Thanks for tuning in to this highly anticipated episode of rokrbox TV! Kevin and Amy Smits join our call all the way from Puerto Rico, their seasonal “home away from home” for half of the year. During the other half, they’re back in Frisco, CO, where their agency is based.
[1:00] Diving in, Josh encourages his guests to share their real estate background with our viewers. “How did you guys wind up creating this wonderful fantasy of a lifestyle?” he asks with a smile.
Amy takes the lead, answering that she and Kevin founded The Smits Team 25 years ago, where they service the Vail / Summit County areas. She explains that their team also services areas like Breckenridge, Keystone, and all the ski resorts.
“[It’s] a fun place to be, so some people think we’re absolutely nuts to spend our winters in Puerto Rico,” she laughs. She goes on to say that a foundational element of building a real estate team is lead generation—something that Kevin and Amy have a lot of experience with.
“We use you guys [at rokrbox] to help us capture those leads, and do that part of the job that realtors don’t like to do,” she says. “My team loves talking to people, but having you guys start off with [those leads], and do some of the upfront work, has been really great for them. Which makes it easier for us to be here [in Puerto Rico].”
The Smits’ story continues in a direction that most of us are probably familiar with by now: the woes of finding, training, and retaining an in-house ISA. Reminiscing on their failed attempts, Amy says that ISA retention felt like “this revolving door”: each ISA was hired, trained, and often mastered the craft in a matter of months.
You can guess what happened after that: the ISA inevitably realized where the “real money” was made, leading them to pursue their own real estate license…and leaving the Smits empty-handed as a result.
“It was a one-year job,” Kevin admits. “It put us in a perpetual training mode for ISAs.”
Sound familiar? In today’s modern world of real estate, this tale’s as old as time. In fact, it was this exact issue that led Josh to found rokrbox in the first place.
The rokrbox origin story began in 2013, when Josh’s former client, Spring Bengtzen—owner of The Utah Life Real Estate Group—approached Josh with a recurring problem: retaining an ISA to navigate a seemingly infinite supply of internet leads.
Surprisingly, it was this problem of high turnover that Josh managed to turn on its head. He managed to use the issue to his advantage by hiring Texas A&M University’s top talent: young professionals seeking resume-building experience, good pay, and meaningful part-time work.
[4:00] After helping Spring hire and train an ISA, Josh tells Kevin and Amy that the new team member quit after only 2 months to be a realtor instead. “[At that point], we really understood that the industry needed a permanent turnkey ISA solution, so you don’t have to deal with all this turnover,” Josh says.
This never-ending talent pool of hardworking students is one of many reasons rokrbox has endured for almost a decade, and why the company has achieved tremendous levels of growth and success throughout its lifetime.
“We’re always recruiting and hiring and training these college students,” Josh explains, “knowing that they’ll leave us someday, [and] knowing this isn’t a permanent job for most people.”
[6:30] Josh invites the Smits to share their experience with rokrbox since partnering with Josh’s team a year ago. Amy wastes no time in praising Kelsey, The Smits Team’s personal Client Care Manager and rAMP-UP Coach.
“I’ll tell you,” she warns Josh with a smile, “you need to make sure you keep that girl.” She goes on to say that from the very beginning, Kelsey was an excellent trainer for their team. As the Smits’ personal point of contact and rAMP-UP Coach, Kelsey is not only accessible to the team around-the-clock, but also sits down with the Smits’ full team for regular Zoom meetings to address any concerns or questions, and identify opportunities for improvement.
When Kevin and Amy became concerned that their agents weren’t properly handling the hot opportunities that rokrbox was sending their way, Kelsey promptly and kindly put their worries to rest, making time to coach, encourage, and engage with all agents on The Smits Team. “She shows them how to do it better,” Amy says. “Once she started engaging with my agents, [it was] a total game-changer.”
She adds that Kelsey routinely pulls up leads within the team’s CRM, highlighting leads that were transferred from rokrbox to a specific agent. Kelsey then uses those examples to identify what their team is doing well, while also illuminating potential ways for them to improve.
“She pulled up everyone’s stuff,” Amy explains. “She would bring things up, and she made sure that everyone felt good about it.”
Even though the rAMP-UP meetings aren’t mandatory, Amy continues, the agents who do attend are “definitely doing much better. They all feel like it’s time well spent. You know that getting a realtor to come to a meeting is hard…and I’d say the majority of our agents show up for Kelsey.”
Kevin chimes in as well, explaining that as a team owner, “if I harp on [my agents] about following up with your leads, [then] I’m the bad guy. Having Kelsey as that backstop, if you will, says, ‘Hey, whoa, wait a minute. You’re not doing your job.’”
Agreeing with Kevin, Josh takes a moment to underscore the value of having that outside perspective: a unique take from a third party. The coaching that rokrbox provides to clients isn’t coming from “the boss”—it’s coming from “Kelsey from rokrbox,” an experienced professional who works with teams of all shapes and sizes, all across the country. The rokrbox Client Care Managers even mentor teams in Canada, from Edmonton to Niagara Falls.
“You name it, she’s done it,” Josh declares. “She’s providing insight from all the other top-producing agents we work with, and all the best practices we’ve learned from them—and [helping you] instill them in your team. When your team succeeds, we succeed. And we want to make sure that goes hand in hand.”
Pivoting to the next topic, Josh invites the Smits to share any advice they have for those getting more involved in the real estate world—whether that’s jumping into internet lead generation, or exploring options for ISA services.
Kevin answers that they’ve tried “almost every lead generation platform known to man,” and were actually one of the first teams to invest in the Boomtown CRM ten years prior. At the time, they were also using CINC.
“We kind of put them against each other,” Kevin explains. “Because when it comes to lead generation, you never know what’s going to stick, right? What we learned early on was, we were generating enough leads, [but] our team couldn’t handle it.”
Eventually, the quantity of internet leads was simply too much for Kevin and Amy’s team to handle efficiently. “Some were good [leads],” Kevin tells Josh. “Some were not so good. And some were just nothing at all. So we needed a filter.”
Kevin recalls their early attempts to hire an in-house ISA, adding that the first three “maybe lasted 2 months each. Then they were gone.”
“And it wasn’t because we’re bad people,” Amy pipes up, sharing a laugh with the group. Smiling in agreement, Kevin continues to say that he and Amy provided excellent training for their ISAs—despite the domino effect that ensued.
“We had to go somewhere else,” Kevin stresses, reflecting back on when he first reached out to Josh and his rokrbox callers. “I said, ‘Hey, look. We need someone to handle 700 leads a month.’ And you said, ‘Hey, we can do that.’” Exchanging a knowing smile with his wife, he chuckles, “And we’re like, ‘We’ve heard that before!’”
“I like that you know your people are short-term,” Amy tells Josh. “It’s a job they do to serve their time and purpose while they’re [in school]. They know this isn’t forever.” The result of this, Amy explains, is a positive one. As these rokrbox ISAs move on to pursue new opportunities post-graduation, the Smits just “get someone new.”
“And I have to say,” Amy exclaims, “the feedback we’ve gotten from some of our buyers [who were] introduced to us through rokrbox? They’re like, ‘Oh, Taylor was great!’”
Because there can be anywhere from 25-50 rokrbox callers at any given time, Josh’s ISAs utilizethe name Taylor as a shared pseudonym. While working inside each team’s CRM, they adopt the unisex alias to avoid confusion, maximize efficiency, and maintain the transparency that sets rokrbox apart from other services.
Shifting gears, Amy confesses to one thing that’s “missing” for her and Kevin: the opportunity to thank rokrbox callers by name. “When we get stuff from rokrbox,” she explains, “we want to be able to give back to that ISA, and say, ‘We got ’em! You captured them, we got them, and we closed them!”
A big reason Amy wants to thank Josh’s Texas-based callers is simply the positive impact their efforts have on The Smits Team, particularly in the lives of their agents—many of whom are saving up to send a kid to college, or afford daycare.
“Whatever it is,” Amy says, “it makes a difference. It frees up our agents to have meaningful conversations. Before rokrbox, we were like, ‘Get ’em on the phone, get ’em off the phone!’ Because another lead is [already] coming in. And now? rokrbox is taking care of that.”
With the rokrbox team hunkered down in Texas to make all of the time-draining phone calls, the Smits’ agents are free to have those meaningful conversations with the “gold” rokrbox has filtered out from the infinite amount of online leads.
The extra time gives agents the well-deserved chance to show clients that they’re the best realtor for them—one that possesses the knowledge, expertise, and most importantly, the time to make someone’s home-hunting dreams a reality.
“That’s been the best thing,” Amy states. “We can slow down. Because when two leads come in at the same time, we know that rokrbox has our back.”
“It’s not about how many conversations you’ve had,” Kevin says. “It’s the number of meaningful conversations.” Their top producers, he explains, typically spend 15-20 minutes per call to establish a client’s needs, which allows that agent to assume a position of authority and expertise.
The result? Clients feel comfortable enough to listen, accept, and trust that agent’s expert opinion throughout the duration of their home search.
“We’ve sold more this year than we’ve ever sold,” Kevin tells Josh, adding that their team did $150 million—with just a dozen agents onboard. “Then another $40 million from here [in Puerto Rico]. And rokrbox captured a few of those people.”
Another advantage of partnering with rokrbox, Amy says, is the ability to buy more leads. “Because leads aren’t free,” she says with a smile. “We’re really big into ROI, and rokrbox made us money. Which made our agents money. Which allows us to keep agents. We really needed some consistency, and rokrbox is 7 days a week.”
If there’s one thing the rokrbox team does best, it’s consistency. And they’ve got it boiled down to one time-tested strategy—one that makes sure the best practices and procedures are upheld for 7 days a week, 80 hours a week.
“For us, it’s a win-win,” Amy tells Josh. “It’s been some great training for [our team]. We’re glad we did it!”
“The call reluctance has gone away,” Kevin chimes in. “It’s no longer a cold call, because rokrbox said, ‘Hey, [this person] wants to talk to you.’ So now it’s a warm call—and that’s a whole different animal.”
Amy goes on to touch on a crucial point that rokrbox holds near and dear: the human element. “rokrbox is a human body,” she points out. “To have rokrbox be a human being, and not just an [automated] text, or something of that nature…that definitely sets us apart [in our market].”
“It’s an American voice,” Kevin says, nodding in agreement. “It’s something [people] can relate to, instead of a virtual assistant from [wherever].”
Reflecting back on their decision to partner with rokrbox, Amy remembers, “Sometimes we make bad calls, but this was a good one. We knew it was, [since] the day we met you. It’s great, it’s working. We’re happy to be here—it makes tracking our leads so much easier.”
Josh agrees wholeheartedly with Kevin and Amy’s insightful words, admitting, “I couldn’t have said it better myself.”
The importance of subjects like quality over quantity, positioning your agents as experts in their field, and the implementation of the human element, Josh adds, are critical to our success.
“[That’s] what we’re after,” Josh underscores. “To personify the brand, to be that human voice. We’re not a tech layer. We’re not an add-on. We’re not some app. It’s actual people here, who are on your team, who work with you. And the most important thing at the end of the day is that we’re putting money in your pocket.”
Thanking Amy and Kevin for joining him on the call, Josh closes with some words of gratitude. “We’re here to create that freedom,” Josh states. “We’re here to create that consistency in your business. So glad to hear that you guys are feeling [the effect] of the things we put a lot of passion into.”