How I Got Started in Real Estate

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I was the last person you’d think would succeed in real estate.

The only sales training I had was working as head cashier at Burger King. I didn’t have money, resources, or connections.

I became what people expected me to be…a small-town preacher.

But I had a big dream to change the world and make an impact on people’s lives beyond church ministry.

Then, I realized that real estate can help me achieve my goal.

I took real estate classes while I was still doing church ministry. When I got my license, I moved into the big city and started real estate…full time!

Three months into the business, I finally got my first listing. After all deductions, I ended up with $350 on my first closing. It was tough because I had no savings and was living on credit cards.

The key thing was, I never imagined failing. I was 100% committed to succeeding. I ended the first year with 19 transactions (mostly listings) under my belt. I felt so powerful when I got my first 6-figure listing!

These are the things I did right:
Went in full time.
Immersed myself in real estate
Prospected every day
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Full transcript

When I got started in real estate, I did at least get in to win.

Today I want to, for the first time really ever, talk about how I got started in real estate. I just, I never really thought about it. I’ve never thought about actually shooting a video and put it on for you guys on how I got started. Exactly what’s my background and all of that. And I thought, you know what? Especially as I’m recording this, we’re coming up on 2020, brand new year. And to me it’s a very monumental year. And I thought, you know what? I’m just going to share my background.

Because I did a lot of things right, I did a lot of things wrong. But I succeeded. And 80% of realtors, give or take, however you want to look at the numbers, 80% of realtors that get into the business do not succeed. And I believe there’s something you could do about it. I think going in, if you know how to approach it and you approach it correctly, you’re not going to go in without making mistakes. You’re definitely going to fail. How do you do it? When I started, I was the last person that should have ever succeeded in real estate for a whole lot of reasons.

One, I had no background, I had no sales training, I had no sales background. Unless you consider in college I worked at Burger King and I was a cashier at Burger King drive through. So I knew how to talk to people and I was taught scripts and, “Hi, welcome to Burger King. May I take your order?” And that was pretty much it. “Thank you, have a great day.” “Would you like fries with that?” Or whatever. That was our scripts. And that was about all the sales training that I had. So I really didn’t have any sales training. I didn’t really know anything about real estate. I grew up in a mobile home. I had rented my entire life, so I’d never owned my own house.

And I was in a people world. So I was used to talking to people and all that kind of stuff. And I didn’t have any money. I didn’t have any resources, I didn’t have a marketing budget, I didn’t have any of that. So what was happening for me, this was in 1998. I was a small town country boy that grew up in West Texas. I had gone to college and I always was told that, “You should be a preacher when you grow up.” Because I grew up in a very, very strong Christian family. We went to church every Sunday, we went twice a day. We went to Sunday morning to Sunday School, to church, worship. And then we went on Sunday night, we went back. We were that dedicated. And then on Wednesday we had Wednesday night Bible classes. And so we went on Wednesday night. So I grew up very, very strong religious upbringing.

And everybody always said, “You ought to be a preacher when you grow up.” And so that was going to be my path. And so that’s how I … that was kind of my plan,  I was going to go to school and become a preacher. And that’s what I did. And I was a small town preacher with a big dream. And my dream was somehow to change the world. And I don’t know where I got that. I just, that was always kind of like that was the dream. That was what I was going to do. And I realized after years, several years in ministry as a preacher that in a small, rural, traditional church, changing the world was not probably going to happen from that little pulpit.

And I mean, I had a good church of 400 people on a Sunday morning. And it was fun, but it was frustrating because I wanted to make an impact in people’s lives beyond that. And I just couldn’t. And so I decided, I got this idea that if I could get into real estate and sell real estate, I could make good money, I could be my own boss, I would have time then that I could sell real estate as my day job and then on the side do ministry and do evangelism or whatever it was. And I was thinking about planning a church. I had all these ideas, all these dreams. I didn’t know how it was going to work out, but it was like I just, I want to do something different.

So I was preaching full-time and I never really wanted to be a real estate agent. I got into real estate because I had another goal. I had something else that I wanted to do. And I figured real estate would let me do it. So I took my courses on Sunday afternoons. So I would go to church, preach in the morning. And then grab lunch and rush, drive an hour to Wichita Falls, Texas from where I lived. And I would go to my real estate classes. Finish those, race back to town, and then get ready for our evening small group Bible studies every Sunday. And I did that for, I don’t know, three or four months, however many months it took to get my real estate license. And I was doing that on Sundays.

I made a couple of trips down to Dallas, Fort Worth to … One, to get a house. And two, was to pick a real estate office. And so I picked a real estate office down there, Century 21 Mike Bellman. Because it was the number one office in the area. And got my license, set a date, made the announcement to the world and to our church and everything in what I was doing. And then on moving date, I packed up the U-haul on a weekend and drove to North Richland Hills where we got our house, and unpacked the truck that same day. And late, late, late that night returned the U-haul. And the next morning I started real estate full-time, one day after moving to the Metroplex, Dallas Fort Worth Metroplex.

So coming from a little town that was tiny, rural, and then moving into the big city. I didn’t know anybody, I just, I had this dream that this was going to work. So I got to the office first, and here’s how I started. I was the first one to the office every day, every single day. I was the first one there. Most of the days I was the last one to leave. And there are things I did right and there are things I did wrong. One of the things I did right was I went in full-time. I mean, I had no savings. I had no … we had credit cards, it’s what we lived on. But I knew I had to make this work. And so I was the first one there every morning. And I got in and I was studying and I was training.

Every day when Dan Galt, who was a trainer, did the new agent training, I was the first one there that was asking questions. And then every day I prospected. I was scared. I was terrified. I did not like role play. We had role play, but nobody showed up. Most of the time it was just me and maybe one or two other people. And I didn’t like role play. I preferred to practice scripts by myself. And I didn’t like role play because I was insecure. I didn’t like role play because it scared me. I was afraid of looking silly. I was afraid of looking bad. And we had this big thing, this room is called the fishbowl. And so it was just big calendar and they had phones on it and you had your own little two drawer file cabinet and that was your space. You didn’t even have a … you got an assigned file cabinet if you were a full-time. And then that was it. And I hated it.

So I would get in there and I would try to find the times I could prospect when nobody else was in there. Because I was so insecure and embarrassed. I didn’t want to look silly or look stupid. So I tried to prospect when nobody else was around, which is not that hard in real estate. But I did prospect. And I prospected pretty much every day. And every day I listened, beyond going to Dan Galt’s training for new agents, which was like, I don’t know, an hour or two in the morning. It may have been all morning, it may have been three hours a day, I don’t remember, for the first month. And then all the time we got, I would get in there … they had a file cabinet, big cabinet that had all these old training programs. And I would listen to those training programs.

And I really resonated with the Mike Ferry Scripts and the Mike Ferry tapes because he was so in-your-face. And it was so different than my background and who I was. And I just, I needed that strength, that confidence. So I would immerse myself into listening to cassette tapes. I mean if I was not prospecting: when I was in the car, when I was at home, when I was exercising, out walking or running, I would be listening to tapes nonstop. And so I was constantly infusing in my brain real estate and what to do to succeed. And I really think if you want to succeed in real estate, the way I did it was I immersed myself 100% into it.

In fact, I think I’m going to do another video on what I wish I had known as a new real estate agent. Because there’s a whole lot of things I look back on I’m like, “Ugh, I wish I’d have known that. I wish I’d have known that.” And really take some of the mistakes that I made and share those and let you learn from those. But I was terrified. I role played, I preferred to script practice by myself and not role play with other people Because I was embarrassed. For the first month I held open houses for the first month cause they told us you had needed to do open houses. That was a good way to get business. And I was coachable, so I did exactly what Dan said. And so I prospected every day and then on weekends, I would do an open house.

And I didn’t work on Sundays. I wasn’t going to work on Sundays and I ended up working on Sundays. I would go to church and then I would go do the open house. And I did probably four, five, six open houses and I never got any business from it. I never really got anything from it. So that didn’t work out too good for me. But I didn’t know what all I did, I didn’t do what I train today as an open house event where there was marketing and anything before it. I just showed up, put a sign in the yard that said, “Open House,” and opened the house and waited for people to come in. And I probably set, half the open houses I set, probably had zero people walk in. And it was just like, “Ugh, this is a waste of time.”

And then I’m listening to Mike Ferry and he said, “It’s a stupid waste of time.” So I’m like, “Yep, this is a waste of time.” So I stopped doing that, never got anything from it. And I wouldn’t door knock because I was scared. I finally did, that’s a different story, I finally went door knocked one day and that ended that. But mostly it was on the phone. And I had written postcards to the six people that I knew that lived in the Metroplex. And I wrote them cards asking them for business. And I ended up getting a deal from one of them and I didn’t really even make the connection for years that it was my personal circle. That was my second real lead and my first actual closing was from my personal circle. Which I always said I started out, I didn’t know anybody in town. And actually, one of the few people that I did know, gave me a lead. And I’ll tell you about that more in a second.

For the first two months I didn’t get any business. I didn’t get a single deal. And after two months in July of, this was 1998, by the way. In 1998, July I got my first listing. It was a for-sale-by-owner in West Fort Worth. It was a piece of crap house with vinyl siding on it that was falling off. And boy, it was rough. It was a rough house. And I listed it for $42,900. I sold it twice. The first time I sold it, I actually sold it to Adam and Kristi, who were daughter and son-in-law of some of my parents’ longtime friends, Robbie and Linda. Robbie and Linda were one of the couples that I actually sent a postcard to. They were one of my six. They were two of my six, and I sent them a postcard.

And they actually contacted my parents and said, “Our daughter and son-in-law are looking for their first house.” And my parents contacted me and then I contacted Adam and Kristi and ended up showing them my listing because I didn’t know what else to do. I mean, it’s my listing, I’m going to show it to them first. And they made an offer on it. And then the inspection, we did the inspection, and the inspection was pretty rough. And they chickened out, which is probably smart on their part. But I still had them. And so I went and helped them find another house. And my first closing happened about three months into the business. And it was on Sunday Street in Haltom City, $50,000. And I was on a 50/50 split with my broker plus 6% off the top or something like that, I think 6% off the top to the franchise. And then I had a mentor on your first three transactions, I had a mentor.

And so I got the commission on $50,000, or $1,500. So you divide that in half, you take 6% off the top, whatever that was. So maybe a hundred. So it’s at $1,400. And then you split that with the broker. And so I was at $700. And then I had to split that with my mentor. So I got about $350 on my first closing. And I’m sure they took out of that my company dues or whatever fees I had: office fees, copies, whatever it was. So I probably made $200 or $300 on my first transaction after three months in the business. Yep. I had no savings. I was living on credit cards and it was rough. But here’s, I think, one of the key things. I never imagined failing. I just was committed and I was 100% committed to succeeding. I had no choice. I had put all my eggs in this basket and I was committed to doing it. I had to succeed.

And so I helped them get that house. I went ahead and sold that listing, that FSBO listing in West Fort Worth, $42,900. Sold it, I think, for $42,500, so I almost sold it for full-price to another buyer. And I ended my first year, I think I ended the first year with 19 transactions under my belt. And I worked. Most of those transactions were listings. I think probably even that first year was 60 or 70% of my transactions were listings because I prospected every day. I started taking more for-sale-by-owners. I can remember my first for-sale-by-owner in Watauga, north or Fort Worth, was for over $100,000. Like $102,000 or $103,000 or $105,000 listing. I was like, “Yes, I’m in the six figure listings! I listed a house over $100,000.”

Because my first few listings were little bitty under $100,000. And that was probably my fifth or sixth listing, I don’t remember. But I just remember how I felt so powerful that I did that. I think the most important thing for me was that when I went in, I went all in. And if I can tell you one thing that I think is critical to your success is that you don’t try real estate. I think the key is that you do real estate. You commit. You go all in. And I just committed to go all in. I immersed myself in the culture. I immersed myself in real estate. I immersed myself in training. There are things I wish I’d have done better. I didn’t go to a training event for probably, until my second year. Started in ’98, so I went in ’99. I wish I had gotten into training better sooner.

Because I think it would have elevated me. I think, I wish if I had got into a more immersive environment and really learned some specific strategies for high level, I think that would have helped me. And like I said, I’m going to do another video on the things I wish I had known in real estate that I hope you’ll watch. And once it’s done, I’ll put the link in the description here with this video. But I want to just encourage you that if you are new and watching this. Or if you’re getting into real estate, or thinking about getting into real estate, or just got your license, that you can do this. There is no question in my mind that anybody that it has, if you’ve got a good attitude and you’ve got a good work ethic and you’re coachable, you’re willing to learn and not try to go out and figure it out on your own. And watch the successful people, learn from the best. You can succeed in real estate.

And I’ll tell you this, we’ve got our new training for 2020, a new event called Agent Mastery Live. It’s going to be coming up here in March of 2020. If you’re watching this, it’ll be coming up. And I’m going to put a link down in the description below. Whenever you’re watching this, that website, whatever our next event is,it will be there. Just click on it and register to come. Because what I’m doing at that three day event. When you come train with me for three days, what I guarantee is wherever you are in real estate, it will accelerate your career. It will accelerate your success, your income, unlike anything. Faster and better than anything else you could do. Faster than any other single thing you could do.

Whether it’s by one of my online courses or get into my coaching, I think coming to  a three day event, it gets you so immersed into what it takes to succeed. Everything that I’ve learned in over 20 years of selling real estate and coaching real estate agents who’ve been extremely successful, I’m going to be there with you to share it with you in person. And in that environment, I just think there’s nothing more transformational. So Agent Mastery Live 2020., go to, get your ticket and come join me. Come train with me.

Because I’m going to give you everything that helped me succeed. I’m going to give you the best of that and the things that I’ve learned that have helped me help other agents succeed so much faster and on such higher levels than I ever did. Because I’ve taken not only what I did and my own experience and what I’ve learned, but what I’ve learned working with thousands and thousands of agents, and I want to help you. I want to help you be able to succeed. So wherever you are, whether you’re just getting started or been in a while or whatever, that your journey is a massive journey of massive success.

So if you liked this video, if it’s been helpful for you, I hope you’ll give it a thumbs up. I hope you’ll put your comments and questions down below. Where you are in the journey. If you’re brand new, if you’re starting out, what questions you have, what are your struggles, what are your fears? And let me know when you register for Agent Mastery Live, it will be life changing. And I look forward to seeing you there. Play to win.

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