Lisa Chinatti leads the number one real estate team in Massachusetts (Chinatti Realty) and is a moderator on the 5AM Call. We sat down in her new 17,000 square foot HQ to talk about her background, her team, and her strategy for the next 12 to 18 months.
Before Real Estate
Before real estate, Lisa did foster care for years, providing a safe, nurturing environment for 50 children, and it’s a cause she still supports.
In fact, she works now in real estate to support her charitable work. So, while she’s a formidable business leader in the real estate world, those who know her see the caring, thoughtful person behind the serious, savvy exterior.
I asked for her take on agents or teams that advertise their charitable work.
I feel like you do charitable work to make yourself feel good or to know that you’re doing good. But I almost feel like it diminishes it if somebody’s doing charitable work to build their brand. That, to me, defeats the purpose of doing charitable work.
Content and Branding
Because she’s given everything away again and again, she hasn’t gotten the attention she deserves as a thought leader in the industry. We’d like to change that.
I don’t feel that the company is about me. So, when I really stop to think about ‘Why don’t I do it?’ it’s because… I think it only is what it is because of every single person that’s here within the company now…. And then, the second end of it becomes, Drunk Monkey side, I always question whether there are people smarter than me who are doing things better than me, and what does my voice matter?
That kicked off an important discussion about people we know who are smarter and have more experience than either one of us, yet who are always open to learning something new from newer and emerging voices in the industry. Lisa has plenty to offer agents at all levels.
On a side note, that segued to a five thousand dollar bet I lost to Lisa.
Plans and Mistakes
Since we all know mistakes are inevitable, I asked Lisa what mistakes she was planning to make over the next 12 to 18 months as the market shifts – or, to put it another way, what is she pouring her assets into?
One of the things we’ll be really going even deeper on diversifying our lead sources… I think one of the mistakes that we’ll make is, as those things shift, misjudging where lead volumes are gonna fall.
Lead volume is down across the board. And, as Lisa pointed out, when businesses get to a certain point, you count on a certain number of transactions just to cover day-to-day expenses. So, she’s leaning more into branding and cultivating their database.
In-person seminars for the public
I love Lisa’s idea for in-person seminars for the public, for several reasons. For one, it’s a great way to educate the community on homeownership vs renting.
I was driving into work with my daughter this morning… And one of the things we were talking about is what it’s going to look like for her generation to become homeowners… and she had this epiphany as it’s her first exposure to the real estate market, and the prices of homes and understanding how much income she would need in order to be able to afford a home, and she looked at me this morning and she was like, ‘I think my generation is in trouble.’
The cost of housing is a daunting obstacle right now for younger generations. College debt makes that even more of a challenge. And high school does nothing to prepare kids for this.
So, it’s worth asking what we as agents can do to help with the unaffordable housing issue.
When demand is high and transactions are fast and furious, it’s not as crucial for agents to know how to negotiate a deal.
When most of our deals are being done without inspections, there’s an art and a science to negotiation. You and I built our businesses on that, right? You learned to sell by how well you could negotiate… Maybe half the agents in the industry right now have never actually had to negotiate…
As Lisa pointed out, we’re entering a phase where we’re going to negotiate each contract multiple times – to get the offer accepted, after inspection, and after appraisals. And how you negotiate that offer price will impact every negotiation that follows.
The good things about this market
We’ve had an easy market for the past few years, but agents like Lisa and I – and a lot of the agents we know – we like a more challenging market. So, I encourage agents to get excited. Because I believe this is when you can build the biggest brand in your community.
Not just the biggest brand but the longest-lasting brand. If you can build it in this market, consumers are gonna remember it forever.
This is the kind of market where agents willing to go back to the basics, develop their skills, and focus on what works will do well in spite of – or even because of – the challenges.
The big takeaway
I asked Lisa what message she’d like to send to agents at any level. What’s her one big thing to leave with this audience?
I think the one big thing is to think about all the Plan As, Plan Bs, and Plan Cs… Assume that you’re gonna make a mistake. And have Plan B ready to go so that it’s a seamless transition from Plan A to Plan B. And know that Plan B might need to have a back-up, too. And have it ready to go…
Oddly enough, in last week’s episode, Greg Schwartz, the founder of Tomo, said the exact same thing but in a different way: be very strategic and incredibly prepared. Great minds….
Watch the full episode for more.
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