Meet John Bilek

The National Head of Sales Managers for Compass, John Bilek has managed over $5B+ in sales over the course of his 20 year career in real estate, and has been responsible for much of the growth and expansion of the Compass brand since joining the brokerage three years ago.

John recently joined us for a session of Agent Talk, where he discussed his experience mentoring Compass agents, shared his greatest advice for agents looking to grow their business on the Compass Platform, and offered his expert take on the status of the housing market over the past year.

On Working With Compass Agents

You’ve been with Compass for about three years now. What made you decide to switch brokerages and move to Compass?

I joined Compass as a Sales Manager for the greater Philadelphia market about three years ago. At the time, we only had about 40 agents working with us, so I sort of got in on the ground floor, and it’s been great being part of the process of building something up. We’ve since expanded hugely; we now have agents in New Jersey and Delaware, where I live, and I was recently promoted to Head of Sales Management at a national level, where I’ll be supporting the 250 sales managers working throughout the entire organization. Working at Compass has been great for me. The previous brokerage I was at wasn’t able to keep up with our rapidly changing industry, and I saw that Compass was different, and was more visionary and far-sighted, which is exactly what I was looking for in a brokerage and in a brand.

What is the best way to utilize the Compass Platform?

Well, I think this is true of switching brokerages no matter where you’re moving, but particularly so with Compass: the hardest thing is making the move. That’s the biggest challenge, the biggest hurdle you’ll have to overcome. You know, moving your business to a new brokerage, moving your sphere, it’s a lot of work and can be overwhelming. But the data shows that those new Compass agents who perform the best after moving to Compass are also those who work really hard to lean in and embrace the company’s culture and platform. My biggest piece of advice to incoming Compass agents would be to lean in and give everything you’ve got to making Compass and the Compass Platform work for you and your business. Just dive in and give it your best shot!

On the Value of Coaching

Why does every agent need to work with a coach?

Coaching is all about accountability. It’s about having someone in your life that you’re accountable to, that can help you measure your own success. I’ve found in my own career that when I surround myself with really awesome people, that’s when I bring my A-game to the table, and I think a coach can be that person who can help you bring out your best self and do your best work.

Why is accountability vital to an agent’s success?

As agents, we’re all our own bosses. When you’re not reporting to someone higher than yourself, or someone who can hold you accountable to your goals, it’s easier for you to miss targets and let goals slip. A coach or a mentor helps you create accountability in your business. They can help you formulate a plan for your business based on hard data. They can help you articulate and formulate specific goals for your business, and then follow up with you to make sure those targets are being met. All agents should be working with a coach in order to gain accountability and maximize their own strengths.

On the Value of Data

You’re excellent at data capture and analysis. How can agents best use the market data at their fingertips in order to generate new business?

Having and using the right data can do wonders for building your confidence and perfecting your pitch. When it comes to developing your value proposition, agents should use hard data to support the claims of their pitch. For example, if you’re pitching Compass and the benefits of Compass-specific programs like Concierge, you should be able to reference the fact that in Q2 2021 the homes that used Compass Concierge sold at a 7% premium over the homes that did not. Or if you’re pitching Compass’s pre-marketing abilities, again, you have to provide metrics: the homes that have been pre-marketed for 10 to 12 days get at least a 1.2% premium over the marketplace. All of this hard data, which you can access in Compass’s market updates, not only supports the claims you make in your pitch, it also makes you look more professional, prepared, and like a better investment to the seller.

You mentioned agents pitching their commission to potential sellers as an investment rather than a fee. Can you elaborate on that a little bit?

Sure. I always encourage agents to pitch their commission as an investment to potential clients, versus as a fee. You really want to be able to sell yourself and your skills as an investment in you and what you bring to the table. You know, you have to couch it as, “You’re investing in me as an agent, and you’ll realize an ‘X’ amount of return on that investment based on my unique skills, my value proposition, and the data I’ve just provided you with.” Few other agents speak like that, but I’ve found it really resonates with sellers, particularly high-value clients, and sets you apart from the rest.

Aside from unique Compass metrics for things like Concierge, what other data values should agents be focusing on?

Agents should pay attention to their local supply. You need to know what your local appreciation is. You need to know the monthly supply in your market. The amount of inventory in your market. That seems to me to be a more valuable metric than just looking at ‘days on market.’ You also need to stay on top of what’s going on in the wider economy. The last year has seen a major change in the housing market. There was lower inventory going into the pandemic; the pandemic exacerbated that issue just as millions of people found themselves working from home in houses that were suddenly too small for their house-bound families. They needed to upgrade to something bigger. The economy wasn’t in great shape, leading to lower interest rates. You had the perfect storm for a huge market shift, and the data was showing all of that. Agents who were able to articulate that market shift in their pitch, using that data, were able to do big business over the last year.

That’s an incredible snapshot of the market. Can you elaborate more on why the market is acting the way it is?

I have great confidence in sharing that view of the market. I know there’s a lot of talk about a bubble. But you have to go back to the foundational elements of why this market is so strong. None of those are indicating a change in our market. Low inventory, low interest rates, strong economy, growing GDP inflation. We can talk about that. The inflation numbers came out this morning. They’re down from last month. We’ve also got two groups going into the market in droves. You’ve got 72 million millennials in the US who are buying at a fast clip, and you’ve got 10,000 who are turning 65 every day in this country. Those are the baby boomers. You’ve got these two people converging in the market, typically buying in the same price range. That’s going to give this market legs for a long time.

On Ways Agents Can Improve Their Work Habits

You’ve talked about the importance of an agent’s pitch and value proposition. How can agents perfect their pitching skills and really pinpoint their value proposition?

I think perfecting your pitch takes a lot of consistency and practice. Time-blocking is valuable here, as you can set aside time to really figure out what you want to say to clients and how you’re going to pitch yourself. The goal is to make your pitch as conversational as possible, not too rehearsed. A lot of this is accomplished by being an ‘active listener.’ You really want to ensure that your client feels heard and understood; that they feel you understand their needs and will give them a customized solution. As a general tip, you want to let the client lead the conversation at first. Let them do the talking; they should be doing about twice as much as you. Then, when you feel they’ve lowered their guard a bit and when you feel you have an understanding of their needs, you can pitch yourself and your solution.

Heading into the fall season, agents will soon be crafting their 2022 business plans. As a sales manager, what advice would you give agents when it comes to putting together a 2022 business plan?

The best business plans are those that have concrete, specific, actionable goals. Not all agents bother making business plans, but most of those that do typically only set very vague goals for themselves; you know, something like ‘getting better at working my sphere.’ Well, what does that mean? You need to set specific, actionable goals for yourself that you can measure and assess. So, rather than simply saying, “I’m going to get better at working my sphere,” agents should be saying, “I’m going to have all my clients uploaded into my CRM by January 1, with follow up actions assigned.” One is vague and unfocused, the other is measurable and specific. It’s that kind of specificity in intent and goals that will best set an agent up for success in 2022.

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Let's chat!

Send us a message so we can get in contact with you, or email us at chirag@chiragshahcoaching.com!

Adrianna Nava

Coach & Advisor
Expert in Compass Tools; Business Modernization; Prospecting

The first real estate deal Adrianna put together was unusual in several ways: she was only 17 years old; her parents were the listing agents; and (strangest of all for an agent) she did it for free! Since then, Adrianna has nurtured a lifelong passion for real estate, and learned the value of commissions! Wearing many hats throughout her career, Adrianna spent 20 years managing her own portfolio of real estate properties; 10 years as a licensed real estate agent; and the past four years working with Compass as a Senior Agent Experience Manager. It is in this last role that Adrianna has made her mark on the Compass brand and transformed the lives and businesses of Compass agents throughout the country. 
Adrianna previously worked as a Senior Agent Experience Manager at Compass and has over 8,000 hours of training Compass agents on using the Compass platform, as well as honing their strengths and skills, to grow their businesses. Now, Adrianna is the Hamptons real estate market and transaction expert, founder of HamptonsMarketData.com, contributes a weekly market update column to Behind the Hedges and is the author of Hamptons Real Estate Showcase’s Market Watch feature.

Ethan Leifer

Coach & Advisor
Real Trends Top 100; Expert in Team Building; Lead Generation; Client Outreach

It’s fair to say that Ethan Leifer is something of a Compass fanatic. Ethan joined the Compass family in 2017 after being blown away by a combination of the firm’s incredible suite of tech tools and its obvious dedication to its agents. Ethan left the brokerage he was at, signed up with Compass, and hasn’t looked back since. But fresh starts are nothing new to Ethan. His first career was as a cantor singer in Jewish worship. But after falling in love with the real estate business, Ethan decided to radically switch gears, first making a stab at being a Long Island agent before finally settling down in Manhattan.
It’s in NYC where Ethan has truly made his mark, dominating the city’s luxury real estate market and presently leading one of Compass’s most successful agency teams. According to Ethan, the secrets to his success are as follows: relationship building; tremendous focus; and a certain type of chutzpah (he is a ‘cold calling’ master, after all). As one of our 360 Mastermind coaches, Ethan specializes in leading weekly role playing exercises with agents.

Haneen Hayder

Coach & Advisor
Real Trends WSJ #212; Expert in Property Flipping; Farming; Lead Generation

Compass agent Haneen Hayder began her real estate career in 2012, and quickly rose to the top 3% of all realtors in her brokerage nationwide and internationally. She attributes her success to excellent negotiation skills, which she considers her client’s biggest advantage.

Before becoming a realtor, Haneen earned a masters degree in Chemical Engineering, and gained international corporate experience in the field of engineering. With extensive access to off-market listings, Haneen offers buyers a multitude of avenues for achieving their real estate dreams. Her technical background is particularly advantageous in this market, helping her provide innovative and unique marketing strategies to engage potential buyers.
Haneen strives for unparalleled customer service and commitment to both buyers and sellers, giving her clients an extra edge in competitive markets. Haneen is renowned for her dedication, integrity, and first-class customer service in the Bay Area real estate market. No detail is overlooked utilizing her full-service sales approach, impact marketing campaigns, and powerful local, national, and global networks.

Amit Bhuta

Coach & Advisor
Expert in Marketing; Social Media; Brand-Building

Amit Bhuta loves his job; his passion for Compass and Miami’s luxury real estate market is contagious—just ask any of his nearly 80,000 social media followers. As the leader of the All in Miami team, and a nearly 16 year industry veteran, Amit has a deep understanding of the sales, communication, and marketing skills it takes to succeed in this business. Brand-building and storytelling are Amit’s specialties; and as a coach, regular fixture on Workplace, and co-host of “Ask Me Anything,” Amit is committed to helping his fellow agents grow their own brands, and earn more money by doing things they really enjoy. His goal is to help each realtor love their jobs too.

David Severance

Chief Learning Officer & Coach
Expert in Leadership; Team Building; Business Strategy

As the son of a Westchester real estate agent, David Severance was exposed to the world of sales at an early age. He witnessed first hand the dedication, grit, and relationship-building skills that go into the job. Around this time, David also developed an interest in psychology, specifically the way our perceptions influence our choices and outcomes. When he eventually moved to Japan during college, David really started thinking about many of his own beliefs about relating to others and the makings of a life well-lived. David believes that success comes from our ability to profoundly connect with and influence those around us.
For 15 years David rose through the ranks of one of the world’s biggest airlines, where he applied his psychology background to studying what makes teams effective and how they get derailed. His work inspired international companies to find new ways of working together, both internally and publicly.

In 2005 David became a certified coach and started working with leaders in Fortune 500 companies, where he’s been at the cutting edge of leadership theory and practice. Now David brings his expertise to small teams and startups, and teaches leaders how to relate more effectively with teammates and clients.

As a coach at CSC, David runs our Leadership Mastery program, as well as leading GCI Accelerator sessions each week and working with individual clients. He looks forward to working with agents who want to grow as team leaders and find more fulfillment in their lives and jobs.

Chirag Shah

CEO & Founder

By working with Chirag Shah you can expect effective, results-driven coaching, or as one of his clients said, “you can learn more from three months with Chirag than you can in three years on your own.” Whether it’s creating systems, structures, and processes that help you grow your business; building out your team, or learning to enforce healthy work/life boundaries, Chirag wants to help you bring your vision for your future to life. As a life-long learner, people-person, and curious problem-solver, Chirag has been a student of real estate coaching since he got his realtor’s license in 2007.

In fact, Chirag is a self-described ‘real estate training seminars obsessive,’ because he loves innovating ways to help agents maximize their potential.

Chirag’s drive to inspire transformation in his colleagues made him a natural fit for Compass’s Director of Coaching and Training, a position he held for two years. While at Compass, Chirag spent over 5,000 hours training Compass agents; he created Pitching Compass, which became the gold standard for agents’ pitches, and developed both regional and national trainings that helped share Compass’s value proposition—and not just what Compass does, but how they do it.

“The How” is big for Chirag, who believes if you’re going to tell someone to do something, you need to give them steps on how to do it. This coaching philosophy guides the work he does with his clients, which include teams and agents that are featured in Real Trends Top 100 lists, and rank amongst the top 1% of realtors in the country. Chirag spends time understanding what is most important to each individual, the direction they want to take their businesses and lives, and then he creates a custom roadmap, with step-by-step processes to help get them there.