If you’re talking to someone about luxury real estate, within no time the name al will certainly be mentioned. The property powerhouse has taken the South Florida market and put a huge DeBianchi stamp on it. Globally recognized as both an inspiration figure for entrepreneurs and the first lady of the hugely successful Million Dollar Listing franchise, Sam really has found what she loves to do and has mastered her craft with phenomenal results.
Sam epitomizes entrepreneurialism, building her own company from the ground up and politely declining job offers from the biggest names on the planet.
We were lucky enough to sit down with her to get an insight into her career and to get advice and knowledge from the expert.
The Guy Society: You embody everything an entrepreneur should be and are an inspiration to many. When did you first decide entrepreneurialism was what you wanted to do?
Samantha DeBianchi: Why thank you. I knew what I wanted to do since I was very very young. I was also a bit of a loaner and a nerd. I remember when I was a little girl I would tell my parents that I wanted to run nightclubs, be a college professor, own a company “selling homes” and speak around the world. I am talking like this at 8 years old. I was always an entrepreneur—in the first grade I was selling 25 cent toys (and random items from my parents house) to students at school. Every year I sold something different and every year I made more and more money. The only thing I never got into was selling drugs, although I think if I did I would probably be pretty amazing at it.
The Guy Society: We are certainly happy you chose houses and not drugs! You’ve always been one step ahead of your competition; graduating early, owning your own successful real estate company, being the first lady of Million Dollar Listing Miami. All this was accomplished well before the age of 30. What’s the driving force behind your monumental success?
Samantha DeBianchi: I have a weird obsession with always having to be the best. I constantly have a fire in me that burns and pushes me every day. I have no control over it whatsoever. It just lives within me and makes me grind daily. I never want to live with the “what if” thought such as ”What if I would have tried harder”, “What if I would have followed my dream.” I don’t like living with regrets and I never want to grow old wondering how my life could have be different if I just gave myself a chance. So instead, I just say “screw it, let’s do it” and give everything a shot 100%.
The Guy Society: It seems everyone has a real estate license. What do you think is the difference between you and the other brokers that led to your success?
Samantha DeBianchi: (Laughs)…everyone does have a real estate license… I am very different than other brokers. I really take pride in making the process enjoyable and fun whether it’s showing clients properties in helicopters, yachts, drivers, etc. or just building a relationship over dinner. I am very fortunate in the fact that 99% of my clients become my very good friends during and after we work together.
Separately, I also am not afraid to spend money on the marketing side with regards to listings. So many agents are afraid to spend money and may not do what’s best for the property but instead try to do what’s best for their pocket and it’s impossible to be a great agent if you think that way. I’ve been told I spend “too much money” on my listings.
The Guy Society: You previously worked in the hospitality industry, what made you switch to real estate in particular?
Samantha DeBianchi: I think hospitality and real estate go hand in hand. You’ve got to be accommodating and have sales skills, but most importantly, you must have people skills. It doesn’t matter who you are, if people don’t like you and trust you, nine times out of ten they aren’t going to want to work with you.
The Guy Society: You’re a force to be reckoned with in South Florida real estate. You must be inundated with job offers (I believe even Sotheby’s tried to hire you). Is building your own legacy more important to you than taking the easier path of working for someone else?
Samantha DeBianchi: I have been approached and have had offers presented to me by every company out there. It’s possible I could have made more money with them, but there’s something to be said about working for a company you are passionate for, building your own brand, and working with some amazing agents. I have a company policy that I don’t work with assholes. We all genuinely like each other, help each other and motivate each other—that’s what makes a great company and that’s something I have never seen in any other real estate company. I would rather work with great people than make more money but work in a negative environment. I also place a huge importance on only hiring qualified agents and agents who work full time and are experts in their industry. Many companies have thousands of agents but only 1% work full time and produce. For me, I believe in quality over quantity and I can truly say I have a phenomenal group of agents.
The Guy Society: What would be your advice to someone looking to getting into the real estate industry?
Samantha DeBianchi: Know your industry, know the market and the inventory. Realize that it’s going to take about a year to make money and with that said, patience is the most important aspect.
The Guy Society: Million Dollar Listing is a huge franchise and literally my favorite show (true story) how did that opportunity arise?
Samantha DeBianchi: I stalked the producers (literally and not literally). I “sold” myself to them and it was all she wrote.
The Guy Society: You were on the show with Chris and Chad, both major players in the South Florida real estate market, and both backed by the might of Douglas Elliman. Was it intimidating for you to go against these guys as an independent?
Samantha DeBianchi: I don’t know if I would call Chad and Chris intimidating. Chad was a friend of mine prior to the show and Chris and I became friends during filming. We all are very different in our own rights so I don’t really see us “competing” against one another as we all have very unique approaches.
The Guy Society: Your tagline is “it’s about people-work not paperwork” that’s something that really resonated with me. It’s clear you know exactly how to make each of your clients feel special. Way too many people are focused on getting the job done and making the money and forget they’re dealing with human beings. Do you think it’s your personal approach that has enabled your success? Didn’t you once hire a yacht so a client could see what it was like to pull up to the property in his own yacht?
Samantha DeBianchi: People work with me because they know they can talk to me as a person and not a “salesperson”. I talk people out of deals all the time because I can’t sleep at night knowing I sold someone a bad deal or opportunity. Honesty and being genuine get you further in life than a quick sale, in my opinion. If a client needs to talk things out for hours on the phone, I listen. If a client needs to see if their boat fits at a property, I find a yacht to coordinate that. I do whatever it takes to make my clients happy, confident and comfortable and I will never stop doing that.
The Guy Society: I read you also teach Nightclub Management, a course you designed at FIU. When do you sleep and is there anything you can’t do?
Samantha DeBianchi: I used to do that. I was an adjunct professor and I absolutely loved it. Unfortunately, I had to stop teaching as (fortunately) my real estate business took over! I still get to “teach” in another capacity though, teaching and educating my agents about the real estate market and training them on a regular basis.
The Guy Society: What are your top 3 tips on becoming a successful entrepreneur?
Samantha DeBianchi: Heart. If you don’t have it in what you’re doing, don’t do it.
Hard work. Good things come to those who work hard. It may take time, weeks, months, or years but hard work always pays off.
Hustle. Things only happen if you make them happen. It’s all about who gets to the opportunity first so make sure to hustle your ass off.
The Guy Society: The quest to build your own empire always comes with successes and failures. Firstly what’s your biggest success to date and secondly how do you handle the failures? Also, what are your goals for the next 12 months and how will you ensure you hit them?
Samantha DeBianchi: My biggest success would be building a company and brand where I truly enjoy everyone involved in it. I love my company, my agents and my clients. I am extremely lucky. The vibe and energy is just something that no other company has. I’ve had many failures, and I work hard to let them go as quickly and easily as possible. It’s important to not let the failures blind you from all the successes and future success. My goal is to keep growing what I have, keep building my empire and continue to be the best in the industry. I don’t believe the “best” is necessarily based on numbers, sales or how much money I make, but rather having a solid and positive reputation.