When other realtors saw only doom and gloom, broker Piere Pirnejad (Maxim Realty Group/Realty One Group) saw opportunity. He became a successful full-time realtor during the downturn, in January 2010, and recently agreed to share a few of his secrets in this, our latest Rookie Realtors interview.
Two traits in particular help Piere stand out from the competition: his strong worth ethic, and his in-depth understanding of the way identity (both through social media and branding) can help his business. He credits his success through the difficult times with his strong commitment to his clients, and describes how planning and mapping – not only at the global business level, but even at the hour-to-hour level – is crucial to staying on top.
Fortunately, sharing is also important to Piere, and so in the course of this conversation he also talked with interviewer Tom Iovenitti with topics ranging from the benefits of working with a big brokerage and of being independently branded, to common mistakes he sees other agents make.
TOM IOVENITTI: Welcome to Benutech, Incorporated. Hi, I’m Tom Iovenitti. Today, we’re going to interview Piere, from Realty One. He calls himself “Maxim Group,” so here we go with Piere. Thank you.
IOVENITTI: So, Piere, why don’t you tell us a little bit about yourself and why you call yourself the Maxim Realty Group.
PIERE PIRNEJAD: Thank you so much, Tom. A couple of things. I’ve been in the real estate business now, full-time, since January of 2010. So, joined it in quite possibly one of the worst economies in history. Joined into the real estate market as a full-time career. Right away, I noticed that it’s very important to brand yourself, and set yourself apart to be different than the everyday fish in the ocean. So I came up with the name “Maxim Realty Group” to make it nationwide, basically. I don’t want to be costal, or be in one submarket, so I came up with the name “Maxim Realty Group” and I’ve been doing business as that since January 2010.
TOM: So, how does that work for you, with Realty One Group? Do you still offer yourself up as the broker as Realty One, or do you brand yourself completely outside as Maxim?
PIRNEJAD: I brand myself completely as Maxim Realty Group. However, all my clientele do know that I do work with Realty One, and that’s through the DRE, because that’s where my license is, with Realty One, but as far as identity, branding, marketing, everything is through Maxim Realty Group.
IOVENITTI: So you DBAed Maxim Realty Group?
IOVENITTI: That’s fantastic. So, tell us, you’ve been in business, you just mentioned, since 2010. You came into the business in one of the worst financial real estate markets ever. Tell us, coming in to the business in 2010, how you maintained your success over the past couple of years?
PIRNEJAD: Yeah. You know. It’s really simple. It’s work ethic. You know, my background prior to the real estate industry was in the automotive industry. I was managing dealerships. And I saw the big curve, and I saw the lack of commitment which a lot of salespeople in any industry have. And when I saw an opportunity, everybody running away from the real estate industry, I couldn’t think of a better time to get in and apply the work ethic, to really become successful.
IOVENITTI: So you were in the auto industry, pardon me, but do you feel that being in the auto industry, in a sense of how to sell and how to deal with the consumers, and maybe a little bit of background in financing has helped you?
PIRNEJAD: Absolutely. Without a doubt. Sales, and even in the automotive industry, has changed tremendously. It’s become a very service-oriented business, especially with, you know, we’ve got our smart phones and emails and texts and everything else, and there’s still such a shortage of people communicating effectively and on time and being committed to letting consumers know where they’re at throughout different processes, whether it’s buying a car or buying a house. To just be in touch with that consumer. And when you see that void, and you know that you can fill it, it’s impossible not to be successful in any market.
IOVENITTI: That’s fantastic. So, coming from an industry that was also having a turmoil in the financial downturn of the economy, moving into another level of sales, also in a financial debacle, you were able to maintain a high profile and build a business based upon your background and ethics in sales, utilizing the financing as kind of a forefront to it. So, tell me, now that it’s coming into 2012, and the market’s changing a little bit, how do you see the market going for you in the future?
PIRNEJAD: You know, I don’t see anything but upside, you know. I’ve always told people that, you know, you build the best habits in the worst of times. So the fact that I got in in January 2010, and had a stringent work schedule and a plan, and that I followed, and I don’t deviate from it… now that the market is turning around and I still apply those same principles, I mean. It’s my second year. This year, my goal was 10 million dollars. I hit it. Next year, my goal is 15 million dollars, and I have no doubt that I’ll hit it.
IOVENITTI: So you have goals, visions, you put a business plan together in order to outline what it is that you’re going to do in the following years.
PIRNEJAD: Yeah. How would you get there if you don’t have a map?
IOVENITTI: Well, it’s true.
IOVENITTI: You think that’s an important lesson for real estate agents today, is to have a map?
PIRNEJAD: You know what, I think they have to have a plan. They have to know what they’re getting into. You can’t just wing it anymore. It’s not that market.
IOVENITTI: So, what are the biggest lessons you learned?
PIRNEJAD: You know, consistency in whatever I plan on doing, consistency is the biggest lesson I’ve learned. I’ve noticed that if I deviate from my routine, that my business will suffer right away. And it’s an instant, instant notification.
IOVENITTI: So it’s having a set plan and following through with it every day.
PIRNEJAD: Every single day. Even hour by hour, you know. I have a little sign in front of my computer where I sit, just states “Is what you’re doing right now being productive to your success?” And it’s a question I ask myself constantly when I sit in front of my computer.
IOVENITTI: That’s a great core value. So, moving on here, another question that I have is: what is one mistake that you witness agents make frequently?
PIRNEJAD: Complacency. They get one deal into escrow, and they start counting their money before they get it, and they back off on doing the routine of, you know, where’s the next deal going to come from?
IOVENITTI: So, moving back to our previous question, it’s the continuity of their business plan, and the implementation of that plan that generally leads to their success or failure by not doing that.
PIRNEJAD: Absolutely. And the simple truth is that being in sales, I’m probably one of the rare breeds who, I’m not driven by money, I’m driven by success, I’m driven by being the best. So a deal in escrow doesn’t necessarily mean success for me, my next deal means success for me.
IOVENITTI: That’s fantastic. Do you use social media?
PIRNEJAD: 100% of the time.
IOVENITTI: Really. Can you explain the impact, if any, that social networking has made on your business or personally?
PIRNEJAD: You know, it’s just put me, it’s made my friends and family more aware of what I’m doing. A lot of people can assume what you do, but, you know, throughout the course of your life you change careers or people do things, and you stay in touch at a wedding or somewhat, but most of the time, with social media at least now my friends and family, my sphere of influence, know exactly what’s going on with me all the time. Not to the point where I’m pushing my business on them, just to give them an update as to what’s going on in my life.
IOVENITTI: So, social networking and social media, do you use Facebook and Twitter and…
PIRNEJAD: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Again, as a resource, so that people, if they have questions, I’m there for them. I do Youtube, and I answer questions on blogs, and just become a resource for people. And that’s a great place to become a resource. Back in the day, if I would tell you about something and you thought it was a great idea, you’d go tell a buddy of yours, and so on, and it would take years to develop what, if I put something on Facebook, and within two days, a thousand people know about it.
IOVENITTI: Social media, what I understand, is probably almost working as a referral base?
PIRNEJAD: Absolutely. Without a doubt. Again, you don’t sell, people don’t buy salespeople. They don’t hire salespeople. People hire people. So if you’re on a social media, and you are who you are. You’ve got to be transparent in this business. You can’t fake sincerity. If you are who you are, you’re going to be great.
IOVENITTI: So, what would you say that you’re doing to continue the growth and development of yourself as a top agent?
PIRNEJAD: Constantly pushing myself beyond my comfort zone. If I’m not comfortable doing something, and, you know, I’ll use an analogy of golf. I’m not a very good golfer. And I used to be horrible out of the sand traps. So I went in and spent 8 hours in the sand trap. Just so I can get used to being uncomfortable. It’s the same mood as my business. If I’m not comfortable on the phone, guess what, I’m going to sit on the phone until I get comfortable. If I’m not comfortable door knocking, I’m going to knock on doors until I’ve had 200 slammed in my face. To get comfortable. And that’s all I do is get beyond my comfort zone. That’s it.
IOVENITTI: So I have kind of a unique question. Being that you are working in a major brokerage, under a known name, do you have a manager there?
PIRNEJAD: I do.
IOVENITTI: And what would you say the impact of that management has been on your business?
PIRNEJAD: You know, it’s….
IOVENITTI: Good, bad, or ugly, I mean, just, give me your insight as to…
PIRNEJAD: I’ll be happy to answer that. The managers are ok. They’re there if you run into problems, and God knows I run into some problems, because I am new in the business. So they’re good for a resource. As far as marketing and work ethic and coaching and being motivated, that’s something that I put on myself. I don’t allow anyone to manage me, to tell me what I need to do. If I don’t know what I need to do, no one can tell me that would make a difference. So, as far as that aspect goes, from a coaching aspect, from a mentoring aspect, not really there. But from a resource as problem solving, management has been great.
IOVENITTI: That’s fantastic. So, lastly, what advice would you give your competitors?
PIRNEJAD: Keep doing what you’re doing. You know. Don’t pick up the phone, don’t door knock, and just hope for success.
IOVENITTI: That’s fantastic.
PIRNEJAD: But if they really want to do it, I’ll tell you, one of the things that I’ve learned a long time ago is that I share. There’s no secrets with me. If I’m doing something that works well, I’ll share it. I’ll tell people. Because if you give, the faster you give the more you get. But the truth is, if you’re given a hammer to build a house, and you still want to use the end of a screwdriver to hammer something in, you’re just not going to be successful. The best advice I can tell everybody is don’t try to reinvent the wheel. Just go and execute the wheel. Let it roll. Instead of pushing it uphill, try to push it downhill. And that’s it.
IOVENITTI: Well, thank you so much for coming here today and allowing us to interview you. We hope you have continued success in the future.
PIRNEJAD: And so do I.
IOVENITTI: We’d like to bring you back some time and talk to you again, if that’s ok with you.
PIRNEJAD: I’d love to do it.
IOVENITTI: Well, thank you so much. We appreciate it.
PIRNEJAD: You’re welcome.