Give Them Everything!!!

“Give Them Everything!!!!”

You probably think I’m crazy at this point. “Give them everything?” Here he goes again with another crazy sales concept. Hear me out though ladies and gentlemen. I’m about to give you a sales tip that if followed correctly in any service industry will absolutely drive your closing %’s ALL THE WAY UP. Love this song!!!

This is not theory. This is FACT. Let’s Go!!! 

There is this misconception out there that if you give your client the recipe for the “secret sauce” they won’t need you and therefore won’t hire you.  They will not engage or buy your services because they now know how you are miraculously repairing their credit, mowing their lawn, building their house, optimizing their site, advertising their product, etc etc etc. It’s simply not true.. Tell your customers exactly what you’re doing for them and break down exactly how it will happen. Go into as much detail as possible. Hold nothing back. Give them everything!!!

I have this saying at Key Credit, “go fast until you have to go slow”. What this means is do everything fast all day long. Be as efficient as possible. Make as many calls as you can in a given hour, write as many emails as possible to prospective clients and even eat your lunch quickly(time is money for Gods sake. Put that sub down. Order a small next time. Large’s take too long to eat.) but when you have a live human being on the phone that is interested in what you have to offer….SLOW THE TRUCK DOWN!!!!!! If you’re going about your day at 100mph you should slow down your consultation or pitch to  around 20mph. I know I know. This is not easy. Trust me. I have a green lamborghini and silver porsche 911 GTS toy set on my desk.

The actual toy porsche on my desk

I love going fast. I’m obsessed with speed. #Speedwins is another saying I use all the time. BUT, NOT IN YOUR PITCH DAMNIT. Take your time and give your prospective client as much detail as possible about how you do, what you do, when you do it. Don’t be afraid to go into detail. Your prospect is not going to steal your trade secret and then do it themselves. Slow down. Your consultation should be absolutely life changing for your customer. It should be a work of art. Your client has money they want to give you for a service. They worked VERY hard for that money. You need to work harder in order for the good karma of the capitalist system to forward their hard earned money from their wallet to yours. Your client deserves the best, from the best. I’m being very, very serious. Okay, you get the picture. Let’s move on….

Remember, we live in an age where anyone at anytime can google anything. Information is free and readily accessible. You can learn anything at anytime and pay nothing for it. But, that doesn’t mean someone wants to do it themselves. “I have no time”. Heard that lately? Yeah, I’m sure you say it to yourself throughout the day. Your client is saying it too. Teach them what you do so they respect you as a professional and then offer to do it for them.

I love using this sales system in the service arena. I would literately break down to my clients every single tactic I would take to better their credit. I break it down for them in excruciating detail. Sometimes I joke with them at the start of the consultation and warn them they will have a migraine by the time we’re done. I’ve done this thousands of times as my competitors took an opposite approach and didn’t tell their clients how they were helping them. I can close almost 100% of the consultations I start because of this tactic.

Why does it work you ask?

Simple. When someone sees what truly goes into your craft they will appreciate it. They will respect your expertise. They will understand that you are a professional and will trust you to execute the plan for them. Don’t summarize your hard work in your pitch to a prospect. Don’t shorten your presentation. It’s just not fair. If you do this they will be less likely to engage and more likely to cancel if for some dumb reason they did engage with you after a quick presentation. If your pitch is taking 10 minutes in order to close 50% of the prospects you speak too, try and push out your consultation or pitch to 20 minutes. I guarantee your closing percentage will sky rocket to somewhere close to 100%.

How to implement?

Here is how I did it. Super easy. Instead of telling my client how I am going to repair their credit I put on my professor hat and spend 30+ minutes teaching my prospect how they can repair their own credit. I take them through an action plan that they can execute themselves that will get them the desired results. I give them everything. 8/10 times the client will ask if I can execute the plan for them before I even finish teaching them.  2/10 times I’m asking a simple question at the end of the “credit repair 101” course that sounds like this…. “Thanks for letting me take you through the action plan that will get you from a 550 credit score to the point where you can qualify to purchase your home. Do you understand how this action plan will work and how you can have great credit again?”. The client will always say yes. The reasoning being quite obvious. I’ve given them a full proof road map for success. Once they’ve said yes I ask them another simple question, “would you like to hire my company to execute the plan FOR you?”. What do you think the response will be? Ummmm…Yes obviously.

BONUS ROUND.

“I’m not good at breaking down the details of how great my service is. I’m not a good communicator. I’m not good at sales, blah blah blah. ” Stop trying to be good at sales. Teach. Teach your client how they can “repair their OWN credit, how they can manage their own SEO or run their own advertising.” Don’t worry about YOU. Teach them well enough that they can even turn around and teach someone else what your’e doing. Give them the recipe to the “secret sauce”.  When you do this they will trust you as a true professional. They will pay you large sums of money and we will all live happily ever after 🙂

P.S. Can you see how implementing the “give them everything” system can drive up closing percentages for your sales team?

Would you like to implement this in your sales script at some point soon, but feel as if you don’t have time to do it yourself?

Email me at nikitas@nikitas.com . I can help.

BTW…See how my “give them everything” system just worked on even YOU via this free blog article where I gave you everything about giving others everything?? Talk to you soon:)

Nikitas Tsoukales

www.nikitas.com 

nikitas@nikitas.com 

 

 

How to grow from working IN your business to ON your business

4 Phases to Greatness 

I completed more than 10+ consulting calls this week with new business owners and the number one question I heard was…. “how do I get to the point where I can work ON the business vs. just IN the business all day?”. If you’ve received “seed funding”, or you just started an app and google gave you a big chunk of cash to get going….get lost. This article is not for you.

This article is for the “solopreneur”. If you’re sitting in an empty virtual office(aka your kitchen) all by yourself.  If you’ve got the idea, a basic website and maybe even some people paying for your product or service this is for you. Also, if you’re in business and the cash register is ringing at least a few bucks but you’re a little unsure how to grow your business without someone handing you a stack of cash and taking 80% of all future profits this is for you.

P.S. I’m writing this from the heart. I remember spending endless nights at my kitchen table writing blogs and trying to fix wordpress plugins I broke earlier in the day. I remember those nights so well. I would drive home at 11pm and stop at 24 hour dunkin donuts for a coffee to “caffeinate” and then continue my work through the night. There was not much of a “miracle morning” then. I wasn’t getting up at 5am to start my day. I was working until 5am. I was by day the salesman, business development person, cfo, bookkeeper, window washer, etc etc etc. By night I was the graphic designer, head of strategy, janitor and web developer. Does this paragraph resonate with you? If not, click off of my blog RIGHT NOW. You have no business here. Move onto Forbes.com or check out your twitter feed for yet another amazing article on how Elon Musk is changing the world or a “Top 10 foods Warren Buffet ate that made him a billionaire” article. Maybe you’re in the market for a “free webinar” hosted by someone that got rich selling free webinars. I dunno. Either way. If you can’t connect with the above “if’s” don’t read on. If you’re in business and actually own your company and want to grow it the old fashion way(with grit and real $$ from customers) then you’re in the right place. You’ve got guts. You’ve got vision. You’re a sociopath…aka entrepreneur.

There are 4 phases to this process. Stay focused. We’re going where no entrepreneurial blog has ever gone before baby!!!

  • Phase 1-Super Man: Launch-1 year
  • Phase 2-Money Maker: 1-2 years
  • Phase 3-Michael Jordan: 2-5 years
  • Phase 4-The Machine: 5+

Phase 1-Super Man: 0-1 year

The superman phase is when you show the market place you are made of steel. You are invincible. You’ve just launched. You’ve funded your dream business with your credit cards, personal loans, your 401k and maybe even a few loans from friends and family(cringing).  I did all of the above plus borrowing against my wife’s credit (don’t ever do this!!!!). Yikes!!! Your business has started. You’re off the ground and your register is ringing something. If you’re a consultant you may have 1 or 2 clients. If you’re a real estate broker you may have a deal lined up to close and maybe a few prospects you’re working with. There is a pulse. Your business is alive!!!! But, you’re still not in the black. Or, if you are, you’re not making enough money to seriously think of hiring anyone for anything. “Nikitas, what do I do? I’m tired. I’m scared. I can’t afford to get help.”. Very simple ladies and gents. You need to get down on your hands and knees and pray to God for strength because you you will not survive in business unless you put on   a superman cape.  Yes, I said it. You need to be strong. You need to be super human. You will need to do it all right now to survive. You need to sleep less, work more, forget balance and adopt a work ethic like nothing you’ve ever experienced. You’re in ZERO position to be hiring anyone. You don’t have the cash. It’s just that simple.  I was in that position for about a year in my business. You are probably smarter than me and can surpass phase 1 in a few weeks or months. If that’s the case please write a blog article with instructions on how to do it and send me the link so I can share with my readers as I sure as hell didn’t know how. I still don’t. If you’re in this phase, your life is totally off balance and you’re probably feeling very burnt out. Don’t worry. It will be over soon. There is light at the end of the tunnel. Also, if you can make it through phase 1 you are officially “made of steel”. Your business has not gone under. You have very few expenses that can sink you. You may have banks, lenders and credit card companies you owe money too calling, but they can’t shut your doors if you are late on a payment(they can only screw up your personal credit and that is fixable in phase 2 and 3:)). I know every business blog will quickly tell you how you need to delegate and hire people asap. Really? With what money can I afford to hire a part time person to help me? Well, you can’t. But you will soon. For now, you’re Superman!!!

Superman description: You do every single job in your organization. You’re working 15 hours a day, 7 days a week. You’re losing your mind but you have faith that your business is going to take off soon.

P.S. In this phase you want to get as much free help as possible. Ask friends and family for help. Tell them you have no money but you’re on a mission. I was lucky enough to have had my sister and cousin chip in free help early on but I could not afford to pay them anything in those days. Thank you Mary and Melina!!!

Phase 2-Money Maker: 1-2 years

Wooo hoooo. You’re alive. You made it through phase 1. You’re kind of profitable at this point. You’re maybe making a half a living. You don’t yet have the “dream money machine” going and your lame 9-5 working friends are giving you unsolicited advice that sounds like this. “You can’t do this forever. It’s not healthy. Just give up and I’ll get you a job dressing up like a penguin to work at my big fortune 100 company”.  Nod your head and tell them they’re right and then secretly block their phone #’s. They are no longer your friends. They are dead to you. They can’t understand why you’re doing what you’re doing or why. But they don’t need to understand. They are not wired like you. You have a different genetic make up. You are flawed. You’re an entrepreneur. Anyway, let’s talk about the “Money Maker” phase. I love this phase!!!

In this phase you will start growing quickly in sales and revenue but not too quickly in company head count. In this phase we will start delegating tasks to others at a slow place. Not just work tasks. We will start to delegate tasks in our personal life as well. We will begin streamlining our life and work so we can focus on the “money maker”.

What is the “money maker” you ask?? Let me give you some examples.

If you’re a real estate broker it may be doing listing appointments and networking events. If you’re in the credit repair business(wink wink) it maybe consultations and meetings with b2b referral sources. If you’re in e-commerce it may be calling customers to make sure they are happy with their orders. We all have a “money maker” or two in our business and that needs to become something we hyper focus on in this phase. If we do this successfully we can double, triple and even 5x our income.

“Nikitas, how do I start delegating my tasks?”

Short Answer: Slowly!!!!!

Super simple method:

Get out a sheet of paper the night before a workday. I would do this Sunday night as monday is always wild and jam packed for most business owners. It’s chock full of tasks. Write out your entire day from the moment you wake up until the moment you fall asleep. Schedule and write out every single task you can think of.  You’re done for now. Next, take that piece of paper and pen along with you throughout your day everywhere you go. You will be adding more to it. As your day progresses I want you to add other things that pop up. Maybe that stop to the dry cleaners. Maybe that unexpected 15 minute wait in line at deli for your lunch. Add everything. I want you to take that sheet of paper out the next day and analyze every single task you accomplished on Monday. Now, get out a new sheet of paper and list out every single task from the smallest at the top down to the largest on the new sheet of paper. Now, get rid of the 1st thing on that list. The top item on your list should be the easiest thing you had to do that day. It should be super small and you probably felt silly writing it down. If so, you’re on the right path. If the first thing on that list was waiting in line for 5 minutes for your coffee at Starbucks then get rid of it. Download the order online app and have your coffee pre-made before you arrive. Does this seem dumb to you? 5 minutes a day x 20 business days a month x 12 months = 1200 wasted minutes. If it takes you 30 minutes to close a sale in your business you can close 40 more sales per year. If you average $200 in profit from each sale you’ve just given yourself an $8k pay raise. If you are waiting in line for coffee you are losing $8k a year. You just gave yourself an $8k pay raise and we’re just getting started!!! Shorten, cut out or delegate each task on that list. Do it slowly. I would advocate no more than 1 task per week. As you do this you will have more free time to focus on your money maker. Your revenue will grow as a result and you will have the “CASH MONEY” to start hiring slowly in house and remotely for all of the operational tasks other than your money maker. The goal is for you to hyper focus on what is bringing in the CHEDDAR 🙂 Also, feel free to move that list to a google or word document. It can be a list that you add to and modify as  your life and business change. If done correctly by the end of the first 2 years in business you should have a super efficient profit center going and you will have streamlined your life and operation.

Phase 3-Michael Jordan: 2-5 years

Phase 3 is when we get more granular. At the start of this  phase you should already be focused on the “money maker” in your business. You’re winning games at this point. Your register is ringing and you’re making a really healthy profit margin. When I was in this phase I was doing 2 things ONLY in my business. Business development (networking with referral sources, etc) and point of sales (consultations/enrollments). I had people doing customer service and all aspects of my operation were handled by others. Also, my outside life was pretty streamlined as well. My dry cleaning was being delivered, I had clothes put together for work by my wife the night before, I was pre-ordering my coffee at starbucks to avoid the line. Every 5 minutes I had cut out of my day meant $8k in additional profit at the end of the year. Now, imagine cutting away 6 hours of garbage?? That’s a big pay increase and you didn’t even need to ask your boss for a raise 🙂

Anyway, what is the Michael Jordan phase? I love #23. The truth is I haven’t followed any professional sports team since the late 90’s. I would use a more recent professional athlete example but I really don’t know any. They don’t come to Key Credit and watch me work so I don’t go to their stadium and watch them work. Anyway, let’s move on. Let’s think about #23’s job. He was put on the court every night to score points. He was not the “assist” guy or the “rebound” guy. He was the point guard. He ran the ball and scored points. But, he couldn’t have scored 55 against the New York Knicks in his first game back after retirement all on his own. He needed a team, and so do you!! You’ve got people doing every other task of your business at this point so now we will start breaking down your money maker process and delegating out those tasks. You will get a Scotty Pipen and Dennis Rodman soon.  If you’re in sales you will begin breaking down your sales process and delegating many of the parts of that process to others. In my case 90% of my money maker was calling leads that had inquired on our website, then doing a short presentation of our service, then pulling up a credit report for that client and then finally doing a consultation and getting the client enrolled. I broke down this process in phases and then began to hire someone to add to my sales team to handle only one of those tasks. At first I simply hired someone to call leads. They would call the prospect, ask them if they had some time to speak with me and then transfer me the call. The person I hired was not a “salesman”. They had one job only. They called lots of  people, asked a simple yes or no question and then transferred a call. That’s it!!! This job position did not require much skill and therefore was super easy and inexpensive to fill. I added someone to pull up the credit reports soon after that as well. I then added someone to send the thank you cards I was mailing after the client enrolled. Within about 6 months I had a sales team. One person was hired to manage 1 or 2 tasks in the “Money Maker” sales process. Not one person on that team was a salesman and that’s why it was easy to recruit and hire people. I was Jordan scoring points all day long. In this phase my income grew incredibly quick while keeping our costs down as a result of avoiding large payouts in commissions to “salesmen”.  Also, while all of this was happening I slowly cross trained each of those people in the others positions and also started training them to do consultations. One thing I paid close attention too when I started building my dream team was to hire smarter people than me. Every person on that initial team was more educated, smarter and sometimes more ambitious than me. They just weren’t at the point in their life where they could handle the responsibility of being #23. But, little did they know they were going to be stepping into that role soon……..

In the meantime I was super, hyper focused on closing sales. I was able to triple my income within a 12 month period when I put this process in place. It was a pivotal moment in my professional career. I was making amazing money and having a blast doing it. But, was it sustainable? Probably so. But, I was not at the point where I was able to work on my business vs. in my business. I wasn’t an operator. I was a salesman. If you love this phase your business you may never leave it. That’s okay. There are people that never leave the Jordan phase. They make a million dollars a year and they do it for a long time and that is great. But I wasn’t able too. I lost my voice multiple times and the business came to a grinding halt each time for days. It was scary and I need to move on from it…..

Phase 4-The Machine: 5+

“You need to work ON your business more, and less IN your business”. You read this in a book on business at some point early on your business. I’m sure of it.  You’ve been dreaming of the day you would be able to implement this concept. Well, YOUR DAY HAS ARRIVED!!!

In phase 3 you started to build your dream team and your money maker has been broken up between different people in your team. In phase 4 you will  start allowing the best person on your team to lead things intermittently. In my case I started having my top sales assistant do every 10 consultations she set up on her own. She did an amazing job. In fact, she did better than me. Slowly we moved her into a full time sales position. She and I did every consultation and we continued to grow the sales team for a while. For the first 8 years of our company we never hired a single “salesman”. We added really smart, kind, ambitious people to our sales team and they grew into  amazing consultants or “salespeople” down the line but they never started at our company in “sales”. This system takes time to implement early on but if done correctly you can grow your business incredibly fast while maintaining great service levels and a very nice profit margin. Also, if done right your business will now run like a machine. You can take a vacation and you don’t need to shop on expedia for best deal because you’re making a killing “working ON your business” 🙂 In this phase you are replacing yourself as the money maker and moving your “Scotty Pipens” into the star role. You will do this slowly and will find that your team is chock full of talented people that can score as many if not more points than you. They’ve watched you lead the team for a while at that point and know they can do it themselves. Move your top assistants to “money maker” roles and continue filling up your organizational chart with  assistants for those new money makers. Make sure they are talented, smart and ambitious as they will be your future leaders.

p.s. forgot to mention. You now have A MACHINE. You can work ON your business more than IN your business. You can lose your voice and your business will not die. Your business has a life of it’s own. “IT’s ALIVE!!!!”

Hope you enjoyed this article. I’m not a writer and I don’t have an editor yet so excuse the grammatical errors and constant typos.  I’m in the “superman” phase of Nikitas.com so I’m doing it all on my own at this point and feel grateful to God for the ability too.  Although I can fund the growth of this blog and business advisory business myself I rather prove to all of you that my system works so I’m going to follow it for the growth of this new enterprise.

Having issues finding clients or streamlining your business? Email me at Nikitas@Nikitas.com 

xoxoxox

Nikitas Tsoukales – Nikitas@Nikitas.comwww.nikitas.com

The Trick to Scaling your business 80% a year (whether you want to or not).

EOFIRE

I recently completed an interview on EOFfire with John Lee Dumas on the topic of “rapid fire” growth. Click below and check it out and of course read on for more:)

EOFire with John Lee Dumas and Nikitas Tsoukales

I’m going to keep this pretty short and sweet. My last article rambled a bit (story of my life).

If you want to grow your business quickly,  you will need to hire people better than you. Yes, better than you. Believe it or not there are millions of people smarter, sharper and ever better looking than you(this is even hard for me to believe. LOL).

“But Nikitas. I’m the smartest, sharpest and even best looking person in my organization. ”

Well then, you are going to hit a ceiling very, very soon my friend.

Here’s the deal ladies and gents. You may have just started your business and you’re wearing every hat in the organization. I’ve been there. I was once VP of Sales, Ops, Marketing, Janitorial Duties, etc. I was also the CFO, COO and every other fancy acronym’d job. You are working your butt off and that is the only way to really get a new organization to thrive when you don’t have the CASH to hire someone. This is the recipe for success early on and I love it. This is the “grit” you hear about that all of the “greats” like Bezos, Gates and Tsoukales?!? had. If this is your first business and your first experience performing this “juggling act”, I promise it will leave you with some of the best memories of your life and will almost guarantee the initial success of your organization. YOU WILL BE SUCCESSFUL if you are grinding like this. But……..

It’s unsustainable. Trust me. It just cannot be done forever by any mere mortal.  I worked between 70 and infiniti hours per week in the first 5 years of Key Credit Repair. I loved every second of it. But, it was unsustainable. I lost my voice three times and sales came to a grinding halt for days when that happened. I was missing time with my family and the first 5 years of my first born son Nicholas’ childhood. I was also neglecting my devoted wife very early on in our marriage. The organization couldn’t survive like this and my home life was going to soon head to “hell in a hand-basket” if I didn’t make a change.  In fact, it killed my health as well. I drank so much coffee and lost so much sleep plugging away at my desk that I killed my thyroid. Yeah, I have the thyroid gland of an 80 year old. It’s pathetic. Now I have to pop the same 125 mcg levothyroxine pill my 82 year old grandmother takes. Sooooo pathetic.

So, we know that’s it’s unsustainable but “how do we take our foot off the gas while maintaining the fast growth of our baby(aka thriving business)? 

People power baby!!!

Not everyone want’s to start a business. Not everyone want’s to go through this crazy grind. In fact, most people don’t. But they are still just as ambitious, intelligent and willing to work their butts off for their goals. What they want is a platform that they can plug into in order to get to all of their goals and guess what??? You’ve got one!!!

Here’s the hack and it’s pretty simple:

Hire for the position above the position you have an opening for. Interview your prospect for that opportunity. You don’t need to let them know you’re doing this either. So, imagine if you are starting to grow a sales team. You’re now the only salesperson and you want to start adding people. During the interview ask yourself this one question….

“Can I see this person that I’m interviewing developing(they don’t have to qualify for that job now) with my help, into the manager that will eventually oversee the next 5 salespeople?” 

YES…Hired. 

NO…Not Hired.

Seems simple? Well it is. Stop over complicating business. Scout, interview and hire for the job above the job you’re offering!!!

Imagine if you spend the next 2 years building out a sales team of 5 people that can all, one day, be your next sales team managers. When your marketing “blows up” and the phones are ringing off the hook you can quickly promote your next leaders and your team of 5 salespeople can quickly turn into a sales team of 30(5 team managers x 5 new sales people + 5 sales managers(your existing people)). You just hypothetically grew your sales team to 5 people in the first 5 years and then within a few months grew it another 6 x to 30!!! Seems impossible? It’s not. But it is very difficult. Your first few hires need to be brought into your organization very carefully. Don’t make the mistake of trying to quickly fill a spot. Delay the instant gratification of meeting a staffing goal and filling in a spot. Firing is much harder than hiring and most of you don’t have the guts to do it quickly if you make a mistake. For the record I don’t either. It’s very, very hard to fire people. Also, if you fill in the position with someone that cannot be a future leader you are stunting your future growth. Who will manage those new hires when you NEED to staff quickly because your marketing just 10x’d somehow in google?

Also, there are psychological reasons you need to hire people BETTER than you. Grind for 5 years. Make some money with your healthy margins and you may hit a psychological plateau. Yes, you may get complacent. You’ve got your business in a “sweet spot” so you feel the need to take your foot off the gas but we all know that anything that is not constantly growing will eventually die off. In the service arena if your business is not growing, your employees will not have the prospect of future growth within the organization and you will soon start to lose your best talent. When this happens you are on the fast track to bankruptcy!! If you hired “BETTER than you” and “for the job above the job they interviewed for” you will have people that will put their foot on the throttle themselves and take the initiative when you aren’t (as long as you’ve given them permission too). Their ambition, intelligence and “grit” will start to drive your organization to new heights that you could NEVER have achieved if you were “wearing all of those hats” and doing it all yourself. Trust me ladies and gents. This is the exact reason Key Credit Repair has made the list of Inc Magazine’s fastest growing private companies in the United States twice. It’s not because I’m a great leader or because I’m some great business guru. It’s because I realized at some point by mistake(when I lost my voice 3 times and my sales assistant Melina Vallas took the initiative and started crushing the phones.) that their are people in your organization and out in the marketplace that are better than me.

The “I’m going to keep this pretty short and sweet. My last article rambled a bit (story of my life).” was such crap. Sorry about that 🙂

P.S. Everything I’m talking about in this article requires a full submission of the ego. “I’m the best salesman here. I’m the smartest person in my company, blah blah blah”. This is your big, fat, ugly and useless EGO talking. Tell it to quiet down. In fact, tell it to shut the TRUCK up. There is no room for EGO in sales, business or any aspect of a successful life. “Ego is not your amigo” said a wise, life coach named Adam Reed.

Recap: 

  • Hire smarter people than you. 

  • Hire for the position above the position you have available

  • Wearing all the hats in a biz is unsustainable

  • “EGO is not your amigo” in sales, biz and life. 

Nikitas Tsoukales

Nikitas@Nikitas.com

#Nikitas (yes I invented my own hashtag. I’m sooooo cool.)

 

How I Got Started in Real Estate, Sales and Business

Always Be Closing

One of my passions is real estate.  I know, I know. It’s corny. But there is something about it. Standing in front of a property I’ve just bought and envisioning what it’s going to look like when renovated just gives me the greatest feeling. Walking through a property that I’ve just renovated and brought to life is an even better feeling. Especially after the home was abandoned for a few years and was being used as a crack house in a not so pleasant section of the City of Detroit.

I’ve never “flipped” homes. I’m not a speculator or someone that cares to make “quick cash”. I buy, renovate and rent out homes to good people that need a great place to live and my goal with real estate is pretty simple. I want to have enough paid off residential real estate by the time I’m my father’s age(60) that I can “chillax” on a beach in Greece while drinking a cold, iced Nescafe Frappe and my bills are paid for via rental income. Is that too much to ask?

P.S. Think I’m kidding about my goal? Check out this pic. It’s my screen saver.

Nescafe Frappe
The View

I’ve been blessed enough to be involved in real estate in some way shape or form since the age of 18 but not as an investor. I got my first taste of the business as a licensed real estate salesperson.

In 2001, my best friend and one of my first mentors, Nik Ligris (now the top Real Estate Attorney in New England and probably the planet. Check out www.ligris.com ) told me if I was going to do anything with my pathetic excuse for an existence I would need to get into real estate and more importantly real estate sales. He advised me to head over to the famous Lee Institute in Brookline, Massachusetts to get trained and eventually licensed to complete a real estate transaction. I took some courses, studied day and night(Yes. I studied. If you know me you may be laughing right now) and then took and passed the test to get licensed. WOW!!!! What a feeling. I had a “license to kill”. The concept of real estate sales was so absolutely invigorating. All through high school I was told unless I was a doctor or lawyer I could never make money. My ability to hustle teachers to pass me after getting an “f” in a class was going to be flushed down the drain because there wasn’t a  market in the professional world for people like me. What or who are “people like me”?? Let me describe what I was like in high school……

-Talked to much

-Couldn’t focus unless I was directly benefiting from what I was working on.

-Loved to joke and laugh

-Wanted to be friends with everyone

-Was overly social

-Constantly missing class or homework because I was working different jobs to make some $$$.

Yup, can you believe that those traits that almost caused me to get kicked out of high school on multiple occasions are the exact same traits that fit the profile of a successful salesman and real estate agent? Ha! Who would have thought?? The highest paid profession in the world is sales. They don’t tell you that in High School or in College(blog for another time).  So, next time you scold that kid that you think needs medication because he talks too much, realize you may have a future salesman on your hands. He/She annoys teachers and most authority figures but guess what. Eventually, they will call him or her to list their house!!!

Shortly after getting my real estate license I started working on getting an agency to give me a job. Not an easy task for an 18 year old with no car, experience or formal education. I was “a nobody”. I couldn’t even get a broker/owner to call me back. I would leave voicemail after voicemail and NOTHING. Not even an email reply. I don’t blame them either. I wouldn’t have called me back either. But that’s okay. My mentor saved the day once again. A few months into my search my mentor mentioned to me that he saw a job posting on his Boston University job board for real estate salespeople for a small agency at the corner of Harvard and Commonwealth Avenue in Alston called Park Realty Associates. In 2001 that corner was the mecca for real estate agencies catering to rental properties for students of Boston University and Boston College. There must have been more than a dozen offices at the time within a two block radius of that corner that all did the exact same thing. They would all get the exact same listings from all of the exact same landlords(slum lords) in that area and then solicit the exact same college students in that area to rent from them. Then, the real estate agency would charge a fee equaling one month of rent to the client if they rented through them. As the real estate salesperson you were typically given 50% of that fee as a commission. Check out the math here my friends……

Typical Rent for a 2 bed in Alston in 2001=$1700

Fee=$1700

My cut (50%)= $850

If I CLOSED 3 rentals a week I was making ($850 x 3) $2550. Holy smokes this was an absolute absurd amount of money and I didn’t need a degree? I needed to hustle, work hard sound smart and be presentable and people would do business with me? Me?? LOL. This was a dream come true and the greatest opportunity that I could’ve ever wished for. Nobody was judging me by my grades or academic ability. “I ate what I killed”. That’s sales baby and I loved it!!!!!

Always Be Closing
Always Be Closing

I called Park Realty and scored an interview right away. I went in to the interview ready to sell myself in a big way but found something very different happening. The sales manager was too busy talking and telling me how great the company was and how much money I could make. I didn’t have to sell myself at all. It was quite strange. Instead, he was selling me on the company. Here is a little secret about “outside sales”. There is a shortage of people on this planet willing/able to go out there and bring in business to a company. Rain Makers are not a commodity. They are a rare breed that is almost extinct and if you can show a company you have the ability to “make it rain”…aka bring in your own clients they will roll out the red carpet for you and that is exactly what happened in that interview. I was a young, BU college student(white lie. I told him I went to Boston University although I was in Community College. I repented but didn’t regret that white lie ever!!!) and I could connect with people in a demographic he and the owners of the agency couldn’t. Long story short…I was hired on the spot. I was a real estate agent. I was a professional. I had a job that had no ceiling. I could make as much money as I wanted too and my background or shortcomings as a student had no bearing on that. It’s like I hit the lottery. That is the feeling I had and still have. My mentor and friend had opened that door for me and I will never forget it. It’s as if someone took the shackles off and set me free into the marketplace. All I needed to do was work my a&% off.

I started my career around sales as a rental agent in a market that mirrored where I was in life and I had a blast in that business. I made absolutely amazing money, learned a lot and my sales career continued from that point on. I’ll write about this more in a future article but that is how I got started in real estate and more importantly in sales and business(all business is sales).

Moral of the story…..

-Value your mentors and those that believe in you. Be thankful. Having just one person in your corner is enough and WILL change your life.

-You are valuable somewhere. Even if you are an absolute catastrophe where you are now in life. Someone, somewhere needs what you have and what you are capable of, and will be wiling to pay you handsomely for it.

-Be patient. “I rather go far than fast” said a wise man. Your time will come.

Sincerely,

Nikitas Tsoukales

www.nikitas.com 

p.s. email me at Nik@keycreditrepair.com . Say hello. Ask me questions and give me ideas for new articles. This blog is all about YOU:)

p.p.s. I’m not much of a writer so excuse misspellings, typos, use of emojis and ebonics in my blog articles. 🙂