The CLIMB brand was recognized by Inman in 2016 as one of the most innovative brokerages in the USA. Lindsay tells Sherrie about their use of ‘Airstream’.
Topic – Innovate
Kevin: Introducing our special guest for this morning, Sherrie Storor.
Sherrie: So here I am with Lindsay Listanski and she’s head of national marketing for Climb Real Estate, this amazing most innovative agency that’s doing unbelievable things for millennials. Lindsay thank you so much for joining us today-
Lindsay: Thank you so much for having me Sherrie, this is great.
Sherrie: … here at Inman. So look we’ve been talking a little bit about what your role is off camera, and so I’m really keen to kind of bring that into the interview today. So why don’t you give us a bit about your background before talking about what it is that you’re doing today?
Lindsay: Sure. So I am a real estate junky, I grew up in real estate my entire life. I’ve been blessed to marry my love of marketing with real estate, so it’s really awesome. I’ve been part of the Realogy family for almost eight years, I was with Coldwell Banker for seven amazing years and I recently transitioned as head of marketing for Climb. So it’s super exciting.
Sherrie: Awesome. So I love this idea and this notion about being a real estate junky.
Sherrie: It kind of sounds like it was in your blood, you were around it all the time?
Lindsay: Oh totally.
Sherrie: Because your family was also in real estate right?
Sherrie: Yes, okay. So tell us about Climb?
Lindsay: Climb is amazing, Climb is the newest opportunity for Realogy to launch a franchise business. So Climb and Corcoran are poised to expand nationally this year. Climb was founded in 2010 by Chris Lim who was an agent and saw an opportunity to really, not disrupt but just change the industry. It was really this idea of lets build something for agents by agents, and it really quickly grew in San Francisco, in the Bay area. Was recognised by Inman actually as one of the most innovative brokerages in 2016. It caught the attention of NRT and they acquired them, fast forward two years and we’re just preparing for national launch.
Sherrie: Which is super exciting.
Sherrie: So tell us about, we were just mentioning off camera Airstream, so tell us a bit about what you’re doing in that space?
Lindsay: Sure. So Climb, like I said is one of the most innovative brokerages and one of the things I love about the Climb team is we’re really always looking to draw inspiration from the world around us. Whether that’s through entertainment, food, fashion, so in this case Chris Lim was really inspired by the food truck craze. He was seeing these food trucks pop up all over the place and tacos, and burgers. He said, how can I bring in this craze into the real estate industry? So Climb has always been about mobility, we’re building a mobile first brand and he looked into getting an Airstream, and the Airstream became this staple around the Bay area within the community. Where they were rolling around and having clients jump on and learn about Climb, the Airstream went to Burning Man and Coachella, which is-
Lindsay: Yes, yes it was there.
Sherrie: So for those that don’t know what an Airstream is, tell people what.
Lindsay: It’s a little mobile, it’s this beautiful chrome mobile, it’s almost like a mini trailer but it’s so much cooler than that. So they checked it out and they brought it around, and it became this icon of Climb Real Estate.
Sherrie: So, that is super unbelievably cool. But the brand is really growing in leaps and bounds.
Sherrie: You know there’s now, how many agents in the business?
Lindsay: Roughly 200.
Sherrie: Yeah, and I guess it’s quite well known for also having this millennial approach, but it’s not all about millennials is it?
Lindsay: Yeah there’s definitely a younger draw to this brand, I think they were born, raised in … Born in, oh my gosh. Born in San Francisco, raised in Silicone Valley, so there’s this tech vibe. You often associate millennials with technology, but we’re really getting away from talking about millennials and focused on an idea of the connected generation. So it’s not about an age, it’s really about a mindset and that’s the business that we’re building around this connected generation.
Sherrie: Yeah, and I think that’s really powerful because realistically I think millennials have had this horrible tag line of being sort of on the out so to speak. But really we’ve got to embrace them because they’re gonna really be taking over this industry.
Sherrie: So if we’re not totally onboard then we’re out, right?
Lindsay: I love that you say that, because I think both on the B to B and B to C side millennials have had a hard time breaking into the industry. I think from an agent perspective some brokerages don’t want the first time agent, it’s very hard to coach them up. I think that Climb is definitely poised to have those career changes, first time agents. I think they have a wonderful mentorship programme that welcomes them in. Then conversely on the consumer side a lot of people don’t want to work with millennials because they’re renters, right. They’re not really that valuable yet, but what I love about Climb is 20% of the business they do in the Bay area is actually with renters. So we’re welcoming these renters into our business, we’re creating this fierce loyalty and I think that, that’s gonna serve us really well in the long term.
Sherrie: But I think also what we’ve been seeing about millennials is yes, they might be renting but they still also own a lot property.
Sherrie: However, that’s just their choice to actually have that on the side-
Sherrie: So they’re very savvy with investments.
Sherrie: I think the stats with millennials and correct me if I’m wrong, but they actually change houses and homes every six years. So you’re actually as opposed to the typical sort of, I guess older generation, where they actually transact every 10 years.
Sherrie: So it makes more sense from an industry point of view to really embrace millennials in the marketplace as opposed to kind of push back against it. So we need to be embracing that and working with them.
Sherrie: The best way to do that is work with them, right?
Lindsay: Absolutely. You are on it.
Sherrie: So there is something else that I wanted to talk to you about and that is you, yourself Lindsay, I mean you obviously have done some really remarkable, amazing things in this industry.
Lindsay: Thank you.
Sherrie: Hence, you were actually awarded in the top 20 of, was it Steven Swanepoel-
Lindsay: Stefan Swanepoel.
Sherrie: Oh Stefan Swanepoel most influential mover and shakers in PR and news. So tell us about that, and what that accolade meant to you?
Lindsay: Yeah, so you know we talk about these influencers right, and it’s such an overused word and I was very honoured to be on Stefan Swanepoel social influencers list. But I think it speaks to this again idea of connected generation, I think being at conferences like this and being part of the Realogy family I’ve been afforded the opportunity to make friends around the world really. I think that, that’s been instrumental because it’s been possible because of social media. I think social media in this digital world that we’re living in, if you know how to leverage it the right way and you are generous with your expertise and you’re content, and you don’t make it about yourself. I think that it positions you to really be someone that can help others. I’ve seen not only my relationships but everybody that I’ve really met at these conferences, really benefit from this digital world we’re living in.
Lindsay: Now it’s also really important to do the IRL, in real life connections right, when you get to these conferences. You can’t hide behind your phone anymore. So it’s really important your profile picture actually looks like you. But I think that it’s transcended the way that we do business, and I think that Climb Real Estates really gonna to leverage the digital world that we live in, and make sure that anywhere that we can automate business and bring it online, and make things easier we will. But we’ll still have those really awesome offices where people can go in and still connect with their manager, and their agents as well.
Sherrie: Yeah, okay. So look there is something I want to talk to you about, and that is now we’re seeing the rise of the celebrity agent, right?
Sherrie: This is the first time really in the history of real estate that this is actually been able to, agents have been able to have a higher profile than the brands or the agencies that they’re working for.
Sherrie: So what are you really doing to work with this and to really change the mentality of I guess management, in brokerages to enhance and grow the business by this celebrity rise?
Lindsay: I think that’s really interesting you ask that. So a few things, one Climb, we’re not really positioning ourselves, are we a brand? Absolutely, but we’re really looking at ourselves as a platform. I think you’re gonna see that in the next couple of months with the branding that comes out and the marketing that we release. In that we’re taking a step back and saying, is brand important? Yes, but at the end of the day it’s the agent that’s more important. Whether you’re influential or not, we want to allow them to raise up on our shoulders so that we can support them. But you’re right, there are these mega super influencers on Instagram, and leveraging their reach is really important and making sure that we’re serving them in any way that we can is important. I think one of the ways that we’ll be leveraging those influencers will be through our learning and training programmes. So we’ll really be looking to these influencers to give them an even higher national platform to really take their expertise, be generous, whether it’s through social or another platform. But we will be looking at them more closely, right?
Sherrie: Yeah. Absolutely. So how do you think agents can really build their profile and become these celebrity agents?
Lindsay: One is I think it takes time. So I think the easy way is you pay a service and you pay for likes, and engagement. I think that’s really the wrong way to do it. So I think you need to see the long game, I think that you need to really put yourself out there not in a way that’s all about yourself, but about your community. One of the things that I love about Climb is we’re so embedded into our communities, and I think that’s an instant way to grow. So I think, thinking hyper local if you’re an agent and then eventually getting to that long national game is a really good way to do it.
Sherrie: Yeah, okay that’s wonderful and so super powerful. Well look I wanted to run through some rapid fire questions.
Lindsay: Yes, lets do it.
Sherrie: We are at a tech conference so let’s really talk about a little bit about tech.
Sherrie: But first of all I have to know, are you a structure or a chaotic kind of girl?
Lindsay: I’m structure.
Lindsay: I must be structured, yes.
Sherrie: That doesn’t surprise me actually.
Sherrie: What’s your favourite Instagram filter?
Lindsay: Oh, filter, can I say hashtag no filter.
Sherrie: Yes, I like that. It’s surprising how many people that I’ve interviewed and asked this question today have actually said that. Because they want the real and the rawness, and the authentic-
Lindsay: Yeah, I don’t think people need to see me as a cat, a dog, or whatever extra Kylie Jenner lipstick filter. I’m comfortable in my own skin.
Sherrie: Very important. What intrigues you? What makes you want to swipe up?
Lindsay: Swipe up, I think I love stats, and I love learning about the industry. So anytime I can see anything about millennials in housing I think that’s something that gets me to swipe up. I love that.
Sherrie: Okay, and your favourite like time wasting app?
Lindsay: Oh Instagram. I put a filter where it says, okay you’ve been on for 20 minutes a day, and I dismiss it. I still am on it.
Sherrie: 20 minutes is not very long in today’s world.
Lindsay: No, I waste a long time on Instagram.
Sherrie: Are you Apple or Windows?
Sherrie: Windows, okay. What’s the one tech gadget that promised to change your world but didn’t?
Lindsay: I think you know what, like wireless mouses and keyboards I can’t get on that.
Sherrie: Oh really?
Lindsay: Like the kind that you bring to conferences and stuff, like I need to sit down with my laptop at a desk. Like I don’t know, I think that’s, it’s a silly answer but like I need to be attached. I love my laptop, I bring it everywhere with me.
Sherrie: What’s the one tech gadget that did change your world?
Lindsay: That did, I mean can I say my phone? I would rather lose anything else, maybe than like you know, my phone is my everything. Especially now with Apple Pay, I used to say oh I don’t want to lose my wallet, but if I lose my wallet I’m basically just losing a wallet. Everything is on my phone.
Sherrie: It’s way more important.
Sherrie: What’s the last thing that you Googled?
Lindsay: The last thing, probably the weather because it’s freezing here today, it’s like negative 10 outside.
Sherrie: I know it’s crazy. What’s your favourite emoji?
Lindsay: The blow a kiss.
Sherrie: The blow kiss? Okay. Your guilty follows, so somebody outside of the industry that you love following?
Lindsay: That is such a good question.
Sherrie: Don’t tell me everything that’s on your apps are all real estate.
Lindsay: God no, but there’s so many. I mean, I can’t even think of someone. Like you shocked me with this question. I have so many.
Sherrie: It’s interesting, some of the people that I love following are more like quite high profile business people, and scientists. One American that really inspires me is Ruth Bader Ginsburg, because I love that she’s been a judge and that she’s basically stood up for female rights when really there wasn’t any.
Sherrie: She’s become this crazy cult icon here in the States.
Lindsay: I love that. You know what I’ve been following a lot of like female podcasts lately, and it’s not so much celebrities but all these different like women up groups. So I think I would say all the different women of podcasts, and I’ve really been getting into that. That’s been like my, when I do go onto Instagram that’s the rabbit hole that I go down into.
Sherrie: Love it. Well thank you so much for your time today.
Lindsay: You’re so welcome.
Sherrie: It’s been really nice to get to know you a little bit better, and to hear a lot more about Climb and your views, and thoughts.
Lindsay: Thank you.
Sherrie: So Lindsay thank you for joining us.
Lindsay: Thank you.
Kevin: Tomorrow we’ll come back and we’ll wrap up a great week with a chat that I had with Louise Phillips Forbes, don’t miss it, it’s gonna be very entertaining.