PROPERTYSPARK INTERVIEWS: Hans Christopher George Struzyna, Real Estate Agent
Olympic Athlete Turned Top Producing Bay Area Realtor
The Gunderman Group at Keller Williams Luxury International
What inspired you to start in real estate and how did you motivate yourself to keep going?
A number of my family members have been in Real Estate in various capacities. From property developers to attorneys to landlords, I was exposed to a wide variety of angles in the business. As a young person, I was always interested in houses and loved the idea of being in real estate.
While I was still rowing competitively, I stayed in an Airbnb with a couple who were agents and also flipped houses. I got curious about their lives and built a friendship over a few years. Once I retired from rowing, they offered me a job to join their team and the rest is history.
Up until now, I have been focused on making the next big volume or income mark. That drove me for the first 4.5 years. Now, I’m actively searching for the next thing to get me motivated. So I suppose the pursuit of the answer is really what’s keeping me going.
Comparing your business from back then to now, what has been the main thing that allowed you to expand your business?
When I first started in real estate, I was cold-calling distressed and pre-foreclosure properties. I had some success in that world and it was a great place to start. However, it was really emotionally draining and every deal required a ton of muscling to get done. Not an easy task for a young agent.
I met David and Andrew (my team leaders) socially. Once I got to know them, I realized there might be another way to go about this business. They told me they were constantly trying to put $2,000,000 into escrow every week. That got my attention and I realized I had to try and get in their slipstream.
Long story short, they weren’t looking to expand their team but I crafted a compelling pitch and they decided to bring me in for an interview. I focused on how my strengths could help them achieve their goals. And I’ve been doing that since.
When did you realize you were successful/made it and how did you feel/celebrate?
I really don’t feel that I am that successful. Perhaps that’s my cross to bear. I’m always trying to get as far away from 0 as possible. I’ve done a good job of that but by no means do I feel like I’ve “made it.”
That said, I do celebrate hitting my goals. I have volume and income targets as well as personal development and fitness goals that I work towards every day. When I hit them, I usually try and take a step back and reflect on the work it took to get there and how far I have come. If you don’t, you will really never be happy.
Looking back, what could you have done sooner to get to that point quicker?
Simply, I would have tried to establish more powerful partnerships sooner. That said, I didn’t know what I didn’t know and I wasn’t even sure I wanted to be in this business full time. I honestly thought I wanted to flip houses and wholesale.
I think that experimentation is really important. You have to get out there and try things in order to know that you do or don’t want to do something. And if you stay awake at the wheel while you are trying those things, you will be able to make decisions quickly.
What should other real estate entrepreneurs reading this be focusing on to expand their own business?
Find your own powerful partnerships. If you don’t want to join someone’s team, think about what kind of people also work with your ideal client. It could be a Trust Attorney, CPA, or contractor. Go out and build relationships with those people.
If you spend time with those kinds of people, they can potentially open the door to 100s of your ideal clients. That’s leverage and that’s what powerful partnerships can do for you.
How has social media and online marketing affected your real estate business? How much more success have you had now after implementing social media and online marketing efforts?
In the beginning, It just got me out in front of my sphere more regularly. I would have friends and former clients comment regularly that it looked like I was doing really well. So I knew they were seeing it and it was making an impression.
As I have continued to put in the work and remain consistent, I’m finding that new people are finding me. It starts out as a slow drip, then a trickle, then a stream. If you are consistent and always aim to improve your content/messaging, it’s inevitable that you will succeed.
How did you become a good leader?
For me, you remove stumbling-blocks out of the way of the people you are trying to lead. Sometimes that means you have to be the first one over the wall and you get bloody. Sometimes that means you back someone else up and supports their idea. In all circumstances, you have to focus on helping that person get what they want so you can get what you want.
That doesn’t mean you let other people run your company/culture/mission. That does mean that you find the people that align with those things and help them to achieve their own goals inside of your framework.
Did You Experience Failures? If So, What Did You Learn From Them?
Who hasn’t? There are honestly too many failures to mention here. Really what I want someone to realize regarding failure is two things:
1. It’s only a failure if you fail to learn something from the experience
2. Life is never linear so you need to expect these kinds of setbacks
What do you consider the main differences between those people who have been successful in your industry and those who have failed?
In a word – FIDUCIARY. Ours is a position of being a fiduciary. That means that we have to put our client’s interest above our own unless it breaks the law.
Sometimes that means taking them out of a house, sometimes that means talking them into it. Other times it means referring them to another agent. Either way, agents are advisors and need to be focused on giving them the advice that will help them achieve their goals, even if it’s not in the best interest of the agent.
What’s Your Approach To Marketing?
Value first. I always try to think about why the recipient would engage with the message and what it means to them. It doesn’t matter what I have to say or how I want to say if they aren’t interested in it.
When you leverage powerful partnerships, you will be amazed at how infinite your success can be.
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