37 Ways Not to Suck at Real Estate

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37 Ways Not to Suck at Real Estate

When Ben Kinney and I traveled around the country during 2010 doing RainCamps, we had three goals in every city. Our first goal was to offend someone. Goal number two, to make someone cry. Goal number three, to make everyone laugh. I don't think we ever succeeded. Usually the person that was offended refused to laugh.......(you know the type)

(and more often than not, I was the one that ended up crying...........have you ever seen this video? Wow! Tear jerker for sure!)

Ben's a little brash, so the making people mad part was usually pretty easy for him. If you've heard him speak, you know what I mean. The thing is though......the guy sells real estate. He sells A LOT of real estate. In 2010 his team took over 600 listings. I'll repeat that because it bears repeating. His team took over 600 listings in 2010.

And I'm sure you're thinking, 'yeah, but he's been in business for a long time'. WRONG. He's in his 6th year in the business. So how the heck does someone go from 6 listings their first year to a team that does 600 listings in their 6th year? Systems, that's how. And they do things a little different than everyone else in their market.

I love Ben. He inspires me. I always savor the chance to get to hang out with him. Our conversations are amazing. I remember him telling me one time "I want to do things in my market that disrupt the market and have never been done before. If I do things that throws the competition off balance, I know I'm doing things right. How can they compete with me when they are always wondering what I'm going to do next?"

I'm super excited to have Ben joining me on an ActiveRain University webinar where he's going to share "37 ways not to suck at real estate". Now, you could end up being the person pissed off. Don't say I didn't warn you. As long as you aren't that person, I promise you one hour with Ben that will inspire you to generate more leads and close more deals because he'll share with you what he does to make those things happen. They are things that anyone can do, you just have to do them!

(make sense? Anyone can do it.....you just have to DO IT!)



In case you were thinking you have something else going on that day, I want to share this little story with you about Ben. It's one of my favorite stories and it goes to show how making small changes in the way you approach your business can make a significant impact. The actual names and places have been changed to protect the stupid........

Before getting into real estate, Ben was a cable guy.  He sold and installed cable for a big cable TV company. Well at first he just installed it, but after bird dogging the sales manager every day for six months, the guy finally gave Ben a shot at selling it.  It was a door to door sales job which meant Ben and 20 other guys knocked doors every day and tried to sell people cable, phone, and internet.  Ben did ok as a door to door sales person.  He would sell as much as any guy in the division 2-3 sales per day.   

The problem for Ben was that his income was tied directly to how many doors he could knock during the day light hours.  (I mean who would answer the door with a weird looking guy like Ben standing outside after dark)  Ben wanted to sell more Cable TV so he decided to wait for all the sales people to leave the office then he would start calling people from the phone book instead of knocking on their doors.  He was able to increase his number of touches from 100 door knocks to 3-500 dials per day which increased his sales from 2-3 per day to 3-6 sales per day.  

That wasn't quite enough sales for Ben though - so he had an idea (Probably while using the restroom since that seems to be where all Ben's ideas come from) He thought "when do most people order new Cable, Telephone, and Internet Service?  When they move right??"

Before Ben (we'll call this BB) if you rented an apartment in his little college town or bought a new home, the property management or Realtor would give you a flyer with all the utility companies listed on it which had the phone numbers for the different cable, satellite, and phone companies that when customers called they were routed to some foreign countries call center.

What do you think Ben did?  He went home and created new utility sheets for every apartment building, property management company, and real estate office in town - complete with their logos and on nice pretty stationary paper and with only one minor change next to the Cable, Phone, and Internet Companies he put his name and cell phone number with a simple FREE INSTALLATION offer!

Yep, then he went to every apartment complex, real estate office, etc. and let them know that he was going to provide FREE custom utility sheets every month so they would have nice fresh ones to give to their new residents who needed cable, phone, and internet.  When thier residents needed new service they could get it installed, all in one quick stop. No need to have your call routed through India's sales office. Ben would sell you the cable, phone, and internet right there and then come over that night and install it.  Then Ben was able to sell 10+ per day and never knock another door again.

Do you think he upset a few people sitting on their butt in the cable office? So what!  To me this was GENIUS!! There is no other word to describe it. I never would have thought to do it myself, I can admit that. I'm sure there was nothing in the cable company manual that said he couldn't do it. One small minor little change and all of a sudden he is the top selling sales person in the history of the cable company.

He's making these small tweaks all the time in his real estate business, to the tune of 693 listings taken in 2010. This year, his team will sell over 500 properties. And he's a regular guy just like you and me, except he might be a little bit uglier.......or maybe looking at things just a little bit different.

Come join us on August 2nd at 10am Pacific Time. I promise you'll learn a bunch and you might even make one small discovery that will change the way you do business. There isn't a ton of room so get registered now to make sure you don't end up being the guy/gal sitting back in the cable office waiting for the phone to ring.

(Here is the video if you missed us live)

Posted by

Bob Stewart
ActiveRain Ambassador


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Comments (144)

Chanda Barrick
Keller Williams Indy Metro Northeast - Indianapolis, IN
in referral

Takes a lot to bring tears to my eyes...Now I have to come back and read the rest of your post when I can see!  :)

Jul 27, 2011 11:07 AM
Thomas Haught
The Russell Realty Group - Saugus, MA

Thomas Haught

Looking forward to it!! I can always use ways NOT to suck at real estate.

Jul 27, 2011 03:27 PM
Dennis Niec
NieCo Productions, Prudential Great Lakes Realty - Fenton, MI

Signed up for the webinar; wish you great success, and no sucking!

Jul 29, 2011 02:32 AM
Debe Maxwell, CRS
Savvy + Company (704) 491-3310 - Charlotte, NC
The right Charlotte REALTOR!

@Irena - I love WiseAgent--It allows you to enter your prospects in different categories and control their touches easier than just sending out the spammy templated forms.  

@Bob - I did not know that about the Cable Guy!  Very interesting!  Sounds like those of us who used to scramble for the renters in the area to convert them to buyers--now everyone is trying it but, it worked if you hit the high-end tenants back in '06 & '07!  I think there are so many people out there trying gimmicks rather than just working their sphere, that they lose sight of the business.  You CAN do both but, you have to be very willing to delegate--an art that most of us just can't perfect!  

Reminds me of my NINJA coach's exercise in time management:  We had to keep up with every single minute in the day and determine if our time was productive, indirectly affecting our productivity or not productive at all.  Then we calculated our hourly value using our Closings/commissions and these categories.  It was three months of HELL recording our every minute but, it was such a valuable lesson.  We discovered that if you're making $1-2K/hour, why on EARTH are you not paying 1-2 assistants so that you can EASILY double that figure?!  I fought like the Dickens to hold onto my control over everything in my business but, when he showed me this stat, I gave into the delegation of tasks that someone else can EASILY do.  When I did, I was able to move my business to the next level.  

I still have control issues and every now and then have to re-evaluate what on earth I'm doing but, for the most part, it's a freedom that I am enjoying thoroughly!

OH, and DocuSign has alot to do with that also!  LOL  (I laugh but, I LOVE that system!)

Have fun with the webinar!  I have a referral coming into town the 1st through the 5th and I won't be able to listen.  Hopefully you guys will record and share it with those of us who can't attend.  Have a great weekend...

Jul 29, 2011 03:40 PM
Allen Haynes
Keller Williams Lifestyle Realty - Phoenix, AZ

I like the way Ben thinks.  He definitely is creative with his thinking.

Jul 30, 2011 06:37 AM
Mike Mayer
Mike Mayer, Broker/Owner - i List For Less Realty, LLC - Lafayette, LA

Hmm, will there be a sequel, "100 Ways You CAN Suck At Real Estate?"

Jul 30, 2011 04:48 PM
Robert Kroon

Bob - I'll be there, you can count on it.  Takes a lot to make me cry.

Rob in Sunny Phoenix   Where greens fees are inversely proportional to the Temperature.

Aug 01, 2011 08:56 AM
Debra Fergerson - Real Estate Broker Associate
Tropic Shores Realty - Crystal River, FL

I'm always ready to listen to people who are such creative thinkers as to create opportunities for themselves in this world. The creative ideas of others help us all rev our own creative brains as well. Great ideas here for selling cable and I can't wait to hear those for real estate. Count me in for sure!

Aug 01, 2011 09:32 AM
Mayra Espinosa Realtor San Mateo Pacifica Homes
Mayra Espinosa Broker- Realtor | Call 650-996-8961 - Pacifica, CA
San Mateo County Real Estate | Buy | Sell | Invest

Sounds like fun! count me in. I need more ideas to get business. Thanks

Aug 01, 2011 11:02 AM
Ben Kinney
Owner of ActiveRain Inc. - Seattle, WA

Hey all my favorite activerain friends!  So glad to see you all on the call tomorrow.  PLEASE log into the call early as the line can only hold 1000 people and we have over 2000 signed up.  This will be a fun, high energy, hand cramp, note taking call, that will focus on simple things you could implement today if you wanted to dominate in your market!

Cheers and thanks for putting this together BOB!  You are one awesome friend! 

Todd Clark -  Thanks for the kind words.  You are in the .000001 of agents in the nation and I am so glad to have met you last year!

Ben Kinney

Aug 01, 2011 02:52 PM
Claudia J. Dupre
Keller Williams Realty - Brookline, MA

Unfortunately, I ended up missing this webinar!!!!!!  BY chance was it recorded?  How might I get the link?  Best to email me at claudiajdupre@gmail.com.

Thanks in advance!

Aug 02, 2011 02:49 PM
Jonathan Mickles

I missed the call.  Was it recorded?

Aug 02, 2011 09:43 PM
Valorie Ford

I missed it too as I JUST saw this post.  Was there a screen shot of the webinar?  vford@kw.com  Thanks and sorry!!!

Aug 07, 2011 08:33 AM
The Real Estate Professionals
Real Estate Professionals - Salt Lake City, UT

This sounds awesome! too bad we missed it!

Aug 11, 2011 10:00 AM
Bob Stewart
ActiveRain - Seattle, WA
ActiveRain Ambassador

Yes everyone, the class was recorded. You can find the recording here:

37 Ways Not to Suck at Real Estate the Video

Aug 11, 2011 10:04 AM
Eric Michael
Remerica Integrity, Realtors®, Northville, MI - Livonia, MI
Metro Detroit Real Estate Professional 734.564.1519

Sweet. I guess I missed this one. Gonna go watch it now!                                                                    

Jan 19, 2012 05:51 AM
Adam Brett
The Adam and Eric Group - Fullerton, CA
The Adam and Eric Group, Fullerton's Finest

Thanks for the link post Bob!

Jan 19, 2012 08:47 AM
Ellen Kippel
Weichert Realtors - Suffern, NY
Licensed NY and NJ realtor 914-588-2365

I just started listening to your video and it is awesome.  There are so many tips.  I put the link in my word document of important videos to listen to more than once.  Thanks for all this info! 


Jan 20, 2012 07:02 AM
Jimmy Phan
Phan real estate group in hickory

learn and learn and learn.

i will be there

jimmy phan

Jan 20, 2012 03:23 PM
Bob Miller
Keller Williams Cornerstone Realty - Ocala, FL
The Ocala Dream Team

Hi Bob, thanks for the great post and sharing the video links.

Jan 22, 2012 09:41 PM