Jan Freund is the branch manager of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices PenFed Realty Bel Air, Towson, and Monkton offices. Jan joined the company in April of 2019 after holding positions as a top-producing salesperson and licensed broker for the past 20 years in Maryland and Pennsylvania.
Jan is passionate about her job and loves helping agents reach their full potential. She loves working in these three branches because they “are filled with such motivated, knowledgeable and fun agents.”
Umar Hameed 0:06
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone. This is Umar Hameed, your host and welcome to the no limit 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 0:35
Hello, everyone. Today I’ve got the privilege of sitting down with Jan find she’s a branch manager for Berkshire Hathaway, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, you and send me all that. And the but the main thing is you have you run three branches with 100 agents. That’s got to be a full time job. Welcome to the program.
Jan Freund 0:52
Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. Yes, I am the branch manager for Berkshire Hathaway on services. penfed Realty. That’s a mouthful.
Umar Hameed 1:02
It’s like the new bread movie. He’s got this wrong. Yes, title for the betterment of people in Kazakhstan or something.
Jan Freund 1:07
And we leave home services out most of the time, brilliant. Jen, one of the reasons I wanted to sit down with you is people become good at their craft. And then management goes, you know, what will make you a leader. And that’s a different skill set. Right? So tell me about when you went from just running your own business to what was the next step? Was it a team or was it right into branch manager,
Jan Freund 1:30
It was actually straight and to being a branch manager, it was pretty much always my end goal. From when I started into real estate, and a tragic event took me on the turn of real estate, I needed to do something else. So someone helped me start from nothing
Umar Hameed 1:52
Jan Freund 1:53
And I mean nothing and gave me an opportunity.
Jan Freund 1:56
And who was that person?
Jan Freund 1:58
It was the owner broker of century 20, and Realty and Pennsylvania, in New York, Pennsylvania.
Umar Hameed 2:04
Jan Freund 2:04
And so I always wanted to be that kind of manager and help people the way she helped me grow my business. And I had one lady in my pocket, knew no one in Pennsylvania. So $5.6 million in four months, and then became top 150 to 100 agents, and essentially 21.
Umar Hameed 2:25
Jan Freund 2:25
And she helped me get there. So that’s who I am today, that kind of manager and I want to get back.
Umar Hameed 2:31
Brilliant. But Mike, Jim’s manager at century 21 that helped you? What were some of the key pieces of advice that you gave you that you still hold on to today. And maybe you channel to your agents, that her words come out of your mouth
Jan Freund 2:52
Like that? Absolutely. There was one moment that stands out in my mind. You know, I’m cranking out 30 homes a year. I love the selling part. But I had the back end paperwork and all that minutia stuff. So she wanted a pretty strict shift. And, and so she said, You either get your paperwork together, or you can leave. So here I am a Top Producing agent.
Umar Hameed 3:18
Jan Freund 3:19
And she was okay with that. She’s like, cuz you’re a liability for me at this point. So she said a good agent does it all?
Umar Hameed 3:26
So tell me about when she said that? What was your reaction? Like, was there? Oh my god, it wasn’t like anger, like, what was it?
Jan Freund 3:35
It was an “Oh, my God moment.”
Umar Hameed 3:36
Jan Freund 3:37
Because I loved what I did. I learned who I worked for and with. So it was time to get my act together. And I learned how to do it all.
Umar Hameed 3:45
Jan Freund 3:46
So that was a huge aha moment. And I think the other biggest thing, you know, in the real estate world, up in PA, you go for listings, of course, I wasn’t listening and a buyer’s agent. So if you were going in less than a 7% listing, you had to get her permission. She’s always say, Don’t sell yourself short. So today in this world we live in, I tell my agents Don’t sell yourself short. Sell your value, sell who you are, you know, and that’s what I said people don’t know you, they don’t like you and they don’t trust you. So that’s what you have to do when you go in to win that listing.
Umar Hameed 4:21
Brilliant. So tell me about people that you tell that to that say okay, but have a difficulty executing How do you get them over that barriers? They actually believe that they have value? Because I bet you a lot of people discount their own value. They might see value in another agent. Oh, but Bobby so amazing, or Jan is fantastic. But me and so how do you get people to believe in themselves so they actually charge on value. And it’s not just an intellectual thing. They actually believe it in their heart.
Jan Freund 4:48
Well, over the last 18 months that I’ve been here, I have probably brought on about 10 new agents about that and I have two that have done nothing,
Umar Hameed 5:03
Jan Freund 5:03
But all other eight of them have at least three to five or more transactions underneath their belt. So I think what I’ve done is to help them to believe in themselves. And, you know, it just takes time. And it’s, you know, showing up for trainings, you know, giving big accolades when they do something great. And just reminding them that they’re not in this alone, that they have me and a whole team and my office behind them. And it’s just constantly coaching, reminding, helping them believe in herself. POTUS, positive motivation, all of those things,
Umar Hameed 5:15
It’s ongoing thing.
Jan Freund 5:41
It’s a, it has to be a day to day, ongoing. And, and letting them know how important they are to me and our company. You know, just reaching out, how are things going, you know, I saw you posted, you were out this weekend with your husband, and you’re having dinner, it’s always not all about real estate. It’s, it’s, you know, to keep good agents here with you is just helping them believe in themselves, and how important they are to the company and to myself.
Umar Hameed 6:09
So tell me about someone that you were leading, or someone you worked with a while ago, that went from the need to having that constant encouragement to where they internalized it, and it was just like, so not ego, but just stepping into Yeah, I am pretty amazing. And that way, the outside motivation is nice, but they don’t need it. It’s just an intrinsic kind of thing. They know they value. So tell me about someone that you saw that transformation where they went from needing it to go in the right direction to knowing it.
Jan Freund 6:37
I finally I do have an agent that has happened. Fortunately, in her corporate world downsized and she lost her job. It’s like why I want to do real estate. So lovely woman. She about four months, and she’s like, I just don’t have anything yet. Oh, my gosh, she went got a part time job. I’m like, don’t do it. Just stay. I’m telling you. So she has evolved. Now. She’s been with me a year, she has evolved. She got it. Finally one day, it just clicked. And she now has six transactions underneath her belts, and a six month period.
Umar Hameed 7:15
So backtrack to rant about where she got it to when she got it. What did you notice in her demeanor that you would? She’s got it?
Jan Freund 7:26
Well, a few talks Where? You’re right, yeah, you’re right. I just need to do this. And I need to do that. So it was it was several meetings. And then there was just one aha moment. She had a transaction. It was a difficult transaction. She made it through. But I didn’t at that point. I didn’t, I don’t .hands. II get it.
Umar Hameed 7:53
You’re not supposed to…
Jan Freund 7:54
Right! Go with you can’t. But I said I’m not gonna do it for you. I’m gonna coach you. But you need to fly.
Umar Hameed 8:03
Right? I’m pushing out in the nest.
Jan Freund 8:05
Exactly. It’s kind of like when your kids, you’re pushing them out the door. I do the same thing with agents. And it was an aha moment. And she’s like, I’m glad you forced me. I’m glad you made me do this. Because now, you know, she’s writing contracts on our own. She doesn’t call me. You know, it’s like, it was amazing. That transformation, you know, was helping a lot. And then I just kind of cut the tie. But coached.
Umar Hameed 8:30
Jan Freund 8:31
And then she saw it.
Umar Hameed 8:32
And what’s really interesting is I don’t know this person, but I wouldn’t be surprised during that time is like, I can’t believe that stupid Jan. She’s supposed to help me, ah, not helping me. And then later on going thank you for doing that. Because going through it is what we come up against our comfort zone. And that’s a scary place for everybody.
Jan Freund 8:49
Umar Hameed 8:50
One of the things that kind of frustrating as a leader is when you have a rep that has so much potential, they just can’t see it. Can you tell me about one of those experiences? pick a random name. So we don’t know who this person is? We talked about him a little earlier on
Jan Freund 9:05
Umar Hameed 9:06
And tell us the story about him. But you’ve seen the potential in him not seeing him in himself.
Jan Freund 9:12
Right? So about five years ago, someone came across in my life named Chris or use the name Chris. Lots of potential, saw the potential given tons of support by multiple people and you know, struggles in their life seeing what we see. And we you know, I did tons of coaching, telling her value and how she could succeed and give her some coaching because she had some little rough points that we needed to correct. Sometimes people when they start in the real estate business, they’re very eager and they become very, they come overpowering to people and you don’t have to do that. Old wise manager Oh Mind someone else that’s very important in my career. He told me God gave you two ears and one mouth, you assume more than you speak. And once I got that, let me tell you, it’s amazing. It changed everything in my life because I am a southern girl born and raised. And a lot of people think Southern women are weak, but we’re not. We’re very strong women were a very boisterous woman. And so I had to learn that skill. And so you know, with some coaching, and she just couldn’t get it, she just still with tons of shame, get it and value she just couldn’t get it.
Umar Hameed 10:39
There’s no joke in the psychiatric world. How many shrinks? Does it take to change a light bulb? Only one, but the bulb has to want to change.
Jan Freund 10:46
Umar Hameed 10:47
So that’s one of the things is, you know, how do how do you recruit people? Because when you look at me on my resume, much prettier than I am in person, let me tell you. So how do you go from the initial meetings where you know, everyone’s on their best dating behavior to really kind of getting getting a sense of that’s and be a rock star? Oh, this person says all the right things, but maybe they’re not the right fit. How do you master that? Like, what are you thinking? How do you detect the real McCoy from a poser?
Jan Freund 11:14
Well, it’s experience over the years, have I made some mistakes? Absolutely. Um, I think when I’m recruiting people, we just don’t recruit everybody here at Berkshire and we’re looking for really the right fit in our office were very family oriented office, care about our agents, I want to know about what their kids are doing, I want to be able to converse with them. So when I’m sitting in an interview, I don’t know a little bit, I don’t want to know all about you know, people can go sell $20 million worth of real estate, but I want to know, really, who like versus you that person is. So we spend a lot of time figuring out, you know, what are you doing for fun, you know, what’s important to you? What are you know, what values this and that. And that’s really important. And I think that’s what in this real estate world, because, like you say, You people can, you know, buffalo you and an interview, and they look great, but we just really spend time diving in? And I don’t know, and I think it’s become an art for me.
Umar Hameed 12:23
So do you do a bunch of personality tests? Or is that? So that’s our friends at Keller Williams, they do a lot of testing. And if the boxer shorts to be in,
Jan Freund 12:32
I went there and scabbard that out once.
Umar Hameed 12:35
And it’s different, you know, people love it there. And people love it here. So you have three branches that you run. It’s the same old you in all three branches. But there’s different agents in those branches. So I suspect there’s a different vibe in each one of the branches Very much so. So walk me through what’s the difference in culture between the branches sitting in and Lutherville. And the other two that you run?
Jan Freund 12:55
Culture is pretty much the same across the board?
Umar Hameed 12:58
How would you describe the culture?
Jan Freund 13:00
The culture here is, is family oriented? care about our agents?
Umar Hameed 13:07
So let me stop you there for a minute. Because any brokerage that I go to, we care about our agents, but some people actually do it versus not. So what do you do? How do you make that real? And not just a something written on the wall?
Jan Freund 13:20
How I make that real? I answer my phone, when they call, I pick up the phone, it’s not five to eight hours later, it might be an hour later. But I answer my phone seven days a week. Text, you know, they know that if they need me, and it’s a fire and I might be in a meeting. You not on one may I’m sipping on a meeting, and I’m going to be there for you. And I think from an agent from when I was an agent, I think that was what was important to me. Because if I’m calling my manager, I needed my manager. Yeah, I needed to bounce something. And I think me just being there, in case is huge for them. Because there are not any other not doubting any other brokerage or managers. But there are just managers that you might hear from them. Eight hours later, well, the fire is gone.
Umar Hameed 14:09
My sister works for a high end appliance store in Canada and their manager sits in his office with the door closed all day long, and the floor is going nuts. He could come out and help and it’s like, Nope, I’m just hiding behind my wall and being you know, totally offhand. So Jan, you have a 100 agents, this company a couple of agents that could take over your job. Maybe?
Jan Freund 14:32
Umar Hameed 14:33
Ah, if you were thinking about those two people don’t name names. Do you have those two people in mind?
Jan Freund 14:38
Umar Hameed 14:39
So Person A, what’s missing out of their skill set or attitude that you’d need to help them gain that so they could step in? And then the same question for person being like, how would you help them learn that scale or that knowledge for Person A, so they can actually be ready to take your spot
Jan Freund 15:02
Person A would have to learn to step back. Not be because sometimes in our real estate world, it can be pretty emotional when things are going wrong. Emotions are running high. And with my experience, I’ve learned to step back, because the ages want an answer right then, but I’m not they know when I came here, you’re not going to get an answer from the instant. So they would have to learn to take a step back, pull all your information together, and learn to say, you know what, let me go, I’ve got the information, let me go put all this together, give me a half an hour, and I will call you back
Umar Hameed 15:43
Just like a judge that they don’t message and they say, Okay, I’m gonna, I’ll get back to you.
Jan Freund 15:47
Mm hmm. So that person would have to learn to do that.
Umar Hameed 15:50
So how? Because that’s easy to say, Okay, that makes sense, but incredibly difficult for them to do. So how would you go about building that skill set up in them, because holding back, not wanting to just jump right in is such a difficult thing to do,
Jan Freund 16:06
And not get tied up in the emotion…
Umar Hameed 16:07
Jan Freund 16:08
…at the moment. So it’s a skill set that is learned over time. And patience is the biggest thing. So I would sit down and coach them to one, don’t get tied up in the emotion that’s hard not to do. And you’re going to have to I’m a big person have learned the art of mindfulness. And been taught that and study that. So I think staying in the moment, I tell my agents all the time, stay in the moment. Don’t get out and don’t get in the past. Don’t worry, stay right here. And I think coaching that person to stay in the moment. Brave.
Umar Hameed 16:08
Jan Freund 16:19
…take a step back, learn the patience. And then, but I mean, that’s the biggest thing that has helped me is to say in the moment
Umar Hameed 16:55
…and person B, what’s the skill they need to learn? And how would you go about instilling it and them?
Jan Freund 17:02
that person just would want to love on everybody. So again, if sometimes you have to be a little hard knows where things and, like, make, and just, she would have to toughen up or that have a little bit harder outer skin…
Umar Hameed 17:21
Right. Makes sense.
Jan Freund 17:23
And that’s hard sometimes, for someone to do.
Umar Hameed 17:27
So I do a lot of work with a lot of people. And you’d be surprised how many leaders CEOs have this issue, that they know exactly what to do, but they have a need to be liked. And the need to be liked, gets them to let projects that should be killed immediately run on for another six months for not fire someone that needs firing? So yeah, that’s a challenging thing to do. Jen, what’s your growth? What are you looking to? Because you could just coast here for a long time to do a phenomenal job. But what’s the next growth thing for you? What are you learning? What are you looking to do next? world domination like what’s going on?
Jan Freund 18:05
Now? It’s hard, right? Because I’ve been here 18 months. So I have I have managed several offices before. We are growing these offices, these are a couple of my offices needed a lot of help. So we have had a lot of growth. So I’m still in the process of growing these offices, but my in game, if growth wise, I would want to do something more. I don’t like the word corporate because we’re not corporate, I will use home office doing something more on a higher manager level…
Umar Hameed 18:44
Do you have a bigger impact?
Jan Freund 18:45
Umar Hameed 18:46
Do you have a bigger impact?
Jan Freund 18:47
Yes, yes. Like I am just becoming the Pennsylvania broker of record, the CEO of our company is getting ready to hand that down to me. So that’s a very important job. I’ve never been a broker of record. So that was always a goal…
Umar Hameed 19:01
Although you have had a record about that.
Jan Freund 19:04
So, but he’s ready to hand over the reins, as I’ve encouraged more of my agents become Pennsylvania licensed across the company. So that was a goal that I’m getting ready to fulfill. But something more on the home office level
Umar Hameed 19:20
would be nice.
Jan Freund 19:21
It’d be nice somewhere to end my career there.
Umar Hameed 19:24
Jan, you’re obviously a very accomplished person. But we still have those barriers, those fears that we need to overcome. So what does someone like you What’s the fear you want to overcome? So you could be awesomer? Um, well,
Umar Hameed 19:37
Jan Freund 19:39
The biggest thing for me is um, you know, I struggle he said something you decide that you want to be liked. If you would have said that to me, four years ago, that was a struggle of mine, right? I want it I want an array like me, but through a lot of I have a life coach…
Umar Hameed 19:59
Jan Freund 20:00
…through therapy, life coaching, I’ve done, I’ve handled that. And you know, it’s okay if you don’t like me. And that was a huge thing to overcome. So I would suggest anybody that’s struggling in that area. But I think that’s something I work on every day. Especially, you know, when I first came here, I did have to let someone go, that’s never a pleasant, especially when you’re the new kid on the block. So I was a brand new manager three months in, and I’m having to let someone go. So I think from what I struggle a little bit is still and that I’m still moving in that direction of it’s okay for people like, and I think that has made me grow in my position. But every day, I educate myself more strive to be a better person. And I think if I can do that, I am more of an asset to my agents in the end.
Umar Hameed 20:58
Brilliant, just before we part company, is there a mind hack or productivity tip or a leadership tip that you’d like to share with our listeners?
Jan Freund 21:06
Um…I… Well, I sent out a positive message every morning to my agents, and I searched and I do you know, the biggest thing that I can say is, thing, my biggest thing I tell agents, you know, if yesterday you had a bad day, or you know, something didn’t go, right. Like, as a real estate agent, you got to get up the next morning, you got to look at yourself in the mirror and say, You like who you are, and you’re going to go out and you’re going to be the best person that you can be today. And that’s the best advice I can give any value because our world is so up and down. We know we lose deals. We’re hard on ourselves. We win big deals and our our profession is very high and low sometimes…
Umar Hameed 21:56
Jan Freund 21:57
…so I think you just have to put your pull up your bootstraps The next morning, get up. You know, best thing you can do is talk to yourself in the mirror and just be the best person you can be that day and go out get it.
Umar Hameed 22:09
Gosh, darn, I love myself.
Jan Freund 22:11
Umar Hameed 22:12
Jan. Thanks so much for sitting down with me.
Jan Freund 22:12
Yeah, thank you. This is a great opportunity.
Umar Hameed 22:21
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