Podcast

Episode 96 - GRIT The Real Estate Growth Mindset with Kenny Truong

Some people go into real estate as sales people, while others are in it to build a business.  And for those who choose the latter, most of them would agree that starting their own business is not for the faint of heart.

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.

Some people go into real estate as sales people, while others are in it to build a business.  And for those who choose the latter, most of them would agree that starting their own business is not for the faint of heart.

 

Yet, for those who have what it takes, building a real estate business is a very lucrative endeavor.  Most especially for those who are able to scale at a massive rate in a short span of time.

 

In Kenny Truong’s case, he knew how to leverage technology and tools in such a way that he was able to scale his real estate business from 56 Million to over 670 Million in sales in less than 2 years. 

 

Join Brian Charlesworth and Kenny Truong as they discuss the things that Kenny did in order to scale his business, and end up running FAST REAL ESTATE which is the #1 highest producing sales team at EXP Realty, the #1 fastest growing real estate company in the world.



Top Takeaways:

 

03:47 How Kenny first started in real estate

05:04 The story behind the FAST brand

06:57 Why he prefers to post on Instagram stories over any other platform

11:14 When did Kenny decide to build his real estate business

13:23 Most innovative agent of the year by INMAN

15:17 What Kenny does to attract agents to join his team

23:36 FAST REAL ESTATE’s org chart

35:59 How FAST REAL ESTATE is going to hit 300% growth this year

36:05 Why retention is key

42:16 Kenny’s last piece of advice to people who are building a business.



Get in touch with Kenny Truong

 

Website: https://www.fastagents.com/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kenny_fast/?hl=en

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/FastAgent/?ref=page_internal

LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/fastagent/



About the guest:

 

Kenny Truong came into real estate fresh out of college 12 years ago.  After working as a real estate assistant for a year, he got his real estate license and started working for a boutique company.

 

It took him over a year to make his first sales.  After several months he was able to sell 24 homes. His number kept growing year over year that he quickly became the #1 agent in Washington State. 

 

On his third year in business, he focused on marketing and branding and decided to post on social media using the hashtag #FASTAGENT.  From then on, the name stuck and he was sometimes referred to as Kenny “FAST”, which became a fitting description to his straightforward approach in delivering results to his clients

 

Kenny has ranked as the #1 agent in Oakland since 2011 and was named INMAN News’ Most Innovative Broker/Agent in 2015.

 

Today, Kenny Truong is the Founder and Team Leader at Fast Real Estate where they focus on surpassing their client’s expectations by leveraging local market knowledge combined with systems and technology to help them through their buying/selling journey.



Episode Transcript:



Brian Charlesworth  0:35  

Alright, hello, everyone. And welcome back to the Grit Podcast. Today. I'm here with Kenny Truong. And I am Brian Charlesworth, founder of Sisu and your host of the show, and really excited to be here with Kenny today. I've watched Kenny just scale his business massively over the last four years since Sisu has been around. And it's been fun to see Kenny, so congratulations on all of your success. First of all, Kenny has a team called Fast Real Estate so so anything with fast is Kenny. So we'll talk about that a minute and talk about how he got that. But Kenny is in Oakland, he's been the number one team in Oakland many years there. And he came into real estate straight out of college. And he's always been known for leveraging his technology and tools and really just scaling fast. Can you how many agents do you have now?

 

Kenny Truong  1:27  

We're falling around. Luckily, our team is like actual team members, I think we're at like 274 right now.

 

Brian Charlesworth  1:33  

Okay, so 274 agents on a team. I don't think very many of you have ever heard of 274 agents being on a team before. So it's massive. So we're gonna dive in today and learn how Kenny's done that and how he continues to grow and what his vision is of the future. Can he is there anything you want to share just further about that? Or maybe you could give us a little background on when you got out of college, just a high level I

 

Kenny Truong  2:00  

Got college. College, so not I mean, I think I'm pretty smart, but maybe not a book smart person. Four years can be college, no, maybe three years, many colleges and then three years at State College at Hayward, but then kind of became University of East Bay is a commuter school didn't really make many friends. They're mostly traveling. I graduated with a business degree and a marketing degree. So it fits pretty nicely what I guess what I'm doing now, because the product I'm selling in business, and marketing is myself on my sales team. did that. I think I was like, 24, we got out. So maybe 2006 2008 ish, but then I got into real estate about 12 years ago, I think.

 

Brian Charlesworth  2:42  

Okay, so it's interesting, you know, I think real estate used to be viewed as you get into real estate, you're a salesperson, and now, it's still true for a lot of people. But a lot of people get into real estate to build a business. And obviously, that's what you did. And it's a totally different approach. Coming in to build a business versus coming in to sell some real estate.

 

Kenny Truong  3:06  

Yeah, definitely, I think people and still holds true to say, people kind of want to get into real estate sales to you know, build relationships and got me I remember like 10 years ago, there wasn't really any technology, like Trulia and Zillow, and Redfin just came out maybe that year there wasn't even a CRM for real estate there was barely any tools you can use all it was really, you know, face to face on the phone, you call people, you meet with people, you network to really build it to sell real estate, which is sad is the business but it's hard to build that type of business because it wasn't really many systems. And other than, you know, just getting in front of people unless you were doing our deals, which is a whole different ballgame.

 

Brian Charlesworth  3:46  

Cool. So you started when you first started in real estate, actually my understanding is you personally sold a lot of homes. Is that true?

 

Kenny Truong  3:55  

Yeah, I am. Tell me over about a year to make my first sale. So I kind of blanked it out my like doubt in my mind, I made about a $60,000 sale. I literally felt like a show that guy like over 70 homes, we finally made an offer a couple offers lowball everything. And then we sold them the home didn't want to inspections and I found some stuff later, but 1000s Were not how the market was back then. But when I finally did sell real estate in doing my nine transactions, my first two months I started in March that year, if I didn't count that small August sale, which obviously real estate sale, but from March to the end of the year, I ended up selling about 24 homes next year total. So 25 homes. After that, I think I did about like 49 or 52 homes and then they quickly became the number Washington the state of at least last week I checked, it became the number one agent in Oakland for buyers represented that year in the next three, four years. Going back 12 years. I still hold that title to this day only up ahead by maybe four or five sales in Oakland. It's funny because actually, the MLS says I've only sold one house in Oakland to a buyer two years so I haven't sold in two years. I'm still ahead by just a little bit I'll lose the title pretty soon.

 

Brian Charlesworth  5:03  

All right, so how did you come up with FAST? Because if you showed however many homes to this first-person and sold one home your first year, you didn't start out so fast. But now you know I, whenever I think of you, I actually think of you as Kenny fast, you know? So it's fast. It's but team fast. It's fast agent. It's fast real estate. How did you come up with this? And how did you get to move so fast? Because you

 

Kenny Truong  5:29  

I mean, hashtags are started starting become a thing. Like the first, I signed up for Instagram, whether it was even on the iPhone. So that's kind of boring because I had an HTC Thunderbolts Android. So between Android and iPhone, my first five years, I think, were just for fun. But so hashtags were the thing. Twitter just came out, couldn't even use hashtags on Facebook or Instagram. As I was posting photos online and started tagging and fast agent. And I had bought it in five, I dropped my old cards I've always had, I've had sports cars, like Supra and WX stuff. But I've had a license plate that says F five t AGMT. Fast agent. And then as a web, I started using this as like a branding thing. So starting that tagging everything I had that same time on Instagram, also tagging food pictures, if you go look up hashtag fat agent, obviously hundreds of pictures of really poor quality pictures, because this is 10 years ago, a food but then that's our email newsletter campaign and different marketing and they kind of just build up the fast Asian brand. So I've been doing this fast Asian brand for over. Yeah, over a decade now. Things started in my third-year business.

 

Brian Charlesworth  6:30  

Oh, well, let me ask you, How many followers do you have on social? Let's just say, Instagram as an example,

 

Kenny Truong  6:37  

Instagrams, my main one about 12,200, I think, and Facebook, I think have 4900. But I haven't used Facebook in probably like three or four years like actually use it. Yeah. I have almost 5000 followers on that.

 

Brian Charlesworth  6:51  

Okay. So the one thing I've noticed about you, and I'm one of your followers, so thank you. The one thing I've noticed about you is your story is usually like some people, most people usually I'm one of those has one, one or two or three things on their story. Your story has like 30 things on it. So yeah, like that's a big part of what you do. And I think obviously, I think people I know I do I personally watch people's stories more than I scroll down, right? I mean, because video is more interesting, right? 

 

Kenny Truong  7:25  

Yeah. 

 

Brian Charlesworth  7:26  

So talk to us about that and how you started doing that.

 

Kenny Truong  7:30  

I started doing stories. When it came out. People on Snapchat, I never really had been the big Snapchat fan. My friends were on it when I first hopped on Instagram stories, like why are you on it? We're over here. I was like, well, you can only pick up you can't pick up followers on Snapchat because all your friends, but the development that I'm in my stories are pretty raw. I like it because waffles are more edited and created. It's just that I don't really care for lights and that this is actually not my opinion. But this is the direction of the industry. And funnily enough, just a couple of days ago, it's going to change there on the stories and so say how many people watch your story to change the word activity actually want people to stop caring about how many people watch a story. And then I think half a year or a year ago in Brazil and some markets, Instagram or super influencers actually got rid of how many likes, they have the number of likes, so people really care for engagement. I've always built my business like that. So if you look on my wall, you're wondering like how I do what I do, because there's nothing on there. It's something I posted twice in the last year like like, I don't get it. Why would Kenny be a social influencer on Instagram, it's because I post 3050 times a day on stories and 100 times if I'm at a mastermind and I really go behind the scenes on how I build my business. Currently, I'm in the last year I was the number two agent at the speed for sales volume. Secondly, one of my mentors Daniel beer quite in fact, actually, I think that's where GCI so in fact, I think we should sell number two GCI is a Bronco figure that 70 million last year, my team sold 673 point 9 million. So I get to show like, the behind the scenes of how we're running our businesses this week. You know, we're recruiting pretty heavily, we brought on over 50 sales agents to our team this year, when people leave, you know, I don't know who has it costing this I haven't seen it, I leave I posted but I won't disclose her name, but I post what they sowed, and you know, but also talked about how you have to hire new talent, how we're hiring wise, according to increase yourself culture of the company and things we're doing last year, like transparently the stuff we see on this ground, we lost over $105 million in production. But not many people would be open to sharing that being business vulnerability. It's not me I don't care. But this year, we actually recruit over $100 million in agent production just between six or seven agents. And I talked about how we're entering these agents. That's a 30 million producer, this and this and this was what we're offering them this is what they're asking for. This is how we can support them. So you're not going to get bad transparency from anywhere else on Instagram stories. You would and can come to these podcasts, but you don't know where you're going to expect Right, you have to listen to him. Listen to this, you hear what I just said. So on stories day to day people get kind of see how we run operations and several projects we're working on this morning, by the screenshots of a Hayward office, can we have more retail spaces, we're opening up an office in Hayward kind of freaked me out. And I bet construction costs will be 150 1000. construction cost would be 283,000. So I posted it on my site, this is a well actually cost build an office. And this is what we're working on and such. So you're not going to get the behind the scenes of an actually true operator on Instagram walls, or any type of social media, except that, put the snapshot so people who want to see that happen to follow pretty not digitally, but pretty consistently to even get back in 24 hours, that story's gone. Like I'm not I might share it again in the future. But today was the only time I'll share that cost because I found that that cost at the same time that my audience is running out. So it's like the actual reality show because you're not planning ahead and making something cool or hip that you know, gets engagement. This is life is happening. And this is what we're doing.

 

Brian Charlesworth  11:02  

Yeah. So it's its current relevant information. Right? Yeah. So how did you decide to start doing that? Because and maybe back up a little bit like, when did you decide that you wanted to build a business instead of selling real estate?

 

Kenny Truong  11:20  

I mean, when I first started, so I worked, it was good. I started kind of a small broker shop. Michael Chan's real estate only had six agents before the market crashed. My broker had over I think 200 agents in his office but then doing six, so started from scratch. And then I saw how he was running a shoe business using up flips. A lot of acquisitions, buying REOs selling he, I think I was the number one agent and at least in my immediate area selling over 100 homes a year. So I saw like, lead gen and prospecting and flow. Because you know, when you work with a bank, people submit something, you get something you wait to hear back, and so on. Right? It's a workflow. So I took a lot of his listings I posted and I manually put posted them on Trulia and Zillow, but there's no syndication between them less I posted them and then blogged about it and then I went to Craigslist and create these ads and they get what and that else precision my marketing have an ID X site that I saw someone San Diego has. And so this is how far technology is behind. There's no ID excise. I was the first person I knew in my own market. Id so so when you're doing stuff like that you're not really thinking about people. Yes, real estate you're selling, you know, you're meeting people and stuff. But I was like, How do I get leads? How do I put them in the system? How do I finance them to the next stage and how like close this person now they repeat that over and over. So I think that's as soon as I really got into real estate, I kind of felt the business ball format. And before that, I picked up a computer for fifth-grade windows like 14.4k modem, Windows 95 just came out that year. So I started building computers in middle school and I spend most of my time in computer shells, and building websites. You know, Angel Fire geo city had a close-angle blog, Zanka MySpace, this is actually like, true social media right before those pictures. I've been doing all that. And then when they got those, they kind of combined all the things I knew and had done, you know, and kind of tried to turn like technology and processes into real estate versus now people are trying to turn to real estate businesses into a business and systems.

 

Brian Charlesworth  13:21  

Yeah. So Inman gave you the most innovative agent of the year for your marketing and systems. So like, how did that happen? Because there aren't a lot of agents getting recognized by Inman,

 

Kenny Truong  13:34  

um, Lots of things I did. Like, without diving too deep. Like I did unique things no other agents were doing like my email campaigns with fast Asian every week to the pop culture topic, where there's Coca Cola or, or movie with the rock or Playboy or on Zion man, whatever it was, I just changed it to a fast agent, branding, no copyright infringement, and we had trouble for it. But that's what it looked like. I actually did a couple of 100 newsletters every single week to make six or seven hours theme for that. And then in the streets of Oakland, I had 100 bench ads as I started with 10 That's just the fast agent on and nothing else. And then my Facebook, I took a lot of I did a lot of Facebook advertising pushing zip codes and new content promoting loan stuff. So then the newsletters were posted on like, Facebook and Twitter, and LinkedIn. So combining all of that into a system and then what before there wasn't any. There wasn't really API's and stuff so like hacking together, you know, Zapier, where the leads were coming from Zillow and get, get added to MailChimp and I get added to real scout and watch my newsletter and they get my ads with the same database on Facebook. None of this is revolutionary now, but I was one of the first people to kind of do all that to mind you know visual marketing and appeal with some actual you know, marketing in the streets. We were people have not seen that before and combining with online so I want to work for the kind of mismatching all that fun stuff together.

 

Brian Charlesworth  14:59  

Okay. So, Kenny moving over, you're an attractor, you have 270 agents, you have people. You know, you have an ops team, you have a leadership team, you have ISAs, setting up your sales team. So you've actually built a true business. And so, like, what have you done to attract all these agents? And also, what have you done to attract your team that's actually there to support you and let you go be Kenny fast, right? 

 

Kenny Truong  15:26  

Yeah, um, I mean, number one would just mean being very sunlight. I mean, I didn't do my myself I'm I've tried to over 90 for almost 100 people to exp so which then most allowed half of our my team. But very neat, as I said earlier, being very visible on social media in the stories, but my team is constantly creating content. So we're the most visible team. Also, I think we're the most visible team in the nation for social media. If you go to hash it fast and take a look or go to my app can be super fast and Sue I'm tagged in. So helping our agents create really cool content has been really attractive to team members. And as we've evolved, and we've evolved very quickly, because we came to exp with 10 team members two years ago, two years and one month, and now we're not where we are now, early on pandemic when everything is in shelter in place, and then the market is frozen, did about 70 webinars, I personally hosted about half of them. And I constantly was tagging like the top 1% agents in my marketplace and 20 people will hop on Zoom call. And then I would tag them on Facebook and get one see my page and then every week like Stardew Valley that immense I'd like three tech tools. Today we're gonna go out over this and people come crawling or motivation and also are top 1%, Alameda County top 1% These are broker-owners or top team rich leaders. So Kazi bringing that really got me on the map early on, the leader is adding resources now currently today, like our biggest value-added why we're attracting top top top talent over $20 million. And plus all the time is with another really big Junior leadership team and resources. For example, we have four essays. They were for free for agents that they want in our database. We have an in-house videographer we hired a week a month ago, we have Senior Market Manager created really cool content. Or like one of the best internal newsletters we've seen like we did five weeks and now building really cool content. We're doing stuff like last time we saw we did a photo shoot on Valentine's Day on a backdrop of people holding a flower it was super cute had a huge engagement for our teams for free. And then now we're doing for St Patrick's holding events here at the office. We have four really great results. office spaces right now we're working for more so we're in a 9000 square foot warehouse right now it looks like check out kind of your was it Sisu that Corgi space you have I saw some glimpse like this is raw concrete and brick and wood. So it's really one there. We've had things like Tom Ferry's success summit where 80 agents showed up, we had the elite retreat where we do top producers dinner recognizing our top six agents and they bring a guest. We do hussars lunch, we have one-two days go where we talk, we pick our top four people from all four categories that we choose from that have made the most calls, appointments, hours working in your business or working on your business from the Sisu stats and taking them out for lunch. And we just we're not there's like 30 people outside right now at the foundation work class. So we're constantly hat. Last week we did BarCamp we did a bar camp where it was. We had the timer on the screen. And we had squid games, music, and background that came in the jumpsuit we had Korean food in Korean beer afterwards. So just making it a very fun place to be is why we've been able to attract a lot of talent and coaching calls a couple of times a week, team meetings, and just really being that resource or resource we're doing something no other team has done in our area is when you call these masterminds and you learn, okay, this company does this, this company does this have this? Well, a top producer earning three, four or five grand a year can't do that. And then and then that. And then if they do want to do that, they have to hire someone to figure it out and then train them, which is away from production. So I've done a session this company is about production. I'll do like one or two deals a month tops like I really try not to do any transactions. But I go to these masterminds, I see a great idea I implement to our company. Now our team members, whether they're new or experienced, they have all the resources that a top mega team leader has, which is impossible to get because you know for some of the copy replicator systems would literally cost them millions and millions of dollars. But that's what we spent building this out last year.

 

Brian Charlesworth  19:24  

Yeah. So I love it because you go to masterminds, a lot of people go to masterminds and come back and don't implement 

 

Kenny Truong  19:31  

We implement while we're there. Like it's screenshots, screenshots admin team added to the Monday project board. So we have I mean, we usually have like 1520 projects right now working with you guys. We were onboarding we onboard the agents this year. Imagine how much of a show that could be. So we were onboarding with a spreadsheet for the longest and a year and a half ago. We start using Asana, which has been good, and now we're using Sisu where we break it into five parts and we're doing stages where unlock certain things and now We literally started on board a couple of weeks ago, and then we moved our entire roster of our agents, you can actually go join Team Fast and check it out, move that over to Monday this week. So we're constantly like, you know, looking for bigger and better systems to move to, to kind of increase the flow because on board. Now back, there was a really big deal number five agents a month because I mean, who's that advantageous to your team? Right? That's pretty good. Well, we added 35 in January, and I think we had like 25, or something I don't even know. But we're just constantly flowing people in and the game set up so that that's some stuff we're doing. And that's why we're able to track it. We don't we're really strong on the visual attraction getting people hyped up we have a community which many companies don't really focus on yet. Culture is great culture looks sexy hair by the vibe, the community a lot has to do with like in-person events, people like I went snowboarding randomly within a couple of hours. Notice it's raining really bad here. My team members were here like 10 of us went sober yesterday. We just ran decided to go yesterday, like within an hour notice of the big fork and I saw that two more agents went to like tile together better friends. So our agents here hang out with each other a lot. So that's a lot different from our people are missing that this year. I think if people want to focus on growing this year, it's really, really community. Because you know, you can make that make friends or resume.

 

Brian Charlesworth  21:15  

Yeah. Yeah. So you are excellent at implementing from masterminds, you also go to a lot of masterminds and events. How much do you spend a year do you think going to events?

 

Kenny Truong  21:30  

Not too much. I know like two years ago, my expenses are maybe like 20, grand or less? Because events are expensive. You're looking at? Well, I mean, depends Are you talking to right? But a ticket usually costs $1,000 I'm glad this just before our actual recording, I said I'm going to the Realty One Group summit cuz I like going to other people's stuff, too. I've been Realogy, I made all this like the ticket. There's like $600 Hotel is 150 a night, you know, you're there for four days, and the end the flights, like 300 bucks, you're not in it for more than like two grand. And imagine you got to refer out that conference, right. So that I think I think I was traveling about 130 days of the year, this year. There's something about that. So I'm traveling about a third of the year. And the reason why a lot of agents follow me is I go to these conferences, and I take notes fiercely like I'm like on my laptop and my phone, I'm screenshotting doing my commentary, taking something down, and at the end of it uploaded to Dropbox, having those somewhere in Google Drive, also my Dropbox or send out people I think will appreciate it. So I have a hit list. As a recruiter, I have a hit list of over 150 people that would like to bring to the company. So when there's information that I think can help their business, I'll take some minutes, send it to them. And then people just watching for free along the way on some stories. I meet people all time that will tell me to screenshot on my stuff. And like I'm not the one on stage speaking. I'm just taking notes. I'm taking a lot of log notes. I'm trying to reach out to almost everything I see or take pictures of speakers. And no one else is doing that. I've been to tons of conferences and no one is purposely doing that. But I personally have been doing that for over a decade. So like that's my that's how I build my businesses, bringing value to people, but also like, you know, because I don't sell real estate, all I do is study real estate.

 

Brian Charlesworth  23:05  

Yes. Interesting. So how big is your team? I mean, just support. Just onboarding that many agents and then managing that many transactions.

 

Kenny Truong  23:19  

If you've been enjoying Grit, please help us continue to grow the channel by leaving a five-star review and sharing it with a friend. Now back to Grit.

 

Brian Charlesworth  23:28  

Like, yeah, I think is your team to be able to do all that?

 

Kenny Truong  23:32  

Support team? 

 

Brian Charlesworth  23:33  

Yeah.

 

Kenny Truong  23:33  

I think we have 25 people on payroll right now. If you go to JoinTeamFast.com, the org chart is actually on here. I'm not sharing rights. I do. I can walk through just quickly without 

 

Brian Charlesworth  23:45  

Sure. What's the website you said to go to?

 

Kenny Truong  23:48  

JoinTeamFast.com 

 

Brian Charlesworth  23:50  

Okay, 

 

Kenny Truong  23:51  

So here's me, visionary. I haven't said I didn't fully study us yet. But I learned I've learned a lot from my mentors. So we have two departments. We have operations departments as seen on this left side where we have a director agent services Molly, she's the one that handles all the onboarding. So she was doing all the onboarding recently which onboarding is getting them in a system signing up for all our tools saying their email addresses up saying there for sale sign or templates or riders? You know, getting a real scout and Sisu and Ylopo and Slack and Monday all that good stuff. And then retweet and it's constantly being built out and she, her sister was rescued her sisters and all the technical stuff I just mentioned and Andrea Dre Henan is handling like you just have questions you can expect them one just to learn from a video. So she handles all the one-on-one calls. Hey, I have that deeper question about this and that. Our market manager just joined us a couple of months ago. She handles our internal stuff, and we have big projects all the time. Karina is our kind of executive director she started as my assistant but now she kind of she's kind of like our in-house broker handling all the contract questions got them in and stuff like that. We have an in-house in that used to work for me now she works for the company, Laura's human Operations Coordinator, she handles all the payroll paychecks and stuff like that, which is Leary a full-time job in itself. So last year, we closed 884 transactions and you know, splits change last minute, there are mentorship fees, referrals out stuff like that. So it's a lot to deal with. This year, our goal is to sell close to 3000 homes. Rebecca as we have a couple like mobile assistants versus system, we have a team of virtual assistants, and the cool part about them, they actually were for the agents too. They just need anything like hey, I need something changed on Canva I need to get all the data from this website on the spreadsheet I need to make some changes on our we're doing like an audit right now. And our agents were googling every agent and making sure they're changing all the information on Yelp and LinkedIn and stuff. You'd be surprised how bad that is. We have just here for two years I still shows a different brokerage. My brother was working for me as a kind of like building coordinator. He handles all of our retail spaces restocking AV equipment events. More recently, we hired Patrick as our videographer, which is a great good. We're now we're doing big marketing campaigns for the company. We're not doing anything unique yet. Example. First week was here we shot 10 videos for Black History Month featuring our black agents about their businesses. He's editing this weekend we're on at least release all the videos out same time. We did Valentine's Day campaign where a bunch of people just came in and took these really cute pictures filming a flower with the letter boards is you know Valentine's Day on think backdrop. So it's really unique content without our company branding, which I really like that we have is a department with five people had eyes a few that actually causes managers a program. He gets paid an override on every obsidian Ojo Labs deal but he manages all four I say that I pay for coaching training department director lies pricing on tons of our coaching calls, leads off most of our training, coaching productivity and such. He does all was in the one-on-one meetings. But now we recently hired Eric Kang, a $21 million agent and start year to handle one on ones with newer agents teaching classes in our boot camps. We're running a seven-week boot camp right now, alongside the Head of Education, mentorship. And so even though the company has what recruiting, so we're doing probably like six years 70 or 80 recruiting calls a month right now I personally am on 30 to 40. I only handle referrals from other agents, team members or high-level producers, many homeless people we have partnerships to real estate school channels, other real estate schools, and newbies and ISAs handles and makes up the referrals and some there. So that's our ops team. So currently, I have 25 people on ops. 

 

Brian Charlesworth  27:37  

Okay. So I mean, I just wanted you to share that because that's a big team to support that many people. And it sounds like you're using about four, four software platforms. I think I heard you talk about?

 

Kenny Truong  27:48  

At least Monday is our internal stuff. Slack is where we talk to each other. And then like the client, the agent stuff is like they use Follow up boss. Why don't we use my local for them they use. Follow-up Boss, Sisu, Real Scout and High Note, those are the core products they use. And we have other stuff too. But that's the main dashboard.

 

Brian Charlesworth  28:11  

Okay, interesting. So me and Karina here's the end in two years you've gone from very small to you did 884 transactions, congratulations. That's awesome, by the way, like that's huge, amazing growth,

 

Kenny Truong  28:29  

Our average agent does, our average agent does over seven deals a year, including people that do no deals. So we're really productive.

 

Brian Charlesworth  28:37  

So you've gone from the net, now you're saying most people that I know, most of our Sisu customers double their business every year. So our typical Sisu customer would say I'm going to go from 880 to you know 1700. And you're saying I'm going from 880 to 3000? 

 

Kenny Truong  28:56  

Yeah, we did. I mean, the year before we joined eXp, we're gonna climb basically shut down. And that's why I had to make move, not going to dive in there. We did 88 transactions at 56 million. And our first year here, you know, there's not our business being done between January and June, by the way, because COVID But we did. We did 188 deals at 126 Point 9 million last year. And then this previous year, we did 693 million that yeah, 693.9 or something million was in 84 deals. This year. Our goal is 2 billion. We're a little behind. We're actually at 150 million pending closer to year then close like 78 which is a lot by the way, but we're only double last year I was expecting triple last year throughout the year. So y'all are catching up to do but our goal this year was 2 billion. I think it's very possible still just have the training recovery now, you know, bring is the secret and there's really gonna be bringing top talent bringing in the people who are already doing 20-30 Like we're talking to a 20, 30, and 60 million producer right now like we've had a couple of meetings. So that's the secret sauce and really gain that and you can't attract that type of talent without the resources. So the challenge we're constantly having a question we know that so working relationship team like we are we is like that joining fast. So I think it's great for new agents, but someone higher up, it's okay, how are you really, really like getting to the next level, a lot of is gonna be leveraged systems holding them accountable. Maybe they want to start farming campaign that they will get it running for you will hold our assistants accountable. We'll do it for you, we charge it we'll send you a bill. Like that's everyone knows what they need to do. But I just don't have time today. But how great would be if you had to resort to the entire resource operations team that you, we strategize your game plan for a year we'll sit down and really, really dive deep again, all that stuff done that you want to do, because then you have someone like myself that understands it and nonproduction to spend the time helping you do that. And it's like from our like high-level resource people. Up until so like first-year quickly. Create is just me Karina, in June, we hired the sales director in August, we hired a marketing assistant. Now she does onboarding, we have been September, we hired a trainer. Now he's a third-year ops, those are first hires. But since last year, within last five months, between August and out was when we hired our lead scientist, our Senior Market Manager, our videographer, our mentorship person and development. So we've made five key hires all within the last couple of months. And this is the next step in our business to be able to track like really, really big agents because we have it because you know, like a lot of companies out there a great like sites, I bring up satellite because they help agents kind of shift brands and create their own brand in the box. But then what's next right now, especially that team, there's a recruiter is your brokerage. What do you do? You recruit? You want to get production? Yeah, the recruit? But now they're freaking out, Hey, I get it. Now we need to hire a marketing person for a team. Now you did it for Well, we're ahead of the curve. We have this like, why would you want to start your own team? And then we have really competitive split Sue? What the rest of the market on par with all the big brands out here? So why wouldn't you just plug in all the stuff I mentioned, it's free. There are actually no additional costs. We're not paying for your farming, but we'll get done for you and charge you. But all the stuff that we have doesn't cost you a thing, like the virtual assistants ISA team game, your marketing done helping you create your personal brand, we don't charge extra for that. So we were really trying to make ourselves the destination spot for all top agents. And we have something very unique that no other company is doing, or they haven't yet.

 

Brian Charlesworth  32:29  

But you do I mean the number of people you have there working to provide the services. I mean, looking at your org chart, there was pretty amazing, honestly. So 

 

Kenny Truong  32:41  

It's something one of the big hires we had in addition, we've hired everyone within we have not hired single other virtual assistants, right. It's just assistants and you know, the key hires we have on our leadership team and a junior leadership team all came internally. So something we've done too with our junior leadership team is given them a higher commission split and a salary. So they part the part-time work for us doing what they like. So that's something known companies I've seen as a will offer. So as we grow, I don't know what the next five hires or eight hires will have this year is but if we're going to get to we're getting our pilot 600 agents by this year, I think we'll actually be closer to 700. But we're adding over 400 team members this year, like there's gotta be at least 5678 more key hires in there, based on people's existing talent that we can help them grow the company and they also get compensated for it.

 

Brian Charlesworth  33:27  

So you're growing from 200 to 600 agents this year. Yeah. Which is so impressive, like you think you think at a much higher level than pretty much any team I've

 

Kenny Truong  33:37  

Our geographic reach that does help us a lot. Many of you guys may understand the Bay Area, landscape, actual physical geographic location, but every 20, 30 minutes is a completely different market. I've only sold a home in this city in that city, 20 minutes from away from me, I'll fix our homes I've sold. So we have retail offices, like I'll say one little snippet north for me, we actually will have an office within half-hour every single office. So we'll have a retail spaces. So we kind of mimic or my goal is going to be like a regional KW franchise owner, except they don't compete with each other. But how cool would it be? You know, KW is different right? I use that a lot like this your Office experience with this office and that office will be different because owned by different owners, different sales team different whatever managers, different agents, yes, on the logo is the same as actually a completely different company. Right. So as we're running, you know, we'd like to get to eight to 14 locations by probably July this year, what eight or nine being retail spaces where agents come in, they can work at any office, it's the same agents at each office. You know, obviously, people go to each one a little more frequently. They can feel welcome. And at home at every office, you're working with the same administration team and operations team, same marketing. And we also encourage personal branding, which I won't dive into here, but same marketing, same systems. So that's why we're going so big to just because we have reached someone in our way in each direction, will introduce us to other agents, and now, each direction, versus if you work specifically in Utah, and I don't, I don't know, what's an hour, two hours next to Utah. So like, you can't really recruit that agent, because then they're too far. But here like we're, we're expanding where we can recruit agents like literally anywhere geographically.

 

Brian Charlesworth  35:19  

Yeah, makes sense. So most people, if they said, I'm going to double my business this year, I wouldn't even know here on February 24, that their pacing, they said they're going to triple it, they wouldn't know that they're pacing, actually to double it, like you said. And if they did know that, they would probably adjust their goals to double it instead of triplet, and you're all about, we're going to triple it. So you've given it you've given us a lot of things that, that you're doing to do that. Obviously, you're recruiting top talent to your team, your recruiting top agents, what else are some of the key things you're doing to really make sure you hit that 300% this year?

 

Kenny Truong  36:05  

Retention, we are definitely having issues with retention. So in the last two years, we lost about 46 agents, but we also put them in a spreadsheet, look at why we lost them. About half of them aren't in business anymore. So can't, we can't do anything about that. Like we lost 8 agents last week between the 8 a that 10 deals last year, no actually no, sorry. Two agents if I deals and four doesn't do anything. So that's a big deal for other teams. Well, you know, but we really just need one agent to place 10. So retention is key, making sure agents rank gauge, doing workshops around them recognition, featuring them on newsletters, featuring on newsletters, highlighting them every week, our team meeting, having a word ceremony, having them be speakers at our events, hiring them, so they can also do agent attraction. This is not something new, this is something new to us. So even though we have also, we now feature our top agents for the month, we have a full Instagram ad, we just make fun of comes in and do that because usually kind of a neat, right? It's like great like I'm a KW is the worst as an orange badge, I think was here was like emblem like NorCal. Hawaii has like, why would you post this, but we have something pretty sexy looking that we highlight our top agents for each mine like top five units, I'll find volume. So we make it look good too. And we timer thing. So recognition is really key. Recognition creates retention, and also like opportunities. We increased our splits this year in January for the very first time. So we go anywhere from 75 to 90 based on GCI. So that's that's been big for us for retention, and then creating leadership opportunities in the future and letting people know we're always constantly looking for leaders, but people have to show up first contribute to company and we could find them a row. So there's a couple three, four people we've identified that really want to help the company and they're they're the ones leaving leading conversations within our meetings and coaching calls and training. They're they're stepping out of their way to help other agents or mentors. We have 30 mentors in our company with 100 mentees 10% split on that. So people who are showing up and helping are a lot so we really, when we're doing Zilla squats, we stopped that program. And we have squats for where micro-groups, micro accountability groups were their own custom names and stuff. We when we were on the cosmic justice, why leaders, we really focus on the five levels of leadership. So we're we're bringing in outside training into the company because our three goals this year for a company is to focus on helping our agents start to build teams that were being enough to I don't need any recognition, federal safety fast, great, whatever. But now we want teams within the team, you know, look for resources to by the way, you don't go and build it with teams within team and really helping our agents learn to leverage the system. So many, many rages now have their own version systems. They like ours and like they use ours, but they realize there's a queue right? They don't want things to wait, because why wouldn't you just go hire your own virtual assistants for five bucks an hour and share with another agent. And so we're really teaching agents how to do that. And then we're at some point where to launch a training program where our assistants can train other assistants inside of the company. So agents just don't like love selling real estate they can become assistants within a company will train them and depending on what they charge, maybe different tiers of what they do. And if there will be an interaction because obviously eXp that's an opportunity here.

 

Brian Charlesworth  39:18  

Interesting I've never heard someone talk about agents getting their own ba but that's very interesting and a lot of them are a very easy concept to execute on right? 

 

Yeah, I think my recruiter likes using my VA but my knees were calves I have like six VAs, I share one of them I could choose when to be fired for other agents so things don't get done right away. Now, one of the recruiters has their own assistants virtual assistant and now more recently we hired a licensed his own assistant, but our market managers are being swamped, like the market manager is great at pre-projects but she shouldn't be the one to implement every single picture. A this is a marketing campaign we need 10 Top Producer things which that person doesn't need to pick a picture yes as a minute, but how great would be, hwe have virtual assistants doing that? Now she'll share the system with allies until she gets so busy, then we get another system. Because it's all bottles, I mean, at scale at this point, and this is not something, well, this is something other teams are figuring out, right? If you're a teenager trying to figure this out, you can't support a Top Producing agent on your team and how to do it because you haven't done it yourself. And as a parent is all I do, so we're copying the systems and leveraging it downwards. So the team understands how to build systems. 

 

Yeah, awesome. So Kenny, just a couple more things. Tell me how you spend your time. You guys have so much going on that? Like how do you prioritize your time and stay out of the weeds? 

 

Kenny Truong  40:34  

Ladies department really makes decisions. I'm usually the final say when it comes to things but I'm not. I don't really die. I'm not really an implementation stage. We do. Get example we did. We just started three weeks ago. Because our ops team is so big now. Right? Like 25 bucks. Now we have weekly meetings on Wednesday for half an hour. And we just talked for two minutes. They know what we're doing. And then I have conversations with different departments. But every time we're a conversation, it might be me and Molly in talks to this person. And then me and John, me and John and Ben, there ISA person and Eric Spellman. We have all the flex stuff. So we have different departments handle different things. That's how you multiply your time, right?

 

Brian Charlesworth  41:14  

Yeah, exactly. Last thing, just a few personal questions for you Kenny. What's your favorite book to read or favorite source of learning?

 

Kenny Truong  41:24  

Masterminds. I'm really, I really audible I was in like, 15-20 books a year. And then a couple years ago, just four books last year, maybe 10. Because I listened to Audible when I drive. I only drive I don't meet with clients. I don't meet with people. So it's really hard for me to get that time. And so I will say actual in person masterminds are my biggest learning source.

 

Brian Charlesworth  41:41  

Yeah. Awesome. And what's your favorite place to go?

 

Kenny Truong  41:46  

Lately, it's snowboarding was like five, six, like five times in the last like month. But outside that, I'm usually like if I'm traveling, like being on the beach live in Cabo and Kanku last year, and I'm going to Cabo Cancun like leered in the next 30 days. So I like sunshine. My favorite thing to do on vacation is to do nothing. Like, I don't want I don't I mean, I'll go I don't care to make a schedule. have plans on average, just like seeing the same hotel room doing nothing?

 

Brian Charlesworth  42:10  

Yeah, well, good. I'll see you on the beach in Cancun. Yeah. Great. Last piece of advice you have for anybody out there just on building a business. I mean, you have scaled this up faster than I think than I've ever seen in real estate. So congratulations to you on that. But what would be your advice for listeners on you know,

 

Kenny Truong  42:31  

I mean, everything your cost is time or money, right? Something doesn't cost a lot of time, try it out, like, or if you're building out your team, you know, you need to hire people to make decisions for you. And they're going to make bad decisions, but you learn and the faster you make decisions and just pick something unless it's something where you have to pick it and then the consequences require a lot more time to fix than then maybe give that a more thinking. And by that, I built my businesses trying everything out. I wasted a ton of money on different marketing sources. Last year that didn't work. We tried this system, that system and it worked so like but I'm not the one wasting my time on that system. I pay people to do it now. Like, early on was calling them moving our entire recruiting process. And onboarding process Sisu is gonna save us tons of time and moving our roster, the Monday where the public-facing board instead of a super spreadsheet is going to be great, too. It's like costly just constantly adding more things, but prioritizing projects because you know, it sounds like a lot of things going on. But we have a project say Hey, this is due date in April, we're thinking of doing a swag store, but it's not urgent. It's not like we're fine with that. Let's look at this in June. Let's try this. Or money right now. It causes it took us months and months to build out. But like I want to look at clicked up. I could see everywhere. I feel like new products are usually better. Let's look at click up towards the end of this year, my team would kill me we'd spend months building out and I also won't change by causing so having projects but figure out when you're going to implement it was implemented.

 

Brian Charlesworth  43:59  

Awesome. Kenny, thank you so much for joining today. Really appreciate it. I again, for the listeners out there. I don't care what business you're in. Being able to scale a business at the rate that Kenny has scaled his business is pretty incredible. So take some of these things. I know Kenny Kenny, is fast and he talks fast. So I recommend I recommend you go back and listen to this one more time. I know I have a full page of notes here in front of me. And hopefully, you will go back and get a full page of notes in front of you as well. A lot of a lot. A lot of great advice here. Kenny. Thanks again for joining. To all of our listeners, thank you for listening today and for getting the word out and just sharing this with others so that we can get more people like Kenny on the show. Have a great week, everyone. We'll catch you guys next week. Thanks again, Kenny. 

 

Kenny Truong  44:50  

All right. Thanks, Brian.

Elements Image

The best Sisu content, right in your inbox.

Be the first to hear about product updates, industry news, client success stories and more! All designed to help you grow your real estate team and business 🚀

Latest Articles

Episode 104: From Being a Solo Agent to Running Multiple Brokerages with Vija Williams

Episode 104: From Being a Solo Agent to Running Multiple Brokerages with Vija Williams

Although Vija Williams was doing well financially running her own real estate team, she realized that she was miserable. She felt she had ...

Episode 103: From Having an Active Job to Having Passive Ownership of Everything with Jeff Cohn

Episode 103: From Having an Active Job to Having Passive Ownership of Everything with Jeff Cohn

For most business owners, success means financial gain. And the more time and effort they put into their businesses, the more money they m...

Episode 102: Building a Business vs. Building a Practice with Bobby Moats and Erin Leff

Episode 102: Building a Business vs. Building a Practice with Bobby Moats and Erin Leff

There are two ways to build a business in real estate. One, you can build a practice which you can grow, but then it dies when you decide t...