How did you get your idea or your start for your business?
When I was a young man, I had a passion for working with teenagers. I was church-going; I just really wanted to serve people. So, I wanted to be a youth pastor; that was my original idea.
Fast-forward 20 years, and I’m a jack of all trades, master of none, so it took me a long time to get my footing underneath me and find what I wanted to do and how to use my gifts. I’m very relational; I try to be very personable. I really wanted to be able to use those people skills in the work that I did. In a lot of the jobs I had, I felt very stifled.
I figured out early on that I wasn’t a very good employee. I wasn’t a bad employee; I worked hard, did the job, and knew the value of a good work ethic. I realized that if I were going to express who I was, I would have to do something that allowed me to express those skills.
I live here in Murfreesboro; I’ve lived here for 20 years. I’ve been here since the population was 50,000 people. About 6 or 7 years ago, when many people were moving to the area, I asked myself, “How can I put my relational skills into practice outside of a ministry context?”
That’s how I ended up in the real-estate business. I wanted to be on the front lines of all these people moving into town, building relationships with folks, connecting them to the people I know, so real estate made perfect sense for me.
How do you advertise your business?
About 2 years ago, I heard a great quote from a guy named Andy Andrews, “Advertising is the price you pay for not being extraordinary.” I got to thinking a lot about marketing, which is the number one thing real estate agents do: market themselves.
Sales and marketing are the most important legs of my business. That can be true for any business. You’ve got your sales and marketing leg, your customer service leg, and you’ve got your financial management leg. But, you can’t manage any money if you don’t have any customers to serve, and you can’t serve any customers if you don’t have any.
You have to find a way to get clients. When I first sat down with another agent here in town, the first thing he asked was, “what made you want to get into the lead generation business?” It took me a little while to figure out that chasing transactions is for the birds. It’s not any fun, and most people, at least the people in the house-buying market, will look up houses or realtors online, and they are looking for a personal connection. They’re looking for a referral of somebody that knows somebody that does what I do.
About 2 years into real estate, I was getting really frustrated because I was just chasing transactions. I did well, but I just did not like the door knocks and cold calls. I took another look at my business and realized that 90% of the business I was getting was from people I already knew. I also realized that 90% of my time was going into cold methods like Facebook ads. I decided to switch it up. Why not put all this energy into people I already knew in this town? That’s when it all started to take off.
If you could wave a magic wand and make one problem in your business go away, what would it be?
If people who were only out for themselves were not in my business. I would love to get rid of them somehow. I’m not too fond of the attitude and arrogance that comes with thinking you’re better than everyone else.
Being teachable, having humility, and not coming in with your own agenda with people. I’ve had a lot of people who’ve had bad experiences with other people in my industry because they’re such high profits. I think the only way to counteract this attitude is to be extraordinary.
There’s no good replacement for authenticity.
How did you make your first sale?
It was a friend’s mom. I had been in the business for about a year, and I hadn’t made a sale yet. I was working in the school system as an education assistant to get by. A friend’s mother was looking to buy some rental properties. We found a house in downtown Murfreesboro. It was a lower commission than what I was told real estate agents made, but I paid my rent for the month, and it was a win because it was a friend.
He gave me a shot, and I sold his mom 4 other houses that year. She ended up being a very big part of the foundation of my business.
From your perspective, what’s unique about owning and running a business in Murfreesboro?
There’s a lot of people moving here in droves. We are experiencing a heavier workload, especially as we get into the spring months. My phone is ringing a little bit more. But with that has come about five or six hundred thousand new people into the real estate business in the last year in America.
Being a realtor in Murfreesboro for 5 years, I’ve found a good amount of success. I’m not a rock star. The last few years have consistently shown about 4-4.5 million dollars in business.
It’s sustainable and livable, which is great, but being a realtor in Murfreesboro, I’m going against people who are just starting at this. 95% of realtors do not call a client back after a sale has been made. My goal is to be part of the 5% that shows appreciation to my clients, and when they’re ready to sell their home, I’ll still be here.
What do you use for your to-do list?
I have a planner by Michael Hyatt, called the full focus planner. It’s got a goal-setting section, a calendar. It’s got everything. It’s a quarterly journal I get. I’d like to say that I’m a meticulous person that uses it every day, but I don’t. The consistency of getting a new one every 3 months is a great motivator to help me fill it up as much as I can.
Another tool I use is called Referral Maker. It is a CRM; it’s very simplistic, very colorful, lots of pictures. It comes from a real estate training company called Buffini & Company, which I have probably learned the most from a coaching perspective.
The CRM and the planner help me manage my relationships and it reminds me who to call. I don’t get to every single person I plan to call or visit or write to, but it is nice to have a system that helps me keep track of what I need to do that day.
What’s a podcast, book, or website that’s inspired you to grow your business?
As a business owner, what keeps you up at night?
“Am I doing enough?”
What’s one business lesson that you’d be willing to share?
Ask, just ask. That one word has changed my business in the last 2 years.
Are you using any apps or tools for your social media?
Canva is one of my favorites. I have a bit of artistic flair in me, so I like to mess around with logos and things like that. I have plans for later this year to try my hand at YouTube as a real estate tool. I’ve been trying to move away from Facebook, it’s just become too divisive. If you’re gonna be on social media, you’ve got to be a positive force, all the time.