By Crescent Seward
Victor Quiroz, sales manager at Covina, CA-based Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties and former national REthink Council member, answered the phone after only one ring. It was early on a Monday morning, the day after attending an Oakland Raiders football game (they won, by the way). I knew he was traveling and probably had a long night celebrating the win but he answered chipper and ready to share with me his takeaways from a recent mentoring experience he had in Philadelphia.
Crescent Seward: Here at Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, we encourage mentoring, coaching and job shadowing to unleash your full potential. I understand you had a pretty inspiring experience recently shadowing a broker in downtown Philadelphia – and it got you thinking about ways to reinvent your own business. What inspired you to shadow someone in a different city?
Victor Quiroz: Our company is opening a downtown Los Angeles office in Pershing Square early this year. We will specifically target several new high-rise and existing residential condominium buildings. Most of our 23 offices are in suburban areas so the DTLA branch will be a new setting and new marketplace for our company, operating differently from any other office we currently have. Our brokerage president, Bruce Mulhearn, wanted to provide the best hands-on education available to assist me as the Managing Partner to run the new DTLA office in an urban environment. Bruce reached out to a colleague in Philadelphia who works specifically in the high-rise condominium market there and sent me to train with him for a few days.
CS: Congratulations! It’s a different kind of office, but sounds like a no-brainer to focus on the work, live, play market. You’re already a top producer, why is it important for you to continue learning and expanding your reach?
VQ: It’s key to being successful. I’ve had a lot of different experiences over the past 14 years in the real estate industry and am always learning new things. All clients, neighborhoods, properties and transactions are different so I am forced to learn how to maneuver through some unexpected circumstances. Being able to quickly assess, adapt and take action is the hallmark of a great agent. Learning new skills and getting different perspectives on the fundamentals should be an ongoing process for all agents and brokers serious about their business.
CS: Do you currently have a mentorship program in your office?
VQ: We do have a mentor program at California Properties tailored to fit the needs of our new agents looking to break into the business. We actually revamped the entire new agent on-boarding process. It starts with a 15-point list of things to do immediately: join the local REALTOR® board, get MLS access, get access to REsource Center, build SOI list, set up online accounts and profiles, etc. While they’re working on the 15-point checklist, we hold a new agent orientation in our office to showcase the tools and resources we have as a company and introduce the office mentors (successful full time agents with 7-10 years of experience) to the new agents. Once the new agents select their respective mentor, they start on the Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices 90 Day Success plan from LearnCenter together. The mentor holds the new agent accountable to the goals of the program and offers job shadowing based on their schedules.
CS:Sounds like you’re building a solid foundation for the new agent. What do you want the mentee to take away from the experience?
VQ: Just that. I would expect a new agent coming out of our mentor program to have 4-6 lead generation systems to work for their business, appointment setting skills, a solid presentation template for both buyers and sellers, knowledge of purchase and listing agreement documents, understanding of the transaction process while in escrow, and how to reinvest in the business to help it grow. The mentor program is meant to help build a solid foundation while teaching the basics of real estate sales allowing new agents to be able to capture and close business on their own.
CS: And for established agents, once you get a feeling like you’ve plateaued – you should step your game up and get a mentor, too. Let’s switch gears and talk best practices in real estate. What are three things you noticed from your own recent job shadow in Philly that you’re not doing?
VQ: I’ve never seen anyone work that efficiently. First of all, the administrative staff was on every phone call made or received, which made follow-through easier and faster. His schedule is run like a tight ship. Consequently, he had a full-time driver, making his office a rolling one with members of his administrative staff right there will him. And lastly, he strictly stuck to his niche market – only high-rise condominium buildings, no single-family residences, no townhomes and nothing more than five miles away from the heart of the city.
CS: So are you going to get a driver? And will you be implementing any of these aspects into your daily business?
VQ: I’m not going to get a driver but it worked for him because he was so hyper-local. It was definitely unique because I drive around for my business and he won’t. I remind my agents, colleagues and friends that if it’s not in my calendar it doesn’t exist. The person I was training under takes calendar scheduling to another level. The daily schedule was shared with all staff and updated several times per day to keep everyone on the same page – and he didn’t just talk it, he lived it. I’d like to have my schedule better planned out and more systematic.
Quiroz later shared with me he still has a napkin from a steakhouse in Philadelphia with a formula to meet his goals in the next seven years. He looks forward to a fresh and exciting 2017, managing the new DTLA location and inspiring others.
CRESCENT SEWARD is part of the Global Communications & PR team at HSF Affiliates. She facilitates the national REthink Council and is the corporate liaison with the Sunshine Kids. You can follow her on Twitter and Instagram.