Apr 11, 2018
Interview – Julie Nelson
In today’s episode we have Julie Nelson, who has been in the real estate business in Austin, Texas for 18 plus years. Julie started out in a small brokerage then transferred to Keller Williams, where she also served as the Director of Crew Development. After resetting her business and life, Julie transitioned to eXp Realty. Today, Julie is a realtor, trainer, coach, industry author and career strategist who coaches agents for success.
Remember our disclaimer: The materials and content discussed within this podcast are the opinions of Kevin Cottrell and/or the guests interviewed. This information is intended as general information only for listeners of the podcast. Listeners should conduct their own due diligence and research before making any business decisions. This podcast is produced completely independently of eXp Realty and is not endorsed, funded or otherwise supported by eXp Realty directly or indirectly.
In this episode
Want to Learn More about eXp Realty?
If you are interested in learning more about eXp, reach out to the person who introduced you to eXp or contact Julie to inquire or ask questions.
“At eXp, the majority, hands down the majority, of agents are their producers, their cappers and I like being in that environment.” – Julie
KEVIN: Welcome to the show Julie.
JULIE: Thanks Kevin.
KEVIN: I'm looking forward to the conversation you and I have like some great overlapping background we both came out of the Keller Williams system and we're both at EXP realty now. Now for somebody that doesn't know you like I do in your background why don't you take a couple of minutes and give your background in real estate and what you have done.
JULIE: Sounds good. 18 plus years in the business. First two was with a small brokerage with a couple friends and I moved to Keller Willimas in I think 2001. I'm dating myself here a little bit. So 16 years with Keller Williams in the last five of those I was the director of crew development at the Austin Southpaws Market Center or at least at the time was the largest Keller Williams office in the world and I oversaw the training program in that market center and left that position and kind of hit a reset in my business and my life and had to restart my business again and that's a story in itself. And then last fall I joined the XP.
KEVIN: Excellent excellent. So you know for listeners that aren't as familiar with some of the terms I know you and I both do I think we probably joined Keller Williams I think it was the same year. I think it was 2001 2002 that I was working with Andy Allen near Lancaster on the team here in Austin and then I was later a team leader productivity coaching and they'll be a link obviously to your book which we'll be referencing here in a minute. You spent a lot of time advising agents on success and I know one of the things you're pretty passionate about and you have a chapter in your book on this is helping agents at Keller Williams which is a great company but there's lots of agents at different companies that are joining you EXP. People seem to have a hard time figuring out this brokerage thing don't they.
JULIE: You know it's an interesting topic I think the truth is we actually all think about it and talk about it a lot. But nobody wants to have that conversation with their broker in terms of whether it's the right fit for them. I always like to say when I'm talking to an agent is the best place for an agent to run their business is simply the best place for that agent to run their business. And if somebody is re-evaluating their brokerage choice it's a possibility that the best place for them is exactly where they're at. I think agents need to hear that because folks relax a little bit around the topic to say oh OK you know what that's a good point. So then you could have just an objective look at where you're at in your business what you need what you're currently getting, what other brokerage options may offer. And then what's the right fit for you because the last thing any... Well hopefully the last thing any broker wants for an agent is for them to make a switch and then realize it's not really the best place for them to run their business. So let's help people make really sound and objective decisions around where they're choosing to hang their license and the individual's needs. That can change over the years. So for a very long time. Keller Williams was absolutely the right place for me to be running my business and creating the opportunities that I needed. But things change people change. And I started to re-evaluate. So I've been in the business for a long time. I swear I re-evaluated every year. If I was in the right place.
KEVIN: And I did the same thing I've been with ReMax I've been with Marcus Millichap on the commercial side. I originally got licensed in 1986 joined Keller Williams in 2001. So I've done a lot of stuff and one of the things that I've heard Jean-Frederic talk about and I'm seeing come up more and more. I'm glad you brought up sort of the re-evaluation and things change over time because I'm hearing more and more now because we're having actual examples of it. - And I know this is going to resonate with you Julie - of agents. That doesn't matter it's not a Keller Williams story. Keller Williams is a great company it's just that in their career wherever they are they're realizing I'm not saving enough money. I have a great practice right? I'm listing and selling and working with clients. But they start looking at going I don't want to do this forever and then in a lot of the historical models KW is one of them, I did the production based or I'm going to make more money in production. I had the number three team from scratch in St. Louis but then I started looking going great. The team did 240 transactions we were number three in the market. Now what do I want to be doing 800 transactions do I want to go into mobile markets? I look at my PNL my cash flow my savings. I wasn't saving money and building wealth. And so the comment that's being made is and Daniel Beer said this on his episode if anybody wants to listen to it it's like the other buckets are empty. Right. People have production Daniel beer and his case in San Diego is that like 165 million in production. But he started looking at what kind of residual income do I have. What kind of wealth in forming equity do I have. And we're starting to see this and this is where I think you could talk about this Julie in terms of your decision process. I know it was a big deal for me. I didn't have a whole big stock portfolio and equity I can't make a comment like Sherri Elliott where she's in less than two years sitting with 700000 in equity in the EXP I stock or another agent in Austin that I just met and she was in a lunch and learned and she popped up when the Sherry Elliot comment was made. She goes I don't have a big team like Sherry and I'm at 155000 in equity and she's like I didn't have equity before. I was just an agent. I was worried that I was going to have to list and sell forever. And so when you think about because you spent a lot of time coaching agents either it's not part of the process right. We're talking about in the case of EXP a lot of these agents are building this wealth by taking 5% of their gross commission income and investing it like an insider at a 20% discount. The outside world doesn't even know that and most agents don't save any money do they.
JULIE: It's a problem in our industry. An agent is as good as their next deal. So unless they've been an extremely disciplined saver flèche investor over the years the majority of agents do not have a good exit strategy. Retirement is a concept that's not well executed in our industry and that was very attractive for me with the EXP. I'm 56 years old and I don't care if you're 40 or 50 or 60 I think most of us have retirement on our mind. And I know I don't want to be selling real estate when I'm 70 years old. So it really took a look at that with the EXP is very attractive with a combination of the stock and the revenue share was very attractive to me because I've felt like I can do something with that. You know I was at Keller Williams for 16 years and five of those in a leadership position. And Profit was never a big deal for me. It never materialized. Now granted it wasn't a top priority for me but I just felt like the opportunity was limited and it was never going to truly be a solid piece of my retirement plan.
KEVIN: It's not that there's anything wrong with profit share I'm vested and remove which for anybody listening means that I've spent more than three years at Kellems like Julie did or Gene-Frederick or anybody else. But the fact the matter is that as you listen to my interview with Gene we talk about this. This is what Daniel Beer just said in his interview that I did with him today where that bucket where you're paid like a regional owner off the top and then for listeners that haven't heard this before in a franchise system like KW they take the money off the top and they pay the regional owner out of that money. EXP does the same thing. And so even somebody like myself who had a fairly decent profit share and still get profit share from Keller Williams. Gene does as well. What we're realizing very quickly is this starts to look a lot more like you if you are focused on it get to act like a regional owner in a franchise system. Now the EXP is not a franchise system but the cash flow is so much more predictable from that residual income that you can build a business around it. In other words if I was at Keller Williams and I started to figure out what my profit share would be I'm sure you didn't try and do this because you're going to make the comment I did which is it's like black magic at the 21st of the month you get this payment you're like ha I don't know how that happened. They give you a calculation and report with it. But there's no predictability to it. And for people that have been in both systems the thing that we're seeing consistently in other words people that have a decent profit share check the revenue share if they're purposeful in their claims and they come over to EXP there's plenty of people I could point you to that are at 10x note it is also very predictable in other words they can look and go. I know what I'm going to make in 2017. I know what I'm going to make in 2018 and 19 just based on the number of people I'm going to have in my revenue share group. You can't do that. I can't go to Gene-Frederick and go: How much are you and Susan going to make this year and profit sharing. I've asked him that. He says I have no idea. It's so variable that I have no idea.
JULIE: And he gets as you know a huge profit share check yeah I have found I'm doing the math right now and I am predicting everything that I made in profit share last year in 2017. Okay so that's after 16 years at KW. I'm predicting that within six months at EXP I will match that. So MY 2017 profit share I predict in my first six months at EXP I'll hit that number.
KEVIN: That is not a typical I don't want anybody listening to this to think about it. And if you're not in a system like KW where you get profit sharing you don't have anything to base it by. But just what you should take away here is this is very very predictable and you can model it. The math is simple when you look at who comes in in revenue share and who's in your revenue share group and you can start and look at it and Daniel Beer said this perfectly because there's a lot of noise and misinformation out there he said the revenue share is not only very easy to calculate and predictable but you can also count on it because producers are the people that are coming over to EXP. You know what their production as you know what the math is. It's not like we're getting people to switch to the company and telling them to sell essential oils. This is what they do for their livelihood anyways. They're going to work with buyers and sellers. And as such because it comes off the top it's not black magic. It's not. Oh I have to line up profitability for a particular office with the production. And they're not capped. The complexity of trying to get all that and model it accurately is virtually impossible in Daniel Beer said the same thing you did which is I couldn't pay a lot of attention to it because I couldn't figure out how to make a business out of it.
JULIE: Yes I had little to no control over that. And in this i feel like I how I can drive it. I'm in the driver's seat.
KEVIN: And that's a great point. And you know there are great places and you and I come from probably the best franchise system out there. Keller Williams you and I both get profit share from there. And this is just a inflection point in the brokerage business in my opinion. We're at a major major inflection point. The agents at EXP are in the same alignment. Their equity holders and it really is an agent centric business. I mean I look back at my very first family reunnion I went to and I heard that term agent centric and then I went into leadership and I ran some market centers in South Florida and did all that. And now being outside of it and watching how things line up at EXP I realize that we coined a term there and certainly Gary would aptly say you can do your brand you're the brand build your business build your database etc. But when you look at the execution of the business it was not an agent centric business. They allowed agent branding. But EXP truly is I mean the best examples on my guests on the podcast people will say I'll get on the phone with anybody. I'm a shareholder in this company. Doesn't matter who they were exposed to EXP and I know you Julie you think the same way where somebody could be sitting in Boston Massachusetts and you're going to be the perfect person for them to talk to. Maybe they're coming out of a franchise system like you and I did. And they need to hear from you or they knew you. Maybe they took a class from you and they want to hear your words. Maybe they will listen to the podcast. It doesn't matter if they're going to be in your revenue share group. The culture of this company is something amazing that people don't see from the outside they might experience it. If somebody introduces them to the EXPE and then all of a sudden they're thinking wow the agents really are driving this thing all in the same direction because they're all shareholders.
JULIE: Yeah I've experienced that on both sides so I've had other agents and readers around the country that have been super responsive to helping me get on my feet or just to answer questions. I've had the opportunity to do that for quite a few people myself so there really is this you really do feel like an equity owner in the company. It's a mentality I've been extremely pleased and impressed with the customer service side of how easy EXP is set up with the cloud and your ability to go online. I have a question just even a simple question it might be a question on a transaction it might be a broker question. It could be an accounting question. A basic kind of administrative questions and I can jump online in the cloud and nine times out of ten I actually have my question answered with a real live person under five minutes. It's kind of like you can go into any office whether it's here Banker or your own brokerage and you had an accounting question saying go to that office and you knock on the door. You just hope that they're there. Or you might send them an email and you're crossing your fingers that you'll get a quick response and answer to your question. And that's normal business for the majority of the business world.
KEVIN: Absolutely. And that for agents especially if you're doing transactions and you're going to get an adjustment on a closing and all of a sudden you realize the night before something's got to get change. Like you said you hope to God you can go in the morning to accounting and get them to do it. Well because we operate multiple time zones at EXP. Like you said you show up in the cloud. Somebody is going to help get that thing fixed you know and because agents are in all different time zones. There's pretty much somebody there for an extended period of time and tech support for a lot of agents is a big deal you and I are both fairly tech savvy now. Lots of agents especially agents that are listening to this or not. I can tell you the number of times not just in the cloud but in workplace which is the collaboration environment that EXP is rolled out to support the cloud and it is a completely different platform. But it's very very interesting to watch especially with the lead generation systems. Obviously people are rolling out Cavey core now in 2018. They are they want to set up conversion. They'll come in and say I'm not tech savvy. I need help with this. I'm trying to figure out how to do this this and this and in XP agent will chime in in the comment and say hey I'm in a different state. Doesn't matter. I got this wired. I can probably get you on the phone for 15 minutes and tell you exactly how to do this. That does not happen in a franchise system or offices independently operated certainly doesn't happen in a small brokerage or an independent where you don't have that wealth of knowledge and experience across the country and that's in addition to the great customer service that the company offers. And that's just the culture of the agents. They're like hey you know what you might be in Alabama. But I can get you on the phone and get your conversion site up and running in a 15 minute call with you.
JULIE: Yeah. And there are thousands of examples of that online. So it's a real community. It's very helpful. It's interesting because sometimes you think if you don't have experience with something cloud based like this you might think on the surface before for experience. You might think that it may be an impersonal system. It's exactly the opposite. There's so much engagement there's so much easy access. And it's a community where everybody is helping everybody and whether that's in just in Austin the Austin group is so helpful in itself. And then there's Texas group and then there's just access to everybody nationally. It's pretty impressive. I've been very pleased.
KEVIN: The one thing I would tell for people listening and it doesn't matter for an independent you're at a big franchise system or you're in some regional brokerage. The level of collaboration right because the franchises tackle this this way right. They've got top producers and people and certainly Julia you would fall into this category where when you are doing what you're doing in productivity coaching there will be an event and they would have you up there and people that traveled to that event would get to experience you or if they're in your market center you would be heavily visible and the agents would be able to catch you and hear you and learn from you. Well in the EXP model we have icon agents we've got other agents and the level of masterminding across the country that happens every day and every week blows away one event or two events per year and that's something that I think when I looked at this when Gene first approached me a couple years ago I didn't get that that was going to happen when I joined with Gene last year it was really at the point where the company got critical mass right. I think that you know there were 400 agents when you first talked to me. He likes to kid me inside me that I'm a real slow decision maker and learner and I didn't join. There were about 35 agents when we reengaged. We just passed 8500 agents were we going to be 10000 agents. So now imagine my point. You're in a company with 10000 agents predominantly you know in your world if you're a franchise there are cappers or better there are big producers the kind agents have a wealth of knowledge. Not only are there sharing within themselves but part of what they're doing is they're giving back to all agents. So your ability to plug in. I know this is preaching to the choir with you but I'm sure I want to get your opinion on this. I've never seen the level of high level skill knowledge and experience being shared every day and every week have you?
JULIE: No and I think in my I'm now part of my read and this is I don't know the exact statistics but I'll just make the point is that at EXP something like 80 percent of the agents are producing so in Real Estate there are a lot of agents out there that actually don't sell any real estate. They're not producing. I didn't experience that before. Managers of real estate offices. They analyze their agent count, production who's producing who's not because that's how they have to run a business and they have to be profitable. At EXP the majority hands down the majority of ... and are producers their cappers and I like being in that environment.
KEVIN: Absolutely. The number that I heard I think Jason Guessings shared this last summer haven't seen it since but this is right before EXP got on that the number was like eighty eight or nine percent. There's plenty of people like myself or Gene who don't list and sell anymore. We're helping mentor and coach and bring people and we're helping the business expand and we're attracting agents. So we count in that you know call it 12% that are not producing this will ring true to you because we're in Austin we're in central Texas you and I see each other because we're also there at the face to face lunch and learns whenever we can because we're supporting from a cultural standpoint being there regardless of whether we have somebody we attracted at an event. That's the model right if you're listening to this whoever introduce you to EXP ask them to invite you to a EXP explain lunch and learn. You'll see people like Julie and I everywhere in the country there that can share our knowledge help you in the due diligence process. Let's go to Austin right everybody knows we've been talking about KW mostly because we both come from there the large office that you were with is the big office right. Highest agent scout in Austin. Production. You know the franchise recently touted the fact that they're number one in a lot of metrics. Gene asked me to poll the numbers and I went and did some research work with some of my title company contacts. We polled the most recent numbers that were available. That was Q3 of 2017. Number one office is the Southwest market center for Keller Williams right people that are listening this week. Well that makes sense. They've been there for more than 25 years right. That's where it all started. And there a huge office now if you look at it from production. I think that I don't know what the exact age account is but it's more than 800 agents and EXP is at 315 agents. It was not in Q3 it was probably 270 or so the number one office is absolutely colorway homes in the market. 800 plus agents. Number two is the XP in production that's an aging count that came in less than two years. So the easiest way to connect the dots for anybody listening if this isn't crystal clear to you is you have to have high producing agents. Everybody's in production way at that high number of 80 or 90% to make it with 300 agents and I had this just come up in an EXP explain where somebody said well but you don't have this many agents. Right. The big franchise system just talked about having way more than 150000 agents and you guys have eight. How is this going to play out. I said well let's just look at Austin 315 agents. There probably were 270. They're number two in the market. 800 agents they have production at number one. But if you start looking at the fact that in Dallas two years ago we had 14 agents Sherry Elliott was the fourteenth agent. They now have 800 agents. You start looking at this happening all over the country. You can close the gap on production with highly producing agents and that's who's being attracted to Keller Williams. Right? But then they stay there for a while and then they look at the next step and I'm going to bring it full circle back to your career piece. Now they're looking at I don't want to be in production so that segment not just at Keller Williams but across the board independents other franchises now go - I need to figure out what this business model is all about-. Those are the people that are moving right we're not attracting any new agents in the parlance of where we came from cappers or better. So Julie if somebody is listening to this and you can kind of describe your due diligence process. They've been introduced to EXP. I always tell them get to explain explain face to face if you've got a complicated business right. They've got a team maybe they're an expansion team and they're in multiple markets. There a major agent. They have plenty of resource. I know you mentioned that you went through the process of talking to people both before you came in after you've witnessed this and probably had people that joined that did this know how powerful do you think it is that you can get senior people in terms of production and experience in EXP regardless of how you were introduced to it.
JULIE: I'm a cautious business person meaning a bit of an over thinker. I really like detail and I will take my time with big decisions. Now some folks they may watch a Gene Frederick video and they are all in and then they're signing up the same day and that's awesome. My wiring is a little different. And so I really needed to take my time. I spoke with numerous people I pulled together a spreadsheet so that I could manage my transition really smoothly. I had phase 1 phase 2 phase 3 phase 4 of making it all happen because I didn't want to forget any of my detail and I had people around the country helping me with helping me be my over thinker self just to manage the process. It was about all its work to change brokers. I had that vision and I was really excited for the vision so Christy Davidson helped me out quite a bit. The Lewises helped me out. There were just a number of people that I tapped into and it said Okay help me. Help me understand this help me put my pieces together here. Help me with this plan. You know I like things now. It was about three or four weeks really just kind of planning and putting the pieces in place so that the day that I made the switch I really fell quite organized. It was a smooth process. So for the owner thinkers out there we can help you.
KEVIN: Well absolutely. Before we wrap up Julie is going to give her contact information and what she's describing is not unusual right if that's your behavioral style and you want to do detail due diligence or your business is mission critical right. You and your team sell a lot of property and you have a lot of pendings and a complicated business. Doesn't matter who introduced you to EXP ask them to tap into the network. You can go to anybody on any of these interviews or anybody within the company and say I really liked to talk to somebody who is in a similar situation to me and that person or whoever they can reach within the company. And this is the culture of the company. They will take the call. You can text them or e-mail them and they will help you through the process. We're all shareholders. We all want to make sure you make a good decision. The EXP is not a perfect fit for everybody as Julie said sometimes people make the decision not now or not the right thing for me or I decide not to do it and we're okay with that. We have plenty of people in the company at this point while we're recording this is bringing in more than 250 agents nationwide per week. So we've got plenty of people that are interested. We want great agents to make a good decision. We realize it's not a fit for everybody but we want more than anything is for you to get real due diligence information. We don't want you. And that's why Gene and I started this podcast we want you to hear in agent's own words how it should work so that you're not hearing something that secondhand or god forbid a thousand comments on a Facebook post where people are going between a franchise and EXP at the end of it you've heard 500 different opinions and you're just confused right you're like well I don't know what to believe anymore. And so the best practices get plugged in get great advice real advice from people that have made the change. Some of them can say OK here's where I came from. Here's what I did and here's what I know now that I've been here and there's plenty of people I'm sure you did that as part of your process and you're phasing.
JULIE: Yeah. So I mean for anybody listening to this podcast if you've been in one of my classes if they've seen me speak on stage at some point if we're connected some way online and your you're thinking about this or you're considering the EXP just call me. Shoot me an email. Shoot me a Facebook message and let's chat. I'm getting messages like that almost every day. I will help you have an objective conversation about making that decision.
KEVIN: I want to tie this down because there's got to be somebody listening to this to say oh my god I'm happy with my franchise I'm happy in my business. I'm not a disgruntled and upset. You were there. That was your position when you first started your diligence. Don't let that stop you from...
JULIE: I like to say I wasn't running away from something so my move was not an anti move. I wasn't running away from something I was moving towards a new opportunity and our industry changes. It evolves it changes and you have to pay attention and figure out where do you want to be. What works for you and what is the best fit for you. Initially when I was analyzing kind of my five and 10 year plan and trying to figure out some solutions for my business and my personal finances and really taking a look at that I have a coach and I asked her I said this is everything I'm trying to figure out. I need a roadmap. And initially I said my intention is to stay at KW okay so will you help me figure it out? And she said I'll help you figure it out. But if you're open to this kind of removing your blinders a little bit so we can really objectively analyze your options. That's it that's fair. Was that fair enough. So so it really initially was my intention to stay stay where it was. But as I allowed myself to be objective and look at my choices the EXP opportunity and the solutions it provided for me and my business and my personal life became so clear really fast and I tried to poke holes in it because I didn't want to make a mistake. I really tried to poke holes in it. I even challenged my coach said am I making a good decision here. You just play devil's advocate with me and help me be extremely sure and confident with what I'm doing. And it passed all of those tests.
KEVIN: No and that's a great point. So I want to come back to talking about your book because before we wrap up I think this is a valuable tool. Whether you're looking to make a change or anything like that this has nothing to do with that Julie's book is something I would highly recommend. I want you to be able to at least plug it will have a link in the show notes to it as well.
JULIE: Thanks. One day I did when I left my leadership position is I felt like I had so much information and knowledge in my head. As far as helping agents and particularly what I call new and emerging agents but especially this group and I was in this group of what I call relaunching agents. So maybe agents I don't care if they're three years and or 13 years and for one reason or another they're in a position where they're kind of re launching their business. In my case I had been in leadership and was moving back into production. So I was really launching my business. Sometimes it's an agent who just isn't particularly happy with how their business is running or the money that they're making. And the beauty of that is they can actually start over. You could just start over today in this business. So call that relaunching. So I wrote this book it's called Success Faster. Quickly launch or relaunch a real estate career. It's on Amazon so you type in Julie Nelson Success Faster it'll pop up on Amazon and is getting some really good reviews it's helping a lot of people. And that's my goal. It's just for content to help people that help realtors be more successful and really enjoy their businesses. There's an entire chapter in the book on evaluating broker choice. So someone who has a brand new agent or somebody who is in the process of getting their real estate license nobody has taught them what options are out there and how to make an objective analysis. So we take a look at that and then part of the chapter is for somebody who is mid career and reassessing their broker choice. So that's the book Success Faster.
KEVIN: Excellent. And again I would highly recommend it for anybody regardless of where they are in their career. There's one in there for you regardless of where you are on your 10 year in the business. Julie if somebody is listen to this what's the best contact information for you.
JULIE: I'm really easy to find online. SO if you can't find me need to try just a little harder. But as Julie Nelson you can find me on Facebook and my e-mail is TheNelsonProject@gmail.com or you can find me on Facebook if you type in Julie Nelson Austin Texas or Julie Nelson EXP Realty.
KEVIN: Excellent. Julie thank you so much for coming on the show.
JULIE: Of course. My pleasure.