What this Air Force Veteran turned real estate agent is doing to grow like crazy…

So today we have a special blog post, we had the opportunity to interview an Air Force Veteran turned real estate agent and he is absolutely killing it! Find out how he’s growing like crazy here:


Mike Oddo:
Good morning!

Jake Houle:
Mornin! So, today what’s happening? We got our boy here, Jay Arbizu from San Antonio, Texas,

Jay Arbizu:
Good morning!

Jake Houle:

I’m excited about diving in! We’re just going to hang out for a little bit, kind of talk about what’s going on in this lovely 2021 and get things rocking. So, let’s roll.

How long have you been in real estate?

Jay Arbizu:
So be going on 16 years now, this year.

Mike Oddo:
That’s OG status.

Jake Houle:
You’re just a little bit behind Señor Oddo up there.

Jay Arbizu:
Yeah. I was talking to an agent the other day that randomly called about doing an open house and we got to chit chatting and we’re talking his age, my age, and all of a sudden he says, “Wow, you’re old enough to be my dad.” That’s when I knew I’d been in the business for a while.

So before, I was basically in the air force. I’d gone on active duty for a while. Then when I got out, I used the GI bill, I went back to school, but I stayed in the reserves, in the guard, that kind of thing. And that’s what kind of I was doing when I started real estate. Like I said, I was doing military one weekend a month kind of thing and launching the real estate career.

What made you pick real estate?

Jay Arbizu:
I decided I wanted it… In the military, I knew every month, how much I was going to make, every year, how much it’s going to make, in 20 years, it was all mapped out for me. Right? So that kind of made me start thinking about what could I do bigger and better. And then the whole idea, just the general idea of like, I never wanted to wake up to somebody’s banging a trash can or an alarm again. So, I thought, why not work for myself? But yeah, real estate seemed like the quickest way to get to that point, where I can kind of do my own thing.

Do you have a team now?

Jay Arbizu:
Yeah. And it’s not a traditional team in that sense. Most of them are all their own agents, but with what we’re doing with Market Maker, we’re splitting the referral fee, that way I can kind of recoup the cost of launching it for them. And that’s kind of how we’ve done it.

Jake Houle:
Nice. And that’s working out for you, enough to where we’re getting things rolling in some other markets as well.

Jay Arbizu:
Correct.

Jake Houle:
EXP is a little bit different model, right?

Jay Arbizu:
Right, right. For sure.

Jake Houle:
You’re able to team up with people without it being the traditional team type. But at the end of the day, it’s still all about the same things, which is, how can you help people be more successful in real estate, close more deals

Jay Arbizu:
Right.

Jake Houle:
And you need people to do that.

Has Market Maker Helped In Building Your Team?

Jay Arbizu:
Oh yes, I’ve learned the majority of my business is repeat and referral stuff. I like to teach that to other agents but, there’s obviously that need for closings first. In my experience, it takes 18 months, two years to really ramp up a repeat referral business. I wish I had this when I was starting, as a way to feed the funnel upfront and then build out the rest of it behind that.

Jay Arbizu:
Ideally, that’s what we’re building out for our agents, the people that we’re working with, we’re showing them how to do that and using Market Maker to feed their funnel now and get them started. And especially with a new agent, we’ve got a couple of new agents that we’re working within that group. And they’re getting phone calls every week. They’re working with buyers, they’re talking to people, which is, I feel like the biggest part of the learning curve. Right? You get out of real estate school and then it could be 60, 90 days before you talk to anybody if you start trying to do all the traditional training and route to go into business. So, that’s why I’ve enjoyed it. It’s shortened that learning curve, for sure.

What Was Your Experience With Market Maker Early On?

Jay Arbizu:
I will say that one thing that impressed me with Market Maker was the whole idea of, here is a warm transfer of talking to a buyer or a seller about real estate. I’m not a big fan of, just getting more leads in the door because, ultimately, that means more time sitting in front of a computer, following up, making a search for somebody. It’s been six or eight months, have I followed up with them again? To me, that’s not why I got into the real estate business. And I feel like most of the agents are similar.

Jay Arbizu:
Anyway, so that’s how we got started. We’ve had success and it’s only been a short time. Mid-October is when we started, so this will be about 90 days and we’ve got two scheduled closings. One of them is a lead that I worked because I wanted to know how the system worked and not just throw it at some agents and say, “Go at it.”

Jay Arbizu:
But this has been fast. And we’ve had, like I said, our average sales price, I call it about 250 here. The first deal that I closed personally, was a three 335 deal. So it was above the average, which was good. And then we’ve got another agent that’s closing one at the end of the month, that’ll be her first one on the deal or with Market Maker. So, seeing success with the group that we wanted to, and seeing the success happen for me, I got excited about it. And that’s where we started looking into growing it because if we can do it in this market, why not another market?

Do You Have Any Advice on How to Convert Leads to Clients?

Jay Arbizu:
Yeah. I mean, I will say that the support from you guys has been great and with Julia and then she went back over everything with the team on a weekly basis until they kind of felt comfortable too. So that part of it’s been great too. It wasn’t, again, like other systems where it’s like, here’s the stuff, go figure it out. You guys helped us launch it as well. So that was awesome.

Jay Arbizu:
And then as far as the way that it’s worked out for us, is the script that you guys provided, which is, it’s almost natural for us at this point, but I think that’s one of the most important parts is, to meet up with these prospective clients, one way or the other. We had one guy that told me he wasn’t going to sell it until next year. And so I said, “Oh, well, let me come out and give you a value for your house and see where you’re at, make sure you’re going to really get what you want out of the house.” And so he became excited about that. And then it turns out, he was a veteran as well so, we hit it off and we’ve been keeping up with each other on texts and different stuff that’s going on.

Jay Arbizu:
So now, I feel really comfortable with that guy, in a year, is definitely going to be a client. And honestly, he wants to, again, it’s a high price point for our area, but he wants to sell a $600,000 house, downgrade to a $500,000 house, and buy a couple of rentals. So, that’s one appointment that’s potentially, four deals in a pipeline for later this year, early next year.

The Little Things

I think a big key in that is, what most people miss, three-quarters of these people are going to do business with the first agent they meet. And generally, I think a lot of agents, especially if they’ve been jaded or maybe aren’t familiar with lead gen, definitely, maybe not having that base that you had on the sphere in referral, they treat these people a little differently. They treat them like, maybe they’re not human. And my thing is, just go make a friend.

Mike Oddo:
You had that affinity point. That’s what we call those, something that you have in common with somebody. I’ve found affinity points with people that have the same name as my sister. And just telling them that they’re like, “Oh, so you kind of think of me as a sister.” “Well, yeah. I guess. It’s the same name.”

Mike Oddo:
It can be something as small as that, or, for example, you’ve been in the Air Force. I grew up in Omaha, Nebraska, which is, Bellevue and Offutt. Have you ever been to Offutt?

Jay Arbizu:
Yeah, I have been up there. Yeah.

Mike Oddo:
Yeah. So, there’s something we could talk about. Right? It’s like a cheat code almost. And it does become a natural thing and the more up to bats that you have, the more natural you’re going to become at it. For me, I screwed up a lot, but I just had them keep coming and keep coming, enough to screw up to the point where I could learn and figure it out.

In the expansion, where did that come from? How did you decide to do that?

Jay Arbizu:
So I’ve got an agent that’s in the Atlanta, Georgia market, that area. And that was one of the first people that made the move to eXp with us because he was in a different part of the country, but we had met through some marketing groups. And anyway, when he made the move, he’s been over there and he just told me that he got a handful of new agents that he was trying to mentor and bring up to speed.

Jay Arbizu:
I didn’t say anything to him at first. I wanted to see it work before I started utilizing it. And then once I saw how it was working, then I brought it up with him about, this is working pretty well, and especially with new agents, they’re the ones that we have here. So, it just sounded like it was going to translate great for him. And we talked it over and he said, “Yeah, let’s do it.”

Jay Arbizu:
So now, they’re ramping it up and giving it a shot. They’ve only been at it, I think it’s got to be less than 30 days with them. But, they’ve been at it two or three weeks and they’re already getting appointments, and again, everybody gets excited by the lead count and I’m like, I don’t care about that. I want to see the appointments. Like, how many phone calls are we getting? To me, that’s the thing that separates this from everything else.

Mike Oddo:
Yeah, for sure. And one of the things that we do, and this is what Jake is really, really masterful at, we run the same marketing program to sell Market Maker. Right? So, what we track are the number of appointments, the percentage of show rate, which we run 40 to 50% of the people that set the appointment actually show. And then obviously, they go back into the pipeline for the people who don’t to use every piece of the pig, so to speak.

Mike Oddo:
And then, of that show rate, how many of them were we able to actually turn into a customer? And so, that percentage is what we’re constantly looking at. We’re looking at that per salesperson, which would be per agent, translated over. But it sounds like, really, the desire for the expansion came out of trying to help appear that you were sponsoring.

Jay Arbizu:
Right. Yeah. For me, it’s a really natural fit, especially with the way the business model is designed. Like I said, this is somebody who kind of trusted me early on, to come with us to do this. And then started expanding in different states, which was something I couldn’t do before. And so this was kind of almost a way that I saw was like, Hey, it could be a win-win and it’s almost like a thank you for trusting me all these years.

Mike Oddo:
Social proof has a lot of weight. I could say everything and say it 10 times and ask a question back and I get a different answer than what I just said. So, thank you, again, for talking about this, because it’s really helpful for people to hear. “Hey, if you follow the script and meet with the people, they’re going to either become a client or you’re going to make a potential, future client.”

Mike Oddo:
And the other thing is, even if they aren’t a client if I make a friend… I mean, I’ve made friends before, and the next thing I know, they’re sending me their parents as a referral.

Jay Arbizu:
Yeah.

Mike Oddo:
And their parents have a lot more money. I would have never been able to connect with their parents, had it not been for taking my time to, again, treat them like a human, listen to what they were trying to do, and guide them appropriately. Even if, on their end, it wasn’t feasible at this time.

Jay Arbizu:
Right. Oh yeah, because I mean, that’s something that always seems to come back around, full circle in some way, I guess.

Mike Oddo:
Yeah.

Jay Arbizu:
I’ve been in business long enough to see it doesn’t make sense to discard anybody, really.

Jake Houle:
Yep.

Jake Houle:
And I think, especially with newer agents that you’re helping, like the skill. We always talk about it like, the skills that you develop are the only thing that people can never take away from you. Right? So, in this game, right? You both did it, have done it for a long time. Right? And you naturally, have figured out something that worked, whether it was hooking up with somebody in the past that taught you how to do it, or you just kind of figured out, okay, this is the best way to do it, to get the best result.

Jake Houle:
But you got to the point where that’s now a skill that new people just don’t have. Right? And, a lot of times, that takes up at bats to figure out, okay, I know this script was given to me by a really successful person, but I don’t… it makes me uncomfortable so, I’m going to change it up and I’m going to do it this way. And then you realize that you do it that way and it doesn’t work. And then you’re like, “Oh, I got some egg on my face and now I got to go back to what works.”

Jake Houle:
And like at some point, you just either get fed up enough, you leave, or you figure it out. And like the two of you figured it out, luckily. Right? But a lot of people never do. And I feel like that’s probably one of the most important things that people can get, which is the combination of having enough at-bats and then having someone to hold your hand or guide you or somehow be there for you. So I feel like you’re doing that for the people that you’ve teamed up with. Right? Which is awesome.

Jake Houle:
We try to do that for all of our clients. Some people listen, some people don’t. And it is what it is, but that’s seriously such an important step. Because like, for me talking about our internal process, I mean, if one salesperson that has a 20% closing percentage and another person has a 6% closing percentage, my time goes to the person that has a 6% closing percentage. And I’m working with that person to try and get them up to speed. But it’s all about their skills. It has nothing to do with the leads or where they came from or anything like that. I’m just focused on what they could be doing better to kind of get back up to what everybody else is doing.

Jay Arbizu:
Right. And I like the way you guys say, “at bat” too, because when I think about when I first started out, I think my first year I sold like five or six houses. And I feel like if I had more at-bats, that number comes up, plus the learning curve of getting comfortable and knowing which questions to ask and all that kind of stuff, it would have sped all of that up.

Mike Oddo:
It did for me.

Mike Oddo:
I feel like if, there’s somebody out there younger, that’s in the real estate business and you’re reading this, the way to get around that is to be overly prepared and know the market inside and out, and really know what you’re talking about. Because that competency will come through, no matter what you look like, no matter what your age is, and they’ll know that you’re a professional. And I mean, how many homes are on the market? Average… Days on the market? What’s new right now? I mean, especially if you’re going in for a listing, and just really knowing the market helps tremendously. And then of course, on the marketing side, when I would get done with the listing presentation, they’d be like, “Hey, where did you go to school for marketing?” And I was like, “Oh, I didn’t. I just studied and figured this out.”

Closing Thoughts

Mike Oddo:
Again, I just want to thank you, Jay, for coming on and talking about your experience. Hopefully, we’re inspiring people who are watching this and kind of want to know how it’s done. I’m excited about your future, I’m excited for what you’re doing. I’m humbled and grateful to be a part of it, and I look forward to more continued success with you, for sure.

Jay Arbizu:
Yeah, for sure. Thank you, guys. And I enjoyed being on here! I’ve got nothing but good things to say, so anybody that’s out there and watching or listening, I mean, I’m happy to talk to anybody that wants to know my opinion on it or whatever.

Mike Oddo:
Thank you so much for that.

Jake Houle:
All right, Jay, appreciate it.

Jay Arbizu:
All right. Well, thank you guys.

Mike Oddo:
Thank you, brother.

Jake Houle:
And as I always say here at Market Maker, you are always one pre-positioned appointment away.

Mike Oddo:
Every day.

Jake Houle:
Go get it.

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