One Billion Dollars In Real Estate Sales • Jonathan Spears

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Jonathan Spears with Scenic, Sotheby’s International Realty and DJ discuss the value of teams and how being a part of a team brings value. Jonathan emphasizes the importance of providing value to your clients in their path to a $1B business. Next, Jonathan talks about being passionate and finding your niche are your pathways to success. Last, Jonathan discusses how he built relationships with developers and also how to establish a presence in your market.

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

Jonathan Spears can be reached at 850.974.1761.

If you’d like to listen to Jonathan’s previous interview with us, click here.

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D.J. Paris 0:00
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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 Paris, I am your guide and host through the show. And today we have a returning guest, Jonathan Spears coming back to the show to announce a major very impressive milestone that he and his group, just a hit and he wants to talk about it and how he got there so that you can hopefully do the same. So in just a moment, we’ll be speaking with Jonathan. But before we get to him, just a couple of quick reminders. Number one, please tell a friend about our show, the best way you can help us is to tell someone else. So let them know about what we do here, especially if they’re a realtor looking to grow their business. And also if you have a few moments and you’re listening to us on iTunes, leave us a review. Let us know what you think of the show. It helps our rankings and just helps us know what’s working and also what we can do to improve. But let’s enough about that. Let’s get to the main man here, Jonathan spears.

Today on the show, we have a returning guest. In fact, I think our only returning interview guest we’ve had since we started the show and we’re now over 300 episodes, but this is pretty exciting for us. Because we have Jonathan spears of the spears group coming back to the show with Scenic Sotheby’s International Realty he is in his group is in Northwest Florida. Let me tell you about Jonathan, if you don’t remember from our first episode, and by the way, if you haven’t heard the first episode, we’ll post a link to it in the show notes. But you should go back and listen because we we thought Jonathan and his brother Caleb are such amazing guests that we wanted to bring them back. So Jonathan’s with us today, but let me tell you about Jonathan. He’s an entrepreneur at heart, and he considers his greatest achievement to deliver exemplary service and keen expertise, as Jonathan helps his customers achieve their real estate goals. Motivated by a strong work ethic and a true passion for the real estate business. He has developed an extensive knowledge of the Northwest Florida real estate market, and he puts that knowledge to work for his customers securing the best deal for his buyers and highest sales price for customers selling their luxury properties. To date, he has closed over 1 billion in career sales. And the spirits group was well actually I was gonna have him read these but I’m gonna read them for him because they’re part of part of the reason that he’s here is to really highlight how successful his team has become, but they are now the spirits group was just recently named the number one medium sized real estate team in Florida, and the number 11 in the group in the United States as published by The Wall Street Journal, and Jonathan graduated from Florida State University at 19, which is also amazing. With a bachelor’s in business administration. He devotes the same uncompromising dedication and work ethic to his customers in every transaction, please visit the spirits group on their website which is Spears group fl.com. Again, Spears Group F l.com. And also follow them on Instagram. There’s two places you can find them on Instagram. The first is at spirits group. The second is Jonathan’s personal one, which is at Jonathan M as in Mary Jonathan M. Spears, follow them on Instagram Jonathan, welcome once again and I took away Some of your your thunder, and I know you’re a super humble guy anyway. But that is super exciting. So congratulations on those milestones.

Jonathan Spears 5:07
Yeah, I know. Thank you so much. Um, first of all, I’m honored, I didn’t realize one of the very few people who’s been invited back. So

D.J. Paris 5:15
you’re the only one that’s had a we have we have regular guests on the show, who are part of regular segments. But we’ve never had a guest come back for our second a second appearance. So we’re really excited to have you. And so thank you. I’m sorry, I didn’t mean to interrupt.

Jonathan Spears 5:32
No, no, not at all. No. Well, first of all, I’m honored. And you know, very glad to be here. Always a good time. We were just talking, you know, pre interview just how much fun it is to get on here and just have a conversation. So thank you for having me. And yes, yeah, no, we’re super excited. I think Inman actually dropped the news about our team, surpassing $1 billion in sales volume. And that’s over the last five years, which I’m immensely proud, I think, you know, 29, I turned 30. So I’m starting to like, there’s no midlife crisis happening. But I had these very specific goals, you know, going into my 30th year of life, and that was, I wanted to hit a billion dollars in career sales. And not only do we hit it, we hit it about mid year, but we’ve already surpassed it by 150 million. So we’re almost at $1.2 billion in sales and counting. And we’re just so thankful to serve not only Northwest Florida market, but you know, second home markets around the country. And, you know, I’ve got an incredible team incredible, you know, folks around me that have not only been so supportive, but you know, integral in this success. So anyways, I’m very glad to be here and excited to talk about it.

D.J. Paris 6:49
Yeah, I want to just talk a little bit, say something that Jonathan said, again, this is pre pre interview, where we were just chatting before we went on and, and he said something, and I remember him saying this, I believe the first time we had him on, which I think is really indicative of his that the fact that he is this become the successful, so young, he said something that not all of our guests say, and I’m not here to criticize any we love all of our guests, but he said something that I love. And when guests do ask this particular question, I always get excited, because it’s no surprise to me that he asked this, but I’m grateful that he did, which was he said, Hey, before we get on, what could I say? That would be the what can I talk about that would be of the most value to your audience. And I think that is a reflection, you know, on how you most likely treat your customers and clients as well. Because, you know, you want to provide value. And there’s, this is something you’re doing as a way of giving back to the community. I imagine you treat your clients, you know, with that same attitude. So I just wanted to honor you for even asking that question. And again, you know, really, really great. And so I think, you know, if I were to answer that on behalf of our audience, which I hope I’m asking the right question, which is a very simple one, but probably a complicated one to answer a simple question with a complicated answer, which is, how did you do that? How did you get to a billion in sales? And I think maybe what we can sort of break that down into components, but maybe we could start here, and I’m sort of throwing this at you without adding no bringing, let’s talk about teams, because I know that every realtor probably has had this thought they’ve had this sort of, should I join a team? Should I be my own solo practitioner? Can we talk a little bit about the value of teams and how you think that positions, your spirit group, and maybe how that helps you win business versus people who are doing it just individually? And not to criticize those media? Of course, but but maybe the value of of what a team brings? And and how that just assists you guys?

Jonathan Spears 9:01
Yeah, most definitely will. First of all, thank you for, for sharing that. And, you know, when we were having our discussion before we hit live as well. I had said something about there’s no magic pill to equal success, right? Like, you know, there’s no get rich quick, there’s no, you know, overnight, sell a billion dollars, I mean, that,

D.J. Paris 9:23
well, then this is over and we have no no Right.

Jonathan Spears 9:29
Right. To sit here and say, you know, there’s an app, you can download it, it’s instant. It’s easy, it’s to go, you know, but the reality is, is I’ve spent, you know, 11 years of my life on this thing, you know, I’ve I’ve, I’ve really put in so much time and effort to create systems and processes and really found and when we talk about team structure, I’ve found people that not only compliment me, but I’m able to compliment them. So it always goes back to how are we Providing value whether we’re selling real estate, whether we’re in healthcare sales, whether we are, you know, serving someone to Chick fil A Right? Like it in any industry in any business. First of all, what’s your experience? How am I making you feel? And then what type of value am I providing? I was literally in our team meeting today. And, you know, we’ve got such an incredible team, I’ve got a total agents that work alongside me, and we’re discussing, how do we prospect right, like, if we’re picking up the phone or calling different neighborhoods or, you know, we’re calling a seller or, you know, maybe we’re just reaching out and saying, Hey, we just sold a significant property, want to make sure you know about it? Anyway, we reach out to somebody, it needs to be in an effort to provide value not in an effort to, you know, let me hurry up and get your number. Let me let me get your email. So I can put you on an email list that provides zero value to you. Now, how are we most relevant and positioning ourselves to assist our customers and when we assist people at a high level, and there’s so many wonderful agents I know, that are a 100% referral based business and we’ll kind of dig into my business. And you know, how we’ve grown it to a billion dollar company. But, you know, all of that is predicated on what type of value am I bringing to the table and, you know, in this age of of Zillow, and realtor.com, and what I call real estate transparency, meaning there’s so much transparency, not only about what’s available, but also what’s sold in most markets. You know, it used to be like, let’s say, pre Oh, seven before we had smartphones, right? When we thought blackberries and palm pilots were the smartest thing out there. We didn’t have this access to information like we have today. And I say we as a consumer, if I go into your market in Chicago, I’m going to be able to get a lot of information right here, more so than you know, has ever been available before. Why do I need a real estate agent? You know, why not go through an eye buying process? You know, what, what are we doing is is agents that create value. And, you know, from my team standpoint, we really focused on becoming advisors, you know, knowing our market knowing the nuances at lunch right before this, I was talking to an absolute superstar agent in my office. Her name’s Lita Broxson. And she was explaining to me how a customer called her and asked her Hey, where do I take my recycling? Like, I’m a, we work in second home markets. I’m a second home buyer. I’ve been here two days, and I literally the plastics like, you know, flowing out of my trash can, what do I do? And just being able to have that answer have that, you know, great restaurant recommendation have that, you know, this is the best school and this is you need to call for your kids to get in and you know, to interview. I mean, those types of things are value adds, you know, there are reasons that people work with us. So, I know I’ve given you a very long winded answer. But when we talk about building a billion dollar business, it’s predicated on value. And I think everything we do needs to be a value added needs to be about creating value with somebody else and not about, you know, how do we get further? How do we propel further?

D.J. Paris 13:07
I think that it’s such a good answer. And it’s really a question. And it’s an answer, that’s a question that can be repeatedly asked, all the way through a transaction with a client. And it’s probably the best question at least in from, that I can think of. So I appreciate you sharing it, that at every step of the process, buying, selling, renting whatever real estate transaction, you are constantly saying how am I providing value? And I think that is is a question. I’m curious, do you ever check in with your buyers, sellers, you know, your client to make sure that they’re receiving value? And you maybe you don’t say those words to them? Or maybe you do? But how do you sort of calibrate that to make sure that the client is in fact getting the value that they want? Are you guys really intentional about talking to them and finding out? Obviously, you’re going to know what they want to buy or sell, but the emotional part of it? Or how are you checking in with them to make sure that you’re giving them what they need?

Jonathan Spears 14:11
Yeah. So I think first of all, making sure that you get feedback from a customer after transaction is everything right? Like sometimes you get good, bad and ugly, and really is the ugly, where we learn the most, you know, the good is great, we want to see the good, but if there’s something that we’re doing that we can get better at, we always reach out to our customers later and we say hey, you know, tell us about your experience, and most of them are, you know, they’re raving fans, right? Like that’s our goal is to create the raving fan, but for me, and especially in our businesses spirit group, typically we’ve got 42% of our customers that come back and purchase so almost one out of every two is either referral based business or you know, it’s it’s repeat and I think When I was early on in my career, I sought out customers that were doing repeat business, whether that’s developers or, you know, families that like to buy and sell. I call them Mom and Pop developers, because at some point, their business models, right high frequency, a transaction is typically an investor mindset. And so one way that we’ve built, the multi multi multi million dollar business that we have today is by doing a high frequency of transactions with the same people, the only way to achieve that for somebody to to, you know, be willing to give you that vote of confidence, is by delivering not only excellent service, but you know, that high value proposition and how are you able to take, let’s just say, an investor group that, let’s call it $10 million, they want to deploy in your market, how are we able to take that 10 million and turn it into more, and I think, you know, markets move so quickly, in every market so nuanced, and is on a micro basis, you really kind of have to peel back the layers and, you know, get good at new development. And for me, like, that’s my specialty, it’s a forte, it’s something that I I love, I fall asleep at night designing floor plans in my mind, just because I love it. And not that it puts me to sleep, I usually have to, you know, add to get that out. But for, for us and for my team, we realized very quickly that in order to achieve the goals that we wanted, we had to do something different. And part of that was creating in tooling, a business model that worked best for us. And, you know, I’m really proud, you know, year to date, we’ve closed just over $360 million in business, you know, we’re on track to eclipse 400, here in mid q4, and then some so you know, we’re just, we’re beyond excited, you know, very honored and humbled to get to work with incredible individuals across this market and beyond. And so being in that advisor role has really opened up opportunities to not only advise here in Northwest Florida, we’re doing business outside in other states, and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

D.J. Paris 17:09
Yeah, you talk about working with developers. And I think that’s sort of a neat place to sort of have a conversation because I know here in the Chicagoland market, and we have about 44,000 or so Realtors here in our market. And it seems to be an I am somewhat ignorant to all of the real estate developments that are going up, of course, but I know some of them and I certainly drive past some of them. And it seems to be that when I can see a realtors name attached to a project if it’s on like the Coming Soon sign and it lists the development group and you know, the various sort of partners that are going to make that happen. And then it might even say represented by and it has the realtors name, it tends to be like the same dozen or so Realtors here in the Chicagoland area. Now I’m sure there’s more than that. But it seems to be there’s a small chunk of them that really built a name for themselves. And what you said was very smart, too, which is, hey, we work with investors and developers, because of course, there’s a repeat business there. And that’s a really intelligent way to think about how do I prospect because of course, we know that buyers and sellers transact What is it on average about maybe every seven years, you know, for a, you know, a person who has multiple homes, you know, for somebody who just has one primary residence. So I was just curious that I was thinking, and I know there isn’t, again, a magic bullet answer to this. But how did you start to develop relationships with develop? I’m sorry, for the sake develop twice. But how did you find developers? And what was that value that that you started providing to them?

Jonathan Spears 18:47
Yeah, so really, it’s passion, right? Like, you know, even as a young kid, right? My parents would always get mad at me, we go to a restaurant and I wanted steak and lobster. And they’re like, you’re not i you need to first of all, you need to look at the kids menu. Second of all, chicken fingers sounds a lot better. And you know, what are you doing? And I just, I gravitated towards the finer things. And for me, it’s just because I love it. Right? I love a beautiful watch. I love a beautiful vehicle and real estate and architecture is something that I kind of gravitate towards. And really, it’s the high quality aspects. So when I first started prospecting developers, I was gravitating towards the highest quality developer. And you know, of course, that sounds so cliche, because everybody in the market wants to work with the best developer, but not everybody in the market can realize, you know, what, who in the market is developing at the highest level and how can I add value to that individual? You know, one of my first and still to this day best I call him, he’s a business partner. He didn’t start out that way, but I gravitated towards this endeavor. if you will, because I saw a business model that was so incredible and fantastic that I had to share it. Like I just wanted to talk to everybody that I met about this incredible business model, an amazing way to not only Park money but to invest money. And, you know, he designed and built these beautiful, beautiful houses where you see one of his homes, and it just stood out so clearly in the market. And, you know, I don’t know that he had great representation at the time, there were two new homes that were being built. And I just crawled up and on, you know, of course, us real estate agents, we’ve got keys to everything, right, like, we don’t need anything other than a business card to go and trespass. So I did, I did a little trespassing and got a warm introduction, it wasn’t a complete cold call, and just started a conversation and let them know how much I appreciate it, what he was doing, being able to articulate the details of what he was doing. And it was interesting, like, as somebody in that positions starts to survey, okay, I’m getting close to completion on a great product, I need to go ahead and, you know, either plan to list this, or whatever I’m going to do with it, I need to have a plan for when you get in front of that individual, and you’re able to get them excited about their own product. I think that that’s, you know, not only a gift, but it’s birthed out of passion. So that’s how I first started prospecting developers, I was just genuinely passionate about the product. I don’t know that I really had an agenda when I was there originally other than just to chat about, hey, you just built the most incredible pool I’ve ever seen. You know, I’ve never seen anything like that. And I don’t think anybody in the market has and not just this market, but the Florida market. You know, tell me why? What made you do this, you know, let’s, let’s get you talking about the product that you’ve just put blood sweat and tears in. And make sure that you know that I empathize and appreciate what you’ve done. And I think that that’s a really, really good springboard for anybody listening. If you’ve got products in your market that you know you love, let’s, let’s say it’s not new development, maybe it’s a specific neighborhood or a specific corridor. And truly like you eat at those restaurants all the time that are in that neighborhood, you know, you know, the best yoga class to go to, and maybe it’s a great CrossFit gym, or you know, all the details that make that area so special, I would gravitate towards it, if you love it go after it. It doesn’t have to be, you know, the multi multimillion dollar house, maybe it is. But maybe it’s a mid level neighborhood or you’re serving military veterans, and you’ve got an incredible niche to serve the military. And you know, these guys, they really need somebody who understands the market because they’re only there for a short amount of time. And just being able to find a niche in the market is so important. And for me, it was new development, it was luxury homes, but you could replicate that specific business model, in any aspect at any level of the market. And really one that meets your personal interests. And if you’re not, if you’re going after it just for money, like hey, I just want to make the most money. Like that’s all I care about. You’re gonna first of all, find it’s very empty, it’s not satisfying. And you’re gonna start breathing what I call commission breath, and I can tell you, thanks, it’s NASA do it.

D.J. Paris 23:14
I love that that is so that it’s so funny commission breath. We we used to call that back when I was a financial advisor a million years ago, tie touching people that would walk around and nervously touch their tie with their hands because we all wear suits back then. Because all they wanted was to close the sale. And that was just how they Yeah, or you know, but but passion going back to passion. It’s so it’s so interesting. I if finding your niche is the best advice. And again, I’m not a producing agent myself. So I probably the last person to give advice from bout everyone we’ve interviewed on the show. Passion is, is is universal, it seems I have yet to interview somebody. And again, maybe it’s people who reach out to us who want to be on the show have passion to begin with. But there seems to be a strong positive correlation between passion and success. And I think what you said was so profound, which is so simple, but it’s this idea of appreciation that whatever you’re into, in particular like with with being in the real estate market, and maybe it’s luxury, maybe it’s starter homes, maybe it’s people getting away from renting and buying or maybe it’s people who have a primary residence who now you want to talk about passive income and maybe it’s time to invest into multifamily and, you know, and just whatever it is that’s or maybe it’s renting, maybe you’re passionate about renting, that’s okay too, whatever it is. I think I think that’s you’re so right is and then getting curious about the people that are successful in that space and showing that appreciation to those people and going How did you think to do that and what why and and how and, and I think I just saw a I should post this on our Facebook page and I will Hopefully, if I remember to, but I just saw an agent here in our local market does not work for me, works for a big, big, larger company. And it was the very best YouTube ad I’ve ever seen for realtor wanting business, and it was just and I’m a marketer, that’s what I Yeah. So I saw this and I was like, Holy crap, that is the coolest thing I’ve ever seen. And usually I’m very critical of, and I’m sure you’re critical of luxury properties and the things you’re into. So you have a very discerning eye. And whenever you see something that’s really impressive, you know it and you know, the person they know, too. Yeah. And so I sent this to this guy who I’ve never met and, and look, I’m a recruiter, I recruit realtors, and I didn’t want him to think I was recruiting because he’s never gonna come over here. He’s he could go anywhere he wants, he’s happy where he is. But I wanted to show him the appreciation. And so I just sent him a quick email like, Hey, you, I don’t know if you know me or not, but I just saw your YouTube ad. I don’t know if anyone’s commented on it. But because there hadn’t been any comments on the YouTube thing itself. And I said, I just want to tell you as a marketer, that’s the very best thing I’ve ever seen. And I just love good marketing. And I just wanted to tell you that whoever you hired to do that, Oh, my God, that’s incredible. And he wrote me back a really nice message. He was like, Thanks, you’re the first person to comment on it. And it really means a lot to me, you know? And again, is that going to transfer to any business for me? No, absolutely not. Who knows, you know, you never know what’s going to happen. But showing that appreciation, at the very least, is goodwill that’s generated. But oftentimes, you know, same thing, if you go to a good restaurant, you know, talk to the owner and say, I just want to let you know that was in or send them an email, or write them a nice review or or whatever. But you’re so right, that finding something you’re passionate about, I know, Joe Nago, who, if for those of you that are Brian Buffini people, Brian and Joe have been sort of business partners. And everyone knows Brian Buffini. But Joe Diego is somebody who speaks at a lot of his events. And Joe was an ex NBA player, I believe, at or college player at the least. And he he was into like, modest starter homes. That was his niche, and he became insanely successful. Because, yeah, that’s what that was, he was into his, like, his average home was like $115,000, or something. And that’s what he loved. And he became that guy. And he became, you know, crazy successful. So I think that is such a great tip. And I apologize, I want to go back to groups and teams, because I keep getting away from that. Ya know, I want to ask about how somebody may want to think about selecting a team, if you’re an individual, real estate realtor, and you’re not working with a team, and you’re like, Oh, I’m thinking about doing that. What would you advise somebody to do as far as how to find the right fit? And even if they should be doing that,

Jonathan Spears 27:44
right? Well, again, passion for certain segments of the market creates curiosity, like you said earlier, when you become curious about certain segments of the market, you may start finding market leaders, and you had mentioned on new development in Chicago, I keep seeing the same 10 to 12 names. Yeah, it’s because you know, the top 10% of agents do 90% of the business and you want to you want to if you’re if there’s 10 agents who are doing 90% of the business, there’s a certain market segment and share that you may be going after, that’s where I would start, you know, and then I’d find beyond that, where’s my cultural alignment. So then you may have an intense passion for giving back to the community and great charitable giving and on top of your business, like that’s where your heart is. And there may be an agent that aligns with you there or you know, there may be a specific company like Sotheby’s International Realty and you want to plug into that company, you feel like that’s maybe, you know, the best platform for you. That’s opportunity for you. Those are the avenues that I would start at and really kind of back into who do I want to be. So if I’m business planning right now, you what you should be if everybody who’s on this call has not already started thinking about 2022, it is q4, this year is about to wrap up, and we are looking ahead to the next year. But I would be looking at, you know, who am I going to fit in well with and where can I create value for somebody else? See, when I started I started basically in the mailroom, you know, I worked for a foreclosure factory in 2010. I was 18 years old, had just gotten licensed. I know that there’s an oil spill going on in California, so it’s a little touchy. But we had an oil spill here along the Gulf Coast, which then it was devastating. Like we were already down on the ground from the Great Recession. And you know, we were getting another kick in the chest from a natural disaster that nobody had control over. So, you know, I really started kind of like in the bowels of real estate and I would not change that for the world. I feel like it was the most incredible and it was still a paid education even though I was working 80 hours a week for a fixed salary of $400 I was glad to do it. I was learning so much and I was Getting to do something that I really loved. And, you know, I wouldn’t be afraid to roll my sleeves up and, and really kind of dig in, like I meet a lot of people who they may pride themselves on, hey, I don’t write my own contracts, or, you know, my assistant does all of that. And that’s great if you’ve gotten to a level where, and you can hear me speak about this on other podcasts. But, you know, being able to find partners that come alongside you that complement areas of your business that you’re not great at. And you know, that that’s not the most productive use of your time, you become a master delegator, and you delegate those things out, that’s amazing. But when you’re starting out in this business, you want to be a sponge and absorb as much as you possibly can. So maybe I start out as an assistant, like, I’d love to, you know, get an intern into this business and learn as much as I can. One of the best ways to do that is, is work as an executive assistant for somebody. And you may not even be ready to do that, because like, my executive assistant has been licensed in the business for almost eight years. She is just as knowledgeable as I am, and is literally like my right hand. And she doesn’t even live here. She lives in Kansas City. But she operates our business remotely, and it’s phenomenal. But being able to enter into a great team may not look like I’m immediately a licensed agent. So I should be able to go sell, start working on contracts Nestle up to that market leader and you know, provide as much value as you can to them so that you can learn in return. And you may find yourself in an incredible position to grow on a team. That’s another thing I would I would really encourage is if you pick a team, and you’re going this team route, which I’m obviously a huge advocate of, find a team that you can grow in, you know, find a team where your input matters, where you’re bringing value to the table. And you know, there’s a share of voice that, that that’s not just one sided, you know, there’s a symbiotic relationship there. And, you know, make sure you plug in with people that you will enjoy. I spend more time on my team members and I get to spend with my family. You know, inevitably our work day is just all consuming. And so if these guys who are on my right and left weren’t like family to me, and weren’t the people that you know, I chose and want to be around, I certainly wouldn’t be as successful as I am today. So find people that sharpen you find those that are going to increase you in terms of your business, both in your personal life and in your business.

D.J. Paris 32:25
Yeah, I want to pause for just a quick bone because I have some thoughts about that. Before we get to those thoughts. I want to pause to talk just briefly about our wonderful, amazing sponsor follow up boss. Now after interviewing hundreds of top Realtors in the country on the show, do you know what CRM is used more than any other by our amazing guests? Well, you guessed it is follow up boss, let’s face it. Following up is the key to taking your business to the next level follow up boss will help you drive more leads in less time. With less effort. Don’t take my word for it. Robert slack, who runs the number one team in the US use this follow up boss and he’s built a one and a half billion dollar business in just six years, I am sure Jonathan is hot on their tail. But follow up boss integrates with over 250 different systems. So you can keep your current tools and lead sources. Also, they have seven day a week support. So you’ll get the help that you need and get this follow up boss is so sure you’re going to love their CRM that for a limited time, they’re offering keeping it real listeners a 30 day free trial, which is twice as much time as they give everyone else. And oh yeah, no credit card required. That’s how confident they are that you’re going to keep using them. But only if you use this special link, which is visit follow up boss.com forward slash real that’s follow up boss.com forward slash real for your free 30 day trial follow up like a boss with follow up boss. Jonathan, I wanted to I had a thought about that. And I wanted to get your opinion on it. Because we’re talking about passion and also trying to find your way within teams. And I my girlfriend recently got licensed and she was said, What company? Should I join and, and I and you know, where should I join a team? And I said well, my advice would be start paying attention to on social media in particular. Because that’s what’s just easiest for her when she has other other responsibilities. I start looking at the realtors on there that you really admire. She listens to the show, we interview some Chicago people, I say, you know if anyone is somebody that you’re like, wow, that person is really cool. Or if you’re out in the field and you’re doing the showing and you meet another agent that’s part of a team or just the agent themselves is really awesome. I go write them a letter or you know, an email or a text or a call and just say, Gosh, I really admire you or maybe there’s somebody that’s, you know, at the very top of the food chain that you don’t even know but but you’re like, wow, that person is amazing. You could always write them a message and say, hey, could I you know, take you out for a cup of coffee. I just want to pick your brain. I’m trying to figure out you know What where, what team? Or what group? Or what firm? Or should I just be on my own? And you You’re, you’re just a real inspiration to me. And I would bet you at least five out of 10 of those people would be honored to take a few minutes to chat with you. So even if, and and, you know, my guess is they’re probably not getting a lot of those kinds of emails or calls, even though you think they are? Probably not. And so I would say that’s too because that, that way you, you avoid a lot of the trial and error because people who have been around long enough, they’re going to say, you know, based on what you’ve told me about yourself, here’s like a couple of good, and let me let me pick up the phone and call some people for you and see if they have openings on their team. So just another little suggested, I’m curious, uh, your, your take on that?

Jonathan Spears 35:45
Yeah, I mean, you know, it’s interesting, you’re right. Like, the the mindset is, oh, my gosh, I’m sure somebody is inundated with any go to coffee with me, Hey, you, you know you do this. So well, that’s so well. You know, it’s funny, I remember I sent I was going to New York City. And I sent Ryan Serhan, an email and I said, Hey, this is who I am, I just I literally had just finished his book, sell it like serhant, which was excellent. And just basically said, if there’s an opportunity to get together, let me know, within about 15 seconds, I had an email back that said, great to hear from you, you know, I’m going to be hosting this event, why don’t you come by, and I highly doubt it was Ryan, I’m sure he’s got somebody scanning for those emails and responding. But I ended up going to the event, meeting him had a great conversation. And you know, those opportunities wouldn’t have happened without what proactively going after it. So don’t be afraid to proactively go after somebody, especially in the real estate world. We are all so busy. And I think we’re we’re kind of customer focused all the time. But what I always tell my team is our customers are not just our clients that we work with day in and day out. But even more, so the CO broker community, and the community at large. So make sure you pay attention. The other advice I would give is maybe when you’re trying to enter into, you know, a brokerage, or you like to, you know, start interviewing certain people, you may start with their CEO, or their CFO, in the company itself. And I can tell you, when my CEO or CFO comes to me and said, Hey, I just had the most amazing meeting with literally somebody who’s gonna blow your socks off, like their their ability to connect, and just let me just tell you all about them, which is rare. But it does happen, my attention span becomes laser focused, because I know that I’ve got wonderful people on my executive team that, you know, they’re paying attention. And if you can get a hold of somebody’s executive team, especially if you’re trying to start at a very high level, that’s really one of the most phenomenal ideas. I’ve got an agent who in spirits group does not hire new agents. You know, we’re looking more for seasoned professionals in our business model. However, last year, we had an agent who reached out to our coo coo said, I’ve got this phenomenal, enthusiastic young guy, you’ve got to meet him, like, he’s, he’s incredible. And, you know, for me, when somebody says, Hey, pay attention that I trust, I’m paying attention. And I ended up meeting this guy. And I just, I was really impressed. And really, to the point where it’s like, okay, I want to take this person under my wing, you know, I really want to, I want to be able to, like, provide value to them, because I think they’re gonna provide an immense amount of value to me, and I’d love to see their career grow very mutual and in the way that we connect it. And, you know, today, that individual is one of the top members of my team and, you know, producing it at levels that I’ve got team members who have been licensed for 20 years out producing them, you know, and they’ve been in the business for what 18 months. So it’s, it’s phenomenal. And, you know, that would be my advice on how to not just prospect but prospect with a purpose.

D.J. Paris 39:11
And also, let’s say you absolutely just couldn’t have taken on that agent because it didn’t maybe fit with where your business was at that time. Let’s say God, as much as I’d love to have that person I just, I just can’t at this point. I bet that you would have known where to send that person to and I bet you would have had some great advice for them. It’s like Hey, I can’t do it. I’d love to have you but it’s just not possible right now. But I want you go over here you need to talk to this guy because I bet you know everyone in your market that that leads you know effective teams as well.

Jonathan Spears 39:42
Absolutely. Yeah. And what that’s the amazing thing right like when you get to a level in real estate where you’re very comfortable with yourself right like you should you should be living with open hands. You know, we don’t I don’t rule spirit group with this closed fist. I’ve got all this proprietary info You know, like, I want to be a giver. And I think when, you know, when you reach out to somebody, and they respond in that very giving manner, you know, you’ve connected with a high quality individual and really an individual that I would continue pursuing to try to work with, because those are the types of opportunities that you’ll be able to take in and hopefully grow and multiply.

D.J. Paris 40:21
Yeah, I, gosh, I think I think you’re so right. So I guess, you know, we’re sort of just to recap, some, some of what we’ve talked about so far is, number one, find your your niche, your niche. And that may be that’s going to be through a lot of trial and error. So I always encourage, you know, agents who are still trying to figure out what they like and what they don’t like, you’re not going to know if you like or dislike rentals, you know, residential rentals or commercial rentals until you try one or two. And see, if you like it, see, if you don’t like it, you know, talk to a bunch of teams, if you’re thinking about joining a team and and talk to some of those their team members and say, Hey, what’s it like, you know, how does it work. And the more curious I think you get, the more you’ve determined, like you were saying, who you are, and what your identity is in this business. And that’s when you start to laser in on Hey, I am a I like being on a team, or I don’t like being on a team, or I like doing luxury, or I like doing commercial or whatever it might be, I like working in the city versus, you know, more rural areas. And in your case, you just talked about relationships, and it’s not just the relationships with the customers that you represent. It is also the relationship with the other agents, also their customers too. So and I know for you, it’s incredibly important because you play in that luxury space, to have amazing relationships with realtors all over the country. Because you where you live oftentimes is a popular, you know, second, third, fourth home for somebody who is a high net worth individual. So you have to have incredible relationships with other agents so that they go, Oh, you you’re interested in Northwest Florida for you know, a vacation property. I got the guy for you, I got the team for you. So can you talk a little bit about how you have developed those relationships with agents from all over the country? And sort of what your thought processes of staying top of mind for those people?

Jonathan Spears 42:15
Yeah, no, definitely. Well, there’s that’s a two fold answer. So one, developing the relationship. I think, when you get to a point of becoming a market leader, you become a lot more visible in general, I’ve had folks call me and say, Hey, I just Googled top agent, and you know, Destin, Florida or top agent on 30 day, and your name popped up. So I just want to call I looked at your bio, and I looked at it. So that’s, that’s kind of like more of an established presence. But what do you do when your presence isn’t yet established. And a part of the joining a team is you can leverage like anybody on my team can leverage all of my sales, I can leverage, you know, other team members sales, that’s kind of the beauty of, you know, a team dynamic for for an early part of my career. And even today, I prospected, out of town agents specifically at the beginning with Sotheby’s International Realty because I, I’ve got the business card, right, it’s so easy to call and say, Hey, I’m a southern East Asian, this market, I really want to connect, I’ve been getting so many folks, let’s say I’m calling Dallas, I’ve been getting so many folks from Dallas that are coming into the market. And I just want to try to establish relationship because I know that I’m going to have a referral opportunity. And when you reach out proactively, and I know myself as an agent, if I get a call from an agent out of market, I’m I’m excited. Like that’s just as good as getting a call from any customer. You know, it’s even interesting when the pandemic started in. So I knew a lot of people in certain markets where they saw Exodus, right? Like, if I’m in New York, I’m flying down to Florida, right? I’m going where my clients are gone, really trying to follow, you know, where, what geography is going to really benefit me and what I’m positioned for now. And I was able to take that timeframe and really talk to agents and metropolitan markets, those customers were, were, for lack of a better word, invading our area. And you know, we were welcoming them with open arms. But it was, it was very interesting at that timeframe where we’re doing so much business and agents in larger markets or in metropolitan markets, were seeing a decline in their business because their customers were now buying elsewhere in second home markets, you know, how can I really add value to them? And by the way, we’re having conversations with the same people, you know, how can I really help them shape opportunities in their market? So it again becomes very symbiotic in terms of relationship but it all goes back to very proactive and purposeful prospecting. Who are you talking to? If you’re prospecting an hour a day and you’re calling you know, like we talked about earlier farming a specific neighborhood. Why don’t you Farm agents you believe and other markets can be great referral sources for you, and you could be a great referral source for them. As for me being in a second home market is very easy to do. But if you’re in a primary market, like let’s just say you’re sitting here, you’re watching from Nashville, pick up the phone and call me. I’ve got a huge customer base in Nashville or if you’re in Birmingham, Alabama, or if you’re in Atlanta, Georgia, or if you’re in, you know, Los Angeles, California, we’re getting a huge influx from LA here now, you know, find somebody in a second home market, maybe it’s a market that you’d like to go and frequent. Maybe you’re out in Telluride, skiing, or you’re in Vail or Aspen, you know, connect with an agent in those markets, you’re gonna start finding a lot of similarities and you know, develop that relationship cultivate it, you never know where it will go.

D.J. Paris 45:35
Yeah, like I know, here, and we’re in Chicago, and are just talking about my parents who live in Peoria, Illinois, which is like Central Illinois, although they are originally from from the Chicagoland area. But but in Illinois, if you are lucky enough to be able to move in retirement or have a second home pre retirement, it’s probably going to be in Florida, that’s seems to be the the predominant that that people from here, you know, some some people go out to Phoenix or Arizona, Phoenix Tucson, as well. And but it doesn’t, I don’t we don’t hear I don’t hear a lot of him retiring in California. Not that I love California. But that just it seems to be Florida. And there’s tax reasons why people do that. And it just seems to be you know, when when somebody goes, a lot of times their friends end up coming along as well in retirement. And so if I were an agent here, and I was working with people who are nearing that retirement age, that would be conversations I would be having with my customer says, hey, you know, 10 years from now, you know, are you thinking of retirement? And if so, where do you think you want to go, and if it’s like, oh, we’re talking about somewhere in Florida, then I would start like you were saying, I might even fly down to a bunch of those key areas like Naples or wherever you are Northwest Florida, you know, any of those those areas where people you know, may consider, you know, having a vacation place or retirement home, and start to go around and talk to some of those Realtors there and say, Hey, I got some people in, you know, within a few years that are probably going to be looking to move to this area, I want to develop a relationship with you right now. And I’m curious for you, how often do you get a call like that from an agent? Like, for example, maybe there’s people in Chicago or New York? Who have, you know, high net worth individuals? And I know you’re talking about specifically finding those agents in other markets, but how often do Do people ever just pick up the phone and call you and say, Hey, I’ve got some people that are, are thinking about doing this? Is that a common call? Or is it not as common as as one might think?

Jonathan Spears 47:33
Okay, so I get calls like that very often. And, and even for me, and we’ll kind of go back to how we’ve kind of built a mousetrap. But even down the road, like maybe, you know, two hours, or an hour and a half west in Florida agents who don’t want to drive this far, we’ll call and, you know, refer a client over, because folks will start in our area, and they may start a little further down and migrate this direction based on the inventory. And so really like positioning yourself, for me in a second home market, but even in Chicago and a primary or you know, any primary market, selling a lifestyle is so important. And in today’s world where we’ve got tick tock, and we’ve got Instagram, and we’ve got Facebook, we’ve got all these outlets for instant gratification, instant entertainment, that’s your best go to resource. You know how if you got on my Instagram, you’re gonna see stuff about Colorado, you’re gonna see beautiful beaches here in Destin, you’re gonna see my favorite restaurants, I like to go eat and it’s really focused on like, what lifestyle Are we living? And how do we make somebody a part of that? How do we bring them in? And what from referral sources and other areas, I’ve oftentimes I’ve connected through social media first. So one of my very, very, very best friends in, in real estate and just in general is based in Washington, DC, my parallel to Washington DC is is very minimal. And anytime we get an opportunity to send each other referral, you know, we’re jumping up and down, but we met on Instagram. And his name is Daniel Hyder Daniels, one of the most followed real estate agents on the planet. And when I met him, he had never had a listing, right, like, you know, we just hit it off because we both were in Vail and we noticed each other and, you know, it’s just, it’s really an incredible platform for connection and not just connection. You know, from afar, it’s, it’s immediate, and it can be very personal. And, you know, you’re able to kind of showcase what, how are we living? And what is that lifestyle look like in that market? I’ve got a buddy Ryan Pruitt, who is with Sotheby’s International Realty in Chicago, and I always see his post of downtown Chicago and I’m thinking oh my gosh, it looks so beautiful, especially when the sun shining and he’s, you know, highlighting the lake views and I sent a message as I’m like, man, it looks so warm and beautiful. And he’s like, hey, it’s like 42 and it’s easy. And I’m like, well, it doesn’t look like that. You know, you would have fooled me. But that’s all Marketing, it’s all lifestyle. And it’s authentic. I think that’s another opportunity that we have with social media is we can be authentic, we can really, you know, show something in real time, it’s not doctored, some of the stuff is, you know, you can mass produce. But I think, for me and what’s resonated with my customer base is just remaining authentic and showing yourself in that way across multiple platforms. And that’s not only going to be a great way to connect with agents on the markets, but also be a great way to ultimately connect with the customers you’re going to be buying and selling in your market.

D.J. Paris 50:35
Well, I think that is an amazing place to wrap up, you’ve provided so much incredible value, and I know how much free time you actually have to do this, which is none. So the fact that we got you for an hour is is a very, very big deal to us. We are so appreciative to celebrate your successes with you and your passion and enthusiasm and just willingness to to give you talked about being a giver. I mean, this is, you know, sort of evidence of that and we are honored to have you on the show and I very excited to talk to you when you hit another major milestone, which I am sure is not far away. But for everyone listening I want you to visit the spirits Group website, which is Spears Group F l.com. And also follow them on Instagram which is at speaking about lifestyle check out what they’re all about at Spears group that’s Instagram at spirits group and also follow Jonathan specifically on Instagram, at Jonathan M. Spears, I think your positivity, your attitude, and just the amount of success you’ve had so young is is really so impressive to our audience. And we of course hope to have you on over and over and over again as as you as you get older and even more successful. Well, we are grateful. And on behalf of the audience again, we thank Jonathan for his time, and his effort and his passion and it just comes through and he just he gives himself he gives of himself to this this industry and you know, it’s it’s infectious and hopefully inspire some of you to take some action and and you know, do a few things that that maybe you needed that motivation today to do. And on behalf of Jonathan and myself, we are all eternally grateful to everyone who is watching or listening. And we are just honored to have you on part of the show part of our listening family. And also we want to remind everyone to please support our incredible sponsor, follow up boss just visit follow up boss.com forward slash real try out their CRM, it’s incredible it really is and to get a free 30 day trial. And lastly, please tell one friend about our show. Just think of one other agent out there that could benefit from hearing from Jonathan. Everyone you know who’s a real estate agent could benefit from hearing Jonathan on this episode. So send at least one personal link to our show. And the easiest way to do that find us on our website, which is keeping it real pod.com Every episode we’ve ever done can be streamed immediately there, and very cool Facebook. I know they were just down yesterday, although by the time this was released, people might have forgotten but it was a big, big thing Jonathan ware and I were talking about before our show, but Facebook is back up if you’re watching this in real time. And of course, he would know that because you’re watching it in real time. But we they just added a new feature to our page, we got to beta test, a new feature for podcast. So if you go to facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod, which is our podcast page, every episode we’ve ever done is listed there in chronological order, right you’ll see a tab for I think it says episodes, and you can stream everything from inside of Facebook as well. So please tell a friend Jonathan, thank you once again for being on the show. You’re our only repeat guests so far and we are thrilled to have you. Thank you and we will see everybody on the next episode. Thanks, Jonathan.

Jonathan Spears 54:00
Thank you guys.

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