After about a year-and-a-half as a solo agent, Emilio Dispirito was starting to build momentum.
"I was working maybe eight or 10 clients, not a ton. But enough for me to realize, I can't do this all alone and provide them with a consistent service," he remembers. "I dropped the ball hard on a couple of people and they came back and they're like, 'You know, Emilio, we're pretty disappointed."
It was a comment he immediately took to heart.
With his name right there on the business, Emilio was determined to make it as consistently awesome as possible. "People trust consistency and people will refer consistency," he says.
With a team of rockstar agents and staff, an awesomely entrepreneurial wife, two crazy kids and a roster of awesomely loyal clients behind him, Emilio's gone from $8 to $50 million in transaction volume in four short years.
"We we anticipate to hit $50 million by the end of this year. We hit $39.97 million last year and so our business looks like the stock market right now," he laughs. It's funny now, but it wasn't always.
We sat down with one of the top five Rhode Island team leaders to learn all about how he stands out amid the competition—whether that be from other agents, discount brokerages, or even Zillow.
Want to get straight to the good stuff? Catch the full video at the bottom of this article.
With a handful of disappointed clients, Emilio knew he needed to start a team and step up his game to achieve McDonald's-like level of consistency, with a Capital Grille level of exceptional service.
"The experience is second to none and the food's always great. That's how we model our business. It's going to be the same process every single time," Emilio explains.
To get that consistency, Emilio built his team around a simple code of ethics.
Rather than creating a 100-page handbook, Emilio leads his team using a clear code of ethics that hinges on two core philosophies:
"You just gotta be straightforward with people treat them how you'd want to be treated," he explains.
With over seven years' experience under his belt, Emilio's seen his fair share of agents overpromising and undelivering—he knew he didn't want that for his team.
Here's how he explains it:
Having built a strong internet presence when the market was at its worst, Emilio's confident that he and his team will be able to uphold these standards, come what may.
For Emilio, the success of your team starts with your hiring process. He uses the DISC profile to assess how each potential new hire will add value to the team.
"The team has to fit together cohesively. It's a puzzle piece. We all have to complement one another in areas that maybe that I'm not the best at. Ultimately, as long as they fit this puzzle and abide by our code of ethics, we have no problems."
To keep everyone engaged and motivated, Emilio leads a team huddle every day at 7 am.
Yes, you read that right. His team wakes up early.
"I got the idea from my friend Byron Lazine, a team leader out in Connecticut. He's killing it."
Here's how it works.
The team uses FreeConferenceCall.com so that it's super easy (and free) to access the call.
"The way I look at it is, all of the best sports teams huddle, right? They practice."
He's got a point.
But asking your team to look alive at 7am every day isn't easy. For Emilio, it's all about keeping the benefit for the agent front-and-center.
"If you're the team leader that's taking everything… then they're not going to trust you and they're not going to do well when it comes to change," he explains.
Emilio comes from a large family and grew up playing team sports like soccer. He doesn't buy the idea of "self-made."
He credits his success to the people around him, many of whom are much better than he is at specific areas of the business.
And as a high 'D' on the DISC profile, Emilio knows he can be a tough guy to work for.
"That has been one of the biggest challenges for me because as a team leader, you want everyone to just knock the ball out of the park. But not everyone's going to knock it out of the ballpark. Someone might put up 12 transactions a year, someone else might put up 40, someone else might put up 100."
He does he best to remember that success looks different for everybody.
Today, Emilio's team runs like a well-oiled machine.
But that's mostly thanks to Joe.
Joe Fazio is the "very analytical and very system-based" team manager. When Emilio brought him on, Joe was shocked to discover Emilio's note card system for lead tracking.
"It was like the Dewey Decimal System," Emilio laughs.
One of the first things Joe did was sit down with Emilio and essentially force him to get organized. "He was able to keep me focused, that's hard to do. He was like, 'Hey man, write down everything you do in a week.' This was grueling but we did it, and it was unbelievable."
Using the method laid out in the book, the E Myth Revisited, Joe and Emilio broke everything down in the systems.
They even went as far as to hire the E Myth coaching team to help get them on a smooth path. "It was absolutely worth it. Ever since then, everything has been consistent."
Once Joe and Emilio got his systems nailed down, it was time to bring on the rest of the rockstars, including:
And finally, their secret weapon—a client concierge.
Wondering how to structure your team? Check out How to Build a Rockstar Real Estate Team in 9 Simple Steps.
"She's like part of our family. She does all of the scheduling for showings for our clients."
She also makes it possible for Emilio's customers to speak to an actual human regarding their property questions, instead of forcing them to ask Professor Google.
In Follow Up Boss, the client concierge can tag the agents in notes letting them know about a customer's specific needs.
Of course, this is a premium service that's only made available to customers who are in contract with the team as an exclusively represented buyer.
Emilio is all about organic growth.
"You know those big websites that charging for zip codes? We no longer want to pay them," he chuckles.
He's down to one and only because they got it at a super low cost. The team focuses their efforts on open houses, social media, content creation and SEO. "The main component to why we've been successful is the amount of follow up that we do on someone, and the type of follow up. We don't sell. We educate."
Yes, today's buyer is educated—maybe even overeducated. But just because the information is out there, doesn't mean people know where to find reliable local information. For Emilio, this presents a huge opportunity for agents who are willing to put themselves out there as a local knowledge hub.
And it's easier than you'd think.
"You don't need a radio program. You don't need a podcast. You really don't need any of that you can simply get on your phone and record a simple 'How To' video or a buyer tips video or seller tips video."
The most important thing is that you keep it consistent.
The DiSpirito team posts helpful, customer-centric content on a weekly basis—and every video, podcast or other piece of content is released at the same time every week.
"It's just allowed everyone in the Rhode Island and surrounding market, including other agents, look to us as that local resource. And that's where we get a huge chunk of our business," he explains.
But making content every single week is a ton of work. Inspired by the book They Ask, You Answer, Emilio gets help from other experts in the industry to answer his prospects' biggest questions for him. By partnering with local experts, provides prospects with hyperlocal content and brings in a ton of high-quality leads.
"Our 'Knob and Tube' video on wiring in a home is huge for us because we got a lot of old homes here," says Emilio.
"A lot of our engagement comes through Facebook, some of it through Instagram and some through LinkedIn. I think LinkedIn is going to be really big in the future."
Emilio uses Ylopo to host his website, sending leads straight into Follow Up Boss. With Ylopo in the mix, leads are able to instantly start a conversation, straight from Facebook Messenger.
"You gotta start the conversation with the consumer and you gotta keep it going."
According to Emilio, that's the hard part.
"Follow Up Boss has been really instrumental in keeping us in front of not only new clients, but the clients that we're nurturing. Some people want to set listing appointments two weeks down the road. If you're not on the ball, constantly in front of these people, they're gonna forget about you or they might they might blow you off, or they might go with someone else," he explains.
Armed with a solid lead management system and a ton of awesome content, Emilio has made it his mission to serve the right information to the right leads, at the right time.
"We take the content we have in the videos... and we embed it in a Follow Up Boss email and we fire it off to them."
Want more video? Check out our YouTube channel for loads of helpful content created specifically for you!
For seller prospects, Emilio uses an Action Plan that starts by offering up their reviews, right off the bat. "We can see when they click on it and what they clicked on. So we can tell right off the bat like 'Look, this person clicked on our Google reviews, our Facebook reviews and they clicked on our Zillow reviews. This is probably an analytical thinker.' So we send them a more in depth email."
It's the type of smart personalization that converts leads into customers.
"By the time we go on the listing appointment, they're already sold."
"The listing presentation is now cut in half and it's more focused on the consumer, their goals and what they want."
At a closing ratio around 90%, it's not a perfect system but it's one that definitely works. "We're getting a higher tier of commission because of it, because our clients are educated."
When it comes to nurturing his past clients and SOI, Emilio likes to keep it fresh.
"We're not reaching out to them telling them to change their clocks that automatically change. We're not telling them to change their batteries and the smoke detectors that are good for 10 years… we're sending them things of value."
The team mails coupon books chocked full of local discounts to all their past clients every year on October 1st, starting this year. It's a new idea, but one that Emilio thinks will be a game-changer, simply because it's a personalized conversation-starter.
"You can call like, 'Hey, I want to make sure that you got this coupon book. I know you guys love to play mini golf. We got a mini golf coupon in there. Tell them Emilio sent you."
He also plans to double down on this hyperlocal approach by spotlighting the local businesses featured, while boosting their SEO.
For the complete 4-1-1 on what Emilio and his rockstars are up to, watch the full interview here.
"We're in a time right now where there's a lot of Realtors that are that are kind fearing what the future looks like for us," says Emilio.
"I just want to tell those Realtors… 'We're so valuable to the transaction and there's just so many human elements involved in selling and buying real estate. There's so many emotional factors there, that you can't replace the human being."
He subscribes to the school of thought that come bots, AI or whatever else, no robot will ever be able to connect and empathize like you will.
"Whenever there's changes happening in our industry, it's opportunity... So, there's an opportunity for us to educate the consumers and never to bash anybody but to educate the consumers and to really show our value."
It's tough out there for agents. There's a lot to keep up with. But by sharing ideas, solutions and even, stories, it can be a journey well worth taking.
"You know, so there's so much opportunity, guys, let's stick together."
Watch the full interview right here: