Want to land your next big listing? You have to add value. On today’s podcast with Million Dollar Listing San Francisco star Justin Fichelson, we dig deep into what it means to add value and explore ways for listeners to provide clients with unrivaled real estate service. Throughout the interview, Justin sprinkles in high-value strategies agents can use to win more business, including ways to wow buyers at open houses and how to hone a mindset that will generate more business. Don’t miss it!
Listen to today’s show and learn:
- Justin’s brief bio [1:39]
- What the San Francisco market is like right now [6:11]
- How a good lender can make your offer more competitive [15:26]
- How Justin sells himself to potential clients [19:10]
- The mindset agents need to do more business [24:30]
- What modern consumers expect from agents [41:14]
- Justin’s opinion on open houses and tips for making them work [41:59]
- Why outsourcing is a better option than relying on a brokerage [49:51]
- Why new tech isn’t going to change your business [57:00]
- How a big ego can cost you business [59:43]
- Justin’s thoughts on Million Dollar Listing [1:00:37]
- Justin’s advice for new agents [1:08:10]
- How to break through your goals.
- Plus so much more.
Named San Francisco’s Favorite Real Estate Agent by Forbes, Justin Fichelson is one of the Bay Area’s top-producing agents. A San Francisco native, Justin’s knowledge of the city’s real estate is second to none. Specializing in advising both buyers and sellers and in the marketing of extraordinary properties in San Francisco, Silicon Valley, Marin and beyond, Justin leverages his creative marketing sense and global network to generate maximum exposure for his clients and their top-tier properties. Justin seamlessly integrates technology in providing a data-driven approach to real estate. Justin serves as an advisor to RealScout, a data-based personalized search engine. His reputation for impeccable service and discretion has earned the loyalty of a distinguished clientele, including Forbes 400-ranking business executives, technology entrepreneurs and the heads of some of the biggest tech companies in the world.
Having starred on Bravo’s Million Dollar Listing San Francisco, Justin has extensive media and industry connections including close relationships with top agents and brokerages worldwide that enable Justin to offer enhanced global exposure for his clients. Justin has been a guest lecturer on the art of negotiation at UC Davis School of Law and is a frequent guest real estate expert on CNBC, CBS, Fox Business and CNN among others. He is often quoted in publications such as Forbes, Wall Street Journal, San Francisco Chronicle, SF Business Times, and Business Insider.
In addition to real estate, Justin is committed to supporting a number of charitable and cultural institutions including serving as a Trustee of the American Orchestra Europa Foundation and as a member of the Junior Committee of the Fine Arts Museums of San Francisco. Previously, he was a founding board member and treasurer of The Exploratorium Lab, which raised money for the San Francisco Exploratorium, one of the world’s premier interactive science museums.
Related Links and Resources:
- 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
- Justin Fichelson | Top San Francisco Bay Area Luxury Real Estate Agent
- Fichelson Real Estate Group
- Justin’s Facebook Page
- Justin’s LinkedIn
- Justin’s Twitter
- Justin’s Instagram
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Read the Full Interview
Paul Morris: Hey, it’s Paul Morris and I am hosting Real Estate Rockstars today and absolutely delighted to have an amazing guest that’s going to give us lots of great insights and that’s Justin Fichelson. Probably the first thing that I’ll do is– go ahead, Justin, just introduce yourself to the audience and tell us a brief history about you.
Justin Fichelson: Justin Fichelson, born and raised in San Francisco. I’ve been a real estate agent going on a decade. I’ve been with several different companies, from Civic Union, now part of Compass, to Sotheby’s, to a couple of boutiques. I went off on my own and decided to do my brokerage a couple of years ago.
Paul: Got it.
Justin: I also starred on Million Dollar Listing, San Francisco.
Paul: Right. I love it. Now, what was it that drew you to real estate to begin with?
Justin: Well, I’ve always been interested in real estate. I remember as a kid, like eighth, ninth grade, middle school, high school, looking in the free– There were these free Real Estate Times magazines that agents would advertise in, that would be on the street. Looking through there, fantasizing about which one I’d buy for myself and which one would be a perfect flip, this type of thing. Originally, I was going to go into finance or something, save my money and then invest in real estate.
I ended up meeting an agent, she was a big luxury agent in the city and I realized I’m going to same parties as this guy, we have a lot of mutual contacts, and I’m ultimately interested in real estate, it’s my passion, people and real estate, it’s a perfect fit to be an agent. It’s a social business. You do a lot of your deals from personal relationships and obviously, I have a passion for real estate. It wasn’t for me a situation where I didn’t know what else to do, or I saw it on TV or something like that. I genuinely loved residential real estate because it’s such a tangible investment. Then, of course, you have all the design and architectural beauty of a house or a condo.
Paul: It sounds like you really have it in your blood, thinking about it from that young of an age. That’s pretty cool.
Justin: Yes, definitely.
Paul: Let me get down to the nitty-gritty of the business and the numbers of your business. What sort of business have you done in the last 12 months? Volume, I know you’re a luxury agent, so in terms of units it’s probably not as many as some of our guests, but volume, that’d be interesting, too.
Justin: Yes, I don’t do bulk. In all of my business, for the most part, is word of mouth and relationship-based, or friends of friends, or referrals, or meeting something someone in an open house. The other thing that I learned is, for me at least, and everyone’s different, I think that focusing on your competition is the wrong way to go about it. I don’t like comparing myself to others. I don’t care about other people’s numbers or where they’re ranking.
Obviously, everybody as we all know is ranked, in their bio, as a top 1%, who knows 1% of what. Especially when I went off on my own, I think the more I focused on doing my own business and growing my own business, the faster my own personal business grows. I think where your energy and focus is going is really important, and the more that’s directed towards your own business versus focusing on comparing yourself, the faster you’re going to succeed.
Paul: Got it.
Justin: Yes, so maybe numbers-wise, I don’t know– Actually, I never really know until my wife ends up telling me how much business I’ve done. I don’t focus on it, I don’t really care how many deals.I focus on my business, I think this year it’s probably been about maybe close to 40 deals, something like that. Again, my average price point is pretty high because we’re in San Francisco and I’m not doing bulk.
Paul: Wow, still 40 deals this year or are you talking about the last 12 months or-
Justin: No, honestly, I’ve probably done 35 deals over the last six months.
Paul: Wow, okay. That’s–
Justin: The other thing is that I don’t have a team. Obviously, the new thing is to have a team. It’s pretty much just myself, an assistant, and a transaction coordinator. Then, I outsource all my marketing services to the best in class. Obviously, when you have a team of 10 people, which is essentially a brokerage, you could pump your numbers up.
Paul: No, I totally get it. Wow, 35 in the last six months. That’s crazy. Can you give me just roughly, what was your– First of all, what was your average sale price be? If we took 35 times the total? My guess would be you have a pretty wide range, that your biggest one’s probably an outlier and then maybe you still are doing a few lower-end deals for or whatever?
Justin: The majority of my business is definitely sub-$5 million, but that’s just where the market is most active and most liquid. A house that’s $10 million-plus and they sit there for a while. It is a bit of a slower market right now, which is a bit seasonal as well. The houses in San Francisco that are sub $5-million are moving very fast, I just sold something last week for four and a half, and now that– It takes a couple of weeks pretty much, and then you’ll get a non-contingent offer and a two-week close.
I think that’s something that makes San Francisco very different from the price in LA, for example, or the rest of the country is it’s very rare to get an offer with contingencies. maybe you’ll get a finance contingency, but you’re never going to get inspections. You’ll provide inspections upfront, but there’s very little way to provide an offer with inspections and expect to get it accepted.
Paul: All right. That answer’s one pretty cool question that I think– Your market is super competitive at that price point, so you have to go in there and you have to beat the other folks to it to do that.
Justin: In the end, most competitive situations, especially in that $2-3 million range. You might get five to seven offers and you have to know how are you going to– I think this is where the value proposition comes in as an agent, it’s not as much finding the property. Yes, we have access to out markets, but the reality is information is so accessible, even off-market listings now, that a lot of times the client ends up seeing it themselves the minute it gets on Redfin or Zillow.
I think the role of the agent is much more about adviser and getting a client into contracts. I encountered someone the other day, who I met in an open house and they were going to use some discount service. They were saying, “I could find the property myself. Why should I pay a big commission?” The reality is that discount service, one doesn’t have the agent relationships in a small place like San Francisco, and two, they’re not going to know, there’s no way they’re going to know how to gauge what price to come in at, to get that client into contract. They’re either going to have them overpaying it or they’re going to waste their time by losing out on multiple offers, multiple properties.
Paul: I totally get that. That’s a great value. To take one step back, what would you say is your split between listings and buyers?
Justin: I’d say it’s about 50/50. I’ll probably end up representing more buyers than sellers, just because I have probably 40 something buyers that I’m technically working with, right now, on a list. Obviously, some are more serious than others but probably 50/50. I have one client three transactions with this year between him and his family.
It’s a mix and it should be a mix. There’s pluses and minuses. It’s great having a listing obviously you pick up people in an open house. It’s guaranteed to sell more or less, but buyers can be great as well. I met a couple at an open house six months ago and I ended up selling their condo for record prices and putting them into place, and now I’m representing their parents buying a place.
Both can be great and most of the buyers will end up converting the sellers. I’d say the average client I have in San Francisco, people don’t stay there that long. It’s a very transient city. Some of them buy– I had one client moved to LA. He had bought here, lived in a place for a year, bought another place in Marin County, lived there for six months, and then moved. That happens all the time. It’s not like it used to be 30 years ago where people were sitting in their homes forever.
Paul: Right, I got it. Now just for some advice for the listeners because and I appreciate- I think we can learn stuff from the Midwest where you got something that does a crazy number of transactions, and likewise learn something different here. When you go with the buyer and you know you’re at a very competitive price point what are some tips for the listeners that you can give to get your deal to the top of that pile? I already heard one of them which I got to tell you is news to me and it’s very cool, and that’s that you’re going to do some of the due diligence in advance so that you can go in with a cleaner offer. Tell me more about that and other stuff.
Justin: Yes, definitely. What I usually do, so in San Francisco, it’s very typical that it’s a competitive place. Usually, I have been on for a week or two and then you take have an offer date, so you’ll say Wednesday by noon. They’ll often underprice properties in San Francisco deliberately to drive the price. It’s important to have a discussion with the client and tell them that listen this is the asking price comps, if you look at comps are higher than the asking price, they’re setting an offer date because it’s going to be competitive.
I will usually talk to the agent or look at comps add my own experience and then I’ll talk to the agent usually one or two days before the offer date, gauge how many disclosure packages are out. If you’re serious about a property, you’re going to ask for a disclosure package. If let’s say the property just as a rough example up my head, let’s say it’s listed at 1.5 and there’s ten disclosures out and the offer date is tomorrow, I’m going to guess that there’s probably on the low end two offers on the high end five offers. Something is probably roughly going to be in that range.
I usually give my client a range. I’ll say “Well, I think it’s going to go on the low end for 1.65 and on the high end 1.9.” I’ll usually give them a range and I’ll say “This is your percentage of getting it here, this your percentage of getting there. I’ll write up whatever offer you want, you’re not wasting my time but this is my professional opinion.” I’m more often I am pretty much always spot on with that just from experience, but it’s a mix between talking to the agent engaging interest level, how many disclosures are out and then just sheer experience really.
Paul: You’re sharing all that with your client and saying “Hey, listen, I really think that if you really want this place you want to get into the 90 plus percent range getting an offer accepted. I talked to the other agent and I know that this many people are looking at it, and I’ve done the comparative analysis da-da-da-da-da, here’s where I think you should go.” I like the way you said, but just I’ll do whatever you want me to do but here’s my advice.
Justin: Well, that’s what I do. Ultimately, I’m not here to tell them what to do, I’m just presenting the facts this is what the range it’s going to go and it’s up to you if you want to go under the range or whatever you want to do. Then there’s other things that are important to offer a clean offer, faster close. I have a particular lender who has her own underwriter so I know that if she says 21-day close she could do 21. A 21-day closed may just doesn’t sound like a big difference between 30-day, but it is a big difference in the eye if you have a bunch of offers and one is a 20-day close clean offer, it’s a lot more desirable than a 30-day close.
Paul: Yes. Then when you work with somebody– There’s another tip really is working with a lender that you trust because having done a bunch of deals myself I can tell you that they always promise one thing and deliver another thing that then puts the agent and the client in a fix.
Justin: It’s exactly right. Find out a lender who really delivers every time. The one I have I said she has her own underwriter so I know she could deliver, but you want to find someone that’s reliable, really is in touch and connected at their company so they can get it done when they say they can have it done in time. Otherwise, frankly, it’s going to be a bad reflection on you.
Paul: Right. I’m writing all this down. This is good stuff because often what will happen is people view let one lend are the same as another and then you just have okay well if I can get a quarter-point cheaper with a big bank or whatever, and I get that.
Justin: Yes, well, I get that too but I always tell clients, do you want to get in contract? If you want to get into contract, getting a lender who can definitely do a 21-day or less close is going to make your offer much much more competitive. Is it better to get that discount on your rate or get a contract?
Paul: Are you lowering the due diligence period and how do you do that?
Justin: Typically in San Francisco, I can’t speak for other markets, but in San Francisco almost always you’ll provide inspections, the seller will provide inspections upfront. Like if I’m listing someone’s place I always get inspections unless it’s a new development condo. I always say we have to pay for passed in the general inspection so that you’re basically providing the potential buyer upfront with a third party inspection that you’ve spent a few hundred dollars on so that they don’t have to do it.
If a property doesn’t have inspections, well, it’s definitely more of a risk, but there are situations there where it’s really competitive too, and you just assume the risk, but it’s never my responsibility. I always tell them it’s going to make your offer more competitive and the reality is it might be hard to get the contract, but I’m not going to tell you not to take inspections. It’s not my duty to tell them to do that. That’s totally up to them.
Paul: Right. Again, I like the way you’re doing this, and I really think our listeners can learn from it. I’m learning from it and that is hey I’m really going to give you my best advice and at the end of the day this is your transaction and I’m here to serve your needs so here’s my advice take it or don’t take it. If you don’t take it, we’ll still submit the offer the way you want.
Justin: Yes, exactly. Sometimes especially new buyers, they’re not used to an offer going way over asking and they don’t want to take the risk and sometimes it takes a few times until they learn for themselves. I had a couple, young couple, first-time buyers. They were looking at a place. This is a perfect example of why a good agent it’s important versus just some automated machine. This was a listing, a fixer-upper, 1,600 and 1,700 square feet, the Sunset District, which is not a super expensive neighborhood for San Francisco.
It was listed at one point 1.195, needed a gut job. The number they wanted to offer it was 1.3 which sounds reasonable. 1.35, 150 over asking in clean fast offer.
I told them after talking to the agent, there’s a 1% chance of them getting in that escrow for that. I basically said it’s going to be in this range and they bid in what I thought was the 98th percentile chance of them getting it, and they ended up getting it and they are very happy. This is advice that only an experienced agent who’s out in the field is going to be able to advise on.
Paul: Right. One of the things I hear you saying a lot of which I really appreciate is the value that you add as an agent. Do you have a value proposition or even an elevator pitch so if you bump into me and we just meet each other you say he,y, I’m in real estate, or here’s what I provide or you go hey what’s different about you? Do you have a little checklist or something?
Justin: I think for me first of all when I meet people I never lead with that I’m in real estate. It ends up coming up in conversation it’s much more natural, but if I meet someone in an open house or they’re asking about it like why should I use an agent it’s basically that. I’m going to save you time. I’m going to get you into a contract. I have agent relationships. I’m going to make sure that you don’t underbid, but at the same time, you’re not going to overbid. I’m going to make sure that you come in at the price that is going to get you in a contract without having to spend too much
Paul: Okay, I get it.
Justin: Also market knowledge. You want to know your market inside and out. I think it’s very important to be able to talk about the history of neighborhoods. I can look at a house and tell you who the architect was, who were the neighbors, who lived there in the past, who lives in the neighborhood, who lives on the block. Being able to talk about that especially people that don’t understand the neighborhood it gives them context and it also shows that you really know that particular market and neighborhood inside and out
Paul: If you’re a newer agent how do you gain that information? How do you become an expert?
Justin: I would say do a lot of reading and research. For example, South of Market in San Francisco is hurting a little bit more. It’s the only area in the city that is zoned for new development properties. You have an influx of new units and there’s plenty of info out there that you can find out about X building is only 20% sold out, this building is 40% sold out. Having that type of knowledge. It’s all online in the public record. Having that type of knowledge is really invaluable when you’re talking to people. It shows that you know what you’re talking about.
In terms of where you can get it, I suppose there’s all these different blogs and reading the real estate section and talk. Frankly being out and about. Going to your broker’s tour, brokers caravan and talking to other agents, it’s frankly probably the best way possible. Asking how the market in this neighborhood, how is this building, how is that. When you go to open houses on your brokers opens, talk to the brokers. Introduce yourself if you’re a new agent because it comes down to agent relationships. Make sure you say, hey Monica I’m Justin, I’m a new agent. Then next week you say hey, Monica good see you, beautiful listing. You build relationships with other brokers, it’s very important.
Paul: That’s great advice. I know real estate really is a contact sport, just you can’t be a secret agent, you got to be out there.
Justin: Well, here’s I think the thing with any business but particularly important as a realtor, you have to add value. Think about how are you going to add value to a consumer, to a client when it’s obvious, they can search on Redfin, Zillow, or Trulia and see every property as soon as it hits the market. They could see the price history and all of this, but how are you going to add value? I think that that is very important if you can add value, then they’re willing to pay for you.
If you can’t add value and you’re just showing them things that are out there and writing up an offer or just doing an open house, people in a competitive market do it for Sale By Owner, they don’t need an agent. The reason why they need an agent is because I will get them the best buy values, I will get them the best possible market price. I can’t promise a price but I will tee it up by marketing by paying money on marketing, doing creative marketing, by advertising it, by doing creative open houses. I will add value by doing that. I will tee it up so you can get the best possible market price whatever that is.
Paul: Okay, all right, I love it. I love it, I love it because again I’m starting going back to your value and I know that realtors experience it all the time, people come to them with all the things they want to see and they are thinking why do I need a realtor so this is good stuff. Tell me a bit more you mentioned really creative marketing. Again, I know you’re in a luxury market. A lot of people want to break into a luxury market. What kind of creative marketing are you offering that’s different than what everybody else is used to?
Justin: I think what’s important is well first off I would say with all properties I always have an off-market period where I’ll market it off-market for an exceptionally high price. If let’s say my clients want to get 1.3 I’ll market it for 1.4 off-market. I’ll market it as basically the ability for your buyer not to compete. Buy it now price you don’t have to compete with other buyers, here’s your chance before it goes blasted out to the world.
Sometimes that works. I would give it a 20% chance that it ends up working. I get normally high-priced because maybe a buyer’s been frustrated, they’ve lost out, they have a crafty agent, who knows, this is their chance to get in and the property that they like. Creative marketing, I think it is true to always be in that state of closing. Whenever you’re at a party, whenever you’re in a coffee shop, whenever you’re at a restaurant, if you meet someone, talk to them say I’m in the city, I do–
Somehow bring up real estate not in a sales-y way. They know you’re an agent, talk about the market, everyone loves talking about the real estate market, and constantly be in that mindset constantly. Even if you’re at a friend’s birthday, anyone could be your next buyer, your dentist could be selling their house. The more you envelop yourself in this mindset of you’re always on and always selling, the more business you’ll do.
It really is this is a business that really is 24/7. You run your own schedule and you don’t necessarily have a boss breathing down your neck, but the more you’re always in real estate and always talking about it with people and the more you’re in the forefront and all of your friends and contacts and acquaintances minds, the more chances of getting business. I have one client I met him at the gym. I met him at the gym and I’ve done numerous transactions with them.
Again doesn’t matter where it is. That comes down to another good point. I think if you’re going to throw a business meeting maybe don’t do it in your office. Meet them out for coffee maybe it could be a private club or it could be a restaurant where a lot of connected wealthy people hang out or someplace where you’re bound to meet people.
Maybe it’s the Starbucks in Beverly Hills. Maybe instead of getting your coffee at home or at the corner store or whatever, get it at Starbucks or the coffee shop that’s in the middle of Rodeo Drive, I don’t know, someplace where you know that people with means are going to be hanging out because ultimately where is your contact list come from? It’s who you’re hanging out with.
If you want to break into a luxury market, to a large extent it has to be the people you’re hanging out with. A lot of my business it’s not that I’m targeting them it’s that my friends happen to have been to happen to make a lot of money and so my business and referrals end up being their friends usually similar means. If you want to break into that market start hanging out where those people hang out.
Paul: That’s great advice. Great advice. I already know from looking at your social media following you seeing some of the stuff that you’ve done, you really truly are a master networker.
Justin: I just want to say, I will say for me it’s also not a job. I think if I were not in real estate I would still be socializing is just who I am and I like doing. I also personally really like meeting really interesting people and not all of those people are wealthy, they could be artists they could be– The reality is I think a lot of really interesting people surround themselves with really up with other interesting people, and a lot of those people tend to be really successful, whether they’re in film or business or government.
Paul: I am not the master networker that you are but I definitely have access to rooms with people with high-net-worth and also like you say you can just go and hang out where they are. Now, I’m very interested if you could tell our listeners, I heard you say you usually don’t lead with real estate. I also can get into a nice conversation, now, how do you shift from whatever conversation you’re into a purposeful one, and I also heard you say this links into it that you’re really looking at everyone as a possible client. How do we make that continue?
Justin: Listen I hear you very clear. It’s not that I’m not friends of anyone because they’re going to be a potential client. I’m not going out and meeting people saying oh, I’m just want to meet these people because they’re potential clients. You have to be yourself and I only hang out with. Honestly, I can’t pretend to like something if I don’t like them. I’m hanging out with people I like, but the difference is if– I think in the industry if you want to make good contacts, hang out with people who are movers and shakers, and you will meet friends within that circle.
The reality is successful people tend to have a certain degree of money and that’s where your network’s going to come from. You choose how to spend your time. We only have a certain amount of time in our day and you can choose to hang out at the local dive bar or you can choose to hang out in a place where you’re likely– When I was 15 years old or 16 years old, my first job I walked into a restaurant that I knew was owned by Gavin Newsom in the Getty family.
It was like a very regular type spot. It wasn’t like a fancy spot it was like a neighborhood spot for a lot of these types of people. I didn’t want to work at the restaurant because I wanted to work in the restaurant industry, and I didn’t know I wanted to be a realtor either, I wanted to work there because I knew whatever I wanted to do whether it was in business or law or whatever the hell I wanted to do, I knew that was a good place to meet a variety of different types of people.
I worked there as a host and I was exposed to a variety of different types of people. One, it taught me how to socialize with a variety of types of people because you had all these different types of characters walking in there. As a realtor you’re dealing with everybody. Two, I was exposed and got to meet all these different people, and out of that, I ended up working in Gavin Newsom’s office throughout high school, I now know Gavin Newsom who happens to be the Governor of California.
Then I met probably many of my friends today either from their friends or friends from there. Today when I take a business meeting oftentimes we’ll do it in a place downtown San Francisco that’s a private club because I know if I do the bidding meeting there I’m likely to run into other people, and then run into their friends and the chances of me meeting someone who’s interesting and super successful there, it’s a much higher probability than having a meeting in my office or something.
Paul: You’ve answered a great question that I had. I wrote this out just for you was how do you somebody who is a little unsure of themselves or they’re not in that place where you are, how do you break into that market? I’m hearing you say for example when you were as young as 15 or 17 and clearly, you didn’t have the knowledge and skills and everything that you have now, you went to a place where you knew smart interesting people were going to be frequently.
Justin: Right. Well, I really believe that luck is never going to fall in your lap, you have to put yourself in a position to be lucky. If you want certain opportunities, that’s going to come out of putting yourself in a strategic position where you’re likely to get lucky, but sitting around and just expecting it to happen it’s not going to happen. Now that being said, everybody has their own style. There’s plenty of top agents I know who are not social in any way shape or form, but everybody has their own style.
That’s the great thing with being a real estate agent. There’s no one way to be in this business. There’s just no one way. You could be an introvert, an extrovert, it really doesn’t matter. There’s a top agent I know in the city and a lot of these top agents don’t necessarily even have great personalities and maybe they just work seven days a week, put the time and effort into it, they found a way of doing mailers, they found a way of doing open houses and they network with estate lawyers, for example. Then they’ve been doing it for 15, 20 years, and boom, they’re doing 50 plus million a year. There’s no one way to be.
There’s another guy I know who goes to the opening of a shoebox, he goes every night like three events and he’s doing half of what maybe that guy is doing. There’s no one way to do it, you really have to form your own style. It’s just like being a lawyer, there’s plenty of top trial lawyers, they’re all different, not everybody’s Johnnie Cochran. David Bowie is different to Johnny, It’s about your own style and that’s totally okay. Some top agents wear suits and ties, others wear t-shirts.
Paul: One of the things, if I can distill that down, distilling it down to a couple of little things, is number one I would say, know your superpower, for lack of a better word. I use that all the time no know what your superpower is and just because Justin’s superpowers this doesn’t mean I have to be that in order to be successful. Just know what your go-to is.
Justin: That’s a great point because the truth is like nobody is good at everything. If you’re not good at math, don’t keep taking the math class. Focus on the thing that you’re good at because if you focus on the subject that you’re good at, you’re going to excel, your trajectory is just going to go straight up and you’re going to surpass and escape everybody. Focus on whatever you’re good at, not what other people are good at. It goes back to not comparing yourself to others. I think a lot of people watch these reality shows and they’re like, “I want to be like Josh Altman because he’s tough” or, “I want to be like Frederick because he’s doing–”
Everybody has their own style, you’re not going to be like anybody else, you’re not going to succeed that way. The main thing and I noticed said many times, the more effort and time and focus you put into focusing on yourself and your business, the more successful you’re going to be. The reality is, and a lot of it comes with longevity. A lot of agents expect that “I’m going to become an agent, and immediately I’m going to have success.” That doesn’t happen for everyone.
A tiny percentage of agents maybe they have success because they have some certain contacts right away or maybe they’re more experienced with sales from a prior career and they take off quicker but for most people it takes longevity. The reality is every year you’re going to get better and get more experience, get more referrals, and get more repeat business and if you stick it out, you’re going to be successful.
Paul: Let me synthesize a couple of points that you made and one is just to put in the terms for me. Let’s say that I’m in LA, let’s say I hang out in Westwood which is sort of a medium neighborhood and if I really want to up my game, I’m going to target a neighborhood and I’m going to start hanging out more there. I’m going to take my meetings in a coffee shop there. Hey, I don’t belong to a private club because I’m not at that level yet, but I’m going to find a super cool coffee shop in Bel Air, and start working out of there and knowing the people there.
Justin: Yes. I think if you want to do Bel Air, for example, why don’t you just as a rough example, do your meetings there, start spending your time there, get involved with a charity? Maybe it’s like Bel Air Neighborhood Association or maybe, there’s so many different things. Maybe it’s the symphony or maybe it’s the orchestra on Bel Air. I don’t know what exists out there but get involved with a community organization there because also it’s not all about, a lot of people make the misconception, it’s not about just meeting the one person it’s about meeting their friends.
You may not get business from that one person you’re meeting, but you could get business from their friends or friends of friends. That’s really more important than the one person because you’re talking about multiple people. The world is a very small place, if you get involved with the community in Bel Air, and you volunteer your time, you’re doing your meetings there, you’re going to run into people, and before you know it you’re going to know a lot of people in Bel Air, and of course, maybe you rented an apartment there, I don’t know but you don’t need to. You don’t have to live in the market.
Paul: It’s cool how all of your advice works together because so now, hey I’m not a luxury agent, I want to break into that market, based on what you’re saying I would select the market. One of the reasons why I’m going to hang out there, another reason I’m going to do that is because the thing you said before is really be an expert in that area.
Justin: Right. You add value. Add value in all you do. If you don’t add value they’re not worthy of their business. That’s just the reality. Being a nice guy, and knowing them is not worthy of getting someone’s business. Everyone knows a realtor, so add value to their life. Maybe that is in the form of knowing everything about the neighborhood, maybe you’re publishing a newsletter all about the neighborhood, not just the sales but recent developments, maybe politics affecting the neighborhood, or who knows? Provide value.
Paul: Really get that deep knowledge and know that area well and spend time there for sure.
Justin: Yes. Listen, I once went on a showing, and I’m not going to name these people. Both of these people I think definitely, they’re probably both top five agents in LA, and one of them, I just happen to be on the showing, long story. One of them was showing- Kate brought a buyer to show his client his house for 35 million, this listing agent was there. The listing agent knew everything about not just the house, he knew who lived across the street, who lived next door, who the next-door neighbor was here, who lived here before, who built the house, who was the architect, this section of Bel Air or Beverly Hills was better because of that, this, that.
The other agent thus the client said, “What’s the size of the lot?” He didn’t even know, he had to look at his iPad. By the end of the meeting, that client had asked in front of his own agent, asked for the other guy’s info in front of the– Said, “Do you mind if I get?” Who knows? I asked, maybe he wanted to co-list. Who knows? The point is the client expects you to have the info. Be well researched and know your product inside and out, that’s providing value. If you can’t provide value, you’re really useless.
Paul: I know for sure that you could be a stranger to the market and I believe pretty quickly you could become an expert by doing the things you said. By going to the brokers’ opens, by meeting the agents that sort of thing. Maybe what’s your top way of getting business other than just your sphere of influence thing?
Justin: Open houses are the best way to get business if you’re a new agent and obviously where you do the open house is going to dictate the type of client you’re getting so if you could do an open house that’s priced three million you’re going to get clients looking in the $3 to $4 million range. If you’re going to do an open house that’s $500,000, you’re going to get new buyers looking at 500,000. Not just holding an open house and a sign-in sheet. That is a waste of your time. If you want to get business you have to suddenly do it in a conversational way and show value.
If you show value, then you’ve reeled them in and got their information and then they’re a potential client and then it’s a numbers game. For example, if you’re doing an open house, come up to them, “Do
you live in the neighborhood? Are you relocating? Where are you from? What are you looking for? What price point? Oh, cool. Well, if you want I could keep an eye on–” Actually, maybe you can say you have a couple of listings in mind, “Did you see such-and-such? It’s actually off-market. I know about it, I’m happy to send info to you if you’d like,” or “I see 10 off-markets a week on average, there’s a couple that I have in mind I’d be happy to email them over to you.” Get their info, don’t have them do a sign-in sheet, get their info, engaging them in conversation, show value. If you show value like that, I’d say one in 10 will work out as a client.
Paul: Wow, that’s amazing. Well, our producer go through with the show notes on that one because you’re giving us such great stuff, I can’t write it down that fast, but that was a great dialogue in an open house. Also, I know that one of the things every person we interview gives a gift at the end and I know that yours is specifically related to open houses so that’ll be another great piece that will have at the end for sure.
Let me ask you this, do anything to get an open house? What if I’m an agent and I’m in the $500,000 range, but I want to do a $3 million open house, how do I do that?
Justin: Listen, I think the new kind of structure for a lot of newer agents and senior agents are these teams. A lot of newer agents now rather than starting out on their own, like I had to do, a lot of them are joining these teams. Most established agents now have their own logos, their own branding. They’re creating their own brokerage within a brokerage, and so newer agents will join the team and oftentimes the team will have listings that they need somebody on their team to hold an open house for.
It’s obviously in their best interest because if their team member does a deal they’re going to get a cut anyway. That’s probably the best thing. If you’re a new agent try to join a big team with a senior agent where you can one, learn from; two, can train you; and you can give you access to that’s an important thing. Say, “Oh, I have access open houses.
Paul: Oh, yes. That’s a great criterion to think about when you join a team because as you’ve identified open house a great way to get new business. Before you join a team ask what kind of open house could be available to me.
Justin: Correct. Also, doing open houses takes practice. You’re not going to be as polished right away, but come up with a rough script that just reels them in by showing value. If you show value and you have something potentially to send to them, they’re more likely to give their information versus just giving their information.
Paul: Right. I also love the tip you gave about “Hey, here’s a sign-in sheet,” to actually get that information directly and to get it in the context of not hey, I’m collecting your information because I’m giving you the opportunity–
Justin: I actually don’t like the sign-in sheet. I’ll usually just take it on my phone. I’ll say oh, here why don’t you write down let me take your info, your email, and name, and number. It seems less formal and more conversational versus them just signing a generic sign-in sheet and they don’t know what you’re doing with their info, more engaged exactly.
Paul: Okay, I like it. That’s great. Other than open houses is there any other way to get the advice you can give to get business for newer agents?
Justin: Well, obviously I was on the show and stuff but the reality is being forefront in people’s minds when they think about real estate. I think having a blog and having your contact list and giving them again a blog with value. Don’t just send them the generic brokerage chart showing the market. Everyone knows that’s bullshit. Nobody wants to see it, it’s just spam.
Send them something like maybe you’re talking about maybe you’re trying to specialize in new developments downtown LA. Send them a whole thing that you’ve hit written that compiles data talking about how the market is in downtown LA, the new buildings coming up, the ones that are selling out, the ones that are supposed to be the best, maybe you’re doing a ranking order. Something that they’re going to find interesting to read.
If you do something like this, let’s say, once a month, your mind is going to come up when they think about real estate. When they think about you, you are oh, Justin oh, the realtor. That’s what you want. You want them to always think about when they see you the first thing they should ask is about real estate because they look at you as the real estate person.
Paul: Got it. Again, it’s very interesting how a lot of your advice comes back to this interesting thing of hey, I’m going to target an area, maybe I’m selling in an area that’s a little lower price, I’m going to target maybe one or two areas that are higher priced and I’m going to go mix it up over there. I’m going to start meeting over there, I’m going to learn about it, maybe I’ll start adding some– I also like your point about always adding value. To our listeners what value are you going to be able to add and offer, and then when you ask for that number instead of hey, just sign in, you go like hey, here’s a piece of information I can send you, right?
Justin: Well, even I have an intern right now and I get a lot of people reaching out all the time. I’m new really I want to intern can I meet with you. If you’re not going to add value and do something other than saying you want an internship, but I just didn’t–It’s like something I don’t want to deal with, I don’t have time. This particular intern I took on and I wasn’t looking for an intern, but he added value.
He wrote an entire thing about himself and why he would be good. I liked the fact that he talked about his mixed experiences. He’s on a rent board in Berkeley, he’s like a history major but he is interested in politics, and he wants to be a real estate agent because he likes architecture and how that could be really useful. Then he’s zoning policy and then he interned it like in the past like a data company, and that can become useful. Show me some value.
Really that was the first one that I had any interest that I would actually, I met with him and I hired. Simply because well he’s showing value that’s someone that I think would be really interesting to work with and someone who could add value to my team versus just telling me you’re a new real estate agent and you want an internship.
Same thing if you want to work on a team, add value. Why should you work on that team in Bel Air? Maybe your value is you’ve done all the research, you’re the data person, you know the history about everything in the entire thing, and you want to maintain that for the whole team. Maybe you’re going to create a really good blog and you’re going to do that for the team. Maybe that’s part of your value add to the team, but I’m sure all those successes big teams have people all the time asking to be on their team. What’s going to set you apart?
The same thing why are they going to hire you to sell their house for their friends or aunts or anybody else. In all things, you have to add value. If you’re not going to add value to someone else, you’re not going to be successful comparing your numbers or something to someone else. You have to focus on adding value.
Paul: One of the things I heard you say was that you’re outsourcing your marketing to best-in-class. Now, I know you work on your own and in fact, you’re at your own brokerage firm. Now, why not go to a big brokerage firm that says hey, Justin you just sell real estate we’ll do all your marketing for you?
Justin: I’ve been with like five different brokerages. From the start, I don’t know maybe my standards are a lot higher, but from the start, I have never been satisfied remotely with the level of service I was receiving for the amount of money I was paying in turn. I also realized that I never got lead gen, so why am I advertising someone else’s brand when I don’t own the brand? I just don’t need it.
Now, certainly, this isn’t for everybody, and I think if you’re starting out as an agent, it’s important to get the proper training from a company that can provide the proper training. I think at a certain level– Listen, I’ve was at a company that’s part of Compass. I was at a couple of Sotheby’s. I was at a couple of boutiques. All of them I had at one point or another, I had to wait for things to be put on my website, I had to wait for the transaction coordinator. I was paying a lot of money out of my commission to wait for services.
When I went off on my own, I have a TC that’s virtual that I outsource. First of all, she’s less expensive and I get, I would say five times the output and it’s on time. I outsource my flyers. Instead of using someone else’s template that looks like everyone else’s stuff, I outsource my marketing material, I have a copywriter they’re based in SiliconValley and they do the same stuff for the number one agent in Northern California.
I find that outsourcing to people that specialize in these specific things, it’s a lot better than going to a company that frankly is servicing hundreds of other agents and where I have to wait in line and on top of that have to pay to wait in line. I think it’s been a big issue for me and that brings me to my next thing. I’m actually working on something that I’m not ready to talk about now, but we just closed our seed funding and will be launching in January.
Paul: Oh, that’s cool.
Justin: I’d love to come back and talk about that.
Paul: Yes, right. That’ll give us a chance to check back in with you. For sure.
Justin: I think the landscape has changed for the way the brokerage business has changed a lot. There are no walk-ins anymore in a real estate office. People search on StreetEasy and Redfin and Zillow and Trulia. They’re not going to Sotheby’s to search for a fancy home anymore. That was still their pitch when I was there. People around the world go to Sotheby’s to search for a house. Well, that’s just not true anymore.
I think the landscape has changed and I think the brokerage industry hasn’t quite caught up with that.
Paul: I like the way– I gathered from what you’re saying is that because some of these are fancy brands. Agents will ask me that all the time and that’s like, “Oh, well, hey, I’m at brand X, if I go to Sotheby’s because let’s face it, that’s a fancy name.
Justin: It’s a fancy name, it’s a great band name, not denying that, but you ask yourself if you’re at Sotheby’s, in San Francisco to get an 85% slip at Sotheby’s, you have to make $625,000 in a single year. That’s just for that year. That’s a lot of money to be still giving away not just 15% but more like 20% of your commission because you also have admin fees on top of that. You have to ask yourself if the Sotheby’s brand is getting you the business that’s going to make up for that 20%
Paul: Well, I love how certain and assured you are of yourself. I mean that in the best possible way because one of the reasons why I think that– if you’re getting value at a place like Sotheby’s, I think you should stay there, absolutely.
Justin: I agree, and then, by the way, it’s not like some people are. Obviously, if you’re in that top 1% of agents nationally, you can be a lot more picky. Maybe you’re getting marketing money, maybe you’re getting a locked-in split that other people aren’t. There’s all these different services. Maybe the owner is super connected and they’re handing you some new developments, who knows? For the bulk of agents, I don’t think that those brands are a great fit anymore.
Paul: I get that and I love the way that you’ve positioned this as even when you said luck doesn’t fall into your lap, it sounds very much the same. It seems like a different conversation, but to me, it’s the same. It’s like well, business is not going to fall onto my lap if I go to brand X or brand Y.
Justin: No, I think a lot of people assume that I’m going to get it because I’m at Sotheby’s. It’s never going to happen. You can harness a brand and no question Sotheby’s is a great luxury brand, but you’re not going to get business just because you’re at Sotheby’s. The reality is it’s all how you pitch it. Listen, I’m on my own, most people are on their own but I won a listing apartment for a $6 million place in the last few months and I was competing against the number two agent in the city who’s with Sotheby’s, who’s a great agent.
I won that because frankly, here’s my value pitch when I go in, the money that I would be paying to a brokerage otherwise, I reinvest into the marketing of my properties. For example, instead of using a template that other people are going to use at Compass for their flyers and brochures, I’m having a custom-designed brochure for your property down to the paper, down to the style of the font, down to the copywriting. That’s very expensive for me to do, but it doesn’t look like a template, it looks like a much better product than you’re going to get from any template whether it’s from Sotherby’s or Compass. It looks expensive. It’s more emblematic and represents the property better.
My value proposition is I was with those companies, but now I customize everything to your property, That’s my value proposition. From the flyers to the marketing, to spending more on my listings, everything is customized. Also, I don’t have to wait in line to ask for things or to get things done. I have a much quicker process. I think it’s all how you pitch things. If you’re Sotheby’s, then pitch it, “oh, we’re affiliated with the auction house, we’re top luxury brand.” Anything can be pitched.
If you want to say that Sotheby’s is going to get your business, sure, if you want to pitch it that way, you can make yourself believe that but you can pick anything anyway. The reality is the client in the end of the day is going to hire you because of you. They’re not going to hire you because of the company.
Paul: I love it. Today’s episode has really been packed with those things that you can add. Where is the value-add?
Justin: It’s all about value-add.
Paul: I love that I’ve got a lot and I can’t wait to look at the show notes. I’m going to go through, just like you’re customizing your thing, I’m going to go through the show notes myself along with all the notes that I’ve taken, and I’m going to make sure that our audience hears the way that you differentiate yourself from another agent on a listing and then also to a buyer.
Paul: I wonder and maybe the answer is this is your new product but if there was a magic bullet to handle one pain point for you in your business, what would that be?
Justin: Magic pain point? I think that agents are overloaded with technology. There’s a lot of companies that say, “Oh, we’re building all this tech, we’re spending millions of dollars on tech, here’s the reality of the situation, agents or salespeople, they need to be out and about selling. These are not, by and large, a bunch of tech-savvy people. Frankly, even if they are, they don’t want to have their head buried in a bunch of logins.
If you’re going to provide 10 different logins or a dashboard with 10 different things, frankly the agent is going to revert back to not using any of them and using their notepad or their phone. It’s too much. Give me something that’s easy and simple to use, otherwise, don’t give it to me at all. That’s the whole point of technology is to make your life easier, not for me to one, make my life more difficult, but two, be a headache. If need to take six hours to learn your technology, I’m not going to use it.
Paul: Absolutely. Interesting. What I hear you saying there is that technology t the extent that it really shortens the process or makes it easy. That’s okay but just everybody is saying, “Hey, technology is a buzzword.” Even with you and you’re in Silicon Valley, you believe that your value is in that personal touch.
Justin: It’s all in the personal touch. It’s a relationship-based business. Again, tech tools are great, but if it doesn’t make my life easier, and you’re giving me 10 different logins, no one’s going to use it. That’s just a pain in the ass. I think a lot of these companies are misinterpreting why technology is important and how it can improve your life as an agent. They think by merely having it and having a staff of engineers that that is going to change the game, but it simply isn’t.
Paul: I resonate with all the things you said today. You asked me before the show started where I live. Santa Monica. I’ve been in real estate for 25 years. Just the other day, I saw the number one agent in Santa Monica across the street. He does not work for my firm. We know each other well. You know what I did? I ran across the street to that guy, “Hey, tell me about what’s going on and what’s up with that house,” because even though I live here, and I’m in the industry, this guy actually knows more about which house is selling for what and what’s going on in the market and, “Oh, I just had one fallout.” [crosstalk]
Justin: It’s exactly right. Agents, I think because we in general work for ourselves more or less, it’s easy for us to think, “Well, we made a lot of money, and we’re driving a fancy car,” to get a big ego and think that you’re more important than you are. The reality is that is only going to hurt yourself. There’s always people to learn from and people that know stuff that you don’t know. You’re just going to turn off other people.
Paul: I love it. I love it. Let me just say this. We have a unique opportunity to have you on and I love it. We’ll definitely have you on again. I’m going to have a lot of viewers and listeners that are going to want to know, “Hey, what’s it like to be on Million Dollar Listing? Hey, Paul, get to the point. We want to hear this.”
Justin: Reality TV is not really reality. I’ve been to the set of the New York show and the LA show as well. None of it is really reality but it’s really fun. Who doesn’t like having a lot of attention on themselves? It is great for business. You’d be surprised how many legitimately really successful people watch Bravo and Million Dollar Listing just because it’s entertaining but take this stuff seriously.
I had one client hire me solely because of the show. I had no mutual friends. He worked at one of the biggest tech companies in the world. Came from another big tech company. Called me just because of the show. I listed his house, sold it in one week for a million dollars more than he paid, then represented him buying an even more expensive house for close to seven million, sold back six months later, helped him with his referral when he moved and he ended up founding probably one of the biggest companies that is out there today. He lives in SoCal. That’s solely because of the show.
Well, look at our president, if it weren’t for The Apprentice, he would not have been president of the United States. It’s amazing, the power of television. I was only on there not nearly for as long as these people on New York or LA. I can’t imagine the boost that they’re getting from that after 10 years or 9 years but it’s a really powerful tool. That being said, YouTube is the new TV. I’m seeing a lot of agents doing vlogs now, and it’s the new popular thing to do, and I highly recommend it.
Everybody can do their own media now. This is why agents have their own brands now because they brand themselves on Instagram, on Facebook, on YouTube. Have a blog, maybe it’s a podcast like you’re doing, maybe it’s an interview show, maybe it’s looking at the hottest new listing. Have a blog and then distribute that to your network. You have your own reality show of sorts within your sphere of influence. It doesn’t have to be on a major news network. By the way, these major channels are losing viewers all the time because people don’t watch live TV anymore. There is more YouTube. If you talk to young people today, I have friends with kids, their kids don’t watch TV. They’re watching YouTube.
Paul: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Now I’m going to run out and do my own YouTube channel. I think that’s a great idea. How do I avoid being the boring guy on YouTube that nobody listens to?
Justin: Honestly, maybe hire a production company and a director. It could cost money, but it’s investing in your business. If people spend thousands on mailers, maybe spend that on, try it out, experiment, maybe it’ll work, maybe it won’t. Maybe hire a local production company, maybe it’s a film school student to help you do something creative and entertaining. Then get maybe some entertaining guests on the show. Maybe you can interview someone about, they maybe an architect.
I don’t know. Find creative ways to be entertaining. What do people want to watch? I’ve seen people come out with really creative marketing videos for their houses that are really entertaining to watch. I think that more and more, this video media is going to become more and more popular with agents as a branding tool. You don’t have to have your own reality show on Bravo to do it, to be on top of people’s minds, and to distribute media content.
By the way, some of those people in the show are the top top top of their game. There is, in most cases, agents in all of those cities that are bigger and quieter than any of the people on those shows, who didn’t come from money or didn’t come from a super-connected background, but who made it themselves. I know agents in LA, they’re the number one, number two, number three agents are not on reality television shows and they’re killing. They’re probably doing double, at least the business that any of those guys are doing.
Paul: How much of it is the producers cutting it weird? Or are they creating little controversies?
Justin: Reality-TV would be a waste of time for them, a waste of money if they followed you around with a video camera. It doesn’t work that way. You have set date, set places, and it’s stop-and-go. Other than that, I don’t want to ruin anybody’s dream. [laughs] That’s the structure of it. Let’s just put it this way, those transactions are long closed. [chuckles]
Paul: Okay, I get that. One comment, and then I’ll maybe ask you another question. We’ll wrap because I can go on and on with you, for sure. One comment is, you talked about a piece of business that you got, that turned into a bunch more business that you got, just because of the show. Having spent this time with you, I’m almost going to disagree with you and say that you got the contact with that client by being on that show, but that you did a great job with that person, or to win them over and that’s why they used you.
Justin: That’s definitely true. Listen, again, all these things will help but you have to pitch them and use them the right way. Then frankly, I got the show initially because someone writing a social blog put my name into it, they were approached by casting. I got that by putting myself and being social in the first place. Again, luck is not going to fall in your lap. You have to put yourself in the position of being lucky. I don’t know anybody who’s won big at the lotto.
Put yourself in the position of being lucky. Whether it’s a reality show or whether it’s this or whether it’s that something’s going to fall down. You’re going to get opportunities come your way. By the way, there’s always opportunities. You can’t look at someone and say, “Damn, screw him. He’s got a reality show.” Josh Coleman has a reality show. He’s just getting business because of the show.
Everybody has different opportunities. He may have gotten that opportunity, but I guarantee you, if you put yourself in a position to be lucky and to meet the right people, you’ll get opportunities he won’t be getting. It’s all about how you take advantage of those opportunities. There’s always more opportunities. It’s not a one-stop pony.
Paul: I love it. I love your expansive mindset. Knowing that people look at the show and go, “Hey, well, if I could be on that show, I’d have that business.” Well, there’s a lot of people with better business.
Justin: A lot of people. I know the Williams & Williams team in LA. They sell $100-plus million house or multiple of them a year. They just sold a house for $94 million. They sold one for $120 million last year. They don’t have any reality show. Brandon Williams totally has his own style. He’s not buttoned up with a tie. There’s no specific style to do this business. You don’t have to be the tough guy driving the fancy car. There is no specific style. You choose your own style and then you go after it with conviction and confidence and you provide value in some way and you’ll carve out great business for yourself.
Paul: What is a piece of advice you would give yourself, all the things that you know now you look back at Justin as a brand new agent, what’s one piece of advice you would give the new agent?
Justin: New agent. If I were a brand new agent, I would have found someone to really be mentored by initially. Don’t worry about making the money in the beginning. Find an agent who is successful, who you respect, who’s very good. They don’t have to be the biggest, biggest agent because the reality is the biggest, biggest agent probably doesn’t have a lot of time for you. Find an agent who’s really successful, whose been doing a long time, who knows how to pick business up in an open house, who’s a hustler.
Maybe it’s a younger guy who’s doing really well, has been doing it. Shadow them and work for them and even if you have to split your deals for them with six months, do it because you’re going to learn a lot and that’s going to be invaluable for your whole career. That’s going to set you up for success and accelerate your career a lot faster when you go off on your own versus starting out on your own and trying to– You’re just going to learn a lot more. Doing an open house is a learning technique.
Picking up business in an open house, you can’t just do it on, just wiggle your way through it. Unless, again, you have come from another career where you’ve been in a sales background and very successful. That’s obviously going to give you a leg up.
Paul: Justin said that too, he would give advice to himself as a brand new agent to get with somebody that’s really going to mentor him and show him the ropes, not about how much money’s going to make run away but what he’s going to learn. Justin I’m going to give you your own advice. This is what I learned from Justin the day of how to get that mentorship. The number of people that are going to go up to somebody like Justin and say, “Hey Justin, I want you to mentor me.”
When you’re Justin or when you’re me I hear that as, “Okay.” If somebody came to Justin and said, “Hey, what could I do to earn the right to learn from you?” or, “I have this idea that I’m going to provide these three things of value to you. Maybe you need them, maybe you don’t but if you don’t tell me what is of value so I value to you to make sense to mentor me.”
Justin: Oh and by the way it’s the same thing with networking. I have one friend and he is an unbelievable networker. What he does is provide value. You can go out there and just meet people but if you don’t provide value, nobody cares. It’s the truth. As a social contact. If this guy, he’ll meet someone. He goes up meets everyone, and they’ll meet someone, let’s say a filmmaker and then who’s doing a science movie who’s in Hollywood, a well-known filmmaker.
He’ll go to a film festival, meet a famous filmmaker, and then they’ll say, “Oh, my friend so-and-so who’s a technology billionaire in Silicon Valley screens films and he’s interested in science. He’d probably be interested in screening your film will you ask him?” They don’t go to the assistant to the billionaire and say, “My friend,” let’s say you just met this guy, “My friend who’s a famous filmmaker in Hollywood and just did a movie. Would you like to screen it?”
“Of course because the person was hanging out with the famous film director and the film director wants to hang out with a billionaire. Boom he’s added value and now guess who’s invited to the party every time? Again like provide value in your networking, that is how you’re going to be a successful networker.
Paul: I love it. Thank you so much for your time I could go on and on and on. I’m getting the signals that were we’re right on time to end here. If I had to subtext this whole entire interview and I love it. It’s about adding value and that’s just the subtext because the rest of it is how to add value which is so important and you identified as one of the best ways to get businesses in open house so I think it’s very fitting be different and how to be singular and how to add value in an open house. We’re going to post that at hibandigital.com/ your full name. Justin, will you spell it out for us? Kind of slowly.
Justin: Sure. Justin, J-U-S-T-I-N and Fichelson, F like Frank, I-C-H-E-L-S-O-N.
Paul: Okay. That’s awesome. I’ve checked out your social media which is very impressive and we will link to all of your social media. Justin is the guy, when I get off the call, I’m going to follow him for sure. One of the things that is a great way to really improve what you’re doing quickly is find somebody out there that’s doing what you want to do at a very high level and you can learn from them.
Justin’s not afraid that because, “Hey I’m in LA. I’m not selling in San Francisco.” or “I have a really good friend that sells a lot in Omaha. He’s not in San Francisco or LA.” He can look at that. He can look at your Instagram and your YouTube and learn a lot from it. Thank you so much for joining us at Real Estate Rockstars. Looking forward–
Justin: Yes. Thank you for having me.
Paul: Looking forward to hearing about your new stuff and we’ll have you on again.
Justin: Yes. I’d love to come back and talk about it.
Paul: Okay thanks a lot. Appreciate.
Justin: Thanks a lot. Thank you.