Last Friday evening, around 5:30pm, my phone rang. I had a hot pan of chicken in one hand and was juggling something else in the other. Kristin and I were hustling to get out the door to enjoy a rare adult evening — a belated celebration for her birthday — tickets to see Mama Mia!
Having been conditioned by so many spam, scam and robo-calls, I rarely pick up my phone for unknown numbers. It seems I am blocking incoming callers at a 5 to 1 ratio these days. But this number started with a ‘512’.
Further, I’ve been gaining traction on my listing at 3304 Live Oak Circle and I figured it could be a Realtor calling for information or to discuss an offer.
Hello? ….. This is Ryan
“Hi there Ryan, this is Bill So-and-So, calling with [Big Name Brokerage].”
Great, I must’ve been right. He has a buyer interested in Live Oak Circle. Why else would he be calling me at 5:30pm on a Friday?
“Ryan, the reason I’m calling is that based on my initial research, I’ve identified you as an agent who actually does some business.”
No joke, that’s how he led off. It’s a sad state of affairs when the high-water mark for Realtors these days is actually doing “some” business. Immediately I knew where the conversation was headed.
“Ryan, I’m going to be offering 4–5 Realtors the unique opportunity to come work with me and my team. I thought that you may appreciate the chance to sit down and discuss how joining us could benefit your business in 2017.”
Yep, there it is. These calls come in every January, like clockwork. There must be some kind of first quarter quota for team-leaders? If it’s not this call, then it’s the one from the same company notifying me that “they have buyers looking in the area and wondering if I’d given thought to selling my home this year.”
The rabbit holes are deep and wide but with the chicken sizzling in the pan, I was in no position to entertain his overtures.
“Bill, I’ll go ahead and stop you right there. Hopefully save us both some time. Thank you reaching out but as you probably already know, I am my own broker. I own the company. I worked with a big box broker for a time and that experience led me to conclude that I have strong opinions about running my real estate business in a different fashion. I appreciate the call but I’m going to have to say -”
“Ryan, what about your education and training?” He fired back, “Are you getting the guidance and the mentorship that you feel you need to succeed in this business.”
Tiptoeing around that land mine, I simply responded, “Yes, I would have to say that I am satisfied with my level of education.”
Fact is, I have plenty of room for growth. But access to education, support and opportunity is the least of my concerns. As a member of two high-level business mastermind groups, I am surrounded by folks who challenge me daily. Who force me to level up my skill-set and sharpen my vision. Groups that have enriched me beyond any ‘traditional real estate training’ I was able to find, in my first 8+ years as a Realtor. Groups that have helped me to unlock a renewed sense of purpose, through the art of storytelling, the power of messaging and positioning.
Skills that will serve me for the rest of my life.
Then again, trying to explain that to Bill while he was nose deep in his recruiting script was, at best, a futile task.
Come to think of it though, there is no doubt that I could be taught a thing or two about: cold calling, door-knocking, circle-dialing, perhaps how to set up shop at a coffeehouse with a laptop cover that reads, “Realtor on Duty, Wanna Buy a House” or a sold sign rider falling out of my purse at the grocery store.
. . . You know, all of those “innovative business strategies,” often peddled by big brokers. The ones that lead the general public to shake their heads in pity and hold real estate professionals in such … ahemm .. high regard.
Push, Pester, and Piss Off. I guess if I wanted to add a ‘Fourth Pillar’ to my business model, I could choose any one of the three options.
“What about your income Ryan? Are you happy with the amount of money that you are taking home?”
Here we go, the million dollar question.
One of the primary reasons I decided to to step out on my own and start to build Three Pillars Realty — after almost 10 years in the business — is because I felt it was time to embrace full responsibility for my future trajectory. My driving motivation was to create an environment where I, and team members, had the freedom and encouragement to build a business with personal resonance. Where income and commission splits took a distant backseat to values, culture and purpose.
A philosophy that I’ve observed is in diametric opposition to what is being pushed by some of the bigger brands. Places where the herd mentality runs rampant. Where agents, brainwashed under the guise of “training and value creation,” are forced to check their dignity at the door, hit the floor and wait for the $1 bills to come raining down . . . as they drone on about being “A Money Magnet.”
Check out the video — you won’t believe your eyes.
I just cannot stand behind this type of business religion. Sure, like anyone else, I am impatient at times (or even a lot of the time), but I respect and appreciate the value of playing the long game. Of Taking the ‘Longcut’
In many respects, the foundation of a successful business (financial and otherwise) is built over the span of years. Decades even. It’s a delicate balance that any business owner must strike — between urgency, consistency and patience.
“What about branding, Ryan. Are you happy with the leverage that you’re getting from the name on the front of your signs? You know Our Company is quite ….”
Listen, I have a lot of respect the well-oiled machine that has been built over at that particular company but the fact of the matter is — I care much less about the letters on the front of the real estate sign and much more about the story engine in back of it. I know that my clients feel the same way too, because I’ve asked them. Pointblank.
If I was concerned with a big name or having my own name ‘in lights,’ for that matter, I would have taken all of the unsolicited advice — a year ago — about how I should brand “The New Ryan France Company.”
But for me, it’s NOT about that.
#1 — PURPOSE Before Profit
#2 — Client PROTECTION
#3 — PHILANTHROPIC Mission
Those are The Three Pillars. That IS the Brand, the Mission, the North Star. And I sleep well at night.
In full transparency, I did not handle Bill’s call all THAT well. I was annoyed. I was short. I attempted to swat him away at every pass.
Persistent little bugger.
I had the same visceral reaction that I envision most would, when unnecessarily interrupted after hours. During Friday family time — down time, bath, dinner, bed — or god forbid, the once every couple months opportunity to go on a date with my wife.
And that’s why I will never conform to such a business philosophy. Push, pester, piss off … it’s just not in my DNA. I have no desire to wear that uniform.
Even in the name of doing ‘some more’ business.
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