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First Person

How Sam DeBianchi Finds Balance And Grows Her Real Estate Business

“Everyone places such an emphasis on technology and technology and technology. And, technology is great, but, at the end of the day, even the best of technology cannot take away from personal relationships.” Samantha DeBianchi, Real Estate Advisor and Founder of DeBianchi Real Estate

Here are a few highlights:

  • Look for opportunities to expand your real estate business.
  • How 20 minutes of focus will set you apart from your competition.
  • How finding balance in your personal life can grow your bottom line.

Rather read? Check out the transcript below.

Mike Schneider: Welcome to another episode of First Person, uh, where we talk about the intersection of relationships and business, particularly in real estate. And I'm honored today to have Sam DeBianchi who requires almost no introduction. She owns a brokerage. You've probably seen her on TV, uh, talking about real estate. But, thanks for being on.

Sam DeBianchi: Yeah, thanks for having me.

Mike Schneider: Well, today we're just gonna talk about relationships. You've built, uh, a lot of different things in real estate. So, I like to start with rewinding all the way back. Our company's called First. How did you First get into real estate, and why?

Sam DeBianchi: So, I got into real estate-- actually, I, I knew I wanted to be in real estate. I did not necessarily want to be a realtor.

Mike Schneider: Mmhmm.

Sam DeBianchi: And, my parents always used to tell me when I was younger, when they had realtors, that they were vultures and snakes and con artists. And, so it really--

Mike Schneider: That was your aspiration.

Sam DeBianchi: Yeah. So it really didn't put a, you know-- it put a bit of a dapper on it. But they also said, "You'd be really great at it." And, I don't know how to take that. But, I did decide after taking the real estate exam four times because, despite what people say, it is not an easy test, or at least in Florida, um I finally passed, got my license, started, uh, tried for about six months, made no money, quit, and then decided to go full force again. And, um, and here we are. And, you know, I always loved real estate. I didn't necessarily know I wanted to be a realtor. But I think, as long as you get into the business for the right reasons and the reasons of how you want to grow in your craft, I think you can really make real estate whatever you want. And that's really what I've personally been able to do.

Mike Schneider: That's awesome. And when you say, "Here we are today," what is your craft today? What, what are you doing now?

Sam DeBianchi: Sure. So, obviously I have my own clients. I also have my own brokerage.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Sam DeBianchi: And then I also have my own real estate portfolio. So, I currently own seven homes. I'm about to close on my eighth home. And I've made a whole little niche out of that. Um, owning these homes, Airbnb-ing, and kind of making money from that. So, you know, let's say I sell you a home, I make that commission. I'm not just going and spending it on, you know, clothes or whatever it is. I'm reinvesting it into my own industry, something that I know--

Mike Schneider: Yep.

Sam DeBianchi: --and I know how it makes me money. And it's a beautiful thing. And on top of that, obviously, I also, you know, I speak about it on television and I've showcased and am currently showcasing what I'm doing with my personal homes on my blog.

Mike Schneider: That's great.

Sam DeBianchi: On YouTube.

Mike Schneider: On YouTube. Check out her vlog on YouTube. Uh, well tell us a little bit about how relationships play into how your business is built.

Sam DeBianchi: Sure. I think that, you know, everyone places such an emphasis on technology and technology and technology. And, technology is great, but, at the end of the day, even the best of technology cannot take away from personal relationships. Just, calling someone, sending them a, a real handwritten note, and saying, "Hi, how are you?" You know? That is like a long lost art, and it's really sad to an extent because, you know, it's so much more meaningful. I can't tell you-- you know, sometimes I, I'll drive around and I'll remember a client that I sold a house to and I thought about, you know, "I should give them a call and just see how they're doing." You know? What, what happened to, "Hey, how are you?"  

Mike Schneider: Right.

Sam DeBianchi: And I do that or I'll even send a text, which I know is a little bit taken away from the call. But every now and then, a text. And so many times, I'll get, "Hey, how are you? How's the market?" Next thing you know, you're in a whole different conversation and next thing you know, you're either helping them buy another house, sell their house, they have a friend, a family member, someone who also wants to use you in real estate. So, just that one initial step can go such a long way.

Mike Schneider: So, you do a lot, obviously, between your broker, owner, your TV, your new vlog. How do you find time or what? Do you have a system, do you have a process? How do you build that into your business?

Sam DeBianchi: So, as far as relationships?

Mike Schneider: Yeah is it, is it just, as you think of people, you're calling and texting them? Do you have anything that you've implemented that--

Sam DeBianchi: Yeah.

Mike Schneider: --keeps you on track? What does that look like?

Sam DeBianchi: So, I try to set aside about 20 minutes a day that I really kind of focus and I become present because again, we're constantly thinking of--

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Sam DeBianchi: --what to do next.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Sam DeBianchi: And, "I should do this, I should do that." When, a lot of times, you just need to kind of be present and think about, "Okay, who, who are my sphere? Who are my immediate contacts?" Whether it's family, friends, clients, past clients, and think about, how do I reach out to them, see how they're doing, check in with them, see what they need. And I think that's so important because as you know, it's hard, although with your technology it might be a little easier, to predict who is interested in buying or selling.

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Sam DeBianchi: But I don't think that that's, that should always be that mindset of, "Well, are they ready to buy or sell?" Sometimes, it's just having that conversation because, as you know, you need to cultivate business, you need to cultivate those relationships. And maybe they're not ready to buy or sell a house tomorrow, but they might be in six months from now. And it's so important to keep touching them, reaching out to them, and connecting with them any way possible.

Mike Schneider: Well that's a perfect lead in to the focus for this season, which is-- maybe I should say, you shouldn't start with the real estate need, right? Because to your point, it is about the relationship.

Sam DeBianchi: Mmhmm.

Mike Schneider: So, after you have the, "Hey, how are you doing?" do you have any tips or tricks on how to stay in touch?

Sam DeBianchi: Sure. I mean, there's so many different things. You know, sometimes I'll see something that reminds me of someone. So, you know, one of my clients has this small dog and, and they're obsessed with little dog clothes. And any time I see, you know, a cute little dog outfit, I'll send something to them. I'll send an image, and I'll say, "Hey, just thought of you." You know? Or, um, you know, a, a certain cookie, I have clients who are in New York right now and I have a lot of clients who are from New York, and, you know, they love their certain cookies. And I got cookies yesterday and I send a picture and said, "Hey, you know, you want me get you some to bring back?" So, it's just keeping in touch and really making it not about real estate.05:56You know, every now and then you obviously do have to sprinkle in, "Hey, you know, what's happening with the market?" or, um, you know, "This might be a great house for you to buy, or have as an investment property." But, you know, if you're constantly talking about your industry and being that sales person, it's just, it, it's so, in my opinion, it's very insensitive. And, it just takes away from-- you know, people want to work with you. They don't want to work with just the sales person you, they wanna work with you. Because in real estate, in this industry, there are a lot of brokers out there. So what makes the difference between you and me is that I'm a person, I'm a well-rounded person. I have other things to talk about. I have other hobbies. And I think it's connecting with that person on so many other levels just than the sales level.

Mike Schneider: That's really interesting. And I think, and I think it's cool how you're building different views into your life with the vlog and other things. Maybe it comes back to your parents and, and not wanting to be that sales person.

Sam DeBianchi: Maybe.

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Sam DeBianchi: You know, I wasn't always that way. Um, a few years ago, that's all I did.

Mike Schneider: Really?

Sam DeBianchi: And I was constantly, like, "I need to get more clients and I need to do this and I need to do that," and, "I don't have time, you know, to go work out." or, "I don't have time to go play tennis," which I had-- I'd played tennis since I was four years old. I played in college. I was pretty good. And I kind of put all these other things aside and only made time for work. And yeah, I made money and I had a good amount of business, but I had no life. And I think people saw that because when I was out with my clients, you know, taking them to different homes, and they're like, "Oh, what are you doing this weekend?" Like, "Oh, I'm working."

Mike Schneider: Showing more homes.

Sam DeBianchi: Yeah. And it was just the-- I could see, I could just see them. They were like, "Oh..." You know? And I had nothing really to talk about with them. And now, you know, I'm sharing so much about, "Hey, you know, we just went, my fiancé and I just went to, you know, this restaurant," or, "We just played tennis the other day." And it's like, "Oh, you play tennis? Why don't we play together?" And just, you know, having something else. We-- I travel with my clients. Um, we'll go to the Bahamas together. Um--

Mike Schneider: Wow.

Sam DeBianchi: --it's just, it's a whole different, you know, world. And it's, it's a much better world.

Mike Schneider: That's a, that's a tip and trick we haven't heard. Take your clients to the Bahamas. That's a good idea. I like that. Um, is there-- so we'll close on this one. Is there something, if you were to rewind the clock, that you would, you wish you had done sooner? Or that you would do differently?

Sam DeBianchi: I think incorporating more balance. I think knowing that it's okay that if your client asks what did you do today, it's okay to say that you did other things other than work. And, as simple and basic as that sounds, it's-- I think people are scared to do that. I do think, obviously, you need to work--

Mike Schneider: Sure.

Sam DeBianchi: --cause that's the way to--

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Sam DeBianchi: --you know, make money. But, I think having balance. Someone wants to work with a well-rounded person, not someone who's just, you know one way of thinking or one way of doing things. And I think that is the most important thing I could tell anyone.

Mike Schneider: That's great. That's great to hear, and letting people in on that-- you don't have to always sound busy. It's the equivalent of your Facebook feed just being listing, listing, listing, listing, listing. Right?

Sam DeBianchi: Yes. Actually, I will say--

Mike Schneider: That's actually--

Sam DeBianchi: --my, my Instagram feed--fun, funny enough, my posts about listings got hardly any engagement. Once I was really going and posting about myself and my journey and how I felt today and how, you know-- my struggles, my accomplishments--

Mike Schneider: Yeah.

Sam DeBianchi: --and it was all about me and the me show. [laughter] More so than, "Look at, you know, this listing I have." I got more engagement. People actually just appreciated those posts more. And it was just-- I don't know. It's just a different way of looking at things. Saying, you know, I do other things other than just sell homes. I post, you know, about-- I went, or attempted to go, skiing, a couple weeks ago. It was more of a snow hike. Um--

Mike Schneider: Meandering slowly down the mountain. Yeah.

Sam DeBianchi: Yeah. You know, I, I have pictures of myself drinking, because, as we know, in this business, you need to drink. And, I think it's just-- it's important to really show the real person. Who are you working with?

Mike Schneider: I think that's an awesome takeaway. Because, uh, you know, as you know, we are all trying to figure out who we're going to work with and that, the, the basis of that relationship is, you know, that trusted advisor. Do I, and do I like this person?

Sam DeBianchi: Yep.

Mike Schneider: I think that's what you're getting at.

Sam DeBianchi: I always tell every client, we're all great brokers, but at the end of the day, pick the one who you wanna answer the phone to. You wanna pick up the phone for me? And then I wait. [laughter] I'm like, "I hope so."

Mike Schneider: That's a, that's a really good thing to leave it on. If you're wondering how to deepen relationships, be-- let people into your life a little bit more on what, what you are doing as a person, not just a realtor.

Sam DeBianchi: Yes.

Mike Schneider: Well, thanks for being on, Sam.

Sam DeBianchi: Thank you.

Mike Schneider: Appreciate it.

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