Leah Kaiz Fellows
Online Sales Trainer and CEO
Blue Gypsy, Inc.
How did you get started in your career?
My career has taken a winding pathway since graduating from Boston University with a degree in communication. It began with travels around the world for 13 years - first as a backpacker, then as a dive instructor and a sailboat captain.
In 2006 I moved ashore and started working for new home builders. First, I worked on new home sales sites, and in 2007 began as an online sales counselor (OSC) for a large local builder in Virginia Beach. At that point the position was a very new idea, and only early adapters were beginning online sales programs. I was able to build the position from the ground up, and in 3 years, I hit amazing numbers. My leads accounted for 32% of the overall sales for the builder, at a time where websites were billboards, social media was just picking up steam, and many builders were struggling to stay afloat. On average a great OSC could account for 20-25% of overall sales back then. My goal was to blow those numbers out of the water. And I did.
Upon moving to Northern Virginia in 2010, I began Blue Gypsy Inc. The company started out providing online sales counselor services remotely to builders, as well as social media and blogging services. I also worked with real estate professionals, brokers, and other businesses associated within the building industry. In 2013 I took on my first training client and from there began helping builders create the OSC program and hire and train the online sales counselor to increase their ROI on digital leads and marketing efforts.
Now Blue Gypsy Inc., a boutique style training company, works with builders all over the country doing training and consulting focusing on creating or improving the online sales process. I only take on 3-6 builders per year and focus on results by providing highly customized training and consulting programs.
Has there been someone along the way that you credit with helping you get to where you are? And why?
I have had two amazing mentors in my life. The first is my father. He is a professional coach and mentor for CEO’s of companies. He started out owning his own training business called Industrial Training Corporation. When I went off to college, he became a coach and mentor with Vistage® Worldwide. For 11 years he mentored CEO’s and Key Groups and every time I came home from my travels, he had exercises and tests for me to take. He has always been a sounding board for me whether I was traveling around the world or growing my own consulting business. Even now at age 80 he volunteers his time mentoring new business owners for local business incubators.
My other important mentor is Myers Barnes. When I first started Blue Gypsy Inc. I was introduced to Myers by one of my other clients. Myers needed an assistant and I was versed in many aspects of the building industry and social media. I had the mentality that I could “figure it out.” I was lucky enough to work with him for years and he encouraged me to begin my own online sales training program. He knew my background, strengths, and creativity and cheered me on to taking the step to become a trainer and consultant in this growing industry. To this day, I still consider him a cherished friend and mentor.
What do you love about the Home Building industry?
I love that in the home building industry we can really make a difference in other people’s lives. A home is a place of safety, comfort, and relaxation. It’s part of a community and is the cornerstone of the experiences people will have in their lives. In many ways a home is a centering place. It’s where people raise their families, experience life’s milestones, and create memories. Working in the home building industry we get to help people find that most important purchase of their lives. A place to call home.
Tell us 3 things about yourself that people don¹t know.
It’s hard to think of anything that someone somewhere doesn’t know about me. I’m a pretty open book.
- Once, when I was a working as a dive instructor in Zanzibar off the coast of Tanzania in Africa, I got to go work on a liveaboard dive boat for a week that traveled the remote Pemba Islands. One dusk drift-dive, looking for sharks, ended in a 1-hour float in the water with 7 scared divers. The boats were not there to pick us up when we surfaced. I had to keep the divers calm and together, while trying to get them not to think about the sharks or the fact that we were drifting in a current off the jagged, volcanic coast line. I kept the group laughing instead of panicking until the boats finally found us. We never did see any sharks. Probably to the divers’ relief.
- The easiest way to get me to do something is to tell me I can’t do it, or it’s impossible. This, to me, becomes a challenge. I will keep working until I prove the naysayers wrong. This has pushed me to grow in every aspect of my life from my travels around the world to getting my dive instructors certification and captain’s licenses. To starting my own business in the home building industry and becoming a professional consultant.
- One of the reasons I’ve traveled around the world and held some pretty amazing jobs is because I made a decision early on in life while I was still in college that I never wanted to look back at my life and say, “I wish I had done.”
Anything else you would like to share?
When I work at anything in my life, whether it’s for a builder client or volunteering in dog rescue, I put my whole heart into it. My goal is for everyone to achieve the highest and best outcome. I will work tirelessly and for me money is not the issue, it’s making sure I help others succeed. That is a bigger payment and reward than strictly the dollars I earn in my business.