I’ve known Leigh Mullins for several years – she sold our house and helped us buy the one we’re in! Her real estate story is a good one but now she’s adding an entirely new universe to augment her business – an app! Talk about gutsy – she and her partner created an app to help them get in front of potential clients and now she’s beginning the roll-out and learning along the way. Leigh brings us along on her journey in this episode of The Massimo Show.
Full Transcript –
Hi, this is Rod Santomassimo and welcome to the Massimo Show. The objective of the Massimo Show is to share how you can maximize your personal professional margin. That’s right. Let’s make more money in less time. Let’s turn chaos into clarity, confusion into confidence and income into real wealth. Along with sharing my insight on how I grew a multimillion dollar professional business, we’re going to bring you the expert advice from a variety of authors, consultants and thought leaders who provide the tools you need to maximize your own personal and professional margin. Welcome to the Massimo Show.
Rod: Hey, this is Rod Santomassimo with The Massimo Show and today we have a really cool guest because yes, I know her personally, I do, but also because what she’s doing today is so relevant to what you may be thinking about as well. Okay, I’ve got a successful business – how do I expand it? So with that said, I want to welcome my friend, one of our colleagues and someone I’ve worked with in the past, Leigh Mullins. Leigh, thank you, and welcome to The Massimo Show.
Leigh Mullins: I am so excited to be here because I know you, and your success with writing books and reading your books and also I was able to work with you as a client, so I’m really excited to be here.
Rod: Yeah, and let me tell you, there are people that meet expectations and those that exceed expectations. I remember vividly we said you did what?!! You had exceeded our expectations by so much that there was a celebration. But let’s talk about Leigh first. Let’s talk about Leigh in high school. Who were you, what kind of kid were you? What drove you, what did you love doing? Tell me about that.
Leigh Mullins: So high school, which is great because when I tell people I’m from Wyoming, they’re like, “What? Nobody’s from Wyoming! I’ve never met anyone from there.” So I’m a good old girl from the west, from Wyoming, where the biggest disappointment was when we couldn’t go out on the playground because there was a moose out there. So I remember that kind of drama. And you know, in a small town of 2000, sports are everything. So I played volleyball, I swam, I ran track for my high school and sports were everything in my life. I will actually say, you know, the competitiveness of sports segued me into being able to get a college scholarship and do sports at college, which is where I get 100% of my competitiveness, which is good and which is bad. But it was a great opportunity growing up in the West – I loved it, it was great.
Rod: Okay, so I will tell you that so far on The Massimo Show we’ve had no guests – I’m projectingthat in the future we won’t have any guests – that couldn’t go out and play because the moose was out and about. That’s awesome. So where did you go to college and what sports did you play?
Leigh Mullins: So I went to a nice small school called Dickinson State University and I played volleyball, basketball and ran track. And I chose to do that rather than go to a Division I school that just wanted me for basketball. So I felt it was important to go to a smaller school and I wanted to do three sports. I didn’t want to just do one sport. So it was the best decision I ever made. Our volleyball team was conference champs 12-0, I ended up playing on a conference championship basketball team and in track I went to nationals my senior year in the decathlon.
Rod: It’s fair to say you’re athletic.
Leigh Mullins: Yes, and I’m still doing it today with tennis. And my kids are in sports. So I will say sports are everything – where I am today I would say.
Rod: Absolutely awesome. So now we go to college and you’re so focused in sports in college, game competitiveness. Were you thinking about what’s next after college?
Leigh Mullins: Well, one of the other things is that I had to get an athletic scholarship because my parents didn’t have money, so that was my next drive to make sure that I did well to be able to get scholarships. So I’m in college, I’m having a lot of success and I’m like, I don’t want this to end. So I ended up getting offered a graduate assistant in volleyball so I could go ahead and get my master’s paid for and went to Northern State in Aberdeen, South Dakota, and got my master’s degree. That segued into becoming a Division I college volleyball coach.
Rod: Okay. So wow, big jump. Where were you a Division I volleyball coach?
Leigh Mullins: Well, I was the head coach at Northwestern State, which is in Louisiana. My last head coaching job was here at Campbell University.
Rod: Okay, fantastic. So how many years were you a volleyball coach?
Leigh Mullins: 22 years.
Rod: And so coaching, you know, obviously I run a coaching organization. You’re a coach. The idea is to create success for your individuals and making them do the things they don’t want to do to get the things they want to get. And that’s all John Wooden-ism. So what would you say today, looking back at your 20 years, what was one of your key lessons, takeaways where you’d say, yeah, this taught me this. What would it have been?
Leigh Mullins: I will tell you what I have learned the most in the last 20 years is I have watched kids change as athletes. From where they’d be like, “Get on the line,” and they’d be like, “okay,” to where, “Get on the line,” and you’d have to explain why you’re on the line. You know, kids have changed so much in the last 20 years where so have sports because the way you have to coach them, now, you know, there’s no getting on kids and making them run for messing up because emotionally you’ve got to treat them differently now. So that was my biggest thing with coaching is I like the old school coach, right? The hard coach that just you did it, you didn’t question it. There weren’t feelings involved or padding or coddling to where I was finding kids aren’t as tough as they used to be.
Rod: That’s a whole other episode! Let’s get into the business side of what you’re doing and your clients may have changed as well. There are clients that we know we have to share with them why we’re doing certain things so they can appreciate and do the work to get those things achieved. So you transition from being this Division I volleyball coach, ultra competitive – I know sports is still a major, major player in your life – but let’s talk about the professional side, when did you first enter the professional arena and what did you do?
Leigh Mullins: So one of the reasons I decided to leave college coaching is I have two girls and I was missing all of their sports because I was doing my job as a college coach and that’s year round at Division I. I’d be in Brazil recruiting – I was gone all the time. And I also did a smart thing when I was younger – I invested in seven real estate pieces of property for investment reasons. So then I thought – and my husband had said at the time – we really need to focus on our investment with real estate and I was ready to stop college coaching because I was traveling all the time and missing the kids and so I made the decision to get my real estate license. And I’m like I don’t want to be a realtor. I don’t want to do that to learn more about the management side of the investments.
Leigh Mullins: So I ended up taking the real estate class, passing, went ahead and took the test, passed national/state exam. Well, I play a lot of competitive tennis in the Cary area, so when people heard I had my real estate license, they’re like, will you do this? Will you do that? And it literally went into, I was so busy as a real estate agent and I was having a lot of success. And the competitive side of me is like never to say no. So I was loving the challenge of selling houses, buying houses, getting them the best deal, taking care of my clients. And that’s where the professional side came into real estate and the success I had as an agent. I had a partner who was amazing – Paula Grossman – and we’ve worked together for about 12 years. We decided to open our own real estate company called Joseph Bailey.
Rod: And how long has Joseph Bailey been around now?
Leigh Mullins: Two and a half years.
Rod: Okay. So you go from full time traveling the globe, you said yourself, going to Brazil, recruiting kids to play Division I volleyball. Now the next thing you know, you get your real estate license because you also, smartly, were investing in properties all along the way. And you’re thinking I’ve got to increase the value, my knowledge, so I’ll get my real estate license. And because you’re a competitive tennis player in Cary, North Carolina – and for those throughout the country or throughout North America or global, listening to this, Cary, North Carolina, I happen to live in that same neighborhood as Leigh does, is very affluent, let’s say, from a demographic standpoint, being all fed by the Research Triangle Park, just neighborhoods and communities. It is. So when the opportunity came to some of your competitors and partners and tenants to think about selling their homes and buying homes, it was natural that they’d ask you for some assistance.
Leigh Mullins: They’re just like, you’re so aggressive on the court. I can imagine you representing me. So, you know, being how I was as an athlete, it helped me be successful in the business world.
Rod: So there you go. There are these natural behaviors – and we dive deep into natural behaviors at the Massimo Group – these natural behaviors of being assertive, which you are, driven, goal-oriented, which you are, translate very well to the business world when you start having success in commercial real estate. And look, I could tell folks out there why I picked Leigh for this and it’s not only about her residential real estate expertise and her brokerage, that’s not it. It’s because what she’s done with this expertise, I could share with you from a residential standpoint, we engaged with Leigh to sell our house, and I remember telling Leigh, if I can just get X for this house, I’d do backflips? And she said, “Give me at least two days, Rod, to get it on the market,” – a very hot market – “and you just please be patient.” And every time Leigh would call me that morning – we were at breakfast, I know so well because it was during an open house – I’d say “Take it.” She’d say, no. She’d call me again, “Rod I got this bid,” I’d say take that. She’d say no. And so at the very end, the final price, we got all cash from a buyer. It’s an incredible account and it’s like, Oh my gosh, yes, sell the house please and I’ll take it! So Leigh’s right – that approach she took tranfers so well to having to serve her clients to get the price they want to get. So let’s get now to the Joseph Bailey. Why Joseph Bailey? Why that name and why did you decide, “You know what, I’ve been working for another broker for a long time. It’s time for me to go on my own.” A lot of folks work for employers for a while and decide, you know what, I could do this instead or that instead of go off my own. Is that a tough choice for you and what are some of the factors to make that decision?
Leigh Mullins: One of the decisions that Paul and I made to go and open our own real estate company was the training, right? My background is education and so I love training and teaching and I felt like I wanted to open up a real estate company that really trained your agents at a different view, right? To get into our real estate company, you have to interview to get in with us. Like we just don’t take whoever, like we want a certain kind of person that we can take and mold into being really successful. So we wanted to open up our own company to really train agents the right way one-on-one. And that’s hard to do nowadays because we worked for a lot of the big firms and it was hard to get that personal touch and personal training and doing things the right way. I missed a lot of stuff up from the beginning because they didn’t have very much leadership because there were so many people in the big firms. So to open our small firm, it was about, we felt like if we could train people the right way and really give them a lot of individual attention, then we’ll grow as a company and we definitely, Joseph Bailey definitely has grown. We have a lot of agents working for us. They’re so successful and we’re loving it.
Rod: Okay, let’s hold off on the Joseph Bailey for one minute. We’re going to take a quick break from The Massimo Show and when we come back, Leigh will share with us why she went off on her own, how she crafted a company named Joseph Bailey, and more importantly, what opportunities she saw in the market that no one else had seen and the new pursuits, the new company, the new adventure she’s going on that really is so exciting and is also applicable to you. So come on back shortly to our conversation with Leigh Mullins.
Rod: This is Rod Santomassimo with The Massimo Show and we’re back with Leigh Mullins. If you haven’t figured out how to spell “energy” yet, well just spell Leigh Mullins and that will translate to energy and passion and desire and everything that goes with it. So Leigh, thanks for your time today. We were talking about you and your business, your development, and your time with the moose in the backyard but besides that, now we’re talking about this new firm you started on your own. You decided to make it more focused on quality folks who work with you, not for you, but with you as independent contractors and also to provide a level of training. But then the curious part is you had to brand, the company, so where does the name Joseph Bailey come from?
Leigh Mullins: So I love telling this story. 30% or more real estate is done with a male’s name. And so Paula is Paula Grossman and I’m Leigh Mullins, and we never wanted to name a company after ourselves. We wanted to do the right thing in the south, use a name that would catch people’s attention. And we named it Joseph Bailey Concierge Real Estate Service. So that’s another thing – the concierge part of it is where people have just grabbed and thought that was really neat. So what we did is that Paula came up with like five names and then we hired a company to do our branding in California and they came up with about 10 names and sent it out like through a Survey Monkey and asked, which was a good Southern name, which will grab people, will go with the concierge service. So when the company got back to us and they said, the best name for your company, believe it or not, is Joseph Bailey, Paula and I looked at each other and that’s when we made the decision. We definitely have to open this company because Joseph is actually her second child who’s a male. And then Bailey is my second child who’s a girl. So when they came back and said, Joseph Bailey’s the perfect high-end concierge real estate name, we’re like, we have to do it. And there were like 15 names that everybody came up with and we never told the marketing firm why this name, that name, they just ran it through surveys and which name hit the best. So it’ll be cute – people will call here wanting to talk to Joseph Bailey and we’re like, well, he’s in high school and she’s in fourth grade. So that’s why Bailey. And you know the second child always gets messed over. So we want to do something for them.
Rod: Well, there are a couple of lessons – things that are really important there. Number one, you didn’t want to name the company after yourself and there’s a reason for that. Now people think the Massimo Group, for example, is named after me. And in fact it’s not. Just like you, we put names out to our consultants, what name would work and they came back with Massimo because Massimo was a superlative, which means the maximum, the most, the best. And he said, yeah, that’s what we want to be. So that’s why we called it Massimo. And another thing that is very important is the word concierge. When we were crafting our company, we wanted all our clients to be known as members, not clients, they’re Massimo Members. And then the consultant told us, and you’ll see, Leigh and I, we invest in ourselves. We get coaches and consultants. They said, look, you go to a store, you’re a customer, and you have a clerk. And that’s true – the clerk serves the customer. You go and you hire a consultant, right? And then that is a client you have a client for a consultant to work with. But if you’re a concierge, then you must be part of a membership and therefore you’re a member. So it’s exclusive. It’s highly perceived to be of greater value. So there’s a lot of lessons here that Leigh has put out there that I’m sharing with you as well that we’ve gotten from our consultants. Think about how you’re branding yourself, how you’re referring to your clients, maybe your customers depending on what you do, your members, potentially, think about all about as well as you craft your own message.
Rod: Okay, so we have this firm called Joseph Bailey around for two and a half years. So how’s it gone? How’s it gone being on your own?
Leigh Mullins: It’s been amazing. The best part is we’ve grown with so many agents now that are working for us and they are having so much success and it’s so cool because the word’s gotten out there to other agents and other firms and we have a lot of people wanting to get into our firm, but we’re capping it. We aren’t about quantity, we’re about quality. So it’s been really successful. We’re right here, you know, in the Preston area, at High House and Cary Parkway is our office and we have our brick and mortar and we love our office and it’s going really well.
Rod: And again, for the audience who doesn’t understand what she just said, she’s in a key intersection in the town of Cary, in North Carolina, which is again, it’s known to be a thriving area and she makes sure her location, her physical location, we’ll get to the digital side in a second, but her physical location is where she can be seen, known and looked at as equivalent to her brand being the prestigious brand of Joseph Bailey. Just saying that name makes me feel like I need to go buy a suit somewhere or something. It’s Joseph Bailey.
Rod: Jewelry or a great after-dinner drink. I don’t know what it is, but it’s so rich. The name is so rich, so I love it. I love it. Okay, so you’re enjoying Joseph Bailey. Also the market is going up and down. Let’s talk about that for a second. How are you envisioning the market today? And again, every market, especially in residential real estate, is so different, every little community. But how is the market today and how are you adapting to market trends and have you learned over your now almost 15 years of doing professional residential real estate, how did you figured out how to adapt to certain market situations?
Leigh Mullins: Well, definitely we’re very lucky because the Raleigh Durham area is growing like crazy. It’s one of the hottest markets in the country. That leads into the next thing we’ll talk about is the app we’ve launched, but the market’s been great here now. The market everywhere always slows down a little bit when school starts and then picks up like crazy, you know, in February. But here in this area from $200,000 to $900 to a million dollar, those houses are still selling pretty well.
Rod: Let’s talk about the trends then, Leigh. So for example, in 2009 and 10 not everything was selling very well. How did you adapt your practice based on the velocity decrease that happened during those years versus what you’re seeing now?
Leigh Mullins: So one of the things we had to definitely change is how we went after getting leads and finding clients because houses weren’t selling as well or as fast. That’s how we make our money. So we had to do something, which was go after different leads. Buy leads. We had to change our organization – we couldn’t do the old referral or seeing people at restaurants and talking to them about it. We literally had to go outside our comfort zone to go get people we don’t know, to be able to work with clients.
Rod: Oh I love that. And again, that doesn’t just apply to residential real estate, and, listeners, you have to understand that when the market shifts, you need to shift. It’s funny, I engaged with another consultant earlier this year as we’re setting forth our plan for 2020 and beyond, and he told me very specifically that, something we’re going to talk with Leigh about in a minute, don’t do things differently, do different things, don’t do things differently. Don’t coach a different way. Start doing different things. So for us it was we create a new division of the company that does work with certain types of owners. And then we worked with the new division of the company we created for national behavior assessments. And then the big one comes in 2020 when we create a whole new division of the company doing different things. So it’s those different things that Leigh’s about to share with us that says, yep, there’s someone who knows the market’s changing, gotta adapt. Gotta continue. Well I can’t tell you yet. We got to take a quick break. So when I come back, we’re going to talk about Leigh’s new app idea she had, how she’s making it happen, why she’s now traveling the country again, not to recruit for players, but instead to recruit for investors and also what this means to you. So give us a few minutes, we’ll be back with The Massimo Show.
Rod: Welcome back to The Massimo Show with my special guest, Leigh Mullins, and we’re about to dive into doing something different. When market opportunities arise, go do something different. So let’s get right to it. Leigh, welcome back to The Massimo Show. Okay, so here we go. You’ve now been a residential broker for 15 years. You’re seeing something that’s changing in the market. And so you decide to say, Hey, I have an idea. Well maybe it wasn’t you – I don’t know. Don’t give it all away quite yet. But what did you see happening in the market that gave you an idea that you have to do something different?
Leigh Mullins: We were finding that when the market wasn’t as strong, like around Christmas, December, whenever, we needed to find clients. So we would buy leads and we would buy leads from the big places like Zillow, realtor.com. So we spend a lot of money on leads and those were leads where they never turned into anything. Rarely. So what it was is you pay a bunch of money and sign a contract for six months and whoever’s on the computer and says, I might want to see this house gets sent to like five agents in that zip code. And they’re all calling this buyer, trying to get this buyer to meet them at a house. And hopefully you can sell them a house and you have to sell yourself. So we’re finding that buying leads was wasting a lot of our money as real estate agents. And you know, real estate agents are independent contractors and some have to live and breathe off these leads. So that gave Paula, I would say Paula, came up with definitely the idea of our new company.
Rod: What was the idea, first and foremost, and then let’s talk about the new company.
Leigh Mullins: So the idea was the fact that as an agent I would have made millions of dollars if I could get in front of my clients, but I never had that chance because leads we’d buy, people that didn’t know us, it was so hard when they had like 10 people calling them to try to get them to go to one property. So sometimes you could get there, sometimes other agents got that call. It was just a feeding frenzy. And we were never very successful with getting those people to meet us at properties. So we came up with an idea where we take out the middleman. And literally now the buyer, or the seller, hits the app and they reach out to the agents in the area. And so the first agent to accept it meets them right at that property immediately or they can schedule it.
Leigh Mullins: So the crazy thing, it’s like Uber for real estate agents, but it’s not because a buyer/seller can schedule on their own time when they want to see a property.
Rod: Okay. So let’s think about this. So talk about the app to understand what it is. Just so we can understand taking a concept of your business – the business doesn’t have to be real estate, it could be whatever it’s going to be – it could be law, it could be insurance, can be whatever it is – but how you can craft something that creates value to both your client, obviously, or your members, as well as gives you an opportunity to get more access and therefore, more exposure and everything else. And of course make some basic financial returns as well. So Leigh, I’m searching for a new house, hypothetically, I’m not though, because you sold me this house and I love it. I’m searching for a new house and I see a sign and I’m just driving with my wife and I say, “You know, I like to see the house. I’m going to call the agent on the sign.” And so we could set up a scheduled time to get there or she can eventually get there when he or she gets there. That’s traditionally how it may work, right. Instead though, because I have recordings from the video also. I’m going to download this app. What’s the app called?
Leigh Mullins: So it’s called Zuhaus Z. U. H. A. U. S.
Rod: Now, it’s not available everwhere yet, but we’re going to get there. But I download that app and I hit that house and I click whatever, you’re gonna tell me that, and then what happens next?
Leigh Mullins: So in this market and other big markets, if you don’t see a house right away, you lose it. So if you have a real estate agent that’s out of country or the listing agent can’t get there, you’re out of luck. And especially when it’s busy season, you get multiple offers right away and you have to be there in that property. So what this app does is that you’re sitting in front of a house, you hit it and it pings every agent within five miles. And the first one that accepts, you see their picture, you see their information, they see yours and you see their car driving to meet you at that property. Or something else that you can do with this app is you can be sitting in Baltimore and you can be like, you know what? I’m going to be in Raleigh on Tuesday. I want to see this property. And you schedule it and you schedule that property for when you want to see it. I want to see it at two o’clock on Tuesday and it pings the agents within five miles of that property and one picks up and says, I’ll meet you there. And you start communicating. So what this does for agents, is that agents now don’t have to go through all the scratching and clawing for leads. Now, buyers and sellers are reaching out to agents and they’re able to meet their clients face to face immediately. Now we’ve given that agent, now that opportunity to sell themselves rather than phone calls and this and that. So they’re able to get right in front of a client immediately and we get clients into the house immediately.
Rod: And that’s the key point. What’s every decision based on, right, time and money. Yeah, there’s a financial component – buying all the leads, they’re not qualifying, so a lot of wasted money. But there’s also though wasting time. But Leigh, we’re talking about some advantages of the app – just not the app, but what we all struggle with – so it’s very expensive to do something. So that’s a savings of costs, right? But it’s also the savings of time, which this app, which you have all developed and we’re gonna talk about how you do that is promising to your community of agents, is that correct?
Leigh Mullins: Correct. So the thing with the app that’s gonna make it successful is it’s cheaper for the agents to use and they don’t have to pay a monthly fee. They can do it for a month and be done. Like they don’t have to sign a contract because we know what it’s like. It’s hard as the independent contractor to have money coming in and steady stream. So this is all about making this affordable for the agents and for them to have success. The great thing with this app is right now we’re offering it to buyers and sellers. They can get $500 back at closing when they use the Zuhaus app to find an agent to look at property. So we’ve had a lot of success with that as well.
Rod: Okay, so there’s incentive, but the exciting part is, certainly for our listeners as well even if you’re not, again, if you’re not involved in residential or commercial real estate, it doesn’t matter. This is a business idea. Leigh, I don’t get it though, you have this core business of residential real estate that’s cash flowing for you well and why don’t just stick to that? I mean it’s going well for you. Are you going to depreciate the income stream by taking your focus off of that? How’s this all going to work out?
Leigh Mullins: So it’s amazing that Paula Grossman is my business partner and she’s a hundred percent running our company, Joseph Bailey, and then I’m 100% working on Zuhaus. So that’s the one thing about real estate agents, and you know by working with us, there was a reason there were two of us. We never took vacations at the same time. Like we always served our clients. So they will never be without one of us always being around to show them that property that comes on the market within minutes because we feel it’s so important to serve our clients more than anything. So right now that’s how we’re making both of it work. But I’m still doing Joseph Bailey a little bit, but I am doing a lot with Zuhaus because I’m talking to investors and you know, we have a patent on it. We have a copyright on it. So coming from someone who does not have a business background, this has been so much fun.
Rod: Well, you know, my takeaway from this folks is that look, as you venture into new ideas, number one, don’t ever stop appreciating the cash cow you developed early on. In this case for Leigh, it was a residential real estate company. You know, for the Massimo Group, our core business always has been commercial real estate coaching and now we’re coaching so many more folks outside of commercial real estate, but we’re not taking our eyes of that either. Right. I have a very competent team running the commercial real estate coaching organization as we coach other folks in other industries. So that’s the one lesson out of there. Also Leigh, you just mentioned patents and investors and it’s kind of scary. I remember back in 2000 probably 2000/2001/2002, I decided that I wanted to create a sports watch so I could track my workouts. I just couldn’t. Before I knew it, I found a friend of mine who was an engineer and we developed a software and then I found a patent attorney and we developed a patent. So I became an inventor. I’m actually a patented inventor, which is kind of weird when I think about that. And again, I knew nothing about technology. Then I found myself in a headquarters in Connecticut with Timex pitching our watch. Now, believe it or not, Timex said people will never track their activities on a watch…which, of course…
Leigh Mullins: I have two Garmins!
Rod: I just laugh and go, okay. This is back in 2001 but the lesson there was that I knew nothing about these things. Leigh knows nothing about patents and investments at this time. Let’s face it – we were talking about not how to invest in a house, we’re investing with private equity firms. It’s a different ball field. But I did, and Leigh has, put yourself out there and what’s the worst that can happen? You learn a lesson, you find better, more talented folks to help you along the way. So Leigh, how have you now gone from residential agent in Cary, North Carolina, to this owner of a technology that is traveling the country requesting investment while the same time coordinating rollout in major markets. Tell about this whole experience and what kind of help you have, which the first person you reached out to. How did you make this happen?
Leigh Mullins: Well first it was talking my business partner into doing it. We are complete opposites. In fact, we took personality test and we found out that we’re actually the best two people to be business partners in the world, like we’re the perfect match. I’m always like we’re good, we’ll figure it out. She’s always like, no, I don’t know if we should do that. So that is the first step that we did is I talked her into doing it. Because it was her idea. It was so good. So the first thing we did was find someone to develop the app. So you know we talked to a bunch of people, we had a lot of people helping us with finding someone to develop the app, which has been amazing. Develop the app, and that’s just the beginning, right? Cause then we’re doing the patent and I’m scared to death someone’s going to steal the idea. And then someone wanted to actually take our name. So the Zuhaus name, which means “at home” in German, our marketing side of it, we’ve actually had a lot of success just with that. We have people come into us who want just the name and we’re like, Oh we’ve got to do a copyright. Or you know, now we have to have another patent for that. So we’re literally learning as we go. And it has been crazy. So we launched August 7th in Raleigh. Right? We got lucky, this is a great market, our hometown. We’re here in Raleigh. We launched first with the Apple and then last week we came out with the Android and I’m learning a lot there. Let me tell you, that’s no easy process getting through the Apple store at all. So here we’re up and going. We wanted to make sure we had everything running perfectly. Last week we had our first major lending company, and I can’t say their name until the contract’s signed, to advertise on our app, which is huge. So we had that happen, which has been great. And we’re just in Raleigh.
Rod: Hold on, let me stop you there because this is what happens to a lot of us, right? It’s called a subconscious competence where things just naturally happen. You assume that’s no big deal, but that’s a huge, huge endeavor and added value to you as the developer of the app, now you have an audience. Think about if you were to create something, what you can create differently, what synergies you currently have that would leverage your success and this case, makes total sense, a lender would say, I want to advertise on your app. Makes total sense.
Leigh Mullins: And it’s crazy because we’re a startup. Everyone’s like your startup. And I’m like, we’re so far ahead of the game because we owe nobody money. I don’t know that this makes sense for a startup. Usually that’s not the case. Startups are like 50 million in debt and then you have to work from there. Paula, you know my kids are doing without, but we paid for everything ourselves, which is great. So now that we’ve talked to angel investors and people are wanting to invest and we’re going from that end, I’ve really realized being a startup, how lucky we are to be starting up from where we’re starting up, if that makes sense. The fact that I said, let’s go after a big lenders, national lenders to advertise because we don’t want to have to be inundated. Our whole app is about searching because you can search for a house on our app, like you can’t on any of the other major search engines.
Leigh Mullins: You can search as a buyer, you can schedule and you can see just like that. So we didn’t want to have a bunch of advertising and things like that, but we have to find money to grow. And right now we haven’t even advertised this app at all. It’s just been Facebook, word of mouth, Instagram. So now we’re getting money to just blow it out and advertise and do the marketing. Which can I tell you, I had no clue how expensive marketing is. Wow. That’s crazy to me. And marketing’s changed over the years. There’s no newspaper, it’s all digital. Most of it’s digital, you know, we’re learning that there’s other things we need to supplement as well. But the fact that we got a huge lending company that’s going to start giving us some revenue, which is even better for the investors and the fact that our startup is in zero debt as of this point.
Rod: I want to go back to that because it was such a significant jump for the development. So it was your idea that you probably need a major lender to be on this app and great that you qualified that by not wanting to crowd it with a bunch of advertisers – get one specific, don’t mention the name obviously, but how do you go about getting in front of the lender and then getting them to say, yeah, we’ll evaluate you. I mean you’re prospecting now for money and relationships, this is a prospecting issue, again, so how did you do that.
Leigh Mullins: I literally just made phone calls. I called, I called and sent it out to about four or five lending companies and pretty much I just, yeah, not the big decision maker, but someone who liked me and I sold myself good enough in the app where they got me in front of the second person. So I kept working my way up the ladder to where I got in front of the main person and they’re like, this is awesome. We’ll do it. And I just didn’t stop. And it comes back to the competitiveness. I believe in this app so much that I just felt I could sell it with so much heart and if I could get in front of people, then that’s where I have my success. And, and we have our first revenue coming and I’m so excited.
Rod: Well, first of all, it’s a reflection of you and Paula’s great work and support. But I would ask my listeners, are you that passionate about what you’re doing right now? If you’re not, find that passion, obviously. But that alone, that energy all comes from the belief that you’re going to make a difference to the marketplace, obviously.
Leigh Mullins: Listen, I stress at night, I don’t sleep. I’m scared to death. Someone’s going to come up with this idea and make it bigger and better and sell it nationally faster. But we’re just like, we don’t have anything to lose if we don’t try. And so we launched here, we’re getting investors to give us money so we can go to the next launch town, then the next launch town, and literally within 10 months, I’d love to be nationally rolled-out cause I love it. The crazy thing is people are always, they always ask you this, what if someone wants to buy it for a lot of money? I’m like, I don’t know. It’s an addiction now to grow it and to be involved. Crazy. I love it.
Rod: Okay. And certainly Raleigh-Durham has been the only market so far and what I love about this is besides just saying it’s going to every market right away, you’re going to work out any kinks are going to happen, you’ll work them out, figure it out and take it to the next market and learn more, take it the next market, is that the plan?
Leigh Mullins: Absolutely, and since we launched August 7th I’ve been changing things on the app since the launch because I’m learning and growing with the app. And my developers hate that phone call, but they’ve been amazing with us, you know, to change things here and there to make it, you know, just so much easier for our users. But you release a product thinking it’s great and it’s crazy how much you change it after you already thought it was great to make it better.
Rod: So is this a Twitter model where or a Facebook model where really no money changing hands, that it’s just the velocity and acceptance in the marketplace. You get advertisers, I get that. And then eventually what’s going to happen as you grow your subscription base or member base user base to a point where yeah, you get the big cash out. Is that the goal here?
Leigh Mullins: No. Honestly, our goal is it’s free to all the consumer, the real estate agents we’re giving it to for a very cheaply, monthly fee so that they can make more money and get face to face. So what we charge is so minimal for leads compared to the other revenue services for leads that they’re paying for as well. Our ultimate goal was for real estate agents to make more money because they spend so much money on finding leads as it is right now. So our ultimate goal, yeah, we’d love to be big and grow, but I’d like to see the real estate agents have more success and be able to service clients faster and easier. Clients hate to have phone calls. Everything’s digital now. The XY generation loves apps. They love not having to talk to people. And with this app, you say, I want to see this house at this time. Boom, it’s done. There’s no waiting. It’s on their time.
Rod: Okay, I love it. So what is the value proposition? We have different audiences here and I want you all to understand and craft your own value propositions for your own services or your products. So what’s the value proposition to the fellow residential agent? Why Zuhaus?
Leigh Mullins: Well, it’s a lead generation that is immediate, so it’s going to get them face to face in front of a client. They don’t have to worry about phone calls and running people down and talking them into something. These buyers already know the property they want to see and when they want to see it. So for a real estate agent, it’s easy. Now the buyers and sellers are coming to them, which changes the whole game. Instead of them going straight directly to the consumer. Also for the buyer and the seller, they get to have someone within minutes in front of them, helping them with the property, giving them a listing agreement, Hey, you know, you’re sitting there and let’s sell our house. Hit the app. The first agent within five miles will be to your house in 10 minutes. They’ll be like, you know, this is what your house is worth and this is what you can do. Let’s be honest when you see something last minute, spontaneous, sometimes it’s the best idea. So with this app you’ll have to talk to someone once they get there, but you get to schedule it as a consumer when it’s convenient for you.
Rod: Okay. So in its simplest form, as I hear you share being the value prop, right? So at the Massimo Group, and people will say, okay, really what’s the crux of it? We always say, look, you can make a lot more money in a lot less time. That’s just the fact that our clients always tell us – consistently making more money and spending less time in the office. But for you it is the fact that they get more leads in less time at a lower cost.
Leigh Mullins: And in a face to face, which is worth a million dollars to real estate agents. You know with Zuhaus, our plan A is residential, the next is rental property because in all the metropolitan areas like New York, it’s very hard to get into rental property and then down the road Zuhaus would like to do commercial. Those are our steps for growing the app.
Rod: Well Leigh and I will definitely be talking then.
Rod: Okay. I love it. I love it. So Leigh, what would you say to listeners out there and not in the real estate business, but they have an idea and they’re working hard, there are a couple of things here. Number one, let’s talk through a message to those that are working for somebody else and what is the guidance suggestion you would give them to make that leap in faith that they can work on their own? Give me some insight there.
Leigh Mullins: I have all my life worked for other people, so it was scary, but it was the best adrenaline in the world and it makes you work harder just because there’s more on the line, which makes you enjoy it. So people are like, Oh, I like this check that comes in every month. You know what? That’s great. But if you just believe in yourself and you don’t stop, like I’m up at four in the morning writing down ideas, don’t stop. And if you have that drive, you will be successful.
Rod: I love it. I remember my father always told me, you’ll never be happier or wealthier until you start working for yourself. And so when I made that leap, I’m like you, Leigh, I’m up at four in the morning freaking out about this. I am, I get it. But, wow, what’ a rush! It’s a major rush. Okay, so now they made the leap, they’re working on their own and having some success, and they’re thinking, I have another idea but I don’t want to leave the cash cow because this is working. What advice would you give to them?
Leigh Mullins: You know, go off and try to do what you’re thinking you might like. Even if you’re working for someone right now and you have other ideas, talk to people about it. The biggest thing I was scared to death about was to not say anything about our app because no one signed an NDA. So don’t worry that. So I’d be like we have this great idea, but you know what, it got to the point where I’m like, you know what? If it happens, it happens. I’m going to just tell everyone about it.
Leigh Mullins: I’m not making people sign NDA’s. And I remember our CFO was like, what are you doing? I’m like, listen, I believed in it and I’m going to let it go. So if you’re working for someone else and then you’re thinking about maybe doing something on your own, don’t talk to people about it, get advice! We’ve gotten so much amazing advice from people. That’s why we’re at where we are today. And I’m flying all over the country talking to investors and it’s such a great situation. It’s just so good. Just don’t be scared.
Rod: I can only imagine having you in the office asking for money. Very hard for someone to say no.
Leigh Mullins: They do. The biggest thing is, and I think it came from being an athlete, and, let’s be honest, I’m a life coach in real estate people – it’s their biggest investment I’m dealing with. So you have the highs and lows with your clients, but I will tell you the biggest thing is people say no. You’ve got to be able to be like, okay, great. Thank you. Even though you’re just like crying inside and you go to the next person. You’ve got to have tough skin and you’ve got to understand that no, in two months when my company’s worth $6 million, it’s going to come back and be a yes. So I just keep believing and thinking the positive – I’m not like unicorns and bunnies – there are some negative that happen, but it’s how you handle it.
Rod: Leigh, you’re absolutely correct and I can’t thank you enough for your time, your energy, your insight – absolutely incredible. It’s a wow. I mean people are going to listen to in the car and have to pull over there’s so much energy. We do appreciate that and I wish you the best of luck with Zuhaus. So, hey, if I want to check out Zuhaus, and for our listeners, where do they go?
Leigh Mullins: They can download Zuhaus on the Apple app and also on Googleplay. www.GetZuHaus.com is our website, which tells you all about the app and how it works.
Rod: Okay. Well, in the future when you need a house and you’re driving around all you’re going to do is getzuhaus and download the app. And before you know it, a qualified broker will be sittting face to face with you to help you with that transaction. But more importantly from this episode is when you have an idea and you have the passion, you can absolutely make it work. Leverage skilled people like Leigh has and I have, right? Leverage more skilled people, keep the passion, keep the faith and things will work out. So Leigh, thank you so much for your time today. Thank you so much as I enjoyed it. I enjoyed seeing you and talking to you. Okay. Leigh. For everyone else, this is Rod Santomassimo with The Massimo Show. Don’t forget to tell everyone about the show and if you haven’t subscribed, make sure you do now. Take care.
Hi, this is Rod Santomassimo President and founder of the Massimo Group. Did you know that for over the past 11 plus years, we’ve worked with thousands of independent contractors, solopreneurs, and small business owners just like you in repositioning their and/or their team’s efforts so they can build the personal professional practice they’ve always dreamed of. We provide coaching programs for all levels of experience, earnings and, yes, success. So if you’re finally ready to get off that transaction treadmill and chasing deals that are growing nowhere and start building the personal professional business and life consisting of greater wealth and more time, well, check us out at massimo.coach. That’s massimo.coach.
Leigh and her partner, Paula Grossman, established the very successful Joseph Bailey Concierge Real Estate Services to provide the personalized and professional service that franchise organizations simply cannot provide. Despite their great success, Leigh and Paula were dismayed during downturns with the amount of money they’d spend on leads with little to show for it. Necessity is the mother of invention and that’s exactly what they did – they invented their own app – Zühaus – to more easily pair brokers and buyers – the Uber of Real Estate.
(All buyers and sellers get $500 dollars back at closing if they use a real estate agent off Zühaus).
- The advantages to choosing the right business partner and how personality tests can help
- Finding the right name for a business and getting the right niche
- Keeping your cash cow while pursuing the next thing .. even if it’s drastically different