Our Guests: José Elizando and Wendy Hammonds
In this agent panel, we discuss how these two great agents reached $6+ Million each in 2020!
0:00:06.6 Geoff Stertz: Hello, and thanks again for joining us for another Fathom Live, a live stream show dedicated to giving you tips and insights from experts in and around the real estate industry. I’m your host, Geoff Stertz. Excuse me, I’ve got a little frog in my throat. Sorry about that, viewing audience. Anyways, thank you for joining us. We are very thrilled to be with you here today, and we have two amazing guests, and they are boots on the ground, agents building their businesses themselves, and so we’re really excited to hear their stories. They will inspire us. We will laugh, we will cry, and we will dance, and I’m looking forward to that. Go ahead and say, “Hello, folks.” Thank you for coming on the show. We have Wendy Hammonds and Jose Elizondo.
0:01:00.0 Wendy Hammonds: Thank you. Hi.
0:01:00.0 GS: And if you want to bridge last week’s episode about branding with this week’s episode, Jose has shown us what branding is right here, so he is in full costume. Now, can we run the clip? Okay, here we go. This is just… If you haven’t seen Jose on Facebook, look him up, Jose Elizondo, and there is our dancing man. Yeah, pretty amazing. So, Jose, thank you for coming up. I didn’t ask him to come on in costume, but he just took the initiative, so you can check him out there. But before we jump in in the interview real quick, we wanna give a shout out to GoSocial Agent, our social media provider offering effective social media and marketing solutions to help agents grow their business. Go get your account set up. They’ll do automated postings, agent-branded articles, buyer and seller handbooks, Facebook ad campaigns, and more, all to help you grow your business and generate leads, so check them out at gosocialagent.com. Also, I see a lot of you are already commenting. We’ve got, man, Eric Berry, Kimberly Simmons, Rob Fountain. Rob, always a faithful viewer. Kay Harness, Katherine Carrier, Kelly Tingle. That’s just on Facebook. If you’re over on YouTube, there are folks watching. Go ahead and give a comment because that automatically enters you into a drawing.
0:02:31.2 GS: You can win some yard signs. You can win some services from GoSocial Agent. You can win a photo listing package for your next listing, so get to commenting and we’ll draw a name from that. Share the post and we also draw a name from that as well. So hit the notification bell on YouTube if you’re on there. Follow us on Facebook if you haven’t already, and that’s it. So let’s jump into things. Jose and Wendy, again, thank you for coming on the show. Just to start with, maybe our viewers would be a little bit curious as to why we have two agents on, because usually we just do one at a time. And Jose, what’s the connection between the two of you? Are you on the same team, related, what’s the connection?
0:03:10.5 WH: So we’re not on the same team, but we’re here in Northwest Indiana together. Jose actually brought me aboard to the Fathom Family, so, yeah, that is our connection. We worked a deal together at the end. Well, first of all, the deal was smooth as honey, right? We got along great, and then at the end, he just asked me, “Do you like your broker?” I’m like, “Yeah, I love my broker.” And he’s just like… I’m like, “Why?” And he’s like, “Well, I want to tell you about an opportunity.” And he asked me if he could have Brad, the broker, call me. And I’m like, “No.” [chuckle] He ended up… He’s like, “You know what, I’m gonna have him call you anyway,” and we just kind of chuckled about it, but that’s basically the story.
0:04:02.9 GS: Very good.
0:04:03.3 WH: Yeah.
0:04:03.6 GS: So now in the same team as… But, Team Fathom, so go Team Fathom. And this isn’t just a giant Fathom promo. Okay, if you’re not a Fathom agent, we’ll get down to the nitty-gritty here. So that’s the connection. Jose introduced Wendy to Fathom. Both fantastic agents. So just on that account, maybe starting with Wendy, how many years have you been in the business, and what kind of production did you do, let’s say in 2020?
0:04:29.1 WH: Okay, so I’ve been in the business for seven years now. 2020, me and my team, we hit 11 million in closed sales.
0:04:38.4 GS: So we kind of under-promised and over-delivered on that title because we said both agents did about 6 million. I knew you had, Wendy, your team particularly had done more, but excellent, excellent stuff. So for our viewers, obviously, people that are in the thick of it and have found some success in the things that we’re gonna talk about here. Jose, what about you?
0:05:01.2 Jose Elizondo: I just finished my fourth year in real estate. This last year was my best year. I think I did right around 6.5 million in sales and around 42 transactions, so, yep.
0:05:13.6 GS: Awesome. So, Jose, then what… I can imagine folks watching our… Actually, for the both of you here, what habits along your career here in the last four years have allowed you to get to the production level that you’re at right now?
0:05:32.9 JE: Really being persistent and consistent. As Wendy said, I asked her about Fathom, and I asked her again and again and [chuckle] that kinda did awesome. And the second part is just being kind and leaving a mark on someone where they’re smiling or laughing, and I think that really brought our business relationship to a new level through her [0:06:01.7] ____ recognize that [0:06:03.1] ____.
0:06:03.6 GS: Awesome. There’s a little bit of an audio thing here, Jose, so I don’t know if it’s your microphone or what, but we can hear you but barely, so maybe check that out. But, Wendy, similar question, what could you tell an agent starting out that they should do to build a profitable and sustainable business that you’ve found to be successful in your business?
0:06:27.5 WH: Well, I think consistency of anything is good, in real estate it seems like everything works as long as you consistently do it. I personally, I had a goal at the beginning to speak to 14 people every single day, I mean, I would have a piece of paper and a tally, it didn’t matter if they said yes, no. I just needed to talk to 14 people. I made sure that also, I had a database. Everybody goes in the database, there’s so many people in real estate that don’t put their people somewhere, and so as years go by, how do you keep track? You’re just growing your business, so you have to have your database so you can email people eventually going… I can’t call all my sphere on a regular basis, so there’s all kinds… You can email everybody at the touch of a button, another thing that I started right from the beginning is, just sending out a newsletter to all of my clients. I do this quarterly, and it’s just letting them know I am a real person, I am still in real estate, it’s nothing invasive, but it’s that consistency that has brought me really to where I am at, I’m very basic.
0:07:49.1 GS: Awesome, awesome. So no magic pill, no secret sauce, just consistently, continually communicating with your sphere and garnering business from that. Excellent, by the way, when both of you, threw out your numbers, Brent Records our state director there followed up and said, That’s in Indiana where the home price average is $200,000, and that’s true. It’s a little bit different if you are thinking of California agents or even around the DFW area, so, excellent work. And then also, is Christina Elizondo related to you, Jose?
0:08:27.2 JE: Yes, that’s my mother. She actually just passed her 90-hour real estate course, so hopefully she will be joining my team here this year.
0:08:37.9 GS: Okay, well, she said he never stops asking. So she probably knows that both the positive and the negative, having raised you, so… That’s great. For both of you. Maybe starting with Wendy then, where do you get most of your business?
0:08:58.0 WH: The majority of my business comes from my sphere and from referrals, which is wonderful because I love working with repeat customers, and when they refer you to somebody, it’s a different feeling than a brand new person that you are interviewing, it’s like you are already in, when you get referred.
0:09:19.5 GS: Right, there’s a trust factor there. There is a connection and you can just get right to work instead of… Sort of feeling each other out.
0:09:23.8 WH: Oh, yeah.
0:09:25.4 GS: Yeah. Awesome, Jose how about you? Where do you get most of your business?
0:09:30.5 JE: I’ve always got my business on referrals and my sphere, so same as Wendy, I think our personalities bring that out in us where we can our referrals and it works for us.
0:09:42.3 GS: Very good. So Wendy you talked a lot about email marketing or continuing to email your sphere and call them when you have opportunity in reaching out. How much do both of you do on social media that brings you build more business?
0:10:02.7 WH: Well, I would say Jose probably brings in a lot more social media, so like I said, I know everything works, I am on social media, but I am not big on social media, I know if I cranked it up everything works, but I am not really big on it.
0:10:21.4 GS: Jose, How did you just decide to start dancing on your social media post?
0:10:29.4 JE: I think I’ve always danced. It’s just part of me.[laughter]
0:10:35.7 GS: Did you get business from that?
0:10:39.7 JE: I think people recognize me when they see me dancing in front of houses or wherever they see me smiling or putting something funny, they remember that, Hey, he’s a realtor as well. But that is just to get their attention.
0:10:54.3 GS: So just for our audience too, this is something that we continue to see again and again as we interview different guests and successful agents, is that you have… Wendy here on the one hand, it’s more personal connection over different communication and not that you are not doing that Jose, ’cause I know as goofy as the videos might look, I know you are very serious about your business, and you’ve talked about continuing to be more consistent in reaching out and using kvCORE, using a CRM to be able to reach out your audience, but there are different ways of connecting with people, and consistency seems to be the key there, whether you’re gonna put an arm suit on and dance on social media, or whether you’re just gonna do pop-bys or phone calls or whatever, just staying on it is key. So that’s very inspirational, whether your personality is more loud and colorful online or not. So maybe something that each of you could share, let’s start with Jose on this one, any words of caution or mistakes that you’ve made along the way that maybe it was just… You didn’t know what you didn’t know, but things that you look back on and you say, Hey, if I were you starting out, or if I was trying to grow my business, I would be careful of these things?
0:12:11.5 JE: Starting off, I mean, really just getting out there and meeting new people and not being afraid is probably very key, but once you start getting that momentum is, don’t get comfortable, ’cause once you start getting comfortable, [0:12:30.9] ____.
0:12:31.0 GS: Got you.
0:12:32.7 JE: Just getting comfortable, really and uncomfortable in the beginning, to meet new people.
0:12:35.8 GS: Very good. Alright. So when you start getting business, don’t just assume it’s gonna keep coming in, you have gotta keep working, keep farming, continue to grow your business and not sit back on your haunches. So, very good. How about you, Wendy? Any words of advice? Words of caution, I should say?
0:12:58.5 WH: I do. So one thing that I remember at the beginning is, as an agent, for some reason, it’s almost like you’re playing Hot Potato. You deliver information to your buyer or your seller, they react and then you hurry up and you rush it over to the other side. I would say, “Never, never to be so quick. Slow down.” When you deliver information to the buyer or the seller, sometimes it’s negative, they’re gonna react. Let them react. And typically, after about an hour, they calm down and their answers change. So at first, when you’re new, you’re thinking, “Oh my gosh, this deal’s gonna die” or, “Oh my gosh, they’re never gonna fix anything in inspections,” but it’s just a reaction. So the first thing that a buyer or a seller says to you, just take it in and wait. Things turn around.
0:14:06.9 GS: Very good. Very good. By the way, I don’t know if you know Sarah Riley, but, apparently, you are her idol, she said, and that you rock. A little warm, fuzzy shout out there for you. Then, let’s just play out a scenario and maybe starting with Wendy here on this one. If you are a brand new agent or maybe you’ve had your license for a little bit, but really haven’t taken those steps of just, “Let’s knuckle down, let’s grow this business and make this a sustainable career,” ’cause a lot of agents kind of dabble. They get into it as a hobby, but somebody that just really wants to go with it, what would you do in your first 60 days? Say that you had 25 friends and people around you in your community. What would you do in the first 60 days to really kick start your business to get it going?
0:15:02.8 WH: Well, right at the very beginning, it’s very important that you connect with your sphere. If it’s 25 people that you have, then I would call each one of these. I would let them know, “Hey, I’m in real estate now. Is it okay if I mail you out my business card?” I would get all their information, what’s their address, what’s their email address, what’s their birthday, and mail that out with a nice little card. I would follow up, then, with them. “Did you get my card?” And then, I would go ahead and I would ask if either one of their friends or their family members, if anybody was looking to buy and sell a house. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with just coming right out and asking. If you don’t ask, you know… So, that is what I would do.
0:15:58.2 GS: Very good. So now you’re not just touching those 25 people, but you’re trying to tap into the people that they might know that wouldn’t otherwise have a realtor ready to serve them if they’re ready to buy or sell.
0:16:10.6 WH: Yeah.
0:16:11.4 GS: Excellent. How about you, Jose? If you were dropped in a new community, you got maybe 25 people, what would you do in your first 60 days?
0:16:21.8 JE: That’s kind of hard, because I feel like you would just need to learn from your mentor. I’ve been in real estate for four years, and after three years, I joined Fathom, and I remember being on the phone every day with Brent, our managing broker in Indiana. And we would just talk for hours and just learn, learn, learn, and just figure out what works for you. But also once you start doing the things that you don’t get to see too often, a lot of people just wanna go out there and go, go, go, go, but like Wendy said, sometimes you need to take a step back and learn, and then figure out what you need to do. So I would just say take advice from the people who have been there and done it. That’s really helped out my real estate career.
0:17:08.3 GS: So get a mentor, get a coach, somebody that’s ahead of you. And by the way, to bring that to the next cycle, Cindy Reyes said, “Brand new agent have had the privilege of shadowing Jose, amazing agent and thank you so much and so thankful for Fathom.” So, there you go. You’re having an influence in somebody else’s life and that’s really cool. Alright. So, warning, total transparency here. We’re gonna talk about how Wendy, or both of you came to Fathom, but if you’re just kicking the tires and you’re interested in Fathom Realty, I think Wendy’s story is very helpful in understanding, I think, where a lot of agents are at and why they’ve switched to a newer model that seems to be taking hold very well in the market. So, Wendy, obviously, Jose introduced you to Fathom and that had some influence on you. But as far as making… When you get down to the fine print and you’re making a decision, what were those things that really were like, “Whoa, wait a second, I need to do this?”
0:18:24.1 WH: So I was not looking to switch companies. And I really never even listened to what anybody had to offer out there. So really, it just kind of fell on my lap, Brent calling me and having the discussion with me. The timing was perfect, but when it came down to it and me and my husband, we discussed why should we move to this company? First of all, the Christian values, that is important to both of us. I wasn’t looking for a new broker. If I was to move, I better be moving to a place with high character. So that’s already in place. We got the Christian values. Second, is the pay. The pay, for me, was almost double my pay. So that was a no-brainer, as well. From switching over, my life has completely changed. This company has changed my life. It’s very hard for me to describe the different things, because it affects so much in my life, but just making the switch was a godsend. I’ll just leave it at that.
0:20:06.4 GS: Very good. Very good. Well, thank you for sharing that. Jose, how about you? What pulled you over to Fathom?
0:20:15.7 JE: At the time, I was looking at other companies and sitting down and meeting with other companies, and when this opportunity came into my lap, I actually didn’t even believe it. It was almost too good to be true. You hear all these things that Fathom has to offer and you’re like, “There’s just no way. There’s gotta be a catch.” And sitting with Brent and some of the Chicago land mentors up there, it was an easy choice. I’ve always been one to have my own branding and I wanted to do something where it was me, and Fathom allowed me to do that and it was perfect.
0:20:55.2 GS: Very good. So two different reasons there. Obviously, the commission is a big deal in actually giving yourself a raise, even if you did the same or less business, when you made the switch. A lot of agents have a fear of switching, because sometimes when you switch it affects your relationships, your email changes, those kind of things, or it can change, depending on what your broker establishes. But we’ve had agents time and time again say, “I didn’t even increase my business, necessarily, that first year. I maybe did after that,” or maybe they did, “But even just keeping the same business, I gave myself a 20% raise or a 25% raise,” or in your case, you said it just about doubled. So if you’re an agent kicking the tires out there, really check us out. You can check us out on FathomCareers.com. There’s even a commission calculator on there, where you can throw in your numbers what you’ve done and see how it compares with your current brokerage. But beyond that, thank you guys so much for sharing your experience. That is invaluable, because it’s real life and you guys are out there killing it in the midst of a crazy world. And so, thank you so much for taking the time to share these things.
0:22:06.3 WH: Thank you.
0:22:07.7 GS: Alright, we’ll let you go. Again, check us out at FathomCareers.com, where your brokerage works for you, not the other way around, and offering you the tools and services to make you a successful agent. Thanks for joining us today. We’ll see you next time.