Podcast

Episode 84 - GRIT The Real Estate Growth Mindset with Doug Gieck

Brian Charlesworth
September 21, 2021

Doug Gieck was managing ice cream shops when he got headhunted as a client care coordinator for a referral business under the REMAX Alliance brokerage.  He didn’t know anything about real estate then but he was able to learn his way around by making appointments for real estate agents.


In 2009, the company Doug worked for started their own brokerage, 8z Real Estate.  Here, he started as the manager of the client care team.  Then he worked his way up each year until he became in charge of running operations for the brokerage.


Today, Doug Gieck is the Vice President of Production at 8z Real Estate. From having 30 agents, they have now grown to about 165 agents.  They achieved $1.4 billion in volume doing 2,700 transactions last year.  Their goal is to up those numbers to $1.75 billion with 3,000 transactions this year.  


In this episode, we talked about:


06:22 What is 8z’s big, hairy, audacious goal (BHAG)?

09:44 Doug’s advice to those building an ISA team

13:14 The most successful lead source

17:10 How to get your team to produce $1B in volume

23:27 What Doug thinks about running gamification in their business

24:03 How giving your agents recognition goes a long way

26:15 How to motivate agents and hold them accountable

29:15 8z’s core purpose

33:22 Why 8z signed up with Sisu

35:30 The true purpose of going into ancillary businesses

40:27 Doug’s one piece of advice in terms of innovation and automation

42:38 What Doug does daily to stay ahead of the curve

44:28 How having a calendar sets you free


To get in touch with Doug Gieck, check the links below:


LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/doug-gieck-34b601a/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/douglas.gieck

Website: https://8z.com/



Podcast Transcript:


Brian Charlesworth  0:35  

Alright. Hello, everyone, and welcome back to the Grit podcast. I'm Brian Charlesworth and the founder of Sisu and your host of the show. And today, I'm super excited for the guest I have here today actually happens to be one of our largest customers at Sisu. Doug Gieck with 8z. Welcome to the show, Doug.


Doug Gieck  0:55  

What's going on Brian? Happy to be here. What's up, real estate world?


Brian Charlesworth  1:00  

Hey, I just want to give people a little bit of your background. So you're out of Colorado. I actually want to hear more about 8z today because I think it's kind of unique to what's out there in the industry. So I'd like to talk about that. But I also like to talk a little bit more about you and your career. So if I go to your LinkedIn page, you know I'm seeing 8z 8z 8z 8z you’ve like come up the ranks since 2008. You've been in the business you've been at 8z but you know you've grown from just starting in the business there and I don't know how big he was at the time to now you are the VP of production for 8z and on pace to do some fabulous numbers this year. So So anyway, why don't you give us a little more background on that Doug?


Doug Gieck  1:44  

Yeah, I'm gonna take a trip down memory lane here, Brian. So I wasn't I was not even remotely interested or thinking about a career in real estate when I kind of fell into it. I was finishing up school and CU Boulder and kind of got headhunted I was managing ice cream shops. And I got headhunted by the CEO and founder Lane Hornung. He started this referral business. So we were under the REMAX Alliance brokerage and he started a website called cohomefinder.com and it was before the portals. And it was the most highly trafficked real estate website in Colorado for a number of years until the portal showed up. And I got lucky, I fell into it as a, what we call the client care coordinator, which is more popular in the industry and call the ISA at the time, so started fresh in 2008 not knowing anything about real estate and starting to generate appointments for agents, and we had a good run there. And in 2009, I'm going in 2010, Lane decided he want to start his own brokerage, which it's an interesting time to start a brokerage and real estate, right at the great recession. But we did it anyway, we learned how to be lean and how to cut our teeth and in a tougher market and, and it worked out and that was, you know about 30 agents and a lot of those. So as a referral team at the REMAX Alliance, the co homefinder team was a referral team. And I'd say the majority of them came with us when we started 8z. And yeah, I just kind of worked my way up from manager of that client care team to just buy enough a little bit more of the business each and every year. And finally really getting to the point now or run its operations for 8z and you know, as vice president production, that's my main focus with, you know, with the production, really mindset, no matter what I'm tweaking with the system, or what I'm bringing in what we're getting out of what, what we're doing with a system and you know, from that 30 agents, we're now we're an independent, and I still think we're small, but some people would argue differently, we're at about 165. And we did about 1.4 billion in volume last year 27 and change 2700 and change transactions and you know, knock on wood, we're looking to blow by that this year to probably in about 1.75 billion and, and 3000 transactions. So it's been a long, interesting run. It's hard to believe that it's been 13 years.


Brian Charlesworth  4:12  

Yeah, well, awesome. Congratulations, by the way. That's just some huge numbers. 


Doug Gieck  4:17  

Thank you. 


Brian Charlesworth  4:17  

So I wanted to find out a little bit more about like 8z as its own independent brokerage. But you guys from what I can tell you run your business more like a team, like, as far as you know, people in the real estate industry understand brokerages, you know, you hang your license, you get paid by your brokerage, but you go to a team and now they're providing leads, they're managing you, they're training you they're doing all this other stuff. They're managing all your transaction coordination and all that kind of stuff. So maybe you can tell us how do you guys do that at 8z?


Doug Gieck  4:50  

That's exactly I mean, you couldn't have said it. I couldn't have said it better. Brian, as we do run it as a really big team, I think a really popular model in our industry right now. As these super high performing, you know, 20-30 agent teams that have all these specialists, from transaction coordinators to listing coordinators to... you name it. The names keep growing, there's more and more each time I check in. But that's exactly how we modeled it, you know, got a culture of high, high performance, and high accountability. And it doesn't do us any good, you know, our payment structures aligned to where if an agent comes in and isn't selling real estate at 8z, we're not making money, we're actually losing quite a bit of money because of all the systems and tools and training that we provide. So it's important for us that, of course, our current agents become more efficient and sell more real estate, but also that anybody we bring on, actually does sell real estate. So it doesn't do us any good to have it be like the Wild West and just hang your license here, you know, we don't charge desk fees, we don't have any monthly fees of any sort, their splits their split. And if we're in complete alignment, if they're not making money, we're not making money. So it's really important that we have all those things in place that help them be successful systems and people both right. And you got to do it at scale, I'd say, you know, there's not much different than we do than those teams, you know, you see all these super teams, and they're amazing, right? And they average 60-70 transactions per agent, and we'd love to get there we're about 26 we'd love to be our Bhag is to be 30 transactions per license by the end of 2022. But it's all about you got to have a system that's real, and it scales and you got to be accountable to that system, then that's what we believe that 8z.


Brian Charlesworth  6:36  

Yeah, so your Bhag, your big, hairy, audacious goals. So I just wanted to point that out for those who haven't read that book. But so you want to get to 30 and I gotta tell you, 26 for a team or a brokerage, 26 transactions per agent is awesome. So


Doug Gieck  6:54  

We're happy. We're I mean, that's why it's big and hairy, right? It's, it's gonna take a lot of work. And, of course, you're gonna have people doing 50 and 60. And, and people doing 20 and 15, and on the up and coming, but we can average 30. We're happy. I think we talked about this last time we chatted, but we drink a lot of Jim Collins kool aid around here. So if you haven't read, built to last, and good to great, get those on your list. They're great. 


Brian Charlesworth  7:18  

Those are two great books. So you started out as you called it, client care. But that's the same as ISA, in real estate, or SDR in software, sales development reps. So basically, somebody on the phone setting appointments, how many ISAs do you have in your business today?


Doug Gieck  7:36  

It's really cool. I'm the is a team when I started was at six, and I'm currently at three, I think there are a few reasons for that, I think we got a lot more efficient. And you know, the internet side of things is really just, it's responsible for 15 to 20% of our transactions in a given month. So it's definitely not all our eggs in one basket. It's a piece of the puzzle, I think it really helps agents build a nice database. But it's pretty maddening that we talk about, you know, 5 or 6% conversion rates and gets excited about them. I mean, that's, that's a failing business and by any other stretch of the imagination. But if you can add it to a piece and you know, your agency and get them 1,2,3 deals a month, from those internet, lead gen sources, boy, the referral networks that happened after that, and if you have a sphere system to really help agents develop a database, some pretty magical things happened downstream with that 5% success rate. And, you know, in regards to how we were able to scale without really growing the ISA team, I think a lot of your resources these days are starting to handle that middle of the funnel like Internet, lead resources are starting to really realize that that's a critical piece. And you can't really have productive agents. And you know, it's a high burnout that I'm not saying they can't be productive, but when you're in it, that that piece just falls off because you get a sphere of influence, you have all these other things going on. And it's not fun. It's the hardest part of the job of trying to prospect internet leads all day. So I think agents really outgrow it. And we just decided from jump that that's how we were going to do it. We didn't want high burnout. That's why we have we really don't have a retention problem at this point. I think that's a big part of it, because we take care of that dirty work for him. And in a lot of other aspects. And ISAs, that's just one piece of it, right?


Brian Charlesworth  9:21  

Yeah, yeah. So So you guys have gone from six ISAs? And how many agents Did you have back then?


Doug Gieck  9:26  

Only 30


Brian Charlesworth  9:27  

30 agents, so it's like 


Doug Gieck  9:28  

30-35, somewhere in there.


Brian Charlesworth  9:30  

Now three ISAs were 160. Agents. And how many, how many appointments I made? And the reason I'm asking you this, a lot of our customers, I think every team, let me put it this way. I think every team with 10 or more agents has realized they should have ISAs now over the last 12 to 24 months. And if they don't already they're building out ISA team right now. So I'd love to get your advice on that front. Like how many leads Should ISA, how many appointments should I say be able to set? And then my experience because I watch this and Sisu these conversion ratios? My experience is that the conversion ratios from set to met are extremely much, much lower, whether it's an ISA setting the appointment, so maybe you can correct me if I'm wrong there.


Doug Gieck  10:19  

No, I think you're right, I think and it's all about how people are doing it, you better have a really good process dialed in, I would say anybody that's thinking about bringing on ISAs, or leveraging a system, you know, there are hundreds of them out there. Now, there's no shortage of ISA providers out there. But you better really be clear on what your goals are and how you're going to transition from ISA to agent. Is it a direct handoff? Is it just in the system? are you setting appointments, that's all really critical because you're right, nothing good happens in the time that, you know, agents are going to probably be better at it, especially agents that are young and hungry and have time to prospect because nothing good happens from the time that a phone call or a phone hangs upright in the second, every second that passes, is going to hurt your conversion rates. So we've been a huge proponent of direct connect when we're making that handoff. And it's all about building a system like ISAs really high turnover position. So it is easy. And trust me, I went through the struggles, this wasn't all like from the beginning, right? I would have an awesome person and I lose them for whatever reason they became an agent, they went somewhere else, you know, there's a million different reasons why you lose somebody. And then it's like starting over. But if you have an actual system that scales and you can plug and play into it, you can kind of have turnover and it doesn't make it really doesn't cause a lot of ruffles into the system. And luckily, we were able to scale down because of it. So, build your system, really know what you want to measure and what your goal is, and then build a system first, you're going to tweak it, I guarantee it. But it'll go a long way instead of just putting a button on a seat and trying to figure it out that that's hard.


Brian Charlesworth  12:03  

So something you just mentioned, but we blew over it very quickly, which I think is key. And I think most are not doing this. But if you look at like upcity, they do live handoff right? Here, you're talking about your ISAs you're doing a live transfer to your agents while they have that person on the phone. Can you tell me more about that? Because I think that's something that everyone here needs to need to hear?


Doug Gieck  12:26  

Yeah, it's and it depends on the lead’s resource, right? But there are tools out there that you got, we can dial five ages at once we're waiting for somebody to answer while we're still talking to the client on the other end. And you're just waiting for an agent to pick up. So speed to lead still critical. And then you make a warm handoff and that hang up where that's where all the problems happen. That is serious, essentially eliminating that. And look, not all leads are created equal. I think there's a lot of lead resources out there now. Zillow, and flex and all the things that are doing I think there's a lot of that opposite is a great example of it. Where sometimes the lead resources do go direct to agent that's another reason why I've been able to scale back and I don't need as many ISAs is because these lead resources are kind of taken over that piece. But the most successful ones are always Direct Connect. It's just it's a better way to go. Trust me, your conversion rates will skyrocket. If you’re direct connecting,


Brian Charlesworth  13:25  

You guys have this website that super successful that was one of the best before any of the zillows came around right starting to generate their own leads. So you have this great website but you still It sounds like you're still Are you part of Zillow flex and Upcity? Is that is that what I just heard?


Doug Gieck  13:43  

Yeah, so we do. We have been partners with Zillow for a long time. So we had that website, which really became obsolete. That was a that was kind of the Crossroads right is are we a tech platform? Or are we going to be a real estate brokerage, we chose real estate brokerage and we left that site. It was an old, old horse and it did its work for the longest time and we finally killed it. I mean, we still get SEO juice that points to our new websites from it, you know, all that crazy stuff. But I think we made a really clear decision on whether we were going to be, you know, a tech company or a brokerage. And when we became a brokerage, we started looking at new lead reverse resources. And we've had a long partnership with Zillow and it's been a fruitful partnership and it's gone from all kinds of we had a brokerage platform single-agent platform we'd like to mess with things and all the way into flex now and that's going well and we'll continue to do that while we can and I have engaged Upcity quite a few times it never really got worked out and we for some reason realtor is is a little bit lower, lower conversion ratio, but I'm probably ready to start spending some more money and tie them back on bottom-line Brian have always playing games with hundreds of different lead resources. I don't like my eggs on one basket and I like cheaper leads of course who doesn't? So I'm always tweaking it. And it's probably about time to bring realtor.com back in the mix. But as of right now, we're not a partner with them.


Brian Charlesworth  15:08  

Okay. So yeah, and I wasn't trying to be specific to realtor, it sounds like you have a really solid flex relationship and partnership there. So I just, I just wanted to verify, you know, you're, you're still using leads from companies that provide leads for the industry like such as those two?


Doug Gieck  15:25  

Absolutely. I mean, I think we're all trying to acquire databases, right? acquire clients. So if there's a lead resource out there, that's gonna help me acquire clients faster, I'm going to use it, and know that my system behind the scenes and my agents that are doing the work are going to capture that client and keep that client for life. So, you know, if it was good at generating leads, so let them be a means to an end for sure.


Brian Charlesworth  15:49  

Yeah, yeah, exactly. Why would you not right. So something I want to talk about you guys. Are you open to sharing how, I think you already did, you said you guys did how much last year in volume?


Doug Gieck  16:02  

Shorter, 1.4 billion in volume last year.


Brian Charlesworth  16:05  

So, you know, five years ago, six years ago, when I got in this industry, my wife had me jump into to help her start building her team. And then I started a software company from it because I saw a huge gaping hole there. But I remember going to masterminds with some of the top teams in the country. And everyone was talking about that number, the magic number of $100 million. Right. And I think that's because as an owner of a business, you can make a million dollars if you're doing 100 million in volume. So I think that numbers changed, though, right? Like, I mean, you were talking to you who's yours like thinking that 100 million, like, five, six years ago, business has changed, right? Real Estate teams are dominating so much now that, you know, it's gone from 100 million to now, I'm talking to you about this is my question, how do you get to a billion? You know, like, there are a lot of teams Now I know that we have I think we have over 300 teams in Sisu, doing over 100 million in volume. 


Doug Gieck  17:09  

Congratulations. That's awesome. 


Brian Charlesworth  17:10  

So how do we get that up to a billion? I mean, that's, that's what I want to have you on the show for, like, help us? How do we get there?


Doug Gieck  17:18  

Um, I don't know, I'm just joking, that it's a great question. Um, you know, for me, it's all about creating efficiencies, it's having a system, I keep saying that. And the reason I'm not specific there is because I think everybody operates a little bit differently. But if you better have a system that you are beholden to, and you do it the same way. You know, Taco Bell wouldn't be successful. If the taco was different, every different topic, Taco Bell, you go to the right, like you need your product to be the same. So that you can scale and you can gain customers, just like any big company does, right. So I think it's really important to get that in. And then I think about my Salesforce and having them be super high producing and you got a weed, you got to weed that out, right? We have a minimum production, you can't just let everybody on the bus, you got to really be. And those are tough conversations to have. But we let agents go that don't do 10 deals on a calendar year. That's our minimum standard. That's a big part of keeping the right people on the bus going back to Jim Collins. So a system and your people are of course, the two biggest factors that can possibly. It's probably people before system from if I'm waiting, um, yeah. And then you got to find efficiencies. And I think, you know, when I started really pulling back technology, Brian, we've had this conversation 10 years ago, I had to build a bunch of stuff. And it was all spreadsheets and everything. And there are billions of dollars being pumped into the market to really help us scale and do things better. I think Sisu is a prime example of this, right? We can get our transaction management and our coaching done all on one platform, that is that comes to us and does what we want it to do. That didn't exist 10 years ago, when we were at 100 million, and we are trying to get more. I mean, the simple answer is just to do what you did 10 times. But that's you, you can't scale it's impossible because I know there's a lot of 100 million dollar teams out there going I'm I bust my butt every day I there's no way I can do more. So you got to create these efficiencies through again, having a system getting the right people on the bus. And lastly, measuring against that system and having it all integrate to create efficiencies. So where, how can you eliminate clicks for all your specialists, all your team members that are there? How can you eliminate clicks and time not spent in front of clients for your Salesforce? The more you can do that, the more real estate you're gonna sell.


Brian Charlesworth  19:49  

Yeah. So you and I know share the same vision because whenever I talk to you, we're always talking about these ideas and you're like, yep, that's the future. So I remember me you a few years back, and you told me you had actually developed a system that does what Sisu does? I mean, it sounds like you guys were pretty hardcore tech, trying to decide Are we going to be tech Are we going to be? So what kind of tech did you develop? And then, you know, you talk about this system? Like, I think it's right now a lot of our listeners are probably got so you know, what do you target 


Doug Gieck  20:22  

The magic system, yeah.


Brian Charlesworth  20:23  

Well, yeah. Like, like, what do you mean by system? For some people a system might be, hey, you know, I want this task management system so that when I go under contract, I have everything in place so that if I lose my TC, I can just, you know, it doesn't matter. I can replace them. And they have this system that they follow. Or it might be agent onboarding, an agent onboarding, onboarding and off-boarding, you have these checklists, systems? I don't know if that's what you're talking about. Are you talking about managing a sales team system? Or what are you referring to there? 


Doug Gieck  20:53  

Exactly what you're talking about Brian, and both, cuz you better have a trick, you better have a transaction management system, you better have a lead gen system, you better have an onboarding and offboarding system, you better have a training system. And if it's not written down, and it's not understood what the standard is, and how you do things, it's just a suggestion, it's not a system, you might be really good at it. And you might be able to do it pretty much the same over and over. But it's really hard to replicate a Brian or a dog or whoever else is out there, right? We only have so many hours in the day. So if you can build a system that, quite frankly, isn't reliant on you. And you know, it's getting done the right way, because so it has accountability behind it. That's your key to success. So you're absolutely right, hey, you know, I don't I don't want to be vague, but how am ISAs call each lead resource and how that gets handed off, and so on. So forth is a system, how my agents get trained for four days in this in the academy that I'm developing, that it's becoming digital versus live, right COVID really made me have to develop an LMS and understand how I can take to do my training at scale and immediate versus not being able to be in front of people and train them the system. I had to put the system online. That's an example of somewhere where we've grown in this last year, I guess, I should say, but it's all that stuff, right? It's but it's really, it's being true to yourself, and knowing that you know exactly how those tacos made every single time it comes across this assembly line, and that it's written down, and that you have checks and balances against that. Right. You know, that's, that's what I mean, biases and


Brian Charlesworth  22:33  

Checks and balances mean I might add visualization into it, right? I mean, so many people I talked to think that they have systems when they have a Google Sheet over here.


Doug Gieck  22:45  

So yes, I mean, we had real developers, we had an entire team of developers and a development team that got bigger than the is a team at one point. And they built exactly what you're talking about. It was built off of spreadsheets and came into an API and it pumped out PDFs, but those PDFs were real visible on KPIs for 8z as an entire brokerage, 8z teams down to the individual agent, it was their goals measured against their goals that they set at the beginning of the year. So that all aggregated together, right? much similar to how Sisu works. Now. And it was messy, but it got the job done. Because we were able to visibly like you said, it's all about visualization. And I think gamification is a really important part. I mean, when you get winners on your team and people, they're competitive, they just are they want


Brian Charlesworth  23:35  

You guys running gamification in your business?


Doug Gieck  23:37  

Oh, yeah. Yes. Um, you know, that's, that's subject to interpretation. But absolutely, we have, we have contests, sometimes a team levels, sometimes at the brokerage level, people love to win, especially when you get hungry, top producers in there, they love seeing their name at the top of the list. They don't even really care what the gift is, or what the prize is.


Brian Charlesworth  23:59  

It's more about commission, right? I was in a sales meeting with a real estate team one day. And it was just interesting, because the team leader was asking, you know, so what's important to you guys, like, what do you want for a prize in the sales challenge? And the first thing they came back with was, it wasn't anything but having their picture on the wall for a month in the office, you know, and then it went to the next level. I want my picture on a billboard for a month. You know, it's like, okay, you just want your picture on the wall. This is all about recognition, right?


Doug Gieck  24:34  

Absolutely. I've got an agent and she is a top producer. She sells over 20 million a year for the last three years. She's actually only four years into the business. So that's pretty impressive in its own right, but she's trying to work on some work-life balance. She's got young kids, and she's obviously great at crushing real estate, but that's really starting to be stressful on her. And it's so funny as I was talking to her and trying to figure it out. I'm like Let's start referring business you can have some of your time back let's refer it to some of these up and coming agents and she and you know the classic response was well yeah, I want my time back with my kids but I also want my name on the top producer’s board each month and I'm like well you know we'll figure out that's right we'll figure out how to balance that but it's so funny that just that recognition nine times out of 10 you know, you can play around with gift cards and trips and all this other stuff but it's funny how recognition goes a long way


Brian Charlesworth  25:42  

Yeah, so long before Sisu was there to help you know ISA you know conversion ratios. For Sisu was there to help your team set goals you guys were doing all this stuff like 10 years ago. So thankfully, we found you and you found us but like, I'd love to hear more detail. Again I think 26 especially with 160 agents 26 is a huge number as far as average production per agent. Like how do you guys hold these guys accountable? How do you motivate them? You know, if I'm out there right now listening to this podcast, I just tried to put myself in a team leader or you know, a broker-owners mindset like, how do I get to that? Because you guys have done an incredible job. I mean, like, 8z thing if you go outside of Colorado, a lot of people don't know you, even though you've been nationally recognized now, you know, many times by Inman and other people like that. But in Colorado, I mean, I'd be shocked if someone doesn't know who you guys are. 


Doug Gieck  26:44  

We're pretty well known in Colorado. Yes, no, I mean, we're pretty humble, right? We kind of, we keep our head down. Maybe we need to brag more, we probably do so we can start growing because that's the next piece is well, that's not a recruiting system


Brian Charlesworth  27:00  

That's why you're here today. So we can brag about you.


Doug Gieck  27:04  

Exactly that, you know, it's trying to think of the best way to word it. To me, it comes back to it really does start with Jim Collins and getting the right people on the bus. Because you'd be surprised when you get the right people on the bus and you stop worrying about you. I say, as a team leader, or as a managing broker, 


Brian Charlesworth  27:30  

When you say get the right people on the bus. So I take that two ways. One is hiring, recruiting the right agent, but the other is having the right team around you supporting those agents,


Doug Gieck  27:42  

It's 100%, it's 100%, all those things. Because if it can take one seat to derail everything, and you sometimes you're moving the seats around, sometimes this is the right person there, but they're in the wrong seat, right? So you're always, you're always trying to fine-tune your bus and who's on your bus. But I'll tell you when you get the right people on your bus, something magical happens to where motivation becomes a core value and part of what happens versus something that you're always constantly having to battle with. Right? Like how do I get people to do more and sometimes you got to be okay with letting those top producers not do more and figure out how to find work-life balance and how to find insurance for them and medical care. And, like, how do you start making their life better, so they stick around with you and stay on your bus? That to me is is the number one I think that's where it all starts is your people you right now we're doing some things with Sisu to get Transaction Manager up and in that we're kind of revolutionizing the, our traditional TC role. That's all about us putting people in the wrong seat on the bus, right? So we're always you're always working on it. But a lot of times you when you get unified, they all move forward together without a ton of push because that's the culture that you read. That's what comes out is everybody has the same mission. Right? We're all trying to accomplish the same thing. That's why everybody knows our Bhag. Everybody knows our core purpose in our core purpose 8z is real estate's broken, and we're fixing it. I mean, a lot of things that's our Northstar, though is it ever going to be fixed? No. There's a lot of brokenness for the consumer. There's a lot of broken for agents, there's just tons of broken and we think we can fix it one transaction at a time but we're unified in that front, which really helps with the motivation right? And we do some fun things like everybody that sells 10 million we go to Mexico every year on the brokerage and residents love drip or whatever you call Exactly. Yeah, we call a club 10 and, and you know, it's for a leader, it's about being Batman, or excuse me about being Robin or not Batman. It's about you know, putting them in the seat and helping them get better. Versus I'd say that's the number one thing I see with your traditional real estate team is you've got the Rainmaker, I mean, we've, we've defined these terms. You've got a Rainmaker, who is the only name that anybody knows. And they can't figure out how to scale because all they're doing is having their minions underneath them burn out and want to decide that they want more eventually. Well, at 8z, not many people really know lane or worry about if we put the agents brand in front of ACS brand. And that's worked out pretty well. I think that's been a big part of why we scale because we're helping them build amazing businesses versus just thinking about ourselves. So yeah, makes I think that's a key for leaders.


Brian Charlesworth  30:43  

Yeah. So we did something at Sisu, she's I don't I was probably six to nine months ago. We had some large enterprise customers that we're, we're working with, we haven't announced anything with but they asked us, they said, you know, we really want to understand the numbers of somebody that comes on to cc like, how does that impact their business just as they were trying to understand the sales performance side, not necessarily the back office side. And so we went and looked at all of our stats, and we found that our average customer increases, meaning a team or brokerage, increase their sales volume by 107%, year over year, which is a great number. And then we found that our average team, our average agent, increases their production by 28%. year over year. So what's the difference? Obviously, there are two ways you can grow a brokerage or a team. One is to recruit agents. One is to increase agent productivity. But what we found in our teams haven't really been focused on recruiting agents, I think what happens is, you know if you're leading somebody, and I think it comes down to leadership, if you're leading somebody to hold to, you know, to have positive accountability to meet their goals, it really changes the way you manage your company. And I think you attract, like, you guys turn people away, right? You're attracting the right people because the right people want to be led that way, versus, you know, just trying to come in and give better splits. Because if you're all about giving better splits, they're gonna leave you when they find a better split, right? Yeah. Anyway, I just want to get your thoughts on that. Because that's been our experience in just researching this and Sisu. And now that we, you know, we launched about two and a half years ago, coming up on three years now. So


Doug Gieck  32:36  

I couldn't agree with you more, Brian, I mean, I, shocker, he is not the cheapest brokerage out there. So if you're looking for a good split, I mean, our splits are great. And you and they get better as you perform. But we're not the cheapest. And there's a reason because of all the stuff that we do. But I think when you find those people that crave that support, and really see how you help them build a good business, but winners want to be measured. I mean winners, why high performers want accountability. Like I hate that accountability is such a four-letter word and scary and oh my god, somebody is going to be watching what I'm doing. Winners want to be coached, they want to be held accountable, so they can get better. And that's the reason we signed up with Sisu, we had our system that was old and broken. And you guys have this new awesome flashy system. But that's the sensuality of why we signed up with you guys because we want to hold our agents accountable. And we want them to get better and help their business grow. And you can do that at scale and with the Sisu system. And I think that's critical. If you got people that are scared of accountability, you got to think twice about who your people are. That's a that can become cancer in your that's a fine, not the right analogy to use. But it can be very detrimental to your business. In my notes. 


Brian Charlesworth  34:02  

I've seen that enough, Doug, that you've, you've probably noticed that I put the word positive in front of accountability, positive accountability, meaning, I mean if you're helping somebody attain their goals if it's not about you if it's about them. Yes, it's all positive accountability. Nobody's going to get offended by that, right? 


So powerful to say, hey, look at your conversion ratio of call to close. So if you could just make when you can tell somebody and give them a real tangible goal, make 100 calls, you're gonna get three deals out of it. Yep. It's just so valuable. And they and people are there in the trenches right there. They have a hard time seeing that stuff. Especially if they're in a funk, like, you got to be able to measure it and give them that direction. And I think they're gonna crave it, though, if you get the right people on your bus. 


Yeah. Okay,


Let's see, how are we doing on time we have about 10 more minutes deck, if we want to use it. So I want to talk about ancillary businesses because you mentioned a business that you guys have. Tell me what all business As you guys have, I think, you know, when somebody gets to a certain level is running a real estate business, their next question is, Okay, what else can I do? Right? What can I bring in a title company? Can I bring in a mortgage company? It sounds like you guys have gone outside of that you have, you know, you're buying homes you're flipping or you're renting or you know, I don't know. So tell me, tell me what your ancillary businesses look like? 


I'll run the galley here, I, you know, there's a lot, there's a lot of money to be made in real estate, obviously. And for us having ancillary businesses is really nice. It helps feed the animal and it helps profitability a ton. But it wasn't born out of that. For us. It was born out of the consumer experience, and wanting to give them an “A” plus experience across the board. So no offense to quicken, but it's just the thing that came to mind. But if I'm doing a real estate deal, and I find the perfect house, and then the Quicken Loans happens, and something happens on that side that I can't control, and the consumer has a bad experience. Nine times out of 10 they blame the agent and the brokerage, they really, you know, it just we wanted to control and give the better a better experience to the consumer. So it was born out of that. But out of that. We have a joint venture mortgage company, we have a joint venture title company, we've got an insurance company, we've got a property management rental company here and you're talking to homeowners insurance, right? Yes. Yep. So and the car you know he does all types of insurances, but it's, that's primarily where we're aimed, obviously, they want to get their car insurance over to Greg at aids insurance. We're cool with that, too. But, so those are kind of the four pillars. And recently, you know, we've started, we did dabble in ibuyer for a little while, we were buying houses for cash offers and again, out of the transparency and this is all for the consumer. So if that was the right option for them, weren’t forcing it on them. That's here's an option. By the way, we'll get all the other ibuyer offers and that work. That's not why we really that's why we really don't play in that space anymore because we don't have the money that Zillow and open door and Redfin.


So when you go to a listing appointment, are you taking out the prices that those companies would offer for their home as


Doug Gieck  37:15  

We take instant cash offers, I was gonna say to every listing, I live in the real world, I know that sometimes it doesn't go perfect. But if at all possible, we take instant cash offers to our listing consultation. Now think about that. You get every other agent showing up. And they're talking about how cool they are, and all this stuff they're going to do, you can show up with offers to your consultation, do you think that's a little bit more impressive than what the other listing agents are bringing to the table, and they don't have to accept it. And we work that's the beautiful thing. We're Switzerland, these are compelling to you, great, we can help you go get the offer, sign my listing agreement. If you want to go open market, great, we can help you with that. We're really good at that, too. Here's sign our listing agreement. So they're no longer choosing between us and another brokerage, they're choosing one of our options.


Brian Charlesworth  38:05  

I think what that does is it just builds trust that you're there for them no matter what, right? I mean, here, here's this company that will buy your house for this price, this company will buy it for this price, or we can list it, we think we'll get this price. You know, I mean,


Doug Gieck  38:19  

and the more you know, everybody's making it sound easy, but they still need a realtor to help them. Because I negotiate with that. The whoever that I pick your eye buyer, you're gonna negotiate with them, they're gonna need representation, it's the same, the same game we've always played, they just are scaring the industry, by the way, they're doing it, but you guys can all be the solution, you know, for your clients, regardless of what and any now we've got really cool things like buy before you sell, you know, there's a lot of companies out there, homeward not easy, not that it'll get it gets a little annoying trying to remember them all. But these are things that the consumer really wants and you should be putting me in in your technology stack and how you sell real estate. There's no reason you can't be the provider for all those things.


Brian Charlesworth  39:03  

I think a lot of people in real estate, this is just my take. But I think a lot of people in real estate get afraid when something comes like that comes in, and they're threatened by it when if you embrace it. I mean, there's a lot of people that don't even realize you can get paid that full 3% commission every time you take that to an open door or to Zillow. So absolutely add to that, right. It just makes me look even better,


Doug Gieck  39:27  

sometimes more. And now you're not paying for professional photography and stage. I mean, there are some real benefits to it again, we're not trying to steer clients towards it, but if it's right for them and their situation if they're, and, you know, reasonably some of the offers that you get from my buyers are like, Whoa, yeah, I would take that instead of going to the open market. Yeah.


Brian Charlesworth  39:46  

Because they're trying to disrupt the industry. Right. They're a market. Sure. I try to get market share. Exactly. And I think I think a lot of people don't realize that they still need the real estate agent to really do that, I mean, obviously, their goal is to get to where they don't, because then there's more money in it for them. But today, they need the real estate agent for


Doug Gieck  40:07  

that. I would, I would argue more so because now you're dealing with Wall Street and a big company that I mean, don't make any mistakes there. Their goal is to make money. And you need to be represented as the consumer.


Brian Charlesworth  40:23  

Yeah. So I know you're such a tech-forward thinker. You're always thinking about innovation and automation, innovation and automation. So do you have any like last words about that you want to leave with people? Before I ask you a few personal questions that are last minute.


Doug Gieck  40:39  

Yeah, you know, what, really, make sure you're partnering with open ID systems that have the ability to integrate that that's the future. And Sisu is a great example of it. You guys have tons of partnerships already with you guys are our CRM agnostic, kind of, you know, I mean, for the most part for those CRM that will talk to you.


Brian Charlesworth  41:01  

Thing that yes


Doug Gieck  41:02  

yeah, I mean, I think that should ultimately be your goal, because you, the only way you create efficiencies is less clicks, less logins, sharing your data between systems. So if you're building a system, and you're taking a tech approach at it, make sure you have those capabilities. I think that's, that's critical. Because we're all trying to buy all the Indian system and some say they have it already, I would argue all day long that they don't, because nobody has a system where they log in to one place and do everything they need to do just doesn't exist. But that's my goal. That's what I'm trying to build for ad. And I suggest that everybody else do the same.


Brian Charlesworth  41:40  

And that's our goal as well. We just know that there are certain people that already do a great job at CRM. So why should we try to compete in that market? 


Doug Gieck  41:48  

Right? You can be completely integrated with them across you stay relevant. I think that's, that's the funniest. It's, it's just like the accountability conversation we had is like, I can't do that. Because now I'm ruining, like, stay in your lane, do what you do really well, for the most part, and, and you'll always be relevant. Yeah. As long as you can talk to other systems.


Brian Charlesworth  42:11  

Yeah. Yeah. Great advice. Okay, so I know your Jim Collins fan, outside of Jim Collins, because, and you can share Jim Collins if you want, but like, what is your other favorite book? Or, or even favorite source of learning? Like, what do you do? I know that you're constantly trying, you know, you're focused on taking your business from here to here, even though you're where most people want to be. You're like, how do I get to that next level? So what do you do on a daily to, to keep ahead of that curve?


Doug Gieck  42:42  

Why I definitely try to read about 15 pages every day regardless, and it might be a pleasure reading, and it might, it might be a little development reading. But I definitely try to read every day, I think it's really important to take that time one, it's a release valve for me to relax for a sec and get out of business. But I got little kids and trying to do all of it at once. It's good to decompress. You know, a book that I read almost every year is the alchemist. I think it's a great book for just in general. For anybody that is interested. It's an interesting story. It's, it's a little bit of pleasure. And then developmental growth. If you haven't read it, I won't reveal too much so you can enjoy it when you do. And then another really impactful book recently, so you know, Lane is our CEO, but he's, you know, transitioning. He's, he's running, he's kind of out of the day to day he is running our secondary company savvy or sister company. That is a SAS program for all these power buyers that was kind of mentioning, but rocket fuel was a great book. As Ryan and I Ryan being the president and me, the Vice President, he runs the day-to-day, really with the agent side and I focus on operations in production. rocket fuel has been a really powerful book to help us find our flow together.


Brian Charlesworth  44:02  

Yeah, I think rocket fuel is something everybody should read at some point. Like it's going to help you realize where you should be playing and where you shouldn't have.


Doug Gieck  44:11  

Absolutely. Yeah, keep Stay. Stay on. That's my thing today. Stay in my lane.


Brian Charlesworth  44:17  

Yeah, awesome. So you are a family man, you coach your son's baseball team. You have two kids, s that right? 


Doug Gieck  44:24  

Two kids, right. Yeah.


Brian Charlesworth  44:27  

So you know, a lot of us when we get into the business world, it can be easy to forget about your family. So how do you like, balance that?


Doug Gieck  44:36  

Forcing myself to make the time and what I mean by forcing is you talk to disorganized folks out there and a calendar seems like the most daunting thing on earth, but the paradox in my world is that a calendar sets you free, because if I calendar in playtime with the kids or Sunday coaching time, I'm making a commitment to myself and I actually do it They were in a lot of people say, Well, if I put it on the calendar, I'm really just, I'm putting change around myself and my calendar set me free. So


Brian Charlesworth  45:08  

If it's not in the calendar, it doesn't exist whether exactly whether it's work, personal, you know, coaching your kids, date nights, whatever, right?


Doug Gieck  45:17  

All of it. It's exactly right. It's the best thing you can do for yourself. Trust me.


Brian Charlesworth  45:22  

Yeah. Love it. So tell me what your favorite places you. I know you're a big fan of Colorado. But if you're going on vacation, where would you Where would be a place you'd want to go?


Doug Gieck  45:33  

Yeah, so um, and I knocked one off of the bucket list last year, Prince of Wales Island and Alaska. It's I think it's the largest island on our continent, but went out there and got some salmon fishing done. And some even caught some cod and some pretty big halibut. My uncle caught 180 pounders. So that was a fun one. I think Canada I always got to go north to fish. But maybe I'm so I'm obviously a huge fisherman. I'm thinking I might need to go to Florida and do some stuff. I got a buddy who's getting married soon. And that's kind of his Bagga t. So I'll see if he can get me out there to do some deep-sea fishing, catch some of those exotic fish, instead of the moment.


Brian Charlesworth  46:18  

I was just gonna ask you, you know, what's your favorite thing to do in your spare time? But since the question, your favorite place was answered? with that. I don't even need to ask that question.


Doug Gieck  46:31  

Everything you do, right, pretty standard. If I find myself with a spare minute, it's hard for me to choose anything with fishing when I'm doing it. So great.


Brian Charlesworth  46:41  

So Doug, how do people get ahold of you? If somebody has, you know, some questions wants to reach out, wants to learn about being a part of your brokerage, you know, whatever the case is?


Doug Gieck  46:51  

Absolutely. Of course, you can find me on LinkedIn, and Facebook, but at.com and you go to our people, and you'll see me and you'll see me golfing too. I do a little golfing as well. We've got some fun lifestyle photos on there. And, and guys, I'm an open book, I love to help you with anything. I'm like I said Real Estate's broken. We're fixing it. That's being a good samaritan to the industry as well and helping everybody do what's right so that ultimately, the consumer gets the best experience possible. So reach out if you need me.


Brian Charlesworth  47:25  

See, you're fixing real estate, we're fixing real estate. See, we all have the same vision. I guess that's why we get along. So well. Doug, thank you so much for being on the show today. It's always just enlightening to spend time with somebody who's so far ahead. I mean, you're 10 years ahead, and the is a front of where most people are. And I think you're still that way, some of the stuff you're doing today, such as owning insurance companies and some of the other things. That's where people are going to be in 10 years from now. So you're you guys are way ahead of the curve you constantly are there in production and just the way you think and the way you do so, thanks for sharing all of that with us today. And I'm looking forward to the next time I get to spend time with you.


Doug Gieck  48:08  

Yeah, no problem, Brian. It's absolute pleasure. You guys are amazing. Thank you for the kind words and have fun out there, everybody.


Brian Charlesworth  48:15  

And to all of our listeners. Thanks again for joining us this week on the show. We're stacked with a lot of great guests in up-and-coming shows. And I appreciate everybody taking time to you know, spend 30 to 60 minutes a week with me and our guests. So thanks, everybody. We'll catch you next week.


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.