What was your first job in the realty industry?
Worked for a developer in New Orleans. I had never sold a home in my life, but an ex-boyfriend was convinced I would be great at it. I began shadowing him, he was one of their top agents, and after his third close in one day he said, “next people that walk in, they are yours!” And I sold them! We were in a trailor back then, waiting on our model homes to be built, and I went into that small little bathroom and screamed up a storm. I think they heard me all the way across the Mississippi River. After that day, I’d sell between 3 to 4 homes per day! And I would still go into that bathroom and scream after each sale. I worked with them for over five years and made so much money that they will always be in my heart.
What do you do to relax when you’re stressed?
Watch television! I love all of the real estate shows: The Property Brothers, Million Dollar Listing and all of the HGTV home shows. I consider myself a frustrated interior designer. I can watch for hours and it totally distresses me.
Where did you grow up?
Until I was 12 years old I lived in Cartagena, Colombia. After my parents divorce, I came to live to New Orleans, La. with my mom. After high school I lived between Colombia and New Orleans for a period of years.
Growing up, what did you want to be?
First a flight attendant (it was quite glamorous back then), then an interior designer working with designing fabrics and large spaces. Later I wanted to be a jewelry designer, which I became. Also, anything to do with meeting new people and selling them something that would make them happy. Apart from jewelry, I ended up doing none of the above. Instead I chose to get married early and all those dreams stayed as that – just dreams.
If you could have lunch with a well-known figure (living or not), who would it be and why?
Definitely God. I have a long list of questions I’d like the scoop on. And, of course, I would try to charm him into blessing me with great clients, fabulous referrals and the secrets to being a top producer.
Where is your favorite place to hang out?
I have several depending on the mood and need.
1) The Islander, a little gourmet market in Brickell Key where I live. They have the best coffee and little tables outside where you can see the hustle and bustle of the island.
2) Mandarin Oriental Hotel lobby to have drinks with great friends and closing the day with relaxing music and maybe a bite to eat at Cafe Sambal. Of course, I love sitting outside watching the stars, hearing the water ripple against the dock and smelling the sea salt in the air. That makes me happy.
What do you love most about the industry?
The connection with people. I am still passionate about people finding that perfect place – where they walk in and immediately know that that is their home. Love it! When I find the ideal space or home for my clients, or sell their home easily and effortlessly, then, it has been a good day.
How do you distinguish yourself from the crowd of agents?
I have a certain “heart connection” with my clients. I really, really care. It’s not about the money, it’s about them being happy. Love, love, love to see and be able to be a part of making people happy. This is a high for me.
On top of that I am a woman of excellence. I’m punctual, driven and I perservere – as a matter of fact, my name now is Elsie Perseverance Mendez. I feel that the key to my success has been my follow up. I am a natural follow upper! I will follow up till I’m blue in the face. Details are important, but my enthusiasm for delivering what the client wants and needs is always the cherry on top.
What is the most difficult aspect of your job?
Oh, oh…the lack of loyalty from some clients. It never seizes to break my heart. There is still no respect for the business or its agents. People have no clue the hours, gas and effort we place into them. They can have you working for them for months to end up going with someone else just because it was easy and they didn’t want to loose the opportunity of the moment..and they just didn’t know.
Where do you go to network and meet new clients?
Anywhere and everywhere. I even ride the elevator in my building, up and down, up and down to meet people and hand out cards.
Of course the Chambers of Commerce are great places to meet, and actually anywhere where a connection can be made or a conversation about life – Bingo…here is my card!
What has been your greatest accomplishment?
To be able to fall and get up so many times. I even wrote a book about it called “At An Elephant’s Pace;” it’s in Spanish. I can be on the floor, beaten up, looking like I’m done…BUT on the inside there is this little voice that is saying softly but firmly, with all its might, “it may seem like I’m done, but I am still standing up on the inside!”
What was the last good movie you saw or book you read?
Book: “The Power of Habit: Why We Do What We Do in Life and Business”
Movie: Meet the Robinsons (children’s film, great life lesson)
What is your favorite restaurant?
Houston’s in Aventura. I crave their artichoke and spinach dip in my sleep. Their salads are divine and their veggie burger is spectacular.
Architecturally speaking, what is your favorite building in Miami?
The Jade Signature residential tower by Herzog & de Meuron. Great balconies.
What kind of car do you drive?
A 2013 silver gray BMW 328i.
Smartphone or paper?
Paper! Like to scratch off my to-do list and checkmark my done’s.
What is your favorite city after Miami?
New Orleans, of course. The craziness, the music, the food and the ability to wear a costume any day as a normal thing is incomparable.
What is your advice for someone new to the industry?
Network, work that database and try to get as many referrals as possible so you won’t have to lead generate through calling or knocking on doors.
By the way, I began in the business in the 80’s but am restarting my career here in Miami.
What’s your favorite real estate iPhone/Android app?
Who are your favorite people to follow on Twitter?
Motivational gurus that always have the perfect words for you at the perfect time.
Anthony Robbins, Les Brown, Marie Forleo, Darren Hardy and whomever is hot at the moment or that may spark my fire.
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