PJ Zaji’s mantra has always been to “keep moving forward.” And moving forward for Zaji last year meant focusing on growing his 30-agent team at his brokerage Expand Realty. He began to explore partnerships with various national brokerage firms to get him to that goal.
“I attended a mastermind coaching event in Vegas and met (eXp agent) Dan Beer and (eXp team leader) Kyle Whissel who explained all the benefits,” said Zaji. “eXp allows me to do team building, it has a bigger mindset and I’m collaborating with the best. Plus, there’s growth for my team members and I can expand to different markets.”
Zaji’s entire team at Expand Realty joined eXp Realty in December 2019.
“With eXp, there’s less pressure,” said Zaji. “It’s about how effortlessly you’re running your business. You have people who have your back. If there is a problem, they jump in. It’s all about the support eXp gives you.”
Zaji, whose agents cover the Lubbock and Houston markets, said his transition to eXp wasn’t easy immediately, but that’s because he liked handling his own decisions and having control.
“It was hard to adapt,” said Zaji. “Now, I freaking love it! The more I’m into it, the more I realize the benefits. If you come from an independent broker, you will have a hard time in the first few months. You are not making the decisions. You have to give up control, but it is worth it.”
Zaji’s team had a stellar real estate year in 2019, doing $40 million in sales on 183 transactions.
Looking back on Zaji’s life, it makes sense what drives him. In 2000, Zaji moved from Iran to Lubbock alone to live with his uncle. He could barely speak English.
Zaji Used Scrappiness to Get His Real Estate Career Off the Ground
To pay the bills and survive, Zaji worked 60-80 hours in the fast-food industry while going to school.
“I had no choice,” said Zaji. “What could I do? But these tough moments are good stories and what keeps you moving forward.”
Zaji worked his way up in the restaurant business, eventually owning his own fast-food place, which he disliked and nearly entered bankruptcy. So, in 2013, a suggestion of doing real estate perked Zaji’s ears.
He employed scrappiness to get his business rolling.
“I made a sign, ‘I’m a real estate agent. How can I help you?’ and I sat in a Walmart parking lot,” Zaji said with a laugh. “Some people ran away, some called the cops. But, as I say, ‘if you hang out by the barbershop long enough, you will get a haircut.’”
Zaji became the top producing agent in the first year and ranked in the top 2% of top-producing agents in Lubbock. Now, after seven years of doing real estate and owning his own brokerage, he prefers the people side of the business.
“We always think about how we can connect on a human level,” said Zaji. “We don’t have scripts. I don’t teach scripts. It’s about how you connect with other people.
I say “don’t chase the transaction. Rather, chase human relationships and human connections.”’