Travis Chappell’s career path has definitely included some surprise twists. As a teenager, he thought he’d become a youth pastor. In college, a friend introduced him to direct sales, which he found intriguing. He then worked in sales for several years.
Eventually, Travis discovered the personal development field, which helps people achieve their goals. He took to this industry immediately, devouring as many podcasts about it as he could.
In time, Travis established “Build Your Network,” his own podcast. It’s become a major thought leadership platform, and it’s now one of the top 25 business podcasts in existence. Additionally, Travis is a real estate investor, direct sales consultant, and professional connector. He’s based in Las Vegas.
How did Travis become so successful? In part, it’s because he mastered two skills that have proven instrumental to his career: negotiating and growing his podcast. Together, those talents have helped make Travis an unstoppable force.
Becoming a Better Negotiator
Travis believes that you should work in direct sales for a year if you want to become an effective negotiator. That’s because the job teaches so many valuable lessons in emotional intelligence.
For one thing, this position requires you to talk to 20 to 50 people per day. Soon enough, you’ll learn to read crucial nonverbal cues like body language and tonality. You’ll come to understand that when people say something, they’re often concealing their true feelings. For instance, customers might withhold their real opinions because they’re trying to be nice.
Eventually, you’ll be able to recognize the exact moment when you’ve lost someone’s interest or you’re about to be rejected. Thus, you can immediately go off-script and adjust your sales pitch, regaining that person’s attention. You’ll also get accustomed to different personality types. As Travis puts it, there’s no substitute for talking to people.
Today, whenever Travis is working on a real estate deal, he feels completely comfortable hashing out the details with other stakeholders. He points out that many real estate professionals never feel comfortable in such situations, especially when it comes to discussing pricing.
Because Travis is always at ease sticking to his terms, he has a real advantage at the negotiating table. And he attributes that comfort to his days in sales. After all, reading books about negotiations can be a great help, but books can only tell you so much.
For that reason, Travis compares conversing with customers to doing exercise repetitions at a gym. Reading about sales and reading about fitness could give you a solid foundation of knowledge. But books won’t give you real-world business experience just as books in themselves won’t build your muscles.
Starting and Building Your Podcast
Travis believes that creating media content is the best way for real estate pros to distinguish themselves from their many competitors.
However, although this industry is intensely competitive, few real estate agents have any desire to start a podcast or YouTube channel. Travis feels that’s a huge oversight.
He frames the issue this way: Real estate depends on trust — the trust of buyers and sellers. Trust comes from relationships. Relationships require spending time together. And producing your own content lets you spend time with people on a large scale.
Even a smaller podcast might attract 1,000 listeners, many of whom will find the podcaster engaging and informative. Ultimately, some of them will feel comfortable enough to do business with that content creator.
Many real estate professionals say that a thought leadership platform won’t help their business much. But, according to Travis, that’s because they’re afraid of failure. They secretly wonder: Who am I to pose as a podcaster? This inhibition is called imposter syndrome.
On top of that, many real estate pros realize that thriving podcasts and YouTube channels require a great deal of work. They must be built from scratch. And many successful people want to avoid the feeling of being a beginner again.
Travis would advise you to ignore such concerns, choose a content outlet, and get going with it. Also, understand that it’ll probably take five to 10 years to cultivate an audience and make real money from that channel.
Moreover, keep in mind that people want to connect with podcasters. When they’re listening to a podcast, they’re usually not thinking about the host’s resume. They just want information and entertainment.
If you’re not confident in your hosting skills at first, your initial podcasts could all be interviews. Contact experts and ask them if they’ll share some of their secrets on your show. This format takes the pressure off the host.
Furthermore, interviews give you a great way to learn about industry topics you’re less familiar with. Indeed, you could approach each episode like an investigative reporter. For example, if you’re involved in commercial real estate, you could invite an accomplished commercial real estate investor. It’s amazing how much you could learn about commercial real estate investing in just an hour or so.
When he started podcasting, Travis didn’t know as much about networking as he would’ve liked. But having networking authorities on his show helped him fill in those knowledge gaps.
As an interviewer, every time you host a well-respected guest, your reputation will get a boost. More outstanding guests will want to come on, and each one will further improve your credibility. In fact, when Travis began his podcast, it was exclusively an interview show. But, over time, his listeners told him they wanted to hear more from him personally. As a result, he now does one show a week by himself.
No Time Like Right Now
Travis Chappell’s most important advice is to just get started.
If you want to be a great negotiator, get a job that forces you to talk to customers constantly.
If you want to be a content creator, ignore your insecurities, find interview subjects, and record episodes.
If you want to be a commercial real estate investor, find partners, scrape some money together, and make your first commercial real estate investing deal.
It’s true that experience is the best teacher. And, if you can learn its lessons, success will soon be headed your way.