Rich DeNicola currently serves as the Chief Operating Officer for the Realogy Expansion Brands portfolio, which includes Better Homes and Gardens® Real Estate and ERA®. He is responsible for domestic and international business operations, financial management, franchise performance consulting, network engagement and brand growth strategy for the portfolio.

In this episode, Brian and Rich discuss Realogy’s growth, future expansion, and with the industry changing, what to look out for.

In this episode we talk about…

  • 2:15 – Rich talks about Realogy Holdings structure and the brands it consists of.
  • 9:25 – A new relationship with Amazon, how it’s delivering high-quality leads to consumers.
  • 20:30 – With iBuying sweeping the industry, Realogy’s “RealSure” is a game-changer.
  • 26:55 – Rich talks about the biggest risks for the industry and where it will go in 10 years.
  • 31:27 – Other than AI, these awesome technologies have caught Rich’s eye.

Show Transcript

Brian Charlesworth: [00:00:35] Hello, everyone. Welcome back to the great podcast. I’m Brian Charlesworth, I’m the founder of Sisu and your host of the show.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:00:41] And today I am here with Rich DeNicola. Rich is the COO of Realogy’s New Expansion Brands, which, as far as I know, includes ERA, It includes Better Homes and Gardens. And I think it may or may not include another brands. Let Rich correct me here in a minute and let us know that. But one of the things I know about Rich from working with Realogy some and your team, they’re roaming the halls at Realogy. Everyone I know from people who used to be there, people who are there today. Is everyone is super impressed. You kind of started at the bottom and work your way up in that company. And I my understanding is the reason you’ve been able to do that is because you’re not afraid of saying what you feel and you just commit to really making a difference. I think even though there’s such a large company, you do everything you can to run your piece of that business more like a startup. And moving quickly so you can correct me if I’m wrong, Rich, but it’s an honor to have you on the show today. Maybe you can add to what I just said.

Rich DeNicola: [00:01:48] Thank you. Really appreciate you having me on. Excited to be here. Chat with you. I have definitely never been accused of not having an opinion.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:01:56] Well said. Perfect. All right. So maybe you could just talk to us about, I know, expansion brands. First of all, a lot of people, when they think of Realogy, they don’t even know what it is because you’re better known for all of your brands. So maybe you could talk to us about how Realogy is structured. Tell us a little bit more about the brands that you’re operating now.

Rich DeNicola: [00:02:15] Sure. So specifically in the expansion brands, you had it right. So the two most well-known there are Better Homes and Gardens, real estate. And you’re a real estate. Better homes. Gardens. Real estate’s been part of the Realogy family for the last 12 years. Launched in 2008, ERA has been part of the Realogy family since it was acquired by our predecessor company. And in the mid 90s, which was Cendant Corporation and the ERA brand goes back to the 1970s. But when you look at it, both brands in the Realogy family, they are two brands that, in our opinion, have the most runway to grow geography just geographically here in the United States. And that’s why a decision was made last year to put the two brands underneath one leadership team and really focus on everything. Doing everything we possibly can to put the resources behind these two brands to to grow and grow quickly.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:03:12] You get the fun job over there because there are also other brands like Coldwell Banker. C21. Are those pretty much sold out as far as franchises in the US? I know they have international franchises as well.

Rich DeNicola: [00:03:24] I wouldn’t say that they’re sold out. I think that there there’s certainly opportunities for for each of the brands to grow. But but certainly, you know, comparatively, when you look at franchise count, you’ve got in the ERA system, about 250 franchisees in the Better Homes and Gardens, real estate system. You’ve got about 120 franchisees. And that compares to some of the systems like a Century 21 or a coldwell banker that each have well over a thousand franchisees. So while I wouldn’t say that any of the brands are sold out by any means, there’s there’s certainly a maturity to the brands that have been around a bit longer than than what exists with better homes, gardens, real estate. And you’re a.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:04:06] Ok. Awesome. So one of things I wanted to ask you. And this. I hope I don’t catch you off guard with this at all. But Realogy has been, I mean, bit in the news, as, you know, struggling the stock, all these other tech, not all these other companies are trying to position themselves as a tech company so they can get higher valuations. And I don’t know if that’s had an impact, but definitely you guys got hit last year with your basically let’s just call your market cap. And I know your stock went down to five dollars. And when it did that, I was thankfully smart enough to buy. I have confidence in you guys and I know the team there. Right. So anyway, so I’ve doubled my money and I look forward to continuing that. But maybe you could share with us, like what are the key strategies that you guys are doing that that you can share openly and really your focus and the value you’re bringing to the market? I think so many people get drawn away to the news sirens that, you know, the new things that are out there talking about changing the real estate industry. So tell us more about that from your perspective.

Rich DeNicola: [00:05:16] Sure. So I think strategically from Realogy perspective, things that we are working on every single day start with how can we provide our franchisees and agents higher quality leads? Clearly, that is an avenue that has taken hold when you look at just all the different aspects of the industry on on what generates business, you know, high quality leads, especially in a world of Internet leads where conversion rates are 1 percent or less, sometimes really focusing efforts on working with different organizations to bring better high quality leads to our franchisees and agencies is an imperative strategy that not just Realogy, but all the brands that really you’re working on. Second piece is really taking a focus on what we can do to be closer to the consumer. I think that what we are seeing very clearly is that consumers are demanding, you know, a more efficient process in the home purchasing process is a struggle. It takes way too long. Not that it should be short and instantaneous. Given the size of the transaction, you certainly want to have consumers thinking and making sure what they’re doing is is in their best interests financially. But, you know, I think to have, you know, 60, 90, 120 day process, if not longer, to close on a house when you can go buy a $150000 car in an afternoon. You know, we’ve got to be doing everything we can do to make sure that we’re working to keep consumers satisfied in the transaction.

Rich DeNicola: [00:06:49] And I think the third thing we’ve really been focused on it really is how can we make our business more efficient? It’s a it’s a large company. It’s the biggest real estate company, really, in the United States, if not the world. And we work very hard to make sure that we’re nimble because we know that we’ve got to move quickly. But when you’re a company that’s been built by acquisition, because that’s really what we’ve been. If you go back to the acquisitions that took place in the mid 90s when the company acquired Century 21, Coal Banker or any ERA in 18 month period, you know, each of those companies that require acquired, we’re really run as separate businesses. And it’s not until recently that the strategy has been looked at. You know, if we’re really going to be able to talk the talk and walk the walk and move more quickly, as we say, we’re going to we’ve had to go through a series of reorganizations over the last two, three years, combining different business units to make sure that we are moving more efficient. So it’s it’s been really exciting, but there’s a lot of work that goes into those three areas, not just at the religious level, but each brand has their own has their own strategy deployed against it as well.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:07:59] Ok. So you are now over two of the brands ERA, Better Homes and Gardens. Is there another brand that you’re over as well?

Rich DeNicola: [00:08:08] We’re not. So or initially when the expansion brands were announced, Climb Real Estate was part of the expansion brands. So Climb for those that are not familiar with was a brokerage in the San Francisco Bay Area, San Francisco Oakland areas. It was founded by great guy Chris Lamb and Mark Choi. They sold the company to Real G a few years back. We had intentions of of really building that brand. And, you know, I would say over the last few months, we looked at a lot of what it was going to take to do that and things that were going on in the marketplace. And a decision was made not long ago that that operation was rolled into the cold banker in our tee operations out in San Francisco. So for now, my focus is solely on better homes, gardens and ERA.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:09:01] Ok. So do you guys actually have an FDA completed for climb or are you actually selling? Franchises.

Rich DeNicola: [00:09:06] No, we do not.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:09:07] OK. All right. So back to what you were talking about. Being closer to the consumer is the Amazon. And I know everyone you guys made this announcement, announcement about Amazon. I don’t think the world of realtors or the world of consumers understands what that means. Can you can you share with us the value of that Amazon?

Rich DeNicola: [00:09:28] Yeah, sure. Yeah, the relationship with Amazon. It’s a collaboration with them. It’s it’s live right now. And I think about a dozen U.S. markets. And what it is, is it’s it’s a portal basically on the Amazon Web site where a consumer can go in and search for a realtor. And if they are are linked up with the realtor, it goes through a process where they are connected to a real G branded real estate agent. And assuming the consumer closes the transaction with that agent based on the value of the transaction, they are provided smart home products as basically a rebate.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:10:12] Ok. Is that getting the kind of growth that you guys were expecting or what’s what’s kind of the expectations around that?

Rich DeNicola: [00:10:19] Yeah, I think so. The expectations are certainly that it’s a program that could be huge for real G huge for our brands. We’re excited about it. Again, this is core to that strategy that I mentioned of delivering high quality leads to consumers. I would tell you, it’s still very early in the process to to be saying, hey, this is a home run or not. I think that, you know, we announced it a couple of weeks, months to get it really going in these markets. There was a lot of learnings that took place from that. And I think the the executives here that are on our strategy team, that are working with Amazon, I think they’re all pretty excited about the future and rolling out to different markets, but that I’ll leave that up to them to comment on that strategy.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:11:02] So I think it’s I think it’s amazing that you guys are focused on delivering high quality leads to your franchisees and your agents. I think usually my experience is and seeing a lot of real estate businesses, usually at the franchise level, that is not happening. Usually it’s happening at a team level. In some cases I see I see broker owners who run their brokerages like a team and they’re generating leads for their agents. But I mean, are you guys to where you are actually generating leads for all your agents across the country?

Rich DeNicola: [00:11:38] So I think there’s there’s absolutely strategies that we put in place, whether it’s using our branding, using brand marketing, allowing our agents to leverage, allowing our brokers to leverage the technologies, tools and systems and platforms that we make available to them. And if it’s used in the time and effort and energy is spent, it’s certainly areas where they can generate leads using what we have. But there’s also a good amount of money that that each of our brands, Sprint spends every year to be in front of consumers to generate those leads. And then there’s also work that religion is doing to better qualified leads and turnover leads to our brokers and agents that are of higher of our higher quality. So, for example, one of the things that you may or may not have heard about is the relationship that Realogy has with Ojo Labs, which is an artificial intelligence company. They’ve developed a bot that runs on on some of our branded Web sites that uses artificial intelligence to really gauge consumer appetite for where they’re at in the process and how soon they’re gonna close on a transaction that’s used to incubate those consumers so that they can be turned over to an agent when it’s believed that there are, you know, a warmer, more qualified lead. So we’re having a lot of success in early stage pilots, although, Joe, we’re looking at probably a more broad roll out to our franchises later this year, which we’re really excited about. But that’s a relationship that’s really you know, it’s still in the early days, but it’s producing really good results.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:13:12] Very cool. So when I hear that, it reminds me more of a reminder type of technology. Is that is that an accurate way to describe what you guys are doing there? Or is that or like something that why Lobo today is doing to generate leads?

Rich DeNicola: [00:13:28] Yeah. So I think I think it’s a couple different areas. I think it’s a I think it’s it’s these bots. They’ve got call centers. So you know that it’s along the lines. Their call center would be along the lines of some of the things that OP has done in the past. So it looks it’s not just a lead’s incubation system through one form or fashion.There’s different technologies they have in place, which is really a cool aspect of it that we’re excited about.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:13:54] So you guys are actually building call centers and you your intention anyway is to do live transfers, too.

Rich DeNicola: [00:14:01] So we have we are not building the call centers. It’s Ojo Labs. That’s real labs. We have a relationship with Ojo about two abrupt provide those services to our franchisees. OK, very cool.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:14:14] So tell me about the shortening the sales cycle. When I look at a real estate sales cycle today, give or take a few days, it’s typically 30 days. And it seems to me and this is just my perception, but it seems to me that the things slowing that down or two things.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:14:32] One is the home inspection, which I used on a home inspection company and was very frustrated that when we would slow things down and the other is the appraisal. So other than shortening those and let me point this out, I know for a fact that I know a bunch of people who own mortgage companies and it’s already gotten to where people who use, for instance, U.W. When United also Mortgage in many cases, they don’t even need an appraisal because they have the technology now that will allow you to just type in an address and they know the value of the house. So I think that is going to happen. My opinion it’s going to happen where many of these loans are not going to need an appraiser anymore. But what else can you do other than that to really shorten the sale cycle?

Rich DeNicola: [00:15:24] So I don’t know that it’s necessarily the sales cycle. That is really what’s what’s in the minds of the consumer when they think about transacting on the home. I think it’s it’s yes, they view the sales process of the transaction. As, you know, the largest purchase their life. They want coaching. They want to make sure it’s negotiated. They want to make sure they’ve put their time into thinking through it. They’ve got to find the house. There’s the sales cycle. But then there’s also the overall. What’s it take to actually physically move? And I think that that it’s somewhat of a daunting process when you think about everything that goes into not just listing your home, selling your home, finding the house you want to buy, you know, transacting on on that purchase. Moving all your utilities to the new location. Getting the moving company lined up, going through the home inspection, all those processes, everything you have to do from start to finish. You know, I would venture to say that’s not a 30 day process. That’s not a 60 day process. So I think, you know, when you look at the number of consumers that transact in the US, you know, whatever it’s going to be this year, five, five and a half million, whatever the number is, somewhere in that range likely. I think that, you know, there’s potential that that number would probably be far greater if the process was easier. And, you know, you look at some of the NARAS statistics that show that it was not long ago within the last five or six years that on average consumer transact on home every seven years. Now it’s up to every once 10 or 11 years.

Rich DeNicola: [00:16:55] So the length that people have time, people are staying in their homes is getting longer. And I think a lot of that is because of how frustrating and difficult it is to move. And it’s not just about transacting on the home. So things that we’re working on specifically in our brands, which I think is a really cool offering that’s out there now, that’s started to gain traction company called Move Duru that we’ve entered into relationships with. That really takes the burden off of consumers to move all their utilities or use local contractors as part of relationship with our real estate agents kind of keeps our real estate agents in the center of that transaction by promoting these different services, providing more of a concierge type service to consumers to take some of the pain away, whether it’s moving the utilities or transacting with a moving company. So we’ve launched Air A Moves and better homes, gardens, real estate move, BHB, every move. So we’re really excited about that program. We think that’s something that, you know, in within the strategy of delivering a better consumer experience, that that’s something we’re excited about.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:18:01] So the moves program for both brands is really helping with things like moving company utilities, just making things easier for that homeowner when it comes down and they actually do transact and close on the home, is that correct?

Rich DeNicola: [00:18:17] Yeah. And that’s where I think you look at the entire process of moving. And that’s that’s an area where, you know, we’ve we’ve got the direct ability to work with other companies to create a better process for consumers that that, you know, they’ll remember their experience. And that’s what we’re excited about.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:18:35] So how do you let the consumer know something like that? I mean, that seems to be something that you could actually do national marketing campaigns around.

Rich DeNicola: [00:18:43] Yeah, we’re just getting so ERA has had it for a while. We’re just getting going with it and better homes, gardens, real estate. And ERA has been running it for about a year. It is it’s a nice little program where it puts our real estate agents in the center of it. And in the relationship with Move, Move Guru is such that as a as an agent is working with a consumer, there’s e-mails that go out directly to the consumer with our real estate agents on there saying, hey, here’s here’s a great service that you get as part of being with our company. And here’s how you take advantage of it. And that concierge service follows up with the consumer to make sure that they’re getting what they need should they opt into the program.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:19:23] Are there any other big announcements we should be aware of?

Rich DeNicola: [00:19:26] You know, I think what’s what’s been up our sleeves, at least the better homes, gardens and era is is pretty public out there already. You know, on the religious side, I think you mentioned turn key. We talked about the turnkey collaboration with Amazon. We recently, you know, on the lead generation side, we recently announced a relationship with a г.р that’s going to launch over the next couple of weeks. Very similar in terms of ittle for those members of our AARP that transact with a real A-G agent. There will be some financial benefits to them for doing so. We also launched the real A-G Military Rewards Program, similar again in terms of offering rebates to members of the U.S. military that transact with a real g- agent. So some pretty cool programs that we’ve announced over the last few months that are really focused on driving leads. You know, on on the second side where I talked about, you know, conversion or better experience, I think some of the programs out there that real GS launched over the last year. Like RealSure. Not sure if you’re familiar with that. But, you know, I buying had certainly swept up the industry. And then we looked at how that was taking hold in markets. Religions had a very good relationship with home partners America for years and. We sat down with Home Partners America and established this real short product in conjunction with them, where right now it’s live in 10 markets in the US, soon to be more. And in those 10 markets, a real gee agent that’s with the participating broker in the program has the ability to offer consumer a guaranteed cash offer on their house. That’s good for forty five days and the consumer can either take that cash offer or they can listed with the agent they’ve got. Forty five days that that offer develops where to find a better offer on their home. So it’s a win-win for the agent. Win-win for the consumer. And with our relationship with home partners, America is the actual purchaser of the home. You know, it’s just a good, good relationship all around to provide a better potential consumer experience and again, potentially take time off the transaction for those that are not looking to, you know, list and and and wait it out if they’re trying to get a certain amount of money for their home.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:21:47] So in that case, how do you guys price a home? I’ve seen it all over the board from pricing it at what is believed to be market value, which everyone, depending on who’s doing that CMA market value may change. And I’ve seen others who are discounting it below market value, at least 10 percent, sometimes greater now because you’re saving effort, you’re saving real estate costs, you’re saving a lot of different things. How are you guys running that side of the program?

Rich DeNicola: [00:22:12] Yeah, so I think it’s it’s a program in which, you know, you’re going to get a guaranteed cash offer on the house. And there’s things that, you know, home partners America’s got to do to make this a worthwhile venture for them and for us. So, you know, I think it’s it’s usually probably similar algorithms to the other eye buyers that are out there and comps to come up with what’s a reasonable price for the home. And, you know, what are the factors that they need to take into account for to make it worthwhile on their side? I think it’s still pretty competitive offers, despite the fact that you’re saying that others may offer 5 or 10 percent. I don’t think it’s nearly that. I think it’s within really good reasonable price range that it’s making it lucrative for a consumer to take advantage of it. But it’s also potentially better for the consumer to, you know, feel like they’ve got the ability to list their property for forty five days and find something better.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:23:07] Yeah. OK. So one of the things I’ve seen and it’s exciting, you guys have a time going on more than I realized. So one of things I’ve seen, though, if you guys you talked about you guys a. Really built your growth through acquisition, and my understanding, I don’t know if you guys you’re still doing this, but if I’m a broker owner for a religious brand and I want to go acquire an independent brokerage. You guys have some leverage. Give me some assistance with that. How does that work?

Rich DeNicola: [00:23:38] Yeah. So it’s it’s a huge benefit of being with one of our brands. And we deploy our franchise sales teams for both better homes and gardens. And ERA to work not just on adding new franchisees to the mix, but supporting our franchisees with potential merger and acquisition opportunities. And the support comes in a variety of ways. The support comes from working with our franchisees to develop a M&A plan. If if that specific franchisee is interested in it, that plan could be deploying our staff to go in and cold call within the market to try and find potential sellers or candidates to offer our franchisee to acquire. We have done things where we’ll bring a few franchised salespeople into a market and send them out on behalf for a few days. One of our franchisees to try and drum up business and potential acquisition candidates for them. And that’s so that’s that’s more on the identification side. And then as it works its way through the process. One of the things that’s really unique about our brands and another example of a strong backing from Realogy is our ability to help finance those transactions. And we do we work hand-in-hand with our franchisees to try and find scenarios where we can help finance the transaction for their growth. And they grow. We grow, and it’s a win-win on both sides.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:25:07] I think it’s really cool you guys do that. Just. As a franchisee, I see tremendous value in that.

Rich DeNicola: [00:25:15] Well, It’s huge value, and especially when you think about the marketplace today versus where it was 10 or 15 years ago, you know, one of the big challenges in the marketplace today is that there there’s a lot of companies for sale because, you know, I think the average real estate brokers over 60 now were right in that neighborhood. And there’s a lot of folks that don’t have succession plans or they’re looking for some sort of capital to sell their business. And there’s not a lot of banks loaning money to real estate brokers to buy other real estate brokers. Not saying it’s not out there doesn’t exist, but you’ve got to be pretty qualified in order to get it. And it’s not easy, so having a franchise or as a partner that you can work with on both identifying growth opportunities and help to finance those growth opportunities, we believe is a big value that we bring to the table.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:26:09] Yeah, completely agree. So a lot of people might be wondering, especially in this industry, what is going on with the industry. I mean, there’s so much talk about the risk and the change in, you know, the technology and the eye buyers and et cetera. Right. The list goes on. So what’s your vision? Where do you feel for these listeners? Where do you feel the industry is really going?

Rich DeNicola: [00:26:39] I mean, it’s been 10 years now that people have really been focused on. Call it disposing of the real estate agent. I think many have come back to saying, OK, we realize now that there’s going to be a real estate agent. What are the biggest risks for the industry? And where do you see the industry being in the next five or 10 years?

Rich DeNicola: [00:27:04] So a few things. So I think I think, you know, I’ve been with Real G for 16 years. You held up your forward mug before. I think we got started here to show we were taken out of your forward mug. We’ve run this great event where we get to do some research on startup technologies that are out there. I think that’s what might have been how you and I crossed paths for the first time. I know you. You came in and presented it at forwarding one year a couple of years ago. You know, I think that that’s been a great program for companies to come in and present their offering and get some notoriety. And it’s great for us to get a peek under the hood at what people are thinking about. When you go back to some of the first presentations that we had five or six years ago. Whenever the first forward was, I think there were some that were coming in with these ideas of displacing real estate agents and disintermediating them from the transaction. That would say. Tell you that probably 100 percent of the companies that come in these days are figuring out how they can latch on to the real estate agent and are really focused on making the consumer experience more efficient and more beneficial. So it’s been a bit of an interesting change there. You know, look, there’s certainly some craziness in the real estate industry today. Probably has always been some craziness. But I think that overall, you know, there are some facts we can’t hide from. We’ve got 1.4 million realtors in the United States, which is the most there’s ever been. And you’ve got a little over five million transactions a year. That’s a lot of realtors to be doing that many transactions. You’ve got eighty thousand on eighty thousand real estate brokerages operating in the United States. That seems like that’s a pretty high number for what there needs to be.

Rich DeNicola: [00:28:53] So my sense is that you’re going to see more and more consolidation. I think it’s not just those numbers that drive it. I think, you know, things that we are seeing very clearly at Realogy that have changed over the last three or four years has been the amount of data that we are using internally to make decisions. And we are looking at ways to use that data to make better decisions about recruiting agents were we’re looking at how we can use that data to better target consumers that are more likely to move through predictive analytics. And the reality is that the more data points you have, the more accurate your data is. And there’s going to continue to be, you know, uses of technology around an AI and machine learning to better use the amounts of data that you have. So I believe it’s going to be more and more challenging for small unaffiliated companies to operate at a very high level because they just aren’t going to have access to the amount of data that larger companies do. So I am very excited to be in the position we are in with the brands that we have support from Realogy, that we have the investments that we’re making in technology, because I think we’re setting ourselves up for a good run and I think we’re in a really good spot.

Rich DeNicola: [00:30:13] You know, when I look at real estate brokerages and how they’re operating today, you know, I think that there are small niche companies that are doing quite well because the owner of the companies tend to be the top agents in the company. And they they’ve got the ability to sell some real estate and generate and contribute to the cash flow of the company or carry the cash flow. If the company’s struggling and I think there’s large companies that benefit from economies of scale and efficiencies, and I think they’re doing the things they need to do to grow and be profitable. I am concerned about small to mid-sized companies and their ability and effectiveness to compete. I think that you’re going to see a lot of consolidation. I think you’re either going to see people make the choice of being small niche players or trying to figure out how to get, you know, big quickly to take advantage of economies of scale and relationships, ancillary services, all the things they need to capture, data points to use data to make better decisions about their business and have that ancillary revenue to really be a profitable organization.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:31:20] Obviously, I feel the same about data. Data is based on what are some other coal technologies other than A.I. and finding, you know, being able to generate leads with a i–what are some other cool technologies in the industry that got your attention?

Rich DeNicola: [00:31:37] Well, look, you and I have had a bunch of conversations. Sisu should certainly caught my eye. I love the platform. I think it’s something that’s very beneficial for brokers’ too, to really think about how they can better keep track of especially multi office brokers that have recruiters or managers in their offices. I think it’s a nice platform to keep better track and accountability of recruiting efforts. I think we see time and time again, especially, you know, companies that don’t really hold people accountable or don’t have a way to hold them accountable. I think what happens is managers tend to default to deal doctoring and doing everything for current agents and don’t really have their mind focused on what they should be doing every day for recruiting. And I think the Sisu platform certainly keeps those goals and objectives front and center forum. So that’s why I really like that. I think the same goes through for agents and teams that use the platform and it’s very easy to fall into the trap of making two or three calls and being told no and calling it a day. I think when you’ve got ratios and data and goals that sit on a dashboard in front of your face, I think it’s it’s very hard to ignore the things that you need to be doing on a daily basis. Sisu certainly top of my list. I really like some cool that I saw as the Zabi platform. Not sure if you’re familiar with that. Lane Hornung out of Colorado. Not. Yeah. He developed a system that that you know, it’s basically a comparison shopping tool for the different eye buyer platforms. So several better homes, gardens, real estate near a franchise have launched this program and it gives their agents the ability to capture offers from the different eye buyers out there, whether it’s open door, knock or whoever is operating in the market.

Rich DeNicola: [00:33:32] And it gives the agent the ability very quickly to walk a consumer through and say, hey, here’s the offer you’re gonna get from open door. Here’s the offer you’re gonna get from Noch or whoever is participating in that platform in that market. And they can share those offers immediately with the consumer and they become more of a trusted advisor to the consumer versus being shut out of the process by one of those. I think that’s a really neat tool that’s been developed. What’s that called again? Zabi Xie, a VBIED.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:34:03] Ok. All right, great. Well, thanks for sharing that. And now that I’m I’m glad Sisu is on that list, but that talk about SiSu. Let’s jump to just kind of getting late on time here, Rich. Just have some questions that I’d like to ask you. Pretty standard questions that we ask everybody. So either what’s one of your favorite books or what’s your favorite source of learning? How do you continue to grow and evolve as a person?

Rich DeNicola: [00:34:33] So I am big into leading into reading leadership books. I always find that there are people out there that have led in unique circumstances. You know, I love the Patrick Lindsay only business books that he tells, very good stories. I think a lot of them are focused on leadership. He’s he’s just has a fantastic way of writing. I think one of my favorite books put the politics aside, because that’s not what it’s about. But I love Rudolph Giuliani’s book on leadership. It is the story of how he managed the city and 9/11. Just an incredible story. And then you start to really feel what he was dealing with that on day and how he went about managing it. That was pretty incredible. I’m in the middle now of reading Leadership in Chaos by Jim Mattis, our last secretary of defense. Extraordinary so far. I’m about halfway through the book, but he’s just a great example of of, you know, just somebody that anybody could be that ended up in the military and, you know, use one of the most respected military generals that that’s been in the U.S. of all time. And it’s quite the book just telling about, you know, repetition and what he what he really had to do to to to drill to his soldiers minds that that practice made perfect and practice, practice, practice led to no error. So I’d love those leadership books. And I think my favorite business book for execution is four disciplines of execution. I think that that’s just a great book to lay out a plan for people to execute from it. If you have a if you have an easy time setting goals and a hard time reaching home, it’s a very effective book to give you a plan to to work from.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:36:22] Yeah. So first of all, all your leadership looks like. It’s no wonder you’re such a great leader. Right. Those who read those. Those are the people who know.

Rich DeNicola: [00:36:32] You get you get ideas. And it’s funny how many of them work it.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:36:38] And then the four disciplines of execution. I mean, that’s a big part of what Caesar’s business was built to solve. And so I guess that’s one of the reasons you like our business is, of course, your favorite. So let’s talk about your favorite place where you’re from, New Jersey originally.

Rich DeNicola: [00:36:54] I am from New Jersey. I still live in New Jersey. I have not ventured far. I made it out of here for four years to go an hour and a half north to Connecticut for college. And then I came back to New Jersey. So, you know, I do like to travel and get a job that has me traveling quite a bit. My favorite places, you know, I honeymooned in Maui. That’s I think that’s probably still the best of all of them. Bye, love. When I get to go the Pacific Northwest, I think that’s just an area of beauty and cleanliness, cleanliness and land. I think it’s fantastic out there. And then I go to the other side of country and my family. I would love going to the South Florida, whether it’s Miami or Palm Beach or Boca Raton or Fort Lauderdale, which stick. There’s so many incredible spots in that stretch of the coast.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:37:40] They’re great. And what about what’s your favorite thing to do when you’re not working, when you’re not juggling those thousand things that you do every day?

Rich DeNicola: [00:37:49] I’m a big watersports person. So love boating, jet skiing, water skiing, doing all the fun stuff. Getting the kids in the water that my kids are big swimmers. My wife’s definitely an ocean person. So we are a family that likes the water.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:38:04] Very cool. We are the same way. The last last thing for you, Rich, what’s what’s one piece of advice that you feel you could give? It could make a difference in our listeners lives.

Rich DeNicola: [00:38:19] You know, I think I think in today’s world, I think that customer service interactions are so important, I think consumers, I don’t care what industry it is. Consumers are starved for a good experience where they feel like they are being taken care of. Just think about the frustrating things that you might have to deal with, whether it’s calling the cable company, calling the phone company, calling whoever it is that you need to get service. And, you know, whether you’re having a good interaction with somebody because it’s somebody that’s going the extra mile to take care of of what it is that you need. And you know how frustrating it is when when somebody is either following it to somebody else. You know, I’ve put it this way. There are people that take the hot potato and deal with it. There are people that take on potato and pass it. Be one that takes the hot potato and deals with it. Because I think that more and more people recognize when they are having a good customer experience and they are willing to pay more for that experience because it is so much more satisfactory.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:39:22] Yeah, I want to share an experience I had last night. So we have a mastermind page at SiSu on Facebook. And last night everyone was talking about these great new FISA updates we did for their inside sales agents and there were about 20 positive comments. And then somebody got on and was talking about how frustrated they are with their integration with a particular CRM.And anyway, a few people responded and then I just jumped in and said, hey, you know what, I’d love to meet with you on, you know, beginning of next week. And let’s sit down and talk about it and let’s let’s go through some other ways you can leverage the Sisu platform as well. And anyway, immediately he actually jumped into that channel, deleted his post, apologized to me through an email and now and told me how much he loves Cece’s platform. And then now I’m meeting with him on Tuesday. So just to your point, I guess I probably learned that from you.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:40:26] So so anyway, Rich. It’s been awesome spending time with you today. How do people go to get a hold of you? What’s the best way to. Are you on social? Is there a place we can follow you?

Rich DeNicola: [00:40:37] You know, I am easy to get ahold of. I am on social. I am on Facebook, LinkedIn. You can get me at my office. You can get me it [email protected] or you can get me at (973)407-4228.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:40:55] Now, is that your cell phone? That’s my office. OK. That’s here.

Rich DeNicola: [00:40:58] I’ll give you my cell phone. (973)418-4708.

Brian Charlesworth: [00:41:04] Ok. Rich, thank you so much. It’s been great. Spending more time with you. I don’t get to see enough. So really appreciate you being on today.

Rich DeNicola: [00:41:12] Thanks, Brian. Awesome doing this. Thanks for having me.

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