Ep. 47: Interview with Leonard Schiffman: How to Build a Successful Sphere

The road to becoming a real estate agent looks different for everyone. Leonard Schiffman, an appraiser and founder/designated broker at RE/MAX Direct Realty, is an agent who has figured out the magic formula for being a successful agent in this business.

In this episode of Stay Paid, Josh and Luke chat with Leonard about his path to realty, how American Lifestyle has impacted his business, and just what it takes to build a sphere of impactful advocates.

Key Points

  • How to turn people you know (and don’t) into clients
  • The impact of American Lifestyle magazine on your business

Tell us more about yourself and your backstory.

I had a full-ride athletic scholarship and decided to get into construction last minute instead. I wanted to get a trade under my belt and learn as much as I could about residential home building. I settled into a routine of remodeling and custom home building and during that first 10 years of being a contractor, I got my real estate license. I didn’t do anything with it because I didn’t feel like I had the confidence to go out and sell a home. I stayed in the construction industry for another 20 years, and then had an opportunity to become a real estate appraiser. In May 2008, I decided to get my license renewed, which led to owning my appraising company and co-owning my mortgage company. RE/MAX came along after, and I just renewed my franchise which I’ve owned for five years. I’ve built the credibility to do various transactions.

Did you practice residential real estate yourself or did you right away start by owning a franchise and recruiting agents?

May 2008 was a rough time, and as an appraiser, I was appraising a lot of foreclosures and short sales. When I signed up with a local company, I decided to become the office’s expert in short sales. It took 14 months of networking and I had 7 short sale listings—closing 6 of them. I settled into my routine as an agent while also doing appraisal work. A couple years ago I was moving out of ownership and into strictly sales.

Tell us your thought process on how new agents should be generating leads and building their sphere.

I only had about six people on my list when I signed up for the magazine, and there’s a 50-person minimum. I went to my mother and asked if I could send it to her friends. Slowly it converted clients into relationships, which turned into closed transactions. Have your business cards with you all the time—in the grocery store even! I overheard a conversation in a sports bar recently about a guy selling his home by owner and I jumped in and told him about what I do. You have to always be aware. Through commitment and consistency, you gain confidence. This will eventually turn into effective systemization that you can use to leverage your business.

What is your definition of an advocate for business?

An advocate is one step below a transaction. You go from unknown to known to relationship to advocacy and within the advocacy sphere (your network), comes the referrals. Who cares if the advocate is someone you’ve done a transaction with or not. That’s one of the reasons the digital edition of ALM is so great, because it tracks engagement. If you’re ever wondering who you should be reaching back out to, you can check your dashboard and see who gives you the most engagement. The Chamber of Commerce is a great resource as well … it gives you everything you need to know. You need to look for those opportunities to earn someone’s advocacy.

Is there a routine you do every day to drive success in your personal and business life?

I do a morning mindset and an end of the day bookend. The first thing you should do is brush your teeth and then drink a lot of water, and turn on some music. I set a tone for the day with exercising. It’s only 5 to 10 minutes—planks, push-ups and sometimes a short run just to get my heart rate up. I finish up with a nutritious meal and it leaves me with a quiet mind to start the day. At 6 p.m., I block what needs to be done for the next day so I go to sleep with a clear head.

Knowing what you know now, what would you tell younger Leonard?

In 2008 as an agent, I would’ve signed up for American Lifestyle magazine. I would send the magazines to people I actually knew, in order to let people know what I do. I would focus on keeping my sphere full of advocates and people who would sing my praises when asked.

Where can you connect with Leonard?

Website – leonardschiffman.com

Action Items

Following the podcast, our goal is to provide you with as many actionable tips as possible. For this episode, they include…

  • Build that concierge model and get connected with your Chamber of Commerce to work on those partnerships.

As always, take action on these tips!

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