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.
Lindsay Favazza: Welcome back to the Agents Who Crush It in Real Estate podcast, where we bring you insights and expertise from top professionals in the real estate industry. I’m your host, Lindsay Favazza, and today we are excited to introduce Amy Bisson, a highly respected and well-known realtor in Central Massachusetts. Amy has built her business on honesty, integrity, and trust, making it a top priority to build strong relationships with her clients. She’s had her license since May of 2017 and in those six years has just been a rock star. Her dedication to ensuring her clients feel comfortable throughout the entire buying and selling process has earned her a reputation as a top producer in the industry.
She was a RACM Rackham Realtor choice nominee in 2018, 2019, 2020, and a Rackham top producer in 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021. At her previous company, she was the number one in sales and volume producer in 2019 and 2020, and in 2021 she has been recognized as a top producer with Lamaki Realty and in 2022 as well. Without further ado, welcome to the podcast, Amy Bisson.
Amy Bisson: Hello.
Lindsay: I’m so excited to have you here today. I feel like we talked about this a while ago, but we never actually made it happen. I’m excited to have you here and our audience is going to learn a crap ton from you because you started six years ago, like I said, and then you sold over 30 homes in your first year. Then consistently have just been selling 30 homes every year since then, which is so impressive. We have to find out how you’re doing this, and I’m going to ask you a bunch of different questions to get us there. Take me back to when you first started, why you decided to get into real estate and give us that backstory.
Amy: I was in corporate insurance for 16 years prior to real estate. Decided that I wanted to get out of an office, develop more relationships necessarily with clients. Looked at my husband on, I don’t know, random weekday and said, “I think I’m going to be a realtor” and he’s a great guy, supports me and just says, yes. Little did I know that you have to become part of a board to be a realtor. I just went for it.
Lindsay: What did you go for?
Amy: I was going to be in real estate. I did not have the foggiest clue. I knew that I loved clients, I love developing relationships. I love the interaction. I liked being out of the office. I liked going to people’s homes.
Lindsay: In insurance, you had to be more in the office?
Lindsay: All day, every day.
Amy: Absolutely. Furthermore, because I was so naive, I said to him, as a follow-up, “I have to take a course, but I don’t work on weekends, so I’m not taking this course.”
Lindsay: I’m looking out for you now. [laughs]
Amy: This is how naive I was getting into it. I drove to Somerville two weeks in a row on a Tuesday and a Thursday, went through the entire course, took the test, passed, and the rest is history.
Lindsay: I love it. What were some of the things in the first early days that were still shocking to you after you actually got your license? When did you finally realize, like, “I’m working every weekend.”
Amy: Oh, my gosh, I’m working every weekend, and this is 100% commission job. I went from 16 years of getting a paycheck weekly, biweekly. It’s a huge risk, and I’m blessed that I had the support of my husband and my family. I had three little kids at the time. I think they were three, six and seven. I had them in school. I think, for me, my husband was a school teacher, an elementary school teacher. He’s a Phys Ed teacher and was working nights, bartending. He would wake up, go to school, come home, change, then go. He was a bartender at night, and he would come home at three o’clock in the morning, and he would do it all over again.
Lindsay: Do it all over.
Amy: Because I was 100% commission-based employee, new in the business, not a ton of experience. I think that your why is so important. My why was that I didn’t want him to have to work two jobs. I wanted him to enjoy what he was doing, and I was going to do anything and everything in my power to make that happen.
Lindsay: It happened fast.
Amy: It did.
Lindsay: Did it happen faster than you expected or were you like, “No, this is how I’m going to do it.”
Amy: I worked for one brokerage, and that’s what I would say. You’re very naive when you get into real estate and as a new licensee, you’re going to have brokerages that come to you. The one thing I would say, which I say with my kids in hockey, find the best coach, find the best leader. That’s what’s so important. I started on this journey, and I think that you have to, unfortunately, embrace being uncomfortable. The brokerage that I worked at prior to La Makia, the brokerage reached out to me on social media, and I remember looking at her social media page and going, “Wow, she’s done a lot.” Again, thinking, “Wow, she must want to be my friend.”
She invited me to a conference that they were having. I had someone that was coming with me because I don’t do things alone. There’s no way I’m going to drive an hour and a half to this conference and not know anyone.
Lindsay: Not know anyone.
Amy: That’s not who I am.
Lindsay: Yes, George was talking about that on stage at the event. He said, “Go alone.” I was like, “Oh, God, I don’t know if I could do that.” [laughs]
Amy: Oh, my gosh. You know what? My wing girl bailed.
Lindsay: Oh, now you have to go alone.
Amy: Guess what? I could have bailed. I could have said, “I don’t do this alone.” To this day, six, seven years later, I am so incredibly grateful. I had to embrace being uncomfortable. That’s so important in real estate. There’s a lot of things that are uncomfortable. You have to embrace it and you have to keep going.
Lindsay: I had this question later on down my list, but because you’re saying being uncomfortable, we’re going to keep on this theme. You have a difficult seller. We’ve all been there, right? Everyone’s been there that’s probably listening. They’ve had a difficult seller. They just can’t get them to see the light. Especially right now with price adjustments potentially looming. I know we still have some multiple-offer situations happening, but it won’t be long before these will be much more prevalent. What advice do you have to handle some of those things? What are some of the things that you do to make sure that you either mitigate some of those situations with sellers or how do you get through them once they come up?
Amy: I think that we’ve all been in this situation. I think education is crucial and starting right from the beginning, set an expectation. If you don’t set an expectation, you’re going into things blind.
Lindsay: And they are.
Amy: And they are. I present to all my clients that education is incredibly important to me. I go to trainings weekly. I take advantage of anything that I possibly can that will help me grow in the industry. Whether that is a market update, whether that’s meeting with a lender, whatever it may be. I think setting the expectations from the get-go and I always tell them, “I’m just like you, I can’t anticipate everything but here’s my job to educate you on where we are seeing things go.” Now, understandably it’s a very fluid situation. Things can change. I try and set a precedence with my clients that I’m very real.
I am just like them. I am not here to convince them of anything. I am simply here to guide them. I want them to ask me questions, just throw anything and everything at me. We will still have clients that you can’t but at that point, I lean on the people around me and that might be for a ra-ra session. You got this, you can do this or it might be a roundtable. What could I do and just take it from there, but I always say take anything, but specifically real estate from an abundance, not a desperation.
Lindsay: Have you ever had to fire a client, buyer or seller, anybody that you’ve had to go through that difficult situation?
Amy: Reluctantly, I have.
Lindsay: You don’t seem like the type that would be okay with that.
Amy: No, and just the way I answered that, you would know that I worked, I would say tirelessly, but I think the psychology of real estate is bigger than real estate. Sometimes you have to let go of the things that you can’t control.
Lindsay: Absolutely, and you have to make room for the clients that you can help.
Amy: You do.
Lindsay: All right. How do you build trust and maintain these relationships with your clients over time? Obviously, having such consistent years, year after year, you obviously have a good referral base and things like that. How do you make it so that these people want to come back to you, they want to refer you, they want to use you again, how do you do that?
Amy: I think what I touched upon prior was, I want my clients to know that I am real. I joke that I put my pants on the same way you do. I use social media in my personal social media page, to show them I’m real. It might be a silly story about something that my kids did, they broke a TV. Whatever they might have done, but I’m not different than anybody else. I want to become part of their family. I know that it sounds silly because every realtor talks about trust and integrity and everything else, but I’ve gone over to people’s houses, I’ve spread mulch, I’ve hung drywall, and it’s not that I’m better, I just want people to understand that I’m just like them.
Lindsay: You want to be a part of the family, you want to make friends with these people, you want to have them in your life.
Amy: Yes. Without question.
Lindsay: Which is why you can’t break up with someone [laughs].
Amy: Exactly. I always say that, if I could count the number of times, I have been the first one that someone has told me that they’re expecting, that they’re getting married.
Lindsay: Oh my God. That’s so cool.
Amy: I have held babies for the first time.
Lindsay: You become a therapist a little bit too.
Amy: You do. You become a therapist. You become part of their family. I have a family that I’ve probably done in six, seven years, eight transactions with. I am part of their family, but I don’t take that lightly. Family’s super important to me. My family’s super important to me, so you can understand how important my clients are.
Lindsay: Absolutely. Let’s talk the flip side then. Multiple offer situations, like I mentioned, are still a thing, we’re still seeing that. What are some of the things that you do to help your buyers on the other side of the transaction get the home?
Amy: I would say, I’m trying to– if I were to break it down, it starts from the beginning. Make a name for yourself in the industry, a good name, because your reputation, when a listing agent sees an offer come in, they’re going to know that it’s a well-written offer. It’s to the point, it’s correct, there’s no errors, you’ve vetted the lender, you’ve done everything. Communication is huge. It sounds silly, but if I go to an open house with a client, I always hang back a little. They go outside and I hang back, and I want that realtor to remember me and my clients on something.
Then what I do is, when I send over the offer in an email, I will break down the offer in the email with everything attached, but I will reference something that we conversed about at that open house. That’s just an example. I want people– the end goal of any real estate transaction, is a smooth transaction that closes. I want other realtors and colleagues around me to know that if they and their client accepts an offer, where Amy Bisson is representing the buyer, we’re good.
Lindsay: Yes. A lot of people talk about, that’s why they get into different realtor associations. They help out at their local association. They’re very involved as much as they can be with other realtors.
Lindsay: I think that that’s probably something in the beginning that you also probably didn’t realize was a part of this job, is because you thought like you’re all salespeople working against each other. The reality is that there’s so much that you have to do to work together.
Lindsay: Regardless of brokerage and all of those things.
Amy: I will say, that’s why I said earlier, focus on the leader because not every brokerage is like that, and that’s the reality of life. You want-
Lindsay: Some trained to be cutthroat, and some trained to be supportive and helpful.
Amy: Exactly, but I would say, network. Take advantage of trainings, networking events. You don’t have to be social seven days a week, whatever. You don’t have to go out, pick and choose, but you want people to know who you are. Become your local celebrity.
Lindsay: I love it. All right. Marketing, my favorite topic, of course. I want to hear about some of the effective marketing strategies you’ve had over the years. Maybe it’s not working as well right now because we’re in a different market or whatever the case is. What are some of the things that you’ve done that have helped you in the past that you’re like, “Wow, this has been really great.” Obviously, you mentioned social media, and I know that you’re big on social media, and that’s awesome and warms my heart but what other things have you done too?
Amy: In college, I was a marketing minor.
Lindsay: I did not know that. I love it.
Amy: I was a communications major and a marketing minor. I had a marketing professor tell me more years than I would like to admit ago, that always look at marketing as a basketball, and it’s always spinning. You need to spin based on the market that you’re in, and the client that you are around. I think that the market, over the last six years, has been evolving, and I’ve had to change a lot. I started doing everything on my own, and I was working on my business more than in my business, which sounds silly, that I was that successful, but I think that depending upon the market that you are targeting, depends upon your audience.
Social media for the most part is free. Take advantage of it. Right now, reels are incredibly popular, and that’s where you’re getting your biggest target audience of buyers.
Lindsay: Yes. People are going to see, keep doing that.
Amy: People are going, and I’m shocked sometimes, and I send you screenshots saying “Oh my goodness gracious how did 13,000 people view this? How did 41,000 people view this?”
Lindsay: I want to say that it takes time. Like you’ve been doing this for a little while, and then that happens and all of a sudden, you’re like, “Why?”
Lindsay: To be honest, you can’t say why. You can’t always say why. Sometimes it’s the message, sometimes it’s the timing, sometimes it’s the music, sometimes it’s the caption, sometimes it’s the hashtags, it could be anything.
Amy: It could be.
Lindsay: But, like you said, you got to just keep spinning. I love that. Just keep spinning. I think that’s going to be the title of your episode because I think that that’s such a great way to look at it.
Amy: You have to. You can use that analogy in life, in family, in business, and understandably, I laugh that some people will comment on the post, and they’ll ask me what color nail polish I’m wearing, or what color lipstick, and I always say to myself like, “That has nothing to do with the message that I’m presenting.”
Lindsay: They’re watching very closely.
Amy: They’re watching very closely, and guess what, that’s top of mind. That’s huge.
Lindsay: I love it. All right. This is a question that I have literally never asked anybody on this podcast. Actually, that’s not true. I think I’ve asked like, forms of it and people have been afraid of how to answer. I’m going to ask you.
Amy: Go for it.
Lindsay: I want to, with tax season coming up, well, we’re in it, right? Talk to me about budgeting, how you prepare for taxes, what kind of tips you can give. Now, every single person that I ever talk to about this, every realtor, they always say, “I’m not good at it, so don’t take my advice, but this is what I do.”
Lindsay: I feel like someone can take little pieces from every single person of what they do, and make it into something that works for them. I think, to put the little small print on this episode, make sure you have a professional tax accountant, someone that can help you with this. We’ll just say that so that we’re covered, right? Go ahead and give us some advice on how you handle tax season.
Amy: I want to preface this by saying that when you ask this question, there should be a sound effect after that goes, “Dang, dang, dang.”
Lindsay: Dang, dang, dang. The downside of being a independent contractor.
Amy: Exactly. There’s no easy way around it.
Lindsay: Going back to what you said at the very beginning, this is probably one of those things again that was shocking to you that you were like, “Well, I had no idea. I did 30 transactions, and now I’m supposed to put money aside?”
Amy: Exactly. This is God honest truth. I remember sitting with my accountant. First year, I did my taxes on my own. That’s my first tip. Maybe you can, all the more power to you. Again, your disclosure, go find Trent.
Lindsay: Make sure you find someone professional to handle.
Amy: Exactly. I would not, but I remember sitting across from our accountant and saying, “I’m supposed to pay that all at once? When am I supposed to pay that? Oh, wait, I have to pay the IRS in the state of Massachusetts? Okay.” I thought I was a millionaire the first year I worked in real estate. What the heck happened? I think a lot of people, it’s one of those topics people don’t talk about.
Lindsay: No, they don’t.
Amy: But guess what?
Lindsay: That’s why I’m going to start, because it’s important. It can bury someone, especially when deals start to dry up, and you haven’t been putting money aside, and then you get hammered with that tax bill. That’s scary.
Amy: I think that it’s that conversation that no one has. It’s like the skeleton in the closet. No one wants to talk about it. The tips that I would say is, if you have the ability, hire a virtual bookkeeper, track everything, get yourself a great app on your phone. I use, I think it’s called Eversource. I don’t know. Don’t quote me on that because I don’t know the exact name of it. It tracks my mileage, it tracks everything from my car, it tracks expenses, it breaks everything down, and at the end of the year, I have the ability to print out a spreadsheet. Be organized.
Get yourself an incredible accountant, pay for an incredible accountant that not only does your taxes, but touches base with you throughout the year. Typically, accountants are very, very, very busy between January and a little after April. They’re buzzing through that. It’s no disrespect to any accountant, you’re in the shuffle. You know what? You want an accountant that’s going to guide you throughout the year, and not just when they’re doing your taxes. Try and pay quarterly. Try and put 33% into an account from each commission check in an account that you do not have the ability to access. You don’t want to have access to that money. It’s out-of-sight out-of-mind.
Lindsay: Because it’s not your money.
Amy: It’s not. They’ll come find you.
Lindsay: That’s the scary part. All right. Thank you.
Amy: You’re welcome.
Lindsay: I appreciate you answering the hard-hitting questions.
Amy: It’s not an easy one.
Lindsay: I know it’s not. It’s a scary one, and it makes people cringe because, yes, you’re right. They start getting those pay checks, and you’re like, “I’m rich.” Then you’re not. You’re only 70% rich. What kinds of apps, since you mentioned the app for this, but what kinds of apps and tech can you just not live without? I’m assuming your Instagram’s pretty popular on your phone now.
Amy: Sure. Instagram, obviously, any social media. Although, confession, I am not on TikTok. I do not use LinkedIn as much as I should. That goes back to that spinning and the ball, that Instagram is really hot right now. If I could give one word of advice, do what works for you. When I first started, years ago, door knocking was big. Now we’re in a different world right now. Safety, things like that, maybe people aren’t comfortable with that. If door knocking doesn’t work for you, don’t think that you have to do it. With regards to apps, I should be on LinkedIn a little bit more, but I’m not. I focus on my personal Facebook, my business Facebook, and Instagram.
Lindsay: Do you have a Dotloop app? What apps do you literally go in and use every single day? Do you use your notes app? Are you writing notes for yourself, reminders? Is your calendar app the most blank? What are the apps that you literally couldn’t take off your phone?
Amy: Again, true confessions, I’m a paper person. With regards to notes, reminders, things like that, I don’t necessarily use them. I use an app for tracking, for expenses, I use ShowingTime, I use Dotloop, I use Waze a lot.
Lindsay: Although it failed you this morning.
Amy: I can’t believe it.
Lindsay: I know. It happens.
Amy: I live 45 minutes away, and it took me two hours to get here.
Lindsay: The traffic is nuts.
Amy: That’s just insanity. Now, with this being said, with apps, I think you can very quickly go down the rabbit hole on apps. When I’m supposed to be doing a certain thing, I find myself on Pinterest. I find myself watching reels, and then an hour goes by, and I thought, “Oh, my gosh, I could have made X amount of phone calls, and I didn’t.” One of the apps that I recently downloaded was Freedom. It is the ability to completely block anything. I can block social media. Amazon was a big thing for me, so I deleted the Amazon app.
Lindsay: That’s bold. I don’t know if I could do that.
Amy: Something that realtors struggle with is immediate gratification. It’s something I had to work on because you have a deal, signed and sealed, you’re good, but you have to wait 45 to 60 days to get paid. Amazon filled that void of instant gratification. I took Amazon completely off my phone and I moved all social media apps to the fourth page of my phone. I would say right now Freedom is my number because it blocks.
Lindsay: Does it block it after a certain amount of time in a day or a certain amount of time each time you open it? How does that work?
Amy: I have it set to block from 9:00 to 4:00.
Lindsay: That is so smart.
Amy: I have no access. It is so-
Lindsay: Freeing. Freedom.
Amy: -it is. Initially, you have horrible anxiety. When I first set it up-
Lindsay: I feel like I’m missing something, I’m missing a notification, I’m missing something. I know.
Lindsay: We’re addicted.
Amy: Unfortunately, I was listening to a Tony Robbins’ YouTube clip this morning, which I’m a huge fan of, and it is so relevant. We all get caught up on the minutia of life, what every celebrity is doing, what new makeup line they have, who signed who on what sports team. When you break it down, that’s the little stuff.
Lindsay: None of it matters.
Amy: That’s not important. I think that you need a release, but for that, that app has it set that that’s not important, I need to focus on work, and focus is a thing for me.
Lindsay: In those hours.
Lindsay: I love it. You mentioned Tony Robbins, is there any books that you’ve read, podcasts that you listen to, people that you follow that have been inspirational to that?
Amy: I always have some sort of book going. True confessions, right now I have self-care for people with ADHD. It’s just a matter of reading through things and saying, “Yes, I need to focus on this. I need to focus on that.” I was an adult who was diagnosed late in life, went through middle school, elementary school, every high school not knowing. Fortunately, or unfortunately, I was late in life to be diagnosed. Which answers a lot of questions. I wish I knew the names of the books. I’m a big podcast person.
Lindsay: Now you’re on one.
Amy: I am.
Lindsay: How exciting.
Amy: I find that either I jam out to crazy, loud music, ’80s Vans journey, Van Halen, then I throw in ’90s rap, and I just jam out. That’s what gets me going with an occasional podcast.
Amy: I didn’t answer that question very well, but-
Lindsay: No, it’s fine. No, that’s what people need to hear that you need that release.
Amy: I’m not going to be that person that’s going to be like, okay. Although I did buy Barry Habib’s Money in the Streets.
Lindsay: He’s great.
Amy: Because he was awesome.
Lindsay: He is awesome. I know Anthony follows him a lot too.
Amy: I’m big about words, and I always tell my kids.
Lindsay: Well, you’re a communications major now. Now I know this about you. It’s all coming together.
Amy: I always tell my kids that words matter. Good or bad. That goes for everything in life. Watch what you say. A simple word can really affect someone.
Lindsay: Absolutely. We are wrapping up now, unfortunately. What advice do you have for experienced realtors out there who want to take their business to that next level or maybe someone who’s just started and they want to be as consistent as you’ve been. What advice do you have to give to them?
Amy: I would say, it sounds very cliché, your why is so very important. Find what works for you. I use the statement you do you. I even tell my clients that when submitting an offer and knowing that we’re up against 15 other offers.
Lindsay: What do you feel comfortable with?
Amy: You do you. If you walk away and this offer isn’t accepted, you need to know just in real estate, you gave it everything. If you break it down by day, a sense of accomplishment. If your goal is to write five handwritten notes a day, which is huge. That’s bringing it back to the basics that’s where we’re at right now. Know that you’ve accomplished something and that would be my number one, and be yourself. Be authentic. I feel like people can relate to people who are authentic and just like them.
Lindsay: Well, listen to you in the last half an hour talking about being diagnosed with ADHD and talking about your family and talking about some of the struggles that you’ve had, and all these things that makes you relatable. The people that are listening feel like they get to know you better. They feel like they know who you are on a deeper level. If you’re not putting yourself out there in that way-
Amy: Absolutely. Everyone has a story. Everyone has a story. It’s what you make of it. Do you let it guide you and push you or do you allow it to break you? Not every day’s a good day, but you portray what you feel. If you’re having a down day, look at yourself in the mirror and be like, “I got this” because that’s what you are going to portray to your clients, people who– everything and everybody. You’re surrounded. Just be authentic.
Lindsay: I love it. Well, thank you so much for doing this with me.
Amy: Thank you.
Lindsay: I really, really appreciate it. Thank you to all of our listeners who are out there. I’m sure you picked up a bunch of nuggets from this. We will link to Amy’s social and everything in the show notes, so feel free to check that out. Reach out to her if you have any more questions or anything like that. We will see you guys on the next episode of the Agents Who Crush It in Real Estate. Thanks so much for coming. Thank you.
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.