What’s up everyone and welcome to another episode of Become a Local Leader. In today’s episode, we have the pleasure of sitting down with Maryam Habashi, Founder of INFUSE Theory.
Meet Maryam Habashi – our featured Local Leader
Maryam Habashi’s professional map continues to be a journey with decades of experience in sales and leadership roles. She’s dedicated 25 years of her career as a business professional with 15 years of it in the financial industry starting as an agent in the field to seal the thriving organization in a commission-based environment.
Maryam was the first female Regional Director for a Fortune 500 insurance company with over 650 agents and team leaders representing the West Coast to President and CEO for an insurance investment brokerage firm. In 2014, she published Pure Wealth: 26 Crazy Ways to Profitability as a co-author in Chapter One, What it Takes to Win.
She holds a BA in business marketing and a master’s in education. And today, she’s the founder of Infuse Theory, a business coaching development platform specializing in sales, leadership and management systems, best practices. She’s prepared to pair up with those who believe that achieving success is inevitable, making the commitment to never give up.
On a personal side, she’s a mother of three amazing children ranging from ages 13 to 20 and has been married to her supportive husband for 24 years. In her family, they all strive to be their individual best, understanding the ceiling list opportunity in the US is whatever fuels your passion and should be taken advantage of. Similar to the way she grew up, she believes succeeding is not an option, winning isn’t a choice.
Where to where were you born? Can you let us know a little bit about where you are currently in San Diego?
So, nationality I’m Persian. I speak Farsi fluently. With my professional career, I’ve always worked 10 to 12-hour days minimum. I can’t remember a time that I ever worked a five- or six-hour shift. I work until the job is done. Sometimes even beyond because if I know I don’t reach that task or that goal for the day, I already know that has to pile up for the next day. And so, my goal is to just make sure that I don’t let things get to the point that I might be overwhelmed or let things slip through my fingers. That daily discipline helps me take these small bite sizes to accomplish what I need to do.
I don’t want to let good enough, be good enough. Whatever role I’ve played, even as a student, or even an employee in a company, or later on in 1099 contractor roles, I always looked at what is next. I’ll look at my current position and then really, where do I want to be a year from now or three years from now. I make sure that the goals I have to achieve are the things I need to learn to be able to achieve that next milestone. So, planning where I want to be so that I could do what I have to do every day, whether it’s having the right mentor, coach, just trying to be a better self, being self-aware so that I could achieve that next step.
This is not for everybody. Not everybody thinks this way and that’s okay. For me, if I’m not growing, I’m dying. If I’m not growing, it might start to take a toll on me. And so, I want to always feel that I’m celebrating some new milestone, some new success.
It’s all about doing what do you need to do in order to continue to stay fired up. That way you can handle whatever that challenge is coming your way. When you’re in that state, you don’t let anything get you down or you don’t let it pile up on you so much to the point that it’s hard to get back up. I think I play these daily mind games with myself. Not only rewarding but also being the biggest critic in order to do what I need to do to propel forward.
I would still work long hours when I got pregnant, I would work all the way to the last day of my pregnancy. Because I was in positions where I had people that depended on me showing up, I would maybe stay home for a month and then slowly wean back into work. I was raised by a single mom who is a self-made millionaire. She came to the US with $500 in her pocket. Her first job was flipping burgers in Jack in the Box. She had an MBA degree but couldn’t speak English and didn’t really know the US culture. She knew she had to put food on the table for two small children. She’s 67 years old now and had recently opened up her fourth company.
So, there is no way mom is going to come to help me raise the kids! She doesn’t have the time! I knew I always had to get a nanny to help us. The nannies were awesome enough to teach us Spanish fluently. My nanny now has been living with us seven days a week for 14 years. She’s a blessing. I think without her, we couldn’t have achieved what we have in our family. I’m always going to be in debt and grateful to her. She didn’t want to learn English. And so, we all wanted to learn Spanish. There are three languages happening in the house all day long. English, Farsi, and Spanish.
You have to be passionate about what you do. Money should never be the reason why you are going to get up and do something every day. The end result is Money. Money is that profit but it comes and goes. It’s what are you passionate about and what are you committed to doing that should be the focus. There’s a difference between being interested and being committed. When we’re interested, we do something whenever we’re in the mood or when the sun is right. You see this a lot with 1099 contractors. When their relationship is going south, their production goes south with it. Getting the emotion out of the deal and bringing logic to the forefront is vital. Just pushing through with what that commitment is, professionally speaking; to impact people, to educate people, to help people.
If you really hold yourself disciplined to that, if you believe, “Hey, when someone meets me, I’m going to give them that honest advice.” I’m not talking about me, I’m saying Mrs. or Mr. X. If they work with me, they’ll get the best insurance policy. If they work with me, they’re going to get the best realtor. They’re going to get honesty.
And if you really believe that you’re great at what you do, and you’re doing it with integrity and heart, then why are you making that an option? Why are you doing that only whenever you’re in the mood? When you know people need someone like you because we know there are people out there that are not doing it for the right reason or are misinforming people. Or it could be that they are not giving the best customer service and longevity that’s required in a service-driven industry. And so, that’s really how I look at it.
Please share with us a little bit of the story behind just your passion for San Diego and how you ended up in San Diego.
Being raised by a single mom, we started working at 15 and a half, and that’s the earliest you could get a permit. And though my husband and I, professionally and financially, have done really well, we worked for it. We still do. I had my children know, “When you’re 15 and a half, Mommy’s going to go with you because I have to sign that my kids can get a permit to work.” And so, at 15 and a half, they all must work. It starts with their summer job. And then after that, every summer they need to work. And during school, they can work about 10-15 hours a week, unless they’re taking a lot of AP classes because they need to bring home straight As.
I tell my kids, “Listen, you got one responsibility – to be a student. So, I don’t see any reason why you can’t bring the straight As. If I need to get you a tutor, I’ll get you a tutor but you need to bring in the grades.” I was raised the same. My mom expected straight As.
She expected you to be street smart and book smart. You can have three PhDs but have the personality of a fish. Just because you have a degree doesn’t mean that you are going to be successful. In order to survive especially in the United States, you need to be street smart. How do you become street smart? Either by watching people who are street smart in your family or get into the workforce and learn from bad bosses, good bosses, great relationships, bad relationships, and practice. The will to win is by doing it.
So, I started working at 15 and a half, as did my younger brother. He’s five years younger than I am. I created jewelry and was a waitress for some time. From 18 to 23 I was involved in banking. I wanted to get into banking because back then you made more as a teller. Plus you got to dress up professionally and you got to deal with people, investments, and money.
I say this as a coach, you want to be great? Start by asking who are your friends? Who are you hanging around with? You need to hang around with people that are equal or above where you are at, professionally speaking. So, you have something to create a healthy competition or something you’re going to have to learn more about to get where you want to be. I got into banking at a young age. And by 23, I finished my bachelor’s in business marketing. Following that, I dived into Fortune 500 companies.
The people that are younger right now probably are like, “What?” But it’s true. Back then, it mattered if you were a male or a female. It mattered how old you were. It mattered whether you had a degree or not, and it mattered what your degree was in. And then, they would dictate what you were worth. So, as a 23-year-old woman, my income was capped. I was killing myself and always being the best that I could be but I was making between $30,000 to $45,000 a year back then. And that’s when I went and got my master’s in education.
I said, “Okay, one more degree under my belt. That should raise the bar.” And more importantly, just understanding who you are as an individual. I knew that I was impatient and that maybe I’m not a good listener. And if I wanted to be a strong businesswoman, all those perceptions had to change. So, a little bit came from becoming a teacher for a short period of time.
A lot of that growth actually happened once I entered the insurance investment industry. I was 29 years old. At that time, I had a one-year-old daughter and a four-year-old daughter. The way that took place is my husband, who was a cosmetic and general dentist, was worked in Vegas making 300,000 a year at that point. He had a couple of practices. And it was a three-year plan for us to live there. But three years becomes 11 years. And we were not on the same page and I didn’t want to raise the kids there. I’m strict. I’m old school. These billboards are all over the place. Kids are already 13 going on 30, but it’s made even worse when you might be living somewhere that just everything is more exaggerated. I didn’t want them to think that that is what life is.
I really wanted to come back to San Diego. The weather is amazing, the vibe is incredible. It’s chill. I wanted San Diego or Laguna. We would visit here a lot but my husband was right. He said, “Listen, Maryam. I don’t pay state taxes here. You’re living in a baby castle in Vegas. A dentist is going to make way less in California than in Nevada.” That’s before dental school opened up in Las Vegas. “And you’re a teacher in a classroom, making 40 to 45,000 a year. I know you want to seek your royal oats and go live in San Diego, but I just financially don’t see how that’s going to be a possibility. And I think you’re looking at you’re making an emotional decision. If you want to make this happen, I need to be able to lean on you financially in order to transition.”
And at the same time, I was tired of people telling me what I was worth. I was tired of not being promoted. Back then my when I was in my early 20s, my goal was to be VP of Marketing. VP of Marketing back then, they were all men. Today, they’re equal but back then it wasn’t that way. A VP of Marketing back then was a guy who was in his 50s or 60s. So, I had a long way to go. I wanted ceiling-less opportunity to lead, to impact, to help others. At the same time, through that process, earn more.
At that point, I thought about real estate and insurance. I said I can sell ice to an Eskimo if they needed it. What should I do? I don’t need anyone to hold me accountable. I’m motivated. I know how to talk to you. I’m disciplined. Which one should I go to? At that point, I went for insurance because my brother was in insurance and actually introduced me to the company because his wife was also in the industry. Plus it was a little bit closer to home. I was also looking for a career where my talent wasn’t going to be dictated by the fluctuation of the market. So, I get into a Fortune 500 publicly-traded company called Bankers Life and Casualty at 29.
I came home and I said, “Honey, I quit as a teacher. I am no longer teaching in this private school, which was called Challenger. I’m going to be working at Bankers Life.” He goes, “Oh, okay. How much are they going to pay you?” I said “nothing.” I said no. He goes, “Not even a dollar an hour?” I said no, it’s 100% commission. He goes, “Okay. Well, what kind of benefits are you getting?” I said, “No, no benefits.” And he goes, “Have you lost your mind? You just quit your job where you were making $45,000 a year and you’re coming here telling me no benefits, no base and you’re excited?”
I replied “Yeah! Because they told me that I have a ceiling-less opportunity. The more people I help, the more people I put in a better place, the more people I educate when it comes to insurance and investment services, the more income I’ll bring home for us. Plus, we need to know this stuff anyway.” And that was the start of a beautiful journey.
A year later, I went into a leadership role still 100% commission. Twelve years with the company, a hundred percent commission. But by the time I was 35, I was making more than my husband at that time, over $300,000 a year. And I had 50 producers in my team. So, I recruited you whether you were a waitress or waiter or a blackjack dealer. If your talent was wasted being on some hourly wage and you were magnetic and you really cared about people, I was going to attach you to my hip and teach you the business. That’s what we did. A lot of joint fieldwork. I never went out into the field alone. Never. Not once. It was always with someone to help them, to teach them so they can learn.
And then, the company called and moved me to San Diego in 2009. That was heart attack mode. My husband was awesome enough to walk away from his two practices and believe in this vision. The kids at that time, we’re now one, four, and eight. So, my son was born on that journey. And the nanny, of course, was awesome and wanted to come along too. We came here and started from scratch. And today, he has five practices in San Diego. I’m so proud of him. And with me, I ended up building four locations. As each location got stronger with the right agents and the right leaders, I was able to open up my second location. After the second, the third, and the fourth.
It was methodical. I had about 120 producers here in the San Diego offices in Mission Valley, Rancho Bernardo, Oceanside, and eventually oversaw Laguna. I hired a 23-year old driver, God bless her heart, to drive me back and forth to Laguna. It was an hour and a half drive there, an hour and a half drive back. Sometimes more with traffic. And at first, I was driving myself and I realized I’m going to get into an accident because I can’t just sit still and drive. I’m recruiting, retaining, and producing for the company. So, I hired a driver and she was listening. I was helping her professionally grow. And at the same time, she was getting me from point A to point B. It was allowing me to still maximize every second of my day, workwise.
After that, after 12 years, I joined a Fortune 100 insurance company. It was the second place I had ever interviewed at, in the insurance industry. I’m very loyal. You don’t bite the hand that feeds you. My leaders took over my shops. They got promoted to take over them. I walked alone to Penn Mutual as the president and CEO for the San Diego brokerage firm in hopes up overseeing the California region. The next thing I know my daughter is off to college and the other one is on her way. I had been blessed or privileged to make enough money and save enough money and learn how to allocate my funds properly because of being in the business.
And now that my husband was stronger than ever, I asked him if he would support me again. It’s amazing how he supported me, I support him. I was thinking about that last night. I said I’m going to step back. I’m going to walk away. I believe you should leave on top. So I said I’m going to open up my own company, Infuse Theory because I want to be a business development coach. What I really want is to help women, men, and these young entrepreneurs that right now don’t feel education is a value anymore and they’re jumping into the corporate world quickly.
I want to help people that are struggling because more people are entering the sales and leadership workforce than ever before. Everyone is saying, “Oh yeah, I don’t want a base. Give me the commission.” It’s very different than before. My hope was that they will become more successful than I ever have been. And of course, in between this I published and co-authored Pure Wealth. In between this had an opportunity to represent a nonprofit organization called Gamma. I had speaking opportunities there and have sat on several committees as co-chair for recruiting for eight years, and then also the women’s Learning Network Committee. That’s where we are today.
What would you say your current volume is?
Even though my curriculum is strong, I have over 700 PowerPoint slides. I have a 12-week sales course, which is for people who don’t want to be in leadership, there are sales only. And a lot of my clients are realtors. That’s another reason that I founded Infuse Theory, why should only people who get into the investment or insurance industry meet me or I meet them. I want to help anyone who’s in a 1099 contractor role or a small business owner because everyone is taking crazy risks. So, let’s get them successful quickly.
I have a lot of realtors, lenders, mortgage officers, insurance agents, small business owners with who I have infused Sales Skills, Leadership Skills, or both! Most of my clients look at the pairing because my logo is a pair since we’re going to pair up for success, that’s where the pair comes from. So, the pairing of sales and leadership. And either it’s a 12-week course, or it’s an 18-week course, where they’re getting coached on a weekly basis two hours a week with me. I have the most comprehensive online coaching platform. I spent time and money, working with the most talented people to build this online coaching platform.
Within the course, I have all my prerecorded videos, a strong reflective curriculum, a workbook, sample messaging, sample scripts, sample reporting, and sample PowerPoints. This company is only almost two years old but what I teach and what I say, I say in my sleep because I have been doing it for over 15 plus years. So right now, I am at a place where it’s time for me to now make it even more scalable. I don’t have other coaches representing Infused Theory today. I am the coach. I’m at a place where I can only coach so many students. And so, I’m doing small group coaching. I started with one on one. It capped quickly.
Five months into opening up a brand-new business in a space where nobody knew me. Not one realtor knew Maryam Habashi or Infused Theory or small business owner. Only people in insurance and investments knew me. I put my head down and I went back to being that solo agent in the field again. The best practices for prospecting, for marketing, for networking, for script development, what to say, when to say, how to say, who, everything I teach, I did and I’m doing again.
Within five months, I was making over $100,000 a year again. Nowhere near what I used to make as a CEO and president. In the insurance business, you’re making over half a million-plus a year if you know what you’re doing. I’m nowhere near there. But to see that something from zero quickly went to that kind of impact in a short period of time just tells me every day you keep doing what you’re doing, you keep impacting one at a time because I didn’t do this to be something small. Every single thought leader or business development coach out there right now is a man. Tony Robbins, Tom Ferry, Mike Ferry, Simon Sinek. Where’s the woman?
I’m hoping that with meeting the right people and being patient, one by one I can slowly be that voice, be that person for women that are looking for a strong female business coach and for men that are looking for a strong female business coach. So that’s where we are right now. The volume is nowhere near what my vision is but I’m happy for how it has progressed in such a short period of time.
It’s great to have balance. It is a fact that in the insurance and investment industries, it is male-dominated, maybe equal field as a producer in the field as an agent. But when you get into leadership roles, a hundred percent, there are more men than women. And in real estate as well, again, equal field as agents but when you see teams, strong teams, team leaders, again, more men than women. I’m hoping with the right coaching and the right support, slowly, we can create that equal field for the women that want that.
And also this is going to be great for the men that are looking for a place where they can see another perspective because diversity in culture and gender is where a team leader wins. If I had a team of all Persian women, we probably wouldn’t go anywhere. Or we might, but not far. So, it’s important that there is diversity in every aspect as you’re growing a thriving team. So, my platform right now is, because it’s online, anyone throughout the US can be a part of it. I’m making it scalable with talented coaches.
In terms of clients, what would you say some of the things they say about you or just raving about your services? What do you hear a lot when it comes to things people have to say about you, and also Infuse Theory?
I think it’s important to be a legacy leader. What I mean by a legacy leader is, how did you impact someone for the rest of their life? Whether they work with you or not. Will they always remember the things you said to them or did that maybe at that time was that game-changer, or even, they didn’t want to hear it at that time but they needed to, and look what it did for them. It was a game-changer. So, I think a leader is someone who tells you what you need to hear versus what you want to hear.
And right now, with all this just politics taking place. I think slowly comedy is even going to go out of business because you can’t joke or you can’t be real to some degree. Everyone’s worried about that Yelp review they might get. Everybody’s worried about protecting themselves versus that time saying I love this person so I’m going to tell them what they need to hear. Even though they might not be ready for it, that’s what they need to hear. That’s what’s holding them back from reaching that next level.
So, what did people say about me? I remember it was several months ago, it was 1:30 in the morning. I was exhausted and finishing up the last email, saying to myself, “Maryam, what’s this vision? What’s your plan?” At that point, an email comes though. This gentleman sends me an email “I know we haven’t spoken in years or I know I haven’t talked to you in years, but I was compelled to send you an email to let you know how you have changed my life.” He was 25 years old then. And now he’s in his mid-30s and has children. He sends me an email to tell me how my work ethic and conversations with him changed his life forever. And when I see emails like this, no price that can be put to that. That’s when I can say “I am making a difference.”
So, what do people say about me? “She’s real. She’s raw. She cares. She knows what she’s talking about.” I think if you want to be a leader that everybody loves, you should be selling ice cream. Some people love me and some people didn’t, but I could tell you they all respected me. As a leader, you have to make decisions that are logical versus emotional. You have to make decisions that protect the greater group versus that individual. If you go on my LinkedIn profile under Infuse Theory, Instagram Infused Theory, Facebook Infuse Theory, even my YouTube channel, I have some great reviews from way back in the day all the way to now about the fact that if you work with Maryam, you’re guaranteed to have explosive growth.
Because when you recruit someone, whether you’re recruiting an agent in your team, whether I’m recruiting a client to my program, you owe them success. That’s what I would say there.
What is your median rate for your services or your courses?
My courses range anywhere from $3400 for 12 weeks, where you’re getting coached two hours a week on top of all the materials that you have. The reason is that I believe that you have to provide what I call transferable skills. Transferable skills are tangible. And so, this is not a coaching program where you just hear me or you listen to my videos and then you get 10% of it and you move on. I’m giving you information to have for many, many years to come so that if you went sideways or derailed, you can look back to see, “Ah, that’s what I tweaked. That’s what I need to change.” So, $3400.
And then, my most comprehensive program, my largest program is $6600 and that’s for four and a half months. I have put together payment plans, especially now with COVID. I understand people may have been furloughed, or they’re struggling, or they’re scared. They’re worried and want to hold on to every penny that they have. But listen, life is going to go on. This is not the end of the world. Life is going to go on. And the people that are taking advantage of sharpening their skillset now are the ones that are going to win.
For people in sales, you already know your biggest problem is that you deal with objections all day long. “I don’t have time to see you.” “Call me later.” “I’m busy.” Well, guess what? We got another big objection. And it’s a sensitive one. COVID. “I can’t see you. It’s COVID.”, “I’m finally back to work, man. I’m going to be busy for the next two years.” Or, “I’m catching up for the lost time.” Or maybe, “I have an elderly person in the house. I don’t want anyone to come over.”
This is the time for people to learn how to sell online, how to connect online, how to create this trust and knowledge in an online forum. And it’s not going to be by just talking. Talk is cheap. It’s going to be certain PowerPoints you’re going to show, certain forms you’re going to fill out so that business can continue if people don’t have time to see you in an in-person appointment or don’t want you to come over
With COVID, how would you say you build relationships?
It has a lot to do with that script. I help with script development and messaging. People don’t want to be sold. People want to be educated. I’m just going by how it started. People are looking for that consultative approach. And if you can give value, not expecting in return, if you can create a program as a realtor, as an insurance agent, where you’re providing educational value, and through that process, you build your credibility. And people now say, “Oh. Actually, you did such a great job educating me. I want to talk to you further.” That’s how you’re going to get your client through a free or complimentary strategy session.
I have about 10-15 strategy sessions per week. I’m on zoom all day long. I feel like I’m in channel five or something. If you can do that, knowing some of them just will take that amazing information and might not become your client. But they’ll always remember that you gave them that information. So, guess what? They are your tomorrow client. There is today’s client, who you help now. Tomorrow’s client is the one who is going to come to you later. What does that pipeline look like? What are you doing to keep in front of that pipeline? So, offering a free strategy session on real estate realities, a free strategy session on financial planning.
And I’m not talking about taking him to a restaurant and giving him a steak. I’m talking about a phone call, a zoom call. I don’t do any calls where I can’t see your face. I want to connect with you like this. So, I don’t do any phone calls where we can’t see each other. So, we see each other. I give advice to you. I hear you out. Building relationships.
When you’re in sales, you better be a good therapist. Right? Nine out of 10 times, they want to work with me. That’s how I teach my clients how to build their business. I will go out to teams locally here in San Diego and I’ll do a 30 minute or 45-minute free educational overview on specific sales or leadership concepts. I have a huge menu plan. They could pick what they think their team needs now. That gives me an opportunity to talk to 20, 30, 40, 50 plus agents. And of course, some of those are going to want me to be their coach. I win and the team leader wins. Everybody wins. So, how are you creating a win-win situation for all that’s not tied to money first?
My husband is a car guy and our anniversary is coming up. And though we both drive a white and a black Range Rover, he turns around and says, “I want this new Jeep Gladiator.” Some of the people on this call are probably going to say “Yes!”, and some are going to say “ah…”. He wants this new Jeep Gladiator. And this one local dealer said, “I’m not going to see you ‘till you sign the paperwork and you agree on the price of the vehicle.” So, you can’t test drive it and you cannot come down to see it. “We’re by appointment only because of COVID.” Now, this is how you use COVID in the wrong way. So, sign the contract, agree on the payment, agree on putting the down payment, then you can come to see it.
This is an example of “you can’t get and then give.” You have to give and hope that you will receive. So, he calls another dealership. The other dealership says come on down. Come test drive it. Come look at it. Then, we’ll see what we could do for you. And so yesterday I went and I got him the gladiator as a gift for our anniversary. There you go. So, what happened to the other guy? Even though it was the color my husband wanted, that guy missed out on a sale because his approach and mindset were flawed.
Here’s the thing, when you work with people, either they’re going to directly become your client, or in a worst-case scenario, they’re going to refer you to someone else who’s going to become your client. So, you never get a second chance to make a first impression.
Who would you say are some of the people who have given you referrals?
All of them. That’s another thing that I teach is proper way to get referrals. I don’t ever say the word referral. I never say who do you want to refer me to? The cheesy old way. Here’s some extra cards, please pass it out. Don’t keep me a secret.
I’ve developed a system where I am again, providing a one-page PDF educational piece. I’m giving away something. Who do you think will benefit from this giveaway? For realtors, it might be real estate brokerages. For an insurance agent, it might be retirement planning agencies. Me personally, it’s sales and leadership. For that Pilates owner, it might be mental and health wellness. So, what is this giveaway? I always get three to five people that you might feel will benefit from this educational piece. Then once I give it to them, I say, “By the way, I would love to offer you a free strategy session. I would love to learn from you. Let’s expand our network.” I mean it.
Either way, I added one more person to my social media follower. Or they introduced me to somebody else, or I became their coach. I’m either winning all three ways or one of them, but either way, you’re winning.
I didn’t know Instagram and so a year and a half ago, I went to my 20-year-old and my 17-year-old, I said what is a story? What is IGTV? How do you post? Because as a former CEO, I was just on LinkedIn for political reasons. I’ve had to now learn. So, I went from zero to 760 followers right now. I learned you can actually pay to buy followers. This is another thing that drives me crazy just people’s perception. “Oh, this person has 20,000 followers. They must be good.” I don’t know. That person may have bought them.
And so, I didn’t want to do that. I haven’t done that. I’m trying to grow it slowly and organically. Maybe I’m right, maybe I’m wrong but I’m very honest. My honesty and my integrity are important to me. Not that people who buy followers are lying. I don’t want anyone to get that wrong. To each their own.
Are you buying leads through Facebook ads?
I’m not there yet. I haven’t had the need to buy any ads yet but when I become scalable, where I’m ready to coach, I don’t know, 200 people at a time. Yes. So, no social media ads right now. Not now.
Do you pay anybody to do digital marketing for you?
I am going to be going on Fiverr to look for a virtual assistant because I’m finding that it is eating up a lot of my time. But right now, again, maybe that’s why I’m working 14-hour days. I spend an hour three days a week doing video content, posting, replying back to comments on all channels. The hottest thing right now is opening up your own Facebook group. I definitely don’t want to be the administrator for that one so I would be getting a virtual assistant to help me with that. I spent a good portion of what I had budgeted for building my online platform right now, which lives on click funnels.
What about writing blogs? Do you write blogs?
Well, I’m constantly writing things and posting things. Plus my free strategy sessions. I think that’s where my biggest advertising is. People call me because they want to connect with me. Right before our interview, I had a guy that I talked to, and that one turned to be more about what he’s going through personally, and how that’s affecting him professionally.
I advertise in a killer magazine actually. This magazine, according to the MLS, is for the top 500 Real Estate producers in San Diego. This is who this magazine only goes to. I’m one of the partners that advertise in it. I have to be a non-realtor because this is going out to 500 real estate agents. I am the only business development coach in sales and leadership in this magazine. You also get exclusivity. This has been a big door opener for me because when you’re the top 500 realtors, you’re working hard, you’re making good money, you are determined to succeed, you have a strong positive mindset.
So, it goes back to our early conversation – you need to surround yourself with people who are going to help you achieve your goals or who are in the same mindset and wave as you are. Birds of the same feather flock together. So, when you talk about advertising, this right now is doing it for me.
And again, just because I advertise in it doesn’t mean anyone called me. No. It’s my advertising in there, being consistent so my face is being seen month after month, and then calling every single person in here to introduce myself to and say, “I’m a part of this magazine and I see you are a subscriber.” Whether they’re an agent, a team leader, or an advertising partner, and saying, “I would like to offer you a free strategy session.” It’s been good for me. So, a lot of people are advertising places and then they’re sitting there and expecting everything to come to them. That’s not going to work.
So, how do you budget so you’re not all over the place? What’s first, second, third, fourth? And then when you are advertising in something, how hard are you working it? How hard are you personally calling and reaching out and exhausting those relationships? For me, this is my strategy sessions and this magazine has helped me. Plus, I belong in certain networking groups too. I believe in an international group is a BNI, business networking. So being a part of that also is huge. You’re meeting a lot of people from all over the industry, they’re like-minded, you’re sharing best practices, and you’re growing. Those are where my focus is right now. I belong in these BNI networking groups and I’m advertising in the right magazines.
How do you usually determine how much you spend for advertising?
Well, never spend more than you make. What you should put back into your business should be about 10%. Ten percent of what you’re making should be going back into your business. You allocate for advertising, for a technology piece because right now technology is huge. How much are you putting away for your taxes? 25 to 30%.
In my coaching curriculum, I talk about helping you get clarity on four different areas, your personal goals, your personal wealth, your personal wellness, and your greater purpose. This is a very broad topic but we dissect it down to the tee, like a funnel. So, the personal wealth piece is where my 15 plus years of being in the insurance investment industry comes from. Not only am I teaching you how to make money but I’m also teaching you how to grow money. I’m teaching you how to protect your money so that you don’t go out of business, so you don’t overextend yourself.
When you coach with me, and you take your whole behavior profiling assessment, and I see immediately where you are, I could also pretty much know, are you having analysis paralysis? Are you a ticket opener and you’re just spending everywhere and you want to be everywhere and nothing’s happening? I actually know what you’re doing according to that assessment and be able to tell you, “Here’s what’s great about what you’re doing. Here’s what I need you to watch out for.”
Do you have an email newsletter that you send out to your database?
I do. And I would love to continue to grow that. I do free educational webinars on a quarterly basis. If people reach out to me and give me their emails, they’ll be a part of the quarterly announcement. I pick different sales and leadership topics. It’s one hour, it’s a webinar, you’ll learn. The last one we did was five team building best practices for retention.
Where can people go to sign up for those?
You could go to my website, which is www.infusetheory.com. You’ll see buttons everywhere that say book now. You’re booking a free strategy session with me. And also, under contacts in my whole website, you will see my email address, which is email@example.com, where people can also email me if they have any questions, or want to be a part of that next webinar.
In terms of working your database, do you pop by people’s places? Do you write personal notes and gifts?
I took one of my top clients to one of the hottest, high-end Mexican restaurants. I’m talking chic beautiful for whoever knows what I’m talking about. I do client lunches, client hikes. Especially in San Diego, as the weather’s gorgeous. So just going on a hike, you’re getting your exercise, and you’re getting to catch up while you’re hiking. Spending time together. If my clients were into fitness, we’re hiking. If you’re a foodie, we’re going to eat. And then, once COVID settles down, I want to have a little wine and cheese party here at the house and include my top network partners and clients do sort of like a client appreciation.
What would you say to real estate press professionals out there who wants to become recognized as the local market expert or to be the go-to person in their community? What would you tell them?
I have something that’s patented, that’s mine, it is a pyramid, a prospecting pyramid. I talk about what is first, second, third, fourth, fifth, all the way to number 10 with specific activities that you should be doing. And with those activities comes content creation, or PowerPoint creation, or marketing material creation. I really can’t tell you that there is one thing. For my clients, they’ll realize this when they’re coaching with me. They’ll realize that out of 10 activities that they need to be doing on a weekly or monthly basis simultaneously, they’re only doing one of it, or two of it, or three of it.
They’re putting all their eggs in one basket or they’re doing the wrong thing and expecting a different result. Or they’re putting all their energy into something that’s giving a minimal return. It also depends on what professional I’m talking to. Who is their target audience? What business are they in? What I would tell a realtor is different than what I’ll tell the hair salon owner. It depends on what you’re doing.
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