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REAL Trends Game Changer: Todd Conklin, Broker of Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties in Montana, Colorado, and Idaho

May 27, 2020 6:00:00 AM

Todd Conklin, broker of Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties in Montana, Colorado, and Idaho.

When Conklin started in leadership, he didn't think he was the right person for the job. He was wrong. He proved his worth by the amount of work he put into personal development, ultimately finding out his why. Find out Conklin's why and how he and his leadership team continually grew their business a good amount each year. 

207% Growth Between 2014-2018

Tracey Velt:

This is Tracey Velt, editor in chief of content for REAL Trends. The REAL Trends 500 data shows that there are a handful of brokerage owners who consistently achieve high growth year after year.

These brokers were selected to be REAL Trends game changers. Today we're speaking with Todd Conklin, broker of Coldwell Banker Distinctive Properties in Idaho to find out how he achieved almost 207% growth between 2014 and 2018. Welcome Todd.

Todd Conklin:

Thank you.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. So we'll just start at the beginning. Tell me a little bit about your brokerage, how you started it, and how long you have been an owner.

Todd Conklin:

Sure. Yeah, so as you mentioned, we started in Idaho. It's actually probably not too dissimilar story from anybody else. There were two of us in the basement of a house trying to make hay back in the early 2000. And as you mentioned, we started in Idaho. We actually have 13 offices that cover Montana, Idaho, and Colorado now.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. So obviously achieving that type of growth over four years is incredible. So tell me a little bit about those years, were there mergers, acquisitions, how much of the growth was organic, and tell me a little bit about how you grew up.

Todd Conklin:

Yeah. So yes is the answer to that. There was growth, I guess the easiest thing to say is it was growth in all ways. We were very focused on trying to figure out how we could solve more problems for agents and for brokerage owners that were looking for an exit strategy. But it was a really tough sled. It was funny, as I was sort of thinking back about what our conversation might be.

I wildly was not the right person for the job. So there had to be a tremendous amount of personal growth for me to be able to grow our organization and to be what I needed to be for the company and from an organic and mergers and acquisitions. And that really all happened through the say 2010 to 2014, 2015, And what we saw in 2015 is our growth just exploded.

All of the pieces sort of came together and from an organic standpoint, you saw a massive growth and we went from me chasing mergers and acquisitions to mergers and acquisitions chasing us, and that was a great feeling.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah, definitely. So what are you focused on going forward? Are you still looking for opportunities that way or are you looking to focus on your growth organically now or little both.

Todd Conklin:

Yeah, no, it's both. I think you're always organically growing. There's just too much of a turnover in agent population to not continue to grow organically. I think we are absolutely focused on other types of growth as well.

Our model is one that's a centralized models who are able to provide a ton of value for the agents and for the individual offices and the operating partners that we have. So where we are today, I believe we could support probably a tripling of our size.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. So let's talk about your aha moment. Obviously in every entrepreneur's life there's an aha moment. You've kind of mentioned possibly what yours is. There was a moment you realized that you needed to change the way you were doing things in order to scale or needed to stop your current business plan and get creative. So tell me about your aha moment.

Todd Conklin:

So I think my aha moment was that it was okay for me to not be motivated by money. I know that sounds really weird, but I think for a long time I went about it you can make a lot of money in real estate. And we were talking about growth. It was, for whatever reason it seemed like everybody wanted to focus on that. And for me, I think it was back in 2010, 2011.

Todd Conklin:

I sort of came across this idea that what really got me out of bed in the morning was this idea that I could help other people grow their companies and businesses. And it just let me on fire. And so from that point forward, everything that we did had to answer the question, not is it going to be profitable for us?

It was will this have an impact and change someone's life? And I just strongly believe that if I had impact on enough people's lives, that our organization would be fine. I had never, never, ever did I believe that we were going to be as big as we are today. It really wasn't the intent.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah, that's interesting. And it's a great aha moment. A great change to have. So let's talk a little bit more specifically about your growth. So what did you and your leadership do to create such growth? We'll talk about recruiting your business practices and a little about your culture.

Todd Conklin:

Yeah, I think first things first, it's the pain. So you can not have to go out and hire the right people. I don't think these are things that, although as an entrepreneur, we all know, right? We are the ones that change the toilet paper.

We do every single job, period, end of story. If you haven't done every single job, you've got to stop right now and you've got to go do every single job, right. And that gives you this ability to be able to focus in on hiring people that that can do the job but that have the right heart and culture.

Todd Conklin:

So I hired people correctly and then we just made a commitment to solving problems. Kind of what I just alluded to what's an agent's facing and how can we solve it? And it was none of the BS. We hear a lot of it, Matt it's about your split and your cap and your technology and dah, dah, dah.

For me, we use technology as a product to solve agents problems. But we are a real estate company. We use coaching to help agents solve problems. But we are a real estate coaching company, not a coaching company. Does it makes sense?

Tracey Velt:

Yes, absolutely. So tell me a little about your culture. Like, how do you define your culture?

Todd Conklin:

It's in our general mission. It's change lives. That's really what it comes down to. Anywhere in our organization, you will see a respect level for each other. A partnering of staff and agents and leaders and everybody with a willingness and a commitment and a desire and a passion to identify different ways that we might be able to serve each other and serve their other communities that we serve.

We're are no BS. We track and measure. We judge ourselves based on our numbers and at the end of the year, if we can show that we had an impact on an agent's business, for example, 2018 versus 2017, the average agent in our organization grew their business by 50.59%. And so if I can look at the numbers and go, all right, well, did that work? I think giving somebody a 50% raise is good. So yeah, that worked. Let's do more of that. And that's how we've grown our company.

Tracey Velt:

Okay, great. So my last question is if you could offer other brokers advice when growing their businesses, what would it be?

Todd Conklin:

I love that question. That one is a super no brainer for me. First thing, go hire a coach period. Just find somebody who's done it before. Don't find somebody who talks about it. Find someone, if you want to grow $1 billion business, go find somebody that's grown $1 billion business, but hire a coach. Your time is way too precious as a leader.

Todd Conklin:

There are so many people looking for you as the leader to lead and when you mess up, you have an impact. It's not just on you, it's not just on your family, it's on tons of families, it's on communities in some cases. Hire a coach that can help you navigate the vastness of mistakes that are out there and just help you get there, help you get there faster and healthier and go farther.

Tracey Velt:

Who's your coach?

Todd Conklin:

I have several coaches, so I started off coaching with Tom Ferry. He's awesome, I love Tom and I now sort of transitioned into an area where I've got coaches that specialize in special areas. And it's been a game changer for me.

Tracey Velt:

Okay. That's interesting. What about any leadership books or consultants do you follow any of them? Because some of the things you said sound, the philosophies are similar to a couple of different leadership experts that I've read so.

Todd Conklin:

I'm a prolific learner. I would say that one of the things that has helped me over the years is a willingness to admit that I don't have the answers and a focus, almost an obsession and going out and finding the answers.

And so I'm sure like, and frankly let's be honest we're not doing brain surgery. We're running real estate companies and there's not too many different ways to run an organization. It's about being the right leader at the right time for the right people.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah. I mean it's not brain surgery, but it is incredibly difficult for a lot of people. So there are a lot of well-run companies and there are a lot that are really struggling to find that leadership. So it's definitely impressive that you did find it, so that's great.

Todd Conklin:

Well, I just wanted to say congratulations again on being named a real trans game changer, and thank you so much for your time.

Tracey Velt:

Yeah, thanks Tracey. I appreciate you

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