JF981: How He Controls 17% of the LA Marketshare and Became #1

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From Mexico City, he decided real estate was going to be his new break, so he magnified his passion and became number one in LA. Listen to his success story and how he created the best team in California controlling over 17% of the total Los Angeles market share.

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Mauricio Umansky Real Estate Background:

– Founder and CEO of The Agency, a high-profile, luxury real estate brokerage
– Since 2011 has grown the company from its four founding partners to over 150 active agents
– Controls approximately 17% of L.A.’s market share and is #1 in the city for per agent production
– Involved in more than $2 Billion in transactions and represented some of the city’s most esteemed properties, including the Playboy Mansion
– Member of The Young Presidents Organization, a highly influential business networking organization connecting leaders and CEO’s of major companies
– Based in Los Angeles, California
– Say hi to him at http://www.theagencyre.com
– Best Ever Book: Delivering Happiness

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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any fluff. We’ve spoken to Barbara Corcoran from Shark Tank, Robert Kiyosaki, the author of Rich Dad, Poor Dad and a whole bunch of others.

With us today, Mauricio Umansky. How are you doing, Mauricio?

Mauricio Umansky: Great, Joe. Thank you for having me on the show today.

Joe Fairless: Yeah, my pleasure. Nice to have you on the show. A little bit about Mauricio – he is the founder and CEO of The Agency which is a high-profile luxury real estate brokerage. He’s based in Los Angeles, California. Since 2011, he has grown the company from its forefounding partners to over 150 active agents, and controls approximately 17% of Los Angeles’ market share, and is number one in the city for a per agent production. With that being said, Mauricio, do you wanna give the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your current focus?

Mauricio Umansky: Well, I’ve been selling real estate now for 20 years. We founded The Agency five and a half years ago and launched it; it’s one of the most exciting things I’ve ever done. I’m originally from Mexico City; I moved to Los Angeles when I was seven years old, did all my studies in L.A. and grew up in L.A., and just absolutely love real estate.

Joe Fairless: So you launched The Agency — how many years ago? Did you say five?

Mauricio Umansky: Five and a half years ago now, coming up on six in September.

Joe Fairless: Okay. So were you an employee of a previous agency before you launched your own?

Mauricio Umansky: I was an agent at another agency called Hilton & Hyland before we launched our own. As agents, we’re not employees [unintelligible [00:03:45].11]

Joe Fairless: So five and a half years ago you launched The Agency, and clearly have achieved a lot of success within your market. When you were at your previous company, what inspired you to start your own?

Mauricio Umansky: Well, quite honestly, I reached a level of success as a salesperson and an agent… I submitted my numbers to the Wall-Street Journal REAL Trends, and they came back and they told me that I was number 7 in the country and number 1 in the city, and when I realized I only had six more spots to go, I thought that what I was doing to get to number 7 was teachable, was repeatable… I said, “My god, if I only have six more spots to go to be number one, I really wanna do something bigger and better, and show others what I’m doing”, and thus we started The Agency.

Joe Fairless: So “teachable and repeatable” – I love that, and I know the Best Ever listeners’ ears perked up when you said that… What do you teach so that your team can then replicate the results that you’re achieving?

Mauricio Umansky: Well, one of the most beautiful things about our techniques and our tactics in terms of what we teach is that it’s all simple stuff. I think that there’s a lot of salespeople that get in their own way… They get in the way of the deal, their fear gets in the way of the deal and they’re just afraid to complete the deal. They wanna act like heroes, and rather than allowing the deal to happen. A lot of people are just afraid to even just pick up the phone and call and ask their best friend for business or if they have anything.
I think our stuff is really just more about simplicity, going back to simple things in life. When you go back to simplicity, it’s easy to get those things accomplished. And then obviously we use a tremendous amount of lead generation technology, CRM systems… There’s a fully-integrated CRM system for the entire company that allows you for great follow-up and everything, but at the end of the day a salesperson, an agent just needs to go back to the simple things: wake up, show up, make the calls, ask for the business, not be afraid and not get in their own way.

Joe Fairless: As far as the simplicity goes, let’s say someone is waking up, making the calls, asking for the business… Is there anything deeper than that that would separate someone who is having success from someone who does not have success as a real estate agent?

Mauricio Umansky: Absolutely. Obviously, from there you need to go into the tremendous knowledge of the market and the marketplace. We teach our agents to just be the most knowledgeable possible. In today’s world, with the internet and with everything that’s going on, clients are becoming a lot more knowledgeable, so therefore we just have to be way ahead of the client and even more knowledgeable than them. Agents cannot get away with just bullshitting their way through life.

Joe Fairless: As far as knowing the marketplace better than the clients, can you give an example of that or how to actually make sure that they do know the market better than the clients?

Mauricio Umansky: Well, one time I remember I took up a client to a property up into the Bird Streets, which is an area in Los Angeles that’s a very expensive area, the West Hollywood Hills, great views… Typically we’re selling homes there now today in the $2,000-$3,000/ft range. This client was a tech guy from San Francisco, really knowledgeable about everything. He liked the house and he started inquiring with me in terms of the price/ft and what other stuff has sold for. Then I said, “Well, the house across the street sold for $1,800/ft, and then the house up the street sold for $1,900/ft.” Then he started challenging me and he goes “Well, actually it didn’t sell for that much… It actually sold for $1,733/ft, and the other one sold for $1,682/ft.” That was one of the times where I got caught not having all of my details exact, and I just remember the next time I met with him and I showed him another property I was extraordinarily up to date on my knowledge and we went through the same argument back and forth, and I had all my details to perfection. He appreciated that, and that ultimately ended up leading into a sale.

Joe Fairless: Based on your experience for starting your own company and brokerage, for an investor (or a listener, rather) who is a real estate agent and wants to follow suit and start their own brokerage in a different market – what is your best advice ever for that person?

Mauricio Umansky: Well, I think that it all comes down to people. You’ve gotta hire great people to manage your company. Don’t be cheap when hiring your staff. Hire people that are really, really smart, and then listen to them. I think one of the biggest mistakes managers and owners make is that they hire people, but then they only want them to do what they want to be done, rather than allowing your staff and your agents and everybody to have opinions.
One of the things that we preach at The Agency is that if you’re not making mistakes, you’re not trying hard enough… So we’re totally cool with mistakes, they happen every single day. We wanna try new things, I wanna hear great things. Our chief marketing officer about three years ago, who I think is an absolutely brilliant guy, came up to me one day and he said to me, “Well, what you want me to tell you and what you want to hear is blah-blah-blah-blah-blah.” And I said to him, “If you ever tell me again what you think I want to hear, you’re fired.” I said “The reason you’re here is because I think you’re brilliant, and I wanna know what YOU wanna tell me, and I wanna know what’s coming out of YOUR head, and then I’ll make a decision which way we go. But don’t try to pretend that you know what I wanna hear.”

I think that that’s just a constant mistake that a lot of owners and managers make – they get too into their own stuff and they don’t listen to others.

Joe Fairless: As far as hiring people who are really smart, I imagine you’re a bit removed from that now, but at the beginning you weren’t… How did you screen or qualify your initial hires to find the people who were the best of the best and were really smart?

Mauricio Umansky: Well, number one has become kind of a famous thing, but we have our number one rule at The Agency, which is “No a**holes.” So first step is just making sure we don’t hire any of those. Number two is I want people that can think on their two feet and that can react. A lot of times I’ll come up with different scenarios and I’ll just ask somebody what they would do in a scenario. For example, a salesperson – I wanna know that they can act quickly, so I’ll say “Hey, you’ve taken our your girlfriend… You guys are going out for dinner. You went for a movie, you’re on the first date and you’re arriving at the restaurant. It’s [9:59] and you arrive at the hostess stand. You ask to get seated, and the hostess says “Oh, the kitchen closes at 10 o’clock.” What do you do?” Salespeople will tell me, “Well, I guess I gotta go find another restaurant…” The agent I want is the one that answers, “Well, I still have a minute left until 10 o’clock. Sit me down and we’ll order fast.” [laughter]

So you just come up with different scenarios for different people in terms of understanding the personality for different jobs. I just wanna see how they react to those different scenarios.

Joe Fairless: [laughs] I like that. Alright, real quick, are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?

Mauricio Umansky: Let’s do it!

Joe Fairless: Alright, first a quick word from our Best Ever partners.

Break: [[00:10:35].16] to [[00:11:18].08]

Joe Fairless: Best ever book you’ve read?

Mauricio Umansky: Delivering Happiness, by Toni Hsieh.

Joe Fairless: What’s the best ever deal you’ve done, either as an investor or as a real estate broker etc.?

Mauricio Umansky: I have two favorite deals. Number one was selling the Playboy Mansion – absolutely fantastic, the first deal to hit one hundred million dollars in Los Angeles. Number two is an investment I made in Malibu on a property that I just sold for 70 million dollars.

Joe Fairless: How did you get the listing of the Playboy Mansion?

Mauricio Umansky: I received the listing of the Playboy Mansion by coming up with an amazing listing presentation and a full marketing plan, and all of my ads already done when I went in for the presentations. So I didn’t leave anything to chance. I already had the whole marketing campaign laid out as if I already had the listing.

Joe Fairless: What’s a mistake you’ve made on a transaction?

Mauricio Umansky: My god, I make mistakes all day long. I think that it’s not a question of what mistakes you make, it’s a question about mistakes lead to different opportunities and how you resolve mistakes.

Joe Fairless: What is the best ever way you like to give back?

Mauricio Umansky: We give back two different ways. On a personal note, I give back really to the Children’s Hospital of Los Angeles. I spent the first six years of my life in the Children’s Hospital, and thanks to them I got cured. And the second thing that we do as a company is we have a hundred percent participation in give-back homes. We build homes for the needy, and we love it.

Joe Fairless: Where can the Best Ever listeners learn more about your company?

Mauricio Umansky: Go to TheAgencyRE.com, we post everything out there. Look at our videos, read our blogs, and have some fun.

Joe Fairless: Excellent. Well, Mauricio, thank you for being on the show. Thanks for talking through your company’s evolution and how you approach hiring great people to manage your company – your number one rule, and then your number two rule, you want people who can react, and how you test that during the interview process with the scenarios. And then also towards the end of our conversation, when you talked about how you sold the Playboy Mansion at a record price and how you got the listing in the first place, where you came prepared and assumed as though you were already hired, and had the entire marketing plan done.

Thanks for being on the show. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon!

Mauricio Umansky: Thank you for your time, and I look forward to talking to you again.

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