Episode 57 - GRIT The Real Estate Growth Mindset with Mahala Landin

Brian Charlesworth
February 16, 2021

After 12 years working in the hospitality industry, Mahala had the opportunity to work for a private equity firm where she was mostly involved with project management. Several years into her role, she discovered that she could make good use of her experience in project management, her interest in real estate development and her background on experiential sales if she jumps into the real estate world.

As they say, when stars align and a door opens, you have to walk through it. Which is why when she was introduced to Rachel Kendall of the Rachel Kendall Real Estate Team in 2014, she grabbed the opportunity and asked if she could be a member of her team.

Today, Mahala is the Managing Partner and Broker in Charge of the Rachel Kendall Real Estate Team. They have closed  450 - 500 transactions a year in the past 2 years and are ranked as 1 of the top 5 highest-grossing residential real estate teams in the country.


In this episode, we talked about:

(02:10) What Mahala loves about Sisu

(03:35) How Mahala got into real estate

(10:31) The core foundation to what makes their team really work

(12:41) What is a common thing most powerful teams in real estate have in terms of lead generation?

(20:40) What should an agent do if they hit that place of “What’s next”? 

(24:43) Why you need to take 1 step back to take 10 steps forward

(25:42) How can team owners give agents opportunities for professional growth

(33:23) The importance of client relationship

(35:57) How to instill a culture of transparency, integrity and professionalism in team members

(38:17) What to keep in mind when picking an operations system and how to run it efficiently

(41:26) Why every real estate agent needs to know where their business are coming from

(43:02) The 3 platforms that are absolutely essential for an agent to get their job done

(44:37) The 1 piece of advice to someone who wants to take their team to the next level

(47:36) Mahala’s favorite source of learning

Episode Transcript:

Brian Charlesworth  0:35  

Alright, Hello, everybody. And welcome back to the Grit podcast. I'm Brian Charlesworth, the founder of Sisu and we are the residential real estate transactions where residential real estate transactions happen online. And I'm your host of the show. And today, we actually have one of our newer customers with us from Sisu and I'm super excited to hear her story to hear about her business. We're here with mohalla Landon, and she's the managing partner and broker in charge at the Rachel candle team. I'll tell you what, these ladies are doing some big numbers. So this is something you guys should all pay attention to being that most of our listeners happen to be in the real estate space. But even if you're not and just we're going to talk about some things today that are really critical in my mind to growing any business. And one of the things I see in people like this is grit, which is why our podcast is called grit. These ladies are doing 450 to 500 transactions a year for the last two years. And I think they're gonna they're gonna blow that out this year and exceed that. So anyway, welcome to the show Rachel or I'm sorry Mahala. Welcome to the show.

Mahala Landin  1:46  

Hey, it's so nice to be here. And I'm totally used to that. That's been a common occurrence since I started as a buyer specialist, and I find it a huge compliment to be called Rachel, any day of the week.

Brian Charlesworth  1:58  

Yeah, so I'm sure you guys working so closely. That happens a lot. So what did I miss there? What do you want to share that I missed in that introduction?

Mahala Landin  2:08  

And then we're happy to be new customers, I found out about Sisu about two and a half years ago or so at a united conference for Boomtown and have been keeping my eye on it as far as figuring out whether or not it was a great fit for our team. And at the time, we had just started on a journey with a transaction management system that was working okay, and didn't see the need to change, but recently did decide that it was time for a more robust system. That was better transparency and better accountability. And so far since the end of November, early December since then, we've been thrilled, and I see a lot of opportunity in it. So I think we've just scratched the surface, so to speak. So

Brian Charlesworth  2:51  

That's exciting. So are you still Boomtown as well?

Mahala Landin  2:54  

Yeah, we've been using Boomtown since 2013. It's a great product, we spend a lot of time on it. And that's why I do love the Sisu system, because it's allowed us to kind of level up on our Boomtown as well. So it's a great partnership and didn't really a good experience so far.

Brian Charlesworth  3:12  

Yeah, awesome. I'm thrilled to hear that. And obviously, that's not what we're here to talk about today. But our goal at Sisu was obviously to get you using your CRM at a higher level, and to get your agents even more engaged in that. So it's a big part of what we do. So anyway, moving on, I'd love to hear maybe a little bit more about your business. And then I'd love to hear your story. Like, how did you get into real estate? I know you spent 12 years in the hospitality industry. So how did you migrate from that into real estate? And what created that, you know, that drive for you to do that? 

Mahala Landin  3:49  

Yeah, I don't know who actually wakes up and says, you know, I'm gonna be a real estate agent, when I grow up. Maybe there are people out there, but No, that wasn't necessarily my path. But I feel like it kept coming back to me numerous times as I exited college, I actually have a bachelor's degree in accounting and cost accounting. So I've always been very hands on with small businesses. And I started my real career, working at a day spa, which was a local business, we had five locations. One of them was a corporate office that managed a call center. And I worked so closely with that owner, really being a business and seeing, you know, all the mechanics of it, and just that whole experiential sales process. And then when it was time for me to put that away and move on to something else, I had a real estate degree or real estate certificate because I had a brief hiatus of working with a private equity firm, right at 2006 right when the market was hot, and also all the way into 2011. So I saw a lot of changes while working with him. And we did some High Rise condominiums, we did some residential real estate development. And he was the one that said, Go get your real estate license, I was still in more of a project management aspect of it. But I feel like between that project management experience and real estate development and everything that goes on both commercial and residential, as well as that customer service, hospitality, experiential sales, when it was time for me to do something different, I thought real estate was going to be the best combination, and also the biggest challenge. And I'm real lucky that I was introduced to Rachel Kendall in 2014. So that's how it started.

Brian Charlesworth  5:38  

So going back to 2006, you were actually somewhat in the real estate investment world, if you will. And you've got to experience the highs of 2006, turning into the lows of 2008. And nine. Yeah, so you survived that made it through and then how did you come across Rachel? Like, how did that transition happen?

Mahala Landin  6:00  

It was actually while I was in project management for that private equity company, she was a client of another equity group or financial planning group that we were associated with, obviously, high net worth individuals, and I was introduced to her casually at an event and we kind of stayed in touch. And I also had another friend that had just recently joined her team in 2014. And I feel like sometimes the stars align and you see a door up and you got to walk right through it. So when I made the decision to go into real estate, she was one of my first phone calls was to see if I could be a member of her team. At the time, she was still listing homes. She was our Rainmaker, there were six buyer's agents on the team, I couldn't even tell you how many transactions we did, because I wasn't in that space yet, you know,

Brian Charlesworth  6:47  

Maybe 100, something like that. It sounds like based on what I'm hearing.

Mahala Landin  6:51  

Right. So it was just a really great opportunity to get into a very young company, and learn from one of the best real estate agents in our area and our market in the nation.

Brian Charlesworth  7:01  

So she was still selling homes, you came in as a buyer's specialist buyer's agent. Talk to us about today. So today, you're the managing partner and broker in charge, I believe. What does that mean? And then what is Rachel's role? I believe her husband's involved as well. Talk to us about the roles because I really want people to understand, if you're going to build a business that's doing 500 transactions a year, what is the structure of that business? What does it need to look like?

Mahala Landin  7:28  

I think that's one of the things I'm most proud of within this company is that when Dan and Rachel started the business, they always designed it and always intended on there being a succession plan. And they were very transparent about that to the point where Rachel actually exited sales in 2015. And continued to create longevity within the company so that if anything were to happen to her or Dan, this company would still maintain its integrity, its culture, and we would still be able to operate at a really high level. And when she stepped away from listings, when I was so new within the company, and then we continued to grow exponentially after that, I think it's a huge testament of how, and I can relate to a lot of business owners where it's nerve-wracking to step away from production, it's nerve-wracking too, you know, trust your team to be able to continue to perform at the level and quality that you've always provided as an individual. And that's the one thing that this business has been developed to do is that trust, and that through training, and through accountability and a great culture, you can maintain what was created at the beginning, and if anything, have it grow faster. So that kind of answers the question of, you know, what this team is all about. It's about allowing it to grow and allowing it to evolve. And sometimes you

Brian Charlesworth  8:54  

Just one point on that. So one of the things you said is that she's like, I mean, I'm sure she's still involved in working on the business, just not working in the business. And so it's a very hard transition for most people to make is, okay, I'm going to stop listing homes, I'm going to stop selling homes, and some people feel like that's never a transition they want to make I know of coaching companies that some of the top agents and team owners in the country, he's still list homes. But I think a lot of people see that vision of I want to work on the business instead of in the business. And in many cases, they're not successful in doing that. And my experience has been in watching that the lack of success in making that transition is they're afraid of maybe taking one step backwards in order to take 10 steps forward. Because that's really what's happening. I mean, you may slow down a little bit if you're the key listing agent on your team and you say, Okay, I'm not going to do that anymore. It may be a slowdown for a period of time is that was that the transition for you guys?

Mahala Landin  9:57  

Like I was so young in the company that I don't know if I would have even known that. But at that time, we brought in one listing partner, who is still with us to this day. And by the end of that year, I mean, I believe he did about 91 listings on his own, through the support of the team. And through just the growth of our buyer agent team as well. There's one really big differentiating factor also with our company is we only practice designation of agency. So we don't actually do dual agency. And that's been, it's a core foundation to what makes us team really work is that there's always going to be a designated listing partner or a designated buyer's agent. Yeah. And that keeps that 360 process in line. And I think because of that designation, and because of how we stay in our lane, and we maintain our focus, there wasn't that slow down. And then, at that point in time, Rachel really invested more time in her buyer agent team, to establish great training processes, you know, work with people like myself and other senior agents at that point in time to say, Okay, how can we train agents better? What kind of mentorship should we be providing at a team level, we got to play a big part in how we grew. So, again, to your point, that trust it kept going, even after she stepped away, it just, it was just focused in a different direction, you know, so no, I don't think there was any real slow down because she took a step back.

Brian Charlesworth  11:30  

Oh okay, so that's good to know. So tell us more about your business. So you guys, you guys have buyer's agents, you have listing agents, you don't have anybody that does both correct?

Mahala Landin  11:42  

Well, we do have what we call a broker. And after successfully being on the team for two years, or creating 100 past clients, you know, obviously, we get into real estate because we don't want to ceiling. You know, we want to know that there's unlimited potential. And after a couple of years, as a buyer's agent, it's always that question of what's next. So we do allow for both somebody to be a listing partner, or a buyer specialist, they can make that choice, but they still can't practice dual agency. So if they're working with a past client, they want to represent that as a seller, they're going to work with another buyer's agent. And then at the end of the day, that's what our customers what our clients are familiar with, they recognize the team approach, they want the team approach. So it's actually been a great transition, because we're not confusing them any step of the process.

Brian Charlesworth  12:33  

They want somebody to represent them, basically. 

Mahala Landin  12:37  

That's right. 

Brian Charlesworth  12:37  

Yeah. Okay. So do you guys have ISAs on your team,

Mahala Landin  12:43  

That is one of my future projects this year, I've literally been betting out a couple of different ways to bring that in, I go to sleep at night, like cringing at the number of leads we have in our database. And I'm ready to take on that challenge. And but it's definitely it'll be new for us. We've never really had an established department as a team. But I'm excited about it. So any words of wisdom for me?

Brian Charlesworth  13:10  

So you know, that's I think that's what all the most powerful teams are doing. And today is moving to that. And, you know, there's been a lot of teams, obviously, they've done that over the last 10 years. But this year, in particular, like if I talk to which I talked to a lot of the top teams across the country. And the thing that I'm the thing that's very consistent for me is there, the majority of them are moving to ISAs right now. And I think it's that thing of, hey, I need to create, be able to create my own leads, and not have to rely on one of these major companies that were having to pay, you know, a referral fee out to right. So how do we create our own leads and generate our own business so that we can keep a profitable business alive, right,

Mahala Landin  13:58  

Increase that conversion rate is absolutely something that's a driver for this decision. And Sisu was also a driver for the decision because I like the opportunity to have an ISA accountability program and there, but I'll tell you, actually, the part of it that kept me from moving as fast as maybe other teams our size, have to the is a model is because I think we have some of the most talented group of buyers agents, listing partners and brokers in the area. And part of that is because of how we train them from the beginning how important prospecting is, and I don't ever want to create a culture of dependency internally the same way. We are, depending on these lead generation sites to produce leads for us to what you said, I don't want buyer's agents or listing partners become complacent in their day to day activities. Because that's what makes us so talented and how we can maintain consistent business is that we're consistent in our day to day behaviors and prospecting is just A huge part of our team. Everybody does 1200 minutes minimum a month, if not more, and what

Brian Charlesworth  15:06  

What is the equivalent of that per day? What does a day look like for your average team member?

Mahala Landin  15:12  

On the team, you're prospecting somewhere between 40 and 50 minutes a day at minimum. But what I've noticed in the past, I've been in this management operational role for about four years. And it wasn't always that way on our team, you know, we had to implement things like team call days, or team call nights, more transparency with Boomtown allowing somebody to kind of look over your shoulder and say, you know, what, this is how we could be working more effectively, more efficiently. So now, our culture is more of, you know, maybe I need to focus more on how many conversations I'm having a day versus just the minutes. Or if I did not get the appointment, then I need to up my minutes. And I'm just so proud of that culture, because they're driving that they're seeing that that result is worth the grit, you know, it's worth putting in the extra time to get there. So I'm not as concerned about that is a model as I might have been four years ago. That's something that's important whenever considering a new process is, yeah, I can see all the positives. But I need to also think about the inadvertent negative effects of making that decision. And that's something I weighed a lot was not handcuffing our team to and ISA program.

Brian Charlesworth  16:27  

I mean, it's isn't it really about the number of appointments you go on, right? We like to say prospect for an hour a day or two hours a day. But isn't it really about just making sure you're going on an appointment every day?

Mahala Landin  16:42  

Yes, it's about getting that appointment every day. And, you know, to that sense of getting that appointment every day, I say to new agents, when they join our team, you're either going to be a superstar nurture, you're going to love the prospect and you're going to your that's your zone, you won't even blink an eye putting those minutes in, or you're going to be a closer, you're going to be that person that if you're not on an appointment, you're about to pull your hair out. And I've yet to see somebody that's 100%, or that's equally both. There's always a strength there. And it's not how can I take what I'm strong at? Maybe I am that closer? That is just one thing, eyeball to eyeball is somebody who I'm selling a house that day? And how do I take that into my prospecting? And that's what we do we focus on those closers. They need those tangible goals that if you don't have an appointment, then you're going to keep ongoing. Because or if you haven't had 10 conversations, you're going to keep ongoing. Whatever that is, that's what that closer needs to feel like the motivational pull to keep putting in the minutes.

Brian Charlesworth  17:47  

Right? Yes, for sure. So you guys have this culture of prospecting, which I love it, you have this culture of, you know, you know, their conversion ratios, you know, like, what does it take to get an appointment? It's not necessarily just about the minutes you're dialing, it's about the number of conversations and how many conversations is that for you versus for somebody else? And the goal ultimately to get on an appointment every day?

Mahala Landin  18:15  

That's right. Yep, that's our goal. And then being transparent to the team. And so sharing your goals. We do a morning huddle call four days a week. And then we have one team meeting. But that putting that out there, there's, you know, appointments per month, where they are just that transparency makes it a lot more real for everybody to be held accountable to the goals.

Brian Charlesworth  18:38  

So for those other leaders out there, what does a morning huddle look like for you guys?

Mahala Landin  18:43  

We have a different topic. During the week, we practice SMART goals, we're big on the smart acronym, and you know, being specific, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. So we feel like that is 100% of Friday goal. When you go into a weekend you know who's in your car, you know, whose appointments you have, you should know what you're closing for. We make those specific goals for Friday. So that Monday morning, we can recap with the team on how we achieve those goals over the weekend. And then if we didn't, how are we going to make a plan to make sure that that goal doesn't roll into the next one. We started doing that several years ago. It's a little different than maybe some other teams that are more statistics oriented, but it's a great way of pacing people out and then it's really you can hear it you can hear when people are ramping up and you can hear when people are closing and that's motivational in itself is that this doesn't just happen by magic we're putting the work in even when we're not as connected as a team over the weekends. And then the other two days we are more stat oriented, you know progress to goal for the month, the quarter where we are for prospecting minutes when we're prospecting for that day and who we're prospecting to, you know, do we have a plan? We're not just coming in cold we prepared for it. We do use Mojo. We are dialer company as well. So you know, creating those call lists and being organized about how you're utilizing the systems. I love bells and whistles, like I like systems, and I like technology. But it's not really worth it, if you don't have the team, you know, buying in and embracing all of those wonderful systems that make them more effective. Just because it's interesting to you as a team owner, or that you see the value in it, your team has to see the value in it, or you're wasting money. It's just not, it's not worth your time or your energy.

Brian Charlesworth  20:33  

So So how do you get your team to see value in it? And maybe I'd love to find out. So I'm still not 100% clear on this. But it seems to me that you are actually as the managing partner, you are actually the one running the business today. What exactly is your role? Share that with us.

Mahala Landin  20:51  

So again, there was that point in time, as the company grew, Rachel was 100%, in the day to day in terms of still leading the listing team and managing the support team. And about four years ago, I was two and a half years into being a buyer specialist. I was creeping right into my 100, you know, sale and thought so I get it. What's next? What's what, what am I going to do next? I knew that there was a path. I just didn't know what that was. And I think a lot of real estate agents feel the same way that they, they're on a path of sales. But after that, what's next? Do I have to become a business owner? Or do I have to do this on my own? Do I need to go, you know, off into a new brokerage? In order for me to be successful? Do I need to worry about commission splits? I mean, there are so many questions that individual agents ask themselves when they hit a place of what's next. And luckily, and something I encourage every real estate agent to do if they are on a team, or if they are in any kind of mentoring role is to include that person that you're getting support from and that decision, and thankfully, I did go to Rachel and say, I don't know what's next for me. I'm not sure what that path looks like, I'm happy, I love it. I love everything about even the additional training that I was doing with new agents, but I knew that I needed to know what was next if I was going to be challenged and stay the course.

And she just said, you know, do you trust me? And I said, Sure. And I really blindly did because I had no idea what she was really asking me to do. But I took on I was still selling homes, working with buyers, started managing the support team started doing the agent accountability with about 12 buyer's agents. And maybe quickly, maybe not quickly for them. It just turned into again, who am I serving? Am I serving agents on this team? Or am I serving my clients, and I was forced to make that choice as well and say, You know what, I'm ready to 100% invest in the team. So I started managing the entire team and took on full p&l responsibility within that year, and became the managing director. So recently, you know, with the way that the company has been evolving, Rachel and I are still partners in the business, Dan has retired from the business. So I became the managing partner in January and have you know, taken on, you know, more of a bigger responsibility of really owning the team and making sure that we're not only growing for, you know, Rachel and I to both be a part of this, but continuing that succession plan and, and creating more paths for agents to grow with the team as well. So I always say we're like a sales organization that just happens to sell real estate. Yes. And there are some other dynamics to that too. But our relative if you've ever been in an inside sales or a software sales company, I compare it to that a lot in the way that we structure.

Brian Charlesworth  24:08  

Yeah. Which is why you've been successful. Because anyone that thinks they're getting in the business of Hey, I just love homes, and I love to look at homes, they're in the business for the wrong reason, right? Definitely, a sells business. So anyway, congratulations. Thanks for sharing that. I mean, you've come in and gotten into this business in 2014. And in a relatively short period, I mean, you are managing definitely a team that's in the top 5% of real estate teams in the country. So yeah, congratulations on all of your success. It's amazing.

Mahala Landin  24:42  

Thank you. Yeah, sometimes I really can't believe it, how quickly it all came into place and that's where my recommendation to agents that are on a team they need to trust their team owners, they need to trust their personal and that when they're interviewing teams. These are the types of questions that you want to ask. Because if you don't ask the question, you're on an island all by yourself. And support in the real estate industry is very hard to come by. So when you find it, you know, you got to invest as much as that team owner investing in you. And that's where I actually said that today, sometimes you have to take a step back to take 10 steps forward. And even though sounds like it was a joyful ride, I mean, sometimes I did have to take several steps back to see the bigger picture. Oh, yeah. I wasn't making as much money as I could have selling homes. I, you know, there's just a lot that if I had been short sighted, I would have missed a huge opportunity.

Brian Charlesworth  25:41  

Right. So talk, let's talk about some of the opportunities that you guys provide your agents, I think, there are probably a lot of team owners who might be listening to this wondering, you know, how do I give my agents opportunities? Like, what can I show them as the past to get from here to here to here, moving forward? How do you guys do that?

Mahala Landin  26:04  

And, and we've struggled with that. And on transparency, which I think this past year, we, especially in the volatility of the pandemic, I mean, we did see some turnover, did lose some of those really quality agents that had been with our team for three or four years. And that's why even I'm sharing that about half transparency with your team all the time. Because that's what's going to help your retention and your attrition. But we do put it back to the team a lot when I'm evaluating opportunities, but the biggest one has been answering the question about professional growth, you get to this place where you want to be pushed and challenged, and you've got to be able to provide that for your team. So we did develop a mentorship program, it was totally voluntary. And luckily, a good group stood up and said, this is something that I want to do. And that mentor mentorship program, you know, we meet once a month, and not only are we talking about how they can use some of the things they're very good at and their strengths, to grow new agents and play a part in the growth of the team. But then they're also working on things that they themselves want to grow on whether that be, you know, I've had a lot of agents say I could tell anybody how to do something, but I wouldn't be able to help them with the interpersonal side of this business, you know, the part of the business that burns people out, you know, the, I don't know how to do that part of it. So we discuss that. And obviously, they get a little bit of compensation for playing a part in that. And it's reflective of that first year agent and what they can what how they perform. So with every closing a burst your agent, does we share some of those commissions with that mentor program. So again, it's still team-oriented, it's not about recruiting, it's not about individuals being a certain, you know, like, Oh, well, I brought this person in, so I'm going to get an override because of them stay on the team. It's a little different than that. It's really saying, Okay, how is a team? Can we help grow the team, and also, you know, sharing in that pie. And so far, that's been great. And I've enjoyed it, because I feel like, we get a lot more involvement. When a new agent joins the team, there's an investment there. Again, another wonderful opportunity came to us in October of 2019. So we actually have a partnership in a mortgage company, because of how we have always been very big on data, attract the lender utilization of our four lending partners for the past four and a half years, I know, we can keep 50 to 60% of our business with our lending team, we were selected to be a partner in a new company and took that opportunity. And man, that was great. And we rolled that into an opportunity to give back to agents that had been on our team for more than three years. So they're profit sharing into that business as well, just for that longevity on these.

Brian Charlesworth  28:58  

Very, very exciting.

Mahala Landin  29:00  

Yeah. And those are the types of ways that I love growing is, you know, how can we grow the team success? And how can we continue to lift our agents up and really feel like they're a part of something, that's another big thing for real estate agents, they need to feel like they're a part of something bigger than just that sales transaction.

Brian Charlesworth  29:19  

And I think one thing, you know, you didn't really talk about this. I know, you know, this, so you wouldn't have done this. But it's also allowing you to scale, because they are a part of bringing in and training those new agents and making sure those new agents are successful. So you're giving them a percentage of it. Great. And it's allowing you to go from this level up to this level. Yeah. And maybe you maybe you're giving away this much of it. Right?

Mahala Landin  29:43  

Well, and here's the other thing. It all goes back to a culture of understanding why we do things as a business. I've heard so many times from agents say why are we bringing on new agents, you know, well, because we're growing and that's what and every time we bring a new person On our team becomes exponentially more successful for you. And it's maintaining that integrity, every new agent is an opportunity for the entire team. And when I see that shift of focus of well, if that person's coming in, then they're taking from me, that's a culture conversation that needs to be had sooner than later. Because it's somebody my private equity experience, you know, I was told at that moment in time, Mahalla, you either have two choices, you can either be replaceable, or be replaceable, you know, you can't, you've got to make yourself something in an organization where somebody says, I couldn't do this without you, you know, and that's what I say to agents too, I'm like you, you have a place here as long as you want it. And you can have as big of a place as you want it, because you can be just as big of a contributor as I am, right? Not just in sales, but of what you do to give back to the team or how you're growing it, or the new ideas, or whatever it is, be, you know, be the most unreplaceable person on this team. And that allows for a new person to come in, because there's that growth, but don't stay stuck, you know, just don't stay in a place where you're just stuck being an individual contributor.

Brian Charlesworth  31:16  

It really comes down to mindset, doesn't it? I mean, the scarcity mindset is going to feel like, Oh, I'm going to get less leads, and they're going to go into that frame of mind. And the other mindset, the growth mindset is, well, what opportunity does this create for me?

Mahala Landin  31:34  

That's right. That's right. And, and so yes, we will always be hiring. And yes, there will always be those first year agents that that mentor group will be able to give back to. And I hope one day through wonderful, you know, interview process, and recruiting and whatever that we grew out of this building, I think that'd be a great problem to have, but there's no rush to do it. You know, our interview process is pretty lengthy. And our mentorship is part of that interview process and having a panel and, you know, really making sure that the minute they walk in the door, they're as invested as we are in them. And making sure that expectation is really clear.

Brian Charlesworth  32:12  

How many agents are in your business today?

Mahala Landin  32:15  

We have 20, buyer specialists, five of which are brokers as well. And then we have two dedicated listing partners.

Brian Charlesworth  32:22  

Okay, so yeah, those are some great numbers that you guys are putting up with that size team?

Mahala Landin  32:30  

Yeah. And you have to that's where I include those that information with the team too. So when somebody comes to me and says, Why are we bringing on another agent? I'll share that, you know, because I know that we're able to maintain an average of three transactions per agent per month, you know, and that's quality. And I know we have enough leads to be able to distribute to this number of agents and you know, the math is there, the formulas there. And the more mentality doesn't work for me either more does not mean better, quality, better. And that agent that is getting to that place of I need more leads, I'm asking them well, what by doing that, what are you sacrificing? Are you not going to call your past clients this month? Are you because if you're so focused on that transaction on chasing that your relationships aren't really what is leading you to make those decisions?

Brian Charlesworth  33:20  

Yeah, so let's talk about that for a minute relationships. I know client relationship is like the number one thing for you, based on based on my research anyway. So talk about the client relationship, the importance of that, because I think it's so common that agents just want more leads, and they don't understand the importance of making sure that they're taking care of the ones they've gotten.

Mahala Landin  33:46  

Yeah, we start from the beginning in our training. And so we have a top 100 program that we start the minute that we bring on a new agent, because that first deal, that first family that they help, that's going to be their first past client and that bucket has begun. And in terms of relationship building, you know that that's that nurturing concept. And our business as a team, we're about 55%, past client past client referral, soI networking. And we, we like that, we'd like that to be even higher. And we need that team approach in order to be able to maintain that, even down to just using people's names, you know, and starting at the prospecting level, I love when I walk through the building, and I hear people prospect and then I asked who they're talking to, and they say a Boomtown lead. But it sounds like when they're speaking to them that it's like their best friend. And that natural approach to prospecting and that relationship piece to prospecting is what we teach from the very beginning. Because it does not matter where the lead sources, whether it's pay per click or whether it's open house, you have the opportunity to build that relationship and there's no guarantee of where it's going to fall on your pipeline, you know, just because they're at an open house doesn't mean they're hot a, just because it's an internet lead doesn't mean it's not a hot day. So you've got to approach it in the fact that I'm in it, I'm going to meet this client, where they are, wherever that is in the process and the customer perspective. And then it's my job, my responsibility to get them from where I met them to what they said they wanted me to do, which was help them purchase a home or help them sell a home. That's just, that's our approach. And it's its long-term database management to that's the big accounting part of my brain that loves, you know, working in sales so much as just that systematic approach to building those relationships. 

Brian Charlesworth  35:40  

It sounds like you guys have done a great job of training agents, how to really work the business, how to generate their own business, not just get used to receiving everything for free and empowering them to be successful long term really. So from what I understand, you guys have this culture? I'll call it a culture of transparency, transparency, integrity, and professionalism. How do you? How do you get that to be ingrained in all of your team members?

Mahala Landin  36:11  

Constantly talking about it? You know, it's not about choosing when it's convenient to make those decisions that reflect our culture. It's, it's got to be all the time. And we talk about it all the time. It's integrated into our training, it's integrated into our huddle calls, I was really lucky to get invited to a mastermind group this past fall with some of the other team owners that use Boomtown. And one of the things that I took from that was a Friday video, you know, and I think we're, we're moving so fast. In real estate, we're popping up showing homes doing whatever, and we're just moving so fast. And it was another touch point that I started doing with the team have a recap of the week, and how our culture played into the week and big moments of our culture and shout outs for our culture. So that's one way that you know, we've slowed down and just I've slowed down to reflect on what we've accomplished. And then also what's going to happen next week in terms of training and growth. But our team development meeting, every Wednesday is both support team, and the sales team all together. And the first thing that we do in every meeting is we do shout outs, we think to think and it's something that we work with our clients on, you know, you have to ask for that testimonial, you have to ask for that review that you need to remind people to think, and that's what we do to each other simple things, and then sometimes really big things. But that acknowledgement of how we've come together to make one plus one equal three, is the best way to start a chain development meeting, I could go on about all the different ways that we do it. But those are some big, those are some big ones.

Brian Charlesworth  37:54  

Just hearing what you've accomplished and how you're doing it. I think there are a lot of people that are going to want to collaborate with you. In fact, I'm gonna make an introduction to you and my wife, because I think you guys could share a lot of things with each other to just drive value, you do a lot of the similar and same things. And you're both moving into the is a world today. And you're both you know, it's very similar. So shifting gears a little bit, you guys have done 450 to 500 transactions the last couple years. And now like what systems do you have in place? And like talk about your operational side of your business? How many TCS Do you have, to run that? How do you how do you do 400? I mean, you've been talking about you have a sales organization, but you also have an operational organization? How do you run that? And how do you make it so efficient, so that you can do that with fewer people.

Mahala Landin  38:46  

I am a little bit of a control freak when it comes to operations. And I'm working on that’s my own professional growth. But we have one dedicated transaction coordinator for our bi sides. So you know, she does everything except negotiate on behalf of the client. And she's really a resource and she's compliance and making sure that we are doing what we are supporting that agent to stay on their dollar producing activities. The biggest thing about her role is how can we automate it as much as possible. So we use dotloop for electronic signatures. And for the most part, we're setting that loop up for them and with placeholders and just automating as much as possible within the loops so that when a client or when an agent is out on out on the road, they can quickly get their offers out with the app or with a laptop like just super fast. And I think whenever you're picking a system, you have to remember that you can't compromise a salespersons ability to get their job done for operational excellence, because we wouldn't be here without the sale. And it's not that we're making poor decisions, but we have to make sure that our operations supply That sales function, not the other way around. And I think there are a lot of software Real Estate Software that is more driven for the transaction coordinator. And it forgets that the real user is the salesperson. So, I think that when you can find a good blend of those two things, it's, that's when things really get great. So we're using dotloop. For that reason, Sisu for, you know, the stages board, especially that project management side of it, we had been using an external non-real estate site for that level of

Brian Charlesworth  40:36  

Was that Trello or monday.com? or What were you guys using before

Mahala Landin  40:40  

you were using get flow? Okay, super familiar with Trello, as well. And we had been using that in the marketing group. But honestly, that was like the game-changer. That was really the like, yep, as long as they have this Sisu. As long as they have that project management task list. I feel really great about this change. And luckily you guys did. And then we're using QuickBooks for our accounting and payroll. And I feel bad like saying this, but I mean, it's a great, it was a great transaction, management's broker Sumo. But again, it was really designed more for our back of house, there wasn't that same level of transparency with the agents and brokers Sumo that Sisu is going to provide for them in terms of their income, and where their sales are coming from. This is another big, you know, PSA for individual agents starting out know where your business is coming from. I cannot tell you how many conversations I've had with agents where I've asked them how many homes they sold last year, and they have no idea how much money did you make last year? They have no idea. And then

Brian Charlesworth  41:45  

I feel your pain, which is kind of how you got started. It's like, how do you go to a mastermind and yeah, somebody their numbers, and they don't know where they're at this year. They know, last year, maybe but they don't know this year,

Mahala Landin  41:55  

you know, and I'm talking in the interview process. But unfortunately, too, you know, I've lost an engine or two because of just that. I took that as my responsibility where I let somebody down. Now whether or not looking in the rearview mirror, I could have done something different. That's another story. But as a team owner, as a business owner, as a business partner, to all of these agents, which I truly believe I am more than anything, it's our responsibility to make sure we're really transparent about where the businesses coming from, how much their income goals are, and where they are to meet those goals. And, you know, keeping up with their transaction management, and with broker, Sumo being really great for us in the back of house, that piece was really missing. So I'm excited to see how we are potentially going to solve that problem. And it wasn't an across the board problem. But you know, you get a bunch of highs in the room, the last thing they really want to look at is data. So I'm looking forward to having that very much at their fingertips.

Brian Charlesworth  42:56  

Awesome. And then you said Boomtown on the front end.

Mahala Landin  43:00  

So hold on CRM. Yeah. And, and if we can keep it, I mean, we have some other things that we use, you know, those bells and whistles, I love call action for some call or some lead generation routing rules and small, just ways of integrating into Boomtown Mojo dialer, you know, I like a good system, but in terms of the platforms that are known as are that are absolutely essential for an agent to get their job done. It's Boomtown, Sisu, and dotloop.

Brian Charlesworth  43:27  

Yeah, okay. Well, we are working on a direct integration from dotloop here in the very near future, which will be great and allow us to push everything to dotloop to fill those loops. And then to pull all of the documents into Sisu, for something that I'll share with you, maybe offline here, but we are working on the ability for you to have all of your vendors participate in the Sisu platform. And the mortgage companies and title companies are most excited about being able to share those documents and really the communication having that be a single communication platform. So

Mahala Landin  44:00  

Being involved at the mortgage company this past year, I've learned a lot more than I thought I would about just, you know, their back-end operations and what it takes for them to scale. And we are a challenging team for lenders because we have a high expectation high volume. And that's exciting for a lender but you got to be you have to have that process and operations in place. So not this was a young organization. So we had some hiccups too. And cc would be a great compliment to that.

Brian Charlesworth  44:33  

Yeah, so Mahala. What, what advice would you have for somebody listening, just wrapping up, we have a few more minutes. I have a couple personal questions I want to ask you, but while we're on the business front, what advice would you have for somebody wanting to build a team or somebody that's working on a team like moving forward the way you used to the industry, or from what you've learned from maybe your mistakes? What do you feel like is one thing that you feel that might help people be able to take their business to the next level,

Mahala Landin  45:03  

We've kind of touched on it a couple of times. But what Rachel and Dan started on this team is something that transitioning into being the managing partner and the managing director. Prior to that, we had to develop that really big working relationship and having a lot of trust with each other, to be able to have some really tough conversations, we had to get to that place, every decision that I have rolled out to them was not received well. But as long as you're making decisions that are based on your team's culture, whatever that is, what you know, there's a lot of different wonderful teams out there, and make those decisions based on the core foundations of your team. Don't make big changes based on one agent that you're afraid to lose, don't make decisions, because you're afraid to lose something you don't have yet, you just have to take, as long as you're making the decisions that are for the hole, and representative of whatever values that you have within the company, you're probably going to make the right one. And whether it's a short-term or a long-term, you're going to get to where you want it to be. Because sometimes it's hard to see people go or it's hard to see people leave. And that's just what you have to deal with. And if not as long as you're maintaining that your business is going to continue to thrive. Yeah. So that's been a big one for me, especially not having maybe as much real estate background as other people in my position. I mean, this is I'm going into my seventh anniversary, it's not that long. So you know, I just had to trust that this was the culture that I belonged in, that the people that I'm hiring have that same culture, and that the decisions that we're making as a team are the right ones. And so far, that's, that's served me well. Hope that answers the question.

Brian Charlesworth  46:54  

Yeah, I think that's phenomenal advice, especially for some of the smaller teams. I remember, just as a reflecting on this, my wife now has about 25, to 30 agents on our team. And I remember back in the days when Sisa was just getting started, she had five agents on our team. I remember her losing like her top agent at the time, and it was devastating for her. But it was the best thing that ever happened for her to be able to grow and go to that next level. So just know, I think it's such great advice. Whatever's best for your team. It's not based on an individual agent. Don't ever make decisions that way. Yeah, I love it. Okay, so obviously, you're a student of learning. How do you learn so much? What's your favorite source of learning? Is it books? Is it a podcast? What is it that you do to grow mentally?

Mahala Landin  47:47  

Yeah, a little bit of a junkie on Audible. I do. I just I like, it's, I'm a multitasker, I know, there are some books that say that's not a real state of mind. But I like having just that constant stimulation of, you know, sometimes I have to listen to it twice. And that's okay. But I love audible and jumping around to different topics, whether they are professional growth or real estate or, you know, even manifestation, whatever it is, I enjoy it. And then I think, you know, surrounding yourself with people that are always leveling you up. That's a personal mission of mine is that I always want to surround myself with people that I aspire to be around. I don't want to be the most interesting person in the room. I want to be around people that are just driving me and driving both professionally or personally, I much prefer to be challenged in that way, even if it makes me feel a little uncomfortable or inadequate. I would rather do.

Brian Charlesworth  48:48  

Yeah, I love it. That's great. It's great advice. I mean, the fastest way to grow, is to surround yourself with people who think bigger and have accomplished things that we haven't. Right. So what's your favorite thing to do in your personal time?

Mahala Landin  49:05  

I came from a big line of educators. Not big, but pretty much every adult in my life was an educator and I fell into that early. When I was 18. I got certified and Pilates equipment and taught that for 15 years. So I have my equipment in my basement and I love exercising and challenging myself in that way. And just being outside. I've got two little girls, I've got a just turned 10 year old and an almost eight year old that completely rocked my world every day, but it's possible. And I like spending time with them. And one day we'll get back to traveling and doing all that fun stuff. But

Brian Charlesworth  49:45  

So moving ahead when you do get back to traveling. Where is it? What's your favorite place to visit?

Mahala Landin  49:53  

Well, how about where I'm excited to go so I've got a lackluster birthday coming up tomorrow. But I've got a big one

Brian Charlesworth  50:01  

Happy birthday.

Mahala Landin  50:03  

But I've got a big one next year and I'm, I'm already making the decision that I'm going somewhere, Caribbean, I'm going to go to Antigua and I find a hot over some water and just enjoy it. So that's kind of something to look forward to. And I'm going to invite all my friends that are turning or have turned or will turn 40 in the last year, we'll just do one big year of 40.

Brian Charlesworth  50:25  

Well, that's funny. You say that it's my wife's 40th birthday in March this year. And we are actually we've rented a yacht and we're sailing the US Virgin Islands. Yeah. So very similar. thought process there to what you have.

Mahala Landin  50:41  

And just have a great time and just enjoy. I think we all deserve it.

Brian Charlesworth  50:45  

Yes, absolutely. Well, Happy birthday to you. And congratulations on all of your success. For those who want to get a hold of you to maybe they, I don't know, maybe they've heard something that they want to talk about brainstorm with, you know, what's the best way to get a hold of you?

Mahala Landin  51:00  

My email is very important to me in terms of staying connected. I'm just Mahal@RachelKendall.com. Ma-ha-la is how you spell my name. And that's probably the best way that way I'll always respond.

Brian Charlesworth  51:16  

Okay. All right, Mahala. Well, thank you so much. And again, just congratulations on what you've accomplished in such a short time being in this industry. It's fun to see. And one of the things that's been really fun for me is how many female leaders now are stepping up and just leading these powerhouse teams. So you are one of those and congratulations and I look forward to having you as a cc customer and being able to work even closer and learn from you and grow with you. And again, thanks for joining us on the Grit podcast today.

Mahala Landin  51:51  

Thank you, this was fun.

About the Author

Brian Charlesworth
Chairman and CEO

Brian is an entrepreneur and business builder. He has built and sold companies in the software, telecommunications, and franchise space. He’s passionate about technology and focused on changing lives through driving technology forward.