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Episode 130: Micheal St. Jean Shares The Key to Real Estate Success: Recruiting, Training, & Technology

In this intriguing podcast episode of the Grit Podcast, Brian Charlesworth welcomes Michael St. Jean, a real estate industry veteran and founder of Michael St. Jean Realty, based in Hamilton, Ontario.

Brian Charlesworth

Brian Charlesworth

Chairman & CEO

Brian is a highly accomplished entrepreneur, business builder, and thought leader in the real estate industry. With a track record of success in software, telecommunications, and franchise businesses, Brian has a talent for identifying and realizing business opportunities. Driven by his passion for technology, Brian is dedicated to using his skills and experience to bring about positive change and improve people's lives through the advancement of technology.


Michael takes listeners through his fascinating journey in the real estate sector, focusing on the evolution of his business, key strategies that contributed to his success, and the benefits of leveraging technology.

Michael dives into the fundamental strategies that have significantly driven his company's success. The discussion begins with a profound emphasis on the critical role of a recruiting-based model in the real estate business. He believes the constant focus on recruiting can lead to growth in team size and geographical coverage. However, it's important to note that while recruiting may be a critical aspect, other factors such as training, management, and the utilization of technology and data can also play significant roles in the success of a real estate team.

Expanding on the necessity of technology in real estate operations, Michael introduces Sisu, a data analytics and business automation platform that has transformed his real estate team's performance. The podcast explores how Sisu has been integral in their operations, emphasizing how it enhances team accountability, assists in visualizing the big picture of the business, and drives the implementation of a gamified culture within the team. The software allows for more precision, encourages healthy competition, and cultivates an environment conducive to success.

Delving into his current goals, Michael shares his dedication towards efficient recruitment, training, and preparing his real estate agents. He outlines his rigorous and effective selection process, discussing the transition towards group training and the digitization of their training modules. He candidly discusses the growing pains and stresses the importance of moving forward despite hurdles to foster growth.

Top Takeaways:

(6:25) From door-knocking to running a company
(9:17) What truly matters for real estate professionals?
(10:11) Sisu: The solution to the spreadsheet nightmare
(12:43) How Sisu's coaching double Michael's agent count
(13:45) The journey of 15 to 36 agents 
(16:50) Overcoming mental barriers in team leadership
(24:27) How Sisu provides clarity and resources for goal achievement
(26:34 The power of scale and team growth
(32:20) Which accountability approach breeds tremendous success: positive or negative?
(34:14) How a supportive approach maximizes agent success 
(40:46) Can systematized training accelerate success?
(46:42) The importance of leadership and accountability
(47:40) The transformation from agent to business owner

This podcast episode serves as a rich source of insights and practical advice for anyone in the real estate industry, especially those aiming to scale their operations. Whether you're an agent, a team leader, or someone aspiring to build a successful real estate business, you will surely gain valuable insights from Michael St. Jean's experiences and strategies. Don't miss this enlightening conversation; listen to the full episode today!

About Michael:

Michael St. Jean is the Founder and Team Leader of St. Jean Realty, where he has applied his expertise in the various aspects of real estate to help his clients succeed. His career is marked by significant achievements, including selling over 4,000 homes and representing more than 25 developments. His accomplishments in the industry have garnered him recognition, showcased through nearly 100 media interviews.

He has been repeatedly acknowledged for his contributions to real estate. This includes earning spots on REP Magazine’s "Young Guns" list for four years in a row and being named as one of Canada's Top 100 Agents and Top 100 Real Estate Teams. Furthermore, he ranks in the top 1% of all salespeople nationwide. His insights have been featured across various media outlets, demonstrating his respected position within the industry.

Connect with Michael Today! 


Episode Transcript:

Brian Charlesworth  00:37
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 in this show, obviously, we talk about Grit and talk about real estate and excited today to have Michael St. Jean on with us. Michael owns his own team slash brokerage out of Canada. And we're going to hear how I don't know that much about Michael's business up to this point. So we're gonna dive into that today, but excited to have Michael on the show. I know that Michael's business has grown tremendously this year, it's been fun to see that. And also, Michael has awards for being top 100 agents, top 100 teams in Canada. In addition to that, he's been interviewed on hundreds of different media sites. So I want to dig into that today, Michael, and find out what you're doing to make that happen. Because I think that's great for the PR side of the business. And welcome to the show.

Michael St. Jean  01:33
Thank you. I really appreciate you having me. Happy to be here.

Brian Charlesworth  01:37
Yeah, thank you. First of all, what part of Canada are you in?

Michael St. Jean  01:41
So we're in Ontario, the province of Ontario and I'm we're based out of a city called Hamilton. Hamilton, Ontario. It's about 16 minutes south of Toronto. So we're kind of nestled in between Toronto and Niagara Falls, New York. Okay, so about an hour to Toronto, about an hour to the US border. Right. And I'm right in the center of what we call the golden door que in Canada, which is sort of, you know, the most populated part of the country, and we're probably 90% of the economic activity occurs.

Brian Charlesworth  02:15
Yeah, exciting. I've been through that area, once I flew into New York, ended up in Niagara Falls, then drove up to Toronto had business in both places. Great, great part of the world and a great part of the country. Notice everyone I want you to notice, Michael does not say Toronto, he says Toronto, so I want you guys to just make note of that. If you want to sound like you know what you're talking about. don't pronounce the T. Okay.

Michael St. Jean  02:41
I could be wrong. Don't copy me.

Brian Charlesworth  02:44
Everyone I know from Toronto does not pronounce the T are very light if they do right, so. So anyway, thanks for joining us today, Michael. So how did you get into the real estate world?

Michael St. Jean  02:57
Yeah, so actually got into real estate right out of high school. No College, no university, I always knew I wanted to be in real estate ever since I was a little kid. Both of my parents were actually real estate agents, Dad got licensed in bleed 1979. Mom, vote 1988 89. So I grew up in a family with mom and dad, they were both real estate agents. I never thought of doing anything else. I just sort of always assumed that I would one point or another become a real estate agent. I think I was licensed around 2000s Seven ish just before the Great Recession. You know, it was pretty young, right out of high school went in went to work at the company that both of my parents were working for at the time. In Canada, we have a company called Royal a page. It's, you know, probably on par with like a REMAX or Keller Williams, at least in Canada went to work there. And as a solo agent, and within about a year here, the whole world melted down, you know, financial crisis, real estate market. Mind you in Canada, we didn't have as much of a crash as maybe you guys saw in the United States. Right, prices came down slightly, but we recovered pretty quick and sort of moved up ever since. But I got in around that time, solo agent, trying to figure out the business. You know, my parents always worked together as a, I guess, a husband and wife team but they never had a team, no assistant, you know, no real infrastructure really missing, you know, all a lot of the things that I kind of expected real estate agents, you know, running their own businesses to have, you know, they were always top producers, best in whatever office they worked in, you know, made a great living, but it was sort of that constant doggy paddle, you know, of trying to figure out where your next sales going to come from and really still engaging in a lot of the, you know, maybe some of the older school tactics, I would say, so I kind of got into the business went in there. I saw sort of the reality of what real estate was. And you know, obviously very difficult, I think I thought I would have a really large advantage being that I had two successful real estate agent parents. And I thought, all right, I'm going to tap into this business that they've created and kind of run with that. And at the same time working for what I thought was one of the best real estate companies in Canada, I kind of expected, maybe naively a lot more support than I really got. And so it's kind of a two-pronged disappointment, one in the sense that, you know, you have these top producer parents, and you think, Alright, they've got this bustling infrastructure and business, which I realized just came down to their sheer Grit and their, you know, and relentlessness and just pounding the pavement every day. And the other kind of element of disappointment being the company. And so I kind of sputtered around, I would say, between 2008 and maybe 2011 2012. And I came to the realization that just something wasn't working, not only for me, but even for most of the other people in my office. So I'm looking around, and, you know, you're watching how people are going about their business. And, you know, they really weren't running a business, they're just kind of running around, like chickens with their heads cut off, flying off the seat of their pants, and I realized, okay, there's something wrong here, you know, and if I want to make it in this business, we're gonna have to go about this a different way. Around 2012, maybe we started a team started coaching with a few different real estate coaches, one, first out of Canada, was a big coach at the time, and just started learning sort of the basics, the basic elements of, I guess, building a business, having a budget, having systems processes, you know, thinking about this is being more than just us standing outside, you know, banging on our door, really looking at it and running, you know, like a company. And in the first year, we doubled our business by bringing on maybe one or two agents. And then by 20 1314, we had really, really grown, at least, you know, in comparison to where we had been at at the time, and we kind of were, I think, outgrowing our home at the brokerage that we were at. And so we kind of jumped out fairly early on in around 2014, we took, you know, the St Jean team and returned it into, you know, Michael St. Jean, real estate and started a brokerage, we bought a building, renovated an office, and maybe getting a little ahead of ourselves, but I think we kind of knew where we wanted to be. And so, you know, we were starting to kind of lay the groundwork out for something much bigger, pretty early on, and obviously, lots of learning, lots of mistakes, lots of errors, lots of hey, if I can go back in a time machine, I would do this differently types of things. But you know, we started the company around 2014. And have been, you know, probably for the first three, four years of just trying to grow trying to do what we'd been doing very digital marketing heavy, at the time, really didn't do a lot of branding, not a lot of the LOOK AT ME marketing, nothing traditional. It was mostly our business at the time had been built on Google, PPC doing a lot of that inside sales team, that sort of a thing. And then I'd say, probably four or five years ago, we ventured into some pretty heavy duty marketing on the branded side. So I mean, today we're on vo nine radio stations, we're running TV commercials, you know, we've probably got 100 billboards to 300, bus shelter ads, direct mail to hundreds of 1000s of homes every month, and doing a lot of different things in conjunction, of course, still with the digital elements and lots of brand recognition. We're a household name. Now in our community, I'd be surprised if there was anybody if you walk down the street that wouldn't know who we are, doesn't see us at least five times every single day. And so our business from a sales perspective has grown a lot in the last, you know, three, four years, especially. And then at this point, I mean, at the same time, we started to kind of realize that there were other components missing. And you know, we were just jumping on the call here, we're chatting a little bit about, you know, the Sisu coaching, recruiting, look, you know, and really not just growing your marketing spend, but also growing your manpower and getting organized and getting more efficient and really focusing in and honing in on goals and the numbers and, and a lot of the basics, right? I mean, at the end of the day, you've put this amazing platform together, it's all digital looks fantastic. But when you really dial some of the you know, performance metrics down, whether it's on a piece of scrap paper or in an incredible system like Sisu at its core, you've got to be doing the basic things which is having conversations. You need people having conversations and setting appointments and doing all of those things, you know, that we sometimes all like to wish we maybe never had to do? You know, I mean, it's all it's good to get caught up in big marketing spends and all these other things, but you got to really focus on what matters most at the end of the day. And that's these kind of core metrics. So maybe coming into last year, man, we midway through last year, you know, market starts to change. And you start really focusing in and honing in on maybe some of your weaknesses, or looking for how do I go on offense during this time, right, we can curl up in a ball and get scared and head for the bunker, and cut and run and retreat, or we can kind of, you know, go on offense and push into the wind. And that was kind of the approach we took. So realizing we need more agents, we need systems, we need goals, we need to be monitoring these things, one on ones weekly, monthly accountability standards. And so we, at the time, I've been using 678, different spreadsheets, doing everything manually, I probably spent half my month just getting the information into the spreadsheets and very little time actually putting any of the data to use goal setting was a grueling process against spreadsheets, meeting everybody, you know, it was a nightmare. And so I've been looking at Sisu for a while I actually been chatting with Zach for a couple of years. So you know, every year around Christmas time, I'd reach out to him and I'd be like, Oh, maybe we should. And then next year, and I finally this year, in the fall, I jumped on it a little early, we hooked up, we got on the system, and got everything together so that we can be ready for January one, we signed up for Sisu coaching, which to be honest with you has been a huge benefit. To us. It's massive impact. I mean, I didn't really know what I was, you know, maybe signing up for it the beginning, I just thought, hey, let's check it out, see what it is. But surprisingly, I mean, the amount of value I've taken out of that is insane. We've implemented, probably almost everything that you know, brings team and Justin's team is doing for the most part brought in standards and weekly accountability meetings and puddles. And like you name it, it's just shocking to see the results, the recruiting element as well. I mean, we had about 18 agents, as of Christmas time, we've doubled our agent cap already so far this year, we just doubled it in the last week or so.

Brian Charlesworth  12:39
Wait, you've gone from 18 to 36 agents on your team that is also a brokerage. How did you do it? Like I want to stop here and emphasize this because like this is in today's market, there are a lot of people that are not doing very well, right. A lot of people in this business that are struggling, more so even in the mortgage business. And then there are those who are taking market share. And right now you are one of those taking market share. So like what was the shift that went from you've been in this business now for 15 years, 16 years. And now all of a sudden took you 15 years to get to 18 agents. And now you've doubled, you've gone from 18 to 36 in six months, like how does this happen? What was the shift?

Michael St. Jean  13:31
Well, I mean, obviously opening yourself up to learning, sometimes you can kind of get a little insular and you know, kind of just barricade yourself in your office and just keep running around like a hamster on the wheel doing what you've always been doing. I think you've got to just kind of shake yourself a little bit and get uncomfortable and get out there and put yourself out and whether that's trying new software coaching, and just being open to what you're being taught, right? I mean, springs team, other teams, they're doing things It's working. It's not a joke, it's not always a magic, right? Sometimes we overthink, we don't take the action, we think well, maybe this won't work for me, that won't work for me. You know, I just look at everything very black and white. And if I believe that the person telling me to do something is doing it, and it works, then I will implement it 100% as quickly as possible. And so it's not rocket science. It's just looking at this in a bit of a bit of a different light. You know, I listen to the weekly calls, a lot of questions. All questions are great questions, but you hear a lot of people well, I don't know if I can handle bringing three more people on or I don't know if they're going to be any good or I'm nervous or what if I don't have this or you know, at the end of the day. I mean, like you mentioned I've been in real estate for 15 plus years, but I would say I really haven't been in real estate for more than five to seven because what I was doing thing at that time versus what I'm doing and what I know today. I mean, I feel like my business is 567 years old, but it's just doing and it's gonna be messy, you got to just push forward, you take the action, and then you pick up the pieces as you're going. But if you're not moving forward, you're not getting anywhere. And, you know, it all sounds great. It all looks rosy, hey, 18 to 36 excetera. But there's, there's always learning in between there's problems, there's kinks, there's, you know, and it sounds like a lot, but it is, but I mean, you know, we're not just hiring anybody that shows up. I mean, I could have hired 75 people since December, if I lowered my standards, right. But you know, so these are, this is a doubling of the team, wow, actually having higher standards now than we did before. And really holding people accountable and telling them, Hey, this is what we offer and what you're signing up for, and why it's important. And if you want to be a real estate agent, and be successful, these are the things you're going to have to do. And you know, when I watched spring and Justin and the way their team operates, and their culture and all that, to be honest with you, it was a little tricky. Because, you know, the way I've ran our team and the way I've seen other teams run and you know it very, very different. So when I watched that, it was really a huge wake up call for me, kind of frightened me a little and to be honest, some of the things

Brian Charlesworth  16:28
you what frightened Yeah,

Michael St. Jean  16:30
I don't know, just seeing the culture and just seeing how they were able to get everybody together and hold people accountable and really calling them out and, you know, setting goals and, you know, having responsibilities and things set out in a weekly calendar and a schedule. And, you know, just all of those things, right? I think sometimes you kind of, there's this fear mindset, as a team leader, I don't want to upset the agents, I don't want them to quit, I don't know, how am I going to get this person to show up at x time on X day to have a one on one? Or are they going to use Sisu? Are they going to look at it Are they you know, there's a million obstacles and objections that you can create in your own mind if you let yourself and in you know, and you hear them coming out all the time in questions in this in the, you know, Facebook chat or on the weekly calls. But I think it's just overcoming those things and just saying, listen, at the end of the day, we're running a business, these things are in the best interest not only for us as business owners, but for our agents. And the reality is, is that if the agents aren't willing to engage in those activities, then you know what it, it kind of is what it is, but you got to recruit around your culture, right. And so we implemented standards, we implemented all these different activities, and then started recruiting around that. And making sure obviously, that, you know, there's a balance between the 18th people that were here before, who are used to a very different way of doing things, and then the the 80 new people. And so there was a transition process where we slowly but surely kind of introduce these things and explain why and show the benefits. And while also bringing new people into the group that were coming in that way, and just understanding that that this is the way that it is from day one. And we saw a huge shift. And believe it or not a whole lot of turmoil in the existing agents, surprisingly enough, even though maybe sometimes, you know, some of them will kick and scream along the way. They all basically came over and shifted gears and started doing things in a very new way. And were surprised at, you know, the results. So it was a very, you know, when you're thinking about a transition like that it can, it can seem scary. But it actually turned out really, really, really well. But I think a lot of that has to do with how you're presenting these things. And you know, maybe not just dropping the hammer all in one day and going here's 30 new ways of doing things. Let's go, you know, it's a gradual process. And I think agents just have to realize at the end of the day that hey, we're here to provide leads and support and administration and goal setting and accountability and mentorship and all those things. But you are here to provide the other half, which are these activities on the screen. And if you're not picking up a phone and having conversations and putting in the work and doing the things that you know, lots of real estate agents, as we're all aware, do not want to be doing, then you're not going to be successful. It doesn't matter what team you're on and it doesn't matter how many leads I give you or what support you have. You've got to do the work and part of the biggest wake up call for me was seeing you know Justin and spring really holding people accountable and saying, Hey, we're partners here. Here's the half that we provide. But you know, there's the other side of that equation, and you need to step up and do the work. And you know, people are either going to fit within that culture or they're not. If you're worried all day about maybe someone getting offended or not wanting to do something, or not liking it, or not wanting to clap at a team meeting and cheer people on and celebrate your success, well, then, then they're not the right person for your culture, and you have to just wish them well, and they maybe belong in a different environment. So a lot of its psychological, because as I know, you're probably aware and its core, if you wrote down all these different things on a piece of paper, they actually seem pretty simple. But when you dive into it, they're a lot more complex. And of course, you can come up with a lot of reasons not to do every one of them. But the biggest shift is not just the software element, which is what I came for. Initially, it's I just want to get rid of these spreadsheets and, you know, not have such a grueling goal setting process and have some numbers. And but then I realized that that's only half the equation, the other half and how you take this and implement that along with all of these other, you know, systems and processes that you know, springs team and Justin's team are utilizing, you start realizing like that's where the magic actually is, how do you take this, what could look like to an average agent, another piece of software that they don't want to log into, and then turning it into like, the ultimate tool, like the central focus of their entire business and building it into everything from your meetings, your one on ones, and everything else. That's where the game really changed for us. And were my eyes open.

Brian Charlesworth  21:45
So, Michael, first, I just want to congratulate you super fun for me to hear. This is why I started Sisu. Honestly, I got into the business. I saw the challenges, I was helping spring grow her team back when she had five agents, right. That's when I came in, she now has 100 agents. So for those of you when Michael has been talking about spring and Justin's team, spring is my wife, Justin is her team leader for Davis County Office, and partner in a lot of other businesses as well. Anyway, you've been in these group coaching calls, right? You've heard people talk about verbally, give excuses as to why even though they're in those same coaching meetings, as to why it won't work. Like they're telling themselves, you know, three new agents, you said three new agents is going to be too hard. I mean, that's what Sisu is about, right. It's about the systems so that you can bring in 10 new agents a month. And as long as you have the systems in place, the onboarding in place, the training in place, it all makes sense. It all happens, right? So Sisu is a software that empowers you to be a great leader, and you've embraced that and look at the leader you are today. To me, it's phenomenal. Like for me to just sit here and listen to the progress you've made this year, since you've gotten so used to just in six months is unbelievable to me. So anyway, I want to congratulate you. And just first of all say it's an amazing story. Yeah, I

Michael St. Jean  23:17
appreciate that. And honestly, if I could take you back six or 12 months and walk you through our office, and just show you a week at our company, I mean, and the way we do everything, we've changed literally everything that we do in the last, you know, since last fall. I mean, literally everything we do, has changed as a result of this. Like I would have never thought if you had gone back a year ago, and you told me that we would be here today doing the things we're doing that we would be doing, I would have never thought I mean it.

Brian Charlesworth  23:52
So you've had coaches before. Right, Hans, you've had tons of coaches, what's the difference this time and not that I'm not talking about really about the coaching, I'm talking about Sisu combined with really a shift of mindset and a shift of culture, right.

Michael St. Jean  24:18
Yeah, that's an interesting question. I think it's, it's just a very different way of looking at things, the recruiting element as well. I mean, I used to try to find, you know, these magical super realtors, and, you know, you put them through 1000s that process, you know, interview process and, you know, just overthinking a lot of things and really kind of, I think forgetting about some of the basics, you know, putting the onus back on not just ourselves but on the agent and holding people accountable. You know, it's the software component, it's being able to see it, right, your whole business there each step. I mean, at the end of the day, you're here to make X number of dollars as an agent, and to be able to map that out, here's what you want to do. Here's how it breaks down. And here's what I'm going to provide, ensure you have the resources there to accomplish the goal. But here's the actions that you're going to need to take for any of that to come to fruition. And just being able to sit down and look at it. And really, you know, have a hub for your entire business and the metrics. There's the gamification aspect, the leaderboards, the challenges, like those things play such an important role. I mean, we've built the leaderboards and all of our weekly meetings, We're clapping, we're congratulating, you know, top for dials, taught for appointment set, and Med and signed in under contract and just every facet of what we do, we're taking the software into the everyday practical, you know, items and activities that need to be done. But a lot of it is just kind of letting go of your own thinking, you know, getting stuck in your ways. I mean, we were, you know, springs team for years with the five to seven agents and felt like you're just not getting anywhere, you're not going forward, you're almost wondering whether you even while I still do this, I mean, you know, you're it's more work in cost than it is reward. And, you know, I think it just a shift in mindset is required, and just saying, You know what, we got to treat this like a real business, we've got to grow the powers in the people. And in the numbers. And I was always one of those people that thought, well, I'd rather have five super producers that sell 100 homes a year each then have 50 people selling x number of homes a month. And I can honestly say that my entire way of thinking was backwards. And the more we've embraced recruiting and systemization. And you know, the process and growth, the better it gets, and the easier it gets. I mean, I've heard a million people, like you said, mention, well, how am I going to onboard three people at once? You know, oh, my God isn't that a lot of work. And I've heard Justin even say before, you know, it actually gets easier, for a certain point when you know, as you get bigger, and I can honestly say that that is true. The bigger you get, the more resources, the more systematic of an approach you're taking, it gets easier, you know, when you're running a team of three or five or seven people, I would argue that's a lot more difficult. So just embracing recruiting, and treating recruiting, like a business in the past. That's not how we looked at it. I mean, somebody would reach out once in a while, maybe I'd meet them and have an interview, you know, put them through the 100 step grilling process. And, of course, nobody was ever worthy. And then you know, the odd time

Brian Charlesworth  27:55
nobody knew that you wanted five other use, right

Michael St. Jean  27:59
100%. And I think that was a huge wake up call and just realizing, you know, we've got all of the tools, we've got all the fundamental systems in the basics, the foundation is here, the leads are there. But what's missing is the people. And I thought we had enough people until I realized we did. And so it's been embracing the growth and really treating recruiting like a business. And so now that is a full time, you know, job, that's something that goes on every day, day after day, week after week, it doesn't matter how many agents we've on boarded. We are pushing forward interviews, ads, you know, onboarding, training, and, you know, you've got to look at it a very different way. And we've really embraced that there's obviously a lot more wake up doing. Not saying that everything's all perfect, and there isn't more we could do. But you know, we're really taking that and running with it. And that, you know, I owe that to you guys.

Brian Charlesworth  28:59
Well, that's amazing. One of the things I want to share Well, first off, where is your goal? Where are you going to be by the end of this year,

Michael St. Jean  29:05
I wanted to be 36 agents by Christmas. My goal was to double the agent count this year, we've doubled it already. And we're in July 10, I'm now going to try to hit 50 plus by December 30 or 31st. So the goal is now let's see if we can grow past 50. And you know me, you know, even in, it's you know, some of the growth is happening organically, which is something I want to add as well. The more that we've kind of shifted gears and culture and have brought in new faces to the team, the more other people are sort of coming out of the woodwork. My friend actually works on your team or so and so on. Your team mentioned how amazing your team is, and I'm on another team. You know, there's a lot of that happening. And so one person's turning into three in some cases and you know, Even the way that we're projecting our agents and our culture into our social media, that wasn't really something we did, you know, putting our pictures of us in our meetings, congratulating our top producers and leaders and cultural icon we introduced and all those things, agents are looking at this stuff, they really are, I always thought, you know, social media is just for the consumer, it's just for the seller, it's just for the buyer. But you know, the real estate agents are probably the most active audience on our social media platforms. And so they're seeing this stuff, they're seeing new people joining, they're seeing all these, you know, agents being celebrated in this culture and, and they're getting attracted to that and going, Whoa, you know, I see something different going on over here. Like you said, we're in a market that's in decline, prices fell 20 25%, here, sales cut in half. But I'm looking at this team, and they're bringing agents on like, it's going out of style, they're celebrating people, they're having a good time, they're successful. And that is also helping bring people and also helping the people that are just coming in through an ad. Well, I mean, the first thing they're doing is they're looking at your website, they're looking at your social platforms, and then they're seeing it too. And so it's an amazing advertising tool, recruiting video we put together you know, and so we're utilizing kind of building out additional tools. So we can ramp this up. Because I would like to go from 36 to 50 or 60, by next year, and try to hit 100, maybe by the end of next year. And to be honest, that might sound crazy. And I would have probably laughed if someone told me that a year ago, but I actually think we're going to do it.

Brian Charlesworth  31:47
You've said so many nuggets that jeez, if everyone could just take this and duplicate it, it'd be amazing. But one of the things I want to point out, what you've done is you've entirely shifted your culture in your business this year, and tie it so much that now you have these new agents coming in, or that are attracted to it just because they're attracted to that culture, the culture of accountability, which at one point, you thought, if I hold people accountable, they're gonna want to leave, when really, if you're doing positive accountability, to me positive accountability means I understand what each person's goals are. And I'm here to help them meet their goals. That's positive accountability, right? Negative accountability is I'm gonna hold you accountable to this, because that helps me meet my goals. So it's completely different way of looking at things. But what has allowed you in my opinion, to make the shift where your entire culture has shifted in six months, is that in that six months, you've recruited 18 agents, and growing from the bottom up, is the easiest way to change the culture because it's really hard to get your existing agents to change unless they see these new agents coming in and having equal or more success just by doing what you're asking them to do. And so I really want to point that out, because it's a massive, massive art of this massive shift and scale that you've that you've accomplished this year. Anything you want to add to that account?

Michael St. Jean  33:12
No, it's very true. And you know, and that's not to say that, you know, there aren't a few of the older agents that are, you know, they've shifted gears, but you know, maybe they're 50, or 70% of the way versus a new agent, that's 100, right, there's, there is a balance there, and some are gonna buy in a little more than others, we maybe had two or three agents that checked out when they saw that the writing was on the wall that they might have to actually start to work and take some of their own life and that, you know, in their own hands, and to be honest, we're better for it. Yes, you are, it was. It was great. I'm so thankful that they're no longer here. And it just you have to stick to your guns, and you've got to believe in what you're doing. And part of the shift is also like you said, Not, you know, not handing your agents and quota. Right, I'm not here to tell you how many homes or how much money you need to make, you're here. You know, obviously, there's a, there's at least a minimum standard. I mean, if you want to sell two homes a year, then we're probably not the right team for you. But I think realizing that everybody's different, was really important. We have agents that will sell 40 5060 homes, we have agents that will sell 1215 18, and everybody in between, but I think it's being accepting of that, you know, we came from what I thought was a high performance culture where you know, you expected everybody to be selling 30 or 40 or 50 homes a year and that's just not realistic. It's not reasonable. And so like you said, it's, it's realizing that there's there's obviously a minimum standard, but that there's a whole lot in between and just really embracing everybody all different levels of goals and experience and looking at it as hey, you're telling me what you want to accomplish this year and I'm here to help you achieve it. And just tying everything back into that, right so that it's not me coming down on that. And it's me being a partner and saying, Hey, this is why I'm here. You know, this is why you, you're on the team, you know, and really approaching it like a partnership, I think is massive. But that, you know, that's a big part of the recruiting element. You know, when your standards are maybe unrealistic, or too high, you're really missing out on are great people and a lot of great opportunity. And if I had the mindset that I am today, you before, we'd already have 100 agents from all the people that maybe I turned away or didn't think we're going to be rock stars, or, you know, I overthought this or overthought that or, well, I wasn't ready to do training at that time, because, you know, we were busy, and we didn't, we weren't putting a training group together, you know, just Systemising that so that we're always putting ourselves out, always having interviews, always recruiting, training, and just realizing as well, that not everyone's gonna always be around forever. You know, we have a great culture, and most of our agents have been here for a long time. Now, there's obviously a lot of new agents, and I hope they'll be here for a long time as well. But realizing that that's okay. And that's normal. And you have to be just like, we have been here with everything in the sense of the market shifting going on offense, you need to be on offense for recruiting all the time.

Brian Charlesworth  36:29
Let's talk about that. What does that mean? Do you? And I want to emphasize this? Because I know you do. But most people don't? Do you have goals? Or what are they? 

Michael St. Jean  36:42
this one, my goal was to double our agent count for 2023.

Brian Charlesworth  36:46
So what does that mean? Monthly? What do you need to do monthly, you've got you've already hit your goal for 2023. So you need to set a new goal. 

Michael St. Jean  36:53
Yeah, the new goal will be to try to hit 50 is what I want

Brian Charlesworth  36:58
to try to hit 50 why? Well, I'm

Michael St. Jean  37:00
gonna hit you will guarantee it, right? Oh, yeah, usually.

Brian Charlesworth  37:04
So what does that mean? Like how many conversations you're actually measuring your conversations daily on the right or weekly, so right

Michael St. Jean  37:09
right now, so I don't sell I'm not in the field, I facilitate everything. We have a sales manager, a couple managers, sales managers, and a great admin support team. So I kind of jump in and bring in new initiatives and new things. And like, I implemented all of the new systems and processes in Sisu, and launched it out to the team and all of that, and now that that's all up and running, I kind of took the recruiting element in myself personally to kind of start to get it going. It's at the point now where I literally could hire somebody, and we're gonna have to, so just full time for recruiting, just to give you an idea, three or four interviews this afternoon, I've got six or seven tomorrow, my entire Thursday from 11 until five is already booked every hour on the hour. And I still have probably 10 emails in my careers inbox that I have to respond to today. So I've taken that in myself, I'm trying to set it up, I'm trying to systemize it, I'm trying to figure out the best way of doing it. And then what I'm going to do is I'm going to hand that over to someone to do that literally full time. And again, there's a lot more I could be doing. A lot of it is coming in through places like indeed, it's coming in through agent referrals, things of that nature, our brand is really, really strong now. So people are again, in conjunction with all the things we've chatted about today. And our brand awareness they're coming in. So I haven't gone out on offense as much as we're going to be. So I'm not sitting down and saying well today I'm going to make 10 calls or you know, whatever the case, there's enough that's incoming from the marketing channels, Facebook ads, indeed ads, our website, our social media referral, our brand that all of these meetings that are people that have come to me so when I and I get where you're going with the question, which is what are your goals right now? I don't have a daily conversation goal like I should or how many appointments do I want to book because I'm just trying to gauge all this stuff that's coming in right now and that already is a reality is

Brian Charlesworth  39:28
you've put enough focus on it. Most people cannot most team leaders in this business or team owners cannot comprehend meeting with six people. In an afternoon, you've already got three your next three days are fully booked in the afternoons with interviews. So it's very obvious that you have a massive focus on that side of the business. So congratulate

Michael St. Jean  39:53
my number one goal right now is recruiting, training and getting the agent cow thought, and then you know, I will hand it over to a capable person, at some point maybe later this year, early next year. And then you know, kind of step back a little bit right now, I'm only doing I'm orchestrating it, and I'm having the first interview, virtual 3060 minutes, I need everybody first, if I think there's opportunity there, I then shift them over for a second interview with my sales manager, Theresa, he meets them in person, you know, gets down to the, you know, the basics. And if they get past Theresia, they have a pretty good chance of their youth being successful. And then they'll then get into the training process. And we've started training in groups, we're doing it more regularly, now, it's gonna probably get to a point where we're having to do it like monthly, maybe we know we're putting four or five, six people into a group, and then training and then Teresa does the training. We've built all of our training as well out into modules via think epic. So we've recorded everything now. So that it's not us sitting there repeating things over and over and over again, there's the human component, where we're getting together a few times a week to check in, make sure people are where they need to be questions, etc, etc, almost sort of like the Sisu coaching, where, you know, hey, watch the modules, take in the information, come back for a q&a, ask your questions, be prepared, and, you know, implement the next week, come back, and sort of like that. And so we're trying to systematize and speed up the training process, because that traditionally, for us, was really long. So we're trying to make sure that we're training these people to the best, you know, to be the best they can be at that point, while also taking time into account. And realizing that if we want to get to 50 100, or more agents, and really, really like set this thing on fire, you're not going to always be able to do things the way that you could when you're a teenager's. And so there are growing pains there. And I mean, to be honest with you, Teresa's just sent me a message last week, we just, we just brought on another five or six agents that make the 36 that are starting training, I think they started this week, and she literally sent me a message and said, No more agents until the fall, I can't, you know, I can't train any more people. And, you know, I sat with it the other day, and I said, I hate to break it to you. But you know, I know that it gets a little shaky at some points. And you know, things kind of get a little out of control or you you wish you're a bit more organized, but we can't do the moment we can't, we can't stop the momentum. And I've got more people in

Brian Charlesworth  42:46
our future business. This is what makes it right.

Michael St. Jean  42:50
And that's, and that's how we get to a point of being in a place where we're better equipped, where we have a recruiter, and maybe someone that trains full time, and some of those other elements, right? So there's gonna be some growing pains and a little bit of the MACD in the middle before things get better in the you know, in the end. So you know, you got to kind of push through that. And, you know, realize, yeah, there's gonna be some balls that get dropped or things that aren't perfect. But you got to keep moving forward. And because that's the only way to get to a better place. Otherwise, it's not

Brian Charlesworth  43:24
perfect. It's about making progress. Right, exactly. So we only have a couple of minutes, Michael. So I did want to hit on one other thing. And he's if you guys listening just will focus on recruiting like Michael's done here and put the systems in place, which you can do within Sisu. It'll make a massive, massive difference completely change your entire business, as you've heard, has happened with Michael. But he's done more than recruit. He's actually put in the accountability culture, implemented all the gamification, and he knows his business inside and out, as you guys can all tell. So I'm excited about that. One thing you mentioned, though, is you don't sell houses, I want to know because I think this is the biggest thing and most most agents that have those three to five person teams, they all sell houses, right? Even 10 to 15 person teams, they all sell houses. And the reason why is because they have to in order to be profitable in order to make money. But when you start to really scale your business, you can step out of your business. And Teresa is now your sales manager, your sales director, Team Leader, whatever you want to call her. I'm guessing you have an ops leader as well as that right?

Michael St. Jean  44:33
Yeah, I have Robin and Teresa and between the both of them, they manage all of the day to day management of the agents, any of the training, the questions, the problems, the ones the you know, all of the everyday stuff is ran through Robin and Teresa which gives me the freedom to be able to implement Sisu bring in new standards. Just, you know, retool things that we've been doing, or maybe set up new areas of the business like this recruiting portion that we really never treated like a business. And so I know I'm going through the motions, and someone might be looking at me going, Well, why why would he be sitting there and doing that more, because it's really important. And, you know, I like to build something, and then create, turn it, you systematize it, and then shift it over to a capable person. So I can get on to figuring out what's the next part of the business to work on. And, and I want to know how to do it, I want to know how to do what I want to understand. And, you know, I don't want to be one of those team leaders that is so far removed sometimes that, you know, they couldn't even do it if they try. But yeah, it's very the selling element. The last thing, I stopped selling homes in 2013, I literally woke up one day, after taking about a week or two off from selling to focus on a particular project for my business. And I had a team at the time, maybe four or five agents, you know, I'm running around like a chicken with my head cut off, you know, being the super agent, four or five agents on the team trying to play all the different positions. And I took a couple of weeks off to work on something for our team and our business. And the impact that it had when it was implemented was absolutely unreal, it shocked me to the point where I realized that I had to make a decision. And the week after I implemented this thing that I had been working on, I woke up and I decided I was never going to sell a house again, myself. And not because I don't love it, not because I don't think I could do it better than anybody in my marketplace. But because you have to decide, you either want to be a real estate agent, or you want to run a real estate business. And if you're one foot in one foot out, you are never going to be able to accomplish or achieve the results that maybe you're thinking you're hearing today or in any of the other amazing people that you interview on the podcast, you know, you really have to focus on one or the other. And at the end of the day, put your trust, you put some fire under yourself. Because you know, at the end of the day, if I don't wake up and do the right things and provide the support and recruit and ensure those leads and on all the things as a business owner, then I'm going to be looking for a new job along with my agents. So you know, you have to build a real business. And as a business owner and business leader, that means being the leader and doing the leader role and the leader activities and being able to step away from being in the business on a daily basis. Because if you continue to have that dependency on yourself and your own sales and taking the leads for yourself and trying to make your own income. And then when you've got a minute left over trying to recruit someone or help someone or implement the system, it's never gonna work. So I would say the best thing I ever did ever, from a business perspective, was turned into a real business owner and stopped selling homes. And I know it's very difficult. And some of my competitors that have more agents than me, are still out on the street, selling homes every day, and wondering why their businesses aren't moving forward the way they should. Yeah,

Brian Charlesworth  48:19
without a doubt, the single most important thing you guys can do if you want to really grow and scale a business is figure out how to get out of production, the only way to get out of production is to have the systems in place. And that's why Sisu exists. That's why I saw this as I came into this industry saw that as being a problem. So make sure that you hire your sales director, hire your ops leader, I know those are going to be the hardest things you can do, because all of a sudden you're committing to a monthly outflow. But if you'll commit to that and go all in on the recruiting side, it'll let you immediately move out of production, and then becoming a business owner. And as a business owner, Michael's talked about some of the things he's focused on right now, which are having a massive impact. The next thing is okay, now I'm going to move into creating a mortgage company creating a title company creating whatever it is you want to create. There's so many opportunities to create new businesses in this industry. So anyway, on that note, Michael, thank you so much for joining today. It was great having you on the show. Congratulations on all of your success. And or anyone listening to the show today. Whether you have a small team or a large team, make sure you implement some of the things you've heard today because it will have a massive impact on not only your culture, but on your production and your business. So on that note, Michael, thanks again for joining us today, everyone. Thanks for joining us on the show. We'll see you again next week.

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