Top 1% producer Amy Diamond of the Deal With Diamond Group understands the importance of specialization. Her team focuses in the north and northwest suburbs and are real estate experts in those areas. In this episode Amy discusses branding, teamwork, and how she built a Facebook group (not about real estate) to over 1800 members. Oh, and she’s in the top 1% of brokers in Chicago and also at NRT – the largest real estate firm in the United States!
D.J. Paris 0:16
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real, the only podcast made by real estate agents for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris, I am your host through the show. And first of all, thanks in advanced everyone for listening to this episode and also sharing it with a friend. It’s the best way you can support our efforts here is to let everybody know who’s a broker about this show who’s interested in learning how to increase their production, right. So that is the goal of our shows, we interviewed top producers, almost everyone I think everyone we’ve ever interviewed has been in the top 1% in Chicago of producers. And that’s a big deal because there’s over 35,000 realtors in the Chicagoland area. So we interview only the very top producers and ask them what they do to have done and continue to do to be successful. And in that same vein, I’d like to ask a favor of you, in addition to passing our podcast along, to let us know how we can make the show better. So I have this isn’t so much a confession. But a good thing to know about me is I am technically a broker, but I’m really not right. So I work at a firm I do marketing, I do recruiting, but I’m not out there working with clients. So what I always am interested in doing is making sure that we continue to improve these conversations we have and give you information that can be directly applicable to helping you continue to further your business. So what’s the best way you can do that? Send us your ideas. For example, somebody sent us an idea recently that said, Hey, I would love to for you to interview somebody who’s an expert at CMAs and writing and you know, doing comps and some tricks of the trade. So like, wow, that’s a really good idea. Another suggestion we had just yesterday was, hey, can you bring on a commercial broker and talk about how maybe how residential brokers can start getting involved in commercial? These are all awesome ideas, but we need them from you because you’re the audience. You’re the reason we do this. So the best way to send us your suggestions, or even just questions you want us to ask top producers is to shoot that over or you can email us you can email our producer Jen, which is Jen at keeping it real pod.com You can find us on Facebook keeping it real pod and also our website, you can send it through our contact form, keeping it real pod.com Also let us know who we should be interviewing. We were booked up for the next few months but we are always taking requests and always interested in who you think we should be talking to. So I sit behind the desk all day. I am not out there in the field with you guys. So let us know how we can make the show even better and our audience listenership keeps going up. So I hope we’re doing something right sounds like feels like we are but again I work for you so you let us know what we can do to keep improving the podcast and today we have today’s no exception. We have an amazing interview with Amy Diamond. So that’s coming up in just a few.
Today on the show, we have Amy Diamond Amy is a listing expert and Team Leader Amy Diamond is a licensed real estate broker for state of Illinois, focusing on the northwest and North suburbs of Chicago. After working many years within corporate settings, Amy realized that she would put her passion for real estate to work for her. By the time she was 28 years old. She owned four homes, one primary residence and one secondary residence and two investment properties. Amy chose real estate so she could assist individuals through the buying, selling relocating and investing process of properties. Amy earned her degree in Business Marketing from Indiana University during her first position out of school Amy spent 10 years negotiating multimillion dollar staffing deals with large corporations such as Granger Chase, Bank of America and smaller local firms. Her strong negotiation skills, combined with her ability to build lasting relationships has assisted her with her real estate success. welcome Amy. Thanks for being on the show. Thanks for having me. Well, I want to get right to it because I’m also very by the way Amy in your office is in is it in Arlington Heights? Yes,
Amy Diamond 4:26
our office is in earlington Heights.
D.J. Paris 4:29
That’s where we’re just saying that’s where I was born. But I sadly know very little, very little about it, but it’s supposed to be a lovely suburb. So yeah. Tell us how you got started in real estate. I know you started in staffing. So how did you make that transition?
Amy Diamond 4:44
Yeah, so right out of school. I went into the temporary staffing arena, but I sold the temporary staffing to corporations and I made pretty good money in my 20s and most People when you make good money, they do stupid things with it. And however I started invest in real estate, I just kind of got the bug and started to purchase properties with my bonus monies I was making while the staffing doing temporary staffing. So that’s how I got into the business, initially as an investor. Shortly thereafter, I figured out that this was more of a passion of mine. So I got my real estate license and I dabbled in it part time, met my husband, and then was able to transition into more of a full time, real estate career after that. So that was all in my 20s. And and here I am now. So it’s been very, very fun through the process.
D.J. Paris 5:49
Yeah, and tell us a little bit about what year did you What year did you start your real?
Amy Diamond 5:54
So I got into the business in about 2005. As an investor, I went full time in real estate in 2008. So wow, that that is a tough Yeah, I say that all the time. Because I never really knew what a good market was. And people always told me if you can make it through 2008 and 2009, and you can make it through anything. So I had a what I considered a good year in 2008, according to my broker at that time, and but I didn’t know what good or bad or ugly look like so I figured if I’m able to survive at this time, I should do well when when things are booming. And that’s just really what what happened. So
D.J. Paris 6:44
well congratulations on on your success. And let’s I’m gonna talk also about about your brand because I think, you know, in particular, you have a very, very strong presence with your brand, can you tell us a little bit about what that brand is and how you develop? Sure.
Amy Diamond 7:02
So I first always have to take credit that diamond is not my maiden name, so we have to give credit where credit is due and that I inherited it into a really great name. So I have to acknowledge that so I knew that AMI diamond you know the name itself, I could do something with so started playing with that came up Coldwell Banker has an phenomenal marketing department here and helped me with a lot of ideas and just came up with a deal with diamond as a brand slash logo. As we’ve evolved, and I’ve built my team, I realized that I am no longer just AMI diamond, it is a now it is a team group effort. So we’ve since recently added the group underneath the deal with diamond logo. But branding itself is pretty important especially on a local basis because there’s just so many brokers out here and and having the brand and having the logo out there consistently, I think is generated us some great opportunities here, here locally. So we just keep honing in on that we keep honing in on any place that we can advertise our space and advertise our logo in different spaces locally here. So
D.J. Paris 8:23
in I realized I just forgot to make a really important point about your success and I think this should not be missed, which is you are in the top 1% of not only Coldwell Banker, but also NRT which is like the parent company, which includes Coldwell Banker, let’s just gonna go through a few of the firms they own because we all know these firms, Sotheby’s zip Realty and Barbara Corcoran Group. So this is a lot of real a lot of realtors, and there’s others too. Those are just the biggest names associated with nRT. So you aren’t just successful locally or in in the northwest suburbs, but you know it with respect to all of nRT, which is a huge, a huge deal. So yeah,
Amy Diamond 9:08
well thank you. Yeah, it’s been an that’s something that we’ve been striving towards that’s been part of our goals is to get into that top 1%. So we definitely hit that this past few years. And we’re looking to keep that keep that moving forward.
D.J. Paris 9:22
Back Back to branding, because I love the brand I love the tagline and deal with diamond is by the way her website is deal with diamond.com, which is which is a great site and what I really liked about your website, one of the things I really liked about it was it really goes through your philosophy, what you guys offer what you specialize in, and I think that is particularly unique. There’s, you know, not not uncommon for a broker to have a website but to have one that goes into, you know, the level of of specific specificity, that specificity that you guys have, I think is really important and I let’s Talk a little bit about your team because that is a newer to your career, and you have a pretty robust team. So can you tell us a little bit about how you started to build that team? Why you built a team?
Amy Diamond 10:12
Sure. So we’re gonna just talk about the branding of the team too. So my signs out there in the marketplace, oh, he said, Amy Diamond. And we had all these writers and I would put a deal with diamond writer underneath it. And then my team, let’s say was Beth, she’d have her writer underneath it and just looked awkward. And so what we did is we rebranded the science to it just says deal with diamond group. And so what we’re starting to say that we’re all one, you get Amy Diamond, you get Beth, you get Kathy, you get anyone on our team when you when you partner with us. And that’s the team philosophy that we have, for our, our group, and so on. When I started out in this business, I was always told by people that were my mentors, like your first hire will always be an assistant. So that’s how I’ve naturally grew my team, I hired my first assistant part time that grew into full time. From there, I hired a buyer agent from then I hired a second buyer agent, then a third buyer agent, then I had a part time listing marketing coordinator. Now I have a full time listing marketing coordinator. So it’s slowly organically been growing, as our needs have grown, and it has how I’ve been able to allow my team to survive, I’d never wanted to add somebody on my team, where I didn’t, wasn’t able to give them opportunity. So as as I’ve grown and our businesses grown, I’ve been able to add people and we’re gonna, we’re gonna continue to do that. Moving forward, and that’s how we specialize in different areas is that, you know, I have somebody who just handles the listing piece of our business meeting photographers, and putting lock boxes on handling all the marketing pieces along with it. I have somebody who specializes in once we go under contract, who happens to be my sister in law, Kathy diamond, and she does everything that has to do with the closing. And then I have our buyer agents, but our buyer agents, you know, they know the market there, they’re Arlington Heights, Palatine residents as well. So, you know, we’re, that’s how we get our niche and how we how we brand ourselves here locally?
D.J. Paris 12:20
Well, I think too, and I think that’s very well said, I think it’s, you know, if I think about it from a seller’s perspective, in particular, when you’re doing your, your listing presentation, if it is someone where you do a listing presentation for, and they say, Well, why are you worth, you know, the commission that you’ll be charging, and you can say, well, you get not just me, but here’s my entire team, here’s what each member does, here’s, you know, and I think that is an incredibly powerful conversation and message to have I imagine that you know, is very impressive to to your club. That’s exactly
Amy Diamond 12:54
what we talk about. I never want someone to feel like they’re not going to get me diamond though. So you have to tread lightly with that conversation, especially with the seller. So I really want to make sure they know that I am their their main point of contact. However, everyone on the team is another mirror image of Amy Diamond. And isn’t it another integral part of making sure that there’s success in this transaction, whether it’s bringing in a buyer, who doesn’t have a realtor that we’re going to show the house, whether it’s meeting a photographer to take those best pictures, whether it’s working with the attorneys who needs paperwork, moved back and forth, once we have a contract, we’re all here to make sure that this goes to the finish line. However, you know, there will be one point of contact. So it’s just setting that setting that up from the beginning. And we’ve we’ve won many opportunities because of the robust systems that we have in place. And it’s been, it’s been great.
D.J. Paris 13:49
Yeah, and I also I just want to focus a little, I think that’s so true. And I want to focus a little bit. And I know this isn’t always easy for people who have teams, team leaders to verbalize but, you know, I know it’s really important. And you just mentioned that, that each one of your brokers or your team members is a, you know, a mirror reflection, a mirror image of you. Can you talk a little bit more about how you do that and how that gets trained?
Amy Diamond 14:20
Well, I think it goes back to the brand, right? So you have your you have your brand deal with diamond group. And I constantly be thinking what does that mean? And what am I representing out there? And so when I hire train and mentor people, I’m looking for people who would represent Amy Diamond in front of other clients because I can’t be everywhere at once. So I’m always I’m always recruiting for that. I’m always looking for that. People, you know, who will communicate correctly to our clients and our vendors who we work with. And through that. It’s just constant training. I mean these anyone that joined to deal with them in group gets a lot of one on one time with me. And it’s, it’s because I want to make sure that one they feel confident and two that they’re doing things the way that I that that I’ve shown success, there’s no reason to reinvent the reinvent the wheel, I, the wheels already been invented, I’ve learned it from other people, I’m still learning, all I’m doing is handing that down and that knowledge and that wherewithal to the to my team so that they can be successful, the team can’t be successful unless they are successful. So there’s a lot of one on one. And I think that what I find is that a lot of agents, whether they’ve been in this business a year, or five years, or just right out of school, I find that people feel like they’re a small fish in a big pond. And they’re like, I don’t even know what to do. I’m told to go to all these trainings, and I need to learn this and learn that. But I’m not getting like real life experiences on what to do in real estate. So I partner with a lot of those people I know not, they’re not might not come on my team, but I mentor a lot of people. And I think that just getting that sense of like, how do they work? How do they handle their clients, then sometimes I hired these people to come on my team. So um, I don’t know, I’m kind of segwaying into another whole piece of what I do, which is the mentorship part. But um, I think that I really spend a lot of time with my team, so that they are another image of what the brand is, that’s the best way to do it.
D.J. Paris 16:34
Yeah, no, I absolutely. Your and your website reflects some of that as well. For example, we talked about making sure everyone is on the same page. You know, your website is very clear on here’s our philosophy, here’s what we do for our clients. Here’s why people hire us. And, and it may seem very obvious to a lot of brokers that well, of course, everyone on your team should should know that. I’ll bet you there are many teams where it is not that clear. And and the roles probably aren’t as well defined either. So I think I think you’ve you’ve obviously you’ve been very precise with that. And I also completed completely different, I just realized a point I wanted to make. And then I want to ask you about another topic, which is when you first got into business, because oftentimes, where I’ll meet with a broker who’s just got their license, and they have no previous real estate experience, obviously, you had investing experience. So I’m sure that helped. But at the same time, at some point, you had your very first client, and I thought, boy, you know, my biggest fear, if I was a new broker would be to have that conversation to say you are my very first client. Certainly, that would be hard for me to want to to tell that client but I if I if I had had your experience, and I think every new broker can think back to their previous experience to leverage some of the skills they learned is you could say, hey, at the end of the day, one of the most important things I do for us negotiate I have been negotiating for 10 years with enterprise level clients and big corporations. I know negotiation. So I was just realizing how powerful of a conversation that would have been for for a new broker, even on your first deal to be able to tell that story, even though it’s not necessarily real estate related.
Amy Diamond 18:20
Yes, no, I that’s definitely something that I you know, when you there’s one of these questions like what distinguishes you from other brokers, it’s my negotiations, and I, I love that piece. I have people who are like, Oh, I can’t stay on the negotiation piece. I’m like, No, I thrive on that. I don’t know what it is. And maybe it’s just because I’ve been in sales, my whole career, my whole life since college, I enjoy the negotiating. And if you can’t back, back, you’re I mean, people are gonna feel that they’re gonna hear the passion, about you know, that you’re going to stand by them and that you’re going to stand by their numbers and stand by their wishes, then all you’re going to do if you can’t explain that during a sales meeting, or during a market analysis with a client, then why would they pick you? I mean, if you don’t, if you are not going to be their advocate, then who is so I think in the advocate only comes in when you’re negotiating, I mean, really, and getting them their top dollar. So I do love that.
D.J. Paris 19:24
Yeah, anyone can put a home on the MLS right for sale. But so I it’s very well set up. Let’s talk about you know, I know, we’ve talked about this before we started, which was about how to be a leader in your market. I know you have very specific thoughts about this. So can you talk a little bit about that?
Amy Diamond 19:42
Yeah, sure. I think that when you first get into this business, you kind of look at your territory as open ended and anyone can you can actually take a listing and take a buyer out anywhere if you’re willing to travel. And I think that that piece is extremely overwhelming for anybody getting into the business. And what I learned from my previous career in the temporary staffing world is that you really have to take this big pie and kind of dissect it into areas that you’re like, Okay, I, I want to start here and I’ll grow it from this area. So what I did is I really just said, Okay, I, I live in Palo Alto, I started my career in the city, I lived right by Wrigley Field, and I was selling the city market when I first got into real estate, but I moved out to the northwest suburbs, and I said, Okay, now I’m transitioning over to this wider network. And how am I going to how am I going to hone in so I took the talents that I’m most familiar with where I grew up, and that’s Arlington Heights in Palatine, I grew up in Arlington Heights, and I live in Palatine. So I said, Okay, how do I target these two areas? Well, you have to know as much as you possibly can in those two areas to market to it, and to talk the talk. So I started going to broker tours and, you know, learning what, what a split level was compared to a raise ranch compared to a colonial like, what is all this terminology because in the city, it’s a condo, it’s a three flat, I mean, there’s a whole different verbiage and learning my market, and then from there saying, okay, every time I go out and meet with somebody, or I’m in a social setting, I have to weave in real estate into every conversation. And it’s very natural for me to be able to do that. Some people feel like awkward, but for some reason, I just say, Oh, where do you live? Oh, I live over here. Oh, I’m in real estate. I know that street, whether I knew it or not like you have to be able to weave in real estate. And then the open conversation about your realtor comes up. I took this big market and totally fine tuned it to Arlington Heights and palatine and said, Look, these are the two areas I’m gonna focus on. And from there, we’ve branded on the Mariano grocery carts. From there, I’m giving back to the community and doing food pantry donations, giving away pumpkins, doing Tree Lighting ceremonies, you name it, we’re in this market now. And I’m trying to make a name. I started a Palatine moms club, Facebook page with 10 of my closest friends. Then I added clients now it’s 1800. Members. I can’t tell you the amount of bandwidth that’s given me. I’ve gotten this year alone six deals just from that. And I was sitting at at my kids swim meet the other day. And this mom and I are talking and somehow I brought up the Pelton palms club page. And she’s like, are you at Diamond? I’m like, yeah, she’s like, Oh, you’re the admin? Oh, you know, so and so. So and so I’m like, No, I don’t know any of those people. She’s like, Oh, they were just talking about you the other day, because they were talking about the page. And I’m like, Oh, I you know, it’s amazing the power of social media. And I don’t know, I’m kind of talking about a bunch of different things here. But, you know,
D.J. Paris 22:47
I want to pause for a second on social media, because I think what what you just said is, is worth spending just a moment of my thought on it. Because it’s so powerful, what, in fact I was we I do a monthly show with Carrie McCormack, who’s an app properties agent. And she gives her sort of state of the state of the market in the city and what’s going on and what she sees. And then we were taught, we just did one on Monday. And then from that, we just do it once a month. And she said, next month, we got to talk about social media, we were talking about it and we both she and I agree that many brokers just do social media, wrong or incorrectly or in a way that isn’t as effective as it could be. And I think what I see from other brokers who are on Facebook, in particular, and there’s other social media platforms, but on Facebook, I see a hey, look at my new coolest app, and that then that might be all that person does. And I’m not saying you shouldn’t do that. But when it’s all that you do you realize, like most of your your Facebook friends don’t care. You know, it’s just not that interesting. But you know what, Amy, what you’ve done is so important is like you thought how can I actually create value for people and you said, create a moms group for Arlington Heights, right. And by doing that, you’re obviously creating value because there’s 1800 subscribers to that page. And at the same time, of course, you know, ultimately, that furthers your brand. It’s sort of indirectly but you know, what I always tell people for social media is figure out a way to create value outside of just hey, look at how cool I am. I just listed a house. And I think you are like the perfect example of doing that. And obviously, you found a need for that sort of communication in that, you know, in that area and, and then you said, Hey, I just got six deals this year. And I know that wasn’t the reason you did it. But it’s nice that that flows that way too.
Amy Diamond 24:34
Yeah. And I could talk about social media all day every day. Because I am truly passionate about what one free advertising meant. And to be honest, it’s free. But I track I mean, I track where my leads come from which everybody should be tracking where their leads come from to know if you’re spending money in the right spots, but um, that’s another whole podcast but As you know, social media is there’s so many people that want to talk and they don’t have outlets and they don’t know where to go. And and so it’s, I do think there’s a technique to it’s my rule of thumb is to personal to one business. You don’t want to overwhelm people. But there’s also an illusion that people aren’t watching what you’re doing they are. Because when you go out to the next social event, and you run into Bob, we haven’t seen in a year, and they’re like, Wow, you’re killing it with real estate. Bob’s watching what I’m doing, Bob seeing it, whether he comments are not, it’s the perception. It’s the it’s the they’re, they’re just tracking you. So when Bob needs a realtor, I’m hoping Bob calls me so it’s just about constantly dripping the reminder to your people. And I tell all my new agents that I tell them, and it’s got it you got to get you gotta get with the time because that’s a really valuable asset that so many people don’t know about. And don’t use so.
D.J. Paris 26:03
Absolutely. So when I was I just mentioned this on our last episode, that when I our first episode that we did a few months ago, had I think I just looked at had 51 listeners that 51 subscribers, which is I work at a firm that has 600 brokers. So I you know, I’m embarrassed to say that I didn’t even get any of our own brokers to to, I mean, I don’t know what percentage, but I’m guessing 40 of the 50 were probably our own brokers. And we were I was worried that even though I knew it takes time to build something like a podcast, but I thought, Well, I hope people be interested in this, but it wasn’t super encouraging. And then what we started doing with all of our guests is, of course, we tagged them in the post, like you’re we’re sort of referencing in Facebook, we do it on LinkedIn, and Twitter, if they’re on Twitter, and you can sort of do it on Instagram, to a degree. But what we’re now at almost gosh, we’re closing in on about 3000 subscribers in just a few months. And it’s not because I’m that compelling. I’d love to think it’s just my wonderful personality, but it isn’t, but what I’ll tell you what, it’s been no surprise to you, I’m sure as the brokers who we feature, you know, who are tagged in it, share it, or at least people who are friends of theirs see it. And it’s that’s been been a huge, you know, that’s that’s the only reason we’ve grown from 50 to 3000. It’s not because of me. Yeah,
Amy Diamond 27:22
it’s all about, it’s all about getting the name out there. And in social platforms. It’s a great, great tool, so everyone should be on it. Yeah, they should,
D.J. Paris 27:34
they should all be taking advantage of it. And I think maybe you are the best representation of that my co host, Carrie McCormack is like the queen of Instagram, and nobody does Instagram better than her and she is just unbelievable at it. And, you know, but it’s, I find that many brokers are could could use a few tips. So maybe in a future episode, and maybe I’ll have you back as a guest. Yeah, just social media, because
Amy Diamond 27:56
video is the next thing too. I mean, everyone needs to be doing. I’m just getting into that I’m doing a lot of impromptu videos, which my team thinks I’m crazy, but I’ll be driving. But I just, yeah, it helps. I mean, it’s amazing how many people watch it. And then it’s also about just giving back some information. I never do it just to talk like I’m always like, here’s the myth, this is what’s going on right now, this is a true myth. Or this is this is why you need to get on the market, or this is what’s going on, if you’re thinking about the Christmas and how you decorate your house and the holidays, and you know, whatever it is people want to know. So,
D.J. Paris 28:37
ya know, and it’s clear that I have always said success, you know, is almost probably it’s never accidental, but it’s certainly if it’s not never, it’s almost never accidental. And it means that you have obviously you’re providing extremely high value to your clients. And it’s enabled you to grow a sizable team, and also a sizable brand. And it’s really I think your that that’s like perfect balance of marketing and and also just high quality. So congrats on all your success. If someone is out there who is interested in working with you, you know, maybe a buyer or seller or maybe even another broker that wants to learn about your team, what’s the best way they can reach out to you?
Amy Diamond 29:20
I would say just reach out through my website or you could just always give me a call on my office line. So do I provide my line now? Yes, let’s see what
D.J. Paris 29:29
their website is deal with diamond.com Get in touch with her there but what’s the best way if someone wants to? Can you give out your email and phone number? Yeah,
Amy Diamond 29:39
yeah, my phone number is 847-222-8741 And then my email is Amy at deal with diamond.com.
D.J. Paris 29:50
And don’t to please if you start getting flooded with questions, I apologize for that in advance but we do have a lot of eager listeners any way out. Thank you so much for being part of the show. This was a fantastic conversation, at least from my perspective. So we’re Yeah, thank you for having me. I appreciate the time. I appreciate it. All right, we’ll say goodbye. All right, thanks so much.