This Podcast highlights the problems faced by independent brokerages and team leaders across the States. The challenge of not having a suitable work culture and dealing with problems within the team. Kyle Whissle, #1 agent in San Diego, California who switched over to EXP talks about his personal struggles and his thoughts on the amazing EXP model. Kyle also talks about how he started adoping technology and the associated benefits.
Click here to listen to the podcast. Read the complete transcript below.
Mike: Welcome back to another episode of The Agent revolution podcast. Every week we sit down with the top agents across the country who have seen this amazing opportunity to grow with EXP.
I’m your host EXP mega agent and team leader Mike Wall.
We’ve got a big time producer super excited to be sitting down with the number one agent in San Diego California “Mr. Kyle Whissel”.
Kyle was a personal friend of mine. We’ll talk to him about his journey to EXP. You’ll definitely want to hear what this guy has to say.
All right. First of all, I just want to say thank you so much for giving us some of your time today. I know your time is very precious and I want to also say something because you’ve always been kind of a mentor from afar.
Having you on today is not only an honor for our audience but it’s truly special to me because like you know you’ve done so much for the industry and this is not just from the EXP standpoint but from a real estate standpoint. And so it is truly an honor to have you on the call today.
Mike: So why don’t we start off with you know a little backstory and tell everybody how you know you ended up getting into real estate? How did this all take place?
Kyle: Yeah for sure. I grew up in a real estate family my dad was a commercial realtor.
Basically before I was born and started company back in 1979 I was born in 1981. I personally hated real estate growing up because my dad was he was a top producing realtor himself and he was always out there crushing it. But a lot of times he was not showing up. My parents were divorced at a young age and other times not showing up to you know the soccer game or the basketball game or was missing on days he was supposed to be with me or he was late and all that stuff and so as a kid growing up I hated real estate because I associated those times where my dad was late or a no show.
So never in a million years growing up did I think I would get into real estate. But when I was 19. I think I was scooping popcorn at a movie theater at the time and my dad kept pushing me to buy something just not early 2000. He’s like Son you’ve got to buy some you got to buy something like the market’s hot. I was like scooping popcorn at a movie that I can’t buy anything and he’s like you can do it you’ve got good credit. So they put a mirror under my nose I fogged it. They gave me a loan for five hundred thousand bucks. That’s just how it used to work. Back in the early 2000s as part of the reason why the market crashed but so I got in. I bought that property held it for three months then I sold it. I made seventeen thousand bucks while I was at a movie theater scooping popcorn and they had recently offered me a nickel raise. So I talk to my dad and I was like hey. All right I know I hated real estate my whole life. But it’s time we talk about this real estate thing because I just made seventeen thousand bucks when I’m 19 years old in college. That was pretty awesome. So I started out in the industry in the Commercial.
Mike: You were hooked.
Kyle: Yeah I mean 17 grand was a lot of money. So yeah I started out with my dad. He did a lot of commercial stuff mostly apartment buildings and some shopping centers. So we worked together we teamed up on all of that stuff and I learned a ton from him as far as the negotiation and all of that stuff goes and just the industry in general.
There was a big disconnect when it came to technology. I mean he was he found a property he liked to send to his client. He would print, tape a post-it note, put it over the other agent’s name and stamp his name on the post-it notes and then fax to a client, it was insane. I mean this was in 2000’s like this wasn’t in 1960. He was doing that and it was just such a disconnect with technology. I was getting a little frustrated with it. We were selling a lot of apartment buildings to the guys who bought them and converted them into condos and sold them up individually.
At the same time the city made it impossible to do those condo conversions anymore.
My frustration with the technology kind of had a boiling point and so I decided to branch out from my dad start my own thing and a lot of my investors that were buying these apartment buildings when they couldn’t convert them to condos anymore.
They were like well it doesn’t make sense to buy these apartments because the numbers don’t make sense.
what about that foreclosure over there? What about that short sale over there?
When I started looking around and I saw these agents you know with hundred short sales & 200 foreclosures like it was insane to me. And I was in my early 20s and I was like you know these commercial checks have been really cool. They are big checks but in your early 20s when you only get a check every two or three months and it’s a big check trying to make that last is not an easy thing to do. Seeing these people on the residential side they were really closing a deal a day.
So I transition over to the residential side and started up in like 2008. So it’s about 10 years in the residential area now. I am closing more than a house today which is really awesome!
Mike: That’s just freaking awesome and I think you know for us so one of the things that I’ve always really admired about what you guys do is the kind of culture that you’ve created and I think you know I think when you talk to team leaders about recruiting and retention a culture is a big part of that. And so I can only imagine that you know OK so you transition from commercial into residential and then you know automatically like are you.
Kyle: So are you on your own at this point or are you already starting and you already kind of started to go down this whole team structure Pat so when I initially branched out on my own I hired an assistant day one.
I’ve literally never worked without an assistant.
I don’t understand why anybody would work without an assistant because the same that’s always stuck with me from a young age as if you don’t have an assistant you are the assistant. So you know you need an assistant no matter what you’re doing you need to have somebody because if you look at the work you’re doing you know in a perfect world you’re making 50-100 bucks an hour minimum and you can hire people to help you for 10-15 bucks an hour depending on the part of the country.
So you should be focusing on all activities and you can hire somebody to do the 15 dollar activities. You’re actually making an extra 85 bucks an hour by hiring an assistant. So people focus too much on the fifteen dollars an hour they got to pay the assistant. Not the 85 dollars that it’s going to make them. Always got to have an assistant. So I started out with an assistant from day one ran with that for a while.
I started landing a lot of these foreclosure account, started getting a lot of short sales and I was getting all these leads coming in. I didn’t really know what to do with them I really had no idea what the valuable lead was back then. So I initially had a buddy who ran a big box brokerage and I would like a once a week them some leads if they could convert them.
It was crazy. Once a week I’d export leads and send them to them. Of course that didn’t work they never converted anything. I tried to have a couple agents work under my brokerage but with no supervision like hey here’s the lead. Maybe you guys can convert them. and now it’s just going to people right now. But I didn’t train on my management systems and they didn’t convert anything. I was like I’m. I got to do something here, this is not working I’m wasting all these leads.
So one-day Dell had a sale on computers for like two hundred fifty bucks. I thought it was time to do something big and I bought 10 computers. I only had two people working with 10 computers. Like let’s just go all in. It’s time to do this. I bought 10 computers and then I was like shit I got 10 computers like I need some office space now. So then I went I found an office and I was I cool I got space I got 10 computers now and people. And then the first year I hired anybody with a poll sat me and I had people that were 8 years old all the way up to 80 years old. And that was a huge mistake. I lost well over six figures that first year because I had people that were inventing apps and I had people that didn’t even know what an app was. It was crazy like it was just a terrible idea.
The first year was a very expensive learning lesson I started to understand the value of culture and started hiring the right people to fit within our culture of which we are young we are tech savvy. Were like were aggressive. We really started to identify what our culture is and we’d like to have fun while we have a work hard play harder mentality and once we really nailed down that culture. After hiring the right people to fit that culture our transactions went from 82 transactions to 242 transactions.
It was a huge leap.
Mike: That’s impressive man! Ok. So what is the catch?
Kyle: We’ve been it’s been growing sense dot at that point we we’re still doing a lot of Oreo and a lot of short sales stuff.
We had a high unit count but our average price point was bad. I mean we’re insanı of Californians 70 miles of coastline here beaches and
Our average price point was like 267. We started to see the show happen to market and got away from all the foreclosures stop and started shifting to traditional and the cool thing is we’ve been able to keep our transaction count up but we’ve tripled our average price point since then. So you know last year we finished at over 250,000,000 dollars’ volume which has been amazing.
Mike: That’s sick man! I’m sitting here in the Midwest; we would love an average sale price up to 60. So we’re having to make our money through units. The scenarios are totally different and the cost of living is also less. I’m a little jealous that you know your average price point is so much higher than ours. It’s a blessing and a curse because you know here you can do a deal a month and make six figures.
So getting agents to push beyond just making six figures is tight.
Mike: Yeah I can only imagine So I’m curious you know that the whole the whole reason behind why I decided to do this podcast is because I wanted to talk about it and it’s entitled age revolution.
I wanted to talk about like you know I wanted to provide a platform for agents to come in and talk about change and specifically related to the psychology of what they went through when they moved from wherever they were at to EXP because let’s face it everybody has a different story to tell. So my first interview was with a guy named Al Stesek and last week interviewed a guy named Jay Kender who comes from similar background. They both had their own brokerage’s and yet they each had a different story to tell. And so you know that that’s kind of setting you up for you know so when you when you transitioned over right.
You built this unbelievable company with a great culture and it’s like you had everything I mean at that point some realtors would look at you and say that you are absolutely crazy for upsetting the apple cart here you’ve just got so much going on for you. So I mean you that why don’t we let’s talk about when you first heard about the EXP, what were your thoughts? Did you pass the idea over like I did and several other agents or did you get it right away?
Kyle: I had heard the name but didn’t really know what it was. Initially started hearing the name a little bit more and more but it wasn’t until I started seeing names make them move that I recognized that I really took the time to dive deep into it.
So I think from the first time I heard about it to the first time I actually dove into it. It was probably six months then once I dove into it I was committed within two weeks.
Kyle: Once you really dive out the model you realize the opportunity and a big part of that opportunity is being early to the party, this isn’t a cocktail party or you want to show up fashionably late. This is where you want to be the first person to the party get the best seat in the House and really take advantage of that opportunity. So Daniel Beren we get kind of looking at this thing and we went to lunch and it was like things are about to shake up a little, things are changing in our industry and I was like I got a feeling you’re looking at the same thing I am.
We realize that we had both been looking at the same model and decided like you’re in and let’s do this thing together. Let’s go full steam ahead and then we met with Mary Maloney who’s another really heavy hitter here in San Diego and she was looking at the same thing and she linked arms with us and now we’ve got hundred to a million dollar producers all over the country that have linked arms with us.
Mike: That’s amazing man. How is your team structured? How many agents did you have? What did your admin staff look or the size of your team when you decided to move over to EXP?
Kyle: We all leaned. We had about 20 agents and we have about let’s just call it 30 people total between agents and support staff assistants all of that stuff. We are running at about 30 people total. When we made the move we had one agent go a different direction everybody else stayed on board with us.
So we had a really good transition over to where we were able to retain almost everybody I think everybody really saw that vision.
Mike: That’s awesome man. We were kind of the same way on maybe just a smaller scale because I think when we when we broke from Keller Williams We had 15 agents in one stay. So I can relate. I’m curious though when you decided when you decided as the business owner that you were moving to EXP what was the conversation with your team like?
Kyle: I made a big change with our trip about a year ago and I learned a really valuable lesson is there is a right way and a wrong way to you know convey a big change like this.
The change can be too big and scary. Keeping bottled up will only lead to problems in the future. Breaking the news suddenly is not the best way to break it. So I did the same thing a year ago and lost a lot of people in the process. I learned from that lesson is you don’t when you have a big change like that you really need to uphold your core people aside the people that have been with you a long time. The ones that are really the icons in your company the ones that people look up to that people follow that people emulate.
Hold those guys aside first and sit down and have a conversation with them about what you’re looking to do and make sure that they’re on board get there by and with it first. It accomplishes a couple of things.
It makes sure they know they’re special that they’re not just an agent with your team they’re your inner circle and you really value their opinion and into by getting their buy in upfront when you can roll it out to the remainder of your team or your brokerage. Then that inner circle who everybody looks up to is already on board and is going to have your back. So the objections come up. They’re actually helping to handle those objections for you.
They’re showing that they’re excited that they’re all in on it. I think that’s really important. Any time you make a big change with a team or a broker it does have that inner circle meeting first. It makes the others more comfortable during the change.
Mike: Yeah, that’s an interesting concept and I’m glad I think that will help a lot of people especially people that are managing bigger teams. So essentially what you did is you’ve got buying it from the top down. Let’s face it we know that as team leaders that that our team members are going to share different information with the team better than they might normally with us. So if you can get the buy-in from those icon agents on your team and you can join forces. Once the agents that are maybe low on the totem pole or a new or maybe don’t have that guide then if you get the buy in from your top agents then they can help you bring these other agents with a different conversation along the way. So I mean that’s just I think that’s a piece of advice for maybe those people who run large teams or even small teams for that matter because you know even if you run a smaller team you probably got one agent that does the bulk of the deals. So getting buy in from that upper level is critical.
Kyle: Yeah absolutely makes them massive difference when you roll out again, making them feel special and having them support you on the roll out.
Mike: Yeah, it’s funny because when I was when I was getting ready to transition over I actually was considering opening up a Kellerman’s Market Center. And we had a core group, we were supposed to launch it this month actually if I would have stayed at Keller Williams. We’d have been watching the markets this month and then this opportunity came through Kender. I spoke with him and saw a video that he had sent out but you know it was a little scary for me because I committed to opening this market center and then I heard about this idea. So you can imagine that it was kind of like shit or get off the pot. We decided to go the EXP route but the reason why we decided to do it is because you know the market center would have been something that would have been good for me. It would have been profitable for me but it wouldn’t necessarily have done anything for everyone on my team and so when I looked at the opportunity for EXP and I saw the opportunity for stock awards I saw the opportunity for revenue share and I just thought it made more sense for me long term for sustainability purposes to go to EXP because you know a big issue for us was always recruiting and retention. If I could provide this opportunity through revenue sharing and stock awards then you know your best people you know would essentially never leave. And so I’m curious what was when you decided we’re all in on the EXP.
Mike: What were some of the main components for you that made EXP a better opportunity for you and your team?
Kyle: Yeah, just to make sure if people aren’t familiar with me I ran my own brokerage. I was an independent brokerage from day one. I’ve never worked for a franchise my entire career.
I’ve never even really been entertained by a franchise like it’s just never been something that I’ve been into and I got approached 12 months prior to making the move over to EXP I got approached by multiple big brands. We’re looking at purchasing and selling of an independent broker just one of those things that everybody thinks is like the big “sexy payoff” at the end of the whole thing when you build an independent brokerage that you’re going to build this thing and then sell it for millions and millions of dollars.
It’s really not all that it seems you know what ends up happening is when they value your company they’re going to look at your net income which is the technical term eBid, which is basically the net income of your company. Then they’re going to take your production out of the equation. So a lot of the big brokerages out there where you have a leader who is still producing. Once you take that team leader’s production or the broker’s production out of the equation there’s really no money left. Usually all the agents cover the expenses and then the brokers production is the profit. Well once you take that broker out there’s a lot of times no profit left over. So the brokerage is actually worthless. But let’s just assume for some crazy reason that you net in a million bucks without producing this crazy anomaly. So that’s based on your eBid that they’re going to work off. Then they’re going to pay you somewhere between 3 and five times on that number. So let’s shoot in the middle and call it 4X.
So they’re going to buy you for 4 million dollars. Sounds amazing? Give me a check for four million I’m out. It doesn’t work that way. You’ll get a small portion of it up front and then you’ll get the remainder over a multi-year period. Let’s just call three years that you’ve got to stay with the company and then get what’s called an earn out so you earned the other three million out of the deal. Well to get that additional money let’s call it a million a year. You’ve got to hit certain benchmarks with the number of agents that stay with the company the production of those agents you’ve got to hit all these different milestones which are so difficult to get because when you get bought by one of these big franchises now there’s going to be this new franchise fee that your agents weren’t paying before when you were independent. So now you got 6 or 7 percent coming off the top. Good luck retaining all your agents with that.
Now you’re on a honest split like a 90 percent split. Well I did a million GCI personally last year. There goes a hundred thousand bucks a year. You know that I’m paying just in my own splits like all his money starts disappearing.
You miss all those earn out marks on his identity the day after three years is done you’re lucky if you got half of that for a million bucks. And again like you mentioned maybe I get that two million dollars after that four years is done. Your team gets nothing. They got stuck with a new franchise fee they didn’t have earlier. I didn’t see that as a win. So I wanted to look for something else that you know is not only going to benefit me but it’s going to benefit my team as well. Something that truly is going to provide for everybody. When I saw the ability to build up you know something similar to a retirement plan with the stock that the EXP provides and then I saw the ability to build up some passive income with the revenue share opportunities they provide. The fact that those are things that not only go to me but everybody on my team like. That was huge for me and that was a big game changer for us coming in.
I also looked at the fact that I’m not liable anymore and one of my new favorite sayings are not my problem because I’m not the broker. There is a broker of record now and you know a situation gets sticky. I’m not the one who’s got to deal with it. There’s a broker it’s that deal with that. That’s what he’s paid to do. So to let go of a lot of those headaches and liabilities huge I was able to cut down my insurance costs by five figures. So all that stuff was really big for us. Coming over but what’s been like. That’s what led us to all the stock, the revenue share, the liability cutting expenses. So what I’ve come to actually appreciate the most now that we’re in is the company of the people around us you know being able to connect with you being able to connect with guys like Mike Reese and Jay Kender and Al Steek and you know Brett Jennings up in Northern California Mark on the Troy Olina pan now you know North Carolina like to have access to all these people that are pouring into each other and helping like the community of this company is just on another level and a big part of that is because we all own stock in the same company. All we want to see this company succeed. The willingness of everybody in the company to help each other has just been phenomenon and the relationships and stuff that have been created in the first few months here is just something that wasn’t even on my radar when we made this move. But it’s actually become one of my favorite parts of the whole thing.
Mike: That’s awesome man. That is that is awesome. So now where you’re at today? When did you guys join?
Mike: Same time we did I think we came on in February. So now I guess you could say the dust is settled or at least settling now. Is there anything different from the previous framework?
Kyle: Yeah I say you know just for us having never been with a franchise just kind of learning how to work within somebody else’s framework you know there’s a little bit of an adjustment for that.
I think we’ve got all that stuff nailed down now. We told our team like hey there is going to be a learning curve on this. It is totally new to you just like it is new to us. So work with us on this and we’ll get everything squared away. And I think we really got stuff nailed down now. I know our TC’s are loving using Sky slope as our transaction management system we want wanted sky slope when we are independent but it was too expensive. And so we had to have an inferior product. So now to have Sky slopes been really awesome the two Cesur 11 that a lot of the agents you know are starting to see some stocks show up in there and they’re starting to see some revenue share checks show up. So that stuff is all those been really cool. I think you know it’s it’s all come together. Then there’s just so much value being added by all the different people that were in alignment with that part is just been amazing.
Mike: Well I’ve got a couple more questions for you. I’m wondering now that you’ve made the change you guys are you know fully embedded into the EXP community. So let let’s pull back a little, so what is your why like what drives you everyday to do all this?
Kyle: Both my parents have been through multiple cancers. My mom passed away in 2009 and it got to the point where she was laying in her deathbed and not that my mom didn’t live life to the fullest or anything. It was a very visual thing to actually see somebody laying in their deathbed and to think about the thoughts that are going to go through my head when my time comes and I’m laying in that bed, the last thing I want is to be in that bed and have any regrets and you know wish I would have tried a little bit harder. Wish I would’ve taken a chance, pushed more wish or would have done this or that. I just don’t want to have any of that.
I’ve made a commitment to myself that I’m never going to go to sleep and when my head hits the pillow if I know I left anything on the table that day I wouldn’t be able to sleep. Day in day out and give 100 percent on everything, it’s become an obsession for me like that’s all I know how to do like I struggle sometimes because you know I’ll have agents on my team set these goals and then they don’t even start on them like I’m going to knock hundred doors this week and then you check in and it’s zero. I can’t even comprehend that my brain is not wired in that way. I don’t even understand. If I said I’m going to knock on doors. I’m probably going to end up knocking 200. That’s just all I know because I’m always going to go all out with every single thing that I do.
Mike: Yeah that’s awesome! You know the perspective you have on life is amazing because it’s truly the fire that burns inside you that when you wake up every day you know you’re on a mission.
It’s like we start everyday unemployed and that’s kind of the way I look at everything. And sometimes for my agents I want it worse than they do. It is very hard for me to comprehend that, so I certainly understand the particular mindset. I’m curious.
What kind of legacy do you want to leave behind?
Kyle: I think the most important thing for me is the fact that I was always real like that I always kept everything real I didn’t sugarcoat anything. I didn’t pretend to be somebody that I’m not. Like I just was always open and honest and true to who I am.
The things that bug the hell out of me is just when you see people trying to you know pretend they’re somebody that they’re not. I never want to be that person. I want to be known as the person who always pushed and put everything he got on the table day in and day out. Whether the result was being number 1 or not and that not important to me as knowing inside that I left it all on the table.
Mike: So Last question for you. What would you tell that agent or that broker listening to this podcast that was thinking out moving to EXP or just knew a better way to do business?
Kyle I would only say that there’s really two brokerages that are going to thrive and they are the 100% shops where you can go and pay a flat fee per transaction or you can pay “X” dollars a year and do unlimited transactions. Those guys are going to do really well as the market corrects and then you got EXP. So people are going to have to make a decision.
You want to go to the 100% where you basically have a name penned on a contract and really not much of anything else. There are not providing you a whole lot of system and not giving you whole lot of hands on training you with other agents when opportunities comes. It’s like Fisbo shops. Is the fisbo doing it in the cheapest way possible or they saving some money on the commission. Absolutely. But are they putting the most money in the pocket? Definitely not. And I look at EXP as a fisbo alternative where you do pay a small amount of fee and get massive value and fisbo knows that if they listed with us they’ll get massive value. Some fisbos are stubborn and they end up taking their own route.
Looking at the statistics depending upon what statistics that you look at they are making around 10-20% less money in their pockets at the end of the day and I think agents will also see the same thing by going to the 100% shops and paying less to the brokerage but you are going leave a lot of money on the table just because opportunities like EXP were on the table providing you things on the front.
To generate leads and manage those leads and turn them into contracts and you got things like Sky Slope help you manage those contracts and turn them into providing tools like that for you. Providing everything in the cloud which is amazing and the support is something that I wasn’t expecting.
Right now if you’re in a brokerage you walk down the hall and see if your broker is there. You have to call that person and they don’t answer and they call you back and you miss it and you play phone tag or text tag. And that is so inefficient. At EXP, you just walk into a crowd and there’s a bunch of people that are just waiting to help you and you get real time support. The stock stuff is really great I mean the stocks and you pay attention what really happening and you get up listed to as STACK all that stuff and performing really well and seeing the future of the stock.
The revenue share, I have seen people in this company that make about a million or a million and half just on revenue sharing where they sell a house or not that’s an insane opportunity where most brokerages where you help recruit somebody in your company and they take you out for dinner or something and that’s it. With this you can build generational wealth for yourself and pass it on to your kids. The opportunities what they are providing is just insane is because they are helping you *********** some real state and giving you intuitional ways to support yourself and your family so if you’re thinking about doing it do it now and don’t wait if you’re looking at this as a nine inning baseball game then we are at the first or second inning. We know that this company is going to break a hundred thousand and 200 thousand agents and if you’re going to be set early then your chances of success is more. And there are another 100 thousand agents who are going to join under a sponsor. Why not that sponsor be you?
Why be agent 200’000 when you can be agent 12000?
And help spread the word about this company, build this massive revenue share for this massive revenue share and passive income that going to support you for the time to come.
Mike: I love it man. I could not agree more with you about the opportunity it is huge I think we are roughly 11,600 agents now and you can only imagine the type of opportunity that’s out there.
There are 2 kinds of agents out there right now. There are agents who get it and there are agents who are going to get it and the agents who get it right now obviously have the biggest opportunity when you talk about revenue share and stock awards and that’s why we want to be part of the early adapters and that’s why we joined EXP and brought our team over.
Thank you so much for just being a part of what we are doing here today at agent revolution and its truly been a pleasure to talk to you and you definitely drop some knowledge out there and how can people connect
Kyle: The best way to connect with that we have started a FB page “Whissle Way” where people put questions and its answered in a group format rather than me answering the questions in a one on one format. So that way if someone has a question about how we do our open houses and they ask a question and everyone in the group can learn from it and I find that a much better way to go. We share stuff there from our meeting, snippets, tools and the fun stuff they are working. So I’m capped out on FB and I can’t add anyone there. Or Follow me on Instagram.
Mike: Ok the Whissle way on facebook. And we will definitely connect with you there. Thank you being part of the show today and man you’re the best.
Kyle: Cool man. thanks Dude.
Mike: Wow! That was pretty fun, Kyle was amazing, I so admire the culture he has built and how he has just crushed it in San diago.
Hey if you know someone who might enjoy the podcast share it with them and if you like the podcast. Please go to where ever you listen to podcast and subscribe. If youre curious to what EXP can do to your business and life head over to explodingweb.com and watch my video to get more details and see if EXP is right for your business.
If you have questions for me about EXP you can schedule 30 mins with me at meetmikewall.com
That’s it for this episode of agent revolution and see you next week.