Hey, what’s up, everyone? Alex Branning here, your marketing coach. I got a special guest with us today. We got Jose Zavalza on the line. Jose and I, we have a cool history, and we’ll be sharing that in just a second, but he owns his own broker in Palmdale, California, Intero Real Estate, and he is just crushing it. His broker is, I want to say three years old, and he’s got a ton of activity going on. Jose, man, thank you so much for joining us.
Hey, Alex, what’s up? Thank you for having me. Super excited to be here finally. I listen to your podcast a lot, and I listen to a lot of podcasts, and to be featured on one’s a cool thing, so thank you so much for having me.
Yeah, man. No doubt. You’ve had a really cool career. Give us the CliffsNotes version of how you got to where you’re at today, owning your own firm, and tell us how many agents are on the team, give us the CliffsNotes version of you journey.
You know, owning my own brokerage honestly wasn’t in the business plan, per se, you know, when I got into real estate, that was the plan was to sell real estate, sell it in a high production, sell a lot of it, and… I just happened to be blessed to connect with the right people that believed, I think, more in me, I think as human beings we have a problem that we don’t believe enough in ourselves, and I fall into that category, or I did fall into that category, where this particular individual or individuals believed more in me than I did in myself, and, you know, if you focus on the right thing, things just naturally started happening, and I think that’s what naturally started happening.
I love it. I love it. You and I actually connected because we were both investing in the same business coach, Tammy Burnell, and I remember walking in one day to, we would coach at her house, and so I walked into her kitchen, and there was this guy just dressed in a really sharp suit, and I was like, “Who is this guy?” And Tammy was like, “Yeah, he’s not really sure “where he’s at in his career right now, “but I’m pushing him to start his own thing.” And I was like, “Oh, that’s cool.” And that was the first time we met. That was like five or six years ago, something like that, and now, you’ve got your own thing, man. How many people do you have on your team? How many agents are on there?
I’m blessed to say that we have about 43 or 44 agents that work in the office right now.
Yeah, we’ve grown a lot, especially now that we’re in this new office, so we’ve just been able to spread our wings and grow.
That’s exciting. So, a lot of salespeople are listening to this podcast right now. They’re learning marketing to grow their sales and they want to figure out what path their journey should go on in sales, so, what would you say to them, somebody who’s working really hard, got the skills, and they’re looking at real estate as a career. What are the pluses and minuses?
Well the pluses is that you’re your own boss. Essentially, you create your schedule. Where if you’re working a nine-to-five, you’re working a nine-to-five, you work on someone else’s schedule. But on the flip side of that, you know, the word independent contractor… It kind of maybe messes with our mind a little bit. You know, when you own your own business or you’re an entrepreneur, and you’re wanting to start your own business, you really have to manage your time correctly, and that’s where I kinda struggled when I transitioned from a real estate agent over to a managerial slash business mentality. I struggled in time-management. Now, I have to time-block certain things. I do certain things at certain times of the day, just because I’m able to be more productive and efficient that way.
Yeah, that’s awesome. So, I heard a stat that said something like 10% of real estate agents are not making enough, or it’s like 10% of them are making enough to make a living wage. What do you think is the difference between those that are crushing it and those that are struggling? Can you identify two or three things that are the game-changer?
Actually, 10%, I thought that’s high, I think that’s high.
When we looked at our stats, I mean the NAR, the National Association of Realtors, says that the average real estate agent in the United States sells I think three or four homes a year, which is staggering to know on how they live off of that. So, to answer your question, I think there’s a lack of vision. They think they want something or they think they know they want something, but it’s not focused. The energy is not given out correctly, where they’re focusing on the right thing. The mind is kinda like a heat-seeking missile, and if you focus correctly on what it needs to focus on– Excuse me with this phone. What it needs to focus on, it’s going to target that goal or that objective. When you say, “Oh, you know, I want to, I want to travel,” it’s too ambiguous of a term to say, “Okay, “travel where? Travel when? Travel how?” So it’s all over the place, so it doesn’t know where to focus on, so it started to tend to focus on a bunch of different things, and then you don’t accomplish anything.
I love it. The heat-seeking missile is a great term, I love that, I haven’t heard that before, but I agree with you 100%. Unless you have a very specific idea of what you’re focusing on, you won’t get there. You can’t see it, but right here on my wall, I have the things that I aim to achieve, this week, this month, this year. It’s literally right in front of my face every day. So that’s what I’m focusing on and going towards, I love that. My listeners love to learn about marketing, so let’s scoot over into that area, Jose, ’cause you would not be as successful as you are right now if you didn’t have a successful marketing campaign. I want to go broad, and then I want to talk specifics, so, in the broad terms, Jose, what is your marketing plan? Because you don’t really, correct me if I’m wrong, but you’re not in the field anymore selling homes, you’re mostly supporting your agents, is that right?
That’s correct, my marketing plan has completely shifted, I’d say a lot within the last six to 12 months. My main objective now is to really create a understanding of what we do here. I think people have a stigma of what our office has to offer, and I kind of want to bring that wall down. And I think that’s for any office. People can think, “Okay, well, Keller Williams has this,” or “Remax has this,” and “Intero has this,” or whatever the case is, so I want to kinda bring them into our world, so I do a lot of stories on Instagram right now, again, just to give them a glimpse of some of the things that we do on a daily basis, that way they don’t get the wrong impression or, again, just create their own story in their own head.
I like it. So, for you, what you’re using to market yourself, you’re attracting other real estate agents, so that’s your target market. And you’re using, is it only social media, or primarily social media? What marketing methods are you using?
Honestly, right now, it’s primarily social media. A lot of it has been done on my own, and it’s probably an activity that I’m going to leverage out and have someone else do in the near future, but a lot of it’s just my own. It’s how I started my real estate business, back in 2010, 2011, when I got started selling real estate. I kinda started doing things on my own and it’s kind of evolved since then. And it’s really worked out. I think people know who we are, especially for being a privately-held company and in the Palmdale, I should say the Antelope Valley area, for such a short amount of time. We’ve had pretty rapid growth. So people know who we are now. I just also want to know what we’re about.
Yeah, awesome, I love that. Yeah, it’s all about, there’s an old cliche, facts tell and stories sell. I love that you’re using stories to let people know what you’re about and what’s different. Let’s talk about some of the real specific marketing tools that you’re giving your agents, and what you’re seeing success on. Marketing is an ever-changing field, especially in real estate. What are you seeing working now, that is relatively new, you may not have even been on it a year ago. You mentioned Instagram, I think that’s one of the things that really took the real estate field by storm, is how successful real estate is, but what are you seeing working, what’s effective?
You know, I have a lot of agents that struggle in this arena. And I think, what I know that I tell them, first and foremost, is you just have to put yourself out there. A lot of people have just a fear of putting themselves out there, because of the story that they have on what others may think of them, whether they messed up or not. But I think first and foremost, they just need to put themselves out there. What’s working for us, honestly is, again, like I said, it’s bringing people into our world. You know, we do an extensive amount of training, almost every day we have something going on, whether it’s a role play session, whether it’s a mastery, it’s a listing presentation session, a sales meeting of some sort with some type of great topic behind it, I think people right now, are… Don’t know what we do and it’s my job to help them understand what we do, that it’s in bite-sized pieces, that it’s not overwhelming. It’s something that I did when I first got started is, again, my intention was to just grab people’s attention, and that worked because, again, as a brand new agent, no one knew who I was, so it was a matter of just attention. We’re just trying to trade their attention you know, for time. My marketing piece for your attention. If I grab your attention, you remember me. If you remember me for this, my real estate business is synonymous with this, so, it’s just to create that connection between all parties.
So, let’s say I join your real estate office right now, never done real estate before, how would you advise me to get started, Jose, with all the tools that are out there, specifically with social media, how do I brand myself, how do I create a name for myself and build a successful real estate business under the Intero brand. What would you advise your agents to do?
So first of all, I would do a check on their own social media accounts. What I mean by that is, you know, people’s perception of that individual, of you, will become their reality of you. So, for example, if you, Alex, were on my Instagram or my Facebook, and you saw me with a 40-ounce in my hand, one day, and trying to sell you a house another day, something’s not going to connect right, you know what I mean? So it’s a complete social media, kinda like, tune-up. So I say, hey, you know what, you need to have a professional headshot, and uniform everything where, you know, you have an Instagram, the same shot there, Facebook, same shot there, YouTube, same shot there, so kinda keep things uniform, so it doesn’t cause a lot of chaos and confusion. And, again, just be out there with, with the correct content. Anybody can say, “I just listed a house.” Anyone can say, “I just sold a house.” I think that’s too redundant and too repetitive now, but I think what really catches people’s attention is, be very specific on certain things that are happening in that specific demographic. Whether they are a cool little loan program that’s out there right now, whether it’s a fun event that’s happening in the city, especially with the holidays that are quickly approaching, you know, Halloween and whatnot, I think the time to get out there is now. Really showcasing local things of the city, of the community, that really, again, will feature you as the go-to person for this information, which will then automatically direct and correlate to your business.
I love it. I love it. So, for the agents that you have in your office right now, do you give them regular social media training, and if you do, or if you advise them, what platforms are you encouraging them to spend time on right now, where are you guys seeing success?
Instagram, for sure. Now, to answer your question, no, we don’t have classes, well, let me take that back, we don’t have enough of the classes.
And that’s something that I need to take a look at because it is an ever-changing thing that is going on right now, so many algorithms change all the time, that you need to know specific time when to post, because that plays a huge factor in everything, you know, what time you’re posting, that way you can create interaction between your audience and you as the influencer. We don’t have enough of those classes. That’s something that I need to take a look at. What was the other part of the question, I’m sorry, I–
What platforms do you encourage your agents to spend time on? You mentioned Instagram.
Instagram for sure.
Instagram for sure, Facebook, but something that even I’m noticing a lot of is YouTube. YouTube is really evolving right now. With YouTube Live, and they’re a lot of cool things now too, that is really, even piquing my interest, that I need to vamp up for myself.
I love that. And two more questions, Jose, and then I’ll let you get back, man, I know you’re a busy guy. I love video, you mentioned YouTube, you mentioned stuff you do on Instagram, I think video is a game-changer, especially in the real estate world. What are you seeing on your side in the field, with your agents, what are you seeing on the video side of things?
I think video is where you need to be, and if you’re not doing video right now, someone else will. And you don’t want to be late to the party, I guess you could say. You need to put yourself out there. I think people are more responsive to video, especially live videos right now. I know I get a lot of interaction when I’m just, when we’re doing a little training here, and I go live, a lot of people just, again, it’s almost like inviting them to your home. They kinda see what’s going on, what’s Jose doing, what’s Alex doing, right now. If they’re not doing it, they gotta do it, bottom line. And like I said, it’s just to get out there. Who cares if you stutter, if you mumble, if you screw up? I think the authenticity behind that will attract even much more of a larger audience.
Yeah, I agree 100%. Last question, it’s all about Danny Morel. He is a rockstar and one of the leaders at Intero. He has done a phenomenal job of building your personal brand and, like you said, it’s all about being authentic, real, honest, and he encompasses all of that, he does a great job. How can agents follow his lead, ’cause a lot of times, we look at people like Danny, who are doing a really good job, and we go, “There’s no way I’ll ever be that,” and so it kinda shies us away, but Danny started in the same way we all did, right? He started stumbling and bumbling, he didn’t start with these beautifully professional videos, so how can we as agents use Danny as inspiration? I mean he is everywhere.
That’s a great question, because I think I even fall into that category where I had to realize quickly that I’m not Danny Morel. I never will be Danny Morel. Danny has a very charismatic energy about himself that he can just, you know, flow freely in his words and in everything. What I had to learn is that I’m Jose Zavalza, and I will always be Jose Zavalza, and I am me, and people will be attracted to me, because I am me. And that’s what other people need to know is that they are them, and there is something very inspirational about every person that needs to be spoken. I had a, you know, just to give you an example, or just a quick story, I had a really good heart-to-heart with one of my agents the other day, and this person, is where they said, “I’m at rock bottom right now.” And I go, “You know what, that’s awesome, “I’m glad you said that.” And she’s like, “What do you mean by that?” I said, “Look, you have a story right now, “that you are creating.” “That story of you being at rock bottom “is, one year from now, going to inspire somebody, “that’s probably there where you are right now. “And how you got unstuck, how you were able to “lift yourself up from where ever you’re going through,” I said, “That’s a story that you are creating right now, “and that’s a story that you need to share, “so, just keep… “Keep persisting, keep climbing, keep the faith, “and just keep moving forward, “because you’re a story, you’re not me, “you’re not Danny, you’re not Alex Branning, “you are this person and that’s something very special.”
I love that. I love that. I agree with that 100%. It’s all about sharing our journey, because people are attracted to us. You know, when you’re honest and real, people are attracted to that. They can smell a fraud, they can see when you’re trying to put on a front, and that’s just not attractive, so, Jose, thank you so much for being on the podcast, man. You’re an inspiration, I love seeing your success journey. It’s been great, we kinda started with the business coach around the same time, and we’re both crushing it in our respective fields, and I love it, man, so I’m rooting for you from afar, I love seeing it. For those of you that want to get in touch with Jose, you can find him on Instagram @JoseZavalza, you can find him on Facebook, and I’ll put links in the show notes so you can reach out to Jose and if you have questions or want to join his team, you can do that. Jose, thanks again, man, I really appreciated having you on, it was great.
Thank you Alex for the invite. I really appreciate it, and keep killing it yourself, brother, we’ll be in touch for sure.
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