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Name: Leslie Guiley
Title: Managing Broker, Arizona
Experience: I’ve been in the business since 2004, co-founded a brokerage and became a broker in 2014.
Location: Arizona statewide broker
Brokerage full name: Side Inc.
- Side Inc. was an Inman Innovator of the Year in 2021.
- 190+ Side partners were named America’s best by Real Trends.
- Side Inc. was named Most Innovative in 2022 by Fast Company
How did you get your start in real estate?
My husband and I knew early on that we wanted to buy and hold rental property as a retirement income strategy, so I got my license to learn more about real estate. I started as an office manager and transaction coordinator for a boutique luxury brokerage in Scottsdale, Arizona. After learning my way around the transactions, I became a full-time agent just in time for the great recession in 2008.
How did you choose your current brokerage?
I was at Inman Las Vegas in 2021 when Side Inc. received the Innovation Award. Guy Gal came up to speak as I was walking out of the room and he stopped me in my tracks when he described how the company builds local boutique brands and how no one ever joins Side, we join them.
Instantly, it washed over me how I felt our indie brokerage had been swallowed up by the big brand. Guy described Side as a platform the indie broker plugged into to work for them and I knew that was how it should be.
Tell us about a high point in your brokerage career.
Co-founding an indie brokerage that grew into one of the Top 500 brokerages with $1 billion in sales volume between 2014 and 2021. We got there from sheer hard work and dedication along with some top-notch agents. Now I’m proud to be with Side helping other indie brokers build their businesses.
Tell us about an epic fail you’ve experienced since you’ve been a broker.
A big-name brand came knocking on our door and since I was the most committed to remaining an indie, I was sent around the country to learn from other brokers who had joined the brand. I met some great people and they had a compelling value proposition with an upfront payment offer.
Our ownership team voted to join the big brand in order to help us grow and we did our best to promote it. Ultimately, we had to raise our fees to cover the expense and our agents never forgave us for it. They let us know in no uncertain terms they preferred us being a locally owned independent brokerage and we lost some of them because of it.
Eventually, our plans to grow were scrapped and that is when I knew it was time to make a change.
Name 3 people you admire and why.
- Matt Consalvo of ARMLS: He runs one of the largest and most forward-thinking MLSs in the country and is very smart, everyone likes working for him and he still picks up his phone if you call to ask a question.
- Verl Workman of Workman Success Systems for his passion and commitment to coaching team leaders and brokers to build a profitable business serving clients in real estate.
- Side founders Guy Gal, Hilary and Edward Wu for their vision and leadership in creating this amazing company.
What makes a good leader?
A great leader owns the outcome whether it’s bad or good, and if it’s good they share their success with their team.
They have the courage to have difficult and authentic conversations to resolve problems.
A great leader cares about people and profits and knows they go hand in hand.
What’s one thing you wish every agent knew?
Clients will do business with an agent they know, like and trust. They don’t pick brands, they pick individuals. Invest in you and build your business.