Podcast

Episode 110: How The Right Systems Help Teams Prosper in The Midst of a Recession with Jamie Bledsoe

The average rate on a mortgage has recently gone up to 6%, the highest it has been since the recession in 2008. And most experts are saying that the housing market is experiencing a downturn right now.

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.

 

The average rate on a mortgage has recently gone up to 6%, the highest it has been since the recession in 2008. And most experts are saying that the housing market is experiencing a downturn right now. 

 

If you’re running a real estate business, it’s crucial now, more than ever, to have your business operations in check, implement automation wherever possible, and make sure that you’re making wise decisions based on true numbers and analytics.

 

Brian Charlesworth joins Jamie Bledsoe of the Neal & Neal Team, as she shares how important it is to have the right systems in place to streamline and automate your business, especially now that we’re experiencing an economic downturn

 

Top Takeaways:

 

(02:51) How Jamie got into real estate

(05:29) Why Jamie says that selling is not her area of expertise

(09:04) The systems that the Neal & Neal were using when Jamie first joined the team

(18:05) How Sisu has impacted their business and allowed them to grow

(23:26) Why Jamie says that their old systems didn’t really solve their problem of data

(26:36) The beautiful thing about Sisu

(28:29) How focusing on just one industry helped Sisu streamline and automate the real estate industry

(29:00) How Sisu helped Jamie’s team address pain points from their previous systems

(33:05) How Sisu allows tracking and managing income well

(35:16) Why you should let Sisu be your brain

(38:47) How are things taking off for the Neal & Neal team?

(42:44) How will teams continue to take market share even when the housing market is down?

 

Connect with Jamie Bledsoe

Email: jamie@nealteam.com



About the guest:

 

Before joining the Neal & Neal team, Jamie Bledsoe took up architectural design.  She then worked for a small architectural firm for 4 years and met her husband.  After getting married, they transferred to San Antonio, TX, where Jamie found it challenging to get a job as an architect.  She tried several jobs until she worked for a large HOA management company.

 

Jamie led and managed the closing department for that HOA company.  Here, she got to work with many title companies and learned more about deeds and legal documents.  This sparked her interest in real estate, and decided to start her career with the Neal & Neal team.

 

Today, Jamie Bledsoe has taken over the operations side of The Neal & Neal Team, and she has done a phenomenal job at streamlining and automating their business.  Their goal is to have 750 transactions this year, and they are currently on track to surpass that number if conditions keep going the way it is.



Episode Transcript:



Brian Charlesworth  00:35

Okay, hello, everyone, and welcome back to the Grit Podcast. I'm Brian Charlesworth. I'm the founder of Sisu and your host of the show. And today I have someone with me that I've known now, probably about three years Jamie Bledsoe is joining us. She is from the Neal & Neal Team. She came in in 2017, and kind of took over operations at the Neal & Neal Team. These guys have had tremendous growth, I think they had about 150 transactions a year when I started working with them. Last year, they did over 850. This year, I don't know what you're pacing to do, but we can talk about that. But Jamie is basically responsible for all of the operations at the Neal & Neal Team, and I can tell you this, she's done a phenomenal job. And when I think of Jamie, I really think of someone who is the leader, or one of the forward-thinking leaders that know how to just streamline and automate their business. And as you all know, I'm very passionate about streamlining and automating the real estate industry. And so I wanted to have Jamie on the show with me today. Because, you know, I think there are a lot of people out there, especially in the market today, interest rates just hit 6%. Here we are in June of 2022. And interest rates have have more than doubled now, over the last probably four months. Anyway, I think it's really a time when if you are running a real estate business, it's more important than ever, that you really get your operations in check that you know your business, that you're making smart decisions that you're automating whatever you can. And so Jamie is the perfect guest for us today. So Jamie, thank you for being on the show. Maybe you could give us a little bit of background on yourself prior to coming into the Neal & Neal Team.

 

Jamie Bledsoe  02:32

Yeah, definitely. Thank you, Brian, that was really nice of you to say all those things. I don't see myself quite that same way. But I really appreciate it. I don't actually have my background in real estate is relatively minimal compared to a lot of people and yourself and people that I work with kind of on a day to day basis. Prior to joining the Neal & Neal Team. You know, I went to school out west at the University of Colorado in Boulder for architectural design. And I got my first job out of school with a small architecture firm in Louisville, Kentucky. And I worked with them for a little over four years. And I met my husband out there as well. And so once we got married, his work brought us here to San Antonio. So we moved down here and not having you know, any network or connections here, we have no family here, it was a little bit tricky for me to try to find something in that same field that I had previously been in. And I tried a couple of things reached out to some people was kind of trying to stay in that same industry and realm of work. And then, you know, ended up going a different route and a route that's very common for people here in San Antonio, which is to get a job with USAA. They're a huge employer here, but they do insurance. So it was nothing like what I'd been doing before or went to school. And I was not a huge fan of the company. I am we are members there. My husband's a veteran, but I just you know, being in the line of work of insurance there. I didn't have a background in technology to kind of go the tech route there. I just, you know, after about two and a half years there, I wanted to try something else. And I ended up getting a job with a large HOA management company here in town. And they're in different states around the country, but they're based here and manage, you know, a huge number of homeowners associations here in San Antonio, which if you're not from Texas, I can tell you in Texas like HOAs are massive. I mean, it's I'd never lived in a place prior to moving here where it's almost unheard of, in some ways to not be part of an HOA it's just it's big, it's a toll kind of own industry down here. So gotten to the HOA management business and ended up leading the closing department and I managed that closing department where what we did is we got Resale Certificates or real estate you know transaction documents out for Title Companies when someone was selling or buying a home and worked with a lot of the local title companies during that time, kind of learned how to read a lot of the legal documentation and deeds and managed a lot of the title checks to resolve people's accounts and this and that, and kind of started to really learn about real estate and get a little more interested in it, and ended up going from that job to work with the Neal & Neal Team. So

 

Brian Charlesworth  05:24

okay, so when you were at the insurance company, were you in sales?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  05:29

I was Yeah, I was. I was like, on the phone all day, like working with people on their home and auto insurance policies, it was totally random, it was not definitely just not something I was passionate about, I'll say, and nothing that I was good at, either. So I mean, I did just fine in my job. But in terms of pushing sales on people, you know, I can talk all day long about things that I'm passionate about, and probably sell someone on something that I know well, and love, but for just kind of random things, you know, or sales to sell. That's not there's a reason why I'm not an agent to, um, you know, I'm kind of on the opposite side of everything for a reason, because I don't think I'd be a great agent, either. For the same reason, I'm a little timid when it comes to trying to like close a deal and things like that. I just, that's not my area of expertise, for sure.

 

Brian Charlesworth  06:20

Okay, so have you taken a DISC profile? Yes, I have. Yeah. And what is your DISC profile?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  06:27

I am a very high C and D. They're almost equivalent. So in that regard, I know for a fact that I have to kind of watch myself as far as managing people on the team and the way that I talk to people because when I'm like moving quickly, I know, I'm the type of person that will very easily my brain skips over pleasantries. Do you know what I mean? And I'll just, like, get to the point. And I'm like, oh, that might have sounded rude. But yeah, very high, C and D. So my

 

Brian Charlesworth  06:55

highest C what percentage is your C?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  06:58

Oh, it's very high. It's in the 90s. In the 90s, your D. There are some alerts like high 80s. They're almost equivalent. They're very high. Both of them? Yeah. And then my S is a little lower. It's kind of like mid-range. And I've got almost no, I might have liked, the personality, like people person aspect of that is almost non-existent.

 

Brian Charlesworth  07:23

So C and D, that's an interesting combo. So I think about that. And I think about how it's really shaped your career. And you're heading up the ops for Neal and Neal. So when you came into the Neal and Neal Team, tell us about what size they were, as far as like, that was 2017. How big were you guys back then? And what were you actually hired to do?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  07:47

So I was actually hired as a kind of like a listing manager, executive admin person, they had just started to get to a point on the team. And we're on the cusp of kind of growing to the point where they needed someone sort of taking over that pre-listing side of the work primarily and letting the TCS really just focus on contracts. So I came in to sort of help with all of that I was doing, you know, basic bookkeeping work, just, you know, a certain amount of like office management stuff. So it was not a very, it wasn't very big at the time. You know, there are people who've been there longer than me that have seen it grow and change even more than I have, of course, but I think when I started with the team, we might have had between like, we might have had about 13 agents.

 

Brian Charlesworth  08:33

And how many transactions were you doing back then? Do you remember?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  08:38

I think the year I started because I started in September, and we do our team advance, which is kind of like our annual planning for the following year, every October, and I had just been with the team a couple of weeks when we did our team advance. And I want to say, it was like 250 was the call for the following year for two following

 

Brian Charlesworth  08:57

years. So you were probably around 150 I think that's probably right. Okay, yeah. Okay. So tell us about what systems you guys used back then Jamie like you came into this business, and you're just trying to get your hands around things. What did you discover? And I mean, this is definitely not a knock on the Neal Team. It's crazy how far you guys have come. But I think it's what I want to do is just dig into kind of the difference between where you were then versus where you are now. So can you tell us like, what your processes and systems looked like back then?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  09:38

Yeah, so very different than they do now. Definitely. And when I came in, and you know, I always have to give Clint and Shane so much credit because they're very forward thinkers in terms of what systems we can use. They're always looking at and researching different systems that are out in the world to help improve as we grow, you know, different areas, different processes, things of that nature. So they stay very informed and on the forefront of kind of just systems that are out there in general and ways that we can maybe use or leverage them to our benefit as a team. So when I came into the team, they were using Trello. In a sort of minimal sense, there was a certain amount of transaction management that was happening in Trello. But it was more almost used like communication venue for some of the different people that were working on different parts of the transaction to kind of house everything and communicate in one place, it wasn't really a transaction management process that was built out or in there. So we had a VA that would help put together payout information, lead source information, she would sort of do that we're using CTS for some of that stuff, and just spreadsheets, you know, and she was putting that stuff together. And then she would like post it on the Trello card saved somewhere where other people could access it, then and, you know, see what they needed to do with that information. And we were, you know, just kind of keeping updates and information on those Trello cards in regards to the transactions. And then we had a system called transaction point, that was really what we were using primarily as a transaction management system, particularly with our buyer contracts, the way we were structured as a team at the time was totally different than how we're structured. Now, we had one or two listing agents that did all of our listings. And then everybody else we're, you know, buyer agents. So the vast majority of our volume was really coming in from the buy-side of things. Our listing agents were pretty high volume agents, you know, at the time and for where we were at as a team. But we were getting much more on the buy-side. And transaction point was helping us manage that on the buy-side of things. And that system was becoming incredibly expensive as the team was starting to grow because they charged per transaction that you inputs. So whether it closed or not, it didn't matter if you were paying for anything that you input, no matter how far I've made it through. And of course, as you grow, that's not even scalable, I don't even know, I don't know how they're operating that way, or who would be willing to pay for something like that when there are things like Sisu in the world. But yeah, it was, you know, there were some things about that system that worked well for the process. For instance, you could assign due dates to tasks and set it up, you know, it basically was a system where you would put tasks into the system and assign due dates for when they would be due relative to the key dates in the contract. And then it would just tell you what you had to do each day. So we were kind of using that for transaction management Trello for the sort of like general information about the transaction, CTEs and spreadsheets to you know, get reports on and obtain information about just about everything else as far as data is concerned with each transaction. So

 

Brian Charlesworth  12:56

So you use TransactionPoint, you use Trello, you used CTE's spreadsheets, you used what's Boomtown? Is that right?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  13:07

Yeah, we used Boomtown as our CRM, and we still do.

 

Brian Charlesworth  13:10

Okay. And then what about for E signature?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  13:13

Dotloop.

 

Brian Charlesworth  13:14

And Dotloop? Okay, are you still using Dotloop?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  13:17

Yes, we do still use Dotloop, we did not fall in line with what kW, one of those we continued to use, was as a team.

 

Brian Charlesworth  13:26

Okay. So really, your processes went from using five systems to using three systems because you still use Boomtown, you still use Dotloop? And you plugged Sisu into the middle? Is that right?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  13:39

Yes. And we had a VA that, basically her entire job was managing housing, and updating data, which she did primarily through CTE spreadsheets and a little bit of Trello, in terms of where she would pull information from, okay, you can't do anything with data in Trello. But that was an entire person's job.

 

Brian Charlesworth  14:02

So you had a full-time person. And this is something that I don't think most people in this industry think about, but you had a full-time person. And if I understand what you just said, correctly, this person's job was to take what data from one platform, put it into another platform, take it from that platform, put it into another platform, and take it from that platform and put it into another platform. So maybe that started with Boomtown to CTE to transaction point to Trello. And then to dot loop. Am I understanding this correctly?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  14:38

Yeah, not exactly in that order. But yes, so like, literally the entire, you know, the entire data management system was her pulling data from all these different sources and systems. And then she had just these really intricate spreadsheets set up and established where she was, you know, accumulating all this data Are the managing it having to manually manage it, keep it up to date, keep it current, even all the way down to like, you know, tracking all of the cap fees for the agents and the agents would have to email her and be like, hey, where am I at on my cap right now? How much have I paid into it, you know, and she would have to like, pull a report for them based off all the data she'd kept in capturing just even basic information like that. But we have some agents that, you know, will pop up. And they would be like, Hey, I was just wondering, like, what my volume is so far for this year, my unit count, you know, and she'd have to go in and pull the report and like, send them the info off of all these spreadsheets and all this, you know, junk she was having to manage every single day.

 

Brian Charlesworth  15:37

She was a spreadsheet fanatic. Yeah, pulling data in and out of five different platforms, and really managing it in spreadsheets. It sounds like, yeah,

 

Jamie Bledsoe  15:50

so it was Yeah.

 

Brian Charlesworth  15:52

So if an agent needed something, they would come to her. And she basically had everything. Like, was there any way for anybody else to get access to those spreadsheets without her?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  16:05

Yeah. So Clint and Shane had access to everything, but it was so like, the way she had everything set up was so in-depth and kind of intricate that I don't think they could have easily, you know, jumped in to edit or modify something, they would usually go to her I believe, as well to kind of be like, Hey, can you pull a report for us on this out of the data that you have, even though they could access the spreadsheets, it was just, it was just a very intricate mass of data and information that she had manually built out and was manually managing. So

 

Brian Charlesworth  16:14

I mean, we worked with over 3000 teams here. And I would say, pretty much all 3000 of those teams when we met them that's similar to how they were doing business. And, you know, they're still, I don't know, there's over there's got to be I know, there are 109,000 brokerages in this space, there's got to be at least several 100,000 teams. And I would say the bulk of them are still doing business that way.

 

Jamie Bledsoe  17:05

I feel like it definitely puts a cap on your ability to grow with a system like that, you know, I mean, there's only so much you can do with that for so long. Yeah, if your goal is to grow the business, definitely. And I think too, you know, for Clint and Shane, as business owners, for myself, as someone who's managing the operations of the team, you'd need to be able to at the click of a button, or the snap of your finger, pull that data, you know, see reports, see information and keep track of that easily. You know, so that's been we've come a long way since then. Definitely. Yeah.

 

Brian Charlesworth  17:40

So okay, so let's, let's talk a little bit about that. So you became the head of operations. And Sisu came into your world, in January 2019, which is when we launched the platform officially. So you must have been around for over a year, just over a year at that point. Yeah. And so how did things change, talk about this evolution of where you were, and where you are now, and how that's impacted your business and allowed you to grow? And it seems to me, you actually have fewer people on staff than you did them as well. But I could be wrong.

 

Jamie Bledsoe  18:22

Yeah, we have. So we have probably a few more on staff than we did back then. But not by much. And considering the amount of growth that we've experienced. And we've been able to leverage some of the people, for instance, that VA that was housing all the data, we were able to shift her into a different role completely, because we no longer needed an entire person doing that anymore, you know, and we were able to take someone who knew the business, you know, knew the back end, knowing the processes, and use her in a way that in the team and for support that was far more beneficial than what she was doing before where it was just replicating data over and over, and managing and updating it all the time. So So yeah,

 

Brian Charlesworth  19:06

I got mean. So she's now in a different role. I want to talk about that a little bit, but also, why do you no longer have this need for a data replicator?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  19:18

Because of Sisu Yeah, it's, um,

 

Brian Charlesworth  19:21

so let's talk. Let's talk about that transition. Like when you guys discovered Sisu? You know, I know it was early on it was before we do everything we do today, but let's talk about that evolution of how your business transpired from there, to where it is today. And what that

 

Jamie Bledsoe  19:40

Well, yeah. And so I came into the team and before, just upon entering in before I had any real estate, you know, experience or knowledge at all, coming in, Clint was sort of like, hey, with your background and some of your experience. I think you could build out a good transaction management system for us. They had I've seen another team that used Trello in a really interesting and unique way. And he had an even bigger vision for it, where he wanted to kind of do something like that, but build on it and potentially use that system. So we, you know, he was like before we start loading you down with transactions and all these other things, and you've got some capacity, and you're like new and coming in with fresh perspective and set of eyes on this, he was like, you know, talk with the TCS get to know how the transactions run. And he basically just gave me this project of building out the process. So, which was a ton of fun for me, I had hadn't really totally done anything like that before. And especially since I was very new to real estate, it was complete, you know, learning the whole thing was such a learning process. But it helped to really teach me about every step and stage of what we do and the contracts, and you know, what the agents do and what the T C's have to do. And so I learned a lot in the process of doing that, certainly. But we got a pretty intricate, cool process and system built out in Trello. And the more we used it, the more we realized we could use it more and use it more. And it was working really well, we got rid of TransactionPoints. And that was evolving and growing as the team was starting to grow a little bit. But we still had this issue with having all this data we couldn't do anything was so on you know, the back end of things, we still had somebody having to like do all the pulling the data and pulling the data. So as far as just having tasks outlined, and like a whole transaction management process that was working really well for us. And you know, we got that rolled out and just continued to build it. And it worked really well then that was actually back in the day when Trello was a little bit newer on the scene as well. So we had, I think it was like a free account initially, or it was just it was either free or very dirt cheap. And then they either got bought out, I think, by somebody else or lesson or something, right, a lesson. Yeah. And so you know, there was this? Yes, exactly. So then there was this big shift where it's like, oh, because we had our entire process built out on this. So we had every agent, and it was not just our transaction management process. But it was like anything informational, where the agents would need easy access to find broker information or license numbers or contact info or preferred vendors, there was like a Trello board for all of it, right? But the team was still growing pretty rapidly. And all of a sudden, Trello comes in and they're like, oh, by the way, if anyone on your team is on more than a single board, you're now I'm gonna be charged for them as like a member admin on the account pretty much. And we were all like, oh, oh, darn, you know, because we were growing a lot at the time. And we had our entire everything was just built out in this system, you know, and I was like, What are we going to do because suddenly, we had built out this massive thing. And it was like other things with us in the past suddenly not scalable.

 

Brian Charlesworth  23:19

It sounds almost like your Trello boards came almost as complex as most people's spreadsheets.

 

Jamie Bledsoe  23:25

They were Yeah, there was a board for everything there was. I mean, it was, it made the information very easily accessible. But it still didn't solve the problem of data. Because you can't do anything with the information that's there. It's just a dead end. Once you're done with it. There's no There's no recording. No reporting. Yeah. So you're still duplicating work and process, like putting that data somewhere else.

 

Brian Charlesworth  23:50

The duplicate entry. Okay, all the duplicate

 

Jamie Bledsoe  23:54

entry. Yeah. And now on top of that, we were going to be charged a fair amount of money to continue to use that system. And so from there, Clint was basically like, okay, like, Let's put on our thinking caps. And we're like, okay, and he was already working with you guys at that point before the transaction management process. And, you know, part of the system was available and had rolled out, but he had at least started getting, I think, just very recently before that happened, really, I think working with you closely on Okay, let's start moving the data over here and get it out of the spreadsheets and stop relying on the spreadsheets and relying on Sisu for a great place to house our data. So we can pull reports we have past records in a secure location and easily accessible for you know him as a business owner. So I know he was already involved in that with you then at that point, I think, and working closely with you on you know, like okay, this is something that we would love to have you know or report We'd love to like, you know, be able to pull or so that was happening already when kind of the shift was Trello occurred. And we were sort of like, oh my gosh, okay, what are we going to do now like, and we started just sort of researching other systems and thinking about things. And then Clint popped up to me, and was like, hey, so Sisu was working on something, that is going to be a game-changer. And I was like, Okay. And, you know, one of the first things that we did was, actually, he started digging in with me on showing me how the data, you know, was inputted, how that worked, how to navigate the system, how to pull reports. And then we started talking about building out the commission forms. And we kind of looked at getting that piece in place, and kind of ended up working on that simultaneously as working on building out the transaction management piece of the system, and then rolled all of that out to the team at the same time. And just we did it in a way where it was not really a big impact or change to our agents, which was helpful because it's harder to get them to make a big shift. Then, like the support team, it was a big change for our support team. So we rolled it out in a way that worked for everybody. We did beta testing with the TCS for a period of time, and I let them run things simultaneously, alongside the systems that they were used to running. So you know, because we have, there's nerves, you know, anytime I think you're making a massive change like that, you know, but and I kept reminding them, I was like, it's really not a massive change. Because the beautiful thing that Sisu allowed me to do was to keep the tasks that we had in place already and our lists about our process and the steps we take and everything that we had spent so much time and so many years, like really kind of building out and perfecting, it was all still there the exact same way, it was just better, because we could assign the due dates to the tasks and leverage the test manager. And we still had the ability to look at it in a familiar way to Trello using the transaction stages board. So it felt less intimidating, I think, to the team when we made that transition because of that, all these things, but it was just a pretty seamless transition. And it allowed us to eliminate several other systems and open up capacity for everybody. You know, as far as what our T C's are able to manage and handle in the capacity that they can take on. It's just, I mean, you know, we had when I first started with the team, we were a smaller team. Yes. But we had TCS that was, you know, running, maybe 20 deals at a time that's not closing 20 deals a month, that's like running. So, you know, under contract pending and closing, like running up to, you know, 20 to 25 deals in a month timeframe. And it felt like a lot or kind of overwhelming with the systems that were being used in the process at the time. And now our TCS are running 50 to 55 in a month. And when I, you know, talk with them, and I'm like, Hey, how's it going? How are you feeling about where things are at your volume, the capacity? Do they even get shocked? They're like, Man, I just I can't believe that. Like, I'm actually doing that number of transactions right now, you know, because it just doesn't feel like that doesn't feel like it's that many, you know? And it's because of the system. So, yeah, it's just been, it's allowed us to grow in ways that other systems just wouldn't have. So.

 

Brian Charlesworth  28:27

So you know, one of the things that have allowed us to really streamline the real estate industry and automate it is being so focused on just one industry, right? You look at Trello, and they're serving every industry, you look at Sisu, we're serving one industry. And that's why we're able to drill and go so deep. And so when I hear you talk, I mean, you guys had a big pain point. And I remember going through this with Clint, you guys had a big pain point was commissioned, as well as Trello, as well as CTE, as well, you know, you had all these different things going on where you had these pain points, just trying to think of like, maybe you could talk about how those just kind of evaporated

 

Jamie Bledsoe  29:09

Went away? Yeah, I mean, the CTA forms just went away because they were just collecting data on like lead sources. And in, you know, we have a payout structure on our team that is based a lot off the lead source and a little bit off the volume. So you know, the split structure can shift and change depending on the volume that you've done. And it can be different depending on the original lead source. And so all that had to be tracked, and it was being tracked primarily via CTE forms back in the day, you know, and now that's just that's information that's entered into Sisu. And not only can you pull a simple report, either per agent so that you can see exactly you know, what they've done in terms of like volume, lead source, all that good stuff, but we have the ability to actually pull reports that take it down as granular as by lead source and conversion. And you know, when you're able to actually see, okay, well, we're paying for this lead source. And with the conversion rate, you know, which agents are benefiting it, benefiting off of it the most and doing the best to convert it, and maybe you know, that agent, you know, it's not working well for them. So we can talk with them about maybe, you know, shifting their goals a little bit into looking at different types of lead sources and transactions, or maybe we need to pay for something over here that is never converting anything for us, you know, and all that kind of stuff. So the CTS went away because of that, and just being able to, you know, how some of that data the commission forms was, that was a big thing, it was, you know, again, kind of going back to the spreadsheets, everything was being we're under kW, we do things almost like a miniature brokerage internally, in terms of how we do commissions and splits and fees. And then we have to account for as a team, what we owe to kW and how their structure is, with splits and fees. And there's a lot, there's just a lot, there's a lot that goes into it and having to kind of know-how to break it down, you know, make sure that you're getting the right percentages, adding the referral fees, adding, you know, the correct broker fees, and the caps at the right time, and all these things. And so, you know, that is just kind of its own little beast, and having it be managed, you know, kind of on the back end by one of our BAs in a spreadsheet, it was just really hard and definitely not an ideal situation. And as I said, then people were having to go to her constantly and ask her, you know, about where am I on my cap? You know, what's my volume, all these other things? Where,

 

Brian Charlesworth  31:38

how do they do that today?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  31:41

Well, the Sisu, of course, you know, with the Commission forms, it's just, everything's there. And the way that we do it as a team, I love it. And it's so great for our agents and for their individual businesses as well, we use Sisu for our team, the way that we do is so beneficial to them, because as soon as we get a transaction in, we're able to set all of the financial information, the breakdowns, the fees, everything up in the commission form from the beginning, and then just make adjustments as needed as we go along. If something were to change, so that they're able to go in from the start and see, you know, okay, what is my projected paid income off of the steel going to be, and then that way, they can see that in advance, you know, and kind of know and plan, we're able to have a lot of that information, auto-populate based off of, you know, simple things like transaction amount, that's, you know, input JCI referral details kind of pop up and auto-populate in the form, and being able to build out custom categories and entities where it's like, literally a drop-down selection, or click of a button to add something in, that's preset at the right percentage amount, or, you know, the right flat rate, and also set to pay out to the correct entity, you know, preset the payout to the correct entity. There are just all of these intricacies that were accounted for in how you guys built out that system that makes that I mean, it's just it's such a game-changer. And it allows us to track and manage income really well from a team perspective. And we do our own internal audits now on our cap fees, and our you know, that we paid out to kW or were able to see and track that a little bit better internally as we go through. And then also just on an agent level, you know, I always tell the agents, you know, that you can go in and pull an income report for yourself and for your business, whether you need to do that at the end of the year for taxes, or if you want to check it on monthly basis like this is awesome for your business, you know, so it's just I mean that and they can track they can see their cap, they can see exactly where they're at when it's been paid. And for us when we're doing the payouts we can see it. So we're not accidentally overpaying and then having to hold money out on the next payment or, which was, you know, something that would happen a lot in the past. Before Sisu commission forms were available to us. So Oh, my goodness, it's just been that has been huge. That's been huge.

 

Brian Charlesworth  33:56

So commissions have been huge. Let's talk a little bit about transaction management or, I mean, for everyone. transaction management means a different thing. For some people, that just means compliance review of documents. So let's talk about maybe project management of taking something from listing to under contract or from under contract close. How has this streamlined that for you? Yeah, just how has that become streamlined by no longer being on Trello. But having everything in one system,

 

Jamie Bledsoe  34:23

oh massively, massively. Not only having everything in one system, but to have the ability for our transaction coordinators to complete their tasks by transaction by the due date, by I mean, you can organize it a million different ways. But for us, a lot of the times what RTCs will do is they'll go in, they'll kind of start off in their transaction manager at the start of the day a knockout, if there are any overdue tasks, not those out the tasks that are due today. And then from there, you know, they can jump over to the transaction stages. You are bored and see things on this higher level and kind of bird's eye view, and start going through and doing like little touch bases on all their individual transactions and even work ahead of themselves. You know, in the summers, we get so busy. And one of the things that I tell them all the time is that with a system like Sisu, they can really just let the system be their brain, you know, when I'm like when you're swamped, we have the system set up and season set up in a way where you can just lean into that, let that be your brain so that you don't miss anything, you know, because we have our tests broken down, like very specific and detailed for all of the important items, you know, and I'm like, you don't have to try to like get overly caught up in your inbox or your calendar or manage anything by memory, lean into the system, leverage it for what it was made for. And the way that we have it set up in our processes and just let that guide you through it. And it's just it's worked so well and it's opened up so much capacity for our TCS, it's incredible. It's been as far as streamlining things and efficiency. Yeah, it's been awesome. I

 

Brian Charlesworth  36:02

Yeah, yeah, we're leveraging that and it's been awesome.

 

Brian Charlesworth  36:02

love the way you say, let that be your brain. Oh, yeah, we've come so far that we are now branding ourselves as really the real estate operating system. So really everything you need for real estate and moving towards that ecosystem where everyone does collaborate, including your mortgage and title companies. I wanted to ask are you on the new integration with Boomtown?

 

Brian Charlesworth  36:06

Okay. So that's one thing that, you know, as we talked about streamlining, whether you're using CTE or any other type of Wufu form, or whatever, to be able to have that information auto-populated from Boomtown to start a transaction? There's just one more way to eliminate that duplicate entry, right? Oh, yes,

 

Jamie Bledsoe  36:52

yeah. Yeah, we, we love that. And as soon as it rolled out, we like announced it to the team, we, in our sales meeting walked our agents through the process. And we were like, I mean, we want them to be able to use Sisu, for certain things, and in certain ways, but basically, we're like, Just don't touch, don't touch it. Because we were having a lot of problems for a while with duplicate entries, we are growing very quickly, we have a lot of new people coming in every month, that are trying to like get used to the systems and the processes. And the duplicate entry was a big thing that we're having to audit really consistently for a while. So we kind of were like, You know what, you know, like, they're in Boomtown all the time, working their pipelines and managing their leads. And so now they can kind of continue to work out of that system and program, it eliminates the step for them having to go in and enter the information into Sisu, prior to the TC is getting that contract from them and kind of taking it from there. And that's, that has, that's been awesome. And it has eliminated a lot of duplicate issues for us. And just so you know, to a new feature we hadn't been previously leveraging, which we are now and it's been great as the last feature. We weren't using that before. And now I'm like, I can't believe that we weren't using this before, because our data was really skewed as far as appointment meant and set data. Because if we lost a transaction, if something fell out, we would take out the contract data, and it would go back to appointments that are set. So that data was very skewed. And we recently hired a new director of lead operations. And so as he's come in, and kind of like started really digging into the lead source stuff and trying to really get some really cool new types of data and information and really track things that we haven't tracked as closely before. For us. He was asking about, you know, if there was a way we could really make sure that that appointment and set data was accurate. And we started looking at the lost feature. And it was like, we haven't been using this the whole time. So that's been really great.

 

Brian Charlesworth  38:49

Right? That's the funny thing is you'll discover constantly new things and new opportunities there. So, Jamie, tell us about we're getting close to being up on time here. But tell us about where your team is today. So what are things like for your team today?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  39:07

What are things that I like about our team today?

 

Brian Charlesworth  39:10

Well, like, first of all, like, how many transactions are you guys going to do this year? And just, you know, what, what is the future of the nail and nail team?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  39:20

Yeah, definitely. So I know you mentioned some numbers at the beginning that were a little bit higher than what's accurate for us right now. So last year, we closed close to 650 for the year. And our goal for this year was to do 750 And right now we're on track to pretty much I think to blow that out of the water of the year it keeps going the way it is. I know the markets a little bit like nuts, you know, right now, things could take a shift a little bit, but I'm pretty sure we're going to substantially bypass that poll this year. So we're excited about that. And we were we had a goal set to do 225 million in volume. And I don't think we're going to have any issues. meeting that goal. Either we have had record-setting months, the past few months on our team. Yes, we're growing and we're adding more agents pretty rapidly right now, we were adding agents rapidly. But still, one thing I appreciate about our team a lot is everyone on our team and in leadership is very protective of our team culture. So the interview process is quite lengthy and tedious. And we really try we do things a little differently on our team, where it's sort of like, you know, if you come on our team like you really want people who are really like, bought into what we're doing as a team, you know, and not trying to like kind of go their own ways or who, you know, just want leads, you know, but I really, like wanting to be incorporated into the team and Bob into that, and our culture and our way of doing things. And so, but even kind of with that, and being a little bit picky in how we recruit and who we onboard, like, you know, we've just, we've been bringing on a lot of great agents, lately who have been drawn to the team. So we're growing rapidly, but we also have some of our, we call them our OG agents, you know, the ones that have been around, you know, for a long time now, and like, before me and since me and all that kind of stuff, but they're doing some of them are doing their highest volume numbers now than ever before. And so, you know, one of our big listing agents on the team, well, I say, listing, we've switched. Now, I don't know, I was saying earlier, that we have listing agents and buyer agents, we went hybrid at one point a while back where you know, anyone could do anything. So if you had a past client that needed to sell, like you could do that deal, you didn't have to pass them off to somebody else. So but in one of our agents on our team, who does a lot of listings, I think he did 100 deals on his own last year. Wow. So yeah, it's been, it's just been, it's really taken off, you know, and definitely, you have to have the systems, the support and the infrastructure in place to be able to do that and do it well, and do it smoothly. And I've been a part of organizations in the past that didn't do it well, and it didn't go smoothly. And I've just been so impressed with the leadership on our team and how they've handled the growth and the systems that they have in place and the partnerships that they have in place to support that. And Sisu has been a huge part of that for us.

 

Brian Charlesworth  42:10

So how many agents? Are you guys up to now?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  42:14

Almost 60.

 

Brian Charlesworth  42:15

Okay. Okay, well, congratulations on all of your growth. And you know, what I'm seeing as I listened to you say, you're having some of your best months ever. The news is saying that the industry is going, you know, is obviously going into a recession. That's what the news is saying. We all know that the supply is not as great as the demand today, right? And homes will sit on the market longer with interest rates, more than doubling.

 

Jamie Bledsoe  42:48

That means that we're seeing some of that now, that being said,

 

Brian Charlesworth  42:53

what I'm seeing is our customers are all having some of their best months ever, because they have the right systems in place. And I think this is the time that you know, those who don't have their systems in place, those who don't run their business, like a business, those who don't make decisions, from true numbers and analytics. They probably won't be in the market much longer. Those teams like you will continue to take market share. That's my prediction. We'll see how it plays out.

 

Jamie Bledsoe  43:25

Yeah, so.

 

Brian Charlesworth  43:27

So anyway, thank you so much for joining us today. The last thing I wanted to ask you is just a couple of questions about your more your personal life. What are some of the things you like to do like growing your mind? And learning? You know, do you prefer podcasts? Do you prefer books? What are some things you would recommend for other people that might be in your shoes?

 

Jamie Bledsoe  43:52

I hate to say this because I feel like it always feel like I almost judge myself. So I feel like other people might as well but like I'm not a big reader. I feel like super-smart people are always big readers. And so it makes me feel like

 

Brian Charlesworth  44:05

Gary Vee does Gary Vee doesn't read anybody else's books, so

 

Jamie Bledsoe  44:10

I feel a little better. But yeah, my husband's like a big reader and he like loves to learn and you know, and I'm just not a big reader but I love listening to podcasts and big on podcasts. And you know, I like to actually watch YouTube videos for things that I'm like trying to learn about and figure out and just kind of like do research online. And so those are some of like my go-to things like when I get up before my husband and son and I'm having my quiet time and my cup of coffee before all the chaos starts early in the morning. Like that's usually what I do you know, as I'll you know, read my Bible for a bit and then turn on a podcast about leadership or just progressive thinkers that I like to follow online or you know, if there's something that I'm trying to like figure it out for work or dig into, you know, I might actually happen to Google and YouTube and start looking for videos so that I can gotta figure stuff out, you know, and like, see what other people are doing. That's worked. Because I think that that's where a lot of I mean, I feel like I learned a lot from like getting thoughts and ideas from other people, too, you know. And actually, I have to say, that's been an awesome thing about Sisu. As well, I know, you guys have sent people kind of in my direction to ask questions about how we've set up our systems and processes. And just getting to kind of network that way with other directors of operations or, you know, managers all around the country. I'm so thrilled whenever people reach out to me and you guys, send me someone that I can talk to you to because I not only love talking about Sisu, and our systems and stuff and helping them in any way I can. But I just love hearing about what they're doing too, you know, and it's always great to take notes and see what people are doing. So,

 

Brian Charlesworth  45:46

so great. So Google University, I'm a big believer in that believer in podcasts. The fact is, you can learn anything from Google today, which I actually think is having a massive impact on the universities across the country. So for those who want to reach out to you, Jamie and want to get a hold of you, and want to network with you, what is the best way to get a hold of via

 

Jamie Bledsoe  46:08

Email, emails the best way? jamie@nealteam.com J-A-M-I-E @nealteam.com, N-E-A-L-T-E-A-M .com. And if you email me might not be immediately but as soon as I can, I'll respond. And I'm in my email all day long. So.

 

Brian Charlesworth  46:26

Okay, awesome, Jamie. Well, again, congratulations on all of your success, and just allowing your team to get up to the level that you're at, by having simple systems that really streamline and automate your business. And jeez, I'm excited to see where you guys end the year this year. And I know, we do know, I'll be watching. So keep up the amazing work. And to all of our guests. Thanks for joining us on the show today is a little bit different, where we really drilled into the operations of a real estate team. But I think it's a critical time in this space to drill into that. So Jamie, I really want to thank you for joining me, and sharing what you guys are doing, and being willing to take those calls from other teams in the industry as we move into this new market.

 

Jamie Bledsoe  47:11

Definitely, as always, it was wonderful talking with you, Brian, I feel honored that you had me on today. So thank you and appreciate it.

 

Brian Charlesworth  47:18

All right, everyone. We'll catch you next week on next week's episode of the Grit and we'll see you then.

 

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