Laura Viskovich: Welcome to the Professional Business Connections. I’m Laura Viskovich. Today, we’re going to be talking to Jen Kikel-Lynn on how she grew her real estate business. I’m a little bit excited. Hi, Jen. Welcome to the show.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Hi. Thank you.
Laura Viskovich: So, please talk about how you became Jen Kikel-Lynn from K Real Estate, the backstory of how you came who you are today.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Well, I started in the real estate business about 14 years ago. I got into the business because my brother and my mom were both in real estate and I just wanted to learn basically. And so, then I started my own brokerage about three years ago. And at that time, I was invited into BNI and it has ended up being the greatest way of advertising with my business. And I have what’s called a Dual Broker license, and only 11% of agents need to have that type of license and then 8% of that are women. So, I’m very grateful to have that type of license and able to do both.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic. So, you use BNI as a lead generator. Is that correct?
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Correct.
Laura Viskovich: Okay. And do you use other forms of SEO or whatever it is or is it just BNI?
Jen Kikel-Lynn: You know, that’s a great question. I don’t ‒ just BNI.
Laura Viskovich: Wow.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Yeah, it’s been the best investment for me. I don’t spend any money on advertising.
Laura Viskovich: Wonderful.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Zero.
Laura Viskovich: So, with BNI, could you tell us a little bit more of what the organization does for your business being a real estate agent?
Jen Kikel-Lynn: So, I started BNI just over three years ago in a property management classification until I could find a real estate spot and I’ve been in that position for over two years, BNI for three years. I joined just when I started my business. And just last year, I generated about $2 million in sales for me.
Laura Viskovich: Wow.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: And this year so far, we’re in the ninth month only, I have just over $4.5 million and have added five additional agents just because of BNI. Those are all referrals from other members. And my business is on track to hit about $10 million this year just myself. And then, the agents that I brought in from those referrals, they’re about $5 million just from those referrals.
Laura Viskovich: That is absolutely amazing. What a great story.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: I know. It’s ‒ I’m so grateful to BNI.
Laura Viskovich: Yeah.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: So, grateful.
Laura Viskovich: So, basically, what do you feel the secret sauce in being in BNI did for you as a real estate agent? Is it because you built the relationships, is it because you have opportunities come to you? Walk us through that.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Definitely, the relationships. From day one, I took, you know, the idea of givers gain, seriously. That first year, I did not focus on myself at all and I would say, I still don’t focus on myself. But I definitely want to help everyone else in the chapter build their businesses first and it has built a lot of credibility for me and for my clients because I know somebody that does pretty much everything. You know, if a client asks for a trade, I know somebody. If they need an attorney, I know somebody. And I use everybody in my chapter for myself and it’s a lot easier for me to refer them out so I know what type of work they do. And I would say the number one thing that it has done for me, I have absolutely loved watching how others have grown not only through their business but themselves, and that’s the biggest success for me to be honest. I love what it has done for my business, but watching others has been the most gratifying.
Laura Viskovich: Oh, that’s fantastic. So I guess you have access to a room filled with your own personal marketers.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: I do, I love it, yeah.
Laura Viskovich: That’s fantastic. So do you get a little bit of training on how to be an accountability partner or a referral partner within BNI?
Jen Kikel-Lynn: We do, yeah.
Laura Viskovich: Walk us through that.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: It would have been a lot of different trainings, one-on-one obviously throughout your chapter, and then also statewide. You are definitely given every tool that you can possibly need to grow your business and also yourself.
Laura Viskovich: So, Jen, what chapter are you in? You’re in BNI Utah North, but what specific chapter?
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Yeah, I’m in the downtown Generosity chapter.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Yeah.
Laura Viskovich: So, for anyone in that group, how would you talk to them so that they know how to refer business to you?
Jen Kikel-Lynn: You know, in my chapter, I’m very specific. As a real estate agent, I never just say, “I’m looking for a buyer or seller.” Every week, I’m very specific on what type of referral I’m looking for.
So I am the type of agent that will actually sell in any county of Utah. So I’d like to play off of that. Maybe one week, I’m looking for somebody that with a certain word, maybe somebody that is looking to sell but maybe isn’t as inclined toward with a real estate agent. I love working with those people and maybe changing their opinion of working with somebody in my industry. Again, I’m just very specific every week. I just like to be creative in my ask and ask for things that are a little bit out of ordinary.
Laura Viskovich: Wonderful. So has there been one particular moment in your journey in BNI that’s been like the ultimate dream referral to you and and your business?
Jen Kikel-Lynn: I would say the best source of referrals for me has been, obviously, on lender of our chapter, whom also a very good friend with. But also attorneys, they are working with people going through a lot of life changes, whether it’s a divorce or some sort of a separation. And I’m able to help both side typically, the husband, wife, with the big change in their life. And that’s probably been the biggest source for me.
The other remarkable thing about my BNI experience is that in three years, I’ve only had one tier, one referral, which is shocking.
Laura Viskovich: Okay. So for anyone who’s listening, walk us through what a one tier and a two tier –
Jen Kikel-Lynn: So what does means is maybe a member is buying a home or selling a home themselves, and I’ve only had one those. Every other referral has been tier two, three, or four, which I take that very seriously. That means that I’ve – there’s a lot of credibility there and every member in my chapter is definitely trusting me with their client and down from there.
Laura Viskovich: It’s amazing. So, basically, you’ve built that trust. So people like know and trust you, they refer to you. That’s amazing. So if anyone out there is looking to visit a BNI, what would you say to them? What would be the benefits of visiting?
Jen Kikel-Lynn: I would say, number one, you never know who knows who. And visit a chapter, visit a few chapters, and find the ones that fit your needs the best. Maybe it’s based on location, maybe it’s based on the personalities of everyone else in the chapter, not every chapter is quite to fit everybody’s needs. And also if there’s somebody in there that maybe is already in that classification that you would like, still visit that chapter and have a meeting with that person and learn from them. Again, you never know who they know. I received a lot of referrals from other real estate agents that you would think maybe, you know, we’re competing, it’s not like that at all. We all work together and – yeah.
Laura Viskovich: That’s fantastic.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Yeah.
Laura Viskovich: So if anyone out there is new to networking, they want to grow their business, would you have a tip and trick out there for them?
Jen Kikel-Lynn: BNI.
Laura Viskovich: Great.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Right. Become a member of a BNI chapter. I will never leave my chapter. I absolutely love the relationships that I’ve made personally, but it goes, you know, obviously so far beyond just business, it’s also personally. And it has definitely made a huge impact in every way possible in my life and I would recommend that to any business owner, whether you’re just getting started or you’ve been in business a long time, it could really put you on the right track to make your business bigger and better.
Laura Viskovich: Jen, you have an amazing story. But I really want to hear more about how you built your business to 100% referral based. So tell us a bit more about your business.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Thank you. I – from the beginning have always wanted to give back. And by being a business owner, I’m able to do that, I also own a non-profit. So I’m able to blend the two, so every time that I help somebody buy or sell home, I’m able to take first the commission and donate to local charities. And I believe that that’s what makes me stand out in the industry, that’s a huge passion of mine. And that’s not coming out of, you know, anything that, you know, the buyer, sellers contributed necessarily. It’s something that I want to give back to the community. And through that, my agents have also been able to give back to the community and I know that’s one reason they probably love working for me.
And another thing that I love about real estate, is I’m able to make a big difference lives. I’m able to be a part in the biggest sell or purchase of their lifetime, a time that is incredibly stressful for everybody. But I’m able to take a lot of that stress off of them and been able to communicate on their behalf and, you know, the relationships that I’ve been able to make through this industry are priceless to be honest.
And I love what I do. I – the big joke of a lot of my clients is always, I would honestly do real estate for free and I love it that much. And bringing on other agent has made a huge impact for me personally, because helping them build their businesses, my focus has definitely shifted more to them as last year. And again, it’s not about the money for me, it’s about the relationships. And BNI, you know, fold in very well into being able to, you know, have those relationships and make a difference.
Laura Viskovich: Fantastic.
Jen Kikel-Lynn: Yeah.Laura Viskovich: That is Jen Kikel-Lynn, K Real Estate. What an inspirational story. So, thank you so much for tuning into the show today, that’s the Professional Business Connections.