Marketer First, Realtor® Second

Show Notes

Content Advisory

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. I’m super, super excited today to introduce you to Amit Bhuta. He is down in Miami. He is with Compass. He has a team of currently five, but I’m going to let him talk to you a little bit about his team and the structure. Welcome today to the podcast, Amit. We’re so happy to have you here.

Amit: Thanks so much. It’s exciting to be here.

Lindsay: Tell me a little bit about how you got into real estate, way back. You’ve been in the business for over a decade I think you had said. Tell me how you got into the business and what got you excited about real estate?

Amit: I’ve been doing real estate 17 years, many struggles along the way, but prior to that, I went to college. I did finance. I had a finance degree. My goal was to be a stockbroker. I don’t even know if that’s not a big deal anymore, but I ended up working in the car business. It was a blind ad. I worked there as a car salesperson, finance manager, sales manager, did that for 11 years. Got totally burnt out from doing that and working 78 hours a week. Then since that was usually people’s second biggest ticket item that they purchased, after taking a few months off and recouping mentally, I figured let me sell them their biggest ticket item, and that’s how I got into it.

Lindsay: You went from being overworked on this to saying, “You know what, let’s go all in and go with the biggest ticket item that they have.” I love it. That’s awesome. How is that transition into real estate for you? Did you feel like you got off the ground pretty quickly or tell us a little bit about how that went?

Amit: Yes, so I started in 2004. 2004 to 2006 was just busy. Back then they were giving loans if you can breathe, so it was pretty easy to get a loan. The first two, three years was decent. When I say decent for me, when I was a new agent, it wasn’t great by people’s standards, by any means. I would do like maybe 10 or 12 transactions, but when you’re new, you don’t know. If you ask an average person on the street that’s not in real estate, how many transactions is good and a good amount that a realtor sells? You’ll get a ton of different answers. When that happened, then the market crashed a little bit later and I was struggling tremendously. I was doing just terribly. There was a year that I could definitely have made way more at McDonald’s than if I was a real estate agent.

Lindsay: How did you get through that? You stuck it out, obviously.

Amit: Yes, it was a tough time in my life. I’m not going to try and get into weeds too much, but I think it’s important. I had seven friends commit suicide in my life. I had a ton of people go through things. During that time when that happens, you struggle mentally especially also when the real estate business is not doing well. I remember one of the years I had, I think it was like 13 deals that were going to close. Then the week of the closing, the banks went under or there was issues.

Thank God I got through that suicidal time and mental time. One day I was at my parents’ house and a friend of the family, the son committed suicide. At that time I was feeling those thoughts and I felt so bad for the guy because he was about my age at that time. Then my mom– moms are moms, she’s like, “That’s so selfish to that person. I thought, “Wait a second, whoa, what does that mean?” Then I really dug into what she was saying. She was saying, obviously the person didn’t mean to be selfish, but all the people left behind had to deal with it.

At that moment I’m like, “I’m all in on life,” and I got through it and then I was just working much better. Then I got through it. The main reason probably why I’m here is because we do a lot of marketing and about six or seven years ago, I realized that doing stuff that I really like– one of the things about real estate, and sorry I’m going on so long about this, but is that there’s so many different ways of making money and doing well in real estate, but we really have to dig in and find out what we really like. Otherwise, we could be the highest paid person that hates their job, which isn’t good.

Lindsay: Absolutely agree. What are the things in real estate that you have found that you love the most?

Amit: In 2016 or 2015, I discovered a company called Curaytor. There was this guy, Jimmy Mackin and Chris Smith. There were these two young guys that were way hipper, way cooler than me, but they were doing this YouTube video was called the Water Cooler and they were teaching people how to sell real estate in a way that was not like the humble brag that real estate agents do, where it’s all about them.

Because of them I got inspired and motivated and I started doing a lot more marketing. I learned that with marketing, the biggest issue that I see and whatever, there’s a million ways to make money like I said, but the typical agent brags about what they’re doing, I just sold this, I just listed this. I’m so tired today, I had four closings, congratulations to my lucky buyers or whatever. I realize that we need to be the guide. The customer has to be the hero. If we’re the hero, no one cares. If there’s someone else that’s the hero and we’re just guiding them along, we’re going to be in the story and it’s going to be way more impactful.

Lindsay: I’m assuming that you’ve read StoryBrand because you are referencing a lot of the things that I’ve learned and from him as well, that was such a great book. I could not agree with you more. The more that you are teaching, and guiding people, you are the hero in their story. It’s just such an impactful way to look at things, and to be honest, I feel like and I’m sure you would agree for an agent, that’s more fun for them too. It’s uncomfortable to brag so a lot of the times people think to themselves, do I have to do that? Well, you don’t have to do that, and the actual thing is you shouldn’t do that. You should be promoting your client’s success.

Amit: Yes. I did read that book. I’ve read it like three times. Well, I listen to it because I’m lazy. I think what you said, there are two reasons why they do it. One is they don’t have self-confidence, in their abilities, so they feel like they have to prove that they’re selling. You need some social proof for someone to know that you can actually sell, but I’ll give you an example. Before I get to the example, the other one is people just don’t know they guess and they don’t ask the people like you that know or they don’t read or whatever.

I’ll give you an example. There was a listing that we had but prior to getting the listing, another agent, a really good agent, actually an agent that was so good when I started I reached out to him to ask him for his help. He had this listing. It was on the market for over six months, and it didn’t sell. Because of social media and stuff like that, another agent that I didn’t know asked another agent that I knew in Jacksonville and I got an appointment, a listing appointment.

Met them, we got the listing. We like to consider ourselves storytellers and we dug in really deep on who the buyer is. We spent few hours, we do this with every listing. We look at the buyers that bought within that neighbourhood or area. We look at the last 20 or 30, and we dig in deep on their social, we look at everything, and we create a buyer persona, and then we create a story within the script with the video and all that.

We try to make it resonate with the most important people, the buyers. Anyways, we sold this property in nine days, and they were really happy with everything. This is my lesson to the realtors listening. Typically an agent would brag to the world how great they– they make that other agent look bad a little bit. This agent didn’t sell it or maybe whatever. You can look up the address so they would know. They didn’t sell it in this time. This is what we did, and we sold it, then the humble brag. Instead what I did and what our team did is, and I love that you said fun, right? If we love our job and it’s fun, it makes things so much better.

What I did is, I had my videographer go there and you don’t have to have a videographer. You can have a friend who’s not in real estate. I would say, not in real estate, and they went in the house, they filmed them. They asked them questions for like 20 or 30 minutes. If you ask 20 or 30 minutes questions to that person about how was it living here, what did you enjoy? Why did you move? How did that go? You’re going to get at least a couple minutes of good answers and good questions.

I was in my car outside the house when they did that because I don’t want to be there and make it about me. I wanted to make it about them and then like we talked about, we’re going to be the guide so we’re going to end up in the story and then that customer is going to be the hero. After we did the video, we sent it to the sellers and they cried. It was nice.

Lindsay: That’s so amazing. I love that story and you’re so right.

Moderator: 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 Banosian: Hey, realtors. It’s Shant from Guaranteed Rate. I just wanted to give you a quick tip about what I was doing back in the day when I was a solo practitioner, a loan officer by myself. One of the most important things I did is I focused on growing my support staff. I hired an admin. I hired support staff. What it allowed for me to do is focus on the things that are the best use of my time, which are bringing in more business and creating new relationships and prospecting, which is the same things that you’re doing.

You got to make sure you’re not getting caught up in operational and support and administrative type duties because there’s somebody that you can hire and invest in that is going to handle that stuff for you and do an amazing job at it. That way you can go out and sell more houses and do some more prospecting and business development.

Moderator: Thanks, Shant. Now let’s get back to the show.

Lindsay: I’m going to go back and I’m going to brag about you for a second because you talk about social media and marketing, being a big focus. I did some research and I was very impressed. You have 1,700 or so, a little bit above that YouTube subscribers, you have 48,000 Instagram followers. You have 2,500 Facebook followers. You have 2,500 Twitter followers. Like I said, roundabout, it’s very, very impressive and that’s pretty much six years that you’ve been at it.

Amit: Yes, thank you. It’s funny when you say those numbers. I’m happy and I’m grateful that you shared them but to me, out of all those numbers that you shared, the one that I get the most business with is my YouTube by far, not even close.

Lindsay: I couldn’t agree more and what’s funny is that when I went to your channel, I went, okay, what content is he putting out there? Because 1700, some people might say, well, some, YouTubers have millions of followers. Okay. Yes, but to have 1700 is very, very impressive. We only have 900 and something on ours and we’ve been at this for four years now, five years now as well, so to have that many, it’s very, very impressive.

I went through your content and what I love the most about it and I know you mentioned this before, is it wasn’t just real estate related. You had some personal stories mixed in there with your listings. You had all kinds of awesome content and I thought, “Of course, someone would want to subscribe to this.” It’s not just a realtor that is like robotic. Here’s my listing, here’s my listing, here’s my listing. It had a personality behind it and I just love that. Talk about that a little bit and how you come up with the concepts of what to do for the videos.

Amit: Yes, thank you so much. It means the world when I hear it from someone in marketing. With the realtors, whatever, but when a marketing person tells you that, it makes you feel–

Lindsay: Hats off to you, it’s really, really impressive.

Amit: Thank you. I think the main thing, Lindsay, is as you do it, your mind becomes a marketing mind. You have to think about a lot of realtors when they decide on their content, they’re thinking about what should I do to compete against other real estate agents? It shouldn’t be that. You’re competing against them going to work out or going to eat or spend time on their phone. You have to get their attention as Gary V. would say. You have to spend time to get the attention with the content that you produce.

With that said is, I pretend that people aren’t in looking to buy a house because if they are, our content should be good enough where they remember who we are when they are ready to buy or sell a house. It shouldn’t be like, I’m trying to convert them now because the majority of people aren’t. Like stories, I know this is a podcast, but you can see me on the video. I had a hair transplant recently and I’m 52 years old and when I was in my early 20s, it was a struggle. I had a few hair transplants and it’s so taboo. Some of the things that are taboo or that people are scared to talk about, speak about it.

I speak about mental health. You have to find out what resonates with you because as agents, and I’m sure all of the agents that listened to this you’ve had clients that really got you, that you had similar things, likes, and it was just so easy to do the deal with them. Even if you didn’t do the deal, you were happy you made a new friend, but there are people that you don’t resonate with and the reason you get those people a lot of times is because you’re creating content or not creating any content where it just everyone reaches out to you. How amazing would it be to create a stream of people that like the things that you do?

Just figure out what you like to do, that you’re passionate about, talk about it. I tell my team this. I tell people that we want to be like the guys or girls that people would like to hang out with on Friday and Saturday going to a bar or restaurant and Sunday, maybe they’ll buy their $5 or $10 or $15 million home, or maybe it’s their first rental, maybe it’s a kid moving out of his parents’ house. We’re going to be honored to be able to share that journey with them.

Lindsay: I love that. Since you mentioned your team, tell me a little bit about your team and how you’ve built your team over the last few years. As you had told me in the beginning, this year you’re on track or have already sold $48 million to $50 million and 110 to 115 sites for your team. That’s really– you had said about three people because you had some transition in your team this year. That is so impressive. Tell me a little bit about the team, how you’ve grown the team, and so on.

Amit: Thanks. Yes, those would be our numbers that we’re projecting towards the end of the year. We have about I guess a month left give or take. The three people, it’s funny because I prefer people that are not in real estate or never did real estate. I don’t want a seasoned vet because then they’re going to be too many feelings hurt sometimes, and I’m not into that. Will is 27. He’s been on my team for about four years. Jade is 25. She’s been on the team about two and a half years. Donna is two weeks in.

Vicko started last year, but he’s just getting his feet wet. He hasn’t been able to do it fully, so he’s done one transaction. It was a $25,000 a month rental. He has a very affluent sphere. That’s our team. On average, we sell luxury, but we’re okay doing– We did $120,000 a month rental this year, and we did a $1,500 a month rental this year.

Lindsay: Amazing. You really do cover it all. That $1,500 a month rental turns into more down the line too. You never want to look at any number and think or they have friends, they have family members that they’ll refer to you as well. We always say that to our agents as well. That’s amazing. Tell me a little bit about what the future holds for you, for your team, what you guys have on the horizon. Give me a little bit of a glimpse into the future.

Amit: A great question because we all know that this market is not going to last forever. I appreciate you saying kind words about our numbers, but we know this, that the market has helped a lot in those numbers. I’m in Miami, Florida, a lot of people are moving here from all over the country for many reasons. With that said, probably I think it was about six months ago I realized that I need to start playing offense for the future. What I did is in Miami, people know Miami as Miami, but just like in Massachusetts or wherever, you’re going to have these hyper-local areas.

If I tell someone, I live in Pinecrest, they’re like, “Where is that?” It’s in Miami. I picked out 30 to 40 hyper-local areas and we’re doing about 5 blogs on each, and we’re doing a neighborhood video on each. Since our website is all in Miami, we wanted to make sure it sounded like a website that people can get information from, not like the Amit Bhuta team. With that said, in case you’re interested in the blog, the first blog, say it’s South Beach, the first blog would be explore South Beach. The second blog would be five things you may not know about South Beach.

The next blog would be five things to do in South Beach. The next blog would be five places to get dinner at South Beach. The last one would be five places to get dessert in South Beach. Then there’s going to be a video of South Beach. I have a videographer doing these 30, 40 videos. Then at the end of the blog, the person could search for a home. Again, I know that we’re doing real estate. We don’t need to shove it down their throat. What happens is when people ask us– We get people all the time that are coming to Miami. I’ll tell them like, “Just read my blog.”

Like, “What should we do?” I send it to them, they share it. I’m not going to get too deep into this, we retarget them with personal stories. They get to know us. Whenever they are ready to buy or sell they’ll call us.

Lindsay: You’re going to be top of mind because you are the website that they keep visiting. I love that. That’s awesome. Amit, thank you so much. I really, really appreciate this today. Thank you for taking the time out. I’m so glad we got the chance to connect. Is there anything else or any closing advice you would like to give to our audience today?

Amit: Thanks. It’s been great to be on. The advice I’d give to a new agent. I want to give the new agent because they’re usually the most open-minded even though other agents are, but they’re most open-minded, they’re more willing to learn. This has always bothered me a little bit in real estate. We’re a brand new agent, we go to our broker and our broker tells us to call our family or friends who spent the last few years saving money for their biggest asset. We’re told to call them and trust someone that knows nothing.

That’s not a good story. It’s not good to guilt them into doing something, but a better way to do it in my opinion is, think about for a second you’re watching a movie. In this movie or your YouTube or whatever content you’re creating, you have your real estate book or it’s online and you’re sharing your journey, how you’re studying for your real estate test, you’re doing all this stuff.

It’s Saturday night, you could be doing a million things, but you’re so focused and motivated to do real estate, you’re studying for real estate. Then you just share your journey about learning and doing these things. All of a sudden, people are going to root for you. They’re going to want to do business with you. If you call them and say, how’s it going? They’re going to know your journey first of all. Then you don’t have to ask them, you’d say, “Are there any questions that you have about real estate that I can find out? I’m not an expert, but I can do whatever I can to get the answers.” If you provide a service and you get them to root for you, you’re going to succeed and you’re consistent.

Lindsay: Absolutely love it. Thank you so much. I’ve learned a lot from you today. I’m sure our audience has too. I just really appreciate you taking the time. In the show notes, we’re going to link to all of his different social media platforms, his website, so that people can find you and ask more questions in the future. Thank you again so much for being a part of this today and tune in next week for our next episode.

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.

Make sure to check out Amit’s social media channels ➡