Two excellent panels – on AI and luxury – plus an energizing keynote by high-performance coach Brendon Burchard and awards given to high-production teams were highlights of the second general session of EXPCON 2023 being held in Las Vegas at Mandalay Bay Convention Center.
eXp Realty agents Blake Cory and Denise Mai were the day’s hosts and started things off quickly by announcing names of many new eXplorers who joined eXp (non-eXp agents attending EXPCON), bringing the total to 21 new agents so far.
Humanitarian, Philanthropist, and Woman of Year Awards Announced
Special recognition was given to eXp Realty agents in three categories: The ICON of the Year, which went to Michael Weisman; The Jeffrey Buettner Philanthropist of the Year, which went to Oregon’s Luna Mariah Dietz; the Humanitarian of the Year, which went to California’s Jon Pugh and Veronica Figueroa was named Woman of Influence.
- ICON of Year – Michael Weisman, Founder and Team Leader of the Real Property Team at eXp Realty in Portland, Maine, is ICON of the Year. He and his team of 10 licensed agents and three administrative assistants cover most of the state. Michael has been with eXp Realty since October 2020. He is a three-time ICON agent, Certified SUCCESS Coach and Certified Mentor.
- Mentor of the Year – Washington state’s Brett Bonner, who covers areas north of Seattle such as Arlington, Lake Stevens, Marysville, Monroe, Mount Vernon, Snohomish and Stanwood, is Mentor of the Year. Brett is very engaged with the Mentor program and is deeply familiar with eXp policies and state laws. He is very active with his mentees, involved with their transactions and passionate about helping them achieve their goals.
- Rookies of the Year – For this category, eXp named four rookies, given to the highest GCI-producing newcomer who joined eXp Realty in 2022. Washington state’s Chandra Kaladhar Reddy Vennapusa is Rookie of the Year for eXp Realty. The international rookie is Monica Rodriguez Garcia of Puerto Rico; Jake Nicolle of Ancaster, Ontario, takes top honors in Canada and Sarah Cooley, who is licensed in North and South Carolina, is the Rookie of the Year for eXp Commercial.
- Woman of Influence – Veronica Figueroa is a top-producing Alpha agent at eXp Realty who is known for her vivacious personality and passion for real estate. She is the CEO and Team Lead of The Figueroa Team in Orlando and is also a recognized national speaker. Veronica was chosen because she has demonstrated professional excellence and leadership. She is influential within eXp, has a solid reputation based on her experience, integrity and leadership, and has a track record of accomplishments. Among her long list of accolades are NAHREP Top 100 Nationwide, Orlando Real Producers Female Broker of the Year, Zillow Advisory Board Member, Inman Innovator, Inman Connect Influencer, among many others.
‘Agent Success Obsessed’ Panel
It’s no secret that eXp Realty’s agent-centric mission is on display every day. This panel, co-moderated by Brokerage Operations Vice Presidents Loran Coleman and Holly Mabery, featured eXp Realty agents Sheryl Houck and Matt Ruotolo.
Matt said, “The agent voice is important and our ability to communicate with leadership is vital in growing our company.” He emphasized that agents should use the NPS (Net Promoter Score) emails and give feedback that can be shared with leadership.
Another improvement he shared is that in addition to the national Agent Advisory Council (AAC) are state AAC’s to help deal with nuances from state to state.
Sheryl said, “We have best, brightest agents in the industry. We’re looking to build your business not only for today, but tomorrow.”
All-Star Panel Talks About How to Use AI In Real Estate
In a much-anticipated panel discussion, eXp Realty agents Gogo Bethke, Veronica Figueroa, Mike Sherrard and Carrie Soave took part in a lively conversation about the hottest new thing in real estate: AI (artificial intelligence). The panel was moderated by Seth Siegler, VP Technology Innovation & Real Estate.
Some outtakes from the discussion:
Carrie: Most agents are using it for content creation, but it can do much more. I use a plug-in for chatGPT “Ask your PDF.” I’ve been able to get insights on buyers and sellers, create personas, reveal pain points, and generate a prospecting plan.
“Incorporate it into your business. It will put your business on steroids. We are at the beginning of a new era. It can be overwhelming. But, I look at 10-20 tools each week. Buyers and sellers want to know their agent is using AI – they don’t need to understand it, but they want you to use it.”
Veronica: “I rely on AI to help our business grow and want our team to become more proficient in it. We use it for market research and 52-week buyer and seller campaigns. We use it for research, video production, and retention for our team.
“It’s taking away things that took a lot of time and research. Just go all in. You can’t break this stuff. You’ll get smarter as you use it more. You need to stay forward-thinking. Those who don’t use it won’t be in business much longer. “
Gogo: “On social media, you want to be where the eyeballs are. In my business, I think of three things: Automate it. Then delegate it. If you can’t delegate it, then eliminate it.
“I send pay my VA’s (virtual assistants) to learn AI. They take a class for three hours and share their findings with me so I can spend three hours doing something else. There is so much to know and learn – it’s hard to keep up. But, hire a VA to do it – it’s well worth the cost.”
Mike: “The reason why my name is synonymous with video is because I spent five years creating content. You need to find a niche and be known for something. That will allow you to be searchable. If you take the next two years and put out valuable, searchable content in your niche and market, you will be found by AI.
“We have an opportunity to get started early – become early adopters. All I want to do is see you guys win. I’m all about seeing agents win. It’s like farmers who started to use the tractor. It’s not going to replace Realtors, but it will replace those who don’t use it.”
Seth said, “AI models are training on publicly accessible data. But, the models of tomorrow are being trained right now. It’s important to get your content out there now to be searchable in next year or two.”
Jon Pugh Talk: You Can Be Anywhere You Want in 5 Years
eXp Realty agent Jon Pugh came onstage wearing a pink sweatshirt and after a nod to Barbie, he said it was to highlight Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It was also a tipoff that Jon had his priorities right.
He delivered an inspiring talk about how he made bad choices – credit card debt and too much drinking. He said he turned his life around in five years.
“I am here today to tell you you can be anywhere you want to be. I coach three sports year-round, I drive my kids to school and pick them up and I paid off the debt. I am now 1,406 days without alcohol. If I can do this, anyone can do anything.”
He gave some helpful tips on attracting leads. “People are looking to you to be the professional and take control. Amateurs make stuff up and professionals know where to get the answer.”
Luxury Panel Covers a Range of Topics
eXp Luxury agents Chanel D’Aprix, Noé De Leon, Ed Kaminsky and Elizabeth Riley were part of a luxury panel, which was moderated by Amy Weaver VP, of Growth, eXp Realty.
Ed – “Do you want to sell a luxury home or be a luxury agent? If you want to be a luxury agent, you need to elevate everything you do – your clothes, your car, your social circle. To me, it’s being in that space.
“I’ve built an athlete niche. I want to handle all athletes who come to LA. I came to see their pain points: Kids are ripped out of school, wives need to find new chefs and start all over. So, we built a concierge service focused on their needs.”
Noe – “In my first year, I sold 40 homes for $3 million. Now I am selling $3 million listings. For me, it was understanding the lifestyle of these clients. It’s not about the number of baths and beds. You need to demonstrate the difference and the value. I look at 30 homes a month. I make it a game. I guess what it’s going to sell for and then when it closes, I see if I was right or not.
“For me, it’s the level of service you provide and give them an unforgettable experience. It’s when you understand what’s important to them and how they will live in the property.”
Elizabeth: “I never assume anything. Luxury is a state of mind – it’s a mindset. I treat my clients like they are my one and only. You never know when they are going to upscale to a neighborhood.
“I got a lease/referral client once. He was wearing a T-shirt, shorts, and flip-flops. We were looking at a rental and he saw houses on the lake and asked the cost ($4-6M). Then he said, “Let’s do that.’ Come to find out, he was moving there because he just sold his company for $25M. Now I work for him and his family members. Focus on relationships and no matter what you do, business will come.”
Chanel: “Provide an elevated experience and create a nurturing relationship, They will give back to you. Look at your brand. Your brand needs to tell your story and emulate who you are. This will attract clients if you’re breaking into luxury.
“Educate yourself and learn everything about the luxury market where you are. Align with other agents in your market who are doing it. Be authentic. They want to be with someone who makes them feel good.”
In addition, it was also announced that eXp Luxury now has its own dedicated social media channels:
eXp Luxury agents can submit content to be featured here.
Team Awards, Plus ICON, Mentor and Rookies of Year Announced
eXp World Holdings Founder, CEO and Chairman Glenn Sanford, Chief Growth Officer Michael Valdes, CMO Carolyn Merchant and Chief Strategy Officer Leo Pareja presented team awards for units, sales volume and GCI in the U.S., Canada and globally.
Glenn said, “Congratulations to our winners. You, too, could be up on this stage next year. Go do great things.”
> To see the top team awards, click here.
Michael Valdes Moderates Top Teams Panel
After the team awards were announced, Michael Valdes moderated a panel of eXp Realty team leaders, including:
- Jennifer Jones, #2 Volume and GCI – Canada
- Ibrahim Hussein #1 Volume and GCI – Canada
- Courtney Atkinson, #1 Units – Canada
- Eliezer Torres – #1 GCI global – Puerto Rico
- Kenny Truong, #2 Units, #2 GCI, #2 Volume – U.S.
Jennifer: “We do a monthly P&L. We know exactly where we are every single moment. We are very focused on numbers and reverse engineering everything. We ask ourselves: What’s your average gross commission and how much do you want to do? What is required to get to the next level?
“We run agents through our proprietary boot camp. When one agent is doing a listing presentation or buyer consultation, they are using a program they’ve been trained on. It’s making sure the client sees where the team is because of our standards and the system that they plug into.”
Michael said, “Success is simply a math problem.”
Ibrahim: I had to build a business, not a team. You need to treat your team as a startup company. Who do I need to become to solve my problem? If I am working 17 hours a day, what can I do?
“We use a visionary integrator model, which has been a game changer for our business.”
Eli: “Culture is very important on our team. We treat our team as family. In the hiring process, we want to know where that person sees themselves in five years. We want people who want to be with us for 20 years. I want their kids to be part of our team. I want to hire someone who I want to have to my home for dinner.
“We answer our phones, we answer our texts. In Puerto Rico, there is a lot of feedback that agents don’t answer their phones. We have a huge social media presence. I build my community through Facebook Groups. We are genuine and authentic and we care about people.”
Courtney: “We have a strong admin team, photographer, delivery people, VAs… the key thing is you need multiple layers to manage the business. It’s critical to find time each week to work on your business strategically. Your next level of income requires you to build a skillset.
“We have self-limiting beliefs, but trust me – there is someone out there that will need you. You have incredible value.”
Kenny: “We want our agents to get into tech and social branding. We post a lot and want our agents to be known as the #FastAgent. We are a well-connected, collaborative team. We’re just a super fun team that hangs out and has a strong community.”
Short Term Shop’s Avery Carl Delivers Agent Address on Being Relatable
Avery Carl of The Short Term Shop, an eXp Realty mega team that operates in 15 markets, gave the agent address. Avery’s Short Term Shop closed $992,884,521 in sales volume on 1,493 transactions in 2022.
What you need to focus on for 2024:
“It doesn’t matter how many calls you make or scripts you create, it’s all about being relatable. Now more than ever, soft skills and being relatable is much more important.”
Avery said she found her niche through her love of rock music (Classic, metal, punk) and the fact that her husband, Luke, was in the radio business with Sirius XM. It was during a Caribbean rock music cruise that she got her first 10 clients. “I just became friends with them. What is it about you that clients want to hang out with you? Be genuine and make genuine connections. You have to find that thing about you.”
Additional words of wisdom from Avery Carl:
- When you want something, the entire universe conspires with you to achieve that.
- Give your clients more than they need.
- There is no substitute for working really really hard. Use chatGPT – yes, but at the end of day, you just need to work really hard.
- Create good relationships with other agents in your market. I hate seeing bulldog rhetoric.
- Stay in touch with your clients. There is nothing worse than seeing a client of yours who listed with someone else.
“Keep up the hard work you’re doing, but master the soft skills and be someone your clients want to hang out with.”
Brendon Burchard Gives Keynote That Gets Everyone on Their Feet
Brendon Burchard, a high-performance coach who is also a three-time New York Times bestselling author, and one of the most-watched, quoted, and followed motivational speakers in history, gave the keynote to an energized audience who gave him a standing ovation.
> Read Brendon’s keynote here.
Glenn and Dan Beer Focus on the 80/20 Rule
In the final pause and reflect moment, Glenn Sanford and Dan Beer recapped some of the highlights of the past two days, but Glenn said it all essentially boils down to the 80/20 rule:
“80% of the time, do the fundamentals and 20% of the time, learn new skills.”
“It is clearer than ever that we have the most amazing people and leadership,” said Dan. “ We have the deepest levels of collaboration. Everything is better than ever before. In the past, we didn’t have merely as much as we do now. Now we have the brightest minds sharing everything with us. Let’s grow together!”
Glenn closed it out by reminding everyone that next year’s EXPCON will be held in Miami. Register here.