About Brandon Montemayor:
He was born and raised in Santa Clarita, CA (North Los Angeles). He played college baseball at Clemson and UL Lafayette and has coached baseball for over 20 years. He has an amazing wife and 2 kids (both boys, 9 and 12 years old). He started in real estate at 19 when rehabbing a shoulder injury. He runs a top local team with 2 sales specialists and 2 full-time admins. He spends a lot of off-work hours coaching his kids, learning (crypto and personal development), and trying to play golf from time to time.
In this episode, Steve and Brandon Montemayor discuss:
- Delivering the message the right way
- Making people comfortable
- More than technical
- Keeping it simple
If you deliver the message the right way, a lot of people are going to like you and want to listen to you even when they don't know exactly why.
Make people comfortable, no matter how similar or different they are from you.
It’s not enough to have a lot of technical skills; you have to have genuine compassion for your clients and a willingness to provide value that will benefit them.
Keep it simple, always. Your goal is not to sell but for the client to understand what they’re buying and for them to make an informed decision to close a deal with you.
“I’m not gonna convince a random person on the side of the road who doesn’t wanna buy a home or can’t buy a home - I’m not that great of a salesman. But sometimes, we’re able to sit down with clients and ask them questions that will help them self-discover whether now is the right time to do this.” - Brandon Montemayor
Connect with Brandon Montemayor:
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/bringingyouhomescv
- Website: www.bringingyouhomescv.com
- YouTube: https://www.youtube.com/user/BrandonYourREPro
Connect with Steve and Jason:
Listen to the podcast here
Brandon Montemayor: Master The Fundamentals
I say this every episode but I have got an awesome guest now. A little bit different. We focus a lot on financial services, mortgages, and different things. In this episode, I am proud to say I have one of the top real estate agents in all of Southern California. This guy is a quality agent. As many of you know, Southern California is a fairly large metropolitan statistical area. Insight Interview world, say hello to Brandon Montemayor. Brandon, say hey to The Insight Interview world.
Hey, Insight Interview world. Good to be on. Thank you.
It's great to have you on the show. I can't wait to ask you. I have got a lot of questions. There are questions about what you do for a living. It's such an interesting thing, the buying and selling of real estate and how people do that. At least from a cost perspective, it's the number one most people purchase in their entire life. You have been doing this for many years. You started young.
One of the things that I'm excited about is I have noticed that you don't just do this business, you are a student of it. I am eager to hear what you have learned and how you got there. I'm going to kick off with a question that doesn't have a lot to do with that, it might. Here's my first question. What are you grateful for now?
There are so many things. It's such a crazy time out there in so many different ways. I'm grateful for, most importantly, my family. I have an amazing family, my wife, Megan, and my two kids, Easton and Hudson. I love being home with them. More than anything, that's what drives me at work. It’s what helps me get up in the morning.
It's my big why. Providing for them, getting the time we want whether it's on the ice hockey rink with my oldest one, on the baseball field with the boys, hanging out on the couch watching sports, or Netflix with the family and the wife. I’m grateful for all the time in this industry, the hard work, and my team that allows me to spend with them. First and foremost, I'm grateful for my family every day.
Let's dive into that. I set the table a little bit with regard to what you do. You have got a pretty cool background in athletics. I'd love to talk a little bit about that but maybe we could launch into that by giving us a snapshot of you. If you were forced to take 3 to 4 minutes of telling us the Brandon Montemayor story, how'd you end up here? Who are you?
I'm born and raised out here in Santa Clarita, California. For most people who have maybe been to Southern California but don't know it, we are right near Magic Mountain. That's what we say. We are in the North Los Angeles area. It’s about 25 miles from downtown LA. That's about a four-hour car drive out here depending on the day.
I grew up playing sports. My parents were also raised in the town that we are from. It's one of those big small towns. We have 300,000 people in Santa Clarita, a lot of people who've lived here a long time. I grew up in a somewhat small town feel but with a lot of people and it's grown over the years. During that time, I was heavily involved in sports. Baseball was the main sport that I participated in.
You can have anything you want in the world if you help enough people get what they want.
I was fortunate enough to get to go play some college baseball. I got a scholarship to Clemson in South Carolina out of high school. I went there for a year. I blew out my shoulder. I came back home. I went to the local junior college here. I had a good season. I earned a scholarship to Louisiana Lafayette playing for the Ragin’ Cajuns. I then blew out my ankle. I had one of those careers where I'd get rolling and something would sideline me and figured out that it probably prior wasn't meant to be at that point.
During one of my rehab stints after shoulder surgery, I had some downtime, which I wasn't used to being an athlete. You are nonstop between school and that. I saw a sign at one of the local Century 21s that said, “Get your real estate license.” That was something I was always interested in. My dad was in the business for a few years back in the mid to late-‘80s and early-‘90s.
On our car drives into school, he would be listening to Mike Ferry cassette tapes on sales. That's how I grew up, with Mike Ferry, Tom Hopkins, Zig Ziglar, and all these motivational and sales speakers. I grew up hearing that. A funny little story. Alicia, who's on my team here at Montemayor & Associates, her daughter’s teacher was my kindergarten teacher. Long story short. I said, “Tell Mrs. Rollins I said hi.” She came back and said, “Mrs. Rollins wants you to come and see her in the next few days. She's retiring this year. Come and say hi.”
I went in, I gave her a big hug, and we got to chat. From kindergarten, we wrote down what we want to be when we grow up. In kindergarten, I said, “When I grow up, I want to sell homes.” If I knew that was my big moment, I probably should have said something more than selling homes. My wish came true. In any case, I started in the real estate business at nineteen.
I had a short little break to go back and play some college baseball for a couple of years. I have been doing it since. In between all of that, I used to do private instruction for baseball. I coached youth travel baseball and also was the head varsity coach at one of the local high schools out here for a couple of years. That's a quick snapshot of what I have done, real estate, baseball, and a fortune-telling kindergarten assignment.
Mike Ferry, Zig Ziglar, and Tom Hopkins are things you are growing up with. When you were a kid and you were hearing that stuff, some of the timeless things that those guys might have said, what stays with you? Is there anything particular? It might be conceptual. It might not be a specific thing they said. Some of those guys back in the ‘70s, ‘80s, and ‘90s, what did they say that stuck with you?
There were a few things. There are two things that jumped out immediately. A lot of people in our line of work have listened to Zig Ziglar. Any motivational speaker would reference this one so it's maybe boring. It’s the whole idea of, “You can have anything in the world that you want if you help enough people get what they want.” I don't think I said that perfectly but that's the idea.
That's always been my approach since I was young. I always enjoyed helping people. That's gone into my coaching and real estate business. It's a passion of mine. I love helping out, whatever it may be. I love teaching. The second thing was more of a sales thing. Tom Hopkins and Mike Ferry, I remember hearing them both talking about mirror and matching or mirror and mimicking.
I ended up graduating in interpersonal communications and that was on purpose. Some of it had to do that I went to 4 or 5 different colleges and I finally went to the last one and said, “How can I graduate as quickly as possible?” With all these units from different schools, they pointed me in the direction of communications, which was where we were headed anyway.
Fundamentals: We focus on relationships. That's why 90% of our business every year comes from repeat referral business.
It’s the idea of being able to communicate with someone whether you have just met them or you have known them a long time and the idea of how you stand, your nonverbal skills, how you deliver the message, your tone, your rate of speech, and all of that stuff. If you deliver the message in the right way, there are people who like you and want to chat with you and they are not even sure why.
That was something that stood out to me at a young age. I'd see my dad do it. I remember one little quick story. He was talking to a client on the phone and all of a sudden, my dad developed a thick Russian accent. I couldn't understand why. I'm looking at him. He explained later the idea of mirror and match. It matched up with what I was hearing on the tapes on our car drives in. That was it. I was trying to make people feel comfortable no matter who they are if they were like me or not like me. That was a skill that I developed early on. I enjoyed the science and the art behind it all.
Over all the years of being a real estate agent, what has surprised you? As you got into the business if you could think back to what you maybe thought it was versus what it is, what has surprised you about this business?
The thing that surprised me and continues to surprise me and a lot of people who come into this industry is the amount of work that goes into running a successful real estate business. On TV, you watch Million Dollar Listing or some of these ones. It looks like your average agent who wakes up late, goes to the gym, has a few conversations, meets for lunch to negotiate a contract, and gets a $100,000 paycheck every week.
That's not what happened.
Maybe I'm doing it wrong. Over here in Santa Clarita, it’s not so much. I got to go for hours, 25 miles south to Los Angeles. It’s how much of an on-purpose and focused effort needs to go to grow a purposeful business that continues to operate whether you are there for the day or not. I love systems. I love making things work. I love looking down the line and saying, “Where are we going to have the issue in this machine of ours?” That's where we have had a lot of our success over the years and staying in touch with people.
Our focus is on a database, remembering people's birthdays, dropping something off on their porch, pumpkins during the holidays, a quick text message, and a phone call. We focus on relationships. 90% of our business, give or take a few percent every year, comes from repeat referral business. I have become a student of that. I have done that over the years whether it's going to seminars or coaching. I remember reaching out to an agent who lived in South Carolina. It happened to be a coincidence that he was from the Clemson area.
I reached out to him and asked him because I knew he was selling a lot of homes in a small town. He had a few cool systems that he talked about in a webinar that he did. I don't know if there were webinars back years ago but it was something online. He shared with me how he focuses on his main database group. He's got a group that he calls Target 25 or the people who tend to refer his business on an annual basis or even more than that and how he takes care of those people. That's what we have created as a result of where our business came from.
Here's a question. You can open and show me your database. That's a tangible thing. That's not some ethereal concept. You have a database where if I came to your office, you go, “Let's open it up. Let's look at it.” Inside that database, are you saying even today that you have got that thing fairly tiered? You know the people. You have some As, Bs, and Cs. I trust that that's at least one of the systems that you have.
During this time, the skill of talking to clients and knowing how to follow up are more important than anything.
We have different levels of people who communicate with us and refer to us. Each different level has a different way. With frequency, how often we communicate with them and what we drop off for them based on the history there.
That seems basic. You are listening to that going, “You are asking me some fairly fundamental questions.” That's a pretty basic thing, right?
What percentage of people in your industry do you think master that fundamental?
Very small. Everyone has a database on accident now through Facebook, Instagram, TikTok, or whatever it is you tend to jump on your phone. In an actual database that has an action plan assigned to a contact, I still don't run into a lot of agents. Some who've done this business a very long time and are successful at what they do are still struggling to get that put together. For any agents that I have trained and coached in the past, the first thing that we recommend and help them put into play is the database because it's one of those things.
It's like going fishing, you have your fishing pole and your bait but you are only wearing swim trunks. When you catch the fish, you are in the middle of the lake floating around and you have nowhere to put the fish. You got one that's fantastic but now your day is over until you swim back to shore and drop it off. Based on that example, when we catch a fish, we have a system to toss that fish into the basket and take care of that fish. We don't throw it right on the grill.
I was going to carry that metaphor, “Just put it in your swim trunks for a little while.”
Some do. Some are very good at putting in their swim trunks.
Now I have got an image I got to get rid of. You and I could do an insightful interview about the fundamentals. You happen to be a pro at these things in the real estate market asking people about the fundamentals in a show. Maybe I'm sitting here thinking, “Is it so fundamental that it's pedestrian?”
Fundamentals: When we catch a fish, we have a system to toss that fish into the basket and take care of it. We don't throw it right on the grill.
Yet, when I asked you what percentage of people get to these fundamentals or master these fundamentals, you and I both know it’s a small percentage. It doesn't matter even what industry you are in. I don't want to go into why and get accusatory or anything like that. I do want to ask, what are some of the other fundamentals that you can think of that you guys do that if you were teaching a class, you'd say, “Hit that one.”
I'm sitting at my desk and I'm looking out the window, I have a little sign that says, “Keep it simple.” That was a message that I learned from my high school baseball coach, Bud Murray. He said, “Keep it simple, stupid.” It’s KISS. He repeated that to us quite a bit back in the day. It's all about the fundamentals. If you ask anybody in almost any industry what they do, the majority of the time, it's simple. It’s what most people know they should be doing.
The people who are down that path and successful with it have done it every day for a very long time. I know some of the top agents and top lenders in our area and they are good friends of mine. I have asked them these questions and they don't do anything secretive or there's no magic pill to this. They just get up early and repeat the same routine day after day. They have been doing it for 20 or 30 years now. That's what we have done as well.
It's a database. It's working on our communication skills. As real estate agents, lenders, or anybody who's in a sales or consulting type business, you can be the best agent. You can write contracts in ten seconds and open a lockbox fast. If you can't talk to a client and genuinely care for what's going on in their life at the moment and if right now is the best time for them to buy or sell, then also help them work through situations.
We have had times where we have had to talk clients out of buying or selling. We have had other times where we have had to talk our clients into it. Looking from the outside in, we said, “This is the right time for you.” Then 100% of the time, they come back to us six months later and say, “Thank you for giving me that extra little nudge.”
At the end of the day, I'm not going to convince a random person on the side of the road who doesn't want to buy a home or can't buy a home that they do. I'm not that great of a salesman. Sometimes we are able to sit down with clients and ask them some questions that help them self discover whether now is the right time for them to do this. That’s where we have put a lot of our focus and where we spent a lot of our time, money, and energy outside of our database in developing our own skills.
With the market that we have coming at us, with the possible recession, with inventory being extremely low, and interest rates going up. Out here, the inventory is starting to creep up, which could cause another problem. If we all of a sudden have a flood of inventory and high rates, that never sets up for a good strong market. Things start heading in a different direction. During this time, skills are more important than anything in talking to clients and knowing how to follow up.
For the last few years, if you had a real estate license and a pulse, you could sell a house and you could sell it at a record rate for the neighborhood because everything was going up. Anybody who sold the house, that was the new record high. I'm sure everyone's sick of seeing that on Facebook, a real estate friend who broke the neighborhood record again.
In this downtime or as things start shifting, that's where we put our focus. What new skills, technology, or things can we learn that are going to help our clients down the line and help make the process smoother for them? Especially, when it's not going to be as cut and dry of a decision. We got a lot of people leaving California. They need help walking through that. That's what we try to do.
"Today, I will do what others won't, so tomorrow I can do what others can't."
That's fantastic. Thank you so much. I'm going to bring you back to one thing. These things go fast. I have got so many other questions for you. I'm curious to get your insight specifically about this. The fundamentals, you listed off a few things there, database, systems, communication skills, and working on stuff. You didn't break any new ground there but that's the point.
You used the word should. Most of those people that don't have those systems, that don't master the fundamentals, it isn't a function of knowledge. Maybe for some of them. If you are just into it and you need to know how to use a database, understand the systems, or understand the inner workings of how real estate transactions work legally and all the other stuff, there's knowledge. We should have a database. We should learn to communicate. You should learn to take care of people. We both admitted that people, many, are not.
I would like to hear you talk about what it is that you have seen either that you do or others do that brings people from, “I should do that,” to the, “I'm doing it.” I'm trying to figure out a crafty way to ask you the $50 million question. It's always nice to hear from a guy like you because you are in the streets doing that. How do you help someone close the gap between should and do?
That is what separates people in all industries, especially in sales, consulting, or anything down that line. It's knowing what questions to ask and listening to our clients. There are a lot of people out there that are so focused on selling something or their own needs that they don't sit and listen to what the client is telling you. If you sit there and listen and you ask the right questions, you go down the appropriate path to help them make a final decision. At no point do we have a commission breath where we are breathing on them and they feel that.
Over the years, I have learned to get better at this but there are some times I probably didn't go far enough with them to not ask for a decision right now or I'm not leaving your house type thing. At least say, “Have we covered everything where we have broken this decision down for you to A or B?” That's what we do to help these people out, “If we stay here, what would that look like? If we go there, what would that look like? If you did stay here, why wouldn't that work for you? If you went there, why wouldn't that work for you?”
It's simple questions again. Most of the time, they haven't had the chance because of everything else going on in their world with kids, sports, work, bills, and you name it. They haven't had time to break it down and have someone help simplify it for them. That's what I take a lot of pride in doing for our clients. Let's pull back all the other muck in that and let's get down to the core of the decision. We ask the right questions and we help them get to where they need to go.
Simplicity. That's fantastic. Thank you. I'm laying in bed in the morning and I start to make a list of all the things I know I should do, “I should get up. I should do this. I should do that.” I'm should-ing. I’m doing that, which we have all done. You should-ed.
I have should-ed on myself many times.
My experience of you is there are also been many times when you move from should to do. I suppose what I'm also trying to pry out of you is, what is it that moved you to get out of bed, put on your shoes, go do your morning routine, go and do the meetings, and put the systems together? We are not just reading a book and theorizing about this. We are doing it. If we know a lot of people don't do that, I could only conclude that they are should-ing. What has moved you from should to do is what I'm trying to ask.
Fundamentals: What separates people in all industries is knowing what questions to ask and really listening to clients.
I have this picture framed right next to my desk and I look at it every day. I have it up at my house, too. It's the saying, “Today I will do what others won't. Tomorrow, I can do what others can't.” That's the core of what gets my feet on the ground in the morning. If I don't get my work done today, I'm not going to get to go have fun tomorrow. I'm not going to be able to provide for my family the way that I feel that they deserve to be provided for. There have been different times in my life when we get invited to vacation and we had to sit down and think about it because, financially, it was a sacrifice. Were we willing to go have fun few days in Vegas and then risk that extra few thousand we had in the bank should something come up? Another should there.
I got tired of making those choices. I wanted to make choices based on whether we wanted to do it or not and not whether we could financially handle it. It started from getting up, working out, improving my morning routine every single day, getting to work, and doing the basic boring stuff that needs to get done for us to continue to have the phone ring. Clients think about us when they want to buy or sell a home. That's what got me going.
How much did you think you learned from your upbringing in baseball about going in the work ethic that you had to bring to that sport to get to the level you got?
I almost attribute it all to baseball because I wasn't a good player growing up. I was afraid of the ball until I was 12 or 13 years old. I batted last in the lineup. I was a decent catcher. When I hit junior high, I finally decided I want to be good at this. My dad was an ex-high school wrestler and a world champion bodybuilder. I knew what hard work looked like. That's what he told me, “If you want it, go outwork everybody.” That was the mentality I took into that. That's how I got better at baseball. That’s how I grinded it out in the business.
I love the simplicity. I hope for the readers, maybe you will ask yourself, what is keeping it simple look like for you? Where are your shoulds? What are some of the things in your practice, business, or life that you would consider fundamental and yet could still be a should? These are some of the insights that I'm having here. It’s this idea of how you communicate with people and that you practice that.
This is something that my business partner, Jason Abell, was also brought up. He can talk about Tom Hopkins. Whether we like everything all these people say or not, you are filling your brain with people who were talking about stuff that helps you help others. How can that be bad? We would continue to do that. That's fantastic.
I love your why. There are so many insights here. Jason and I do this when we sew up these shows. This is called The Insight Interviews. Yes, your insights are great. I might add an element or two. It doesn't matter what ours are. As the reader, what are yours? What insight did you have? What epiphany did you have? Would you be willing to go from should to doing on that insight? Brandon, thank you for being a part of the show. Thank you so much.
It's my pleasure. I appreciate you having me on.
Go kick butt. Keep practicing those fundamentals.
You got it.
We will see you next time on the next episode.
- Brandon Montemayor
- Steve Scanlon
- Jason Abell