October 2

Michael Schiff, CEO at The Schiff Home of Keller Williams Legacy


Michael received his Bachelors Degree in Business from the University of Florida. He has since ventured back to his hometown of Baltimore, MD and began his Real Estate career in 2004. He has been responsible for over 350 million dollars of residential sales in the past 11 years and has extensive knowledge and experience with Designing, renovating & re-developing homes throughout the Baltimore Metropolitan Area. 

Michael takes great pride in his client relationships and is always willing to go the extra mile to provide exceptional service and care. He is extremely responsive to his clients' needs through instant email communication and automated emails of new listing notifications. Michael is a Live Baltimore Preferred Realtor and 2007 Graduate from the GBBR Leadership Academy. As a young professional, Michael brings his high energy, enthusiasm, and commitment to all aspects of the business.

Podcast Highlights:

  • Build and retain strong relationships, this will accelerate your growth
  • Find a model that is successful and follow it. don't reinvent the wheel
  • Be authentic, this is where you are at your most powerful

Contact Michael:

[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 0:31
Today, I'm privileged to have Michael Schiff here with me, Michael, why don't you tell us who you are and what you do in 90 seconds.

Michael Schiff 0:37
You got it? Sounds good. Umar, it's pleasure to be here. So yep, my name is Michael Schiff. I'm a real estate agent with Keller Williams legacy here in Pikesville, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore, and I'm a real estate agent. However, I built a team over the past 567 years in the Baltimore metro area, we have sold over 2500 homes, wow, and do about $75 million of sales volume a year. I'm also a real estate investor, and have done over 25 flips. I own 20 rental properties, and currently a investor in a title company. In addition to staging business, what do we need? When did we meet? That was probably about a year or so ago, maybe 18 months ago, at the accelerant roundtable lunch? That's it? Yep, Oregon grill place. And we're having lunch. And I remember hearing your name and seeing your name before. But that was our first real introduction, face to face.

Umar Hameed 1:33
Brilliant. And one of the nice things was Amy and I hadn't seen each other for a long time. And it was just a reunion there. Yep. And so tell me today, we wanted to get the wisdom outside of your head to the listeners so they can get better, stronger, faster. When did you start in real estate.

Michael Schiff 1:50
So I got started in real estate in 2004, the end of 2004, beginning of 2005. It was an amazing time to get started in real estate. Yep. And for me, my journey was graduated University of Florida in 2004. Go Gators, and worked for about three, four months over that summer before making the decision to get into real estate. And prior to that I was on a path of going to law school and took the year off to to submit applications to law school. I took my LSAT, the previous year, my senior year of college, and I kind of stumbled upon real estate. It wasn't what I was going to college for initially. But the market was really hot. And I was looking for something that to kind of get me through that year off. And I found real estate October of 2004.

Umar Hameed 2:40
And how old were you then?

Michael Schiff 2:41
So I was 22.

Umar Hameed 2:42
So that's young coming into the industry? Yep. How was that an advantage? And how was that detriment?

Michael Schiff 2:48
Well, I was I was hungry to get in the workforce. And you got to remember, like, in 2004, there was before the recession, and graduating college, I had this like this entitlement, I guess I fall in that millennial class. So I had this entitlement of I should be making $50,000, you know, right out of a four year accredited university. And, and I was willing to work for it, I was, you know, willing to work hard. So when I got into real estate, it was it was an opportunity with no ceiling. Right, there was no sailing, I could work as hard as I wanted to work. And I had control over how much income I can earn. The challenge was getting retail buyers and sellers, to trust me and my mind this, you know, juvenile delinquent, let's say from home, that was in my mind that I needed to break through a 22 year old kid to trust him with one of their biggest purchases and investments of their lives.

Umar Hameed 3:49

Michael Schiff 3:49

Umar Hameed 3:50
And how much of that was real and how much was that of your own making.

Michael Schiff 3:54
At the time, it seemed 100% real, like I had this story in my head. And later to come find out. It was just that it was just a story in my head. And it took me some time to overcome that. And through my journey, the initial parts, I gravitated to working with investors, because investors were it was more black and white less emotion if I was able to identify a great deal and bring them to purchase the numbers, just the numbers, right? So here's what you can buy it for. Here's how much work it approximately needs, here's what it could sell for. And this is a potential profit. I always like the numbers part of it. And so I was able to build some credibility and have relationships with with investors. And as I did that, that also helped me overcome that that the challenge of that blockage of working with traditional sellers and buyers/

Umar Hameed 4:40
NAT don't lie, baby.

Michael Schiff 4:42
That's right.

Umar Hameed 4:43
So do you still have relationships with any of those investors?

Michael Schiff 4:46
I do. I do to this day. Yep.

Umar Hameed 4:49
So all the relationships that we have, if you nurture them serve you for a lifetime.

Michael Schiff 4:54
Absolutely. Absolutely. And I and that that it's not as easy said and as As I'm sitting here, sharing this, I'm just thinking about the learning lessons that I had along the way of, now I, I truly do value, the importance of those relationships. And there's a period of time in my business where I was in this growth mode. And there was so much going on, and I took my eye off the ball, if you will, of these key relationships. And, you know, through that process, I learned the hard way of relationships that were working out really well, that that I don't have right now. And, and, and through that process, learned the importance of savoring the other relationships. So in business and relationships are so key. And so if I'm sharing just from an experience standpoint, when you have those great relationships invest those times into those relationships, it pays dividends back. And it's really important, and I wish somebody would have just kicked me in the butt a little bit earlier. So I could have done a better job with that even a better job than I did.

Umar Hameed 5:54
The irony is had somebody kicked you in the butt back, then you would have gone like, leave me alone. I know what I'm doing. And that is like the beauty of learning as we go.

Michael Schiff 6:03

Umar Hameed 6:03
So when did you go from solo operator? Like what prompted you to say I need to build a team? Sure.

Michael Schiff 6:09
So it was about 2010 2011. So about seven years into the business, I picked my head up and realize that I was taking on way too much. We actually had a significant event that happened to me during that time. This is so post recession as the economy is attempting to rebuild. And the government is facilitating that, through grants and programs out there. And they made these $7,500.08 $1,000 grants available to first time homebuyers. It was in 2010 that I was a single agent, I had 16 pending transactions going on at once. And very little systems at that time, a lot of was in my head or maybe an Excel spreadsheet. And I got to the point where I was completely double booked for my appointments. So much going on. I started having heart palpitations and was rushed to the ER, in the middle of the day.

Umar Hameed 7:05

Michael Schiff 7:05
Yeah. So we're talking about 28-29 years old. And with heart palpitations of like stress, self induced stress often do stress. And that's exactly what they said at the ER and they said I needed to stop working. And when I said I have a strong work ethic, I knew more I was working from seven in the morning to about two in the morning.

Umar Hameed 7:28

Michael Schiff 7:29
Yeah. So and I was doing everything myself with very little little leverage at that time.

Umar Hameed 7:34
So I'm gonna backtrack a little bit. So you're a young buck, you're doing exceptionally well, then the recession hits. I know you Jewish, but it's a come to Jesus moment. So I'm the Moses, come to Moses. There you go. What was that? Like? Like? How did you mentally handle that? Transition?

Michael Schiff 7:51

Umar Hameed 7:52
Was it Panic was there it's everything's okay. What was that like?

Michael Schiff 7:55
Yeah, so during that time, I went through a transition in the brokerage that I was working at before, and I knew it was time to really hone my professional skills. So it was in 2007. And I can almost remember the day Exactly. During that time deals were falling apart at the table. We were doing a settlement expecting deals to be funded and only to find out when the title attorney walk back in the room and say, I'm sorry about the the banks maths change, yeah, has changed the banks not sending the wire, they actually filed for bankruptcy. So it was during those times where I realized that if I was going to make it, I was going to have to really hone my skills, and I affiliated with a new brokerage, and I clung on to two mentors, Michael yurman, and Mark Whitman, that our real estate agent staples in the Baltimore area, and really taught me the importance of professionalism and marketing properties and presentation nice Yep, so that was the time where I realized that you know, anybody in 2005 could sell a house you put up you know, sign in the yard, you had seven offers over list price, and you look like a hero come 2000 789 10 It wasn't like that. So it was really getting more purposeful with my with my skills, and really learning my craft.

Umar Hameed 9:14
So just to kind of show you my pain during the recession. My niece had sold her house in Berlin, Maryland, had purchased a house in PA they were in the moving truck driving to move in to do the closing. Yep. And they got stopped and they ended up moving to our house with husband wife three kids two dogs. Oh, wow. Yep. For about three months, which was perfectly fine, but it was just like wow, you're like between houses and you get side rails?

Michael Schiff 9:43
Yeah, unfortunately there's many stories like that.

Umar Hameed 9:45
But what's brilliant is every single one of us survived so when we think there's the end of the world actually no, do not be the guy on the corner ringing a bell saying the world's gonna end because it does not. We survive. We move on. No Chicken Little you decided that you need to build a team? What did that look like? And how many attempts does did it take? Yeah, what were the successes? And what were the learning lessons?

Michael Schiff 10:09
Yeah, so I'm building a team. My, my eyes got open to that. I mean, before when I was attempting to leverage in my business, it was with photography, hiring an outside photographer, or, or somebody that can help me with lockboxes and stuff like that. But it wasn't the administrative task or, you know, buyer's agents and, and so on. I attended a conference out in California in Anaheim, California was a Keller Williams family reunion, which is KW annual conference that they host and attended that in 2011. And they have these mega agents on stage, very similar to, to me and you sharing about their businesses. You know, they weren't wearing capes or anything like that they were normal, normal folks that, you know,

Umar Hameed 10:57
Figured it out.

Michael Schiff 10:58
yeah, figured it out, they followed a model. So they kept on speaking of this model of building a real estate team, Gary Keller wrote a book called, which is the founder of Keller Williams, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, and we call it the Red Book, and in there as a, as a system and model for building a real estate team more, you know, simple, not easy, you know, it spells it out for you, but then following it and implementing it is, is where the challenge lays, because you're dealing with something called humans.

Umar Hameed 11:27

Michael Schiff 11:27
Right. So it was it was back then when I was sitting in that chair at the conference and actually invited my wife out to attend the conference with me it was over her birthday weekend, you'll get a kick out of this because you know, Jen,

Umar Hameed 11:39

Michael Schiff 11:39
And so she was in sales at the time herself, working from home in her pajamas, exceeding her quotas, making, you know, good money a year show off. You're right. And she sees me working 15 1617 hour days and soccer, right. And I somehow convinced her to attend this conference out and Anaheim family reunion. It was her birthday weekend. And the way I was able to convince her was by inviting her to go to Laguna Beach for her birthday, or not even inviting, like persuading her and then telling her we're gonna do this awesome birthday dinner for her at Laguna Beach. And she, you know, you can bribe her with a nice vacation and nice dinner. So that worked out and she's sitting there at the conference, I swear, it's probably the first five or 10 minutes in the conference. She's like, nudging me with her elbow, and I'm nudging her back. And we looked at each other. And we said, we got to do this, like, we got to do this, like this was the first time we got this information. I wish we were introduced to it earlier, you know, but it is what it is. And my my message is that if there's a model within your business, try to find out what that is, and and who is doing it and follow it sooner rather than later. But seven years ago, I had to go through the growing pains. And we followed the model and or we got introduced to it. And then the rest is implementation from there.

Umar Hameed 12:56
Right. So talk to me about some of the as you're growing your team, some of the hires, you did know me about the ones that worked out really well. And change the name. So tell me about some of the ones that you screwed up and you hired people that weren't the right fit?

Michael Schiff 13:11
Yes. So you know, going into this didn't have experience with managing or leading other people. And this was a skill that I was went to military school prior to Mercy Florida. No, no, that Yep. So my, my experience with leadership was in a very militant way, yes. It was like very demerits. If you didn't do what you're supposed to do, drop and give me 20. And...

Umar Hameed 13:38
I say jump, you say how high.

Michael Schiff 13:40
That's right. And in military school actually rose through the ranks, you can see that was the battalion commander and pointing at a coffee mug in my office here,

Umar Hameed 13:49
Very nice.

Michael Schiff 13:49
Yup. So you can see that and, you know, it gave me a little sandbox to play with my my leadership and it came at a ranking system and it was kind of it had its pros and also cons. So it was like learning other people. And what I learned was I needed to figure out like what worked for me and I was trying to mirror and match other people's leadership styles and not being myself.

Umar Hameed 14:16
Being authentic is so critically [garbled]

Michael Schiff 14:19
Yeah, and I learned that when I was attempting to mimic somebody else's leadership's I'll give you an example entourage was on HBO at the time if you

Umar Hameed 14:29
Remember that show.

Michael Schiff 14:30
And Ari Gold was the,

Umar Hameed 14:32

Michael Schiff 14:34
Was a turtle I thought it was Ari Gold.

Umar Hameed 14:37

Michael Schiff 14:37
So are you know portrayed this this high profile

Umar Hameed 14:41
Super agent.

Michael Schiff 14:42
Super agent, right and he was very you know aggressive with his assistant loading meaning to write with Lloyd and and and the way he did certain business and but in on the show, he was portrayed as this like, you know, really cool character now, for a period of time. I thought like, I'm going to be the Ari Gold of my team in my office nice in demean to get what I want. And wow, did that not work out for me. So that's where I learned, like really being myself came into came into play. And it didn't work to try to portray an RA goal type character that wasn't fitting to me. And it was through different courses I had to.

Umar Hameed 15:23
And just let me stop you there for a second. What's kind of interesting is for Ari Gold. Yeah, he was being authentic to himself. Mm hmm.

Michael Schiff 15:31
That was probably our goal, right?

Umar Hameed 15:32
That was Ari Gold and he was authentic. And you could tell that there was a foundation of caring, even though he was like a complete dick. But you can kind of sense that there. And what you learned, which I think a lot of us need to learn is that I'm not Ari Gold. But if I can be myself and be authentic, that's where the power is.

Michael Schiff 15:52
Right? Right. That's it. So I had to learn more about that I learned about who I really am inside and go through some some exercises to figure that out. Whether that was Strength Finders, personality and behavioral analysis, and really figure out my leadership style. So and how I can work well with others and like through that process, would have open expectation conversations with the new hire, that I was brought in on what my expectations were for them, what their expectations could be for me, how I win with them, and how they win with me. And when we were, you know, when, when you when you're able to be transparent and kind of set that stage it made for better hires than not when I would skip the process. And that sometimes would happen, hiring out in need and despair to fill a position, because I might have been doing it at the time and wanted to find somebody and hired a lot of friends, right, or family or people that I knew, because we were cool. And I thought they could certainly do the job. I learned a lot of lessons in that as well.

Umar Hameed 16:58
There's company in town that will not be named. But I was talking to a VP and it was saying the owner hires a lot of friends to do stuff, and it never ever works out well. And they're like outside consultants. And it's just like.

Michael Schiff 17:09
It's difficult to hold them accountable. It's...

Umar Hameed 17:11
And to see clearly.

Michael Schiff 17:12

Umar Hameed 17:13
As well.

Michael Schiff 17:13
Exactly. Right. So what I did have, with Jen coming on board and working with me, she ran more of the operations, and she was able to create that space between me and that friend, but I would always refer a friend or buddy to Genda to take through the process. And wonder, you know, and beg her to hire them. Right? Yeah, give them a chance, give them an opportunity type thing. And it you know, I if it was up to me, they would have been hired. And it was probably for the better that the ones that didn't make it through,

Umar Hameed 17:41

Michael Schiff 17:41
Didn't. Right.

Umar Hameed 17:44
Your team A is going through a transition right now. You went from a larger team to smaller now you're building up again? What's your highest wish for this transition? Like what do you need to get right? Because you're much more savvy, you've got the bruises to prove you've learned a lot. So how is your thought process changed as you rebuild the team?

Michael Schiff 18:06
So earlier this year, we went for a for more of a growth model of bringing on five agents a month and five new agents a month. So you know, to the point of the first quarter of the year, we're at 24 agents on the team. And we grew so fast. And when as you as we were growing, we kind of went from team to group.

Umar Hameed 18:26

Michael Schiff 18:27
Right. So we lost that the culture of the team, we lost that cohesiveness and we started adding new personalities, and it takes time to build back up. So growth is great. And I want to encourage growth because I've also seen what happens when you don't grow. And if you're a three person team and one person.

Umar Hameed 18:27
Are you growing or shrinking.

Michael Schiff 18:45

Umar Hameed 18:46
There is no status quo,

Michael Schiff 18:47
Right. There's no status quo in the middle. When you're a three person team and one person walks out the door for whatever reason, relocates gets pissed off new opportunity, a 30 year business, especially knocks out the door, right. So the purpose of growth is to kind of hedge, you know, from that, and also to provide opportunity when your mission and vision is clear enough and big enough, it will provide other opportunity for other people and then to be able to go execute on that. But with this rapid growth and our inability to keep up with it to go back from group to team and keep that culture. You know, folks were kind of falling through the cracks. There was we were spread too thin with with business. We didn't have the business enough business to support the folks there and the folks that were coming in.

Umar Hameed 19:35
And getting leads for that many people...

Michael Schiff 19:37

Umar Hameed 19:37
...is it was challenging task.

Michael Schiff 19:39
Yep. So then you have folks that are not you know, hitting their goals so that's not a good feeling. And you know, people around you are losing and like that this past year was like an eye opener is like how can I feel like I'm winning if everybody around me? More or less? It's not it's not right. And so then I you know, the growth For me is like, Let's Get everybody who's here winning who should be here and we get it, there's folks that come in and out of the organization that that may not be a good fit, and they're just not going to win with you. Or some maybe it is someone else's a different environment. But you know, those that should be winning, that are showing up that are doing the activities, let's get them to a point where they are winning. And let's, you know, continue to add growth from there. So we've we've slowed down some on adding five new team members a month to adding one new team member a month when we're ready for that growth to happen.

Umar Hameed 20:33

Michael Schiff 20:33

Umar Hameed 20:34
So Michael, if you were talking to agents that are doing 8 million $10 million a year that are looking to start building a team, maybe they have an assistant now, but they're looking to bring on a team? What would be the three pieces of advice you'd give them to be more successful at it or increase their likelihood of success?

Michael Schiff 20:53
Absolutely. So the first piece would be to follow model. And I'm going to talk about the Keller Williams model. And the cool thing is, is that you actually don't need to be a part of Keller Williams to follow the model to use it. So I feel like I could share that to all your listeners out there. When it in regards to real estate, obviously, if you are with the Keller Williams organization and an office,

Umar Hameed 21:13
Stop dicking around [garbled]

Michael Schiff 21:15
Right, right, right, exactly, you know, you'll there'll be additional accountability there. The second thing is to hire a coach. It's something we haven't talked about. Part of my process, I've had four or five different coaches along the way, I had the pleasure of coaching with you as well. And, you know, early on that coaching relationship that I formed in 2011, brought the accountability into my world that I needed in the absence of that, I'm up left up to my own devices. And then third piece, specifically for an individual between eight and $10 million, is knowing the right people to hire first. And it is a lot of times we want to go out and get a buyer's agent, because we have more leads than we can think of. So we think if we go out and get a buyer's agent first, that's going to solve our problems, because we can focus on sellers and we can give our leads to a buyer buyer's agent, that's actually not the case, the first hire that we want to make as an executive assistant, and we want to actually take a stand for that hire. And that hire should be the person that could ultimately run our world and run the organization. Because if we hire the right executive assistant, we may not need to make another hire after that. If we do right on the executive assistant position, they'll go out and they'll hire the transaction coordinator. They'll go out and hire the buyer's agents, and so on and so forth. So it's, you know, taking a stand for them.

Umar Hameed 22:33
Actually, it sounds counterintuitive, but it makes perfect sense.

Michael Schiff 22:37

Umar Hameed 22:37
And most people would be seduced by a sexier hire and not hiring the right person. That's could be the backbone of the organization.

Michael Schiff 22:44
Sure. Yeah. It's it's moving too fast, or both leaning into the process. And when I say leaning in, you're in the interview, and they can solve a need and you have that need, and they sound really good and resume looks really good. And you're like, Alright, you're hired, versus taking your time, go out to dinner with them, you know, go out to dinner with them and their spouse and really get to know them. on a deep level, ask yourself a question. Like if you were to get stuck in an elevator with them for for, you know, an hour could you bear, right, right, like those type of things. So you're going to be spending a lot of time with that person.

Umar Hameed 23:16
Brilliant. Michael, thanks so much for sitting down with me.

Michael Schiff 23:19
Awesome. You got it. Thank you anytime.

Umar Hameed 23:26
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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