Tuesdays with Corey interview with Jill Heineck
Jill Heineck is a leading authority on corporate relocations, and is highly sought after for her real estate industry acumen and business insights. As a published author, frequent panelist and keynote speaker, Jill shares her experience and perceptions with people from around the globe.
Jill is a founding partner of Keller Williams Southeast, established in 1999, and the founder and managing partner of Heineck and Co. Her real estate practice specializes in corporate relocations, individual relocations, luxury residential, and commercial properties. Jill’s analytical approach to problem-solving, along with her expert negotiation skills and sophisticated marketing, deliver superior results to her clients. Her winning strategies and tenacious client advocacy have earned her a reputation for excellence among Atlanta’s top producers.
While Jill has received many accolades throughout her career, she is most gratified by the personal testimonials and referrals she receives from her clients. Jill’s unwavering commitment to the customer experience, and her focus on the unique needs of each client, serve as the foundation of her success.
Follow Jill Heineck on LinkedIn.
Intro: Broadcasting live from the Business RadioX Studios in Atlanta, Georgia, it's time for Atlanta Business Radio, spotlighting the city's best businesses and the people who lead them.
Sanjay Toure: Good morning. This is Sanjay Toure here at the Business RadioX Studio. And I'm here with Corey from Tuesdays with Corey. How are you guys doing this morning?
Corey Rieck: We're doing great, Sanjay. Thank you.
Sanjay Toure: How was your morning?
Corey Rieck: Outstanding.
Sanjay Toure: Yeah? How was the commute? Everything's good.
Corey Rieck: No interruptions, no drama. So, everything's good.
Sanjay Toure: That's awesome. So, tell me who you have in the station today.
Corey Rieck: Well, today we're pleased to have Jill Heineck, who is the founder of Heineck & Company. And Jill's a leading authority on corporate relocation and is highly sought after in the real estate industry for her acumen and business insight. Jill, welcome.
Jill Heineck: Thank you. It's great to be here.
Corey Rieck: But, Jill, you haven't always been in Atlanta, have you?
Jill Heineck: No, I'm originally from Cape Cod, and college in Boston, and then migrated south like a lot of northerners have.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Like me, you escaped the winter.
Jill Heineck: Yes.
Corey Rieck: What ended up bringing you to Atlanta?
Jill Heineck: At the time, it was the job market. I was young, single, out of college, and it was a little bit before the Olympics were coming, and there was a frenzy of young professionals coming to the Atlanta market. And I had great traction here with resumes and interviews. And that's what landed me here.
Corey Rieck: I moved here in April of '97. My experience is very similar. I know a lot of companies are relocating here, which I'm sure is helpful for your business. And it seemed like there were a lot of transplants here but not really ... it seemed like there were more transplants here back in April of '97 than there were people that actually grew up in and lived here.
Jill Heineck: Oh, it was hard to find a native.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. And I found that that was kind of cool because you had people that's sort of shared similar experiences. And I think it made people more open to helping.
Jill Heineck: Absolutely.
Corey Rieck: So, you grew up in Boston. How is Boston different than Atlanta, other than the weather? I think we have a pretty good bid on that.
Jill Heineck: I would say, for me, particularly, at that time, Atlanta was much more open, had a lot more opportunity available. At the time, I was seeking positions in advertising and public relations. But regardless of what metro you're in, it's a very tight, tight community in the advertising and PR community, but felt very much more closed in Boston. And I just had a lot more opportunity to meet people, and connect, and network in the Atlanta market.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, that doesn't surprise me that you did an effective job of connecting. I mean, having known you, you communicate very straightforwardly, very direct, which I enjoy, I like. And tell us how you decided to build Heineck & Company. Was our jumping off point? Was a series of events that led you to start your organization?
Jill Heineck: Yes. So, going back to right around the Olympics time, probably about a year before that, I was working in actually sports marketing, fitness marketing, and a lot of our friends at the gym were starting to invest in real estate because of how the market was just booming, and people were making hand over fist, fists of cash. And so, we decided that we wanted to try it. And that was pre-license, pre-anything, barely had been in Atlanta. And so, bought this old house in downtown Atlanta, way downtown, and made an effort at making this house the most beautiful house in the neighborhood.
Corey Rieck: So, let me ask you something. Are you handy?
Jill Heineck: No. So, herein lies part of the problem, right?
Corey Rieck: This is why we're going to get along so well because full disclosure, I can't build anything or put anything together either. That's funny to you.
Jill Heineck: That's really funny actually.
Corey Rieck: It is. But I'm sorry. Continue.
Jill Heineck: That's okay. So, my husband, who is on the handy side, in three months, he turned this very, very bad piece property into a shining masterpiece. And we had over 300 people interested in either renting or buying the property. But when they saw that we were the best house on the worst block, we got nobody. So, for 18 months, we carry this property, showed it a ton, but because we didn't really know what we were doing, we were stuck. And so, I had to go back to the investor that sold me the property, and I just said, "Look, I know you know what happened here. You sold me the property knowing exactly what happened here. So, I'd like you to help me find a buyer who is, at least, going to buy it back for the note." And he found an investor who happened to grow up in the neighborhood, and she felt very confident she could rent it. And she went ahead and took it off my hands.
Jill Heineck: So, the moral of the story is I needed to know more, and I did not want to see this happen to anyone else, which is the entree into becoming a residential realtor and advisor, someone who's going to guide you through maybe stay away from that neighborhood or if you're not handy, let's not do this project.
Corey Rieck: Well, you said something that I think that is very, very important. To me, if you buy a property, it seems like it would be easy to turn it into a masterpiece. "Oh, we got to do this. We got to do that." And that may not be what's necessary to get money out of it or to make income from it. And to me, that seems like ... is that a mistake that you see people make a lot in people that buy houses for investments and try to flip them? I mean, maybe first-time folks.
Jill Heineck: No. I see them going the opposite direction.
Corey Rieck: Not doing enough?
Jill Heineck: Correct.
Corey Rieck: Really?
Jill Heineck: So, when we're talking about overbuilding or over improving, we're seeing that more if that's your primary property, and you're not thinking about long term, are you putting too much money into it for the neighborhood? When working with investors, we're seeing maybe they're not going to put enough in because they want to keep their profit margins on the fatter side, which we all understand. But at some point, you can't necessarily cut corners on every transaction.
Corey Rieck: [So, if somebody is selling a house for the listenership out there, what are two of the prime areas that they should consider where they could get the most return on their money for improving?
Jill Heineck: I think the hot up-and-coming areas right now that I'm seeing are still further up 400, Cumming, 14, 15, 16. It's just the metro area keeps expanding outwards. We're also seeing East Atlanta. And I'm also seeing a lot of work happening over Norcross and Peachtree Corners.
Corey Rieck: What about specifically if a person of a client of yours wanted to sell their house, and they say, "Hey, Jill. If I were to make improvements on my house, what counsel, what are the two areas of people most commonly focused on?" Because I've always heard like the master bath and the kitchen.
Jill Heineck: Kitchens and baths. You're going to see about 92% to 98% of your return on investment when you focus there. People are living in their kitchens, and they want to feel luxurious in their bathrooms. So, we're seeing higher end finishes in masters and even hall baths just because it feels good. It feels like they want to show it off when their guests come. And it's personal enjoyment too. You're going to do that, and you're going to stay there for a while, and enjoy it, and not just renovate to sell.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, it seems like from knowing you that you and Charlie have formed a very, very good team. Charlie's extremely handy, can kind of do things. And that to me seems like it would be extremely valuable to someone like you that is sort of more out front selling homes, making relationships. And then, you have somebody that has all that knowledge to go back and make whatever it is you're buying or selling beautiful.
Jill Heineck: Yes. So, we've actually formed a quite a network. He focuses on the residential interior and exterior painting piece. He can do like carpentry work, deck work, and things like that. So, I always recommend him as one of two or three vendors that the client can talk to. And I would say, probably, a majority of the time, he's getting the work on.
Corey Rieck: That doesn't surprise me knowing him.
Jill Heineck: Yeah, he's-
Corey Rieck: That's good on him.
Jill Heineck: He's fantastic, and he guarantees all his work. So, it's been a good partnership for us. But we also partner with general contractors who can fill in the holes where he can't, the things that he doesn't do. So, it's been a good partnership.
Corey Rieck: Your college degree is in communications? How is that helped you with what you're doing now building your company?
Jill Heineck: I think the number one thing that has helped a lot is being able to communicate candidly to a client.
Corey Rieck: You, candid?
Jill Heineck: Transparency is one of our cornerstones. And I would rather be upfront now than have to backpedal later. It's no good for me, it's no good for the client, it's terrible for the situation. So, let's just get it all out on the table. Let's do a ton of follow up. And that's where a lot of the candor is. Sometimes, you don't get it all accomplished at the meeting in-person, and you have to follow up. And that's where the candor is appreciated most times.
Corey Rieck: So, you and Charlie are some pretty significant integral parts of your business. Do you have a team? Do you have people that support you, that gather all the information, that kind of dot the Is and cross the Ts?
Jill Heineck: Yes.
Corey Rieck: Tell us about that.
Jill Heineck: So, for Heineck & Company, which is my real estate practice under the Keller Williams Realty umbrella, we have a team of about five or I think we have six admin now, and they're split up into four-person marketing team and a two-person contract close team. So, when a property goes under contract, then we turn it over to our contract close team, and they help me stay, and the clients, and all the vendors involved with getting a transaction to the closing table. They're helping us make sure that all our milestones are noted and everyone's aware of what they need to do.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, that's great. So, tell us a little bit, if you would, your marketing team, what do they do? Are they writing content for you? Are they blogging, or how where exactly are they helping you?
Jill Heineck: They're split. So, I have a listing marketing team that helps to just market properties specifically. So, they are assisting with writing, marketing copy, creating and designing beautiful brochures. And we do hardcover story books about each property. So, they have a lot of work cut out for them in addition to making sure that those properties are present online everywhere they can be. And then, the other part of the company, the marketing team is promoting the company. So, yes, they are working on website updates. They're making sure that our reviews are connected to our website. They're making sure that we are blogging on a weekly or biweekly basis. They're helping us write monthly newsletters. Everything crosses my desks. It is coming from me. They are just helping me shape it beautifully and get it out.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, it sounds like you have a great team behind you to do the heavy lifting. And you can sort of check off what's going on that has your name on it. That obviously speaks to the level of business you're doing. How has your business evolved in the last 20 years?
Jill Heineck: Well, it went from me to an executive assistant and an operations person, which made a big difference in me being able to go out and actually deliver the services that I promised because, really, it's more about me connecting with the client on a regular basis and making sure that they feel cared for. And so, when I have somebody helping me on the back end, it's easier for me to take care on the front end with the clients.
So, the evolution has been really finding specialists rather than just one operations manager. So, that's why we've split our marketing team into two teams. And that's why we have a separate transaction team helping us from contract to close. And we realized that we really didn't need one person, an ops manager, an EA doing everything. So, it's just kind of you live and learn. And these are the lessons I learned. And even though Gary Keller, the visionary of Keller Williams, put together a guideline on how to build your real estate business in the first critical hire would be an EA, not everybody necessarily fits into that model. And I learned that after trying it for probably eight years.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. So, they have very, very specific duties that they form.
Jill Heineck: Correct.
Corey Rieck: And there may be more along the lines of technicians. And if your business is a pie and the marketing is an eighth of a slice or something like that, I think that's very, very important to you as the owner and as a person that's driving the direction of the company to say, "Okay. here are the results. Here are the tasks. Here is a pecking order of when they need to be done." And it sounds like you've done that.
Jill Heineck: They're specialists in their space.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Jill Heineck: So. what I love is that they usually come trained. I've hired people who are trained in those areas. And we're just kind of honing what the Heineck & Company way is for them, so they understand how I want to be positioned. And that's really it. I'm not having to micromanage them. They pretty much take the ball and run with it. And that is my management style.
Corey Rieck: But don't you think that that's a byproduct of you having the experience? Okay, I sort of know what I don't want. And now, okay-
Jill Heineck: Exactly.
Corey Rieck: ... here's exactly what I need to move the ball forward. And it sounds like you've done a very good job of building a friction-free work environment for you, so you can throw your fastball during the day and do what you do best, and others can do what they do best behind you to make sure things get done in an effective and efficient fashion.
Jill Heineck: Right.
Corey Rieck: Is that accurate?
Jill Heineck: Yes.
Corey Rieck: So, how do you self-renew? You've been successful for 20 or 21 years. How do you hit the reset button? How do you get ready for your day? I know there's probably four questions in there.
Jill Heineck: So, you mean on a daily basis?
Corey Rieck: Yes.
Jill Heineck: Okay. Every morning, the first thing I do is I do a little bit of journaling, and I'm at the gym.
Corey Rieck: What kind of journaling?
Jill Heineck: So, it's just, really, it's a grateful journal, and just grateful for the day before. So, any little thing that has come across my day that you don't typically take a mindful moment to appreciate it. And so, I take that moment in the evening or in the morning depending on the scheduling, and journal about it. And whether it's grateful that I have an able body to go to the gym this morning or thankful that this person called off my website, whether or not it turns into business or not, I'm just grateful that the opportunity has presented itself. And then, working out and knowing that I'm taking care of myself really helps set the day up for me.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, I think there's a lot to be said for gratefulness. And you think about one of the things that gets talked about is it can really shape your day. If you start out grateful, it can shape your thinking. And a lot of times, business owners, the biggest battle they fight is the four inches between their ears. And I think that it seems to me that being grateful at the beginning of the day can help you shape the day. I find that a lot of successful people that have been on the show, they have a routine. They journal, they're grateful, they work out in the morning. And what kind of working out do you do? I know you do a a faction of things, but just boil it down for us.
Jill Heineck: I just cross-train. So, I'm doing the orange theory concept. I'm also doing-
Corey Rieck: That looks like it's hard.
Jill Heineck:It is hard, but it's made a huge difference in the way I feel, the strength level, sleeping better at night.
Corey Rieck: That's good.
Jill Heineck: I cycle on the off days. And then, maybe once a week, I will just go to the gym and do kind of a multitasking workout.
Corey Rieck: So, how many days a week are you doing orange theory?
Jill Heineck: I'm probably doing that three to four.
Corey Rieck: And you do that, what, 6:00 a.m.? 5:30 a.m?
Jill Heineck: That is a 6:00 a.m. And then, the cycling is 5:30 or 5:45.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. All very, very strong. And clearly, you keep yourself in excellent condition. I think that that is also an ... that's a very important part, doing the exercise, getting out, being grateful. Do you find that it helps prepare you better mentally when you workout in the mornings?
Jill Heineck: Yes, I am spent in the afternoons. I also want to be available for any things that come up during the day. And that's also part of what Gary Keller kind of set the tone with me 20 years ago when I joined the company is that you want to get all your important things out before lunch, before 1:00 in the afternoon. And everything thereafter, you can respond to instead of react. So, you have really set your intentions for the day by starting that way. And that's something he does also.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, I think I used to have a coach, an old coach that would say, "Well, Rieck, you're not good as you think you are, and you're not as bad as they say you are. You're usually somewhere in the middle." And I think working out really helps the mental component, which is, I think, very important when you have your own shingle, and you're doing you're doing your business, whatever that may be.
Jill Heineck: That's right.
Corey Rieck: How is the business evolved itself? Because in the 90s, we're certainly in a different place technologically than we are now. And you seem to be very well-versed in putting information out there to cultivate folks, nurture folks. Talk to us about that.
Jill Heineck: I've never been afraid of the interwebs. People were afraid when Zillow and Trulia showed up, those websites, and people would just be online before they'd ever call an agent ever again. And to be honest with you, I've embraced it. It's not going away. And if you're not moving with it, then you're going to lose it. So, for me, embracing it, figuring out how it fits into my whole marketing strategy, how it's in service delivery, and that kind of thing has been really helpful. So, the evolution has been from people paging me to go see properties to people screenshotting properties they see on Zillow and saying, "Can you help us with some background on this? Should we go see it?" So, it's really only helped the business. There's nothing intimidating about it to me. I love competition. There's plenty-.
Corey Rieck: Gee, I never would've picked up on that.
Jill Heineck: There's plenty of it in the marketplace, whether it's in person, other brokerages, or online. So, there's plenty of business to go around.
Corey Rieck: Well, I think you have to have so much going on that you don't get attached emotionally to this deal or that deal,.
Jill Heineck: Not to the deal. I want to serve the client. So, we're working at making sure that during the ... we're engaged with the client that they are experiencing the easiest, smoothest, getting their information as quickly as possible accesses there. So, that's what we're focused on. If we show them 5 houses or 50, we don't care. It's just a matter of making sure that they're cared for and that they're making the right decisions.
Corey Rieck: One of the all the things I've been impressed with, and there are a number of them with you, is you get a lot of repeat customers. Why do you think that is?
Jill Heineck:I think that one reason would be our response to any hiccups that might come up during a transaction. So, we know that nothing's 100% smooth all the time. So, when something comes up, we have a plan for response. Obviously, if it's something that we missed in a contract, it's our bad, we're gonna take care of that right away. That very rarely happens, but we have a team in place. We have an attorney on retainer. There is a lot of things that we can do to assuage the situation quickly. We don't like to let things just kind of play itself out. We just want to nip it in the bud. So, I think that would be one main reason.
Jill Heineck: The other is I'm very flexible with the client scheduling. So, people travel for work. They work from home. When we're listing property, we have to work with scheduling like that. And we're very flexible. There's nothing hard and fast. There's no hard and fast rules about that. So, we just are on a case-by-case basis, and I think clients appreciate that.
Corey Rieck: To me, there are a lot of differentiators that you have. To me, you come across as being very, very straightforward to buy or sell with. I picked up that you're very data-driven. Where exactly do you get your data? And who compiles it? How do you go about getting that?
Jill Heineck: We're very fortunate with Keller Williams, particularly, in our Atlanta region where they value the data tools enough to give the agents access to, therefore, serve the client at a higher level. So, when we're talking to you about your house, we have already seen probably five or six around your house, and we already know what they're offering. And then, we can compare it intelligently to your property and how you stack up. So, the data comes from statisticians that we hire that compile the information on a monthly basis. We also have other services that we have access to, so that we're comparing apples to apples, and we have all the right data that's real time data in addition to, again, seeing the properties that are competing or if you're buyer, we're looking at probably the same statistics only in a different light because when you're buying, you're looking at from a different perspective. But we're also seeing the other properties that are competing against the one you might like, and we already know how they stack up and how we should craft a strategic offer.
Corey Rieck: So, on some level, is it fair to say that you're a conduit with the data to the client to help assimilate it in a way that makes sense for the clients, and they can figure out, "Hey, what should we sell our place for? What should we offer on that place?" It seems like data is with your organization especially readily available. And it seems like you do an excellent job of compiling it, summarizing it. For me, just tell me what to do.
Jill Heineck: Right.
Corey Rieck: Right? Isn't that kind of the ideal client?
Jill Heineck: And that's how I am as a client. I want you, you're the specialist, you tell me what you think I should do now that we've talked about this data. Now, that you've seen my house; now, that you've seen the market, what do you think? And the interesting thing about data is that it is facts. They are facts. The thing about real estate is that really it is an art, not a science. So, we are using some scientific data to kind of craft this beautiful piece of art supposedly, and see if the market is going to respond to it.
Jill Heineck: And, so what we do is we do the best that we can to come out with a realistic price for the marketplace, and then see how the market responds. And then, we respond accordingly. So, in the first two weeks, if we're not getting any traction at all, then we reconvene with the client, and we discuss how can we reposition his property without wasting too much market time.
Corey Rieck: To me, relationships are extremely important, especially for things that I don't know anything about. Your CPA, that's an important relationship. Your hairstylist, that's an important relationship. And a realtor, just, there's so many moving parts. Me personally, I have no interest in using Trulia or Zillow because I want to talk to somebody because I have questions, somebody that gives me the data. Okay, well, what's the strategy? What do we need to do given the circumstances? And to me, what you do is so valuable there, if not for just being an independent third party, taking independent third party data and saying, "Hey, here's the circumstances. Here's what I think we should do." You've got 21 plus years of experience in this. To me, I think it's really crucial to have somebody like you to help with those kinds of decisions.
Corey Rieck: With all the companies relocating here, the fact that you have sort of sub specialized with relo, that to me seems like the opportunity has to be very good for you, especially given the fact that you've been successful for so long.
Jill Heineck: It is. It's a very vibrant marketplace. And companies are continuing to come to Atlanta. I mean, I've been here since May of '94, and it was exploding before then. It was about '91-'92, as far as I can remember. But Atlanta's not slowing down.
Corey Rieck: No.
Jill Heineck: It is not slowing down. The Economic Development Committee, and council at the Metro Atlanta Chamber, and all the other submarket chambers are constantly on the move selling Atlanta and its submarkets. So, we know that this is just going to continue. Whether or not the infrastructure can handle is another question, but I will sell them houses all day long.
Corey Rieck: Well, it seems like the market for what you do, is it fair to say that you're somewhat insulated from market circumstances because people are always relocating here? It seems to me like that would be advantageous to you to sort of have made the decision to subspecialize, and hey, there are companies that they relocate their executives here, whether it's your Mercedes or some of these other companies. That, to me, seems like it was a very shrewd move. And then, you're meeting with people that are C-suite type executives, as I'm sure is sort of in the wheelhouse, right?
Jill Heineck: It is. I kind of fell into relocation when I was a baby agent first on scene, and I was mentoring under a seasoned agent who specialized in relo. And I just thought it was fascinating because, at the time, they were like on a two or three-day mission to buy a house. And so it was like they flew in, and they flew out, and they made an offer, and probably were under contract before they ever left Atlanta again. So, that was attractive to me.
The other thing about relo is that I got to learn so many different markets because I was all over the Atlanta marketplace because relo had taken me everywhere. So, the benefit to clients now is that I know so many of the submarkets, and it's easy for me to be able to kind of say, "Okay, I think this property's overpriced or you should price here." And that's just kind of a result of having all that experience all around the Atlanta market with those companies.
Corey Rieck: It seems like the relocation deals, is the timeframe sort of more compressed?
Jill Heineck: Usually. On the buy side, they typically want you to make a decision quickly. They know the contract to close period is anywhere between 30 to 45 days. So, they want you to make a decision on a property fairly quickly. And then, they know inside of 60 days, you'll be in the property because they want to limit their outgo per diem, and temporary housing, and flights, and all of this thing, spousal visits, and et cetera, et cetera. So, they want to limit that expense. On the list side, they typically are giving 90 days for you to sell the property yourself. In some very rare cases anymore, companies will buy it from you, so that you can move on. But that's not happening as much anymore.
Corey Rieck: I would think with these companies that are relocating here or they want to build a headquarters here or an office here, I would think that having a relationship with someone like you would be incredibly advantageous just for the sake of ease of doing things. Hey, here's our person. Her company is going to help you find the right house. Given what I've seen, you're able to put together a lot of information. When somebody comes in for a couple of days, you already sort of have a game plan for them, right?
Jill Heineck: Always have a game plan if I have lead time. And typically, nowadays, we're getting good lead time on-
Corey Rieck: Which is what, Jill?
Jill Heineck: I mean, ideally, it would be nice to have four to five days before someone plans on being here at 10:00 on a Thursday, I want to know the week before, so I can verify availability, look at all the market stats, potentially preview some of the property, so that we're not wasting time, and that kind of thing. So, lead time is the best to serve the client in the easiest fashion and to accomplish getting a contract underway. But I will say that working in relocation has been truly a blessing. The companies-
Corey Rieck: How so?
Jill Heineck: The companies just really appreciate somebody who is a certified relocation specialist, which you don't find a lot of in this marketplace. Everyone who works with buyers who are relocating ourselves or relocating might call themselves a relocation specialist, but I've been through many certification classes, and I actually have the certification from our Global Relocation Council.
Corey Rieck: To me that seems very valuable.
Jill Heineck: It is, but I think a lot of corporate clients who don't necessarily know relo very well or kind of are that's part of what they do, it's not their focus, they don't really know about that, and they don't know what differentiates a certified relocation professional, or they don't know the difference between the two, especially because they haven't actually experienced the service.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. So, it seems like you're shaking and moving. I mean, if you have a client, and there's a four to five-day lead time, and they're flying in, and you got to make some decisions, that to me seems it lends itself to your business being extremely brisk. And it also lends itself to being nimble. I think, the fact that you have four, or five, or six add mean people behind you, it allows you to move quicker.
Jill Heineck: Exactly.
Corey Rieck: Moving at the speed of business.
Jill Heineck: Exactly.
Corey Rieck: That's an old saying I just made up.
Jill Heineck: I like it. I like it too.
Corey Rieck: You're gonna use it. You're not going to give me credit for it, right?
Jill Heineck: Done.
Corey Rieck: You've done a really good job. It seems to me that you're a very high touch, very, very high service. To me, that would be extremely valuable if your C-suite executive coming in. They don't want to waste time either because they're only here for a short period of time. They don't want to misspend the company's money. Probably, are you corresponding with them prior to them getting here to kind of give them some ideas of what they have?
Jill Heineck: Absolutely. In some cases, six months out.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Jill Heineck: And we're having conversations about schools because they're waiting their kids finished school. And then, they're going to come. And what are we doing for temporary housing? And are we willing to do that until we find the right house or we just ready to pull the trigger? So, we're having consult calls pretty much weekly prior to getting here. But with the companies that give me at least six months out, I can help. We've been doing some many team moves that have been much more palpable in terms of accommodating timelines when I have lead time. So, yes. So, we're talking a lot.
Corey Rieck: You've built a strong business that is mostly based on referral.
Jill Heineck: Yes.
Corey Rieck: You're getting some business through other means. How big of role does social media play in getting your business and you getting clients?
Jill Heineck: It's huge.
Corey Rieck: How so?
Jill Heineck: For me, I'm one of those people that like to show the multi-dimensions, the multi-dimensional me, rather than spewing real estate data all day long, or posting listings all day, or talking about accolades and things of that nature. That's just not me. I want to connect with people on a level where they feel like they can relate to me. And so, a lot of the things that I talk about on social media, I pepper in some business things, but it's talking about lifestyle. It's talking about ... my husband and I love to go out to eat. So, we going to the next hot restaurant, we're talking about that. We're travelers. We love the beach. I'm a wine connoisseur. So, we talk about things that people are interested in and try to tie that into the lifestyle of where is your house gonna be located? Is it going to be near the foodie places that you want to go, places I've tried?
Corey Rieck: Well, seems to me you're giving the universe an opportunity to get to know you. And I think that that is very, very important and many times missed because if you're talking about your accomplishments and so on and so forth, that's just chest thumping. And sometimes, that can be off putting. But I think if you're giving people the opportunity to get to know you, whether it's talking about restaurants, which, by the way, that's helped me because my wife and I love to go out to eat also, that's kind of cool. That's something that resonates with a lot of the people that you're relocating. So, I'm sure that that is a way for them to get to know you.
Corey Rieck: The vacations, that's cool because I think people want to know that ... to me, I want to know that whoever I'm dealing with and giving my money, I want to know that they're well-rounded. I want to know that we share similar interests. And I think that you do a very effective job of putting that out there, for whatever it's worth.
Jill Heineck: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: You seem to do an excellent job with balance. People talk about this whole work life/balance thing. And I know we all talk about it, but I always wonder who's really doing it.
Jill Heineck: There's no such thing as balance. If you're working full time in your company, in your job, you're just working more than you're doing anything else. For most people that I've talked, dedicated professionals, that's what's happening. That's just what it is. That's just how we are. We're in a 24/7, 365 type of work atmosphere now with with technology. And that's just what it is. So, for me, kind of disconnecting, it happens, it doesn't happen often, and that's only because I choose not to. I mean, if I'm on the beach answering calls, I'm good with that. A lot of the time, because I do have an infrastructure in my business, I can be gone and take a little bit of time off. Looking at the ocean and putting together three deals is my kind of workday. So, I get the combination of time off and whatnot. Some people would rather just disconnect completely, and they have great success with that. That's just not how I disconnect. But the balance for me is my scenery, my environment. If I can get out of my every day and still possibly stay connected and/or work, I'm good with it.
Corey Rieck: You seem to have done a very good job of building a team behind you. Was it hard to give that control away to those people?
Jill Heineck: Absolutely.
Corey Rieck: How did you deal with it?
Jill Heineck: Poorly. I was a mess when I was trying to do it like every other company had done it and other real estate, big real estate teams had done it. It was very difficult to let go of the reins. I was concerned because my name is on the door, my name is on the business, my name is on every contract. And if they messed up, I was liable. My mindset was - and this is probably for a lot of realtors - they're calling for me, they want me, I'm the only one that can do it.
Jill Heineck: But this is why I had a business coach. This is why I coached with Gary Keller's number two for a while. Went through the coaching programs to learn how to focus on my 20% and let the 80% go to the specialists who know what they're doing to back me up and make me look good. So, honestly, if it wasn't for them, I don't know where I'd be today. They take care of me so well. And I, in turn, try to do the same thing for them.
Corey Rieck: Well, congratulations for crossing that bridge. I know that the control is a very difficult thing to give up on. Well, to give up. And part of it can be addressed by planning out whatever that person is supposed to be doing so well that, okay, here it is. And planning isn't part of it. Planning it out so well, that, "Look, here's what you gotta do. Here's the 10 tasks that have to be done. Here's the order." And I would imagine you probably have done that. And the bigger picture is you're probably walked away after these people got going, and I should've done that years ago, right?
Jill Heineck: Absolutely.
Corey Rieck: I should have done it a long time ago. Hindsight being 20/20.
Jill Heineck: Correct.
Corey Rieck: But it allows you to operate more friction free, which I think is really important for owners. What is the thing you like best about what you do?
Jill Heineck: That's a good question because there's so many things that I enjoy. I would-
Corey Rieck: You seem to really enjoy it. That comes through, Know you, interacting with you, seeing you present, it seems like you really do enjoy what you do. Do you feel strongly and passionate about it?
Jill Heineck: I do. I think you're going to think this sounds crazy, but I really love the energy behind prepping for an appointment and knowing that everything that I'm bringing to the client is going to blow the competition out of the water. I get through consultations where clients say nobody has ever share this information with us. It's all information that we have. It's just, are you leveraging it for the client's benefit and bringing it to their attention now rather than backpedaling later? I love that prep period where I'm getting together and say, "This is what my strategy is going to be for this client, for this property, knowing what I know now." Now, that could change after the consult.
But I love that, both on the listing and the buying side. And I think just, obviously, the closing celebration is so much fun. We take pictures. We're giving gifts. We're just so happy that we were able to kind of walk that path together and get to the culmination of everything we've been talking about.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, it seems to me there's a definite beginning, middle and end.
Jill Heineck: Oh, yeah.
Corey Rieck: And do you like that?
Jill Heineck: I do. I like having a format. I like having a format.
Corey Rieck: So, one of the things-
Jill Heineck: I'm a planner, I'm a planner, so format is good.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. One of the words I would use to describe you is accessible. If you and Charlie are traveling, and you're on the beach, and you're answering your phones, and you're kind of taking care of the kind of the main things, that would make an impact on me. But I would also expect you to take time to recharge the batteries or whatever it is you do and regenerate and to get back. And I think everybody has their own self-renewing thing that they do, whether it's working out or reading. Do you find that working out helps deal with the bad things that come up?
Jill Heineck: Absolutely. I mean, it sparks off the serotonin in your brain. It gets you out of your environment. It gets you away from whatever situations are bothering you. And I think you come back refreshed. I love that after workout shower, I love just I’m going to have a healthy smoothie or some kind of healthy breakfast. It just resets on your perspective on that situation or situations.
Corey Rieck: Well, you have the satisfaction of knowing that you got it done, and it's not hanging over your head. And if there is an opportunity to go meet somebody to catch up with them at 4:00 or 5:00 in the afternoon, you don't have to feel bad about moving your workout to the side. And-
Jill Heineck: That's the number one reason why I do it in the morning.
Corey Rieck: Well, I think that there is a lot to be gained from meeting people, and schmoozing at night, and catching up. And it doesn't even have to be talking about business because, many times, business can come from it after they get to know you.
Jill Heineck: That's right.
Corey Rieck: And I think that that's an effective way to kind of be out there. From where I sit after, from knowing you, you seem to have great balance. And whether or not you believe that, I believe in it. I see that you and Charlie are going out to eat. I see that you're traveling. And it seems that you just have a very, very strong balance. That's the way it looks like to me.
Jill Heineck: We have our own balance, right? So, it's not the traditional thought of balance the way we have been thinking about it for the last 20 years between balance and work, personal and professional. It's been our own balance, and it's worked really well for us. We have that flexibility. Charlie's company, we also have a team of people that support him. So, now that he has that flexibility to kind of join me on if I'm going on a conference or if we decide that we're going to just take off for the weekend into the mountains or right down to the beach, we have that flexibility, which it's nice to be able to look forward to something like that.
Corey Rieck: Yes. I think it's really crucial you mentioned that. I think it's really important to have something to look forward to.
Jill Heineck: Yes.
Corey Rieck: No matter if it's going out to eat, or going on a vacation, or going on a trip.
Jill Heineck: It just breaks things up, kind of gives you a little bit of renewal.
Corey Rieck: So, what's the next trip? What's the next thing you and Charlie are looking forward to?
Jill Heineck: Well, we are new grandparents. So, we are going to see our new grandbaby in March. And we're just going to Dallas, but it's an exciting time.
Corey Rieck: Yeah. Well, congratulations on that.
Jill Heineck: Thank you.
Corey Rieck: Is it hard to work with your spouse? Is it a challenging?
Jill Heineck: No, because we're not really in the day to day. Really, we have a vendor relationship. So, it really has been ... I mean, we work well together personally. So, professionally it's been a blessing, honestly. But because we're in a vendor relationship, it's not like he's in my day-to-day office and things of that nature. So, it works well for us.
Corey Rieck: It seems to me that that was a very good move because, now, you have another arrow in your quiver, and you're gonna come across homes that need work, that need stuff. You have somebody, you have a relationship with, obviously, that is good at getting stuff done.
Jill Heineck: Absolutely.
Corey Rieck: And that to me seems like it would be another differentiator for you. Is that right?
Jill Heineck: Yes. He'll come and evaluate the property. Maybe when we're on the first consult, he'll come and take a look at it if we're on a listing consult and see what kind of work needs to be done. We're getting that information now rather than having to wait and schedule with someone else.
Corey Rieck: So, it would allow you to move faster.
Jill Heineck: Correct. And that's what clients love. They want to just keep it moving in the speed of information, which is all paper. Everybody's appendage, which is their phone. That's the speed of information. And so, when we have all that data upfront, we can move quicker, make better decisions faster.
Corey Rieck: What is an ideal client for & Company? If you could wave a magic wand, what would it consist of?
Jill Heineck: We have a couple different profiles, but I would say a great profile, a client profile would be executive, first-time homebuyers. We're working with a lot of millennials that are in their late 20s, early 30s, who have been kind of stockpiling their cash, and biting the bullet, and staying with mom and dad until they are zero debt, they're debt-free, and have a good amount of cash to put down in an area where they feel like it's going to meet their lifestyle needs. So, that's a great bar profile for us. On the flip side, they're also a great profile because, now, they're getting married and having babies, and they're ready to move up, and get more space, and possibly move a little bit farther out because their lifestyle calls for that. So, I would say there.
And then, what we're also working with a lot of young retirees. So, late 40s to mid 50s, kids are grown or are in college, and they're getting ready to have their life now so to speak. So, I'm doing a lot of work with people in the suburbs who are coming in town who are buying luxury condos or townhouses close in town where the action's at. So, it's kind of an interesting dichotomy.
Corey Rieck: You mentioned one word at the outset of the interview, and it's made an impact on me since I've known you. But it's certainly, for the listenership, I think, one word that's important is connect. It seems to me what I've heard and knowing you is that it's important for you to connect with your client, your buyer. Not meet with them but connect. If you could give us a few sentences about how you do that, because I find that you are very effective doing that, how do you connect with people that you're meeting for the first time or-
Jill Heineck: I ask a lot of questions. So, someone will call and say, "I've been referred to you by so and so. I want to talk to you about listing my house." So, the next question is, "How many people would be moving with you? What is your wife's name? What are your kids' names? Do you have dogs?" I'm just kind of laying the groundwork there to know kind of what sets the parameters of what that will lead me to believe, kind of get an idea of what we're looking for. But then, also, "Why are you moving? Are you taking a job? Give me a little bit about what your position is." We're delving a little bit into who they are before we jump right into, "Well, how much is the house I'm going to sell you? or "How much are we listening for?" I think laying the groundwork like that makes it much easier for me to connect with them and them with me. They like to know that they're a person that I care about, and it's not just about churning and burning. I've never run my business that way. I'm not about-
Corey Rieck: Well, clearly, not if you get people coming back buying from you three and four times. So, clearly, you've done that.
Jill Heineck: I'm not about the quality ... I'm sorry. I'm not about the quantity of homes sold annually. There are some people who are in their business that way. That's just not my business model. It's about the quality of the relationship and earning lifetime business.
Corey Rieck: Yeah, you've done a very effective job with that. I think that the people that get on this show, they're invited on the Tuesdays with Corey show because they're successful female executives or they have been favorably referred. And for me, of all the things that stand out about you, I mean, you're easy to work with. It seems to me you're doing an effective job of connecting. You have a lot of data. You boil it down. You make it easy for people to assimilate. You're able to really help people because you are accessible, very, very high touch, and you move quickly. And that to me, that's no wonder you've had the success you've had. What are some of the difficult things that you experienced in your business?
Jill Heineck: I would say early on in my career, when I was actually learning the business, one of my first deals ever, getting so excited about having that first deal, I inadvertently had in the contract that a buyer was going to be paying all of her closing costs rather than the seller, which is what we had agreed to and nobody caught it really. I caught it later on into the contract process and really had to have a, "Come to Jesus" with my brokers. And it was a hard time because I'd been mentoring for so long under a seasoned agent, and this was really going to be my first deal. And the reason why I wanted to get in real estate is so that I prevented anyone from getting into any hot water in their real estate transaction, and here we were.
So, I obviously knew what the right thing to do was - go to the client, talk to the other agent. And that's exactly what we did. And it's really beautiful when you see how people respond to that. So, I mentioned to my client, "This is totally my bad. This is what happened, but I caught it. How would you like to deal with it?" So, obviously, that could be my commission. So, this is what the client said. The client said, "I appreciate you letting me know this. I'm sorry that it happened. But why don't we do this? Talk to the other agent, see if we can all split it. Split the differential."
Corey Rieck: That was cool.
Jill Heineck: And that was one of the coolest things that ever happened to me. Ironically, my first deal. But that has stayed with me for 20 years because when you just respond professionally, you're transparent, you're quick about it, this is how people respond back because they trust you, and they know that you care about what you're doing. I mean, because she could see that it pained me, not for the money, but for the fact that I made this mistake, and it felt like a huge one.
Corey Rieck: To me, that's a compliment. That's good on you because you clearly connected with that person. If it were me, I would have done the same thing. I'm more interested in relationship. Stuff happens. When humans get involved, mistakes get made. And everybody makes them. And I think if you're gonna take things personally, you're going to have a long, tortured life.
Jill Heineck: That's right.
Corey Rieck: And stuff happens, and you just gotta deal with it.
Jill Heineck: That's right?
Corey Rieck: In our pre-show prep, you had mentioned that one of the big lessons you had learned was to say no. How did you get there? How did you learn how to do that?
Jill Heineck: I learned by accepting opportunities that maybe needed to not be my opportunity. It caused me angst and stress, which then, I think, impacted the service delivery to the client. And so, again, hindsight is 20/20. Looking back on this-
Corey Rieck: Yes, it is.
Jill Heineck: Looking back on these things, I should have said no. These are the red flags that I missed or ignored. So, those are the things that I've said no to, I would say probably hundreds of opportunities over the years, because I'd rather sleep at night. I'd rather know that they're being taken care of by the right people. I'm not necessarily the right person for everybody and I am okay with that. My style doesn't work for everybody, but for those that do work with me, they appreciate that. And those are the people I want to work with.
Corey Rieck: Yes, sleepability is crucial, and being able to say no, and having enough experience, and I think wisdom to say, "Hey, this isn't in my wheelhouse, but it is over here for this person. I think that's good on you."
Jill Heineck: I refer out a lot.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Jill Heineck: The client may not necessarily take me up on those referrals-
Corey Rieck: Sure.
Jill Heineck: ... but I have gotten many responses thereafter from clients that said, "I really appreciate your professionalism the fact that you were able to step away from this." I mean, it doesn't matter the size of the property, doesn't matter the price point, it doesn't matter. It's, "Do I click and connect with you? Are we on the same page? You asked me to come give you a professional valuation. You're not really appreciating what I'm saying. Maybe we-"
Corey Rieck: You mean you have clients that don't do what you tell them?
Jill Heineck: I mean, why am I here?
Corey Rieck: Really?
Jill Heineck: Really.
Corey Rieck: This just in.
Jill Heineck: Why am I here if you don't-
Corey Rieck: Clients don't always do what you tell them.
Jill Heineck: I'm here to deliver the information, help you interpret it for your benefit or to your benefit. That's all I'm here for.
Corey Rieck: You give a lot to your clients. What charities do you feel strongly about?
Jill Heineck: I am very connected to the Leukemia Lymphoma Society. I have been a past team in training, running participant and raised $20,000 over several races. And-
Corey Rieck: It's a great organization.
Jill Heineck: It's fantastic.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Jill Heineck: And recently nominated for the Man and Woman of the Year Campaign here in Atlanta. We're one of 30 candidates in the 2019 class professionals in the community that are chosen to help elevate the awareness of blood cancer. And we also honor a little boy and girl who are survivors and/or patients. And so, the goal for the campaign in 2019 is to raise among the 30 of us $1.6 million just in the Atlanta campaign. And so, Jill Heineck, who hopes to be the 2019 Woman of the Year would like to be raising around $250,000.
Corey Rieck: Yeah.
Jill Heineck: In our 10-week campaign period.
Corey Rieck: The LLS, Leukemia and Lymphoma Society, just great people, great cause. What they do is they train people that aren't endurance athletes to become endurance athletes for half marathons, marathons, Iron Mans, and various endurance events. Great people. If somebody in the listenership wanted to make a contribution to your Woman of the Year cause, how could they do that?
Jill Heineck: The links are not live yet because our actual fundraising website is not live until March 29th, 2019. So, what we're doing right now is taking pledges. And I can provide a pledge form. So, really, it's just easy to go to heineckandcompany.com, and shoot me an email through there, and I can send a pledge form.
Corey Rieck: This is a big deal. This is a huge honor for anybody to be considered for this. Clearly, Jill, that's another area that she's made a very significant impact in. And just a worthy, worthy organization for that. Couple of things. Knowing what you know now with all of your business experience, if you could talk to Jill 20 years ago and give her advice, what would you tell her?
Jill Heineck: Have some more money in the bank before you start your business.
Corey Rieck:I don't think you're probably the only person that's ever done that.
Jill Heineck: When I started, the golden rule was to have 12 months of expenses already in your bank before you start your real estate practice. But because I am who I am, came to Atlanta on a one-way ticket, just thought that landing was going to take care of me. I just rolled the dice, honestly. And when I was that young and had that kind of fire, it probably was okay at the time. But to do it again, I don't think I could do it again. And knowing what I know now, I would tell myself, definitely, adhere to what other people is telling you.
Corey Rieck: Well, it sounds like the Vikings when they would go in and invade an island, they would leave their ship out two or three hundred yards from the shore, but they would burn the ship. And so, metaphorically speaking, it sounds like one-way ticket to Boston, having less than 12 months of expense, it sounds like you kind of did that. So, you forced yourself to succeed. Is that-
Jill Heineck: Exactly.
Corey Rieck: Is that fair?
Jill Heineck: Exactly.
Corey Rieck: If there was a young woman that wanted to follow in your footsteps, what would you tell her?
Jill Heineck: I would tell her to talk to as many seasoned professionals first, interview them informationally. I would do research. I would interview more than one company. I would say due diligence is really, really important. And so many of us are impatient and just want to get started. But I think that doing your homework makes such a difference in laying the groundwork for your future success.
Corey Rieck: Speaking of success, you've had a lot of it. You've been a tremendous guest here on the show. We wish you continued success. If the listenership wanted to get a hold of you, Jill, how would they best do it?
Jill Heineck: I'd say the easiest way would be just to go to the website, Heineck & Company. And that's H-E-I-N-E-C-K and Company, spelled out, dot com. You could also do a quick Google search and find me on Zillow, and Trulia, Realtor.com.
Corey Rieck: Okay. Very good. You've been a great guest. Thank you for being such a tremendous resource to us and your clients. Jill, thanks so much.
Jill Heineck: Thank you.
Sanjay Toure: This is Sanjay Toure. And that's all for today. Thank you for listening. And tune in for another episode of Tuesdays with Corey here on Business RadioX.