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The Thousand: Kris Lindahl, founder and CEO of The Kris Lindahl Team

Jul 28, 2020 12:01:12 PM

Kris Lindahl, founder and CEO of The Kris Lindahl Team

The Thousand: No. 16 team-owned brokerage by volume and No. 12 by transaction sides

Find out the details of Lindahl's real estate scholarship program which will net him 75 new sales associates in August 2020.

 

Tracey Velt:

Agents and teams selected to REAL Trends Tom Ferry The Thousand are in the top 1% of all realtors in the nation. We're speaking to those elite agents about how they found success in a competitive market. Today we're speaking with Kris Lindahl, founder and CEO of The Kris Lindahl Team, number 16 team-owned brokerage by volume and number 12 by transaction sites, so welcome, Kris.

Kris Lindahl:

Thank you for having me, Tracey.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. Why don't you tell me a little bit about your team and how long you've been in business?

Kris Lindahl:

Yeah, so team is structured a little bit different. I mean, we have a brokerage that operates 100% as a team where we're providing a streamlined approach to the consumers. I got my license in May, 2009 and through the ranks of climbing as an individual agent, in 2014, I was the number one individual agent on REAL Trends in Minnesota and I learned so much along the way about the inefficiencies in the process, and so I was determined to start a real estate team that could provide the consumer with that streamlined convenience process.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. Where do you operate? What geographic footprint do you have?

Kris Lindahl:

We're a licensed real estate brokerage in Minnesota and Wisconsin. Predominantly on the Wisconsin-side, we're in the western half of the state. In Minnesota, we're almost statewide at this point.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. I noticed you're very active in the community, so tell me about some of the things you and your team do in the community and how that's changed since COVID-19.

Kris Lindahl:

Well, I mean, a lot's definitely changed. It's been an eyeopening year for so many, but one of the things. When things really changed, you know, I believe it was in the NCAA, the NBA, Tom Hanks. That day where a lot of those things happened, I think our world was forever changed and so the first thing that we did is we stopped all of our marketing and we turned it into more of a support local.

We need to help our small businesses, and we then reached out to our entire database asking, did people need help? Did they need groceries? We hired Uber drivers to go deliver groceries to people that were in need. We knew that we had to put humanity above business, and so we spent a long time going through and helping as many people as we could.

Kris Lindahl:

Then we started to realize, after we got through our entire database which is hundreds of thousands of people, we then realized that small businesses were taking a really big hit and obviously a lot of that is industry specific. I mean, when we think about restaurants and events and things like that, they got hit a lot harder than some of the other ones and so, we did small business gift card giveaways.

We donated some of our marketing to different companies. We did whatever we could to give back. Our number one core value at Kris Lindahl Real Estate is to be generous, and we also have now a 501(c)(3) that's the Be Generous project where we're solely focused on giving back to the community and putting humanity first.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. Wow, that's great. I know you also do a real estate scholarship, so tell me a little bit about that and how it came about.

Kris Lindahl:

What we realized is, in the market, I mean we have invested millions and millions of dollars in building a brand that pretty much everyone in Minnesota, Wisconsin knows and one of the things that we had never done is we had never given an offering or something different than buying and selling real estate to people that loved our brand, and it made sense to start the real estate scholarship program based on what I just mentioned a second ago, the be generous core value of our company of giving back our time, treasures, and talents, and I actually have an education degree and I have a passion for helping people and I realized we're in a very unique position in business, and so if we can help others especially right now with people that are furloughed, or maybe their job isn't coming back or not coming back the same way.

Kris Lindahl:

If we could create this program, this scholarship program where we could give back and help more people get back into the workplace, that's what I believe we should do and so it's been massively successful, but I think the reason why it's been so successful in our world is because we have built such a well known, likable, trusted brand in the market that a lot of people are attracted and want to be a part of our organization, and so it's been really successful.

For example, in the month of August we have 75 new real estate agents that are joining Kris Lindahl Real Estate, and when I say new, they're definitely not new to the business world. They're just new to our industry. So we're attracting really talented people because of the brand that everyone in our company has helped build.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. But of those 75, did they all receive a scholarship?

Kris Lindahl:

They did. They did.

Tracey Velt:

Tell me what the scholarship goes for and who receives it.

Kris Lindahl:

The scholarship program, we pay for the agents to get licensed in Minnesota and/or Wisconsin, so all of their coursework. So in Minnesota here, it's 90 hours of education. There's an exam prep. There's training materials. They have to pass a state test, a federal test.

That's all covered by Kris Lindahl Real Estate, and then we've created this advanced training program that right when they get done we put them in a training program that teaches them what we believe is the future of selling real estate, and we're seeing massive success right out of the training program. I mean, in our July training we had several agents the first couple of days out of training that have sold several houses already.

Tracey Velt:

Great. Okay, and how many years have you offered the scholarship?

Kris Lindahl:

We just started that program at the end of last year and we really ramped it up when we knew that a lot of people in the community were looking for a change or maybe they felt stuck, or maybe like I said, maybe their position was no longer going to be available.

We just knew that a lot of people were in a position where they wanted more and they were looking for change, and so we stepped up and really invested a significant amount of resources to offer these scholarships.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. I've read that you have a whole virtual learning platform. Is that something new because of COVID or is that something that you've developed over the years? Tell me a little bit about that.

Kris Lindahl:

Great question. I mean, our company has always been very, very tech savvy. I mean, the brokerage started in May 2018, so we've always been really far ahead on tech and we've embraced technology and streaming such as the Zooms and FaceTimes and Skypes and things like that, but what we've seen over the past several months, really all the way back to the end of March, is that we could start to use technology platforms like Zoom and we could run meetings.

We could record those meetings on the cloud, and then we'd have our videographers our tech team that go in and they can clip up those videos, so they can clip up a meeting or a training and clip it up into small bite-sized pieces, and then create training based on the things that were shared in the meeting from myself or someone in a leadership team or an agent in our company, and then what we have created is a library of those bite-sized video clips so that our agents can go into sort of a glossary and search those things and find the training clip based on that.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. We're going to switch gears a little bit and talk about you and being a leader. Obviously there are a lot of lessons learned adapting to the coronavirus and the pandemic, but you've likely learned some lessons along the way while building your team so why don't you tell me, what are your top two lessons learned through it all?

And if you want to talk about one that maybe recently you learned just adapting to the whole pandemic and some of the stay at home orders, that would be great.

Kris Lindahl:

Of course. Wow, that's a good one. You know, when I think about that, I think about the first thing that came to mind when you were asking me that question was visibility. When I think about leadership, what I saw and what I learned when I started in May, 2009, which obviously was a very challenging time with bank-mediated sales, such as short sales and foreclosures, and the market was going down and people were struggling.

It was not a great time for the economy, and no two shifts look the same, but it reminds me a little bit about the pandemic. Things weren't great. There were a lot of people that got hit very hard personally and professionally, and what I saw in the real estate industry specifically is I saw a lot of leaders that were invisible.

Kris Lindahl:

No one saw them. No one heard from them. Their agents were looking around looking for guidance like, "What do we do? How do we evolve into a digital world?" The thing that I've learned is you have to be visible for not only your company, but your community. You have to show up and be visible, and then the second part is you have to take action. I saw a lot of people that were stuck in neutral. Like they were frozen. They didn't know what to do.

They're not sure what's going to happen next, and I'm not suggesting that every decision that we have made as a company has been a hundred percent right. But the one thing that I pride ourselves on is we make decisions and we move quick and we can adapt, and I think that's what I've found throughout my years in real estate is when things come up, the market changes, technology changes, you have to adapt and you have to move quickly, especially for what consumers want.

Kris Lindahl:

And so when things changed, and especially like you had mentioned with everything with COVID where now all of a sudden with the stay at home orders, not as many people were wanting to go physically to properties, we as a company had to make sure that we had the right digital offerings where people could still tour properties from the comfort of their own home rather than physically going to the home, and we had to create landing pages and we had to create interactive websites that allowed them to navigate that in a seamless process, and those are hard things for a company to evolve and adapt into but I just think that being visible and being out there and saying, "Here's what we're going to do. Here's what it looks like."

Kris Lindahl:

I mean, I remember the day after everything hit, I went on a Facebook Live for 20 minutes and had a conversation about like, "This is about more than businesses. This is about humanity. We're going to do anything we can as a company to help people," and we stood behind that commitment.

And I look at all of the other leaders, and this isn't even specific to real estate, but I didn't see very much visibility from many leaders in any industries. So many people just went into this neutral state and everyone was looking at them to lead and they didn't show up.

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Tracey Velt:

Yeah. Yeah. That's a great lesson to learn, and I've noticed in interviewing leaders, real estate leaders from around the country, that they all have this kind of aha moment. Usually many of them, where they realize, "Okay, this isn't working. I need to switch gears. I need to build something different." What was your aha moment as it pertains to growing your team?

Kris Lindahl:

I think what I would share on the aha moment is what led up to me starting to grow the team. When I was an individual agent, my last year of production was 2014 where I sold 175 homes with one assistant. That's a home every two days.

That was very inefficient for a lot of the consumers, and it was really taxing on me, and so what I learned is the consumer deserves a better streamlined process from a team, and what I also learned is that there are a lot of things that I'm not great at that we now have people that are way better than me in my company and the power of a team is you have everyone that's focused on their strengths and that's how you win, and that's why we are doing so well for the consumers in Minnesota and Wisconsin.

Because we have so many people in the right seats that are focused on their strengths rather than trying to wear 50 different hats, and I saw that in the individual real estate model where I was wearing every single hat along the way.

Kris Lindahl:

But I wouldn't trade it for anything because I did get to wear every single hat along the way, so I knew what worked, what didn't work, and I knew how to get the team started and how to create framework for the future of what the consumer wanted based on the pain that I experienced as an individual agent and the things that I thought I could improve on as a real estate professional as well.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. Obviously you did a great job with that.

Kris Lindahl:

I appreciate it. Thank you.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. My final question is, where do you see the most opportunity in the real estate industry especially in the coming year?

Kris Lindahl:

I think that the greatest opportunity is on the technology side. I think when you look at all of the big websites out there and the ones that the consumers prefer to use, I think the brokerages and teams have to really dial in their technology and the offerings that the consumer wants, because everything is turning into convenience first. That's what the consumer wants. That's what the consumer deserves.

Kris Lindahl:

And by the way, the biggest competition for the real estate industry is the experience that consumers are getting elsewhere outside of the industry. It's what we do everywhere else in the world. As consumers we want that same streamlined convenience experience in the real estate industry and I think that's going to be that technology piece is going to play a critical part, and I think the second part to that is I think that some sort of team structure is going to be a must.

Whether that's a hybrid approach from a brokerage, whether that's a team. I just don't think that the way and the speed that the consumer wants services delivered in the industry anymore, I don't think one person can keep up.

Kris Lindahl:

I mean, when you think about all the social media platforms, the technology, phones, everything. You think about everything. I just don't believe that one person can move at that speed anymore, and I think the consumer now, because they have all the data and the information, the consumer has that education that they're looking for more than one person.

Because if you ask most consumers, the business world that they're in rarely operates around one person, so they know they need more than just one person to help them achieve their real estate goals.

Tracey Velt:

That's an interesting concept. Well, Kris, thank you so much for joining REAL Trends on our podcast. We really appreciate it, and congratulations on The Thousand.

Kris Lindahl:

Thank you so much, Tracey. It's been an honor to spend time with you. Thank you.

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