923: Tips on Converting Real Estate Leads with Zillow Expert Suzanne Seini

August 10, 2020
Before becoming one of Southern California’s top agents and the COO of Active Realty, Suzanne Seini worked with Zillow Group as a coach. While there, she helped agents generate more business by sharing best practices for converting online leads. On today’s podcast, Suzanne covers what works best when it comes to real estate lead conversion. She even outlines the follow-up strategy that helped her team hit $170 million in annual sales!


Listen to today’s show and learn:

  • Orange County’s quarantine guidelines [1:55]
  • Suzanne’s work with Zillow [3:59]
  • Suzanne’s sales and team details [7:00]
  • The benefits of boutique brokerages [8:00]
  • Suzanne’s first year in real estate [9:08]
  • Real estate simplified [14:08]
  • Suzanne’s tips on converting real estate leads [16:10]
  • Going the extra mile for new leads [25:32]
  • The life of the average real estate lead [28:12]
  • Techniques for getting an in-person meeting [30:22]
  • Suzanne’s tips for new real estate agents [42:20]
  • How to break through your goals.
  • Plus so much more.

Suzanne Seini

Suzanne is the Chief Operating Officer of Active Realty, a leading residential real estate brokerage firm in Orange County, California. Alongside her role at Active Realty, Suzanne is a Zillow Premier Agent in Orange County and San Diego. Suzanne firmly believes that buying or selling a home does not have to be stressful or difficult. Suzanne has spent her life climbing the industry ladder as a strong female agent, breaking the mold of what real estate should look like. She uses her vast knowledge of the competitive California real estate market to help her clients make informed decisions in order to get the results they want.

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Aaron Amuchastegui: Real Estate Rockstars, this is Aaron Amuchastegui getting ready to interview Suzanne Seini. Suzanne is from Orange County. She is doing a ton of volume with her team out there. It looks like one of the numbers we have in the notes, and we will dig into it deeper. 170 million in annual sales, 400 transactions, this must be a pretty big team. I know that even in Orange County, houses are more expensive than a lot of places in the US, but 400 transactions is still a ton of transactions.

One of the really cool things about Suzanne that we’re going to get into, pretty close, in the beginning, she came from actually working inside Zillow, not as an agent but actually training agents on how to use Zillow, and then somewhere along the line made that transaction. I can’t wait to dig into that and get to hear more. Here’s some of her tips on how people can convert a hot lead. Suzanne, thanks for joining us.

Suzanne: Hi, thanks for having me.

Aaron: How is Orange County right now in the world? Is shelter-in-place happening? Is it not? Are you allowed to eat in restaurants? Do you have to stay inside? What’s the law?

Suzanne: It’s interesting. It’s changing daily almost, but [laughs] as of now, you can eat outside if the restaurant has outdoor seating. They just rolled back from guidelines or some reopening plans to now where we’re taking a little step back, but the bright side for us is real estate essential. It’s been really amazing to see how we haven’t really slowed down. We did 265 transactions Q2. It’s been busy. We even grew all of this. It’s been really interesting.

Aaron: One of those areas where real estate is hot. Are the beaches open right now? Are they busy or are they closed?

Suzanne: Beaches are open. They shut them down for 4th of July weekend, but open– We get some bad press about the beaches, but for the most part, people are just trying to do their thing and enjoying the outdoor life.

Aaron: Go get some oxygen and get some sun. Beaches, everything was shut down for 4th of July. If you got to see a firework show, you were among the lucky. All the most famous places where they have firework shows and people gathering, they just closed for a couple of days and then reopened again. I am not surprised they did that out in Orange County.

I’m originally from Northern California. Right now, I’m out in Austin, Texas, and Austin is another one of the hotspots where they shut everything down. More recently where we had a lot of opening stuff and now we’re maybe a little bit of a step back. Like you said, people are still transacting in real estate, and your team is doing a ton of transactions.

I said at intro, you started working as a– You had a job. You were an employee at Zillow, and you were teaching agents how to use Zillow to convert a hot lead. How long ago was that? Just tell us about that experience, and what you were teaching people when you were there, and how did you transition to becoming an agent?

Suzanne: Yes. That was about two and a half years ago that I was at Zillow. I started my real estate career there, and I was there for about five years. Really, my focus was helping agents build teams. When they got an online lead, what did they do with that online lead? I think that that’s really a big part of– Or success is we know how to cultivate and work those leads because it is very different than traditional standard real estate. I would coach and walk agents through how to be successful and then how to scale a team using that platform. For me, it just got to the point where I spoke with thousands of agents and saw some major success stories.

I actually ended up partnering with one of my old clients, and I did that, “Hey, it’s time to get in this space myself.” I had some great behind the scenes how to build the business. I needed to get my hands dirty a little bit and start doing some transactions. I decided to make the leap and jump in. I felt that what I could bring to the real estate industry was really important, and I treat it like a business.

Aaron: How long ago was that, that you went from Zillow to become an agent?

Suzanne: Oh, that’s about two and a half years ago.

Aaron: All right, so two and a half years. Did you live out in Southern California at that time when you were working for Zillow?

Suzanne: I did, yes. Most of my role I would be traveling to my clients’ offices, really getting to know their teams and what their current process was for working their online leads, and really pull from each agent to see what makes them so successful. I think that gave me some really great insight into when I went into real estate what I could do to be successful. I’m all about learning and growing. Even though I was providing them with guidance on the behind the scenes, I also learned from every one of my clients that I worked with.

Aaron: What an interesting experience out there. We talked about your transactions for right now. What’s the average price point of your deals that you’re doing?

Suzanne: It just depends. We actually work all of Southern California. From Riverside, San Bernardino, Orange County, down to San Diego, but I would say the average transaction is around 600,000, 700,000.

Aaron: How many people are on your team?

Suzanne: I have almost 50 people on the team currently. It’s quite a large one. We own the brokerage, so myself and my partner. There are about 150 plus give or take a few agents at the brokerage, and then about 50 on the team specifically.

Aaron: That is a giant team. Is your brokerage under one of the big named brokers or is it just you guys have a broker’s license in your own business name?

Suzanne: Yes. Justin Tye is the broker, and we’re with Active Realty. Just a small boutique brokerage-

Aaron: I think it’s really common in-

Suzanne: – getting bigger.

Aaron: That’s a common thing in California. Now that I’ve been in Texas, a lot of people are brandied inside some of those big brands, but what we saw in California for many, many years was everybody was a boutique brokerage. In Northern California, when we were doing all of our transactions, we had our own broker’s office. My wife was the broker, and she had a couple of agents, and she was doing transactions like you are doing transactions. We get so many people that are part of these other things, what are some extra advantages of that, of being your own office, your own broker office?

Suzanne: Yes. I think it’s important to carry culture, and we really wanted to set the tone for what culture is at Active Realty. I think that there’s some preconceived notions about certain brokerages, and we really didn’t want any of that. We really want the blank slate of, “Hey, this is Active, and this is our culture.” What that culture looks like is a ton of hardworking agents that really hustle, and they work. We don’t have a ton of part-time agents at Active, but we also have a lot of fun while doing it. [chuckles]

Aaron: It sounds like it. When you first switched over and you went from being teaching people how be agents to being an agent, how did you do your first year? Were you off to the races, or did it take you while to actually put it in a practice?

Suzanne: Funny enough my very first year I had an $8 million transaction, which was like a record-breaking sale in the neighborhood. The ironic thing is that, that lead that I got, it came from Zillow. I had a super successful first year. I hit the ground running. I think that often agents will overthink what they should be saying when they get on a call with a lead, and it’s really simple. All you have to do is ask them when they want to see the property.

They’re inquiring on a property and sometimes we talk ourselves out of even meeting with the client. Really, your overall mission when you take that call with the client is just, “Hey, I saw you inquired on 123 Main Street. What time do you want to see it?” That’s really how that first conversation went, and that was in my first year of real estate. I had a lot of transactions like that. Obviously, year two even better, but it was just following those same principles and keeping it really, really simple.

Suzanne: Yes, sometimes people at that caliber, they don’t want to use people that they know. That’s really in any price, whether it’s $300,000 to $8 million. At the end of the day, sometimes they want to keep things private. It’s a really personal thing. I think that each person is different but I will say I mean, at this point, I think it’s something like 92% of the people that are looking to buy or sell, they’re starting their search online. It’s important to be there. Then realistically, you have to win them over because they think a lot of times, “Yes, you get that lead, and you talk to them, and maybe even you meet them, but then there are opportunities where they end up going and working with someone that they know.” Right?

Aaron: Yes.

Suzanne: What are you going to do when you get there to make sure that they’re going to work with you, and they’re going to continue to work with you? I think that’s a really important piece of covering those leads.

Aaron: Yes, remembering that real estate is a deeply personal thing. Yes, there’s a lot of times people don’t want their friends being their mortgage broker. They don’t want their friends being their agent. It’s a natural fit to be there. Even if you’re friends with somebody, if you’re trying to get that lead, you just have to work aggressively. I think there’s probably a lot of times when people are– They’re like, “No, I don’t have to explain to them how good I am because we’re such good friends. If they ever sell their house, they’re going to be sure to hire me.” I think that the reality with that is nothing is a slam dunk.

If you’re going to be someone’s agent, or you’re going to have to follow the same thing with somebody that you know, or somebody you don’t. They need to know that you’re a pro, and they need to know that you’re going to be able to handle stuff and such a unique thing. One of the things– We say, “If you’re going to have your own panel, what would you call it?” Your answer is, “Real estate simplified, how to take the stress out of buying and selling.” What’s your big pitch with that? What do you mean when you’re saying that’s one of the things that you know a lot about?

Suzanne: Yes, as we mentioned, real estate, it’s a relationship thing. There’s a lot of emotions involved. I think that my big message when I came into the industry. My big takeaway from everyone that I worked with was really that real estate doesn’t need to be as hard as it is. Trust me, we all know that there are hard things that come up in these transactions. One, I feel agents need to work together a little bit and keep things really simple and keep emotions out of it. I think that someone can come off of a really tough transaction and take those emotions into the next transaction.

At the end of the day, we all have the same common goal and I think the easier we can make it, the simpler it is. We all work together to accomplish that goal. I think that it’s a smooth transaction. Again, there are going to be things that come up, we all know that, but it’s really how you handle that that makes it an enjoyable transaction. At the end of the day, most of our life we’re working. Especially as a real estate agent, I know people think that it’s part-time, but we both know it’s not part-time, it’s 24/7 time. We spend most of our lives doing this. I think it’s important to have fun, enjoy, and not make it more difficult than it needs to be.

Aaron: Yes, one of your big things you like to– You did a pre-call with Curtis and you talked about being able to convert that hot lead. What would you consider a hot lead? If somebody’s trying to say what’s the hottest lead that you see when you’re going to say, “Hey, this is a hot lead?” What is that conversion plan? How should someone convert that hot lead to a customer?

Suzanne: Yes, I think that’s a really good question and to each person it’s different. I think that the general referral lead is going to be very different than an internet lead. Obviously, the referral lead you know where to go. That’s something totally separate. I think that a lot of times an agent isn’t necessarily an online lead converter. What does that look like and how do you convert those leads? To me, a warm lead is a lead that’s coming from a buyer or a seller online, that’s saying, “Hey,” raising their hand and saying that they want to buy or sell. For me, like I said, I think keeping it very simple on that very first phone call of asking when they want to see the property, I think that’s huge.

Now, you’re not always going to get a hold of that person right away. To the extent of literally following up with someone to where I didn’t even know if they were alive, I still continue to follow up with them. I’ll send them photos of a property that they inquired on, I will keep that communication going for at least the first week, but I’ll humanize it. I think that there are so many tools with technology these days, where there’s autoresponders, and there’s all these other things going out. I think that it’s really important to have some personal touches as well.

Like I said, I mean, for me that very first week, I think is an important week of when you get a lead. You need to continuously follow up until you get a hold of that person. Then, once you do get ahold of them, your overall mission is to get in front of them. I know that when I get in front of someone, I am converting that lead because I’m going to bring my value and I’m going to show my value. Which I think is really important in a time where technology– Buyers and sellers have access to you name it, at their fingertips. A lot of times they’re sending us homes now. What can we do to build value when we speak or get in front of the client? That’s really what I focus on.

Aaron: One of the things you’ve noted too is that you obsess over the client. Is that trying to figure out everything you can about them? Is that just making sure that everything you’re doing is improving their experience? What do you mean by that?

Suzanne: Yes, am I going to sound creep if I say that I try to find everything out about them?

Aaron: It’s a secret right? The Facebook stalking.

Suzanne: There is a little bit of that. We do want to make sure that– One, I have a lot of people on my team so I really like to matchmake a little bit there. Any information that we can find about the client, I think is great, so doing that extra due diligence. There was a time where I actually saw that a client that had inquired had posted on their Twitter about a charity that they cared about.

I donated to their charity, and then sent a quick message and said, “Hey, got your contact information on Zillow, wanted you to know that I feel the same exact way about this cause. I’m here if you need me.” I built that commonality. I don’t think there’s any– This was a $4 million lead. I don’t think that there’s– Who knows whether I would have connected with that client or not. It’s someone that I’m still working with to this day. Yes, there’s definitely a little bit of that research that goes into place–

Aaron: Now, we talk about that we–

Suzanne: -but–

Aaron: Go ahead.

Suzanne: Oh, I was just going to say. I think being customer-obsessed, it also means something else where they really are the North Star. That is something that I learned from Zillow, they are all about taking care of the customer, and what is the best experience for the consumer. I’ve really tried to take that same exact approach on the real estate side of things because if you are making your consumer happy, there is so much more that comes from that, besides such a positive experience, and keeping it again, “This is what we do for a living.” Giving them that positive experience, but the business that you’re going to build from continuing and keeping that positive experience as well.

Aaron: You’re right. When it comes to– We have to set ourselves apart. We talked to agents about– When it’s competitive, you have to be different, and being able to figure out what you can about the people ahead of time can really help you. Like you said, that to me, that’s a really unique thing. You’ve got such a big team, that once you see the lead, you can actually look at it first and say, “Hey, this person would be a great agent for that, because that’s their neighborhood they specialize in or they know the same thing, or they’ve got some sort of overlap.”

That’s pretty amazing, but also being able to put their foot in the door. Even if they know like, “Oh, you only donated to this place because I did, but that’s how bad you want to work with me, yes, let’s talk. That’s more than the last person did so I think that that’s really cool.” I just interviewed somebody recently that talked about in their market, 70% of people choose the first agent that they talk to. They’re the first person they have a phone call with. A Zillow lead, if somebody’s buying Zillow leads, they’re going to get a phone call or an email and if they don’t answer it, it goes to the next person on the list.

I think it transfers right away for that if there’s other people in that market. You answer the phone call, and they’re going to be inquiring about a property so the first thing you always ask is, “When do you want to see it?” Because both that’s going to get you in front of them, where you’re going to meet them and then that’s also having something you have probably a reason to call them back after you go try to work it out and schedule it so it keeps the conversation going.

Right now people are saying, “There’s lots of buyers, but we can’t find enough houses.” Well, maybe you can use the software, you’ll find something that hasn’t listed yet and make them an offer on their house. All right, back to your regular scheduled program. Thank you for letting me interrupt you with that break.

I also thought a unique thing like you said, some of those leads come in somebody says, “I want to buy a house.” You call them a minute later and they get cold feet, they no longer want to answer the phone. They’re like, “Well, no, I wanted the interest, but I didn’t want anyone to call me. You calling me, texting me, emailing me, calling me.” You keep reaching out to them for that week. I’ve heard a couple of times every lead you get you pay for that lead. It’s different amounts you pay for it, whether it’s through advertising, or through referral, or whatever else.

When that lead comes in, there was an expense or something that it costs you to get it, so making sure that you at least make the most effort on it. I think a lot of people, they get that first lead, they call, they text, they don’t answer and they go, “Okay, it’s a dead lead,” and they move on. It sounds like one of your keys is– A lead isn’t a dead lead until you’ve tried a dozen times and after a week, they don’t reach out is that about how you feel?

Suzanne: Yes. I think the first week is the most important but that doesn’t mean that the follow-up stops there. The first week, we’re going to go all out, we’re going to pull out all the stops, we’re going to look at the property. When I say sending them photos of the property, if they inquired on a property, we’ll go drive by and take a photo of the property and text it to them and say, “Hey, just checked out the home for you. I thought you’d really like this backyard.” Sometimes I feel like a crazy person because I’ve talked to myself for so long but then one day they respond.

That’s the first week, but after that first week, there’s still a lot that has to go into converting that lead. If it is really the first month, you’re going to continue to at least once a week, follow up after that first week of the seven-day follow-up plan, but then after that, monthly. You want to still make sure you’re sending something over to them so you stay in front of them. Like I said, it’s about being creative. I think the consumer does not want the, “Hey, are you still interested in buying? Here I am.”

I think you’ve got to be a little different. You’ve got to hook on with something. Even if that’s community information, I think that that’s a really good one of, “Hey, just so you know, they’re putting all the telephone poles underneath the ground so now you’re going to have a better ocean view in Corona Del Mar.” Just something random, where it’s like, “Oh, wow, that’s actually valuable information. Now I have an unobstructed ocean view in homes that previously had obstructed ocean views. Little things like that, that maybe the consumer can’t just Google and find online or know from looking at a home on Zillow.

Aaron: That’s really great. They’re filling out the form saying, “Hey, I want more interest.” They don’t necessarily answer right away, they weren’t really ready to talk to an agent yet and you guys go forth and you put through a bunch of effort. You’re going to get some pictures, send it over to them, send them info about the community. Then they probably almost have a feel like they have an obligation to call you back because they’re like, “Oh, she’s actually working for me already. I feel like she’s already working for me. I need to call her first.”

People do appreciate hard work when they want to go out there and make those decisions. Tell us about the lead, if you’re going to put yourself in their shoes, the first thing, what do they go through with that? As soon as they fill out a lead online, is it all the same? Are there all a bunch of different services? They get some sort of a confirmation? What’s the life of the lead from the time they are searching online to the time they maybe buy a house?

Suzanne: There was a study that said, it was something like the real estate transaction is the most stressful transaction or stressful life events in a consumer’s life over losing their job. This is what consumers are feeling. Really, it’s about 6 to 12 months, where a consumer will start online, and they’re going to start their search there. A lot of times, they’re not even going to reach out for a while, they’re just going to browse and look at photos, but they are going to start that search. Then once they do actually reach out to an agent, from the time that they reach out to an agent and they end up closing escrow, I think last I heard it was something around 70 days.

It’s very quick after that point that they’re looking at homes and then moving forward. From the consumer perspective, once they reach out to someone, they’re in a database, and realistically, even these sources where they’re only giving the lead to one agent, the consumer doesn’t know really what’s going on, and they think they’re talking to the listing agent, and they’re clicking around all over online. You’re going to have a lot of phone calls. Again, it’s really important at that point to be a little different because the consumer is about to get bombarded once they start clicking around online.

Aaron: You’re right. I think there’s times when they’re clicking and they have a question about a certain house and they think they’re talking to the agent, they think they’re talking to the listing agent. They’re like, “Hey, is there a master bedroom downstairs,” and depending on the lead source and the lead funnel where you’re getting it from when that person calls they might be thinking all sorts of different things. Having to qualify that point and go, “Oh, I’m not–” If somebody says, “Oh, I thought you were the agent, I actually want to talk to the listing agent.” What do you say? How do you reel him back in at that point?

Suzanne: I try to avoid that on the first call, but if it does come up, I just say, “I’m actually just the showing agent. It could be somebody else on my team, but I’m the showing agent that’s assigned to this.” Just try and skate around it as much as you possibly can, but at the end of the day, we never want to tell them that we’re not the listing agent, obviously, but I prefer if possible to have that conversation face to face.

If you can avoid it– In order to avoid that conversation, be knowledgeable, make sure that even if you don’t know an answer, you let them know, “You know what? Let me double-check that I’ll get right back to you,” but I would say be confident in driving that conversation, so that it doesn’t get to that point. Then when you’re there, obviously, you want to let them know what the scenario is there. I think ideally, that conversation is done face to face.

Aaron: The lead comes in, the first thing is to get them on the phone, so you can say like, “Hey, when do you want to see it?” Provide that first intro. Goal number one is just reach them and actually provide value when you reach out to them. If you don’t reach out my way, then you’re going to just provide extra value just to get that phone call. Once you get that conversation, goal number two is that you’re going to go meet with them in person.

One of the ways is, “Hey, when do you want to see it?” This one, is that the biggest way to meet them in person or there are times when you say, “Hey, do you want to Are there other ways that you get that in-person meeting?

Suzanne: I think the easiest way is to just ask. I think that that works 95% of the time when they’re inquiring about it. Right now, though, obviously, we’re in a different time where maybe these guys don’t want to see us face to face. I think it’s really important to have your virtual presentation prepared and prepared correctly because there are consumers that– It’s going to be a little bit more difficult now to meet face to face.

In that situation, if my first question no matter what after, obviously, I’ve built a little bit of rapport is going to be “When do you want to see it?” But if they’re a little leery about that, I’ll even say sometimes and try and fill it out right now, “Would you prefer in-person or virtually?” Get that, so maybe you’re going to do a virtual tour for them and you’re going to go see the property, and then maybe you guys FaceTime together whatever that looks like, but I would say that’s the only change in asking for that appointment right away.

Aaron: All right. After you talking to them and saying– It used to be, “Hey, when do you want to go see it? Let’s go meet and see it and try and get that set up.” Now, it’s just saying, “Hey, do you want to see it in person, or do you want to see virtually,” and that’s a super common thing we’ve been talking about since March. Is people going out and actually– The agents are working a little bit harder, and they’re seeing the properties ahead of time sending over the video, sometimes sellers themselves are doing– You can organize something where the seller themselves is doing a FaceTime with you to show it off.

There’s less people in the house, people writing offers on houses and getting them accepted before seeing them in person. They’re like, “Oh, we’re only going to go see it in person if our offer actually gets accepted.” Have you done any transactions like that recently?

Suzanne: Not necessarily only if the offer gets accepted, but I will say that there’s a lot of the preview where we’re either if the home doesn’t have a virtual tour which at this point I feel like everyone should be doing virtual tours on their home, but if for some reason it doesn’t and we’re going to go and we’re going to walk through the property, one, I prefer to do it because again, that’s where my value is when I’m pointing something out that may be the seller wouldn’t point out, that’s going to be where I build that trust with my client that maybe I’ve never met.

Walking them through that and just making sure that they’re comfortable with that property. Then from what I’ve seen at that point, once they know, “Okay, this is one that I actually like and I want to move forward with.” Then I’m seeing, “Okay, let’s get out there, PPE, let’s make sure that it’s a safe environment and then we’ll tour the property.”

Aaron: What are the most common questions that are coming from your clients right now? Did it change much during COVID as far as your most common questions people are asking you?

Suzanne: I think right now it’s, “Hey, is this a good time to buy or sell?” Everyone is wondering, buyers are like, “Should we wait? Property values are going to go down and that it’ll be a great time.” Really, my response is interest rates are obviously lower than they have been in a very long time if not the lowest since I’ve been in the industry. I was previously in the mortgage industry before I worked at Zillow. It’s shocking how low-interest rates are and what I’m telling my buyers and sellers is, especially the buyers, “You’re going to pay no matter what.”

It’s whether that’s in the interest rate or whether it’s, “The prices is stable,” and where it is. You have to do what’s best for you when it’s good for you. That should be the driver and the motivation right now. That’s probably the main question that we get. Safety is definitely top of mind, but I think that we have a good grasp on how to make this process very, very safe and comfortable for people.

Aaron: Yes, the low-interest rate is such a– It is crazy now, and it’s $600,000 and $700,000 price points, you’re able to get a first and a second. Those loans are still happening every year. Jumbo is almost non-existent. Right now, there aren’t as many of those options out there as people are getting to those higher price points or they’re a lot harder anyway. It is a great equalizer to talk to somebody, they say, “Hey, is now a good time to buy a house?”

You’re like, “Well, you buy a year from now might be $100,000 less, but if the rates go up just a little bit your payments the same or your payments more.” You might buy your house for $100,000 less, but your payment costs more on that sort of stuff. You guys are seeing just a ton of transactions. What are your most common transactions right now? Are they moving, move-up buyers? Are they moving into the area, or is it a little everything?

Suzanne: Yes, it’s funny, we’ve had a lot of people move out of California. We’ve definitely seen that a lot of our sellers are getting out. I think that would probably be the most common trend. Overall, it’s the usual stuff, it’s time to upsize, it’s time to downsize. We’re not obviously seeing a ton of investors in the mix right now. [chuckles] It’s really just the standard buyers and sellers that we’re [crosstalk]–

Aaron: Or the investors are selling their stuff. They’re taking the stuff they’ve had over the last while and they’re like, “Okay, we did pretty good.” A lot of times California real estate prices have grown so much over the last several years. This is something that people see and they go, “All right”. Now, there’s a better chance that prices will be maybe a little lower a year from now or maybe they keep going forever, but the people that have owned for several years their houses are worth way more than they were. Yes, it’s people selling. California still has an income tax.

Now that people get to work remote I’m sure a lot of people are like, “Hey, we’re going to leave California where we can go work somewhere without income tax remotely and get a little bit more bang for our buck,” but there’s no replacement for the beach. There’s no replacement for Orange County and some of those things. We just tell people you pay for what you get in California, It’s a beautiful place to be an agent?

Suzanne: That’s exactly what I was going to say. I recently did a story on NBC where the anchor, he was like, “I just don’t understand it, values keep going up. The income, the median income isn’t going up. What is going on? Please explain it to us?” Quite frankly, it’s a lifestyle, there is nothing better than this California lifestyle. You want to be near the beach and people are going to pay for that. They’re willing to do it. If they’re not, like I said, they’re getting out, we’re still able to help them as well. [chuckles]

Aaron: They go all over the place. It’s 70 degrees and sunny. There are no bugs out here. There no potholes, but yes, you do pay heavy income tax and you pay for your real estate. Just like anything. You can get any type of car you want, any house you want and you have that, you have all sorts of ways. What are your plans now for your team? Again, you did a ton of volume, a ton of transactions, again, 170 million in gross sales. Now you have a big team, so that helps big. All right, at least you’re not doing them all yourself. You’ve go a team of 50 and they’re doing a bunch of stuff. What are your goals over the next 12 months?

Suzanne: I think that it’s important to know about the team. The reason why we’re successful is that we embrace people’s strengths and weaknesses. Talking a little bit about my goals, we want to do 2,500 units this year. That was absolutely our goal. Obviously, things changed a little bit. We’ll see where we end up, but we’re still shooting for the stars. I think the key factor for us is we know how to generate leads, we know how to get those in.

I think that it’s really important to identify for each agent on the team what their strength is, and what their weakness is. I don’t expect for my agents to be these crazy lead converters, they’re not all going to be like me, they’re real estate agents. A real estate agent isn’t necessarily the same as an inside phone salesperson. I think one of the key factors to getting to our goal is this year, we’ve built out our ISA team. We have our inside sales group that basically they’re solely focused on that long term follow up. That is how we’re going to get to 2,500 units as a team is by really cultivating and growing that team.

Aaron: How many have you done so far this year, do you know?

Suzanne: We did 265 Q2. I want to say that we’re right over– I think it was like 560.

Aaron: You’ve already grown a ton from– 2019, you did 400 transactions. You’ve already hit five something this year. When you shoot for the stars and you barely miss, you still have an incredible year. I admire you and I think it’s great that you’re saying, “No, our goal is still our goal and we’re going to adjust and push hard.” Real estate has performed much better than I imagined it was going to be back in March. I sold a bunch of real estate and I wanted to be first to be out and sell some things, and there’s probably some stuff that maybe I could have sold for more if I’d been more patient.

I’m glad that you’ve kept your goals and said, “No, it’s going to be a big year,” and you’re pushing hard. Any last advice tips you want to make sure that our listeners hear out there if they’re new in real estate, if they’re stuck, and they don’t know how to get to the next point, what would you say?

Suzanne: One, I would say, listen to podcasts like these. I think that it’s really important that we recognize that as an industry agents, they take their tests, and they’re super excited, and they go out into the industry, and they’re on their own. I would say, number one, you want to make sure that you’re learning and you’re growing. That’s one reason why I really love this podcast, is because there’s a diverse group of people that come on here from all walks of life, all parts of the country, so you’re not in direct competition with these people, and you have the opportunity to learn.

I think remembering that we all start somewhere and using tools like this to propel them into their real estate career because if agents don’t join a team, that learning, it could potentially stall. We’re all in this together. We’re all doing transactions together. My next tip would be, “Help each other.” Like I said, I don’t think that real estate needs to be as difficult as a lot of times we make it. We have the same common goal. Obviously, we each want to protect our client, but I think it should be a positive experience and if we work together, it will be one.

Aaron: It’s having that abundance mindset, is something we talk about. Used to have a scarcity mindset in business, we were afraid to share our secret, because, “What if they put us out of business?” We’re afraid to tell somebody what they were doing because they might be competing with us for the same. The beautiful thing about as we get to start growing and saying, “Hey, there’s a lot to go around out there,” you can share all of your secrets, because the people that are going to do good are the people that are going to practice it and try really hard and then it helps us raise our game too.

Everybody right now is, “How do we do better? How do we give better service? How do we do more stuff for our clients?” The more agents that are out there, the more agents are going to raise the bar and treat their clients better and it makes real estate as a whole, just better. I love that of, “Help the people around you.” The harder we all work at doing a great job at our jobs, the whole industry gets raised up to a higher standard.

Suzanne, if people want to find you, if they want to reach out, they want to talk about real estate, they want to join your team, they want to they want to learn about stuff. What’s the best way they can find you?

Suzanne: My Instagram is Suzanne Feeny. That’s the best way. It’s my Instagram. I actually respond. Feel free to reach out on there. Otherwise, suzanne@activerealty.com

Aaron: All right, Suzanne, thanks for coming on today. Real Estate Rockstars I hope you guys loved that one. I think we learned a lot and I can’t wait to be able to have you on again and check in near the end of the year when you’re near your 2,500 units. Thanks for coming on, Suzanne.

Suzanne: Thank you. Thanks for having me.

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