Post by Rob Minton
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When I first got my real estate license, I went to work for a very small real estate brokerage. Our office consisted of my broker, who was an awesome salesman, an administrative assistant and some mysterious agent who I never saw. I heard about him, but he never seemed to stop into the office or sell any homes.
My broker also owned a printing business. His real estate company shared office space in his printing business. There was no sign on the door for the real estate company. In addition, he didn't have his real estate business listed in the phone book. In addition, my broker wasn't a fan of marketing. His entire business was built around referrals.
During my years with him, he never once ran a lead generation advertisement. He never sent a customer newsletter. In fact, he never promoted himself in the public. He simply waited for referrals to come in from past clients, friends and his large network of business owners. I believe he would meet the definition of "old" school.
His setup was similar to most agents because he handled the listings and gave his buyer referrals to me. I improved my skills and became very good at helping buyers find and buy their homes.
Everything was going fine until…
One morning he stopped in the office and said, "Cancel any meetings you have today and grab your golf clubs!" We left the office and played 18 holes of golf. As always, we had a few beers as we played. My broker was an excellent golfer and he always beat me by a wide margin. I didn't really care because golf was never that important to me.
It was still early after we finished, so we headed to a bar that had an outdoor boccie court. We continued drinking and began to aggressively play boccie. I couldn't believe it, but I was actually beating him. I won the first game. So he challenged me to a second and I won again. He became very irritated because he never liked to lose, especially to me.
I started to trash talk a little bit because I was finally beating him at something. This must have been when the alcohol kicked in because he said the following to me:
"Who changes your kitty litter?"
This one sentence changed my life forever. It was one of my life defining moments. He basically was saying that he was responsible for all of my home sales and commissions because he gave me his buyer referrals. To be 100% honest, he was right. I was completely dependent upon him.
I was pissed to say the least. I vowed to start my own company and show him that I didn't need to have my kitty litter changed by anyone.
I immediately started looking for my own office. I found an ugly old office and rented it at $425 a month. I had a meeting with him and re-negotiated my commissions to a higher commission split because I would no longer accept his referrals and I would no longer use his office, supplies or administrative assistant. I was going to change my own kitty litter!
I began to study marketing and slowly but surely began selling homes on my own. Within a few short months, I finished the required classes to obtain my brokers license and started my own real estate brokerage.
When I sold my real estate business, we were selling an average of 30 homes a month. This was the same number of homes my broker would sell in a year. My company had been ranked 4th on the fastest growing companies in Northeastern, Ohio. I proved that I didn't need his referrals and that I could build a business on my own.
Looking back, I now realize how important this "Kitty Litter" comment was for my personal development. It forced me to go out on my own and make things happen all by myself. Had he not said this to me, I probably would have continued working his buyer referrals. Who knows where I would be today. I'd probably still be working in a spare desk somewhere in his printing office.
Or more than likely, I would be out of business because his business model wasn't sustainable.
I now believe that we all have "life defining moments" like the one I shared within this article. In fact, I believe the recent real estate market crash has been a major life defining moment for many in our industry. Life defining moments are critical for our success because they force us to do things we wouldn't have done otherwise. I desperately wanted to beat my broker in the number of homes sold. I wanted to prove myself.This desire forced me to get out of my comfort zone and do things that I had never done before.
Many experts are now reporting that we have probably hit our market bottom. This is where you get to decide how you are going to deal with your life defining moment. You have a clean slate with your business right now. The market is at the bottom and will slowly but surely improve month after month going forward.
Will you come out of your comfort zone do whatever it takes?
Will you prove to the world that you can build an amazing business?
I certainly hope you answered YES!