Movers & Shakers 8

North Scottsdale’s most influential businessmen gather for drinks at Mountain Shadow Resort to share ideas for success

Happy hour has long been an ideal place for blowing off some steam after a long day at the office. For those in the know, however, a loosened tie with a drink in hand can be about so much more than just washing away the workday. As people let down their guard, it can be the perfect opportunity to get to know what makes someone tick. And when the group consists of five of North Scottsdale’s most prominent businessmen, there is plenty to be learned.

Andrew Bloom, Senior Partner, BVO Luxury Group
Drinking Cucumber Vodka and Water

1. How do you maintain a strong community emphasis while being performance-driven?

Community is at the root of everything I do. Everyone wants to be part of some community, and understanding what the needs are of buyers and sellers allows me to identify what communities align well when I’m matching buyers to sellers. Clients choose to work with my team because they know we understand the unique attributes of North Scottsdale communities. Our experience and knowledge makes us experts in the market. According to a recent survey done by The National Association of Realtors, both buyers and sellers rank neighborhood knowledge as a leading qualification when selecting a real estate agent. Our role is to shorten the selling cycle for sellers by matching them with qualified buyers.

2. What is the secret to a proper work/life balance?

We all know real estate is 24/7/365. When you are a buyer or seller, you want around-the-clock care. By having a deep bench with well-qualified team members, we are able to service the client at this pace. It would be impossible to do it alone, and, quite frankly, buyers and sellers want to know they are being taken care of by a team of experts. At the end of the day, the responsibility falls on my shoulders so by meeting daily with my team we are able to stay in front of the needs of our clients. Simply being proactive and not reactive creates a winning strategy.

3. How are you able to consistently meet and exceed a client’s expectations?

There is no substitute for communication. Being transparent about the process from the beginning allows me to manage expectations from start to end. The truth is that selling a home is one of the biggest decisions someone can make, and by working with someone who has performed thousands of transactions in every type of market gives my clients peace of mind knowing there is nothing I haven’t seen or dealt with.

David Dunlevy, Senior Vice President, FineMark National Bank & Trust
Drinking SanTan HopShock IPA

1. How do you manage the demands for rapid growth?

This is a topic we discuss on a regular basis.  We have grown to over a $1.4 billion dollar bank in just 10 years. We started as one location in Fort Myers, Florida, and have now grown to 11 locations throughout South Florida, Charleston, South Carolina, and our two locations here in Scottsdale.  It is critically important we maintain our culture of building deep relationships and always going above and beyond for our clients. To ensure this happens when we enter a new market, it is imperative we have the right people in place who understand our culture and entrepreneurial spirit. We make sure we have the people before we open our doors. Many financial institutions will grow and open in new markets based solely on demographics, population base, etc. and then figure out after the fact who to hire. That is not our model.

2. What is the secret to building a high-performing team?

Again, it is finding the right people who fit our bank’s culture. One thing that differentiates our bank from many is that our employees are given a great amount of autonomy in each respective market and even down to each respective office location. We want to be able to make decisions quickly for our clients and not rely on layers of management or decision-makers at other locations who don’t know our clients at the local level. We look to hire people who are committed to making a positive impact on people’s lives and “doing the right thing” for our clients, and, if we do that, the rest will fall into place.

3. What is the key to anticipating a client’s needs?

Knowing our clients! It sounds cliché, but many financial institutions out there don’t really know their clients. We strive to build deep personal relationships with our clients. Many times our client’s needs are not even financial-related. I like it when one of my clients asks me for a referral to a doctor, perhaps a contractor for home improvements or some other “non-banking question.” It is not uncommon at all for our clients to call us up and ask questions like “Who should I call to fix my air conditioner?” or “Who would be a good pet-sitting service while we are out of town?” When our clients call us for things like this, we know we have earned their trust. The only way we can gain trust like this is to really get to know our clients deeply, spending quality time with them, asking questions and building deep relationships.

Mark Candelaria, Founder and Principal, Candelaria Design
Drinking an Old-Fashioned

1. How are you able to consistently meet a client’s expectations?

By never quitting. Sometimes meeting expectations takes time. Our business is a slow and long process sometimes taking years, and there are a lot of ups and downs along the way. The key is never quitting and using your team and their talents and strengths to work as a team to constantly work towards the goal line.

2. What is your secret to building a high-performing team?

Finding and holding onto the people who share your values. We have a whole list of values we have developed as a team and that we are committed to. Actions speak louder than words, and so I just watch and determine who walks the walk. I don’t have patience for those that like to coast along. My team is comprised of people who want nothing more than success and giving their best every day on every task. You can never be satisfied as there are always ways to improve, grow and learn. Every day still feels like the first day on the job to me.

Jeff Miksta, Business Development & Mortgage Banker, V.I.P Mortgage, Inc
Drinking a Tequila Fresco

1. What is the key to staying cool under pressure?

I would say confidence and building good decision-making skills. When you are sure you are making the correct decision and giving proper advice, you don’t second-guess yourself and feel the pressure. When I was an options trader, I learned quickly how to handle these types of moments and not become bothered by a time crunch or what others are doing around me.

2. How do you stay at the cutting edge of your industry?

By providing education and keeping the client’s best interest top of mind. We use new technology as well to enhance the customer experience to better communicate the different options a borrower may have, but also to maintain that relationship for the long term and ensure our service level is second to none. By clearly defining costs and different opportunities and loan options, we are able to inform our clientele which loan program best suits their needs for a better future.

Jeremy Mueller, Agent, Jeremy Mueller Insurance Agency Inc
Grey Goose and Soda with a Lime

1. What is the secret to maintaining a proper work/life balance?

I think the entire idea of work/life balance, if you’re an entrepreneur, is a bit of a misnomer. We all want it, but at the end of the day will fall short just because of the demands of the world we live in today. Personally, it has helped me thinking of it more as work/life integration. This approach has helped tremendously and has helped me utilize the moments with my wife, kids and friends, yet not feeling guilty if I have to take a phone call, work email in the evenings, etc. I may make up that time later. I also feel that, due to the demands of the day, an early start is an absolute. For me, I must to go to the gym and get a positive head start to the day.

2. How do you stand out in a crowded industry?

First and foremost, if you don’t love the work, your team members and the families you serve, it will be very difficult to stand out. After that, hard work, perseverance and continuously tweaking processes to keep up with changing times. Be available to your clients and become an expert in your industry. Putting clients’ needs first will always win in the long run. Know that success today doesn’t necessarily mean success tomorrow, so stay humble, align yourself with other like-minded individuals and continue to grow personally as you grow your business.