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Inaky Strick recently shared his journey to success in an up-close-and-personal (virtual!) interview with the Cloze team. He is a broker associate with Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty in Texas, serving New Braunfels, Boerne, San Antonio, Austin, and surrounding areas. Within two years of transitioning to a new market, Inaky has shown that with dedication, organization, and attention to client relationships, an agent can enjoy immense success – he has sold more than 100 homes since starting his most recent position and is on track to sell more than $25 million in 2021.
In 2019, Inaky was recognized as a Top 100 Latino Real Estate Professional in San Antonio and among the top 10% of real estate agents by sales volume in San Antonio and surrounding areas. In 2020, he was recognized as one of the top 0.05% of real estate agents by volume in San Antonio and a Top 10 Agent at Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty. Additionally, he is an Amazon #1-bestselling author and was included among the top realtors in the Herald-Zeitung readers’ choice best of New Braunfels 2020.
Let’s take a look at how the right business model, paired with an effective customer relationship management (CRM) system, can help grow your business exponentially year-over-year, just like it has for Inaky.
We’d love to hear your story, too. If you’d like to participate, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org, and we’ll arrange an interview.
Use this outline to jump ahead to the sections below:
- Getting started in Real Estate
- Preparing for growth
- Using Cloze CRM daily
- Cloze and Ninja Selling
- Inaky’s morning routine for success
- A business built on referrals (and zero personal marketing)
- Authentic social media
Driven to Succeed: Inaky’s Journey from Houston to Belize to New Braunfels
The first book Inaky read after graduating from college was Rich Dad Poor Dad – and it changed his life forever. Upon completion of the book, he knew he wanted to get involved in real estate investing. However, he lacked two major things to get started – knowledge and capital. After exploring his options, he started his career as a real estate agent so he could get his foot in the door.
“I figured one way I could acquire both knowledge and capital to invest in real estate was to actually sell it. That’s why I decided to get my real estate license and start selling in Houston, Texas, in a town called The Woodlands, which is north of [the city].”
This was Inaky’s introduction to the business. After a short time with the firm, he met Martha Turner from Martha Turner Sotheby’s International Realty. Unlike his brokerage at the time, which had one office, Sotheby’s is an international firm focused on selling luxury homes. Grateful for his experience in The Woodlands, Inaky commenced his career with Sotheby’s International Realty. At this time, he started working with developers, a strategy that is part of his current business model.
When Opportunity Knocks, Answer It!
While earning his reputation at Sotheby’s, Inaky was offered an opportunity to work on a unique project in Belize. Many agents might reject such a chance with the false assumption that real estate growth is a linear path. Inaky saw his potential differently and decided to pursue the opportunity.
“It was kind of a tough decision because I got the chance to move to the Caribbean and sell resort property on an island, which was amazing. But, at same time, I was leaving this other big opportunity to sell 34 homes that were [worth] more than a million dollars each. So I made a tough decision, but I made it within 45 minutes. I called the developer of the Belize project and said, ‘I’m in.’ I moved to Belize within a week.”
“My job was primarily to do all the marketing and reach out to investors back in the U.S. … Get them to fly down to Belize, check out the space, and then learn about the market and how different real estate is down there versus the U.S. Out of every 10 to 15 who would come down, one or two would buy and that was a good number for us.”
Looking to redirect his focus on learning how to access capital, Inaky then transitioned to a position with a real estate investment firm where he focused on helping raise capital for different projects.
Working for A Passion: Returning to Residential Sales
Realizing his potential, he now had the experience and knowledge to both invest in real estate and raise capital. However, he also discovered his passion for working with clients and selling residential real estate. In 2019, Inaky decided to transition back to sales, joining the Kuper Sotheby’s International Realty team in New Braunfels.
As a new member of the team and a new agent in the area, Inaky was starting from scratch. Nevertheless, thanks to years of relationship building and leveraging his experience, he has been able to grow his business exponentially year-over-year since returning to residential real estate.
“I had just joined Kuper and was brand new to this market … I knew one other person who lived in New Braunfels. I’ve sold 134 homes so far. This year my goal is to help 70 families buy or sell real estate. I’m very proud of that number and hoping to do even more next year.”
Know Your Potential and Prepare for Growth
Shortly after transitioning back to residential real estate, Inaky decided to hire an assistant. Although many colleagues were skeptical, he saw an opportunity for growth that he did not want to miss due to lack of time and availability.
“I knew where I was going, and I could see how this market was moving. I could see how the relationships I was forming were going to be beneficial. So I decided to bring her on … And we’re here [now] … we’re doing amazing, and I wouldn’t have it any other way because without her I would not [have been] able to do the 46 transactions that we’ve done so far this year by myself.”
Additionally, Inaky saw value in leveraging an assistant to ensure work-life balance.
“The free time that I can now save by having somebody like that … if I want to take a weekend off, I can trust her to show property to clients. So we’re still taking care of those clients and they’re not mad because I’m not around. They’re still getting served, they’re still getting taken care of, and I’m just a phone call or email away. So it’s been very beneficial to have a full-time licensed assistant.”
Today, Inaky has been able to focus on increasing his annual sales by building relationships with developers. He is currently working with a developer to sell 16 of their new unit developments with a chance of becoming the company’s agent for an upcoming 125-unit project.
“It’s been very beneficial to have [an assistant], and if you’re on the fence about bringing somebody else on board because it’s going to be a big expense, I suggest thinking about the opportunities that you’re missing by not having somebody help you.”
In his first year in New Braunfels, Inaky closed on $5.6 million and his second year grew that to $16.5 million. For 2021, he projects to close on $25 million.
Improve Your Business Model with Cloze
The success of real estate agents is directly related to their skills. They must be able to build trust with clients, learn how to sell property, and effectively manage their transactions. In addition, today’s agents need to recognize when to invest in assistance and how to leverage technology – Inaky has done both.
As an agent, he has learned the business and understands the need for an effective CRM to organize workflow. Since the beginning of his career at Kuper, Inaky has relied on Cloze to manage and build his client relationships.
We use Cloze in our business a lot, almost every day. Actually, we have Cloze open every single day on one of [our computer] tabs, whether it’s me or my assistant inputting information and updating our database. Cloze is very beneficial for tracking everything, especially when you want to do a lot of transactions and increase your sales. You’re going to have a lot of moving pieces. So, you can’t keep everything up here [in your head], and you can’t keep everything written down. Having a CRM is super important for growing your business, and Cloze has been phenomenal.”
Not all CRMs are created equal, however, and Inaky relies on unique features within Cloze to ensure an optimal business model that promotes reliability and trust. As an innovative platform, Cloze aids agents in tracking their activity, setting daily goals and reminders, and utilizing technology to streamline processes.
One such feature that Inaky uses frequently is the post-closing campaign, which he claims brings new referrals without much effort. He also uses the templates – both Cloze and custom-built ones – to reduce time spent on tedious and repetitive actions.
“Having it all in Cloze … makes us more efficient because rather than having to type an email … over and over again [with] a similar [message], Cloze [populates] the name automatically. It makes things a lot easier and more effective.”
In addition, Inaky also leverages the reminder settings within Cloze to ensure ongoing connection with clients, promoting positive relationships.
Cloze [provides] reminders because it’s tracking my phone calls … and [making a connection to] them. Cloze reminds me, ‘Hey you haven’t talked to this person in a while.’ That’s when I’ll … give them a call, which is pretty nice because sometimes you’re only thinking about things happening right now. But then Cloze reminds me … It’s nice to reach out to them without having anything specific to say, just to say ‘Hello. ‘How’s it going? How’s life?'”
Cloze: A Proven Resource for Ninja Sellers
Ninja Selling is one of the most recognized and widely used sales systems among real estate agents. It focuses on “building relationships, listening to customers, and helping them achieve their goals.” As a newcomer to the industry, Inaky relied on Ninja Selling training to build the core of his business model. What he has learned through working with Cloze is that both platforms support each other, and several of Cloze’s features correlate with concepts taught to Ninja Sellers.
Inaky’s Tip: Use Cloze’s built-in, pre-configured Ninja Selling setup.
Cloze can be configured to work seamlessly with the Ninja Selling System. When enabled, Cloze includes several label customizations to match the workflow and methodology of Ninja Selling. You can also track and complete your Ninja Nine activities each week using the Cloze Agenda.
For example, dedication to ongoing communication is a key element for Ninja Sellers. As an agent, Inaky goes above and beyond.
“I’m already over-communicating with my current clients. So … the Ninja thing is to call them at least once a week. Well, my clients hear from me almost every day.”
“I try to make sure that every client is treated like a million-dollar client.”
With Cloze, Inaky can track and manage all communication to ensure he is staying updated with every client. For those with whom he is not actively engaged, Cloze can remind him to conduct an annual follow-up, a strategy he implements to not only connect and recruit new activity through existing clients and referrals but also ensure his clients are up to date on their market evaluations and understand their current position.
Streamlining the Listing Process
As with other aspects of his business, Inaky has a workflow for streamlining the listing process, again improving his efficiency and providing more time to connect with new and existing clients. The moment he connects with a prospective client, he relies on his assistant to ensure prompt follow-up. All connections are tracked in Cloze.
Inaky’s Tip: Use Cloze Templates to save time.
The Cloze Library provides a centralized location to manage all types of templates in one place. You can create several types of templates:
- Email templates
- Marketing Email templates (included with the Cloze Business Platinum Plan)
- Text templates
- Call scripts
- Campaigns (included with the Cloze Business Platinum Plan)
“I’ll get [the client’s] contact information, whether it’s a business card or … phone number and property address, and I’ll text it to my assistant. If she’s working, she’ll immediately [assemble] the pre-listing presentation package and [create] a link that takes [the client] to a web page with videos about our brokerage [house] and about me, my bio, client testimonials, website, etc.”
Next, Inaky sends the presentation to the client via mail. By providing the material ahead of time, he can focus on the client during the meeting rather than pitching himself as a listing agent.
“This way, whenever we show up, they’ve already had a chance to review [everything]… they’ll have an idea of who we are and what kind of work we do … [Now], whenever we meet, we can focus on them, rather than telling them about us.”
Focus on ‘Realistic’ Sellers
Part of his presentation includes property pricing whereby he presents a range of home values. Depending on the client’s urgency to sell and other factors, he gives them a scope within which he believes the property will close.
“I give them a range, and I always explain to them [that the] home will sell within it. They get to pick which end of the range they want based on … how fast they want to sell versus how [much] they want to try to get. [What is] that comfort level? You should always tell them, ‘I’m here to help you with the process, but you’re making all the decisions.'”
If a seller wants a price point above that range, they might be considered unrealistic. As an agent focused on closing, Inaky lets such clients know he may not be the agent for them. Although he likes setting records, he wants to dedicate time to working with clients who are ready to work with him and ready to meet the market.
“I’m always okay [with] pushing the envelope, but if I can tell they’re an unrealistic seller, then I just simply tell them, ‘Hey, you know, we’re just not going to be the right fit for each other.'”
Bring Value to the Deal
Once he has listed a property, Inaky enacts a 32-point marketing plan. For some assets, he provides additional marketing services.
One service he provides for every client is a 2-hour staging consultation. Depending on the home, Inaky may recommend the client simply restage with existing furniture; in other cases, he may recommend hiring the stager to improve the home’s presentation.
In today’s virtual world, presentation is everything – it is essential for having a high-quality online presence to capture the attention of prospective buyers. This strategy has allowed Inaky to leverage a property’s potential, receive multiple offers on listings, and meet his clients’ expectations.
Start with a Routine
If you want to find success and build wealth in your business, the first step is to establish a routine. Identify one that will help promote your daily activity and inspire personal growth.
Remember, not everyone’s routine is the same, and changes can occur throughout the day. However, setting intentions in the morning can help ensure productivity and achievement over the course of the day.
Inaky’s day is set from morning to night, starting with health and wellness, transitioning to managing his business, and ending with networking.
5 AM – 9 AM: Personal Time and Affirmations
He wakes up at 5 a.m., drinks a glass of water, brushes his teeth, and most importantly doesn’t check his phone which would distract him from his routine.
Instead, he works out, does his affirmations, and then sends his assistant his gratitude list.
“I text my assistant two things that I’m grateful for, and she texts me two things that she’s grateful for, and that sets the tone.”
9 AM: Start of the business day
By 9 a.m., both of them are working. The day is split in two. In the morning, Inaky focuses on administrative work, starting with the most challenging tasks first. The afternoon is available for showings and appointments.
“Having the first part of my day in the office and the second part … out and about in the field really gives structure to my days. We’re not just running around not knowing what to do that day.”
Inaky’s Tip: Avoid your email inbox first thing in the morning.
Inaky avoids email. Instead, he focuses on the todos that he and his assistant set the evening before and his Cloze Agenda.
They focus on the hardest conversations first to get them out of the way and ensure they are completed before other activities distract them from getting them done.
10:00 AM: Inaky Works his Cloze Agenda
Once the critical business work has been completed he moves to the Cloze Agenda and reviews his keep-in-touch reminders and other anniversary dates, like real estate reviews and birthdays.
Inaky’s Tip: Use the Cloze Agenda every day to:
- Reach out to your sphere – based on Cloze automatic keep-in-touch reminders
- Reach out to clients – based on Cloze reminders of birthdays, real estate reviews, anniversaries other recurring anniversaries
- Review the day’s meetings
- Write handwritten notes (and log them in Cloze)
11:00 AM: Paperwork and other activities
The rest of the morning is devoted to paperwork and other administrative activities.
12 PM and beyond:
The afternoon is left for client meetings, showings, on other face-to-face activities. Evenings are then committed to networking events.
Inaky’s final task for the day is to outline any critical tasks for the next day so he is ready for his routine again.
A Business Reliant on Referrals
By focusing on serving his clients, Inaky has built a unique business model that relies solely on referrals – he does not rely on marketing campaigns to attract new business. How has he done this? By making networking a priority!
He is an engaged member of his community – both in Texas and in the real estate world. Inaky continuously participates in networking events, sharing who he is with others and earning business by simply being himself.
The majority of his clients are referred to him by individuals he has worked with in the past.
“I’ve gotten some repeat clients, but more than anything, I’ve gotten a lot of referrals from client families and friends. So I almost [have to] say that those are repeat [customers] because they keep sending people over and over.”
Another set of referrals he receives annually come from other agents and brokers within his real estate network. Pre-COVID, Inaky attended national and international events, which helped him gain trust among his peers.
“I go to conferences that Sotheby’s has … and I meet a lot of agents in other markets and build relationships … and that’s my focus. We have people from [a single] event who have referred multiple clients from California, Arizona, and New York and are [now] coming to Texas. So [connecting] within our network has been beneficial.”
But what about marketing? Sending postcards and promoting transactions? Inaky has established such a strong core network that he doesn’t need these strategies in his business model. Instead, he markets only current listings – an obvious necessity to best serve his clients. He does not promote “Just Sold” closings or pay for advertising. Instead, he simply markets “New Listings.” His transaction velocity speaks for itself.
The avenue by which Inaky builds these relationships is his dedication to every client – no matter the deal size. He guarantees clients a level of satisfaction often missed in the brokerage community and remains connected no matter how busy his schedule.
“I try to make sure that everyone is treated like a million-dollar client. I never look at what commission I’m going to make. I never look at the sales price. I see each person as an individual, and I know that my standards are high, and I’m going to serve them as best as I can.”
As a result, Inaky starts every relationship based on trust. By relying on referrals, he works only with individuals who have a positive impression of him, either by interacting with him in the past or by trusting a friend or family on their word. Overall, he says, it “makes the whole transaction a lot easier.”
What About Social Media? The Value of Authenticity
Many wonder how you can build a brand on social media without self-promotion. Inaky’s strategy: Focus on being yourself and bringing value to your audience.
“Ideally, I try to [post] at least once a day if not once every two … We’ve been trying to do a lot more videos lately, whether it’s just a selfie talking about the buyer process or … new home versus resale home purchases or whatever value we can add … just a simple picture of us having fun at an open house or whatever it may be. I always try to stay top of mind.”
Like all other aspects of his process, Inaky does not “sell” himself on social media. He relies on authenticity and communication – tools that help him build trust.
“I never make it sales-y. I never ask for referrals. I never … tell people to give me a call or work with me. I just post what we’re doing and hopefully some people will have fun.”
“I get a lot of business from social media because those people ideally already know, like, and trust [me], and that’s why they’re friends with [me] on social media. So it’s just reminding them every day that this is what we do, and then whenever it’s time for them to do something … they’ll remember who does real estate and call me.”
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