Lisa Hayford – From Cocktails to Contracts

Show Notes

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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 Here’s your host, Lindsay Favazza.

Lindsay: Welcome back to The Agents Who Crush It In Real Estate Podcast. I am here with a very special guest, Lisa Hayford from Lamacchia Realty. Welcome, Lisa.

Lisa: Thank you so much for having me. I appreciate the opportunity.

Lindsay: Absolutely. I was looking through company sales and all the different people, and I thought to myself, “I have to have Lisa on this podcast.” I reached out to you just a few days ago, and you were like, “I’m game.”

Lisa: I like to talk. I think I mentioned to you earlier, one of my closest friends is like, “You could talk a dog off a meat wagon.” Like I said, edit as needed.

Lindsay: Sounds good. Jacob will have his work cut out for him, I’m sure. We talked briefly before this, about your sales, how you got started, but why don’t, you for the audience, just take us back to those early days, why you got into real estate, and so on?

Lisa: I’ve been licensed for nine years in the state of Massachusetts, and then eight years in New Hampshire. I live on the North Shore, Mass, so having licensed in New Hampshire was a no-brainer for me. Before that, I was, am still, a single mom. I was working in the restaurant business longer than I even cared, or I think since I was 16 years old and doing really well. The hours, and the money, and the everything else really worked for me as a young single mom.

After a while though, it stops working for you and your lifestyle. I had a lot of very good regulars of mine when I was bartending that were real estate agents, and I had been approached numerous times, “Do you want to be my assistant? You should get your license. You’re really good. You’re good with people.” I always just blew it off. My kids were very little, I have twins, so it was just double the chaos. I never really thought it was something I could do until I did.

One day, I woke up and I was like, “You know what? My back’s really sore.” I didn’t get home until three o’clock in the morning, and we had to be at the bus stop at 7:00, and I’m missing a hockey game, or I’m missing a baseball game, or I only made $40 and I had to pay the babysitter $80 and it’s just time. I didn’t want to be the 50-year-old bartender, and there’s nothing wrong with that. I just knew for myself, I physically couldn’t do it anymore.

Lindsay: Now that I know you, I can imagine you as a bartender because you have that bubbly fun personality, but I also can see that you have so much drive.

Lisa: The level of gratitude I have for my years in the restaurant business, it has given me more than anything else. For every sore disc in my back, I have gotten so much more. Almost all of my clients, in the beginning, came from restaurant world, either they were co-workers, they were regulars at my bar, they were managers, and they have been with me the whole way through. I’m very, very grateful. All my plumbers that used to sit at my bar, my electricians, just they’re all my people that I’m so grateful for.

Then, learning the ability to multitask at a really high level and being able to just get along with every type of person from the lawyer to the construction guy, to the Amazon delivery person, to the CEO, and being able to make it all work was great. In addition, not everybody’s in the best mood when they show up to a restaurant or bar. They’re hungry, they’re tired, they need a drink. To be able to flip the script on people and work with them in that type of way has given me more gifts than anything else.

Anyway, fast forward, I stayed in the restaurant business for about two and a half years, three years into getting my real estate license because I was a single mom, and drive and ambition are great, but they don’t feed your kids. I still had to make money and make it work. I can remember every Sunday, I would work at night and I would do open houses, sometimes two a day, and then I would go work the night shifts, and while people are watching football, I’m answering texts behind the bar, getting in trouble from the manager because I’m on my phone, but I’m not texting people about like putting an offer in. You just figure it out, you hustle it out, you do it. I promise it is worth it. It is really hard. It’s hard. I was scared for a long time.

Lindsay: Those first years, what were you doing for sales in those first couple of years?

Lisa: The first couple of years, like I said, it seemed lean, but I look back on it now, and I say to myself, “Wow, you, you did pretty well.” The first year it was like five deals. It was small. It was just like figuring out how to fill out a contract really. I will say I had a very good mentor. I started out at Keller Williams who made me handwrite every contract. If I was making a new agent do that, because we’re not just fill in the blankers here, these are legal contracts, so thank you. Every year was a little bit more, a little bit more, a little bit more until I was able to go full time. It was now negatively affecting just every part of my life to not have just one focus, and I would still pick up a function and all that other stuff.

Lindsay: What year did you go full full-time into the business?

Lisa: Full full-time was, I think it was 2014. I got my license in 2012. Full, full-time was ’14.

Lindsay: You had told me earlier that in 2015 is when you hit 30 sales. You went from being full-time to 30 sales in a year, which is incredible.

Lisa: With no help. I did. Getting my New Hampshire license was key to that for me. At that point in 2015, so now I’ve been in for three years. Now I was actually getting some repeat people because some people had bought their first condo. I know it sounds crazy, but three years later, they’re like, “We’re having a baby. We need a house.” Now I’m getting repeat clientele. This is before Instagram, this Facebook was still big, so we’re celebrating our wins on Facebook and stuff like that, but it’s not to the level that it is now. It was truly just all about who.

I will say me knowing the local realtors in town made a unbelievable difference. It’s a hard crew to break through. If there are established agents who have been doing this for some of them longer than I’ve been alive, and I respect them and everything else, but when somebody else is coming through and they not only are like, “Who are you,” because it’s a very competitive atmosphere, but also, “Oh my God, am I going to have to carry this whole deal because you don’t know what you’re doing?” I’m very fortunate, I really didn’t deal with a lot of that because I had waited on all of them.

Lindsay: They were all friends of yours.

Lisa: They were friendly with me, and they couldn’t remember how they knew me, but they could remember if it was a deal or if it was the bar, but either way, I was okay with it. I went to every broker open. I went to every open house I could. I guess I was networking without knowing I was networking. Every realtor board, all the education was in-person. We weren’t doing a lot of online back then anyway, but I try to just ingratiate myself in that community so that people are just getting face time with you. That’s all that matters really.

Lindsay: I feel a lot of times, people don’t put that effort into actually putting it into realtors. They think they have to go out and do it with clients, but it’s so important to have that face time with realtors.

Lisa: It is. My clients are everything, and I love them, but they’re one deal or they’re two deals, maybe thre, and they’re going to refer me to other people, and that’s great, but these are the people I’m going to work with for the next 5, 10, 15, 20 years. The other thing is too is that there’s some of these agents, I was very fortunate to work with that, had been in the business for 20 years, 30 years, who I always say they forgot more than I’ll ever know. They have taught me more. Every deal, you learn something, but if you’re fortunate enough to do a deal with a very experienced agent, I guarantee you, you will learn something. No matter how big or small it is, it’s worth taking the opportunity to be respectful of them and their experience in this business.

Let’s take a quick break and hear from the number one loan originator, Shant Banosian of Guaranteed Rate as he gives us his monthly mortgage tip.

Shant: Hey, guys, it’s Shant from Guaranteed Rate. Just wanted to share something that’s really important to us and I think that works well for us. It’s really important, as a business professional, to find your value proposition. Why should people work with you? What sets you apart? Why are you better than your competition? Communicate that loud and clear to everybody.

Lindsay: Tell me a little bit about today and now, you’ve also had two pretty big years. You were typically around 30 sales, but now in the last couple of years, you’re managing to get to 40 or above. Tell me what’s shifted for you in the last couple of years.

Lisa: Last year–

Lindsay: Pandemic year, I will add.

Lisa: Pandemic. Last year, I had a great first quarter. This is pre-COVID, there’s rumblings, but we don’t really know COVID is happening.

Lindsay: The good old days.

Lisa: The good old days. I had a really, really good first quarter, and I was like, “This is going to be a great year.” March happens, and I’m like, “Pack it in, I’m going to go back to the restaurant business. Oh no, no restaurants either.” I was like, “Good thing, I have some money saved up”. It ended up being my best year, I think, ever. Last year was my best year ever. I did 40 deals just under 20 million. For me, I didn’t hit my goal goal. I think I wanted to do a 30 million or something, but given the difficulties of the year, I was extremely happy with the way it worked out, and up until I came here in October, which that’s a whole other thing, I did it all on my own. I did from October to December here, I think I did 11 deals or something. I did, say, 30 deals with no assistant, no admin, no nothing in a pandemic, all from home because the office was shut down. I’m okay [laugh] with not hitting the exact number.

Lindsay: You definitely made it work.

Lisa: I definitely think that, like I said earlier, if you don’t write that big number down, you’re never going to get to that number ever. For me, this year, my goal is bigger than last year. It has to be. I always think about what the person who wanted to do the five-minute mile, it seemed impossible until it was done.

Lisa: Now people break for.

Lisa: Now, they do it all the time. For me, I know I can do 40 deals. Can I do 50, can do 60? I know I will do more than 40 this year, that’s my goal. I know I will because it’s being done before. The year is still extremely challenging in this market, but you just have to get up every day and do it.

Lindsay: How do you figure out what your number is going to be? Do you just base it off of incremental growth each year, or how do you come to that number?

Lisa: It’s just like, what would I be okay with at the end of this year. It has to be more than the last year, I base it on no one else. I don’t look at anybody else’s numbers. I don’t compare myself to other people. I don’t even say, “I want to be number one in my office. I want to be number one in Essex County. I want to be number one in your report. I want to be number one.” None of that, it has to be–

Lindsay: I want to be number one to me last year.

Lisa: Yes, absolutely. If I didn’t beat last year’s numbers, I would be disappointed in myself and I would have to figure, “Okay, why didn’t this happen?” You can’t always blame it on the market. It has to be something.

Lindsay: Tell me how you plan to get to the 45 then. What things do you incorporate every year? What new things do you do, or what do you do just to get new clients, or what’s typically the way you get your clients?

Lisa: I don’t get new clients. You know what I mean? It’s not like I don’t really have any cold people.

Lindsay: Got it.

Lisa: Again, I am extremely fortunate and blessed and grateful that really all of my business is repeat and referral. It is. Occasionally, I’ll get a company referral. We’re very fortunate here that we have a lot of referrals into the company, inter-company, that I’m very fortunate and I’m glad that I’ve been able to benefit from that, but I don’t base my entire business off of that. Maybe you get a sign call here and there, but again, you can’t base your business off of that. I stay in touch with people. I know you’re supposed to ask for business, but I never do. I stay their person.

Lindsay: Yes. You’re a gift-giver, you told me.

Lisa: I am a gift-giver. I’m not giving people gifts to work with me but it’s more that, like, “I remember you.” You become like their family realtor. I sold mom and dad’s house. I’m selling their daughter a house. I sold the sister a house, and I’m so grateful for that. You trust me, and because they also know too that I will tell you to not buy that house all day long. I need to sleep at night. I need to know you’re okay. I tell people who live close by me. I’m going to run into you at Market Basket.

Lindsay: I don’t want you to take me.

Lisa: I’m not trying to dodge the pallette of Poland Springs water. I don’t want you to not believe me or trust me. This is not just one deal. I’d rather have you find the right house as hard as it is for me to say to you, this isn’t the house for you. Then, you believe me now, moving forward, no matter what, your parents believe me, they trust me. They refer me. It’s not like in trust, you have to trust me. You might not like me in that minute when I tell you this isn’t for you, but that’s okay.

Lindsay: Well, they’ll understand after a while.

Lisa: Mom, I can take it. It’s okay.

Lindsay: Tell me, what do you think is, I briefly asked you this question before, but what do you think is truly the reason that they do come back to you over and over again?

Lisa: I think they know that I genuinely care. I genuinely truly care. I really try to be empathetic and put myself in their shoes. I have probably four or five buyer clients right now. We have a lot of buyers, but there’s four or five who are just always on my mind right now because they need houses.

I know that sometimes people will think, “Oh, she doesn’t care.” Not me, but realtors don’t care. It’s just another deal. No, I know you’re living with your in-laws, and that’s not fun, I get that, or your kids are going crazy or they’re trying to start school, or you’ve got three dogs and you really need a yard. You’re in an apartment. Those are things that are in my head too. I think they know that I genuinely care. I learn what’s important to them.

This market’s hard. It’s hard. I’m constantly giving bad news, and I hate that. I call Monday, Tuesday my bad news, the heartbreak days. Those are my days. We write 10 offers on the weekend, and then I call you on Monday and Tuesday and be like, “They went with another offer who waived every contingency and went $100,000 over asking.” We tried our best, but that’s okay. I think that’s why people know that I do genuinely care.

Lindsay: Yes, absolutely. Actually, let me ask you this one last question. What advice would you give to agents that are maybe in that 10 to 12 range that you were in a while back and then that want to break into that next level? What advice do you have for them?

Lisa: Stay in activity is my biggest thing. Even if it’s dead and you have no deals and you have no buyers and you have no sellers, come to the office. There truly is a benefit to just learning through osmosis. If you stay in activity, if you go to open houses, it’s important for you to see homes and value. How can you go into this guy’s house when you don’t even know the neighborhood or anything like that? If I can go into the seller’s house and say, “Well, I was in 123 main street before it sold,” and then you have a level of credibility, for sure.

I think staying in activity, like I said, whether you have 10 buyers, 10 sellers or zero is probably the most important thing. You’re learning every single day, whether you think you’re not, just being around experienced agents is important.

Lindsay: I love it, I decided what the name of this podcast is, by the way.

Lisa: What is it?

Lindsay: It’s Who You Know.

Lisa: Who You Know.

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