Podcast

Episode 79 - GRIT The Real Estate Growth Mindset with Michael LaFido

Brian Charlesworth
August 17, 2021

Upon getting his real estate license in 2000, Michael LaFido worked as a part-time agent and full-time high school health and physical education teacher. But with a growing family, he felt he was spreading himself too thin.  So in 2010, he decided to go into real estate full time.


Several years later, Michael did some real estate coaching and consulting where he developed a product called “The Ultimate Listing Blueprint”.  This product led him to meet a gentleman who coaches top luxury agents who are having difficulty competing in their marketplace.


He found that most agents who deal with luxury properties think that the only way they’d be able to compete is if they become one of the cheaper agents in their market - which he doesn’t agree with.  This was when he made the shift to luxury listings on his home selling side and his coaching/consulting side as well. 


Today, Michael is the Founder & CEO at Luxury Listing Specialist Designation(LUXE) where he helps brokers and agents improve their luxury marketing strategies to help sell more luxury homes. His methods are considered “The New Standard” for marketing luxury homes today.


Key Takeaways:

 

05:20 The 3 things agents can do to make more money

07:28 What is a luxury listing?

09:22 The 4 primary price points in most markets

10:20 How to make the switch to luxury listings?

21:25 What trends does Michael see in marketing versus what everyone else does?

21:46 What does “fresh eyes analysis” mean?

25:56 Michael’s vision for the market

30:29  What’s the best method of learning for Michael

36:01  How to have a great year for your business

37:18  Michael’s most important piece of advice


To get a hold of Michael LaFido, you may email him at michael@marketingluxurygroup.com.

You may also check his social media pages:

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/luxurylistingspecialist

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/lafido

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/mikelafido/



Podcast Transcript:


Brian Charlesworth  0:35  

All right. Hello, everyone. And welcome back to the Grit podcast. I'm Brian Charlesworth. I'm the founder of Sisu. And the host of the show, super excited today to have our guests on with us, Michael LaFido. I met Michael about two years ago at a kW family reunion. And I've never seen anything like this. Michael was consulting to a bunch of companies at the time. And I think he still does this. We're gonna learn more about this today. But just around luxury listings, and how these, I mean, even at that franchise or level, how can these guys help their agents with luxury listing? So when I think of Michael, I think of luxury listings, honestly. And Michael is also a consultant trainer. He's a team leader. He's an author. And he also created the certification for luxury listing specialist, if any of you guys have been certified for that. That was Michael. So Michael, welcome to the show. Anything you want to add to that?


Michael LaFido  1:34  

No, that was that was pretty good introduction. Thanks, Brian.


Brian Charlesworth  1:38  

So you've been in real estate for 17 years now? How did you migrate to luxury listings?


Michael LaFido  1:44  

Yeah, so I've been really kind of focusing on luxury, just the last six years. So I got a license actually, in 2000. So a little over almost 21 years now. And I was a part-time agent, I was a full-time High School health and physical education teacher. And we had a six-month-old and my wife is pregnant with number two. And, you know, it's kind of burning candles on both ends. So she's like, Hey, you got to pick one or the other. And so, you know, in 2010, march of 2010, I went full time into real estate. And I had some coaching, consulting, and did some speaking back then for agents on how to get more leads, more listings, and more closings, I had a product called the ultimate listing blueprint. And it was a box of DVDs and CDs, if you will. And unbeknownst to me, a gentleman down in Jacksonville, he was with ERA franchise systems at the time, he had bought that product. And one of the modules was basically how I get, you know, at the time, how I get 8% listings and a 5% market. Now I know, you know, you can't call it 5% market and Sherman antitrust law. So I'm not telling people what to charge people. But this particular individuals, like, you know, hey, I coach a bunch of top agents. And in this case, he coached some top luxury agents. And unfortunately, they would compete in their marketplace, even though they didn't have to, but in their mind, they thought they did by being one of the cheaper agents in their market. So I did some coaching. I did some consulting for some top luxury agents and teams and, and that's really when I made the shift myself, not just on the coaching, consulting side to luxury, but also on the home-selling side. So that was 2013-2014. Brian.


Brian Charlesworth  3:24  

Okay. So I'm sure everyone's eyes are lighting up right now going, how do I get 8%? On every listing? So are you going to teach us that today?


Michael LaFido  3:34  

Well, I wish I could tell you I'm still focusing on the percentages today. But I'm still by far probably the most expensive agent sellers interview in my market. And so what we really focus on during the appointment is end results, right. And so especially the high net worth individuals, they're used to investing a little bit more on their dining experience on their clothing and their cars. I think they want that silver platter experience. And so they do focus more on net, they focus more on return on their investment than perhaps the other, you know, other clientele. So, again, most sellers, particularly those that get it in the upper price points, if you can share with them how they're going to net more money through superior marketing, superior exposure, better negotiations, better spheres of influence, right, and contacts and, and being well, like the mayor of your city. If you can stack that offer and articulate it. You're most of the time, you're not going to push back if you charge more, because they do focus on what they net at when the dust settles.


Brian Charlesworth  4:33  

Right. Okay. Good. So that's a great piece of advice there just to focus on the net rather than what the commission split is right. I mean, yeah,


Michael LaFido  4:41  

I had a gentleman on my podcast because like you I have a podcast and Kevin Foreman, and this is going back about a year and a half ago. And Kevin talked about at the time, according to real trends. The Commission's were going down I believe, at the time the average commission across the country was 5.07%. And he said that was going down. Well, I don't need to drop any names, but there are discount brokerages out there and there's downward pressure. So I think we can all agree that, you know, if I were a betting man, I would say commissions are more likely to either say level or go down versus go up, you know, immediately. And so, because of that, for an agent to make the same amount of money or make more money, Brian, they got to work smarter, not harder. But really one of three things has to happen either got to sell more homes. Now, I don't know about you. But that equates to working harder in many cases. Number two is they got to be more profitable per transaction. And that could be increasing what they charge that could be cutting away some fat and some things that don't work. Again, many agents, they don't know how to tell a seller, that doesn't work. In other words, hey, I want my home advertised here, I want you to do an open house, right? You know, and so I always refer back to market research. So I'd say if you were pushing me on doing something that statistically doesn't prove to get you a good ROI, or get me a good ROI. I'd say, Brian, I certainly understand where you're coming from. If that did work, I would, let's just say it was an open house, I would do open houses or broker open house, I would do broker open houses every week, if that got the home sold, because of course, I only get paid when your property sells, but I'm gonna invest my time, energy and resources based on what market research tells us is the best return on my investment in my time. So that's number two be more profitable per transaction. And the third, which I think is the lowest hanging fruit is to increase your average sale price. Hello, you know, if your average sale price as an agent is 300,000. And you can go up 30% get you the 390 that would be a 30% raise selling the same number of homes as you did the previous year.


Brian Charlesworth  6:44  

Yeah, and I think everybody even though commission percentages may have dropped over the last few years. For some agents not for all, but commission or house price points have increased. So I would say agents probably have not taken a dip for the most part. Would you agree with that?


Michael LaFido  7:03  

Yeah, I mean, the median home sale price I believe NAR said from a year ago, I want to say was up 22%? Maybe I think from the previous year, call it 20%. And so yeah, even if an agent, you know, lowers their fee by 15%. And their average sale price went up 20%. And they sell the same number of homes. They should be more 5% more profitable, based on numbers alone.


Brian Charlesworth  7:26  

Yeah. Okay. So I want to dive into luxury. I know some people have this misconception of or maybe it's not a misconception you can tell me of you know, luxury properties or these 10, 20 $30 million homes in LA or New York or some major city. Some people may say a luxury listing is anything over a million dollars and doesn't matter where it is. I don't know the definition. You're the expert. So what is a luxury listing?


Michael LaFido  7:57  

That's a great question. So if we're talking about price point alone, because you can define luxury based on materials and style and, and architectural design and what how it's furnished and artwork, but if we're talking price alone. Many brands, as you mentioned, define luxury as a million dollars and above. Well, that doesn't get you much in the Silicon Valley in a million dollars in Rochester, New York. We'll get you a lot or in Davenport, Iowa, you know, I was a training about a year and a half ago. For gentlemen, maybe you've heard the name Matt Fazioli. He does these big explode conferences. And this one is in a town called Kokomo, Indiana I had an agent come up to me afterwards, I was basically talking about luxury how to break into luxury. And she said I was hesitant to come to your session, but I'm so glad I did. She said we don't have million-dollar properties here in Kokomo, Indiana. Now at the time, imagine this, Brian, but the average sale price in Kokomo, Indiana, according to her was $80,000. So that she goes the average sale price here is $80,000. So she said we don't have million-dollar properties. But so I define a luxury home as a home that is priced at three times the market average for that given market, every market is different. So luxury is all relative to that given market. So 80,000 times three is 240. And she goes we certainly have a lot of 250s and three hundreds. We even have some fives and some sixes, we just don't have million-dollar properties. So I teach agents that there are four primary price points. In most market, you really got to start with the second bucket. The second bucket is average price. Okay. median is a better indicator. But most human beings level on real estate agents are terrible at number. So I use average because it's easier to find that number. So figure out what the average sale price in your given market. Okay, let's just use 250 as this example. So if it's in the 250 range plus or minus your net average price point, you know, well below 250 you're in the entry-level or starter bucket. Okay, the third bucket is what we call high-end homes, high-end homes or homes that are two times the average sale price. So 250 times two, so in that 500 range and then luxury is 250 times three or 750 and above. Now, you know, if you were to call it Uber luxury or ultra luxury, that'd be the fifth bucket. I would say that's probably a 10x. Or, but most markets might not have that number.


Brian Charlesworth  10:17  

Okay, okay, that's very clear. I'm putting on my hat. I want to become a list luxury listing agent, I'm sick of selling homes for 250, maybe even 500. I want to jump up to that 750 range. What do I do? How do I make that happen?


Michael LaFido  10:32  

Gotta be a student of the game, right? Always be learning, right? There's so much great content out there. You know, Lisa Hayes says, Be careful how you talk to yourself because guess what you are listening. And so many agents have what I call limiting beliefs. Brian, they have excuses like I got to be licensed X amount of years or B with a certain brand or have gray hair or I have to live in a certain house or drive a certain car or, heck, there's already fill in the blank 27 luxury agents in my market, there certainly isn't room for 28. That's the worst one out of them all. So you really got to believe you can so you got to work on the mindset mindset mindset, whether you're What are you watching? What are you listening to? And you'll become more confident by attending other people's broker open houses for those high-end and luxury homes. So I recommend they do that and get the listing agents permission, but they might even consider doing a host or Facebook Live from there, get the listing agent permission. And if you were the listing agent, I would if we were to roleplay I'd say hey, Brian, hey, this is Michael a Fida from XYZ Realty. I'm planning on attending your broker open on Tuesday over at 123 Biscayne Boulevard, really looking forward to it. I just want to ask beforehand that was one post and let people know I'm attending this open house. Do you have a website that I can drive people to get some exposure for you? So I would start with what's in it for you, right? Because I would want to help you I never want to mislead or, or pretend like it's my listing. So I would disclose, disclose, disclose. But I mean, we're in dating app industry, people are on their smartphones. And most people watch videos that are on default mute anyways, so they're scrolling, they're scrolling all the sudden Brian, they see me at your open house, pointing out some things and even though I'm saying this is Brian's listing as Brian's listing go to 123 Elm streets are like, Hey, Mike, I saw you at that amazing home and you consistently start doing that. And people realize they remember what you do for a living. And they see that you're consistently around some unique and pretty cool property. So I would go to other people's broker opens, and maybe even offer to attend other broker open. So, Brian, you and I were in the same office? Again, this is a trick question. But the most listened-to radio station that most listing agents listen to, is the same that most sellers listen to and most buyers listen to. And that's WII FM. That's stands for what's in it for me. So if I'm calling you the listing agent, Brian, I already know what keeps you awake at night for your listing at 123. Biscayne Boulevard. It's been on a while I'm sure the sellers are on you about doing something different. Maybe your listing agreements coming up and you want that extension. And so you've exhausted all your options, perhaps maybe not. But I'm assuming that and so I'm coming to you with something on a silver platter, I'm offering to do something for you to make your life easier to make you look good for your sellers, and hopefully get that home sold. So if we to roleplay and say, Hey, Brian, I see you got that listing there at 123 Elm Street, or Biscayne Boulevard doesn't matter what the address is, Hey, I'm not sure if the sellers are on here about doing something different or marketing or creating some foot traffic. But I'm offering I'd love to sit in an open house for you there. And I know in that price point, Brian, your sellers might think you're crazy or I see it's vacant and maybe you don't want to give up your weekends with your family. I'm willing to do that. So one of the benefits Brian even if we don't get a qualified offer through that open house, one of those benefits is on those third-party websites like Zillow and Redfin and realtor.com. When you host an open house on 123, Biscayne Boulevard, you're going to get a lot more clicks and views for that week that you're doing it than the competition down the street. So worst-case scenario, you go to your seller and say, Hey, I'm going to try something. There's an associate called a team member, that and I are going to market I'm going to market it online. He's going to walk them through your home ahead of time so he feels comfortable, but he's going to host an open house, and Mr. Seller worst-case scenario, we don't get a lot of activity or an offer, we're still going to be get a win out of it. Because we're going to get more views, we get more views, we get more clicks, we get more online clicks, we got a higher probability of getting a qualified showing in the next couple of weeks. So leveraging other people's properties, like the old song from the 1990s OPP wants to leverage other people's properties if you don't have your own broker opens working other people's open houses. And then the next way you could do it is if you have a successful sale someone in Realty One or you're with eXp or Keller Williams, someone else has a successful sale outside of your market congratulate themselves asam Brian, would you mind if I post about your successful sale in Provo? So I post something here in Chicago where I'm basing, hey, check out this record sale from a colleague of mine. He's out in Provo. By the way, if anybody's looking to get a secondary place there, or get something, you know, to go skiing in the winter, I can connect you with a rockstar agent. I'm licensed here only in Illinois, however, I have connections across the globe. So if you're going to look someplace, reach out to me no obligation, but I'll make an introduction to somebody, I will treat you right, and negotiate on your best interest. I am just planting seeds for 25% referral fees right there.


Brian Charlesworth  15:37  

Right. Yeah, that's great. I'm going to shift gears a little bit because well, maybe you can clarify for us. So you really focus your time in two areas. One is you consult on how to do exactly what we've been discussing. And then the other thing you do is you actually run your own team, right?


Michael LaFido  15:55  

Yeah, so started with the consulting side. So yes, I have a coaching consulting business. And I'm also you mentioned, the founder of the Lux designation called luxury listing specialist, we launched it five and a half years ago, requires zero luxury sales to take our course and to get certified. So I teach that pre-pandemic, you know, I did, I think 32 events in 2019, between my events, or speaking as somebody else's on somebody else's event. So of course, 2020, we all adapt, and we did a lot of zoom trainings. And now we're starting to do more face to face. So in May, we did a full day and a half training out Napa, we had 70 agents fly in from 19 states, we took a tour of a mansion that's on the market for 16 and a half million and 18 million. So we're taking the concepts that we're teaching, and we're helping agents adapt and identify to apply it to their everyday. And so we do those trainings all over, Brian. And then we're also approved for continuing education, we have several courses approved for CE four in Texas. Two, we just got our second approved in Florida and one in Georgia, and we're looking to expand that. But then I also run a small team as an agent in the Chicagoland market. And think we have 25 listings right now I want to say 15 of them are, you know, above a million and a half and you know, 10 above 2 million, and I think six above 3 million. I have a 10 and a half million dollar listing. I represent an NFL superstars house right now. And so that's a little bit about my home selling team.


Brian Charlesworth  17:25  

Awesome. Congratulations. All right. So let's talk about your consulting. So who do you consult to? I mean, I am trying to figure out who your customers are. But if I was listening to this podcast right now, and I ran a team, maybe it's 30 agents, and I went, Oh, how do we get our listings up higher? Is that someone who could be a client of yours? Are they all I know you work with, like corporate religions of the world? kw is of the world that level as well. So yeah, yeah. What's your range of customers and tell


Michael LaFido  17:54  

us early on we really focused more on the individual agent. But of course, you know, from a scalability and leverage, right, just like the benefit of a team. You know, we're really focusing more on larger teams and brokerages, whether it be independent or franchise. For example, when I launched my designation five and a half years ago, it was for a REMAX franchise, down in Dallas, REMAX DFW and Associates, I think they had at the time 300 agents, six offices, and they were looking for some additional support, more so than they were getting from corporate. So you know, we can help a franchise or we can help boutiques launch luxury division strengthen their presence and their luxury market. I believe our job is to be in a discussion, right? So you know, if you're a licensed agent, and in someone's thinking about listing or selling their home, I tell agents, you want to be in that discussion, right, you want to at least get the opportunity in life, the opportunity for the listing appointment an opportunity to interview for the job. Well, same thing when it goes to brokerages or large teams, you know, we helped a company called j power down in Dallas, JP and Associates, they are kind of a flat fee model where they just make money per transaction. And initially, they didn't see the benefit of having a luxury division because whether one of their agents sold a $10 million home or $100,000 home, it meant the same to Jaipur as a business owner. But they soon realized that, you know, if we attract high quality agents that do a lot of the upper end and luxury, that's going to give us a better-perceived value in the community, which will help our agents that focus on entry-level convert more prospects to clients. So really, I do believe in a top-down mentality if you have a strong presence and those upper price points. I believe everything rolls downhill and everybody will benefit.


Brian Charlesworth  19:40  

Yeah, very interesting. All right, so you've written two books, right.


Michael LaFido  19:59  

More than that, but Yeah, so I've written a book called, I read a book called marketing luxury. And that's geared towards consumers. So a seller goes, you're going to appointment to sell or to leave behind for the consumers and best practices, who to hire what not to hire. I've written a book called luxury listing specialist. That book is on Amazon. It's my flagship book, if you will. And then I wrote a book called outside the box recently, that's a book that is really a photo based book based on case studies and how to position homes. And I also wrote a book when I was still teaching how I became a Top Producing agent, working part-time hours.


Brian Charlesworth  20:39  

Alright, so in those books, like if I, let's just take a luxury listing specialist, like who's, who's the best audience for that? Any anybody selling real estate? Is that what that is?


Michael LaFido  20:50  

The best audience for that would be yes, somebody that is not just interested, but says, you know, what, I really want to increase my average sale price. What do I need to work on to do that? So whether it be a team, whether that be an office, or whether that be an individual agent? I mean, it applies to all


Brian Charlesworth  21:05  

Okay, so I know you are an aggressive marketer, like I read some stuff about, you're like, you know, there's traditional marketing, and then there's, there's my marketing, and you have something that's kind of set the new standard for marketing luxury homes today. Can you tell us more about that, like, what it was the trends in marketing that you do versus what everyone else does?


Michael LaFido  21:29  

Well, first off, I can tell you, there's none of these out there. Right. People want the easy button, Brian, that was easy. There's no easy buttons, but some things come easier for others naturally, and others. It just takes time because you've learned and you've observed you ask questions. And so I call something called my fresh eyes analysis. You know, in business, they might call the SWOT analysis, right strength, weakness, opportunity threat. But for fresh eyes analysis, when I look at our properties, I get multiple eyeballs on I'm trying to get poke holes, and am I missing something? Can I essentially wait something more? Can I downplay something? So not just amazing photos? Not just amazing descriptions? Literally, I could have the world's best copywriter type out the description for every one of my properties. And guess what if they don't like what they see if we're overpriced, they're going to swipe left, right. So you know, you really have to know what it is you're looking for. So I have a gentleman that's joining my team. And he turned over two listings, he wants me to handle one's a $500,000. Home. The other is 2.7. The $500,000 home, I looked at the photos, and right away, I see some things that we can strengthen. I also look at the tax records. In this case, the tax records indicate it's a four bedroom, he added marketed previously as a three bedroom, because he said well, the one is kind of a den. Well, if the tax record show, it's four, I'm going to count it as a fourth. And in my description, I'm going to talk about how it could be a den or an office. But when people are searching online, having four bedrooms versus three like he had it, it's not even showing up on some people's radar. So I teach agents to think like a marketer, not like a real estate agent. So think differently. You know, we are really in the marketing business. So I want more eyeball traffic, I want people to pick mine, or the guy down the street. So how do you do that? How do you how do you position it differently? How do you differentiate yourself during the showing, so the experience is better. After the showing. I just had a showing today on one of my multimillion-dollar properties. It was an NBA player that was looking at it. And again, I know the competition that he's looking at. So I'm already going back and we're being proactive, to try to get them to pick me pick me pick our listings. But without saying that, right. So there's, there's a way of doing that. And so being good communicator, being a great negotiator, but also disc personality and Myers Brigg Colby, being able to mirror and understanding people's personalities is really important. Because many times I'm talking to the buyer's agent, and they're feeling like they won. But ultimately, we got what we wanted. So that's the art of negotiating as well. So thinking differently. The new standard today is not just one thing. It's a multitude of things, Brian,


Brian Charlesworth  24:10  

Yeah, great. So interesting. I'm going to ask this now, because I usually ask this at the end, but like, I'm out there, I'm going, Hey, I want my team to learn more about this. Is that something you're willing to go do in today's market? Like and tell me more about that. Let's say I have a team of 30 agents, and I'm like, I want my agents to


Michael LaFido  24:32  

Yeah, so I mean, like, I have an agent right now she's out of Atlanta. She's a $95 million producer, she got a team of around 15 and, and she wants to crack 120 million this year. And, and she's not doing as well and those other price points as she thinks she can. And so, you know, I'm helping her team. I'm coaching them up. So I'm not just coaching her individually, but also the team. So that's one option that we have, you know, sometimes people just fly out and I'll work with them for a day or two, there's a lot of different customizations that we offer. And then we also the lowest bearing fruit is somebody wants to take our course, to go online, luxurylistingspecialist.com, they plop down their credit card and they get a username and password, they just go through it self paced. So we offer free products through our blog and our podcast. And we offer, you know, higher price points, I had one client that they paid me over a couple $100,000, but I increased her average sale price, and they attract more opportunities and they looked at it, it's long term gain. So it's really, you know, up to the individual. But ideally, our ideal client is a team leader or brokerage that is really committed to increasing your average sale price and either launching a luxury division or improving their luxury division.


Brian Charlesworth  25:52  

Yeah, great. Thank you for sharing that. wanted to ask you like, what's your vision of the market? There's been a lot of change over the last year COVID hit everybody, you know, feared they wouldn't be able to sell any more houses. Two months later, houses are selling like crazy. You know, some people say the markets inflated. Some people say it's going to keep going. I'd love to hear your perspective, since you're in so many high-priced homes. Yeah,


Michael LaFido  26:17  

I was a panelist recently with the chief economic officer for NAR, Howard Yun and the chief economic officer for Luxury Portfolio and myself, you know, I don't know, if you've ever been on a stage and you're like, you're looking at these people, and you're like, going into some like, wow, I'm amongst greatness, you know, and, and at first, I'm like, What am I going to contribute to this panel, but when it talked about marketing, and it talked about real estate, definitely deferred to me. But one thing that Howard talked about is, you know, at the current rate of debt and inflation that we're dealing with, rates have to be going up, you know, people say end of the year, but nobody knows when but rates are definitely going to go up. And although the upper price points are the least amount affected by interest rates, money is cheap, I got a closing tomorrow 2.9 million, and that guy's putting 25% down, I got a home, that's over 7 million, and it's close to being under contract, that guy's only putting 25% down. because money is cheap, people would rather keep their money liquid so they can play with it in the market or do whatever it is they want. So when rates go up, it's going to affect all price points. So I do feel like we're gonna see things slowed down a bit, you know, the rental market, that's a whole nother different topic. I don't really focus on that. But I do feel like the upper price points are still in the healthiest. It's been since pre-pandemic, but it has slowed down a little bit, Brian? And, you know, I'm just hoping that we ride this wave, you know, I'm friends with agents, and I consult with agents across the world. And Chicago has always been a buyer's market, you know, really since I've been focused on real estate full time. And so it's just been great to finally see those upper price points loosen up a little bit. And I hope it continues. But I do believe it's going to slow down a little bit.


Brian Charlesworth  28:02  

Yeah. Okay. What I really want to know from a team perspective, not from your consulting perspective, what is your focus right now, from a team perspective to grow your business? 


Michael LaFido  28:14  

Yeah, we're gonna be doing more and more open houses. I'm not I don't do open houses but from a team perspective. And so we leveraged I look at as a listing as a platform to attract like a magnet, it's a platform to attract more buyers and more listings, of course, we want to get the home sold fastest and net to sellers the most amount of money. But in doing so, you know, if we get it out there with more exposure through websites, through video, through tagging, through optimization through word of mouth marketing, through getting the sellers to be an ancillary sales force and posting about the property, then we feel like those are more fishing lines in the pond, and we can catch more fish. Right. So that's really our focus is to optimize what we currently have. And then of course, do what we say we're going to do. And, you know, make it a great experience, because you're more likely to get a referral during that process. I mean, I just put two homes on the market this week, a CEO of a former big-time company, and another CEO, and those are both referrals. So again, luxury real estate is kind of like meat to parent with Robert De Niro. I mean, it's really the circle of trust when you do a good job and the upper price points for one person, you know, don't screw it up. Because if you do a good job, you know, that could be a great referring source.


Brian Charlesworth  29:34  

Yeah. Okay. I like your comparison there. Don't be Ben Stiller, right? 


Michael LaFido  29:38  

Don't be Ben Stiller. 


Brian Charlesworth  29:41  

All right. I'm going to shift to some personal questions here that I usually ask. I'd love to learn like what your favorite source of learning is your favorite book or your favorite podcast. Before I do that, what is the name of your podcast? I'd like our listeners to know that.


Michael LaFido  29:54  

Yeah, it's just it's Luxury Listing Specialist, Luxury Listing Specialist. It's on iTunes. on Spotify, Stitcher, I think we just released our 100 and 52nd episode, if you think you would be a great guest on our podcast, reach out to me. Michael@marketingluxurygroup.com, we're always looking for people that bring something different to the table. We don't want the same regurgitated content, right. So if you have a unique niche, if you think you could be a great contributor, please reach out to me. So we launched a little over three years ago.


Brian Charlesworth  30:26  

Okay, awesome. Okay, so back to what’s your favorite book or favorite source of learning right now? And I know that changes over time, so it depends on where you're at in your life. So yeah,


Michael LaFido  30:36  

So I don't watch hardly any TV. I mean, I tell my wife, we got to cancel cable. I mean, literally, I might watch an hour a month. That's it like, seriously. So you know, I'm at the stage of my life with kids and sports that we don't have a whole lot of downtime we're getting, you know, back from practice after eight o'clock. So, you know, reading right now, I'm reading a book called Building your empire. It's from Grant Cardone’s wife, Elena Cardone. So that's what I'm reading now. But what's interesting about that book, she's talking a lot about building your empire as far as your marriage, about your family about your team, you know, that's kind of your empire. And so there's so many great books out there, you know, it's hard for me to, to pinpoint one, you know, I love reading, I love really listening to, while I work out at the orangetheory Fitness so many times, you know, we'll be listening to, you know, the headphones afterwards, because they don't like to do then. So, you know, that's my mode of, learning really, is either podcasts and listening. You know, when I'm jogging around the neighborhood, not it's, you know, Sports Center, orangetheory and reading, but I'm more of an observant learner than anything else saw. You know, Tony Robbins says success leaves clues, you know, go figure out what some of the success was doing. observe it. So I'm more of a visual learner, Brian. And so, you know, watching people watching how they interact, watching how they treat others, how they carry themselves. You know, that's probably the best method of learning for me.


Brian Charlesworth  32:06  

I love it. That's the first time I've heard that as an answer. In what, 80 episodes now, so that's great. Thank you for sharing that. What's your favorite place to visit? you've traveled all over the world you've traveled to train you've traveled? I'd love to hear just what your favorite places.


Michael LaFido  32:23  

Yeah. So we were just here we were just in Colorado as well. You know, last year we did just a such a memorable trip as a family and it ranks up there with the best all-time. Now personally, I love Italy. My wife and I went there for our honeymoon. I've been there one other time. So Italy's number one, but fires, you know, family. We did the old Griswold trip. So we did Mount Rushmore, and then we did Big Sky, Montana. We went whitewater rafting, we went to the Redwood National Forest. So the Pacific Northwest is just beautiful. I really enjoyed that. And if I wasn't with the kids, you know, Italy, if my wife and I were to go somewhere we love Italy.


Brian Charlesworth  33:02  

So your name is Italian? Right? 


Michael LaFido  33:04  

Yeah, LaFido correct. 


Brian Charlesworth  33:06  

Yes. So Are your parents from? Did they grow up in Italy? Your grandparents? Like when did they come to the US?


Michael LaFido  33:12  

My father's mom came from Italy and my father's father, father, so the second generation on that side, and my mom looks Italian but she's actually Irish. I only talk about how I'm 50% Irish and St. Patty's Day. I'm kidding around. That's what my mom would say. So I'm actually 5050. But I really talk more about the Italian side.


Brian Charlesworth  33:33  

Yeah, awesome. Okay, Italian is a beautiful place. I love it over there as well. Yeah. What's your favorite thing to do in your personal time? It sounds like you guys do a lot of sports. 


Michael LaFido  33:42  

Yeah, we do a lot of sports. You know, I like working out I feel like I get a lot of you get to think right. Like, even when I travel now more travel. And I feel like you get to slow down a little bit and think, whether it reflects whether it be what I can do to improve upon myself. So, you know, working out pre-kids, I used to like get on my Harley Davidson and go for a ride. I haven't gone out at one to sing in my garage collecting dust. But I'd like to ride my Harley more. 


Brian Charlesworth  34:09  

Okay, great. So last thing is, what's the most important piece of advice you would want to give to our listeners today?


Michael LaFido  34:18  

You know, you got to figure out how to get that fire burning. Okay, I got a sign behind me that says prove them wrong. I don't know if it's a goal board in front of you, whether it be financially whether it be proving an X wrong, whether it be you know, earning enough money to to be able to donate or to get an assistant or get that muscle car that you've always wanted, whatever it might be. So keeping that that belly that the fire burning is tough, right? Some people get burnt out 2020 some people battled depression or whatever it might be. So you got to continue to work on your mind. Your brain is the most important muscle in your body. And so I look at our brain I look at our self-esteem and our ups and downs of life. This is going to be a weird analogy I guarantee in 80 episodes, nobody brought this up. It's kind of like fortnight my kids play this game called fortnight I've never played it, okay, but they play fortnight. And it's a game where you're battling people and you could lose energy, you can fall, you can get hit by bullets, and you, you lose your energy and you can die, if you will. But throughout the game, you can, you can find these jars of basically like energy drink and drink it and it saves your energy. Well, throughout the day, Brian Life is like a fortnight game, right? We wake up, we checks our text, and there's a negative client that says call me It's urgent. And it's like, and now your energy level goes down and you open up your email, there's all these. And so it's like turbines life throughout our days, like turbulence. So you got to have a really strong foundation. And so the foundation, you got to believe in yourself, right? So you got to continue to build yourself up on a daily basis, because life's going to drag you down, your clients are going to drag you down, sometimes your significant others are going to drag you down. So that'd be my best advice for anybody. If you've really, you know, want to have a great year, no matter who the President is, what interest rates are, what gas prices are, you know, whether election your guy won, or was stolen, whatever it is, you can control your life, don't buy into the narrative, the constant negative news online, or through websites or through the media, you know, turn that junk off, unfortunately, garbage in garbage stays. So you got to really focus on things that are positive, uplifting, uplifting, to make you a better person, a better agent, better husband and a better parent.


Brian Charlesworth  36:33  

They're great answer, Michael, what do you do to make sure you're staying strong in that area? Is this not morning routines? You know, so I would love to do that. Because it's such great advice. I don't want to leave it at that, like, what steps you do in your life to


Michael LaFido  36:48  

So athletics was very a big part of my upbringing, right. So I was fortunate enough to be on a great high school program, we won the state championship, I played college sports, which for me, I got a scholarship, which is my lifelong dream at the time. And so these coaches really worked on mindset mindset mindset. It's like the sports psychologist, so for me, it comes a little bit more easy than maybe others. But on a daily basis, you just have to keep affirmations, you got to do affirmations. I'm a big believer, what you how you think, is what's going to happen, right? So building yourself up, you know, my high school coach used to always say, you know, he'd have us repeat after him. I am a champion, and I refuse to lose well, and I say that daily. You know, I say that daily, even today in my 40s because life is going to beat us up and you got to refuse to lose. So tune others out as best you can. You know, Steve Jobs says if you want to, you know, make everybody happy. sell ice cream, but let's face it, you sell ice cream, people are going to complain that it's too soft. It's too hard. that not enough flavors. So you're not going to please everybody you got to be comfortable enough in your own skin. And know that some people aren't going to like you and that's okay. Be you and be the best version of you.


Brian Charlesworth  37:59  

Yeah. Okay. Thank you. Michael, how do people get ahold of you? I'm sure people are gonna want to reach out to you after listening. What's the best way to reach you?


Michael LaFido  38:07  

You know, I'm online throughout you know, Instagram On Facebook. I'm on LinkedIn, Michael LaFido my emails, Michael@marketingluxurygroup.com. Shoot me a note. Shoot me a private message. And I'd be happy to answer any questions you have.


Brian Charlesworth  38:26  

All right, everyone. Thank you so much for joining us on the show today, Michael and listeners thank you as well. Don't forget to go out and give us a five-star review. Help us get more people like Michael on the show. And we'll catch you all next week, Michael. Thank you. 


Michael LaFido  38:42  

Thanks, Brian.


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.