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[00:00:00] All RIGHT. SO HEY I’M BEATTY Carmichael and welcome to the get sellers calling you podcast.
[00:00:08] And I’m excited about today’s call because I get to interview not only an amazing realtor but also a friend from many years Tony Fiore. And a column kind of amazing not because he’s a super top producer though he could be but I think he’s more amazing. And what I want to share with you is he saw he’s balanced his life. He’s one of the few agents that really has balance in his life between his his business and his his personal life. And he’s got some things to share about that so for that reason I just love to have one.
[00:00:41] And also as a reminder this is an Internet call. So please part in any internet type of an interruption. So Tony how are you doing. Great. Thank you baby.
[00:00:51] Yeah. And we go back many years. Not to belabor too much but we were both single. Many years ago when we actually started to get to know each other do remember those days.
[00:01:04] That was a long time ago.
[00:01:05] Yeah that was a long time ago and one of the things I’ve really been amazed as I watched you is he always seemed to be just a real. I’ll call it a steady Eddie type of producer and I don’t know. I don’t know.
[00:01:19] I didn’t during those years I didn’t know much about your production but I started see your building go up and your brokerage go up and down. So just fine. So if you would just as we get started maybe just tell us a little bit about yourself.
[00:01:34] Right saw as the old saying goes I started Allstate twenty seven years ago. Let’s start as a sales agent. I did that for quite a while and then back in 2001 I started my own company which was for real estate. And my plan there was to be a one person company which you can’t really be unless you work all the time and that didn’t work in my plan. So it kind of grew in 2004 but a Remax franchise and grew it up until this point.
[00:02:04] And now you’re one of these are you go out and you run ads and you advertise everywhere and you buy leads and all that stuff to drive your business right.
[00:02:14] None whatsoever. No I’ve ever done that. So yeah.
[00:02:19] No not not not this has always been exclusive of our families. So when I started off in the business really just help friends and family and get referrals and it evolved I really didn’t have a very specific system in place at that time. I just knew that I wanted to be more of a service as opposed to a salesperson. And so I just serve people. And then over time put into place a coach for a business and a coaching organization they really help me fine tune that Indian company brand Bethany. And it had a business coach for the past 22 years because of that. And that’s really helped me be very specific on not only just working about referral but building a business and a company that works for referral.
[00:02:58] Fantastic. So is most of your success would you relate it back to what you’d been doing with Cassini.
[00:03:06] I would say a large part of it. Yes it’s a relationship business. And it’s nice type business which most will think of besides being a sales. Is relationships right.
[00:03:16] Okay. So let’s take in on this because you’ve got let me ask it this way. As I move into this do you. Can you turn your business up and drive more volume if you wanted to. In other words are you in control. Okay. Yes. So then let’s talk about this relationship because most agents out there. You know it’s that they’re their tail being wagged by the dog and it sounds like you’re the dog wagging the tail.
[00:03:43] So what are you doing in the relationships that’s driving your business what makes it consistent.
[00:03:49] Was individual one to one comment. Again people because their personalities do different things. My personality is the one to have a one on one person. So I’m really good at one on one lunches with clients with friends. Some of the things that I do whether it be church oriented or maybe my hobby my one hobby is I run so I have a lot of plants that I run with and so they tell people about me and you know I just spend time doing things I enjoy doing and that involves the business and then you do an exceptional job or somebody. Or if they tell someone else about it. One thing I would say that people have a misconception is when you say you want my referral they think it’s a passive word of mouth business and that is not what I’m talking about. I’m not talking about hoping someone refers me what I’m talking about is I talked to Betty and I help Betty NPA with their home sale or their family member. They have a great experience and they want to tell people about me and there is a bit of a I have to stay in touch with baby and will continue to develop a legacy well beyond the solar home.
[00:04:48] I have also 4 5 SIX SEVEN homes to over the years and they would never call anyone else because I said it be terrible. But now what happens is the reason I do that is because I’m in constant contact with them over time. You might say How do I stay in touch with them well just recently for Thanksgiving. I had a popular way I plants come to my office I gave them you know for Mother’s Day I deliver flowers I deliver a flower some others on Mother’s Day for Dad for Father’s Day. I deliver Dad’s root beer to Dad. I mean so a variety of things just people think oh that’s what it is relationships it’s going and just supporting people and just checking in with them. And it’s not about selling someone a home that is never the goal. The goal is to be your trusted adviser for your entire life. Anything you need you call me about it. And that’s what I am about their source of everything.
[00:05:36] And the trusted adviser you know I love that because I don’t know if you know my experience and I don’t think she’ll ever watch this video so I’ll be real open. I use her name. But my wife’s cousin soldiers are home like 20 some odd years ago. The other home and it’s in a nice area of town.
[00:05:58] And the second nicest area over here invest HBO. And what’s interesting is because of the relationship we always felt that she assumed we would always come back to her simply because there is a marriage cousin relationship but she never did any of the things you did.
[00:06:15] She never kept up with us. She never nurture the relationship. She never appreciated us and as a result when we sold a house and bought a bigger house recently and it was a pretty sizable transaction on both ends she wasn’t involved. We picked someone else. So you stay in and I guess. Yeah. So. So I love what you say it’s not a passive business. So you’re out jogging with people and you’re involved in life. What are you doing with those relationships that they get them to choose you. I mean are you always saying I’m a real estate agent. Are you sending them stuff in the mail. What what are you doing that prompts them when it’s time for a real estate need that they call you. Does that make sense.
[00:07:06] It doesn’t make sense that actually I probably don’t do what you would expect that do. I don’t tell them what I do. Other people tell them what I did. I’m there without running good for example to run. That’s why I’m there. I’m not there for business. It’s about product ethics and whether it’s someone going to church or being a coach of their son’s league or whatever it is I’m there for the purpose of something I enjoy doing. The by these people know what I do and then what’s going to happen is they’re gonna hear someone else in the group. I will tell you as my agent. This is what you get for me. That’s the best sales pitch you can get is someone else talking about you not yourself. And so I don’t go out there and push myself a little push me. But that’s also what I do is when I meet with someone I explain to them that I’m going to devote my kind of attention to them and not barking to the public is to them. And so what I would hope that they would do is if I do an exceptional job then they would tell their friends and tell me about this and that’s what they did.
[00:08:03] That’s fascinating. So I don’t mean to dig too deep into something that may seem obvious but the disconnect that I have right now that I’m kind of missing is you’re out there you never tell them what you do but then they choose you.
[00:08:19] Is there anything that you do in terms of mailing them something or dropping off a gift or a Christmas card or anything throughout the year that lets them know you’re a real estate agent. I mean is there or I mean literally do you just go run your you set your mouth. Not a to help me with this.
[00:08:40] Well yes and no. For example as I meet people I thought yes and what do you do for a living. That happens often. And so you tell them what you do. So people do know that in the real estate business and you can picture my family for Christmas and things that I would do to friends. There are times where I would be a sponsor for a race for example. You know I’m a very. I run trails for example different road running. And so the following community in Birmingham mostly know who I am and as a result of that I could probably give you 20 names right now in the past few years I’ve helped people in that community. Well they tell each other about me and so that that’s very common to that. But I do on occasion sponsor races as Tony Fiore as the agent who is sponsoring this race and my banners up at the race and they see me that way and identify me as a sponsor. That does happen sometimes but that is not necessary to get business. That’s just brand recognition over time to support what already is supporting me.
[00:09:36] I love it. I love it desperately need. So if you could then maybe boil down so does this take the picture that’s running in my mind is are you super outgoing involved in lots of activities or do you have to be kind of super outgoing involved in lots of activities to build a business like you’ve done or if someone is not as involved.
[00:10:01] How did they take what you’ve learned and kind of applied into a different realm. I’m sure you probably taught agents over the years that aren’t as involved so helped me with that. Does that can you do that.
[00:10:12] Yes. And I will sit back and say everything I ever wanted is coming about. Somebody has come by way of referral. So I’ve not recruited agents. Every single person has been referred by someone else to come and speak to me and we started them off. Almost everyone exclusively. Never been in real estate ever starting off from scratch in building a business and become very successful. They only work after all that’s all they know. And so what I’m talking about is the philosophy of the entire group that we have and so to answer your question is. I’m not a super outgoing guy. I’m really not. I would much prefer a one to one with somebody at the same time. I can speak to the crowd but that’s not typically what I do. I’m not the social life of the party guy. That’s not me. I tell the I just pick what you do best. What might have you running it maybe something with church maybe something with a hobby you have whatever it is. Do your hobby. And that’s where business can come from. Some people for example might have a dinner party for the pies.
[00:11:07] Some people might do a different activity. So yes you might have a big cookout for their clients. That’s not something that I did a year ago when my children were small. I don’t have Santa Claus at my house. I worry about my clients from the open house. Every Picture me with Santa Claus. Pass with my youngest child about to be 18 next month. The most is 24 so definitely a fit for where I am in life. If you grab idea for people but you tend to find that a lot of your clients are typically in the same life place you are so early in my career. I thought a lot of homes the first time buyers so that was the age bracket I was in now today. Maybe on the third or fourth home now I sell homes to people who are 20 and also 70. So that doesn’t matter but it is common to be around people are typically your age for the most part because of where you are in life.
[00:11:57] That’s really neat because most of the agents that I’ve worked with over the years. They’re so focused on marketing and advertising and buying leads all these. I almost want to say non-traditional ways of building real estate but I think they’re now their traditional way and yours is a nontraditional so. Yeah. So it’s been really successful so with your business then have you had ups and downs or is this working this process really steady.
[00:12:32] And there can be ups and downs and it’s all not intentional. But what you put into is what you get out OK. And so if I don’t do anything for the next three four five or six months then I would expect the next four five six months to kind of be slower. Now there’s going to be some business no matter what. Because I’ve been doing this for so long. It’s to happen. But if I try to wrap things up I’m just gonna make more phone calls. You know I’ll give you the things we do. There are three things I do. Calls we phone call people checking in with you buddy how you do it. All right. Personal note. They on personal notes. Pol Pot buys it is that people that can be delivered the mother’s like flowers of Dad’s revered whatever it has to be done. And so one thing that people often neglect is writing a personal note to somebody that’s huge. And so just taking the time to say hey they good talking he did a bad thing. And people are shocking you on a personal note of course knows a about three very basic simple things we do. That’s the foundation of our business.
[00:13:30] So it’s interesting you mention because now this is is making a lot more sense if you slack off for several months then you’ll know that the several months after that it’s going to be pretty slow.
[00:13:41] So you’re not advertising in marketing in a sense but you are active and always on the phone you know talking to people saying hello handwriting the notes doing the pop by. So you’re active and engaging with them personally.
[00:13:57] Yes it’s very proactive where we’re not sitting away with the phone to ring.
[00:14:01] There’s not a little work that OK that makes a lot. So your marketing is really just relationship nurturing and it’s not yet advertising or sending out postcards saying you know choose me here’s why my marketing is through relationships with people that I personally know I love and I love do you do any like just sell postcards or just solicit or anything to your folks.
[00:14:24] Usually I do not. Okay. Now that is not a bad idea. I just personally haven’t done that. But that would be a good idea for some people I would not. I don’t do that. I just had it done.
[00:14:34] Okay and then last question I want to kind of shift. Like we talked about earlier on the call. But I wanted. So you making a phone call or writing a personal note. What do you say.
[00:14:44] Yeah I’ve got a new agent over here or a four or five year agent. I’ve never done this. And only thing I can think of is 1891 thinking about buying or selling. So what do you do how do you how do you engage.
[00:14:57] A lot of the postcards are not somebody are not real nice or asking for business. It can be simply very I enjoy cash today. Let’s get together again soon. Really Tony. Something that simple or through something specific we talked about. It could be something that I’m aggressive about that it’s not a very lengthy as a two or three line. Tony put a card in there and put a little sticker on it. Oh by the way one of the phrases we go by is it is called by the way. If you are buying or selling a home or had a fender bender or who was you have a real confronting. That’s what we’ve asked. And when they do they don’t. And one thing is some people like you mentioned Betty have family members or relatives who have long lost friends. That’s right. We don’t want to take you by in this way. That’s not the objective. I’m looking people who don’t have realtors who want to establish a relationship. And so sometimes it’s not a bit.
[00:15:47] So. So the personal knows that you’re doing those are actually personal note after you’ve spoken with them or have met with them. Yes. Yes. It’s not. OK. So so really you’re your outward engagement is a phone call to say hello or pop by and then the personal note is after one of those engagements.
[00:16:10] Yes. No. Tim what comes afterwards yes. OK. It really could be a no. I just thought about you today. It could be something random. Yes.
[00:16:16] Okay great. Now earlier before this call we were talking about your balance and that sort we alluded to it in just a moment ago when you could drive your volume up a lot more.
[00:16:29] You know everyone saying I want more volume I want to make more money. You have purposely not done that talk to me. What drives that. Talk to me about well I’ll call it the balance in the life.
[00:16:41] And I think a quick question because I’ve never been driven by money I mean I’ve been given and I certainly had to have a good life. But what about our family. I have four children to a graduating college once in college. One’s about to be in college. And so for twenty four years of my life my children have been a huge huge part of my life. So I didn’t focus on being a good dad. But even before that the number one thing in my life is my relationship with God. So that’s the foundation of everything I do and hopefully every decision I make is based on that. And so taking my relation with God and the principles of that drama business how to be as balanced as possible not it always is but always trying to go back to that to where I’m going to take time off. I don’t recall ever missing a kids activity in my life that I’m always there. And so I’ll always be present. It’s whatever’s going on I let them know I’m there for them. So that’s been a huge thing for me. So my foundation my faith is number one thing. Second is my family.
[00:17:40] Very interesting so talk to me a little bit more about your foundation is your faith in God and and how does that. I know you mentioned it.
[00:17:50] It’s it helps you with the balance and in giving your fine family priority. Can you give a little bit deeper into maybe some practical things where it comes out some boundaries where it comes out and maybe just for you internally put it. How does it drive you. You know especially for someone who may not have quite so much reliance on the Lord right now what does it mean to you. That’s probably a lot of questions trying to tact in it the Lord.
[00:18:17] Ok. That is it for me and my personality.
[00:18:23] Maybe give it to some others as well. So I got to take that to account. I’m pretty driven and very focused and very specific and I move pretty quick and so I’m very confident and so because of that you know I do get my business done and I take off you know. I don’t mind taking time off work and then nothing is people in the real estate business and not take off. But there’s any guitar available 24/7. I am not available 24/7. The very first thing I do in meeting with a client is we sit down and talk about what’s going to happen today. When you live in the home it’s your home sales. What’s it gonna look like on a picture for you in part to paint that picture is what your role is client. What my role is as your agent and part of my role is as I’m not available at 10 o’clock at night so don’t call me. I’m gonna set the tone because if someone expects me to be available 24/7 I’m not the guy for them. And that’s ok and I know my boundaries are such to work I’ve got family time. I will never miss to get that game.
[00:19:19] I will never miss my trajectory. Those are my priorities and that’s the big things that put in my mouth already this first. And they know that but because they were referred to me they trust me. I walk in the door they’ve been sold before they get to me. There’s two things there’s one’s incompetence and one’s a character character. You trust me because your friend told me about you the confidence. Do I know what I’m doing. I had a lot of friends are awesome people but they may not be good at their job. Are you a great guy. Not these you love God but are you good at what you do and you get to be good at what you do. And so all that package together it kind of makes some I would consider the right person as far as what I’m trying to accomplish in our business. And that’s also why I try to teach people in our companies and train them to be that person to have boundaries for your family. And what I’ve seen people do is have a great business. Have a great family life too.
[00:20:12] I love that because I normally don’t say that with a lot of agents they either have a great business or a great family life but they rarely have those tough is. Talk to me so as a producing sales rep you’ve got to generate business which you’re doing by staying highly in touch with contacts and there is that tendency that I got to be available for that call I’ve got to take this next call this person wants me to come look at a house at six or seven o’clock at night and you’ve got these boundaries that you’re always being tempted to push.
[00:20:48] How do you have the peace to say no and to draw the line when you’re a straight commission sales rep. Is that a good question to you. Does that make sense.
[00:21:00] Great question. I think it goes back to the very first thing I said it’s important to me is my faith in God is gonna go bad for me. I have no doubt about that. And so my role is to set the boundaries wherever they may be. For me I explain it to my client. They know they’re going to be in that first meeting if that’s not OK. We go our separate ways that rarely would happen but it could happen and I’m OK with that. I’ll walk away but I don’t make any deal. No I will not compromise what I’m gonna do. And so I am flexible because there are people who have various schedules and some people can’t take off during the day at 2 o’clock. Look at a home. And so yes I’m not making this. There are exceptions but I know that ahead of time that I set my schedule accordingly. And so it will vary somewhat to single people’s schedules. But I am ok turning the phone call and saying I’m unavailable what I’m going on vacation or taking time off for my stuff or whatever it may be. I’ve got it covered. And when I’m not available I have someone taking care of things for me. I’ve got a great team of 10 agents we work together closely and we’ve been going out for a long time and we cover for one another we help each other we meet monthly. We have a great quarter of people. And so because of that things are always covered and I cover for them. They cover me and we have a great system.
[00:22:14] I love it. I love it a lot. Talk to me a little bit if you would on what’s the.
[00:22:23] In terms of.
[00:22:25] What. How do you how do you actively apply your relationship with the Lord in your business. Not so much just the boundaries but in terms of can you get. Maybe give me some examples of of and I don’t want to put you on the spot or are you have you feel like you’re trying to teach your horn as a Christian but for people who are you know we’ve been told you separate your personal life from your your faith and you know there’s a separation of church and state there’s a separation of business and in church. And it really isn’t. So talk to me in terms of how your faith in the Lord starts to impact your actual involvement with your clients. Maybe things that you’ve turned down because of that or things that you’ve done that most agents may not have. And I know you’ve got to pull back and be a little bit candid. But can you do that.
[00:23:17] Yes. And I’ll say buddy I’m one person so there is no question and there. The same person. Yeah. Now that doesn’t mean that I’m out sharing the gospel with every person I meet. I’m not saying that at all and saying that people simply know where I stand with my faith. There are times where I pray for my clients. I don’t all the time. It depends on who they are. And it is not uncommon for me to part people. And it depends on the situation. It’s not uncommon that a lot of people have not heard about people that because of my faith because they know they can trust me. It have similar values and so there is no differentiation between one or two persons just one person.
[00:23:58] I love it taught me not so much on real estate but Tony Fiore as a person their struggles said we all go through in life whether it’s raising our children finances or health challenges. What is your relationship with Christ meant for you during those times and can you kind of share how that has impacted.
[00:24:25] I honestly don’t understand someone surviving without Christ. I can’t imagine going through life was not having the foundation of Jesus in your life. And so it’s just so foreign to me because that is the source of everything I do every single day. My life is about how does Christ work in my life. And so yes it’s a good life. But there are some hard days and there are some hard periods in life. And there are some very difficult times. There’s some very disappointing times in life and there’s a lot of hurt in life. And those are all very real things. But in the midst of that when you’re having a horrible day. God is still president and that is change. God’s love can’t change ever no more no less. And so that gives me strength knowing that no matter how I may feel today my feelings are real but I will be OK because I know God’s got it. And so and I’ve got a great my kids have turned out exceptionally well I’m blessed with that and that is the thing I like about something. I thank God every day for how blessed I am I tell people all the time. I am a blessed man in so many ways. And in the midst of the most difficult things in my life and I had a lot of difficult things in life that were not good days and bad seasons in life. And God is going to do that. And I’ve come to find out after going through that I’m a much better person and much stronger because of it without putting you on the spot or anything.
[00:25:48] And please say no if you don’t want to. But is there anything in some of the struggles that you can share what the struggles were and kind of how the Lord brought you through it.
[00:25:59] Wow. We don’t have sound. OK. Maybe we all that we ever had.
[00:26:04] It’s almost like every four years I’ve had a major event happen in my life. It could be just crazy that you can’t make up almost anything. OK. Because those guys get it. But you know in the interest of protecting people our piled up things say anything else on that.
[00:26:17] Okay perfect perfect. So Tony I want as we start to wrap up I want to ask one more thing. Now your children. You’ve got four children and you’re pretty proud of them aren’t you.
[00:26:29] Yes they’re awesome.
[00:26:30] Yes. Talk to me in terms of if you would raising your children as a realtor but more importantly what’s your faith in the Lord and what specifically did you do if anything in terms of how you raised them that you feel that is kind of what got them through and become so excellent does that make sense when I’m asking.
[00:26:55] Well I’ll start by saying it’s God’s grace alone that I’ve gotten them where they are because it is not me. It’s I’ve been present and I’ve been very present from day one. And so my children they are twenty four twenty three nineteen and seventeen and all four of them. I couldn’t imagine them being as good as they are. I mean we were blessed every day is not good. And we have our struggles. But through the course of raising the kids I made the parties spend time with them collectively but also individually I take them I’ve taken them all one on one on trips so me and them before you know whether it’s going to Jakes ranch for the week with each kid or whether it’s just a single trip here or there. I’ve done it you know getting back to the notes I mentioned. I write my kids notes and letters. I’ve always done that. So I get the letters I’ve written over the years. It just always being engaged and always making them feel like they’re important. And I’ll tell them this there’s nothing you can do or not do to make you love me any more or less. I will always love you no matter what. And conflict telling that in being positive and optimistic personally and just constantly give them positive affirmation. One of the things I said growing up is some kind of joke today is always that has the best day of your life. And it’s a joke now that I’ve always said that times that they don’t have the best day life. And I mean it because you know it’s a choice all right if it’s a choice. And so I think having a positive attitude really encourage them more than anything. I pray for them every day otherwise I pray for God’s protection in every other life. And I’ve had even kids recently tell me I know you pray for me I can tell. And so I would say that’s what it’s about praying for the kids.
[00:28:33] I love it. That’s really great. And I know when we’re raising our children we would always have bible story time at night and to get them you know because when they were small they have short attention span so to keep them focused we would have what I call a Skittle questions.
[00:28:49] And if you can answer the little questions about what we read you get a Skittle. And so they would stay engaged and it was really a lot of fun. That’s awesome. Well is there anything before we close that you would like to share either going back to some things that we talked about that you like to add to or anything in terms of your relationship with the Lord or anything at all.
[00:29:10] Before we close out I think you did a good job of covering a very broad picture of everything you have. People have a misconception about real size about and about what you can be and it can be frankly it can be chaotic it can be out of control and that is often what people see in an effort. Often what happens but I think if you approach as a business that’s exactly what it is my job is a business. You get a coach that way you approach a business with a business plan and you follow that plan. You can be successful it’s a great business. It’s me. A lot of flexibility with a family with a personal life. There’s nothing I could do. And be as secure in my job as I am and also because you know how am I ever to guy. God bless. And business turned out really well for me.
[00:29:58] Hey I’ve got to ask you two questions because.
[00:30:02] Ok so now this is for my benefit and maybe for the benefit of those at listening your list size that you’re touching that you did the phone calls and notes and pop by about how many people is that do you mind.
[00:30:17] Well let me look it.
[00:30:20] I’m not real consistent. OK. That should be my database. Because I’ve sold thousand plus whatever home that I can. I mean how many it is I mean it’s been well over a thousand on that site. But in the course of time but they’re probably going to say a hundred that I’m in constant contact with. Maybe two hundred Max. OK. That income.
[00:30:42] And then the amount of time it takes to do the phone calls or notes and the pot dies to those couple of hundred people. How many hours a week do you think you’re actually investing in nurturing those relationships.
[00:30:56] Not nearly enough. I mean I’m really not. And because like sometimes I will just go somewhere and I’ll see client. I mean I see it everywhere I go. OK. So last night I went to a run at how I saw 10 clients there you know and I’m I’m I’m engaged with them. I’m not specifically athletic at that time but I’m I’m seeing people constantly maybe say at church or different activities. So I don’t do as good a job as I should do because when at this point my business.
[00:31:26] I’m looking for stability in my business not for growth in my business that makes sense because that I’m not I’m not really engaged. I’m not spending two hours a day. I’m not doing that. Our new we’re in the business I would be doing that.
[00:31:38] I would be much more engaged with people and doing a lot more activity because where I’m at this point lies I just wish we had a merger with our company. And I’m really taking some things off our plates where I am at this point my life. I’m trying to have a different quality of life now. And just branch out different areas things I’m doing.
[00:31:56] That’s fair enough. Well Tony thank you so much for your time. This has been really it’s been great catching up with you.
[00:32:03] Absolutely as it has been.
[00:32:05] And so for those who are watching if you like this video please subscribe please like it.
[00:32:12] You can find us both on iTunes and Stitcher and Google Play I think for our podcast or online and visit our website at get sellers calling you dot com. For more information. Tony thank you so much. And you have a great day.