The Millionaire Real Estate Agent

If I have seen further it is by standing on the shoulders of giants.

– Isaac Newton

What follows in this post may seem to some like Earl Nightingale meets Buddha – and maybe it is – but I think you are going to like it.

Last week Matt wrote:

I might have missed something in the post, but to say that all listings for the discounter were $299 is probably not correct. “58 X 299 = $17,342.”I see a lot of “Discounters” using low selling price as a tool to get people in the door, or on phone. $299 is usually a no support price…and then they tack on a-la-carte items to raise that price up. True, it will never be full commission, but I doubt all 58 sold for only $299. How would he still be in business only making $17K per quarter?Russell, How hard was it to get to the level you are at today? Many realtors never get to this level, because it is very, very hard. I would bet that it is a lot easier to throw up a bunch of ads, that say you will sell a home for $299, and get a ton on people in your office. It can’t be that hard…

I don’t know how much selling up occurs at his site. But assume he only sells half of the listings he takes and gets paid on twice as many as he closes and manages to up sell every possible option he has – I still don’t like the numbers. I am still saying it is NOT that easy to make money by lowering one’s prices. Please understand I am not saying it can’t be done – just that making money doing it is not easy.

But the question of yours that really caught my eye was, “Russell, How hard was it to get to the level you are at today? Many realtors never get to this level, because it is very, very hard.”

I don’t believe that is even the correct framework for understanding what is involved. To think of it as “hard” or “difficult” is trying to grasp it in terms of how much effort is involved vs. charging less and “getting a lot of business” that way. One of the huge advantages I have over most highly successful Realtors (this year we will take over 600 listings, close over 400 escrows – for over 100 million in volume) is that I was an “ordinary” agent my first twelve years in real estate. My first 12 years I sold between 18 – 24 houses a year. I was heavily in debt, lived from deal to deal and was not exactly happy with my “real estate life”. Compare this to Craig Proctor – who at age 29, his third year in the business, was the number one agent in the world for Re/Max. My first TWELVE YEARS were a struggle. So my perspective about achieving an extremely high level of success isn’t all “book learning”. This understanding has enabled me to not only create a completely stable level of success in my own business but also to share my wisdom on this subject with others and help to make them successful, as well. To get to the level I am at (and there are hundreds of other agents making the kind of money I make or more) isn’t a matter of “difficulty” at all. Does it take a lot of effort and dedication? More than an ordinary person can even imagine. But the work isn’t “hard” – it is almost a non-stop joy, a reward in itself. I smoked for 29 years and quit smoking in 1989. For some years after I quit smoking I would get asked if it was “hard to quit”. My answer was always, “No, it wasn’t hard to quit”. I had a few days of unbelievable cravings (I took off work and spent two days non-stop TALKING about smoking – my wife got to listen to all this). I had about three weeks where I had to have Nicorette gum. But it wasn’t “hard”. I had DECIDED. Now deciding – oh my GOD was that difficult. I “thought about” quitting for TWENTY NINE YEARS. People who get to my level DECIDE to get to this level. There will be numerous times along the way where it will seem right to “coast” – I did for three years at 60 deals a year, again at 130 deals (2 years there), again at 200 deals a year (3 years at that level). You get the idea. The operative word here is: DRIVE. It isn’t “hard”, it requires drive. The person has to really want it.

What I know now is that every person has a “set point” for just about everything. On any subject there is a certain amount of “X”that is considered “good”. Any amount less than “that amount” is not enough. Any amount over that amount is too much. Although this concept applies to anything; motion, speed, food, sex, free time, affection, etc – I’ll use the example of money. There is a certain amount of savings, for example, that is “right” for a person. Less than that amount and they must get it back up to the correct level. More than that and they feel like they have “a surplus” and will find a way to get rid of it. Same with income – make less than the “right amount” and the person will find a way to get their income back up to that “correct amount”. For some years the amount of money I was “allowed” (by myself) to keep was a minus number. As you can imagine, this made for some very interesting checkbook balancing from time to time. So the first “rule” to know if one intends to change the amount of money they will earn or have would be for the person to change their ideas about “how much they need”. Many people may think of this as “positive thinking” – but it is the VITAL first step and can not be omitted.

Here is a link to a positively wonderful short video that a friend sent to me. It is called 212 degrees. Please turn your sound on and take a few minutes to enjoy it.

There is also a movie out on DVD called “The Secret“. You can watch it on line for about $5 or order the DVD for $30. If you have not experienced it you are missing out on something quite special.

A truly key point is covered in the following, and if you understand and grasp it – you will never see your business potential the same again.

Excerpt from policy letter 28 Aug 1973, Organization Executive Course, Volume 7:


“It is also true that the volume an organization handles is NOT dependent upon public demand. The volume it gets and handles is solely determined by its internal organization. This sounds so strange that many an Executive Director has had great trouble until he believed and and used it. You can always internally shoot the stats up and keep them up. It is THAT, across all divisions, which determines the volume an organization gets and handles. This is sometimes hard to teach people but once they see the results of it they become converts to that principal —- that it is internal, not external actions that determine stats.”

– L. Ron Hubbard

So long as I believed (my first 12 years in real estate) that “the market” had something to do with my income I was like a cork floating in the ocean – my destiny controlled by forces that were – for the most part – completely out of my control. What I know now is that agents who are “geared up” for 50 – 60 deals a year are not going to do much more than that. They may have little spikes up here and there but they will get it “back to normal” quite soon – whatever it takes to accomplish that.

In Gary Keller’s outstanding book, “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent” this (although not stated explicitly like above with the Hubbard quote) is covered in the correct sequence for hiring assistants. Any real estate agent who plans on ever moving past “having a job” into having a business needs to read this book. At least twice.

It is not just the most important book ever written on the subject – it is the only book ever written on the subject. Imagine if you could get author, Michael Gerber, “The E-Myth Revisited” to stop by and write up for you what to do in your business to build it up into a stable operation so you would not ever have a problem that money would solve. The proceeding sentence is my book review for The Millionaire
Real Estate Agent (known to affectionados as the “MREA”).

To get to the next level (life is improved on a gradient) your organization would need to be set up for actually handling the level of business you want to do. This, of course, would include promotion. Advertising and marketing would not be for the level you are doing now – but for the level you plan to do. If, for example, you did not have an assistant (then you factually ARE one) to do “all the little things” for you – the growth ceiling is to some degree set right there.

The MREA, which was on the Business Week best seller list for over a year, features numerous quotes from me and they featured me in the book, along with about a dozen other top agents in the United States. Vice President of Keller Williams International, Dave Jenks, along with a camera crew, flew from Austin to Phoenix and came to my office (currently a building attached to my home) and spent a day here filming me and my staff. It was the first video they ever did of a mega producer. It was and still is used to train KW agents at their KW Mega Camp. Their video production techniques are SO much better now but that crude video is still used today and I get told (by KW agents and brokers) it is still the one they like the most. Why am I telling you this? There are KW agents whose incomes dwarf mine. They have direct access to some of the most successful agents in the world. The year they interviewed me for the book we closed just a bit over 50,000,000 in volume. Respectable, sure. But not amazing “world class”. The year in question was 2001. I wasn’t here much that year. I was diagnosed in July of 2001 with bladder cancer. I had an aggressive stage 3 tumor in the bladder wall. The urologist wanted to (was insisting on) completely removing my bladder and my prostate. The Mayo Clinic would not accept me as a chemo patient – they would only accept me I would agree to have my bladder removed. I decided I would rather not have this body than have that kind of life. I wound up with a nut for my oncologist (her main nurse was an angel), I had a wonderful surgeon – had three surgeries and I spent nine months traveling to Los Angles once a week for Scientology counseling to get rid of the grief and “deathfulness”. I was physically in Phoenix about 3 days a week and with the chemo I could actually do “real work” in my office about 6 -7 hours a week. I was unable to go on listing appointments anymore (I tried it but would space out so much while talking to them it was kind of pointless).

That year we had the best year (at that time) we had ever had. My business went UP with me GONE. As the MREA was all about systems, they liked mine. And there is nothing I do that can not be replicated by anyone who wants to move up. Nothing.

I am totally cancer free – have been “officially” since March of 2002. At the time I even bought myself a Porsche to celebrate (yes, of course it was a 911 convertible. Yes, of course I had to have supercharger added to it later:-).

And I have exactly the same attitude towards helping agents “break through” any barriers they may have between themselves and the success they desire as I do about giving a cancer patient a “lift”. Attitude is EVERYTHING. Everything.

Please read this book: