree in Business Administration at 19 years old. Coupled with his natural entrepreneurial spirit, Jonathan discovered an opportunity to parlay his degree with his desire to launch a career in real estate when he started off working in the foreclosure resale business in his hometown of Destin, Fla. In 2015, Jonathan joined Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty. Utilizing his “go-getter” attitude and superior knowledge of the Northwest Florida real estate market, Jonathan rapidly developed a stranglehold on the luxury real estate market in the area. With business booming after only two short years, Jonathan began assembling a talented team of his own that would operate under the Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty brand; thus, Spears Group was formed. In 2020, Jonathan and his team closed over $265 million in sales, and for the second consecutive year, Jonathan was named the youngest member of “The Thousand Top Real Estate Professionals,” as published in The Wall Street Journal – inking him in the top one-half of one percent of the more than 1.3 million REALTORS® nationwide by individual sales volume. Jonathan’s greatest passion is to deliver exemplary service and keen expertise to help his customers achieve their real estate goals. He puts that knowledge to work every day, securing the best deal for his buyers and highest sale price for customers selling their luxury properties. He devotes uncompromising dedication and work ethic to his customers in every transaction. Jonathan is a devoted father and husband to his daughter Ella, son Emery and wife Juliane. As a family, they enjoy spending their time together in their backyard oasis of the Emerald Coast and their second home in Vail, Colo.
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Thank You Rockstars! It might go without saying, but I’m going to say it anyway: We really value listeners like you. We’re constantly working to improve the show, so why not leave us a review? If you love the content and can’t stand the thought of missing the nuggets our Rockstar guests share every week, please subscribe; it’ll get you instant access to our latest episodes and is the best way to support your favorite real estate podcast. Have questions? Suggestions? Want to say hi? Shoot me a message via Twitter, Instagram, Facebook, or Email. -Aaron Amuchastegui

Aaron Amuchastegui  00:32

Hey, Real Estate Rockstars This is Aaron, would you say Today’s a treat for you. The I was just telling Jonathan, this is funny Inman article comes across my desk. You guys know how I love to do new stuff. It says a 29 year old agent just there’s past a billion in career sales. Here’s how. And it says Jonathan spears and I see the picture and I say that guy has been on the podcast before. I got to talk to me again. I got to see what’s going on. And here is Jonathan, what’s up, man? Hey, Aaron. Thanks for having me. I’m excited to be here. Glad to be back. Did you know that they were going to have this giant front page picture of you hold your cell phone at a multimillion dollar house? No, no, I


Jonathan Spears  01:13

not only was I honored to be featured in Inman but I had no idea that that’s how they were going to go about you know, releasing the news of hitting a billion dollars in career sales. So I was excited and honestly, I woke up late that day. I had held an event the night before and my my wife’s like, baby, your phone is ringing at 7am turn it off, please. You know we’ve got a seven month old so she want me to wake the baby and I’m like I don’t I don’t know why my phones blowing up and it was people sending me that in an article which was it was an honor so


Aaron Amuchastegui  01:47

so friggin cool, dude. The super super cool. Especially from you know, people have to listen to your last podcast and this one he had to hear more of your story. How many kids you have just


Jonathan Spears  01:56

have your first kid? No, my second so we’ve got a three and a half year old daughter, Ella and she is has more energy than I do. She’s amazing. And then we’ve got a seven month old son Emery and he is so too so hit the jackpot you don’t hit the jackpot Yeah girl you got a girl


Aaron Amuchastegui  02:15

the boy like the You Can I mean you can have 10 more kids if you want or you can just say I’m done if you want like you know, life is limitless. No my wife has told me we are kept out on children. So that’s the jackpot you got you guys each kid you know whether you want girls and boys girls or boys are so different. You are blessed to get both I’ve got four kids the we have three girls and a boy and amazing and I love them all girl. I love it in a boy dad but definitely girl that Yeah, I was my girls are 1311 and 10. And my son is five so for eight years, there was no boy in the mix and or did we know when we were pregnant for that fourth by that time I was so committed to being a girl dad. Yeah, I was like this is I don’t care if it’s a girl boy, because if it’s a girl, he’s super easy. I’ll just my house everything in my house is already paint. We’ve done this before, like while I was on, and it’s a boy. It’ll be super exciting because it’s fun and new and all that stuff. So I think it’s fun and new.


Jonathan Spears  03:14

I looked at my my daughter and I said Baby, you’re when I found out we were having a boy. I said baby your wedding budget just double. Thanks, Dad. Yeah, now now you’re the only


Aaron Amuchastegui  03:25

now you’re the only one that’s so perfect. It’s so much. So. When did you become an agent? How long ago? Almost 11 years ago? 2000 2009 18. Yeah. So no, no, I’m sorry. Oh, nine 2008 2009. Yep. foreclosure crisis. foreclosure crisis back when I was on the West Coast buying foreclosures on the courthouse steps. You were in Florida, listing Oreos or an assistant listing arios. What was? What was that? What is what was your beginning story of real estate remind me.


Jonathan Spears  04:00

So I got licensed at the ripe age of 18. and ended up working for foreclosure factories, I called them. You know, those foreclosure factories are very unique business models. And I essentially was in a market where things were descending so fast that the regular market wasn’t transacting. The luxury market didn’t have a heartbeat. And you know, I cut my teeth on aureo. So, for me getting in the business at 18 was not only a big step, but to be able to learn to problem solve at such an early age. I mean, it’s interesting because today, you know, one of our biggest obstacles is managing egos with luxury sales. Whereas with foreclosures, you had such complicated steps you’re dealing with multiple banks are dealing with the Department of Housing and Urban Development and, you know, I had to get blue signatures on you know, wedding contracts versus DocuSign, which I can send for my Phone and is an absolute time saver for me today. So, you know I’ve been I’ve been very grateful for the progression.


Aaron Amuchastegui  05:08

Yeah, like the the change it was factories back then real estate shirt has changed a lot. I mean, it was tough to sell houses back then the market was falling months of inventory was like 15 months of inventory. So there was so many houses on the market, if you wanted to buy a house, you didn’t have to compete. And now what’s the month? What are the months of inventory in Florida?


Jonathan Spears  05:28

It’s very interesting. So just tracking the last 60 days. In April, we had less than 30 days of inventory, which was the absolute bottom of our MLS over the history of the MLS. And typically we’d have six months of inventory like healthy market, usually six months of inventory. Our inventory at that time was just under 2000 listings, market wide. And that would have been our 30 day mark. It was actually less than 30 days. And today we’ve got about 3500. So we’ve actually started to replenish some inventory, which has been nice on more listing appointments than I’ve ever been just because sellers are waking up. And it’s almost like it’s an interesting reaction because sellers don’t necessarily react at the time that the markets the hottest. They see some they see a mailer come out and their neighbor just set this huge record. And really, by the time the neighbor sets a big record, maybe they’re in a position to set another record. Or it may be that that buyer was the pinnacle buyer in the neighborhood. And so we’re kind of figuring that out right now. You know, we are still seeing records being hit, but having more options in the market for buyers ultimately lowers the level of urgency, man, I love that coffee cup. That’s amazing.


Aaron Amuchastegui  06:43

that’s a that’s a guy that has a lot of kids, right? Yeah. My Cookie Monster.



Yeah, cup.


Aaron Amuchastegui  06:50

We went to SeaWorld not long ago. And the when we got a chance to go out and live again. Yeah. Sorry, I didn’t want to distract you with the coffee mug. I’m sorry. I think I think I’m gonna have to go home and order one. Probably. Yeah, I’ve got we have the LM also. The we’ve got maybe maybe I’ll send you one. Do you think the mark so right, you’re totally right about that, where there’s an epic sale that happens, especially in luxury. So right. It’s it’s a, it’s probably a different story for where if you’re in a neighborhood where there’s a bunch of houses all the same price, not unique. I don’t think it’s the same thing that I was selling my ranch out in California. And part of my reasoning was like, Whoa, the guy down the street. Just somebody just offered him 500,000 over asking. And my house is better. So my house will at least sell for that. Right now. Typical thinking, typical thinking. And, and maybe I’m biased, maybe I think my house is veterans, just plain not. But the other idea is there could have been one buyer that wanted to be there that much and the definitely as you get into more unique stuff. Yeah, timing is that there’s a lot of luck involved at jufeel. Like so now there’s a few more listings on the market. And you’re like, Hey, this is refreshing because we can get back into work. Yeah. Are you seeing are you going like, Oh my gosh, now we’re at one and a half months of inventory. People should be careful, or are you? Are you people are like, oh, there’s gonna be a bubble. It’s crazy. I like it. I don’t think we got years to play on this thing. What do you think? nervous at all happy?


Jonathan Spears  08:25

No, never nervous. I mean, the markets always transacting whether it’s going up or down. So I happen to start in a descending market, which is unique. Most people wait to get to the real estate market until it’s ascending. And I’m even like a seller, you know, real estate agency, a friend making a bunch of money in the government, we got a real estate license and and try to copy that. What’s interesting, let me let me just give you guys a background about my business model. So real estate is my first career got into real estate while I was in college. And that was that’s really the only career that I know, sales sales period and started sales with foreclosures certainly wasn’t what I was interested in, but it’s what was transacting at the time. That’s why I say the markets always transacting whether it’s going up or down. Last year, my team did just over 260 million in gross sales volume in residential homes. This year, we’ve already sold 250 million clothes year to date at the halfway mark, and expected double our sales volume. The year prior, we had done half of what we did during the COVID pandemic. So definitely setting records in the market when you see that rapid ascension is rapid Ascension something that’s usually maintainable? No, you know, it’s it’s if we just studied markets, my backgrounds finance, I’m looking at charts which I love. You know the market has just skyrocketed and our market in the Emerald coast of Florida we’re in the Northwest Florida Panhandle white sand beaches second homes, our average sales price For my team specifically is north of 2 million, and we’re transacting quite a bit of homes. But people didn’t know about our area before the pandemic. I mean, it was still relatively unknown. The New York Times called us the Hamptons of the South. And you know, our influx would be Atlanta, Georgia, and Birmingham, Alabama, and Nashville, Tennessee. That was like our feeder market, Dallas, Texas. Now we’ve got buyers coming in from Los Angeles and New York City, and, you know, areas that wouldn’t have normally considered this market, could they, or if they had the freedom to travel elsewhere. And you know, for me, when I look at the market, and I look at how we’ve grown, it’s all relative to who’s here and who’s willing to spend their dollars here.


Aaron Amuchastegui  10:43

Real Estate Rockstars. This is Aaron, and we just stay for a quick commercial break. So during 2020 2021, the real estate market completely changed. There’s so much competition in the market, so many people trying to buy and sell houses. But there’s hardly any supply hardly any product, or anyone willing to list their homes, it’s time for every agent out there to become a hybrid agent investor, to be able to reach out directly to homeowners to try to get them to sell or list their house. You’ve got a new website, go to lead propeller calm. And you can set up your own investor buyer website in just minutes, you’ll set up your own URL set up the phone numbers help go through the leads, help reach out to people that aren’t listing their their property currently, and have them fill out a form that says hey, I want to sell my house. And then as an agent, you can go through and make them a hybrid offer, you can tell them hey, I think your house would sell for $220,000 on MLS, but I can either write you $180,000 cash offer right now, or I can help you fix it up. And you’re listed for 220,000 on MLS, these are buyers that are looking for quick cash offers 10s of 1000s are submitting these forms every single day. And they’re skipping the listing process that so many of you guys out there are such good agents, it’s a great opportunity to get that lead and help them maximize sales price for their home. They’re getting go to lead propeller calm and think about signing up for your own investor site. So buyers will start reaching out to you asking you to make an offer on their home.


Jonathan Spears  12:16

The biggest sales in our market occurred last year during the pandemic multiple multiple eight figure sales. We were honored to represent a handful of them. And you know, it’s exciting to see records being broken, but it’s relative to value, right. And I think people especially when there’s high inflation, people want to go to a hard asset they want to take the cash that they have they want to put it into hard assets be hard assets continue to inflate. I think the real estate will continue to do well, I think our markets poised to do extremely well. I just think you’re seeing somewhat of a normalization in the market. And we definitely needed inventory. We’re desperate for it. I feel like we’re in a drought and needed some rain and we’re starting to see a sprinkle.


Aaron Amuchastegui  12:56

Yeah. I love a lot of things he said there one is yes, if we’re having explosive growth, it’s not sustainable, nor is it healthy to keep it sustained sustainable. Right. So starting to slow down and round off and go back into a healthy market. A healthy market is three months of inventory. I tell people that in a healthy month in Texas, there’s 5000 foreclosures if everything’s normal, like that’s normal, that’s healthy. That’s like that, like keeps the system going. So yes, so the ascension rounding off the I think that you’re totally right on with that. And then inflation Another thing you talked about so hard assets for inflation, that’s a really easy, no brainer, because technology can bring down the cost of lumber or technology can bring down the cost of food technology. It’s gonna be a long time ago, it brings down the cost of houses. My mind said it so your finance guy, do you think expensive real estate has more inflationary protection than inexpensive real estate? Or do you think it’s the same meaning?


Jonathan Spears  13:57

Yeah, yeah, no, I get it. I do because I believe that the buyer profile has more discretionary income. Yeah, that is on the lower in the market. Most buyers are fixed income. And especially now I mean, it’s incredible to see different profiles of buyers in our market that have created massive amounts of wealth over the last few years. Not only are they spending that, but they’re reaching a certain level in their generation where they’re thinking about their children, their grandchildren. What are we going to invest in, that we can hand off? What are we going to invest into not only can we enjoy, but that that flows down to multiple generations they can enjoy. And that’s where buying a beach house has made so much sense for people, whether you’re here in Northwest Florida, you’re in South Florida, or even out in the mountain markets. I mean, mountain markets have exploded. Vail, Colorado, Aspen, Telluride, Jackson Hole, Wyoming. It’s been fascinating to watch the wealth migration.


Aaron Amuchastegui  14:56

Yeah. I’ve I’ve thought about the Yeah, the inflation those higher assets too. That’s a great way to define it. Because in certain people on the low level when they’re like, hey, should I fix this house? Should I put 20,000 into it? So I could sell it. And there’s times, especially It houses 100,000 200,000 300,000. I’ll say yes, up to a point. But there becomes a maximum amount someone will pay for rent, like somebody’s like, oh, if I put in granite counters, and upgraded cabinets, can I rent it for $200? More? In some neighborhoods? Yes. But in some neighborhoods, you’re just topped out that people are gonna pay this much. But you’re right at that high level at the $10 million price. But we’re seeing that in Austin, Texas, we’re seeing inflation’s inflationary spending, there’s only so many properties that are on the lake. Right now. They’re selling for 5 million 10 million $20,000,000.05 years ago, that was like unheard of. Yeah, people that are buying it are the people that have you know, the people that are the end user that are going to buy that thing forever. It is that asset forever, it’s because well, there’s only 1000 houses that can be on the water, so I’m gonna have one of them. So you


Jonathan Spears  16:00

know, I love actually love watching Austin’s real estate, my good friend Kumara wilcoxon is crushing it out there. But she represents exclusively high end, and that’s her niche and shirt. It’s literally our markets exploded and she’s been right there to take advantage of it and help people make the best possible decisions.


Aaron Amuchastegui  16:18

Yeah, it luxury is a definitely a different ballgame. And getting to see that happen. It’s been really cool. It’s been at Austin has been a fun place to watch. And I think Austin has had probably very similar benefits to Florida for different reasons. Like Florida’s weather’s better where you’re out, I would say the we’ve had no our power doesn’t go out when it gets cold. Yeah, dude, we’ve got people very nearly like there was ever a crisis. That was an absolute crisis. My wife’s getting a mural art time. So for the week that they were here, the unfrozen I was out of town and I couldn’t fly in. So the so she was here at my four kids, no power by themselves. So yeah, but Texas and Florida have been some of the states this year that have really benefited from being willing to come to be open first. I think that’s part of it, it had to help affect you there. And then probably also people for the first time just getting to say life is short. If I can live anywhere, where do I want to live? of those Mark? What do you think is the highest thing growing demand out there kind of the different things that would send people to Florida right


Jonathan Spears  17:24

now? Yeah, I think lifestyles number one, you know, you kind of hit the hit the nail on the head in terms of people wanting to be somewhere that’s open, especially with the vaccine rollout, we get a very dynamic population that comes here. I think 50% the United States can drive here within a single day. So the drive to traffic’s been big, especially with folks not being comfortable with getting on a flight, especially like in, I think about our market. Not necessarily in its infancy, maybe a more of a toddler stage. You know, if we look at a mature market in Florida, one of the best luxury markets in the world is Palm Beach, Florida, that add little island. It was developed 100 years ago, and it was developed 100 years ago, I think about my little island that I live on, and it’s 20 years maybe for a great development. And so, you know, we’re still at a stage where people are trying to figure out how can we best understand the lifestyle, this area and the pandemic was a center stage that allowed us to showcase not only the desirability, but also a more laid back, it’s still being in the south, you’re in the southern part of the United States. I go to a restaurant and the waitress says, Yes, sir, to me, and I’m like, you know, I’m a little too young to say yes, sir, too. But, you know, it’s just it’s it’s that it’s that southern drawl. It’s, it’s certainly appealing, especially for families that, you know, they’re sitting in Atlanta, or just like you, if you’re over in Texas, like to get out, you know, where can we go? What’s, where’s a safe place to go? And I think that’s the number one desirability factor here is it’s perceived as a very safe place to travel to.


Aaron Amuchastegui  19:06

Yeah. So pretty a billion dollars in sales. Again, that is so cool. And Sony, what would you say now I know that you’ve learned a whole bunch of things. And it’s not just in luxury. It’s not just out there. So I want to kind of fire around through some of these things with the idea of what would if you were going to talk to yourself as a new agent, or somebody that’s thinking about becoming an agent or just becoming became an agent, what advice would you give them about real estate?


Jonathan Spears  19:35

Yeah, so for me, specifically, when I got into real estate, there were three big pitfalls that caught me up, and one of which was micromanagement. I think even on our previous podcast episode, we touched on micromanaging the dangers of it. But as a new agent, like you’re being swallowed up by the world, it feels like you know, you’re paying all of your own bills. You don’t have an income necessarily And you’re out there trying to figure out how do I generate business. And so I felt like when I started in real estate, I had to do everything. Like every little aspect I needed to do, I needed to figure out, didn’t outsource a thing didn’t really ask for help. I think being willing to ask for help in this business is a huge thing. And, frankly, when I started, we didn’t have podcasts that were routinely present like there wasn’t even million dollar listing didn’t even exist. And your million dollar listing makes a makes a young agent like me look great. I can walk into a house and somebody immediately relates to me, they go, Oh, my gosh, I love your youthfulness, you remind me of a TV show. And it’s usually one of the in Wall TV shows. And then then I asked him well, which which guys your favorite, and they love to talk about it. But you know, trying to figure out how do I create a presence in the industry as a young agent, or, you know, when I see a youthful agent, I mean, at any age. But starting out in the business, I had to give up the thought process of I didn’t really need to ask for help. I had to micromanage every little thing that happened in my office. And when I when I came to that realization, it’s when I decided to become more team focused. And being a part of a team as a young agent was a huge benefit to me. I had somebody who was much wiser, and had so many more deals and situations and understanding of personalities that there was, there was a level of wisdom that I needed to soak up. And I would not have had that opportunity to learn in the manner that I did if I didn’t work for somebody else when I first got into the business.


Aaron Amuchastegui  21:38

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Jonathan Spears  23:39

Yeah, so what was interesting is every single appointment I went to when I started, especially at 18. So if I shave this beard off, I’d still look really, really young. Imagine me like 10 years ago, and you know, I was people were like, Did you just come from high school? Like how you know, and I probably did. But, you know, it was it was interesting, because my rebuttal at first was to kind of like clam up like that was my initial reaction was like, Oh, you know, I’m like, do I can I put a bag over my head and then show you the house? And then I realized because of the consistency of people asking me why do you look so young, I started having fun with it. You know, I remember distinctly being at one appointment, and I’m driving a BMW that I had purchased myself, which you know, when you look like you’re 12 people, like how did you get that car especially when you’re showing foreclosures, some of which may be like a mobile home or, you know, you’re not necessarily relating, like me in that car. I wasn’t relating to my buyer profile. And they were always intrigued. They’re like, you know, what’s up with this? This kid is Meet me in this house. And I would be like, yeah, stole my mom’s car to come over here, you know, like, and they started to like laugh and they’re like, okay, totally kidding. And then I started getting related to Doogie Howser which, oh, yeah, you guys remember Neil Patrick Harris is Doogie Howser. He was awesome. Picture us Doogie Howser. Like I totally get why. That’s what he got called. Time. What’s funny is I never grew up watching Doogie Howser because I was just too young. So


Aaron Amuchastegui  25:05

I’m older and you I watched it I had


Jonathan Spears  25:08

YouTube was my friend, especially in college. But you know, it’s funny I would, I would just try to draw relation to Doogie Howser and, and eventually, I realized that that obstacle of Hey, you look too young turned into an advantage point I said, You know what, this youthful energy that I’ve got is something that is about to be injected into your property sale. And with the median age of real estate agent being in their 50s I can respond so much faster, you know, this millennial generation, I know how to market your property on social media at the time, Facebook was what was so popular, before Instagram really started taking traffic. And, you know, it’s just really fun to be able to create an advantage point based on a disadvantage that somebody initially perceived. And once you’re able to break through that ice, you can create so much trust and understanding of your with your clients, because they start to see you as maybe their their grandkid, or, you know, their son or daughter, like you start to find these abilities to relate in a way that maybe from an age standpoint, you couldn’t have otherwise, specifically for young agents. So any young agents out there, if you’re ever walking into an appointment, worried about your age, turn it into an advantage, flip it around, flip the script, you know, talk about how you just took your mom’s car to this appointment, you know, like tongue in cheek it because truly people want to have fun like nowadays, like in this luxury world, especially people work with me because they want they want to have fun. They don’t want to, you know, they don’t want anybody who’s stale. They want me to make them laugh. Like I realize I pull more out of them when I’m authentic. Speaking of which, that’s kind of the other pitfall that I had when I first started, especially with somebody saying, You look so young, I wasn’t authentic, I didn’t really feel comfortable on my own skin, mainly because I was insecure. I’m like, maybe I am too young. You know, maybe I don’t have enough experience to do this. And, you know, the reality is, is that was a lie, I was telling myself. And I had to kind of get to a point where I said, You know what, someone’s either going to accept me for who I am. And they’re going to embrace it, and it’s going to be an advantage and a value to them. Or they’re not. And the people pleaser that I am more often times than not got upset when somebody rejected me. And of course, in this business, I mean, it’s constant rejection, especially when you’re first starting out, and like developing that thick skin for me took a little bit of time.


Aaron Amuchastegui  27:36

Yeah, like how do you stay happy taking a positive attitude when you’re also having to develop thick skin? What I liked about your advice, right there is you’re saying take the thing that sets you negative and make it set you apart in a positive way that works for people that might be thinking ham to old people get the reaction of Hey, you’re too old, hey, you’re too new. Hey, you know, this is a new market. You just moved here, hey, you used to do inexpensive houses, and now you’re doing luxury, or you were doing luxury now, because you can say even if you’re new, like hey, I’m hungry. I’m gonna work just for you. I don’t have hundreds of deals, but I’ve got this, you know, team lead, that’s going to help me Yeah, if it’s older, it’s like, well, no, but I also I’m a lot more experienced, you know, the way the way that I go through things and the way that I do it, I’m going to process differently, I’m going to make sure that we’re going to get this deal. There’s an advantage there for every disadvantage, that can totally be flipped around for an advantage and being able to twist that. So right now I bet you get lots of leads, because you’ve done a lot of deals. What What do you think for? If an agent, I have a lot, there’s a lot of listener. Now, we talked a lot for new people, there’s a lot of listeners are doing 50 homes a year. That’s good. That’s solid, you guys are crushing it already. What advice would you give them to go to the next level? Or they’re like because it could be you have to make more money, right? Essentially, how do they make more money? If they’re already making, you know, 50? They’re doing 50 houses a year two or $300,000 for average sales price, what advice you give them?


Jonathan Spears  29:06

Well, I think you really have to look internally and say, I try to make more money, am I trying to increase free time when my family what’s most important for me, it’s looking at money and time. You know, I’m basically exchanging my time for dollars when I’m working in my business. a salesperson is always, you know, focused on their next hunting kill. For me, especially, you know, I had to figure out when I had kids, how I was going to manage the amount of production I was doing with a much more abbreviated schedule, right and always, like I talked to my team members who don’t have kids yet and I kind of laugh I’m like you guys literally have all the time in the world. And you know, having four children, you know, they need their dad they want that time and some of the best time when my customers pre children was like six o’clock at night to 10 o’clock at night. People are off work, they’re winding down, they want to talk about their second home, they want to talk about a property they want to build, they want to dream a little bit. And I was available to kind of meet their needs, I had to retool my schedule. If you’re doing 50 houses a year, right now you were used to micro tasking, are multitasking, don’t micromanage but multitask. And that multitasking can always be taken to the next level. But the only way to do that and do it effectively is by building a team around you, that can help you in the areas that you’re weak. If you’re weak on time, like, you know, for me, my time is a little bit more limited. I’ve got somebody who can cover me from six to 10, or from 5am to 8am. When I know I’m going to be with my kids, my kids have to get dropped off at school. You know, those types of thought processes and changing or changes that you can retool your business with. That’s how you’re going to go to the next level, that’s how you’re going to go from doing 50 houses a year to 100 houses, like the billion dollars in sales volume that I have, it didn’t start out selling $100 million a year, my first year in real estate, I think I did maybe five? And then I was trying to think, Okay, how can I go from five to 10. And like today in and you know, the world that I live in, if I didn’t have a more corporate environment that I created and, and had the tools specifically for my business model, I would not be able to handle the amount of business that we do especially like you think of doubling your sales volume year over year, the only way you can do that isn’t by creating more hours in the day, it’s by by believing in systems and processes that you can replicate over and over and over. And so for us at Spears group, I’ve tried to figure out, Okay, how can I teach somebody to be Jonathan Spears, you know, they can’t, they can’t carbon copy of my personality, especially if one of my core values is be authentic, they have to be them. And so how can they be them and still go out and crush it and sales and maintain a great personal life, which is something that’s very important to me, especially having a young family. The way that we’ve been able to do it is by creating a system that works creating prospecting schedule that works going in and like for, like every little thing in my calendar every hour is is blocked off, and it may be blocked off for dinner with my wife and maybe blocked off for you know, take Ella to school or, you know, my wife says have got a commitment or nanny can help. I need you to make sure you put me to bed at seven o’clock. It’s it’s in my calendar. And that’s the only way that I can live. If I don’t I get so discombobulated and I fall out a structure. And ultimately, I can’t perform at the highest level.


Aaron Amuchastegui  32:41

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Aaron Amuchastegui  34:30

Everything I do is in my calendar as well. They it’s the same thing with the kids. And Killeen is like hey, on this day, I need to pick up brax from Camp I need you to go over here. I think that is key to go from if you’re already successful to get to the next level time management, and then fig and then systems and then figuring out how to really delegate to the right people, the right team. Like I’m really pushing hard to grow my team right now in several of my different businesses because that’s the only way to get to the next level without just working a lot yourself. Yeah, and agents if you’re already doing 50, you’ve proven you know how to work. You’ve proven you know how to work hard and do that. But now it’s work smarter, not harder for marketing stuff. What’s your favorite way to market? And I’m thinking there’s social media, there’s radio ads, there’s there’s mailers, there’s Google ads, what’s what’s your favorite way that agents should can market? Or do you have a favorite?


Jonathan Spears  35:23

I think for my business, which is in a second home market, direct mail allows me to get in front of people as frequently as possible, that I wouldn’t otherwise have the opportunity to get in front of so like every seven days, we have a different group of folks coming in or our market and by different group of folks. I mean, there’s a couple 100,000 people that leave on a Saturday and a couple 100,000 people that come in on a Saturday. And so how do we stay relevant? How do we stay in front of that population, especially when they move so quickly, we’ve got an average rental timeframe and a season like a vacation season that is 25 to 30 weeks out of the year. And so if 25 to 30 weeks out of the year, I have hundreds of 1000s of people who are moving in and out of the market. I can’t meet with everybody, I can’t see everybody. Social media tends to be aware that I can directly connect with an audience who already knows me, or they’re somewhat familiar with me. If you follow me on Instagram, Jonathan M. Spears, or at Spears group, I’m able to directly connect directly showcase a property, you know, focus on my sphere of influence I already have, but how do I connect with people who don’t know who I am? Or they may just see my signs out in the community. And, you know, they they’ve been thinking about selling or thinking about buying farming specific areas with direct mail has probably been one of the most successful ways to stay in front of a prospective seller specifically.


Aaron Amuchastegui  36:53

So mailers for sellers, and how often do you send how often how many times we send a letter to that seller


Jonathan Spears  37:00

usually takes six touches to somebody who is interested in doing something with their property before they respond. So if we just tracked our average, if I was starting to farm, a brand new neighborhood, it would take me about six direct mail attempts before I would get a single response. And that could be you know, a population of you know, 250 300 homes. So it’s it’s pretty, pretty wide net to cast.


Aaron Amuchastegui  37:28

The people need to hear it out all the time. I remember when foreclosure started turning off and and my brother who’s a, he’s crushing as a broker right now. But when he first when we first stopped being able to foreclose, we were buying on the courthouse steps. And he sent out a set of mailers. And he spent a few 1000 bucks and didn’t get a single phone call. And I remember how disappointed he was and it because also it was also expensive, like you spent a lot of money on it. He was trying it easy to go like, oh, that didn’t work. But you’re but it’s reminding people that know if you’re whatever budget you’re gonna do, you got to do a bunch of mailers. You can’t do one you can’t do two, you’re in six letters out there, how often you send them apart? weeks, every couple months? No, I mean, probably multiple times per week. Oh, that’s fantastic. Well, that’s how you get those six touches in. So there you see once or twice a week in that area once or twice a week. They also see the Jonathan spear sign is going to the store to like, Okay, this person is going to be and now they’re going to Google you and it’s going to hit top of top of Inman is up, that guy knows what he’s doing. What’s your favorite technology out there to either get deals? find properties, manage your transactions? What’s your favorite tech tech?


Jonathan Spears  38:36

Yeah, so for our team CRM, we still we still leverage Boomtown, which has been a great way to stay in touch with folks, we also do a lot of social media integration into the way that we try to do lead capture. So anytime I market something, especially through social media, we try to route it back through our CRM, which allows us to just stay on top of lead flow. You know, it’s interesting, like we were looking at our spread of business in terms of where where does most of our business come from, and over a third of our business is still sphere of influence. So what that tells me is the best technology that I can possibly leverage is right here. And that’s, that’s team wide. And I’ve got eight other agents that are seven other agents, including myself that work on my team, as long as we’re here talking, and being willing to ask for referrals. It’s the most productive time that that I can spend the other technology that we talked about earlier. DocuSign. I mean, it makes my life so easy. I think that keeping in contact with our email lists, or the paperless pipeline has been incredible for sending out mailers, express docs is a good one to look into if you want to do mailers. All of that’s integrated online, which is great.


Aaron Amuchastegui  39:55

Yeah, there’s a ton of technology and it’s made a lot of our jobs easier. But then you also have To set yourself apart more, because a lot of people can get a lot of people can now kind of do the technology I love that Boomtown is still one of those great things out there. But what you said about the cool thing about the phone, is it doesn’t actually cost you money to reach back out and ask for referrals again, right? And knowing that no matter what you do, it’s still 30%. of of that. So it’s like, so you know, agents that are already successful typing and grow again, you’re trying to grow again, remembering to call





Aaron Amuchastegui  40:30

ask for referrals. So what about client appreciation stuff? I mean, you’re in a totally different price point. But like, what sort of stuff do you do for clients? Especially if you’re getting referrals? Some people I just talked to a gal that just bought out a stadium for baseball for all the other people to go to, to a baseball game together?


Jonathan Spears  40:45

What are some ideas or tips she have people for to show client appreciation, so they stay top of mind? That’s interesting. I saw my friend Shana in Atlanta, who just rented out the Atlanta Braves stadium to do a client appreciation event. I thought it was brilliant.


Aaron Amuchastegui  41:00

Brilliant, right? Like I just talked to gal did in California. It’s so brilliant.


Jonathan Spears  41:05

I love it well, so think about an A primary home market, you know, in Atlanta, especially her profile of owner or buyer, they live in Atlanta. For me, you know, my client may be in my market for two weeks out of the entire year. So how do I get people together? collectively, it’s been a little bit more difficult. So from a client appreciation standpoint, I try to send something via direct mail once or twice a year, especially when somebody is transacting. A lot of times people like to send closing gifts. I don’t always wait till the closing to send a gift. I love, love, love to send a new listing gift. So it could be something as simple as an orchid that’s done hand deliver from whatever florist is local. I’m not talking about a box plan, something that is personal and will have a little bit of a shelf life. I’ve got my brother, he’s a he’s five years younger than me. And he also works on my team. He’s 23 years old 23 went on 24. He did about 40 million last year in business, which is so incredible. I’m very proud of him. And he loves to send cutlery to people, something that they would really, really appreciate. And he’s gotten some incredible responses on it. So I try to think of like, what how can I get in front of somebody that’s not here. And when my clients are here, we do private chef events, and I host quite a bit of dinners and you know, it’s more on a one off basis. But when you think client appreciation, it’s like how can I touch somebody in a very personal way where they’re going to remember me and remember my business you know, everywhere they go, especially like I want to take somebody from a customer to a raving fan. So every time I have an opportunity to transact with them on the buy side this side, it’s how do I take this person who’s different from everybody else from customer to raving fan? And my process for that is is usually doing a couple of different things per year that’s delivered to their doorstep.


Aaron Amuchastegui  43:06

Yeah, that the talk about cutlery. I knew that my friend john Rulon on the podcast, he wrote a wrote a book called gift ology. And so much of what he talks about is that is customized gifts for people. Yeah. And like one of the things he would do is send Cutco knives to people but like, customized with like, family slogans or like cool quotes or like book stories. And like, he said, if you’re ever gonna do a gift, being able to, you know, to customize and touch people, so many cool ideas out there. So what’s next? Like what’s next for your goals? The you’re gonna hit 500 million in transactions this year. Super cool. Your team has been growing like super like humble dude. Like, like, you get the point where like, Hey, I’m gonna retire soon. Are you like, well, we’re gonna try to a billion dollars next year. What do you do? Well, definitely never retire. I think my biggest fear. Like, that’s funny.


Jonathan Spears  43:58

How do you maintain pace for me and you know, focus on expansion, while also focusing on my family. I think that’s, that’s probably my next biggest obstacle. And it all goes back to these these core principles. We talk about time management, you know, finding a good team that you can surround yourself with. I see Spears growing not only in this market, but in other markets. So we’ve got a great process that I think I can replicate and help others grow. I think the second home markets especially still have so much room to run and I’d like to continue to see that through. And I’ve gotten into different development projects. We’re developing multiple homes here at the beach that are so exciting. We’ve got a new development that’s coming on that each home will be around 20 million apiece, which would set a record in this market. And it’s fun to see them come together. It’s it’s been a three to four year process, just getting them to a framing stage. So lots of detail


Aaron Amuchastegui  44:57

development with a bunch of $20 million homes.


Jonathan Spears  45:00

Yeah, it’s phenomenal. Yep. So lots of things on the horizon. It’s funny though, like, you know, you reach a billion dollars in sales. And I’ve heard agents go once I sell 100 million. I’m dropping the mic, and I’m out. Jeff Bezos always talks about his day one mentality. And I think people will will say to me, oh, you seem so humble. It’s because on day one, you go into the job. Let’s just say you go into Whole Foods, you’re working for Jeff Bezos at Amazon. And day one, you’re humble, you’re hungry, you want to learn. And by day two, that slowly starts to fade, right? Most people, they feel a little more comfortable, and they get a little more comfortable. I don’t wake up every day and go, Jonathan, you’re a billion dollar agent, you just, you know, you go on with your bad self. Like I wake up and I’m that guy who was just now doing his first foreclosure sale. And I’m thinking, How can I still serve at the absolute highest level? How can I not let my ego get in the way of what I’m doing? And I continue to focus on serving as many families as I possibly can, the highest possible level and trying to stay in that mentality and teach my team to stay in that mentality is our continued goal.


Aaron Amuchastegui  46:13

Day one mentality, I love it. I have not heard that quote. I like to study and read a lot. So good. Yeah, day one mentality, what a what a fantastic way to kind of stay humble and stay successful. Right?



How do you stay ahead?


Aaron Amuchastegui  46:28

How do you if you’re not growing, you’re dying, right? Like some people are like, why are you going to keep going because you have to keep pushing the ball forward, just to stay level or it goes down, like when you lose the momentum. You know, you just got to keep pushing the ball forward. Jonathan, the congratulations again. It’s always fun when I get to talk to you and have you on here. I was super excited that we were going to get to chat again and just catch up. People are gonna reach out to you how do you want them to come find you when they want to ask you questions when they want to come see what you’re doing? What’s the best way for interaction? Any final thoughts of advice? I mean, you could probably drop the mic at day one mentality. But if there’s anything else you want to share today,



now’s the time.


Jonathan Spears  47:05

Yeah, so you can always reach me I think best way is probably Instagram, I check all my DMS at Jonathan M is and Michael spears. And at Spears group, both instagram, facebook, facebook, I’m not as great at dropping the mic at day one mentality is definitely a great place to punctuate this sentence. But the other thing I’d encourage you in this rapidly ascending market, you know, the best thing to do with the day one mentality is not get enthralled and get lazy. And one thing that I’ve seen very often in my market is that agents are making mistakes because they’re too busy or too busy, they’ve got too much going on. That’s not an excuse. Focus on excellence. Focus on remaining excellent your business. And when you’ve got a rapidly ascending market with markets or elastic, what goes up always comes down, you’re going to be in a great position to take advantage of the market. if things change if they’re not just rapidly ascending. When you focus on what’s best for your customer. Focus on the value you provide. Don’t be focused on yourself. Don’t breathe commission breath all over people focus on excellence in your business, being an advisor, not a salesperson.


Aaron Amuchastegui  48:20

Day one mentality. stay humble focus on excellence. Jonathan, honored to have you back on here. Congratulations again. Thanks for coming on. Real Estate Rockstars. Thanks for listening.

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