Jen Teske and Jean Lewis share 25 years of combined real estate selling experience. They met through a mutual friend in 2003 and hit it off personally and professionally. They get along so well, they have worked together as the Jen & Jean Team for the past eight years. In between stories and laughter, Jen and Jean agreed to talk to us about themselves and why they attend the Illinois REALTORS® Conference & Expo. Registration ends Friday, April 20.
Q. How important is professional development to your business?
A. [Jen] Our business really took off when we decided to commit to this industry and began focusing on educating ourselves about the industry – how to make our business better, how to make the transaction experience better for the client, how to market better. We have committed to doing at least one conference a year, and we try to take advantage of any educational opportunities that come to our area we feel they will benefit our business.
Q. What speakers are you looking forward to seeing at the Illinois REALTORS® Conference & Expo?
A. [Jean] Katie Lance has been a favorite of mine for a few years because she brings a great knowledge of the technology and always gives us some good nuggets to implement. In this industry, to stay competitive you have to figure out where to meet your clients and how to meet them. We are really focusing more on our relationships with our past clients, friends, and family rather than trying to do lead generation.
[Jen] I’m excited about Karel Murray’s presentation because it’s not necessarily real estate specific, it’s business specific. I think that’s probably one of the things that we as agents tend to forget: that we are business owners and we should always be thinking outside the box about our business and what direction we want to take.
Q. What’s your favorite thing about your job?
A. [Jean] The most fun part is the relationships. You really develop an intimate relationship with your buyers and sellers, and the trust level is so high. We have a huge responsibility. Yes, I’m a salesperson, but I feel like I’m more of an educator walking somebody through the process and making them confident in their decisions in pricing and negotiating to create the least amount of stress in one of the most stressful transactions they will ever do.
[Jen] I agree. We have met some great people as a result of what we do.
Q. What aspect of the job is the most time-consuming or a drain on your energy?
A. [Jean] When we revert to being pop tart agents and don’t follow our systems in place. If you get a call and jump up and go show a house when you really should be focusing on the task at hand, then you just blow your whole schedule. Sometimes we run and run until we are worn out, and then we say, “Wait a minute – let’s just draw back and get back into the system that we know works and manage our lives a little better.”
[Jen] We are extremely guilty of doing that because we are people pleasers.
Q. If there was a book written about you, what would it be called?
A. [Jean] “Podcast Junkie” That’s something we learned from Terry Watson. He talked about putting a Bluetooth speaker in your shower. I listen to them everywhere. I listen to business and real estate podcasts, TED talks on topics I think are interesting, raising kids…whatever is on my mind, that’s what I look up and listen to. A lot of speakers are talking about “media free mornings” so that you set the tone for your day and don’t get bogged down.
[Jen] – I would say my book would be called “Zero to Sixty: Managing the Unpredictability of Real Estate” It would be about the craziness of juggling your responsibilities. For example, yesterday I got up at 5:30 a.m. and went home at 9:30 last night and then I worked some more about until about 11 p.m. When it gets to be busy season that can be the norm, and you have to learn to manage that. The week may start out well, and then all of the sudden you’re racing down the road with offers here, offers there, a termination here, inspection responses there. It’s zero to sixty in no time.
Q. What kind of music do you listen to in the car?
A. [Jen] Jeanne listens to Christian music and I listen to stuff like and Ludicris. I like my music a little salty I guess.
[Jean] I did put a playlist together to pump us up for our listings.
[Jen] She did and it’s great.
Q. Do you have any hidden talents?
A. [Jen] I don’t have any but jean can whistle better than anyone you ‘ll ever meet. One year when we did our goals one of my goals was that Jean was going to teach me how to whistle. I am incapable of whistling. I practiced it and it never happened.
[Jean] Jen likes Facebook and I tell her she posts way too much.
Q. What kind of dream REALTOR® app would you create?
A. [Jean] A dream app would be the crystal ball on what a house would end up selling at. I’d use it for buyers and sellers.
Q. What would you say to recommend the Illinois REALTORS® Conference & Expo?
A. [Jean] What I really love is the interaction with my CRS and GRI friends. I love the conference to reconnect with other agents who I don’t necessarily transact with on a daily basis or have never because they are out of the area. We reconnect on a professional level, share ideas and then share some referrals. That to me is key to his conference.
[Jen] And I like the free stuff in the vendor section. (both laugh)
Q. It sounds like you have a lot of fun together.
A. [in unison] We do!
[Jean] We’re kind of like an old married couple almost. We’ve come across a few road bumps, and I just told her, “If I’m not doing real estate with you, I don’t want to do it.” It’s so helpful to have a colleague who you can collaborate with and walk through scenarios with.
[Jen] I feel the same way. It just makes it better. When we get sick of each other, one of us goes home. (laughs)
Want to learn more about the Illinois REALTORS® Conference & Expo? Go to our Conference & Expo Events page and register! You’ll get access to the conference, lunch both days, access to the expo vendors, and sessions that provide up to 6 hours of CE with NO EXAMS: 3 hours Core B and 3 hours Elective.