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Management Magic with Steve Heravi

by Paul Dashevsky
October 18th 2022
Hosts Paul and Sara are joined by real estate industry veteran Steve Heravi, Managing Director at Compass Real Estate. We cover how agents can benefit from a branch manager, what 'deal doct... More
Welcome to the L. A. Realtor podcast. I'm paul with great belts and I'm Sarah with glen oaks escrow and we're getting to know the industry one conversation at a time. Hey Sarah, hey paul, what's happening? Not much. Did you recognize that was from a movie? No, you seen office space? Yes, from that. You have the T. P. L. Reports. Oh, I think it's a Tps Blumberg. I don't know what we're talking about but let's jump into it. I'm really excited about our guest today. I know him really well. You've heard of him? So that's a good start. He sold real estate for for a while and I bought a bunch of real estate from him back in the oreo and short sale. Days Welcome steve. Hi Robbie. Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. Yeah, this is awesome. I'm excited. You're one of the really good guys out there. So I'd like to first ask you about your trajectory in the real estate world. How long have you been doing this?

Funny you asked because today is actually my 17 year anniversary Jamie, congratulations. I'm impressed that you kept track of that. Are you, will you be taking yourself out to dinner or lunch? No, I will not. Actually. The credit goes to the first manager that hired me 17 years ago. I was talking to him two days ago and he remembers all these dates and he said two more days as your anniversary and I thought wow it is 17 years of flown, by wow, That's crazy. Alright. So when I knew you, it wasn't quite 17 years ago I believe you're a real estate agent and then you pivoted to being a branch manager that was it caldwell and now you're a managing director at compass. Do I? Do I have that? Right, more or less? More or less? Yes. Okay. So I'd love to hear about that project because I think our audience would like to know what's it like and what's the decision matrix when you go from being a real estate agent to going into management? So can you talk to us about what was the decision like to become a branch manager?

What was that job like and then so on and so forth. Yeah, absolutely. So in my world it's actually very very rare for a salesperson, especially if you're productive and you know do well to go into management. My last three or four years selling real estate. I was a mentor to new agents and that was probably half my time for a small fraction of my income. But I quickly learned that that's where my passion was. It's kind of like being a teacher, you know, you don't do it for the money, you do it because you actually love helping others and that was me. I was that geek that just loved helping everybody else with you know all their stuff and after a few years of doing that successfully Coldwell banker at the time took notice and came to me with an opportunity and management at the time in calabasas and I jumped at it. I actually in my personal life at that time my wife and I just had our second child who was a few months old and even selfishly I thought great time to maybe to get get my weekends back a little bit, stopped working seven days a week. So the timing works for me personally and professionally.

Alright so that was the that was branch manager called. Well so what was that? Was that job like how is that different than being an agent? Well very different. But what they have in common though is as an agent you have your clients and you want to put your client's needs first all the time as a branch manager your agents become your clients right? Except not for a transaction but ideally for a lifetime. Something that I always told my agents back then and I still do today is that at home I have two kids and here I have X amount of kids because I I am kind of like a father figure at the office. Right? So I don't care how old anybody is if you're working with me I'm like your dad so you can come to me with all of your professional needs, your personal concerns whatever it is and I'm here to help. So in that way it's similar. But the thing is that when you're a real estate agent occasionally you might have a client that you just really don't gel with. You don't really love this client so you're looking forward to closing the escrow and maybe never having anything to do with them ever again. But when you're a manager you're signing up for a lifelong commitment. Right?

So hopefully you're working with people that you really enjoy working with, otherwise your days might not be so lovely. So how many offices do you manage now? Right now? I oversee seven offices. I specifically run compass is Calabasas office but my role is essentially like a regional manager. So I do oversee A total of seven offices. Okay. And then in those other those six other offices is there another on site manager or are you managing that? There is there is there is an on site sales manager and all those offices. Yeah. Absolutely. Yeah it's interesting. I was somebody was saying the other day that their office has like three managers that are you know there's like a rotation. I was like that's so cool because there's kind of always someone there to help which is nice. It's not just one person stretched really thin. It's well staffed. Yeah I mean in a perfect world you would have that because not everything is a meeting by appointment in the olden days you know which is pretty covid everything was it was not an appointment right? It was people just walking into your office and saying you got a minute which really meant you have 45 minutes.

Right? But there were no almost no scheduled meetings was extremely rare. Covid has changed so many things in this world and now lots of my meetings are maybe a little bit more scheduled but still I get people that just want to walk in and say, hey boss, you got a minute. I mean when you say boss though, I mean are you are you really the boss? I guess my question is what does an agent need a manager for? What's what's the most important role they need you for? Wow I could spend a lot of time on that one. They're all very different I could say for most parts of their business. So they're all independent contractors and you're right. I'm not technically their boss but I learned from a previous boss of mine that when your agents refer to you as boss it's a term of endearment. Right? So I think that that's really cool and they're all different. Some are some independent contractors are super independent but most most are not. And that's okay. So helping out with listings, helping out with no deal doctoring as we as we put it. I like to think of myself as a great coach. So I love taking somebody who's making X amount of income but really wants to be doubling their income.

And how do you work with them and maybe find their strong suits their weaknesses and bring them to levels that they never even expected possible? That's the absolute favorite part of my job? So you're the coach, your ted lasso. Yes, I wish I was ted lasso. What is the deal doctoring? So Deal that's a great question. So deal doctoring is helping with their deals without getting too granular. Just literally three minutes before we started today's session, I was helping an agent with the cancelation one party wants to cancel the other party does not want to cancel, what does that look like forms the legalities etcetera etcetera. So yes, there's a lot of deal doctoring and even for veteran realtors that are 12 Plus 30 plus years in the business, it seems like they're deal doctoring is happening all day every day. So but that's great. You know it's a it's a part of our job troubleshooting. Yes. Yes. Yes. The only unfortunate part about a lot of deal doctoring is that it's reactive versus proactive and I wish we could do everything proactively in life.

But lots of deal doctoring situations are much more reactive. So it is what it is. Here's what I'd like to know steve, you were both an agent now you've been in management for a while, you've seen a lot of real estate agents and you've seen some I'm sure some really successful ones. And you've seen some agents that come and go, is there anything that you've kind of figured out. Is there anything that you've witnessed where you can tell our audience here a few things that, especially if you're new to the business or you're trying to build your business here are a few things that successful agents do. They treat it like a job right? They treat it absolutely like 9 to 5 plus plus plus, like it's a job. They have a serious work ethic and everything that's on the list to do today. Lo and behold is actually done today, right? Because when you are an independent contractor, well, you don't have to, there is no real boss. So if something was on your calendar to do today. Okay, well you can, you know, cut and paste that for tomorrow and the day after and the day after that.

But if you actually have a job, so if you work at Target or Nordstrom or wherever you work and your boss says, these are the five things I need you to get done today. Well, you know, that if you want to collect your paycheck every other friday, you better do those things. But real estate is different. Right? So the folks that are most successful makeup plan, stick to the plan no matter what it's gonna be self motivated, right? There's no, like you said, there's no boss. What crazy question, But what percentage of agents do you think fit in that category? It's under 50%. It really is. It's, I'm going to say it's probably somewhere around 2030% really do an outstanding job. I mean, you know, just a stellar job making the calendar, putting everything on there every week and no matter what rain or shine Personal prob, I'm not feeling well, I have a belly ache, they get it done and it's ok to occasionally move something around on your calendar in the given week. But the most successful folks, no matter what, everything still gets done, no matter how much they don't want to do it, everything gets done.

And like I say, unfortunately it's less than half consistency is really and just taking action are like the best ways to move your business. Yeah. So how do you, you're this coach, you're this mentor and you're seeing an agent that isn't, isn't hitting, this isn't functioning on all eight cylinders, You're frustrated. What are you doing to motivate them? What are you giving them the same pep talk you kind of just gave us, which is successful agents do this. What are you doing to help them out in their career? So a couple of things. So, first of all I do, I always offer myself, I do various types of coaching and for some folks, I offer to be their accountability coach. Right? So give me your plan, give me your calendar and we're going to sit down and I will hold you accountable right? Not to be mean about it, but I will absolutely hold you accountable to whatever, whatever that plan is. And I give them an analogy which is ups right? So I told them if you worked for ups, you would go every morning, you you would report for duty, you would fill your brown truck full of all these brown boxes and once you're done right, that means that all that your truck is now void of brown boxes, but you get to go home, but if there's still one box left, you can't return the truck to HQ right?

So think of real estate like that. So every day we're going to put all of these boxes right in the back of your truck and you're not going to clock out until every single box has been delivered. Yeah, a lot of people are trying to go back to basics right now, right, with a little bit of a slowdown, people are like, okay, what do I need to be doing, what do you feel like are the best things that someone can be doing right now in a climate like this to move their business forward? So you're absolutely right. It is 100% back to basics and you know, having to really work for the money versus every listing just a few months ago getting 42 offers in the 1st 42 hours, right? Very different times all of a sudden, So to me, the number one thing is staying very connected to your sphere of influence. So, and it's not just once a year saying merry christmas or happy new Year, you really have to be in touch with everybody that, you know, and constantly remind them that you're still in business, you're still relevant, you're still here to help them, their loved ones, whomever it is, buy and sell real estate.

And for folks that challenge me on that and say, well, you know, everyone knows me, everyone knows I've been doing this for 20 years, they get my mailers, whatever it is. I then I ask them, well, why is it that all these big companies, Doritos, coca cola Verizon? Why do they advertise during the Super Bowl when they're already number one in their field? Right, because they have to take every opportunity to remind everybody that they're the biggest, they're the best and they're still relevant and we, as real estate professionals have to do the exact same thing. So if we're sitting on our hands or our laurels, eventually, we're going to be out of business. There's an agent in my, in my neighborhood and my farm, I guess he farms our neighborhood that gives out pumpkins every Halloween to every house in the farm. And that's like a big task because these are pumpkins. So I see him with a big truck like himself and some helpers putting pumpkins on everybody's door with this flyer, I mean, it's cool, I love my free pumpkin, but our ideas like that, a good idea because you stand out or not such a good idea.

I think overall I'd say yes, I never did that in the 10 years that I sold real estate, I never did give out any pumpkins. Alright. No, no, but you know some people do pumpkins, some put out flags on the fourth of july, some people do pies at thanksgiving, some people do umbrellas on a rainy day, you know, I've seen, I'll never say I've seen it all, but I've seen lots of different ideas but at the end of the day it's about making connections and if you're constantly making connections and re establishing your connections no harm in that, what's your favorite way to connect or when you're doing real estate or how do you advise your agents, what's the best way to connect? Is it one on one? Like reaching out to people phone calls, is it Popeyes? Is it door knocking? Social media, Yeah, social media, so it is huge and it's a great way to leverage but still to me number one or phone calls because that doesn't a lot of people don't actually pick up the phone anymore. I have office meetings and you know and I talk about that frequently that you know if you're just texting or emailing, that may not be enough, you have to actually hear someone's voice and take their pulse and even social media is wonderful and a lot of people think that they're connecting with their sphere of influence by hitting the like button on facebook or the heart on instagram.

Well, that's not enough. And even their comments versus just a like or a love because the average person doesn't look at, you know, let's pick on facebook for a moment. The average person doesn't actually click and see who liked my post right, on a good day. They'll see who commented. But nobody is probably that board where they're going to look and see who actually like their post. So that's not a way of connecting with people, Especially if they have like 50, 60 likes. They're not gonna for hundreds. Like there's no way they're going through the list. Like I get hundreds of likes. Right? Exactly. Sorry. You were saying pick up the phone and talk about what? Yeah, I mean, to me it's more personal. Right? In real estate, there's a stat I think by the National Association of Realtors, that if you're, if you're talking about real estate, you're only going to hit 8% of people because only 8% of people are actively engaged in real estate at any point in time. So even, let's pick on social media again. So if I post A new listing on Facebook, I'll get a few likes and maybe one or two comments.

If I post on Facebook, my dog, right? I will get exponentially more likes and loves and comments over my labradoodle, then I will even a $20 million 8% of people care about that listing I posted, but everyone loves my cute dog. Yeah. It's important to like be personal. Like have that touch to it because if all you're posting is pictures of houses, there's no personality behind that. There's no sense of connection, There's no relationship being built. But if they know your dog now, they can talk about your dog with you next time you see them. What about the labradoodle in front of the house with that double exposure by The way. So it really does. And it's for me, it's my kids, right? So I have two kids. They're seven and almost 11. And if I really want to make a great social media splash and I do this occasionally. I'll go visit one of my agents at their weekend open house. I'll take my kids with me. They will be in my, in my feet and videos of them even giving a tour of the house and all All of a sudden I get far more engagement with my 10 year old giving a tour of the house than me interviewing the listing agent about that house is Tiktok thing you guys talk about in terms of exposure a little bit.

Yes, I do have a few people in the organization that are far more experienced at Tiktok than I am, admittedly. You know, I'm not really a Tiktoker, but hopefully soon I'll find some time to start talking. You'd be terrific. Terrific. Are you on Tiktok? I downloaded it. I had it for a day and it was just, it was a black hole of right. I mean, it's the thing is, there's such quick videos that you just end up spending like half an hour, an hour and you're like, oh my God, what just happened? You black out and then you wake up, what china wants us to do? They don't want us to sell real estate. They want us to watch. Yeah, that's the thing. I think for me, I'm just worried about one more thing to just be a time suck if you will. So in fact, paul, I remember vividly back when you and I were working together and the R E O S and whatnot like you were describing. I had an assistant back then that told me, you know, steve you, you need to get on facebook. And at first I refused. I said, no, that's not for me. That's just going to waste my time.

I don't need anything else to waste my time. Well, she went and created an account for me and then wrote down on a sheet of paper, I created an account. Here's your user name and password. I suggest you start getting engaged. Well, she was right and I wish she was here today so I could thank her. That's funny. That's interesting. That's some good tips steve. Okay, now, now tell us now you've you've grown in management now you're managing director at compass. So you run multiple offices. Has that job changed from when you were a branch manager? Is it different? It is different because as a branch manager, you're leading independent contractors. As a regional or managing director is um called here, you're a leader of leaders. So now I lead people that are on payroll and their leaders themselves. So that dynamic is extremely different. Very, very different. But you know, but the cool thing though here at campus, sorry, is that I get to kind of do both. So I call it like a hybrid role. So I still get to touch agents on a daily basis, which is phenomenal because that is my favorite thing to do is to work with real estate professionals and coach them at the same time.

I enjoy working with leaders as well, but I'm just grateful that it's not the only part of my job. Right? Yeah, that's what I was gonna ask, do you enjoy both of them equally? But it's kind of nice to have like two different, It's like variety. It is because in some worlds, you know, some companies when you are a regional, that's really all you're doing. So it's like you're truly like this corporate guy and you have 6 to 9 zoom meetings a day and you know that's what it is. So I'm happy if I can have maybe 2 to 3 zoom meetings a day and spend at least half my day helping other people be successful in their business. I love that the most. And yeah, I'm sure it resonates with with all the folks I work with Ted Lasso Kharafi, you might want to spark to start your own, your own soccer team. So I'm sure there's some agents out there that might be interested in the management path. Kind of like you took, it sounds like it kind of fell in your lap a little bit. Somebody saw you and thought you'd be a good fit for management. But if someone's interested in that path, any recommendations on how they might do that, well anybody can call me talk to me anytime, I'll definitely, you know, help out.

But I think also you have to soul search because there's a difference in being selfish and selfless and to be a great manager, it's like parenting. You have to be completely selfless. You really do. You're taking care of others. You're putting their needs first and for a lot of people and that there shouldn't be any shame in anybody's game for a lot of people. That's really hard. It's the me show me me me and that's okay. But if that's, you know, again, once you soul search, if you find that you're more of a me person, I would recommend that you keep servicing me by way of selling real property and not taking on 1 to 200 people That are going to rely on you 365 days a year, you get phone calls on weekends, oh boy weekends, holidays when I'm in, when I'm in cabo with my wife, like I was a few weeks ago and by the way and I'm just like being an agent, you know, the phone never stops ringing, that's when you have a problem. So for me, I always say to my wife when occasionally she's like, oh my God, there's you're still getting phone calls. I say you know what honey, if I ever stop getting these calls, that's when we have to worry is there crazy phone call you can think of, oh boy, there are a lot.

I had one recently where there was a squatter had gone into a house unbeknownst to anybody in a vacant property and depending on the property that that can be a challenge. In fact. Um just even saying that to you, paul takes me back two years back when I was working on our Eos bank foreclosures because you could not, I mean here at least in L. A. County and you know, even L. A. P. He was always extremely upset at the process because they were, they couldn't do anything. They they were powerless. So anyway, I had to talk somebody through one of those recently. Of course, fortunately when there is an actual owner versus a bank, it is a lot easier but still there's like imagine you, you know you come home from a vacation, you open the door and you're like um excuse me, who are you and why are you sitting on my couch watching my tv. If only that conversation was that nice? Yeah, I think I'd have a little more erratic of response to that. Yeah, I swear words. So management is not easy I think is is your point right?

You have to take me out of the equation and just it's just like I I love it. I like beyond love it, love for me is is an understatement. It's my passion, it's my life, I would do anything reasonable for all my people. But I think if you examine real estate professionals as a whole, I think you know you're talking about 1% or so, get into management. It's extremely rare and especially once folks really do very, very well and they start making a ton of money then they feel like well because in some cases if you're doing really, really well in sales then it's it's like it's a financial step backwards to get into management and in the beginning it was for me but I didn't care, I was giddy about servicing others so I do consider myself a servant leader. I love it and I wouldn't change a thing personally I've seen some people become managers or team leaders and offices sometimes with very little experience, like some people brand new to the industry can end up in those positions? How does that happen?

Like is there no barrier to entry? Can anyone be a team leader or a branch manager if they had the opportunity to well respectfully to certain people at certain organizations? Yes. Although my personal opinion is that it it's not the best idea in the whole wide world. So if you know, let's use a police analogy here. So you want to become the sergeant or the captain? Well if you never drove around in a squad car and you know, let your lights and sirens and made a few arrests in the field and so on and so forth. Why would your police officers think that you're a wealth of information and knowledge? You're not just somehow got the job because you knew the Chief of police? Right. So for me, One of the things that I think is a huge part of my value proposition as a manager, as a coach, as a leader is that I sold hundreds of properties before I got into management so I can speak intelligently. I can give examples and analogies to almost anything you bring forward and you know, I'm not here to disparage any other organizations and how they operate.

But it is true that certain organizations, you may have closed five or 10 properties and all of a sudden here you are running the office. But I don't think that those leaders will ever be nearly as successful and and I think a lot of their agents can really see the difference because how can you speak intelligently to something that you've never done. And we're entering a strange time. Right steve. I mean this has got to be a weird time to be a real estate agent is probably gonna be a tough time for you to, I know you don't have a crystal ball, but what do you think, what do you think the industry is gonna be like for the next year or two? Well, I think it is what it is fortunately, unfortunately depending on who you are and how you slice this. I think this is going to be a time where certain licenses will choose to get out of the business and go get with some call a real job and you know, and that's okay, that's fine. But yes, people are now going to have to go back to basics, which is hard work. We just cover this in a recent sales meeting a few days ago that now you get a listing and you're going to, you're going to have to actually do some mark getting low and behold, let's talk about price reductions and those conversations with your sellers and what that looks like because I was, I met with one of my agents yesterday who has been in the business now for I think about three years and he was pulling his hair out because he was having a difficult time selling a listing and you know, and he kept saying how this has never happened and this has never happened.

And I interrupted him and I said three years in the business. You don't get to say this is the Never happened before because you've only seen good day. If you've been in the business 10 plus years, 20 plus years, then it's okay for you to say that. But you've only seen this crazy phenomenal wack a doodle market, no contingencies and all the things that were being promised and offers. So now, you know, we're going to get into a little bit more normalcy if you so. But it's definitely going to be a lot of hard work back to basics. But yeah, I think we're going to see some people leave the business. Price reductions. Price reductions, yes. And you know that that's a good one because in the olden days they were just called price reductions. Now we have all these great new terminology to use right price modifications and price improvements and you know, all these great things to make our sellers feel better about what they're doing. One of the things I love to do. I've done this my entire career and management is I will tell my age that I will go with you on that price reduction appointment. So when you go and have that uncomfortable sometimes conversation with your seller at their dining room table and you know talk about the market and the activity and the old comps and the new comps in their neighborhood so on and so forth.

I will do it with you. And sometimes a change of voice change of title can be a really really big help also because a lot of so I hate to say it, but they're blaming their agent. You didn't do enough marketing, you didn't do enough open houses. And I have the opportunity to sit there and really start off by complimenting the agent on what a miraculous job they've done. And then basically tell the seller or sellers that you know, we do have to look at the price because anything can be sold. I can sell the shirt off my back. Right now if I price it right. And I firmly believe in that. What do you tell an agent who has a potential listing and they want to price it? Un realistically hundreds of thousands of dollars let's say higher than today's market. Do you tell them to take the listing or not? Well, it really does depend the truth. There is paul that for more seasoned veteran agents. I will counsel them on walking away. I will tell them you want to talk to the seller about. Listen, I wouldn't be serving you if I just did what you do told me right because this is a partnership and we have to agree on things and agreeing on the price is very important at the same time.

Sometimes like you said, hundreds of thousands of dollars. But I think that depends on the price point, right? So if it's a million dollars and somebody wants 1.3, well now that's 30% above and that's crazy. But let's say it's a $3 million listening and it's 300,000, you know, above. It's about 10%. So maybe to the veteran agent my council might be well potentially take it. But with an agreement, preferably even a written agreement with the seller that at X days on market we will revisit, we will reposition if need be conversely with a newer agent, I will coach them on giving them a little bit more latitude and flexibility because new agents are hungry. They're desperate to put a sign in the ground to say I have a new listing and I get that. And also there's an old saying which often holds true true that listings began listings. So at one time I was a new agent and I took a listing on a busy street and Sherman Oaks, even though I knew it was overpriced just because I thought being on this busy street on Woodman Avenue I would get more listings from it.

And I did I got another listing two blocks over and I closed the other listing before I even closed the original listing. So it's a juggling act then you have to find the balance. I guess that that works. That's great Steve. I love this this conversation because there were a ton of nuggets there. I mean you're, you're coming from a really a cool place of expertise. Your, you have not only had the experience of your 17 years of transactions, you've had the experience of hundreds of agents worth of transactions and you've seen problems that you've the most agents have never seen because you've just talked to so many agents and you counsel so many of them so I really appreciate this. I think you gave a number of amazing tips. Thank you. Thank you guys so much for having me. This was, this was really fun. I can't wait to share this later on with with my kids and tell them you know that dad's famous. Thanks steve, appreciate it. Thank you both. Take good care. Thanks you too. Thanks for joining us for today's episode. I'm paul with great builds and I'm sarah with glen oaks escrow and if you like what you heard, make sure to subscribe rate and review if you'd like to get in touch, please email us at L.

A. Realtor pod at gmail dot com. We'll see you next time. We'll see you next time

Management Magic with Steve Heravi
Management Magic with Steve Heravi
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