Indonesian real estate agent creates team system for success

Real Trends is celebrating Asian Pacific Heritage Month with the story of Jon Lahey, his rise to success and his highly effective real estate team system for propelling agents to success.

Now a successful real estate broker leading a 22-agent team with eXp Realty in the D.C.-Maryland-Virginia (DMV) market, Jon Lahey overcame great odds to get where he is today.

Lahey immigrated with his parents to the U.S. from Indonesia when he was 10. Not speaking any English, he learned the language by watching TV. Seeing his parents work three jobs while living in apartments in crime-ridden areas helped Lahey develop his fortitude and ambition. Thanks to a lower-income housing program, his parents were able to purchase their first home.

“That’s why I love real estate,” says Lahey. “It’s part of our story—as first-generation immigrants, we achieved that American dream.”

Flash forward to 2020, when Lahey become the highest-ranking residential owner team in Maryland and the 24th nationally in their franchise. How did he get here? Lahey created a highly effective real estate team system with The Fine Living Group at eXp that helps propel his agents to success.

Stage 1: Lead generation. Marketing and lead generation can be challenging. It’s time-consuming, can be costly, and shouldn’t be left entirely up to automation. “We take control of lead generation for agents by consistently delivering a large pool of prospects ready to go,” says Lahey. “Because we set agents up to succeed, they’re more likely to get referrals, which accounts for 50% of our business.”

Stage #2: Sifting and sorting. Lahey tapped into his background in information systems and management to build proprietary software. This real estate team system technology helps qualify leads, identifying which ones are hot (ready to go now) versus 6-12 months or even three years from making a move. “The ones who are ready to go, we invest a lot more time and attention to making sure we don’t drop the ball,” explains Lahey, noting the follow-up helps ensure eXp is in front of these hot leads when they’re ready.

Stage #3: Follow-up. Thanks to an inside sales department, agents don’t need to do the follow-up. The sales department nurtures the prospect relationship with calls, texts, newsletters, emails, social media messages, and videos with educational content. Follow-up happens daily for “hot” prospects, and less frequently for longer leads in the pipeline. In some cases, it might take 14-15 touches until a hot lead turns into a face-to-face appointment with an agent.

Stage 4: Meeting face-to-face. “Agents don’t have to worry about the first half of the process — they come in at the appointment level,” says Lahey. Agents know every day how many new potential clients they’ll be meeting with, what their needs are, the price, the location, etc. In meetings (whether in-person or via Zoom), agents present the benefits of working with eXp. “We do a lot of training so agents learn how to listen to buyers’ and sellers’ needs, fears, and motivations so they can solve clients’ problems.”

Stage 5: Wow service. Lahey’s team provides agents with their own assistance, courtesy of a “client concierge department.” For sellers, the listing department handles signs, photos, lockboxes, and MLS listings. For buyers, the closing department ensures contingencies are met and schedules inspections, appraisals, closings, and walk-throughs. Because these internal departments tackle the administrative tasks, agents have time to connect with their clients, get feedback, follow-up, and be proactive. “This allows agents to focus on serving their clients. In doing so, clients will have a better experience,” notes Lahey.

Stage 6: Getting more referrals. “This process isn’t just to sell one more house. It’s so we get repeat clients, referrals, and reviews,” explains Lahey. His team uses a past client system that handles parties, events, and newsletters to repeatedly touch base. People don’t remember what you do or what you say—they remember how they make you feel, notes Lahey. His goal? Create experiences to make people feel special. “Then we grow exponentially without having to spend so much marketing money—we optimize ourselves to grow naturally.”

“With our [real estate team system] process, our agents don’t have to generate leads, chase people down, sift and sort, and follow-up with people who haven’t said yes to an appointment,” Lahey points out.

With his one eXp Realty team in place in the DMV market, Lahey recently expanded with a Fine Living Group in San Diego, moving towards his dream of going national.

Lisa Beach is an Orlando freelance journalist, copywriter, and content marketing writer. Her work has been published in The New York Times, Conde Nast Traveler, Parade, Islands, Good Housekeeping, USA Today, Costco Connection, and dozens more.