Richard Robbins Interview
Welcome to the podcast. Glad you could be here today. Today I’ve got an amazing interview. I’m going to be talking with Richard Robbins and for those of you that have been in the business for a few years, you know Richard as the head of his company, Richard Robbins International. He does real estate coaching, real estate training, and real estate consulting. He’s an author of a book and we talk about that in the interview and if you haven’t seen Richard speak at an event you should definitely try to do that. We touch on a lot of excellent subjects in the interview and I was really excited to get Richard to be a part of the podcast. So, without further ado, let’s jump to the interview. Thanks.
Mario: I want to welcome Richard Robbins. Thanks a lot for joining me today here on the podcast. I really appreciate it. I have to tell all the listeners that I had the good fortune of seeing you earlier this year in Denver at my company, RE/MAX Alliance, we had a personal development day and it was awesome to see you there. So, I’m glad that we can connect here on the podcast.
Richard: Well, it’s my pleasure. I’m really glad that I can be with you today and I will say, when I was in Denver there I had a wonderful time. I enjoyed speaking to everybody very much.
Mario: Yeah and you were, I mean, I don’t see a lot of real estate speakers, because I don’t travel that much, but you were very professional and entertaining at the same time, which is a good combination.
Richard: Yeah. You do need both.
Mario: Let’s kind of talk a little bit about how you got into in real estate–before getting into real estate, what were you doing?
Richard: Well, I worked for my father for a little while. So, actually what happened, I started college, but I only lasted in college for about two months, um, and I didn’t leave after two months because I graduated early, if you know what I’m saying. So, I got out and I started working for my father and my father was actually in the service station business in Peterborough, Ontario, which is a small town of about 65,000 people.
I worked for him for about three years, but I was looking for something to do and I’ll be honest with you, I used to drive by real estate offices all the time and I thought to myself, “Man, I’d love to sell houses.” You know, I had some friends that were selling insurance and I had some people that are financial planners, but I couldn’t see myself talking about insurance all day. You know what I mean?
But I thought houses. I love houses. I love everything about them and so I reached out to a broker and I had a conversation with a broker that was actually how I got started.
Mario: You’re right out of college, basically. So you were pretty young.
Richard: Yes, I was 24. I worked for my father till I was 24 and it was July 15th, 1985, when I started selling real estate and I was 24 years old then.
Mario: When you started out what was the biggest obstacle or hurdle that you kind of had to get over to kind of get your business going?
Richard: To be honest with you, I didn’t know what to do. You know I started selling, I went out there and I looked at what everybody else was doing and I think one of my strengths was I just worked really hard. I did not work really smart, but I worked really hard; to the point that I would basically do two open house on Saturday, and then two open houses on Sunday. I’d knock on doors for three hours a day. I just had a lot of energy. I was very excited. I was very enthusiastic and for the first three years I think what I did, I just outworked everybody. I was the first person in the office most days and quite often I was locking up the door when I leaving at night. But again, I was young. I was single.
I wasn’t probably doing the right things. I was probably majoring in minors instead of majoring in majors. But on the other hand it worked. Then I reached a point that I was working too much. I was tired. I was burned out and I knew I had to change the way I was doing business. So, it was mostly just working that got me started.
Mario: When you reached that point of realizing you’re working so hard, so what happened? Did you get somebody outside to kind of help you? Did you have a manager or did you kind of figure it out for yourself to kind of maybe work a little bit smarter?
Richard: Well, my manager was great and he helped me in anyway he could, but I will say way back then they, here wasn’t really a lot of sales traits. It’s interesting if you think about the industry, Mario, we’re in an industry where real estate agents go get a license and when they become licensed they’ve learned nothing about how to sell real estate.
So, then they go out into the world and they’re trying to figure what it is that they want to do and what’s interesting, and again and you know this better than anybody, that most agents don’t do that well. We’ve got an awful lot of real estate agents in the business, but really a very few control a large percentage in the markets.
I think what happened is that we become conditioned by the many. The problem is we become conditioned by the many, but more of us don’t want what the many have and there was one fellows name, Dan Grady, he was the top agent in Peterborough at the time and I sold one of his listings.
I called, I asked him out for lunch. We went out for lunch. We started to talk and I was trying to learn the best practices and Dan and I actually became friends because, unfortunately, he’d just gone through a divorce. I was single. We started to hang out a little bit and I used to just pick Dan’s brain, because I knew I didn’t want to continue to work at that pace and I would say honestly that Dan was probably a game changer for me, because now I was focused on the activities that will produce the greatest results and not just saying that I’m going to out work everybody.
Mario: I think, like you said, a lot of Realtors they just can’t make it. And I think, maybe in your case, you had a couple of things going for you. You’re working really hard, but then you had that help. And I think a lot of new Realtors, they do kind of flounder because they don’t get the proper help, instruction and training. Do you agree with that?
Richard: I agree 100 percent. I think if you look at the industry it’s such a beautiful industry we’re in because we’re in an industry that in all fairness people can go to school or even take it online, depending on where you live, they get a real estate license in a fairly short period of time. There’s not a huge financial investment to get in business as a real estate sales professional and we can get into this industry we make a very, very good living, you know, six and seven figure. We’re coaching a whole bunch of people that are making very substantial seven-figure incomes and a lot of them, six-figure incomes. The opportunity is quite amazing.
However, it’s a very small group of people. Which in all fairness it is in most industries as well. But when I look at it I always think to myself; I go, “Are the people that are making five times more money, five times smarter?” And of course, the answer to that is “no.” When I ask at my seminars, people go, “Well, of course not.” I say, “No, they just do different things.”
The challenge, if we look at the world we live in, as I think most people and I say this very respectfully, most people are conditioned by mediocrity; because most people do what most people do. Where the challenge is, do we want what most people have? So, I don’t want what most agents have, because generally they’re not doing that well.
You look at retirement age. Most people don’t retire financially independent. Well, that means they don’t want what most of those people have. I think what we have to do, is we’ve got to seek out what the top ten percent are doing or even the top five percent. Because those people aren’t necessarily smarter; under most cases they’re very willing to share. But if you can learn those best practices and just apply what it is that they’re doing to your life and to your business, well, then you can start to produce similar results.
It’s just that most people I think they major in minors, instead of major in majors. Much like I did when I started. I didn’t know any better.
Mario: I think you’re right on the money. For you then your real estate career progresses. You’re doing really well. Then you decide you want to be a managing broker and you want to open up your own real estate office. That sounds like a pretty bold move for somebody who is pretty young.
Richard: Yes. I was 27. I’d lived in Peterborough my whole life. I moved to Toronto, the big city, right? Where I still spend most of my time and I decided to open a real estate company with my partner, Dana Richard, who’s actually still one of our coaches today, which is great.
And I’ll be honest with you, Mario; you know the first three years we got slaughtered. You know, I just sort of figured at the sale side of things and then I decided I was going to take on a new challenge and the first three years, in all fairness, we did not do very well. We barely survived. I can tell you those crazy stories about borrowing on MasterCard to pay Visa and Visa to pay MasterCard. It was difficult, but it was a great experience. I look back at it and say, “It was difficult.” You know, Mario, recruiting people and trying to run a business and starting to understand the financial side of running a business. Leasing space. You know, computers, everything that was part of owning a company and actually the person that changed my life in that capacity, because it’s interesting; if I go back and I look what any major change is taking place, it has caused me to start producing substantially better results in any area of my life, it’s always been I’ve learned from somebody and they taught me something and a new insight, a new awareness, you go “wow” and the fellow’s name, unfortunately he passed away in 2009, but was Jim Rohn. I’m sure a lot of your listeners will recognize Jim Rohn’s name, but I went to one of his seminars and again he changed the way I thought. He changed my attitude completely.
Mario: Yeah. I saw Jim in Denver years ago and he’s been somebody that’s been a big part of my life too. I was sad to see him go.
Richard: Yeah. I was terribly sad because, you know, he had a great life, don’t get me wrong and boy he sure did help a lot of people and you know, he had a very long life, which is wonderful, but you know anytime that somebody’s had an influence on your life like that; Zig Ziglar passed away not long ago; somebody else had another great influence on my life. Right?
Richard: And, I was actually standing on stage in front of a couple thousand people when I heard that Zig died and so, we, you know, sort of took a minute just to think about it because a lot of people in the room were so influenced by him as well.
Mario: I agree. What I remember you talking about when I saw you in Denver, is talk a little bit about your managing style when you were helping the agents in your company. I think you did something a little different then, that people weren’t really doing back then.
Richard: What happened I went down to the Jim Rohn seminar and you know, he said something that stuck with me; he said, “You know, if you would wake up every day and spend as much time thinking about how to deliver value as you do thinking about how to make money, you’ll soon find yourself rich beyond belief.” And it was that thought got me thinking that’s not what I was doing. I was obviously suffering financially and I was waking up every day and all I was thinking about was, “How can I make some money to get through the month?” And when I got back to the office I said to Dana, my partner, I said, “You know, we’re doing this all wrong.” And he sort of laughed and said, “Oh yeah, that’s for damn sure.” But anyway …
So, I had to get back there and I said, “But every day we wake up we’re in sync with the money side of things, but what do our agents want?” He said, “Well, you know, they want to make money.” I said, “Exactly.” I said, “We need to start focusing and helping them make money and if we start focusing helping them make money, guess what’s going to happen to us?”
Of course we got to work right away and we set up training programs. Every Tuesday, from roughly ten to twelve o’clock all of our agents, and it was mandatory, we had to come together as a group and we used to role-play. We used objection handle. We used to work on different scripts. Listing presentations. Buyer presentations. Price reduction scripts. You know, as we moved into the end of the year, a lot of people would say, “Well, you know, let’s wait till next year before we do anything.” Well, we would go around the table and say, “What do you say when they say that? What do you say when they say that? What do you say?” And what I discovered is that when they started to change their words, they started to change their work. In another words, they started to produce better results. Right?
Mario: Yes, brilliant on your end.
Richard: And I look at it and I think there are two things that greatly separate the good from the greater real estate, I think the two things they are: number one is mindset. Man, you’ve got to be positive. You’ve got to be excited. You’ve got to want to make a difference. You’ve got to want to have fun in the industry. Right? And yes, you’ve got to be willing to work hard. So, I think the big thing is mindset.
But then the second thing I think you got to develop, you know, are skills. In other words what do we say? And the minute we start to change our words then, you know, what happens is our words changes the consumer’s eyes because now we’re bringing value to them.
So, what we did with the agents, we kept working on their skills, kept working on their skills, kept working on their skills and there were some agents that they didn’t want to get involved in this and a couple of them left our office because I made it mandatory. And I thought to myself, “If they don’t want to get involved in this, maybe they’re not for us anyway.” But I’ll tell you the ones that did, changed their income in a big way and within three years after we started all of this we had the highest production per agent of any company in the trading area by three.
Richard: Not by one, not by two, but by three and interesting enough, guess whose financial problems went away?
Mario: I think that’s great. I think when I hear that, it mean it reminds me of my early days in sales, when we would do role-playing and practice and everything. But from your standpoint, as a manager, I think the reason why a lot of managers didn’t do it back then and a lot of them don’t do it today, it takes a lot of work. It takes a concerted amount of effort on you and your partner to do that on weekly basis. Am I correct?
Richard: Well, anything great usually takes a lot of work and if you’re going to invest in people, that definitely takes a lot of work. But on the other hand, what would I have been doing with those two hours? It wouldn’t have been as productive as being in a room and practicing in role-playing and figuring out how to overcome objections and helping them develop their skills. So, that’s why I come back to that, major in major. I go, “It was two hours a week. Come on. It wasn’t that long.”
Mario: I agree.
RICHARD: And then of course, the agents had the choice of working on their skills after that, but it was two hours a week. If I hadn’t been doing that, what would I have been doing, but whatever it was I guarantee you wouldn’t have been as productive and would not have been as fruitful as spending those two hours.
Mario: Great work.
Richard: But the difference is, again, it’s goes back to a mindset. Remember I said “mindset” earlier. I said, see, I believe that some managers and some brokers, like they’re interested in their agents success, but the question I would have; are they invested in their agents success? There’s a big difference between being interested in something and invested in something.
Mario: Well, not only invested, but like what you were doing you’re adding real value and I think when you’re helping them, like you said, then they ended up helping you. I think it was really great that you were able to do that.
Richard: Well, it serves everybody. If you really think about it and that’s what’s really cool, if you look, any business and I believe any business can be successful if they just focus on providing value.
Mario: Yes, great point.
Richard: More value than everybody else. Do something better.
Take a restaurant. You take a restaurant and they say, “Okay. We need to have a great quality food here.” But if you have great quality food and the service sucks, then your restaurant is probably not going to succeed. You say, “Okay. If we have great service, but the food sucks.” Probably not going to succeed.
But if we can deliver the unexpected, okay? I think you know that I wrote a book a couple of years ago and it’s called Deliver the Unexpected. So, all of a sudden now you create a, you know, a great product where the foods fabulous, but also what you do in terms of interaction with people, interaction with your customers; is you deliver the unexpected. Give them an experience, like, they’re going to go away and they’re going to talk about it.
You know we call that remarkable. Do something in a way that when people leave you they want remark to everybody else and how great it was. That’s what remarkable means to me. Right?
Richard: Steve Martin said, “Be so good that you can’t be ignored.”
Mario: That’s good. So one more question about when you were a manager. When you’re recruiting agents to work for your company, were there any characteristics, or personality types or work history that you looked for when you’re recruiting?
Richard: I wanted one thing. I wanted attitude. I think you can hire for attitude and you can teach skill. A lot of people hire for skill. They want somebody that’s already skilled. My theory was, that if you give somebody that is excited, they’ve got big goals; I mean they want to do something special. I always say, “Where do you see yourself in three to five years?” And if I can find the right attitude, somebody that was driven, somebody was hungry. I mean they want to do something big in the world. You know, “Oh, I’m going to get in real estate, you know and well, you know, I’m just part-time, I sort of semi-retired.” They weren’t for us. I want people that are going to come into work every day. If you look at the real estate industry, I think, you know as a whole people say to me, “Well, what do you think the secret is?” Well, one of the secrets is work. Right?
Richard: Work a whole day.
Richard: And work a whole day, five days a week.
Richard: It’ll work. Believe me. Put a solid, solid seven hours a day in, no grocery shopping in the middle of the day. No buying a new pair of shoes in the middle of the day. I mean work. You know? Boy, you’d be amazed at what might happen. Right?
Mario: I agree, it sounds simple but you’re so right.
Richard: I wanted people that are willing to work. I wanted people that, you know, had some exciting goals. I wanted people that to succeed financially, because those people that were driven, they’d be willing to learn. They’d be willing to pay the price. Right? Because they were hungry!
Mario: Now back then your business is going well. You’re doing really good. So why did you make the decision to sell your successful real estate business? And then you went into coaching, training and consulting. Talk a little bit about your transition to creating Richard Robbins International.
Richard: Well, what happened actually, there’s was a lady by the name of Nancy, who worked for me. She’s still in real estate today and here; she was part of our office. We had trained her and worked on her skills and she said to me, “You know Richard, you’ve worked so hard with all of the us, why don’t you do this with more people?” And believe it or not it was, it was Nancy that planted a seed. And I thought to myself, “You know, boy maybe I could because I loved the coaching. I loved the teaching.” I can’t say I loved speaking at the time, I do a lot of that now, but that wasn’t sort of driving force. It was more, “Boy, this is sort of fun. Maybe I can help some other people.” And that was sort of the seed that started it all.
At the time coaching was sort of taking on a fairly large life in the real estate industry. Since then it’s taken a, huge life in corporate America. It’s a big deal now. Coaching’s always been in sports, but now you see coaching is very common in the business world and there’s some companies, you know, that were doing it in real estate, they’re doing it relatively successfully and I thought, “Well, wouldn’t that be cool?” That I could go out and sort of do the same thing, but do it for a larger number of people. I could start to hire and start to train coaches.
I guess what it was too for me is I’ve always, I don’t know, I just get to a point sometimes where I want to move on. You want to do something else. Now, saying that I’ve been doing this a long time, but I was just ready for something else and I thought it was an exciting opportunity for me. I like seeing people succeed. You know, I like the opportunity to help them. It made me feel good when I was helping them. I guess it gave me some self-worth, if you will and I was pretty good at it. Like I was better at coaching and training naturally then I was at selling real estate. And I was decent at selling real estate, but I enjoyed the coaching and training side more than I sort of did maybe showing property and doing listing presentations. And I think for any of us to succeed in the world, we have to love what it is that we’re doing and now since basically 1999 we’ve been doing this, so it’s a long time; 15 years and I can honestly say I’m as excited about what I do today as I was when I started.
Mario: How did it go; how did it go the first few years? Did you kind of get traction right away and you started building up a pretty good agent customer base or was it kind of hard to get it off the ground?
Richard: Well, I think any new business is hard. We always think it’s going to be easier than it turns out to be in almost every case. Sort of like renovations; they always cost 25 to 30 percent more than you think. But what I did was I thought to myself, “Well, I need to get in front of people. I’ve got to speak and talk to people about what I’ve been doing and training and how these agents have become so successful.”
I set a goal for myself. I thought, “Well, you know what I’m going to do, I’m going to go out, I’m going to speak in real estate offices” and my goal was to do fifty talks in one year. My theory was if I could book a talk a week; it didn’t mean I had to do the talk that week, but if I booked one every week, that’s you know for argument sake, 52 talks a year and at the end of the year and at the offices, it could be eight people there or twenty people there, I think the biggest talk I did was seventy people or something like that. And you know, back then I was sending out faxes, making phone calls, and prospecting. Because my theory was that if I talked about our beliefs, if I talked about what I believed would work and what I’d already done, so then people would say, “Well, will you coach me?” And that’s how I got started and my first year I actually did 51 talks and at the end of the first year I’d done 51 talks and I was now coaching 46 people. So, if you do the math on that, almost every talk I sort of got one coaching client. Sometimes I got none other times I got two, that sort of thing. But I was coaching 46 people.
But then the next challenge I was facing was, I had to scale it because I thought, “What do I like to do the most?” And what I discovered, I really started to enjoy the speaking side. But I never thought I would actually, because I was always afraid of speaking. I started to enjoy the speaking, the communicating and the training and then what I started to do was hire people to start coaching and that sort of, in the first couple of years that’s how the whole business started to evolve. So, it was a lot of work to get it started, but luckily, you know, the first year or so I was okay financially because I was making a lot in the first year, but then the second year things started to take off for us a bit.
Mario: So, I have to make a confession. I have to be honest and say I’m not a big fan of coaching.
Richard: I understand.
Mario: And the coaching service and I think, for me, it’s probably a personal issue because I had a micro manager that I worked with for about five years and maybe they kind of left some scars, you know working for a micro manager. But for you, I mean, I respect what you do because you’ve done it. You’ve been an agent. You’ve been manager-broker. You’re very successful and now you’re doing well as a speaker and consultant. Can you talk to somebody like me, who has that resistance? And really what is the value of coaching? How do you help agents in that capacity?
Richard: There’s two components to it that make it work and if you look at this we sort of follow a theory that, learning plus action leads to change. Now, somebody gets in coaching, generally, for one reason. They want to change. They want to produce better results.
Imagine this, if you; if we take the real estate industry; of course you’ve got business planning and that’s where it starts, but then the number one reason a real estate agent fails is their inability to generate enough leads. That’s the big thing.
Now, there’s many ways to generate leads you know. Some people say, “Oh, I’m going to door-knock. I’m going to geographically farm or maybe I’m going to advertise; whether it’s Internet advertising or as we know newsprint is sort of on life support right now. Maybe I’m going to door-knock. Maybe I’m going to do open house. Maybe I’m going call on FBSO’s.” There’s all kinds of ways to generate leads. You’ve got repeat customer. You’ve got referrals. Work with people you know.
So, what we do as a company is, we try to establish with each coaching member, “How do you want to generate your own leads?” And it has work with your personality.
For instance, we’ve got one lady, she loves to telephone prospect. Great. She’s a bit of an introvert. She likes to be in her office and just make phone calls. We’ve got somebody else that, you know, every three open houses that Ralph does, he gets a deal because he does these; he calls them “rock star open houses.” They’re like parties, right? But he’s outgoing. So, he wants to generate business that way and then of course, we’ve got all of these lifetime referral systems for all the repeat and referral system for all of their business.
And once we find out which way they want to generate business, that suits their personality, that works with them, they’ve got to do it using their natural gifts; their personality; because, if you love what you do, you spend more time doing it. Then we give them the exact systems. And if somebody came to me and said, “Okay, Rich, I want to increase my repeat referral business.” Great. I’m going to give you a system that’s proven because we track the results of people we work with.
You don’t have to reinvent the wheel. Just like when I met Dan Grady. I met this top agent. Well, how much could I learn from him? A lot. Could he reduce my learning curve? A lot.
The whole theory is, first of all and yes we got to do the business plan in cycles, but after that you’re going to say, “How are you going to generate business?” And then we’ve got to have two or three solid lead-generating systems that are system dependent, not people dependent. Not just waking up every day and say, “Oh, what am I going to do today?” No. If you’re going to do an open house, let’s get a lot of people through. You know, if you’re going to get to door knocking, let’s be really efficient and go on door knocking. If you’re going to build your repeat referral, let’s have a system to build your repeat referral.
The first thing we do is we give tried tested and true systems that we have already used with many of our clients, thousands of our clients, that have produced very specific results. We’re updating. Making the systems better all the time, you know, as technology changes. And then we get them to implement a system into their business. Then we hold them accountable.
Every week we have a phone call, a one on one call and that’s where the action starts, it’s the learning part and then the action comes in because if you’re going to have a call with somebody every week, and it’s not a master-slave type of relationship. It’s just, let’s have a conversation, let’s see how it’s going. You know what I mean? You know, did you have a breakdown? You know, did you get things done? What stops you? You know, where was your challenge? And help them overcome those challenges to sort of keep the process moving forward.
And then once we get that going, leads come in. Now we got to develop their skills, you know. What are some of the scripts you need to be using? Work for the listing presentation. Help them convert more appointments to listings. Buyers. More Buyers into sales, you know. Then we start to work on the time management.
Over a period of time we keep working on their skill level and helping build more productive business that doesn’t require more time, but hopefully less time. Or maybe the same amount of time, but they’re actually producing greater results. That’s really the whole theory behind it.
Mario: That’s perfect. I mean, to me the one thing I like about what you said is that, I know a lot of resistance from new agents, they say, “I don’t want to knock on doors. I don’t want to cold call people. Call ‘For Sale By Owners’ and expired listings.” But I like what you say when you kind of talk about what are the areas you like to do and focus in on trying to leverage what you like to do and then build a business around it. I mean, you’ve got to generate leads like you said, but if you don’t want to knock on doors, you’ve got to do something else and I think that’s really good the way you kind of analysis that up front, because people are going to do what they like to do, just like what you said, but they’re also going to be better in certain areas than others.
Richard: Everybody is. We do a lot of personality profiling and trying to get to know our clients really well. We ask a lot of questions, but let’s face it Mario, if you love to do something, you get up earlier in the morning. You do it more often. You look forward to it. Right?
Richard: But if you detest doing something, well, you might do it for a little while, but you’re not doing it for a long time. So you’ll never be successful.
Think about a professional athlete. Do you think that there’s a professional athlete making millions and millions and millions of dollars a year that hates what they do? And the answer is no.
Mario: No, I guess not.
Richard: Right. They want to keep playing. They don’t ever want to retire because they love what they do.
Well, that’s when you become great at something; is when you get to go out every day, and do it in a way that you’re really enjoy it, where you feel like you’re making a contribution. Where you feel like you’re bringing value. You know what I mean?
Mario: Yes, I get it.
Richard: And we’re all different, you know. I’m personally; I’m a little bit of an introvert. I’m not the type of guy that really wants to be out in a crowd. Socializing at a party. Getting overly involved in my community, which is another strategy. But that one probably wouldn’t work as well for me just because I don’t function really well in that environment. However, you can put me on a phone all day long, right?
Mario: I guess so.
Richard: And I could make calls all day long and it wouldn’t bother me one iota, because I feel like I’m in control. Sitting in my office. Doing my job. That’s my personality.
So, I think that all of us have to build our business in a way that we really enjoy what it is that we’re doing. That’s a big part of what we do and of course what we believe in here.
Mario: I think that’s great. It’s kind of interesting, you’ve got all these different career progressions. You talked about it earlier that you wrote a book. You wrote Deliver the Unexpected, So, how did that come about? And maybe talk a little bit about the book. I read it myself. I read it two times and I like it a lot. But I’d like to hear what kind of motivated you to write a book like that?
Richard: Well, it was just a dream. Again, it was just I thought to myself, “Ah, I want to write a book.” Now, saying that, the dream came along in 2002. The book came out about ten years after that. But I wrote down in 2002 that I wanted to write a book and I remember I’d look at that goal every year, you know, and time’s creeping by and all of a sudden I realize; I go, “Man, I wrote that down eight years ago. I better get started on this.” So I started to work on it and actually the first manuscript I threw out because I did it myself and it was not very good.
We’ve all got different talents. I’m a much better speaker than I am a writer. I literally wrote the book and I remember in one weekend I was sitting in my home office reading it and I was going through the manuscript and I’m thinking to myself, “This is terrible. I can’t publish this. I can’t send this out into the world. This is not good work.” So, I literally threw it out.
I went down and told my wife, “I just threw the manuscript away.” She couldn’t believe it.
Richard: And then what I did, I said, “Okay, I’ve got to hire a writer. I need somebody that has the ability to write. I’ve got the concepts. I’ve got the ideas.” I started working with a writer, his name is Dan Clemens and he’s in the acknowledgments in the book. And he’s a talented writer and so, what I would do is I would literally create audio files. Then they’d go to Dan and he’d start to write it and then every Friday we would spend a few hours on the phone and this was a long process. I think it took us about a year and a half. And you know, because you end up with so much more than the final product ends up.
But the whole reason to write it was; my theory was this: I want the book to be about real estate, but I wanted it to transcend real estate. I wanted it to be a book that people outside of the real estate industry could read. But I wanted to have two characters, obviously it’s a fable. It’s a story. Got a lot of drama in it and we’ve got this one character, his name is Josh and Josh is a struggling real estate agent.
Josh wants to do well. Josh has got the big mortgage. He’s got the expensive car and he’s got the big payments and always having trouble keeping his head above water. And of course the challenge Josh has is he thinks that everybody else is a problem.
And then there’s this other agent, named Amy. She’s very successful, very kind, very generous, that sort of thing and you know, long story short, Josh doesn’t like Amy. He’s always upset with her. She lists his next-door neighbor’s house and finally Josh gets so mad he’s going to give her a piece of his mind. He calls Amy and of course Amy turns it all around and starts to sort of coach or mentor Josh, if you will, and introduces Josh to seven people that literally changed her life and they become Josh’s teachers.
What happens? You take an unsuccessful person that has all the ability in the world, but for many years has just been doing the wrong things with the wrong attitude. Gets introduced and learns the same teaching that has made Amy a success and you know, by changing the mindset and then of course by applying the right actions, Josh also starts to produce the results that at one time he always wanted to, but he didn’t know how to produce it.
So, it was really exciting for me to get a story out that the people could read through and quite often it’s, it’s a little bit my story to be honest, you know what I mean? There’s concepts in there that I struggled with and I had learn. And now all of a sudden, I think by people reading it, they understand that they have ability to produce much greater results and it’s maybe not as difficult as they think it is. If they would maybe just change their mindset a little bit and start to study the successful people and apply what it is they’re doing. That’s how the whole thing evolved.
Mario: I really liked the book like I said, I just read it second time before we did the interview and in fact I got more out of the book reading it again because there’s a lot of nuance to it. You know, I like that in a book. It reminded me of some of the Og Mandino books and The One Minute Manager and The One Minute Salesperson. I like that style of writing, and for me I could relate to a lot of it also.
I know the one part you talked about when Josh goes to the sales seminar. He’s all pumped up, you know, ready to go and by the time he drives home, all the enthusiasm goes out the door and …
Richard: That’s right.
Mario: …that happened to me when I was younger.
Richard: I know. Why I think it happens to us all. Here’s what’s interesting, if the average human being has 60,000 thoughts a day and the way we think causes the way we feel. Like, whatever thoughts you’re thinking, you’re going to experience that emotionally. Sad thoughts; you know you’re going to feel sad. Happy thoughts; you’re going to have more energy; you’re going to be more excited. The way we think causes the way we feel. The way we feel generally causes the way we act. See most people act on their feelings, not despite their feelings and we even use it all the time, “Tomorrow. I don’t feel like doing that today, I’ll do it tomorrow” or “I feel like doing this today.”
So the way we think causes the way we feel. The way we feel causes the way we act and the way we act produces the results in our life. Whatever we do, the actions we take every day produce the results.
If you look at that, that means that ultimately the results we produce are actually caused by the way we think. Because the way we think causes the way we feel, act, and then our results.
So my theory is, I keep talking about attitude a little bit and we’ve all probably heard this before, but the secret to somebody changing is changing the way they think. So Josh went to that seminar; got all excited because he was motivated. He was stimulated by thought. He had ideas, right? “Go wow, you know that’s a good idea. That’s a good idea. That’s a good idea.” But as he starts driving home, over a period of many, many hours what ends up happening is he sort of starts to go back to his old way of thinking again. He starts to think the way he’s always been thinking because thinking is habitual. See, the average person has 60,000 thoughts, but they say that 95 percent of our thoughts are habitual.
One of the secrets to change, that I encourage people to get involved in, is to keep putting in new information. Whether it’s reading great books. Listening to a great podcast, like this, or some of your other podcasts. You know, listening to any audio program. I drive around in my car listening to audio books all of the time. Getting around motivated people. You know, talk to them about what’s their dreams and their goals and you slowly, but surely you start to change the way you think. Where Josh was falling back into his old ways.
But when you keep exposing yourself to exciting people; to more successful people, you know, to great books; to great inspiring television programs; wonderful true stories, you know, that has been turned into an amazing movie.
If we keep doing that over and over again, to me it’s like if you look at a bowl or you look at a water jug and it’s, you know, sitting on a table, it’s full of water and you put all the sand and you stir it all up; it looks like dirty water.
But if I take clean water and keep pouring clean water into that jug and it starts overflowing over the top, well, you can picture that what’s going to happen is a lot of that dirty water starts to grow and the more clean water that goes in, eventually the water starts to become clearer. But you’ve got to keep pouring in. You got to keep pouring it in. You got to keep pouring it in. And of course, you can pour it in forever and it will never be perfectly clear, but it’s going to be a lot better than it was.
I use that analogy a lot and that’s what I think most people will have to do. Is they’ve got to keep putting positive stuff in so they can start to change the way they think. Start to change their attitude. It’s not going to happen overnight.
Get around the right people. Don’t get around people that are trying to drag you down. You know what I mean? You know people that maybe don’t believe in you. People that say, “Oh, you know, what do you want to do that for? You can’t do that.” You know, they’re not doing that because they don’t want you succeed. They’re doing that because they don’t want you to leave where you are because they like you just the way you are. Right?
That’s the number one thing we’ve all got to learn to change. And when that changes, when our thoughts start to change, our thinking starts to change. Our feelings start to change. We start to feel more motivated. We start to feel more excited. We start to take different actions and then we start to produce different results. We start to see smaller successes. We start to see little wins and when we start to see little wins more often, our confidence goes up; our self-esteem. We feel better about ourselves and then of course more wins, more wins, more wins, right? And all of a sudden the trajectory you’re going up, right, instead of maybe flat or going down.
Mario: I recommend your book to everybody that’s listening out there. Like I said, I read it two times. I got a lot out of it and I commend you for what you did because you created a book that is good for real estate agents, but for anybody in life and I think its great that you took the effort to do it. Even though it took you a few years.
Richard: Well, it was a great project and I didn’t write it to make money because let’s face it, if you publish a book, and I have a publisher, it’s published by Wiley out of New York. You know they kept the lion’s share of the money and you have to sell millions and millions and millions of copies in order to make a lot of money off a book. I wrote it just because it was a sort of labor of love and I wanted to get a book out there because, I don’t know, I think it’s sort of cool that when I’m gone in all fairness the books still there.
Mario: Yes, I agree. What have you got going on in the future? You got any special projects? You got any speaking events coming up?
Richard: Well, I’m traveling all over. I was just in Israel speaking not long ago. I’m going to be in South Africa early next year, in about three months. I travel all over North America all the time. I enjoy a lot of speaking. We do a couple events ourselves called “Secrets” which are large multi-day events. We do those a couple of times a year. And our business model’s really good right now.
And I think my main objective, I guess a couple of things. Number 1, I do want to write another book, so that’s sort of on the horizon.
The second thing I want to continually improve the quality of our services. I want to continually make our events better. I love multi-day events where people immerse themselves for a couple of days. Get away from their office. Get away from sort of their life and come and just work on themselves. I like that environment. We’re going to continually to grow those and make those a little bit better.
And then of course the big thing that we do is obviously the coaching because we know the one on one environment that’s where we can have the greatest impact. And you know I get what you said about coaching and I will say coaching is not for everybody. I always say that if people aren’t, “Well, I don’t think it will work for me.” Well, they’re right. It won’t work and they shouldn’t get in, because it’ll only work when people feel pride that it’s going to make a difference for them, when they’re committed to making a change.
Bottom line, I’m probably going to keep doing more of the same. Continue to grow the company. Continue to try to have a greater impact in the world and hopefully continue to have a little bit of fun along the way as well.
Mario: What do you like to do when you do want to get, away from all your work? What do you like to do for leisure activities?
Richard: Well, I love to travel. Obviously I travel for a living, but I like traveling personally a lot. I go on a lot of really cool little adventures. I also love to play golf. I try to play golf as much as I can. I’m not very good, but I like the game. It gets me away for a few hours and I just like being going somewhere for four or five hours and being totally away from everything and hanging out with some people, having a few laughs.
My wife and I are probably considered homebodies a little bit. We don’t go out socially a lot, but we love to stay at home and we got our little dog at home and it makes us very, very happy. And both of us are avid readers and I guess fitness nuts a little bit. We both like to exercise every day. I look at it and say, “I’m lucky I get to travel to some really cool places.” And my wife’s not as much of a traveler, so it’s sort of cool. I get to have all of those experiences when I’m traveling and get to enjoy some of the adventures. Then, when I’m home I really love to be home. You know, I love to hang out with my wife and kids. Kids are a little older now and don’t love to hang out with me maybe quite as much. But, yeah, just be home and then if I get a odd chance go out and play golf and that’s makes me happy as well.
Mario: Well, this has been a great interview Richard. I really appreciate you doing the podcast. You’re very generous to take time from your schedule and this will really be a great tool for everybody listening. Thank you.
Richard: My pleasure, Mario. I thank you for inviting me, and thank you for letting me share.