Sam Shaffer of Chicago Properties is not only a top 1% producer, but one of the most respected brokers in Chicago. In our conversation Sam talks about starting out at the bottom and how he built his massive real estate practice (and brokerage) through consistent follow through, honesty and integrity. His energy is electric and Sam provides tips that all agents can utilize to take their business to the next level!
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 for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris, I am your guide and your host through the show and in just a moment, we’re going to be speaking with Sam Shaffer a true legend in the Chicagoland area. Before we do that, a couple of quick announcements. Number one, we are doubling the number of episodes in 2020. So you’ve probably seen an uptick in the number of episodes we’ve been releasing regularly since the beginning of the year. And we will continue to do that because number one, you’re asking for it. And number two, we have sponsors now that help us do more episodes. So if you notice at the beginning of this show, we have a sponsorship, if you are someone who has a company that promotes to real estate agents, products, services, and you would like to sponsor an upcoming episode, by the way, we have 1000s of listeners on every single episode nationwide, let us know reach out to us through our website, keeping it real pod.com. By the way, speaking of the website, it is going through a major overhaul. And in about a week, we’ll have a brand new website up and running for you. And we’re going to be grouping together different types of episodes. So as you know, we do our interviews like the one we’re about to do with Sam. And we also have other regular segments. So we have episodes with regards to what brokers need to know about what’s going on in the lending. And our training. And all sorts of other are Monday market minute. And so we’re going to be doing that you’ll be able to pull all of those in a much easier way right from our website, which again, is keeping it real pod.com. And lastly, Oh, and one other thing before we get to the last, we’re going to be starting to do video as well. So starting also in about a week, you will be able to watch these interviews, in addition to listening them the way you are right now through your podcast app. So be on the lookout we’re still working out the technical arrangement there, but we’re almost we’ve ever pretty well figured out so we’re excited because a lot of you would rather watch than listen, or while you’ll be able to watch and listen as opposed to only listen, you get what I’m saying. And then the last thing please tell a friend think of another real estate agent that you know that could benefit from learning from top 1% producers like Sam Shaffer and pass this podcast over to them. Guys, you should also be following us on Facebook. It’s facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod why every single day we post an article that we have found online that has information that will help you grow your business. So again facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod and now on to our interview with Sam Shaffer.
Today on the show we have Sam Schaefer of Chicago properties. Sam is the managing broker and owner of Chicago properties who ranks among the top 1% of producers in Chicagoland with sales exceeding lifetime $800 million. And Sam has been labeled by numerous client reviews as stellar, phenomenal, incredibly responsive, and with outstanding efficiency. Sam truly Well, I’m gonna give you a quote from Sam. I truly love my job and get the most satisfaction when I find my clients their dream property, or sell their homes so that they can start the next chapter of their life. The icing on the cake is the wonderful relationships I get to develop with them. You can visit Sam at Shai approp, CH I prop prp.com Welcome Sam Shaffer. Appreciate you being on the show.
Sam Shaffer 4:43
DJ, thank you for a very lovely introduction. And I truly appreciate having the opportunity to speak with you and being invited on your amazing podcast. Thank you.
D.J. Paris 4:54
Well, thanks for the invite. I’m not sure it’s so amazing, but you are amazing for sure. Sam was actually in our very Very first well, I should say we there was no way it was just me at the time. When I first started this thing, Sam was at the very top of our list and I’m so I apologize for not getting to him sooner. But we’re grateful that we did get we were able to find time together because you’re somebody who’s extremely important and well respected in the Chicagoland market. And we have listeners nationwide. But you’re so well respected here. And we knew we wanted to feature you. So let’s I would love to start and our listeners love to hear about the journey. How did you get started in real estate?
Sam Shaffer 5:33
Well, I’ve been at this for about 18 years. And before I was in real estate out of college, I was a do gooder. And that really translates nicely to real estate, how I run my business, but I was basically running camps for kids teaching different sports classes. And I was involved in a nonprofit organization called the Jewish Community Center. I worked there for about four years was a great place to start. And after I realized that my financial trajectory was going to flatline. Sure. I made a jump into the.com sector. So I was in a very volatile, exciting market back in early 2000. Or, you know, the end of 1999.
D.J. Paris 6:21
Oh, right, right before it all came crashing down. Right. So it
Sam Shaffer 6:25
was interesting, because I was working in a in a very volatile internet market that was fast and furious and exciting. And colleagues next to me, were being let go for no reason. I mean, they would work hard and they had produced but it was so volatile. I fortunately, was in a position where I continued to climb the technology sector. But I was always nervous that one day I get a tap on the shoulder, and I would be let go. So I had a close friend’s father, who was a very successful businessman in Chicago, who got into real estate. And he asked me to come work for him. And I had the utmost respect for my friend’s father, who was a very successful businessman. So I ended up getting my license, and I show up at his door. I’m like, Here I am, I’m ready to go. And my friend’s father says, Well, I don’t have a job for you. So I had a close friend from college, who was a great guy, a one man show that had his own real estate company that he was basically buying and selling real estate for himself. So he said to me, you could hang your license with me. And here I am. 18 years later, we’re best friends. And we are running a very successful real estate company. And I guess you can call it serendipitous that I get to work with my best college buddy. And we’re, you know, running a pretty nice boutique real estate shop here in Chicago.
D.J. Paris 7:57
Wow, what a great story Ives a few parallels to your story. So I was in the IT sector as well. And I have received that tap on the shoulder. And the reason I received a tap on the shoulder. Funny, just funny, quick aside, the week before I had had my annual review, I got like a 99% and a pretty big raise. But I ended up at that point because of that raise while Yeah, because of the raise being one of the highest paid members at the company. And they were looking to sell. And so all of a sudden on the balance sheet, I became a liability for them in order to attract investors. So one day a week after that, I got that exact tap on the shoulder. And I was I was devastated because I was a good employee and I had been well, you know, regarded. And, you know, the powers that be said, This guy’s making too much money. And so it was easy for them just to make the numbers look better so and then I got into real estate for the almost exact same sort of fear. Or it was from my case, it was the reality. And then I now work with my friend as well. So we have a lot of parallels there. And I can definitely appreciate that. I have a question. And this is a question I get a lot because I end up talking to a lot of new brokers who reach out to us on the show who have just become licensed. And I know this is part of your history. So I want to get your opinion on it as it was, you know, maybe back then and also today about rentals. So it’s probably the number one question we get from new brokers is should I do some rentals? You know, assuming these people, these brokers don’t have a ton of sales clients right away. Maybe they have none. What’s your opinion in today’s market on rentals?
Sam Shaffer 9:35
That’s a very good question. That’s how I started in the business. So my college buddy, who was a one man show was buying and renovating buildings for himself. So his end game was to be a landlord. Sure, and when I came to work with my buddy, his name’s Dan Kravitz. He likes to keep a low profile, so hopefully you won’t be upset that I’m giving him some accolades. But basically I’d left my full time job. Now I make zero money. In order to make money, I have to go out there and hunt. So this was really a great opportunity to actually make income by, I call it low hanging fruit, where I had the ability to rent out apartments, and I would make a half a month’s rent. But the beauty of that was that I was busy. And I’d say that to new brokers, that it’s very, this is a hard business. People looking from the outside think it’s very easy, but it’s difficult. And you have to kind of manifest your own destiny here. So by having something to do, by being active, have reason to get out of bed or reason to show up. Learn how to make appointments, interact with people, be comfortable with contracts, grow your business, it’s a really great way to start, I always say that you have to have a story. And as a new agent, it can be very lonely, because if you show up to an office, and you have nothing to do when your friends and family asked you what did you do today, you’re drawing a blank. However, the narrative could be today’s a great day, I have three appointments, a meeting a potentially a new person that’s interested in looking for a rental, I could show them different properties. I have another appointment later that afternoon where I’m going to help a landlord rent out his apartment. I’m starting to advertise on Craigslist and other mediums, Zillow, etc. And now you’re creating a story and you’re really building upon that to have that exude that ability that you are confident and you are active and busy. And that’s really important.
D.J. Paris 11:51
And you’re also getting a lot of experience talking about real estate, you know, it well there’s a there’s a few extra things in addition to you know, actually staying busy. You also are starting a relationship with somebody who may become a buyer in the future as well. And we know that, you know, renters, some renters become buyers or rather, almost all buyers were on point a renter. And now you have this amazing opportunity. Because the vast majority of first time homebuyers National Association of REALTORS verifies this in a new study they do about every two or three years where they say, Hey, how’d you choose your realtor? And the vast majority of first time homebuyers go, Oh, I knew someone you know, and or I was referred to someone. So I think it’s such a great opportunity. I mean, I remember when the reason I chose my realtor who’s now my boss. And the person I mentioned earlier, was because he was my friend, and he was a realtor. And we know that’s that’s how it works. And I, you know did not have somebody helping me with rentals before that when I was renting. So I just happened to have a friend. But I that was only one person I knew, because I was somewhat new to Chicago, and I could have easily not known somebody, and then I would have just not been sure how to find. So if you can help somebody with rentals, and you stay in touch with them, and they like you, there’s a very good chance they’re going to use you when they make that first purchase.
Sam Shaffer 13:07
Yeah, I agree. And I can’t emphasize this enough. This is a business where you need to be confident in how do you how do you build your confidence, it’s very easy to get knocked down. And it’s difficult to get back up. But I tell my agents, I have two full time agents that I pay salary to. And I also have three other agents that are independent contractors, contractors in my office, that my theme is a win a day and build on that. So if you can go out and meet a new client or rent out an apartment, that’s a win, and you could build upon that. So I think that’s really important to kind of use that momentum to grow your business and exude that confidence that people are looking for.
D.J. Paris 13:54
Yeah, I think you’re right. And you know, it’s it’s funny, we talk about this a lot on the show, because it’s really our number one biggest question is okay, how do I how do I stay busy? And you know, Brian Buffini who a lot of our listeners are going to be familiar with, if you’re not definitely look him up. He’s got the largest training program are the most popular training program for realtors in the country. And he’s been doing it forever. And he always says, How do you win the day? And so you need to define a couple of Cornerstone activities, where you know, maybe it’s Hey, I met three new people today and told them what I did got their email, and I’m going to follow up and let you know, stay in touch and now they’re in my database. Or maybe it’s Hey, I scheduled an open house with another broker in my office who was nice enough to let me do an open house this weekend. Or maybe it’s oh gosh, I’m going to try to get some some renters. You know that that might be looking for an apartment, you know, a few showing opportunities, or I reached out to my friends and said, Hey, please make sure to tell your friends about me. I will but there are Cornerstone activities and disciplines that I imagine, you know, you’ve been doing now for 18 years. But I was just curious if you had you know Have a suggestion for somebody who’s brand new gets their license. You know, what, what should they do? Or really? Yeah, what should they do? Actually? Do you have any suggestions for sort of a day one kind of experience?
Sam Shaffer 15:13
Yeah, so I’ve had two people that work for me, come into my office actually three, with very little to no experience. Sure. And it goes back to the BOE being able to tell a good story. So on day one, I’m having them go meet in an appraiser, sit in inspection, meet a photographer, you know, Shadow me, while I put together an offer, listen to my phone conversations. So when they come home that night, and if they took, they just got their license, and they have collaborated with the 20 other people in their real estate class, I can say, with a lot of confidence that they’re going to get such a quick education from doing those little things, where the people that they were sitting next to in class are gonna be like, Are you kidding me, you want an appraisal? Right, we sent an inspection, you met a photographer, I’m still you know, I’m showing up with a pad of paper and a pencil with nothing to do. So I think being able to, to align yourself with someone that’s producing is invaluable. And before you know it, I feel that my agents that that work for me, and I say, work with me, because that’s the relationship we have. They’re getting a college degree, which normally takes people in this industry, three, four years, within a year, because we’re doing so much volume. And I really feel and I hope this doesn’t come across as arrogant. But it’s a very confident statement that we’re doing business the right way. We collaborate with other brokers were very detail oriented, we’re very buttoned up. We, we play nicely in the sandbox. And I think that’s really helped to take our business to the next level as far as volume, and reputation.
D.J. Paris 17:06
And you certainly have both volume and reputation on your side, and you’ve earned it. And I think that’s really important. And also the reason why we’re so excited. You’re here today. And I would say for everyone who’s listening, who isn’t a newly licensed broker, who’s going well, I work at a firm and gosh, I’ve never sat in with an appraiser, I’ve never talked to an inspector, I don’t really understand loans as much as I should, or the closing process. And, you know, these are opportunities for you to do this yourself too, right? Reach out to an inspector or appraiser call loan officer say, hey, I want to sit with you and really understand what you do, so that I can provide better service to my clients. And boy, you know, it’s funny, we’ve done 120 I think this will be our 120/5 episode or so over several years, and you’re the first person we’ve ever interviewed who is suggested to do that. It’s such a wonderful idea. So this is a great opportunity. So if you work at a firm, where you there are resources available, go to your managing broker and say, Hey, who do you know, who’s who’s a good Inspector, I want to just have a conversation with them or or shadow them? Or can I sit with the top producer in the office or maybe shadow them on a on a call, or maybe do an open house with them or for them? Huge opportunities there. So thank you so much. That is such a wonderful idea. But if you’re if you’re working at a firm where those opportunities aren’t as, as available, then make your own luck, right? Get you know, go on Google and look up the most successful appraisers, inspectors loan officers, we have Joel from guaranteed radon on our show every month, he would be honored to talk to you and explain what he does, so that you can further you know, promote not only his business, but also do a better job for you know, for your clients, because they’re going to look to you for all of these answers. Anyway, what a great suggestion.
Sam Shaffer 18:50
Thank you. Thank you. It’s a funny, funny story is when I first got into real estate, and I was starting to build my business. I’d have friends come up to me and say how you doing? How’s the market and I had this very humble approach, where I’m like, things are going okay, and I didn’t really elaborate. And my wife, who I loved dearly, she looked at me she pretty much grabbed me by the collar. She’s like, you tell people, you’re fucking killing it. God damn it. I’m like, Yes, you okay, you got it. And, you know, I say that facetiously. But literally the next day, I started to elaborate on what I was doing. And I kind of put it out there into the universe. And it really has been super impactful. So I’ll never forget that conversation I had with my wife. And it’s true. So when a new agent comes in, and I’m training them and we’re growing and learning together, they have a story. And the story is truthful. And that’s another thing how we we we brand ourselves is we’re very transparent, we operate with with the utmost integrity, and I don’t want anyone to lie. So when you want To promote yourself, you have to have a story. And it’s very simple. When a new agent comes in that guess what they did, they did all those things. Hey, I just met with an inspector. I’m racing to meet the appraiser right now. I’m taking out a buyer later this afternoon, I’m busy, things are going great. And it’s truthful. And that’s really important.
D.J. Paris 20:20
Yeah, and I know, a big, big thing for you is authenticity, integrity. And we find that to be consistent among, and no surprise among all the top 1% producers that we’ve had on the show, maybe there’s a few exceptions, but we tend to not feature those people. But the vast majority, literally almost everyone we’ve ever had on the show has made a big point to talk about that being so important. And in order for someone who’s listening to be able to have those conversations with clients, if they’re asking, Hey, how’s business going? And you know, you might talk about your activity, as Sam mentioned, hey, here’s all the things I’m doing. And then all you really need on top of that, and because I get this question a lot, since I’m a management, I’m not a producing broker, I know very little about what’s going on in the market. As a result, I say I’m in marketing, which makes it easy, because the moment I say I’m in real estate, when I meet people at a party or out socially don’t want to ask me about the market. And I I truthfully don’t know. So I will say I’m in marketing, I don’t really know much about the market. But you need to know, right are brokers not you, Sam, Sam obviously knows. But everyone listening needs to have a few data points about what’s going on locally in a hyperlocal market. So you know, you need to stay abreast you don’t need to know 10 minutes worth of conversation, but you should have a good minute or two of bullet points. So know know what’s going on with with lending rates and know what’s going on with particular neighborhoods, at least the ones you want to focus on, you are the expert. So it’s not hard to get this information either talk to top producers ask them, what do they say when they when their clients ask them? How’s the market going? What’s going on in Chicago with real estate? Have those things locked and loaded? Because, you know, that’s what the clients are looking for? They want they want somebody who really has that knowledge?
Sam Shaffer 22:03
D.J. Paris 22:05
I’m going to talk about specifically you know, your process. So because you have grown this incredibly impressive business where you with your own production, your firm’s production, the the the employees, you have the other brokers that are independent at your firm. Can we talk a little bit about what what do you think has been the secret to your success?
Sam Shaffer 22:27
A couple of things. I feel like my business really elevated when I started embracing some of the peripheral websites like Zillow, realtor.com, etc. I remember when I first started marketing on those websites, I reached out to all my past clients, and I asked him to post a review of my services, and just an objective review. And I realized that I had a lot of momentum. And I was able to really take that to the next level. So to me that that really helped jumpstart my volume. I was always doing really well. But I felt like that took it to the next level. But to answer your question, the way that I run my business, and my agents that work with me, who are very like minded operate is in the client’s best interest. So we’re very client focused. And I know that’s kind of a cookie cutter thing to say. But it’s it’s authentic. And it’s truthful, we treat everyone like they’re our only client, and we wear the transaction on our sleeve. It’s really important to us to for them to have the best experience. And the way that we do that is I think we provide a very communicative approach to the business. And we’re very detail oriented. And I have a very specific template that I follow and a talking point how I negotiate offers for my for my clients, which I’m happy to elaborate on.
D.J. Paris 24:11
Yeah, you know, I think just want to make a quick point because I do want you to elaborate this I want to elaborate on this. I actually just wrote an article for a magazine about reviews, and how the importance of them we live in a review culture of course, with all the technology, especially you know, we you know, we all look at the reviews on Amazon before we buy a product. We certainly if we’re going to use a local business, we’re going to look at the Google reviews possibly Yelp. So in you know, you can get reviews on Facebook and other social platforms as well. However, I always tell our brokers here at our firm and also a lot of our listeners as well about pick at least one that you want to focus on in Sam’s case it was Zillow, and Zillow is a great idea because number one, all of your clients are using Zillow anyway, so they’re going to Zillow and they want to Do not probably see, you know, a zero reviews next to when they see your name. Now, if it’s your best friend, it probably doesn’t matter, they’re going to use you anyway. But every, every client you work with, you want to start to really politely ask them to review and explain to them, this really helps me, please give an honest appraisal of your experience with me. But you know, this would really help me with my business so that I can spend less time marketing and more time focused on my clients, like I hopefully did a good job for you. And you need to be persistent with asking and do it in a polite way. But also under understand that boy, it’s so important because even your referrals, the people that come to you from other clients are likely going to look up and see your reviews, just to confirm that, you know, everything is still going smooth. So I think that is such a great, great idea. I just wanted to make that quick point. And you know, you need to have a template to do that. You need to say, okay, the day after it closes. I’m, and I’m just using that as an example. I don’t know the exact perfect time to ask for a review. But it’s just as you need to specifically ask for those. And, you know, maybe ask a few times. And then thank the client for writing the review, of course. But yeah, I would love to hear more about your process outside of reviews, of course.
Sam Shaffer 26:14
Well, sure. So I think my approach to it, there’s two different approaches, one’s working with sellers, one’s working with buyers. But this is kind of a segue to a funny story. So I was working with a client that was working with another broker that had a horrible experience, I believe she did find me through some of my online marketing. And she was very detail oriented, somewhat high strung. And we had planned to do a marathon tour on a Saturday morning, taking us all the way through the evening. I’m very healthy. But this was a situation where I was like, deathly ill the day before. Sure. And I’m like there’s no way I’m not going to rise to the occasion. So I set the expectation that, you know, I’m going to be able to, to work with her. And she was appreciative that I showed up and she knew that I was deathly ill. But I put on my game face. And we went out there and we hit it hard. And this is a nice segue into, you know, my, the narrative about how I work with buyers. So we’re out touring a few places. And I call I look at her and I have no read whether she likes the place or not. She has like the ultimate poker face. So after we see a place, I take her aside, he said, What did you think? And she looked at me, she goes, I love it. Like you love it. I’m like, I had no idea. I said, you know, you’re allowed to express yourself when we’re at the showings to let me know what you’d like and you don’t like because it will help me. And then also, as a listing agent, you want to work with someone that wants to buy the property and that wants to get to the finish line. So I think you’re doing yourself an advantage by expressing how you feel. So after I explained that to her, we went to the next place. And she was very vocal, and we walked through the master bedroom, and this must have been seven, eight years ago. And I remember her saying, Wow, that’s master Licious. Like that. She’s really she’s like she picked up on it. She’s getting into it. So she expressed how she felt and the listing agent at the time she was a cold fish. But she turned us on to another property that wasn’t even listed yet. So just through the course of vocalizing and verbalizing, you know, how you feel and communicating. That’s okay, so we went to the next place, and she fell in love with it. And it turned out that the cold fish actually told someone else about it as well. So it was a multiple offer situation. So at the time, we did an escalation clause, and I got to call my client and tell her the great news that we got her the condo, and the official purchase price was 666. She’s like, what, there’s no way I’m gonna, I’m gonna have my purchase of my home be 666 battlement. So I called back the listing agent. I said great news. We just have to slightly make an adjustment to the price. If you’re okay with 665 She said she said fine. So But speaking about how I work with my clients is I want to portray my buyers to be the people that sellers and listing agents want to work with. So it’s a fine line. Like I don’t want to come across as my clients are pushovers. So it’s the Jedi mind trick where I tell the listing agents through how I communicate our bedside manner. Our professionalism, how we put together offers, that we’re the right buyers to get to the finish line. Don’t worry about the price I know might not be the exact price that your sellers are hoping for. But we’re the known entity He that are going to close a deal and make this a smooth and seamless transaction. And I think that’s, that’s really important. And it’s really helped grow my business and build my reputation amongst agents in the industry.
D.J. Paris 30:12
Wow, you just said something really impressive. And I don’t want to move on from it for a moment, because it’s again, something I don’t know that anyone else has articulated, that we’ve ever had on the show this idea of again, we, we sometimes brokers will forget that it is called a cooperative commission, right. So we just call it the coop, and we forget, maybe that stands for not maybe it definitely stands for cooperative. And so what Sam just said is really, really important, is being able to communicate to the listing agent, when you’re working with the buyer, like no, we are here to make this happen. And we’re very sincere and and, and developing that relationship with the list agent is so important, because it just makes the transaction go a lot smoother, and also sets the right the right expectation. And then you said something else even before that, that I also want to touch on, which was about setting the expectation, and or the process for your client who didn’t know she was allowed to express her opinion about the property in advance. You didn’t you know, that wasn’t expressed to her in advance. And what a great lesson to learn, because, of course, somebody who’s new to purchasing might not understand what the rules are, am I allowed to say something? Is it rude? What should I you know, and selling to them? I hate and you said this earlier, it’s like, you know, your job is to tell me how you feel about this so that we can continue to make adjustments and find the perfect place. And you’re right, I bet there’s a ton of buyers who have no idea Am I Shall I say something is it, you know, impolite. And so I just want to honor you for that. That’s a huge lesson to learn. I love it.
Sam Shaffer 31:47
Thank you. Yeah, absolutely. It’s, it’s really important that the buyer communicates how they feel, and that it’s done in the setting that will be advantageous to help them not only get the property, but hopefully at the best terms and the best price. I remember I put together an offer with a client. And I was going through my process with him and telling him how important it is that you’re going to be working with my preferred lender, Inspector, an attorney. I’m going to articulate this in the summary of the offer. I’m going to outline everything for the agent. Let them know how much you love it, that you’re truly over the moon. And this client. He was at my office, this was before Docusign. I mean, they were actually at my office signing. And he said to me, he’s like, no, none of that’s gonna matter, Sam. He’s like, the seller only cares about the best price. So I called him up. And this was such a wonderful phone call to make. And I said, I’m letting you know that we weren’t the highest price. And he’s like shit, and I said, Congratulations, we got the condo. Wow, did you do it? I said, I told you, I gave you the recipe. I walked you through it. He’s like, I didn’t think you were serious. I didn’t think that was going to work. And it doesn’t always work. But in that situation, it was really, really helpful to be that known entity for the other side.
D.J. Paris 33:19
Yeah, I mean, we always, you know, forget that the price isn’t always the most important characteristic for to get a seller to agree or on the flip side. What often will help is hey, this guy, Sam Shaffer, I know him, he’s great. He will get this closed. He has a great reputation. And you know, that influences the other party quite a bit. And so I think you’re so right about integrity, and and playing nice in the sandbox with others. Can you talk a little bit about how the process is when working with sellers
Sam Shaffer 33:56
working with sellers is potentially a little bit more stressful. I feel like you have a little bit more skin in the game. But it’s important I feel to have both the seller side and the purchase side. So when I work with sellers, I don’t want any drama in my life. Okay, I have two spirited boys at home 10 and 13 They’re cool kids I love them. So there’s you know you walk into your house and there’s family commitments and things like that so I don’t want to have to add any extra drama into my already crazy life. So what I tell my sellers is that I’m doing it all Okay, so I’m going to market the property on all the majors syndicated syndicated sites, big social media presence, and then I’m gonna spare no expense for my marketing. Okay, so that’s going to be high resolution photos, 3d walkthrough, floor plans, video, etc. So I’m doing it all I’m running open houses. I’m overly community Get communicative with my sellers. So I’m hard on myself because I take things personally. But I set up all those processes ahead of time and know that I’m doing everything I can to advocate for my clients and for specifically for my sellers, and it helps me, you know, rest, rest assured that I’m doing all the right things for them.
D.J. Paris 35:25
Yeah. And, you know, again, I don’t, I don’t think that every broker out there does all of those things. I know they don’t. And it’s, it’s one of those things that is so important that, you know, if you’re, you know, going to work with a seller, you owe it to them, to really give them the best opportunity to sell their property, which means doing all those things like high resolution photos and floor plans and 3d walkthroughs. And making sure it’s distributed everywhere online. And a lot of brokers, maybe they don’t do that. Now, I have a question what happens when you have a seller that is adamant on an unrealistic price? This comes up as a question from our listeners all the time saying, Well, gosh, what do you do when somebody’s just not willing to budge? And you know, it’s not going to sell at that price?
Sam Shaffer 36:11
Well, you get good at walking that tightrope you talk out of both sides of your mouth. Yeah. Okay. So you say, you know, I’m going to continue to fight and advocate and do everything I can to get you the best price and the best terms, the markets, most likely going to dictate what someone’s willing to pay. But you know, I’m willing to continue to, to advocate and to do everything I can to try to get you that price that you’re looking for. And you push, you push back on the seller, and you push again. And then you then you be quiet. So specifically today, before I jumped on this podcast, I have an offer on a listing, we’re a little bit overpriced, we countered at a number. The buying agent basically, is willing to come up, we basically we countered at 320. And they were 300. Logically, you’d think we’d land this deal at 310, which is a sweetheart deal for my seller. And he’s firm at 320. Yeah, so I did the tap ends. And I told him, Hey, I think you know, we could probably split the difference and get a deal done. He’s like, I’m not gonna go below 320. So I said, Okay, of course I understand. Let me go back to the buyer, I’m going to try to get you is the best price the best terms as I can. My read on it is the highest, we’ll go with 310. But you know, maybe we can catch lightning in a bottle, we’ll catch him at 320. If not, we’ll continue to hunt and fight. And you know, there’s a chance we may be having this conversation a month or two from now. We’re not, we’re not willing to throw in the towel, we value the relationship, and we’re going to certainly do our best. But hopefully, we don’t have this conversation if we do. You know, maybe we have to, at that point, make an adjustment to expectations. Surely it’s more work for me. But it’s difficult. And this is a hard business and people that are in it understand it’s hard and the outsiders looking in, don’t necessarily think that this is a challenging business that we’re in. Yeah,
D.J. Paris 38:18
know it, for sure. It for sure is. And I mean, I run into this even when I sold a condo myself, and I knew better. And I still was like, No, I need to get this price. And of course, I was no way I was going to get that price. And stupidly, I kept it at that price for a couple of months or a month. No, it wasn’t a couple of months, it was a month. And I paid that mortgage again. And I was like I that was a an expensive lesson to learn. And even though I knew better emotionally, I needed it. I wanted it to be at a certain level. And I really needed an objective third person to go Hey, stupid, lower at $10,000. And let’s let’s close this thing. And, and as soon as I did that, I got a million more showings and I got an offer like two days later. But you know, we forget that it is it is a tough thing for a seller to understand about price. So as Sam was saying, you have to be compassion empathic, but also firm, you need to be able and the cool thing with with em read the software that here is used for the MLS in Chicago, for our listeners who aren’t in our local markets, but I suspect in the MLS is that you utilize this feature exists is you can see the number of eyeballs that have looked at the property on the MLS. And then you can use that as data to as feedback to provide to your seller to say, you know, look, we had 300 Realtors look at this property, at least on the website, and we didn’t get one showing. That is in my experience that is particularly unusual. So it may be an indicator for us to be more flexible with our pricing. But you know, always having that data is helpful because it takes it away from you would like it to be at a certain point to be going no here’s what the market is telling us. And I think sometimes we forget that those tools are there to help give us that data to then further Are you no help our cause and trying to get the deal closed? Yeah, tell us tell us a little bit more about about your firm. I want to know more about Chicago properties, because you guys are a boutique business very successful. So I feel even strange to use the word boutique because it, it suggests small and it is by no means small. And the amount of production you guys are huge, are quite large. So talk you talk a little bit about, you know, how you guys run your business, you and your partner, and sort of what the clients, the clients that you’re looking to work with.
Sam Shaffer 40:31
Yeah, so I’m comfortable with the word boutique. I call it my work family. And we’re very like minded. I definitely am set in my ways. But I’m also open to learning and sharing with people in my office, the knowledge that they bring. So I think it’s a very, again, they use this word collaborative approach. We all kind of learned from one another. And I want people to steal the good ideas, and I want to steal their good ideas. I have a client that wants his buyers to be over the moon. And I said, Oh, I like that. So I stole it. So now, I want my clients to be over the moon and we use some cheesy cliches and we let them know that we’re our clients know that we are using cheesy cheesy cliches. So I always say part of my cheesy, cheesy cliche, but let’s turn over every stone before you know or kiss every frog before we find our prince or princess. And we have we operate with a lot of levity to in our office. Sure, well, we laugh we have a good time. And I think that’s that makes it very a fun environment to work in. We have a really cool office, we did a beautiful build out we have a pool table that gets used on Friday nights, we have a stock bar. If you go behind our office, our parking lot leads into the grand and Western liquor store. So when any one anyone comes to our office, we have I can guarantee we have exactly what they’re looking for to drink. And for those that don’t drink, we have a nice array of you know, CBD sodas and, and fun drinks and teas. And we’d like to have a good time and entertain. And I think that’s when you have fun and love what you do. It makes it a lot a lot easier to be successful.
D.J. Paris 42:32
Yeah, I think that’s true. We i did i do our, our website for our company. And we we had all these very serious pictures of our management we have there’s like 10 of us. And we had these very, very stoic pictures and we’re serious. And then my boss is joking, joking around with me goes, we joke around all day, why do we have serious pictures of us on our I mean, we bring our dog we have two dogs in the office right now, the dog should be featured on the website, we should be. So we hired a photographer, they came out. And we took goofy pictures, professional photos, but goofy, where we’re all doing something silly individually. And then collectively, we did a silly one. And my boss goes, that’s our personality. That’s what we do. And so I was like, and I’m our marketing guy. So I should have been realized this earlier. And I went You’re right. And then we made our website a little sillier. Now not that’s not everyone’s approach. And you know, again, it’s not a good fit for a lot of people who want to maintain a more professional atmosphere. But we’re just not that professional, quite frankly, we’re a lot of fun. And we’re very serious. And, and we we take really good care of our brokers. But we’re not that’s you know, we’re joking around kind of guys. And so we did that. And the response has been overwhelmingly positive. Because as as Sam saying, it’s showing on our authentic self. And I think that’s something that you need to look at all your marketing materials. And again, I’m not talking to Sam, of course, but all of our listeners, look at how you’re being portrayed on on social media. If you want to share that with your audience, make sure that your true personality comes through, look at your marketing materials. Look at your website, if you have one. And making sure that all of that is consistent with the message that you want your clients to understand about you. That’s That’s true and authentic. And it’s don’t try to be something you’re not I guess, right?
Sam Shaffer 44:18
Yeah, it’s definitely an interesting era we live in where it’s a fine line between bragging. Yes. Or it’s called the humble brag, which is still just a straight out brag. or providing value or showing the personal side of things. So it’s kind of art and science and yes, I don’t want to overly post and promote the things that I’m doing. Obviously I can’t wait to tell the world about the keeping it real podcast. Well, thank you. So that’ll be a humble brag, but you know, I I also like to post personal things of my family and vacations and things of that nature. But I’m also cognizant to of posting pictures when I’m vacationing, because I don’t want my clients to be like, Well, what’s Sam doing? Why isn’t he running an open house? So it’s the art and science behind it. For sure.
D.J. Paris 45:20
I have one, one last question for you. And this comes up a lot. And I’m curious on your thoughts. And we’ve seen study after study has shown us that the reason why a client will not use a realtor a second time, which by the way, the statistics are, are far and away that they are likely to use that same broker a second or multiple times after the first transaction. But for the times that they don’t, it seems to be that in the research, I’ve looked at that it says a lack of communication after the sale, right, so the transaction closes, you know, clients happy, you’re happy. And then it seems to be that a lot of brokers are going to move on to their next transaction. And as they continue to build their business, maybe the people that closed in the past aren’t as communicated with. And so I’m curious on, I imagine you likely do stay in touch with your clients. Do you have any suggestions for our listeners about what they should do after the sale?
Sam Shaffer 46:20
Is that Yeah, absolutely. You know, it’s, again, going back to this is a difficult business. And there’s aspects of the business that aren’t difficult, it’s not difficult to answer your phone or to show up for an appointment. Those are really easy. But sometimes you feel or I feel that it’s hard to pick up the phone and call a client three months later, because where’s the authenticity with that? Are you calling them because you want to check in and see how their dogs doing and how the moves going, or you have a ulterior motive, which is Tell Tell your friends and family how awesome I am. Right? So I tried to be respectful of my clients. And if you’re doing a lot of volume, there’s a lot of people to touch. So I think utilizing some of the social media components are important. But I also try to do personal touches, like I send out gifts every year for Christmas, or for the holidays with a nice card of me and my family. A little gift, I have a branded, we partnered with Dark Matter coffee. So we do coffee beans that are with our logo and a nice little brand of little lettering that talks about our, our style and our office. And we send that out every year and do little things like that, which I think are helpful.
D.J. Paris 47:40
Yeah, those are great suggestions. Yeah, it’s the bottom line is guys don’t lose touch. But also understand that there’s a way to authentically stay in touch, which is maybe it’s not that phone call three months. And if that doesn’t fit with your sort of personality, or maybe what the client, maybe the client doesn’t want to talk to you three months from now, they’re busy, they have their own lives. But there are ways like Sam was saying, utilizing social media if you are paying attention to what your clients are doing on social media, and you’re noticing on Instagram that they just want on a vacation, you know, shoot them a text and say Hey, I saw you were on you know out in wherever on Instagram that looked awesome, great, you know, glad to see you guys were enjoying yourself or or lob a phone call or an email over it doesn’t always have to be real estate related, but demonstrating that you’re noticing and paying attention I think is the most important thing and also, you know, remembering them when it’s holiday time and remembering to do things that are nice and and also you know basically it’s funny I was thinking I get I get a lot of from the service providers that I have in my life insurance and loan officers and you know, financial advisors and dentists and all of the people who who you see on a regular basis and you get a lot of you get a lot of cards that seem to be you know the that are just stamped with someone’s signature but you know I don’t get a lot of gifts in the mail either. Right so even just something as simple as what Sam mentioned, which is not simple but but certainly a lovely thought. I mean I didn’t get any gifts this year for many of my service providers who make money on me every single year. So you know it’s time to you know, you want to be generous and you want to make sure that people know that you’re still thinking about them. Yeah, and
Sam Shaffer 49:22
one other thing I do is I am on Facebook and it’s been pretty profitable website for me to use. When I see that someone has a new baby I send the baby gift. And I have so I have a relationship with red balloon they have my credit card on file, I call them up I said send them a baby gift. Here’s a template and I’ve had clients that the gifts I’ve sent them their children’s still have like that same little stuffed animal is like their go to stuffed animal that’s pretty special,
D.J. Paris 49:53
really special. It shows number one that you’re paying attention and number two that you care, right and those are care enough to actually do something about it. Boy, what a great suggestion. Well, I want to tell our listeners, by the way, that if you are a broker in the Chicagoland area and you’re interested in working for a firm like Chicago properties, and of course, Sam’s and his team don’t obviously work with every broker who comes their way. But if somebody is wanting to work with you, what is the best way they should reach out to you? And also, by the way, if I’m sorry, saying, Let me interrupt. Also, if you’re a client, if you’re a buyer, or a seller or renter and investor, anyone looking to work with someone like Sam, who’s so well respected in our community here for what he does, and his what his brokers do, what is the best way anybody should reach out to you? Well, I
Sam Shaffer 50:44
would say the best way is just to call me on my cell phone, which is 773-297-9792 or email, I can be reached at sam sa m, at shy prop calm, that is CH I like Chicago, P R. O P, like property, Sam at shy prop.com.
D.J. Paris 51:08
And by the way, even if you’re happy at your current firm, or you’re a client or a potential customer, and already have a great realtor, and you appreciated this episode and listening to Sam, shoot him a message, let him know that, that you appreciated some tips, because this is, out of all the episodes we’ve done, you might have given just about the most tips as anyone’s ever done. So we really appreciate that. So on behalf of the listeners, Sam, we thank you for being part of the show. And I appreciate your patience, we had a small little technical difficulty at the beginning and Sam was was really patient throughout. So this I think is indicative of how he treats his clients. Because even how he treated me it was was very cordial and thoughtful. And I appreciate it. And you got us all the information that this is kind of a behind the scenes things, guys, we always send out a pre interview packet and say, Hey, could you answer a few questions for us? 90% of the time, we have to hound the person to say, Can you please and we know that everyone’s busy, Sam got this back to us with probably more detailed information than we’ve ever received. So I am making a pitch for Sam that if you are a client, and you’re looking for somebody who is detail oriented, you gotta go with Sam, because not only is his reputation stellar, but I have first hand experience about how much time he put in just to answering our own questions. And of course, if you’re a broker looking to work with somebody like Sam, I would, I would give the pitch the same pitch as well. So guys, reach out to Sam, you can visit his website, as Sam mentioned at shy Prop C H I P R O p.com. And you can find all of his social media platforms as well. Links on his website and reach out to him that way or call him or shoot him an email. So Sam, on behalf of listeners, thank you and on behalf of Sam and myself to everyone who is kind enough to find value in what we do here. Thank you. Also, please tell a friend if there’s ever any other brokers turn to the broker in the office next to you if you work in an office or just somebody had come across and say, Hey, if you want to hear from these top producers, check out our podcast. This helps us in innumerable ways. And also leave us a review too. There’s plenty of places you can do that. But just being a listener is good enough but so thank you to to our listeners, Sam. Thank you and we will see everyone on our next episode and Sam again, thanks for being on the show
Sam Shaffer 53:21
was my pleasure. Thanks for having me, DJ