- Prashant’s real estate story [2:59]
- Danny’s introduction to real estate [5:42]
- How Doors Advisors was branded and built [7:48]
- Doors Advisors’ sales and profit figures [9:31]
- Prashant and Danny’s business goals for 2020 [11:34]
- Doors Advisors’ team structure [13:16]
- How to get great buyer leads at open houses [15:42]
- A simple script for inviting neighbors to open houses [16:55]
- The secret to getting seller leads at an open house [17:42]
- Doors Advisors’ system and schedule for cold calling [18:58]
- A fast, effective cold-calling script [19:55]
- A powerful marketing pitch for getting in the door with sellers [21:04]
- Advice for brand-new real estate agents [22:46]
- The biggest problem with the real estate industry today [24:32]
- What sets Doors Advisors apart from other brokerages [27:36]
- How to break through your goals.
- Plus so much more.
- Grow Your Real Estate Profits with Our Agent Success Toolbox
- Get 6 Steps to 7 Figures by Pat Hiban for FREE
- Get Tribe of Millionaires by Pat Hiban and David Osborn for FREE
- Doors Advisors
- Prashant’s LinkedIn
- Danny’s LinkedIn
- Danny’s Facebook
- Prashant’s Facebook
Aaron: Real Estate Rockstars, this is Aaron Amuchastegui coming to you for another episode of Real Estate Rockstars Radio. Today, I get to talk to two great guys out from Silicon Valley. I’ve got a good friend of mine, Prashant Vanka, I’ve traveled all over the world with this guy. I’m excited for us to get to talk to him about real estate and everything that he knows about being an agent growing in office, and his partner, Danny Burgess on here today. They’re coming in from Silicon Valley, they’ve got a lot of stuff to talk about and we’re just going to jump right into it. Guys, how’s it going?
Prashant Vanka: Amazing. How are you?
Aaron: I’m doing well, I’m really excited. I think a lot of people know I’m from Northern California half the time, and that’s where Prashant and I got to meet and hang out a lot more, but right now, I’m out in Austin. I’ve been out here now for a couple of months and just excited to see where real estate has this. I don’t know where I’ll see you next, but today we get to chat about where we’ve been and how we got here. Jumping into real estate and where we’re at, we’ve got like a series of questions to go into, but first, you guys are partners out here in real estate. Prashant, how did you get into real estate? How did you get into real estate and what was the transition like over the first couple of years of your career?
Prashant: Oh, man, this is a fun question. When I went to Cal Poly, it’s one of the schools that makes you pick a major and as a 18-year-old freshman, as you can imagine, I had a whole lot of wisdom at that point.
Aaron: Oh, yes. I forgot we both went to Cal Poly. That’s really funny that you said that again, that reminder, like, oh yes.
Prashant: One of the things, so you know about this, they make you pick a major by the end of freshman year, and initially, I picked business school because they had no schools on Fridays. That’s how I picked from high school on what major I’m going to do at Cal Poly. Then when I got there, I had to pick out of a business school, what I’m going to specialize in. As I was signing up for different classes, going to different clubs at the school, one of the things I would always read is a Forbes Magazine, and once a year, they would have the Forbes 1000 list, which is every billionaire in the US and also every billionaire in the whole world.
As I studied that list, every single person in America, no matter where they started, had 20% to 35% of their assets parked in real estate. I would go around different parts of business school, and I ran around with one of my buddies, Andrew Flachner, and him and I, we had this passion for real estate and we’re like, well, there’s not really a good club for that, so him and I ended up starting what was called Future Real Estate and we bought people from the residential world, the development world, the commercial world, the whole gambit of real estate to Cal Poly and as one of the founders, I got the chance to organize that and give students free pizza and beer and that’s my introduction to real estate.
Aaron: That is awesome and then after Cal Poly, you move up to the Bay Area right after that?
Prashant: I did. He graduated actually three months before me and while I was still figuring out where to go, I’m like, “Andrew, how’s it going?” Because he went out to Silicon Valley and started real estate. He’s like, “Listen Prashant, I made 80,000 in two months, come out and do this with me.” I’m like, done.
Aaron: What year was that, 80,000 in months?
Aaron: All right, that’s a busy real estate time, but it wasn’t necessarily the best time to invest in that, so that’s good. Danny, how about you? How did you get here?
Danny Burgess: Yes, thanks for asking. Thanks for having me on as well. One thing Prashant omitted there is in between that he actually started a beer pong company in Northern Europe where he actually went around to different bars and created an entire business around American Beer Pong. I didn’t want to leave that out of the story.
Prashant: True story.
Aaron: That’s like a whole another podcast. I can’t even believe I didn’t know that until right now. Danny, awesome, keep going.
Danny: I actually grew up in Arizona. First seven years of my life I spent running around the hillsides of Tucson, Arizona, and my father is a high-end architect contractor now, but at the time he was just a designer architect and he designed over 200 homes in the Tucson Hills. I remember vividly my entire childhood, either being on a construction site, walking into his office, and drawing all over his drawing tables. Really, I was just propelled into this world of real estate, and most importantly, it was about the product. It was about the actual physical home.
I had a real respect for that. I didn’t get into it initially. I helped him build a few homes here and there and he’s done some really big projects here in the Bay Area, but I’ve shoveled some dirt in my life at some of his sites, but through my college years, I got into working in the restaurant business. I worked as a busser, waiter, bartender the whole gamut of service industry and I was actually in the service industry for almost 10 years full time. I don’t recommend that for anyone, but it gave me a really great foundation for service and I’ve known a lot of great real estate agents who have come from the service industry and it’s very transferable.
From having that background with my father to working through the restaurant business, I found myself in real estate. My father had been pushing me and pushing me to get in. Finally, he just said, “Dan, go to 10 open houses, tell me you can’t beat those guys.” I went to 10 open houses, saw that 9 out of 10 were pretty lazy and I’m a pretty competitive guy, so went got my license and we’ve been crushing it since.
Aaron: The rest is history. You guys have a partnership, right? Doors Advisors, what does that look like? How does that work and how did you guys start working together?
Danny: I’ll take the front end of it. I was growing my own team out of Palo Alto, California the normal process in the first couple of years where you’re just really just spinning your wheels. I come from a Keller Williams background, so they teach you a lot about team building and growing this massive empire and it’s all fun and games until you have to start cutting the checks on a monthly basis.
My GCI really was pretty strong for an agent. I think my first full year I did about 200,000 in GCI. My second full year I did about 500, so I had the money to spend, which was probably the issue. I really started building up my overhead pretty quickly, long story short Prashant and I had met at Keller Williams, Palo Alto, and had built a relationship over time and he found me at a really great time in my life when I just had a baby. I really needed some additional leverage and I didn’t want to carry the weight of a team on my own. He gave me an offer that I couldn’t refuse and we branded and built Doors Advisors, so that was the beginning.
Aaron: That’s awesome. Do you guys both work actively or do you have clearly defined different roles within your business?
Prashant: We do have pretty different roles and the simplest way I try to talk about this is Danny’s the heart, I’m a hammer, but outside of that, Danny’s our director of sales, our team leader, and all that sort of stuff. I mostly do operations and fill in the holes wherever Danny needs me to, and the company needs me to.
Aaron: All right, let’s jump into the nitty-gritty. Let’s see what Doors Advisors is doing out there. How many houses have you sold in the last 12 months?
Prashant: Danny, go ahead.
Danny: I think 12 months to date, we’ve done 64 units for 76 million. Is that correct, Prashant?
Aaron: 76 million, and so what are the gross commissions out in Silicon Valley in 76 million in sales?
Danny: I think we ended up at 1.65, is that correct?
Prashant: Yes, I think it’s 1.65.
Danny: 1.65 right around there. Not as profitable, which is something we really, really talk about. I hate bringing up gross commission because it’s it’s like water on a Porsche with no gas in the tank. I think we were at like a 19% profit margin last year, is that correct, Prashant?
Prashant: A little shade under that, but right around there. I think backing up to a little bit about the timeline, Danny and I have known each other for five, six years now. We both were in KW Palo Alto right when Danny was getting started. I was also taking this full-time and so we’ve had a lot of mutual respect over the years, and always admired what each other was building.
It made a ton of sense when we talked about the right people that were missing from each other’s world, and that’s when we had these discussions and we brought that together. To give you a little context of how long Doors Advisors, and Danny, and Prashant have been working hands-on, it’s only been about 14, 15 months. I would say the last three years we were $33 million to $54 million to $76 million, has been the pathway we’ve gone on.
Aaron: 14 months? That’s actually a lot of growth in the first 14 months, and I think that maybe when you first say, hey, there’s only 19% profit in your gross commissions, that’s almost a little discouraging number. Man, it seems like a lot of work for that. When you’re throwing in there that much growth and actually starting a business, that makes a little bit more sense.
As you look into the next year, is the goal get those sales way up? Is the goal get commission way up or profit way up? Is there a balance in that? Do you know what that goal is for 2020?
Prashant: Yes, sweet. I’ll take the sales target and we want to double that number, but we also want to clear over $1.5 million from the company. That’s been one of the biggest [crosstalk]
Aaron: Doing $150 million in sales, but actually profit on your commissions is 1.5 million?
Aaron: It’s a great goal. How many houses will you have to do to get that?
Danny: The big milestone’s always been the 100-unit mark, it’s like the 100,000 mark for real estate agents. How much do you want to make in your first year? 100,000. We want to hit the century mark on the units, but I think we’re going to have to get to about 110 to get to our volume goal. 110 is the unit mark and we’re working on finding the people to get us there.
Aaron: How many so far this January and February?
Danny: I think we have six. We have a ton coming soon in active listings, but I think we only have four units closed and maybe two pending.
Aaron: You got to work really hard your next 10 months to get it up there.
Prashant: Look, to Danny’s point though, we’ve got between our pipeline right now, everyone wants to wait till first week of March. We have I think 18 or 19 listings signed for about 30, 32 million.
Aaron: That’s awesome. I guess it is an unfair question like, “How many closings did you have in January?” It’s like nobody buys a house during Christmas so they’re, “Sorry, we didn’t hit our numbers yet.” I’ll be checking in with you in a couple of months to see if those people started converting on that. You’re looking at that goal. You said you need to bring more people on the team. How many people are on your team? How many are you going to bring onto the team to hit those numbers?
Danny: We have three extremely productive agents and then we have three that we’re training and coaching into the roles. We probably need another two really solid agents to come on board before Q2 is out to really get to that number.
Aaron: You got to make sure all eight of them start listening to Real Estate Rockstars every week.
Danny: They all followed you this morning, so they’re going to be on it. The truth is you need a foundation of productive agents and then you need that backdrop of the new hungry agents to push everyone else for those opportunities. That’s what we have a meld of right now and we’re just trying to grow the talent pool with people who are 12 to 18 unit producers. That’s really who we’re looking for in Q2.
Aaron: It sounds like you do more listings than buyers or is it even, how many buyers you represent compared to sellers?
Danny: For me, personally, I’m pretty heavy on the listing side. I think about 70% of my business is probably going to come from listings this year. Our team is probably 60/40, buyers to sellers as a whole. I’m going to hold a pretty large share of the sales, so that balances us out.
Aaron:For your buyers out there, I guess for either, for your seller leads or your buyer leads, let’s talk both of them, where are those best leads for your agents and not just the people that you know, not your sphere of influence, but what are the other ways that you guys are getting buyers leads and seller leads?
Danny: P, you want to take the buyers?
Prashant: Yes. For buyers, we’re really, really good with open houses, so we do this thing called mega open houses. Our first weekends we’ve got live music, catered food, we’re sending and door knocking, sometimes 500 houses and inviting the neighbors out. If it’s a hothouse we hold twilight opens and we also do 1:00 to 6:00 PM listings.
We just do everything under our power to basically invite neighbors and potential buyers and we want to meet them belly to belly. Just because throughout life, our best sales have come in when I can talk to the person and read them and they can also see the passion, energy, and care we bring to each client.
Aaron: A lot of people say you go get your leads from open houses, but I don’t think I’ve interviewed very many people yet that say they do open houses quite like that. When you’re saying you’re door knocking 500 neighbors, you’re just telling them, “Hey, we’ve got this cool open house event coming up,” and then you try to make it a super fun event with food and music so people stay for a long time so that there’s a chance to do that? If you go knock on the door to the neighbor, what are you saying? What do you tell them when you’re trying to talk them into coming to your open house?
Prashant: “Hey, your neighbor Sally is moving out. We’re doing a nice big going away party and she wanted me to personally invite you guys out. We’re going to do a neighbor’s only for the first two hours, so come by, say hi, check it out. Give us your opinion on how much you think the house is worth, and if you have any friends, or neighbors, or coworkers that you want to be neighbors with, then after you look at it, you can obviously invite them out too.”
Aaron: Dude, I love that spin. You’re going, “Hey, we’re doing a big old going away party. We’re throwing a big party over there, come on over.” Because then the people get to see not only do you have time to talk to them, but it’s that example of service and fun and what a cool thing to be able to do that. Danny, what about sellers, are you the guy to get the seller leads?
Danny: I’ll tap into the open house thing as well because it goes into our listings. Those open houses are really cool, and they’re great for attracting buyers, but honestly, when you talk to the neighbors and you have the neighbors come over to view the home and you literally have a live musician on his guitar, you have catered food, they come in. They’ve never experienced something like this, and then they go to the open house next door and it’s the realtor sitting on the couch with his sign-in clipboard, who are they going to choose to list their home?
I’ve actually had multiple times where I’m selling listings and I have these really cool– even if we don’t have the live music, we always have music, if it’s just a speaker. We always have speaker, we always have food. The sellers come in, they can actually have a home that’s on market and they come out, check out the competition and they’re visibly disappointed that they didn’t list with you. That’s how cool these events are and they’re not difficult and they’re not expensive.
We don’t bring in musicians after the first weekend, but if it’s the first weekend and it’s a nice open house, we’ll bring in the live musician. Anyways, that’s just a little tapping on that mega open house, it’s really powerful, not just for buyers, but also to get more listings. Generally speaking, we cold call, we are heavy callers. Monday through Wednesday, it’s a team standard to be in the office from 8:30 to 10:30 calling and those are canceled, expireds. We call up to three years back on expireds.
We have a list of 5,000 numbers you could dial through if you’re on our team to try to get these warmer seller leads.
Aaron: That’s the common thing that’s out there, so we’re calling people that expired anytime in the last three years. For agents listening out there, you’re trying to get a listing, somebody expired in the last three years and it hasn’t sold since then, maybe there’s a good chance that now they’re interested. Dan Lesniak was on here recently, he said it was funny that a lot of the people had expired and they’d call and the people didn’t know their house had expired, right?
They were like, “No, I have it listed. He’s like, “Well, your listing agent actually doesn’t have it listed right now, they took it off.” That’s a prime opportunity, but for you, what’s your pitch? When you’re calling an expired or a canceled listing, something like that, how does that go? What’s that call like? What do you do when you call?
Danny: It’s a really simple call for me, probably because I’ve done it thousands and thousands of times. I practice this every morning with my team, but the quick script, would you mind role-playing with me real quick?
Aaron: Yes, go ahead.
Danny: Yes, so it’s just a ring-ring.
Aaron: All right. Hello.
Aaron: Yes, who’s this?
Danny: Hey, Danny Burgess with the Doors Advisors team, just saw your house popped off the market. We’re one of the top listing services in the area and wanted to know when you’re going to be interviewing the next round of agents to find the right guy to sell your home.
Aaron: I don’t really know, we had it up for a couple of months and it seemed like a lot of work and we thought we were going to sell it right away and we’re not even sure if we’re going to list it again or what we should do.
Danny: Yes, it sounds like you’re really frustrated with that and from there we go into the whole XYZ, where are you going? When do you need to be there? Then we just go for the close. I’m super straightforward on those calls. If you hear me on the phone, I’m really direct. I try to get my agents to not talk so much because these guys are getting 30 calls from anywhere from first-month agent to few years in the business and most people are just rambling on and on. I’m just very direct. I say, “Hey, here’s what we do. Here’s what we’ve done. You really deserve the opportunity to sit down with us.” Worst-case scenario, you end up with a ton of good information. Best case scenario, you get a great agent to sell your home.
Aaron: Do you tell people like come to one of our awesome open houses, you’ll see how well we treat our listings?
Danny: I don’t, and that’s a great recommendation. I’ll probably do that tomorrow, but what we do send them is, we send them a really great marketing package and if you look at most of these canceled and expireds, usually they have lower tiered marketing and so if we just send over a couple of our really high-end packages, usually we can get in the door by doing that, if they’re serious, right?
Prashant: In that package, to add on to what Danny was saying, Danny sold seven expireds that other agents failed at marketing. We have really cool link to each of those houses, the addresses, and that says, number of agents listed before Doors Advisors, number of days it was on the market, and then how many days Doors Advisors had it on the market. In addition to the marketing, we send specific examples. They look at that and they’re like, okay, well how’d you do it?
Aaron: Yes, you guys do a better job. If you guys are going to role play for a second, just to yourself, what advice would you give yourself as a new agent, or if a rookie agent comes in and says, “Hey, I want to get into real estate, what should I do?” Or, “Hey, I’ve had my license for a few months, but I’m really struggling and I haven’t really gotten any deals yet. I thought this was going to be easy money, like how do I get started?” Somebody’s just getting started, each of you, what’s the one big thing you would tell them to go do tomorrow and help them in their business?
Danny: For me, the number one thing I tell an agent is hang around the people who are doing it big. Don’t hang around the other crabs in the bucket at the office. Get near people who are selling units, understand what they’re doing, ask them for advice, ask them as many questions as you can, and just stay close to them. Truly the proximity alone will drag you through 5 or 10 units in your first year. That’s a really key thing. Outside of that, just stay very consistent, stay focused on the money-making activities and ask as much questions as possible. Really that’s it, just keep learning and growing.
Aaron: That’s great advice. Prashant, how about you?
Prashant: Yes, I was going to say it’s very similar. I was going to use the whole thing about if you’re trying to get fit and get a six-pack, don’t hire a fat trainer. A lot of times in real estate because you don’t know what you don’t know, you just walk into an office and you start listening to everyone at the office. It’s unfortunate, but I wish people said, “Hey, here’s how much I netted, or here’s how many houses I sold,” so you can pick a mentor the right way.
I think picking the right mentor and getting in their world and just providing a ton of value to them and saying, “Hey, what do you need help with? What can I do for you so I can hang around you more?” Having that exchange and that relationship built early on is very important. To that point, it’s just really hard to pick the right mentor and ask the right questions when you don’t know that.
Aaron: Yes, so you guys focusing on people and it’s really focused on the people around you and then being able to take action that way, what do you think is the biggest problem with the real estate industry right now? What’s the biggest challenge you’re fighting or the biggest problem that someone needs to solve when people think about real estate in general?
Danny: For me, it’s been one thing across the board since I’ve been in real estate. I think the integrity of the business, I don’t know if I want to say the bar set too low to get in, but the truth is it’s too easy to stand out as a guy that just wants to hold integrity for the business. Everyone should have a standard of, hey, we’re just going to do what’s right for the client and that should be the standard. The standard is, do the right thing, do the right thing for their finances and then the rest is windfall from that. For me, I think if more people just did what’s right for their client at all times, they’d have thriving businesses.
At the end of the day, I don’t love cold calling, I don’t love door-knocking. I love when a client calls me and says, “Hey, you helped me in such a great manner. My brother’s looking to sell. Call Jimmy, go list his home.” Those are the calls that we want to get and you do that through exceptional service and always doing the right thing for your client. That’s what our business is missing. In my opinion, is just that level of integrity standard.
Aaron: It’s like so many pros and cons to the low barrier to entry. It’s really easy to go become an agent, not really easy, but there’s not a certain level of education. You go work hard, you take the test, you can go become a real estate agent. What’s amazing is it’s this huge land, it’s a great industry because if you just go work hard, you can go do that, but the downside is there’s a lot of people that because there is so many low barriers to entry, not everybody stands up to that, but I guess as you guys you’re saying, hey, just by having integrity and standing out that way, you stand out above the crowd. Prashant, would you have the same answer?
Prashant: Yes, I certainly agree with that, but the other thing I would also say is, you talk about Pareto’s principle, 80/20. Like the 20% producing 80% of the results because the barrier for entry is so low and people just don’t care and they mostly do one, two, maybe three transactions, grandma’s house, mom’s house and that’s it. Honestly, in the Bay Area, out of all the agents, I believe out of 26,000 agents, there’s only about 220 agents that sell more than one house a month or have done it consistently for three years.
Wouldn’t you say selling one house a month, if you’re going to call yourself a professional is a pretty low barrier to entry? Someone that’s done 12 deals a month consistently for at least three years has less than 220 of those in all of the Bay Area.
Aaron: Wow, that is an interesting statistic that I wouldn’t have really known about. As we get ready to wrap this up, if there was like one or two words you would want to be known for in Doors Advisors, and maybe I’ve got some suspicions of what it might be, but if you said, this is what makes us different, what’s that thing that you want Doors Advisors to be known for?
Danny: Go ahead P. [crosstalk]
Prashant: -different definitions, but I would say–
Aaron: That’s all right, that’s perfect. It’s like you get a double chance. You get two things actually.
Prashant: Yes, I would say just relentless. When we go to fight for our clients, we’re very investor-friendly, so we know how to see good deals, we’re relentless about negotiating and finding amazing deals for our investors. Then when it comes to sellers, we’re just absolutely relentless at negotiating and trying to set benchmarks in each community. I think there was an interesting stat that when we’re compiling our 2019 numbers, we set the highest price per square foot, which is a big barometer in seven different communities in just Q3 and Q4 in each of those cities, which is incredible.
Aaron: That’s like the relentless it’s never giving up, it’s working super hard, it’s trying to set records. Danny, how about you?
Danny: A little shout out to David Hoffman, if you ever have a chance to get him on the podcast, if he’s out there listening. Relationships, for me, that’s really what my life is all about, whether it’s clients, colleagues, family friends, that’s for sure my word.
Aaron: That is awesome. Guys, as we wrap this up, how can people find you if there’s some Bay Area agents that are thinking about maybe making a change, if somebody wants to list their house or if somebody wants to reach out to you to get some advice on how to budget those open houses and do those big open houses, how do they find you?
Danny: Yes, for me please go follow my Instagram handle travel_realestate magnet. I’m an avid traveler as well as these guys are, so those are the Himalayas up there that my wife and I tracked the Annapurna trek. Travel_realestate magnet, you can also go online to www.doorsadvisors.com and you can always email me email@example.com with any questions you have. Of course, if you’re looking to buy, sell, and invest, I’m your guy in the Bay Area and if you’re an agent trying to make a change, I’m open for a conversation anytime.
Prashant: Sweet. My Instagram’s Prashant Vanka and I think it’s a little bit hard to spell so we’ll make sure Aaron puts a link [crosstalk]
Aaron: Yes, we’ll have the links in the show notes for that one but we have Prashant Vanka.
Prashant: Yes, and then we have the same email prashant@doorsadvisors, so shoot in an email, I get back to you right away unless I’m traveling. That’s an easy way to get get a hold of me.
Aaron: Yes, who knows where we might travel the world together next. Awesome getting to talk to you guys today though, about your real estate teams, what you’re growing, and the big goals. I’m really excited to see two, three months from now what’s happening as you gain momentum and that snowball continues to get bigger and bigger. I’d love to see some videos and pictures of your next big open house too that sounds so cool and such a great trick that I think anybody can try to adopt and try. Glad you guys are on here today. I’m sure we’ll be chatting on Instagram and all sorts of other ways as this thing goes live, but thanks for all the great tips today and I’ll see you guys again somewhere soon.
Danny: All right. Great.