Lori Ballen Interviews Zachariah Castillo

How do I Double My Production in Real Estate with Zacharia Castillo
In this Agent Success Series Webinar, Lori Ballen interviews Zachariah Castillo of The Castillo Group in San Antonio, TX. The Castillo Group is one of the fastest growing real estate companies in San Antonio. Since 2014, The Castillo Group has doubled their business each year (2014 SAles Volume $5 Mil., 2016 Sales Volume $10 Mil., 2016 Sales Volume $22 Mil.) with the goal of breaking $50 Million in the year of 2017.


Lori Ballen:          We are live, and we are here with Zachariah Castillo from San Antonio, Texas. We are going to talk all about today his venture in real estates and all the fantastic successes that he’s having and what his goal is for 2017? Zach, welcome, thank you so much for being on our show today.

Zach Castillo:                       Awesome. Thank you for inviting me. I appreciate it.

Lori Ballen:                            You’re a phenomenon. I think you stood out to me very much when I came out and taught in San Antonio. I’ve always been interested on what you’re doing, and now, you’re one of my marketing clients, which is fantastic as well. I’ve gotten to know you just a little bit better. Tell us how and why you got into real estate?

Why do People get into real estate?

Zach Castillo:                       I started off in real estate in 2011. I was in college. I went to Texas State University. I saw real estate opportunities within the rental market to do rental developments. At that time, my girlfriend, Mariana, her dad did real estate development. We saw a cool project, started doing all the research to figure out how to make it work. In that process, I learned a lot about the real estate. Unfortunately, that project didn’t actually pan out.

I had all this knowledge. I found a broker locally in San Marcus, started doing the rental properties, property management and apartment locating. When I was there, I kept saying, “I want to make more money. I want to make more money.” The broker I was with said, “You need to get into sales”. Since then, it opened up my mind and realize there is no cap on the money I can make and the business opportunities that I could create. That’s where it all started.

Lori Ballen:                            You got in for one purpose, and then got led another way. You were with another brokerage. When did you come over to Keller Williams?

Becoming an Agent with Keller Williams

Zach Castillo:                       I joined Keller Williams in 2013. I was with them. I got license in 2012. I did the apartment locating in my last year of college, and then when I was getting married to my wife now, Mariana, we moved in the fall of 2013, and I knew for a fact, Keller Williams is where I wanted to go.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay. You came to Keller Williams in 2013. Did you say your wife, now wife … She was licensed then with you at Keller Williams?

Zach Castillo:                       No, she wasn’t. She just did the property management with me, and then in that aspect, when I started doing the sales, she was still doing real estate admin work, didn’t join our team until 2014 or actually, I’m sorry, 2015.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay, so she is licensed now.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, she is licensed now.

What Is the Real Estate Team Model

Lori Ballen:                            Okay, fantastic. I know of you guys as a husband and wife team. Tell me what does your org chart look like? Who else are in your team? Is it just you two or do you have other team members?

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah. We do have other team members. There is a total six of us. We have me as a listing agent and the CEO who runs the business. Mariana, she is our lead buyer agent and coaches and motivates our buyer agents as well. I have two more other buyer agents, Amanda and Daryl, who are under Mariana, and then I have two admin. I have a listing coordinator. Her name is Erika. She’s actually my sister-in-law. We are family, part-family business. She manages all my listings, and then I have a transaction manager, Jorge, which is also my family member. He is my brother-in-law. It’s Mariana’s brother and sister who work with us. It’s kind of half-family and half not family, but our whole business is basically our work family which is awesome.

Working Real Estate with a spouse and Family

Lori Ballen:                            Isn’t that interesting? I love the whole concept of spouses working together and family working together. Have you found any special challenges or advantages to working with family?

Zach Castillo:                       We’ve run into where we never know when and to when to turn it off. I mean, I went on a ski trip this past weekend with my brother-in-law and sister-in-law. We still talk about work. My father-in-law, he’s in real estate too. He does real estate development and builds custom homes. We find it that it’s hard to turn it off. We’ll go on vacations together. We just keep talking about it.

I love it because we’re always talking about work and always talking on how we can improve. The only unfortunate part is when we do go on vacations, half the team goes on vacation because we go on family vacations. It does make it hard to manage the team. However, we’ve learned the systems and tools and hired outside people to help manage it while we’re gone. I do love it. There’s really not really any negatives that I could say.

Lori Ballen:                            We have the same challenge. We’re all, almost all … Well, it’s funny because we’re almost all family now running the marketing company. Even the person that builds real estate agents websites  in Kentucky happens to be my sister’s son’s wife’s mother.

Zach Castillo:                       Oh, wow.

Lori Ballen:                            Even that one round up being family, but you’re right. Every holiday or every vacation, we all go together. We’re like, “Oh, my gosh. Who’s going to be at home running everything?” It’s crazy.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay. You got in 2013. I know this isn’t on your question list. I’m glancing over. Did you have some advantage with her … You said both of your parents in real estate?

Zach Castillo:                       Mariana’s father is in real estate.

Lori Ballen:                            Her father.

Zach Castillo:                       He does the building, yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay, so do you feel you had any advantages with that or any other advantages coming in, or do you feel like you have any disadvantages entering the world of real estate?

Is New Construction a good niche for real estate agents?

Zach Castillo:                       That’s a good question. I mean, with what he was doing, I’ve realized quality of construction. That was really one thing that helped a lot, because when I go into houses, especially in going to listings and helping buyers, there’s little details I can find and say, texture of walls and specific finish-outs, I can actually show and express my knowledge on how … If someone is paying top dollar for cheap finish, I can let him know because I can easily see it. That’s one of the biggest things, and I’ve built a house with my father-in-law so I’ve gone through that whole building process. We’ve done-

Lori Ballen:                            There’s a lot of new construction in San Antonio?

Zach Castillo:                       Yes, it is growing. I mean, we’re at our team meeting yesterday. 150 people a day are moving to San Antonio, and there is just not enough people to fill up the jobs, so a lot of new construction is going out.

Lori Ballen:                            Are you focusing on that? Are you doing any kind of … I mean, based on what you just said, you have such a niche there with knowing that market. I don’t know about you, personally, I love to sell new construction because they do a lot of that work.

Zach Castillo:                       It’s easy.

Lori Ballen:                            We get higher commissions even sometimes as well, so I love new construction.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            Are you targeting yourself that way? Are you ranking for the home builders or doing any of that kind of stuff yet?

Zach Castillo:                       That’s great. I’m not actually targeting it, and I probably should start targeting it, because we do a lot of new construction, not only with the family business but also we push it because we have good relationships with builders. I mean, if we look at our pendings right now, we have a lot of pendings for the future of this year because they are building their homes. I never thought about that. It’s definitely a good option to focus on that.

Lori Ballen:                            I’m a big believer in niche marketing. Finding what you do, what you excel at, what you can become a specialist in, and then marketing yourself that way in creating slogans and tag lines, and all kinds of things around that. I think you have a huge advantage already knowing that, and a lot of people are googling new homes. They google new homes with a pool. Literally, they’ll go to the search engine and type in new homes in San Antonio with a pool or with large backyard or with certain types of features.

If you could up when they type those kind of things and they also search by builder. They’ll search new homes in a zip code or new homes around a location. You can really take that and run with it. I think it’s big. I’m watching in all of that … I know we do your pay-per-click marketing for you as well, and a lot of the pay-per-click strategies that we’re doing, we’re seeing new homes. They’re competitive, so they’re higher price clicks typically, but we see a lot of really strong leads coming in from new home constructions. It’s something to think about.

Zach Castillo:                       Awesome.

Lori Ballen:                            I’ll look at your account and see if we’re doing any of that. All right, so tell me what you believe is … Well, let’s talk about your success for a little bit, for a second.

Zach Castillo:                       Okay.

Lori Ballen:                            2013, you got in. What month was it when you got in?

Zach Castillo:                       I got in, in August of 2013.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay, so towards the end of the year. 2014, what was your production?

Zach Castillo:                       For 2014, it was my first full year. I closed 5 million in volume. It was about 20 deals, yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            What was your leads towards then?

Zach Castillo:                       At that time, I was on a team. I was a buyer agent. A lot of it was utilizing my team leads, sphere. She had a really great sphere, and it had really good opportunities as well as just my sphere as well too. I got some of my good friends who were buying homes. We do open houses and just … I actually kind of didn’t even know what I was doing at first. I just said, “Whoever wants to buy a house, I’m ready to help them buy”. The biggest source of business was sphere.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay, fantastic. 2015, then what did you do?

How to start a team and Double your real estate production

Zach Castillo:                       2015, that’s when I opened up my own team, that’s when my wife joined. We did just a little bit under $10 million. Literally, like $100 away from 10 million. We did 44 transactions. That source was … I didn’t realize it at that time, but it was this sphere who was really what helped generate that, which I didn’t really think that was going to be possible since we were very young and I didn’t think any of my friends or my family would want to buy and sell, but I was actually wrong. Almost all of them bought and sold.

Lori Ballen:                            Isn’t that funny how we put those limiting beliefs on ourselves as to what people really want to do? Okay, so that was 2015, so 2016, last year?

Zach Castillo:                       2016, yeah, we doubled it. We actually did a little bit more. We closed 22 million. We closed 113 transactions.

Lori Ballen:                            Wow, holy cow. You did over 100 transactions in your third year.

Zach Castillo:                       Yes.

Success as a Real Estate Agent by learning and applying the basics

Lori Ballen:                            Okay, so what would you say is the reason for your success in this?

Zach Castillo:                       A lot of is … It goes down to the basics. I was ingrained when I first started my first team that I have to prospect at least three hours a day. Now, what does that look like? It’s me just getting on the phone and cold calling. That’s all I knew was cold calling expireds, For Sale By Owners, circle calling. That’s what I just always knew. When I started building the team, I’ve ingrained that to all my agent’s brain as well too.

It’s not straight cold calling. We do a lot of our internet marketing, and then with you guys managing it, you guys are bringing us a lot of leads. That’s given us a lot of opportunity for our agents to be calling all these leads. That’s what we do every morning. We just focus on calling and making sure that we are able to create a good follow up plan and get these leads, either if they’re going to buy, sell or if they’re going to be in the future, get them in a nurture plan. Really, it’s just doing the activities of calling people.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay, so we’re generating leads for you, and then you’re cold calling. Are you calling the leads that we’re generating or are you also calling a list?

How to Cold Call or Prospect for Leads

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, we’re doing everything. With us, there’s four active sales agents. Each agent is doing a different source every day. Today, I called For Sale By Owners, and then some of my other team members are calling the internet leads. We have a schedule who’s going to be calling which source of leads. With us getting bigger and bigger, we’re increasing those sources, increasing those lists as well too, just so that we can expand as much as possible.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay. By the way, San Antonio, holy cow, your market is incredible right now.

Zach Castillo:                       Yes, yes.

Lori Ballen:                            I had lunch with a girl from San Antonio. I don’t know if she’s from your office or not, but she’s actually Keller Williams’ agent that was just down here visiting Las Vegas and we had lunch. I was telling her the same thing. I said, “Oh my gosh, out of everything that I’ve looked at recently and touched just with all of my clients and explorations, San Antonio, something happening there that’s incredible.” You have such, such a playground right now for … I know for web leads. What is it like when you’re calling For Sale By Owners? Is For Sale By Owners your only source or did you say call canceled-

Zach Castillo:                       Expireds as well too. Expireds and cancels, and we’ll do-

Lori Ballen:                            Are people answering their phones? Are you finding it-

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, they are. There is a 10% answer rate when we’re calling expireds and For Sale By Owners.

Lori Ballen:                            10% answer rate?

Zach Castillo:                       Yes.

Lori Ballen:                            That’s the first time I ever heard that. That’s fascinating.

How many dials does it take to make a contact and how many contacts to set an appointment?

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah. It’s been pretty consistent. I factor in. If I want to hit my 20 contacts every single day, I need to call at least 200 numbers. I will get 10% of them answering. My personal goal is 200 to 250 dials a day. That’s actually any type of list. I’m focusing either, if it’s my expireds, it’s follow ups, it’s internet leads, I just want to dial 250 numbers because I know I’ll get my 20 contacts.

Lori Ballen:                            I wonder, have you ever measured what the answer rate is for the web leads that you’re getting or are you just grouping them all together?

Zach Castillo:                       I’m grouping them all together, but I can … Actually I can look into that, because I know with our dialer system, I can filter it by a list and see which ones are-

Lori Ballen:                            I would love that. You know me, I love my data. I would love to know what the response rate is. My experience was … You don’t have any inside sales agent, you guys are doing all the prospecting yourselves, right?

Zach Castillo:                       I did have a couple. We had some team changes, but we’re actually bringing on another one. It’s definitely important to have that person when you’re getting this amount of leads.

Lori Ballen:                            You know what? It’s tough because I brought in an inside sales agent. I had him working for two years, and it did not increase our conversion. It was fascinating to me, watching and observing and knowing things like that answer rate, make a difference, because my guess is and part of it is just wasn’t enough dials. Too much conversation maybe with who we were reaching and not enough dials to get there. Knowing that answer rate, how can you fail if you know that you want to get to 20 contacts a day and you know you have a 10% answer rate, don’t you just know you have to call. You have to make those 200 dials no matter what happens.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, exactly.

Lori Ballen:                            How long does that take to make 200 dials? What software are you using?

Zach Castillo:                       It’s funny because it depends on the list. Mondays, surprisingly, the answer rate is very high. I don’t know why. Every Monday, I come in, I can hit 20 contacts in an hour.

Lori Ballen:                            Wow.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, it’s always really weird. It’s Mondays, especially to the first of the month because you get a lot of the fresh, new expireds that expired that month. That first day, in that Monday, usually, they start off really high. Today, it took me awhile. I did dial about 200 dials. I only got 15 contacts, so that 10%, it’s an average, but that took me about two hours. It’s really going to depend on the list.

Now, one of my other agents this morning, she was calling just, we call it qualifieds. They are internet leads that just have never answered and we still call them every single day. She called in like within 30 people, she talked to already 10 people. That was a really great answer rate and she booked four appointments today. It was really awesome. It’s really going to depend on the list. If you have the fresh new inquiries, then they’re going to answer really quickly. If they’re older ones, the answer rate will be a lot larger.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay. Do you have anybody on your team that has your website open that is calling people when they’re logging on to search the IDX to look for real estate listings?

Zach Castillo:                       Yes.

Lori Ballen:                            I have found that-

Zach Castillo:                       Yes, as soon as they register, we’re on the phone as soon as possible.

Lori Ballen:                            I had one recently, and it was interesting because I had the panel open. I was watching who was logging in. I had one that he logged on, so I looked up to find out what this information was. We had put him in a rental earlier … This was actually last year. It’s towards the end of the year. We had put him in a rental towards the beginning of the year, but it had only been six months, seven months timeframe, so I wasn’t sure why he was already shopping.

I really quickly … I don’t call, everybody who knows me knows I don’t pick up the phone but I text. I sent him a text really quick and said, “Hey, has something changed with your real estate needs?”, and he said, “Yes, I’m actually ready to buy and I’m okay with buying out my lease.” I believe he came to this amount of money or something and suddenly have this ability. I never ever would have followed up with that guy. I had put him in a rental. Why would I have even thought to follow up with him six or seven months later? If I hadn’t happen to see him sitting there, logging on to the IDX and reach out to him, I never would have had that opportunity. I love that piece of actually watching to getting [crosstalk 00:17:59].

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, and a great example too. Today, I was going through our old, old leads. I can see when the last time they’ve been on the website was. I just filtered that out and say, “There are some people on the website in the past 24 hours. They’re in the archive and trash category. Let’s just see if maybe they’re lying to us when they said that it really wasn’t their name when I called.” We just recall them and see if something might change. You just never know.

Do you text your Real Estate Leads?

Lori Ballen:                            Are you doing text in that? Are you doing text? [Lori uses Turbodial for text messaging leads]

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, we’re doing text as well too. A lot of our conversions, we’re running into a lot of the millennials. A lot of the millennials, they don’t want to talk. It’s fine, I understand, so we are converting on text messages as well.

Lori Ballen:                            Millennials don’t want to talk. 45-year-old women don’t want to talk either. You’ve got to text us too. Text or Facebook, right?

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, that’s right.

Lori Ballen:                            It’s really, it’s not just the millennials. It’s our, I think, our whole age has gotten to the point where we all want to avoid everything and we want to put a filter and not engage until the time to engage is there. If I walk into a store and somebody immediately runs over to me and says, “Hey, can I help you?” I’m like, “Just leave me alone,” but I want them there when I’m ready to buy that television and I have questions, right?

Zach Castillo:                       That’s true.

Lori Ballen:                            Yes.

Zach Castillo:                       You want them right away too. You want them to answer quickly. You rely on the right systems and technology so that you can get notified quickly. It’s very important.

Lori Ballen:                            Yeah. Okay, fantastic, so tell me your top three sources for … Now, you can answer this however you want to answer it.

Zach Castillo:                       Okay.

Lori Ballen:                            Top resources of business is the way I phrase the question, but it’s interesting because my top three sources of leads are not the same top three sources … Well, actually, they are the same top, but the top number one of leads is not the top number one of closing.

Zach Castillo:                       That’s true, yes.

Lori Ballen:                            What do you have for me, the three leads or the top three closed business?

Zach Castillo:                       Well, I’ll do closed because it goes into a little bit of the leads as well because my number one is sphere. I don’t focus on it enough to realize that it is there. That’s our number one source this year. It was last year. It’s an all high ever year just to-

Lori Ballen:                            When you say number one source, do you know what percentage by any chance?

Zach Castillo:                       Well, it’s about 60 percentage is of the sphere.

Lori Ballen:                            That’s good. That’s a nice healthy good business. I like that.

Zach Castillo:                       It is, yeah, and it’s easier too, which is nice.

Lori Ballen:                            Yeah.

How do you generate real estate leads from the internet?

Zach Castillo:                       The second one is internet. I love technology and I focused a lot on internet and finding the ways and following you and the coaching that you’ve done, utilizing these techniques to have internet. Then the third one is agent referrals. We’re on the Facebook groups. We’re everywhere, looking and creating those relationships, and then we’re proving ourselves to these real estate agents that when they have referrals from other agents in their market center, those people are calling us. They’re not going to Facebook and posting on the referral groups. They’re saying, “So-and-so told me I need to talk to you because you sold their referral’s house or you helped them buy a house.” That’s been the third highest source of business too.

Others have asked: How do I become a Real Estate Agent? 

How do you get Real Estate Agent Referrals and How do you pay splits on the team?

Lori Ballen:                            I will tell you, gosh, I could talk for an hour just on it or a day on the topic of agent to agent referrals. That is my number one, is agent to agent referrals. That’s my number one. Everybody thinks it’s all web leads because of how many web leads I generate and my number one source of leads is web leads, but the number one source of closing is agent to agent referrals.

Now, the tricky thing about that, Zachariah, and you probably have already seen this, is figuring out that cost of sale in a business that’s going to be one-third agent to agent referrals, right? It’s probably one-fifth. You probably have two other sources of business in there, but let’s say it’s high. Your cost of sale is now immediately 25 to 30% of every deal that comes in. Now, let me ask you a question if you don’t mind.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, of course.

Lori Ballen:                            If you’re not comfortable, you don’t have to tell me, how do you guys handle that on a team? When they come to my team, I’ll just share with you, and it’s, let’s say, it’s 25% referral, we pay the agent off the top of the total, and then my split comes off and his split, the agent’s split comes off after we’ve paid that other agent.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, that’s how we do it as well too, yeah. We’ll go in and we’ll pay the agent based off the top, and then after that, it’s a split between whatever is left over.

Lori Ballen:                            Which is the way I like to do it, because it actually, instead of it being a 25% cost of sale, it comes down a little bit because you and the agent are actually splitting, are actually going to bring out that referral side. When I sit down and do my yearly projections, I’ll group it into regular sales, the projection of how many units we want to do, and then on another side, I do referrals because it’s going to be a different cost of sale.

You still have cost of sale attached to any of your lead generation activities, your pay-per-click, your marketing strategy. It’s not necessarily saying that’s higher than everything else, but it has to be figured, and then calculated, because it does change. My average commission on a real estate agent referral is going to come down, probably, $1,000 in commissions.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            Right?

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            Are you guys is up to 230, 240 average price range?

Zach Castillo:                       Yes, 235 is what this past month it was, so yeah, we’re looking right around the same as well too.

Lori Ballen:                            Yeah, so if we got a $6,000 commission, although no commission is standard commission. It’s always negotiable.

Zach Castillo:                       Yes.

Lori Ballen:                            When you say you have $6,000 standard, you’re going to have 1,500 come right off the top to that other agent. You have to figure that when you’re figuring out your projections and your budget and those types of things.

Zach Castillo:                       Exactly, yes.

Lori Ballen:                            It’s a great business. I mean, it’s such a huge business, and the nice thing about that side too is it’s scalable. The more you get known, the more you guys are out there, Mariana is in the social group, beautiful woman, does it very well. I like seeing her out there, does a lots of promo, takes lots of picture of you and all that good stuff. You guys could scale that quite easily. Then a key is scaling the other two at the same time.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, they’re going to just … Falling, yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            What happens is [crosstalk 00:24:04] at one time became 90% of my business for a period of time, and then you have to adjust those, right?

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, and what’s funny is when we are doing those agent referrals, I’ve had a couple where those referrals have actually found us on the internet, and they’re somehow were an old lead, and then it’s just a funny coincidence when they do match and say, “Oh, they registered on our website a year ago, and they’re already looking at something. They already know our name. They’ve already seen it. They might’ve forgotten, but when they see it again, it’s just another reassurance that you are the best team to work with.

Lori Ballen:                            Yup, it’s a supporting cost. One is the source of the lead, and the other is the supporting cost that got to be where you actually pull the trigger. I love it. All right, so when you say internet, I know you’re doing pay-per-click with my company Ballen Brands, what else are you doing on the internet?

How do you generate leads from Facebook?

Zach Castillo:                       The other is Facebook. I’m doing Facebook advertising that I learned exactly from you when you came to San Antonio.

Lori Ballen:                            Is that a growing piece of your business, Facebook?

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, it’s a growing piece. I’m getting more into have increased the budget, and I’m getting more intelligent about it and really watching the cost-per-click, turning off ads when they’re too expensive, changing in photos, changing in terminology. I’m really focusing on getting that solid and where I can easily teach someone to do it and they can manage it easily. I love it. It’s one of the best things, and it’s another way of touching your sphere. Your sphere do see it and they see that you are doing business and they know that you’re still active. You’re touching them in the … Oh, sorry. Hold on real quick.

Lori Ballen:                            Somebody shut the lights out. That’s awesome.

Zach Castillo:                       Sorry, I have a sensor light at the office. With the Facebook ads, you’re still touching your sphere and being on top-of-mind. It’s hitting two birds with one stone.

Lori Ballen:                            Yeah, so that Facebook advertising is like my little private obsession. I don’t talk about it nearly as much as I want to because I’m testing and measuring, trying to prove some formulas. Just this morning, I went on and did a carousel ad with five different types of homes. One is course property, one is homes with pools, and one is single story, and one is cheap houses. I’ve got them split testing. This one is going to everybody in Las Vegas. This one is going to people that either rent or have lived in their home for a certain amount of time. Then I’m testing each one, because the higher the relevance score, the more we’ve reach the demographic target, actually, we might even pay more cost-per-click, but we pay less cost-per-lead.

Zach Castillo:                       That’s true, yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            Everybody is so obsessed with that cost-per-click, but if you actually pay attention to your cost-per-lead, sometimes you’ll actually pay more per click, but it will come out lower per lead because it’s got a better lead capture because you’re better targeting that audience. I love that whole topic as well. All right, for the sake of time, what advice would you give to a growing real agent today? Your 2017 goal is 50 million, right? How many units is that?

Zach Castillo:                       That is 222.

Lori Ballen:                            Holy cow, that’s how many units we have to do in these lower price areas. It’s funny. I’ve got friends in Washington. They’re laughing at me, going, “Gosh, Lori, five year commission is the down payment on our houses.” All right, so what advice would you give to somebody that wants to do 200 units or more than five?

How do you get business from your Database and Sphere of Influence?

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, it’s really starting off with the sphere. I had never realized it in the beginning. I have a business coach, and he gets on me all the time, call your sphere, call your sphere. That’s the cheapest business. It doesn’t cost you anything to call your friends. You didn’t have to pay for them to be your friends or your family, so utilizing them.

Then after that, as you start bringing in that business, track where your business is coming from, because one thing I didn’t do is go into the details of where is my business coming from. When I went back and I did my 2014 and I went back to see where do my business come from, that’s when I realized, wow, I actually did have a lot of sphere, and if I would’ve known that in the beginning, I really would’ve … Got that limiting belief that no one is going to want to buy, no one is going to want to sell that I know, and I would’ve invested more money into that.

Then the last thing is invest in yourself. I got a business coach within my first year. I go to your events, anything that I can learn from other real estate agents, I’ll pay for. Keller Williams offers a lot of things, and they’re in Austin, which is only an hour and a half away. If I can go to it, I’m going to. Investing in myself, it’s the best investment I can do because it’s just causing me to learn more and improve in the techniques that really work the best.

Lori Ballen:                            Well, your growth in production year over year is showing how well you really are doing with investing in yourself, and your growth is coming from that. When I just looked down, there’s a slew of questions. I’ve got a ton of my own questions. Somebody wants to know where do you get your FSBO and expired phone numbers from?

Zach Castillo:                       I get that from Vulcan 7. They’re a lead provider. It’s 2.99 a month. They set it up and they send it to you every single day.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay, and I guess that’s a lot. They’re all asking that same question. All right, what courses or books do you recommend for anybody to read?

Zach Castillo:                       One of my favorite books is The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson. I’m not sure if you’ve read that one, but it’s a life-changing book and it’s a book you can read every quarter. It just talks about doing the grunt work that you don’t really want to do but it’s very easy to do it, but it’s also easy not to do it. It’s just making those little split decisions every morning when you wake up and when you’re going throughout the day. It really change the way I think for both personally and business, with my health and in professional side.

Lori Ballen:                            By the way, you look amazing. How much weight did you lose?

Zach Castillo:                       I mean, I think the last time I saw it, it’s been around 10 pounds, and I’ve been around the same but I’ve been working out, and I can actually feel my muscle growing.

Lori Ballen:                            Only 10 pounds since the first time I saw you in San Antonio?

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, only 10 pounds, but the muscle has grown.

Lori Ballen:                            Wow, your whole body has changed. Everything has changed.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            Look what 10 pounds can do you guys when it’s muscle instead of potato chips.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah, and then for courses, Keller Williams offers BOLD, and I’ve taken it eight times already. I’ll be taking it again this year. That’s what I live and breathe, everything that I talk about. It’s my listing presentation. That’s my buyer presentation. It’s my lead generation schedule. That’s been how me and my team have been operating.

Lori Ballen:                            Somebody asked again, the name of that book was The Slight Edge?

Zach Castillo:                       Yes, The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson.

Lori Ballen:                            Okay. Somebody wants to know who is your role model?

Who are your Real Estate Role Models?

Zach Castillo:                       Great question. I have a lot of role models, one of them right now, he’s a very big one, and I think you’re actually friends with, Ben Kinney. He’s a great role model. I’ve never really met him. I’ve only talked to him a couple of times, but I don’t think he knows who I am. I just love the way that he thinks, and I love the technology business he’s building, and love that he doesn’t think about himself. He thinks about the masses, and he’s a guy who actually does what he says he’s going to do. He actually is a humble guy. He’s one of my role models. Then my other one is my first broker, Jason Tarr. He’s the guy who introduced real estate to me. If I would’ve never met him, I would’ve never been the guy I am today.

Lori Ballen:                            Wow. Yeah, I don’t know the second one, but absolutely, I agree to Ben Kinney. It’s funny, because I always say to my team, I use Ben Kinney a lot in my examples, I think he’s absolutely my favorite person in the industry to look up to because not only is he doing big things in real estate, owns a ton of market centers, top expansion team all across the world. I think he’s in London now with a team there as well. He is such a giver and gives back to everybody and always makes time. Definitely, if you get chance to ever be with Ben, you’re going to want to take that opportunity.

Zach Castillo:                       Yes, of course.

How do you Track your Real Estate Leads?

Lori Ballen:                            I wanted to know on the tracking that you brought up. I wanted to tell everybody, what are you using now for tracking? Do you have any software or anything special you’re doing? [Lori uses a combination of Clicky and Infusionsoft for tracking

Zach Castillo:                      I’m utilizing a lot of tools, the Google Analytics, Facebook Business, and then I’m a spreadsheet junkie and I just create my own spreadsheets and I throw them all in there.

Lori Ballen:                            I was just going to say I’m a spreadsheet junkie as well. Although I have super intense tracking systems, a lot of which we built out ourselves with Infusionsoft and ClicData reporting, there is nothing like a good old spreadsheet. If you guys are starting off and you heard Zach’s recommendation of start tracking, the easiest way to start is to open a spreadsheet. I like Google Docs because it’s in the cloud and I can go anywhere, it’s easy and it’s free, or Google Spreadsheets. All you have to do is start, every time you get a lead of any kind, put the name, and next to it, put what the source was.

Now, here’s the way I did it. I took all of my sources and put them all on column headers, okay? Facebook, Google, sphere of influence, expired, For Sale By Owner, whatever it was, and then I would just tick off, just put a little one, put a little one, put a little one when you get a lead in that category, and then make it a number two, make it a number three. Then put the people’s names on a list somewhere so you know what their source is if you don’t have an actual database that you’re logging in.

Before you know it, all of a sudden, you’re going to look down and go, “Oh my gosh, these are my leads,” and then do the same thing when you close. Let’s say, you close a deal with Mary Smith and she buys a house. You go back to your spreadsheet. You find Mary Smith and go, “Oh, okay, Mary Smith was a Facebook ad. Wow, I didn’t even know that I actually got something good from that. How much did I spend? Okay, I spent $500 that entire time, so I got one closing, so technically, $500 would be my cost of lead for that sale if nothing else ever came from that.”

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            It’s like you said, we base our decisions on emotion so often, we go, “Oh, I’m getting all these leads from Facebook. This is where all my business is coming from.” Then you sit down, you look at your closing, you go, “Yeah, it’s actually a very small part of my business. Sphere of influence is my primary business.”

Zach Castillo:                       Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                            Then you know where to put your focus, and where to put your dollars, and where to put your energy, and where to project for the next year when you’re actually taking the time to do that, right?

Zach Castillo:                       Yup, and then what’s nice is, and then when you get enough data you can know if something is performing at optimal rate or not. We can grab an ad, and if I know we might be getting a lot of leads. If my team is telling me that they’re not good leads, then I know, well, I’m going to turn that off and focus on another ad, because you got to just keep track of everything that’s happening.

Lori Ballen:                            Well, yeah, a perfect example of that too is one of the terms that I rank for on the search engines, incredibly high and it’s a huge part of my traffic is cheap houses in Las Vegas. Now, I’m just going to tell you right out of the gate, those are the worst leads. It’s still worth having because I get investors that come out of there, sometimes people wanting to flip houses, they want to buy multiple fixer uppers, but most of the case in my market, it’s people that really want to buy $50,000 houses and also can’t qualify. It’s difficult-

Zach Castillo:                       Oh, sorry.

Lori Ballen:                            If I were to go on to pay-per-click, I would not want to spend my money on cheap houses on pay-per-click when I’ve seen what it returns to be on organic. However, on organic, course properties is my number one closing page on my website, and so I would want to go spend my money on pay-per-click because I know that it’s proving over the year. When you’re tracking that kind of stuff, you know where you can spend your dollars no matter [crosstalk 00:36:19].

Zach Castillo:                       Exactly.

Lori Ballen:                            Is there anything I didn’t ask you today? What should I have asked you that I didn’t?

What is the Real Estate plan for the future?

Zach Castillo:                       That’s a great question. What’s the next plan as we keep going, where I see myself in five years? Expansion, that’s where I’ve been learning, is eventually you get into a market with your city that you start hitting a wall, because it does get hard to keep doubling your business every year in one city. I want to keep doubling every year, and the only way I’ll be able to do that is through expansion. Expanding into the Texas cities, and then potentially being like Ben Kinney where he has multiple cities and Cody Gibson who has 20 expansion teams and just being everywhere. I want to be everywhere, and I want to do that as quick as possible, but as well as in a smart way.

Lori Ballen:                            I think you can do it. My favorite thing about you, I think, so far, especially after this interview, is how well you know your business and how well you know your numbers. It sounds like you’re really putting a system into place that will be duplicable when you go into another market because you’re going to know your stats, you’re going to know your numbers, and you got a team building a strong hub, which is what makes expansion possible.

Zach Castillo:                       Yeah.

Lori Ballen:                            You expand with admin and with leads, and it sounds like you’re strong in those areas. Everybody, if you have a referral, Zachariah and Mariana, I’m not going to try and roll my tongue because I will butcher it, Castillo would love your referrals in the San Antonio area, assume.

Zach Castillo:                       As always.

Lori Ballen:                            Where can they find you to send business your way?

Zach Castillo:                       They can reach me on my personal cellphone. I always give my personal out, 210-854-7894, or our website to mysanantoniohomeguide.com. We monitor that like crazy, so if you put an inquiry, we’ll be calling you within about five to 10 minutes.

Lori Ballen:                            All right, fantastic. All right everybody, thank you so much for joining me. Zach, thank you, you were fantastic and I’d love to revisit with you later, maybe we can drill down a little but more on Facebook strategies or your prospecting activities that you’re doing.

Zach Castillo:                       Definitely.

Lori Ballen:                            There’s a bunch more questions in here after the fact, doesn’t have to be.

Zach Castillo:                       No worries.

Lori Ballen:                            All right, well thank you for joining me today. Are you going to be at Mega Camp in Austin?

Zach Castillo:                       I will, and then anytime I’m in Vegas, I’ll make sure I reach out to you.

Lori Ballen:                            All right, we’ll see you guys in Austin. Thank you so much.

Zach Castillo:                       Thank you, I appreciate it.

Lori Ballen:                            Have a fantastic day.

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