Meet the Megas, An Interview with Lisa Archer of Live Love Homes with Lori Ballen


Lori Ballen Interviews Lisa Archer

Lori: All right. Hello, Lisa. Thank you so much for being on our show today. We have Lisa Archer with Live Love Charlotte and Live Love a bunch of other things. Thanks for joining us today. Give me your Live Loves. Where are you guys at? You’ve got a bunch of locations now.

Lisa: We are in Raleigh. We are in Fayetteville. We are in the triads of Greensboro, Winston-Salem. All of those are in North Carolina. Pinehurst. We are now in Central New York, so around Syracuse.

Lori: Oh, wow.

Lisa: And we are in Kansas City. There’s a couple more coming. Our agent that’s going to be opening [inaudible 00:00:53] Sacramento got her license in California just yesterday, so that is in the very near future.

Lori: Wow. Wow, once you decided to expand, you just went bat out of hell at it, didn’t you?

Lisa: Yes, ma’am.

Lori: I love it.

Lisa: Is there any other way?

Lori: No. Not in my world, there’s not. This is what we do, right?

Lisa: Yes, ma’am.

How did you create your Brand?

Lori: I’ve got to tell you, I’m going to go into my questions, but I was thinking about you just yesterday, and I absolutely love, love, love the Live Love brand. It was funny; I took a picture of a t-shirt in Vegas and tagged you in it. It was Live Love Vegas or whatever.

So I know that came from somewhere originally, and you adopted it as your real estate brand and went with it. Where did you get the idea for that?

Lisa: It’s funny. I never actually saw it anywhere. I was in New Orleans at a real estate conference. We had been asked to speak at a Caldwell Banker conference, even though we’re Keller-Williams, and we did that. I was having a conversation with a really close friend of mine, Chris Smith, who you just the Water Cooler the other night.

Over drinks, ironically enough, I decided I wanted to rebrand Charlotte. We just sat there, both of us had our phones open and the GoDaddy app, and we’re looking to see what we could find. He said, “Love Live,” something or Loving Charlotte and I said, “No, no, no.” That’s how it happened. Honestly, that’s how it happened.

Lori: Well, I love it and I think your expansion has tied, branding has tied in so well for your expansion the way you were able to add the additional city at the end Live Love, so your branding now … It was just prime for expansion, wasn’t it?

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Lisa: It was, it was. The only problem we’re having now is other people have loved it so much that they have bought cities and now we’re getting to certain cities and we cannot get the URL, because I was not envisioning expansion when I came up with it originally, so I’m having to have win-win conversations with agents across the country. So please, please, please don’t buy it unless you call me first.

Lori: It’s funny. That’s actually what made me start thinking about you yesterday was somebody across my Facebook feed; they had a business page they posted on and it was Live Love something, and I thought about you. I know how it is because I’m out there teaching and sharing, and we’re talking about panels. People will take my entire [MVV VP 00:03:32] or whatever and they make it their own. It does cause some issues when you’re dealing with branding.

Lisa: Yes.

Lori: So let’s start with the string of questions here. I’m just going to tell you to be as honest as you want to be and hold back whatever you think is too personal. I’m going to ask the questions regardless. You just answer them how you want to answer them.

Lisa: OK.

How did you get into Real Estate?

Lori: So how long have you actually been in real estate?

Lisa: Seven-and-a-half, almost eight years.

Lori: OK. So when you first started, were you on a team? Did you have a real estate team? When you first started, were you solo or on a team?

Lisa: When I first started, I was actually my dad’s admin.

Lori: Oh boy. How did that work out?

Lisa: It didn’t last very long at all.

Lori: From what I understand, it’s now kind of reversed. Doesn’t he work for you now?

Lisa: He does. Technically, we are still … I mean, we’re partners obviously in Charlotte. He leads our entire admin team, basically.

Lori: I’m going to guess that he’s very happy doing that.

Lisa: Loves it. He’s funny. He was the head of technology because his background is computer science and computers and he built all sorts of computer programs for Fortune 500 companies. Anyway, long story short, he was the tech chair for our office for seven or eight years and he used to teach the agency class and he’d start it with, “I don’t like buyer, I don’t like sellers, I don’t like agents, I don’t like lenders, I don’t like attorneys.”

Our broker in charge, he absolutely loves him. They were roommates for years at the office. She just laughs every time he says it, because it’s not true, but he’s much happier when he doesn’t have to deal with people.

Lori: Totally get it.

Lori: Yeah, wow. Well, good. It sounds like you created a world that makes everybody happy. So you started your dad to admin. Did you decide to build or move up because that was your nature or did something happen to spark that?

Lisa: Both. I liked going on appointments, I liked going out with people, I liked the people aspect of it, so it made sense.

Why did you decide to build a real estate team at Keller Williams?

Lori: OK. So what made you decide to build beyond that, though, because you’ve really turned into this mega builder, what spurred that on?

Lisa: Well, it would probably have to be listening to Gary over the years, Gary Keller, saying, “If you don’t have the right whos, you are the who.” So that aspect of wanting to go bigger, couldn’t go bigger if there weren’t more people. So I’ve listened to everything he’s said and taken it to heart and now really, really implementing it.

Lori: OK. However you want to share this, this year, last year, wherever you’re at, I’d love to be able to tell our listeners where you’re at with sales volume.

Lisa: 2013 we did $15 million volume and 301 units.

Lori: Wow. That is a lot of units. How is 2014 shaping up for you?

Lisa: It’s shaping up well. We have moved around a whole bunch of people, put them in the right seats. We’ve taken a step back, so to speak, to take giant leaps forward and we’ve moved people on and off our investor team and we are working on … We’re really, really focusing on expansion and Charlotte has just been going crazy. I don’t know what the number is today. I was asked that yesterday and I have not looked. I know we’re doing very, very well.

Lori: Do you think it will outdo last year?

Lisa: My goal is to do about 350 units.

Lori: OK, good. Last year, you were heavy hedge funds and investors and now you’re shifting to expansion as a primary focus?

Lisa: Well, in Charlotte it’s complete … Whereas I think we had 40 listings at the end of 2013, we have over 80 now.

Lori: Wow. That’s because of the expansion or that’s just in your home base?

Lisa: That’s in home base.

Where do your real estate leads come from?

Lisa: Our primary sources are referrals, online Internet marketing, sphere. We’ve gotten really purposeful with our data bank and touching them and making sure that they just know what we do, where we are. We’re ready to love on people and help them with whatever their real estate needs are.

Lori: One of the things that I’ve found in talking with top producers whether they have a team or not, generally their businesses are made up of two or three really strong sources. You said you’re heavy real estate referrals or do you mean past client referrals, real estate agent referrals.

Lisa: Both.

Lori: Yeah, I thought that was the case with you. Then big Internet lead business as well, and then sphere of influence. Those are the three primaries now?

Lisa: Yes, ma’am.

Lori: OK. Generally that’s what we find. Everybody has more than that. You have yard signs, you have open houses, you have your whatever, but most of us have two or three that are really making up the bulk of our business and the rest just comes in as fillers.

Do you want to break it down for me a little bit on what your empire looks like today, the roles?

Lisa: Denise, I need a new….

Lori: It’s changed, right?

Lisa: Flowchart. I need a new flowchart. In Charlotte, we are two full-time listing agents. We have one, two, three, four full-time buyers’ agents. We have one agent that’s concentrating on global and relo. We have an agent that concentrates on our [inaudible 00:10:30] Purple Heart Homes, which is our segment of Live Love Veterans. We have an agents that concentrates on just investor clients.

We have a new intern that starts Monday, which I’m super excited about. Denise runs the expansion now. She started as my EA. She’s never been a typical EA, which is good because I don’t need a typical EA. Then she led Charlotte and now she is leading expansion.

Lori: Let me ask you a question. It’s funny, I wish I would’ve asked this on my last interview. I’m finding, again as I’m talking to people and as I’m going through reports and looking at my own team production that many, many, I would say most, of the teams that are in production today, there are one or two agents on their team that are doing a lion’s share of the production. Do you guys have a similar makeup of that? Do you have one or two rock stars, you don’t have to name or anything, but that are standing out amongst the rest in production, buyers’ agents, listing agents?

Lisa: Well, it’s funny. We have had … Right now I don’t think we have anybody that’s on the team that’s not a rock star in what they do. Middle of last year we got really, really purposeful everyone reading the one thing and everyone moving into a position that was their one thing. Our buyers’ agents do not work with sellers. Our listing agents do not work with buyers. Our admin team does not list houses or work with buyers. Everyone is in their role.

Our current ISAs do not work with clients, except for in expansion. We have a little bit different way we are running expansion. We are very purposeful what everybody does and everybody that we have on the team now is complete rock star talent in what they’re doing.

Lori: Right. But if we were to look at your close, let’s just say 2013 close production, and just your sales, just your buyer specialists and your listing specialists, was there one or two that you could clearly see on the reports that significantly out-produced the others or are all of yours about the same?

Lisa: Well, to answer that, it would’ve been longevity. How long had they been on the team? I would say … I mean, our lead listing agent is now running Charlotte. She is obviously talent and she has sold more listings than anyone on the team. Yeah.

Lori: OK. Generally speaking, I just find that to be true. You’re absolutely 100 percent right in that longevity matters, what they’re doing, their specialties and all that. But it’s just something I’m seeing. I’m asking everybody because it’s something that I’m seeing. I don’t know your numbers. You haven’t sent me a team breakdown or anything like that.

But in talking with the various team members and in traveling and interviewing them, we’re all kind of finding that there are certain ones that just tend to outproduce the others regardless of talent. I won’t say regardless talent, sometimes it is because certain things that they put into place, but I was just wondering if that was true in your case, too.

Do you work with clients?

Lisa: I don’t work with clients other than I am the one that more than likely has made the introduction to a big investor client or an REO. I secure those conversations and those meetings, and then we decide who’s going to work on it on the team. I was just doing that an hour ago.

Lori: So are you ever driving around buyers?

Lisa: No.

Lori: OK. Do you ever…

Lisa: In fact … I’ll tell you this. The biggest thing for our growth is when I let that go. My husband and I, our family, we’re in the middle of looking for house right now. I can’t show them one because I do not have access to Supra on my phone. I took it off my phone about a year-and-a-half ago, so I can’t even show. I have to call my dad and say, “Hey, will you meet us at 123 Main Street? Robbie wants to look at it.”

Lori: That’s good, though. You’re forced to do your one thing and focus on what it is that you do.

Lisa: Because I knew. There’s no telling how many baseball games I went to late because I dropped everything and went and showed a house on Saturday morning. That was just not going to happen anymore and it hasn’t. It’s probably been at least two years.

Lori: Do you take listings yourself?

Lisa: I’ve been on two appointments this year. [inaudible 00:15:45] clients are high profile.

Lori: OK. So how would you describe your position in your build today?

Lisa: My self-employment title is COO, Chief Opportunity Officer. I’m always looking for an opportunity, looking at the next opportunity, which is why we have so many divisions now.

Lori: Right, because each one of those is an opportunity for the people that are growing on your team to have something more.

Lisa: Right, absolutely.

How do you as a Real Estate Agent and Business owner get paid?

Lori: Right, which is beautiful. I love that. You do not have to give me dollars. You can tell me whatever you’re comfortable with. I’m curious on compensation for you as the mega. When we first got into real estate, it was just taking commissions off every closing and then it turned into putting ourselves on payroll and then it’s adding in profit share. How are you set up as the rain maker?

Lisa: Last year, we did salary and this year we’ve gone to profit.

Lori: Salary plus profit or profit only?

Lisa: Profit only.

Lori: Oh, profit only, OK. Was there a big decision behind that of what the reasoning was for you to go that direction?

Lisa: When we got our taxes.

Lori: OK. So for you it was for accounting purposes.

Lisa: Yeah.

Lori: OK, all right. When we originally switched ours in the beginning, in our case, it was we just didn’t know any better and we’re taking a certain percentage out of every closing assuming we’re supposed to be 40 percent profitable, so we’ll take 40 percent off of every check. Suddenly, you realize that isn’t the way. We had to go through a process of learning, so I wasn’t sure if there was another reason besides accounting.
Is there anything today that you … I know the answer, because you’ve don’t a great job branding. But specialty-wise, what are you guys doing today specialty-wise for the real estate industry?

Lisa: Well, as far as the team goes, we’ve been fortunate enough. We partnered with a veteran’s group that disabled veterans are getting better housing, more affordable housing, with this group called Purple Heart Homes that we’re working with. So we created Live Love Veterans. We’ve also partnered up with Homes for Heroes. In Charlotte we have a Homes for Heroes program that we’re running. So we get to go out and I say love on them as they should be loved on.
We do a lot of first-time buyers, we do a lot of relo, we do a bunch of investor work.

Lori: I have a belief that your…

Lisa: We have a lot.

Lori: Yeah, you have a lot. But I can see it, being on the other side. I don’t work with you, but being on the other side, I can see your … I see that the Live Love Veterans, I think your entire military branding is so strong in that, that I’m guessing it becomes a very, very big part of your business, military-wide. Do you think that might be the case?

Lisa: And it’s only going to get bigger. One of our new locations is Fayetteville and there’s a big military base there and it’s growing.

Lori: Yeah, that’s a big business, and there’s a lot of locations that have these large military base. Vegas is one of them. That’s a niche that needs filled and isn’t necessarily filled very well, in my opinion. So I think you have a really good brand there.

Lisa: It’s not [inaudible 00:19:51].

Lori: I know. I agree with you. We haven’t either. It’s just because we fall into niches that kind of fit what we do, and although we do serve military, there aren’t any of us that are particularly … We haven’t been in the military. It just hasn’t been our calling, so to speak.

So I love that you’re doing it. I think it’s got such a strong heart behind it and such a strong brand. It’s one of my favorite things that you’ve done actually. I bet in the future we see more and more of that growth with you in the world of military.
How about specific skills that you’re known for in the real estate industry? I know you guys teach and train. What are you kind of known for in the world of real estate that you enjoy kind of being known for?

Lisa: I love Internet marketing and social media, similar to you. Marketing is … I really, really love being a connector. That place of coming from contribution whether it’s picking the right house for a new buyer or getting really good marketing on a listing that didn’t sell with another agent but we can get it on the market and get it sold quickly and do a lot of social media, Internet marketing, speaking.

Laurie Davis and I have been teaching as the Geeky Girls for, gosh, almost four years and we’ve made a lot of friends, made a lot of contacts, met a lot of different people and companies and have been blessed to teach and speak in all sorts of interesting places. So [inaudible 00:21:36] social.

Lori: Are you guys getting asked … Do you have the ability and the time to speak a lot? Are you looking for more of that or do you just do it based on who you know, where you’re going to be?

Lisa: I’m not speaking as much, other than [KWB 00:21:58] events or [inaudible 00:21:57] events. She is focusing more on and has the position within our organization that she is doing a lot of speaking and teaching on her own, which is cool, to go do all the Agent Reboot tours. I think she went out … She was on all the Agent Reboot tour stops this year and was out there teaching. I think her topic was branding this year. It was neat.

Lori: Good.

Lisa: But yeah, we do teaching next week at [inaudible 00:22:37].

Lori: I saw that. I saw that this morning come across the Facebook feed. Wish we could be there. It conflicts with one of our own teaching engagements, but it looks amazing.

I know people love to learn from you guys. They can follow you around the social media, web, and Keller-Williams conventions and hear you guys speak.

What do you believe was your biggest mistake in the building process, if you could go back and do it all again? I know some people go, “Oh, I don’t believe in mistakes. We learn from them.” But if there was one thing that you could change, what would it be?
Lisa: It would be not following the [inaudible 00:23:17] process all the way through on every important hire that we made. Never hire out of desperation and need. It’s easy to say that, but it’s not easy to follow that when you’re in desperate times and need somebody. So just make sure that you follow the process. It’s there and built for a reason.

Lori: That’s right. What do you think is your best … In learning this, what tools have you used, books, classes? Where have you learned the better process of building?

How do you continue learning? Who are your mentors and Coaches?

Lisa: Well, I taken Recruit Select now seven times and that’s in the full version. I think Keller-Williams has amazing education, amazing opportunity. There’s other people that … [inaudible 00:24:16] is amazing and Gary Keller and Mark Willis. I just took [RS 00:24:19] with John Davis for the first time and I will probably take it three more times. It was amazing. I’m taking Recruit Select with Mark Willis at the end of August with [inaudible 00:24:32] and that’s going to be a lot. I’m super excited about that.

Books. I have three mentors. One of them [Dan Kennedy 00:24:44] and I got started with really focusing on business, not just selling real estate in 2011 during the [INRSD 00:24:54] process. I was the first person through the program.

Then Chris Smith who now is the owner of Curaytor, who is our CRM platform. He’s a really good friend and mentor of mine and we bounce ideas all the time. Then my third mentor is Mark Spain. Completely different mind shift change when I met him. I actually met him in 2010. Then I met Mark about six months later in 2011 at an [MN 00:25:32] event we were speaking at.

Nothing happens by chance. That was a divine interaction and meeting. I probably talk to him twice a week, just business and business and business and business and “When are you doing this and how are you going to step that up?” Just mind shift change to where complete focus and elevating level of thinking. From all three of those.

Lori: I love what you just said, because I am … First of all, this is a common thread. When I talk to top producers whether they’re team builders, or not even in real estate, any successful people, we will find those common things. They are learning based, they are traveling, they are going to education, they’re trying to stretch themselves and generally they’re surrounded by excellence.

So they have coaches, they have mentors that have been there before them. It’s funny, I have three mentors also. The fact that you have three shows. And I know there are others in your world. You named specifically three that you admire and spend time with and learn from. They’re just such amazing business professionals and people in general, all three that you just mentioned. That’s got to be such an amazing, just value to your world.
I know that you are also adding value to theirs. It’s a win-win relationship when you have something like that. Wouldn’t you agree?

Lisa: I would think so.

Lori: You would hope to think so. After this I’m going to call Mark and Chris and [Ben 00:27:09] and ask them. No, I’m just kidding.

Lisa: Please do.

Lori: [inaudible 00:27:12]

Lisa: I know with my experiences with my mentors, they all tell me in our conversations. You can see because they’ll pull something out of those same conversations, even though they’re the ones talking with you, they’ll get something from the call. Or when you’re being coached, you may say something that your coach walks away with. If they’re choosing to mentor you, it’s because they’re getting value. They want to be involved.

What Advice would you give a new agent?

Lori: Now, looking at your own experience, I’ll finish it up with this. This has been a great interview and I appreciate it. Let’s finish up with looking at your own experience, what advice would you give to somebody else and is there anything else that I haven’t asked you that you’d like to share?

Lisa: The thing that you have to … When you’re starting out, you have to do it all over again. I would completely concentrate on the data bank. It’s imperative that you’re constantly adding to it, constantly nurturing it, constantly we say loving on it, living on it. It is so important. You don’t have anything if you don’t have that data bank. It’s your bank of business for the future, and yes, I stole that from Mark.

I don’t care what anybody says about that word. It’s life-changing. Just come from that place of contribution and people will never think you’re pushy and they’ll never think that you’re just in it for the money. If you’re always providing value and honestly are there to help people, they’re going to keep coming back and they’re going to send you referrals and they’re going to send you their family members and that’s a true testament to how successful you are.

Lori: Absolutely. I agree completely. Thank you so much, Lisa, for your time. I’m going to be sharing this interview in my network and I’ll make sure to have all your cities there and locations on where people can contact you for real estate referrals as well. So anything else that you want to send me that you’d like me to include with this, so that they can find you guys, I’ll be happy to do that. Otherwise I’ll just Google and pull up your funny Facebook pictures and post those instead. Just kidding.

All right, thanks so much. Have a fantastic time taking over the world out there.

Lisa: Thank you, ma’am.

Lori: All right, bye Lisa.

Lisa: Bye.

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If you would like to learn more about Keller Williams and how it may be a match for you, message me: Lori Ballen.