Mother-son business up for ethics award SanTan Sun News

Mother-son business up for ethics award

April 2nd, 2018 | by SanTan Sun News
Mother-son business up for ethics award
Business
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By COLLEEN SPARKS Staff

A quickly growing mother-son Chandler company is up for a prestigious ethics award.

BoldLeads, a SaaS (Software as a Service) business on West Chandler Boulevard, is the only technology company that is a finalist for the Better Business Bureau’s Torch Awards for Ethics. BoldLeads and two other Arizona companies with 51 to 150 employees are being considered for the honor.

The company started around the kitchen table when Christine Crane, who was then a Realtor, asked her tech-savvy adult son Danny Loschiavo for help generating leads online.

Crane, 60, BoldLeads co-founder and CEO, and her co-founder son, 29, began the business after Crane had opened up a brokerage.

A retired school psychologist, Crane had spent thousands of dollars trying many conventional systems to generate leads but was not getting what she wanted while seeking to expand her database.

She asked Loschiavo, who has a background designing software interfaces, for help, so he developed a novel way to connect real estate agents with homeowners who want to sell their homes.

“He was doing such a bang-up job that we decided to make a business out of it,” Crane said. “We started it on a shoestring with $5,000. The first month we were profitable and we’ve been profitable ever since. It’s been like a rocket ship.”

Crane and Loschiavo started BoldLeads on Jan. 1, 2014, and moved into a brick-and-mortar space last year. About 50 to 60 people work for the company that the mother-son team began with their own money.

BoldLeads is a “lead generation or marketing automation” subscription service that client Realtors pay for advertising that targets homebuyers and sellers.

The agents have an advertising budget and BoldLeads runs ads online targeting homeowners who are “going to buy or sell their home in the next six to 12 months,” Loschiavo said.

BoldLeads provides the contact information for the homeowners and buyers to the real estate agents, with their permission.

The BoldLeads software keeps all the agents’ contact information organized and lets them write notes in the software and prioritize them, Crane said.

The BoldLeads software also allows real estate agents to send automatic email and text follow-ups to potential sellers and buyers.

“We kind of developed a way of using different types of advertising to identify those people,” Loschiavo said. “We offer free calculators to use, ways to value their property or see if they can rent it out, give them free tools and quizzes.

“Within the tools and quizzes they explain or opt in to say, ‘I’m looking to sell within the next six months.’ The agent can use that information to follow up and give them reports, basically give them stuff of value.”

He said BoldLeads has “a proprietary algorithm where we can measure the intent behind somebody’s activity online, use demographic clustering to figure out what do they look like, what are their characteristics” and what they are searching for on Google.

“The reason our company has done so well, we were one of the very few finding homeowners for real estate agents or potential sellers,” Crane said, adding:

“Every other type of site was finding buyers. We have an unusual product; because of that it’s grown like crazy. Realtors say it’s helped them to build their pipeline of business. A lot of them, in the old days, they counted on personal branding like having their picture on park benches and grocery carts. That’s just not the way anymore. They have to have advertising online.”

Homeowners who want to sell their homes often think about it months before they decide to put them on the market, she said.

BoldLeads gives Realtors the tools “to stay in contact” with the potential sellers so that when homeowners are ready to sell their homes, they will call the agent they have been linked with through BoldLeads, Crane said.

Ephrem Jando of Gilbert, team leader at The Gilbert Team at RE/MAX Solutions in Gilbert, said BoldLeads has helped his business tremendously.

An associate broker, Jando sells residential and commercial real estate. He met Loschiavo and Crane in 2014 at Starbucks, where the mother and son were talking about their work.

“When I heard them talking about what they’d do, my attention was all over there,” Jando said. “When Danny explained to me that he does lead generation, I had a lot of questions because I do lead generation myself.

Over the years, Danny and I have developed a really close relationship. I would say I’ve done at least $7 million in sales over the last three years because of them. Their service is my main source of finding sellers and buyers,” Jando added.

Prior to becoming a client of BoldLeads, Jando said he did all his lead generation management himself, in addition to other time-consuming responsibilities.

“I was wearing too many hats,” he said. “When BoldLeads got involved, they changed that all up for me.

“They allowed me to release the time I spent managing my ads and that allowed me to concentrate on making the right phone calls and communication touches needed to assist people that were selling or buying. Lead generation is extremely important.”

Jando said he is glad BoldLeads provides geographically targeted lead generation so he can find clients in the areas where he works.

“Their tech support is always there to help me put things together,” Jando said. “They’ve been amazing. They’re been very supportive.”

Crane and Loschiavo have also brought more family members into their company.

Danny’s father and Crane’s husband, Tom Loschiavo, joined BoldLeads about two years ago as its human resources director. In February, Crane’s daughter and Danny’s sister, Karen Loschiavo, became project manager.

“Danny and I are very much alike so that helps,” Crane said. “He’s had some prior businesses. It’s really hard to get a good business partner that you’re on the same page with.

“He knows that he can trust me, that I’m not going to steal all his money and I trust him to do what he’s good at; which is all the design and technology. He trusts me to do the people side, mostly our staff, running our staff, making sure everything’s working smoothly with all the employees we have. It works well,” she added.

“I love it. As a mom, I think it’s great.”

She said she and Danny talk about business “almost all the time,” but also see each other often for holidays and other social occasions.

“Our skill sets complement each other,” Danny said. “It actually works out really well. It also allows us to be really straightforward with each other and kind of aligned in pretty much any way.”

Crane had worked for 13 years as a school psychologist in the Chandler Unified School District at various campuses and previously as a school psychologist in Mesa Public Schools for four years. She had been working as a real estate broker on the side before retiring from the Chandler school district.

The atmosphere at BoldLeads is “so relaxed,” Crane said. “One of the things we’re really proud of is our culture at BoldLeads,” she said. “We’re so proud of it that everybody loves working here. It’s a real happy place. We have a lot of young people working here.”

Last year BoldLeads won the award for “Best Company Culture” for small and midsize businesses from the website Comparably. BoldLeads also won several other awards from Comparably in 2017.

Comparably is a job-hunting and employee review website and the awards are given every year to the best-performing companies based on feedback from their employees.

The Better Business Bureau Torch Awards for Ethics honor companies that show a high level of ethics and integrity in all of their business interactions. These businesses must create a huge level of trust among their employees, as well as their customers. This year 355 companies were nominated for the Torch Awards for Ethics and they were narrowed down to 15 finalists.

The 2018 Torch Awards for Ethics event will take place May 15 in the Arizona Biltmore Ballroom at the Arizona Biltmore, 2400 E. Missouri Ave. in Phoenix

Information: bbb.org/en/us/az/phoenix, boldleads.com.

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