Top Southern California agent Elizabeth Do recently accomplished a major business milestone – she surpassed $1 billion in real estate sales for her career by nurturing contacts and building a diverse, multigenerational team.
Her team’s achievement is significant: According to the National Association of Realtors, the median number of transaction sides in 2020 for residential Realtors was 10, and the median gross income was $43,330 for 2020. By contrast, Do and her team have hit sales production to the tune of more than $100 million per year for the past few years, while being on track to jump into the $200 million range for 2021.
Over the last 20 years, Do has grown her group to a 25-member team that offers a wide range of services to buyers, sellers, and investors in Orange County, and parts of Los Angeles and Riverside counties. The team speaks English, Spanish, Mandarin, Korean, Vietnamese and Tagalog and lives by its tagline: Our Service Extends into Generations.
“We want to turn our clients into such raving fans that they will refer their children – we want to serve families for generations,” Do says.
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Easing into real estate
Do got her start in real estate 20 years ago after studying finance and economics in school. After 9/11, she started helping her mother – a part-time real estate agent – on the weekends. “She said, ‘There’s some new technology coming down the line, such as scanning, and I’m so lost,’” Do recalls. So, Do became her mother’s assistant while also working full time as a processor at an insurance company.
Over time, Do discovered her passion for the industry, got her real estate license, and started working as an agent on weekends. Once she began to average two to four deals a year, she decided to pursue real estate full time.
When the Great Recession hit, Do was averaging eight to 10 deals a year. That’s when she decided to build a team. In the following years, her numbers moved up, to 20, then 30, then 50 deals per year.
Strategies to create a big business
Do didn’t set out to have a $1 billion business. It was the result of wanting to build a community-driven team and of following Gary Keller’s The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. Do read the book nine times and applied its teachings to her business.
“I’m definitely a student of KW’s model,” she says. “That was my focus. But everyone contributes to the success of our accomplishment. It does take a whole team.”
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To achieve success, Do says it’s crucial to:
1) Build a diverse, inclusive team.
Do’s team covers a total of six languages, and they make sure to make that known among their sphere. Since business can come from all over, team members think about their work on a global scale, Do shares. Beyond language inclusivity, the team is also cross-generational. It’s youngest member is 21, and its oldest, 63. This ensures that a wider range of clients can feel represented and understood.
2) Focus on contacts.
To get business, you need leads. Do’s database is made up of 18,000 contacts across seven cities, with 2,000 past clients, or “fans” as she likes to call them. Her business is about 70% repeat business. “We really created a name locally for ourselves,” she says. “We’re not fighting for business.” Having a rich database means having to do less, or no cold calling. Her team takes a consultative approach to working with clients. “It doesn’t feel like sales,” she says. “It really is all consultation based.”
3) Lean into events.
Do makes sure to nurture her database, keeping in regular touch with contacts and her sphere of influence. She plans client events, including singles events and client appreciation parties. Her biggest turnout prior to COVID-19 was 625 past clients who came to a party she held at the local zoo. She encourages clients to bring friends and family members so she can expand her sphere of influence.
Related reading: 6 Virtual Events That Delight and Build Goodwill
4) Offer educational seminars.
From workshops on living trusts to how to buy your first home, Do and team offer free educational events for their contacts. Now, events are held over Zoom. “People send their kids to our seminars,” she says. Other hot topics include how to buy your first investment property and how to rent out vacation homes.
Related reading: A Step-by-Step Guide to Hosting a Virtual Homeownership Seminar
5) Engage on social media.
Educational events are posted online and Do and team are active on Facebook and Instagram. They know contacts engage with content because they’ll get in touch with the team with follow-up questions and referrals. For example, a past client lets the team know when their mother needs to downsize or a friend is moving.
For agents starting out who think $1 billion is a daunting figure, Do says you have to be laser-focused and stick with your plan. Having a team that’s like family also makes all the difference, she says. That’s how hers functions, both inside and outside work. It’s a model that she sees growing, with the world of the solo agent slipping away.
“That’s going to be the thing of the past,” she says. “So, if an agent sees themself in leadership, it’s a great opportunity to bring great people together and build a great team. And, for those who don’t see themselves in leadership, they should definitely join an amazing team and contribute. This is the way real estate is going.”
**Keller Williams Realty, Inc., has an agreement with Kaplan Real Estate Education to promote online course information to consumers and real estate licensees. KSCORE, Keller Williams School of Real Estate, KW School of Real Estate, KW Prep, Keller Williams Realty, Inc., and Keller Williams market centers and franchisees (collectively “KW”) are not the developers of these prelicensing (PL) and continuing education (CE) courses; they are simply providing a referral. This program does not apply in Minnesota, New York, and elsewhere prohibited. PL and CE instruction will be provided by Kaplan Real Estate Education, a state-approved education provider (PL approved in: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, FL, GA, IA, IL, KY, MI, MO, NC, NM, NV, PA, SC, TN, TX (TREC Provider #4546), VA, WA, WI; CE approved in: AL, AR, AZ, CA, CO, CT, FL, GA, IA, IL, KY, MI, MO, NC, NJ, NM, NV, OH, PA, SC, TN, TX (TREC Provider #31), VA, WA, WI). KW offers nonvocational training to help individuals become better real estate agents. KW is not an approved provider of state real estate PL or CE. Any questions regarding PL and CE course content or technology should be directed to Kaplan Real Estate Education.