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Sisu Spotlight

Sisu Spotlight: Mahala Landin

Having been in real estate for nearly a decade, Mahala Landin is the Managing Partner and Broker-in-Charge of the Rachel-Kendall Team. In this week's Sisu Spotlight, she shares her tips of how to run a lean and efficient business.

Allen Longstreet

Allen Longstreet

Content Marketing Manager
Allen has a wealth of experience building content strategy for tech start ups and SAAS businesses. He has a passion for video production, creative storytelling, and the intersection between the two.

So Mahala, can you tell us a little about yourself?

 I'm the Managing Partner and Broker-in-Charge of the Rachel-Kendall Team. We are an independent team in the Triangle market, which is Raleigh, North Carolina.

We have 25 agents currently producing agents. 17. So we're always looking for growth opportunities, great talent, and just ramping people up as fast as we possibly can.

What’s your team structure currently look like?

So we are on pace for 450 transactions this year. Looking at right now between closed and pending, I believe we're at about 230.

So we're doing a really good job, but we haven't taken our foot off the gas at all—because we know that in order for us to have a great fourth quarter, we have to keep the pace.

Our staff is one transaction manager. We call her the Director of Wow. And we really try and let her be people focused and experience focused.

We utilize virtual assistance and transaction management. They're really the hunters of all data.

That's how we train them, is that they are out there looking to input data into Sisu and into other systems that we use. We have a digital media marketing specialist who also has a virtual assistant in the background.

And that's it. So it's pretty lean.

Technology: What’s your stack look like?

On the front end, we're using Boomtown as our CRM for all lead management.

All leads, and all agent activities originate in Boomtown. We utilize Dotloop for transaction management.

That is something that we're really happy that that's really all we're relying on. DotLoop is also for the e-signature component.

Really just making sure that our agents are able to be out in the streets writing contracts as much as possible with ease. And then we use Sisu for transaction management, for agent accountability, for coaching opportunities, and just for an overall KPI measure.

That's it.

What challenges did you face before you implemented Sisu in your business, and how did Sisu overcome those challenges?

I think it came down to trying to make a square peg fitting around whole. We were looking for Dotloop to do a lot of the things that we needed in terms of transaction management, client communication, compliance, and payroll.

We were really leaning heavily into that, and that always presented challenges because of just how those team platforms are.

There wasn't a lot of transparency between the salespeople and the transaction management.

So when there's a lack of transparency, there's a lack of trust to make sure that things were happening and that creates inefficiencies.

We used BrokerSumo for our reporting. There was really a lack of reports available for a lot of real estate, real estate software and then the same with Boomtown.

You know, there wasn't a lot of reports available for the agent accountability, although they have a lot of those features. You have to be an Admin in order to really put your hands on it.

At an agent level, it was really hard to get that information to the agents on a regular basis without having to have an Admin pull it for them.

So we started using GetFlow, which was like a Trello-based project management system and we loved the visualization that that provided.

But then again, we found ourselves inputting data into this system, into this system, into this system. A lot of redundancies.

We had actually more staff members then I had actually three contract to close people at that time. We had a buy-side transaction manager, a side transaction manager, and also a listing manager that did all the pre-listing activities and marketing for our team.

Relatively the same number of transactions. So nothing really has changed in that capacity. But those were our pain points. We wanted something. I'm an in the moment numbers person.

I like to be able to see where we are at any moment in time and I don't like having to chase agents down to provide those numbers for me. So I think the more you can involve your agents in getting that information into the system, the easier at a team leader level you have opportunity to analyze it a lot faster.

I would spend days pulling data from different places and then dropping it into spreadsheets just to do end of month reporting.

So it's way easier to get things done if you can have everything live in the same spot. 

Almost right away, Sisu solved those pain points. It took us about 30 days to fully see our business transform from having all our data in one central place.

Sisu married right into the activities my agents were already doing. They immediately saw the value in it.

Have you had any tangible results since you implemented Sisu?

Our jobs as team leaders and as business owners is to provide opportunities for growth, and for careers that are more than just 'punch the clock' positions.

And, like it or not, sometimes that transaction manager role really does turn into a dead end. And that was hard for me as a business owner to watch.

I can't grow these people. I can't provide them with income opportunities the way I wanted to, because I'm so heavy in that payroll expensive. And the math behind it doesn't make sense. 

One of the reasons why I lose that transaction manager is that she decided she wanted to be an agent. Which is always the best move you can have, is that somebody wants to grow and take their career to the next level, and they don't want a ceiling.

She brought us into Sisu, then transitioned into being an agent. So I took that opportunity to really say, "Okay. How much more efficient are we as a result for using this Sisu."

If you are able to not have to hire somebody because your workflows are tighter, or your automation is stronger, or you don't need that human capital to do the work, and you can systemize it—now you're looking at a savings growth to your bottom line in terms of payroll expenses.

Because what happens if I go from 450 transactions to 600? What is that going to look like?

So we brought in the virtual assistant model. That way we can work on growing our talent, but we won't sacrifice the importance of somebody behind the scenes pulling all of that data and constantly auditing that data, and making sure all the information in the system is there.

Because that's not what a salesperson is good at. And it's sometimes not what the relationship manager is good at either. So let's let our profiles where they need to live.

I'm really excited we were able to make the switch to the VA model, and that's something that I was inspired to do after the Sisu Mastery conference.

I realized that I could leverage this opportunity without sacrificing my ability to grow talent.

What do you like best about Sisu?

I've really enjoyed that from the moment I signed up as a customer, all of the implementation and all the roadmap items that have been presented to us have happened really quick.

The platform is constantly changing, it evolves, and it's always improving. It has so much functionality—and while that can be overwhelming if you're learning a new system—but they really do want their customers to have the best practices behind the system.

That's really important. Because we can have all these bright shiny tools in our toolbox, but if we don't know the best way to use them,  we won't see the value in them, and they're worthless.

Sisu is really good at reminding us at the enhancements they do.

And obviously, the reports. I love the reports specifically!

I look at the income report every single morning. It's the best! To be able to know exactly what my cash flow is and my expenses are, and be able to coach in the moment, and keep driving the team forward.

Lastly, what would you say to someone considering Sisu for their business?

The best thing to do if you're tasked with the decision of what to do, or your trying to rationalize the expensive, talk to other customers.

See how they are using it. Even when I connect with other customers today, I'm like "Oh! That's a great feature and I didn't know that feature existed."

It's one thing for a salesperson to sell me something. It's another thing to see actual customers endorsing their experience with the product, and it speaks volumes.

It has definitely opened the door in regards to transparency between our sales people and our contract-to-close. I think it's improved our customer experience, and I can truly say I've saved money as a result of using.

I have caught things that would have cost me more money in the future. Whether that be a compliance issue, an agency agreement that's been lost. We don't lose transactions.

We know where everything is. It's in one system.

Mahala, where can we find you?

If you're looking to buy or sell in The Triangle, my contact info is here

I also have my Facebook and LinkedIn


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