Webinars

Hedda Parashos & Raquel Rivas, Founder CEO at Palisades Realty - How We're Approaching Brokerage Growth and Expanding Into New Markets in 2021

Brian Charlesworth
October 8, 2020

[00:00:01] Hello, ladies. Hi, welcome to the summit. Thanks for having us.

[00:00:08] Yes. Thank you so much for having us. So excited to be here.

[00:00:11] Yeah, our pleasure. So it's always fun when we when we have power, women just dominating. And so we tried to find as many of those as we could for for our conference over these couple of days. And I'm glad I get to spend time with you, too. So before we get started, maybe you could just tell us a little bit about your business head and Raquel. I've known them now for maybe six months. And anyway, tell us a little bit about your business. You guys have a little bit of a unique business and what you're doing, and maybe you can just share that to get started. So everyone's kind of on the same page here.

[00:00:47] You in a circle? Well, we're we are a brokerage and head of the owner. I'm her CEO. This year we have experienced a tremendous amount of growth.

[00:01:01] But with the growth, we didn't know exactly where to get started, which is where Sisu came in eight years ago, eight years ago.

[00:01:16] So, yeah. So we are in San Diego County and we basically have been I've been a realtor for 14 years and I've owned Policy Realty just about eight years. And for so long we didn't want to grow. It was mainly me and I was afraid of growth. And so that whole thing changed last year, actually. It was kind of like an overhaul of not just my mindset, but also overhauling the entire brokerage and, you know, taking a look at it again. And that's when Oracle came in.

[00:02:02] So let's let's stop there for a minute, because I think I don't want to just blow over that. That is so important to to really talk about.

[00:02:10] You admit and thank you for admitting that you were afraid of growth. Right.

[00:02:16] I think more of us than we know are afraid of growth. So we do things to hinder that growth because our subconscious mind is telling us that.

[00:02:25] So I want to take a second head to just explore and discover with you how you got to that next level.

[00:02:34] Well, you know that saying the three year, five or seven year itch with agents and so I thought at the time Raquel wasn't in the picture and it was kind of a blessing in disguise that all of these things were happening to me because it really did force me to take a look at everything else that was happening. We were about 14 people, including staff, and and I lost a third of my crew. And I think it was I don't know, maybe things were getting a little stagnant and in my mind it was in my mind I thought things were fine and it wasn't. And it showed by from people that left me so either. And I was yeah, I remember sitting here and I'm like, oh, my gosh, I need to, like, make some major changes. And and then it didn't even though people left me, the business didn't change. Know there was a lot of business that was coming in and it was more it was a lot harder to contain growth than obviously trying to make that, you know, that made major changes like, hey, I need options. So really, at that point, I ended up having to work twice as much or actually at that point, maybe three times as much, because I was providing leads to my agents. And business didn't stop even though people left and everyone was just overwhelmed and I including myself. And so I had to make that quick decision of I need to either how I can't turn off the business. Obviously, at this point I have to get going. And so I had I made the decision of hiring people I hired, you know, it wasn't intentional. It was more about like feeling in, you know, just having a warm body. So, like, hey, please help me. Does anyone it was more to a point where I was begging just about anyone to come on board at that point. And then luckily, the people that I don't know, I just sort of happened.

[00:04:59] Everyone just, you know, out of the blue, random people or agents just came to me like even though it's amazing how sometimes sometimes the challenges, the things we think are going to destroy us actually make us stronger and get us there faster. But I think that's that's what I see happen to you here.

[00:05:20] And, you know, I don't think it's a coincidence that these people came to you because I think you were in this mindset with the blinders on for so long. And it made you open up to being open to anybody. You know, I'm here. Let's make this happen. And they started coming.

[00:05:40] So what, they started coming? This is not a joke. Like, I would get a text. I felt like there was an A.I. listening and watching everything I did out there in the universe and bringing in there may have been. Yeah, yeah. And people were texting me, emailing me, like, all of a sudden I had this incredible group of people joining me and it wasn't just any one. They were experienced agents. And for years I couldn't attract experienced agents. And they all had the same common goals. They all wanted to grow. And I had to look at myself and say, you know, I need to take this to the next level. And and then we started becoming more intentional. And then Brittany's not here. But anyway, it was it was the staff was down to myself and Britney at this point and here, you know, telling her like, oh, my gosh, what are we going to do in all of a sudden? All these people are coming in. We have to be smart and they're coming in now. They're coming to us for leadership. I was about to hire somebody else.

[00:06:53] And then Britney looked at me and said, there you go again. You're just hearing just about anyone because you're desperate and then so anyway, long story short, that's when Ruckle came into the picture. I became very selective. She was actually one of the three people that I interviewed for a CEO at the time. I didn't know what I was interviewing for. And then ultimately I realized that my problem was I didn't know how to implement things. I was really good at having this massive vision and then work really hard to keep that vision small. And then I think it was really important to understand for any team leaders or brokerage owner to understand what type of person they are. Are you a visionary or do you know how to implement and integrate things? And in our situation, you know, I I'm the opposite of recal. I, I come I come to the office day in and day out and I have this big ideas. And Raphael's job is really like sifting through those ideas and telling me like, yes, no, yes, no.

[00:08:12] And where are you. She is the operator. Right. She basically puts them together and she keeps them in line. And so that's Brittny. So so then I went and then I had to change back in the day.

[00:08:26] Ok, well, this is just like a year ago. Everything I decided, whatever I wanted to do, I it was a decision that I always made on my own. And I I'd get everyone's feedback after the fact. So this time I said, well, I've been doing X, Y and Z and it hasn't really quite worked. So I need to start asking other people's feedback, you know, so. And Raquel, Brittny, everyone I mean, everyone involved in the company with a decision, so before the interview process was me and then hired and then I tell them what needs to be done. And now it's like it's a four process, four part process now. So there's Brittany, Raquel. And then my husband is a broker, Tom. And so they get to tell me yes or no. And so I think having more people helping us dissect, that's really important. And so I think the mindset has to start. And one thing I've learned all throughout this process is you guys, should it you should really look forward to growing your goal. Should I mean, speaking from experience, OK, you really should look forward to growing and should plan on growing because there's freedom. There's if one word can describe what growth means, it means freedom. And freedom for yourself, freedom for everybody, and I think that's what it is like, you know, allowing other people to stay in their own lane.

[00:10:15] How long ago was that, that it was down to just the two of you?

[00:10:20] I would have been probably. I would say May or May, June of last year of 20, 19 or 20, two life here. Yeah, and it was just and then we were down to ten agents, so. Then agents and then Britney and myself and my husband, who is our who is our broker and and the other agents at the time, they were all part time. OK, so how many agents do you have today were 30, 30 to 32? Yeah.

[00:11:06] So congratulations.

[00:11:08] Thank you. And we're going to grow into we're probably hoping by the end of this year to 50. It's an intentional growth, Brian. It's not something it's not. It's we're very selective now and then. It's very intentional. We don't just open up our brokerage to just anybody. We're looking for the right fit to our culture because we really have established what that culture is.

[00:11:41] Yes, very exciting. So congratulations, by the way, that that that's tremendous.

[00:11:48] So let's talk about what you guys expect to achieve this year, 20 twenty and what your vision is of next year.

[00:11:57] So this year, as I mentioned, you know, the goal is to go to 50 agents. The reason for that is because the amount of business that we grow as our the amount of business is coming in to our brokerage. So we don't just grow because we just need agents. We've had other teams that have approached to join us. In fact, we have told them no because they didn't seem to be the right fit for us. And and also. Growing into different markets, the goal is to go into other markets where right now we're already in Riverside like Temecula area, and the goal is to go up north also.

[00:12:48] So that's where I'm thinking of going to Orange County.

[00:12:53] So your growth is going to be opening a new brokerage in Orange County as well as Riverside.

[00:13:00] And and recruiting more agents here locally, yes, how many transactions will you guys do this year?

[00:13:08] Ok, so this is really I have to tell you guys, mean, this is really a plug for Sisu because I love love. We love Sisu.

[00:13:17] We had no idea that you guys even existed. First of all, I want to give credit to the person that suggested you guys to us, which is Audrey Lee of Zillo and Audrey it because you are the last component to all of the processes, the systems and the tools that we have spagetti together in the brokerage. You know, and you are one of the biggest reasons why we're attracting agents. So.

[00:13:51] So you're attracting agents because of Sisu? Yeah, explain that.

[00:13:56] Explain that. Because back in the day when an agent comes into our brokerage and they ask me, well, how many how many houses have you sold? How, how, what are you looking to sell and what did you sell from the prior year? Like, I would be like, oh, Brick, can you pull that up? It's like, where is your A.G.? Like, that's the one thing like we're so tech savvy in our brokerage, but this is the one thing that we didn't really pay that much attention to because we didn't have to do it well, at least in my mind, because we were so small. And as we scale, we had to have you know, you can just write everything in a notepad or what.

[00:14:45] It it's very nice to be able to have that visual of not just growth you're doing now, but where you've been. And so it's really keeping track of all those numbers for you and just giving you a really nice visual of where you are, where you'll be by the end of the year, where your agents are.

[00:15:06] And it also builds this component of not just collaboration, but this this competitiveness and the brokerage, which, you know, as salespeople, sales representatives, that's what our agents kind of feed off of.

[00:15:23] You know, you want to not just crush the year, crush your numbers, but also see where you were in the years past and where are you compared to other agents. So it's really nice to have all of those components right on a dashboard and be able to as head of a thing as she interviews new agents to be able to show them that data and really show that we're not just saying we're growing, but also show the numbers.

[00:15:52] Yeah, there's I mean, there's proof, like, I can whip out my Sisu. I'm like, God, I feel so like fantasy right now, like whip up my Sisu dashboard. And I said, look at all this trajectory and look at this this graph. We're like, wow, we I mean, we're speaking math like we're talking numbers. We see the language. Not only we're saying it, we're showing it.

[00:16:16] And the agents that we interview or even our agents in-house, they can see that we went from here to here and then all of a sudden to hear like just giving an idea in two thousand eighteen we only sold fifty six thousand dollars and then are fifty six million dollars sorry. Fifty six thousand dollars. Fifty six million dollars. And that's when part time agents and about forty and then in 2010 or nineteen we ended up with still like we didn't really hire the agents more of the agents towards October and November and some were trickling in but maybe would go from 10 to ten to fifteen. At that point. Our growth didn't really happen towards the very end. So we didn't really have a whole lot of enough time to do the sales. But I would say last year we did almost 90 million dollars with ten people. And then that's including commercial, obviously, and then residential. We did, I think 70 something this year before. So this year when everyone started on boarding, I think we hit. We had one hand, so last year we sold one hundred and thirty six and then before June 30 units, three hundred and thirty six units, and then this year, before June ended, twenty twenty, we already hit we already sold more than one hundred and thirty six houses. So and we've already sold over one hundred million dollars. How do I know. Because I just looked at Macy's this morning and then I think we are, we, we probably have assuming that all of our agents have updated everything we already hit over. I think we have one hundred and seven, one hundred and ten million dollars that's already close so far this year. And then we have another and another 15, 20 million dollars that's in escrow right now. And we have closed one hundred ninety one and one hundred ninety two units so far. And and I don't know, like the goal and we're probably going to hit maybe two hundred and fifty had we not have a lot of inventory in San Diego would probably be close to three hundred. There's just not no inventory.

[00:18:49] But so you've taken your business in twenty nineteen. You were at one thirty. You're connected to head to fifty. You're over one hundred million already and it sounds like you're going to be close to probably one hundred and eighty two hundred million somewhere in there.

[00:19:07] Yeah I think so, yeah.

[00:19:09] That's phenomenal. It's, it's, it's super exciting to see that in recruiting agents.

[00:19:18] You said you're super intentional about that. What do you do? How do you how do you recruit agents.

[00:19:24] Do you want to start right now and then? Well, we we. I feel like it feels kind of like the law of attraction, right?

[00:19:34] A lot of the agents that we do recruit are through personal referrals or or business referrals, but we do have a process.

[00:19:46] Typically had a we'll meet them first. If she if she feels that they might be the right fit, then Britney and I are basically the second part of the interview.

[00:19:57] Then we ask certain questions and then because we, like her, said we are very tech savvy here. And we we not only want the person to be the right fit because we do have certain certain criteria that we look for in a person, because we do want to make sure that the data is being input by the agent. And so we need to make sure that they are willing to learn, learn and grow with the brokerage as we move forward. And so that's part of part of what we look for. I feel like it's it's also we've built a really nice culture here where everyone that's here wants to be here.

[00:20:45] Everyone that's here wants to tune in to our weekly or we actually have two two meetings a week and they want to be there. And that's what's so nice about it, that that we have a lot of agents that are so collaborative.

[00:21:03] So I love hearing this. I want to know, what do you guys discuss in those two meetings? Why do your agents want to be there?

[00:21:10] No, not it's not. And I'm like, oh, my gosh. OK, so anyone that's listening. OK.

[00:21:17] We went from. Having one meeting a month, OK, one meeting a month and two, like having two meetings a week, and sometimes there's even other meetings thrown in the week and I can't tell you the attendance is remarkable. And I thought we're like, we're pushing them to do something. You know, agents wants to be part of something. You know, I was a solo agent at one time. They want to be in they want to be in an environment where they learn from one another, where no one is judging them, where everyone's encouraging them. So that's really what we do. So first of all, the agent that we're looking for has to be I'm looking for somebody who has close at least three deals to five deals. We do not hire agents off the street or off real estate school just yet, but we will work on that because everything's moving so fast. An agent that comes to our brokerage are either looking to become a team leader and that's where we teach them and make them into a team leader with the business that we will give them so they can feed their entire team. So so an individual agent who wants to grow and become a team leader or the agent that just wants to be part of what policy realty has to offer.

[00:22:44] And then number three is an agent who who is so ready, who who's done enough education, but no one has ever given them the chance to just. No one has given them a lead or a business. Here you go, Rakow, here's 20 deals. Go do something with it. So what we promised our agencies, we will give you 50 percent of what it takes to succeed. That's including the business itself, the training, what to say, what to do. We will even create your listening presentation, your packet presentation. We will do all of your marketing. We will include that in your we will do a video. I mean, anything and everything. OK, we will create your fliers and we I mean, and then so that's really. And then the other 50 percent. Yeah. It has to come from them and. Yeah. And we have I mean we have now a database manager who is sitting there and analyzing the data for the agents and he reaches out to them, ask them for help. So what we've done is, you know, like I just kind of resorted back to when I was just a solo agent and what was it that I needed at the time in order to succeed.

[00:24:10] So now I'm giving them the business and we're giving them the tools, the trainings and everything else. The support is really what we're trying to expand on. And, you know, and our agents, I think they love that. I mean, if an agent doesn't know how to input one person to follow up bores into why lobal and then now from why local, they become a real transaction, how to go into Sisu. We literally sit there with them and like, OK, go click here. Go do go from point A to point B, we have people to help them do that now and then we do. We have scripting classes, scripting. Really. I know it sounds horrible to say scripting, but it's really just talking points. It's giving our agents talking points. I have personally process in my days, a minimum of 50 online needs a week that 50 leads a week. And that's kind of a lot. So I've talked to a lot of people in my days and I'm still in production right now. And really the goal is to ultimately, you know, just just help out everybody else and be out of production.

[00:25:29] Yeah, it sounds like you're doing an amazing job of that.

[00:25:32] You guys talked about the competitive spirit of your brokerage, which is really your culture. That's what you've driven. Let's let's share a little bit more about that. We only have three minutes left, but I was looking for a little bit more about that. And then I know you guys have really shifted to this this culture of positive accountability as well. Right. So maybe we could hit on that.

[00:26:00] I you know, I didn't think that people wanted to be accountable, and I think I literally took the word independent contractor literally, they don't know independent contractor that's just in writing. But in essence, agents do not want to be really doing everything by themselves. So when we say accountable, it's like, hey, you know what, showing up for yourself, you owe it to yourself. You owe it to your family to show up. Meaning like if you're going to spend time and taking time out of your life, make it meaningful, you know, don't just do things half assed. Excuse me, but that's what a lot of people do. And, you know, I made make a commitment. You know, you have to do this job full time if you wanted to give it a full time result. And that's what we do with our agents. We talk, we ask them if you have too much going on, if life is happening to you personally, just let me know. So let's put you on pause so you don't have to you get overwhelmed with so much business or if you have too much going on, we step in, we ask, what can we do to make your life easier? What are you struggling with? Is it the system? Do you have too many tasks? Why don't you call Michael and talk to Michael and have him help you with your task? So, Michael also help them calling their leads. And so really it's competitive side. Yeah, I think Sisu has put a little spin on it. So, you know, like when they see their leader board, like, hey, so-and-so is number one. I mean, they're like, oh, I'm going to be there tomorrow too, or I'm going to be there next month. I think that's really nice.

[00:27:54] It gives them a different drive. I feel all right. It's it's given them a little bit more of not just what's in front of them, but actually reaching for their goals.

[00:28:06] It's it's it's giving them their numbers and really allowing them to to set their their own bar and try to reach it.

[00:28:15] Right. And it's also like when I say competitive, it's being competitive within themselves and also like at the same time lifting others up. If somebody is struggling, I mean, like, oh, my gosh, Brian, I wish you can be in our Facebook group or in our chat because our agents are like, hey, this is what I do. This is what you can do. Hey, do you want me to let let me teach you on how to say it this way and do it that way. Do you know how many hand racers we have when it comes to like, hey, I'll do the zoom meeting? I was like, wow, that's really I mean, it's remarkable. They're so excited and they want to be part of it. And I think what we do is we ask our agents, what can we do to make it better for you? How I mean, asking for feedback really has watched change all of these, because you can't you can't tell people what to do. You can't there's no way on earth that you can you know, you can have somebody like do what you I mean, what's the right word that I'm thinking of more, but. You can't force somebody. Yeah, exactly, and but I think when you when you ask them what is it that they want to do and then help them from there, I think that's really that's really the key. Yeah, you can't. That's the reward. You can't motivate people to do what you want them to do. They have to be motivated by their own at their own will and.

[00:29:51] Absolutely. Yeah.

[00:29:54] You guys, I just want to congratulate again, both of you.

[00:29:58] You're from where you were in twenty nineteen and now twenty twenty and where you're heading in twenty, twenty one. Just remarkable job. Anyone approaching two hundred million in their business deserves a big round of applause. That's a that's a big huge milestone. So we're thrilled to have you guys as customers. We love being a part of your business. And thank you for joining us today at the summit.

[00:30:23] Thank you so much for having us. Yeah, thanks. We'll talk to you soon. OK, bye.

About the Author

Brian Charlesworth
Chairman and CEO

Entrepreneur and business builder. Built and sold software and telecommunications companies. Passionate about making a significant impact on lives by driving technology forward.