The Alimond Show

Ariana Gillette of Ariana Luxury Homes and Pearson Smith Realty

October 03, 2023 Alimond Studio
The Alimond Show
Ariana Gillette of Ariana Luxury Homes and Pearson Smith Realty
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Get ready to step into the world of business and real estate, not as a brand, but as an individual. We welcome the insightful Ariana Luxury Homes from Pearson Smith Realty, who breaks down the true essence of authenticity in business. Ariana brings her wealth of experience to the table, enlightening us on how to foster genuine relationships with clients, discover your unique "why" and live authentically as a business entrepreneur. 

We then shift gears to discuss a topic many business owners grapple with - branding. Ariana unravels the integral role branding plays in owning a business, emphasizing the need for a strong brand that reflects your authentic self. She shares her journey of personal brand-building and lends advice on identifying and eradicating those "red flags" in relationships. Additionally, we delve into the effects of our present actions on the future of our business and allow room for trial and error in new ventures. 

To wrap everything up, Ariana shares her perspectives on expectations and experiences in business, and even offers some golden nuggets for homeowners. We tackle the necessity of taking a stance on certain topics, providing a luxe experience, no matter the price point, and the current real estate market. Our conversation is packed with valuable insights, whether you're a business owner or a realtor looking to make your mark, or simply someone interested in the interplay of authenticity in business and real estate. This episode is sure to leave you pondering and hungry for more!

Speaker 1:

I'm Ariana Luxury Holmes and I'm with Pearson Smith Realty.

Speaker 2:

When you create relationships, it's you and your client.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's real like and this might revel some feathers, but I don't think people hire brands, I think they're hiring people and relationships that they built or the reputation that they built. Yeah, absolutely. At least for the most part. I'm sure some people will just look up a certain company, but that's not the much of the other?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, no, I mean, I think to build a robust business that has longevity, you have to become a referral agent. Is, or are, referrals the only thing that you would utilize as a long-time agent? No, I am 100% referral, but that's not my only lead source. Like doing things in the community, meeting new people, you always have to have. You can't just rely and it's so funny because I think I hear this a lot and it makes me sort of giggle that people teach agents to be referral agents right, and I think in their minds when they're young in the business, they think like if I could just like really hit my friends and family, like I'll be successful and you can be for a period of time, which is a cycle. If you sell a house to every person that you know, it's going to be a little while before they want to buy another house, most likely. But they'll refer you to other people, right, that's kind of the lifeblood. But then there's got to be like a whole other really robust side to things, right, yeah, bringing in new experiences.

Speaker 2:

And so how do you do that? You say that you can connect in with the community. Tell them a little bit more about that.

Speaker 1:

Oh, I have always made it. I have a service heart, they say, because I think it's just because of the way I grew up. I went to school at Madeira in Great Falls, right and very like women, girl-empowering, and I have always volunteered and always been a part of my community. That's a part of the curriculum for Madeira, so I took that always. I have always volunteered, I have always been a part of my community. I have always done things that were passionate to my heart because and I'm sorry I hit the microphone there and I'm very animated when I talk, by the way but I do things that are passionate to my heart because I have to live very authentically and if I'm not living authentically, servicing my business authentically, bringing myself into the community authentically, like I really am not a happy person.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, so it's like that's just a value that you're raised with in a room. So it's part of like who you are. You keep saying the word authentically. I've got to show up authentically, I've got to be authentic, I've got to like how, and that's such a buzzword. How do people find out really who they are as a business owner?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, Well, that's a good question, because I think people start with the really famous why right? That's like whole giant corporations are built on that exact phrase. What is your why right? And that does get you far. I mean, to some extent you're like most people will say like their family, their friends, their community, stuff like that, but then you really have to like dig in, right, it's not the only driver can't be your children, the only driver can't be that. You just like are like success hungry, right. The driver has to be something more rich, right. It's kind of how I would describe it.

Speaker 2:

And how did you discover what that was for you?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, so just painstaking changes. One element of my personality is that I just try to grow and change and bring in. I think I've said this metaphor already in this interview, but bringing in new information is always really healthy and good for you, challenging. And so, as we all do, I've made some changes in my career over the years, becoming more which is like a deadly term, but like self-focused, right, what is going to give me longevity? Right? I think at this point in my career, I don't probably ever want to rebrand ever again. Right, yes, I am done right and so right, exactly. And that's why it's why my branding is so very, very personal. It's Ariana luxury homes, it's not the team, the group, it's just me, because I know I can live that authentically forever until I, you know, die in an open house. No, just kidding, you know. I always say realtor is like never, you know, die. They just fade away, right, you know?

Speaker 2:

so let's talk a little bit about branding, because branding seems very near and dear to your heart. It's like what is that Cause a lot of our audience? They're small business owners. So the community here in the town county area. What is marketing and branding? What does that look like for you, and why is brand and reputation so important?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, when you put it together, right, when you're working and perhaps you're working for someone else's brand, right, maybe you, if you're a small business owner, perhaps you were with another business owner at some point that inspired you to be your own business owner, right? And so I think, just you know, essentially, you know you have to establish yourself, as you know, as a brand that you can stand behind. You know that kind of I kind of like went off the deep end there.

Speaker 2:

You're free to go somewhere else. Totally. What the hell is he doing? I know I've done that before. Where you're like no, I don't wanna go there. I don't wanna go there. Right, right, right.

Speaker 1:

I just feel like you know, you need to kind of you know, if you're gonna brand yourself or you're gonna brand your company, you have to do something that you're gonna truly identify with and that you can, you know, bring out to the community in your elevator speech, so to speak, you know. So that's where I was kind of going with, that is, even if you are under a larger brand, perhaps when you do wanna develop your own brand, you know you've learned some things that you maybe like don't wanna do or do wanna do as you bring that into your future brand for business owners.

Speaker 2:

For business owners relationships, anything where you get into multiple of that thing. So like you know, we get into relationships and we're like, well, I know what I don't want, yeah, right, but I did kind of like that aspect of it. So when you get into the next relationship you're like, oh, that was a red flag, I know I don't like that, so don't get into that again. And for me I feel like that's kind of in my own journey, as I was, I never worked for well. I did partner with another photographer actually before and I kind of helped him build up his business and he taught. He was an amazing mentor.

Speaker 1:

He taught me so much, yeah, not to say that those people didn't teach us like a ton of things, or that somebody that you identified with as a respected business owner don't influence us.

Speaker 2:

They certainly do 100%, and so I learned so much. But along the way I did pick up on some things where it's like, you know, for him it's been like 15 years since I've even seen him, but for him his business relied on like two to three key clients. They were the biggest clients that he had and they paid 80% of his income. I remember thinking I don't ever want that.

Speaker 1:

I don't want to ever feel so reliant on like two to three clients, yeah that would be scary, because if one went away that would be a large part of your business.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yeah. So it's like stuff like that, where we learned so then even my branding, my marketing, my business, and. I was like, okay, no, I've got, I want to build something big. And how do I do that and how do I identify with the right types?

Speaker 1:

of people. It's funny that you said no the no's, because I was just talking to a new client and I was just like you know, we just need to like get you in the car and go out and do you know, we need to see a bunch of no's. And when I mean no's, I mean like oh, I get out there and I'm like no, I don't want that. Or yeah, you know what I mean? It's a lot of no's when you first kind of start going through something new until you kind of figure out what are the yeses for you. That's branding, and of course, I um, I am by no means a brand expert, and so I had looked to other people in my network and enlisted a brand expert marketing agency called Elevate it. Now I was going to say who, yeah, who did you work with? Yeah, elevate it. Now it's Monica Malave.

Speaker 2:

Is she national or is she local?

Speaker 1:

She's national and she's actually pretty prolific. She is also a brand… Prolific, that's a big word. She's like that Adobe brand ambassador. She's, like you know, really really big marketing person, and so when I first enlisted her, it was like the beginning of the pandemic. It was a whole other thing. Like we never even met each other in person except for having met each other in the past through like some networking, and we worked a lot remotely during that time and so I was kind of lucky in that I did a lot of the branding during that time. Oh well, yeah, and it was a really seamless transition, right, because I even had many clients that kind of say to me like so like you're doing your own thing now you know what I mean, and so like they subtly noticed over time, but it wasn't anything dramatic. You know I'm not all about the drama. You know anything that you're going to do in your business for my business, real estate is going to have an influence on your business for like six months in the future, even if it's a good decision. Yeah, explain that, just like making changes in your business right Even if there are positive changes, right they do affect you in the future Like everything we're doing right now is affecting our future business. I mean, we're going to eventually put this out into the universe and, you know, hopefully the end result is that it affects you know your business right. You know so, good or bad, you know you're casting the dye in the water now by the actions that we're taking.

Speaker 2:

You know not something that I coach my team and other small business owners that I am friends with when we have conversations is if right now you're sitting in the suck of your business, right?

Speaker 1:

Why do I?

Speaker 2:

have no clients. What's going on? Look three to four months back.

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

What were you doing then?

Speaker 1:

Yeah.

Speaker 2:

Because I mean, obviously you can quickly pick up the phone, you can call people, you can text people. So, yes, like if you're a hustler and you've got that type of like grit you can.

Speaker 1:

It doesn't even matter if you're a hustler. No person, man or woman, superwoman. You know five full-time jobs you know that we cover. Everyone needs a break 100%. Or you will break, you will break. You will take a break, or you will break. You know I like that. Yeah, you're going to break, because then something is going to completely overwhelm you. And then you know you like, fall off the curb, you know texting or something, and then you're, you know an injury. Always, like, I always know if I'm doing something I'm super distracted. You know, if I injure myself, yeah, I'm like whoa, yeah, wow, wow, I need to. Yeah, yeah, slow down.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, no, I'm not as a small, as a business owner. If you want a successful future, you got to start now. Yeah, or like just start. Yeah, just start.

Speaker 1:

Just start, it's okay. Like, go look back at my first videos and you will see how much things have changed. Oh, just have to start.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, you know what's one of your biggest not necessarily regrets, but if you go back and do it over again, knowing that what you know?

Speaker 1:

Branding earlier branding earlier, just being kind of, you know, maybe you know I've worked over the years for a lot of great brands and companies but like, was I making Coldwell Banker, you know richer? Who was I servicing? You know I don't like to feel like a worker bee, you know. And if I get that mentality that I'm like a worker bee, then I'm like not, you know, I'm like no, I really feel authentically, like I am really and I'm so sorry for grabbing this microphone again, but right like just.

Speaker 2:

Because you're a real estate agent. Real estate agents go into business because they want to serve their clients and their people, the way that they see in their business.

Speaker 1:

Run my own business, yeah, yeah.

Speaker 2:

I always thought that was an interesting model. Yeah Right, because it's like you never truly are allowed to do 100%, unless you're a broker. But even then you've got like stipulations that you've got to like work with?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, right now in my life you know I am I'm a broker too. I've run brokerage, yeah, I've been in the business since 2001. I went into new construction with Brookfield Homes in 2001,. 2003, I got my general brokerage license and like 2008, I got my brokers license. So I have like. So you are a broker, I am a broker. But when you work under a broker Pearson Smith, right I'm an associate broker. So anyone you see with that associate broker, we are all broker licensed. But when you work under a larger broker, then you become an associate broker.

Speaker 2:

But it's an interesting model. The real estate like industry where I know whenever I would partner, work with real estate agents or I do like content for them.

Speaker 1:

You got to put that whole like yeah, there's a lot of that. Some are more than others, for sure, but there are those I think are also like state and federal requirements as well.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, but do one of their or very few other industries. You know what I mean.

Speaker 1:

If we'll just go to lenders, you know, or people I think insurance people kind of have to have those disclosures like that as well.

Speaker 2:

That's interesting. So marketing and branding is something that you would change.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I kind of wish I would have branded to just something Ariana anchored you know years earlier, because I truly think I could have you know, maybe built out something you know pretty robust in this timeframe. You don't know as a young agent, like where you know where your business is coming from or how to you know. Now I feel like the younger agents coming in, people are like treat it like a business and do all these things that are like a business, right, they're teaching them like correctly how to use it. Maybe better skill sets, right, you know, for me I felt like it was.

Speaker 2:

Here's your business card and I'll get some business.

Speaker 1:

Yeah, and that business card. I have some of those photos where they literally lined you up with a Polaroid on the wall at the Long and Foster, which was the first office, because it was right across, like the street from my house, like these are the things you know, you made your decision Not like tactically right, totally, I was like I could walk there, you know, yeah, and now it's so, so, so different. This, you know this my business is so strategic and so intentional and so, like planned, and who I want to affiliate with in my business and who I want to represent my business is so, so different. Now, all these years later, why does that matter? It just matters because of your reputation. You know. It's not your reputation, yeah, being you know, your reputation in real estate. I mean, you're already working against stereotypes about real estate agents, right, and so you. For me, it's super important because my business is about helping people really like unlock their equity, move into something that's going to be a nesting for them, empower themselves to get out of rentals. You know, have peace of mind if they're. You know certain things that they want me to do with their real estate or be an advocate for them or just be able to be a resource for them in the community, like who I work with in that capacity matters and so like one. I mean let's just not say like it's so dramatic, but like one bad review, you know, but it could be. You know, some of those things could be really detrimental to your reputation and to your business. If people think that you know you're not truthful, you're not really looking out for them, because I think a lot of people in the world today are pretty much like people are gonna do bad things to them. You know they're talking about somebody's largest asset. You don't wanna put that online, absolutely not. I want people to truly know that, like everything about the experience is sacred to me their privacy, you know our ability to communicate, our ability to work well together and pivot if we need to. Right. I mean Good, real, like easy real estate is like you know people who got into the business and they'll, you know, over the pandemic or things like that, and think that real estate is really easy, really don't have a super, super long term career because I'll tell you a lot of what we do is very like. You know psychology and counseling and finance. I mean there's a lot that we do. We take into it as a entrusted, I think, relationship, you know. So I think all of that is really important.

Speaker 2:

You know. One thing I want to touch on too is when you're talking about reputation. This is really big to me in terms of like, who you align with yourself with really matters, because when I, when I recommend or I affiliate with this person, my name is on the line. So when I hate, I hate it when this happens. But if they do something not in alignment with my values, the person that doesn't know me very well they see this person and they're like oh, I'm pretty sure they're connected with Leah, so I think yeah, does she?

Speaker 1:

does she accept this kind of shenanigan? Is this something that she's okay with?

Speaker 2:

And then you're like, oh my god, yeah, but you don't want to come out there and be like hey, just FYI, I don't like that's not me, sure, such a weird.

Speaker 1:

Yes, it's super is cancel culture.

Speaker 2:

That happened.

Speaker 1:

Right.

Speaker 2:

And I don't really want to get into that, but that really made it evident where it's like people almost started expecting you to come out and say, no matter what it was, whether it was a local connection or something on a global scale yes. Like.

Speaker 1:

I know what you're talking about.

Speaker 2:

Do I accept this type of behavior or don't?

Speaker 1:

I mean you have to like, you have to totally like in the take a stance almost.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, yes, because people want to know that stuff and I have a really hard time with that because I don't believe anything is black and white. Never. I'm in the mindset of like it's. It's shades of gray.

Speaker 1:

Sure, a lot of it is today. Totally, yeah, I know, I um, yeah, I had a listing appointment a couple days ago and the seller was so sweet and at the end of the day, the end of the conversation, she said to me you know, and I would say this is the most negative thing that happened in the entire you know interview and she said you're too good to be true, you're. Everything you're saying is resonating with me. You really listen to what I was saying beyond my words, you know, and everything that you've presented is like over the top, like she wasn't expecting she was going to get this incredibly cohesive, luxurious sort of you know listing experience. Yeah, and that it was like too good to be true. And I thought like wow, that is a really like I'd never really heard anybody say that before. But I was like no, I actually am true, you know, like this is it. I was like this is, this is the luxury experience for every price point, honey, you know what I mean. Like totally, you know. And I was like this is really cool, like this is where I want to be with my business.

Speaker 2:

And that it was probably a surprising but good sign to be like okay, how many other experiences has this woman and many other people have had to where they're expecting?

Speaker 1:

Yeah, I thought it was really interesting. I came in second on, you know, like I was the second person in to interview with her for the listing and, and so I know that she had talked to other people. But you know, I don't think the way I bring things to the table is like very different than than most, like very more holistic, and a lot of what we had to do for that and for a lot of people is, you know, you need to unlock like a whole other thing with what so, like, so you're sitting on a bunch of equity, so what? Yeah, If you have no idea what your next phase of life is going to entail, then you have. Then who cares about your equity right now? Right, you need to start like doing some things. Like I had said about putting in new information. You need to start feeding yourself new information so that you can make. You know, I think you have to intentionally bring that about right, and that's like you teach that to business owners. I teach these principles to buyers, sellers, investors. You know different people in my network as well, you know. I think these are like life principles, like being a good business owner, regardless of industry. I think we all think alike in some capacity and we're helping people or we wouldn't be doing what we're doing, you know.

Speaker 2:

I totally agree. Last thing, I wanna ask you specifically because I wanna. I love the small business, because that's my like, the marketing. And that's why I think in terms of home ownership and that realm. That's your expertise. What is one? I know this is off the spot, I didn't like that's fine. Yeah, I love off the spot. That's the best way. What is one either tip or advice that you wish more home owners knew?

Speaker 1:

Like right now specifically. Right now, specifically to what's going on in our. I think it's amazing. Yeah, don't believe the hype. Okay, that's fine, 100%. Yeah, there's some great opportunities for buyers right now. There are builders giving like incredible incentives, like pre-built in low rates, like ridiculously low rates that you would be shocked about. There are inspections. There are many things that are kind of coming back into play right now. You know, yes, there are some hot spots. Okay, we're not talking about the hot spots specifically. You know we're talking as a whole. You know I would say for people, like, don't believe the hype. It actually isn't a bad time to buy if you need to buy and you know sellers, it's still a seller's market, it's an inventory crunch is essentially what we're dealing with. So sellers, you know, start putting in some of that new information, thinking about your next phase in life. If you're sitting on a lot of equity, you know, and like, take the plunge, because I think like great things can come from like releasing that equity as well, you know, for sellers, so buyers jump in there and sellers start thinking about it.

Speaker 2:

What's the first step they should do to start that process?

Speaker 1:

Oh my gosh call me. Duh Ha ha, ha ha for sure, for sure, yeah.

Speaker 2:

It's the best place that somebody can find out more.

Speaker 1:

Oh well, you know I bring everything online. So Instagram, facebook. I'm even on TikTok, youtube my Ariana luxury homes. Do there actually might be a video or two on there with my daughter from the pandemic, I won't lie, you know. But yeah, social media and arianalecturyhomescom.

Speaker 2:

Awesome. Well, thanks so much for being a guest on this podcast.

Speaker 1:

Thank you for inviting me, Of course. Great thanks.

Importance of Authenticity in Building Relationships
Brand's Role in Business Ownership"
Expectations and Experience in Business
Tips and Advice for Home Owners