Amanda Finney – Queen of Efficiency

Amanda Finney podcast image

Show Notes

Welcome to the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast where you’ll hear the good, the bad and the ugly of how real estate agents overcame challenges and grew their business. Check out the Episode Notes at CrushItinRE.com/podcast. Here’s your host, Lindsay Favazza.

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Lindsay: Welcome back, everyone, to the Agents Who Crush It in Real Estate podcast. Today my guest is Amanda Finney. She is the lead listing specialist at the Michelle Humes Group in the greater Atlanta, Georgia area. She has done over 160 transactions in her career in six years, and this year, so far, she’s sold 34 homes and she is on track to sell 65 for the year. As you can see, this is why we wanted to have her on the podcast today, and I also hear that she’s the queen of efficiencies so we’re going to dive into that a little bit deeper. Welcome, Amanda, to the Agents Who Crush It in Real Estate podcast.

Amanda: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me.

Lindsay: Absolutely. First and foremost, tell me why they call you the queen of efficiency.

Amanda: Well, before I was in real estate, I was in process improvement. Small startup companies would hire me to come in and take a look at their systems and figure out how to do things faster and better and train people that way. I’m a nerd, my favorite thing to do is have a glass of wine and create an Excel spreadsheet. If I can create a spreadsheet or a template or any way to basically do my job for me and faster, I’m going to do it and I’ve just become known as the, “Hey, go ask Amanda how to make this go faster.”

Lindsay: I love it. I am a true believer in a spreadsheet and spreadsheets make me happy too, so I guess I’m a nerd as well. Proudly. What do your spreadsheets contain? What kind of information do you track? How does that help you?

Amanda: I’m a huge believer in always knowing your numbers. That to me is super important in being successful because if you don’t know where you stand in relationship to your goals, then you have no idea what your daily tasks should be. At any given time, I can tell you exactly what my GCI is, how much volume I’ve done, how many, so I have a spreadsheet that tracks all of that. Then I largely do listings on the team, so I am going on anywhere from three to seven appointments a week. To pull comps for my listing appointments, I can’t sit there and spend an hour or two to do that.

I’ve created this master spreadsheet that weighs different comps and all I have to do is import from MLS boom, there it is and I can pull comps on any property in like seven minutes or so and have a number. It’s never been off by more than $1,000 on the appraisal so it’s working.

Lindsay: That’s excellent. Do you share these spreadsheets with other people on your team, like you said people come to you and ask you for advice?

Amanda: I teach many classes on how to use a spreadsheet, how to run the comps. For the longest time before I got so busy, I was a lead agent and basically lead agents on our teams are coaches. I had I think seven agents under me that I would share these goal-setting spreadsheets that I made for them and if you hadn’t hit your goals, it automatically told you, “Here’s how you reach those,” and that kind of thing. My team, I’m an open book. Anything I’ve got that can help anybody else, down to share.

Lindsay: I love it. Maybe in the show notes, we can provide an example of one of your spreadsheets so that people can download it after they listen to the podcast, because I think that that would be super valuable for people to have.

Amanda: Sure, I’d love to share that.

Lindsay: If you’d be willing to share, we’d love that.

Amanda: Of course.

Lindsay: Take me back and tell me how your career has progressed. Tell me how many sales you had in the beginning, what kind of struggles you had getting off the ground, how Michelle has helped to get you to where you are, the good, the bad, the ugly that’s what we like to say on this podcast. Give me the whole full story from start to finish.

Amanda: Okay, I just moved to a new area on a whim, my sister was already licensed. She was like, “Come down here and let’s start a real estate business together.” I moved to the south side of Atlanta from the north side and took a full-time nine-to-five job here to get me going while I was taking my course and getting all of my goals and everything in order. My first full year of real estate I had a full nine-to-five job and a lot of times it was not nine to five, it was nine-to-seven or what have you.

I only did four transactions my first year. I eased into it, I tried to make it a point to learn something new with every transaction and really focus on being good at it. Exactly on January the 1st my second year, I left the job and took the plunge full speed ahead. My sister and I, we did 16 deals this my second year in real estate together, which wasn’t a ton. What I learned is I’ve moved to this new area, I don’t know anyone except my sister and my other co-op agents that I’ve met in my brokerage, I was like, “Oh, my God, where are my leads going to come from? I don’t have all this extra money to spend on purchasing leads.”

Anyway, the timing worked out perfectly. Michelle approached me and was like, “Hey, I would love for you and your sister to join me in creating this team. I had this big dream, I want to do this, this and this.” I said, “This is perfect. I’m out of leads, can you give me some?” We started the team and I’d say one of my biggest struggles, even until halfway through the first year of the team was the discipline part. I came from a very data-driven, analytical workforce. I wasn’t in sales. I had no idea what to do when I got up in the morning to generate leads or business or what have you.

Michelle was, “You need to spend two to three hours a day lead generating, you need to do this and you do this.” Over the course of time, I finally listened to her. It took me a minute, and I started going through the motions that she taught me and it just started snowballing. My first year on the team, I more than doubled the transactions I had done the year before in a joint effort with my sister. I did 31 transactions and 36 transactions my third year in the business.

The next year, I had a baby, was not expecting it so I was like, “Okay, what’s going to happen when I had this baby? Go, go, go, go go.” I did just as many transactions the year I had Milly, my little one, as I had done the year before, but I spent five months out of production completely. In seven months time, I was able to implement all the things I had taken from the year before and do a full year’s worth of business in seven months time so that I could take that time and be with my baby when she was born.

Lindsay: It sounds like you had this obstacle, a beautiful, wonderful obstacle, but you knew exactly. You had the playbook and you had the numbers, and you knew how to make up for that time within a shorter timeframe and that’s just so valuable, so I commend you for that. Especially a lot of times when people, especially women in this business, they end up getting pregnant and starting a family, they almost get into more of a rat, they don’t know how to get back in. How did you make that transition back in after spending the first couple months or whatever the case was with your baby and being home? Tell me about how you made that transition back in.

Amanda: I’ve always been very goal-oriented. My biggest thing that I’ve done in every aspect of life, personal, business school, everything is okay, what’s my big goal? What’s my big picture? Now let’s work my way backwards and let’s dial that down into tiny little bitty steps. You dial it back down all the way to literally an hourly basis, to the point where, again, spreadsheets came into play. This is a little nerdy and kind of psycho of me, I think but I had a spreadsheet that basically tracked the baby’s behavior based on, “She had this much milk, she slept for this long. She did this many TTS and this,” and so I knew exactly what time she was going down for a nap, what time she was waking up, and if I needed a little extra time, I gave her a little extra time.

I was able to track everything. I knew by taking my big monetary goal and backing it down, I knew how many calls I needed to make per day. I knew how many conversations I needed to have, how many agreements I needed to get signed. You’ve really got to track those things because if you’re not, you’re not really working towards the goal. You’re just throwing a number out there and hoping you get there.

Lindsay: Absolutely. That’s crazy. You’re so lucky that Milly would stick to your spreadsheets.

Amanda: Yes. She’s still that way. She’s still very structured so it’s worked out great.

Lindsay: That’s great because in the future, that’s how she’s going to run her life and she’s going to be goal-oriented and learn from her mom. I think that that’s fantastic. Good for you sticking with it and making sure that you set yourself up like that. That’s awesome. What would you say in your six years of your career is been the biggest struggle for you that you’ve had to overcome.

Amanda: I think the biggest lesson and the hardest lesson that I learned is that real estate is full of stress and not stress as an agent. You think that people are buying and selling homes, and they’re super excited about it and a lot of times they are, but deep down, they are nervous, they are scared, they’re going through something that they’re unsure of. A lot of times they’re outward, they’re going to take that out on you because you are the transaction, you have the control over everything.

If they’re not happy with the way something’s going, or if husband and wife aren’t agreeing on whether they want to pool or not, or what have you, there’s tension there, you feel it the most and I’m such a people pleaser, I want to make sure everybody’s having a great time and stress-free or whatever. That when people would lash out at me, I would take it personally, like, Oh my gosh, I’m doing something wrong but all I can do is the best I can do. I had to learn to not take real estate personally. You’ve got to be able to separate your personal emotions from theirs and just know she’s behaving this way because she’s pregnant. They’ve got to find a house by the time they have the baby, that kind of thing.

Just knowing the psychology behind it all and being able because there was a point where I had a client, who I mean, they were awful to me to the point where I wanted to get out of the business because I thought I was a failure. I had done this horrible job, that’s not at all what had happened and once the house closed, they loved me, “Oh, you were great” and I’m okay, I need to take a step back and be able to be okay and just let things roll off your back.

Announcer: Let’s take a quick break in here from Dave Karoly the Master of Objection Handling, as he teaches you how to overcome buyer and seller concerns.

Dave: All right, today we’re going to talk about what to do when you encounter a seller who wants too much money for their home and I know that that’s pretty much all of them, isn’t it right? Don’t do what I used to do, and listen to it on the phone. A lot of times they’re just beating your chest, they just think you’re a salesperson, wants a quick sale. When somebody tells you on the phone, they think their home’s worth $500,000 and you think it’s worth $400,000? Say nothing. Know you’re in for a little bit of a battle when you get there but just say nothing, move right on and when you’re actually with them, don’t fall in the trap when they again hit you with it at the door.

Now that you’ve seen it, can I get the $500,000 don’t fall for it. Do your presentation, do your trial close, make sure they’re in it for you, not just for your price, then when you go over price with them, go over three to five comparables. Try your best to have the highest comparable to where you want them in price. Once you go through the comparables with them, say one of two lines, “Mr. Seller, based on these, where do you think your home fits in?” or the other line, “Mr. Seller, based on these, if you were a buyer, what would you offer for the home?” Most people are going to say? “Well, you’re the expert, you tell me.”

Don’t fall for it. Tell them something like, “Hey, I’m glad you think so highly of me but part of being an expert is making sure I did a good job showing you what’s going on in the market. This is your largest asset, it’s important that you’re on the same page as to what it’s worth. I’ll happily give you my opinion but based on these, tell me what you think.” You can only do that a couple of times, go back and forth. If they come up with some outlandish price, show them the highest comp and with as straight a face as you possibly can say, “Very interesting. Let’s just look at that comp again. Based on this one, why do you think your home would sell for north of $100,000 on that?”

Now again, I’m not saying it won’t, just when buyers ask and review it with them really in detail. Again, don’t fall for that trap too soon. Hope that helps.

Announcer: Thanks, Dave. Now let’s get back to the show.

Lindsay: Out of 160 transactions, to have one person that’s not 100% happy at one point during the transaction is totally normal. I totally hear you. I’ve heard we had a guest on the last episode that we did. Her name is Rosie, she’s one of our agents at Lamacchia Realty and she said the same thing. Like she takes things personal, she had to really dig into herself to get to that next level. She invested in a life coach and so on. It’s psychology. You guys are therapists to your clients at times and that can be stressful.

I totally understand like taking that on your shoulders, and I totally got it. What would you say is your biggest key to success? I mean, we talked about your efficient ways, your spreadsheets, keeping track of your numbers, would you say that that’s the biggest key to your success? Would you say it’s how you work with your clients and how you make them feel? What do you think is what differentiates you from the rest?

Amanda: Well, I try to live by always three words, persistence, consistency, resilience. You’ve got to always be all do the same things. Do what you say you’re going to do. A great example would be I started this marketing email and it goes out once a month and I do it over and over and over and it goes out to anywhere between, depending on what I’ve got going on or how many leads I have at the time, 2500 to 6000 leads at a time. It always has consistent, content, value and I watch and I see who clicks on what, and then I reach out to those people, “Hey, I noticed this,” whatever. Anyway, I did this for five straight years, and this one guy, I was after him.

I mean, I was persistent. “I know you’re clicking on these things. I know you need this,” or what have you. I chased him for five years and finally, one day, he’s like, “Okay, I’m ready.” I showed him three houses, and he closed and that’s that. Another guy saw me out and about, he’s like “You, you’re a Realtor” and I was like, “I am. How do you know that?” He was like, “I don’t know, I get your emails all the time but I’m going to call you when I’m ready.” Yes, just being consistent, and constantly following up and being persistent with people and just letting them know because at the end of the day, a person is going to choose the realtor that can get them what they want fastest.

You’ve got to be top of mind, you’ve got to be in front of them all the time, you’ve got to be the person they think about when they have a real estate question. Be persistent with those people, be resilient. Like I said before, real estate can be very stressful for your clients. You’ve got to just be able to just roll with the punches, you are the level-headed person in the transaction, don’t let things get you down and there are going to be times where that roller coaster goes into a slump, be resilient and get yourself out of that slump and get yourself back to the top.

That’s what I would say and then I just think my clients are friends. I make sure that when I’m face to face with them, I’m making that relationship. I poke and prod into like, just ask question after question after question until I find they say something that I can relate to, “Oh, you have a two-year-old granddaughter? I have a two-year-old. Great.” Anything, “You like the color pink? I like the color pink. I have a pink car,” whatever I can say, to really connect with them and make them trust me and feel like, “Hey, I’m not only just here as a transactional thing, I’m here to protect you, to walk you through it, to hold your hand to be your friend.”

Lindsay: Like you said, this is a stressful time for them and they need to know that you are on their side, so building that rapport and making sure that you’re going above and beyond, it’s so important and it seems that you have this just locked down. If that makes total sense to me, I’m understanding 100% while you have all these transactions under your belt. It totally makes sense to me and why Michelle was like, “You got to interview this one.” One more question that I have for you is what advice would you give to someone?

Put yourself back six years ago, someone’s getting into the business, or maybe they’re in their first or second year, and they are at that 10 to 15 sale mark, just like you were around that time. They’re struggling to get to that next level and they’re not sure what to do, what kind of advice would you give someone like that?

Amanda: I would say never aim to be the smartest person in the room or the most successful person in the room. Always find people to influence you, to teach you things, and to take you to the next level because if you are the smartest or the most successful person in the room, you’re in the wrong room. You need to go and search that out. I found Michelle, she helped me really and I was grateful because she did $17 million in her first year, so I was like, “I want to do that. Whatever she’s doing, she’s doing it right. I want to learn her ways.” Look, I’ve done it. I’ve more than. I did four sales my first year and I’ll do 65 or 70 this year.

Just really always search out people to learn from, situations to learn from, always be seeking knowledge. Then another thing you have to learn as a realtor because clients don’t understand. This is not really a 24 seven job. It doesn’t have to be. Your clients think it is but it’s not. We are not firefighters, we are not surgeons, no one is going to die if you don’t get back to them at 10:30 at night when they have a question about which utility company to switch over to. If you are not up against a deadline, be okay with setting boundaries for yourself.

Your family is important. Your mental and physical health are important. You’ve got to take care of you and your family because at the end of the day, all those hours that you spend away from them or neglecting yourself, you can’t get back and trying to get that back and realizing it is really hard. Make time for yourself. Your clients don’t need to know that you’re at a nail appointment or at the gym, you have an appointment, you have an appointment with yourself. Take care of yourself and you’ll be good.

Lindsay: Absolutely. You take care of yourself. You’re going to be better equipped to take care of your clients and to take care of your family like you said. We talk a lot to our agents about the whole doctor, you go to a doctor’s office and there’s a nurse that comes in to take care of the little things. You don’t even question it. The doctor doesn’t need to be the one taking your blood pressure and getting your weight and doing all that. That’s okay with them and you accept that when it’s a doctor or you accept the fact that you can’t make an appointment for a month out because you know that they are the specialist in their field.

It’s the same with you guys. You guys are the specialist in your field and if you have an appointment, then they should be able to respect that. Like you said, you got to set these boundaries and you got to make sure that you’re not working until the middle of the night. Once you set the boundaries, people respect them but if they’re not set, they will run them up.

Amanda: They do. They know that, oh, she doesn’t need to answer me. She must not need my business. She’s so good. She’s got plenty more where this came from. You make a good point with the nurse coming in to check your blood pressure and your weight and all this stuff. Another thing that took me a really long time to learn because when you’re starting out in real estate, you’re really money-conscious. I don’t know where my next paycheck is going to come from. I’ve got to pinch to do this.

Leverage is huge. Figure out how much your time is worth. How much do you make in a year, how many hours do you spend working? If you’ve got something that needs to be done, that’s not making you money but you can pay someone less than what your hourly rate is worth, do it all day long.

My assistant is coming in here and just a few minutes to write thank you, cards and birthday cards to all of my VIP clients that I nurture monthly. I pay her a lot less than what I think my time is worth per hour so that I can do the lead generation and go on the appointments and stuff. Anything, and that goes for housekeeping, grocery shopping, client nurturing, gift shopping, showing a house. I have no problem paying somebody $25, $50 to go show a house for me so that I can sit here and make the money. Use your leverage.

Lindsay: It’s time management and it’s so important for an agent to do that, especially when they get to the level. There’s no way you can do 65, 70 transactions in a year if you are doing all those things that you just said, you can’t. You got to get those things off your schedule. Anthony just did a Crush It video about this the other day. Get those things out of your calendar so that you can focus on the things that are going to make you money and get some help. It sounds like we are all on the same page and  you’ve definitely, yes, we’re all right there. It’s like I said, very obvious as to why you’ve been so successful because you’re doing all the things right.

Congratulations to you on already a stellar career. I am sure we’re going to watch you just soar into the next chapters of your career. Thank you so much for coming today and being a guest on the podcast. I really appreciate it. We hope to see you again soon hopefully in Florida for the Crush It event. We’ve been working on the show.

Amanda: I would love to be there. It’s already in the works so hopefully, I’ll see you there.

Lindsay: Excellent. I love it. Thank you so much. I appreciate it and we’ll see you soon.

Amanda: Thank you for having me.

Thanks for joining us on the Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate podcast. We hope you’ve learned some valuable takeaways. Be sure to take action and grow your business. You can check out the Episode Notes and more content from the show at CrushitinRE.com/podcast. And if you’d like this episode, and you’d like to hear more stories, please share with others, post on social media or leave a rating or review. To catch all the latest from Anthony you can follow him on Instagram at Crush It In Real Estate on Facebook and YouTube. Thanks again and we’ll see you next time.