J: Welcome to the BiggerPockets Business podcast, show number 20.
David: I’ve always loved Batman. I’ve always kind of secretly wanted to be Batman, and I look to her like she was my Alfred. Everything that has to go on behind the scenes so that I can look like a superhero.
J: Welcome to a real-world MBA from the School of Hard Knocks where entrepreneurs reveal what it really takes to make it, whether you’re already in business or you’re on your way there, this show is for you. This is BiggerPockets Business.
J: Welcome back, everybody. I am J Scott, your co-host for the BiggerPockets Business podcast, and I am here today once again with my partner in crime Mrs. Carol Scott. How are you doing today, Carol?
Carol: Doing so great. Oh my goodness, is this really our 20th show?
J: I know, it goes so fast. But, yeah, we’ve gone through 20 of these now.
Carol: It’s amazing. This is seriously the most fun job ever because we get to talk with the most inspiring engaging guests. It’s an interesting role though as a podcast host because you’re listening to these great stories and there are a lot of times when you want to talk a lot more and interject an awful lot. But that is not our role when you’re on this side of the microphone. But when you’re on the other side of the microphone there are all kinds of new things to share.
J: Yeah. So today’s guest, I think that’s a good lead-in is somebody who’s normally on this side of the microphone. He is a podcast host, but today he’s going to be our podcast guest and his name is David Greene. And for any of you out there who listened to the BiggerPockets Real Estate podcast you’re probably familiar with David. He is the co-host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate podcast, and that’s only one of the things he does. He’s the co-host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate podcast. He is a book author who has written several books. He does a whole bunch of out-of-state investing, and if you’ve ever heard him on a podcast or heard his story you’ve probably heard about those things, but today on this show we’re going to talk about something that he doesn’t talk about very often, but I find tremendously interesting, and I think you will as well.
J: He’s going to talk about the business that he runs. So David is the owner… He manages the David Greene real estate team under Keller Williams Realty. And he basically manages a team of real estate agents who sell high-end real estate in the Bay Area, in Northern California and he has built an amazing organization, an amazing team of agents who have been tremendously successful in the world of real estate sales. And in this episode, he’s going to talk to you about how he got into that business, how he really helped himself stand out and create an amazing brand for himself in that business. And Dave is going to talk to you about how he has scaled and grown the business and the team so that he’s achieved even greater success than anybody thought was possible.
Carol: And here’s the thing though even if you listeners have no desire to be a traditional real estate agent, you don’t want to buy and sell real estate, he’s got some awesome business sense in general. He especially hits like complete gold when he talks about the hiring process. He takes us really into a deep dive of how you can get at the core of people’s values, figure out what they’re all about and see if they would be a good fit for your team in your business to help it grow. In fact, he takes me through his interview process. What do you think, baby? Do you think I’m getting the job?
J: I’m not sure if you got the job. I guess people have to listen and decide for themselves.
Carol: I guess so.
J: One more thing, I have a challenge for all of you listeners out there. So David Greene is well-known for being a guy who uses a whole lot of analogies. Again, if you’ve ever listened to the real estate podcast you know that he talks in analogies constantly, and he’s made fun of by Brandon Turner his co-host very often. So here’s my challenge to you, listen the whole way through the episode and count how many analogies he makes in this episode. And at the end of the episode I’ll give you the total.
Carol: That’s a great challenge. I love it.
J: Okay. So Before we jump into this episode let’s listen to a quick word from our sponsor.
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J: Thank you so much to our sponsor. Okay, now let’s jump right in to our discussion with Mr. David Greene. Welcome to the show David Greene. How you doing there, David?
David: What is going on, guys? I am super excited to be here. This is pretty cool.
Carol: This is way super cool. I love that we’re all kind of like sharing our stories and cross pollinating. And I think what I’m most excited about is that so many of our BP listeners know so many sides of you from your book, from being a podcast host, from an investing standpoint, but I’m not sure everybody knows this whole other side of you and how you built out your business. And that’s what we’re going to talk about a lot today so I think it’s going to be really cool to hear that side of your story.
David: Yeah. I have multiple personalities, but this is the one that never gets to talk.
J: Well, for those of you who don’t know who David is, he is the co-host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate podcast with Brandon Turner. Unfortunately Brandon has this persona the kind of overshadows everybody in his wake so David doesn’t get enough credit for that, but he is the co-host of the BiggerPockets Real Estate podcast. He is the author of this book that I’m holding up that if you’re watching us on YouTube is called by Buy, Rehab, Rent, Refinance and Repeat. Latest book by BiggerPockets.
J: And he is also a big investor investing a lot of out-of-state properties. But like Carol said today, we are not going to focus on the real estate investing, we’re not going to focus on the books, we’re not going to focus on the podcast, we’re going to focus on David’s business. So before we jump in Dave, why don’t you give us… Dave, can I call you Dave?
David: Yeah, I go by both.
J: Okay, good. So Dave why don’t you give us a little bit of backstory. How did you get into the business that we’re going to be about today? Give us a little bit of your history.
David: Yeah. This is really cool. I hardly ever get to talk about this because like you said we’re usually focused on real estate investing. I bought the majority of my rental properties working as a police officer as when I first got started with BiggerPockets blogging and being interviewed on the podcast I was working as a cop. And I would just save up crazy money and I would go invest that money into real estate. Well, the police kind of culture and environment, that job itself changed quite a bit and then I developed an injury from working a lot.
David: And I realized that I wasn’t going to be able to work for the rest of my career as a police officer. My body was not going to be able to handle it. And so I got my real estate license and I started selling real estate kind of part-time. It was something that I would do with my buddies when they would come to me and say, “Hey, I know you’re the real estate guy. Can you help me buy a house?” I was referring him to other agents and then they’d complain because let’s just be frank, most agents suck, even the good ones that you refer people to you’re going to get complaints about it.
David: And I just thought I’m going to try to learn to do this myself just to spare myself the venting I have to hear from people that are like, “Oh, they didn’t call me back. They made me wait a day.” So I got my license and I started selling houses and it was-
J: Just to interject real quick, so a lot of investors get their real estate license for their own benefit so they can buy and sell their own houses, but you were actually looking to create an independent stream of income buying and selling for homeowners and other people, correct?
David: 100% I was representing my friends, my family, and clients that came to me and wanted to buy a house. But I kind of had a leg up on all the realtors who were just getting started because they had to learn real estate, they had other sales, they had to learn the contract, they had to learn the culture. I already knew real estate. That was not hard for me. I understood it inside and out. I’d been through the process so many times myself. So really what I had to do was learn how to be a salesperson. I had to change my cop persona which was very natural for me “get on the ground or else” type of a thing.
David: It’s very simple, it was binary. You do this or you do that. Into this like a spectrum mindset of all these different people you’re dealing with and where on that spectrum you need to be able to connect with that person and help them see things from your point of view.
J: Basically, you needed people to comply with you not because you had a gun.
David: Yeah. It turns out that makes life a lot easier. When you’ve got a gun and handcuffs, and the authority of the state behind you it’s a whole lot easier to get compliance than when you actually have to convince people.
Carol: Yeah. You’re like, “I’m going to sell your house or else…” It’s a whole different… It doesn’t quite work that way.
David: Yeah. I found myself many times just frustrated because I didn’t have that cheat code to rely on. That was my trump card. I could always get him to do what I wanted. I took about a year and I kind of did both. I sold some houses and I worked as a police officer. And then about a year into it I decided, okay, I’m ready to go full-time. So I stepped away from being a police officer, I took a leave of absence, and I started working at my Keller Williams brokerage full-time. This is before I was hosting the podcast.
David: I was writing long distance real estate investing the first book I wrote and I started selling houses. My first year I ended up being the top agent in the biggest brokerage in the area.
Carol: What year is this, Dave?
David: Oh, that’s a very good question. This is 2016.
Carol: 2016, so about three years ago. Excellent.
David: Oh, sorry 2017.
Carol: 2017, so this is just two years ago. Oh, fascinating. Okay. So in two years ago you are the number one producing agent in the biggest Keller Williams office in that area. Awesome, proceed.
David: So I had a lot of success. I was doing well. I was getting a lot of accolades from other people, but it didn’t feel good. It didn’t feel like I love what I’m doing. In fact most of the time I felt myself stressed and frustrated because what it took to be successful in this world we’re not things that I enjoyed doing and they didn’t really fall into my natural skill set. I’m just so stubborn that I can push through it. So you’re just glued to your phone. You’re absorbing other people’s emotions constantly. You’re listening to people tell you what they’re scared of, why they’re worried, what might go wrong and the crazy things people’s brains can pull up when they’re afraid of taking a risk.
David: They’re looking to you non-stop, and then you’re doing administrative tasks like scheduling things. And I knew my strengths were finding clients, explaining the process and helping get people in contract which I understood from the training Keller Williams was giving us through Gary Keller that those were the most important things. Finding business and earning revenue through that business is the most important thing you can do in a business.
David: But all my time is being spent with white noise, the 80% of stuff that only gets you 20% of the results. I was in the wrong stuff and I was miserable. I knew because in my heart I just thought I hate this, but I couldn’t stop because I was doing so well and I saw that there was a need. And my business and my life really changed when I hired my first assistant.
J: Okay, so this is great. So we have two places I’d love to kind of go with this. I want to talk about how you ended up getting out of that incorrect 80-20 mode so that you weren’t focusing on the wrong things and how you scaled the business, but you also mention that in two years you became a top selling agent. So I know there are a lot of probably people out there who are listening that either have their real estate license or at some point may get the real estate license and decide to go into real estate sales.
J: Can you tell us a little bit about what you as an individual before you even started scaling your team in your business, what were you doing differently as a real estate agent to kind of have this early success in your career.
David: Okay. There’s two things that I think I did well that other people did not do, and anyone can learn it but most people won’t because it doesn’t feel natural. There’s only a select few people that’s actually natural. Let me run you guys through an exercise here.
J: Great. Excellent.
David: I’m going to say the name, and J if I already did this with you in Seattle then you don’t get to do it, but if not you can play. I’m going to say the name of a household item like a brand and you guys are going to… Or sorry, an item and you’re going to tell me the first two brands you think of.
David: So if I were to say shoes, you’d probably say Nike and Reebok.
J: Nike and Adidas. Okay. Close enough.
David: All right. So the first two that come to your mind the minute that you hear it, I want you guys to race to get it out first.
David: Ready? Toothpaste.
Carol: Colgate, Crest. Boom, I saw one.
David: Were you about to say Crest, J?
J: I don’t know what the second one was going to be. I knew Colgate, I couldn’t think of a second one right there.
David: There you go.
J: But, okay.
David: So here’s why I love that exercise because every time I’ve ever asked this question, I’ve probably done it 50 times, only one person ever said something else, they said Aquafresh. No, they said Sensodyne, sorry, because that’s what they use. They have sensitive teeth. Everyone else has said Colgate and Crest. What that means is that Colgate and Crest owned the mind share in your heads when it comes to toothpaste. When you walk through the store and someone says, “Carol, can you pick me up some toothpaste on the way over,” you say sure, you run into Safeway. The minute your eye sees Colgate or Crest, you’re going to grab it. You’re not going to take a risk on something you haven’t seen.
David: If you had all the time in the world you might stop, you’d look at the back of the package, you might check the price a little bit more, but we don’t. It’s the same way with a real estate referral. When someone says to one of you guys, “Hey, I need to sell my house,” who would you use? You’re going to say the very first name that pops into your head.
David: Immediately, right? So if you’re not one or at least two, you’re not anything in people’s heads. And everybody knows like 10 real estate agents, they are everywhere. The barrier to entry is so low, it’s ridiculous to be able to be a real estate agent which is why there’s so many that are not good. What I did was I worked very hard to capitalize on my real estate investing to brand myself as the Colgate or the Crest in my sphere of influence’s minds. Every conversation we had, we talked about real estate. When I asked him what they were doing in their life, and I showed interest in it, they would turn around and say, “What are you doing?” And I found a way to make real estate be a part of it.
Carol: So I want to hear a little bit more, David about how… Although I don’t want to focus on investing what were those triggers, no pun intended with the whole gun conversation earlier, what were those triggers for these sellers that you were able to really hone in on from your investing experience that really made a big difference in the real estate selling world?
David: So let’s say that you guys are looking to sell your house, and you know I’m an agent. I know you want to sell, but I don’t want to be too pushy, and just go straight forward. We’re not at that point yet, right?
David: I would bring up a conversation talking about how I buy houses in other states and what I look for in a deal. And once I explain to them how you find a deal, I then make a bridge with logic so why the person listing the home did a terrible job and that’s why I’m getting a good deal. So I look for houses in terrible shape with bad marketing. This is what bad marketing looks like. The pictures look like this. They priced it incorrectly.
David: See, this is just an example of a really bad listing agent costing their clients a ton of money. They’re probably one of those one percenters who don’t charge much on the commission and so their clients lose way more money. And you plant that little seed in their head, “Oh, I was thinking about doing that.” And I would say like, “So here’s the houses that I don’t even bother looking at because I know I’m going to have to pay top dollar for it and I’m not about to get in a bidding war.”
David: They have professional photography taken. They use wide-angle lenses to make it look really good. They’ve cleaned the house. They’ve actually put some time into trying to put in really good care. If I’m going to go to on Craigslist and I want to get a really good deal in a car, I’m not even going to write an offer if it smells really nice and they vacuumed it. I’m looking for the thing that still has some french fries in the seat cushions and stinks like a dog or like cigarettes. That’s what I want. So that’s what I look for when I’m buying houses. The problem is every once in a while you come across a seller that has a really good agent and there’s no way you can get a deal on that house. In fact, you’re probably not overpay for it.
J: Love it, that’s great.
Carol: So fun.
David: And it doesn’t sound pushy. I’m not saying I’m better than the next guy, you need to let me sell your house, but I’m letting them know there is a science to how this works and if you understand it you can be on the right side of it.
Carol: That’s awesome.
J: Yeah, that’s great because I think too often we look at real estate agents as commoditized. I can go with the Keller Williams person, I can go with the Century 21 person, I can go with whoever, and they’re pretty much all the same. They’re going to take my house, they’re going to throw it on the MLS and they’re going to wait for somebody to come in and give me an offer. And so essentially what you’re doing is you’re pointing out that that’s not the case, and your customer needs to think about the fact that the service that they’re going to get is really going to be dependent on the choice they make right now. The decision they’re about to make right now, and so I love that. That’s great.
David: And I’m drawing an analogy that isn’t a house because I could tell them this about a house and what they’re going to think is, “Well, of course you say that. You’re an agent. You’ll say anything.” But if I use this Craigslist car example, their brain goes, “Oh, yeah. That’s a good point. I can see that.” And I can get the principle of Crest.
Carol: Totally. You’re not being pushy. Like you said, you’re not being pushy, you’re not like in your face, you’re not just saying anything to get the deal. You’re just giving them another perspective that rounds out the whole experience for them and you can move forward.
David: There you go.
Carol: Okay. So you’re able to use all this experience you have as an investor to establish more credibility, establish more trust, to plant seeds in the minds of these sellers. That said so those are some of the things that you were doing to really set yourself apart, you became top selling really quickly, but you weren’t enjoying it, right? There was only there was only maybe 20% of it you were liking forming that connection. So who was that first person that you hired and what was that person doing?
David: This was my friend Krista. Now Krista, I had known from church like 10 years ago. We’d been friends for a really long time, and we kind of… We drifted out of each other’s lives and I became a cop. I kind of moved away and lost touch with almost everyone that I had known, and I had got my license so I had to now go get social media. I’ve only had social media for like three years. I had never wanted it at all because all the people I put in jail I was afraid they were to come find me and pay me back.
David: So I found her on social media. We started talking again and she would always volunteer to help. When I had a closing but I had to be at work, to work up the… Or I had to go on a listing appointment and I wasn’t able to go drop off the gifts. She would volunteer to go get the gift that I wanted that I’d pick out of Target and go leave it at their house for them, or put the bow on their door. I wanted my standard of service to be really high, but I realized I should be the one to do it. And she was filling in the gap for me a lot.
David: So when I realized that I had hit ceilings with my business that I could not take on more than four or five clients at a time because I would just get overwhelmed, I knew I needed to leverage off administrative stuff and Keller Williams was really good about teaching exactly how that process works. And Krista was the one that I realized should be the one to do it with me.
Carol: Excellent, excellent. So what else was she doing in addition to all those… Well, I’m going to back up for a quick second actually before we asked specifically what she was doing. Side note, the little things that you’re talking about here are obviously just not little things. You’re talking about the bow on the door, you’re talking about dropping off the gift. And that goes back to what you were talking about earlier real estate is such an incredibly low barrier to entry, right? That’s why there are so many bad ones out there. Just a side note that you’re just like you’ve got surprise and delight written all over you, right?
David: Thank you.
Carol: I mean you’re just going so above and beyond, and that in and of itself I can imagine just grew your business so exponentially that you became such an obvious referral, and you became that Colgate and Crest really quickly by doing those special touches and those awesome things that really set you apart.
J: And it’s cool that he talks about it as if they’re not a big deal even though-
Carol: Right. It’s just what you do.
J: But most agents don’t do it.
Carol: Yeah. That’s so completely foreign above and beyond. So was Krista specifically doing the administrative roles or was she doing other parts of your business as well?
David: Krista started off by doing all the administrative stuff. So when I had a new lead and I needed to put their name into the database she would do that. She took over scheduling for me right away. What I basically started doing was I hired her, and then every time I made a mistake I asked myself why did I make it. The majority of the time was because I am not a very organized person. If you and I are talking Carol, and you’re like, “Hey, David. We really need to talk about…” fill in the blank. I would say, “Yeah, we do. Let’s do that Friday.” And I will have every intention of talking to you on Friday, but between now and Friday there’s like a 2% chance I’m going remember that I said that.
David: It was really hurting people’s feelings. It was giving them the impression, “I’m not important to him, he doesn’t care about me,” or they would say, “Well, he just must be too busy,” which is the worst thing that you could ever when you’re running a business. So I quickly realized if this is my responsibility to remember this, I’m going to fail every time. So the minute somebody would say, “Yeah, let’s do it,” I would take a screenshot of the text conversation and send it to Krista. We made a Google Calendar where she used my email to log into it, and she would schedule what we were supposed to do and put all the pertinent information into my calendar.
David: So that Friday when I forgot I was supposed to talk to you, and then I get the reminder 10 minutes before, I could hit notes and boom, everything that me and Carol are supposed to talk about when we last spoke, all the notes I need to get right caught up to speed so that we have a really good conversation. And I would work her in systematically to almost every single thing that was not a salesperson’s job that you needed to be licensed to do.
Carol: Awesome. And that’s a really good tip for our listeners just from an overall business perspective. What a great way to seamlessly integrate Krista into your system so that it’s kind of behind the scenes and that your customer doesn’t have any idea that you’re going through this process of you promise them you’re going to talk on Friday, you screen shoot it, send it over, she takes care of it, right?
Carol: So it’s a great little a great little actionable tip I think that our listeners can take away from that. And so when she’s doing this, what happened to your business?
David: Well, what would happen is I started to enjoy doing it more because I would have to see the appointment schedule and it was maybe we’re going to talk about selling your house. And on the phone call I’d have to pull up your address, you’d have to wait for me up to work on the MLS, to look at some comps, and I’d be thinking I really wish that I had done this before the call. You know what I really wish I had talked to my appraiser before this conversation. Wouldn’t it be cool if I say I already talked to the appraiser about your house and this is what they said?
David: So I started to make checklists for every different kind of call I was going to have to set me up. And I had this analogy of like you’re going to put the ball on the tee, whatever that takes as a golfer. I just want to step up, have someone hand me the club and focus on hitting it. Because hitting it is the most important thing you could do in a sales job is closing that deal, making you feel like David is in charge. He knows what’s going on. This is the guy I want to sell my house.
David: So I started to realize, “Oh, I really wish that I had run these comps or I really wished that we’d called some of these pending sales and asked them, “Hey, what did you go into contract for. Are you above asking price or below?” And I would just slowly have Chris to start doing all that, and then on the phone calls I’m walking in there Superman. Totally equipped. I’ve got like all my full gear going into battle where the other realtors, they were just happy if they remembered to make the phone call.
David: So I started closing the people really quick which is another really important thing with sales because if you leave that door open for too long somebody else comes in and they’re there trying to tell your girlfriend why they’re the better boyfriend for her right, and that’s where you can lose your girlfriend so to speak. So I realized that being set up was actually making me much more success when I could take on a lot more clients.
J: That’s awesome. So she wasn’t just doing your administrative work, she was doing research, and that that research is ultimately what was allowing you to prepare better for your sales meetings with your clients or your potential clients. And so essentially she became your coach. I mean, she was giving you the data that you needed to go in and close your sales.
David: I’ve always loved Batman. I’ve always kind of secretly wanted to be Batman. And I look to her like she was my Alfred. Everything that has to go on behind the scenes so that I can look like the superhero.
Carol: She’s got it taken care of. That’s really cool. So you’re enjoying doing business a lot more. Were you closing more transactions as well?
David: Closing a lot more transactions. What happens is you get into this really cool like virtuous cycle where you close more transactions so you gain more experience so you get better at the job, you get more confident, that confidence shows up when you talk, you get more clients, you get more experience and the whole thing slowly starts to get better. And what I found was that I was very committed to being the best I could be. Part of the secret was getting stuff off my plate that was draining me, and finding someone else that could do it.
David: So another example of how I would use Krista. Let’s say that you guys are buying a house and you get a home inspection done. And you’re freaking out because you’ve never seen a home inspection report. You guys are experienced with real estate, but to see 50 things on one of those is not uncommon. But it’s your first time, you might have a mild heart attack seeing all that. I was spending an hour and 15 minutes on the phone absorbing everybody’s fears where they would just kind of like just rip into you, “What about this, and what about that? I can’t pay for this.”
David: After the whole thing was done they would get it all out and then you’d help him understand how to see, and they wouldn’t be so scared, they’d feel better. But I was walking away like with nothing left. That’s not my strength just to have to listen.
Carol: It sucked it all out of you.
David: Yeah, exactly. Where that is a strength of her. She loves to be that comforting presence when you’re worried. One that gets to pat your hand and say, “It’s going to be okay.” And she would have had more time in the day. So I would have Chris to have that conversation with the client before they got to me. She would be my sponge that would absorb all that negativity and she would turn it into positivity. She’s like a negative judo person. It’s like absorb it and give you back positivity. I’d have her give me a list of the bullet points that you were actually concerned about. What are the things that we actually have to get fixed here that’s what I want to make sure we do.
David: And now I have a seven-minute conversation with you instead of an hour and 15 minutes. I know exactly what has to get fixed and I would say say, “Okay, Krista. I need you to find a handyman and give us quotes on this.” And we’d build a spreadsheet with all the handyman for the different area that we worked in. She could make a quick call and everything sort of became systemized through that process.
Carol: Very cool.
J: That’s awesome. It’s a really good reminder. I think it was episode two of this podcast that we talked to a guy named Trevor Mauch who owns Carrot.com. And we had a long conversation with him where he said the exact same thing you just did which is a lot of entrepreneurs they feel like they should be focusing on the stuff that they’re good at, and they should be delegating the stuff they’re not good at. What Trevor and you both have said is it’s not about what you’re good at and what you’re not good at, focus on the things that give you energy and delegate those things that drain your energy. Because as the person running your business the most important thing is the energy that you have.
J: If you don’t have energy, your day is shot. If you wake up and your first meeting at 9:00 drains you, your business is now shot for the entire day. So focus on those things that give you energy and get those things that don’t give you energy off of your plate.
Carol: Totally, and Batman definitely gets energy out of solving those seven problems, not out of listening to an hour and a half of concerns and fears. So Batman wants to go fix things so that’s totally cool.
David: He’s like tell me where the bad guys are, I want to go get them.
Carol: Yeah. I’m going to go get every last one of them right now. Game on.
David: I don’t want to do recon work and try to like look at the heat maps and run their criminal histories to see all this stuff. You want someone that’s kind of helping you out that way.
Carol: That’s right. Why don’t just go do it. Go ahead, J.
J: One of the things I want to point out for our listeners who aren’t necessarily real estate agents, there are laws and every state’s going to be different but there are certain things that your administrator, your assistant can help you with and then there are other things that legally she can’t help you with because there are certain things in your business that only a licensed agent can do. Did you find at any point that you were running up against like the limit of how she can help you because she wasn’t licensed or was there a nice clean break where everything she was doing was well within what she was allowed to do?
David: It rarely happens where I needed her to do something where she needed to be licensed hardly ever in the beginning because we had this, I’m the only one that hits the golf ball but you got to make sure it’s teed. I don’t want to walk up to the fourth hole and have to wait for the person to tee it up. I want to come up, hit the ball, move on to the next thing-
Carol: Just do it.
David: … to grow the business. In this world, real estate sales almost everything that you need a license to do would be classified as hitting the ball. So she couldn’t discuss price with a client but she should never been in a position where she would have to. She should have had me have all the data when I have that conversation, and that she could move on to do it. Now, she is licensed. We could fast forward a little bit. She’s got her own license so she can help with it because her confidence grew over that period of time and she can do more things for me, but in the beginning it really never was a problem at all.
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J: Okay. So you’ve gotten to the point now where you are able to enjoy your business again. You’re able to enjoy the parts of the business you’re doing, you’re able to offload the stuff that drains you of energy, things are going well. What’s the next step in the evolution of David Greene real estate agent?
David: So I think the coolest thing that I learned about this was that like most people I assume that when you become a real estate agent it’s just a job, that’s your job. You’re an agent. Gary Keller helped me to understand it’s not a job, that is a business and if you choose to do every job within your business that is your choice, but somebody has to do it. It doesn’t mean it has to be you. Literally every piece of this could be leveraged to somebody else and theoretically I could find someone more suited for it or better at it than me which would actually improve the business, which is weird because me getting out of the David Greene team could be the very best thing for the David Greene team if I put individuals in place that are better at it than what I would do.
David: So what we’re doing right now is I’m slowly bringing in people and training them to do a lot of the things that I’m doing. So we start with the stuff that drains me the most and takes the most time. So listings I’ve got extremely systemized. I can have Krista give me all the information I need, I show up at the house, I give you a presentation. You’re blown away, you sign a listing agreement. I bring it back and I hand it to them.
David: I literally do not see that again, and so offers have come in and they’ve been pre-screened, and we’ve talked to the listing agents and got them to come up even higher with the offer. So I don’t even get involved until it’s like ready to be plucked right off the tree. And then I go to the client and I explain what their options are and I tell them what I think we should do. 99% of the time they agree with me. I go back, I try to get them a little bit more on the deal. We get it signed, I hand it back to the the transaction coordinators and they run with it unless something goes wrong. The buyers make a request for repairs when the appraisal comes in though. At that point, I would step back in.
David: But I’m training people that they can handle that part instead that are just expert at understanding the contract, understanding how to take leverage away from the other side in the very beginning before we sign the contract so that that doesn’t happen nearly as often. And eventually it will just be me going on listing appointments. That’s all that I’ll be doing. There will be someone else doing the rest. The part that takes up most of your time in a real estate agent business is your buyers.
Carol: That makes sense. I want to come back to that but I also want to dive in a little bit more and you mentioned there that you have a couple transaction coordinators. Earlier in the convo you mentioned that, I think you said you had three agents and two administrative people on your team.
Carol: Can you give us a more detail I guess picture of what your team looks like and what all the roles and responsibilities are of those specific five people in addition to you?
David: That’s a really good question. Okay. So there’s kind of two branches that the David Greene team takes. You have admin that work for me. They helped me to sell more houses, very pure. I get a client, they’re signed up under my name. My admin helps me to do that job so I can do it better and add more scale. Then you have agents on the team who I’m training to learn to be a Crest and a Colgate to their sphere like what we talked about. To learn how to talk to people, how to have a strong presence.
David: We go over things like frame control in a conversation so that you’re taking the frame when you’re talking to someone and they’re more likely to see things from your perspective. Educating them on how real estate works so that they can grow a business underneath mine. And we’re split with them. They keep half the commission, I keep half the commission. I give them all the support and I carry all the fixed cost because when you’re starting new business, those fixed costs are what can sink you very, very quickly. They benefit from my brand recognition, from my training.
David: In order to accelerate their learning curve I take pieces from the transaction of my clients and I let them do it. So I let them go and let the appraiser into the house, the home inspector into the house, meet with the handyman when he has to go measure the house for what work needs to be done. It helps me because it’s one less drive that I got to take out to a property, and it helps them because they get to listen to how these people talk and learn stuff about real estate that most agents need nine to 10 years before they ever get enough reps in to learn that stuff.
David: I also let them help me with actually showing the houses. So I meet the clients, I give them a presentation, I explain what’s going to happen, they get introduced to a showing assistant. That showing assistant is going to call them every single day and say, “What houses did you see that you like? What questions do you have about these homes? Let me go talk to David and find out what he thinks.”
David: Then when they’re ready to see houses they go show him, and as soon as they’re done I call the client, and I say, “Hey, tell me what you thought. What did you like? What did you not like? What questions do you have? Is there anything you want to write an offer on? How do we to tweak the search so it’ll be better the next time?” And they get massive experience, massive experience that most agents would take them years before they could ever do this because they’re only working with their own clients. And it’s a very synergistic relationship that it helps me and it helps them, and then through helping them it also helps me too because I’m going to make more money as they become better.
Carol: That’s right. That’s cool. And that’s really great, really good hands-on training. You’re talking about taking pieces of every part of your process, every part of your transaction, letting these people… Not letting these people, having these people encouraging them to really just feed to the fire, go do it and that’s the best way to learn. What other type of training are you giving them in addition to the actual doing those pieces? You’re talking about you know different things you’re teaching them and so on and so forth. Are they through weekly meetings or do you have trainings? What kind of training process would you recommend for listeners doing something like this?
David: I have a productivity coach that I give a percentage of my side of the commission to, to work with them. It’s like an accountability coach and she’s a very experienced broker. She’s done it for 20 years. She’s telling them, “Okay, your agreement with David was that you’re going to talk to 20 people a day. Let’s talk about where you’re having a hard time having those phone calls. Are you actually making them? Is your schedule getting in the way? What do we have to adjust to do it? What are you saying? Why are people hanging up on you? Why are people talking to you for two hours at a time.
David: She’s kind of working with those people on how to get more business going. She’s also the one teaching them very ground-level things like what forms need to be filled out, how to fill them out, how the contract works. Things that are I want to be at the upper-level side of the business where she’s kind of dealing with the day-to-day stuff. We have a weekly meeting where I basically go through every single escrow that I have and they all get to hear about the challenges we’re having, how we fixed it, what came up the way that I handled it, why I handled this one as opposed to that one.
David: Let’s say that I’m working on a listing presentation I’m going to be giving the next day. I will pull up the comps that I’m looking at and walk them through this is why I use this comp and this is why I didn’t use this one. This is why in this case, I’m okay to go 20 grand over the highest price because we’re seeing the days the market is really low. These are what the other agents said, but this house over here, in this part of the state, completely different.
David: We cannot be as high as highest comp at all or we’ll sit there forever. And I’m letting them see what my thought process is like, and I’m watching them to see which ones are like that makes sense. I love it. And which ones are just kind of staring blankly, I don’t get it.
Carol: That’s awesome. It’s a really a two-way street in this whole training thing and I love that you’ve… Also, it sounds like not only have you systematized all these different parts of your business, you’re also systematizing the training that you give your people in your outsourcing a little bit with your productivity coach so again that you are not focusing on that day to day, those whole operations types of things. There’s someone else who can handle that. You can focus more on the people development piece of it which in turn make your whole company more robust, and let you continue to grow and grow into the things that you love. That’s very cool. J, you have something.
J: Yeah. I have a question I want to kind of go in a different direction. I want to talk a little bit about marketing because the interesting thing about real estate teams are you started out your career as an individual real estate agent. You were David Greene. I am Mr. Colgate, David Greene or Mr. Crest David Greene, but once you start bringing on other agents within your team, it no longer matters who David Greene is because yeah, certainly people are going to hire David Greene. They want David Greene to help sell their house, but what you care about is that they hire the David Greene team, and there’s a difference between David Greene and the David Greene team.
J: So at some point I assume you have to start changing your marketing from, “Hi, I’m David Greene. I’m the expert,” to “This is the David Greene team. This is the business that is the expert and this business is going to help you whether it’s me or one of the other agents on the team.” So how did you kind of transition the branding and the marketing from you David Greene to the David Greene team?
David: Very good question. So I’m still working on finding the people that can replace me in the parts of the job that are not administrative or showing home stuff. I like to divide every job or tasks into two categories. There are what I call checklist work meaning you make a checklist and somebody follows a checklist. And theoretically anyone could do that. You can hire a virtual assistant, you can hire a personal assistant. Call the city and turn on the water for this new house that we bought. That’s a checklist task, okay?
David: Then there are skill tasks. And skill tasks for something not anybody can do that. There is a specific skill set that is required to be good at that. That would be meeting with somebody in person and giving them a presentation and making them feel comfortable with signing up with you or negotiating the repairs with another agent. That’s not something you just call and say, “We’ll give you this much money.” There’s a whole dance that goes on behind the scenes of me trying to figure out are you really going to back out if we don’t give you this? Or is this just your client saying it? Can I make you my friend so that I get you venting about your client? I can figure out how serious you really are so I can save my client money.
David: There’s a lot that goes into that and that’s not something you can just drop somebody else into and do well. So part of your business is always looking for new people, new talent to bring into the business and I would argue that that’s at least for me much harder than it is to actually learn a new job and get really good at it. That part has been challenging.
Carol: Finding the right person for sure.
David: Yeah. And that’s what prohibits scaling. So I will be in this role until I find several people that can play those roles just as good or better than me. Gary Keller has a saying and he says people are not loyal to you, but they are loyal to your standards. And if you really think about what makes me better than the next agent it’s not that I have a better personality or a better haircut, obviously. But I have a higher standard for how I conduct myself.
David: I’m willing to go back and forth with a buyer’s agent who’s writing an offer on my listing for an hour and a half if I think it can get us another $7,000. Even though the money I’m getting out of that is nothing. It’s not worth my time. But I know when my head hits the pillow and I said I was going to represent you guys, I needed to make sure that I did that well. I don’t feel like I need to be there when the photographer is taking the pictures of the home.
David: I have nothing to contribute in that situation so I’m fine to let somebody else go open the door. In order to replace me though I need to find someone who’s standard is just as high, that I can say to you guys, this is Mary. Mary is going to be the one that helps you with selling home. She works with all of my sellers. Mary is better than me. You guys want Mary. So that’s how I’m working to get myself completely out of the business. During the transition phase to answer your question, we use the word “we” a lot. In fact I just said we, right?
David: A lot of it is I. If you look at the production for my team, I’m 98% of it. They don’t really sell a whole lot of houses right now. Mostly they’re helping me. It’s almost all me and my clients that are doing the work, but I’m still constantly saying we. When my assistant calls someone she has to say, “David asked me to call and tell you that…” fill in the blank. It’s creating this understanding that it is okay that several people are going to be helping you with this as long as you know the standard is the same for everybody, and David is still in charge of all.
David: He knows what’s going on. It doesn’t have to be me that calls you and says, “Hey, we scheduled an inspector to come by the home at this date. Would you like to be there?” But whoever makes that call has to do with the same standard that I do. As I grow as a business person, I start to realize. The only difference between a Chick-fil-A and somewhere else is the standard that Chick-fil-A has. That’s what makes a franchise possible is when you go there… I went there this morning actually and I remember I finished my order and they said, “My pleasure.”
David: I forget that they say that. You don’t hear a lot of that in the Bay Area. My pleasure is not very common where I live. But at Chick-fil-A that’s what they’re going to have to say. And that’s probably what I would say to people who are looking to grow and make more money at their job. You raise your standard and money will find you. I promise you. Even if you just can’t get along with anybody at all. If you raise the standard that you hold yourself to how you do your job, how you serve your employer, you will make more money.
David: And for people growing their business in the role like me, it’s the same thing. Find people who have very high standards. So even if they didn’t get paid would do it just because that’s how they live their life.
Carol: That’s awesome. And what are you doing to find Mary. Mary the person who’s going to have those David Greene standards, what types of activities are you doing on a daily basis to try and seek out those people who can do those things to those standards that you’ve established?
David: Hopefully in five years we do this again or less, and I can say I finally cracked the code, but to be completely transparent, it’s hard.
Carol: It’s the hardest part, right?
Carol: It is absolutely. I could not agree with you more. Any business, any even job in which you have a leadership role and you’re responsible for finding the right people is not… Is that not the absolute hardest part is just getting the right people on board, and just finding them.
David: Yeah. Especially I think when the economy is good. People don’t want to have to work as hard because you can get away with less. The way that I’ve done so far is that I don’t ever let myself get into the mindset of I’m at work or not at work. I think it’s very dangerous especially if you’re a small business owner. I am always at work.
Carol: Always, 24/7. You’re always on.
David: So I’m hiring a wonderful talented skilled woman and she’s starting on Monday. And I found her she was working for a towing company, a small company, but she is running the entire office. I mean, when you walk in there it was very clear you’re not paying attention you don’t know what you’re doing. I don’t even know if you’re awake right now. This girl was doing everything. And I watched her as I was waiting with my buddy and I noticed that she never stopped working, she never lost her rhythm. When people would come in yelling she never lost her cool. It’s very impressive and I just realized that would be a really good person to talk to.
David: So I do this with when I go to get a cell phone, I pay attention. Are the salespeople really good, right? Are they assertive without being pushy? Are they taking advantage of opportunities without looking like a slime ball? And if they are I asked for their business card. I want to start staying in touch with those people. I invite them to a meet-up that I’m going to have where I teach people about real estate.
David: I do it when I go to restaurants with the bartender or the wait staff. I mean, when you’re going to the mall the person who’s selling cologne might be just itching for a new opportunity and they just don’t have it at that position. And you have to kind of train your reticular activating system to always be looking for that.
Carol: I want to follow up on that because I think it’s really powerful, and let’s make this even a little bit more actionable Dave. So this person, this woman who’s starting for you on Monday that you found in the towing office, that you knew is just running the show and she’d be the next rock star on your team. Take us through kind of an actionable plan on how you got her on board because there are plenty of us as small business owners who do recognize that talent especially in the real estate world, let’s be honest like we talked about earlier not always the greatest reputation. There’s a low barrier to entry. How do you go about recruiting that person so that person wants to come on board with you?
David: So luckily for me Keller Williams actually has a material that makes it easier for you. They have what’s called a Keller Personality Assessment which is a personality assessment I think is witchcraft. I have no idea how I can tell you so much about yourself just from taking a test. When I read mine I was floored with how accurate it is. So I’ll send that to them and they’ll fill it out and it will come back to me with a very long description about this person’s personality, how they react under stress, what their social skill is. And then it also gives me what’s called a job match report which says with all the 28 positions at Keller Williams franchise has, this is what they’re a high match for all the way down to a low match.
David: It tells you based on your personality this is a role they would probably like. So that’s my first screening tool. They don’t necessarily have to be a perfect fit for buyer’s agent maybe if they’re a really good fit for a single agent that’s fine because it’s a sales thing. But if it shows all the sales stuff is really low and they rank really high for accounting type stuff or numbers, you don’t want that person as a sales person unless they have a very strong track record that shows even though it’s not their personality, they can still be good at it. That’s my first step.
David: Then I bring them in and I basically verify that assessment with them. I make sure it’s accurate and in doing that I ask a lot of questions. I think most of us don’t ask enough questions in general. So if I was interviewing you and I would just say… Let’s go through a little thing here. Carol, tell me what is it about real estate that’s appealing to you?
Carol: I love the designing of homes and I love all those great shows on TV that shows us what our homes have potential for. And I love seeing people walk into the front door of a house that’s going to be there someday and be like wow, and helping them get that house.
David: Okay. Are you more motivated by the financial means that are going to come from this career or from the emotional spike you’re going to get when you help someone get a house and you could help design it for them?
Carol: I’m going to be completely honest with you potential employer that me personally it’s all about the emotional thing and being able connect with people and help make their dreams reality.
David: Okay. So if you have to take time out of your weekend or away from maybe your nieces birthday to go show that person houses because that’s the only time that they have free, and you know that you’re going to miss out on one emotional spike to get a potential other do you think you’re going to make that decision to do it the best you have or do you think that because you don’t really need the money you may put that off?
Carol: You know I never looked at it that way. That’s a really good point. I’ve got to be honest it might not be my top priority.
David: So those types of things are why you want to ask more questions. Everyone is going to tell you, “I really want to work in real estate.” I’ll ask them, “Okay. Do you think you’ll do well?” They’ll say yes. I’ll say, “What will you do well?” And they’ll tell me and I’ll say, “Give me an example of a way that, that showed up in your life before this.”
Carol: Excellent. It’s probing without probing, right? It’s just saying tell me a story tell me more about you.
David: That’s exactly right. Tell me how you’ve done that in the past.
Carol: People love talking about themselves and they’re going to share a story that reveals all the info you could ever want to know.
David: Or another thing I like to ask them is, “If that’s who you are how come you’re not doing that in the role you have now? Why are you coming to me to look for this opportunity? Why didn’t you do it there?” And there’s legit reasons why like this girl I’m hiring, there was nowhere to go. They were never going to pay her more than $15 an hour. It’s all the company could afford. That made sense to me. But a lot of the times people will tell you what they wish they were doing with their life or who they want to be, it’s not who they are right now. And when they come work for you they’re going to be the person that they’ve always been.
David: So that really helps me verify what they’re like. Then the next step would be what we call a thought process interview where I asked a bunch of pre-programmed questions like what did you to prepare for this interview? Who are the three people that you most admire and why do you admire them? Give me three examples of a time that you were supervised well. What does a good worker mean to you? You go through all these questions and that really helps you figure out like their values. What does this person value and what would they be like if they worked here?
David: Then we get into like a little bit more serious stuff where we actually go through an employment history. We talked about the last four jobs they had, what they liked, what they learned, what they were disappointed by and what they wish had gone differently. And I get a really good feel for… If you see… Most people you’ll figure out the pattern. This person gets a job, and when it’s harder than they thought, it would be they slack it off. This person starts something and runs with everything they’ve got and if it’s not easy and it doesn’t come real easy within three months, they lose interest.
David: Every time this person gets a girlfriend his head gets into the clouds and he can’t focus on whatever is going on. And so you’re looking for those patterns because that’s what you’re going to get with yourself. And then the last part we do is my favorite, that’s what I call the motivational interview. We start with a piece of paper. We draw it into four categories. The first category is job, the next category is money and then they get to pick two other things that are really important to them in life.
David: Most people picks like family or friends or relationships or spirituality, something like that. And I run them through this exercise where we start off with good job, and I say, “Okay, I want you to imagine that I walk in this room right here one year from now after you’ve been hired.” And I say, “Hey, Jane. How’s it going?” And you say, “It’s freaking awesome. David, it could not be better.” Tell me what this looks like from the job perspective.
David: And I make them actually give me a list of okay, well, I’m already been promoted twice, and I’m running this side of the business, and I’m really good at this. And then I dig deeper, tell me how you did that? Tell me what went well? Tell me what challenges you had to overcome to do it? Tell me how it makes you feel inside to know you’ve done that? And I’m basically trying to pull out of them what is their heart’s desire? Their deepest, strongest motivating things that drive them. And we do that for every category.
David: Now, I go to money and I ask the same question. Okay. I’m making 300 grand a year, I’m driving this kind of car, I have this much passive income. What does it mean for you to have that passive income? I feel like I’m finally not the loser everyone thought I would be. Tell me how that impacts your mindset every day when you wake up? And I’m digging very deep. A lot of the times people cry [crosstalk 00:52:26] during that.
David: And at the end I will circle all the words that showed up because I’m writing down as they’re talking repeatedly, and those words you circle is what shows me what kind of person this is. A lot of the times driven will show up or ambition, or happiness, or whatever it is that that person is looking for you will see the pattern after running them through that exercise. Then I just want to make sure that those things that drive them are powerful motivators within this space.
Carol: That’s a good thing.
J: I need our listeners to understand how gold this information… No, I’m serious. So Carol and I spent 15, 20 years in the corporate world and I think I speak for both of us when I say we’ve sat through plenty of hiring seminars and interviewing training things, and the companies that we’ve worked for literally spend thousands and thousands of dollars to bring in trainers to essentially take a day to tell us all the things that you just summarized in 10 minutes. Literally you just summarized in 10 minutes how somebody can take their interviewing game and they’re hiring game to the next level. So for anybody out there that’s listening to this that’s thinking about hiring their first or their next or their hundredth employee or team member, rewind 10 minutes and relisten because that-
Carol: Listen to it again and again and again because Dave really just told us how to get to the core, heart, and soul of somebody’s character, and how that will align with what is available for that job, and that is something that is not an easy task to do, and Dave just broke it down hardcore.
J: Absolute gold. If I’d known we were going to talk about this, I would have devoted-
Carol: Devoted the whole episode.
J: … the whole episode.
David: And that’s why we should be listening to the BP Money Podcasts with rock stars. There you go.
J: BP Money. No, that is-
David: Oh, what did I do?
J: Scott and Mindy. So absolutely everybody should-
Carol: We do love Scott and Mindy though.
J: Everybody should be listening to the BP Money podcast and the BP Real Estate podcast but-
David: So what I need to do is I need to go on the BP Money podcast and talk about what money you can make by following the advice you learn about on the BP Business podcast where the real goal is.
Carol: There you go. It’s one big happy circle.
J: There you go. Okay. So that was absolutely fantastic. I love that. Thank you, David. Question, so now that you are a world-renowned podcast host, you’re a best-selling author literally. You are an investor, and you spend a ton of time doing speaking and BiggerPockets stuff, but you’re also the head of the David Greene real estate team, how do you split up your time and how do you ensure that your… And this goes beyond just the David Greene team, but everything in your life, how do you ensure that you’re devoting enough time and energy to the things you’re doing that everything can flourish?
David: That is a really, really good question. What I’ve learned that I have to do in order to make this work is I can only start a business or take on a project that has some form of synergistic quality with the other stuff that I’m already doing. So I love to speak and educate people about real estate which is why I’m involved in BiggerPockets. They have an awesome way to for me to be able to do that and they have the best reputation around for real estate education.
David: I wouldn’t be able to go start like a helicopter pilot business while doing this. It would pull away from one or the other. But if I’m speaking to people about real estate investing, and I also mentioned that I sell houses and they call me when they want a house or they want to buy an investment property or they just want to use these principles that I’ve learned to represent them in the purchasing of a house. I’m killing two birds with one stone so to speak. I gave my thing and I found clients. While I’m there I can also say if you guys ever find a house that you want to flip, call me. I’ll make you a partner in the deal and I’ll walk you through what we do. I’m now lead generating for flips.
David: So there’s 100, 150 people that are there. Not all of them are going to want to buy a house or sell a house in that moment. Not all of them are going to have a their grandma needs to sell her house that I can flip, but the more things that I do real estate related, the higher I increased my probability of finding some form of lead out of that free education that I just gave, and it’s free for them too. They want to be able to refer someone, their friends, their family to an agent who’s actually going to be good.
David: They want to find someone that can buy a house cash and walk them through how to do it whatever the case may be. And I can then tie them in with, hey, you should be listening to this podcast. You should be following the BiggerPockets YouTube. You should be reading blog articles here. And so while I’m bringing them value, they’re bringing me value and that’s also synergistic. Those are really the only relationships I want in my life at this point. If I don’t bring you value then you shouldn’t have me in your life and if you’re not looking to bring me value too then I don’t really need you in mind. It’s perfectly fine to have that mindset, but I think that that’s the key is you have to find synergy in what you’re doing.
Carol: Excellent, excellent. It’s such a well-rounded approach like you said you’re going to stay in the mind space that you reign. You’re going to maintain your expertise in the area that you’re in and just branch out in a lot of ways, and continue to grow and it works for everybody all the way around.
J: Yeah. It’s especially because I think a lot of times when we try and do too much it’s not just trying to do too much, we end up doing things that require us to go through a new learning curve. And a learning curve takes a whole lot of time. If I want to go start a new business and I need to spend a year learning that business, it’s a lot different than if I go start a business that I already have the core competencies and the core skills because then I can do that new business in five hours a week or 10 hours a week or 15 hours a week.
J: If I have to go through the entire learning curve, I need to devote myself for some period of time which means I’m ignoring or I’m not putting the time into the other things that I need to be putting time to.
David: That’s so good, J. I think the inexperience business people don’t grasp how important that is. Think about if you were a professional NFL football player and your season ended and you wanted to find something else to do to make money during the next six months when you’re around the off season. If you tried to go become a professional soccer player that learning curve would be changing your entire body. You’d have to lose a ton of weight, your endurance would have to go up, your muscle mass would have to go down. You’d become much less of a fast twitch muscle person, much more of a slow twitch for endurance. It would be completely different.
David: But if you went and played rugby, minor adjustments would have to be made and you’d be in playing shape right away. You kind of got to look at business the same way. I was able to do so well as a real estate agent quickly because I was already doing well as a real estate investor. My sphere knew me as a real estate guy, very easy transition to make. I had systemized how I would buy houses out of state. I had checklist for everything that had to get done. I just applied that same principle to all the stuff that had to get done in an escrow.
David: Now, there’s maybe 10 times more things as an agent, but that principle will work in the same world. It wasn’t a completely new learning curve, and I think that makes you look much more successful than somebody else would be who’s doing something completely different like you said that’s jumping around from thing to thing that doesn’t have anything in common.
J: Yeah. And that actually brings up another thing. When you’re doing, you’re reinforcing the brand that you’re working so hard to build. So when you build a new business that’s completely independent of anything you’ve ever done, you have to start creating a new brand.
Carol: Start over. Just build on what you’ve got. Why would you keep reinventing?
J: Credibility is the hardest thing to build and so staying in the same industry that you’re already in, you already have that credibility and you don’t have to start from scratch there.
Carol: You’re fine. You’re just expanding your breadth of knowledge and it just permeates throughout the whole process. So before we get into the Four More, David we have one question we like to ask our guests when we get near the end of the episode what type of advice do you have for anybody who’s looking to become a real estate salesperson or start a team or even maybe if it’s applicable take it a step beyond real estate just anybody starting a business or starting a team are getting ready to hire someone. What’s another piece? Just one piece of gold nugget advice that you would like to share. Maybe then you wish you knew in the beginning that you think is so super valuable now.
David: I really want to write a book on this topic because it is… Maybe I’m passionate about it because I’m on this end of it trying to hire people and it’s so hard, but I just developed this huge passion for you really should create excellence in whatever you’re doing like vocational wise whether you’re a house flipper or a house painter or a bookkeeper, your goal should be to be the very best you can be at that thing.
David: And I think what irritates me is when people say, “I’m not having success at this area so let me just abandon it and try something else and hope that it works out there.” And they’re just bouncing around from thing to thing hoping that they can find something that’s easy. The advice that I would give to people that want to start something new is great, you should go give it a shot. Before you do, crush it with what you’re doing.
David: Before you say I want to go do the next thing, you should be able to say I am the best waiter at the restaurant I work at. And then maybe you go find a nicer restaurant with a more expensive menu and bigger tips, and be the best waiter at that restaurant. Force your brain to have to go through recognizing patterns that will make you successful, recognizing how the 80/20 principle plays out in that environment. I learned a lot of stuff about leverage waiting tables because I would get busboys to do a lot of the stuff that I didn’t have to do so I could take on more tables and take more orders and make twice as much money where the other waiters didn’t want to tip the busboy an extra 20 bucks. I was happy to give them 50 bucks if it meant I could take three times as many tables.
David: I wouldn’t be good at this if I hadn’t have done that first. And so that’s the first piece of advice I would give people is don’t think you’re going to hit a new relationship or a new job and immediately it’s just going to be easy and you’re going to do great. The same things that made you suck where you are now will make you suck when you get to the next thing. But if that’s a perfect fit for you how heartbreaking is it going to be if you fail at it because your work ethic wasn’t good or your attitude wasn’t good, or whatever the case may be.
Carol: That’s awesome.
J: So I heard a quote a couple weeks ago, maybe it was a month or two ago and I don’t think it was on the show from one of our guest but it’s really stuck with me the quote even though I have no idea where I heard it, but the quote was nothing is good that could be great. And you have to think about that for a little bit but basically what that is saying is if you think you’ve done something well, if it’s possible for you to do it better, if it’s possible for you to do it great then it’s not even good.
Carol: It’s not even good.
J: You have to compare something not against objective but how good it could be. And I did a horrible job of explaining but think about that. I wants listeners to think about that quote because it took me a little while to really internalize what it meant, but once I did, really it changed my whole perspective on everything. I love that quote.
David: Well, the world is looking for something great. Every single boss is looking for someone with high standards. Most of those bosses want to get out of that role or they want to expand and do more of it. What holds us back is finding good people they can… But you guys could be flipping 10 times as many houses if you had people that could do the jobs you could do to the level you could do it. You didn’t have to worry about things going down. That’s the hardest part that keeps you from doing more. So for the people that are frustrated that they don’t like the job that they have or there’s no opportunity, I’m telling you it is everywhere.
David: The problem is that you’re not ready for it. If you’re ready for it, someone probably already approached you and said, “Can you come do this thing?” Guys like me are looking all the time for that person who’s doing really good. Every time I walk into the bank and I see the girl that’s irritated that a customer’s there or the guy who doesn’t even bother looking up from his phone to greet the client, I would never hire somebody with that type of an attitude.
David: You spot the person right away with the really good attitude who wants to get into stuff. So I feel like if people in the world woke up and realized if I start doing really good at my job I will have a lot more confidence that will make it easier to go get my next job because I know that I can do that job and I can make more money, and then I’ve learned things at two different jobs that give me skills. Now, the third job I get I can do even more. They would find themselves in the right role pretty quick.
J: Wow, Dave-
Carol: That’s awesome.
J: David, I love listening to you host podcasts, but let me tell you something, this is where you belong giving advice and being the guest on podcasts because this is absolutely awesome.
Carol: Yeah, so good.
J: We could probably talk for another two hours, but I think it’s about time that we jump into the next segment of the show, one that we call Four More where we ask you four questions that we ask all of our guests and then at the end we’re give you an opportunity to tell us more about where we can find out about you and get in touch with you, and learn more about your business. Sound good?
Carol: Awesome. So I’m going to start with the first question, but I’m going to put a little bit of a spin on it because typically we ask people, Dave our first question is what was your first or worst job and what lessons did you learn from that? I’m going to challenge you to not tell us about your job as a waiter, because I want people to go back and listen to other BP podcasts, people you have… That is, I think, a more well-known part of your story. Challenge yourself to dig to some other unknown fact about Dave Greene in a first or worst job in lessons that you learn from it.
David: I got one for you.
David: I think on the BP Money podcast, I think it’s episode 12 where I talked about the waiter thing. So one thing I’ve never talked about is my second job. My very first job was at Baskin Robbins because there’s only place I could get hired.
David: And I worked there for about four months before I jump next door to the Togo’s which was a little bit better. I got that job at the Togo’s and within four months I was a shift manager, and then about three months after that I was like the main manager. And I was an 18-year-old kid. It was very surreal to be running a store with like no-
Carol: You’re 18?
David: 18 is an adult but you feel like you’re a kid. I was still like in high school, maybe I was 17.
Carol: Of course. You’re in charge of the whole thing.
David: There’s no grown-ups to make sure you’re not just going crazy. It was like why would they leave me with the cash register. How do they know that I’m not going to steal it? It was surreal. I basically ran the whole store. I would order the stuff we needed. I would do the scheduling. I knew what everybody got paid. That job that I took taught me if you work really hard… So I could only make so much money out of Togo’s and when I had to leave and go to a restaurant where I could make more, the guy was actually really upset.
David: But what I learned was I had the confidence to leave and go to somewhere else because I went through the ranks so fast. So I would watch the guy next to me making sandwiches and say I got to be able to make it faster than him. I have to be the fastest sandwich maker here. And I would study what are the hand motions that you have to do? I’m going to grab the bread with my left hand or I grab the bread with my knife? I’m going to bring it to the same point every single time, but I would practice that when no one was there, grabbing the bread with the knife and bringing them in together.
Carol: You were process sizing and systematizing even your sandwich-making?
David: Yes, because I knew-
Carol: This is like ingrained in the fiber of your being.
David: Yeah, and when I was busy I would stand out from all the other employees because we had this [inaudible 01:07:07] and I would just ripping through and doing a really good job, and everybody else was going slow, the bosses see that.
Carol: Oh, they do?
David: That’s why they approached me about we want to make you manager. They just saw how fast I was working. And anyone can do that. It’s not like I have some crazy hand-eye coordination no other human being could have. I was just more purposeful about doing it and I would get really good at okay, I know that I need more Turkey and I’m running out of it so when I walk by to grab the roast beef, I’m also going to grab Turkey and on the way there I’d see that guy doesn’t have any lettuce. And I grab him a bag of lettuce and drop it off and he’d be like, “How did you even know I needed that?” They thought I was Batman.
David: But I was training my brain to pay attention to what was going on in the middle of stress, in the middle of chaos, which came in very handy as a cop, which came in very handy waiting busy tables. So I see now those foundations got laid because I was giving my best in what I was doing and then that opened up doors in the future.
Carol: Awesome. Great answer.
J: No sandwich-making is good that could be great.
David: I love that quote. If you could be great and you’re just good you shouldn’t be happy with that.
J: Exactly. Thank you for explaining that much better than I was able to. Okay. Question number two. What is the defining moment when you decided that you had the entrepreneurial itch that you were ready to go out and do something on your own?
David: I’m a late bloomer in that area. On the disk profile I was very high as a C and then next was a D. When I became a real estate agent and had to be like the boss with carrying all the responsibility if it fails it’s on me, my D score actually got a lot higher. I became much more bold, much more assertive. I’d make decisions a lot quicker. But as a high C, we don’t like risk. We don’t like things you can’t control or you don’t know what’s coming. I loved investing because it was a numbers thing. I could rely on numbers, make every decision. It wasn’t until I started selling houses and I became the top agent of my first year and I started getting a lot of people saying, “You’re really good at this,” and I knew inside I don’t even really like this.
David: I can’t really tell people that, but this is not my thing. Listening to people tell me how scared they are. After working as a cop for 10 years is very hard. Like, oh the sliding glass door sticks, that’s really scary.
Carol: I’m terrified.
David: I know. It’s horrible, isn’t it?
Carol: That’s the worst ting ever.
David: When I buy houses in other states I’ve never seen, and it’s going fine, and they’re worried about the screen door having us ripping it. So I think that forcing myself into those positions and seeing that I was successful opened up this whole side of my brain that I never had and confidence just flooded that area. So it’s not like a cockiness. I don’t think I walk around acting like I could do anything and who are you guys. But definitely there’s a lot less fear about new things because I’ve done enough new things and realize my brain will recognize patterns and I will figure this out, and I will at least be decent at it if not great.
David: That led me to start to crave entrepreneurial experiences. So now I’m starting a loan company. I’m opening a loan brokerage so that we can start doing loans as well as real estate. There’s a huge amount of synergy there. I already know how loans work because I have to do it to make the deals work a lot of time. I know more than the lenders do a lot of the time. My clients are coming to me and saying, “Here’s the two options my lender gave me, but he didn’t explain them to me. Can you help me figure it out? Why am I not just doing those loans?”
Carol: You had it anyway.
David: I have very little anxiety about that whereas, oh God, five years ago, I had have been terrified.
Carol: Awesome. Really good growth in a very short amount of time. Okay, third question. What is the worst advice you’ve been given, and what did you do with it.
David: The worst advice that I ever got was when I was first buying houses in 2009 and ’10 and everyone was telling me, “Don’t do it. The world is going to end. The sky is falling. Real estate is a terrible investment.” I only bought one house a year when I probably would have bought three or maybe four. If I would have bought four houses year instead of one my net worth would be about $2 million higher today just from that one piece of bad advice. And what I learned was that they meant well.
David: These were not people that were trying to sabotage you. In their perspective they really thought buying real estate was risky and it was a bad idea, but they didn’t understand finances. I was taking advice from people that didn’t understand what they were talking about. What I did with it was I learned don’t do that anymore. So now if someone wants to give me advice I’m happy to hear it, but if they don’t have a track record of success in that area I just don’t really give it a lot of weight.
J: That’s great advice.
J: Love it.
David: It’s very easy to tell somebody don’t do something, something bad could happen. It’s just too easy.
J: You can’t lose. I mean so they’re protected. You’d rather take the worst-case scenario where they missed an opportunity then they got crushed. So that’s a great, great point. Okay, question number four. What’s something that David Greene has splurged on, but that was totally worth it?
David: Oh, that was worth it.
J: Totally worth it.
David: This is good. Okay.
Carol: Did you have a splurge that wasn’t worth it?
J: No, no, no.
Carol: Sorry. I am such [crosstalk 01:12:01].
David: I have a splurge that wasn’t.
J: Now, you have to answer both questions.
Carol: Yes. I’ve got to note there was so much hesitation. I knew there was something.
David: Because I was remembering that mistake that I made.
Carol: Well, share. Come on, Dave, share.
David: Okay. Here’s the mistake. I bought a very cool car when I was like 21 years old. I knew a guy that owned a car dealership. I had saved up a lot of money. When I graduated college I had 100,000 in the bank just from waiting tables.
David: So I wanted to buy a car and he said, “You can have anything in my entire dealership, just add 200 bucks to the invoice that I paid for it.” So that like my transport fees are covered. So me thinking I’m a good businessman went to the showroom floor and found like the coolest car he had was like I’m getting the best deal. It ticked him off a little bit, but I got this… Have you guys ever seen those Roush Mustangs?
Carol: Oh, totally.
David: They make these Mustang and Roush as accompany?
Carol: Absolutely, yes.
David: I bought a Roush Cougar. There was only a hundred of them made.
Carol: You bought one at age 21?
David: Yes. It was so nice. I mean tricked-out, lowered.
Carol: That’s awesome.
David: Really cool body kit. The problem was I used it as a commuter vehicle. It got keyed all the time. It had these low-profile tires that were constantly going flat, and I ended up like… I should have bought just a nice little Honda for like $10,000.
Carol: But no.
David: Here’s a why it was a terrible buy. It wasn’t just that I beat the crap out of that car which I never should have done, I missed a chance to flip a house because I was $7,000 short. I didn’t understand partnerships. I wasn’t listening to BiggerPockets at the time. I was seven grand short of the money I needed to partner on this deal and I couldn’t do it. And I lost about 45 grand that would have been my half of that profit, and all I could think about was that stupid car and if I would have bought the Honda I would have had the money. It would have made me 45 grand.
David: And the opportunity cost of that cool car was huge in the end. It could have been the down payment on a Ferrari or something if I’ve been a little better. So that was my splurge. It was not worth it. You don’t need a cool car when you’re 21 years old.
J: What year was that?
David: This was 2003 or so.
J: 2003 so it’s been 15 years. So let’s see. If you would have been invested that money at 10% interest over 15 years, you would have quadrupled the money.
Carol: You’re going to give this man a heart attach.
David: See, if I was going to give you a nickname, you’d be J salt in the wounds guy. That’s what that is.
Carol: Very appropriate, trust me. I’m married to him. I know this.
J: Okay. So do we get a splurge that was totally worth it?
David: Here’s the good one, when I first met Brandon he asked me to go out to Hawaii with him and all I was thinking about was I got to pay for a plane ride. I got to take time away from my business. I’ll be losing deals while I’m there. I don’t want to take time away from the business because I’m going to lose too much money. It ended up being one of the best investments I ever made. Brandon became my best friend. I love having that guy in my life. My relationship with him is very solid.
David: It led to me becoming the co-host of the BiggerPockets podcast. I learned a ton about him and got to know his family. And while I was there, I was so refreshed that I took three listing appointments via Skype on the computer, and I came back to three listings that were all million-dollar houses, and a super good attitude. Everyone was happy to be around me and I realized this is why people keep saying you have to take a break because you’re not your best when you’re just never change the oil in your car and just pinning it and going, going, going. So I thought that was just a fancy splurge that I really shouldn’t have taken, but it ended up being a great business decision.
Carol: Yeah, sounds like a best businessy splurge ever [unintendedly 01:15:22] so very cool. Okay, so to wrap this up, David here’s some more question. Where can our audience find out more about what you’re doing and connects with you?
David: The best way to connect with me right now is on Instagram. I’m David Greene 24. If you follow me on there and send me a message that’s your best chance of me actually seeing your message and getting a hold of you. If somebody wants to actually like apply to be on the team or learn more about getting their license or as a real estate agent they can email me… My email… Actually, message me on Instagram and I’ll give you my email on there just in case. I don’t want to get blown up by like spam bots or something for putting it out here.
David: And then I’m on biggerpockets.com. So Brandon and I co-host the BiggerPockets real-estate podcast, and you can message me on BiggerPockets. But I’m probably most likely to see if they do it on Instagram. That’ll be your best bet.
J: David, this was absolutely awesome. For those who have been listening since the beginning, the challenge I put out in the intro of this podcast was to see if you can pay attention and figure out how many analogies David Greene made in this episode. The answer is five. There were probably more but I got five. Five analogies in this episode.
David: I was actually trying to hold back. Gee, I still had five.
J: You still had five. So for anybody that’s listening that took the challenge from our intro the answer is five. David, this was awesome. Unbelievable content. Like I said I like you better on this side of the… Not that you’re not great on the other side of the microphone, but I love having you on as a guest and I’m sure our listeners are going to get so much out of this. So thank you again for being on. We really appreciate it.
Carol: Thank you, Batman. You are amazing.
J: And we look forward to having you back in a couple years to see where the David Greene team has gone.
David: This was a blast. Thank you guys very much. I appreciate it.
Carol: Thanks so much. We’ll see you soon.
J: Thanks, David.
J: That was awesome. Really I did not want that interview to end. I think I could have talked to him for like another hour two just about everything, not just the real estate stuff, we could have talked about the hiring stuff. We could have talked about the branding stuff/ I really liked that interview. What did you think?
Carol: Oh, it was awesome. Not in a million years did I know there was this other whole complete side to David that I was completely unfamiliar with, and I was just blown away by all the great tips he had. And again, I just loved that whole hiring exercise he went through. I thought that was absolutely amazing, and the whole concept of just craving excellence and just going so far above and beyond what you thought was possible was so, so huge. I loved it.
J: You’d never expect that from somebody who is managing at Togo’s at 18.
Carol: What was that? How does that happen? The sandwich-making process. Crazy, crazy talk. Loved it.
J: It was awesome. Okay. Do we have anything else to add before we let people get back to their day?
Carol: Let’s wrap this up.
J: Okay. Everybody, have a wonderful day. She’s Carol, I’m J.
Carol: Now, go create excellence in whatever you’re doing today.
J: Thanks everybody.
Carol: See you soon.
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