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Episode 10: Nuts & Bolts: Liz and Nelson share how they went from solopreneurs to building a team

Updated: Sep 14, 2022


Liz Sears, Nelson Barss

Liz Sears 00:01

Welcome to the Business greater than you podcast, where we dive deep into the stories of men and women who have successfully transcended the fragile solopreneur life, and built productive teams with better lifestyle and income.

Nelson Barss 00:13

I'm Nelson Barss, the founder and owner of Utah Independent Mortgage Corp.

Liz Sears 00:18

And I'm Liz Sears, founder and co owner at My Utah Agents.

Nelson Barss 00:21

We're excited for you to listen, interact and grow. So please share your comments below. And let's get started.

Liz Sears 00:32

Alright, so today's the day we're gonna dig in just a little bit deeper and look under the hood of each of our businesses.

Nelson Barss 00:37

I'm excited to see how your company, your team works, not just your company, but within your company. You have a team, right?

Liz Sears 00:44

Yeah. So you and I each we have the business that we've built. And then we still have our core team, which, ironically, is actually relatively similar to the original core team I had when I was underneath a different brokerage. And I think similar to you, as well,

Nelson Barss 00:58

or at least the team I wanted to build before, right? You know what, I love that you said it that way, because I've some I've said several times now to one of my assistants that it's a bit surreal, because I finally have exactly what I've been trying to build over all of these years. So excited to share how that looks. So we want to get into the nuts and bolts of each person on your team and what they do. And the lifecycle of a lead. We talked through all that. But first, just talk to us about the evolution of your business before you had a team and things you've tried in the past. And what's brought you to this point.

Liz Sears 01:30

Perfect. Okay. So starting just a little bit, should we pick up the pen?

Nelson Barss 01:37

Okay, just looking at Liz for a minute.

Liz Sears 01:40

All right. So starting from my team, and where were we built? Originally, obviously, most Realtors started out as a solo person, unless they joined someone else's team. I didn't I started out as a solo agent, and wore all the hats. I was the chauffeur of my clients, I was the marketer, I was the follow up, I was the transaction coordinator, I was the put out the fires, all of those different pieces. So the first

Nelson Barss 02:07

Sounds delightful.

Liz Sears 02:08

Oh, it was it was awesome. I remember the time when I was at Disneyland with my family and something went down on a file. And I had to step out of line to put take care of this. And my family ended up going on the ride without me even though I'd waited in line with them. And then that happened on the next couple. And I remember being so frustrated, I'm like, this is not the life that I thought I would have, that when I'd go on vacation, I'd be on vacation, and happened again, when my family came in town for a trip, everybody was out playing and they were all at my house and I was in my office trying to fix these issues that came up. So what I found is that in order to have the lifestyle I needed, I needed someone I could delegate to. And so one of my first hires was my assistant. Second hire was my transaction coordinator. Third hire was my runner to put up the signs and lockboxes. And my last one was my marketer to do social media, graphic design work, things like that. And even still, my assistant was not on site, she worked remotely. And having a remote assistant, you miss out on some of those things when you want to be able to just come in after a listing appointment, and you have your packet, and you just turn it in. And then they run with it. And I finally have that where I'm at now. And so to go through the difference between my little mini team I had in our bigger team, as we have now a Director of Operations, she's moved above the manager role, and she's over all of the operations. She's over our finance person, and also our front desk or we need to come up with a sexy name. I know my last brokerage called it the director of first impressions

Nelson Barss 03:15

Yeah. Yeah, I have heard that one before

Liz Sears 03:47

But somebody, they just handle everything inside of the office. And so we have the the front desk people. And then we have our sales side with our transaction coordinating manager who started yesterday. I'm so excited about that. And then we have our two virtual assistants that she's over and they handle everything once we go under contract. And then we're currently hiring right now for a sales manager and the sales manager is going to help me and my partner and each of our agents, just with all of the sales side of things. So coaching, training, tracking numbers, assisting wherever is necessary there.

Nelson Barss 04:23

Awesome. So what took what how long did it take you to start getting help?

Liz Sears 04:29

Oh, I stuck it out for like five years.

Nelson Barss 04:33


Liz Sears 04:34

Yeah. Well, no, I take that back. I take that back because I started as you know in mortgages in 2000. And I started having my assistant help me just part time in 2003. So I guess it was three years before I had somebody part time. And then about five years I think is when she came on full time.

Nelson Barss 04:49

Okay. Did you resist that a lot? Or did it take you a while to finally get some help? Or what was the catalyst was at that Disneyland trip?

Liz Sears 04:58

Probably honestly Okay, at that point where I'm like,

Nelson Barss 05:01

This is not what I signed up for real estate, right, all this free time in the world

Liz Sears 05:04

All of the free time in the world. And that was probably about that time. And so really what, what had me the most scared and I know that we talked about this in the other episode that we had was just do I have enough money to cover my expenses and their salary? And so lucky for me is I actually found somebody who was already in the mortgage industry who already knew commission based income. And so we were able to work out a split, I said, for every deal, I close, you get this much of it, and she's like, okay, which was nice, because then I only had to pay her when I got paid. And that actually was a win win, she probably made more money per hour than she would have made otherwise. But it was peace of mind for me, because I knew that if I kept having the traditional ebbs and flows of business, I'd be okay.

Nelson Barss 05:51

Yeah, there's fixed costs and variable costs, right. And you were able to make it strictly a variable cost. She got paid when you got paid.

Liz Sears 05:59


Nelson Barss 05:59

I think that's awesome.

Liz Sears 06:00

Okay, how about you walk us through yours?

Nelson Barss 06:03

My evolution. I don't know why, but I just I never, I never built a team for a long time. I've been doing this for like 20 years, it's probably only been three years that I've had an effective team. And for a few years, I stumbled a lot prior to that, right. A lot of it, I think, is just perfectionism. And also, you know, I just, I always felt guilty, delegating the busy work or the administrative stuff to someone else. I don't know, I just, I had a lot of perceptions. There would be guys in my office who are high producers. And they would just, you know, their job was Rainmaker. And I looked at them like, like jerks. Give all the hard work to your team, and you just go have fun. And there was really a negative view of a high producing person,

Liz Sears 06:57

You know, I'm going to interrupt you right there. Because as you're talking, I went, Oh, my gosh, I remember something. So when I brought in my first assistant, I did at the five year mark, bring in another person two different people, actually, to come and help me to grow my business. But what I realized is, I love the paperwork side of things. So I actually what you were referring to is the hard part was the part I loved. And I found that I kind of got sucked into really loving teaching them how to do that part. And I wasn't out rainmaking, I wasn't out finding more sales. Because even though I loved helping people and talking to people, like asking for the business was something that I had to learn how to make it in an approach that fit with my personality, as opposed to the approach that everybody told me to take. Everybody told me call them up and ask them if they know someone looking to buy or sell call them if they know this. And I'm like, That's not me. But now what I've found is that just calling people and just caring about caring about them showing up at the important stuff in their life reaching out to them. You know, they go on vacation, you're like, how was your vacation? Send me some pictures, just things that you connect differently. So I had to figure out how to become the Rainmaker because I wanted to be in the office doing the paperwork, but if no one's out selling,

Nelson Barss 06:58


Liz Sears 06:59

You can fail. So it was kinda tough

Nelson Barss 07:13

I think that's the hard part. And I don't think, at least in my business, and I think most businesses, the the selling piece is the piece that you keep, when you're building your own team.

Liz Sears 08:19

As it should be,

Nelson Barss 08:20

yeah, you're building, I think most of our listeners are probably in some way or another, you know, they have to sell, they have to sell their business. And in order to do do that better and more, they need to get help for the administrative, the fulfilling part of the business, right, whatever you've sold, now it has to be delivered in some way or another. And so you're hiring people to do as much of that as possible. And I think part of the reason why it took me so long to get a team is because I knew that if I did hire a team, the only thing left for me would be sales. I would much rather not, I'd much rather sit and work on a file or, you know, make it pretty and, you know, do detail work instead of get out there and sell.

Liz Sears 09:00

Yeah, because then at least you're still doing something super productive if you're doing file,

Nelson Barss 09:04

Right. Yeah, I feel like you're working right?

Liz Sears 09:06


Nelson Barss 09:07

And I filled up a lot of my time with fake sales like Facebook, or websites and things like that, that I felt like I was working. So I can justify my time but then it's not turning into business.

Liz Sears 09:18

Exactly. I was doing a little training with my team just last week. And one of the things that I brought up, as I said, let's do some pop by gifts, that's what we're going to train on today. And as I started talking to them, I knew we had a two hour time block, and I'm like, they're gonna make it take two hours. So I said, let's use Parkinson's Law in your favor, which is a task expands to fill the time allotted. And I said, you have 15 minutes tops to come up with what your pop by gift is going to be. I want everybody to share their ideas in the chat on Zoom, go on Pinterest, go on Google, you know, search this term. And everybody had their ideas in 10 minutes, because now they had a deadline. I said now, you have to come up with 20 people that you're going to do a pop by for at least 20 people that you think are Most likely to use your refer you this next year, and you got 10 minutes go. And they were able to get it done. And then for the rest of the time, we were able to just kind of expand on the idea. But if I had just given those two tasks, it would have taken the full two hours to do it.

Nelson Barss 10:12

I thought you were going to say you're gonna kick them out and say, okay, we can go out go got an hour and a half left scheduled for this meeting, go do some pop by's

Liz Sears 10:17

I think actually, that is what several of them did. But that afternoon, almost all of them had their stuff made their tags printed it out. It was really cool.

Nelson Barss 10:27

Anyway, so you know, in my evolution, I had a couple of assistants that I would hire and lose, or, and it wasn't really until I found my coaching program, the core. And they gave me a business model to follow, and some accountability around the sales piece. So that I, you know, I couldn't keep the commitments if I didn't have a team, I can't prospect as much as you need to if you don't have a team. And we're gonna talk about this when we talk about time management, but all the proactive stuff goes out the window if you don't have somebody to be reactive for your people, for your clients,right?

Liz Sears 11:03

Yep, I remember you were mentioning about if you have a problem with an appraisal pop up. That's pretty critical. And you need to handle that. And if you have, if it pops up at the beginning of your prospecting time, you're kind of in a quandary.

Nelson Barss 11:14

Yeah. You just stop prospecting. Right? You got other work to do that feels more important. So that's the value of having a team. That's really how my life has changed the last three years. You know, it's been night and day, and it started just hiring really good people to represent me to my clients, as my assistant as my loan partner, after they're locked in, to hold their hand and give them great service. So so great that I could trust that that was going okay. And I could turn around and focus on next month.

Liz Sears 11:45


Nelson Barss 11:45

Right, instead of staring at this month, all month.

Liz Sears 11:48

So when you have somebody that can represent you, the very best way possible, you can rest assured that you're not forfeiting due to repeat and referral business, because you know, they're doing a good job. And because you can trust they're doing a good job, it opens you up to get back to the rainmaking activities.

Nelson Barss 12:04

Yeah. So let's, let's look under the hood of Liz's team of your team, I'd love to just hear a day in the life of your team of you know how your schedule works, and then take us through a lead, and what they experienced who they talk to, and what they do when it comes to working with Liz Sears.

Liz Sears 12:22

All right. So day in the life of me kind of starting out is, of course, we all have our ideal day. And that's what I always strive for. And then if I need to move a critical appointment with myself, because those are easier to move than appointments with clients, I treat it like it's Velcro, not that it's there, or I delete it, it's there, or it moves to a different time block. I don't just squash it. So I try to leave some blank space in my schedule. So the main things that I have is every morning from eight to 830, I try to just do the three, the four ds of email, I think I've mentioned that before. So you do it. If it's a quick, easy task. Well, first thing I decide if I'm going to delete it, you know, if it should be there at all, delete could mean literally delete, it could mean just file it away. If I'm going to do it, if I'm going to delegate it to someone else, or if I'm going to delay it if it ought to be done at a different time block. So I really babysit my time my task list. Inside my CRM, I can put if a task is administrative, or if it's call if it's a text, if it's a face to face, and then I can put if it's critical, high or low. So if I get bogged down with my tasks, I can just say, Okay, I'm just looking at what's critical right now do today, critical. That's been really helpful. I'm also very conscious when I delay tasks that I put them into the right block. So it's not just a mess. That's eight to 830. I get through all of my tasks, or my sorry, my emails, and then my text messages that might have come in through the night and any slack notifications that are internal. And then fire point notifications. That's anything that came in from a client 830 to nine, we have our roleplay with our team, so that we practice on each other, not our clients keep our skills honed. We have a bunch of different ways we break that down and then five minutes before nine.

Nelson Barss 14:09

Do that with your team or you're doing that with other agents in your office?

Liz Sears 14:12

Other agents in the office.

Nelson Barss 14:13

So you're training agents.

Liz Sears 14:15

Yeah, basically, yep. And I'm now starting to step out and not do that as much. So we've trained our mentors and our leaders inside to give them leadership opportunities. So I'm more mentoring them doing this. Okay, so it's kind of fun to get to that point. Final five minutes before nine o'clock is team huddle. We all hop on a zoom call for five minutes, share a quote or intention end with a cheer, and then nine o'clock we kind of start our day. For the first half hour I'm dealing with anything that came up from eight to 830 that I wasn't able to fully resolve and then from 930 to 1130. Every single day our entire team hops on Zoom. And then we have a focus we call it the hive. I think our acronym originally was: high impact and volume elite. Because that's what we want to be and then during those two hours, we'll we'll have a focus for the day Monday through Friday. Every Monday is social media every Tuesday is nurture. Every Wednesday is generating new business, Thursday, Friday, etc. And we're all on Zoom instruction for five to 15 minutes. And then we're just on mute getting after it sharing wins in the chat. It's so fun to not be alone, prospecting, it's actually really cool. And then.

Nelson Barss 15:23

So its a two hour prospecting block But you have people on Zoom, the window next to your screen, you could chat with you can share successes with

Liz Sears 15:25

Every day ask questions,

Nelson Barss 15:33

and you're holding each other accountable to do it. Right. And you're kind of doing it together. But separately,

Liz Sears 15:37

yeah, it's fun to share a win and have people you know, great job. Oh, my Gosh, seriously. Yeah, you know, that's amazing. And then we encourage doing lunch appointments. So I tried to do lunch appointments several times a week. And then my afternoons are for appointments, meeting with clients and things, except for Tuesday, we have one hour that we alternate between training and productivity coaching, and Thursdays is our team meeting.

Nelson Barss 16:01

Okay, so then what happens after lunch again, that was a fast skip through the afternoon, just appointments,

Liz Sears 16:07

Appointments with clients, if you don't have an appointment that day. Our motto is, what the crap did you do?

Nelson Barss 16:14

Yeah, go back to the beginning and repeat.

Liz Sears 16:16

meet with clients if you don't have clients repeat the prospecting. Yeah, you know, so. And of course, I've got some broker meetings in there too

Nelson Barss 16:23

When does your work day end?

Liz Sears 16:25

I try to end at 430. 830 to 430. And my final half hour is a close up the day. So my final half hour is, is there anyone I need to get back to reach out to follow up with thank, and then run through my email one more time, I actually I do that right after lunch as well. So three times a day, I pop into my email and stuff. But other than that, I'm not in my email. I don't even have my notifications on my phone for text messages. So I teach my clients and my team members, if it's urgent, call me. If not, I'll get back to you in the morning, right after lunch right before the end of the day.

Nelson Barss 16:57

Okay, so you have a team member that does email for you.

Liz Sears 17:00

Yes, so I have to

Nelson Barss 17:01

What else does she do?

Liz Sears 17:02

Um, so she she'll call me if there's something urgent I need to take care of so so that kind of keeps me on my feet there. I have our transaction coordinating listing specialist. So like, if I go on an appointment, I can just turn my notes into them, and they transcribe them, add them to the client, then follow the steps. Because I made a checklist,

Nelson Barss 17:25


Liz Sears 17:25

Send this email, reach out to them for that, whatever. So then it just is on point. Quick handoff.

Nelson Barss 17:30

Yeah, Awesome. And who else is on your team? So you have a transaction coordinator and you have your email assistant, right? An administrative assistant so to speak, right?

Liz Sears 17:41

So we have a social media person. So when I was a smaller shop, my social media person would actually log into my Facebook and impersonate me, I found my cousin who was a stay at home mom, and she was on social media all the time anyways, and she had the same humor as me the same grammar as me, because I'm a little bit of a grammar Nazi. My mom's an English teacher can't help it. And yeah, so she would interact with my clients. For me, we have the 555 rule for social media. So you have five posts from your friends that you like, five comments, you make five direct messages, and you can get that done in 15 minutes.

Nelson Barss 18:15

So you do that or your assistant, does that

Liz Sears 18:16


Nelson Barss 18:17


Liz Sears 18:17

does that. I pop in and help sometimes, but it's funny. I'll open up a post and I'll go to comment. I'm like, Oh, I did. That's what I would say. So cool. Yep. And by the way, if any of you are listening, and I responded, it really was me.

Nelson Barss 18:33

I remember your cousin for social media assistant, she called me once we did a spotlight.

Liz Sears 18:37


Nelson Barss 18:38

You were having her spotlight different people.

Liz Sears 18:39


Nelson Barss 18:40

From businesses. And she interviewed me and did something, right she probably did that once a week,

Liz Sears 18:44

Yep she did it once a week for different businesses that I worked with. So you were one of them. That's right. I forgot about that. It's been a few years.

Nelson Barss 18:51

Okay, so let's walk through now the lifecycle of a lead. Okay, let's say I have a cousin. They asked me if there's a good realtor. And I say, Yeah, Liz, is the best business,

Liz Sears 19:03

Which is the right thing to say, thank you.

Nelson Barss 19:04

Can I have her call you, which is also the right thing to say, right?

Liz Sears 19:06


Nelson Barss 19:07

And they say yeah, I have her call me right. So I send you a quick text.

Liz Sears 19:11

By the way, let's say that for people listening that the correct answer is kind of have them call you because if you say oh, here's the number reach out to them, the chances of that referral connecting is like half. So teach your people when they refer you to say, can I have them call you?

Nelson Barss 19:26

Yeah, if you have a referral partner, you should be able to talk to each other about how you'd like to be referred.

Liz Sears 19:30


Nelson Barss 19:31

Right. What what you can say? And I've always you're great at giving referrals, right, like you try to introduce both parties. And but anyway, so let's say I sent you a text. Here's my cousin Joe. Here's his number. He's ready to buy.

Liz Sears 19:44

Well, here let's talk about the one that you just gave me.

Nelson Barss 19:46


Liz Sears 19:47

Thank you so much

Nelson Barss 19:47

I sent you one last night, right?

Liz Sears 19:48

Yeah. sent me one last night. So you reach out right away. And you say I just heard you got pre approved Nelson. Passed your name along. I'm so excited to help you. That's a really exciting thing to buy a home. Do you have time and then I set up the appointment. So for him, I just said, could you talk today between noon and one or would after five to be better? And he said, Well, I'm busy from noon to one. But I could talk after five. I said, fantastic. Here's my Zoom link, let's hop on at 530. And let me know if you have any questions. In the meantime, you said, Great. See you then. So that's where we've actually left off.

Nelson Barss 20:20

So do you follow up with every lead?

Liz Sears 20:22

I do.

Nelson Barss 20:22

So as soon as you can, you're gonna call them and set a more formal appointment for later.

Liz Sears 20:27

Yep, it'll either be me or a co agent. So the way that my Utah agents is structured is that you can work a lead all by yourself, you can hire any of the team members to be a co agent, and they can hire you if you'd like. So I reached out to another agent on our team. If I were busy, I would have had her call and schedule the Zoom appointment. So either way, I personally like to have the first call, because I want to have my name be the one they know. Yeah. And then so she'll accompany me on the homebuyer consultation tonight, we do a zoom call, walk them through the process. And then what I say to them is basically, you know, I want to make sure you have the very best service possible, if ever, I'm busy, then you have you know, so and so here that can open the door show you homes, if there's any home that you particularly like, then I'll be the one to help you with writing the contract negotiating, etc. So, so they go and they open the door, schedule, the showings do all of that until they find a home they like

Nelson Barss 21:23

your co agent does

Liz Sears 21:24

Co-agent does this Yep. And then I'll talk them through negotiating a contract, there are certain co agents that I'll actually pass the reins off to because they do the job just as good if not better than me. You know, that's always the goal is you want to train your team to be even better than you could be. That's pretty steep for you, because I know you're pretty phenomenal.

Nelson Barss 21:42

I found very many people who can do it better than me, so it's possible.

Liz Sears 21:45

Yep. And so if for any reason in our current market, we don't get our first offer accepted, which unfortunately kind of happens in an extremely strong seller's market, then what I do is I will just authorize the CO agent at that point for just to do the offers from then on and just run it past me if there's anything we ought to change, you know, purchase price, whatnot. Once we go under contract, any easy negotiation, my well actually, once we go under contract, we hand it to the transaction coordinator, they send out the emails to everybody, congratulations, you're under contract, here's what to expect next, goes to the buyer and their mortgage company and the title company. And then we send it to the listing agent and their title company. Here's all of our points of contact. And then my transaction coordinator is touching base right before each deadline every single week, making sure that all the i's are dotted T's are crossed, they have I think, 110 things on the checklist that they make sure it's done, because there's all these teeny little touches you can do throughout to make sure we're all on the same page. And it's so much smoother than just the big touches. And then you're like Oh, that little detail. That detail

Nelson Barss 22:50

Forgot something.

Liz Sears 22:51

Yep. And then mild, easy negotiations, the transaction coordinator, and cogent handle, anything that's bigger, I'll step in, if necessary. Sometimes it's just to coach them sometimes is to have the conversation. And then by the time we get to closing, and I'm touching base once a week, how's my team working for you give me the verbiage by the way, and make sure that the CO agent is using my name three times again from you, which thank you and then show up to the closing table. And then I take over from there with the post close stuff, which a lot of its automated but

Nelson Barss 23:24

Calls like you said earlier, hey, I noticed you had a baby or whatever just trying to be in a relationship with them? Long term, right?

Liz Sears 23:32

Yeah and I one of the things too, that I have found is so much more fun is just fall in love with your clients. Like I just tried to purposely recognize every single thing I love about them. And it's so easy to become really, really good friends, because honestly, most of them are pretty freakin awesome people anyways, and then just get really interested in their lives and pay attention to them.

Nelson Barss 23:53

So how many people have their hands in a file from start to finish at your office, one client, how many people are going to work on that?

Liz Sears 24:00

So it's me and my co agent. And then we have our head transaction coordinator. Those are the only three that the client will interact with. But then we have our virtual assistants who assist the transaction manager. And then we have our graphic designer who also assists the transaction manager. So they're the ones doing the photo overlays, putting it out on all the websites, getting all the marketing in front of as many people as possible for a listing. And they don't do much for a buyer, a graphic designer, because we're not marketing anything for that piece.

Nelson Barss 24:31

So the client knows about three people.

Liz Sears 24:34


Nelson Barss 24:34

But it takes five takes a village takes five to give a great experience

Liz Sears 24:40

It does yeah

Nelson Barss 24:41

And that they don't have to know all the people who are involved. They don't have to have relationship with all the people. In fact, I like the way you you. You're the one who calls the lead first. And you're on that consultation with them at the beginning teaching them and and then it seems to me like you have some really good agents that handle most of it. From there, right?

Liz Sears 25:00


Nelson Barss 25:01

And you're able to share your commission with them. Again, it's a variable cost, not a fixed cost, right?

Liz Sears 25:05


Nelson Barss 25:05

You have the team, that you don't have salaries that eat you alive on a bad month,

Liz Sears 25:09

right. And what's really nice too, is that this gives so many more opportunities to our newer agents, because most newer agents don't get handed ready to go clients, you know, they might get handed leads that they can cultivate and work and try to convert, but have a ready to go client that they can just assist in and get paid in a month. It's pretty nice.

Nelson Barss 25:26

Well, I think one thing, if you don't say this, you should start telling your recruits that, you know, they're going to they're going to close more deals in one year with you than they will in five years if they're on their own.

Liz Sears 25:35


Nelson Barss 25:35

And it speeds up their training, right. And their experience.

Liz Sears 25:39

now one of our agents. I think it was at our 14 month mark had already close 20 Something deals, which is just kind of unheard of in real estate.

Nelson Barss 25:47

That's awesome.

Liz Sears 25:48

Pretty, pretty great. Okay, so walk me through a day in the life of Nelson Barss at Utah Independent Mortgage.

Nelson Barss 25:54

So we start I start, I try to start my workday at eight o'clock. And I have a half an hour of checking my email and responding to voicemail.

Liz Sears 26:04

Wow That's kind of crazy

Nelson Barss 26:05

Very similar. No wonder you and I get so much done between eight and 830. And that that's I have two email blocks in the day. So at eight o'clock, and like 230, I hop in my email for a half an hour. And I'll find in there that my team has categorized them, right. There's things I need to just see and delete, and there are things that I need to do, you know, the action required? And if it's Uncategorized, I don't even look at it. Because

Liz Sears 26:06


Nelson Barss 26:06

Yes, I did forget to mention that. Yep. It means they haven't filtered through. And that's, that's for them. And they'll go through and reply to what they can delegate what they can. And then usually I find, you know, 10 emails a day is what's left over for me to do something with and

Liz Sears 26:46


Nelson Barss 26:46

And a lot of times, it's a quick reply quick, you know, they need to answer to a question, right?

Liz Sears 26:50

Yeah. You know what I will say that I sometimes have to like, rein myself in because I want to go through those unlooked at emails, if I get in there before they do, and instead of going straight into my action needed, which is what they've dictated, I need to do something with, I want to go through the unread. And I found that I'm so much more effective when I say no, let them do their job. I do my job. They do their job.

Nelson Barss 27:12

Yeah, so just a nuts and bolts question. Do you use folders inside of your Google? Yes, for this email sorting.

Liz Sears 27:21

And I even my assistant actually figured out how to set this up. So when I open my inbox, the unread is on top, but then action needed shows on the front page, and then review and then everything else.

Nelson Barss 27:31

That's what we use Outlook for ours.

Liz Sears 27:33


Nelson Barss 27:34

And we just right click, and you categorize each email. Yeah. And they're sorted by category. So my unread steps at the top, I ignore it.

Liz Sears 27:42


Nelson Barss 27:42

I went on to the action needs in my inbox, and we're just shooting for zero inbox

Liz Sears 27:46

every day. Yep.

Nelson Barss 27:47

And it happens about once a week. Better than used to be right. Used to happen always, never.

Liz Sears 27:52

Well they say that a successful person always has at least 40 hours of unfinished work. You just got to make sure that it's the least important.

Nelson Barss 27:58

Wow I am so successful,

Liz Sears 27:59

Right? You're twice successful. Im just kidding.

Nelson Barss 28:03

Anyway, me too. 830. That's me. I'm just kind of being reactive and trying to get back to people. At 830. I meet with my office manager and we go over, she always just has a list of stuff for me sign whatever problem came up questions about policy, HR, somebody's you know, we're hiring somebody and we just coordinate for the day. At nine o'clock, we do a stand up team meeting with everyone in the office. And we do like a daily dad joke. Just a stupid joke.

Liz Sears 28:29

Oh, that's funny,

Nelson Barss 28:29

It usually turns into two or three jokes, because everybody else has one too.

Liz Sears 28:33


Nelson Barss 28:34

So we started the day laughing we do. I talked about our keys, rules, philosophies and tools. It's just a document of like, 29 points that are important to me. We read one, and we talk about it every day.

Liz Sears 28:44


Nelson Barss 28:44

And then we just coordinate the day we look at the calendar, who's who's coming in, who's got the day off. We try to get our watercooler talk done at that point who got in a car accident on the way to work, you know, who's Whose kid is, you know, auditioning for whatever. You know, it's just like a little bit of chit chat. And I think it especially helps, you know, if you had a little fender bender, on the way to work, you can tell the office once, you don't have to tell your story seven times throughout the day.

Liz Sears 29:13

And it also helps you kind of get it off because it's a weight that's just irritating that as soon as you have a chance to just to say this is what I'm dealing with. You can just let it go.

Nelson Barss 29:21

Yep. So so we'll look over the schedule. One of the things that we're trying to add is at that moment, we'll say okay, here are the clients who are coming in today. And then our office manager will prepare a welcome sign for them. And try to give them a good experience when they come in. Right.

Liz Sears 29:33


Nelson Barss 29:34

And we talk a little bit about

Liz Sears 29:35

That's fun. A welcome sign?

Nelson Barss 29:36

Yeah, just like Welcome, Mr. And Mrs. Jones,

Liz Sears 29:38

Is it one of those little boards that you can just like, put stuff.

Nelson Barss 29:40

Well, we don't know yet. We don't have it. We talk about it, but it's not there yet.

Liz Sears 29:43

Okay. I know what I'm getting you for Christmas. Yeah, maybe we'll see.

Nelson Barss 29:47

Anyway. So once that's done, I meet with my team team, right. So that's the whole office, and then we break into my team. So I have on my team, it's me. I have to loan partner one assistants, which are marketing or front end assistants, and two loan partner two assistants who are backend assistants. Okay, so we all get together in my office. And we start by pulling up the pipeline, pull up all of our loans and processing. And we have kind of a red flag system, it'll just blink red if it's behind schedule, and we'll talk about it and we'll say, what's wrong with this file? And we usually help each other right, the processors will have a question like, I can't, I can't seem to get this client to give me their tax returns. And so I'll give them some coaching, I'll say, Well, you need to give them a date. And a penalty if it's not back, right. So if it's not in by tomorrow,

Liz Sears 30:39

You owe me ice cream

Nelson Barss 30:40

We have to extend your interest rate, gonna cost you 500 bucks, right,

Liz Sears 30:44

which is a real consequence.

Nelson Barss 30:46

yeah, but if they don't understand that, they don't feel the urgency. So it's just a matter of, there's a lot of coaching that happens in that morning meeting. And then usually those Loan Manager two the loan partner two's who have files, once we're done with them, they they go back to their desk and start working. And then I'm with my marketing team, right, me and my two front end assistants

Liz Sears 31:04


Nelson Barss 31:05

We'll pull up our lead tracker every day, we'll talk about all the leads that came in yesterday. And we'll go over all the hot leads that are still left that are unconverted. And I pretty much just delegate to my assistant, my loan partner one assistant, her job is the lead tracker. Okay, so when

Liz Sears 31:21

What is your lead tracker look like? Do you mind kind of walking through that a little bit.

Nelson Barss 31:23

Its just really basic, it's just a big old Excel document. And it has columns for the temperature of the lead. So cold, hot, warm, right? The source of the lead who was referred in by, and then we just in one cell, we just keep our notes, right, so we'll just put at the top of the cell, today's date, left a message. And then the next time we do it, we put a top of that today's date left another message, right. And then we have columns for how many calls have been made. Then there's like a whole checklist off to the right that my team does like the whole customer experience. And how far can they take them, right? So not only did they come in and meet with me, but they got a package in the mail, they got its all manual. I'm kind of tired of CRMs and all the automation because it never pans out.

Liz Sears 32:10

It's so out of sight out of mind

Nelson Barss 32:12

Well you're always working on it. But it's never implemented in my world, we just so we've made it super basic. And that spreadsheet is super handy, because like it's an annual document. So I have all my leads for the year on this one spreadsheet. If I get on a phone call with you, Liz, I can filter quickly down to all of Liz's referrals. Everybody you sent me and we can just talk about them. Right? There's three left, they're hot. Who should you call? Who should I call? Right?

Liz Sears 32:34


Nelson Barss 32:34

So the lead tracker is owned by my loan partner one, it's her job.

Liz Sears 32:39


Nelson Barss 32:39

To make that thing pretty to keep it updated and convert leads.

Liz Sears 32:44

Love it

Nelson Barss 32:44

Converting a lead to her is getting them in front of me for a loan consultation.

Liz Sears 32:48


Nelson Barss 32:49

So she sells time with me. It's her. That's her goal.

Liz Sears 32:52


Nelson Barss 32:54

She's also usually the first one if I can't like today, you and I are here, recording podcast episode, right. And I got a lead on my way. I got a referral from realtor on my way in. And I didn't have time to call. So I forwarded the voicemail to McKaylin, my front end assistant, she will call the lead and say, Hey, I'm Nelson's loan partner. And he's in a meeting right now. But we just got your name from your realtor, and we're super excited to help you it's really important to Nelson that we get back to you quick. So he asked me to call you and get you set up to meet with him and get this pre approval done. When can you meet right? She's scheduled the time

Liz Sears 33:27


Nelson Barss 33:29

And she goes a lot further than that. Because when we meet, I want to be ready. So she takes the full application. She pulls their credit. She asks for their pay stubs, if they send in their pay stubs or their tax returns. She runs the income calculation worksheet. she submits the loan to desktop underwriter to see if we have an approval to see if we have an appraisal waiver. So it's very, it's a lot of mortgage specific work. McKaylin loves that she's a licensed loan officer trying to learn the business. She wants to do her own thing soon, right?

Liz Sears 33:58


Nelson Barss 33:58

Soon is a relative question because I don't want it to be too soon. I want her to do this for a couple years.

Liz Sears 34:03

As long as possible.

Nelson Barss 34:04

And she's on board with that. And so when so that's anyway, the morning meeting. We're going over lead tracker, and I have another assistant, Cassie who is an executive assistant, and she used to do what McKaylin does now she is training McKaylin, and now she's able to focus on all the other stuff that I need help with

Liz Sears 34:23

Nice, kind of the higher level.

Nelson Barss 34:25

Yeah, it's high level it's she'll probably hire the next one. If I want to expand my team and be able to handle more leads will hire another loan partner one to sit next to McKaylin and do the same job. Cassie will be the one to hire and train that person. Right.

Liz Sears 34:38


Nelson Barss 34:39

So Cassie is really helping me with my email and my schedule. She manages my calendar. So if anybody in the office wants to talk to me or get on my schedule they have to do with her. Can't do with me. Yep, I'm not I'm not even allowed to touch my schedule. Right? I just need to go to her and tell her this is what we want to change. She keeps me on my toes. She'll come in, if I'm with a client, and I'm going long, she'll come and knock on the door and say, hey, you know, in five minutes next clients coming, right or your next client is outside. If I'm wandering around the office chatting, and I'm supposed to be in my office making phone calls, she'll tell me, okay, it's power hour, you're supposed to be sitting down, making your calls, right?

Liz Sears 35:19


Nelson Barss 35:19

So when we finish our team meeting, it's usually 930. And I go into power hour for an hour and a half. Every day is prospecting hour, just like what you do.

Liz Sears 35:29


Nelson Barss 35:30

We have themes for the for each day, Monday is realtors, I call realtors, Tuesday's status calls. So every client and both their buyer's agent and their listing agent gets a call from me every Tuesday, Wednesday is pre approved people. So I call through everybody who's out there looking at homes or who have quoted refinance rates and didn't commit, I'm calling them touching base with them trying to keep the relationship going. And the purpose of all these calls is to generate referrals for longtime, I was just happy to make the calls.

Liz Sears 36:00

I just want to make sure you're doing good. Bye. Thanks.

Nelson Barss 36:03

I just care about you. Thank you very much. And yeah, that's really not the point. The point is right is to ask for referrals. And to try to generate two a day. two. two new leads every day is our goal right now, and will soon be expanding that to three and then four, right?

Liz Sears 36:16


Nelson Barss 36:17

But we're staffed for two a day. And if I do an hour and a half of outbound calling, I should be able to generate two, right, perfect. So Thursday, is past clients, we pick a letter of the week and we just call them so if you're an A, you would get a call from me in January and again in July, just checking in saying hello. And then Friday is business partners. VIPs. So I have a list of people who,

Liz Sears 36:44

Would that be where you'd put your BNI people?

Nelson Barss 36:46

I have my whole BNI group is on the list. So I tried to call 12 a week now and just say hello, try to schedule a one to one. You know, ask for referrals again. I also have on my VIP List my family, my my mom and dad, my brother, sister, my son, my daughter, my, you know, just people who I care about I want to have relationships with and what's really interesting is asking them for referrals. Right? Okay, Mom, do you know anybody who needs a mortgage right now, right? And it's amazing how they do. They just don't think about it until you

Liz Sears 37:17

I know

Nelson Barss 37:18

asking and programing.

Liz Sears 37:19

I was so surprised and my sister out of state, I'm like, you know that I can connect you with a good realtor. And she bought and sold houses that totaled almost a million bucks and didn't go through me for the referral. She just called somebody bogus. I was like, Okay, I need to start educating them on how I can help them.

Nelson Barss 37:33

Yep. So that's the structure up until noon, I tried to have a lunch every day, a green time lunch with a client or referral partner. And and then after noon, I tried to schedule administrative stuff between one and three. So if we have to do trainings, if I need to meet with a vendor, talk about, you know, I actually had to block out it's yellow time on my calendar. And there's only four hours of it for the week of administrative crap.

Liz Sears 38:00


Nelson Barss 38:00

Because I would I would love to do that all day. And just it's way easier than sales. Right? Yeah. So someone out that comes to me and says, Hey, you know, this so and so wants to come meet with you, their new lender, they want to partner with you. If there isn't any yellow time available, they have to schedule for next week. Right? And then we have we have on my calendar, I don't have any whitespace. Right, there's open yellow appointments that people can take. Yep. And there's open green appointments that people can take. But if so a client appointment would usually get scheduled between three and six every night

Liz Sears 38:30


Nelson Barss 38:31

And we do half hour blocks, I can meet with six clients, if I need to each night, usually it's two or three, right? And we try to get him to come in, in person. And when they come in, we have a very set experience that they're supposed to have they have, they're greeted by the front desk, they get a little form to fill out that's all about you, where they can tell us about their favorite candy and their favorite restaurant and you know, the pet's names and whatnot, because we use that information throughout the process when we send them gift cards. And when we you know, when we do little things like when they get approved out of underwriting, we send them a moving box that has tape, and tissue paper and Sharpies and moving blankets and things like that. But it's full of their favorite candy and their favorite drink.

Liz Sears 39:15

I love it.

Nelson Barss 39:16

So anyway, that's the day. I do have a time block again at 230 to check emails for half hour and return voicemails. And I wish I was more consistent with that because I tend to blow through that and just forget that it's there. Yeah,

Liz Sears 39:28

Yeah, that's that's my hardest one too is the one in the middle of the of the day.

Nelson Barss 39:33

At 430 to five, we have a time block for me to just follow up with any leads that didn't get converted that day. So this lead from this morning who I referred, I forwarded to my assistant I know she's already called them. I got a text from her. She texted me and the agent and said hey, I called him. I spoke to him. We're excited to meet with him. He's on scheduled for Friday night.

Liz Sears 39:53


Nelson Barss 39:54

Right?So I don't need to call him at 430

Liz Sears 39:56

Because that one's already done.

Nelson Barss 39:57

I could in fact if I wanted to be really awesome, I'd call call them and say, Hey, I'm so excited to be with you on Friday night. Right? Can't wait to get that horse, right? But that's my day. I have one late night a week, work till seven or eight on Wednesdays, but I don't come in until 1130. On Wednesdays. It is my day to go to the trainer and try to lose weight. So, yeah, but that's nice, because then a lot of clients who have to work can come see me on Wednesday nights. But they have to fit that I don't do other nights. I can't do Monday nights, Wednesday, Thursday, Fridays, I don't do Saturday, Saturday, I do. But it's, the client doesn't really realize that I don't do Saturday, if a client calls me and they really need help on Saturday. I can usually help them in five minutes, answer their questions. Sometimes it's like I gotta make an offer today. I really need a pre approval letter. And I'm like, Well, you know what, I've never met you. Right? This is my first time I've ever heard from you. And I'm standing in a hole right now digging sprinklers, right, or whatever it is. But I usually will tell him like, I think he should make the offer. I think you should tell him the pre approval letters coming on Monday. And let's look at my schedule right now. What's your time? What do you got on Monday? When can we? When can we dig in, right? And I'll try to set it at a point where my assistant can work with them in the morning

Liz Sears 41:12

To get out the application,

Nelson Barss 41:13

To pull the credit and do our process. And then I'm available at three to meet with you and do it right, right and do this loan consultation the right way. And I find that the people who I go outside of my program for they're really not great clients that have time they don't convert, and when they do that pain to work with, and I just rather stick with mine

Liz Sears 41:32

Because you've jumped when they snap they expect you to every time. Yeah.

Nelson Barss 41:36

So that's a day in the life.

Liz Sears 41:37

I love that.

Nelson Barss 41:38


Liz Sears 41:38

Okay. So a lead, how many hands touch a lead? How does that process?

Nelson Barss 41:43

Oh so, McKaylin my one partner one, she is the lead queen, right? She's in charge of converting them. They meet with me always for the pre approval. And then if they're out making offers and things like that, they usually will communicate with McKaylin, If they have questions, if she needs to update their pre approval letter. Once they are under contract, we'll get a REPC, we'll get a signed contract into our office. And that becomes super high priority. And it's McKaylin again, who will call them and say, Hey, we got your contract. And we need to get you on Nelson's calendar today, for a lot consultation only takes 15 minutes, but he needs to talk to you. And I really, I want to do that because I didn't want to set the right expectations for payment. Cash due at closing, interest rate when we can close and I'm the one making the promises, right?

Liz Sears 42:29


Nelson Barss 42:30

And that's the moment of conversion really, that's the sale moment. If they're thinking about other lenders. They're shopping around that's not something I want my assistant to be doing, right?

Liz Sears 42:39

When it's important negotiation or conversation you want to be the one having that.

Nelson Barss 42:44

So McKaylin will call them and set up the appointment with me and then I do the lock consultation. And, sometimes I don't even lock it myself. I just email McKaylin and say, Okay, this is the rate. This is the lender. And here are the facts. And she takes it she probably spends another hour getting it ready for processing.

Liz Sears 43:02

Oh my gosh isnt it nice having it off your plate.

Nelson Barss 43:05

I mean, it was that was like I would hate that hour. And it would be like two hours for me, right? Of just like feeling guilty for doing something. It should not be my job, right? It's like

Liz Sears 43:13


Nelson Barss 43:13

Pulling the credit, fixing whatever merging this and that and looking at the tax returns. And, of course, I've already looked at him during the loan consultation,

Liz Sears 43:21

But you feel like you need to check it. Make sure you didn't miss something.

Nelson Barss 43:24

So McKaylin gets the file ready for the processing team. And you know, in my loan consultation, I usually tell the client, you know, you haven't met my other assistant, who's going to help you from here to closing. Her name is Danna or his name is Chris. I have Chris do refinances. And Danna does purchases. She's our best, right.

Liz Sears 43:42

That is why I know Danna better

Nelson Barss 43:43

Yep. She's the one she was my very first person that I ever let really help me, right. We talked about having someone who you can trust so that you can think about next month.

Liz Sears 43:53


Nelson Barss 43:54

And that was Danna, right? She's been with me for three years now. And

Liz Sears 43:57

I remember when you hired her

Nelson Barss 43:58

Yeah, she's got like, eight years of experience in the business. And she's just awesome. So she holds their hand all the way to closing she she answers every phone call they make, they really get quickly in the habit of calling her and not me, because I just don't know the answer. I used to feel down at Yeah, I used to feel terribly guilty about that. When they would call in and they'd say, Hey, where's my appraisal coming back? And I'd be like, Oh, I should know that. I'm ashamed that I don't know that right. And of course, we talk about every file every morning, and I can tell them that but I'll just say honestly, that is a Danna question. She's the one who knows, let me get her on the phone. And it doesn't take more than one call like that. And then

Liz Sears 44:32

They're like, Oh, I'm wasting time calling Nelson first.

Nelson Barss 44:34

Right. that client is and the thing I love about it. You talked about falling in love with your clients.

Liz Sears 44:38


Nelson Barss 44:38

This is what I love about Danna is she falls in love with my clients, right? She makes friends with them. And she wants to she wants to fight their battles for them and and she sometimes she goes to the closing when I can't go

Liz Sears 44:48

love it.

Nelson Barss 44:48

Right. So they work with her. I call every Tuesday we do status calls, like I said so they hear from me once a week. But my call isn't about the file status. Yeah. What's funny is she sends out a status update Monday night, it goes to the realtors. It goes to the borrower. So my call isn't like, hey, I want to tell you where your loan is. My call is, how's my team doing?

Liz Sears 45:09

Do you have any questions

Nelson Barss 45:10

Are they taking care of you and really what I'm going to do is ask them for a referral. As soon as they say, man, your team is amazing. This is a technique that I love is the fish for a compliment.

Liz Sears 45:19


Nelson Barss 45:20

They give you a compliment. And then

Liz Sears 45:21

Then you ask for the referral. Right? Oh, that is such brilliant. Okay, let's just pause on that for a minute. So the fact that Danna is sending out the update Monday night, they have the most up to date information possible by the time you call them Tuesday morning, and so do you. And so then they feel like my hand is being held. Everything's being taken care of. It's all timely. Nelson calls. How's the team working? I love it. I know exactly where I'm at. Great. Who else? Do you know that might be thinking about buying a home or refinancing? Yeah, brilliant. Love it.

Nelson Barss 45:51

So that's, that's the life cycle, then they go to closing, I'm usually there. I try to be there. I don't stay for the whole hour. But I try to be there at the beginning.

Liz Sears 45:59

When they're going through all the numbers.

Nelson Barss 46:00

Right my team sends me out the door with a gift. And I try to I mean, the closing usually

Liz Sears 46:05

So your team makes the gift for you.

Nelson Barss 46:06

They go buy them like, they go get basket.

Liz Sears 46:08

So that's what we do, too. And I love it. You just get to pick it up and walk out the door.

Nelson Barss 46:11

Yeah. And, you know, at the closing table, it's just a thank you. It's I love that. I love being there. And I find a good way to dismiss myself about halfway through.

Liz Sears 46:21

Yep. Okay, give us an example.

Nelson Barss 46:24

Oh, how to dismiss, well. I always say at the beginning, like, I'm not gonna stay for the whole time, I've got an appointment at my office at 120. But these first few pages are really important. I want to make sure you don't have any questions on it. And then it's just really easy. They get past the note, which is like 20 pages in, and the rest of it really is just garbage. You know how it is.

Liz Sears 46:41

Yeah, it's just ridiculous.

Nelson Barss 46:43

There's not gonna be a question for me to answer.

Liz Sears 46:45


Nelson Barss 46:46

And so I just interrupt, and I'll just say, Okay, well, I've got to get out. But I want to thank you. And, and then one thing that we've started doing the title company has a form at the end, it's our we need your help form and ask for two referrals. Right?

Liz Sears 46:59

Oh, I love that

Nelson Barss 47:00

And we show that form at the beginning. When they meet with me, it's in the packet, I say this is our, we need your help form. Here's the three commitments we make to you, you know, communication on time, as quoted. And all we ask in return is that you send us two people, right?

Liz Sears 47:14

Oh, my gosh, I love that. So you do that in the initial conversation.

Nelson Barss 47:16

We do that in the initial. And then my team is trained to bring it up over and over again. Hey, Nelson told me I have to ask you, if you got any referrals for us yet? He told me he showed you our we need your help form. And they're like, oh, no, yeah. But I'm, I'm looking right. And then we get them back from the title company with names on them very often.

Liz Sears 47:32

That is awesome. Because the title company, when they get to the end, they say, Can I have a driver's license, I need to go make copies. And they actually leave the room. What a perfect time to say and here's the form.

Nelson Barss 47:42

Right? Right.

Liz Sears 47:43

Here's the last form and I just need your driver's license.

Nelson Barss 47:44


Liz Sears 47:45

I like that.

Nelson Barss 47:46

So then that's the that's the I mean, the post closing I, I'm supposed to call I'm not very good at this. But this is where my assistant, Cassie, my executive assistant, she builds a call list for me every day for my Power Hour. Right?

Liz Sears 47:58


Nelson Barss 47:59

And on the past client day each week, she should be folding in a 30 day, a 60. Day and a 90 day follow up call with each closed client.

Liz Sears 48:08

I do not do that. I am going to copy you on that.

Nelson Barss 48:11

I think it's just the first one is like, Hey, did you did you get your bill? Are you able to make your first payment? Have any questions about the mortgage? Did it get sold or what? Right? Just an update, and it's it's fun time to talk because they're doing upgrades to their home. You know, they just moved. And you're showing them that you want an ongoing relationship, right? And you can even say that, like, I know you think you're never going to need a mortgage again. But I promise you someday you will. And I'm going to be here and I want to help you, right?

Liz Sears 48:39

You know, one of the speeches that I give in my listing presentation and in my home buyer consultation, which honestly, I'm wondering if yours is more effective, but I've found that this works well for me too.

Nelson Barss 48:48

I've seen yours. It's very good.

Liz Sears 48:50

And I will say to them, and I always say with a chuckle I say you know what, even though this home purchase or home sale, you know, even though this home purchase is very important. I'll be honest with you, it's not my end goal. In fact, I want to do such a phenomenal job for you that you feel morally obligated.

Nelson Barss 49:06

I used that line yesterday. I have heard you say that so many times. I used it on a client.

Liz Sears 49:10

Morally obligated to refer me to those you know, because you want them to have the same experience. And then I chuckle and sometimes I've even gotten referrals in the initial conversation. It's on the initial consultation. But I haven't ever put an expectation of and I want you to think of two people we need you we need your help. So I think that'd be kind of fun to kind of combine those

Nelson Barss 49:30

Yeah, this is not not really an episode about asking for referrals but it is right this is what we've been talking about

Liz Sears 49:36

Well it's got to be part of your day.

Nelson Barss 49:37

Its built into our process.

Liz Sears 49:38


Nelson Barss 49:39

It's something we track very carefully and we're really focused this year on trying to get an average of one referral per deal. Right and then we're tracking that and that means some of them are gonna give none. Some of them are gonna give two. If we can, if we can get one referral per loan, we're going to convert half of them right.

Liz Sears 49:55


Nelson Barss 49:56

And we're gonna have a 50% increase in our pipe.

Liz Sears 49:58

In our that's amazing. Love that.

Nelson Barss 50:00

So that's the lifecycle. That's how my team works. I mean, we have other teams in my office that have the same structure, right? There's other loan officers who also have a loan partner one and a loan partner two, and they just follow this same model. This is a model that, and let's talk about this for a minute. Because my business model comes from a coaching program. We just interviewed Burke, in our last episode, Dr. Larsen, he has a coaching program. That's a specific chiropractic coaching program.

Liz Sears 50:24


Nelson Barss 50:25

And this business model that I just laid out, it's all from them. It's all from my coaching program. It's a mortgage specific coaching program.

Liz Sears 50:32

With your loan person one.

Nelson Barss 50:34

My Loan partner one is their it's their deal, right? The core is the name of the coaching program, and they, they give me the job descriptions, they they tell me what type of personality to hire for that job, and when to hire and who to hire first. And, and really, it's all intended to give you the opportunity to do more prospecting. That's the whole idea. Right?

Liz Sears 50:53


Nelson Barss 50:54

So, you know, we talked about maybe doing a separate episode, I think this is a really good episode to just do it, where we talk about, you know, the value of coaching, and the different flavors of coaching, because I know you really believe in coaching too.

Liz Sears 51:06

Oh Huge. Life changing

Nelson Barss 51:07

Your coaching is different than mine. Right? I tried to focus on one coach.

Liz Sears 51:10


Nelson Barss 51:10

I don't want any more ideas. I got plenty of ideas. I just want accountability to their ideas, because I know they work, right?

Liz Sears 51:18


Nelson Barss 51:18

And I've had to, like, get rid of other coaches, and I meet coaches all the time. They're like, Oh, I think you'd be great. But I'm already committed, I'm in a committed relationship with my coach, right? What do you guys do for coaching, and how has that evolved over time for you?

Liz Sears 51:31

So I've had one coach, personally, that I've been going to for quite some time, she's got her doctorate in organization, business organization, and over 10,000 hours coaching, so I really like that. She's helped me

Nelson Barss 51:44

Like a life coach?

Liz Sears 51:45

It is like life coach. That initially was my intention with her was just as a life coach, but because of her expertise in business organization, she has also helped me a ton with structuring my business because unlike you, we're creating from scratch, there is not a broker model out there, that is the same as ours. We felt like there was a gap in the real estate industry that we wanted to fill. And so a few of the things that are unique about our brokerage is that we wanted people who joined to have all three options at the same time. The three options are you join a team, which means that you are somebody's buyer's agent or buyer specialist, listing specialists or you're a solo agent doing your own deals all by yourself, or you hire people, you have people on your team to be your buyer specialist listing specialist. So when somebody joins our brokerage, they have all three at the same time, and they get to pick per transaction, how they want it to be, you know? If they want help, they can hire a co agent that even though it's a buyer specialists, they could actually be an superior to them.

Nelson Barss 52:50

More experienced.

Liz Sears 52:51

Yeah. Or if they simply have somebody that's outside of their geographical area, or maybe they're going on vacation, they have somebody that they can step in, to be their CO agent is what we call it. Or if maybe they're slim on business, or they have an expertise that another agent could hire them to be a co agent.

Nelson Barss 53:08

So you're creating a business model that doesn't and there's nobody that can can, you can just plug into

Liz Sears 53:12

None at all.

Nelson Barss 53:13

for all of that. Right? That is brilliant. Yeah. Yeah. And if somebody wants to go in and just do a deal all by themselves, they still have like incredible support, but they're not splitting their commission other than their brokerage split. And it has been, like surprisingly phenomenally so excitingly successful. So far, obviously, we're still working out kinks, because this model is less than two years old, but we feel like it's grown leaps and bounds. But because of that, we're starting from scratch. And every single thing we do is a trial and error. And I'm so grateful that we've created the culture of we're okay, if you tell us our baby is ugly, you know, this brokerage is our baby. And there's gonna be things about it that you don't like. And if you don't tell us what's not working for you, we can't adjust it. And so it's fun when we get to take ideas from our team implement it. Explain how their input caused this change. And the whole team was like, I like that. So then it just creates more input. And we've gotten to a point now we're big enough that we have to make changes slower and more thought out, we used to be more nimble, but you can't as you grow bigger and bigger. But to kind of back to your original question. So that coach is helping me with my own personal limiting beliefs, structure of the organization. When I go out of town and I miss a coaching session, I'll actually gift it to our operations manager or someone else in the organization. So then she's helping more people.

Liz Sears 53:15

And then we hired a high performance coach to come to our team retreat last year. And it was life changing for quite a few of our agents so much so that Shannon hired her personally. And then I'm like, Well, I want to hire her personally. And then when we increased the level from operations manager to Director of Operations, part of her compensation now is coaching with this high performance coach as well. And that has helped tons on just showing up the right way thinking the right mindset to create this business. And then the most recent coach that we're looking to hire as one of our guests, Crispin Sanford, because his is also about teaching us how to run the business side as managers of employees. Shannon and I have a ton of experience being independent contractors of coaching independent contractors. But as far as running the business side, w2, you know, all of that office stuff. That's where we've recognized from my first coach, that that's where our gap of knowledge is. So

Nelson Barss 55:35

I remember Crispin when he came in, and he started talking about, you know, the business model that, that he advocates, it sounded like my coaching program, right? I was like, yeah, yeah, this guy's right on right. You need somebody who's a lead nurturer, you need somebody and you think about, you know, we've had Burke, right. And so much of coaching is just helping you understand how to divide the labor, effectively. It's not that different from business to business.

Liz Sears 56:00

It's surprisingly similar. Yep, you have your marketing, you have your delivery, you have your HR, you have your big business model plan.

Nelson Barss 56:09

So I think we could say we're both firm believers in coaching.

Liz Sears 56:12

Oh, my gosh, yes

Nelson Barss 56:13

Being coached. I mean you're coached lots of different ways, right? You have you have different levels of coaching for different parts of your life. You also coach your agents, don't you?

Liz Sears 56:23

Oh, yes.

Nelson Barss 56:23

Tell me how that works.

Liz Sears 56:25

So we have productivity coaching, where we split into groups according to skill set, so that way, we're focusing on what's most pertinent to them. And sometimes it'll be a set topic that we'll coach on, but we always leave it kind of open, if we're getting a vibe, or whatever, we'll shift it, and to be about, you know, how to move them forward. Other topics, like somebody will say something, you know, they'll post, they have a question in our internal chat. And we'll say, let's hop on a zoom call. So I'm actually doing a training within the next couple days of commissions and why the seller pays both commission's and the buyer doesn't, and what the benefit is to the buyer and the seller. And how to explain that to your clients. Because if you're a newer agent that can trip you up, things like that. So the so we have our scheduled coaching, and then we have sporadic coaching, and then sometimes we have like half days, and we've even on a regular basis, we'll have an agent who's struggling and say, You know what, let's do a 15 minute, you know, once a week or twice a week, pop into your pipeline, let's you know, coach you through that. How about you?

Nelson Barss 57:32

You know, I require the loan officers that work for me have to also be coached by The Core.

Liz Sears 57:38

Which is perfect. Keeps you all on the same page.

Nelson Barss 57:40

It's just that's our business model, right? Yeah. I've had guys come to me and say, hey, you know, I want to try something different. Do I have to be a core student? And it was hard for me to say, Yeah, but it's like, yeah, you do. If you want to be here, you've got to be progressing on that track. And if you don't, that's fine. If that's not for you, but I've because usually what it is, is, they don't want to call realtors.

Liz Sears 58:03


Nelson Barss 58:04

And they don't want to prospect. And I just know there isn't another way to be sustainable. In this business, they can find some sweet program about how to be the divorce master, right. And that's great, go do it. But you're not, it's not going to be sustainable. And it's going to be worth your money, or mine.

Liz Sears 58:21

There's something about pulling up your pipeline and reviewing it on a regular basis, that makes all the difference, because so many realtors and mortgage people and all of that put their head in the sand and they act like they're working, but their pipeline is empty. Yeah, they're not purposely adding names and purposely moving those names forward. And that is the linchpin of every business is that your sales pipeline needs to be getting full and needs to be moving forward.

Nelson Barss 58:43

Yeah. And they're coached that our loan officers are coached by a coach, and it's not the same level of coaching as I get right. My coach is an active mortgage Rockstar, right? I mean, in order to be a coach for The Core you have to net a million dollars a year of W2 income, right? So it's very easy for me to follow what they say.

Liz Sears 59:00

And you're like, I know what you're doing works. Yeah.

Nelson Barss 59:03

But you know, these guys are on cheaper level, where do they get, they get a trainer who's who's not quite the same, but they're learning the process and, and the business model. As far as me coaching them, we have a weekly sales meeting. And in the sales meeting, we alternate once a week, the first the first week, we do stats, so they have to bring all of their forms that they would turn into their core coach. They they put them in a folder and we pull them up on the screen during the meeting. And which shows their you know, we've talked about a greatness tracker is where you track your your prospecting efforts.

Liz Sears 59:40


Nelson Barss 59:40

You know, talked to's and leads generated and things like that. So they have to bring that up on the screen and they have to explain to the group how their week went, right,

Liz Sears 59:48

Cool. I love it.

Nelson Barss 59:48

We actually do two weeks worth of greatness trackers. We also keep an Accounts pyramid where they list all of the real estate agents that they're working with or trying to work with, right. So if you can picture a pyramid at the bottom means the biggest section. There's 50 names on there of agents that they would like to get referrals from but never have.

Liz Sears 1:00:06


Nelson Barss 1:00:06

And there's a line the trust barrier where they, they now have realtors who are C level B level and A level partners. Right.

Liz Sears 1:00:13

I love that.

Nelson Barss 1:00:13

And so they have to show that because that's really.

Liz Sears 1:00:15

Im taking notes by the way, I'm like, I want to come in with shadow one of these meetings if you would be comfortable that

Nelson Barss 1:00:21

You bet yeah.

Liz Sears 1:00:22

That's really amazing.

Nelson Barss 1:00:23

I think that's, that's a snapshot of how strong your businesses I like to think of loan officers sometimes are like account executives, if they're, you know, if you ask them, How many real estate agents do you have that are partnered with you? And they say, one, it's like, what have you been doing for 10 years? Right?

Liz Sears 1:00:27

Yeah Right?

Nelson Barss 1:00:39

You've been working 10 years at building your business, and you have one referral partner, right. And so we want to show that front and center and talk about it. That's the odd weeks. On the even weeks, we do call coaching. So everybody has to find a call that they want coached on. And they save it in the folder. And we just get together, there's five of us, and we listen to as many as we can. And we all go around the room and give advice, right? So you know, if I listen to your call, we would start with you, Liz, what did you think of that call, right? And you would say, Well, I didn't like how fast I talked and what I said here and there. And then everybody around the room says something positive and something that could help with.

Liz Sears 1:01:15

We do do that every Wednesday. That's what our roleplay on Wednesday is. A call breakdown is what we call it, we do it on Zoom. And there's one person running the call breakdown.

Nelson Barss 1:01:24

It's been really, that's been really useful. I would love to do that more. I just don't have time. Right. So this is a one hour sales meeting once a week, and we alternate what we do every other week.

Liz Sears 1:01:33

I love that. So that's awesome. Okay.

Nelson Barss 1:01:36

Okay. That was fun.

Liz Sears 1:01:38

We thought this would be a 30 minute episode.

Nelson Barss 1:01:40

Seems like we went on forever. I do enjoy. I do enjoy just learning about your business. And it is a unique model. And you know, I don't even know where it all came from. But you guys have a good thing going on. Just just thinking about how you're helping new agents and giving them so much experience so fast and so much help. Right.

Liz Sears 1:02:01

It's fun. It's exciting.

Nelson Barss 1:02:02

Yeah. Okay.

Liz Sears 1:02:03

All right.

Nelson Barss 1:02:04

All right. We'll see you guys next time.

Liz Sears 1:02:05

Thanks, guys. Bye.


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