Gina TooFine Tufano is the founder and CEO of Team AGC - a residential real estate group in Northern Virginia established in 1996 (when dinosaurs roamed the earth). With a passion for people and places, Gina continues to serve clients directly and loves every minute of it.
This passion of hers has led her down many amazing paths over the years - as an active traveler, Tedx speaker, non profit board member, coach, speaker, and even dabbling in modeling and television.
In 2004, Gina was diagnosed with MS, which forced her into a wheelchair 7 years later. At one time her doctor told her she would never walk again. She put her tenacity for business into her health and chose to find a solution to allow her to gain control of her body again. Another good decision - as today Gina's identity, health, and passion for life, people, and growth is now mixed with a pledge to clean eating, paying it forward, a lust for adventure, and a promise to be entirely present for every person and moment in my life.
When not in her office or climbing a mountain, Gina can be found having a kitchen dance party in her home in Loudoun with any one of her 3 sons, her dog, Ruby, or her cat, Joy.
[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. I am privileged to have Gina Tufano out here she is the head honcho, the ringleader at Team AGC of Keller Williams, welcome to the program.
Gina Tufano 0:47
Thank you for having me.
Umar Hameed 0:49
So listeners don't know this, but we're actually video conferencing so we can see each other. And there's a sign behind you that says work hard and be nice to people. Why is that important to you?
Gina Tufano 0:58
Oh, my goodness, um, people, every people are everything. I mean, that was a loaded question. I don't know how that couldn't be important. On the team, we don't actively market we don't send out tons of mailers, we're not on the side of a bus or anything like that it is all taken care of people. So um, I don't know where to start. It's so it's so encompassing...
Umar Hameed 1:25
Basic, Yeah! So the reason I brought it up was we had a conversation before we started recording. And I could tell that, you know, people are incredibly important to you and for you. And the reason I brought it up with this is that a lot of times people will have, oh, it's all about the people. It's all about our employees. And if you work there, you kind of go bullshit. That is not true. They're just words on the wall, but not something in the heart. So when did this kind of land in your heart and be a critical part of who you are?
Gina Tufano 1:55
I would say once I started building the team, actually 2000 I think I joined Keller in 2009. And it was my first foray into when I started real estate, everyone covered their papers. It was, you know, you had to figure it out for yourself. There wasn't a collaborative atmosphere, it was you know, you're either going to trial by fire and good luck. When I went to Keller and I was starting, when I started the team, I was teaching I was in teaching mode. And then when I went to Keller and I saw all these resources, and everybody just sharing and collaborating and giving and I was just like, this is the way it's supposed to be like this, all of a sudden, like my world just exploded. And I am I started teaching the agents it's not you know, they'd say I don't want to do a rental, there's not a lot of money in a rental or it's too much work. And I'm like it is the people it is the people and then to sort of put my money where my mouth is, so to speak. We started counting stories instead of leads. I didn't you're just to call people contact them and you know, reach out and get their story find out what's going on in their life. This was super important in the beginning of 2020 when the world shut down...
Umar Hameed 3:15
Gina Tufano 3:16
We literally made care calls. That's all we did. How can we help you? Um, do you need food? Do you need toilet paper? You know, did you lose your job? Can we pass your resume? on? What? How can we help you? Um, I do it all. I do it everywhere. I don't have an ISP, I have a concierge. I was looking into getting an ISI everyone's like, that's the way you keep up with your database. That's what you do. And it's not who I am, uhm...
Umar Hameed 3:43
So tell the people that don't know what is an ISA?
Gina Tufano 3:45
Inside Sales Agent. So that would be for calling warm leads, let's say you came to an open house or you clicked on something on the website or your past client or a past, you know, you called on a sign at some point. And they follow up with the leads that already exists. So it's not a cold call, that would be outside sales. It's inside. So it's somebody inside calling people that have some sort of connection already. And touch it, you know, and basically scripting on do you want to buy sell or invest in real estate say, and...
Umar Hameed 4:18
it's all about me, not about you?
Gina Tufano 4:20
It kind of Yeah, you know, and next like, Okay, this is what I'm doing and Okay, if that's not you, I'm going on to the next person.
Umar Hameed 4:28
So come back to your brilliant capture the story idea, I'm going to tell you a story first. It was a friend of mine was telling me that, you know he had this like a crappy guitar. And his dad had this amazing guitar. And so he said, Dad, I noticed you're not using your guitar. Can I have it? And the dad's like, sure, but not now. I want you to go get a good set of strings for your guitar and I want you to play the guitar for three months and notice how much better your guitar sounds and so the guy did that and the guitar sure enough did sound better after three months. Then he realized Wait a minute, the guitar isn't better. I'm better, and his dad gave him something to do and by you telling your people capture the story accidentally, they're building relationships and caring and connection. And as opposed to everyone else's, how many calls did you make? How many yeses did you get? And it's more like regimented. And if you said, you know, care about your customers, they'd be like, Okay, how do you do that? If you they capture stories, they accidentally do it with wonder.
Gina Tufano 5:24
That's our script practice. Every Monday we have script practice, and it's not so much. Um, you know, do you want to Hi, this is James founder with Keller Williams, you want to buy selling? It's not that it's we go through stories, and sometimes we don't really touch on that.
Umar Hameed 5:39
My life story. So pretend you called me and I came to an open house. Asked me my story.
Gina Tufano 5:45
Okay, Ring Ring, ring ring...
Umar Hameed 5:48
Gina Tufano 5:49
Hi, is this Umar? And I say your name right. I'm sorry. I didn't even know...
Umar Hameed 5:52
Hey, you got a spot on.
Gina Tufano 5:55
I, Umar, this is Gina Tufano, with Keller Williams, you came to our open house at 123 Main Street on Sunday. Do you remember it?
Umar Hameed 6:02
Um, I went to a few. Yeah, I suppose. Yeah.
Gina Tufano 6:06
Now the weather was absolutely beautiful. This was the one with the pool in the backyard.
Umar Hameed 6:11
Oh, yeah. I know which one you're talking about now?
Gina Tufano 6:13
Yeah. What did you think about it?
Umar Hameed 6:16
I really liked it a lot. And I thought it'd be a good place for our family.
Gina Tufano 6:21
Oh, you have kids?
Umar Hameed 6:23
I do. I've got three kids.
Gina Tufano 6:25
Oh, wow. boys or girls.
Umar Hameed 6:27
So I see where this is going. So you're basically finding out about me? And it's like...
Gina Tufano 6:32
Talking about the house anymore at all? If anything, I'll go back. Were you ever on a swim team? You know, because the pool you know, Were you ever? And it could be anything about the house? It could be you know, Oh, that one with the kitchen with the ugly wallpaper? I mean, I will just be honest, what do I think people remember about it? But that's just to get my foot in the door. And usually people are like this.
Umar Hameed 6:53
Gina Tufano 6:54
Once you say anything. Amen. Like, tell me what's going on our schools important to you is this is that you know, and...
Umar Hameed 7:03
You know, what's interesting is this is that you can do what you just described to people can do it. And one person can do it in a way where they really want to connect and be heart focused and find out and it just has a different feel and a vibe, even though somebody else uses the same words and you know, they using it as a mechanism to get close to me. So how do you train your people not to be salesy have an ulterior motive, but it's really do that connection. And then from that good things will happen. How do you get them to to believe it and do it?
Gina Tufano 7:32
That is literally all we focus on on Mondays? I mean, we focus on stories we do with that script, practice those roll calls, sometimes I'm really standoffish. Sometimes I'm really nice to them, you know. And then I can make them give feedback to each other. They celebrate the wins. They talk about calls they had the week before, you know, what stories did you get? Um, we brainstorm better ways to help people. I mean, it's constantly just how can we help? How can we help? How can we help that? I beat it into their heads. I
Umar Hameed 8:06
Gina, tell me about someone on your team. Don't name names, but tell me about someone that just wasn't quite getting it. And you know, after some repetition, or some insight, or some experience they had, that they finally went, Oh, I know what you want. Do you have one of those stories with anyone?
Gina Tufano 8:23
During the pandemic, because that was even harder for them. Because now we're not even talking about real estate, I You are not allowed to talk about buying or selling this is March in April, right? Um, I can say that they were struggling and they would, you know, I had this call and, you know, he was really mean, and I'm like, well, let's redo that. We would just keep redoing it. And then I had one agent and all of a sudden he came back and he was thrilled to death. He's like, she sent me a resume. She's looking for a job. What do I do it like it was just, I think the high you get from helping people is that sort of like all of a sudden it worked. And he actually connected with a person and prior to that he was really struggling and sounded very, like he was writing down trying very, very hard and writing down everything I was saying and...
Umar Hameed 9:14
Experience got him to get it.
Gina Tufano 9:16
Yes. And then once he understood how to connect and the other hard a sort of limiting belief that I have to smash is the money part. And they freak out sometimes you know, like no, I need a contract. I need a contract. I didn't know. You will get the amount of money you make is in direct proportion to the amount of people you help period.
Umar Hameed 9:37
Gina Tufano 9:37
And it will come out....
Umar Hameed 9:38
in the by product.
Gina Tufano 9:40
Yes. It's like the bonus. And so I we have one story that I have probably I've told it once I've told it 1000 times it was about seven years ago. We had a listing rental listing so there's not a lot of money in it about an hour outside of our zone, you almost everything we do is in one zip code and So far away, everybody complained about it. Nobody wanted to take the leads, nobody wanted to do it. And I was frustrated. I am like people, it you know, from fair housing alone, you can't just pick and choose either you do these or you don't, you know, and we had someone apply for it. And we accepted them. Their credit was incredible. They doctor in a hospital, like it was just completely not what you'd expect for this little tiny townhouse. And then I got a call from the client themselves, like they reached out to me directly, not through their agent, and said, Oh, you know, we really we hate to do this, but we found something closer to where our horses are. And so I go into the whole story, like now I want her story, right? A doctor was relocating to the hospital out there and just needed a place close by when they were on call. And they have this huge mansion of a house in my backyard, like in my zone. And I'm like, Sure, no problem. One of my agents drove the check down to the house to return her funds, which we weren't even supposed to do, but I just had a great conversation. Four months later, we listed their multimillion dollar house to sell. And that was a rental lien that wasn't even that was someone else's client, like calling me can I get out, you know, and I told the agent and the agents like, Oh, you could do it. That's okay. Like she didn't want to do it, either. Nobody wanted to do the work. And I tell that story over and over again.
Umar Hameed 11:30
Thanks for sharing that. The other thing you said earlier on was you know that people want to help people. And when they help people, it just feels good for everybody. So typically, cops no matter where they are, tend to be jaded people because they tend to see the worst of humanity. And so this nurse was telling me this story. She said, you know, I'm teaching cops how to use Narcan to save lives. And, you know, people that are drug addicts, you know, low like, low life, so whatever kind of thing going on, and she said she trained one week, she came back the next week, and one of the cops got to use Narcan and save a life. And one of the younger cops is 22 says, Hey, I want to save a life. And it was just this joy and passion. I want to be the next one to do this. And we make judgments of other people from our own point of view. And the reality is that everybody wants to help everybody wants to do good. And we just need to connect with them story to story, heart to heart, and amazing things happen.
Gina Tufano 12:23
I truly believe that I always want to I tell new clients that call we want to crawl inside your head. Like the better conversations. I know, they say buyers are liars and all that that know the agent was lazy and didn't ask the right questions, you know.
Umar Hameed 12:41
And it's all about trust. If you got enough trust, people will tell you everything.
Gina Tufano 12:44
Umar Hameed 12:45
Absolutely. And when...
Gina Tufano 12:49
...you're making their life easier, you're solving their problems, you're actually helping them instead of making a sale. It's, I don't know, I did a ride along. You said police officers.
Umar Hameed 12:59
Gina Tufano 13:00
Have you ever done one?
Umar Hameed 13:01
No, they have standards. Go on.
Gina Tufano 13:05
I did a ride along, I'm going to say it was like four years ago. And it blew my mind. They really do. Like they have to look at everything suspiciously. And they I it gave me a newfound respect that how hard that job is, can you imagine if you spent your entire life looking at every situation under a negative light, like what could be wrong here, and...
Umar Hameed 13:30
And part of that is for themselves. To be part of it. A bigger part of it is I've got a partner. And if I let my guard down, they could get hurt. And we do more for others than we do for ourselves. And so yeah, a tough, tough gig, but also passion. So another profession that's really kind of tough, then we'll come back to real estate a minute I promise is nursing, you talk to any nurse and they'll tell you a story like this. I was five years old, my dad had a heart attack, and the doctors were like frickin doctors. But the nurses is where the love was. And I knew when I was five, I'm going to be a nurse. So let me ask you this Gina, is that a leaders job is to help their people let go of their fears and step into a new possibility.
Gina Tufano 14:16
Yes, it's to give them the room to grow. It's to give them the space to the only ceilings we have we create for ourselves even as leaders like we you know whether...
Umar Hameed 14:29
it's your pet Oh absolutely!
Gina Tufano 14:30
Yes. Every time you pass on you built that you put that ceiling in there and I went on a rant two days ago in the office. I'm like mediocracy is bs like this is bullshit. Like we are not...
Umar Hameed 14:43
Gina Tufano 14:43
...they're not average, like you, you know, they were asking if we could do one thing like over here and I'm like, No, no, no, because this we have to finish this over here. You know? Otherwise we bring anything else in, you know where system capacity here. We need to fix this and I'm like mediocracy is bullshit if we're not so serving people at a super high level I don't even want to serve, though. I don't even want to be a part of it. And I want them to embody that. And how can we be better? And how can we help them...
Umar Hameed 15:10
So tell me about. So here's a thought, a lot of times, and I'll tell you what this thought came from, I was doing a repelled down a building to raise money for charity. And I realized, I didn't know these strangers that were putting me at risk. But I knew the director of the nonprofit and I trusted her and I was leveraging her trust to these people. And it got me to think that your job as a leader, sometimes you have more trust in your agent than they have in themselves, and they leverage your trust in them. journey. So tell me about a specific story about one of the agents that you know, had money issues or didn't believe in themselves that you got them to the other side? And how did you do that?
Gina Tufano 15:48
Um, you want a success story that struggle, they will they all struggle when they're new?
Umar Hameed 15:53
Gina Tufano 15:54
Umar Hameed 15:55
you're doing okay. But they don't get to the next level, because they beliefs about themselves that them get to a certain level of performance, and it's your job to get them to go, No, you can do better. And here's how you believe it. Like any one of those stories will be great, because this leader is listening to this kind of going like what is leadership and sometimes you can read in a book, but when they hear Gina's story is like, Oh, my God!
Gina Tufano 16:18
First, if they've already reached a level of success, like they've already you know, they're doing okay, you know, that whole mediocracy middle of the road thing to get them to go to the next they have to let go. Like that's they tend to be control freaks if they get stuck there.
Umar Hameed 16:33
So people cannot see this, because we're doing a video conference is that right now in front of the camera, I'm holding a pen in my fist. And even Arnold Schwarzenegger could not take this pen out of my fist. And the reason I share this metaphor is we hold on to our reality, good or bad is a death grip. So how do you get people to loosen that grip so they can make...
Gina Tufano 16:53
baby steps, it's that one's a really hard one to get. Let go. Um, you know, utilize the TC more, utilize the admin more, let the marketing person do your marketing, you know, and it is baby steps. I can't it's not easy that when I feel like I'm chipping away a giant rock, but once they like that, once you can finally let them let go...
Umar Hameed 17:17
Gina Tufano 17:18
Yeah, once they finally let go, then it's almost like the floodgate. like you'd knock the wall down, like you're just chipping in to finish up and it's cracking and cracking and cracking. And then all of a sudden, they're like, Oh, so I don't have to show 35 houses to this person, you know, like to empower them, like you shouldn't show more than five or six houses period.
Umar Hameed 17:39
If your job if that's the case, it's your customers...
Gina Tufano 17:42
...time. Yeah, you're wasting your time, the clients time, everyone's time. And that's a big one, like have more conversations, when they send you a list of 17 houses they want to see you need to remind them that they didn't want this, that and the other thing and they're not going to like this houses, and you don't want to waste their time you want to value and but once they finally get it, there's just so much freedom. Like they their whole life opens up like that. And that example, they just saved themselves a day a week or whatever, you know, all of a sudden, they have 10 extra hours to play with. It's like...
Umar Hameed 18:18
Joy back in the business. Yeah, definitely. So. So my day job is I'm an expert at changing human behavior. So I figure out what belief inside their mind stops them. So I was working with a realtor who was struggling. And what it turned out to be was an inner conflict. Well, one part of his psyche knew that I can be great at this profession. And as he was talking, he was using one hand to talk like an Italian. Hey, Omar, I can really really make a difference here a strong voice strong gestures, and then his other hand came up. But you know, I don't have a college education and gestures were weak and the voice was weak. As soon as I see that, I know there's an internal conflict. So we resolve the conflict. and a month later, I got a video testimonial from him saying that day that we met, I was ready to quit because I was not making any money. And I've got nine contracts this month. So it didn't teach them a thing about real estate. But we got rid of that internal conflict of I know I can do it but you're not good enough. And you know, part of your job is being that psychiatrists for your team, right?
Gina Tufano 19:18
Yeah. And the buyers and the sellers and...
Umar Hameed 19:21
...and yourself Absolutely.
Gina Tufano 19:22
Now it's a little bit of therapy all day long.
Umar Hameed 19:25
So tell me Gina before we part company today is you started this business in kind of 08 like the best time to come into real estate when everything was crashing. So what's some advice things you know, now that you wish you knew back then? And yeah, tell me is there What advice would you give your younger self? Don't do it? No, not that
Gina Tufano 19:45
I know know it myself. Like beyond my wildest dreams. Um, in 2008 when I started the team, I was so scared. I was just I I'm constantly I'm still scared like They're still, you know, you take the bigger rocks, and except now I can identify the fear. So if there's anything, it's not even real estate related, it's internal, it's just the feeling for a minute and figure out what it is. Because there's a good fear and a bad fear, the bad fear is don't touch the stove, you'll burn your hands. That's like a real thing, you shouldn't be afraid of that. And then good fear means it's good things and you're, you know, get comfortable being uncomfortable, you know, in order to grow, it has to be a little awkward, learn how to walk in the new shoes.
Umar Hameed 20:30
So what's kind of interesting is I noticed this beautiful set of Windows behind you in the other room. Right now, if somebody threw a brick through that window, what would happen is, you would instantly go into fight or flight response, the ultimate fear. And that is your most beautiful, powerful self. Because when that happens, your strength goes up dramatically. Your reaction time is amazing. Your ability to focus on what the challenge is, is laser focused. You're at the height of your human powers in that moment. And what we're trained to do is when fear comes up, I've got this client who wants to buy a $10 million house, I'm only used to $500,000 houses. When that fear comes up, we label it danger, and we shut down biologically. That's the very time to say that that is fear. And that means I'm the strongest, fastest best version of myself. Now, how do I use that to step into this and that is if I could change one thing in the world is getting people to realize that is that fear is our best friend, it can save our lives, but also all the times we mislabeled it and used it to shut down when it was trying to say, Hey, I'm giving you the energy to be your very best. And Gina today was such a joy talking with you deal listeners, you cannot see her but there's always a smile on her face. And she's like beaming with pride on her team and the impact she makes. Thank you so much for being on the program.
Gina Tufano 21:53
Thank you for having me.
Umar Hameed 21:59
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.