This week we talked with Brooke Daitchman, the top individual producer at Dream Town Realty. Brooke talked about how she has grown her business over the past nine years and how last year nearly 100% of her business came from referrals. She’s a true superstar and has some amazing tips for aspiring top producers!
D.J. Paris 0:16
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real pod the first podcast for real estate agents made by real estate agents. My name is TJ Parris, and I am your host through the show. And today, we sat down with Brooke Dangerman, who I was really excited about, because, first of all, she’s incredibly busy. But also, she has just been so successful in a real estate career, she is the number one top producer at one of the largest real estate firms dream town here in Chicago. So being that the vast majority of our listeners are real estate brokers, I thought this would be in particular a special treat to hear from somebody who’s doing so well and what they do on a regular basis. And Brooke shared a lot of great techniques and tactics about how she has become successful in this business and stayed that way as well. Now, if you have somebody that you would like to hear us interview, whether it be yourself or another broker, and by the way, we’ve been getting some good suggestions from some of you. So we appreciate that. But you can actually send us a note and let us know who we need to be talking to visit keeping it real pod.com And there’s a section on there where you can suggest someone to interview so thank you again for listening. If you if you find this enjoyable, let us know either through social media, or through our website and definitely tell your fellow brokers to check it out. And again, our intention here is to make a to tell stories about what has been successful for other agents.
Today on the show, we have Brooke Daneshmand, who is a lifelong Chicago and North Shore resident real estate has always been a major passion and priority for Brooke she developed a deep rooted love of homes with all of their design and architectural potential. And following college and graduate school Brooks years spent doing marketing for Jim Beam brands, which enabled her to really learn the skill set necessary to become successful in the real estate world. She of course works with both buyers and sellers in new construction and in resales. She’s been working at Dream Town since 2008. And since her transition over to dream town, Brooke has at a remarkable trajectory. She has been recognized as a top producer by the Chicago Association of Realtors from 2009, all the way through present day, and she was also in the top 1% of sales agents in Illinois, and boasts over 180,000,450 units in career sales. And as of last year, she was the number one top producing non team broker at Dream town. And she’s Lastly, she’s been featured on HGTV S series House Hunters. So welcome, Brooke to our show. Thank you so much. Thank you. And I know you just got back from vacation. So we’ll we won’t make this too heavy, because you’re probably busy. And hopefully not it not as cloudy as I would be after a weekend or a week off. But I do want to talk a little bit about how you got into the business because you didn’t start your professional career in real estate. So could you tell us that story?
Brooke Daitchman 3:38
Um, yeah, so I actually went to college. My undergrad was in psychology. And you know, throughout my college career, I really wanted to be a psychologist. So I kind of set myself up for that. And actually, after I got out of school, went into graduate school, at Loyola University, Chicago. And quickly after entering there, I realized this was not the path I wanted to be on. However, I still wanted to help people, but I think in a different capacity. So I ended up working towards getting my real estate license. And while I was doing that, I was offered a job as a marketing specialist for Jim Beam brands, which is a very large at the time, it was the second largest liquor company in the world. And I got a great opportunity in my mid early to mid 20s with a great job. And so I actually put my real estate license on hold and I started working for them.
D.J. Paris 4:38
How that transition from working at Jim Beam to real estate sort of happened and what skills that you learned at Jim Beam?
Brooke Daitchman 4:46
Well, I think that I mean, I was so appreciative of having that opportunity. I was really green. I didn’t know a lot about business. I think that I was one of the younger people that worked for the company and I got my stuff into a pretty good position at the time. And basically, I was taught a lot about, you know, professionalism, business interaction, negotiation, building relationships, all these things that are really important. You know, in any business you’re in and in life in general, I also realized really quickly that working for corporate America in what I would consider as a little bit of a boys club, was not exactly what I wanted to do for my lifelong career. So I love the opportunity, you know, I mean, what’s not to like, you’ve got a great expense account, and you get to build all these relationships. One second, if you can hear me when you are in restaurants, you know, it was a great experience. But I realized, in order for me to excel in that business, I would have had to really sacrifice some of the things I wanted, which is, you know, my schedule and building and representing my own success. And I think that that is, it’s hard when you work in some of those big corporate America companies where, you know, you’re having to rely on a team or other people. And so I feel like that kind of was a natural progression for me too. You couple that with just the life skills, you kind of learned in being in that kind of environment. And I think that I can’t imagine not having that experience just going straight from college and getting into real estate, I feel like I would have been, I mean, you’re lost to begin with when you get into real estate. So I feel like you’d be even more lost, just, you know, you figure things out as you go. But coming in with some of that experience, I think really helped me at least, you know, put me a little bit on a pedestal where I had that experience, and then could grow and learn more of in focus on the actual real estate aspect of things.
D.J. Paris 6:51
And you came in at a particularly difficult time to be a realtor to what can we talk about that? What did that make it harder for you? Or was it easier, in some ways, because maybe a lot of brokers sort of exited the business around that time, or I imagine it would have been much harder to enter.
Brooke Daitchman 7:08
So actually, I came in, in about oh, around, around Oh, seven. And actually, you know what it was oh, six. And what happened was I started doing it part time. And I got to like a little bit of taste of it. And I’d already really wanted to get into it. And I think that little taste of it really attracted me to it. I think it attracted me like a lot of other people that are interested in real estate, I think that people see that the checks are big. And so they realize, Wow, this could be really easy money. But in all reality, if you’re only getting two or three of those checks a year, it’s not enough. So really, you know, I got a little taste of it. And I It wasn’t only that I liked the checks, I loved just kind of the transaction and the interaction and all that stuff. And so ultimately, I decided to resign from my other career and get into it full time, which was, I believe, you know, some at some point, I’d have to look back in oh six. And I got the market really went into a tailspin at the end of a wait. So I found a couple of years that were actually pretty good. Sure, which was nice. And I, I had an experience where I had done a deal with a woman who owned her own brokerage and a little boutique brokerage in Wicker Park Bucktown. And I was asked to be on her team, which as a new agent is, I think it’s even more great experience, because you’re learning from an expert, and you are learning about, you know, everything that you really need to know by people that really know what they’re doing, you know, my first transaction when I still worked at Jim Beam, literally, I took a I took a contract from another agent, and I copied it. I mean, I didn’t know what I was doing. I had no experience and, you know, I would never want to, you know, actually give that experience to a buyer or seller. I mean, I just really didn’t have any guidance at that point.
D.J. Paris 9:07
Yeah, and let’s talk about sort of the year and then so you transition to full time in around 2006 or seven is that my understand
Brooke Daitchman 9:15
your 1006 I basically left my company and I was I was invited to be on a team of a very, very successful, you know, top 10 Agent consistently in Chicago and at a Wicker Park Bucktown. Right, when that neighborhood was really starting to boom, you know, we did a lot of new development, you know, anywhere from like three to 30 units, Wicker Park Bucktown, Ukrainian village, I mean, some of the developers we worked with built that entire neighborhood.
D.J. Paris 9:43
And let’s talk about how that team experience really helped you to then go off on your own.
Brooke Daitchman 9:49
Well, just I mean, I was on that team and with that company for three years of my first serious full time three years and, you know, just learning about Bill building and selling and relationships. And you know, everything that you really need to know as an agent at that point in time was huge for me and I wasn’t building, you know, my own business necessarily. I only had, you know, a couple million in my own business really, at the time, I was building someone else’s relationships. But the learning aspect of it, I think, is what I really needed to propel myself eventually into getting to where I am now. And when the market really, really dipped, I noticed, which was an August of oh, wait, you know, I had went out of town briefly for a birthday trip. And when I got back, you know, it was like phone was ringing off the hook and then complete, you know, crickets after that. So I think what a lot of agents had to do was really shift our mentality and really change when the market really changed. And there was a really drastic cut off, and everyone’s lives changed at that point. And so I had to change as well.
D.J. Paris 11:00
Yeah. And so what do you think you did differently after the market crash that enabled you to not only survive, but to really flourish? And I mean, you’ve you’ve been so successful, you know? And so what do you think you did differently to continue to stay in the business and do so? Well?
Brooke Daitchman 11:16
Well, when the market hit, you know, hit a low point in August or September of oh, wait, I actually left and resigned from my previous company, in December of Oh, eight, and I went to dream town in January of oh nine. And what I think helped me a lot was obviously the experience I had taken. But everybody, not only myself, but every agent out there had to change their mentality and really learn about the new market and what what that was going to be and what that was going to look like. And so basically, I started over with a lot of other people that were experienced, you know, we had all these agents that were doing really, really well. And when the market went down, you know, we had to learn about short sales, and we had to learn about foreclosures, and we had to really use our relationships and really find new relationships. I think that was a huge thing is like a lot of these agents that were already successful, their clients that, you know, might have bought at the height of the market couldn’t sell. And they had to build new relationships with new people that were maybe buying and selling, that weren’t before and learn about, you know, what was happening, what was currently happening, and we really didn’t know exactly, so I left my previous company. And I started with Dream town, I was attracted to this company, because it was really a new when I say new, it was really just like a technology forward, really innovative company that provided with providing me with leads that I had never had in the past that I could build my new business from. And I think that was something that a lot of other companies didn’t offer at the time. And that for me was, you know, a home run.
D.J. Paris 12:51
Well, what I’ve always loved about about dream town in particular, is that they actually do have leads, right? So they’re about the only player out there that delivers on that promise, and a lot of places promise it and very few places can deliver dream town is that rare exception, and I’ve always admired their ability to through technology to be able to deliver leads to their brokers. So they have a great reputation.
Brooke Daitchman 13:15
Yeah, I mean, I think that again, Dream towns evolved a lot to you know, Dream town has definitely, you know, a lot of other companies have kind of jumped on that bandwagon. But when, when you know, before Redfin and really Zillow were popular dream town had the best website out there, we captured a lot of leads. And those were the new leads in the new in the new economy and in a new in a new, quote unquote, real estate business that we’re going to build my career. So what I did is just like, pick myself up by the bootstraps, and start over. And that’s what I did. So in January of Oh, nine, you know, I came to dream town, and I really just basically just started climbing out of a hole and learning about what I needed to do to be successful in that current market. And, you know, a lot of it’s trial and error, you know, you don’t know what’s going to work for you, and what works for you works for you might not work for somebody else. So you just try different things and try and evolve and, and learn from that. And so really, it was just like, one client at a time and one step at a time and just keep going.
D.J. Paris 14:18
Yeah, and I think you know, it’s it is that and and at the same point, you’ve done it so incredibly well where you’re not just the top 1%. And then with the Chicago Association, realtors, you’re literally top 1% in the state, which is even more and more remarkable. So what advice would you have for brokers that are struggling or someone maybe that’s new in the business? What sort of things habits or behaviors that really helped you that you see maybe other brokers struggling with or not doing?
Brooke Daitchman 14:48
I think that it’s really easy with our downtime and our own schedules to kind of go play and you know, not stay consistent and I think consistency is probably one of the hugest things, as agents, we need to do, you know, always following up with people and always staying consistent. I mean, I found myself doing it as well, you know, but I think the consistency is really good. I think educating yourself on the current market that you’re in is really helpful. You know, none of us have a crystal ball, none of us can tell, you know, what your house is going to be worth in five years, but what we can do is know what’s currently happening and maybe know about some of the trends that we’ve seen. And I think that’s something that’s really helpful, I think, you know, educating ourselves on the market, you know, and I think just little things, like having a really good moral compass, people can sniff that out and smell it, you know, if you’re an agent that carries contracts in the back of your car, and it’s like, I think you need to buy this, you know, that’s probably not the best thing for somebody. So I think those are all things that kind of lend to being a good agent and giving you know, somebody that’s new, some sort of starting point.
D.J. Paris 15:59
Yeah. 100% agree. And it seems to be consistent. What you just said, among, among all the top producers that I’ve talked to over the years, and let’s talk about specifically about how you got on television, because that’s always interesting. How did you get involved with HDTV? Um, you know, I
Brooke Daitchman 16:16
just got, you know, someone at my old company had told me that they were looking for somebody that was buying in the Bucktown. area. And you know, that you I asked some clients, we kind of fell into what they were looking for. And I had asked some clients if they were interested, and you kind of got a set of videos or clients and a view. And anyway, it worked out where all the pieces kind of fell together. And so yeah, we take we take that I think it was in around, probably, oh, oh, wait. Oh, 708. So it was a while ago, it was a fun experience. You know, I’d never really besides the Bozo show, I hadn’t really been on TV. I think it was one of those things like I can check that box. I don’t know if I necessarily would want to do it again, people don’t realize that like, for a half hour show, you’ve done you know, 25 hours of taping. It’s just a lot of like cutting and editing and doing over and doing over. And so it was a cool experience. It’s fun to do. It’s funny to for me to look back on it because I look at myself. I said, wow, it was so young. But it was cool. And it was it was a fun experience for sure.
D.J. Paris 17:27
Did did it result in any new clients as a result of whoever saw your your episode?
Brooke Daitchman 17:33
Well, frankly, not really. It was interesting, because it aired on a special Chicago week. So it aired multiple multiple times over and over over the next couple of years after it was filmed. And I got a lot of people texting and emailing me and calling me even some people I didn’t want to hear from, you know, strange, interesting people all over the country and world. But no, not necessarily business. I don’t I didn’t get any, you know, real serious business from it. But I didn’t do it for that I did it as a fun experience to kind of, you know, to do in my life.
D.J. Paris 18:09
Yeah, for sure. And speaking of fun experiences, you just told us about some experiences you’ve had just in working with clients walking in on a naked people. What was that? What was the circumstances around that?
Brooke Daitchman 18:23
Oh, gosh, um, you know, I think in real estate, if you’re in it long enough, you always have, you know, kind of funny, quirky stories of things that happen over the years. If we get into discussions, we kind of start talking about it. Yeah, I think I mean, I’ve walked in on naked people in bed, I’ve walked out, you know, I’ve walked in on a lot of things I’ve had, I’ve been locked in an elevator at a showing where we’ve actually had to have the fire department come and get us out. And I was so proud to say that we didn’t even miss one of our showings after that. So it was, it was a pretty crazy experience. You know, the other agents started kind of getting all panicky and, you know, I’ve had clients, you know, have to get out of my car and get sick on Wall Street and in a flower bush.
D.J. Paris 19:10
After after a night of imbibing too much or just sick from
Brooke Daitchman 19:13
client’s father and I think he had the flu and he just No, can you pull over and I know what he’s talking about. And we’re like, you know, middle of the day busy Well, street and Old Town and well, there he goes. So and I was just like, you know, maybe I should drop you off. Maybe I should drop you off at home.
D.J. Paris 19:30
Did he? Did he keep going or did you end up dropping?
Brooke Daitchman 19:33
You know, like I was like, flushed and you know, doing so well. So we’re like, Well, why don’t you go home? So yeah, I mean, I think you start to acquire a lot of little, you know, stories that kind of happen over the years and stuff like that. I think one of my favorite things about you know, being in this business is just I’ve you know, now that I’ve been in it for as long as I have seeing, you know, some of my clients lives evolve which is really Cool, you know, I think that I have clients that I’ve met like right before they’ve gotten married. And then, you know, last year, I helped people that I knew right before they got married, actually, now they have three kids, and by their, you know, fifth property for me and have a totally different life, it’s really cool to just see how you’re helping people’s lives evolve and change and how your clients are growing. And I really liked that about it.
D.J. Paris 20:23
Yeah, and then, you know, sort of speaking of life events, or rather, you know, in your case, you have family that’s also involved in real estate, your grandparents, were they both in the business or
Brooke Daitchman 20:33
well, so it’s funny, you know, how I got into the business, how I really fell in love with real estate, as my mother was that person who like was the annoying person who walked into every open house and dragged me with them on the weekend and pretended she was going to buy the house that you know, she was not going to buy. Sure. So my mom used to drag me to open houses, and I just loved it, you know, I loved seeing the properties and seeing how different they were. And so that’s where I kind of fell into it. But when I told my mother when I was leaving graduate school that I wanted to be in real estate, you know, my family wasn’t exactly excited. I have had a grandmother on both sides that were realist in the real estate business, real estate agents, and you know, one of which wasn’t very successful and was always kind of struggling. So I think that they had, were nervous, were nervous about it. And what I can say now is that actually, last year, you know, I got my sister into a full time, which is really exciting, because now my mother has two daughters that are in real estate. And it’s kind of a family affair. But, you know, I think that I wanted to get my sister in it, because I saw you know, how brilliant she was. And I thought that she would, it would be a really good fit. And I would like to, you know, build my business and, you know, hopefully, in the future, pass
D.J. Paris 21:48
it on to her. Is she so she’s working with you at the moment or work with me? Yes. Oh, that’s, that is? That’s a lot of fun. Yeah. It’s totally
Brooke Daitchman 21:57
great. And knowing that, you know, you can completely rely on somebody, I mean, you know, it’s hard to find people that are on the same same wavelength is you and the same, that, you know, carry the same expectations with what they want to get done. And, you know, when you know, someone really well, it’s easily I’m sure it can go the other way and have be a disaster. But it’s been, you know, a year and a half so far, and it’s been really great.
D.J. Paris 22:22
That yeah, that is that is really cool. I’m going down to see my sister this weekend, she just had her first baby. And she’s, yeah, she’s in marketing, I’m in marketing, and although we’re in totally different industries, but it would be very cool to be able to work with with my sister, unfortunately, it probably won’t ever happen, just geography and also our industries are different, but But I imagine that must be pretty rewarding to be able to, you know, sort of mentor your sister and and help her build that business, and then eventually, maybe turn it over. With the oh, I wanted to talk more about the consistency, you said that was sort of the key, in your opinion that what got you through the more difficult times? And could you talk a little bit more about like, what is your average? I know, every day is different, but are there any daily habits or consistent behaviors that you’re doing to ensure that you’re always, you know, looking for new clients or, you know, servicing your existing clients in a way that’s, you’re like, Okay, well, every day, I try to duck out a couple of things pretty regularly.
Brooke Daitchman 23:20
Um, so I, you know, obviously, consistency, I, you know, I’m I’m always responding to emails and phone calls and text messages, you know, as quickly as possible. I think just people hearing for me, I mean, if I had clients that didn’t hear from me for a day or two, they would probably think something happened to me, if you know, if they reached out to me, is what I mean. Just because I’m very consistent about getting back to people very rarely will I miss an email and, you know, respond in three or four days. And usually it’s if I’m on vacation or something, but that’s obviously the first part of being consistent I, what I what I’ve been trying to do is, you know, send out letters and just notes to clients that I haven’t talked to in a while, what we call touching them and I hate to use that term, but you know, just sure, in some way touching a client that you haven’t heard from just to say hello, or you know, buy him a coffee or something like that. I think that as far as relationship building is the most consistent thing you can do. And so I think that’s, that’s important. I’m, I’m kind of not the best person as far as organization. So number one, having somebody that helps keep me organized, but I’m also I kind of liked this business because not every day is the same. You know, I like it because, you know, one day I might have showings with buyers all day and then I have listing showings or then I have a listing presentation or then you know, every day you wake up and you do different stuff, and I appreciate that because I know one of my first jobs out of college was in a company where I was nine to five sitting at a desk, someone watching over my shoulder and it for me it did not work. And I think, as we’ve seen, you know, kind of our, you know, business economy evolved, that’s changed a lot. And what’s what’s happening in a lot of big companies now. So a lot of people were or were able to work from home and you know, there’s a little more flexibility with things. And I could not wake up every day and do the same exact thing. I think I would go crazy.
D.J. Paris 25:20
What percentage of your business these days would you say is referral based, you know, either existing clients that are now doing another transaction or referrals from those, you know, friends and family of those people? What percentage of your business would you say is that
Brooke Daitchman 25:36
well, so I actually, we last year was my best year of real estate ever. And I was actually the number one agent in my company, individual agent, not on a team, which was a really great success. For me, I was really proud of that. When we looked at my year and review this year, about 99, almost 100% of it was referral based. It was either coming from reviews from people or coming from an old client, or, yeah, I mean, those two things. It was a Yeah, 100% referral, I don’t do online leads anymore. I don’t I don’t get them anymore. What I would say is that I looked at my business to about half and half buyer seller. So it was just really interesting to kind of look back. That being said, as our business is very cyclical, you know, the people that your past clients, when they’re buying things, they’re probably not going to buy for another, you know, for six years, or they might be in there forever home. So it’s important to just continue to keep building those relationships, and, you know, building new ones. And I think that as an agent is one of the hardest things we can do is continually try to find and build new relationships out there.
D.J. Paris 26:47
Yeah, no, you’re absolutely it’s so interesting National Association realtors, they did this study a couple years ago, it was like October of 2015, when they released it. And it was sort of hard to kind of pour through the data. I looked through it just to see if I could glean any sort of interesting statistics to read to really I don’t think I have talked about this at all. But one of the more interesting statistics was they they surveyed hundreds or maybe probably 1000s of buyers and sellers, in particular ones that were not first time homebuyers. So somebody that had done some transaction in the past, and was now on their next transaction. And this study was was looking at was people who were not first time homebuyers who now were in the same geographic area, they weren’t moving to another state or even city. But what percentage of those people use their previous realtor? It was I would have guessed, if you would have asked me, What would you think I’d say probably 50%. Or that sounds about right. To me. It was like in the low 90s. So like 90 something percent, let’s just say 90%. I think it was 93% of all of those people surveyed, even you know, use that existing realtor before. So you know, you talked about now 100% of your business and your, you know, just about 10 years in is really the referral base. It truly is remarkable how once if they have a good experience, and it seems like you do a good job, you know, they’re just going to stick with you for life, assuming you stay in touch and, and clearly that’s been working for you quite well.
Brooke Daitchman 28:10
Yeah. I mean, I think in any business, you have your, your successes and you know, sometimes disappointments, I mean, this business just like any other one, you know, you’ll go out on a listing appointment, and you think it went really well. And you know, you don’t get it. I mean, that’s part of the business.
D.J. Paris 28:27
You know, it’s so interesting, because, you know, we interview a lot of people, we don’t interview a lot of brokers who are really number one at their company, in particular, a large company like dream town, it’s certainly not a small boutique brokerage firm. There’s hundreds of brokers, if not probably over 1000. Now, they have a huge thing. So you know, your words hopefully have reverberated out among the broker community, who are the majority of people listen, but also, sometimes clients listened. So we you know, if you’re at all interested in working with Brooke, you should get in touch with her. Her website is Brooke sells chicago.com. And that redirects you to her Facebook page, which also is one way to get in touch with her. And then Brooke, what is your best phone number? If a client wants to work with you,
Brooke Daitchman 29:13
773-412-3047 you’ll find me direct
D.J. Paris 29:19
and who better to work with and the number one producer at a pretty big company, she’s definitely must be doing a good job. You know, almost all of her business is referral which pretty much says it all. So we really appreciate your time. I know how busy you are. And I know that this was riddled with a few glitches along the way. So I appreciate all your energy and time and patience. And thank you so much for being part of the show.
Brooke Daitchman 29:43
Yeah, thank you, DJ for having me. I’ll look forward to connecting with you in the future.