Interview with MarkAnthony Ball – Team Leader
A compassionate agent who’s main objective is to help buyers find their perfect home and sellers restart with their home sale.
San Antonio, TX
What inspired you to start in real estate and how did you motivate yourself to keep going?
I grew up in a single-parent home for most of my childhood – we didn’t have the most money. I remember bouncing from apartment to apartment, sleeping in my mom’s coworkers living rooms and sometimes her car. She worked double shift after double shift to earn enough money to purchase a home for us, so she didn’t have to move us again. I remember the joy on her face when she told my sister and me that she had bought us a home. Tears rolled down her cheeks, and we couldn’t be happier. That exact moment is what I want to give to everyone – the joy of finding their perfect home is what I strive to achieve. And likewise, selling a home allows someone to restart their life with the proceeds they will receive. I want to make their next journey as easy as possible.
Comparing your business from back then to now, what has been the main thing that allowed you to expand your business?
Primarily, getting over my fear of picking up the phone – whether it’s a cold call, calling someone that came into my website, or anything else, I went into it with the mindset of “5 minutes ago, they would have had no idea who I was, so if it’s a dud, they’ll forget me in 5 minutes too! Best case, we have a good chat”. Once I overcame that fear, conversations were smooth, much like talking to a good friend.
Second, video, video, video! My business expanded exponentially when I started doing reels, IG vids, and home tours! I didn’t expect it, honestly. Glennda Baker, Tom Ferry, and my coach Stephanie Arnett have been instrumental in my success with video marketing. It’s a ton of fun!
What’s the most profitable aspect of your business, why do you think this is and how can others apply this to what they are doing?
Likability and learning how to adapt to any situation while applying what’s “missing” to establish a genuine connection. For example, in my most recent listing appointment: my now client was a bit hesitant with me and was very short with his answers to many questions I asked. I immediately thought, “If I can make him smile or laugh or have him talk to me about his travels, I can fix this.” Finding the missing piece and talking to him about his travels made him trust me, open up, and decide to work with my team and me.
Sometimes it’s not about systems. It’s about how we connect with people to make them feel comfortable.
If we’re talking systems, it’s imperative to track, track, track! Track how many people you’ve met, how many conversations you’ve made, appointments set, offers written, etc., etc., etc. I firmly believe “if it doesn’t make cents, it doesn’t make sense.” Of course, try things out, but if they aren’t working, it’s time to pull back, reflect, and try something different.
When did you realize you were successful/made it and how did you feel/celebrate?
I realized I was successful after my first year in the business. I earned Rookie of the Year, Gold Production, a compliance award, and was nominated (and won #3) for Best Realtor by the San Antonio Current. It was pretty overwhelming for me, but it felt great knowing that what I was doing was right by my broker and clients. I celebrated by starting a team – I blame my 12 years in the military (lol), but I love guiding and mentoring people. I wanted to give back – especially to newer agents in such a tough market.
Looking back, what could you have done sooner to get to that point quicker?
I would have brought on a transaction coordinator (TC) WAY sooner into my business. When I first started, I had four transactions moving simultaneously. There were points where I asked myself, “Was this amendment sent? When is closing? Did I order a closing gift?”, A TC would have significantly reduced the amount of thinking I was doing so I could focus on other portions of my business.
I also would have got on video a LOT earlier than when I did. What I’m posting now is tracking, but could you imagine if I started my Youtube in year 1 when I was beginning and following my business growth while connecting with people each and every day? Bananas!
What should other real estate entrepreneurs reading this be focusing on to expand their own business?
Systems before marketing, always. You’ll find yourself drowning if you put $1,000 into Google PPC with no way to track and service prospective clients who come in and seek help. So first, take the time to find a CRM that works for you, drip campaigns, video email service, newsletter service, etc.
Put your authentic self out there. Folks want to know YOU, not “just sold, under contract, just listed.” While that is awesome, they want to see that you’re a foodie and can give them the best Italian food restaurant in the city, or you have big dogs and can tell them a fun dog park with trails for them and Fido.
How has social media and online marketing affected your real estate business? How much more success have you had now after implementing social media and online marketing efforts?
Social media and online marketing have allowed me to have fun in my business. Folks want accurate information, and real estate is honestly the industry for that. Telling it like it is with humorous TikToks, informational IG Reels, or long-form stories of past transactions is helping the consumer recognize the changes that occur in the market every day while continuing to build the trust and online relationship that we have with them. Many people have approached me while walking my dog and said, “I just watched your video about what appliances come with a newly purchased home (or another video of mine); thanks so much for that!” It’s times like that I know that I’m pushing out valuable content for folks.
How did you build your team?
After earning my awards, I built the Ball International Real Estate Group [BIG] after my first full year in real estate. I felt it was important to prove myself before bringing on other folks to the mix.
When hiring agents, it was vital that we all mixed well and vibed off one another. I wanted a diverse group of thinkers (my creatives) and my builders (my full-on “let’s go go go”). Being a new team leader, I recognized that I needed all the help I could get to foster a positive environment. Still, also, I wanted input on what folks wanted to make their experience as an agent easier so they can do what they do best: help folks buy and sell real estate.
How did you become a good leader?
Many folks don’t know, but I separated from the Army after 12 years as a Staff Sergeant (fully promotable to Sergeant First Class). While on active duty, I earned the rank of Sergeant (a leadership position) in 3 years and, since then, have always maintained myself in various leadership positions. Taking care of people has always been of chief importance to me. I’ve had my fair share of bad leaders and leadership, and I promised that I would be that change regardless of what industry I chose to be in, so I took it upon myself to ensure I’m the most knowledgeable in the field I’m in. Helping people achieve more than what they imagined for themself makes me the happiest.
Did You Experience Failures? If So, What Did You Learn From Them?
Oh man, tons! Between losing a client (both purchases and listings) to team agent turnover to completely flubbing a transaction, I can go on and on! Each time I learned what to do and what not to do. The great thing about real estate is that everything can be fixed either with an amendment, a contractor, or just a wholehearted conversation.
What do you consider the main differences between those people who have been successful in your industry and those who have failed?
The folks who succeed do the work: there’s no other way of saying it. There are thousands of agents here in San Antonio. Getting your license and waiting for someone to call you isn’t going to do it. So I tell my agents, “if you aren’t doing showings on Saturdays, you’re running an open house.” It’s crucial to self-prospect by doing the necessary items to generate business. Mindset is the tool that continues folks to grow in their business. Not every day will be a “good day.” Overcoming a bad day, week, or month keeps you in the game.
What’s Your Approach To Marketing?
II have a few types of marketing. I have my Google PPC, Google Listing Services, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, and mailers. I don’t think there’s a “best way” or “one way” to market. Whichever way you choose to market, market consistently.
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