Double Down on Expenses. Grow Your Bottom Line.

Apr 9, 2018 9:05:30 AM

About three years ago, Chicago-O’Hare agent Mike Zapart felt stuck in an 8-million-dollar rut as a buyer’s agent at another brokerage. Even with nearly 50 transactions each year, Zapart knew he could do better. He was intent on breaking through his multi-million-dollar plateau.

 Serendipitously, Keller Williams was opening a new market center a couple blocks from Zapart’s office. When he met with the team leader there, he recollects the moment as a breath of fresh air. He loved the fast pace, the supportive environment, the company culture, and the friendly competition. Within days, he had moved his license to Keller Williams.


It wasn’t long before Zapart was introduced to the Career Growth Initiative (CGI) tools during a gathering with ALC committee members. The suite of interconnected value tools in the CGI provides agents with an unprecedented view into their business so they know exactly what needs to be accomplished in order to achieve new levels of production. During a routine meeting, a required exercise for each agent to record their own Four Conversation numbers (listing appointments, listings taken, closings and profit) became a game-changer for Zapart’s bottom line. The assignment with his peers made it clear to him that his bank account hadn’t reflected a bump in income – even after a strong production month with 12 closings and nearly $80,000 in commission earnings.

The exercise shifted everything for Zapart. He realized that GCI didn’t really mean anything if his bank account didn’t grow. The aha moment helped him become profit-oriented rather than volume- and transaction-driven.

To shift gears and become purposeful about profit, Zapart had to take a hard look at his corporate accounts. His executive assistant happens to be his wife, and the pair sit down weekly to comb through expenses. “It’s hard for me. It’s not always pleasant to talk about expenses,” he confesses. “But I can’t make decisions if I don’t know what my expenses are.” Now, when vendors and marketers come knocking, Zapart knows where he stands because he’s intentionally tracking those numbers.

“Before I shifted my focus, I wasn’t aware of how much money we were spending each month. I was only looking at bringing money in. A close look showed that I was paying for cameras, memberships, websites, and leads on a recurring basis, but I wasn’t utilizing what I was paying for or getting a worthwhile return on my investment. I realized that it was money wasted.”

Zapart offers a notable example of an expense that caught him by surprise. A while back, he’d subscribed to receive leads from Zillow for $850 each month. It worked for a while and then slowly, over time, it wasn’t as effective. But he was still paying for it – month after month after month.

Zapart’s experience shows that, as an agent, you can make as much money as you want, but if you don’t get a hold of your expenses, you’ll never reach your full potential as a business owner. To be purposeful about your profit, Zapart recommends the following:

  • Making sure you have enough money coming in by using Keller Williams innovative technology to map your goals and activities through the CGI.
  • Having strong discretion about every dollar that goes out. You can do this by:
  1. Reading up on the Millionaire Real Estate Agent Budget Model
  2. Hiring help using Keller Williams’ proven models and systems. Zapart’s wife’s scrutiny of the books keeps expenses down and profits up.
  3. Auditing the return you’re getting on your investments with vendors. Discontinue the service quickly if you’re not getting value. Zapart offers, “Now, 99 percent of the time, it will be a hard no in order to get the profit numbers higher.”
  4. Tracking regularly with the Four Conversations tracker

Looking for more business-building tips?

  • Make sure to tune into weekly CGI Calls (Monday: 1:00 pm CT). Ask your leadership how you can be part of the call. 
  • Listen to previous call recordings where agents share all. 

CGI Call Recordings →

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