Podcast

Episode 92 - GRIT The Real Estate Growth Mindset with Brandon Hedges

Brandon Hedges got into real estate by accident. He was in between a job and starting law school when a close friend convinced him to try selling real estate. He agreed thinking that he could pay his way through law school and make a little money while doing it.

Brian Charlesworth

Brian Charlesworth

Chairman & CEO

Brian is an entrepreneur and business builder. He has built and sold companies in the software, telecommunications, and franchise space. He’s passionate about technology and focused on changing lives through driving technology forward.

Brandon Hedges got into real estate by accident.  He was in between a job and starting law school when a close friend convinced him to try selling real estate. He agreed thinking that he could pay his way through law school and make a little money while doing it.   

 

Three and a half years later, he graduated from law school, worked in a law firm for a while and realized it was a lot more fun working in real estate and building the business. At that time, the industry was rapidly expanding and changing.  And real estate was becoming more professional in a way that people were looking at it as a business entity.

 

Brandon, along with his friend, formed a real estate team and built their business around first time homebuyers.  As they were trying to get established and grow their network, they realized that there was an opportunity to do the same thing using the internet and online tools. That’s when they decided to build websites to promote themselves and build their own IDX platform.

 

In 2014, they were looking for a provider for their real estate websites, who had a vision for the future, continuously innovating, and was someone they could partner with.  That’s when they met the CEO of Sierra Interactive.  Over the course of several years, they’ve developed a strong business relationship which eventually led to Brandon working at Sierra Interactive full time. 

      

Today, Brandon Hedges is the COO of Sierra Interactive, a complete real estate technology platform, purpose-built to help agents, teams, and brokerages close more deals.  Brandon works to oversee the company’s strategies, operations, and metrics. 

 

Top Takeaways:

 

05:06 How Brandon evolved from selling real estate to working for a tech company that provides real estate tools to real estate agents.

11:04 How Brandon found Sierra Interactive

18:37 What sets Sierra Interactive apart from the competition

21:01 Who is Sierra Interactive’s ideal customer

22:43 The pain points that Sierra Interactive are facing right now

23:56 Why companies should focus their time and energy into coaching their people.

25:19 Why leaders should re-evaluate themselves on the job each year 

30:25 What does the future look like for traditional brokerages?

31:34 Brandon’s one piece of advice to Real Estate Agents

32:52 The value of embracing the data

 

To get a hold of Brandon and to know more about Sierra Interactive, go to 

www.sierrainteractive.com





Episode Transcript:



Brian Charlesworth  0:34  

Alright, hello, everyone, and welcome back to the Grit Podcast. I'm Brian Charlesworth. I'm the founder of Sisu. And you know, our new tagline is where real estate transactions online. And just because we're doing more and more and more around the real estate transaction every day, we're also focused on streamlining and automating the industry. And I love doing these podcasts because I get to have you know, these special guests come in that just all the leaders from the real estate industry, and not just the real estate industry, but coaching and you know, we've had people in here from other industries as well, just top executives. And it's fun for me to learn, you know, what works and what doesn't, how people think differently about, about, especially about the real estate industry. So anyway, thanks for joining us, everyone. Today. I'm here with Brandon Hedges. And Brandon is the COO of Sierra interactive. He's been there about a year and a half now. And he oversees their strategy, their operations, and their metrics. And I think I think your background, you actually are an attorney. But I think it's been a while since you practice that since you build a real estate team for the last 20 years, Brandon. So Brandon has a real estate team that he left about a year and a half ago, his partner is still operating that team. And anyway, we'll dive into that a little bit today, too. But Brandon, tell us a little bit more about you.

 

Brandon Hedges  2:00  

Yeah, absolutely. Thank you for the introduction. Yeah, I have been in real estate around the real estate industry for a little over 20 years, really got started, I think the same way that a lot of real estate agents do kind of, by accident, in one way or another. And I was really looking for something, I had about a six-month gap in between a job I was working after undergrad and starting law school. And I had a really close friend that I went to undergrad with Matt Barker, who had gotten into real estate that was kind of his dream and what he'd always wanted to do, and we'd been in a lot of different sales, businesses in the past, we had sold electronics and car stereos and been bartenders and, you know, had been in a lot of those kinds of sales jobs over time and knew that I was interested in it. But you know, it wasn't necessarily the thing that I was super passionate about at the time but got into real estate as a way that I thought, you know, maybe I could kind of pay my way through law school and make a little money during while I'm doing it. And, you know, three and a half years later, so graduated from law school and worked at a law firm for a while and, and realized that it was a lot more fun selling real estate and building the business. And really looking at the opportunity that was out there at that time, you know, kind of on the cutting edge of when technology was really rapidly expanding and changing. The world was starting to look different in terms of what could be for real estate, and the business. And that's kind of where I came at it. So pass the bar, I'm a Licensed Real, I'm a licensed real estate agent and attorney, which I think, you know, if I was selling used cars, I think I'd have three or four of the top, topmost hated jobs, in terms of what people think about different professions. But that's something that's changing too. And that was another opportunity that I think I saw at that time that real estate was becoming much more professional. And really, people were looking at it as a business entity, which really is kind of the heart and soul of how I know Sisu was founded and you know, your passion for that part of it. So you know that that was my roots. And you know, 21 years later, working for a tech company that provides real estate tools to real estate agents. So it's been definitely an interesting journey.

 

Brian Charlesworth  4:13  

What year was that? That you? I mean, you got into real estate, what year was that? 2000. So then, and then you went off and you know ventured into practicing law. And then when did you come back into real estate? 

 

Brandon Hedges  4:30  

It was 2004 when I really committed back to saying this is what I'm going to do, you know, really where I see the future being for me.

 

Brian Charlesworth  4:38  

Okay, so at that time you say people were building businesses were teams a big thing back then or was it more of hey, I'm just you know, starting to think about building a team. I want to say Gary Keller wrote the MREA book Millionaire Real Estate Agent book. I think it was oh three if I'm not mistaken.

 

Brandon Hedges  4:56  

Yeah, it was all just starting at that time.

 

Brian Charlesworth  4:58  

Okay, were you at KW?

 

Brandon Hedges  5:00  

I was not. No, I actually started at Coldwell Banker and then move on to the REMAX system after that.

 

Brian Charlesworth  5:06  

Okay, so you Coldwell to REMAX. So I'd love to hear like, how that went as far as you selling real estate, let's start with, you know, for when you came back to real estate, and then building and then what the evolution was to building a team, you know, that's still here 20 years later or 16 years later. And it's interesting for me because I have a wife that, you know, she was in real estate for a long time. And then, you know, like seven years ago, right after we got married she was actually building a team at the time that we got married, but you know, she had maybe five agents, and so hadn't really gone from, you know, I'm not in real, I'm not in production anymore. Like, that's where she is today with 40 agents, but you know, there's an evolution there, I'd love to hear kind of how, how that went for you.

 

Brandon Hedges  6:01  

Yeah, it's interesting. And that that really was the beginning of teams and real estate right around that time that, 03' - 04' really a transition period. And for Matt and I, being business partners, we did that to help leverage our time, which, you know, really at the core is how the team concept really started in real estate. And we did it because, you know, just from a family standpoint, my wife worked weekends she worked for a builder was in a sales model for 17 years. And so her days working, were always, you know, Wednesday through Sunday, or Thursday through Monday, or whatever it was, and Matt's wife worked more Monday through Friday. So we did it to kind of split up the schedule, make sure we had coverage, different nights, you know, weekend days, that kind of thing. And that was just sort of our by, by choice. And by necessity, we formed the real estate team as the two of us. And what we started doing, you know, we were young, just a couple years, you know, at that point out of college, and our core business was with first-time homebuyers. And one of the things that we did at that time was send out postcards to apartment complexes offering first-time home buying seminars, we're really trying to network in the community and get established that way. Just finding people to talk to about real estate and what the, you know, showing them a rent versus own calculator, and, you know, all those kinds of things. And as we were doing that, we found there was an opportunity to do some of the same things using online tools, you know, the changes in the Internet and the way things were shifting at that moment, with IDX now becoming available, so we could, you know, show listings, to the general public, which there's a lot of panic in the real estate industry at that moment that, you know, once we do this, then no one's gonna need real estate agents anymore, there's, there's not gonna be any need for it. And I think, you know, we've had kind of the golden age of real estate ever since then. So you know, that access to information and use of datas, it's a pretty interesting thing, once you make it available. So we started, we started building websites, and you know, promoting ourselves online, did a lot of things wrong, made a ton of mistakes, wasted a lot of money, built our own IDX platform on kind of an archaic framework, and, you know, really, really started dabbling into, to how we could do this in a virtual way in that digital marketing age. So, you know, we found that instead of sending postcards we could do, we could connect with a lot more people online, a lot quicker. And that was really where things started. And as that progressed, and we began to generate more leads and more people to talk to, we found that we didn't have enough time, the two of us, so we hired our first team member, right around that 2004 timeframe. And she's still with a team now. And then a couple more, you know, within a year or so after that, it was more out of necessity, just to be able to help manage the lead flow that we had at the time. And it was very hands on, we didn't have all the tools and resources we have now for navigating lead nurturing and lead cultivation, you know, certainly weren't that progressive at that time.

 

Brian Charlesworth  9:02  

You didn't come together and say, Hey, let's build a team. You know, this is what Gary Keller is telling us to do. You probably hadn't read that book being over at Caldwell. No, you were like, Hey, we're gonna build this technology, this IDX website. And I'm curious where their IDX websites around back then or which ones and like, probably not in abundance like they are today. Right?

 

Brandon Hedges  9:27  

No, there wasn't a lot of them. There were a few providers around WordPress press. There were some plugins, but it was the technology at that point. It wasn't super reliable. There was a lot of maintenance to it. We built our own IDX solution, you know, and organize the database and add some programmers that we had working on that. And it was one of those things where I would work for a little while and then it would break and then it would work for a little while and then it would break and you know, it just wasn't as dependable or reliable as it is now. And the MLS boards weren't as sophisticated either. You know as far as his health resources and how they're handling it feeds, you know, and moving to the rest feeds eventually just wasn't there at that point. So.

 

Brian Charlesworth  10:10  

So you guys took a completely different approach then than I've heard before which, which I love. Because there are so many ways to do business, right? There's not one right way to do business. And so here you are trying to support this IDX website you built. And so you say when you start hiring people, so how did it go from there? Like, here you are, and how many agents are on that team today?

 

Brandon Hedges  10:35  

I think there are around 10 on the team. So it's not a huge, not a huge team, at one point got up to around 25 - ish. And then kind of pared down. Part of that is just the involvement with CRM time and everything. But yeah, I found that that was kind of the right, the right size for our group. And like you said, there's a lot of different ways to do it. You know, your wife is running a much larger organization that way, from a team member and probably volume side. And that's great, too. There are a lot of different ways to do it.

 

Brian Charlesworth  11:04  

Yeah. Yeah. So here, you guys are going down the path and you discovered Sierra, I'm guessing you became a Sierra customer, otherwise, you probably wouldn't have gone and joined and started working as the C0O over at Sierra. So tell me about how did you find Sierra?

 

Brandon Hedges  11:23  

So that journey, you know, we kind of meandered our way between '04 and 2014. And met Ben Peskoe, the owner, founder and CEO of Sierra Interactive in 2014, we were looking for a provider for our real estate websites, I think we had, gosh, I don't even know how many at that time, we had a lot, we had kind of a core group that we have some niche sites and our flagship site that we wanted to move and find someone that had that shared sort of a similar philosophy, as we did. And that being we weren't looking for a super custom, you know, really customized version that needed to have, you know, certain tools that were only developed for us, we really wanted to be with a company that had a vision for the future, and was continuing innovating, and was going to be seen more as a partner with us. And that's really what we were looking at it, it wasn't a vendor, it was someone who was going to partner with us on that journey. And it was a small company, and they were, you know, had been in existence for think Sierra was founded in 2007. So they've been established, you know, are in quite a few markets around the US and Canada. But really looking to grow to and in moving our technology and moving our websites and platform over to Sierra, we really began to have a close working relationship with Ben at that time, and kind of became advisors, you know, somewhat in the company. And you know, we were bouncing things off each other having a lot of dialogue, talking about, you know, what feature is going to be next and what's going to help us grow our business because it helps us grow our business and makes you know, makes it better for our ability to leverage time, then chances are pretty good, it's going to help somebody else too. And that's really where it began. And that relationship built over the course of several years, to the point where I've kind of moved away from being you know, involved in the real estate team and working at at zero now full time.

 

Brian Charlesworth  13:15  

So that was 2014. And wow, I had no idea that they were founded ever that you were founded in 2007. Yeah. So you've been around a lot longer than I thought so. Um, alright, so So you guys, you become this like, customer that you, they Ben's bouncing ideas off of. And I totally get that I bounce ideas off my wife every night. And you know, we have a number of other customers that anytime Yeah, like we're rolling out a few new things right now. And anytime we're doing that I, you know, I bring together a group of five to 10 customers and say, try this out, you guys are going to help us, you know, make this good, right? Yeah. So. So anyway, you guys are bouncing these ideas off each other. And finally, you end up at Sierra. So how does this happened? Like that's like me going to one of my teams today and saying, Hey, you don't really want to sell real estate. You don't want to be in the real estate business anymore. Right? You want to be a part of Sisu? 

 

Brandon Hedges  14:20  

Yeah, come on over. Yeah, it's so that part of the journey, you know, Sierra has been through multiple different evolutions, you know, obviously starting in oh seven and you know, we're in 2022. Now, there are a lot of changes in the industry and technology. And a lot of growth that's happened in 2017 Sierra made a pretty intentional pivot to being more of the product offering that we have today. So you know, a little bit more of the kind of one platform solution less customized, customizable, but less customized upfront. And that was really the model up to that point was a little bit more customized, but kind of built on the same platform. So it was expandable and upgraded. Have one, we made a pretty large change in how that technology, you know, get real deep into the weeds. But you know, really the code base and how we evolved it to that point, to be in a position where we knew that shifting into the future, we needed to be faster, we needed to be able to innovate faster, and we needed to be able to push those updates to a large customer base, quickly, and to be able to support it. And that growth really began in 2017, which, you know, I think, is when Sierra probably started coming onto the radar, and in a lot more circles at that point, 2017 2018. Because we started expanding a lot quicker. And that was the point when, you know, any company, you know, you start expanding rapidly like that, you start looking for additional hands to help you start taking on a little bit of water and need some additional hands. And that's where more of my time started being moved into working with CRN and helping out where I could, you know, obviously running the real estate business and being involved in that day to day, there's only so much time left over. But that that just kind of progressed to the point where we knew that we needed to really level up in terms of our leadership and, and how we're staging the company for the future, you know, to reinvent that, that framework, and to be able to be ready to scale the way that we have been.

 

Brian Charlesworth  16:20  

So you guys have moved to this? Did you move to Agile development? Is that like, and are you guys doing product releases every two weeks now? Or what? What is that schedule look like today?

 

Brandon Hedges  16:30  

Yeah, we are. So we're on a six-week release schedule. Now on agile, you know, we're pushing other kind of smaller features or changes or upgrades in between, but there's a six-week release cycle. And that's been a, that's really been an eye-opening change. And that's all taking place in the last year. So we brought in David short, who's our head of product, and came with a wealth of knowledge, we have some wonderful programmers. And obviously Ben is a genius in terms of his vision and, you know, our product led growth, but being able to organize that in a way that we now you know, work fully agile and are able to be more predictable in our timeframe and our ability to scope projects and, and hit those marks is really unlocking a lot more opportunity.

 

Brian Charlesworth  17:13  

Yeah, I'm sure. I'm sure. Great. So you said you brought additional hands in how big is the company now? How many employees do you guys have?

 

Brandon Hedges  17:21  

We're a little over 50 in the US. And then we have some stationed overseas too. So.

 

Brian Charlesworth  17:27  

Okay. 

 

Brandon Hedges  17:28  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Charlesworth  17:29  

And is that develop developers you have overseas or

 

Brandon Hedges  17:32  

Primarily? Yep.

 

Brian Charlesworth  17:33  

Okay. All right. So, um, now it gets fun. So here you are at Sierra. And probably never thought you would be running a tech company. It's interesting how many people like my background is technology. And yeah, I discovered the opportunity for Sisu because of my wife's business, right, jumping in and helping her for a little bit. You, on the other hand, were in real estate for 20 years, still are right, and just kind of migrated into this Sierra interactive platform that you fell in love with. And now you're a part of it. So there are a lot of CRMs in the real estate space. It's I mean, it's a pretty competitive market. Right. So tell us more about what sets you guys apart. I know you. And you talked a little bit about this. But I'd love to hear what really like, why should someone be at Sierra versus anybody else in the industry?

 

Brandon Hedges  18:38  

Yeah, it goes back to some of those original conversations that we had with Ben, and kind of the overall philosophy of Sierra is we have sort of an innate understanding that our customers are not carbon copies. And you know, like you were saying earlier, there's a lot of different ways to build a team to sell real estate. You know, there are brokerages that look like teams, there are teams that look like brokerages, there are combinations of those, there are teams within teams. And they all have different challenges. And there are different places where they find themselves in scaling their business and growing it. And some get to the point where they say this is as big as I want it to be in, I'm going to, I'm going to kind of pivot and go a slightly different direction with it, others are in that kind of constant, I want to build it bigger, and I want to expand and I want to go into other markets and you know, kind of rinse and repeat what I've learned here and take it somewhere else. So there are a lot of different ways to do that. And we understand on Sierra side that we need to be there to support all of those different portions of that customer journey. You know, our motto is very simple. It's to help real estate agents close more deals. And there's a lot that goes into that. So having a philosophy out of just a core that we want to be able to integrate and have an offer, you know, deep partnerships with companies like Sisu who are really there to help real estate agents take that ROI approach and to be able to look at it From a small business standpoint, that's not every customer that we have, they're not all ready to be at that point. But the goal is that we offer them enough technology internally. And then we have integrations with partners and strong resources that they're able to then take, bring within Xero ecosystem and build their business to scale, that whatever skill, that is, they're not all the same. And it's not going to be done the same way for all of them. So rather than provide them an all-in-one platform that says, you know, just come in, buy it, and you've got everything that you need right here. We want to provide them with opportunities to customize it and build it the way that they need to. And that it's just a different approach, I think, then some of our competitors have taken and it's, it's been a nice place within the industry for us.

 

Brian Charlesworth  20:45  

Yeah, so you only really, I mean, if I were to ask you who your ideal customer is, what would that answer be?

 

Brandon Hedges  20:54  

Ideal customer is, you know, there's a lot of different ways of looking at it. But I think from, from our standpoint, you know, our ideal customer is generally someone who's been in the business for a little while, you know, they've gotten some sort of market fit, and they kind of have an idea of where they, where they're positioned. And they have that mindset, that entrepreneurial mindset that they want to grow. Whether that's building a team, whether it's expanding into other niches, you know, are going, going big, and they want to, they want to build it, they want to be their own independent brokerage, they want to, you know, form an exp team and, and have a, you know, eventually a mega team with multiple office locations. They just kind of have that mindset. And, you know, it's, you know, from talking to a lot of real estate agents and living with one that that entrepreneurial, you know, just blood, the energy that's in their blood is, that's what really makes you, I think, an ideal customer for Sierra because they have that that want and that need to expand.

 

Brian Charlesworth  21:54  

Yeah. So I know this, you know, obviously, you when you're, when you're growing a business and you're in growth mode, there are always challenges that come up, right.



Brian Charlesworth  22:18  

I just want to share this because I think I think most people, whether they're running a real estate team, or whatever, I mean, everyone knows there are challenges. But a lot of times when a company gets to the size of Sierra or I mean, people even think this was Sisu. And we just launched three years ago. But you know, people think it's all easy, right? They only see the rainbows, they only see the positive stuff. So what are some of the challenges or pain points you guys are experiencing right now?

 

Brandon Hedges  22:48  

Interesting, we talk about that a lot. I mean that is, as I'm sure you're experiencing too. And rapidly scaling and expanding tech company or any company really, for that matter. It's continuing to coach and develop your people. Because that's really who we are, is Sierra is our people, our team members and our customers. And, you know, the team members that have gotten us to the place that we're at right now are the ones we're relying on to get us to the next point. And we're filling in, you know, behind them, and we'd like to organically grow our team. So we're building up that that knowledge we're building up that experience those relationships with customers and with each other in a way that we can continue to expand and I listened to a podcast, it was Tim Ferriss was talking to Harley Finkelstein with Shopify. And he was talking about kind of a concept where they have to, he feels like he needs to reevaluate himself every year for the job. And I think he's had a couple of different roles, but I think he was currently in as president of the company at that point. And it's that continuous expansion and looking at, you know, what I did yesterday is not what we need today, and it's certainly not going to be what we need tomorrow. And, and that's really where we try to focus our time and energy is is coaching our people to be the best that they can and to give them the opportunities to grow into other roles. Sometimes that's cross-department, sometimes it's taking a leadership role. Sometimes it's not leading people, but it's leading projects, or it's leading, you know, different initiatives that they now have the experience in the background and they're able to handle it, and we give them that opportunity to for that growth.

 

Brian Charlesworth  24:32  

Yeah, that's interesting, you know, in talking about that podcast and how he, he does that every year. I mean, I think for me, one of the key things I focus on is making sure that I'm growing faster than my company's growing right because as a leader, you have to continue to grow in order to be able to continue to lead an organization that's growing right and so that's, that's great I like that, hey, once a year, I'm going to take a look and see, you know, am I the right guy for that job? Or? Or, you know, am I making? Am I making it? So I am the right guy? Because the role of a CEO, or any leader changes every year. Right, right. Or even more frequently than that. So,

 

Brandon Hedges  25:19  

It's humbling to take that look too, yeah, because it forces you to look in the mirror and say, am I really still the right, the right one? And, you know, if I, if I don't feel like I am, what do I need to do to get better? And, and that's really, you know, as leaders of any industry or any business, you know, in the real estate, industry, and Sierra of whatever it is, to be able to ask those questions and, and really face that answer.

 

Brian Charlesworth  25:43  

Yeah, I just read the hard thing about hard things last week, and that talks a lot about, you know, the different the evolution of being like this little family to being a village to being a city and, you know, to being a nation, right, and it just what, what are the roles and you know, it was interesting to talk about how somebody, somebody's title might decrease, but they'll go from managing a team of three people to managing a team of 100 people, and now they're reporting up somebody that's helping them do that. But, you know, it's just, it's an interesting evolution. So yeah, tell me, tell me about your vision of the future of real estate. So, you know, you talked about even back in Oh, four. And I hadn't really thought about it going back that far. But I mean, people have been trying to prove that there is no need for a realtor for a long, long time, right. There are a lot of pro realtor tech companies, such as Sisu, and Sierra interactive, right. And there are a lot of anti realtor tech companies that have been trying to put them out of business, I think there are fewer and fewer anti realtor companies than there used to be. And a lot of the ones that there used to be are now pro realtor. Right? Yeah. So I think my take is, the realtor is not going away. Right. That's kind of unproven. My take is that the compensation for the realtor may change. And it's been attacked. But the, you know, the best of the best haven't really been impacted on that the people who have struggled with that have gone to being salary-based agents at this point. So, so Anyway, I'd love to that's kind of where we are today. Right? Where do you see this all going?

 

Brandon Hedges  27:39  

That is an interesting question. And wow, it's been a ride even over the last four or five years here, you know, certainly, well, Sisu has kind of come on the scene. You know, the, the industry, you're right, there's been this constant effort to, let's find out a way to lessen the need for real estate agents, right. That's sort of been the approach. And it's such, it's a service industry. And it really is one that at its core, that service piece of it is really hard to replace without the people and the people or the real estate agents. So, you know, I think as we move forward, you're absolutely right, there's, there's going to be changes in both compensation and how transactions are managed. I think you know, it used to be that Mom, we're talking about just a few minutes ago, it used to be that it was a real estate agent in a town. You know, however large that town was, whether it's a village or a city or metropolis, but they kind of had their core group of people that they knew, and it was word of mouth, and referral. And that was really, you know, other than doing some newspaper advertising, there wasn't a lot, there wasn't a lot of opportunities to expand and market to a wider audience where now we have so much more opportunity from a digital marketing standpoint, social media agents are able to get the information out there in ways that they were not able to market themselves in the past. And that's really led to this expanse and growth of the team. And these are really little small businesses now, in some cases, pretty large businesses. And that, that I think, has really changed the model also, because, with a more organized and more established business practice behind the real estate service, I think a lot of these teams are able to offer better service to the customer, the end customer gets a better experience because of the technology and the people and the training and the resources that are available to these teams. And these brokers and these organizations that have grown and I think we're gonna see that continue. So you know, consolidation where there'll be less and less individual real estate agents, working on their own more, they're working in a team structure, and this kind of team within a team as a way to continue to evolve and expand and retain agents I think is another thing we're gonna see continue to evolve.

 

Brian Charlesworth  30:00  

So I heard you say a lot about teams. I agree with you. I think teams have a clear advantage over into independent individual agents, I should say. I didn't hear you talk a lot about traditional brokerage. So you were at Coldwell and REMAX I would call those that traditional brokerage. Very. Uhm. Tell me what I mean, what what what is the future for the traditional brokerage?

 

Brandon Hedges  30:28  

That's an interesting question. The, the brick and mortar, real estate brokerage, where the agents go there to transact their business go there to work on files and have that office locale, I think is going to shift. You know, we've seen a lot of virtual brokerages become established in the last few years we've seen, you know, all of our companies here included being virtual now. And you know, it's not, it isn't necessary that we have an actual physical office space for us all to come together and work. And I think that's happening in the real estate industry, too. And the brokers that recognize that the ones that embrace it, rather than fight it, I think are going to have more success. That's my sense.

 

Brian Charlesworth  31:12  

Yeah. Interesting. It's, it's going to be an interesting five years, for sure. Yeah, there's gonna be a lot of change. When I say interesting, I think there's going to be a lot of change. Alright, is there anything that you want to give any piece of advice, let's talk about real estate teams. But I mean, I don't know our listeners are broader than that. So any piece of advice that you'd want to leave with our listeners, before I ask you a few personal questions, or,

 

Brandon Hedges  31:42  

I think embrace that, embrace the data, we early on, began sharing a lot of data with our sellers and our buyers. And I think those that really embrace that concept, and are seen as the source of information for not only their customers but their community and whoever they're marketing to. So it's little things like having a, you put a listing on the market, which I realize right now, they sell in five minutes, you know, in a lot of cases, they get multiple offers. And you may not need a ton of data. But it's still important that you collect data. So putting a listing on the market, having a single property website for that, that you're gathering analytic data on, that you can share with your seller, having that data, so being reliant on that having it available, so you can make predictive and have predictive discussions with your seller is important. And that's important, whether it sells in five minutes or, or it takes 60 days or longer. Because even if you get four offers right away, what does the data tell you? Should you have gotten 10? Did you expect to get 10? Or is four feel right? What does your traffic look like? Where's it coming from? Those kinds of things. So I think embracing the data, rather than being scared about it, I think a lot of agents sometimes feel like, the more of that I share with my customers, or you know, outwardly in marketing materials, it's going to make them not need me as a resource. I think it's the opposite. I really think those who hold the data and can explain it in a way that people understand are the ones that are seen as the expert. So and they really are

 

Brian Charlesworth  33:18  

Obviously, I agree with you Sisu is built 100% of giving people 100% of the data so they can make real-time business decisions. But you are expanding that I mean, Sisu is built around. Let's share this data, know the data so you can manage your business so you can manage your team so you can make important decisions. You were talking about sharing the data with the client, though, so it's a little bit different. And that's probably a little bit more you guys are a little bit earlier up the funnel and sharing. You're sharing more of that information. Hey, saying you've got this information for the clients? Why aren't you sharing it with them? Right? That's right. Yeah, 

 

Yeah. It's that it's, you know, there's, there's a lot of statistics that we as real estate agents in the industry have access to, you know, for not only what things have sold for what are the trends, you know, is the volume of listing inventory going up or down? Is it remaining flat? You know, what's a balanced market? How does that all factor into pricing strategy? Or what should I offer? There's a ton of data and, you know, understanding what are those key metrics that you can share? How they, how they're meaningful to the customer, or why they shouldn't be and being able to communicate that to them?

 

Yeah, I mean, I just heard this weekend. This is an interesting piece of data for me the kind of data you're talking about, you know, six months ago in Utah. You were getting 3040 offers per listing, you know, just crazy stuff. I just heard and then it slowed down over the holidays and that would have been a great time to sell your house over the holidays because it's a great great time to work if you were in real estate because you didn't have as many offers. But I just heard this weekend, one of my wife's agents slacked out to her that into the team that they made an offer on a home that had 70 offers on it. So, I mean, even so, when you think about that, like, I don't know who that listing agent was, but hopefully, that listing agent communicated properly with that owner. And, you know, should they have been on the market long enough to get 70 offers? I mean, I don't know how long they were on the market. But as a realtor, it's key that you communicate, set proper expectations with your sellers, or buyers. Right. So

 

Brandon Hedges  35:44  

Absolutely. Right. And it's crazy, that some of the things that are happening right now, I never, I never thought we would see them. And we are, I never thought we'd see inventory go down from what it was three years ago, and then went down two years ago, and last year,

 

Brian Charlesworth  35:57  

Which, which is why prices have increased 20%. Year over year. Right. 

 

Brandon Hedges  36:01  

Right. 

 

Brian Charlesworth  36:02  

Yeah. So, okay, I've heard you talk about a few books, podcasts, I'd love to hear what your favorite source of learning is. Whether that be you know, I don't know if you have a favorite book or a favorite podcast or whatever.

 

Brandon Hedges  36:15  

All kinds I'm, typically if I'm in my car, which I'm not in as much as I used to be, I'm listening to podcasts and listening to talk radio and getting information that way. I read quite a bit. And I kind of bounced between fiction and nonfiction. One, you know, one of the books that so to two books that come to mind that I think were fascinating. One is Shoe Dog. So the Phil Knight story, probably I love that one. It's a great book, and it's just a fascinating, you know, look at Nike and the growth and sort of the misfit team that that came together and misfits. You know, it's kind of an interesting story.

 

Brian Charlesworth  36:55  

Well, I think that's, I think it goes back to what we were talking about earlier is like, you know, it's an interesting story, because you're hearing about his life. But at the same time, there are so many lessons in there. And I think most people would look at Nike today and just be like, oh, yeah, Nike, you know, it's this huge, massive, largest shoe company in the world. Right. And when you hear the story, you know, like, what a challenge it was for them. How many times did they almost go out of business? Right? I mean, crazy fun. Yeah. So well, it's crazy. I'm glad you brought that up. But I, my opinion is what separates the successful from the other from the unsuccessful. And Phil Knight is a perfect example of this. The unsuccessful or let's just say the successful, they don't stop, right. They don't quit. They'll keep going. They have the Grit to continue. Right through anything. It's not about getting knocked down. It's about how you get up, right?

 

Brandon Hedges  37:57  

Yeah, no, it totally is. And there's another book that if you haven't read it, it's a bizarre transition. But it's called the dirt, The Motley Crue story. It came out a while ago, and I think they made a movie about it too. But I'm not a huge Motley Crue fan. And I, you know, it wasn't something that I sought out, but I had a friend that handed it to me and said, you know, he is a big fan. I think you'd like this book. And it's it's just a collection of stories from Motley Crue history and their storied up and down and, you know, everywhere around kind of band over the years, but it's just a fascinating tale of dysfunction, and perseverance. And you know, I think to your point, you know, obviously, Grit being something that's near and dear to you, I think that Grit is really what they call it the dirt, but they could have called it the Grit, the perseverance and how many times somebody either almost died or, you know, I think one case did die for a few seconds and came back and you know, the band broke up and came back together. And you know, somehow they found a way to make it work even though you know, from the outside everything was mastered dysfunction or, if you're looking at it through a different lens, you know, they had an easy they hadn't made they were rock stars. And yeah, it was in that life. So, you know, it's, it's just interesting, I think when you read some of those, some of those stories that from the outside look like they're different than what maybe they are when you peel back the layers a little bit more.

 

Brian Charlesworth  39:28  

Yeah, I don't think anybody has it easy. Everybody has their own challenges and I'm glad you brought that up the dirt. I was not familiar with that. But the dirt the Grit, call it whatever you want, but it sounds like a book. I need to I need to read so thanks for sharing that. So what's your favorite place to vacation? Uh, you know, it's always interesting for me to see you're from Minneapolis. Right and you live in the cold so when you want to go somewhere like just To enjoy yourself, whereas that

 

Brandon Hedges  40:04  

my wife would say to a beach, and I would say, I'm in the snow. So I'm, I'm an outwest. I love the mountains. I love to ski. I always have grown up doing that here, on our little hills. I love being on the mountain. So, you know, your neck of the woods, and Colorado, Utah, Wyoming, wherever I can get to a mountain is where I'm going to head so you love the mountains? That's That's my deal. Now you did, we did go to Phuket, Thailand. So, you know, if I had to pick a place that doesn't have mountains or snow, that would be it before we had kids, we traveled there for spent about 10 days, which was fascinating, you know, people, the culture, just the relaxed atmosphere, but it was a magical place. So that was a place I guess I could get by with that doesn't have any snow?

 

Brian Charlesworth  40:55  

Well, I've never given a plug for Switzerland on this podcast before. But when you talk about mountains, I mean, I live in the mountains in Utah. Yeah, nothing compares to the mountains of Switzerland. So yeah, if you haven't been to Switzerland, and you love the mountains, go there when you can.

 

Brandon Hedges  41:14  

I've only been there in the summer. And as is definitely on the bucket list to be there in the winter. So someday when we can travel a little more freely.

 

Brian Charlesworth  41:22  

Brandon, just a couple more questions here. And we'll get wrapped up what's your, what's your favorite thing to do in your spare time.

 

Brandon Hedges  41:29  

We have a little lake home and a boat. I just love to be out on the boat in the summertime, just either taking the kids tubing or wakeboarding or hanging out and cruising around. It's probably one of my favorite things. Like I said, skiing too is another one. Those are two things where I can put down the phone and not have to be checked in and just feel like I'm relaxed. So

 

Brian Charlesworth  41:56  

You are a man of the outdoorsman in my heart. Yeah, I of course love the outdoors as well, or I wouldn't live where I do. Yeah. Last thing really is how do people get a hold of you? How do they get ahold of Sierra? If somebody wants to learn more about Sierra Interactive? It really seemed like, again, for me, it seems like you guys like really started getting popular, right about the same time that Sisu launched in the industry it went from I had never heard of you guys to I was seeing you all over the place. So what's the best way for people to reach out to learn more?

 

Brandon Hedges  42:32  

Sierrainteractive.com is the best best place for you to connect with us. Reach out that way. It's a great way to get more information or connect with anyone from our support our sales team, all the information was there on the website. And yeah, that was, you know, being more and more involved with Sierra over the last five or six years. As time went on. We started seeing a lot more of Sisu. Start running into you and your guys at different conferences and stuff around and yeah, it does kind of feel a little bit like we grew up at the same time.

 

Brian Charlesworth  43:03  

Yeah, yeah. It's been fun. Well, again, congrats on all your success. Thank you for joining us on the show today. Again, listeners. Thank you for being here for another episode of the Grit podcast.

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