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Interview with John Gluch

Real Estate Disruptors John Gluch

Interview with John Gluch

Watch as John Gluch with the Gluch Group Shares How His Team Sold 255 Units Last Year for over $76MM in Sales Volume!

Video Replay of Interview with John Gluch

Podcast Replay of Interview with John Gluch

Show Notes:

Coming Soon

Transcription:

Steve: Hey everybody. Thank you for joining us for today’s episode of The Real Estate Disruptors. Today we’ve got John Gluch, with the Gluch group.
John: Yes.

Steve: And he’s here to share how his team sold over, or sold 261 properties last year for over 76 million in sales volume.

John: Yeah.

Steve: If this is your first time tuning in, I’m Steve Trang, broker owner of Stunning Homes Realty, co-founder of the offer fast app, the one app you need for wholesaling. And I help people become real estate entrepreneurs. If you’re excited for today’s show, please give me a wave, give me a thumbs up. And before we get started, I just wanna share that I just started this show because we wanna give back to our community. I struggled quite a bit in my business. I know you struggled-

John: Yes.

Steve: … a little bit in your business. And we wanna shortcut the struggle for as many young leaders as possible. So I don’t charge a dime for this show. I don’t make any money doing this. So here’s all I ask. If you get value out of this show, please tell a friend. Either tag them below, share this episode, or tell them your best take away from this show later on. That way, we can all grow together. And as a reminder, this is a live show. So be sure to post your questions, and John will be happy to answer as many of them as possible.

John: Yes. No holds barred. You can get-

Steve: No holds barred, right?

John: … pretty weird with those questions.

Steve: We’re gonna go with the really, really tough first question. Ready?

John: Yeah. Get real weird. It’s good. Let’s keep it interesting.

Steve: All right. So what got you into real estate?

John: I was like many people, fell into it by, was I went to ASU. Graduated in 2003.

Steve: Okay.

John: And so I don’t have an excuse like that there was a bad economy or anything. It was a great economy, but I couldn’t get a job. And I did really well in school, and had a finance degree, and all this stuff. And I just couldn’t get a job. Got to the point where I was like, trying to get like hourly jobs at banks.

Steve: Really?

John: And I could not get a job. And there was one in particular I really wanted, a corporate finance job, and it fell through. And I was like, “Man,” like, “This is a bummer.” And a buddy of mine, who I was involved with Young Life for many, many years. Still am. And Young Life’s a youth ministry organization. It’s awesome. And my former boss at Young Life had started a company flipping houses, but also, at that time, he was teaching people how to flip houses.

Steve: Okay.

John: And it was all local. And it was a great, great company. It was a startup. And he said, “Hey, would you help me?” And I became his assistant, like his secretary. And for like 10 bucks an hour, just started helping him out. And the idea was, I felt like, “Hey, I could learn something from him.” He’s a great man. Super smart. And I was like, “Okay, what can I learn about real estate,” and you know, how to career. And so I started that way, and eventually, the company got bigger, and I became part owner of the company.

Steve: Awesome.

John: And we grew, and grew, and grew from there. And all kinda stuff has happened since then, but that was the original. That’s how it started.

Steve: Well, that’s pretty cool though that you went in there, 10 bucks an hour wasn’t beneath you.

John: Yeah, yeah.

Steve: It was an opportunity to learn. I think that’s something, that’s a mindset that some people-

John: Yeah.

Steve: … have a hard time-

John: Totally.

Steve: … grasping.

John: I’ve heard since then, your 30s are about learning, not earning. And I think that’s really true. I didn’t have that clarity at that time. But in looking back-

Steve: Yeah.

John: It absolutely was. And he was a great guy to learn from, and he was smart, and he had bought into a franchise that was local, you know, teaching people how to flip houses. And at that time, we had unbelievable timing.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Everything was perfect. We just nailed it. You couldn’t do anything wrong in real estate. And for five years, up until the bust-

Steve: Yeah.

John: We just killed it. Everything went really well. We learned a lot, made a lot of mistakes about how to run a company. We were both pretty new at it. But that’s how I learned real estate. Got into it, and then then 2007 happened. Do you remember the, I don’t know. Do you remember the bad times we had?

Steve: That’s when I started.

John: Dude, it was so bad. I was, I remember the day. I was listening to an NPR podcast called Planet Money, which I really recommend. It’s great. And they were like, this was when the stock market fell and all this. And I was like, “Oh, this is the end of my career. This is it.”

Steve: Oh really?

John: Yeah. We had, I’d bought all these rental houses, borrowed all this money to have these rental houses, borrowed money from my family. And it was just this whole thing. And we were, it didn’t matter that each month on my rentals, we were collecting less money than it cost to pay for them. We were like four grand a month negative, even when the houses were fully rented.

Steve: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John: It didn’t matter, because they were worth like 30 grand more every month, you know-

Steve: Appreciation.

John: It was all this money, until it wasn’t, right?

Steve: Right.

John: And I just remember the day, driving in my car. I was single, no kids, any of that. I was just like, “Well, that’s the end of this.” I just realized, this is gotta, this is all gonna change now.”

Steve: Yeah.

John: And learned a million lessons in that process too. But man, it was a wild ride, and I’m just so thankful. The guy’s name was Jean, and he was just such a great mentor and friend. And that’s how I learned real estate.

Steve: Okay. So you were helping him flip at that time. So you weren’t doing traditional yet.

John: Flip. No. I didn’t even have a license for the first two thirds of that time.

Steve: Okay.

John: And yeah. We were just running classes. Come on out to the hotel. We’d do a free seminar on how to flip houses and all this. And we were very selective with who we picked. It was a super ethical way to do it. I mean, everybody we brought on, almost everybody, ended up flipping houses and making money. Again, that was ’cause the market was amazing, but-

Steve: Yeah.

John: Yeah. I just, I think the lessons I learned then, looking back, really were so powerful. I think it would’ve been even better if I had been approaching it with that angle, like, hey this is about learning. This is about growing. But you’re right. I think my initial decision to go, “Hey, I may not make any money doing this, but I have something to learn from this guy.”

Steve: Right.

John: I mean, that made all the difference. I didn’t come from an entrepreneurial family. My dad’s a government employee, high level government employee. And so that way we grew up was like, you work 50 years at the same job, and get a pension.

Steve: Extreme stability.

John: It was very stable, very … And my dad provided a great life for us. So I wasn’t thinking like, “Let’s go out and try a new company.” But Jean taught me that. He was the guy that introduced me to entrepreneurship. And I’m, I’ll never be the same because of it.

Steve: That’s awesome.

John: Yep.

Steve: So then from there, you went into [Bafeeny 00:05:42]?

John: Yeah. My first, after we’d lost, after I lost everything. I didn’t go bankrupt, but close. Short sold six houses. We, my friends knew I was in real estate, and there were still people buying houses, and so they said, “Hey, would you help me buy this house for my family?” The tax credits came around, all that stuff.

Steve: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John: So I was selling, I don’t know, 10 houses, 12 houses a year, nothing crazy. But then found out about Brian Buffini and their coaching program, and signed up right away. And that was the first I’d ever been introduced to self development, like Zig Zigler, Dan Hardy, Brian Buffini, you know, Jim Rohn. That was where all of that started for me, and that was a huge game changer. I mean, that was like the fork in the road for me of like doing pretty good, coasting on natural gifting and charisma, and then like oh there’s this whole new world open to me where I can grow and become a totally different person.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And that was a game changer.

Steve: Well and I tell people all the time, like the greatest gift for me in getting into real estate is that I can give my kids such a huge leg up-

John: Oh [crosstalk 00:06:44].

Steve: … from what we’ve learned-

John: Yeah.

Steve: … through personal development, that we didn’t have the opportunity to learn-

John: Yeah.

Steve: … when we were growing up. So-

John: No, it’s true. You get out of college and you think you’re done learning. At least I did.

Steve: Right.

John: And now it’s like, “Oh my gosh.” It was just beginning. And I’m just a lifelong learner.

Steve: Yeah.

John: I read so much, and I’m just so thankful. You and I both love Darren Hardy, and have been part of all his programs. And Jim Rohn’s another one of my favorites, and Strategic Coach. I mean, just go down the list. I mean, you can get weird with it. I mean, you can become the junkie-

Steve: Yeah.

John: You know, like all I do is go to self development programs and-

Steve: Yeah.

John: You can definitely waste a lot of time and money-

Steve: Oh, for sure.

John: … learning but not implementing.

Steve: Yeah.

John: But man, I cannot recommend enough. I mean, Darren’s my favorite for sure. Great place to start. But any of it is great. I mean, it’s just so, so valuable.

Steve: Well I know I definitely follow. So, I’ve done Buffini.

John: Yeah.

Steve: I was like, “Man. John’s only got a year on me. How’s he so much more successful than I am?” So I’ve done the Buffini thing. I did the Mike Faria thing. That was the only difference.

John: Yeah. Yeah.

Steve: Then joined Proctor is where I met you. And then we’ve done HPF, and we’ve done Strategic Coach. So are you looking at other programs now?

John: No. I’m in a season of, it’s a great, wise epiphany I had, Steve. I have to take all the credit for this. I decided it was time to not travel and do, to take it easy on the coaching programs to be with my family.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Which is actually my wife’s idea. So-

Steve: So, smart.

John: Yeah. It’s very smart. I’m learning to listen.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And it took her two years of telling me like, “Dude. You gotta stop all this coaching stuff.” And I’m like, “Yeah, I agree.” So and Darren will say, Darren has said that many times too. So often we dig a hole, like we’re gonna dig a well, right? We’re gonna, I’m gonna learn a few things from Darren Hardy. And then we pick up and we go, “Okay, what does Zig Zigler have to say, and what does Jim Rohn?” And you never, you leave all these untapped resources. And so I have decided okay, no, no. I’m just gonna take it easy. I’m gonna really scale back, travel very little this year. And so no. My main … Craig Proctor is I owed them a ton of my success. I’m still part of that program. And then I have become friends with Darren, and we, I listed to his stuff over and over and over again.

Steve: Yeah.

John: The tapes, and all the recordings, all the programs I’ve bought, I’ve listened to dozens of times.

Steve: Oh really?

John: So those are kind of my two go-to right now-

Steve: Yeah.

John: You know, the Craig Proctor stuff and Darren’s stuff are my top ones.

Steve: Very cool.

John: Yeah.

Steve: So, knowing what you know today, what would you do differently if you were starting over?

John: I mean, I was so … the three things I attribute our success to are one, being lucky. Like we had really good timing a couple times. I caught fire in 2011 is when I started getting coaching. And that was a really good time in real estate to start getting great coaching and planning, because-

Steve: Absolutely.

John: … everyone was buying houses, and still is. So really, really great timing, and a couple other great things. Second thing is really great team. Justin Benson was my first hire, and that guy’s like a wizard. I mean-

Steve: Yeah.

John: … he’s unbelievably good at like a million things. Great work ethic. And it just started there. I mean, everybody since then has just been these fantastic people we’ve been really privileged to work with. So really, really great team, and then coaching. Like those are the three things that that’s what made me and made us what we are today. I don’t know that there is much I would do different. I mean, I think I learned a big lesson in the boom and the bust, which is I don’t buy houses anymore that don’t cash flow. Like I still buy rental real estate. We’re buying Air B&Bs. But we put them on 15 year mortgages and they cash flow. And I would love to have not done that.

Steve: Yeah.

John: That was a really expensive lesson. And cost me and my family a bunch of money. So I think if I could do it over again, I would just, like the Dave Ramsey stuff-

Steve: Right.

John: Like really simple, you know, I don’t totally … I have mortgages, right, I’m not like a full blown card carrying Ramsey guy. But a lot of what he says is smart.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And I think he’s way more right than I was. That’s for sure.

Steve: Oh yeah.

John: So that’s a big mistake that I wish I wouldn’t have made. But thankfully, hopefully, I learned from it and have changed the way I do things now, you know.

Steve: Well, I’d say for sure. I mean, it’s kinda hard to make that mistake again. You already know.

John: Right.

Steve: It’s like putting your hand on the stove. You’re not gonna do that again.

John: Yeah.

Steve: Okay. So we already talked about this. So, next question is, a lot of people getting into the industry right now.

John: Yep.

Steve: Schools are doing really well.

John: Yes. Yes. Yeah.

Steve: What would you tell them as far as finding a mentor?

John: I think a, I wanna make a comment about that, the saturation. Yes. There are a lot of people coming into the market. And there are, there’s also a lot of competition from big startups with a lot of money right now.

Steve: Yeah.

John: That teams like mine have to pay attention to. Like we’re tracking all these new guys. Every month, we have, there’s a, one of the guys on my team is posting every single month the numbers of these, how are different models growing? Big businesses, big teams need to be thinking about other models that are giving another try. Like flat fee models have been around forever.

Steve: Right. Right.

John: Like, “We’ll list your house for X dollars.” That’s been around for decades.

Steve: Yeah.

John: It hasn’t worked. It has never gained market share. That doesn’t mean you can write it off and say it’s never gonna work, right?

Steve: Yeah.

John: So now you’ve got new teams with new models coming that are trying the same thing with a different shine on it and a lot more money. And so you have to pay attention to that. So if you are new, and you’re coming into the market as a solo agent, I think absolutely, like I said, of my three things, one of them was coaching, right?

Steve: Right.

John: So mentorship’s gotta be key. And I think coming up with finding a person who is your kind of person. Like I had lunch today with an agent over at our brokerage, and he was asking, he was telling me about all these coaches he had been a part of, four or five different coaching programs. And none of them are like him. I know these coaches-

Steve: Yeah.

John: And I’m like, “Dude. That’s not your kinda guy.”

Steve: Right.

John: Even the coaching programs I’ve been a part of, there’s some where you get to a point where you’re like, “I’ve learned a lot from this person, and I don’t know that there’s much left,” because we’ve reached the fork where I’m a different guy than you. And I’m not gonna change who I am, and you’re not gonna change who you are. So thank you for everything we’ve learned, and let’s keep this relationship going. But I need something else-

Steve: Yeah.

John: Like I need next step. So I would say one of the most important parts about finding a mentor is finding your kinda person, someone who has a life that you want, has a lifestyle you want, has a family you want, a marriage you want, who does business in a way that really sticks out to you as being congruent with your core values. So that takes a lot of self awareness. Who are you? What do you want? What do you want your life to be like?

Steve: Right.

John: To find the guy who is like you or the gal who is like you, you’ve gotta know who you are. And so, I think that’s the key. A lot of people miss that. They just look for the most successful person. Which by the way, doesn’t always line up with what it looks like, right?

Steve: Right.

John: We talk about all these big commission numbers, and it’s like, “What are you really taking home man?”

Steve: Right.

John: You know like, and-

Steve: At the end of the day, what [crosstalk 00:13:32].

John: What do you do with it when you get home?

Steve: Yeah.

John: How’s your marriage, all that stuff. So I think the smoke and mirrors of the guys who are loudest on YouTube and have the biggest GCI numbers, that very often, I don’t want that-

Steve: Yeah.

John: … business, or that life a lot of times. So being discerning in who you find. And then the second piece is how are you gonna add value to this person’s life, right?

Steve: Exactly.

John: If you’re coming asking for something, you know, it would be a lot smarter to start by giving. How can I contribute to your life? Like with Jean, my mentor when I started in real estate, the guy I was talking about, I mean, I did a good job for him.

Steve: Yeah.

John: I was there helping. I took a job that was far below what I could earn in theory. And I did my best to really help him out with his business. And I got to learn a lot because of that.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Yeah. Mentorship’s a big deal. And you can-

Steve: Yeah. I’m very big fan of finding coaching.

John: Yeah.

Steve: But that’s great though, you kinda discerned, it’s not just finding coaching. It’s finding the right coaching.

John: Yeah. And for the right season, you know?

Steve: Yeah.

John: There are things that you’ll, for a season will be very helpful, and you’ll go, “Okay, you got …” And that’s true with all kind of stuff, with mentorships, with friendships, with team members, all of that. It’s like, “Okay, we got here together. Are we going to the next place together?”

Steve: Yeah.

John: Are we still on the same page here? And you know, with different seasons there’s different people for those seasons.

Steve: Right.

John: I think the other thing too is like, to some degree, play your skillset. Like if you’re a rookie agent, never sold a single house, going to somebody who’s selling hundreds of houses a year, and “Hey, would you be my mentor?” Maybe that’s a stretch, you know? Maybe you need someone who’s gonna take you from zero to 100,000 in gross commissions.

Steve: Right.

John: Maybe that’s a better start.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Not always, but it’s something to consider for sure.

Steve: Yeah.

John: You know?

Steve: I remember when I first started, one of the first things I did was I went to go and interview, not interview, but buy lunch-

John: Yeah.

Steve: … for all the top producers.

John: Right.

Steve: Like, here are the things I’m thinking. Who should I talk to?

John: Yeah, totally.

Steve: That’s actually how I got in with Craig Proctor, ’cause I bought lunch with Russell Shaw. I was like, “Look. Here’s all the coaching programs I’m looking at. Where should I go?” And he’s like, “That’s a joke. That’s a joke.”

John: Yeah.

Steve: “Go to Craig Proctor.”

John: Yeah, totally.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Yep. Absolutely. Like, “Hey, how do I get from zero to 100,000?” Ask five great people that question and you know … I was thinking about this last night. The Proverbs talks about it all the time. Seek wise counsel. Go in the counsel of many people. There’s this great wisdom that comes. And I am so bad at doing that. Just, if you have a big decision to make, go ask five people that you respect. Figure out what they did. Watch a show like this, you know?

Steve: Yeah.

John: I think we under utilize that simple tool, you know?

Steve: Yeah. Okay. One … I’m gonna reach back to a meeting that we had in a different mastermind.

John: Yep.

Steve: And before we start, full disclosure. Commissions are fully negotiable. There are no standards in industry. Right?

John: Yes.

Steve: So we’ve had, I’ve heard in talking to some of the people, there’s some major news, some disgruntled, or concerns right now in our industry.

John: Yeah.

Steve: And talking to some other agents, they’re saying there’s a lot of downward pressure on commissions.

John: Yeah. Yep.

Steve: But you and I are Craig Proctor, and we have the opposite problem. Like the conversation’s completely different.

John: Yeah.

Steve: Where it’s like how you convey the value.

John: Yep.

Steve: So I heard you explain to our friend about, “You’re just not articulating your value well.” So can you kinda explain to an agent that’s having trouble charging their fee, how do you explain that?

John: Yeah. I think there’s two things that are a critical part of starting any business, if you’re gonna go start being a realtor, or you’re just looking to go to the next level in your business that you’ve already got going. And step one is creating value.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So, which the, in real estate, tables, like showing people houses, listing their house, being a good negotiator, taking great pictures, that’s like table stakes. If you wanna play the game, you’re up against what, 40,000? How many realtors are there?

Steve: 40,000.

John: Yeah. 40,000 people? You gotta be good at the job just to even stand at the plate, right?

Steve: Yeah.

John: So don’t tell me that you have really good customer service, or you have professional photography, right?

Steve: Right.

John: Like, got it. You know? So, what can you do that’s next level, that is truly creating value for customers? And you have to be able to articulate that really well. So step one, create value. Step two, articulate it. Market it really well. So I think for us, what I’ve really hung my hat on, and my sort of mission, vision, what we do at the Gluch Group is, we are after, we wanna humanize real estate. We wanna humanize the small business world.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And the best way I can explain that is by explaining the enemy. You all have examples of this, right? But the enemy is, I go to the doctor’s office. This is a real story. Go to the doctor’s office, and first time to the doctor. He’s recommended by a friend.

Steve: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John: I go in. There’s a million people in the waiting room. I go and I go to the front thing, and there’s this glass thing, I guess to protect them from all of us sick people, right? Fair enough. And they say, “Hey, how can I help you?” And I’m like, “Yeah. My name’s John, and I’m here for this appointment.” And they’re like, “Okay.” They look through the thing, whatever. “Now, what are you here for?” “I’m here for the thing. Remember when we talked for 20 minutes on the phone the other day, and you asked me why I was coming in? That same thing, that’s why I’m here. Nothing has changed in the last four days.” Right?

Steve: Yeah.

John: “Okay. Got it.” Sign me in. Great. I sit down. In the lobby of the doctor’s office is all these TV screens that are running ads for drugs, right?

Steve: Yeah.

John: And stuff that I don’t have. I don’t need the ad for whatever, these random diseases people … it’s a scary and not fun to be there.

Steve: Yeah.

John: I’m like, “This sounds terrible. Why am I here?” I sit there for an hour, and I go up like, I go up. “Hey. I gotta go. I got stuff.” So I tell the lady I gotta go. And she’s like, “Okay, no, no, no. What’s, we’ll get.” So doctor, sure enough, comes up, “Okay. Yeah. Come on in.” And they sit me in another waiting room for 20 minutes. He eventually comes in and goes, “Hey.” And I said, “I gotta leave.” I told him again, “I’m leaving.” And so he comes in, and says, “Hey, can I refill your prescription before you leave?” And I’m like, “I’ve never been here. I don’t have any prescriptions. I’m …” I was just so flabbergasted-

Steve: Yeah.

John: … that I just left. And I was like, “That is exactly what we’re not.” That is the perfect example that’s dehumanizing. You’re treating people not like people. I mean, you’re treating them like-

Steve: It’s a conveyor belt.

John: … robots or animals, or I don’t know what-

Steve: Yeah.

John: But not people. And I thought, we are never, we’re gonna be the opposite of that. So like simple stuff, like at the Gluch Group, you come into our office, we know you’re coming.

Steve: Yeah.

John: You have an appointment.

Steve: Right.

John: We know why you’re gonna be there. So, and we can find you on Facebook. So we know what you look like. So when you walk in, we greet you by name. We sit you in a beautiful lobby area or conference room. We’ve got a menu of snacks and drinks for you to have when you get there. You get to pick whatever you want. All the forms that we have are pre-filled. We’re not gonna make you write your name. We know your name.

Steve: Yeah.

John: You told us your name on the phone two days ago.

Steve: Right.

John: So why would we start over? That is a picture of what we’re trying to do in terms of creating value. So yes. We’re good negotiators. We have all the numbers. I mean, we are good. And that’s important. But once you’ve met all the baseline standards for what people expect, you’ve gotta then create value. You’ve gotta hang your hat on something. And for us, that is the thing. We want you to feel important. We want you to feel like you’re the most important person on the planet. And so Mary Kay said, “If you’ll treat everyone you ever meet like they have a sign around their neck that says, ‘Make me feel important,’ you’ll be successful at life and business.”

Steve: Right.

John: And that is one of our core mantras is treat people like they have a sign that says, “Make me feel important.” And what makes you feel important? The fancy Fiji water we have at the office, and we call you by name, and we don’t ask you to fill out the form again. All of that makes you feel important.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And so for us, that’s the target. And now, okay great. So you’re good at this, right? So you’ve got a way to deliver value. Now, to your point about commissions, you’ve gotta learn to talk about it.

Steve: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John: So I can’t sit in a meeting with someone, a buyer meeting, and explain, “Hey, the reason we’re worth our fee is because we’re gonna make you feel important.”

Steve: Right.

John: Like, “Don’t tell me about how you’re gonna make me feel important. Make me feel important.”

Steve: Exactly.

John: So if by the time I sat down, I already feel important, the battle is won.

Steve: Yeah.

John: There’s nothing left to talk about. We’ve clearly delivered this great message. Everything is top notch with us. I mean, the graphics, the email. You go through the, excellence is one of our core values. Everything is really excellent. So they already have that feeling and that emotion associated with it. It’s like when you go to the BMW dealership versus the Mazda dealership. The feeling you have when you show up at a BMW dealership sells you before you even see a car.

Steve: Yeah.

John: You’re experiencing a luxury experience that cues you up for, this is a different kind of deal.

Steve: Yeah.

John: This is worth more money.

Steve: It’s a luxury experience.

John: And so, yes, we have a presentation where we clearly deliver our value, and we reverse the risk. We do all the stuff you’re supposed to do. But I think much more important is just the way we make people feel. And that starts from the minute, like from the minute that you call us the first time, or you input a web form, we’ve got your name and number. That syncs across all our systems. So now everybody on our team, when you call our office, knows your name, because we have our system set up to do that.

Steve: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John: So Lance, the guy who answers the phone most of the time, will answer by name. Like, “Hey Mary. This is Lance. How are you doing today?” It’s like, “Whoa.” She’s only called once-

Steve: Right.

John: … and doesn’t know who Lance is. But we know her name. So that stuff all really adds up. And being able to not only communicate that but feel it, just know you’re worth it, is such a key to that deal. Like I know we’re worth it. I know we’re great at this. And we have to keep telling our sales guys all the time that.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So, just because you believe you’re worth it today, don’t assume you’re gonna feel the same way tomorrow. You gotta keep selling yourself and your team on how valuable you are.

Steve: Right. So that’s for the buyers. So for the sellers, how do you-

John: So here’s the other thing I wanna be really honest about is we are in a seller’s market right now. It’s not hard to sell houses. So, if they’re priced right. You have to adjust to the market. So for us, can we charge more than what, the “market rate” is? Can we charge seven percent for a listing? Yes. Is no in the marketplace a smart time to do that? I don’t know. You’ve gotta adjust that with your team and with your personal philosophy. But for me, it’s pretty easy to sell houses right now, especially in the price points. So we’re totally fine going, “No. We’re gonna charge market rate, six percent, whatever you think that is, and we’re gonna deliver value that is so far above and beyond what the average agent does. And we’re really happy with our six percent, because this, the act of getting the house sold, is easier than it was at some other point in history, right?

Steve: Two or three years ago.

John: Yeah. So maybe we take a little bit of a beating on the listing side. But on the buy side, that’s freaking hard right now. You want a $200,000 house in Tempe, let me tell you how hard that’s gonna be. My guys are gonna work for that. So we’re very happy to charge a little higher fee to the buyer, because we’re gonna earn it.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So I think Russell said one time, “I don’t wanna build a system that charges less to jerks.” Like, “Hey, if you’re gonna beat me up on fee, you get a lower fee.” I don’t like that model either. I always thought that was a great thing he said. So and for us, we’ve just said “Okay, let’s adjust with the market.” And price points, right? Like you’re selling a million dollar house. Does it need to be the same percentage as the $200,000 house?

Steve: Yeah.

John: You know, all that. I think it’s easy to stand on stage and say, “We charge seven percent, and we’re killing it, and everyone should be like us.” I don’t think it’s quite that simple with most teams.

Steve: Right.

John: You know?

Steve: Okay. Fair enough. So what would you say are your top three resources?

John: Repeat and referral business. And that’s again because we’ve made that our bread and butter. We have a full-time employee dedicated to wowing and delighting and surprising out clients. That is her job. Our wow coordinator Michelle. She’s fantastic. We’ve got a big budget dedicated to that. We throw great events and send great newsletters, and wow people, all this stuff we do. So that’s out biggest source for sure.

John: We have a lot of great reviews on Yelp, which is one of the ways I encourage my sales team and remind them, “Hey, we’re good at this,” is we just go read reviews, you know? Like every time we get a new review, I read it at a team meeting, like, “Way to go. That’s incredible that you guys delivered a service like this that people are so proud to be a part of.” So Yelp’s a big one for us, because we’ve got more reviews than anybody in Arizona.

Steve: Right.

John: And then we get a lot off of just our advertising our listings. So advertising then on Zillow, advertising them, putting signs out, that kind of thing. So sign calls, Zillow leads on our own listings.

Steve: Right.

John: Those are our top three main sources for leads.

Steve: And then I think we probably wanna clarify, and we were talking about this before we were recording.

John: Yeah.

Steve: Yelp is great if you’ve got a lot of reviews.

John: Right. Yeah.

Steve: Don’t go out spending crazy amount of money.

John: Yes. No, ’cause if people hear, “Oh, John’s doing so great on Yelp,” and all that, and they’ll go spend money on advertising. That’s not how, it doesn’t work that way.

Steve: Right.

John: It’s a … You cannot game Yelp. There is no … You can game a lot of stuff. Like there’s a lot of review sites that are pretty easy to hoodwink.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Like you can get all your friends and uncles, whatever, to do. It doesn’t work that way on Yelp. They are smart, and their whole platform is built on trust.

Steve: Right.

John: If you can’t trust that review’s real, they don’t have a business.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So they’ve really been smart about it. And everyone gets mad at yelp because all their reviews get filtered. And there’s reasons for that. But just, it’s a, Yelp is a good thing for people to have a few good reviews on that are like legit reviews, so that when people Google your name, they see you’ve got good reviews.

Steve: Right.

John: That’s what most people should do with Yelp. They should not spend money. They shouldn’t try to make it a core part of their business, ’cause it’s very, very hard. And it takes tons of time, and spending money on it is a mistake for most people.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Yeah.

Steve: Very, very time intensive.

John: Yes. Yes.

Steve: Okay. So we were talking about the wow, right?

John: Yeah.

Steve: And I think, and the enemy.

John: Yes.

Steve: And there’s a story you shared with me a while ago I just think is hysterical. So you were being presented on stage.

John: Oh yeah.

Steve: We won’t talk about which brokerage it was.

John: Yeah, good. That’s fair enough.

Steve: But they call you, and they say, “Mr. Gulsh.” Like how, what was that story?

John: They, I, it was a brokerage I was at previously. And wonderful in many ways, you know. But a big brokerage. And I had actually already decided to leave. I was going somewhere else. And I won an award. I was the number two agent at the company. And-

Steve: In the country? State?

John: State.

Steve: State.

John: In the state. But there’s a lot of agents.

Steve: Yeah. [crosstalk 00:27:40].

John: This is a couple years ago. And yeah. They called me to ask me how to pronounce my name, like a day before the event. And I was like, “Man,” you know, like, “I just don’t think we’re on the same page. I don’t think we’re thinking the same stuff.”

Steve: Right.

John: And that’s, maybe some of it’s ego. I don’t know. But I think part of it was, we’re just not aligned. Our focus isn’t the same thing. And listen, we’re gonna have a movie night in, at the end of the month for my clients. We’re have 300 people there.

Steve: Yeah.

John: I don’t know all those people. I don’t even live in Arizona. I live in California. So I’m not above like, I get that you’re not gonna know everybody’s name, right? But the top 20 people who contribute business to my company, I know their names.

Steve: Right.

John: I know where they live. We’re sending them gifts. We’re calling them on their birthdays. You know like, it was-

Steve: Well that, and you know Justin’s name, and Jeremy’s name.

John: Yeah. Right.

Steve: People at your company.

John: Guys on my team. Yes. Even, probably a better example. Yeah.

Steve: Yeah.

John: It’s like no. I think in the brokerage world, it depends on what you wanna do. If you just wanna go to the cheapest place in town-

Steve: Yeah.

John: … and hang your license. I mean, that’s fine. There’s a place for that.

Steve: Right.

John: There’s always gonna be a place for that. It’s just not for me.

Steve: Yeah.

John: It’s just not what we’re up to. It wasn’t my, didn’t line up with what we’re trying to do.

Steve: Right. So one of the conversations, you’re always kind of, I think the forefront of this, is how you structure your organization.

John: Yeah.

Steve: As far as salaries, profit share and so on. Can you talk a little bit about that?

John: Yeah. So we have a unique model in that not only our admin, like our transaction coordinators and wow coordinator, and some of the things like that, not only those people are salaried, which is very normal. But our sales guys have a salary too. And we’ve gone back and forth on this. It’s been that way from the beginning, where people, even the sales guys on my team get salaries. And we’ve had different models, one where it was salary plus they got a percentage of how much the company made every month. So yeah, you get your salary, and then if we sell a lot of houses, you get a cut of that, because we want, I wanted people to have upside.

John: More importantly, I wanted, let’s say you’re on the team and you didn’t sell a house, but Justin did, I wanted you to make money and be happy about Justin selling a house. Because I wanted to incentivize teamwork, right? So I wanted there to be this pool of money where everyone on the team, down to our virtual assistants in the Philippines and India have some incentive for us to sell houses. And so there’s this sort of pool of money that people get a pice of, right? If I do well, everybody does well.

John: And at the same time what we learned is with salespeople, they’re a unique breed of person.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And sales is a unique job. It requires a lot of you, answering the phone on nights and weekends. And we’ve even shot for the moon. We’re gonna have weekends where you have two days off in a row, and you don’t have to answer your phone. We’ve got a system built that’s gonna cover all your client calls while you’re gone. And we just realized that was not better for the customer. The customer did not want to call you and get your teammate, because they don’t know your teammate. They never met your teammate. So we figured out that’s not gonna work. So we effectively have sales guys who are working seven days a week in some capacity. They’re available at least seven days a week. And so, we need to incentivize them to sell houses. So we said, “Okay. We’re gonna keep the salary. We’re gonna keep the profit share,” ’cause that’s helping. It’s helping us keep people, they can feed their kids, even if they don’t sell any houses. And they’re incentivized to help out as a team. And at the same time, we want them to really win if they kill it this month.

Steve: Right.

John: And for the guy who doesn’t do so hot, we want that to hurt a little bit.

Steve: Yeah.

John: You know? ‘Cause it hurts me. It hurts the rest of the team. And so we said, “Okay, we’re gonna back off everybody’s salary, certain amount of money,” and then we’re gonna say, “Okay, if you sell the minimum number of houses that we expect you to sell this month, you’ll be back at even. And if you do better, you’ll, you’re actually gonna make more money.”

Steve: Okay.

John: So that’s a new thing. That’s like in the last couple months. And so-

Steve: It’s a hybrid of some sort.

John: Yeah. It’s a bit of a hybrid. And you know, at first everyone’s like, “Oh, I don’t know about this,” whatever. What it’s created through in general is a system where there is just less management. It’s like, “I don’t really care when you’re in the office. You just sell the houses,” you know?

Steve: Yeah.

John: Either you sell them or you don’t sell. And they kinda like that. So they’re sales guys. They don’t really wanna be held to like, you show up at the office at nine, like a normal kind of employee would. They would rather have the flexibility. And so they’re now starting to see some of the benefits of it. But it does put a little hitch in your giddy up, you know?

Steve: Yeah.

John: It’s like, “I gotta go get something done here.” And again, what I’ve learned, this has been a really humbling year for me. We’ve had to change some things that I’ve gone on podcasts like this and, “Hey, this is the greatest thing in the world. This is what we’re doing,” ’cause that’s just the way I talk.

Steve: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John: And I listen to it a year or two later, like, “Oh, that was a bad idea. That was terrible,” you know? So I’m just trying to be more forthright about-

Steve: Yeah.

John: Like, we’re just trying this stuff out.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And what’s great is we’re learning along the way. And I hope, one of our core values is honor. So I really hope that our guys, our team, feels very honored in the process. Though the decisions I’m making affect them in dramatic ways, like their pocketbook, I’m trying to do it in a way that’s not, you know, that’s honoring, that really cares for them as people-

Steve: Yeah.

John: … more than I care for myself and my bottom line. So that’s our current model. We’ve got, it’s kind of salary hybrid. And I think it’s gonna work. Ask me in a year, and I’ll know better.

Steve: I’ll probably ask you next month.

John: I’ll say this. It has, I think it does a couple things. It creates an environment where teamwork is more incentivized. And that really shows up. It creates an environment where we can genuinely sit across from a buyer, my sales guys can, and say, “I am not a fully commissioned salesperson. I’m gonna feed my kids tomorrow whether you buy a house or not.”

Steve: Right.

John: “So I don’t have the pressure to force you to buy. And we’re gonna find you a house that you love. And you’re not gonna feel …” And people really like that.

Steve: Yeah.

John: They like that that’s the case.

Steve: So you communicate that to your buyers.

John: Yeah. So that’s a big part of our pitch. And it’s unique. I mean, I don’t know anybody else that’s doing it this way, so-

Steve: Yeah.

John: I think that that, this model allows for that. It allows us to genuinely be able to say that in all truth, while at the same time having an incentive for the sales guys to go out and sell houses. You know.

Steve: Okay. And what does your structure look like as far as how many agents you have. I mean, you had a killer year. And you said this year’s been a little more humbling.

John: Yeah.

Steve: Like how many agents do you have? What’s-

John: We have five sales guys.

Steve: All right.

John: So I mean, it’s crazy when you think about how many houses we sell-

Steve: Yeah.

John: … to have five sales guys. So we’re a very efficient team. And we’ve got a really good admin staff behind them. So the sales guys are selling houses. That’s all they do. And it allows them to be pretty efficient. We’ll hit our, I think we’ll hit our numbers from last year this year. Maybe a little more on the top line. But what we realized was we needed more accountability on the sales staff to make sure people were selling the houses. And we also had just, when things are good, it covers up problems, you know.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Like you don’t realize that conversion rate over there is terrible, because it didn’t really matter. You’re paying the bills, and making money, and-

Steve: Selling crap load of houses.

John: Yeah. It’s great. Who cares? But when things get tight, you’re like, “Oh gosh. What’s wrong? What’s wrong? What’s wrong? Oh, that’s wrong.” It was always wrong. So, hard seasons I think are underrated.

Steve: Oh yeah.

John: It’s like, I’m really glad. And that’s ancient wisdom, right? You read any bible story, any, I don’t care what your religious preference is, there are some version of that parable, like when it’s hard is when you learn the most.

Steve: Yeah.

John: We do not learn much in success. We learn almost everything we learn in failure and in humiliation. That’s when we rally learn, right?

Steve: Humiliation.

John: Oh dude. That’s the-

Steve: I don’t remember that in the bible.

John: … best teacher. Yes. Yeah, no. It, that’s my version, right? It’s like, every time I walk home with my tail between my legs-

Steve: Right.

John: And I’m like, “uh, there’s something here for me.”

Steve: Right.

John: ‘Cause it means that I had tied my ego to something. I tied my self worth to something that didn’t deserve to have that authority, right?

Steve: Right.

John: So it’s like, “I’m just so humiliated by this thing or that thing.” It’s like, “Okay, wait a minute. The whole universe is spinning and all this is happening. It’s gonna be okay.”

Steve: Right.

John: You had a bad day. So it’s been a great, great year in the sense that we’re learning a lot of lessons, but hard in the sense that again, I’m making decisions that affect people’s lives.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And in painful ways sometimes. But you know, it’s a part of the responsibility of being a leader, part of the yolk that you carry as a leader is like, you’re gonna make hard choices sometimes. And you’re gonna realize that your mistakes cost other people.

Steve: Impact a lot of people.

John: Yeah. And that’s, it can be hard, for sure.

Steve: Yeah.

John: But I think, I really am, I truly am grateful for this year. I’m learning so much more than I did last year. Last year was really fun, and man. Nothing went wrong. But this has been a really much more valuable year in that sense for sure.

Steve: Okay. What do you attribute that to? I mean, the challenging, or the challenges that are popping up this year?

John: Well, the, for us, our listing business is struggling because we are up against like some competitors probably that a lot of agents aren’t, because of our size, and where we get our leads. And so the eye buyers, the open doors, and the, you know, they’re out there making a dent. Not, if you look at the whole market, they’re not making much of a dent. But if your business is a certain kind of business like mine is, it affects you. So it’s not uncommon, I’d say three, four listings a month, we’re getting beat out by Zillow or Open Door or Offerpad.

Steve: Right.

John: ‘Cause they bought the house. Yeah.

Steve: Wow.

John: So, and part of that’s ’cause we have a guaranteed sell program. We’ll buy your house if it doesn’t sell. So we get those leads because people want that. And so we’re up against them more than probably most agents are. But yeah. That’s making a difference for sure.

Steve: Well I can tell you, I was doing research before we met today.

John: Yeah.

Steve: And I don’t know if you ever Googled yourself.

John: Oh yeah.

Steve: But Open Door has an ad.

John: Oh. They have one for … Yeah. That’s crazy.

Steve: If you Google John Gluch-

John: Yeah.

Steve: Open Door has an ad.

John: Yeah. That’s not a surprise. I knew that was coming. It was just a matter of time. But I didn’t, I’m glad you told me that. But-

Steve: Yeah.

John: Yeah. I mean, they’re smart marketers.

Steve: Right.

John: They’re-

Steve: well, I look at their platform, right? A lot of what they say is the same thing we say in Craig Proctor.

John: Yeah. Totally.

Steve: It just looks a little bit better.

John: Yeah. Right.

Steve: Their packaging-

John: Very similar. Yeah.

Steve: … looks a little bit cleaner than what we’re able to do while, they’ve got-

John: ‘Cause we actually have to make money.

Steve: We have to make money.

John: You know.

Steve: And they’ve got-

John: I’m sure [crosstalk 00:37:40].

Steve: … this marketing firm that’s backed by millions and millions-

John: Yeah.

Steve: … where you and I are just doing what we can.

John: We’re just trying to putz along here you know.

Steve: Yeah.

John: No, it’s true. And they are smart marketers, and that’s what I was saying about the flat fee stuff, if we’ve got some flat fee competitors out there who are smart marketers, you know.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And there are certain people who that’s a great solution for, Open Door. No doubt about it. And it’s clearly serving a need the marketplace has.

Steve: Right.

John: So I am, from my perspective of I want the customer to be treated like a person, I’m really happy that those people are out there.

Steve: Yeah.

John: I think I’m a capitalist through and through in the sense that I love competition because it will cause everybody to get better.

Steve: Mm-hmm (affirmative).

John: So I’m having to think through our model and go, “Where can I really deliver value?” And there are certain people you meet with who are much better off going with Open Door. Like, their life situation does not serve them well to list their house, and have people coming through the house and all this stuff. And they need a sure thing, and they need it now. And I may not be able to provide that. Sometimes we definitely can. But there’s occasionally we can’t. So I love that the competition’s out there. I don’t know their business model, like I don’t know how long it lasts, how it works in a declining market, all that stuff.

Steve: That’s what I’m looking forward to.

John: Those will be interesting things to see.

Steve: Yeah.

John: But for now, it’s clearly working. They now have competition from Zillow and Offerpad, which is great. Because now, consumers can go get three offers-

Steve: Right.

John: … and pick the best one, which happens. We’ve seen that happen. And that’s all great, right? Like, I’m into that. I like that the flat fee guys are coming with new vigor, because it’s gonna make me get better.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So if we’re gonna stay a full service brokerage, that charges a full service fee, we gotta earn it man.

Steve: Yeah.

John: It doesn’t work anymore just to list the house and call it a day.

Steve: Right.

John: You’ve gotta really earn your keep. And that’s awesome, because it will vet out the people who are amateurs and who aren’t really in this full-time.

Steve: See, I didn’t have this enthusiasm when Open Door and Offerpad was kicking my butt.

John: Yeah.

Steve: ‘Cause it’s interesting, like you said, your particular niche, you go against those guys more often. It’s, I have that same exact problem, right?

John: Yeah.

Steve: Is like, we do a lot of like, “We’ll buy your house.”

John: Yep.

Steve: And then we’re walking in there, it’s like, “What do you mean they’re offering you that much? What? That doesn’t make any sense.”

John: Yeah. I can’t pay that.

Steve: Yeah. Okay, well I guess you take the offer.

John: Yeah.

Steve: So-

John: Yeah.

Steve: So yeah, they definitely have impacted us. But I did not take it with the same enthusiasm that you did.

John: And part of it, honestly, I’m starting to think about switching up. One of two things need to happen. Either we need to get behind that guarantee to a greater degree, meaning my team. Like we need to be able to pay bigger bucks for these houses. Or we need to switch our marketing. Like our message needs to change.

Steve: Right.

John: And I don’t know what we’re gonna do yet. But we’re thinking that through. But either way, I am very proud of the experience that we deliver our customers, and the results. I mean, like, this is all a marketing discussion. The value we’re delivering to people, I’m thrilled with. And it’s getting better. I mean, we’re doing some stuff right now. We’re working on some projects that are just gonna be killer. So I think, for me, that will always be my passion. You know, it’ll be what I’m excited about. The same time, you have to be smart about your messaging.

Steve: Yeah.

John: You’ve gotta think about how you’re gonna tell that story.

Steve: Exactly.

John: It’s important.

Steve: So you mentioned briefly earlier, you’ve been in California. So everyone was like, “John’s ridiculous. He’s over in Coronado Island-

John: Yeah.

Steve: You know, that rat whatever.

John: Yeah. It’s rough man.

Steve: I know. So you’re barely scraping by over there. So talk about the challenges you have running a team from another state.

John: Yeah. So we moved to Coronado Island two years ago. My wife and I always dreamed of living in San Diego. She used to live in San Diego, so-

Steve: Oh, she did. Okay.

John: Yeah. So we just were like, “All right, we’re doing it.” And it was a process. We tried it for a month. Okay, let’s figure out what breaks when we’re gone, and fix that. So it was a process of slowly but surely kind of extending our time. And we just decided to do it. Like, we’re gonna try it. We’re gonna rent a house for a year. Loved it. Ended up buying a place. We’re there. We love it.

John: The challenge. It mostly made us better. We got much better at running a virtual staff. Now we’ve got oh seven, eight people overseas now. We’re rally good at running a virtual team. And good communication. A lot of that I owe to Darren Hardy’s systems that are just fantastic. And we just got better at paying attention to the most important stuff. So in many ways, it just made us better. Also, all I can do is build a business. I can’t go on listing appointments. I don’t live in Arizona.

Steve: Right.

John: So that helps too. That’s my pure focus is make this better for the customer. Make it better for my team. The challenges are how do you stay a leader when you don’t live in a place? How do you maintain leadership? And I think I started really slow with that when we left, and have gotten a lot better at it. So like, again, stole Darren’s idea. He has these videos he sends every day, Darrendaily.com and you can sign up for them for free. And it’s just a little five minute thing of whatever his thought is for the day of how to make your life a little bit better. So I do that with my team now. John Daily. Not the big golfer. But the-

Steve: Big, big golfer.

John: Yeah, the big, big golfer.

Steve: Yeah.

John: But me. You know, here’s a five minute bon-bon video of me thinking about stuff we’re talking about today.

Steve: Yeah.

John: How we deliver value to our customers, telling someone they did a killer job, talking about a new system we’re implementing, whatever it is. And it’s just a way to stay in front of them in a very scalable way. And so maintaining leadership’s a really tough challenge when you’re away from your team. What has not been a challenge that I was surprised by was clients don’t seem to care.

Steve: Yeah.

John: They want the result I’ve created, the experience I’ve created is what they want.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Not me. You know, I think people like me fine. But that’s not what they’re hiring us for. So that has not been as challenging as … We, I’m sure, lose some people who would rather just work with me, but not many.

Steve: Right.

John: And I just miss it. Like I miss being around, and being in the office with the team and stuff. So as much as it’s great to be focused and just in an office by myself 40 hours a week, you know, you get a lot done that way. There’s an element that’s like, “I miss being around the team.”

Steve: Comradery.

John: Yeah. So we bought a house in Scottsdale, built an Air B&B that’s just killer that we’ll rent out when we’re not here. But now, we’ve got a great comfortable place for my family. So we can be here a week a quarter, and be with the team, and be with our families and have a great comfortable place to stay.

John: So we’re learning what the rhythm looks like for our family to be comfortable and still be around and present for the team.

Steve: Yeah. That’s fascinating. One of the things that I was having a recruiting meeting a couple of days ago. And they were like, “Why is Stunning Homes only in one location? Why are you not having multiple locations?”

John: Yeah.

Steve: And I was telling them, “It’s hard enough to keep the culture in one location.”

John: Yeah. Totally.

Steve: Man. Try to have it in like three, four, five locations. I mean, I can’t even fathom what that looks …

John: It’s-

Steve: You gotta have five amazing leaders-

John: Yeah.

Steve: … in order to make that work.

John: It’s tough. And I don’t have all the answers on that. I know it’s possible because like Apple and Virgin. You look at these companies like, how did they pull that off? And I don’t know yet, but-

Steve: Just gotta have a Steve Jobs.

John: Yeah. I mean, and part of it is having really, really good leaders.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And they figured out a way to scale culture.

Steve: Right.

John: It’s impressive. And not easy.

Steve: So being away and running your business, what are some CRMs, tools, or systems that you just could not live without?

John: We use Infusionsoft, but most people don’t necessarily need that. But it’s, I mean, it’s a key part of our business. It’s great. Most, unless you’re doing 100 plus deals a year, you probably don’t need that robust of a system. What I do recommend though is Asana, A-S-A-N-A. That’s our platform that everybody on the team uses for task management. So, everyone’s trying to make CR, customer relationship management software. So I look at a CRM as a tool to store and categorize all of your contacts. Like, send emails, some of that stuff. None of them that I’m aware of are good at task management. In other words, when you sit down, what are you supposed to do today. I don’t know any that do that as well as I need it to be done. And Asana is killer. It’s all it does. That is their pure function. And it’s fantastic. And it works digitally. It’s web based. I mean, it’s fantastic.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So we couldn’t, I mean, it’s absolutely been a game changer. And that’s something I picked up when I went to Coronado, ’cause we needed a web based system and we didn’t have one.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So that’s really, really critical. We use Ring Central, and that allows all of our sales guys to have digital phone lines so that if they need to be off, we can forward their line to somebody else. We focus on response time. We have a program called Time To Reply. And all the different departments have certain metrics they have to hit for how fast they respond to customers. So email response time. We learned that people really care how quickly you get back to them. That’s a big deal. So we have goals and metrics tied to that. Time To Reply is a mediocre system. But it’s the best one I found for tracking how quickly my team is responding to emails.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So we use that a bunch. And Ring Central is to some degree tied into that. We wanna make sure people are calling back clients quickly.

Steve: Right.

John: So that allows us to track that. It allows us to forward phone lines and all that other stuff. If somebody leaves the team, we still have the phone number. We can just forward it to our main phone number, so if clients call, they’re gonna get us.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So Ring Central’s become really, really helpful and pretty critical for us. Gmail. We use Gmail Suites and all that stuff.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Google calendar. The basics.

Steve: Right. Yeah. What, give me interesting war stories in real estate.

John: Yeah. I mean, I think, you know, we have the random, like I had a deal that didn’t close because the guy went to jail, you know, the seller. Like couldn’t close on his house, ’cause he was in jail. We sold a house in like 2005, when it was just like on fire. We would-

Steve: The house. Or the industry?

John: No, the industry was. Everything was just crazy. And we started selling houses, ’cause we were flipping them, where earnest money was hard, day one, released to us. And so we sold that house five times. We made more money taking people’s earnest money who couldn’t close on the house, than we made on the flip. Because people were just dying to buy houses, and they couldn’t actually qualify for the house.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So we had a, that was an interesting one, you know. We’ve had our … I sold a house to two different people once. That was a mistake. So I had two legit contracts with two different buyers for a house I owned. And we had to pay one guy a bunch of money to go away, ’cause-

Steve: Yeah.

John: Everyone wanted to close on the house, because everyone was making money on houses. So it’s amazing that they just let you go write contracts, day one out of real estate school.

Steve: Yeah.

John: The stuff we wrote was just crazy.

Steve: We got an amazing lobby.

John: Yeah. Yes, we do. Thank God. So I, yeah. We’ve had some funny ones for sure. But for the most part we’ve gotten through, mostly unscathed.

Steve: And what’s your biggest struggle right now?

John: Listing business is down. I think that the biggest part is that we’re just competing against those I buyers. That’s the only, that’s the best excuse I have. I think the other part, reason it’s down, although the market numbers don’t vet this out. But meaning there’s just as many listings this year as there was last year. There isn’t actually a listing shortage. So from my team’s perspective that we’re getting a lot of leads from people who don’t end up selling. They go, “Ah, I’ll wait another year and rent it out,” or whatever, ’cause the market’s good. And I can’t blame them.

Steve: Right.

John: So-

Steve: They’re not super motivated.

John: Yeah. So we’ve created a really good long term followup system for like when that happens, how do we deliver value for a year, two years, three years, til that person’s ready to sell, to where they will not forget about us. Our plan used to be, “We’ll call you in nine months. You say you’re gonna sell in a year, right? We’ll call you in nine months.” That’s a terrible plan-

Steve: Right.

John: Because a lot can happen in nine months. So now, we’re doing all kind of stuff, like setting up Google alerts to make sure if something changes on that house, we’re aware of it, and we’re sending comp packages like every couple months, very nicely done, like “Hey. Here’s the latest info on your house just in case you needed to know.” You know, stuff that really delivers value to people.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Again, it’s about value creation, right? So, the idea is hopefully nine months down the road when that guy’s neighbor who’s a realtor goes, “I’ll list your house.” He goes, “Oh no. These guys over here, they been-”

Steve: “taking care of me.”

John: “Taking care of us.” Yeah. So, we rally created a brand new system for that that’s killer I think. And you know, we’ll see. Again, I have all these ideas that I think are great, but-

Steve: Yeah.

John: I’ll know in a year. But I think-

Steve: Sounds great.

John: Yeah. I think it’s gonna be much better than what we were doing, for sure.

Steve: Right.

John: So that’s our biggest problem is just getting listings right now. It’s challenging.

Steve: And what would you consider to be your super power?

John: I think the way that, our team is our super power. I mean, we have people who are so good, and they are so good at making people feel special, and caring about people. We’ve got three core values, honor, hope, and excellence. And honor is, for us, the way we define honor is how do we treat you when things go bad, like when things go sideways. So other realtors, in transactions, sometimes don’t treat us very well. They don’t treat our clients very well. They fly off the handle. They curse us, all this other stuff. How do we treat you when that happens?

John: Now, I’m not saying there’s no boundaries. Like there’s things you can do and say to people on my team that get you kicked out of the sandbox, right? Like we are no longer talking to you.

Steve: Right.

John: But that’s not, it rarely gets there. So most of the time, it’s how do we really care for people when things are hard? And then jut empathy, right? Like how do we empathize with people, our clients, when it’s hard, when it’s a bad day, when you miss out on the house you really wanted, when we fought like crazy to get it, and we couldn’t. Our guys are really good negotiators. We pull stuff out of the hat you wouldn’t believe. That being said, it doesn’t always work out, you know.

Steve: Right.

John: And we can’t control everything. So when it goes sideways, how good are we at caring for people? And that’s a big deal. I mean, that really adds up. That’s where you get customers for life.

Steve: Yeah.

John: You know, they never leave you.

Steve: So talk about hope. So we talked about honor.

John: Yep.

Steve: And we talked about excellence earlier.

John: Yep.

Steve: So hope.

John: So hope for me is the belief that things are getting better and that I’m a part of that equation. So Lord’s Prayer, right? Probably the most famous prayer ever. So, “on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s one of our little mantras as a team. And not to get too religious, but the idea is we want it to be like heaven on earth, right?

Steve: Right.

John: Who doesn’t want that. But there are people who, even religious dogma that is, oh it’s getting worse. We’re just sort of, it’s going to hell in a hand basket, right? There are people who that is their life philosophy. Lots of people. And mine is, ours is the opposite.

Steve: Yeah.

John: We only hire people who think it’s getting better every day, who go … and we have a role in that. So for us, it’s not only should business get better, not only should we humanize small business, but it’s gonna happen with or without us, and we wanna be a part of it.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So we have this overriding belief that we can make our company serve people in a better way today, serve our team. It starts with my team, right? The way I prioritize things is my team is more important than our customers for sure.

Steve: Right.

John: So if my team is loved and cared for, that will pour out into my, our customers. And so, that is hope for us, is there is always hope for a better tomorrow. No matter how bad it got an hour ago-

Steve: Yeah.

John: It’s getting better, and you’re a part of that story. It matters that you show up today and do your job.

Steve: So one question. This is Brandon Nose wants to know, how do you balance scaling a company to your size while maintaining a work life balance?

John: That’s my, I would say from a personal perspective, that’s maybe my core competency is I live on an island-

Steve: [crosstalk 00:52:55].

John: … and spend a lot of time with my family. And you know, like I have built a business that, you have to start from the beginning right?

Steve: Yeah.

John: Like what kind of life do I want, and build your business to support that. So I love our clients. I love selling houses. All that was great. But it wasn’t, I like building businesses more than I like that stuff. So for me, it was like, how do I get to a point where I can be detached form all of that, where I’m not taking client calls. I’m focusing on my team, and then they’re focusing on our customers. Like Steve Jobs, right, wasn’t out selling iPhones. That doesn’t make him any less, doesn’t mean he cares any less about his customer. I would say he was obsessed with the customer experience.

Steve: Customer experience. Yeah.

John: So where does his value most create a great experience for the customer? And it wasn’t selling iPhones at the iStore, or Apple store, right? So same for me. I think where I can scale my particular skillset and the gifts I have is by really taking care of my team. So you just have to start with it in the beginning. And then I think the second thing is create systems to support it. So I’ve got really great systems around. Like when I’m off, I have people covering all my phones and emails and all that stuff. And I can totally be off.

Steve: Right.

John: And then prioritizing it. Like this year, this is like two weeks ago, I was like, “I’m taking …” And I only have three yearly goals, right? And one was to increase the intimacy in my marriage. One was to increase my own sort of sense of emotional and psychological health, just to become a healthier person. And the other one was an income goal. And I went, “I’m taking the income goal off.” Because I was thinking about it all the time.

Steve: Right.

John: I was thinking about, “Are we gonna hit our goal,” and whatever. And you have to pay attention to the numbers. And I’m not saying this is for everybody. And it’s not even for every season. But I felt like for this season of my life, it was a mistake to have any kind of income goals. I just needed to make my life be about connecting with God, connecting with my wife, and being as whole as I could be as a person, and letting that flow out into my team, letting it flow out into the customers I work with, my friends, family. So part of it’s just paying attention, you know.

Steve: Yeah.

John: So Darren has this thing called The Best year Ever, and it’s a really, like $100 program. And it’s like, what do you wanna do this year, and what are the 10 behaviors that’ll get you there? So every day I check off in my Best Year Ever checklist the 10 behaviors. And the 10 behaviors aren’t sales calls. They are be affectionate with my wife three times a day. You know, like these really goober, like nerd things.

Steve: Yeah.

John: But it won’t happen if I don’t try.

Steve: Exactly.

John: And when I’m home, am I really paying attention to the kids or am I just kinda watching TV or taking phone calls, or zoning out, or whatever. So that, it just, I really, really try hard. So it’s, a lot of people pay lip service to this whole thing of work life balance. And for me, it’s life. It’s blood.

Steve: Yeah.

John: If I build some business that is huge, and I burn my marriage down to do that, I’ve totally failed, you know.

Steve: And I think, it’s all powerful, everything that you said.

John: Yeah.

Steve: And I think one thing you kinda glossed over, like it’s just given, for us-

John: Right.

Steve: But I, when I went through Insane Productivity, one of the slides where we drew a circle, and he’s like, every entrepreneur, this is your business-

John: Yeah.

Steve: And life kinda happens around it. Right?

John: Yeah.

Steve: And like you’re doing it wrong.

John: Right.

Steve: Right?

John: Totally.

Steve: Here’s your life, and here’s your business.

John: You’re here to live.

Steve: Right.

John: Yeah. Totally. And I think too, recognizing as a team leader, you’ve gotta find some place in your mind to file the fact that people on your team are gonna have different lives than you. Not everyone wants what I want.

Steve: Right.

John: Like not everyone wants to go and live on Coronado Island. You know, it sounds cool. But if people wanted to do that, I think they would. You know, I think realizing that my job is to follow my own path in life, and pursue my dreams and ambitions, the things that I have laid out before me that I’m supposed to do, and to help other people do the same thing, you know.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And I wanna provide an environment where at the Gluch Group, where people love their jobs, they love the community, they love to serve their clients. And that’s great. Everyone’s got different paths. People love different things. And reconciling that in your mind and not feeling guilty for the fact that there are people helping you and your great ambition. They get to be a part of something really big and special.

Steve: Right.

John: And so do I. And we’re better together. Like we would be, this wouldn’t be as cool if there was just me.

Steve: Exactly.

John: Or if it was just them, you know. So you just have to find a mind space for that.

Steve: What is your favorite, best, or most interesting failure?

John: I mean, my best failure was losing all those houses.

Steve: Yeah.

John: And I think the most painful part about it was that it lost my family’s money, which-

Steve: Like your parents or siblings?

John: My parents money. Yeah. So you still, like that still, to some degree, sucks today. You know?

Steve: Yeah.

John: And I’ve told my parents many times, and this is the God’s honest truth. That is the best investment they’ve ever made was that money.

Steve: Right.

John: Now it may not feel like that today, ’cause they can’t use it to go on a cruise, right? But they still manage to get out on some cruises. Got bless them.

Steve: Right.

John: And they’re doing fine, and they’re taken care of. But it showed so much to me that they were willing to trust me, and to take the risk. And maybe more even than failing and learning from the failure, there’s something in your subconscious mind that goes, “They believe in me,” you know? Like it, you know what you believe in when it costs you something.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Like your core values, I don’t care what you say. Show me what cost you today. When was it expensive for you? Then you know. So my parents, it was very costly for them to demonstrate how much they believed in me. But I think that just, I don’t know that as a conscious level I was like, “Oh, they really believe in me,” you know?

Steve: Yeah.

John: But I think at a subconscious level, then and forever more, I’ll have that lesson which will benefit my kids, and my team. Go down the list, right?

Steve: Right.

John: That decision, which was very costly for them, benefits probably hundreds of people. So that’s probably my favorite one-

Steve: Yeah.

John: Because I think it was just so valuable. It really meant a lot to me.

Steve: Awesome. Well I think this has been really insightful and really helpful. You had mentioned before that you had an event coming up. Can you talk about that?

John: Yeah. Thanks for asking. So I am sharing, we have an event next Monday, and Tony Giordano is speaking. He’s the headliner for it. He’s like a social media guru, like realtor to the start guy. And he’s great. He does a great presentation. He’s speaking for most of the day. And then I have an hour and a half long lunch break where I’m gonna talk really specifically about building a wow business, and how we’ve done that. So that’s kinda repeat and referral business, how to scale. How do you scale the Brian Buffini system kind of is it, right?

Steve: Yeah.

John: And plus one. So that’s what I’m gonna talk about. And if you wanna go to that, it’s next Monday. It’s all day. And the best way to let us know you wanna come would be to email Ashley, A-S-H-L-E-Y, at gluchgroup.com. And Gluch Group is spelled G-L-U-CH G-R-O-U-P .com. No T in Gluch. G-L-U-C-H G-R-O-U-P. So [email protected] And we can put a link in the Facebook deal.

Steve: Oh yeah. Definitely.

John: But they can just email her and say, “Hey. I’d like to come.” ‘Cause we need to know like I think by noon tomorrow. ‘Cause it’s free food.

Steve: By two days ago.

John: Yeah. Well, yeah. But I got an extension.

Steve: Okay.

John: And the breakout is only for the brokerage I’m at. But I got permission to have some, for anybody who I told about on the show, they could come too. So just be sure to email Ashley by like noon tomorrow at the latest.

Steve: Yeah.

John: Let us know you can come. It’ll be a great event, and free food. It’s a really nice hotel. It’s at the Palomar. It’s gonna be great.

Steve: And I think that what you’re gonna be talking about that breakout is more in depth. I mean, we only talked about it for like 10, 15 minutes.

John: Yeah.

Steve: How much you [crosstalk 01:00:21].

John: Yes. This is high level. I’m gonna be like slides with pictures of here’s how we do our buyer meetings. Here’s how we send client gifts to people when they come in. Like a lot of the really specific tactical things. And it’s meant to be for the person who’s selling one house a year all the way up to big teams. I mean, it will work the way I’m presenting it, for anybody.

Steve: Right. And I’ve seen you speak, present it before.

John: Yeah.

Steve: So I mean, if anyone has the opportunity, you guys should definitely go check that out.

John: Yeah. Thanks man. Thanks for letting me share about it. It should be good.

Steve: And then, for tomorrow, we have the monthly meet up, the Real Estate Disruptors. We’ve got Carlos and Sal from National Cash Offer. So McFate Brewing Company at 4:30 p.m. If you haven’t RSVPd yet, please let me know. The guys, they’re doing 30, 40, 50 wholesales a month are the ones that are gonna be doing the Q&A, so definitely come and check it out.

Steve: And again, if you like this show, please share this episode right now. Let people know about it. And John, thank you very much. That was really-

John: Yeah. Thanks man.

Steve: … awesome.

John: Good to see you, as always.

Steve: Really helpful.

John: Yeah. Hope it helped. Thanks man.

Steve: Thank you.

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