Above: Matt Winzenried, center, with his team\
Talk about taking real estate marketing to the next level…
Matt Winzenried Real Estate Partners, a Madison, Wisconsin brokerage aligned with Realty Executives, showcases T-shirts, hoodies and sweatshirts featuring a stylized MW logo for sale on Amazon.com. While the agency leader’s plan wasn’t to have the clothing serve as ads, it’s not a bad secondary benefit.
“It was just an easy way to get merch out for team members, or sometimes to send a client something, so yeah, I was able to get an account set up,” says Winzenried, 42. “It’s a little bit more expensive, but we don’t have to buy 100 shirts, so it’s nice to be able to just do a one-off. Every once in a while we’ll have a client we really like and send something to them. Or if we have a new team member we can just order it through Amazon and get it within a couple of days.”
Just another well-thought-out idea and follow-through for a successful brokerage leader. His nine-member team, with six agents, achieved $68 million in sales in 2022, with over 160 homes sold. Winzenried has worked in real estate since 2005, with experience in changing markets and economies. He has built a strong culture internally, but also dedicates a lot of time to enriching the community, weaving in a lot of charitable giving and work into the business.
Michael Catarevas: How involved with sales are you as team leader?
Matt Winzenried: I’m still in production. I don’t ever want to get out of it completely, but want to make sure I’m not getting caught up in the weeds too much and not able to cast the vision and support my agents and team members. It’s a great setup. We’re having a solid year overall. Granted, numbers are down for everybody, but I think we’re really going to make up some ground this fall. I really see the tide turning for us to finish the year strong, and maybe even catch up to the transaction volume we did last year.
MC: How has being aligned with Realty Executives been for your agency?
MW: We love being part of Realty Executives. They really feel like a family-run organization. It never feels like you’re part of this big corporation, getting lost in the numbers and nobody paying attention to you. I feel really supported and feel like our CEO, Patrick van den Bossche and everybody else there does an awesome job staying in touch and checking in and providing value. So it’s been a great partnership.
MC: Tell us about yourself. Are you a graduate of the University of Wisconsin?
MW: I’m an avowed Wisconsin Badgers booster, but I actually am a graduate of the University of Minnesota, which is a big rival. I was born and raised here in Madison. My dad went to University of Wisconsin, so I grew up being a huge Wisconsin Badgers fan, but wanted to get out of town, wanted a bigger city, a different experience and found my way to the University of Minnesota. I loved my time up there. It’s a great area, but ultimately felt like coming back home was right for me. And I just jumped right back into being a Badgers fan. I graduated with a degree in communications and a minor in advertising, so I was able to put those into play when I got into real estate,
MC: After college, what was the plan? Did you think you’d be in real estate when you were in college?
MW: When I was in college, my roommate’s parents, who are REALTORSⓡ, kept telling us that we should get into real estate. I said I’d keep it in mind. My first job out of college was with an apartment complex in property management, and that led to a really easy segue to get my license and start selling real estate, and it was pretty much off to the races from then.
MC: Can you share your background growing up?
MW: I’m mixed race. My mom is Black, from the Caribbean, from Trinidad, and my dad is white, from Monroe, Wisconsin. I grew up here as a minority.
MC: As a minority real estate agent and team leader in what is, to a great extent, a white profession, what are your thoughts on that?
MW: I’ve gotten a lot of support here. Madison is somewhat diverse, definitely not as diverse as we’d like it to be, but I’ve definitely been supported throughout my career in the community and the real estate community, and have had awesome team members of all sorts of races. At one point we had a little bit more diversity in our team. I feel like we can connect with anybody. It doesn’t really come up too much as far as pushback or anything like that. We’ve actually gotten a lot of clients who reach out because it’s a minority-owned business. I love that support and that people would seek out minority-owned businesses to support. I love being a minority in this industry, to be able to have a place at the table and feel comfortable there and hopefully open up more opportunities for other minorities to do the same.
MC: What are some of the tips and strategies for managing a real estate team?
MW: Early on I started using a profile test to find people for the right role. I try not to deviate from it, because when I have it failed. It’s finding the right people for the right roles, and because of that I’ve had longevity with my team members. People have been with me for 10 years and eight years, and another person who I had for eight years recently left for a new opportunity. She got poached, but it was great for her.
Nobody’s ever swimming upstream here. There might be certain tasks they don’t get excited about, but everybody’s in a role that fits their personality. I also hire and bring people on based on just a culture fit, and we spend a lot of time together. If you’re going to join the team, you should enjoy who you’re interacting with.
We’re friends outside of work. Our families spend time together because we click really well. I did a build-out for this office space because I wanted people to come into the office and feel energized by it. We really have good synergy. I know there are teams with solo agents who just check in from time to time, but we work well with each other, know each other’s clients and can step in and help out when needed.
MC: Is it a deal breaker if they’re not Badgers fans?
MW (laughing): No, no… because we know we’ll turn ’em eventually. We have a couple of Bears fans and that’s tough. This is Packers country, so we’re working on those two right now to see if we can get them to flip.
MC: How do you handle a year like this where numbers are down everywhere and some agents might be really struggling to find clients and listings and to close?
MW: There are opportunities everywhere. You just have to find that angle, and be able to pitch to somebody and let them know inventory might be tight, but if they wait for interest rates to come down they’re going to have more competition and the prices are going to continue to go up, so let’s work to find something now. I love this environment. Yes, it’s tough, and we’ve had to go back and cut the fat and make decisions on what we’re going to do next year that might be different from what we’ve done in years past. And that’s exciting to me. It’s not like we have to start from scratch by any means, but it forces you to look at everything you’re doing and decide what’s actually worth it and what’s not.
MC: Do you still work with clients one-on-one?
MW: I’ll work with maybe one or two active buyers at a time and maybe three or four active sellers at a time. So I’m still in the trenches, and I always want to do that. I want to make sure I know what’s going on so I can give good advice.
MC: How often do you interact with Realty Executives corporate?
MW: Maybe quarterly. We have regional conferences, and a couple of people from corporate will come and we’ll have dinner with them the night before. They also have a brokers conference, so we’ll go to Phoenix and spend time with them that way. Then there are webinars and Zoom meetings available for us to voice any concerns we have or give suggestions directly to corporate.
MC: How competitive is your market in Madison?
MW: I wouldn’t say it’s cutthroat. We work well with other agents for the most part. As far as buyers go, it’s still competitive that way, with multiple offers on properties.
MC: How has Realty Executives technology helped over the last several years?
MW: They stay on top of it. With technology, a lot of people and a lot of firms offer it. There’s enough out there whether you’re using what your firm provides or if you find something on your own that is almost secondary. With Realty Executives we have this collaborative environment that really is the game changer.
MC: You and your wife have two kids. What are their ages?
MW: We have a two-year-old-son and a seven-year-old daughter. The two-year-old is nonstop, so the minute I get home it’s time to start chasing him, and he likes to play a lot of basketball. He loves to put a ball in a hoop, so I’m always lifting him up so he can dunk the ball.
MC: Does your daughter know what daddy does?
MW: Yeah, she gets it for the most part. It took a while for her to connect, but that’s the funny thing about that age group. I’m working with other clients who have kids about the same age, and they see me at all these houses and think I own them all. So it’s really funny. My daughter was able to grasp it a little bit and understand what I do, so when I have to sneak out on a Saturday for a showing, she’ll ask me, how do my clients like the house? It’s fun.
MC: That’s kinda cool.
MW: I might be training the next team leader, or a broker/owner here down the line!
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Matt Winzenried Real Estate Partners recent listings:
5 Piedmont Court
3 BR 2 BTH
1,800 sq. ft.
7600 Bell Vine Court
3 BD, 3 BTH
2,653 sq. ft.