Adalberto “Tito” Gonzalez’s entrance into real estate began with pure moxie. “I walked into a Help-U-Sell Real Estate office and asked for a job. The owner of the franchise told me to get my real estate license and come back to work for him. So that is exactly what I did,” Tito shared, laughing. In March 2004, Tito got his license and started as an escrow processor. “There was so much to learn because I had never been in real estate. Previously, I was helping my dad, who owned apartment complexes, and studying music composition at a San Jose college. This was a whole new venture, but I was fascinated.”
When Tito later became a Broker, he opened his own office, Help-U-Sell South Santa Clara County. Working with him are two part-time agents, several referral-only agents and a virtual processor. “I train and mentor people on how to handle buyer leads and everything else. I believe training consistently solves 80% of the challenges that come up around real estate. They are better equipped to handle the nuances of the industry. You know you’ve been doing something right for a long time when old sellers come back to you a second time around, or their grown children are seeking their own real estate from you. When you’re competing against traditional real estate, you have to offer more. With repeat and generational clients coming to me, I have proven my methods. Service stays with people,” Tito said.
When it comes to marketing and brand awareness, Tito is not afraid of mixing approaches. “There’s so much advertising that you can do. The corporate office has done a great job of automating the Center of Influence (CI) and Arounds postcards. I always use the postcards because they are super easy. CI contacts get hit with active listings and they see you are still in business. The neighbors receiving the Arounds postcards result in me providing many free market valuations. I had the company car wrapped two and a half years ago. That cost me $2,400, but I know it brought in four total sides for me. I’m the only Help-U-Sell broker within a 25-mile radius, so many small efforts keep my presence known, and it works,” Tito explained. “Help-U-Sell reduces the amount of time that I spend on marketing. I don’t have four hours to spend working on a single piece. When we set up the postcards, they’re done right and then it’s automated. I love the Power Listing Tools, too. You upload the picture and information, and they send you a box of attractive marketing materials, including door hangers. It’s impressive to the client, and again, it’s easy and looks great.”
A natural sales closer for Tito is telling potential clients how much he has saved for others. “When I walk into a listing appointment, I tell them ‘if you pick me just because you like me, that’s not better for you’. That’s not a competitive edge. I always have the program ready with a photo of the house and the flyers made up. I share information of the recently sold homes in their area and show them how much my previous clients have saved. Usually it is around $14,000, and generally gets a great response. Sellers hate paying 5% or 6% commission, but they are also afraid to let go of the old model. I’ve built my entire message around, ‘What would you do with $14,000?’ I tell them if I’m not the right fit for them, they can use me as a resource, which engenders trust,” Tito said.
While other franchise options have appeared and disappeared over the years, Tito is quite happy with his very first choice. He went on to say, “I first showed up to Help-U-Sell because I wanted to learn and work. I’ve stayed with Help-U-Sell because it’s a small, ‘open door’ company. It’s easy to reach people at the home office. The Annual Summit also creates that accessible feeling, which I like. I’ve not seen other real estate options that are a better fit. I stuck around because we rock the boat. Help-U-Sell has the power to be different by offering a different product. Despite would-be copycats, there’s nothing like this out there. The high quality and caliber of what they create in combination with a strong value proposition keeps me motivated.”
Tito’s success is not lost on other competitors, either. “What is really flattering is, I am often headhunted by traditional real estate offices. They don’t get that I have my own business with my own brand, I’m independent and have the flexibility I need. What could they possibly offer me? Why would I possibly want to work for someone else?” Tito asked.
“I’ll tell you one last thing,” Tito said, “One day, out of the blue, the Florida-based Owner/Chief Operating Officer and his wife showed up at my office in California! They’re kind, low-key people, highly approachable and very warm. I don’t know of any instance where the owner of a company shows up at a franchisee office just to have a look around, say hello, and see how things are going for you. There’s that book, Purple Cow: Transform Your Business by Being Remarkable, Help-U-Sell is the purple cow.”