October 29

Anthony Marguleas on We Make A Living By What We Give

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Anthony Marguleas is the owner of Amalfi Estates, one of Los Angeles’ leading independent real estate companies, providing exclusive representation to both buyers and sellers. Founded in 1995, the company is headquartered in Pacific Palisades.

He has individually sold close to $2 billion in properties and is ranked in the top 25 teams nationwide by The Wall Street Journal out of over one million agents. His award-winning approach to service has been profiled on ABC News and the Fine Living Network, as well as in The Wall Street JournalConsumer Reports, and the Los Angeles Times. He has published 200 real estate articles and co-authored the book California Real Estate Client Strategies. Since 2004 he has guest lectured 1,000’s of students for UCLA’s real estate principles class.

He holds several professional designations, including Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist. He is a top negotiator, having completed the Advanced Negotiations class at Harvard Business School as well as KARASS seminars negotiating course, which has led to saving his clients hundreds of thousands of dollars.

Marguleas truly believes in giving back to his community and gives back 10% of his commission from each sale among five charities, Make-a-Wish, SPCA-LA, American Cancer Society, Path which helps homelessness, and Homeboy Industries.  He and his team have been fortunate to have donated over $1,000,000 since 2015.

Marguleas has a bachelor’s degree in business administration from the University of California, Riverside, where he received the Outstanding Alumnus Award. He was in the MRED program (Masters in Real Estate Development and Finance) at USC.  Anthony resides in Pacific Palisades with his wife, Sue and they have four children.

Contact Anthony:

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[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]

Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. This is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the No Limits Selling Podcast where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how to make you better, stronger, faster. Get ready for another episode.

Umar Hameed 0:36
Hello everyone today I have the privilege of having Anthony Marguleas here. He is the founder of Amalfi Estates. Anthony, welcome to the program.

Anthony Marguleas 0:46
Thank you, Umar, I appreciate you having me on the phone.

Umar Hameed 0:48
Brilliant. So I'm so excited to talk to you because you made the transition about 15 years ago from being just a general realtor to kind of specialize in, you know, luxury homes. So what was going on at that point that made you decide to make that shift?

Anthony Marguleas 1:03
Yeah, a good question. We actually were buyers only, which is a really unique we exclusive buyer's agent. So we did not take listings. The company was called aim realty at the time. And we basically went through a rebranding process, you know, like, like anything change happens, and it's a little hard and, and challenging and scary. One of my top agents that actually left are said, Hey, I'm going to be leaving our firm unless you start taking listings, because you're turning away a lot of business. We referred out almost 100 million dollars in listing referrals, did not ask for a referral fee, because I ethically I wanted to refer to other agents without having a monetary compensation behind it. And then with that agent, leaving our firm, it kind of gave me the impetus to say look, let's expand our services, rebrand in the luxury market space. So we rebranded from am realty to Amalfi estates, and we did logos and marketing. Basically, everything in our entire company was rebranded. And it was probably the best decision we've ever done.

Umar Hameed 2:12
So they had to be, like you said, changes scary for a lot of people. So certain members of your team probably said, "Yeah, this is a great idea. We want to do it at a superficial level but on a practical kind of internal level, that may not have been the case." So did you have some team members that needed more hand holding than others?

Anthony Marguleas 2:31
Yeah, we did. Um, you know, it's interesting, I think, when you get people more data, they seem to feel a lot more comfortable with it. And explain, you know, the benefits. I'm a high see if you know that you must be familiar with the disc assessment being in your, in your business.

Umar Hameed 2:47
I slipped my disc. But yes, I am familiar.

Anthony Marguleas 2:51
What you say about the disc, you split it,

Umar Hameed 2:53
I slipped it, you know,a bad joke. I'm sorry.

Anthony Marguleas 2:58
So, so I'm more of an analytical, more of a data guy, which is unusual in real estate, most real estate are very social, very outgoing. I just happen to level out of stats, charts and numbers. So I am always good about finding the data. And I think that helped transition, transition the team over but I mean, one of the things that was hard was made a conscious effort to really focus on on the luxury. And so that would mean, in some ways turning down business on the entry level. Or maybe it was low end rentals, or, you know, just things in different price points, because we really wanted to be the specialist with the luxury marketplace. And it takes time to build that, you know, by rebranding and marketing, and, you know, the clothes you wear and the cars you drive, and the you know, we joined charity boards, and we joined just a lot of different local events. There's a polo tournament, and we have different golf tournaments. So it was really just a conscious effort to really focus on a higher end price range. And, and really be intentional about it.

Umar Hameed 4:10
One of the things that's kind of interesting is a lot of realtors that get a certain level of success, find themselves, you know, "Hey, I need to get a team together." And one of the things you'd mentioned earlier in our conversation was a lot of realtors are very kind of social people, people, but they don't make good CEOs, because a lot of CEOs are, you know, get to the facts, here's the data, here's what we need to do so in in generalities, people that lead companies can see further past the horizon. And they're very driven by the data. And that's kind of describes you. So your thoughts and just general real estate firms. When you get someone that decides they want to build a team and they build a team and they get a certain level of success but don't reach the levels they should. Any thoughts on that comment?

Anthony Marguleas 4:57
That's a really you nailed it. You know, I know what I'm good at. And I know what I'm not good at. And I think that the sign of a good leader is to bring in people that compliment your skill set. So we brought in, in the last six months, a director of sales and operations. And he's amazing. He's built up other teams. And right now, we currently right now have a team of, well, before he joined us, we had a team of five, we call them sales partners, rather than agents on our team, because they're allowed to work with buyers, and they also work with sellers and take listings. But our goal is to hire 20 additional sales partners, and we've hired for a while averaging about one a month. And he's...

Umar Hameed 5:43
Nice.

Anthony Marguleas 5:43
...part of that process, because his skill set is so well suited to that. And I knew that wasn't really wasn't my specialty.

Umar Hameed 5:51
So Anthony, every company on planet Earth has a culture, whether they realize it or not. And many of the cultures are hostile or complacent and not where they want it to be, regardless of what they have written on the wall. So how would you describe the culture of you've built before? You know, when you would just like a five person team? How would you describe that? And more importantly, how are you going to make sure that you kind of maintain that culture as you grow? Because as you grow? That becomes a challenge?

Anthony Marguleas 6:21
a great, great question. We hired a business coach about five years ago, and they helped us put together core values, which we actually have on the wall of our office, really large letters and our core values is really what we live by. And what our coaches always telling us is, you really hire and you fire by your core values. And it's, it's, it's a fascinating thing, because once someone really breaks one core value, they really break probably half if not more of them. So you know, our core values, for example, are take responsibility for your actions, and be exceptional, and create amazing client experiences, and carry yourself professionally at all times and make a positive impact in the community. So if someone for example, you know, isn't being honest, or or if they do something that's in the detriment, or the client, they're breaking several of our core values. So it's very easy. You know, if we're trying to make a decision, even if it's a top producer, I've had some really, really strong life learning lessons, I had to let one of our top real estate producers go because they were in violation of our core values. And it said, set a model, an example for the team. humar that, it said to them, Look, even though how much money this person's bringing in your top salesperson, but they're in violation of core values, your core values, supersede any financial gain that you're getting from, from your company.

Umar Hameed 7:49
Anthony, let me kind of probe here a little bit, if I may, the core values you described, all amazing, like who other than Satan would say, you know, they're really bad values, like pretty much everyone would say, Oh, my God, that's amazing. I want that if your statement?

Anthony Marguleas 8:02
I yes, I believe so.

Umar Hameed 8:05
And there's going to be some people that really embrace it, and live and breathe it. So how do you get those core values that everybody looking at it on a wall would say, yeah, that's pretty amazing. But how do you get it instilled in their being so they actually live it and breathe it? Because there is like a bridge that needs to be crossed?

Anthony Marguleas 8:25
Yeah, so a couple things, one, these core values that I dictated, as the owner of the company, these are core values that were created as a whole team. And so they have ownership of these core values. We also read these core values at each of our Monday meetings. And we also have one sales partner, pick one of those core values that another team member has, and has demonstrated that week. So it's not them talking about themselves. Look, I'm excited...

Umar Hameed 8:53
It is me exalting you, Anthony, that is awesome. Because I think that getting one team member to recognize something real and capturing that story becomes a living, breathing manifestation of those values that makes it real for your team. So good for you.

Anthony Marguleas 9:06
Yeah. And then you know, one of the things that we do we really we look for people, agents that are most important, that are coachable, that are humble, and that are hungry, because well...

Umar Hameed 9:19
So let's back up,I'm stopping right there, if I may.

Anthony Marguleas 9:22
Sure. Yeah, no problem.

Umar Hameed 9:22
How do you figure out someone's coachable?

Anthony Marguleas 9:24
We go through a very detailed interview process. So we have a four step interview process, and one of the steps in the interview process is going through questions that would lead us to find out if they're, if they're really coachable. Because I think somebody who basically, like every day I'm learning I've done this for almost 30 years I've helped 1000 clients have sold close to $2 billion in real estate and every single day, I'm searching and yearning for new knowledge about real estate About people about how to improve. And and a lot of times you get a new person that's been in real estate a couple years, and they almost have a know it all attitude. And those aren't the people that we've that really resonate with our company. We want the ones that are going to be humble, and not having to check their ego at the door.

Umar Hameed 10:20
Brilliant. And you know, my highest value is learning cool stuff that just turns me on big time.

Anthony Marguleas 10:27
It's great, isn't it?

Umar Hameed 10:29
Yeah, it's like, I can't wait to tell everybody. And I'm sure some of my friends get tired. All right, enough, chill, Take a chill pill.

Anthony Marguleas 10:35
I bet you I bet you've read a lot of books and listened to a lot of podcasts.

Umar Hameed 10:40
Yeah. So Anthony, it's one of the things you mentioned was, you know, we had our team, we had a consult, and we really thought about who we were and what we wanted to do. And we came up with these values. And the reason they're calling those is, you know, they came up with it, they were invested in it. But now you're looking for new people to join your team in this set of issues come up when you have 20 people or 30 people. And any thoughts on how would you know things aren't going exactly as you want? Like, what are the early warning signs, you'd look for that we need to do something?

Anthony Marguleas 11:12
So because we're really big on the metrics, we're really big on benchmarks, we're really big on accountability. And so we have daily roleplays. We have,

Umar Hameed 11:23
Nice.

Anthony Marguleas 11:23
we set up a certification system, I believe one of the only companies around that has set this up. So it's it's all been branded and done internally, where we have a certification system. One is a certification system for getting online leads. And we have it's a rating system, you know, so all the calls are recorded, and how was their presentation? And how was their did they go and ask about the motivation? Do they ask about the location? How is their customer service score, and we rate and rank that and they've had a certain score for them to be allowed to talk to the online leads. And we also have a certification system set up for the first meeting with the client, and we have a certification for writing an offer. And for open houses. Now, we can't do open houses right now. Because the COVID it's been cancelled for six months. But once we do, and then we have a certification system for listings, because the thought was, you know, it's great, they get a real estate license and you do role plays, and you pay all this money for leads and and you give it to these agents, but you don't know where in the process that maybe they're missing out on and and so the...

Umar Hameed 12:33
Brilliant.

Anthony Marguleas 12:33
...interpretation system has been incredibly beneficial to to strengthen our systems.

Umar Hameed 12:40
I love it. I'm not sure if you saw this in the announcement from Amazon, last week, I think for the new products they bringing out one of the devices they were launching was this drone for within your house that patrols your house looking for problems. And if an intruder comes, it confronts them. It's not menacing, but it's taking video footage of them. And did you come across that at all?

Anthony Marguleas 13:02
I did not. But it sounds pretty cool.

Umar Hameed 13:04
Just cool. And I was wondering if that would be great for realtors. It's like we're gonna release your drone, Mr. You know, prospect, and I'll have my drone there. And we'll actually see the house together as we go down without COVID.

Anthony Marguleas 13:19
[Garbled] yeah, that sounds pretty cool.

Umar Hameed 13:24
Anthony, one things that really impressed me about what you're doing is certainly you know, talk is cheap. And making money is you know, important. But one of the things that you've been doing for a while now is getting 10% back to charities that needed, what brought that on? And how do you get your team to embrace it?

Anthony Marguleas 13:43
Yeah, thank you for asking. That's really been a corridor to our company. And, you know, when we interview people, you know, a lot of agents will ask what is your commission split? First question. And the question I always answer back is it's not so much your Commission's way. It's what you really take home one and then two, it's really giving back to the community. And what we found is a lot of millennials and a lot of Generation Z. Really, it's so so important, especially with the environment and what's going on in the world today to be part of something bigger than themselves. And so we've about five years ago, we started actually six years ago now started giving back and we actually hired a charitable business consultant and put together a business plan and picked a charity from each major component. So we have one for kids make a wish we have one for pets. We have one for health american cancer society. We have one for local, which is Homeboy Industries. And so we have five really five different ones in each category. We're starting an environmental one, to get back to the environment, and we let our client pick and you know, it's been it's not easy, I mean, 10, percents a lot of money. The average, average real estate agent in the country gives probably about 50 to $75 per transaction, our firm gives on average about 7000. And so it's a big commitment.

Umar Hameed 15:13
It's significant. Yeah.

Anthony Marguleas 15:15
But we really believe in it. And, and to know that we've helped, you know, with approximately, in addition to, to the hundred families a year, we help selling homes, we also help an additional 250 families through the charitable giving. And it's just so it's almost selfish, because you feel so good by helping these charities. It's, I don't want to say it's self-serving, but you feel so amazing, helping.

Umar Hameed 15:45
So I heard this thing the other day, Anthony that, I just loved hearing it. This was the quote or the thought, let's say you were saying this to your significant other, the love I give you a second hand because I get to feel it first.

Umar Hameed 15:59
I love that,

Umar Hameed 16:00
Isn't it, and that's kind of what you're describing is the act of giving really gives ourselves such a great gift. So I wanted to share this thought with you that just blew me away. We were talking about learning stuff. I was doing a podcast with a gentleman who runs a university degree in sales being professional salespeople. And he was talking about this next generation of kids coming into his class, and I was thinking a bunch of entitle lazy SOB, is what I was thinking. And he was saying, and he goes, these kids are totally amazing. And they're like, super hard working. They don't take anything for granted. And he's just describing this creature. And it's like, wait a minute, pause right there. What do you mean? Why is this happening? He said that when we had the financial crash in 2007, 2008, these kids were seven or eight years old, at a very kind of place that's impressionable. And what that did was that they were seeing their parents losing jobs, they were losing their homes, and they got a depression era mentality. That is like, I don't take anything for granted. I'm not entitled, you got to work hard, you got to make it happen. And the reason I shared that with you and the listeners is, that's an unexpected outcome, because their older siblings were older and didn't get impacted in the same way. They weren't that impressionable, the younger ones were too young. But there was that band of people that went through that just turned out to be super strong, super powerful. And the question I have for you is this, what do you think is going to happen to our kids that are 678 going through the pandemic, and going through this experience? And one of the theories I have is, there is a lot of hardship. There's also family dinner time, and family's important. So I wonder what that outcome is going to be any thoughts?

Anthony Marguleas 17:42
That's a really good question. You know, I think every hardship strengthens people. And I think, you know, for a long time, they're whether it's called helicopter moms or parents that are overly protective, trying to fix their kids problems, you know, with the cell phone, now they can pick up the phone, and anytime there's an issue, they can call their parents and say, How do I fix that, or fix it for me. And so, you know, my hope is, is with things that that are difficult or challenging, it really is a sign of, you know, that we're all going to get knocked down, whether it's a job, or whether it's school, or whether it's a relationship. And the trick is, is how you recover from those obstacles. And, and, and really, hopefully, with the pandemic, it's tied a lot of people to be resilient and, and the importance of non material things, hopefully, and more family things. You know, I think, my hope, I see a lot of our clients, you know, they want bigger yards for for their kids and they want, you know, things that really are more related to their family, and they picked up more hobbies and they've, you know, things that, you know, hopefully, we're going to translate into a better family life.

Umar Hameed 19:00
Brilliant. Anthony, thank you so much for sitting down with me. I really enjoyed our conversation and I'm looking forward to our next.

Anthony Marguleas 19:08
Thank you. Thanks Umar. Take care.

Umar Hameed 19:15
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.


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