We were lucky to catch up with Maricruz Acuna recently and have shared our conversation below.
Maricruz, appreciate you joining us today. Talk to us about building a team – did you hire quickly, how’d you recruit the first few team members? Any interesting lessons?
I started in Real Estate many years ago back in Mexico. Things were very different over there at the time, as there was no formal training, exams or licensing process to complete. I was very fortunate, because my dad was in the business and I learned a lot working with him. He was the president of AMPI (Mexican Association on Real Estate professionals), and also the Real Estate advisor for some of the biggest companies in Monterrey. As a family, we worked in construction and property management too, so we made a great team.
When I moved to the Austin, I had to start from scratch, Everything was different, from measurements, construction process, financing, laws, to the licensing process and how the market works. The learning curve and challenges were huge, so it took me 6 years to get my license and being able to do this full time.
For the next 5 years, I worked hard and learned even more, from my brokers, clients, and other agents I worked with. My business grew so much that I finally came to the realization that I needed help. It’s not easy for me to delegate, and to share my treasured clients seemed difficult, so I was definitely nervous about this at the beginning.
I found Robert Mexquitic through my brokerage. He was an assistant for another agent for many years and had recently got his license, so he was ready to try his wings. I was looking for someone honest, bilingual and willing to work hard. From the first interview, I knew he was the right fit and we started working together on April 2021.
There had been challenges and we are both still learning from each other and each transaction. However, it has been such a positive experience that we just added a new member to the team: Angela Avila. She is also honest, bilingual and willing to work hard, therefore I anticipate she will help our team grow stronger.
My goal is to add more members in the next couple of years, as well as consolidate our processes as a team. I am also educating myself about how to become a better leader and mentor. The funny part is that instead of adding members to work less, I am having to work even more!
Still, if I were starting today, I would definitely make this decision earlier.
Maricruz, love having you share your insights with us. Before we ask you more questions, maybe you can take a moment to introduce yourself to our readers who might have missed our earlier conversations?
When listing your house, we will start by advising you on how to make it ready to stand out among others. We will create a market campaign according to its unique features and give you honest feedback. Our constant support will reduce the stress and get you the best value for your property.
When helping you search for the perfect property, we will find options that will also protect your investment. Our commitment continues through the purchase process so you can complete it with confidence. We will also send you annual reviews so you know how the value of your property increases over time.
Austin is one of the most competitive Real Estate markets in the country, so I am always fueling my growth with continued education. I hold the Certified Luxury Home Marketing Specialist, Real Estate Investment and Real Estate Negotiation Expert certifications. I also have the secret weapon of two young millennials who can do magic from their phones. :)
Would you like to explore other markets or venture into commercial properties? We can connect you with the best agents in many cities in the USA and other countries around the world.
No hablas Inglés? Yo soy 100% bilingue y te puedo ayudar a hacer una inversión inteligente o encontrar la casa ideal para tu familia.
How do you keep in touch with clients and foster brand loyalty?
When I started, most of my clients were family and friends, so it was easy to keep in touch with them. As my database grew, it definitely became more challenging to keep up. Now you have friends of friends, referrals from referrals, company leads, and other clients that you don’t necessarily communicate with on regular basis.
Nevertheless, all my clients are precious. I feel honored that they trust me with the very important process of buying or selling a home, and they are the reason of my success. Most of my clients become friends during this journey and nothing makes me happier than them coming back for a second transaction or recommending me to someone else.
Realty Austin has been instrumental in being able to foster their loyalty as we have access to amazing support throughout the brokerage. We constantly send market updates, local events information, and postcards directly to clients. We do annual reviews, gifts, and many other appreciation gestures to let our clients know how special they are. However, this is not enough.
As I grew older, I learned the value of personal calls, notes and messages. I always try to be present in their lives, not only as their Realtor but as their friend. This might be part of my job, but it is also a pleasure and sometimes I wonder how I got so lucky to do this for a living.
Do you have any insights you can share related to maintaining high team morale?
I am still learning about this. My first Real Estate team was my family and my dad was the natural manager, so there wasn’t really too much maintenance.
Through my life, I have been part of many other teams and always admired the leaders who know how to make everybody feel like a somebody. There are no small members on a team, every part is important, and I hope Robert and Angela feel that.
Although we are still a work in progress, we have weekly meetings on Mondays to set goals together and follow up with the goals from the previous week. We also support each other whenever one needs help, and we are working together towards consolidating our processes. I am learning more about leading strategies, as well as investing time, energy and money into growing our business, while helping each of them grow individually too.
I am really proud to watch Robert help Angela start her career. Them working great together already definitely makes it easier for the team lead. I believe good communication is the key for success, so my approach to managing is definitely to have my door open for them at all times and make every obstacle a learning experience for all of us.
We defined our 5 values: Integrity, Growth, Family, Authenticity and Loyalty. We aim to to be a respected and successful Real Estate team, but are committed to always act with integrity to protect our client’s best interest. These common goals and the combination of our different strengths allow us to maintain the high morale we need to help our clients navigate this complicated market in the best possible way.
- Website: www.maricruzacuna.com
- Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/acunamaricruz/
- Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Maricruz-Acuna-1507108282945901/
- Other: https://www.realtyaustin.com/agents/maricruz-acuna
Pictures by Deirdre