JF1161: A Top 10 Broker Does EVERYTHING Possible To Succeed – Do You? With Aaron Kirman
Aaron doesn’t box himself into one niche or strategy. He and his team are always working on every avenue they can pursue, something Aaron says is a big contributor to his major success. We’ll also learn other great tips for how we can all be as successful as he is, you might be surprised what he says is the biggest factor for success. If you enjoyed today’s episode remember to subscribe in iTunes and leave us a review!
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Aaron Kirman Real Estate Background:
– Holds the second highest sale for a residential property in Beverly Hills’ history, at $65 Million US.
-Named the 10th top agent by The Wall Street Journal and part of Variety’s ‘Real Estate Elite,’
-Boasts more than $3.5 billion in residential sales, with $300M dollars last year alone.
-Sought by many developers to sell multi-unit projects incl. a private island in the Pacific, Turks and Caicos, W Hotels.
-In 2016, he was named an exclusive partner and brand ambassador for China’s top real estate portal Juwai.com.
-Say hi to him at aaronkirman.com
-Based in Los Angeles, California
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Joe Fairless: Best Ever listeners, how are you doing? Welcome to the best real estate investing advice ever show. I’m Joe Fairless, and this is the world’s longest-running daily real estate investing podcast. We only talk about the best advice ever, we don’t get into any of that fluffy stuff. With us today, Aaron Kirman. How are you doing, Aaron?
Aaron Kirman: I’m doing super well, thanks for having me.
Joe Fairless: My pleasure, nice to have you on the show, and holy cow, we’ve got a lot to talk about! Let’s see, a little bit about Aaron – he was named the tenth top agent by the Wall Street Journal; he holds the second-highest sale for residential property in Beverly Hills history at 65 million, and you can learn more about him and connect with him at his website, Aaron Kirman.com, and that’s in the show notes link. Based in Los Angeles, California.
With that being said, Aaron, how about you tell the Best Ever listeners a little bit more about your background and your current focus?
Aaron Kirman: I’ve been in real estate ever since I was a little kid, at 17 I started in real estate. It was always something I just knew I love to do, and I had some challenges growing up as a child, so I knew I was somewhat limited in certain elements, so sales was always something that was just one of my super strong points, and I always loved houses.
I got in the business super young, and from there I just stuck with it, worked super hard, and now I’m ranked one of the top in L.A., pretty much the top in L.A., top 10 in the world, and we sell the most expensive houses in the world, and now I’m really focusing on growing what is hopefully gonna be the most successful real estate team in the country.
Joe Fairless: So let’s dig into some of these things… I was reading a little bit about you before our conversation, and I read that you got fired from your first job at a real estate firm… What happened?
Aaron Kirman: I got fired from every job I have ever had, until I was the boss. It was a very real lesson; from 13 on I could not hold a job, and it just made me realize from a very young age that I need to be a boss, and I really can’t be an employee.
When I finally decided to get into real estate — in fact, I saw the guy that fired me…
Joe Fairless: Why did they fire you?
Aaron Kirman: Some stupid reason, I dropped some mail… Some ridiculous thing. But when I saw the guy that fired me a couple days ago, he goes “That was the biggest mistake I ever made”, because he owned a real estate company, and a couple years into the business I was already doing really well. But yeah, I really couldn’t hold down a job, and it was at that point that I knew I need to be a boss, I needed to be a leader, and that was when I started to do really well.
Joe Fairless: You needed to be a boss, you needed to be a leader… How do you become an effective boss and leader?
Aaron Kirman: Years of practice. Leadership was always something very natural to me, but I still work on a day in and day out. I think for me effective leadership is always being honest, always being sincere, always making the right decisions, and actually really honing in on what’s right for other people and what’s right for the team.
I interviewed a top agent that actually would have been really profitable for my firm, and I would have loved to have had her, but at the end of the day she told me who she was interviewing with, and I told her straight up – I thought she was better with this person, and I told her why. She specialized in an area that I do, but I’m not necessarily the market leader of that area, and she interviewed with the market leader. I said “You know what, if I was you and that’s the area you wanna do, go with this guy.”
So I always try to really think what’s right for my team, and I call them “kids”, no matter what age they are; I always call them my kids, because I really look out for what they’re doing. I try to teach them the lessons that I learned the hard way, early on. That makes me feel good.
Joe Fairless: When you were starting out, it would be I suspect more challenging to turn down business like you essentially did with a potential kid of yours, and not work with someone even if it wasn’t the best fit, because when you’re starting out you need to make money… So have you always had that mentality, or at the beginning did you try and just make things happen and then that mentality has evolved?
Aaron Kirman: It’s really hard to fire clients when you need the money, when you’re so desperate for that deal… You have to be in a real power position to be able to do that and to have that ability. When I was younger, I never fired clients, and actually I worked for people that for whatever reason internally I knew I would never make money off of, but I spent a lot of time, energy and money doing so. It wasn’t until probably 2012 where I had maybe 700 million dollars in active inventory and I was having a horrible year… For whatever reason – I was unhappy, I was miserable; I was fine financially, but everything else wasn’t great, and I went on vacation, I came back, and I literally tried to figure out what was gonna make me happy, and I fired 70% of my active clients the day I got back.
I freaked out about it, because I had lost 500 million dollars in active inventory, and I’m like “What am I gonna do now?”, and no joke, within three months, I had it back and then more. So my lesson was get rid of the ones that aren’t working for you and keep what’s working for you, because the universe will reward you.
Today, I fire clients; when it’s not gonna work, I let them know. I really wanna be on the same page as my clients, because if we’re not, it’s a waste of their time, it’s a waste of my time, and ultimately it’s not gonna work.
Joe Fairless: What’s that communication look or sound like when you fire a client?
Aaron Kirman: I believe in always being super kind, super sweet and super sincere; if it’s not gonna work, I tell them why, and sometimes I even offer my competitor that same client, because maybe they’ll work better. A lot of times too in real estate I notice it’s timing more than anything else. Agents from all over the world come to me to help them sell houses, and they’re like “I can’t get the seller to price this right, or listen to my…” whatever it is that they’re trying to do. Sometimes it just takes a second person to back that up, or a position of power, or the right time, and all of a sudden that seller was gonna listen.
So there’s a lot to what we do.
Joe Fairless: You mentioned around the world, and that triggered something for me. I was reading an article – you fly over 300,000 miles a year… Is that right?
Aaron Kirman: Probably more.
Joe Fairless: Probably more. What are you doing?
Aaron Kirman: We’re flying all over the world. I represent some of the most wealthy people in the world, and so wealth is everywhere. At the end of the day, real estate is a relationship-based business, and sometimes I am going to dinners, to hang out, sometimes I’m going to conferences, sometimes I’m going to meet a buyer and seller, sometimes it’s a combination of everything, and sometimes I’m just on vacation, living my life, and I’m still making money. So it really kind of depends on the moment.
In the next three days I’m actually gonna be going to Paris to meet a client that has two homes between 50 and 100 million, then I’m gonna be speaking at a conference over there, and from there I’m gonna have a little fun along the way.
Joe Fairless: Are these homes in Beverly Hills?
Aaron Kirman: I specialize in pretty much any estate home all over the world, but the majority of my marketplace is Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Hollywood Hills… But again, we’re a relationship-based business, so I represent a lot of like the Saudi [unintelligible [00:07:55].26], and they have homes all over the world, so we view ourselves not just as like a broker, but more or less as a representative, and here to help them determining how we can best accomplish our goals.
Joe Fairless: How do you effectively market and sell a house in a different country from [unintelligible [00:08:14].17]?
Aaron Kirman: Multiple ways… It’s really funny, the most wealthy people often have multiple homes all over the world. Most of my clients have 3-7 homes. They have a house in the home country, London, New York, Los Angeles, and wherever else. So a lot of these buyers you’ll see, when you run in that circle, you kind of know who’s looking, who wants what, so it’s fairly easy for us to cross-connect, but other than that, there’s a lot of different ways to do it. It’s always one degree of separation. If I have a home somewhere, usually we try to put some dots together and figure out who we know in that area, who knows who, and work that way.
Then you have mainstream things – TV, press, media, marketing… All those things can also help. The world is so global, the internet is phenomenal at doing that. I have guys on my team that are tech junkies and they know the internet more than anybody, and honestly, they can manipulate it and work with it in such a way that we’re targeting everyone, from billionaires, multi-millionaires, to whatever it may be. Even it’s a focus on beach, island, horse property, equestrian, whatever it is.
Joe Fairless: Thinking back if you can on maybe the last handful of listings of yours that have sold, if you know, how did the buyer originally hear about it?
Aaron Kirman: Probably the last ten, there’s no specific one trait that we see. In general, there’s a multiple listing service which people use… I always say international buyers become local buyers the day they get to Los Angeles or wherever it is they’re looking.
We reach out to people all over the world, and I think we start to set the tone. We’re like, “Hey, we have a house. You should check this out.” At that point they’re gonna do their own research, their own due diligence, their own study. Our goal is to reach them first, work with them, and then kind of educate them along the way. But we’re not recreating the wheel; most of it is online, most of it is technology, most of it is the computer, at the end of the day.
Sometimes it’s neighbors, sometimes it’s friends, sometimes it’s family, sometimes it’s connections. Sometimes it’s even TV. I’ve sold a lot of houses off TV recently.
Joe Fairless: When you go on trips and you meet with clients… I read that in some cases you spend between $20,000 and $50,000 per trip to meet up with clients; how do you measure that from a return on investment standpoint?
Aaron Kirman: I wish I could say that I’m studying my return on investment in that way… Some trips are a loss and some trips are a win; the budget for my overall office is tremendously expensive. We’re spending hundreds of thousands a month in technology, media, press, infrastructure, travel. So it’s just a part of what we do.
I have traveled to China, and Hong Kong, and Europe, and pretty much everywhere else in the world, and a lot of times there’s not an immediate return. Sometimes it’s just about building a relationship, and at the end of the day this business is a relationship-based business. Maybe I’ll fly to China to meet a billionaire out of Hong Kong and have a dinner. That may not equate to immediate revenue, but a year later his aunt, uncle, or him/her may be ready to buy that 50-60 – whatever it is, even five million dollar house, and we see a return.
So sometimes it happens quick, and sometimes we go, we list the house… I flew to Paris, I listed a 70 million dollar house and they sold it. Super great return, right? An amazing client. Sometimes it takes time and energy. But again, it’s really hard to pinpoint what does work and what doesn’t, which is why I just do everything, and I spend a ton of money, time and energy expanding, expanding, expanding, and that’s the beauty of what we do, I think.
What drives me crazy about real estate in general is a lot of people think in the box, and they don’t think out of the box; I think from an investment standpoint and from a broker standpoint, the ones that are gonna succeed are the ones that are thinking out of the box. I study companies, and corporations and business, and anything that a multi-billion dollar company does, if I can afford to do it and I can maintain it, I try to do that, even on a smaller scale.
Joe Fairless: What are some examples of that?
Aaron Kirman: I have two people full-time press teams that work on our behalf, and we say the best way to advertise is editorial. Rich people read, and so if we can get those great editorial articles, then we’re gonna be in a great position. Press, media, TV… I’m one of the headliners on CNBC’s Secret Lives of the Super Rich, that sells homes. Technology – hugely important. There’s multiple facets to technology – there’s internet, there’s rebranding… There’s a hundred different ways to do it; there’s YouTube channels. These are all really important elements, and as we move further, we’re gonna see that that’s gonna be even more important.
When I started in the business, it was who you know a hundred percent. Who you know and who you have access to, that was the business. I think in today’s world, because we’re so technology-based, everyone’s kind of going online and are figuring out what’s right for them, who’s right for them, what’s wrong for them, and then making their decisions from there.
Joe Fairless: Got it. So the online brand is paramount.
Aaron Kirman: Huge. That said, it’s still easier who you know. If you’re one phone call away, they have a history with you, it’s still the easier format.
Joe Fairless: You mentioned “that’s why I do everything, going to all sorts of places” – I imagine that you are pulled in a lot of different directions and some directions you choose to pursue, and some directions you’re like “Hey, I just got back from China. I can make it to India, I just landed in L.A.” So how do you determine which opportunities to go spend 20k-50k on for a trip, and which one is like “It sounds okay, but it just doesn’t make sense for me right now.”
Aaron Kirman: A lot of it is timing and a lot of it is energy. When I’m gone, I still have an office that has about a billion dollars worth of inventory every day, so we’re still working and we’re still doing our daily moves. A lot of it is just kind of figuring out what the opportunity, who it is… I’m certainly open to every opportunity, and you have to pick and choose.
Sometimes great opportunities I have to miss, because there’s a better opportunity local. So it’s all about time management and kind of using your gut and intuition. It’s gotten me this far and I believe in my gut basically 100%.
Joe Fairless: Tell us a story where you followed your gut and it worked out.
Aaron Kirman: I feel like my life is a gut, that’s what I’m good at. I don’t know if I’m the most intelligent person, but I’m super intuitive. In today’s place, I feel super blessed because I meet people and I could tell if they’re good or bad, I could tell if I’m gonna make money with them. I got a call from some guy I never heard of. I knew the address of the house he had, and he’s like “Why don’t you fly to Paris to meet me?” and I did, and it was a very expensive, 70+ million dollar home, and I sold it. And I went there within one day.
Joe Fairless: How did he hear about you, do you know?
Aaron Kirman: That was a referral.
Joe Fairless: Referral.
Aaron Kirman: Yeah. Every day I walk away from listings. I tell people my gut, and then even when it comes to pricing, when it comes to selling, when it comes to strategy – that’s how I work, and I’m wrong about a lot of things. You talk to me about politics, marriage, dating – I’m probably off, but when it comes to real estate, for some reason, I’m usually pretty close to accurate. Not to say that I haven’t made a lot of mistakes along the way.
Joe Fairless: We’ll get to that in a second, but you mentioned you study companies and corporations and you implement some of the best practices that the large ones have that make sense to you… What’s something that you have seen but you haven’t implemented yet, but it’s on your radar?
Aaron Kirman: There’s so many things that I wanna do. At the end of the day, even though we have a billion dollars of inventory and I sold 3.5 billion dollars, I’m still not at that level of a huge corporation. We’re still a very successful real estate practice. Events. I think events are super important. It’s not something that we’ve gone down that path yet, but it’s something that I really wanna do. I think sponsors to some major events are super important.
I always teach people that the best way to sell is to be yourself and to be comfortable with whatever it is – whether it’s going to church, whether it’s doing the opposite and drinking… Whatever it is that drives you, that makes you happy, you should do.
I think those events are super important for people’s businesses, because it connects you with like-minded people, and when you’re connected with like for like, it’s easy to make money because you’re just gonna get each other. So that’s something that I would also like to do in the future. But I’d like to amplify everything times a hundred, because the more money you spend, the more time you do, the more money you’re gonna make, and the more fun you’re gonna have. So it’s really just about figuring out what is working and what isn’t working, and sometimes that’s very difficult in my world, because it’s hard to pinpoint one.
No matter how hard I’ve tried, we haven’t been able to say “Okay, we’re gaining a 30% return from this investment.” It just doesn’t happen. Sometimes it’s all full circle. When I started as a young guy in this business, I’ve spent a lot of money in print advertising. People say it’s a waste of time, but at a fairly young age people knew my name, and they knew that I was selling houses. Did I ever get a phone call saying “I want to buy one of those houses”? Never, not once. And we’re talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars of marketing and advertising… But it did something; it got my name out there. It may be passive, but that’s important, too. Sometimes passive advertising is super important.
Joe Fairless: What type of event would you do?
Aaron Kirman: I have so many interests, from charities, to aviation, to golf, to concerts, to interior design…
Joe Fairless: So it’d be more of a sponsorship, it wouldn’t be one that you put together from scratch.
Aaron Kirman: It could be, I love doing that, too. They’re things that we just haven’t done yet, that I would like to do. But you know, it takes a lot of time and energy and money, as well. We have to allocate…
Joe Fairless: Just skip one trip. There’s your event. [laughs]
Aaron Kirman: [unintelligible [00:17:45].26] a sponsorship good, it’s probably more than one of those trips.
Joe Fairless: Yeah, that’s true. Well, you could do an event somewhere in Wyoming, and I bet you could pull it off for 50k.
Aaron Kirman: Let’s see, let’s see… Time will tell. I’ll let you know if I ever do something over there.
Joe Fairless: There you go. Based on your experience as a successful entrepreneur in real estate, what is your best advice ever for someone who wants to follow in your footsteps in terms of building a company to the degree that you’ve built one?
Aaron Kirman: At the root of it, love what you do, and be super interested in it, and follow your passion. Life is too short to just take a job to make money. I think a lot of people fall into the pattern of that, and I understand money is a necessity of life, but if there’s ever a time to take risk, take that risk, follow your passion; know what you’re good at, know what you’re not good at. Do I think I’m the smartest person in the world? Absolutely not. Did I know that I couldn’t hold a job and that I needed to basically do something where I could be my own boss? And did I love houses? Yes. And I put those two things together and they were really simple, and I made a multibillion dollar business for myself.
I think that if you follow your passion, if you follow your desires, you know your talents, there’s no reason why you can’t be successful.
Joe Fairless: Tell us maybe a story of a mistake, and what happened.
Aaron Kirman: God, I have so many mistakes… Hundreds and hundreds. You know, from every mistake there has been a lesson, and I feel like I started in my business so young that I made a hundred mistakes. Not calling people back, giving the wrong prices, not taking the right strategy. One of my biggest mistakes was I was moving so quick that I wasn’t strategizing on how to get to where I wanna be, and it wasn’t until I slowed down and I took an overall vision…
You know, we get bogged down in the details. Details, details, details. Problems, problems, problems. But it wasn’t until I took some time to go “Okay, that’s just a deal. Let’s not worry about one deal. Let’s not worry about two deals. Let’s figure out how to do 40.”
At the beginning of my career, all I worried about was getting those deals done. So I didn’t have time to figure out how to get bigger, how to grow, how to live the life I wanted to live…
One of my actually biggest regrets was moving too fast, too soon, and not really taking a global picture to what I do. Today, that’s all I do. I take a global picture to what I do. I would rather lose a deal, not get a deal, even ten deals, to lose that opportunity cost of running my global organization in the right way.
Joe Fairless: What triggered the moment where you were able to get that perspective that you didn’t have before? Was it relationship with someone, or was it just a light flipped on, or what?
Aaron Kirman: I hate to say this, but I think it was general unhappiness. Maybe five years ago I was not that happy with my industry, I was not that happy with my business; I had already done it for like 16 years. I was super successful and I felt — what was my next move? I didn’t know what my next move was, and I didn’t feel like I could do this for another 30 years.
That was the year that I fired all my clients, that was the year that I cleaned house, and that was the year that I also thought to myself “Where do I wanna go? What do I really wanna do? Do I just wanna be an independent broker and do this?” and the answer was no. So then it lead me to becoming president of an organization. I became an estates director of a company, I worked to build that division and we did a great job doing that.
Then I found I love leadership and I love teaching and I liked inspiring, and so that [unintelligible [00:21:23].02] to build my own team, plus the presidency of that division. And then from there, I’m always kind of figuring out “Well, what’s my next move?”
My next move is to continue to grow my team, and I like to talk to the media and I like to talk to the press, and these are all things that I enjoy, because at the end of the day I feel like I’m really good at sales, and I’d like to teach that. I think that no matter what you sell, if you have the basics and you are comfortable with yourself, people will be successful.
I think a lot of times people go into business with impressions of what people think that they think they should be. I realized that in order to be really successful, you have to be super authentic, and being authentic gets you really, really far. I walk into these expensive houses, and I’m a little corky and I’m a little bit crazy, and sometimes things come out of my mouth and I’m like “I can’t believe I just said that to these people that own 80 and 100 million dollar houses!”, but I’ve realized the more that I’m myself, the more that I go into my clients like they’re my friends, the more they’re gonna like me and respect me and we could just have a really authentic, real relationship, based on truth. That was when I started to get super successful. When I realized I don’t need to be somebody, I don’t need to pretend to be somebody, and I don’t need to lie about anything. A price is a price, and if they don’t like it, they could go somewhere else and try, and if it doesn’t work, they know my opinion.
Joe Fairless: Would you say that is the key to sales, or there are other bullet points that are just as important as being your authentic self?
Aaron Kirman: I think being your authentic self is honestly the most important. Other agents in my industry wear suits and ties, and I’m wearing a T-shirt. It’s just what I feel comfortable in. But there are other things. Knowledge is so important. You can’t hide expertise, you can’t hide experience, and you can’t pretend to have it if you don’t, because it’s gonna come across unauthentic.
So for everyone there’s a learning curve. It takes time, it takes energy, it takes study, it takes practice, it takes mistakes. These are all the things that keep people where they are. If I didn’t make those mistakes along the way – and I made so many of them – then I don’t think I would be as educated as I am today to know not to make those mistakes, not to react to an e-mail you don’t like… You get an e-mail that pisses you off, don’t respond; it’s okay, they’ll wait.
When I was younger, I used to shoot out an e-mail, and a relationship would deteriorate. 90% of the time I don’t respond they forget they sent me the e-mail to begin with. And if they didn’t and I respond and we work it out, it usually works out just fine. But again, these are all things that take time, and you really have to be super confident in yourself in your decision-making.
Joe Fairless: Without the expertise and the experience when you’re starting out, how do you become confident?
Aaron Kirman: I don’t think you do. I think it starts with knowledge and education, and being comfortable with that decision. If you don’t know what you’re doing and you don’t know the product that you’re selling, then you’re not gonna be good, no matter how confident you are. And if you are confident, eventually you’re gonna make a mistake, and that’s gonna backfire, too.
Listen, when I was younger, I was confident; I’ve always been confident in what I’ve done, and I’ve always been able to walk the talk and talk the talk, but the more knowledgeable you are, the more comfortable people will feel with you and the more comfortable you’ll feel with yourself.
I legitimately go into interviews and I think I am the best at what I do, and I couldn’t say that five years ago. But today, I can say it, because I have a team that supports me in such a way we’re doing everything we can in terms of marketing and advertising, we know all the right people and we work our asses off. And based on all those things, I could literally say I think I am better than my competition. Now, maybe my competition can say the same thing as well, and that’s why it’s such a competitive world, but that level of confidence really takes you very far.
Joe Fairless: Do you have any daily habits?
Aaron Kirman: Yes. I try to start my day slow. I try to wake up and have a cup of coffee, I meditate every single morning; I find meditation keeps me really in the zone and clear. I try to go to the gym every morning, and I try to start my day in a way that’s gonna set the tone for a very happy, energetic day.
I feel like when I jump in to work, and I jump into my phone and I jump into those e-mails, by the end of the day I get a little irritated and I get to a point where exhaustion sets in, but if I could start slow and easy, then my day goes longer, it goes better, I’m more likeable, I enjoy people more, they enjoy me more, and it all seems to come full circle.
I also take time off. I really believe people should live the life they wanna live, and that doesn’t mean building empires; it’s great to build empires, right? But it’s not the only thing. When I feel like I’ve worked too hard, I go on a vacation. I get out, I go see the world, and I meet my friends, and I travel, and I spend time with my family and friends, and these are all the things that I do to keep me centered, so that I can continue to keep focus and not do what we call burnout.
Joe Fairless: We’re gonna do a lightning round – are you ready for the Best Ever Lightning Round?
Aaron Kirman: Sounds kind of scary, but let’s go!
Joe Fairless: [laughs] I know you can handle it! Alright. First, a quick word from our Best Ever sponsors.
Joe Fairless: Okay, best ever book you’ve read?
Aaron Kirman: I wish I didn’t have this answer… I read magazines, news publications, newspapers, internet… I haven’t read a book in a very long time.
Joe Fairless: Best ever news source or just entertainment source that you use that helps you with your business?
Aaron Kirman: Wall Street Journal, I read it every day.
Joe Fairless: Why that publication?
Aaron Kirman: It really focuses on business, it gives me an interesting perspective, and it has the very version of the most important news on the left. [unintelligible [00:27:57].08] I can scan it on a conference call, I can read it at the office… It just works really well for me.
Joe Fairless: Okay, this is a listener question – we asked our audience to submit some questions when we said that we were gonna be interviewing you, and we handpicked some questions… This is from Josh. He’s in California and he asks “How do you think home selling and buying will change over the next 5-7 years and how will that affect investors and agents?
Aaron Kirman: I think technology has continued to change our industry, and I think we’ve just begun to see the beginning of that. I think that in many respects, the thing about real estate that is important is it’s a people business and there’s so many technicalities to it, at the end of the day there will always be a lot of details that agents need to handle… So I think agents are here to stay, but technology is always moving forward, and there is a technology that’s gonna make it easier for both buyers and sellers to find homes; I think it will be interesting to see, adn we need to study every day, because none of us wanna be left behind.
But today, buyers and sellers are more knowledgeable than they have ever been. They know more than a lot of agents know, they have information and I think where we can provide our value (as an agent anyway) is from giving them information that they may not be able to have online. That comes through pocket listings, that comes through sales that are not public, that comes through understanding buyer and seller needs, and really being a real advisor.
Joe Fairless: Here’s another question from another listener – what are your top revenue-producing tasks and how are you tracking those in your performance?
Aaron Kirman: It’s really hard to track revenue in our business. It’s such a big, global world out there. We try. Whenever anybody calls us, we’re like “Did you see us on TV, have you found us on the internet, or who referred you?” To date though, the best way that I make revenue is referrals and ex-clients. I have — I call it an army of people behind me, because I have four billion dollars in sales, and if I get my job right and those four billion dollars worth of sales, those people behind it liked me, they’re gonna refer me to their friends and family. Quite honestly, that is our number one revenue source, and in order to keep that going, we need to be bigger and better than ever. We need to give better customer service. There’s no better way to sell a house than to sell a house. Once somebody gets told, a neighbor will call you. Just having that house doesn’t make it happen. So we’ve gotta make sure that we’re successful and make sure that our clients are happy with us, and that we treat people well. I think it’s a really small world.
One thing I also do is I work with the broker community and I don’t think other people do that a lot. Going back to the years I was unhappy, I was very competitive and I was all about me. I shifted that, and I started splitting everything with clients and agents. If a seller called me and said “Hey, I’m unhappy with my agent. Meet me”, often times I would say “Let’s keep your agent and add me. Let’s not take it away, because I don’t wanna take away from people.” And I noticed that that energetic level gave me more business, because all of a sudden agents are a huge sphere of my business. They’re like “Look, I’m having a hard time with a house. Can you help?”
Joe Fairless: What’s the best ever way you like to give back?
Aaron Kirman: I think giving back is the most important energy to continue moving forward, and I do a lot. I give a lot of money to charity, I give a lot of my time to charity. I give a lot of my time to my team and to people, and I always try to give the best advice to everyone, and I think that that is ultimately how I give back, because I always try to take myself out of the equation and making money out of the equation and I always try to go “What’s right for this person?” A lot of times what’s right for me and what’s right for them don’t align, and I have to be aware of that, and I have to say “Look, I can only treat you like I would want somebody to treat me, or like I would treat my mom and my dad, who are my life. So I’m gonna tell you, don’t sell your house, because it’s not the right move for you today.”
Joe Fairless: Closing out, what’s the best place the Best Ever listeners can learn more about your company and get in touch with you or your colleagues?
Aaron Kirman: The best way is AaronKirman.com, our website. I’ve been super lucky to have a lot of articles written on me, so I’m googleable. If anybody has any questions, I’m always happy to help as well. Feel free to e-mail or get in touch.
Joe Fairless: Lots of lessons, thank you. I’m so grateful that you spent some time with us, Aaron. Some of the things that stood out to me… One is studying the companies and corporations that are best in class – not just in real estate, but just in general, and then implementing some of those procedures or departments. A specific example is you having two full-time press people on staff, and you listed some other things. Also, clearly the overarching here is being authentic and connecting with people maybe at an event, or hosting an event or sponsoring an event, but that event should be aligned with you and your interests, because as you said, when you connect with like-minded people, then the money will follow, because you’re gonna be in your natural setting and you’re gonna just be more magnetic.
Also, the other tips that you have on sales – one is you’ve gotta have the expertise and you’ve gotta have the experience; you can’t hide it, you must have it. So getting that, learning from the mistakes and being in the right environment to do so, and as you said, just always being honest and sincere and honing in on what’s right for other people…
Aaron Kirman: And yourself, too.
Joe Fairless: And yourself, in an authentic way, yeah.
Aaron Kirman: Look, I don’t know how to do math, I had a hard time reading as a child… These are things that I knew that I had problems with, so I was real with myself, and I said “Look, some things are not gonna work for me. I can’t be a scientist, I can’t do math.” You need to hone in on what’s good for you, but yeah, all those things are super important.
Joe Fairless: Aaron, thanks for being on the show again. I hope you have a best ever day, and we’ll talk to you soon.
Aaron Kirman: Thank you so much for having me! Take care!