Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education Kaplan University School of Professional and Continuing Education

RealXperts: Five Critical Steps to Making it in Real Estate Sales

RealXperts - Five Critical Steps to Making it in Real EstateA career in real estate offers a lot of opportunity. Running your own business certainly has an upside, and for the first time in your life, you’ve got the opportunity to chase unlimited earning potential. As a result, many new agents come into the business with a lot of enthusiasm. But being successful in real estate requires more than just ambition. In this edition of RealXperts, successful Keller Williams real estate pro Josh Pomerleau details what he feels are the five critical steps to improving your odds of success in a real estate career.

I'm Josh Pomerleau and I'm with Keller Williams Realty. I run the Pomerleau team at Keller Williams and I've been in real estate for 10 year, almost 10 years now. We have the top Keller Williams team in Minnesota. So we have the most units closed volume and GCI. Last year we closed on around 260 transactions.

I'm going to give you today right out of the trench, right out of what we do on a daily basis, what we thought, how we got here. The cool thing about this course is it's going to be good for someone that maybe is thinking about getting into real estate, just got into real estate, been in real estate for 25 years. Because these are the foundation to our business and I think what a lot of top agents do around the country.

So I'm excited for you to get to see what I'm going to talk about and I'm going to give you my all and I'm going to give you good examples of how to build the business, on how to get from zero transactions to hundreds of transactions closed and how to get there. So pay attention and I'm excited. If you have any questions too feel free just to type them in to your computer there and I'll get to them probably at the end of the presentation. But feel free, please, just put in any questions you have. No question is dumb. Just put it in there and I'll get to it if I can get to it.

So five critical steps to making it in real estate sales, an overview. The nice thing is why did you get into real estate? I think a lot of us got into real estate because it was the opportunity to be creative, to show our entrepreneurial side where as much as we put into something you get out of it. Isn't that a cool concept?

Maybe a little bit of the downside is that if you don't show up and you're not all in and you're not studying and have a good positive mindset, have mentors, being learning based and focusing on lead generation, you're going to have a little bit tougher time of making it in real estate sales. That's the cool thing, like I said, it's entrepreneurial. You get to show your creative side, but it's competitive and there's a lot to it. But like I said, it's exciting because what you put into it is what you're going to get out.

Then after we talk about what to do to get your business up to the level that you want to get it to and what that will take, the last step to that is what can you do to have people come into your organization so that you can build something, so that you can make an impact.

So let's get started here.

Mindset. I've taught many times. I'm actually a professor at Kaplan here, taught in design a couple of courses here. I've also taught for our local brokerages in Minnesota and I've taught around the country.

One thing I always like to touch on first is mindset because I have found, out there there's a lot of people that don't have the right mindset of what it's going to take to get to that level in the real estate sales, because there's going to be a lot. You're going to go through a lot and sometimes you're going to feel like you're almost crazy to keep going. But if you have that mindset that you're going to do whatever it takes, you're going to break through that brick wall to get to that level.

I think of mindset a lot of like a garden. You're not going to just plant a couple of seeds and then hopefully a tomato grows from that plant. You're going to be out there pulling out the weeds, you're going to be watering it and that is like mindset. I don't think of it as just motivation. I think of it as finding daily strategies to build that mindset muscle and to grow. So it's something that always has to be at the forefront of what you're thinking about because it will get you to that next . . . it's a big step. Without that it's hard to sell 50, 100, 200 homes.

So behind the mindset is having a purpose. Because after you get to a certain level in your sales and you're making just enough income maybe to pay your bills and put some away, you're going to have a hard time showing up every single day and attracting the clients, attracting the people that you're going to need to in your organization without having that purpose.

I feel that purpose drives us. One of our main things is that we want to impact people and we're not even just thinking about impacting our clients. We want to impact the people that we bring into the organization so that we can change their lives, so we can build a culture, so we can just take them in and take care of the people that we bring in.

People get attracted to things like that. Business will actually gain momentum on its own and really what it is, is through other people and through yourself with having a big purpose, a big vision. And we call that having a Big Why.

Your competition is going to have that. The best competitors in the industry have reasons why they're showing up every single day more than just making a little extra money. They're thinking about maybe their family or that they want to leave this to charity or they want to build something for someone or take care of someone. So just understand that if you don't have that it's going to be hard show up every single day and give it your best without having that big purpose of something really important. These are the foundations like I said, of building a business.

If you don't have that right mindset, that's what I'll be focusing on first because that will help you get over the bumps and bruises of real estate. And like I said in the beginning, you're going to have times when it almost doesn't make sense to keep going. I always think about it when I was in college there were some rough patches that I went through. If I would have had a better mindset I would have got through them a lot easier.

When I got to real estate, I took that experience and thinking "Man, if I just had the right mindset I would have got through it." And I look at real estate, I knew when I got in, whatever it took, I didn't care if I didn't make any money for six months to two years. Of course I needed to make money right away, but I was going to do whatever it took to make that happen and that's what it takes to get through that time.

So a positive reinforcement. You need to be around other successful people. As I always say if you had a child, you would do everything you could to get them in the group that had good grades, that showed up, that was at school doing a good job, versus the kids that weren't showing up, weren't getting good grades. Take your own advice. Hang around with people that are going to make you better. You're going to be the average, a lot of people will say you're the average of the five closest people to you.

Real estate is tough and it's hard enough to be around with people that don't take it seriously, that don't show up. If you're hanging out with other people that are there, that have good mindsets, that are reading the books that they need to be reading, that are around the education programs that they need, that's going to help you get to that level faster.

Another thing to that is books. Books are a huge shortcut to building the business. The great thing about books is you can learn from other people's experiences either positive or negative and take those experiences and jump your business and life forward. So I found that 100 or so books that I've read that's been a big reason why we are the top producing team for Keller William's in Minnesota and we keep growing every single year or so. Hanging out with the top people and reading the good books is great.

Number two, mentors. They come in different forms. When I started in real estate, I remember I didn't know how to write a purchase agreement because in classes I wasn't really taught some of the things that happen out in the field. So writing listing agreements or purchase agreements, knowing stuff about inspections and I had a manager right out of the gate that would jot everything.

I think my first purchase agreement was on a Sunday midday where most people aren't in the office and I called her and I said "Can we go down to the office?" She met me down at the office. We wrote the purchase agreement, we got that first thing. I had a bunch of questions and she was always there. A beginning mentor will teach you those real estate basics and will be there for the positive support.

Then I find once you get to that level and you're understanding real estate and it's starting to hum, it's good to find that next mentor. Mine was an agent in our office that was already closing around 50 transactions a year and I think at that time I was anywhere from 5 to 15 transactions. Just watching what he did on a daily basis to get his business there, I remember he had a post card with a house on it and his picture and he would send this to his database. I was like, okay. I had no idea that that's what people did to get in touch with their sphere or the people that they know.

I just copied it and one day he saw my postcard in the mailbox on top of a desk. He's like, "That's like my postcard except your name and your house is on it." And I said "Yeah." He gave me a little bit of a hard time on that, but he understood what I was doing and I'm sure he learned that from someone else. But that got our business up to 30 to 40 transactions just by copying other successful people around us.

Then I found another mentor, Gary, who completely transformed our business and helped us think not in terms of closing 30 to 40 transactions but really thought of creating wealth, becoming a millionaire and building a business that's worth owning. Without that we would not have closed 260 transactions because when people talked about being a millionaire real estate agent or a mega agent, I'd just think that's for someone else, that isn't for me. I won't be able to get there and that's how important those mentors and that mindset is for you because you're going to get there faster. You might not even get there without the mentors and the mindset.

Like I was talking of how important mentors are, they will provide you with that map, that direction, that GPS of where you need to go, what you should be doing. I would really try to find a mentor of where you want to go and just copy. They'll be glad to help you. And that's what I found in real estate, they'll be glad to help and love to help.

So to go on to the next step, being learning-based. I think a lot of people get out of college or high school and they think they can just show up and the business is going to happen and they're going to understand things and they don't really have to dive in. I have found that the most successful people in real estate are the people that . . . I see people that are multi multi millionaires flying across the country to take a class from someone. Instead of thinking about the business loss by them being out of town, they're thinking about the business gain from them learning and I'm always impressed by those people.

What we saw, we just came out of the distressed market when 2006, 2007, 2008 was happening, I saw a lot of agents put their hands over their ears or close their eyes and say they didn't want to learn how to do distress real estate. And that was fine. Some agents made it just fine with keeping to the basics of what they did in the traditional real estate game. But I saw the few agents that were learning based and were okay with taking on short sales and foreclosures and helping people through that situation, their business blossomed.

I'm also seeing that on the downside when the market is coming up. The people that were in distress and not willing to learn and study and train and be with those mentors and be in those education programs and training events to get into traditional, the ones that didn't do that are not transitioning. And so the business is in constant change. Interest rates going up, jobs going down, jobs going up and new construction and things are constantly changing.

So if you're not on the forefront of that you're going ride that wave. I just find that in our business and probably in most businesses with how things are today, they're constantly changing and you need to be on the forefront of that if you want to stay relevant. So like I said, the training program is very important.

Educational opportunities and masterminding. That is a very big secret that we found in our business. Not only to mastermind with agents around you and hang out with successful people, but find people that are out of state, that are out of your state or out of your city that aren't really competition to you.

Say you live in Minnesota, Minneapolis, you find someone in Arizona or Phoenix or California or Texas or some other state, because what I found in those meetings a lot of times the information flows a lot more freely because people aren't really worried about you being a competitor. They're going to want to help. People just love to help people, so they're going to want to help you and if you reciprocate that, you're going to jump.

That was a huge thing we did from when we went from about 50 units to about 150 units close, we went and shadowed a top team in Arizona and they taught us everything. They were over the top teaching us things and now we reciprocate that back. We're teaching them a lot of things and we're helping them out and we care about them. They're actually like family to me now and that's how important masterminding is. You're going to get over those hurdles a lot faster with having those mastermind events and hanging out with them.

So then once you learn the business and the business is going good, the next part I would really be thinking about if you wanted to get to that next level is you need to learn not only how to sell homes, but you need to learn how to learn how to run a business. A lot of people can't make that transition either. Just as long as it took you to learn real estate, it could take you longer to learn how to run things as a business, how to hire, what systems are put in place, how to think of things on a daily basis.

Again, you need to be in training programs and masterminding with people that are doing what you want to do in the future. That's what we did and a lot of opportunities have been around us and we're just always all in learning and try and learn from somewhere else. We never think that we've learned it all. We're always trying to expand on that.

Lead generation, the fuel of the business. Without leads and clients, without a client it's going to be hard to sell real estate. So we knew that from the very beginning. But I hear a lot of real estate agent's say "I'm going to go to this company and the business is just going to show up," and I don't want to laugh because I remember being there. The real estate business is actually two businesses. You're in the lead generation business and you're in the selling business and actually it gets to a third you're actually then running the business as a business, so there's actually a third there.

But if you don't understand you're in the lead generation business, you're just going to ride the income rollercoaster. You're going to have 10 deals closed, you're going to have zero deals closed for two months, you're going to have three deals closed. Without that constant focus of knowing how important lead generation is and what we have found is, we do it in the morning.

We do it for a couple of hours in the morning and we're always thinking of how we can get more business or doing activities that we need to do to get more business. That is the best time to do it because nothing else gets in the way. And a lot of people say "But once you get to 20, 30, 40 transactions all by myself, how can I do that?" I just like to say that you will find a way, if you absolutely believed and you understood how important it was, you would find a way.

I always make the analogy of if you're going to a movie theater and you're going to watch a movie, you're not going to bring your cell phone in, your laptop in and calling people and going places in the movie. Your cell phone is turned off, you're going to be sitting there, you're going to be enjoying the movie. That's the same thing you need to do with lead generation more. When you go into your movie theatre, you've got to bunker up. You get your popcorn, candy, I look at healthy food, but get your food and water in there and get to it and stay focused on that. You're going to watch your business completely change and mushroom into things you've never thought would happen before.

So all successful businesses and especially in real estate, have that constant focus on lead generation. I think people don't quite understand that and I want to make sure that I drill that home for you.

People will say, what is lead generation to you, what does that look like. And I think it's different for every single person. It really matters what your niche is. Do you love doing open houses? Do you love lake property? Do you love short sales? Do you love new construction because every niche . . . well first of all, I say whatever niche you're passionate about, is the niche that you're going to explode. That's going to be the niche that you're going to be able to take to the next level.

So I would find a niche that I really liked and I won't drop off. And then I would stay focus on lead generating around that niche. Then after that you can go to the next niche and maybe a hire someone to help you with that next niche or you can give them that if they're in your organization.

Remember if you have any questions, feel free to put them down. We're almost getting there. So I'd love to be able to answer anything that you have. No question is too small definitely put it whatever and I'll allow five to six minutes after to be able to answer that.

So leverage, step five. Your business is humming. You are selling 30, 40, 50 homes a year. That's what we see a lot of time between 30 and 50 homes. Someone needs some help and needs some leverage and they are getting overwhelmed. I say try not to get overwhelmed. But you're probably are getting overwhelmed and that's when you want to look at trying to find that next help and I've been there.

I was at a level where we were probably making right around six figures and an admin would take maybe, look at it in my head, would knock us back down to 70 or $60,000 a year. I thought about that and I'm just like what am I going to do? But it went all the way back down to my purpose.

I had a purpose of impacting people, to changing lives, of being different out there and I said there is no way I'm going to be able to impact many people without people in my organization. So I always go back to having that purpose that will help you get off that ledge because people are always scared. That's a big jump for a lot of people to think of that responsibility, but if you believe in yourself, you have the right mentors, you have the right mindset, you're learning based, you are going to make that jump.

That administrative help, that's what we suggest doing first is going to double or triple your business because you're going to be doing the things that you're good at which is selling homes and helping out clients.

So we always say administration, administrative help first and the reason why we say that is a good admin, executive assistant, will completely change your world with systems, keeping the client experience the same, keeping it good, will actually make you look even better to the client because you have another touch, another person that is helping out that person.

And say if you had a couple of sales people first and you had no admin help, there's just no foundation there. Usually sales people aren't the best necessarily at paper work and system building. A good admin will put that in place, so very important to have that administrative help. Financially it makes sense because you can double or triple your business with a little investment where sales help is more expensive plus it builds that foundation. So that's why we always suggest admin help first.

An amazing admin assistant can completely change your world and does over and over throughout many organizations I've seen. Many real estate agent teams, you can completely see the difference once there is amazing admin help there and it will get you to heights that you had no clue. That's when you add some sales help to help you maybe with buyers and listings and transactions that you just can't get to because you have so much, because you're focusing, remember, on the one thing which is lead generation. Like I said, sky is the limit there.

So a conclusion like I said the great thing about real estate, you get what you put into it. So whatever you put into, you're going to get out of that. If you're all in and you're showing up every single day, you're making those phone calls, sales are going to start to happen. You're going to draw people to you, clients and help and giving your best effort will definitely pay off. That's the cool thing about real estate is that it will pay off if you're all in.

Again, connect with positive people, life will be easier. It will help your business flourish better. Like I said, one word from a positive person in the morning will influence you to take your business to the next level and do good. So always be learning, be training, you can never learn enough. And like I said I've seen people that are multimillionaires flying across the country to take a two day course on this or a three day course on this and the reason why they are where they are at is because they are learning based. I cannot say enough about that.

And then again positive mindset, important to constantly exercise that mindset muscle, pull those weeds out of that garden and have that mindset of being able to do more than you thought you could. Surround yourself with people that are doing it, read the books of successful people that came before us. Don't reinvent the wheel because it's all there for you and there's great people around that will definitely show you how to do it and change your world.

So that's about it here. I don't see any questions that are coming across. So I don't really have much for you. Or maybe I'll stay around for a minute or two and see if anyone has any questions. Like I said I've been in business for 10 years and we started off doing 20 to 30 transactions a year and now we're up to 250 and this year we hope to be 350. So I would love to help anyone out if you have any questions.

Been there, been from zero to struggling to all the way to selling a lot of real estate. Okay I think they're coming, I think there are some coming here. Just don't see them on my screen yet. I guess there is some questions, we have another five minutes, so hopefully they will get here on the screen. It takes about a minute to get on the screen.

One question was, "How do you generate leads to break into a luxury market?" We haven't ever done that but I've seen other agents . . . Okay I'm just going to just take it from I would do. We broke into multiple markets. We broke into new construction, we broke into short sales. Then because we were heavily in short sales, we actually broke into the traditional market.

We didn't do much traditional before so we had to break in so that's completely different. But what I would do if I was breaking into a luxury market first and foremost, I would find other people around the country that were doing it at the level that I wanted to or at least a step in between of where I wanted to and where I was. I would just try to befriend them, help them, go to events where they are. I'd go to other events and try to mastermind with them because first to learn from someone that's already there, will jump you a lot faster than just trying to learn things on your own.

Especially if you go out of your state, I find that's a lot easier to do. If you're not with a big national company, then what I would do, because a lot of national companies will have conventions. I'd go maybe to a convention, at a national companies' event or I'd go to a NARs event.

I'd do anything I could to connect with them on Facebook and any other medium where they're at. That would be probably your quickest way to get into that market because you're going to learn what they do. You're going to get into masterminds or groups, what they do different or how they advertise and that will give you a big step ahead.

I would take that to any market. So if you're in luxury or short sales or new construction, I'd go hang out with the people that are doing that. And if you're persistent enough, you will get in that even if you haven't done it before. If you're persistent and you stay on it, you'll get around people and they will help because I started at zero and people helped me.

"What are some of the questions that I would ask a broker's firm when I go to interview with them?" I would just ask what kind of training opportunities do they have, what kind of mastermind events do they do. I would obviously look at the financials, the splits and stuff. But a big thing in the beginning, what I always say as a newer agent you're going to train to learn. You're going to work to learn before you work to earn.

I think that's very typical of newer agents is you want to be in a place where you can work to learn, where there's a lot going on. I would think it would be a little bit harder if there wasn't much going on there to learn as quickly as you can. Just because I know like in my organization for instance when an agent comes in, we're throwing him in and we have training programs and we're helping them with transactions right away.

We actually have transactions and we're walking them through those transactions. That's what you'd want to do, go to a place where you're going to be able to learn from other people quickly because you're going to need a lot of transactions to work through before you're humming. So I would look at a place where you can get plugged in and that they're going to be able to do that. I won't even be concerned about the split as much because you need to work to learn before you work to earn, that's just what I found.

Some people ask, what do I mean by lead generation? Lead generation is just always a focus on trying to get more clients through the door and there's a lot of different ways on that. A couple of examples are for instance, open houses on the weekend. If you're not doing any business and you're just sitting at home on the weekend, doing open houses on the weekend or during the week is a form of lead generation. That's a simple topic for most people to understand that but what I wanted to dive into on that is people are always concerned "What are you doing for lead generation?"

First I would stop and say what's the niche that I want to get into? What is the niche because you're going to find if you take on real estate as a whole, there's so many niches to become an expert in, you're not going to be an expert at anything and then business won't flow to you. So find one thing that you can just dominate and spend every day on lead generating, if its open houses, if it's call and cancel, the expired listings, if it's just even talking to your sphere of influence to get more business or just getting involved into different organizations.

Find something that you can do a lot and where a lot of business comes from and just keep doing it, nail your foot to that pedal and just keep going down even when you're doing transactions. It will get haywire, but once you get up to that level of doing a lot of business, you will just hire people and they'll help you out.

There's a lot of books to be read and I'm not even saying this because of the company that I'm affiliated with because the book that I read out of the gate that really transformed my business was "The Millionaire Real Estate agent." And I'm not even saying you have to be at Keller Williams. You can be at any company because that's written by Gary Keller himself.

So I'm not saying that you have to be affiliated with that company, but I would read that book and that will domino you into a lot of other books that are talking about lead generation and what you need to do for that.

Then after that I would just say keep reading, keep following other people around you and keep trying to learn as much as you possibly can. But that would be one book that I would suggest. There's a lot of mindset books. If you just Google Top 10 Business Books to Read, a lot of those are going to be good.

Sorry, we're hitting our limit here. I hope you really enjoyed this course. Maybe we'll be doing something down the road again for you and thanks for coming today.