Lori Ballen Interviews Saria Finklestein

Look Who Else I Interviewed!


Lori Ballen:                            I’m going to press record as well so that we get all of Saria’s goal there. All right. Hopefully my pop-ups, nobody will see anything very privately that pops up in the corner there and embarrasses all of us. All right. First of all, you are with the Laurie Reader Finkelstein team.
Saria :                                        Yup. Laurie Finkelstein Reader team.

Lori Ballen:                            Finkelstein, not Finkelstein. I was blowing it.

Saria :                                        We respond to anything close.

Lori Ballen:                            Tell me what the team’s production goal is for the year.

Saria :                                        Our production goal for the year is 100,000,000 in volume, which at this point, it looks like we are going to surpass. We’re very, very excited about that.

Lori Ballen:                            You guys have been in the news since the day I got to [inaudible 00:00:50]. It was pretty much, I met your … It’s your aunt, right? Laurie’s your aunt?

Saria :                                        Yes.

Lori Ballen:                            I met Laurie and several members of the team when I taught out in Pembroke Pines, I believe it was.

Saria :                                        Yup.

Lori Ballen:                            I was at Boca and then we …

Saria :                                        Yup, with all the magic.

Lori Ballen:                            I remember Richard doing magic and she was just like, “Oh my gosh. She’s that real? That can’t be real.” It was fantastic. Then you guys went and hit the lottery.

Saria :                                        Yeah, that happened.

Lori Ballen:                            Right. That was awfully exciting.

Saria :                                        That was a lot of fun.

Lori Ballen:                            I was so impressed by the story on how you guys included an administrative professional, I think it was, in the lottery even though she had refused to buy in her part of the lottery which said a lot about you guys as a team. What’s your production goal for the year?

Saria :                                        My production goal for the year is 20,000,000 in volume. I’m looking like I’m going to get right around there. I’m hoping to get to it. My goal was 18 and my stretched goal is 20.

Lori Ballen:                            Wow. That’s fantastic. As a buyer’s agent on the team, do they give you leads?

Saria :                                        Yes, they do give us a lot of leads. We have BoomTown, so that’s where a huge portion of our leads come from. We also do a minimum of 3 open houses every month so we get a lot of leads from there. That’s really everyone’s opportunity especially the newer agents to be able to have access to higher end leads and you never know who’s going to walk through that door. A huge portion of our business comes from our open houses.

Lori Ballen:                            You said a huge number of leads. I know I’m going a little derailing from our questions a little bit. I always do that when I get really curious about a topic. When you’re doing these open houses, is everything prepared for you and you just show up or are you out there putting up yard signs and …

Saria :                                        We put out the signs. Our admin team, they’ll go ahead and put together the sign-in sheets and print all …

Lori Ballen:                            Unmuted.

Saria :                                        … talk about it with the clients as they walk in the door. As far as signs, we’re definitely out there playing real life frogger. It’s a lot of fun.

Lori Ballen:                            Now, when you do those open houses, you being buyer’s agent extraordinaire that I know you are, how do you get those buyers to register when they come through that open house?

Saria :                                        We have some people do it a little bit differently on our team. I’m a firm believer that you ask for the registration at the end of their walk through the house. A lot of people ask for them up front, but I find that you get a lot more false information at that point because it’s a little awkward. They walk in the house and you’re like, “Oh hey, can you just stop really quick and sign right here.” You’re just standing there and like waiting and waiting for them to fill it out. I’d rather build the rapport and at the end I would say, “Would you mind signing in and filling out this registration form? I don’t want the seller to think I just had a big old party in their house while they were gone.” It makes them laugh and they feel comfortable and then they have no problem signing.

Lori Ballen:                            Already that’s a huge nugget I hope everybody listened to because I’ll tell you, we’ve been doing it the old-fashioned register, get them to register at the beginning. I got to tell you, even though my team in Las Vegas is a top 1% team, we do a lot of business, nothing comes from open houses, and even …

Saria :                                        Really?

Lori Ballen:                            No. None of it.

Saria :                                        Wow. We really tried to book buyer consult at the open house. That’s our main goal is we try and get them to book the buyer consult while we’ve got them right there in front of us.

Lori Ballen:                            How do you do that?

Saria :                                        It’s really just going into scripts and talking to them about why it’s important for them to have a buyer agent representing them and fighting for them in their corner. Then I do my line, “Listen, I’d rather have you come into the office and ask you 500 questions and show you 5 homes and ask you 5 questions and show you 500. I’m sure you don’t have any time to waste, do you?” Then they’d say, “Okay, let’s book you for this.”

Lori Ballen:                            Fantastic. I got chills. I got a feeling you got an arsenal of those and you’re probably prepared to handle any objection with one of those lines, aren’t you?

Saria :                                        They just come flying out.

Lori Ballen:                            That was it. I actually wrote down a lot of things. When I go to Mega Camp personally, at the stage we are now, I’m not listening for the next big thing or some magic bullet or anything like that. I’m more listening still for ways to help the agents on my team and listening for things like that just to better what we’re already doing. You were my standout interview of Mega Camp and it’s funny because people would think I would be more blown away by the megas because that’s more of my style, but every …

Saria :                                        You’ve got a different hat on now.

Lori Ballen:                            What is that?

Saria :                                        You’ve got a different hat on now than you did before. You’re doing growth.

Lori Ballen:                            Yeah, exactly. Exactly. I think more of that growth mindset. I’m always looking at our buyers and listing agents going who can I plug them into or who could they learn from or what tools could they use that would improve their skills? Of course, we generate massive leads on the web with The Ballen Method SEO search and social, yet that’s all me, and so I want to find ways for them to get out there and learn how to be the best that they’re doing and bringing things in. When I heard you say that line, it is exactly what I’m always talking to our agents about. We have a policy that they bring all the buyers into the office first for representation rather than jumping in their car and going ahead and meeting everybody. Then we have a standard presentation and we have the wow factor and we have a certain way of doing things.

What I find, and you can tell me about yours in a second, what I find is if we educate the buyer right from the get-go, they’re already qualified, we’ve already been through all that and we let them know what the process is going to look like and how we’re going to discuss their wants and needs, and then how we’re going to show them the homes on the computer and how many homes we’ll show them once we get out there, then we don’t have to go show them 35 homes. Buyer’s agents who live in scarcity are the ones that jump out in their car and just show a million homes where those of us that know, we’re good at what we do, we got a lot of business behind it, we’re going to control that situation, and in doing so, are going to provide better service for that buyer. Do you also do the buyer consultation in office?

Saria :                                        Always. Sometimes I’ll do it at a different location just to help the client out, maybe at their hotel or something. It depends, but we always do the consultation first. Every single time where I end up having to show the buyer tons of homes, it’s because we didn’t do buyer consult. We didn’t set the expectations. We didn’t explain the process. They don’t understand, they think that they’re supposed to see 20 or 30 homes, but when you sit them down in the consultation and explain to them, most of my buyers only see 5 to 7 homes. They’re already prepared that they’re going to be writing an offer much faster.

Lori Ballen:                            Right. I believe that we are doing that buyer an injustice if we are not going through that process with them because it’s not their fault. They think they have to see everything on the market. They don’t understand that we’re not showing them homes that are already under contract or already pending that they found on Zillow that are under contract. We have to educate them through that process. That’s very important. What was it like …

Saria :                                        What I always try to remind myself and our newer agents is, “Listen, these people, what you have to feel when going in that room is these people are so lucky to be sitting down at this table with you right now. They could be out with some other Joe Schmo realtor who’s going to drag them around town and their going to waste all their time, and instead, they’re here with you. They get to be taught by the best. They get to be negotiated by with the best and everything, so you need to feel lucky and know that those people are lucky by being there with you.”

Lori Ballen:                            Right. Love it. What was it like being on stage with Gary Keller at Mega Camp, of all things?

Saria :                                        No big deal. No, it was incredible. It’s a dream come true. I had taken both for the third time last year and I put on there as one of my 5-year goals to be on stage with Gary. To have it happen in such a short period of time was absolutely incredible. It was a, hopefully not once in a lifetime experience because I would love the opportunity to do it again. I’ve got lots more to share but it was absolutely amazing.

Lori Ballen:                            Here is what’s fascinating. First of all, I’d want you to know you did an incredible job. So young and you’re so full of confidence. You’re just really confident in who you are and it came through and really confident in the role that you do. That means that you know you’re good at what you do because you’re studying, you’re implementing and you’re testing and measuring and you’re growing and your confidence was incredible. I want you to know you did a fantastic job.

Saria :                                        Thank you.

Lori Ballen:                            I already liked you before and then I just fell in love with you after that. So did the rest of us out there. Didn’t we guys? I see all those questions coming in. How much they love you. They’re giving you all their applause there. What’s interesting now is Mega Camp originally all of the big producers and now the team members are becoming big producers. Basically, based on your … Who’s teasing you in your office right now that you’re shaking your head at?

Saria :                                        Laurie.

Lori Ballen:                            All right Laurie. Time to stick your head in the camera.

Saria :                                        She wants you to come here. She might have just run away.

Lori Ballen:                            I’ll call you. You come in here distracting my interviewee. I’m going to put you on camera.

Saria :                                        Come over here.

Lori Ballen:                            Come on Laurie. Where are you? Hi.

Laurie:                                      Hello Lori Ballen.

Lori Ballen:                            How are you?

Laurie:                                      How are you?

Lori Ballen:                            Everybody, this is Laurie Reader Finkelstein.

Laurie:                                      That’s close.

Lori Ballen:                            Did I blow it?

Laurie:                                      Finkelstein Reader.

Lori Ballen:                            Finkelstein Reader. That’s right. There is an order to that names. Laurie …

Laurie:                                      I didn’t get to fix my hair for you.

Lori Ballen:                            … Finkelstein Reader. What are you going to do in production this year Laurie?

Laurie:                                      We are going to close over 3,000,000 in GCI.

Lori Ballen:                            Whoa.

Laurie:                                      Our goal is 100,000,000 in sales and our units are run somewhere between 325 and 400.

Lori Ballen:                            Wow. Tell me what it’s like working with family?

Laurie:                                      It is absolutely one of the biggest blessings in my life, to be honest with you. Saria is not only brilliant and got the most beautiful heart I’ve ever seen on a human being, but I get to come to work everyday, I get to be surrounded by my sweet, sweet Saria. She’s really a big intricate part of helping us build the business at this point.

Saria :                                        You can’t forget about grandma.

Laurie:                                      She didn’t ask me about grandma yet.

Saria :                                        She said family.

Laurie:                                      Grandma’s amazing. My mom is known as the queen of real estate around here. She’s in the business 40 plus years. She’s still selling 25 houses minimum a year. Does all of her prospecting by going out physically and talking to people.

Lori Ballen:                            That’s incredible. I know you guys are one of those teams that I’ve watched with this family unity. That is one of the reasons I brought in so much … I started crying as soon as she started talking about the family being …

Laurie:                                      Good. You’re a crier like me. I always see you with all your amazing family.

Lori Ballen:                            It’s incredible isn’t it? I tell you, there’s just nothing more fulfilling than to know you are providing the bigger life and the bigger opportunity for them than they might do on their own out there and you get to see them all the time and be around them. Talk about a driver, right? When things get … Even at your production, do you ever have crappy days?

Laurie:                                      Oh boy. No, never.

Lori Ballen:                            Never, right? I was just saying, no matter where we are in our life, we have those days and it is that unity and that why and that purpose that makes us, “All right, I’m not going to quit today, because I want Jeff’s daughter to go to private school, because I want Saria to have this, and I want mom to do this.” It’s big. Now, I totally got off topic.

Laurie:                                      We have much bigger purpose and the bigger purpose is investing in other’s lives.

Lori Ballen:                            Yeah, it really is. Thank you for joining us. I’ll get back to Saria now. I’m going to come back …

Laurie:                                      My pleasure.

Lori Ballen:                            The Laurie Reader team loves the Ballen team. Woohoo. Sabrina, you got to quote that and put Laurie’s picture up there. All right. Had to do that and let your aunt talk nice about you. All right. Let’s get back to our regular questions here. What brought you into real estate?

Saria :                                        Well you just saw it. Laurie was my best friend growing up. I used to follow her around everyday. I just wanted to be a little Laurie. It was always the plan. My grandparents were both in real estate and I always had talked about wanting to get into the family business. I just never knew if I was going to like it or if I was going to be good at it. I decided I was still going to go to college and I went and got my business degree so I always had something to fall back on in case it didn’t work. Thankfully, I absolutely love it. I have a ridiculous passion for it and getting to work with my family just makes it that much better.

Lori Ballen:                            You guys are a fun family. I’ve been out dancing with you guys. Let me tell you …

Saria :                                        Yeah, we love fun.

Lori Ballen:                            … they got some energy going on over there at the Laurie Reader team.

Saria :                                        Got to work hard to play hard.

Lori Ballen:                            All right. How long have you been doing this, did you say?

Saria :                                        It’ll be 5 years in December.

Lori Ballen:                            Oh, 5 years in December. You were how old then, 12?

Saria :                                        I’ll be 28 next month.

Lori Ballen:                            You look so … I mean, 28 is young, but you’ve got that real young looking face.

Saria :                                        I’ll take it.

Lori Ballen:                            I’ve got a niece named Alexandria. We call her Ali and you look just like her. I said it from the beginning and …

Saria :                                        How old is she?

Lori Ballen:                            She’s early 20s. All right. Tell me about your goals. How do you set your goals? I’m going to read right off of my sheet here. Do you set how many appointments, how many leads, how many contracts, how many closings? If so, do you hold yourself accountable to those goals? How?

Saria :                                        We have our team goals and then I also have my personal goals. Our team goals is for the buyer team are a minimum of 3 transactions per month. For me, my personal goal is really to do at least 5 per month. I’m hoping next year to up that to at least 10 per month. We’re working on implementing the systems in order to have that happen. As far as numbers of hours of lead generation and everything like that, we are all locked in our offices from 9 to 11 calling most of the time, since Lori’s watching this. We do our best to call exactly from 9 to 11. Sometimes we have to make it up later but we’re supposed to do a minimum of 3 buyer consults a week. As far as closing, we don’t really have a set number of closings we’re supposed to have per month. It’s really more about the ones that we’re getting under contract but I have my best closing month this month and having 8 closings, so I’m very excited about that.

Lori Ballen:                            Wow. Boohoo. What would you credit that to? How come you have 8 closings this month?

Saria :                                        Because last month, I noticed that there was a hole in my business and I was seeing that things weren’t necessarily working the way they always were with my showing assistant and I needed to make a shift. I got back out in the field and I started taking my buyers out myself. I realized very quickly that that was the missing key. I’m trying to do a lot more of that now than I was before. I was trying to put a lot of that off but I realized how important that is and for me to get to point where I want to, I really need to get back in there. My assistant really helps hold me accountable. She was the best thing that ever happened to me. Everyday she’s like, “You’re not on the phone. Need to call BoomTown. You only got one buyer consult this week. What are you doing? Let’s go.”

Lori Ballen:                            For the listeners out there, what you guys are hearing Saria discuss now is the challenge of growth from being a buyer’s agent who gets results through her own work and her own skills and her own productivity, she is now challenged with what the rest of us are challenged with as we grow, and that’s leverage. She now has to get those same results through leverage and that means stopping and pausing long enough to hire the right talent, to grow them, to train them, to teach them how you think, to teach them. It’s not enough, and Saria you’re probably finding this, it’s not enough to just teach them the skills, you now have to teach them how you think so that they understand how to respond to that buyer the way you did with, “I’d rather spend …” What’s the line?

Saria :                                        I’d rather ask you 500 questions and show you 5 homes than ask you 5 questions and show you 500.

Lori Ballen:                            That’s it. Like I said, I know you’ve got an arsenal of those. Also, there is something called a personal genius which means you’re just naturally good at what you do. You’re charming. You’re beautiful. You got this oomph about you. You’ve got that “it” factor. Now you send a showing assistant out there and all of those pieces really do come to play. You’re challenged now. The only way you’re going to grow past where you are. It’s funny for those who are listening. She’s a buyer’s agent but you just heard her mega talk because she has an assistant, she has leverage. She’s going to do 10 – 20,000,000. That’s the same as mega at this point. You’re just choosing your … My one thing as a mega actually I chose lead generation. You’re wanting as a mega, as a buyer’s agent on a team, but you still qualify as a mega even then. What has been your biggest challenge with this growth in trying to get to the next production level?

Saria :                                        I think that my biggest challenge really is being able to work with more buyers and how to work with more buyers at one time and still be able to provide the literal red carpet service that I provide. I’m not willing to work with more people if I have to cut back on my customer service because that’s something that’s so important. I want every client to walk away and I know that they’re going to write a 5-star review on every single website from here till the cows come home. That’s really, really important for me. In finding that challenging, figuring out how I can work with that many more so I just have to figure out which parts of my business are the ones that I can leverage without having to cut back.

Lori Ballen:                            Let me ask you a question. Is there really, if you found rock star talent, I hate that phrase. I don’t even know why I just used it. If you found a … Hi, how are you doing? If you found amazing talent, somebody that has the “it” factor, they do the red carpet which I want you to explain in a minute to everybody. They got all of that going on. Is there anything truly in your business that you couldn’t leverage out so that you could do more production?

Saria :                                        I thought that I could leverage out my lead generation until I sat down with Mr. Ben Kinney. He ripped me a new one and told me how to

Lori Ballen:                            He’s good at that.

Saria :                                        He’s very good at that. He told me that that is the absolute last thing that I give away. That is the key to this business. That is me and that’s my key to the goal. After visiting with him, that was what I planning on giving away next and now I know that that’s the very last thing that I give away.

Lori Ballen:                            Right. Then you have the answer as to where your leverage focus needs to be.

Saria :                                        Right.

Lori Ballen:                            Then of course, once you get into leverage, now you got to get out there and take RSTLM a million times and learn how to hire and how to grow and how to build because you really have a team within a team. You are building your own business as a buyer’s …

Saria :                                        That’s the goal. My next step is to hire my own personal showing assistant. Right now we have a few on the team. I think that that’s really where the hole is, is that they’re seeing different people and so it’s not the same person that they’re seeing all the time. They feel like they’re being passed off a little bit. I need to work on hiring my own personal showing assistant.

Lori Ballen:                            I’ll tell you the key to the pass off in our experience, it’s all communication.

Saria :                                        Absolutely.

Lori Ballen:                            The only time there’s really a gap is when somebody isn’t communicating. One of the things we do on our team is we have a policy that anytime anybody on the team has any interaction with the client, they follow up with an email confirmation reinstating what happened at their appointment or what happened on the phone and then everybody on the team is copied in that so there’s this constant communication. If they’re receiving the wow factor from every person on the team, they don’t feel passed off, but if somebody is dropping the ball in the communication and that’s why they’re feeling that way. I would almost guarantee it. That’s something we’ve had to deal a lot of. We have different people on every single step of the process. It’s never one person on all the way through. All right. Many agents believe working solo is better than on a team. What value do you get from being on a team as somebody that actually is a top performer on your own?

Saria :                                        As with anything, there’s going to be pros and cons to every side of the story. Me personally, I thrive on a team environment. I’ve got constant support. It’s constantly challenging. Almost like not competition, it’s all friendly competition, but it still is competition and it’s constantly driving you to do better and better and better and to have people who are holding you accountable every single day and we’re checking our numbers every single morning. How many buyer contracts do you have under contract this month? How many offers do you have out? How many closings have you had? We’re constantly reporting those numbers to all of your team who are like our family and some are my family. That’s going to really push you to make sure you’re holding yourself accountable.

As far as for me, I don’t think I could do it as a solo agent. I don’t think I’d have that discipline within me to do it. The team is just, for me, I don’t know why you wouldn’t want to be on a team especially someone like Laurie who’s been in the business 19 years. She’s already established herself. She’s built the brand. All I had to do is show up. I can use that brand to my advantage. She pays for the marketing. She does all of these things. I just had to show up and do what I do best which is selling and negotiating. I just get to come to work and do what I’m here to do.

Lori Ballen:                            What’s your quality of life like that all your focus on is buyers all day and not the profitability of the entire company and all of the hiring and everything that goes on. What’s your quality of life like?

Saria :                                        Work-life balance is something that everyone’s always working on but since hiring my assistant and using showing assistants, that’s definitely helped me. In the beginning, I basically had to say bye to my friends for a few years and I’d say, “Listen, I’m building a foundation.” This is my time, so that later on, which is now, I could take a day off on the weekend or like tomorrow is Yom Kippur, so I can take off the day and I can be with my family and I can cook and have my family over my home tomorrow night. Things like that are very, very important to me and very, very special.

Making sure that I have time for me is something that is very, very top priority for me at this point in my career and making sure that I have people in place who are backing me up and know that they’re there to help me and they’re part of my business. I’m constantly going to my showing assistants and thanking them and saying, “Listen, I couldn’t do this without you. This is not just my business. This is our business. You are helping me get to where I need to be.” Constantly thanking them and reassuring them that I couldn’t do without them.

Lori Ballen:                            Do you think there’s a cap on being a buyer’s agent on how much income you can earn?

Saria :                                        Not at all. Keep it coming. For me, it all depends on how hard you want to work. There’s a cap if you say, “I only want to work this many hours a week,” or one of those realtors, “Oh well, I only answer phones between 2 and 3:00 and if you leave a voice mail after 4:00, then you’ll get a callback tomorrow.” That doesn’t work for me. I definitely have answered my phone at 1:00 in the morning when a client’s calling me. Again, you have to remember that most people only buy 3 or 4 homes in their lifetime, so they’re really relying on you to be there to hold their hand and calm them down and make sure that they know that everything’s going to be okay, and that you’re going to be there for them. I could just as easily send them to the voice mail and not pick up the phone and not pick up the phone and not be there to listen to them, but that’s only going to hurt me in the end as well.

Lori Ballen:                            How many buyer’s agents are on the team with you guys?

Saria :                                        We’ve got about 4 buyer agents and then we’ve also got about 4 or 5 showing assistants that are in the process of graduating to buyer agents.

Lori Ballen:                            Do you guys compete for leads on the team?

Saria :                                        No. It’s really not a competition. To be honest, we have too many leads. We have an issue with finding people who are available to do buyer consults because we have so many in our business, thank God, knock on wood. It’s constantly flowing after Laurie being in the business for 18 years. There really is no competition when it comes to leads.

Lori Ballen:                            You guys get a lot of referrals, I assume, and a lot of sphere of influence repeat.

Saria :                                        Absolutely.

Lori Ballen:                            That was something, for the listeners, that was an aha for me when I interviewed Martin Bouma a couple of weeks ago, whatever time frame that was. He kept talking about his repeat business and how all of his business comes from referral and sphere of influence repeat business, and how it’s because of his longevity of time in the business. I keep looking at, “We’ve been doing this 5 years, I want to see more. We’re at 20% now sphere of influence of past clients.” Well duh, your clients, they’re just getting to the point where they’re thinking about moving again. They’re going to start seeing … I just started seeing the repeat business the last year and I’m almost at 5 years, where people need to upgrade to a bigger home. They had a baby or whatever it is. Most people stay 5 to 7 years.

Saria :                                        Yes. Then the other thing I found very almost like a light at the end of the tunnel. What’s your average price range where you are? Mine’s 185.

Lori Ballen:                            About 260.

Saria :                                        Okay, so 185, 260. The one thing I was really excited about to hear from Martin although he is in a higher price range already where he is in Ann Arbor Michigan, he said that, “As you move though life with those buyers, they are moving up.”

Lori Ballen:                            The price point building . Absolutely.

Saria :                                        They move up to the next house and up to the next household. If your business is build strongly around sphere of influence and you treat those past clients cultivate that database and send them cards and send them their pumpkins and do your touches, they will start recommending their friends. Guess what? At each phase, their friends are also moving up and so your price range is moved up all the way across the board, which is fantastic.

Lori Ballen:                            All right. Tell me your biggest challenges as a buyer’s agent that you’ve had. Maybe how you’ve solved them or even what you’re facing now?

Saria :                                        Biggest challenges. I think that’s a top question. It still it really is that I want to work with so many more people and sometimes I have to turn people away because I’m working with too many clients at one time and referring them to someone else and I just know they’re not going to get the same service as they would get with me. Trying to clone myself would be my biggest challenge.

Lori Ballen:                            What you just said was leverage. Again, there it is.

Saria :                                        Yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            It’s that darn leverage issue that … I’ll tell you, I’m sure Laurie’s back and nodding her head. No matter what … Is she still in the room with you?

Saria :                                        Not in the room, but I think she’s [inaudible 00:29:32].

Lori Ballen:                            No matter what level you’re at, this leverage piece will make or break you. Figuring this out.

Saria :                                        Absolutely.

Lori Ballen:                            I talked to $200,000,000 producers. I mean, my friends are the megas. They are banging their heads against the walls still going, “Oh my gosh, oh my gosh. I just want to burden all down this morning because I’m going through this, this, this, and this.” It will continuously be your biggest challenge as you grow in the beginning, leverage is going to be the issue. Leverage is going to be … Your challenges are going to be scripts and how to get people to register for open houses and how to follow up with them. What database do you use?

Saria :                                        We use BoomTown.

Lori Ballen:                            You use BoomTown, so [corporate 00:30:18] database.

Saria :                                        Database? I think we use eEdge and now we’re using Top … Is Top Producer a database?

Lori Ballen:                            Uh huh (affirmative). You don’t deal with that yourself? You don’t have to deal with that?

Saria :                                        No.

Lori Ballen:                            Are you …

Saria :                                        I have my own personal database and my assistant does it. She just does it in Excel.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay, so you’re using leverage for all of that. That was just fantastic. How about classes, training, books? What are you doing to stay on top of your game?

Saria :                                        I’m very, very big into the classes and everything like that. For me, I never really liked school growing up, so this is the first time that I love it because I can actually say, “Okay now I’m going to go and do that.” I never understood what I was going to use geometry for, so I hated it. For me, one of the most inspiring ones that I did early on was Tony Robbins and going to Unleash The Power Within. That was a huge like mind-blown moment. Really realizing how powerful the mind is. I only realized that more and more a day. I’m a big believer in law of attraction. Recently, we’re at Miracle Morning and it’s incredible. If you hadn’t read it, it’s a life changer. It’s amazing. Now I’m on Laurie’s kick. I’m working out everyday and I’m getting back on track. I saw you Fitbit.

Lori Ballen:                            [Inaudible 00:31:33] Fitbit?

Saria :                                        I saw it. No, I don’t have a Fitbit. I’d have to [inaudible 00:31:39].

Lori Ballen:                            Girl, with your personality you’ll do what I did. The competitive nature and the challenge will take over, let me tell you. Anyway, go ahead keep going. Trainings, books, what else?

Saria :                                        Miracle morning. BOLD. BOLD. BOLD. BOLD. BOLD. BOLD. BOLD. Do it again and again and again and again. I’ve done it 4 times. I’m ready to do my fifth time. Every time, I learn a little bit more and a little bit more and find something else different about myself. I just love getting those letters that you write to yourself with your goals and being able to cross off everything that I already did. Getting mine, I got it right before we went to Mega Camp where it said on there, getting on stage with Gary. Being able to cross that off is really, really awesome.

Lori Ballen:                            I got chills on that one. I totally get it. What is your big why? Are you plugged into that?

Saria :                                        There’s so many but it all really goes back to my family, as just most people. My current family and my future family. Me and my sister are very close. She actually just passed the bar yesterday and she got sworn in this morning. She’s getting sworn in right now to be a Florida attorney. She’s going to be a public defender, so I’ll be taking care of her the rest of my life. Just being able to have my family, not have to worry about anything. Just like you. Be able to be that person that anyone can come to if they’re in an issue and become the old money in my family essentially. My dream, I just so badly want to be able to have 3 houses right on the beach, right on the sand. One for me and my family, one for my sister and her family, and one for my parents. Just being able to do that, I know that that’s not going to be that far off in the future. Knowing that that is going to come to provision just brings to my eyes. It’s very, very cool.

Lori Ballen:                            We got a love of family. We want to all have houses altogether in one spot. I keep telling my family I’m either going to get a cul-de-sac that we all live on somewhere or I’m going to buy some little honky tonk town and it’s just going to become Ballenville and we’re just going to take over that little town.

Saria :                                        That’s true.

Lori Ballen:                            All right. Tell everybody what your red carpet service is.

Saria :                                        I literally drive around with a red carpet in my trunk. At all of my open houses, I roll it out at the front door, and all of my walkthroughs on day of closing, I’ll go ahead and roll it out as well so my clients can walk across the threshold and take fun pictures. It’s just an extra little touch. What’s the difference between extraordinary and ordinary, it’s that little bit extra. We’re all about the wow factor here as well and I definitely think that that’s a pretty big wow. It’s not something that people typically see.

Lori Ballen:                            Fantastic. I think we saw a picture. Did they show a picture of that in Mega Camp?

Saria :                                        I don’t think they did but I’ve got plenty of them.

Lori Ballen:                            That’s fantastic. What skills do you believe a buyer’s agent need to have in this market?

Saria :                                        Patience and customer service.

Lori Ballen:                            Go back a second because I know you don’t want to patience.

Saria :                                        It’s a constant struggle. Patience is very important. Making sure that … You’re going to work with all different kinds of people, which is one of the very cool things about the business, and sometimes not so cool. You’re going to deal with all different walks of life. For me, I’m a raging id, so for me to talk to someone [inaudible 00:35:07] and try and they want all the details and all these stuff, that’s very hard for me. I just want to be up here and like darararara. But I’m very, very good at mirroring magic. That’s something that over the last few years I really honed in on. A very important skill is learning how to be able to mirror and match in this business. Especially on the buyer side, knowing how to talk to someone on the way that they want to be talked to, in the way that they’re going to understand and appreciate it.

Lori Ballen:                            Where did you learn about it? Did you take any classes on mirroring and matching?

Saria :                                        Yeah. I’m in classes constantly in our office. I also sit on the board for my association. I sit on 3 of the boards. I’m in charge of our young professional network here. I’m always planning events. I’m doing one later this week for a panel of legends and millennials, so they get to hear from people who’ve been in the business for a long time doing a minimum of 30,000,000 in the business and then people who’ve been in the business who are under 40 who have become successful in such a short period of time. Being able to do things like that and get to create panels and have people attend them and it’s like your idea in bringing it to life, that’s really, really fun for me. I enjoy that aspect.

Lori Ballen:                            I don’t know if you guys are listening or paying attention to this. Every single person I put on an interview has immense energy. We always hear these things in common. I want people to pay attention to that because if they’re striving to be like you, they want to be a great producer, finding those things in common. You have immense energy. You’re constantly learning. You never stop learning, I heard that. You’re on BOLD. You’re reading books. You’re in training. You’re mastering your skills. How about coaching? Who coaches you?

Saria :                                        Laurie. I haven’t got into an additional coach yet having Laurie is such a blessing. She is a MAPS coach, so she’s my constant coach and I’m in her top 20% so she’s really focused on me. She’s really my main coach at this point.

Lori Ballen:                            Tell me something else that everybody here who’s a buyer’s agent, and I didn’t put this on … I didn’t think I put this on the question. What do you do? Tell me one thing you do besides that fantastic question, besides the red carpet service, that you believe get you to the closing table?

Saria :                                        It’s really the customer service and answering the phone and being there for them. For us, it’s so important. The communication between you and the client is so important. We have our admin staff and they always are in communication with the clients as well. Something that I learned from my grandma that I had been working on implementing is just calling your client for no reason. Calling them not just to give them bad news or good news. Just calling just to say hi, “Hey, I was thinking about you. I don’t have any news. I just wanted you to know that I’m thinking about you and everything is going great.”

That means so much to them just to know that you’re thinking about them. I’ve seen such a shift. Then you’re not getting that text message, “Hey, I haven’t heard any from anybody in a while,” because really, after appraisal, there isn’t much communication that’s necessary or needed because there’s no bad news coming. We’re just waiting to close. That doesn’t mean that they’re not sitting on the edge of their seats and wanting to know what’s going on. Just hearing from you is relaxing to them and makes them feel better.

Lori Ballen:                            Yeah. That’s fantastic. It’s always that communication and going that extra mile. Do you run in to limited inventory where you are?

Saria :                                        Yeah. It was getting a lot better. Right now, we’re having it. It depends on the price range. We’re definitely having a lot of issues when it comes to that. It’s really a limited belief, in my opinion. I think that if you’re ready to get out there and you want to find it, you’re going to find it. I’ll go and send letters to a neighborhood that a client likes to get someone to list their home. I’ll go door knocking in that neighborhood to get someone to list their home if they decide on a specific neighborhood that they’re looking for. There’s always ways around that. There is low inventory but that doesn’t necessarily it has to halt your business.

Lori Ballen:                            Tell everybody if they want to send a referral to you, what are your service areas?

Saria :                                        I am in Plantation, sunny South Florida. That’s Broward County. All of Fort Lauderdale, everywhere around there. Then, we are currently going to be expanding into the tri-county area, so that’s also West Palm Beach and Miami. Anywhere around there, we’ve got you covered.

Lori Ballen:                            What’s next for you? Besides being a buyer’s agent, do you have any other things that you want to go do?

Saria :                                        So many things. I mean for now, it’s really getting enough leverage that I’ve got my team within the team. Getting a team of showing assistants. I’m just doing buyer consults, they’re taking out buyers. I’m just going to the buyer consult and going to the closing and making my business really run on its own and eventually getting buyer agents underneath me so that I’m stepping out. My true, true, true passion, I love teaching. I teach a lot of classes in our office. I love being given the opportunity to do that. Whenever you teach, you learn. For me, I’m really hoping to be able to give an opportunity to do that on a much larger scale.


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