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 so excited to be sitting here today with Laurie Howe Bourgeois. Welcome, Laurie.
Laurie Howe Bourgeois: Thank you.
Lindsay: I know we talked about having you on way back at Thompson Island, which was months ago now. I said, “I got to get you interviewed,” so I’m so glad that we’re sitting down today to do this. Thank you so much for agreeing to it.
Laurie: You’re welcome so much.
Lindsay: First and foremost, take me back to when you first got into real estate and why you decided to get into real estate in the first place?
Laurie: It’s funny. It kind of hit me one day. I always had interest in homes and interior design and just all of that. It hit me one day when I went to look at a house for myself, how I thought I could help people, especially inside, interior-wise. I wasn’t even thinking of really selling houses, but then it came to me that, “Wait a minute, I think I can do this whole thing and really like what I do, and want to do what I do, and be happy with it,” so I jumped right in.
Lindsay: It was the love of homes.
Laurie: Yes. The love of homes and interior design is what made me realize, “Hey, look, that’s my next step in life.”
Lindsay: What were you doing before that?
Laurie: I actually owned a business. I had 32 employees, so I was part time for a while, I couldn’t jump right in. Took me a while because you don’t really know what to expect and you want to have some solid career move. This has to be solid before you jump right in and do it full time. I ended up after about 10 years went full time and I love it.
Lindsay: 10 years, so you were transitioning for a while?
Laurie: Yes, long time. Yes, very long time.
Lindsay: What finally was the kicker to just say, “I’m done” after that 10-year mark?
Laurie: It was me choosing the career that I love the most and wanting to make sure my clients got 100% of me.
Lindsay: I love that. You got to the point where you said, “All right,-
Laurie: Have to. Have to do it. Have to do it.
Lindsay: -I have to cut it off and do it.”
Lindsay: That’s awesome. What year was that?
Laurie: I want to say it was 2010 or 2011.
Lindsay: Perfect. In 2011, how many deals did you do, roughly? I’m sure it’s hard to know exactly what you did, but just take us back to the transition over the years of how your business grew?
Laurie: I was fortunate enough when I first started that I had a great sphere because of owning a business, knowing so many people. When I first started real estate, I actually sold probably 18 homes my first year. Then it just kept 18, 25, 28 into the–
Lindsay: That was your first full year.
Lindsay: You had been doing it for 10 years, so you had built up a pipeline people.
Laurie: I had built up a pipeline, referrals. That first real- the 10-year, I think I kept doing the same thing for a while because I, number one, didn’t have any help. I was doing it all myself. No assistant, no backup help. I was always in the high 20s, 30s every year selling a home. That amount of homes a year.
Lindsay: When did you start to get into the higher echelon of home selling? Because you don’t sell 20 homes anymore, my friend.
Laurie: Honest to God, the first year I came to Lamacchia was my highest home sales.
Lindsay: How many homes in that year?
Laurie: I think that was 48.
Lindsay: What are you on track to do this year?
Laurie: Oh, at least 75.
Lindsay: Wow. Incredible. Incredible. We try not to make it too much of a Lamacchia Realty commercial, but at the same time, you can talk about what it is that you think was that transition point for you?
Laurie: Oh, definitely. Part of it was the camaraderie and the moral support, honest to God, lifted my spirits even more.
Lindsay: Making you love it again.
Laurie: Yes, because I was getting a little stale, a little dull. Didn’t have a lot of motivation, to be honest with you. I just didn’t, and I knew I needed to because I always loved what I did. I said, “I think that change is going to help me,” and it certainly skyrocketed my business and my mind.
Lindsay: Regardless, if someone could be listening to this out in Iowa-
Lindsay: -for goodness sakes. They could be listening and saying, “You know what, maybe I’m stale because I just need-
Laurie: Change, yes.
Lindsay: -a change of scenery.
Laurie: Absolutely. Yes, you could be anywhere. Anywhere.
Lindsay: Just make that switch and–?
Laurie: Yes, absolutely.
Lindsay: Was there some struggles making that switch? Tell me what–
Laurie: Oh, yes. Any time you make a switch in anything in life, you’re always going to have to adapt. Struggles as far as, yes, because I decided I wanted to do more business because I had so many people that I would get referred to me, and it was either passed them off or work with them. I wanted to work with them and I wanted to give them 100% of myself. In order to do that, I realized, “You know what? I need an assistant. I need help, I need things to go smooth, otherwise, I can’t take on any more clients and feel good about it.” That’s what I did, and it’s doubled my business almost.
Lindsay: It doubled your business.
Laurie: Almost, yes.
Lindsay: Incredible. This year, it’s 2021 when we’re recording this, but the year that you joined Lamacchia was 2019, ’18?
Laurie: Yes, it’s mid-year, so it was like in May we joined, I believe. That year, I think it ended up being– I don’t know. It was 48, I think, but I don’t know if it was the year prior to that.
Lindsay: It’s been just a couple years that you’ve taken it even from 40 to 75, which is just crazy, and in the midst of all of that, Laurie, we’ve had a pandemic.
Laurie: Pandemic, and I’ve moved three times or maybe four times myself, so I have that appreciation for people that are moving as well. It helps.
Lindsay: Absolutely, you can put yourself in their shoes.
Lindsay: Absolutely. That is so funny. All right, so take me back to a time in your career, no matter when it was, that you had a struggle, that you were struggling in either getting more clients or feeling like maybe it was the passion was gone. What was a struggle that you dealt with in your–?
Laurie: The biggest struggle, I think, was when I was part time. I just could not seem to have people take me seriously. I struggled with that a lot, and it really toyed with my brain, my inner self, because I almost didn’t feel good enough to represent them as a real estate agent.
Lindsay: They doubt you, then you doubt yourself, it becomes this circle.
Laurie: Yes. I had to take that leap because that was the worst time. Certain people that knew me, great, but if you didn’t know me, why would you hire me?
Lindsay: Knowing that you had this other–
Laurie: Why would somebody go and interview three listing agents and ask them what they do and why would they hire me knowing that I wasn’t full time and I had another job? Why would they?
Lindsay: Yes, so you just realized at that point.
Laurie: Yes, and I lost a lot of listings. I lost a lot when I was doing part time.
Lindsay: Then when you became full time, did you feel that confidence come back?
Laurie: Immediately. It wasn’t easy. There was a little nervousness, but I knew that I had to work really hard. It’s not an easy job. You’re working sometimes 12, 13 hours a day, it’s not easy. You can’t please everybody. It’s one thing I learned and finally accepted, is you cannot please everybody and it’s actually okay.
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, guys, it’s Shant. I just want to give you guys a quick business tip. It’s really super important to determine your fulfillment plans. Ultimately, at the end of the day, that’s what’s going to lead to future business and super happy clients. It’s super important to get feedback from your clients as to what they liked and what they didn’t like, and figure out what your plan is going to be, and make sure you got a lot more people that are happy and like it and want to refer you and are promoters of your business, versus people that are unhappy, that are going to give you feedback, but you got to remember, feedback is a gift.
You got to know what, A, clients want and expect from working with a professional, B, as a professional, you should know what they should expect and what they should be delivered from the fulfillment side. Then lastly, you just got to go over the top and deliver amazing service and do better than what both you expect and what they expect. That will lead to lots of happy clients, which will lead to a growing business.
Moderator: Thanks, Shant. Now let’s get back to the show.
Lindsay: Talk to me about that.
Laurie: I think the more confidence and the more experience one has, you’ll realize and can accept that. That’s one thing Anthony taught me. I would beat myself up if I had one unhappy client for whatever reason, and it would bother me all the time. He’s like, “Laurie, you just cannot please everybody. You have to let that go.” One out of a hundred clients isn’t happy and I would beat myself up over that. I finally realized, “You know what? I’m okay, this is okay.” It took me a lot-
Lindsay: It’s wasted energy.
Laurie: It’s wasted energy, and it’s okay to fire clients. It’s okay.
Lindsay: Yes. I remember we had that training a while back about firing clients, and everyone was like, “Wow, this is going to a be a really interesting subject,” but at the same time, it’s so necessary to talk about that because it’s you got to trim where you can to make up and get the good clients that you know you can help.
Laurie: You will grow confidence by firing your client.
Lindsay: Yes, absolutely. That’s amazing. That’s really great to hear. All right, so tell me about– I hate to use the word regret, because I’m sure you don’t regret that time because you learned a lot and then you were able to dive in full time, but would you have maybe shortened that 10-year window down if you could do it over again or no?
Laurie: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely. Yes.
Lindsay: With that 10-year timeframe of dabbling back and forth, think about someone who might be in that same boat right now and they’re just scared to take that leap, so what do you think is the best advice for someone like that, that’s–? I know it’s very personal decision, but what kind of advice would you give?
Laurie: I think the most reason people are afraid is financially. My best advice is to set aside some money, set it, prepare yourself, try to prepare yourself, really work at it. Then when you make that leap, it’s not going to be as scary. Make sure you’re with the right company, you’re with the right people around you. Just by doing that, you’re going to succeed. Do your homework. Do your homework.
Lindsay: Maybe that transition needs to happen at the same time. Find that new company that you know you can be successful with and then make that leap.
Laurie: Yes, exactly.
Lindsay: That’s great advice. Well, they’re hearing from the best, so listen to what she has to say.
Laurie: Thank you.
Lindsay: All right, so the next question I have for you, is now that you are in– You had the 10 years, you were part time, you had that struggle of feeling the confidence. Then, you got the confidence, you jumped in and you were doing 20 to 40 deals, and then now, you’re in the 75-deal range. What are your challenges now?
Laurie: My challenges. That’s a good question. What are my challenges? Trying to keep things on track, trying to still give 100% of myself. I don’t see it as a challenge anymore because I have systems and I have everything organized, and I am very consistent with every seller and every buyer. I have everything down pat as to what I do when I do it. I write everything down. I’m a paper person. The challenges are, “Okay, let’s just keep going.” That’s my only real challenge.
Lindsay: Yes, like, how far can we go.
Laurie: Yes, how far can we go?
Lindsay: It’s exciting. As far as like you’ve got the 40 deals and you’ve got the 75 deals, and do you feel- like if you had told yourself, the 40-deal person, you’re going to be doing 75 deals, do you think it would have stressed your 40-deal person out? Do you know what I mean?
Lindsay: Like that mindset–
Laurie: Absolutely, because I was doing the 40 deals with no help.
Lindsay: You thought that you were at your absolute capacity?
Laurie: I know I was at my absolute capacity. Now, 75 is a breeze with help. It can be a struggle. It’s a lot of time, a lot of work, but it was no more work than doing the 40.
Lindsay: It doesn’t feel like more-
Laurie: It doesn’t feel like more.
Lindsay: -because you’ve got the system.
Laurie: You’ve got the system, you’ve got the help.
Lindsay: You’re following a playbook and you got the help that you need.
Lindsay: I have one other question that I wanted to ask you. That is, I know you talk a little bit about your sphere and how valuable your sphere is, so how do you take care of them? How do you get that business from your sphere? Obviously, you get to the closing table and they’re happy with you, but how do you make it so that they give you more business moving forward?
Laurie: I don’t think that’s something that you have to make or do. I think it comes naturally if you do your work.
Lindsay: I love that answer. It’s not about giving them a present-
Lindsay: -or it’s about sharing them with gifts. It’s about just doing a great job by your clients.
Laurie: Absolutely. Of course, I love giving closing gifts. I think it’s 100% doing your job, letting them know you’re there for them, communicating always in real time. You’ve got to talk on the phone.
Lindsay: Phone is a lost art, isn’t it?
Laurie: Yes. You’ve got to ask the clients, “How do you prefer to communicate?” Period.
Lindsay: If they would rather be talking to you via text, then that’s fine.
Laurie: Yes, fine.
Lindsay: You make a note of that, so you’re organized and you have an idea.
Laurie: Give for advice, set the stage when you meet your client. Set the stage is how it’s going to go? What is going to happen? Once you set the stage, their expectations, you’re golden.
Lindsay: They know what to expect, and then you’ve set boundaries as well.
Laurie: Absolutely, and you have to. You have to. You’ve got to be consistent, and it’s got to be with every client. That’s consistency is key.
Lindsay: Great. Well, I am so excited to see where you take it from here, because 75 is incredible, but could we push 100 next year, Laurie?
Lindsay: You’re definitely going to.
Lindsay: I have no doubt in my mind.
Laurie: I hope so.
Lindsay: Any closing advice for just either agents that are getting in or agents that are more experienced that really just want to reach and get that little extra bit?
Laurie: I guess agents that are getting in, do your homework, get your training, talk to the right people, people that are trying to build. Be honest with yourself, just be you. Be natural, work hard. It’ll all come to you with experience in time in the business as well. It funnels in. You keep doing a good job with all your clients, 100% of your attention, straightforward news, let them know what’s going on all the time, communication, and you’re just going to build. It’s really quite easy, honestly, if you just give it your all.
Lindsay: Laurie, thank you so much. This was wonderful. This was absolutely wonderful. Thank you so much.
Laurie: I’m glad I could help.
Lindsay: Can’t wait to watch all your business growth.
Laurie: I wish I had somebody help way back then.
Lindsay: I know.
Laurie: If I can help–
Lindsay: Again, no regrets. Just can’t wait to see what happens from here on out.
Laurie: If I can help somebody else out, certainly one little tidbit of information. You know what? I wish that I had back then, but that’s okay, I’ll help someone else.
Lindsay: Where can people find you if they want to see your website or they want to follow you on social? You’re Laurie Howe Bourgeois on your Facebook, correct?
Lindsay: Beautiful. We will link her Facebook page into the comment. If you want to follow her page or if you want to ask her any questions, I’m sure she’d be happy to do that. Thank you again, Laurie. I really appreciate the time.
Laurie: You’re welcome. 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.