From Professional Cyclist To Top 1% Real Estate Agent • Steven Cozza

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Steven Cozza with Cozza Team talks about his transition from professional cyclist into real estate. Steven discusses strategies to help agents do and be more effective. Steven also goes into detail about teams and how they help make better agents and the importance of consistency for success. Last, Steven discusses disappointment and how to effectively cope with loss.

If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!

Steven Cozza can be reached at 707.328.9766 and scozza@cozzahomes.com.

This episode is brought to you by Real Geeks.


D.J. Paris 0:00
Today we’re going to be talking with one of the former top cyclists in the world, and what lessons he took with him when he switched over into real estate. Stay tuned. This episode of Keeping it real is brought to you by real geeks. How many homes are you going to sell this year? Do you have the right tools? Is your website turning soft leads and interested buyers? Are you spending money on leads that aren’t converting? Well real geeks is your solution. Find out why agents across the country choose real geeks as their technology partner. Real geeks was created by an agent for agents. They pride themselves on delivering a sales and marketing solution so that you can easily generate more business. There agent websites are fast and built for lead conversion with a smooth search experience for your visitors. Real geeks also includes an easy to use agent CRM. So once a lead signs up on your website, you can track their interest and have great follow up conversations. Real geeks is loaded with a ton of marketing tools to nurture your leads and increase brand awareness visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod and find out why Realtors come to real geeks to generate more business again, visit real geeks.com forward slash keeping it real pod. And now on to our show.

Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real the largest podcast made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Parris. I’m your guide and host through the show. And in just a moment, we’re going to be speaking with top 1% producer Steven cosa. But before we get to Stephen, just a couple of quick reminders, the best way that you can help our show two things you can do first. So I should say the best ways you can help our show. The first way is to tell a friend of course, think of one other agent in your office or someone you know, out there practicing who hasn’t heard of our show and could use some of the wisdom that are these top producers share on every episode. And the second way that you can help us support our sponsors. I personally hand select our sponsors while zonna and I and we always make sure that our sponsors provide incredible products and services for you and they’re also the ones that pay our bills. So please check them out that you’d be doing us a huge favor, support our sponsors. And by telling a friend Alright guys, let’s get to the main event my conversation with Steven cosa.

Today on the show we have Steven Koza with the Koza team in Sonoma and Marin County and the North San Francisco Bay. Let me tell you more about Steven and his team. Now Steven spent a decade racing bikes professionally in Europe. As a former elite professional cyclist Stephen has the mental stamina, tenacity and brilliance to make buying and selling process attainable reality for his clients. Stephen excels in the local market with buyers and sellers and surpasses the yearly sales average of Sonoma and Marin County realtors, now native to the area, he’s a valuable resource with his never give up attitude. Paired with the compass go above and beyond standard, Steven gives his clients 120% of his efforts. From urban condos to countryside estates, Steven treats each property with premium marketing services and a precisely focused strategy. Please follow him and his team at coza team that CO ZZ a team.com and also on social this Facebook, Instagram, YouTube Koza team is the handle we will have links to the social channels as well as koza team.com in our show notes, Steven, welcome to the show.

Steven Cozza 4:03
Yeah, thanks, DJ. I’m honored to be here. Thanks for having me.

D.J. Paris 4:07
Well, we’re excited to have you and really I always love what’s such a neat part of this job for me or this I don’t know if it’s really a job so much. It’s just a fun fun thing for me to do. But I get to have conversations with not only people that I think would be interesting to our audience, which of course is the ultimate goal, but interesting to me as well. And I have always been fascinated by people that perform at high levels, whether it’s in business sports, any any field really I’m just always drawn to, to what I consider to be a sort of excellence and in skill. And so I’m excited to chat with you and how you were able to take some of those learnings from from your previous career as an athlete but let’s start all the way at the very beginning. Number one, how did you actually get into real estate or why real estate?

Steven Cozza 4:56
Yeah, totally. So um, well, I got into this He’s kind of funny, I got into a became a professional athlete athletes through cycling. And when I was in school, I never did well in school I was I’m dyslexic, and I struggled there. So I always excelled in sports, it was just where I gravitated to, and my mom grew up, my dad grew up in baby boomers gotta go to college, gotta go to college. So it was pretty tough for me to break out of that mold. But it was an avenue for me to not have to go to college sort of speak. So I really, really, really busted my butt to make it as a professional athlete. I raced in Europe for 10 plus years. And that’s what kind of led me into my real estate career in a weird way. Because my mom would always say, invest in 401k, you know, from my cycling, invest, you know, that your retirement is your retirement, and I said, Mom, I don’t even own a house. Why would I put money into a 401k? I don’t, I don’t have a place to live, you know, I’m renting. You know, so I said, I’m, I’m gonna save buy a house. So I said, forget the 401k for a while I say, bought my first house. And then just kept going from there. And I started buying more properties rentals, all while I was racing. So it was kind of an easy transition from when I left cycling to rolling move into a role of wanting to help others do what I had done with real estate. And yeah, so that’s how I got into it. And little did I know how much cycling would actually helped me with my career in real estate. It was, it’s quite incredible. I look forward to talking about that a bit today.

D.J. Paris 6:37
I’m excited to hear about that, too. I am also curious, just because cycling was, you know, I’m 47. And so maybe it’s an age thing, but I and also I grew up in central Illinois, where that just wasn’t a sport. It may have been a sport, but it certainly wasn’t a known thing where there was like, oh, that’s an option. You know, there was football, baseball, basketball, if you were lucky, you had some maybe tennis and golf, if you had the ability to do those kinds of sports, or hockey also is in that category. But cycling just wasn’t really known to me other than what I would see on TV. So just out of curiosity, how did you even sort of pursue being a professional cyclist? Was that something you knew from an early age that you wanted to do? Was that popular in you know, where you grew up? Just out of curiosity?

Steven Cozza 7:26
Yeah, I mean, I moved from I played ball sports, baseball, soccer, and then got into cross country running in high school, I realized I wasn’t so good at the ball sports, better than during sports. And from during my running years, my friends got me to start mountain biking, and I would take my mom’s mountain bike. And before I knew it, I broke it. And she’s like, Alright, let me get you your own home like, and then they really supported me. I started doing races started winning. And then in 97, when Lance won his first Tour de France, I said, Oh my gosh, I got to do that. I broke my shoulder in a wrestling accident in high school, and I had to ride on the road for a year. And I transitioned over from there and got on the national team. So that’s kind of how I got into it moved from ball sports to cycling sports.

D.J. Paris 8:15
So wow, that’s, that’s, that’s amazing. I guess you’re right. When Lance did when he became the biggest athlete in the world, pretty much or one of them. And so you’re right, that really brought, you know, cycling more to the forefront of of the average, you know, person in this country’s awareness of like, oh, this is a thing. And this is a thing where, you know, you, you can have a lot of success, and here’s this American just just crushing it. So that was curious. Well, that’s, that’s amazing. So

Steven Cozza 8:46
I remember to go back because I remember there was a friend of mine whose dad was a big cyclist, he, he called me one day, I was like, 15 years old, he said, Stephen, only one in a million can become a professional cyclist, like he and I, and that always got me when someone told me I couldn’t do something. So at that moment, I decided, well, I’m gonna prove them wrong. And it kind of rolled over into real estate with that same kind of attitude because real estate is a very hard career to make it in. I mean, I never knew it was as hard as it is now. Now that I’m in it, I realized it but when you when you hear about you see all these agents posting on their open houses and making money here and there, you think it’s a lot easier than it is once you’re in it. So you got to have that tenacity.

D.J. Paris 9:31
Yeah, I always think like the time by the time you have a showing or you have a buyer, you’ve almost already won the hardest part of the business, which is getting clients and getting to trust you in that purchase or sale. So I think I think yeah, I think you’re so right, that that we you know, especially on this show, too, I have to be very careful because when I when I talk to really successful teams or agents like like yourself, where you have both There could be a tendency for one of our listeners or a lot of our listeners to think like, well, he’s already over the hump of like the hardest part of this business and not realizing that maybe the lead generation part becomes a little bit easier over time as you build up a reputation and, and you get more referrals, and you figure out what marketing strategies were. But it’s still a certainly a grind, in a way, meaning like, you still have to put in the reps and the hours into this probably in a lot of the same ways that you did when he first started. So I’m excited to learn about, about, you know, what you learned as an athlete, and then taking some of those those lessons into real estate. So can you tell us a little bit about that?

Steven Cozza 10:43
Yeah, totally. So um, really, when you jump into real estate, there’s different routes, you can go, you can get on a team, and you can try to maybe you inherited the business, or maybe you’re working with a parent. I didn’t have any of that. I mean, actually, my mom works with me now she was a teacher for 40 years taught kindergarten, and when she retired and said, Hey, come join a real estate team. And she’s great. It’s like she’s total, total natural at it. So it was kind of the reverse of what you normally see. But so so you have these different routes to take. And when you get on a team, some being on a team is a great thing. It’s you get a lot of support. But sometimes you don’t learn how to necessarily, you don’t learn the process of always how to get your own business. And when I started when I went to it was Frank Cardon, at the time, it’s it was the biggest brokerage in the Bay Area. They were around since from 1910 to like, 2000. And I think probably 16. They’re around for a long time. So I joined Frank guard Allen, but when I interviewed with the when I met the manager, Jim Michelson, who’s actually still the manager of our office today with Compass now, I actually I had no I still didn’t, I didn’t know anything about real estate at all, I’d gotten my license, which doesn’t really teach you what you really need to know, in the business. And so I remember, Jim told me later on, he talked to the manager, Frank Cardon, and Larry goes, Why would you take on a professional athlete, he doesn’t, he doesn’t, he’s not going to be a good man. And Jim goes, Are you kidding me? If he could be a professional athlete, then he can be a good real estate agent. And Jim was right. And I think that, like a lot of the listeners today, something to understand. And, you know, we’re always getting pounded over the head with every shiny whistle, and every every shiny bell and whistle of this product, or this product, or this system or this process. But I think it’s important to kind of get back to the basics of what makes a good real estate agent. And I studied this when I first got in the business because I, I studied the best in the business in our area. And I was like, how are they doing this? What makes them so good? And I remember I went to talk to the best Realtor in our town year over year for that she still is for, like 40 years. And I said, Hey, Peg, how do you do it? Like, what what are you doing? What’s your secret, and she said, You know what, Steven, there’s, there’s really no secrets except for this one thing. And she said, consistency. She’s consistent. She’s consistent with everything she does. And that really stuck with it for me, because that’s how it was as a professional athlete. It’s consistency. And it’s following a process. It’s following a plan and it’s having a coach, I can’t stress how important it is to have a coach. And maybe maybe you’re not in a position to where you’re quite ready to pay for a coach, I think it’s a great investment that gets a great return. But keep listening to keeping it real podcast, things like this, that that that is your coach, I mean, you can get carried away with too many things going after too many things. So keep, keep your focus when you’re listening to different podcasts, but have a plan and have a plan that keeps you accountable. And so if anybody listening today wants to have we have all our agents on the team they follow. It’s our Power Hour tracker. And sometimes it goes more than an hour a day, but it it has the key elements to our success built into it. And then it makes it so that we stay focused during that hour to achieve those things. And then from there, it’s like you work with your clients or showing properties and so forth. But you start with this. And from there, that’s where all your success comes from. So it’s our power tracker. I’m happy to share that. But to go back to about from cycling to real estate. I’m very lucky in the fact that I was able to have a career such as cycling because it did give me a little bit of an advantage with knowing you can work your butt off and still get no results. You can pound your head against the wall and still not win a race. Same thing with real estate and the best real estate agents out there. They’re the best at getting back up. Because they know, the sooner they get back up, the sooner they’re going to have their next success. And then they’re going to animate it wrong as they go. So I obsess over listing presentations, I could not stand how many I lost in the beginning, because, you know, I’m competing against like, PE, again, so forth. And now I don’t lose them. I mean, I just got another one where I was competing against, you know, the top agent in the town, and I get them at 6%. Sometimes they get them at 7%. So it’s, it’s just, it’s, it’s that whole coaching athlete mentality, where you’re tweaking your performance, you’re tweaking what’s going on, you’re working with the plan, you’re making it better year after year, and you’re improving on it in the best you can, and not getting down when you get knocked down. Because let’s face it, real estate can be a losing sport. And it’s not easy. It’s very hard. But there’s a lot of rewards that come with that that hardens, you know, and it’s, there’s a lot of positives, otherwise I wouldn’t be doing it.

D.J. Paris 16:05
Now, there’s a couple a couple of couple things I want to I want to pause on only be gone forever. Oh, no, no, no, you were doing perfect. I just there, I had a bunch of thoughts as you were talking, because you said a lot of really, really great things there. And I just want to make sure that we we pause and step on them for a little bit for the audience. First of all, you mentioned sharing your Power Hour information. What’s the best way that one of our listeners? And by the way, everybody should do this right now? So I want to say it before I forget, what’s the best way they can reach out to get that information?

Steven Cozza 16:37
For sure, yeah, just email me s because the homes.com is the best way you can email me and we’ll get it right back to you.

D.J. Paris 16:45
Great, we’ll have a link to that in the show description and notes as well. Also, this, this idea of being coachable. You know, it’s something that that I, the times I’ve had athletes on the show like yourself, they’ve all said this, and it’s really important, we sort of forget that every professional athlete, I can’t think of an exception to this, there probably is one or two, but 99% of professional athletes have coaches, right? Maybe it’s 100%. But certainly even the most elite, the people at the very, very, very top of that whatever mountain, you know, particular mountain, they are climbing, they still have somebody watching going, oh, you know, maybe do this instead of that and stay on target. And one of the things that reminded me, you talked about getting a coach and I just wanted to share this suggestion as well. What if I can’t afford a coach right now, and I don’t know, there’s always that you can’t afford not to Okay, that’s fine. But sometimes people literally just can’t afford to do it. And so I was thinking of a story, Brian Buffini would tell when he couldn’t afford to have a coach or couldn’t find one. He actually was a guy here in Chicago. He befriended this guy in Chicago, Joanie ago, and they were each other’s accountability partner. And every day, they would call each other at night and go, did you win the day, and they had their own, you know, sort of whatever winning the day meant to both of them. And so that was a free thing that they did. And you can certainly, at least find somebody in your local market to help with that. But ideally, hiring a coach would be sort of, you know, even better than that. I did want to mention just a couple other quick quick things, I definitely want to ask you about any listing presentation, suggestions you might have, we won’t go to that quite yet. But I definitely want to hear you know how you’ve become better because you obsess about those. But I also think back to the athlete thing, this idea of failing is is so scary to us, right? We’re afraid of it. It’s the reason why we don’t pick up phones and and make certain phone calls. It’s it’s the reason that probably holds us back. Because nobody likes to be rejected. No one likes to fail. Athletes, though, get a lot of experience not winning, because of course, that’s the pathway to winning is actually failing. And so how important is it to be able to take the L and to it and to not let it defeat you. And as you said, it’s about getting back up. But how important is it to learn how to get comfortable taking the loss every so often?

Steven Cozza 19:07
Yeah, I mean, I would say, yeah, it’s not an easy thing to get comfortable with it. It’s hard. But the way I look at it, when I when I have a loss, I look at what I can do differently. And then use it as a positive because you learn from your losses. If you don’t have your losses, you’re not learning and nothing comes easy. I mean, well in cycling there in professional sports, there’s always the performing the dopers and stuff that people who are going to cheat in real estate and i By the way, I never took performance enhancing drugs otherwise, I probably wouldn’t need to be selling real estate. But but it does happen and with with real estate, there’s no quick way to the top. So you’re going to lose in if you are like on a team and they’re giving you all the leads, you’re never going to learn how to get them yourself and if you ever want to go somewhere else, you’re not going to have that so I would say the only one is the hardest way in real estate and it’s worth it. And through guests like this, you’re going to learn the systems and processes that help you steer, and in a better way. So Well, thank

D.J. Paris 20:12
you. By the way, I also forgot to say thank you so much for the wonderful plug you gave just a little bit ago to our, to our show, I am too, too humble sometimes to even ask for our audience to participate here with our show. But I appreciate you seeing the value in this and also being of service to our audience and sharing. But yeah, I’m sorry, go back to sort of being an athlete. So we understand you have this. We, you know, you’re talking about consistency. And we can certainly dive into what does that actually look like for you? What are the key? Actually, let’s just start there. What are the key behaviors? or activities that help? Sorry, that are the ones you need to be the most consistent on? Even today? How are those essentially similar to when you started or they changed over time?

Steven Cozza 21:02
That’s a great question. Um, so what is that? What is consistency mean? What are the activities and so forth? And how have they changed? So I would say, for us, for me, for the team, for actually every real estate agent, if, if you’re trying something, and it’s not working? Well, a lot of times, it’s not working, because you haven’t done it long enough. But you need to, you need to stick through it, stick with it. And so I’ve always, I’ve always set goals, you know, my first was going back to cycling, I said, If I don’t become a professional cyclist, by the time I’m 23, I’m gonna have to go to college. So that put this like pressure on me to, to be consistent to be following the process. And then same with real estate. I said, If I don’t, if I’m not making you know, what the top 20% are making within the first three years of the business, I’m going to stop and I’m gonna go to school become a firefighter. So I put that pressure on myself. And I think the same thing goes with like any prospecting plan that you set out to do, give yourself time instead of reasonable time. So like, if my farming this market farming this neighborhood, if that doesn’t provide results, within three years, that’s what I did. One of my first prospecting thing was farming, the neighborhood I lived in. And I still do it to this day have expanded, of course, but um, it took me I would say, it took me two, three years before I got a listing or any action from that farm and guess what I had to do? every quarter, every quarter, I would hand deliver 1000 printed newsletters, and they’re 11 by 11. By 17, you know, open fold. And it wasn’t just about real estate. This was you know, it touched on real estate, of course, but it was very community based, very, very localized. We did, we in our town, and there’s a river that comes through it. We did Petaluma River cleanups, we did neighborhood garage sale day. So it’s like a trail, you know, trying to list and you have all the garage sales, and it’s fun, like, you know, tons of homes do it. And there’s all these garage sales all over the area. We always had, you know, posted the events and things we were doing. So that took me three years before I got business. And now I’ve made hundreds and hundreds of 1000s of dollars off that farm. I’ve had some sellers come out of that. And they’ve done four or five transactions with me now and they’ve referred the other people and it’s like this tree. I remember I took out my real estate license through John Ludlow. He’s not he’s not alive anymore. I mean, gosh, it was back in 2012. It was practically I think we’re using VHS tapes to do it. But he said he said, Do something in start off with a farm. And I know it sounds old fashioned, but I’m telling you, it’s connecting, and I would just hand drop under the max, I would not knock on doors. It’s 1000 homes, right walking in. Now we mail. But I still think that connection being out in the community, I met so many people while I was doing that. So consistency, don’t give up.

D.J. Paris 24:01
Well, I want to I want to point out this idea because I was you had mentioned that you were handing them out and then then you were mentioning there’s other ways to which you were participating in the community doing volunteer efforts, you know, helping with garage sales, and you know, just just anything you can do to get your name out there and at the same time, hand delivering 1000 1000 You know, newsletters which were which was actually I liked the idea that you did them bigger than the standard size to just makes it a little bit you know, more interesting to hold and sort of harder to immediately throw away maybe, but the idea of putting the work in is you know, I am hearing just obviously as a professional athlete, you’re putting in a lot of reps you’re you’re practicing you’re practicing fundamentals and and advanced strategies to but always going back to those you know, cycling is no well I know nothing about cycling personally, but I’m assuming it’s no different from so many other sports where it’s just a lot of practice, of course, so it’s got to be but it still leaping to reflect on but the idea of just repetition and reps, doing the reps and seeing those, and then and then by the way, not looking at it a year in going, Gosh, you know, no results, I’ve got nothing. And you’re like, I still got to stand out 1000 More of these next month, and I’m going to keep doing it until I get results. Because obviously, we know that that pathway should work over time, we know that it’s not, it’s not really a risky thing. It’s just a lot of a lot of time, a lot of effort. And look, and it worked out for you hundreds of 1000s of dollars in commissions. And it’s also something that as an athlete, you just get you understand the work that’s, that’s needed. So this is just like putting in your, your reps at the gym.

Steven Cozza 25:43
Totally. And when I started that farm, I, I ran it up on a credit card, but I’ll tell you, I mean, print printing is so cheap, you know, you print 1000 brochures, it’s super cheap. And John Ludlow said, you know, he said quality over quantity, you know, so he said His thing was go to 250 homes around you and not and really establish those connections. I’m not a real knock or cold call kind of I just, I know I need to move in that direction, I need to become more personal or more Ford. But I’m definitely I don’t want to I don’t like when people knock on my door. So I don’t really want to do it. And you know, it just worked the way I did it. And so, but yeah, like you said repetition. And here’s another really important thing, you only can do so much, my coach would always tell me, he said the best, the best realtors in the business, they have three to five prospecting methods, he said, Stephen, start off with two to three, build them out, build a fence around them. So they’re like their own little ecosystem, they’re working for them, you know, for you. And then you can add on more, but first dollar amounts around it, make it bomb proof, and then go to your next one. And not all prospecting methods have to cost money either. So, you know, speaking to like social media there. So if you’re new in the business, and you’re, you’re you’re you’re not, you don’t have a lot of funds, you know, own own the social media world, you know, that can that alone, that and of course open houses, that’s a given. But, um, as far as the print stuff, you just got to think about the return on your investment, you know, if you get one deal, is it going to cover, you know, and then how much how many deals you’re going to get over time, you know, of course, your career. So,

D.J. Paris 27:26
yeah, those those are really, really great strategies and also to like the idea of doing these volunteer, you know, community outreach kind of programs, oftentimes can be low cost to no cost, right. Like, if you’re offering to volunteer to clean up, you know, like, like a river or some waterway, or you know, a stretch of the highway or, or anything or volunteering at a local you know, shelter or whatever. Those things are usually low cost, because if you do invite your your audience I went to Sorry, I interrupted myself, but I went to one of the very best of those that I’ve witnessed, it was a compass agent of all things here in Chicago. By the way, I also want to do a quick plug for something and I can’t remember the gentleman’s name who runs it, but if you are a compass agent, and we know there’s a lot of you that listen, because we’ve had a million compass agents on our show, because they’re just you know, taking over but there’s a great thing called the 6am or club, which Yeah, which is the gentleman that runs

Steven Cozza 28:32
Michael’s SkyMiles he’s one Yeah, he’s great. He does momentum Monday to so he’s a free coach for Compass and I’ve gotten so many golden nuggets from him it’s it’s incredible

D.J. Paris 28:44
and little plug for my interview with Sky Michaels just one of the one of the neatest guys I’ve ever had on our show. And if you’re a compass person, please take advantage of that you’re very lucky to have not used Steven but the company is very lucky to have sky so please check out the six eight numbers club also maybe if you’re interested in not that I get paid to promote compass as a company but a good reason to consider them if you need some accountability. They’ve got a fun little way to do that. So anyway, but back back of course to Steve and I we I’d be remiss if we didn’t mention your your amazing team as well. It’s not just you, you have a wonderful group of people around you can you tell us a little bit about the team and and sort of why you developed one.

Steven Cozza 29:26
Absolutely. Real quick back to that the newsletter this is just in the volunteering thing. This is just a very basic thing but this shows you the power of that farm you can take a great nonprofit in the area and you can go to them so like we have mentor me, or relief Petaluma and you can say hey mentor me what are some what’s a fundraiser coming up or something that we can promote in our newsletters for you? And we do it for free? You know, and then of course so that’s great because you’re you’re doing something different you’re you’re our whole Why is giving back you know our team why So you’re connecting with this whole organization by promoting them. And now, our newsletter goes out to 10,000 homes. So these these charities, these people are really benefiting from what we’re doing. So it’s like, it’s like killing two birds with one stone, right. And so we always try to do that we also have our preferred lender, he advertises in it, he’s got his little section, so he helps pay for it. So think of stuff like that you can as service providers pay for a lot of stuff. So yeah, about the team. Having a team has been a huge thing for the coza team, of course, like turning it into that has made a big difference in my life, and then, of course, in their lives as well. I was a workaholic, the first, I would say, because I’ve been in the business, I ended up going through a divorce, it really tax my life. And that was obviously my own choice to be a workaholic, I could have, you know, backed it down. But my coach, when I finally had a good coach, he taught me how to have systems and how to build a team. And so we’ve got our marketing, the first person I hired was a marketing person. And I don’t know if that’s very common, but I realized, well, you know, I can handle working with clients, but the back end marketing stuff, the social media, all that. That’s where we’re getting our dips in business. So we hired a marketing lady, who now has a real estate license and our business more than doubled. After that, like that, it totally, it doubled. That was the year our business doubled. So

D.J. Paris 31:32
did you know that that was Did you know that hiring a marketing person was you know, that or not not hiring market, but identifying that that was that that’s where the hole was in the business to fill that, that you can’t do everything and be everything as as a solo practitioner, obviously, there’s going to be things that you enjoy doing or that you’re good at, and other things that aren’t necessarily easy for you to do, or that you want to do?

Steven Cozza 31:58
Totally, yeah, it was the consistency thing I kept going back to what peg told me in the beginning, you got to be consistent. And that’s where I was I was lacking was the consistency with my with the marketing the prospecting with the stuff that I didn’t do personally. And my coach said, we’ll calculate how much you make an hour, you know, find out what you make an hour. And then ask yourself if it’s worth spending your time on that. And if it’s not, then hire someone to do it. That was really, I would say, a change in point in my career was when I started treating my business like a business. Because far, often, too many times, as agents, we get stuck in the business, we got to we got to step out of it and work on our business. So I recommend anybody listening, take an hour a day, you can always find after you do your power hour or before you do your power spin an hour, too. So there’s two hours there now spend an hour working on your business, not in your business. And once you start working on your business, on a daily basis, that’s where you’re going to start seeing a lot of growth, because you’re not going to be stuck in it. When you’re stuck in it. That’s when you start to see these big dips and slow periods. But when you when you really work on your business, that’s where you start to grow, and consistently have business. That’s what I realized, at least.

D.J. Paris 33:18
You know, I remember learning in college, there’s a Stephen Covey book, I can’t remember if it’s first things first or highly the, you know, Habits of Highly Successful People, whatever it was, he had this matrix that I thought was, it’s something’s very hard to hard to do. I think for me, but really, really important that I think sort of speaks to what you just said, which is he called it the urgency versus importance matrix, which is really just for four boxes, you know, something comes at you, you put it in one of these four boxes, and that gives you an idea of how and when to respond to it. So it’s just because something flies at you in the form of an email, a text a phone call, doesn’t necessarily mean that it’s urgent. It means it feels urgent because it just came in we see it we’re, you know, our brains are wired to want to fix solve problems, but it doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the best course of action at that particular time. And you just sort of run it through, like how important is this? How urgent is it? And then you decide when and when to respond back to it. I imagine as an athlete, you you were constantly having to evaluate, you know, especially, you know, while you’re racing, you know, what’s important, what’s urgent, what do I need to take action on now? What adjustments do I need to make? And there’s probably you probably also learned just really great decision making strategies. When you’re competing at that level. It’s all about making decisions in the moment that are best for you best for the team. Can you talk a little bit about undersea? You know, when things fly at you? How do you sort of determine this? I gotta reply to right away, or this this can hold off even though this might seem urgent in the moment. How do I you know, how do you make those decisions?

Steven Cozza 34:53
Well, I gotta tell you, I’m still kind of learning that in real estate and cycling it was pretty easy because it was one focus. It’s like everything’s recycling was real estate. Everything’s real estate, but there’s volunteering, there’s this, there’s that there’s all these different things that call for your attention or, you know, trying to do too much. And so I’m still learning that but something that I recently heard Warren Buffett’s while he so the story goes, he was in his private jet. And he, the pilot is pilot asked him, hey, Warren, how do you prioritize your time, and Warren goes well, to the most 25 things to you in your life. And you want to be a better father, you want to be better at selling real estate, you want to be healthier, more, you know, more fitness, take 25 of those things, and make a list of it. And, and Warren goes, Okay, now that you have that list of 25 things, take five of them, take the top five of those 25 and make a list of the top five. And then now Warren goes, Okay, now that you have the top five things you want to achieve, or do or be in your life, take those other 20 and throw. Because life is finite, we have enough time, he says if you can just focus on those five things, you’re going to do the best you can add on and maybe by the time you die, you’ll be able to achieve or maybe you won’t, but at least you’re going to know you did your best. But if you have the other 20, there, you’re not going to be good at anything. So that really hit me hard because I was such a scattered doing agent in the beginning. And I think it was okay in the beginning, but from my life, it wasn’t okay. And for other things that are really important to me outside of real estate, it was not okay, so now I’ve got more of a grip on that, and I’m doing what he says to do. Taking Warren Buffett’s advice there.

D.J. Paris 36:47
It’s that is a great a great, a great lesson, a great strategy. And so 100% true with what I’ve seen is that you really can only be good at a couple of things in life anyway, if you really as you know, as an athlete, you know, you could probably be as effective as a as a competitive cyclist versus Oh, I also want to play baseball and kind of do those things at the same time. Obviously, that’s that’d be almost impossible, if not impossible to be at the level that you could be if you just focused on one. So I totally understand that. And athletes do get that they understand, they have to sort of put again, I’m speaking as a professional athlete, which I am not, but putting the blinders on. And literally just doing what’s right in front of them that they know is going to guarantee success and realtors have to wear a million different hats, like you were saying. So it is tough, because it isn’t a singular either are, oh my gosh, I have to you know, take care of the marketing for my business, I have to take care of the customer service, I have to, you know, also these things are flying at me in real time that I have to reply to. So it is it is tough. And we acknowledge that challenge. And that’s why you know, I suffer,

Steven Cozza 37:55
I suffer from ADHD too. So it’s like, I’ve got that added element of hardship in which social media now and all this stuff. So you really got to learn the skills to focus on one thing at a time.

D.J. Paris 38:08
I love that it’s so it’s so funny, because I think when we talk, whenever I’ve had a professional athlete on, there’s that fantasy part of me that goes they’re going to know something I have never heard before. And that’s going to be the key that our audience is going to be like, ah, that’s it. And it’s it’s not that those things don’t exist, it’s that they do exist those things, and they are what we already know and just need to be reminded of which is fundamentals, discipline habit, you know, and staying on target and have and being coachable. Having a coach, do you find that that you are as coachable today, as you were when you started and really needed probably more help to get your business off the ground than you need today? Are you do you feel like you’re just as coachable today as you were then?

Steven Cozza 38:57
Yeah, I think so I get my I have to be careful because continued education is an important part of every week of my my business. But I gotta be careful with there’s so many trainings with Compass, they have so many trainings, they have the compass Academy, and it’s limitless, so I have to kind of pick and choose. So sometimes I’ll do Mondays. I like the podcasts, like keeping it real because you can sit in your car and going driving from one thing to the next. But it can really eat up a lot of your time. So if I can’t drive and listen to it, it’s kind of a challenge because once I’m in the office, I don’t have a lot of time to sit there. So I would say my coaching now is our podcast, like keeping it real. Those are kind of the momentum Mondays too. They keep me on my toes, but I try to grab a little golden nuggets here and there and not so much new prospecting ideas, but things to say like different scripts, you know, different ways to talk to clients and you know, all different types of stuff. So it’s not just about more prospecting Some things it’s there’s little things you can learn that make a big difference like the gal you had on the other day, who did 55 deals in two years that she does the VA stuff ally? I forget her name, but probably the agent. Yeah, yeah, I got her checklist. And, you know, we use checklists, too. So it was cool to see what the differences were there. But I loved her part about the frequently asked question, the videos, we’re totally going to do that. And we’re going to, we’re going to also post them on social media as well, just because we’re always looking for good video content. And, and so, and we, you know, I went through that actually went through, you’ve had her on Kim Rittenberg. Yeah, I took her video making course, I’m always trying to learn and get better. And taking her video making course was great. So kind of like one thing leads to the next. And before you know it, you’re just like this, like amazing, top notch realtor that that really knows their stuff. And people start to see you as like the expert in the field, and someone who really knows what they’re doing. That’s awesome.

D.J. Paris 41:04
I want to honor you for something you said at the at the beginning, which is related to this about being coachable is you went to the most successful agents in your area, and said, Hey, I’d love to chat with you and just get a sense now really, what you’re doing is going to the competition and saying, Hey, tell me what you do differently. So I can learn. And you know what? The top agent in your area said, Yeah, I’ll tell you, because, you know, she, out of the goodness of her heart doesn’t see other agencies competition, I’m sort of just putting myself in her mind, I could be wrong. But I have found that really, it is not uncommon that I bring on a top producer who gives that exact same idea of when I first started, I went to the top people and I said, Well, how are you? How are you doing? This? Is it this whole podcast is exactly that idea to and you know what we I never get to know. I mean, maybe once once a year somebody says, then I don’t really want to talk about talking to you know, your audience about what I do. Everyone else is like, yeah, totally just tell everything. And understanding that people in their market are also going to hear this, and possibly, you know, be more competition for them. But I find that that top agents are typically really, really, like, really generous with their time. You’re being generous with your time here as well. So I just wanted to give you a shout out for, for doing that.

Steven Cozza 42:19
Yeah, it’s important. I knew it was kind of like the only way to, you know, to really last record, I didn’t have a lot of time, I had a credit thing going up. I had started, you know, and so I’m like, I gotta What do I need to do? Just tell me people

D.J. Paris 42:33
probably saved. And you had you at a time? Yeah. You said you had a three year timeline of being a top 20% Producer within three years. That is a an aggressive, aggressive goal. But But you made it and and you’ve continued to do much, even much, much better than that even. But this idea of that is talking to a top producer helps. Like you said, it’s saved you probably years of trial and error, I would assume.

Steven Cozza 43:00
Oh, yeah, let me tell you every so setting goals are really important. Obviously, business plans are very important. Every time I’ve set one of those limits, like I got to do it by this point, I’ve somehow always hit it. And it’s like, I even forget about it sometimes. But like this year, we hit a million GCI. So that was pretty, that was amazing. You know, I wanted to do that by 2023. I made that goal like seven or something years ago, I wanted to be the top in our office, we hit that, I hit that. But the biggest thing, so real quick, because I know, I know, we have limited time. But when you when you talk about like learning from other agents, that compass I’ve learned from them too, because they use statistics. And Scott Michaels taught a class on business planning, which I teach to my agents now too. And if anybody wants help with business planning, I’ve got the stuff to send to you. So it’s part of the power tracker, but I’ll send the other stuff too. And what we learned from the stats that compass was producing was that out of the it was 95 agents that decided not to follow the business plan. 95% of agents do not follow their business plan throughout the year. And 5% do the 5%, who did follow their business plan throughout the year, made as much as the 95% made selling real estate. Wow. So that’s really huge data that’s pretty impactful information. And it kind of tells you something like business plans are important, you know, so, and there is some

D.J. Paris 44:34
there is something kind of invisible and magical about writing down a goal and like you said, maybe not even reviewing it every day, every month every quarter, maybe not reviewing it at all, but getting it written down at least once. There is and I’ve seen different stats on on goal setting and you know, you never know what to believe or what not to believe, but it certainly can’t hurt to write down your goals and And even if you never look at him again, but you’re right, there is something that sometimes like, you can’t really explain why just writing it down seems to sort of manifest it. I mean, there’s lots of ideas about why, but you’re right. It’s weird.

Steven Cozza 45:14
It’s weird. Like I did the ninja ninja agent training,

D.J. Paris 45:18
I could just sell like,

Steven Cozza 45:20
Ninja sign. And that was cool. I did that years ago. And they had you write down, I will make I will make and I was writing, I said, I want to make at the time I put $350,000 a year, I want to make three. And if you do that, and I wrote that down, and you have to write it down like on like five pages, like hundreds of times, I want to make 350,000 And just keep writing it. And, and I and I did the next year, that’s what I did. And it was like, it was like exactly that number. It was like within like 1000 bucks it was. So I we do that every year now we write down what we want to make at the start in the business plan. And we keep it. And it’s so bizarre, but it works. So manifestation positive energy, all that stuff gets your flow going, it’s all good.

D.J. Paris 46:02
That seems to activate something in the brain, where the brain says, you know, again, whatever you believe whatever anybody believes spiritually or philosophically about, you know, we’ll you know, we’re not here to debate that. But there is something that seems to happen, the brain somehow learns that, oh, this is what we’re aiming for. And unconsciously behind the scenes, it starts to figure out ways to bring that into one’s life, if it’s a realistic idea, I guess. And it’s, again, my thought about whether you believe in goal setting, or this magical things that can happen or not is what’s the harm in writing it down, you know, several 100 times. I mean, clearly ninja selling is a very well respected training program in this industry. And it’s not because it doesn’t work. It must work to be as successful as it is. So I love that. Thank you. For that I wanted to I wanted to ask about listing presentations only, because at the beginning, you did mention that that was a major focus for you was being obsessed with with that, which again, is a great thing in my mind to be obsessed with because of course, everybody wants listings. And if you are going to expect a high close ratio, when you have listing appointments, you better have a pretty darn good listing presentation, because you could make the assumption that every time you go to a listing presentation, there’s also another agent you might be competing with. It’s just a great thing to always and your competitor, so used to competing. So I’m curious about you know, just you don’t have to give away all your secrets, of course, but how do you approach a listing presentation that you think might be different from your competitors?

Steven Cozza 47:36
Yeah, well, you know, you think about what a seller really needs and wants and every seller is going to be different I started to learn based off of their personality. So first thing is is we send out a seller questionnaire and the seller questionnaire is in it I always send like this pre email before the appointment as like a reminder with the seller questionnaire, they fill it out, and it gives me a really good head start on understanding you know, things about the house, things about them things about what they want, you know, their needs are the most important thing, right. So if you can figure out in the personality test that disc test, I’m sure a lot of you have heard of the disc test, di SD, learn that, study it, do it on yourself, do it on your kids, do it on your wife, husband, partner, and really learn how to read people’s personalities because that’s the most important thing when you get into a listing presentation. It’s not about selling yourself or your company. It’s about when you leave that listing presentation, then say man, I liked that person, I want to be friends with them, but also them feeling like you were able to speak their language like they’ve been heard. So if it’s a C type personality, it’s going to be more like an engineer calculative you know, wants to see stats and numbers. If you can speak that language, you’re going to make them feel safer if it’s a it personality eyes and S’s are my favorite because S’s are like, you know, nurses or teachers, they’re, they’re motherly eyes are like you they’ll meet everybody at the bar and get their name, they just want to sit down and drink tea. All those things are important and then on top of it getting better at listening, so you can’t understand anything about what they need or want if you can’t hear what they’re saying. So listen, and by listening it it gives them by listen lit when you listen more you control the situation. So listening you get more information. And then last but not least, being able just to offer the most value. Because like it’s just like any trade if you have a painter that comes over and says I’m just gonna do it in one coat, it’s this price this and that. Or if you have another painter and say we have a whole team, we’re super professional, your paint job is gonna last we do an amazing job we don’t just spray and go you’re gonna go with the one even if they’re more money that’s more thorough, gives you more confidence. You know, so that’s the same thing you’ve got to offer value so for me I’m lucky with Compass we offer some the company itself gives us the tools that offer so much value. You know, starting with Compass concierge, you know, being able to remodel stuff for the people, at no expense to them until we close all that stuff, there’s so many things but have your value that you offer very clear and easy for them to see. And then the last thing is I don’t have a set commission, it’s it, the commission I charge, they have options. So depending on what fits their needs, they can choose, the lowest option is still the best option for me, it’s still 6%. But they have definite options that they can choose from. So

D.J. Paris 50:39
I like that too. Because then you you get their buy in, you get their buy in of this is what I think makes the most sense for me. It’s not a one size fits all, it allows people to, to to customize their experience with you.

Steven Cozza 50:55
And yeah, and actually, I always get three for at least 3%. So it’s five and a half percent option 6% option and a 7% option, the lowest I’ll get is 3%. For listing, buyer agent always gets two and a half percent. But yeah, when you give someone an option, there’s really no negotiating that has to really happen. They’re gonna just choose one, usually by default, and they’re all good. It’s all good value.

D.J. Paris 51:17
That is a brilliant thought I am so sorry, that didn’t even occur to me, when you give somebody an option, you just said something very profound. But it gives somebody an option and basically removes the urge to negotiate it, I guess people could still technically come back and say, well, let’s let’s, you know, let’s let’s try to negotiate because of course, that’s what people do in real estate. But it certainly reduces the frequency of those kinds of conversations. So that is a, you just said something incredibly profound. So and by the way, guys, this is why when you go to when you go to websites, and there’s usually some sort of software service offering, you will almost always see three options. And there is a reason for that. And that is not because we all want three options. It’s because the psychology of making decisions knows that three options feels optimal to the actual consumer, it feels like they have agency control power over their decision making strategy, and it makes them feel more comfortable. So anyway, just wanted to step on that for a moment. Because obviously, that is that is I’ve not I’ve never heard any of our other guests have options for listing clients. And boy, yeah, and I mentioned that on the buy side, too. It’s really bad

Steven Cozza 52:31
to have options, you got to have options in the worst options gotta be still very favorable for you. And, you know, it’s, I recommend going into negotiating, I was looking it up, it’s called the C Ren it’s, it’s C R E, it’s basically certified real estate negotiator, the C run certification. If you take that to our test class, you’ll know everything you need to know about negotiating for real estate buyers and sellers. It’s easy, I make all my agents do it. It’s amazing. So I’m not trying to sell their product or anything, but you don’t have to do all these years of learning how to negotiate, just take that two hour thing, you’ll learn all the tricks. And so yeah,

D.J. Paris 53:08
I love it. Steven, I could talk to you all day, I’m fascinated by you and I are similar beings in the way we think and act. So I could do go on and on for hours and hours, you don’t have that kind of time managing a team and managing your clients and doing all of the great things that you do for your community. And in for. And by the way, too, you know, we should mention that, you know, where Steven lives and practices, you know, Sonoma, Marin County, also, you know, parts of San Francisco Bay, if you are an agent, and you have clients, if that’s a feeder market for you, where clients are either moving from there to market or vice versa, you know, this is a great person to to connect with. Maybe you guys can trade referrals, maybe you guys could develop a and I say guys, of course, meaning any agent, men and men, men, women or other. So please reach out to Steve and if you feel that you could add value or if you’re looking for a referral partner in that area. I was I was at a breakfast yesterday with the top producing team here in Illinois. And they are in now six markets. They’ve opened offices in six markets. And they talked about the markets where they’re not they don’t have offices, and they have such strong relationships with their referral agents and partners. And you know, they said that that has been the secret to their success, because when they do refer business, they need to make sure that you know that experience is consistent, whether it’s their client or none, they referred so Stephen and his his team, our elite top, top, top white glove team. They are among the very, very, very best in their market. So please reach out to Steve and if you feel that you could maybe have a client that Steven would Be of service to our his team. Um, Steven, what’s the best way an agent who wants to connect with you? And also, you know, we talked about you have some giveaways for them with respect to some of your processes your Power Hour, which I love. What’s the best way just to remind our audience how to get that information from you?

Steven Cozza 55:19
Yeah, you can email me at SS and Sam, and then coza, my last name at coza homes always being plural.com ESCOs echoes homes.com. Or you can get me on Instagram. And I’ll get to you that way. But best way, just shoot me an email, and I’ll get all that stuff out to you. And we’re also looking to refer people in other markets too. You know, the referral business is something that I was late to the game on, it basically just started building that out and about a year ago, believe it or not, so the definitely wanting to network network more with other agents. So

D.J. Paris 55:49
yeah, yeah, and find find them on social at coza team, which is the the handle that you can find most of them, we will have links to all of their social channels on our in our show notes. And I also just want to make one final observation. And this is a a soft skill. But I think a really, really important one, whenever I am on with an agent who I can identify this particular skill, we haven’t talked about it. And I don’t know that we need to speak too much about it. But I wanted to, to, to give you a shout out want everyone to pay attention to Stephens tonality. When he talks, does he have a calming presence? Or does he have a an activating presence? To me, in my opinion, his voice, his tone, the way he communicates, is very calming and relaxing. And I will tell you that during real estate transactions, emotions run hot and cold. And they I’m not here to say one size fits all that every agent needs to be speak in the same manner that Steven speaks. But let’s remember how our voices and the way that we communicate how it impacts right the what we say we know that the data is really clear what we say not that important, how we say it critically important, like 90% of the actual effect of our communication is the way in which we say something. So the idea, I just wanted to point out that Steven has a very calming, calming voice and calming presence and you feel relaxed when you’re talking with him. And I will say that if you don’t have that reaction, when you’re with your clients, you can learn these are skills. This is not well, I was born as an activated Berserk because I’m kind of an activated person. But you can learn how to calm down how to relax and realizing how important that is to be able to communicate. So Steven, I just wanted to honor you for that it’s maybe it’s part of the California thing, you’ve got a little bit of that California relaxed. But obviously, as a professional athlete, you’re a super intense dude, it’s not that you’re not intense, you’re able, though, to focus that intensity in a way that doesn’t come across as making your clients anxious, or at least making me anxious as as the host of the show. So I applaud you for that it’s a soft skill, it’s probably not something that, you know, a lot of a lot of people would pay much attention to, but I believe it’s very important. So I you’ve been afraid?

Steven Cozza 58:12
Yeah. That’s a good, that’s a good point that you pointed out, I think, yeah, it’s, it’s, I can be very energetic too, for sure. But I think a lot of times working with clients, I always tell them, I tell my wife, gosh, I wish I was as good as with you as an with my clients because like I go into like client mode. And then it’s like, I’m very calm. And it is interesting that you bring that up. Someone a coach once told me said cut commission out of it, take it out, if you can learn to cut commission out of it and focus on what it’s going to take to get them to where they want to be and continue to tell your clients that you know what’s it going to take to get you to where you want to be. That’s what I want to do for you. Stop worrying about the commission, because that will come

D.J. Paris 58:54
perfectly said great place to end up. So everyone reach out to Steve and get some of his resources that he has so generously sharing the same resources he shares with his team. And also reach out to him if you think you could be a great referral partner. And who knows maybe down the road, if you’re an agent in that local market, maybe they will be looking for more team members. They’re not currently right now. But this is obviously the Koza team is the team to watch because they are just crushing it out there. And by the way, he is not in an easy market to compete. He is in one of the toughest markets. But that’s what a competitor loves, loves, loves a challenge. And you are already there. So congratulations on all your success. I want to say thank you on behalf of our audience to Steven and his team for taking time out today to be so generous to help our audience. So let’s all thank him by sending him some some virtual love. But also let him know what you thought about his performance on the show which of course is going to be lots of praise. So let him know how great he was here and also On behalf of Steven and myself, we want to thank you the audience, we want to say thank you for making it to the end of the episode, please tell a friend, think of one other agent that could benefit from this. You know, we know 2023 is tough. This is a tough year for every agent out there. Don’t let it don’t let anyone fool you. It’s tough. Even the ones people that are smiling are working a little harder this year than they normally would be. So let’s help our fellow agents as well rising, what do they say? What’s the expression right? A rising tide raises all ships. So let’s help the industry and help me to as well tell other agents about the podcast. We appreciate it. And I thank you in advance for that. So tell a friend and also thank you let’s let’s just say one last time. Thank you to Steven for coming on our show. Steve. It was great chatting with you. Such a pleasure and I hope to have you back in the future. Thank you.

Steven Cozza 1:00:50
Thanks so much. Thanks, TJ.

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