Top 1% producers Grace Goro and Julia Brenner have been best friends since 6th grade. In this episode they get specific on how they started their real estate business, why personal notes and pop-byes have been paramount to their success, and why professionalism helps differentiate them from the other 35k real estate brokers in Chicago.
Grace Goro can be reached at Grace@GoroBrennerGroup.com and 312.720.7589
Julia Brenner can be reached at Julia@GoroBrennerGroup.com and 312.720.7589
D.J. Paris 0:15
Welcome to another episode of Keeping it real. The only podcast made by Chicago real estate brokers for Chicago real estate brokers. My name is DJ Paris, I am your host through the show. And coming up in just a moment, we have the interview with the Goro Brenner team, which is Grace Goro. And a Julia Brenner. And first time we ever have had two people are being interviewed at the same time and their best friends and teammates, and it came out really well. In particular, I think you’ll find a lot of really practical ways to grow your business. And they gave a number of examples of how to do that this is also the week of Thanksgiving. So in the spirit of giving thanks, we want to thank everyone who’s listening, we are again, going to finish up the month here at a record high about 33% more listeners this month, and last month. I know you don’t care about those numbers, but it’s very exciting. And I hope it means we’re doing something right. And it’s our way of just giving back to the industry and hopefully helping brokers out there who are looking to hear what the top producers are doing so that they themselves can grow their business, like some of these big hitters. So if you have any one else, one way you can get back to us aside from listening is drop us a line, let us know what you like. And if you have anyone that you we need to interview that maybe isn’t on our radar, let us know you can find us at keeping it real pod.com. And you can also find us on Facebook at keeping it real pod. And please continue to share this podcast if everyone out there just share this podcast with one other broker that they think could benefit from this information, it would double our numbers and we’d appreciate that as well. And lastly, if you’re a company that works with real estate agents, and would like to get in front of about 5000 of them every time we do an interview, you can sponsor an episode. So please reach out to us if you’re interested in getting a lot of people to hear about what you do. So do that as well. And now have everyone have a wonderful Thanksgiving. And now on to our interview with grace and Juliet.
All right, today on the show we have grace Goro and Julia Brenner linquist. Grace is a high end residential real estate specialist out of app properties, their largest office, which is the Goose Island office, and in early years she helped her first team secure a record 42 million in volume before branching out to found her own boutique real estate team the Goro Brenner group today Grace’s business is based on referrals. And although she has experienced across Chicagoland she specializes in high end residential real estate and Chicago’s North Side including Lincoln Park, Old Town River North Lakeview to name a few, and some of the suburbs including her hometown of Park Ridge. Grace serves as the Vice Chair for the 2017 2018 Chicago Association of Realtors YPN. The Young Professionals Network is also a member of our PAC which is Realtors political action committee workgroup. She is also the founder of the prostate cancer league a 501 C three charitable organization dedicated to raising funds and awareness to prevent and treat prostate cancer. Julia Brenner linquist is a Top Producing real estate agent. Also with that properties. She knows that her clients come first values their needs, puts an emphasis on an open and honest business understands the power of proactive marketing. Julio lives and works in the Chicagoland area and keen to the trends of the windy city and its ever changing real estate landscape. Julia works side by side with with Grace at the Goro Brenner group. And it is through this cohesive partnership that the gore Brenner group has been able to double its volume over the last year Julius specializes in Chicago’s near north side, including places similar to Grace like Lincoln Park River, North Old Town, etc. But as well as some suburbs including Park Ridge, her hometown, Glenview, which was my technically my hometown, Evanston, Skokie, Wilmette Deerfield, Highland Park. Julie is an enthusiastic member of her community and a die hard Cubs fan. She’s a member of the YPN as well, I’m sorry, the YPN board. She’s not only a member of the YPN. She’s also on the board forever site Illinois, which is an organization dedicated to preservation and restoration of site. When Julie isn’t working. You can find her biking on Lakeshore trying new restaurants with family and friends or consistently constantly redecorating her home. You are always welcome to redecorate my home as well. So thank you guys, we really really appreciate both of your times and so let’s let’s first identify who’s who can Grace Can you say hello?
Grace Goro 4:48
Yeah, hi, DJ. Thank you for that intro. Sorry. It was a little bit long. I’m sorry that my I sound a little bit nasally right now I’m a little I’m getting over a cold but this is great. So the One who sounds a little nasally it’s great.
D.J. Paris 5:02
Hi. And Juliet,
Julia Brenner 5:03
thank you for the intro to DJ, we appreciate it.
D.J. Paris 5:08
No, and I know how busy you guys are, in particular, not just with your real estate practice, but some of your other charities and organizations that you’re involved in. So believe me, I really, it’s me that appreciates it. More prob. So thank you guys. I’m Grace, I want to start with something that I’m a huge fan of, which is the Young Professionals Network YPN. And I just yesterday gave you guys like a 15 minute commercial to a broker who was in my office. And she had, she was with another firm, and she had started I think, in August. And so it’s just been, what a few months in the business and she feels lost. And I think the office she’s at, not at properties, of course, the I don’t even know where it was, but it was some smaller office where they didn’t have training. And she was taking advantage of she’s a member of car. And so she’s taking advantage of some of the cars training, which is excellent. And she was also saying, what else should I be getting involved in? And I said, Oh, are you familiar being a car member? Are you familiar with the YPN? Or at least you know, the city YPN. And she was not familiar. So I spent like 10 or 15 minutes saying you need to go to all of the events, you know, and so grace, you’re the co chair. So can you talk just real briefly about why everybody should be a YPN member who’s a member of car?
Grace Goro 6:18
Sure, I’d be happy to. So I’m the 2018 Vice Chair, Mo Dodd will be the chair this year. And I’m just so excited when I started. In real estate, I didn’t know anybody else in the industry, except for my dad and his friends and they were on their 60s and 70s. They’re not really somebody you can hang out with and learn from quite so much. So I felt very much alone. And I was introduced to why piano and I started going to their breakfasts. And I realized what a family I could have in this group of people. And so just spend the first couple of years meeting people through there, then I got involved in the board. And this is my third year now coming on as vice chair. And I just think it’s really an amazing place for not for every agent, not just new agents, it’s not necessarily an age specific thing or an experience specific. It’s just for people who want a sense of community and want to be able to learn more about what other people in their industry are doing through whether it’s the you know, the monthly breakfasts or the parties, we throw we do a kickoff mixer and another mid year event, let the last two years it’s been a fabulous boat with open bar, it’s a lot of fun. And just, you know, a lot more several more outings, it’s a way to really get to know your peers in the industry. I love it.
Julia Brenner 7:39
And to echo Grace, I’m on the board this year with her. And congratulations, thank you. This is really it’s a really great way to like she was saying to really get to know people and have more of a sense of family and colleagues and industry that can be really isolating. And on top of it. I think all it does is really benefit the industry by having Realtors know each other and support each other and raise each other up and help each other out. At the end of the day. It just makes the industry a better industry. It helps get deals done. And overall, it’s just a great benefit to get out there and meet people.
D.J. Paris 8:15
Yeah, 100%. And you know, so by the way, what how they can find information about the YPN is you could go to cars website, which is Chicago realtor.com. It’s I think it’s right on the homepage. If not just go to Google type in YPN. Chicago, it’ll come right up. And they also car sends out their schedule. I think once a month or so they’ll send out here’s the next upcoming event. Is there any other way that they can get on a mailing list or is it all through car,
Grace Goro 8:45
it’s mostly through the car website. And once you sign up there to become a it doesn’t cost anything to become a member. And then you can you’ll get notifications about all of the member events that are coming up via email. And then the more you attend to we always give shout outs for our next event. And every year it’s something different our our chair last year, she did this amazing brainchild of this amazing IKEA build out event where we had a warehouse. And we built Ikea furniture for all Chicago, which is an organization that helps people experiencing homelessness. And just had so many new people coming there and that’s something that we really pushed to be at the website too. So that’s probably the best place to learn about it.
Julia Brenner 9:25
Yeah, and there’s a ton of charity involved which is really great because as a whole again, giving back to the community only benefits us as realtors and our community and the areas we live in and work in. And every the last Wednesday of every month, correct? Yep, starting starting in February. Every year we do it at Manny’s Deli in the South Loop. So the last Wednesday of every month 9am to 1030. That schedule should be posted online. You do have to sign up for it but just as an update to people adds up. So let’s
D.J. Paris 10:01
come in, we’ll put a link to the website, this specific link in the in the comments, or in the in the description. And I can’t yet I can’t stress it enough too. So this woman that was in my, I was just meeting with her and she and I was saying, you will learn so much. And also, you know, hey, you get a free Manny’s breakfast. And that’s that might that alone is worth going. But in addition, because I used to waste our office was right next to Manny. So in addition to being awesome, because it’s Manny’s, you, there’s just a lot of great information. I know you guys have did panels last year at some of those meetings where it was like technology focused and people just learn, you learn so much. And you get to connect with other brokers who are all about sharing information. So anyway, okay, so I just wanted
Grace Goro 10:45
to about YPN. Amazing.
D.J. Paris 10:48
I know I well, I should I should offer to, to, you know, assist more like there’s a way to I don’t know, when the board stuff is, but maybe in the next year or so I’ll offer some services, you know what I should? Actually, yeah, we’re gonna, you know, what I? Well, you know, what I would like to do is actually build you guys out your own website, if that’s possible, that I think would be really cool. Because it’s car is just such a big website. But maybe that would be neat to have your own specific site, you know, just for that. But anyway, let’s talk about you guys, because I think this is such a cool story that you guys have been friends, basically, since sixth grade, I’m guessing or sixth grade. Yeah. And let’s talk about the origin story of how you guys met and how you’ve grown your business, you know, all the way from when you got together in business.
Grace Goro 11:36
Today, you want to start this.
Julia Brenner 11:38
So we met on a traveling basketball team in our hometown in Park Ridge, we were the two tallest type of girls. So we really stood out to each other because other than that our friends tended to be shorter girls that we had to like bend down to feed to hear them talk. So we became friends playing traveling basketball, we played on our feeder team in Park Ridge. And then we played for our high school until senior year. And our individual groups of friends became one big group of friends. So we’ve been best friends since sixth grade. And it’s really fun because we played on a team for so much of our lives. And it’s really cool that we are on a team again now. And
Grace Goro 12:27
the only thing that’s kind of confusing for people is I think, over the years with friends used to just kind of start to pick up similar mannerisms and wear similar outfits and all that and on a daily basis. If we had a nickel for every time somebody called us the other person, we wouldn’t even need to work anymore. Oh,
Julia Brenner 12:45
I mean, our own family members do it. Our own family members do it. One time her mom took pictures of me playing volleyball that she thought were great. And then my mom got a whole full photo album with pictures of me. You’re welcome. So
D.J. Paris 12:59
yeah, that’s, that’s awesome.
Julia Brenner 13:02
So yeah, we do dress like a lot. We talk like we say the same things a lot. So we do kind of confuse people. But it’s kind of what makes us unique in our team. So
D.J. Paris 13:14
so yeah. And so grace you you got into did you get into real estate first? Because I know you come from like everybody in your family who’s in real estate.
Grace Goro 13:23
Right? You should hear dinner conversations. Yeah, so I I was licensed in 2011. I actually was licensed while I was graduating at the University of Arizona. So I graduated with a degree in broadcast journalism and I went on to work for not very long, just about a half a year at Comcast SportsNet. Downtown while I had my license, and my dad who was at the time the managing broker of Coldwell bankers office in Lincoln Park was pretty insistent that I actually don’t get into the family business. He wanted me to do what my degree was for right and and not waste all that money going to school. Sure, no, I the hours that were brutal in broadcast journalism, I’d be up at two in the morning to get to the studio by four done by like 11am. And then you’re home and you’re sleeping by six, so it just was never going to work. So I ended up convincing him to let me hang my license him him being my Dad, let me hang my license at the Linkin Park office. And I started on a team. And I was there for I think it was maybe three or four years and I was talking to Julia at the time because you know, we see each other on a regular basis anyway. And she was an a nine to five and not all that happy and I was telling her how much I loved it. And I just thought that she had such the personality for it and had enough experience at that point to potentially branch off and start our own thing. And yeah, I was by some miracle she she trusted to make the job.
Julia Brenner 14:53
But no, I was doing marketing. And I also was a broadcast journalism major. And I just found myself In a job that wasn’t really what I even set out to be in, and what I love to do was talk to people and interview people and work with them and help them. And I was telling that to grace. She’s like, well, that’s a lot of what real estate is like. It sounds like you’re talking about something that’s right up your alley. So like she said, she took very little convincing and I got my license and joined the Coldwell Banker office to under Grace’s dad. And right off the bat, we started our own team and we haven’t looked back since.
D.J. Paris 15:31
That that’s amazing. And it’s that Linkin Park Coldwell Banker offices is such a such a history to it as well. I mean, it’s just been around forever. It’s this big behemoth. My, my boss, Nick Patterson started there a million years ago, before he went off on his own. And there’s just been so many great, great people that have funneled through that office and are still obviously at that office. And so, but let you know, and I think that so, first of all, I would like to point out that you guys were both broadcast journalism majors that is this incredibly like, did. Were you guys, how did that happen? That you were both did you guys go to the same college as well? Or
Grace Goro 16:07
I swear, we’re not each other’s only
Julia Brenner 16:10
other friends with other girls
Grace Goro 16:13
with other Yeah, no. But I think that’s a lot of why we gravitated towards each other to be in the same career because we have very similar personalities and interests. Julia went to Wisconsin.
Julia Brenner 16:23
Yeah, I went to University Wisconsin Madison, my mom’s reporter, my dad’s a publicist. So I was kind of make sense. Sure. I don’t know how she got started. She copied you clearly.
Grace Goro 16:34
stumbled my way. I really liked the broadcasting aspect of it at the time and I wanted to do sports specifically. I’m so sorry. I lost my train of thought you asked me where I went. I was at the University of Arizona not too pleased with our terrible rivals ASU.
D.J. Paris 16:56
You Yes. You were in Tempe? Arizona. Have you been to Tucson? Yeah, not? Yeah, not Tempe. That’s the other one. Yes, I so I but I think that’s that’s particularly interesting, because I do think so much of being a good realtor is about and maybe the most important part of it is being a good communicator. Some would say it’s being a good listener, I would say and being a good listener is maybe the most important way of being a good communicator. But but certainly communication is so important. And it’s always, whenever there’s studies that are done on serve service businesses, like financial advisors, or realtors, it’s always you know, what our clients want. It’s, you know, they want somebody who communicates effectively. So I think that’s a really important point. And I also want to, I want to talk a little bit about how you guys complement each other. Because, obviously, you’ve been friends for a long time. And I just interviewed and it may have been Amy Diamond, I can’t recall who who, who told me this. But I interview a lot of of brokers who are on teams, and I think it was Amy. But she she had said, the reason why she built a team was that she knew an 80 hour work week just wasn’t sustainable. And at a certain amount of time. On our own. She was still like, I need some help. So I can, you know, have a reasonably act some boundaries in my life, right? And so I wonder if you guys are complementing each other is one of you more focused in a particular area of the business? are you both doing sort of the same tasks or?
Grace Goro 18:22
So one of the interesting things that I find about our pairing that I noticed right off the bat, we started because we wanted accountability partners, right, and we’re both pretty competitive. So the better Giulia does, the more I want to continue to push myself and vice versa. And our personalities as similar as we seem, when it comes to our careers. And you know, what we’re focused on, we’re actually completely opposite. So we actually recently didn’t and we do the disc test. Yeah, this test and Oh, sure. Opposite. Yeah, I am. And I knew this about myself, I’m a very strong D, with a little bit of eye and you’re like, whatever, the opposite of that as
Julia Brenner 19:05
well. So when we go into listing appointments together, it’s like, Good cop, bad cop.
Grace Goro 19:09
I’m always the bad cop. She’s.
Julia Brenner 19:13
But she can put her foot down about things. And I really, really admire that. And I’m a little bit more of,
Grace Goro 19:18
Oh, okay. You’re the bright side.
Julia Brenner 19:20
But yeah, so I’m the I’m the positive bright side, and she’s the one who’s like, nope, these are the numbers. So we that’s a that’s a way we one way we really complement each other and it works out to our advantage. And then, like Grace is saying, just the way that we push each other. I mean, we’ve been on a team together before for a long time. So we know how to work together as a team and we know how to push each other. So that was really cool having that experience because that came so naturally.
Grace Goro 19:48
I don’t like I find that a lot of people especially when I listened to things similar to this podcasts or interviews, panels, presentations, a lot of times you catch people When they’re, you know very much in the height of where they’ve come from. And I feel like Julia and I are still on that trajectory very much so of where we want to go. So we only recently, maybe three or four months ago hired our first recruit being our Operations Manager, which has helped tremendously. And it’s really helping to shape our idea of team building and where we want to go next and who our next hires are, what when we hire our buyer’s agent, and how it kind of trickles down. So it’s just been interesting being in flux, especially since we moved from Coldwell Banker to our properties, kind of learning, team building time management, structuring, it’s it’s been an adventure.
Julia Brenner 20:39
Yeah, we’ve learned a lot. Over the last couple of years of what works and doesn’t work, we’re still always learning more working with our managing broker, Kevin Banach, and we worked with Grace’s dead Chuck, just to really help us formulate what team is best for us, and how we can work side by side and bring more people on. But like Chris mentioned earlier, it can be such an isolating career and being able to work on a team. I mean, that just makes it 10 times better, and be able to bounce ideas off each other, which we do a lot to run pricing off each other. Of course, the backup is a huge help. And just to be able to have that accountability, and that that, that help in that reference, when necessary, has been awesome.
D.J. Paris 21:26
Agreed. We do get a lot of listener feedback and questions. The most common question we get is from brokers who are feeling stuck either because they’re new and not totally sure what to do to sort of most important things to do in order to grow their business. And I wanted to ask you both what your recommendation would be as as not under not knowing these individual know, these people who have written in anything about their business? Is there anything that you think universally, that everyone could and should be doing to help elevate, you know, increase their production? Or if in particular, if they’re newer?
Grace Goro 22:08
So when I was new, I really started off, I don’t know if you’re familiar, but listening to Brian Buffini? Sure. And, you know, the Tom ferries, Brian Buffini is that these kind of all these people instilled in me the processes that I do today, and I think it’s scary when you’re new, because you really don’t know anybody. And especially if you’re new and young, you a don’t really know anyone, and you be maybe don’t have the confidence in yourself to be like, Okay, why is my parents friends? Why would they trust me to sell my home. So it’s important to just get as educated as you possibly can, and start reaching out to those people regularly, right? Like, we’re all in the relationship as this the better of a relationship you have with somebody, the more honest you can be with them. And the stronger your feedbacks going to be. And the more that they can learn to trust you. Like we we are constantly sending out handwritten notes, making phone calls, doing those lunches, and those lunches are the most painful things that we spot, you know, everybody has theirs and ours are getting those coffees, but you have to do it.
Julia Brenner 23:11
And yeah, and to add to that, I mean, just building your your database was, that was my biggest thing off the bat. I luckily, a lot of my college friends live in Chicago, and all of our high school friends live in Chicago. So it was really nice to be able to have that big database and just grow it and reach out and you start with your first newsletter, and you do it every month. And it might take them three years to come around. But they do come around, especially if you can to continually reach out, remind them you’re in the business, show them your value, show them what you can do for them. And I also think a huge thing that I know some people shy away from, but our rentals my first year, I think I did like 35 rentals, and it added up in income. And it was a lot of work. And it was a lot of grinding for something that might not have turned out it’s a great place to make mistakes too. And exactly that really taught me how to work with buyers. And like I said, it’s a great place to make mistakes. And it’s mistakes that yeah, that aren’t that big of a deal. You learn a lot, you meet a lot of agents, you see a lot of buildings all go into buildings with renters a couple of years back, and then I’m back in them again with my buyers. But I know the building because I’ve been there before so
Grace Goro 24:21
and another thing I would just wanted to add to that little shameless, live YPN plug. But I’ve heard so many times from different agents that you don’t get any business by hanging out with other agents. And I just so strongly disagree with that. And it’s another reason to get involved not just with wipin But just in any car board or any organization that’s going to promote networking within because it’s so great to have your peers know you and promote you and say nice things about you and get you involved in different aspects of the industry. And if you’re new I think that’s a really great place to start. Like I’ll never forget one of my very first listings I had my seller laughed while I was doing an open house and just kind of cased the neighborhood. And he walked into a neighbor’s listing, they were having an open and Aaron Mandel, who’s been on your show, she was doing the listing, she was doing the open house, and he introduced himself and said, Oh, you know, Grace aura was my agent. And she’s like, crazy score, oh, she’s great. You know, we’re great friends, you’re in really good hands. And he came back. And he told me that and I have never been happier, I was so glad to hear a positive comment from somebody and made my client feel really good to to know that, you know, somebody else knew me and had a nice thing to say about me and industry.
Julia Brenner 25:35
And to add to that, to it really helps in multiple offer situations, if you’re you have a buyer. And there are multiple offers. It’s, it just helps just in generally, in general, in situations, it helps to know the other agent, because it makes the process a lot smoother. And if they know you when they know you want to a professional level, and they know they can trust you. And it really puts you in better hands and it puts your buyers and sellers in better hands as well.
D.J. Paris 26:04
I couldn’t agree more with with all of that, you guys just I want to unpack a little bit of what you said, because you said so many great things in the last few moments, few minutes there. And I want to sort of backtrack a bit back to the you mentioned Brian Buffini he if you’re not familiar, and you’re listening, he is basically the largest real estate training platform or system in the industry. He’s been around forever and he has his one of his big things in grace, I believe it was Grace was talked about. Talked about this was some like really good habits like I picked the and you still maintain those habits today. And Buffini had a couple of habits that you clearly you even just mentioned by name, one of which is I know he has a whole thing is called like when the day how do you win the day? Well, one of the ways that one of the ways he says is you meet two to five new people every day, tell them what you do. gather their contact information, write them a handwritten note, and then stay in touch, send out those items of value every month, or get together from to do pop buys and all of the Buffini isms, but all really really good stuff to build relationships. And I wish I wish I got a nickel for every time I promoted Brian Buffini because I I’d probably be wealthier. But the the reality of it is, is that you guys were accountability partners too. And I think that, and I want to talk about that for just a moment. So I apologize, I’m gonna go off on a little bit of a tangent. But you know, Brian Buffini also started one of when he started developing, as a realtor. He he and Joe NIGO, who’s from Chicago became accountability partners, and Brian is in San San Diego or wherever, but Joe’s here, and they were daily accountability partners. And so I have an accountability partner in a different arena. But for habits, I have somebody that calls me every morning at 830 actually pay this person to do this. And we spend a minute or actually about 90 seconds every morning, I pay them very little, it’s very inexpensive thing. But they asked me did you do X, Y and Z and they’re like daily habits, I’m trying to cultivate having an accountability partner you can likely find in your own office. Or if you go to go to places like the Women’s Council of realtors or YPN events, or many of the other types of events that car puts together or different organizations where Realtors congregate, you can find a an accountability partner there as well. And I think that’s really, really important for a lot of brokers who, you know, are struggling to sort of try to figure out how to spend their day it’s get an accountability partner, you know, it’s it’s too hard to do it entirely by yourself. And I think you guys are living proof that working together, you achieve a lot more. Let’s let’s talk a little bit about your your group that the girl Brenner Group. Tell us sort of, you know, you’ve now brought on some additional team members, you know, how is how are you growing your practice at this time?
Grace Goro 28:57
So sorry, we were just looking at this one. So we are big fans of setting really big goals. So this was this past year was a great year for us. We went past our goal, which made us think okay, maybe we’re not shooting high enough. And now we’ve set a new one that for us, you know, basically a two woman team. 50 million is a very big goal for us at the place that we are at right now. But that’s what we’re trying to achieve. So we’re currently putting systems in place. With all of our metrics of you know what we need to do at our price point, we need 155 units. How many is that going to be a month and how are we going to get there? So our first hire four months ago with our operations manager, and she has been unbelievable. Kevin Vanek, our managing broker said to us, you don’t want to touch paper, your job your your time is better spent out talking to people talking to your clients. Prospecting bringing them in. So we hired on Glenn to help us to do all of that. So the paperwork, the back end, the brochures, a lot of I’m systemizing, our prospecting. So once this is all going, hopefully after the winter season, our next step is going to be to hire a buyer’s agent to help us, you know, deal with the incoming traffic that we’re planning for. And sometimes we get a little overwhelmed. It sounds lofty, at least to us, I know there’s probably people listening who are thinking, well, 50 million isn’t that much to them. But for us, for two people, it’s a lot and we need to really prepare and dream it and achieve it and plan it in order to make it successful.
Julia Brenner 30:32
And like Grace was saying, it’s just amazing. It’s just a huge thing that we’ve we’ve been tried and then edited and then scrapped and then tried again, oh, my gosh, so many good ideas and bad ideas, agents out there agents, forming new teams, try to get that system in place and get a good one in place. Right off the bat, talk to your managing brokers ask for some time from some older or seasoned agents. To really get those systems in place off the bat. I watched we watch Tom Ferry videos, like we said, we do Brian Buffini, which isn’t really systems but like the Millionaire Real Estate agent, a real real estate agent. Yeah, books on that. But that’s just what we’re really trying to do is get get in a system where everything, everything has the start middle and end to it so that we can make sure nothing falls through the cracks with our clients, and then we can increase our clientele?
D.J. Paris 31:25
Well, I think that is very well said. Yeah, I would say everybody should read the Millionaire Real Estate Agent, it’s by the gentleman that founded Keller Williams probably knows a thing or two, it’s widely considered one of the one of the basically, it’s the Bible for how to be a real estate agent, or rather, rather not real estate broker. It’s excellent. Gary Keller wrote that, and, and yeah, I mean, you guys just said a lot of great things. And we were talking a little bit offline too, about some, you know, best practices, and maybe some bad habits you’ve seen out in the field, and we were talking about, you know, sometimes listings are maybe not presented as well as they could be on the MLS, maybe people are have bad photography, or no photography, or, you know, the descriptions are goofy. And, you know, I always say, like, you should be talking to, if your own whoever you’re working, if you if your support team or training team, if there isn’t a support team or train team or if they’re not very strong. You know, you can go to some of these events and different organizations and talk to other realtors who, from other firms and they can, they can assist you as well. But you really want to immerse yourself and in, you know, just doing the, to the very best you can. And I think a lot of that information is not always intuitive. And it’s stuff that needs to be taught. And, you know, there’s good news is there’s a lot of people like you guys who are very graciously giving your time even just to this podcast, and I’ll just do a quick plug, if anyone’s listening for the first time to our show. Basically, I only I think I’ve only interviewed top one percenters in the Chicagoland area, most of which have built teams. So if people are like, Well, how do I do that? We have interviews we’ve done with other with other teams who have talked about exactly how they’ve built teams and, and you know, you guys are talking about that as well. So there’s a lot of resources out there to learn best practices. And people like Grayson, Julie, I’m sorry, I was gonna say people like Grace and Julia are obviously very generous with their time. And so there’s lots of people you can talk to.
Julia Brenner 33:29
TJ, I was just gonna say, to add to that, one thing that grace really taught me and her dad taught us is just to really invest in your clients and how they’re your number one priority and your number one. Their happiness, it should be your goal at the end of the day. And so like you were saying, even with like bad practices and things like that, we really want to make sure our clients feel like we care about their home, or homes, like their own homes, and we get professional photography, we take a lot of time writing detailed descriptions, we make sure we have room numbers measured, right and the floors are cracked and things like that. And we have the marketing and whatnot done, because they’re going to be your number one referrer. So if you make your clients happy, that’s the best way to get more clients.
Grace Goro 34:15
Well, no. And also, like, in our industry, we see a wide range of commissions, right so it sure can 5% Some people say a standard I’ve seen people take lower, I’ve seen people take higher and we really push for 6% listings because I think that there is so much value to what we do when it’s done right. And I think that’s a big misconception that a lot of people have in general about our industry I hate that you know you hear people think a realtor sometimes as shady used car salesman, I hate that we provide or we can provide if done right, such a great service. And it doesn’t just have to be you know, your basic photo package. You can go Above and Beyond that, and do all of these wonderful things that I’m seeing all of my peers doing that we try to implement as well the matter ports and the drone videos and the high high end photography, the 3d Digital floorplans on top of it, that it’s just this world that we’re getting into with technology. There’s so many ways to show your craft and show your skill that I’d like to see more of that I if I see one more cell phone picture of somebody’s listing, I’m gonna lose it. It makes us all look bad.
Julia Brenner 35:29
Yeah, it didn’t it brings down our profession. And one thing we also really try to make sure we do is, is handle everything for our clients. So I mean, just the other day grace hired a a a painter to come in to paint her clients
Grace Goro 35:45
and exterminator because there were centipedes in the basement, the basement we always have about that. But yeah, right. We we always offer complimentary cleaning with our cleaning comes with our services, we bring a bottle of wine to the listing appointment, like why would you show up empty handed the somebody’s home when they’ve invited you.
Julia Brenner 36:04
Just things like that, so that the process is easy for the seller. But also because the home shows better and it becomes easier for the buyer, it becomes easier for the buyer’s agent, it becomes easier for the attorneys, I mean, just to have these things done ahead of time just makes the whole deal smoother, and it makes our industry as a whole more professional.
D.J. Paris 36:23
And these are the reasons why you’re able to charge you know, your your clients, what you think you’re worth, and you guys are able to back that up with service that is likely above and beyond maybe what they would get from another broker. And I think that’s incredible. You know, I met a I met a broker just as a as another story a few years ago who met with me, and I think she ended up joining I want to say dream town, but I’m not I don’t remember exactly. But she met with me. Oh, no, I think she was at Berkshire Hathaway well, it doesn’t matter. But anyway, she said, you know, what, can I What can I charge my sellers. And at our firm, we said, well, you charge whatever you want, that’s up to you. And she goes good, because I charged 7%. And she goes in two years, I’m gonna get to 10% when I was like, Whoa, I just was sort of shocked. I hadn’t heard commissions that high and, and she wasn’t laughing at all. And I wasn’t laughing at her. I was just sort of like, whoa, like, sort of shocked. And she looked at me like, why are you looking shocked, I know what I’m worth, here’s what I provide. Here’s why I do I said, Hey, you know, whatever, whatever you decide to do, that’s up to you. But I thought that was in some ways, I was really impressed because she wasn’t crazy. And she but she really had a a very logical and rational explanation for why she charges as much as she does. And she goes, my my clients are thrilled because I go way above and beyond what, you know, the broker down the street might do. So.
Grace Goro 37:45
That’s awesome. I love to hear that she’s pushing 10 Yeah, yeah. That’s great.
D.J. Paris 37:50
I think so too. And, you know, I just, I just love that, you know, it’s, I think, people brokers always need to be able to justify their, their their cost. And you know, if you’re a broker, and you don’t know how to do that you can learn, and you can learn to say, here’s what I offer, here’s why I offer it, here’s why I’m worth what I’m worth, here’s what I do, that’s maybe a bit different. You guys rattled off five or six things, you do that I’m guessing most brokers don’t. So I think that’s pretty, pretty amazing. And I also want to not gloss over something we mentioned the very beginning, which is you guys work largely by referral. So, you know, I think that’s the ultimate result of doing a great job is they tell of course, tell everybody they know. And you know that, obviously, oh, and I want to go back to something real quickly to Juliet mentioned about rentals that, you know, we are sometimes easy to forget, in particular, if you’ve been in the business a while but if you’re newer, it’s easy to sort of gloss over that rentals because not only is it a great place to cut your teeth like Grace mentioned, and make some mistakes, but also it these are people that may and likely will become future buyers right and everyone who’s bought a home almost everyone started out renting right. So this is a great way to build those relationships.
Julia Brenner 39:01
Yeah, I just did a rental in July for my friend’s brother and his girlfriend they got engaged and we’re closing on Friday on their new big single family home in Park Ridge and they’re just going to get a sublet so even just that I mean the turnaround on them right huge. And the thing about that is about everything and about what we Grayson I do with all of our clients is just follow up follow up follow up. How are you doing? How’s your place? Here’s a pop by gift for you enjoy this bottle of wine or sunscreen. You know, whatever season it is. That’s the biggest Yeah,
D.J. Paris 39:35
can you guys give an example of a pop by gift I know you mentioned wine but I know Brian Buffini always has like cute little ones. Have you guys ever done anything sort of on the on the cute side or on the funny side?
Grace Goro 39:46
That’s like our favorite thing to do. We’ve had some big pie fails as well. Yes. Whenever we tried to do like salts and then we tried to make candles and they ended up looking like we were sending bath salts. Yeah,
Julia Brenner 39:58
one time we tried to do This lavender bath salts sent in a mason jar with like a candle and we tied tweed with a key on it. And it was like some little slogan it was so cute. It was no it was a disaster. And it was like the weirdest gifts to give people were like, Why are we yeah to give to people? Oh, some say of three pounds of Bath Salts on my Yeah, we’ve,
Grace Goro 40:20
we’ve since come quite a ways we’re actually trying something new this year that we’re excited about. So for your listeners who don’t know a Popeye is when you pop by somebody’s house with a gift. And you usually just let them know that you’re in the neighborhood you try not to go inside because then they feel like maybe you’re intruding on their time even though they don’t realize it. Just like two minutes Hi thinking about you, here’s a gift. But this year for Christmas, we’re thinking about renting out space at Alliance bakery over in like the Wicker Park area sure inviting all of our past clients to come out. And we’ll probably do a couple of different dates to pick up a pie from us and they can you know, RSVP with the kind that they want. Come out and visit, it’s a great way for us to get face time in the pies cost like, what 15 bucks a pie. And then we’ll give it to them. If they can’t make it, then we’ll drive out and we will see them it’s a nice like excuse for us to stop by. We’re really excited about that. We’re really excited about that. And your bar, your bar ideas good one too.
Julia Brenner 41:17
Oh, we’re also going to do yes, good runner, we’re also doing a bar code class, doing one in the city and one in the suburbs. in Park Ridge, we’re going to invite our friends and family and client list from those areas to come and do a bar class with us. Which is a which is a really popular workout class right now. And that one is actually pretty affordable. And just for people that you know, I know it can be a lot. Zika can be something little you can get a little tough a little tube of sunscreen and drop it off in the summer with a little note that said, you know, I’ve got your back, I’ve got you covered, I
think is what we did. Yeah. And we
sent out umbrellas with our logo on them recently. So you can you can really personalize them as well.
Grace Goro 42:01
That’s really $6 each. Yeah, the umbrellas.
Julia Brenner 42:03
So there’s, there’s things you can do to not have to spend a ton of money. But Brian Buffini really says it doesn’t have to cost anything, you just need to show your face and show that you care. We like to give out some nicer things, especially to our big referrers and our big clients. And so there’s a lot to choose from.
D.J. Paris 42:22
There are and I’ve always thought to for people that are on like really small budgets, you know, you could just and you should keep a list of your clients, their children, you know, relatively their ages. And if you know schools coming up and it’s August or late July, that’s an a great opportunity. If you know if the budget small, just drop off notebooks for your for your clients say hey, that, you know, I know your kids are nearing school. And I just thought that they might find this helpful, right? Like things like that. I mean, again, it doesn’t, you’re right, it doesn’t really matter how much you spend or what the gift is just something thoughtful is
Julia Brenner 42:57
even like dog treats if they have a dog. Don’t bury
me. I mean this. I don’t know if everyone agrees with this. But I know people who do homemade cookies and they wrap them up and they bring them in a tin or in a bag or something like that. I love it. If somebody gave me I would. Yeah, I would do. I like to keep just like $1 $10 bottles of wine from Trader Joe’s in my car. And when I buy a client’s house because we drive by them so often, you know, just run up there with a little note and drop it off and just say, Hey, I was in the neighborhood and I was thinking of you and have a bottle of wine.
D.J. Paris 43:28
Awesome. Well, you guys have said so much and you have generously given your time. So I would like to specifically talk you know if there are buyers, sellers or renters that are out there that are interested in working with the Goro Brenner group, what is the best way? Well, first of all, let’s they can always hit your website, which is girl breader group.com. But what’s another? Can they reach you by telephone by email? You guys plug your your contact? Yeah.
Julia Brenner 43:55
Yeah, definitely. Our emails are both its grace and gorell Brenner group.com and Giulia at Goro Brenner group.com, which we realize is a really long email. But yeah, through that our names are Goro runner group.com is our website. So our stuff is everywhere. We have a business page with some of our recent listings and closings on there. And we are happy to help even just answer questions give advice one of the things we really like to provide our clients especially those who don’t live in town or who are from out of town I mean, is you know if you need a doctor to go to if you need to know where to get where the nearest Lululemon is or something like that we are from here and we know the city really well. We know the suburbs really well. And we’re happy to just answer any kind of questions.
D.J. Paris 44:42
Awesome. Well, thank you guys so much. And in particular grace, I know you’re not 100% feeling well so I really appreciate both of
Grace Goro 44:51
you for for putting up with me my my voice this whole time I did not have a coughing fit. I know we talked about that earlier. I was I was afraid but we made it through.
D.J. Paris 44:59
I was hoping there’d be a coughing fit it would it would have been fun to hear you struggle on the air but but you didn’t use it. You guys were wonderful. And so I really thank you for being part of the show and hope you guys hit your $50 million goal next year. That’s really exciting.
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