This is Tracey Velt, Editor-in-Chief for REAL Trends. We’re speaking with Karen Briscoe, principal of HBC Group at Keller Williams, McLean, Virginia, serving the Washington DC and Virginia marketplaces. She’s also author of Real Estate Success in Five Minutes a Day, and Commit to Get Leads in Five Minutes a Day. Karen has a podcast series. You can hear it by going to fiveminutesuccess.com to get more information. Welcome Karen.
Let’s talk a little bit about the beginning. Tell me a little bit about your real estate career and how the idea for the books came about. And then a little bit about your podcast, too.
So I actually started out in commercial real estate right after college, and then took off a number of years to married, raise my children, got a graduate degree. And went back, wanted to reenter the workforce when my kids got older, as often happens with people who chose real estate as second career.
I went back into commercial real estate, but the timing was so I was at Nextel, which right during the tech bust, and as often happens in busts, there is nobody in mode. And I had my license. And so by neighbor said, “Why don’t you come to residential real estate?” And I really felt like I had found my calling because I have this, the commercial background’s what I call the hard side in terms of the financial and negotiations and strategy and that type of experience and knowledge. But then I have a soft side too. I really value relationships and people and working with people, particularly with the residential purchase of a home is often their largest purchase and a very emotional purchase or sale, either both sides.
And so it really brought together all of those attributes that I was like I’ve really felt like I found my calling. And so that was in 2002 and the market, not just in the Northern Virginia Metro area of DC, but the United States, had a pretty good clip of a run up from 2002 to 2006. And then the market flattened in ’06. I became partners with a top producing agent and, I think at the time was ranked number 10 in the country. So she was ill and in 2008, she passed away. So I took over the business like the month that she died, but also happened to be the month that the financial markets crashed. So then, you know what happens. We all had change the way we did business in ’08, and in ’09, partnered with another person, Lizzie Conroy.
I realized I prefer a team and working together with people rather than being a sole practitioner. And then we rebuilt the business and now we’re producing in the neighborhood of 70,000,000 a year with our team and sell about a hundred homes a year. So as often happens when people achieve a high level of success, people want to know, “Well how do you do it?” And particularly because I do have a story that resonates with people in terms of partnering and then surviving crashes and that kind of thing. I had been writing a blog since ’09, so I felt like I had this voice. And I also think there was some coaching and training, and my stories seemed to resonate with people. And they had a number of times people say that I should write a book. So the Real Estate Success in Five Minutes a Day actually came out August 1, 2016, and it was a culmination of that journey, but now, I tell people writing a book is like having a baby.
You birth it, but then you spend the rest of your life … Because the book is really, it’s been a fantastic springboard in terms of the places it’s taking me in terms of speaking and now the podcasts and the coaching. And it’s also actually even a led to real estate business. I’ve had people hear me on podcasts and contact me because they know somebody who’s buying or selling in our area. And so it’s taken me places I didn’t know I was going to go, but it’s been a very exciting journey.
Definitely, it sounds exciting. So you obviously talked to a lot of real estate professionals and you’re in the thick of it as well. So what do you see as the biggest challenges that they face on a daily basis?
I think that it’s common for entrepreneurs, solopreneurs, people who were in sales, to focus on their business, which is actually doing the transactions, working with clients, going out and getting new business. And oftentimes what happens is the actual working on the business, the part of personal and business development and actually treating it like a business is where I think that a lot of agents, they are only as good as their next deal, because they’re focused so much in just the actual transaction aspect of it and working with people. And so this is where the idea of the book, actually one of the genesis of the book is the fact that people would say to me, “Oh yes, I know I need to read or I need to focus on my personal business development. But there was just this lack of time.” And the idea of the five minute success came out of the fact that, “Well, do you have five minutes?”
And they’re right that they could. So I was like, “Okay, well if you could read five minutes a day and apply the takeaway, get one good strategy tip, something that’ll help your business or your life. Then over time, over this culmination, that you’ll then have this wealth of knowledge that you could draw on when you need it.” And studies have shown that, when you focus on one thing, you are more likely to remember it and apply it. Many books and training programs and seminars, they’re all wonderful, but it’s almost a tsunami effect in a sense that too much information. So discerning what to work on or what to focus on then becomes overwhelming. And the other thing I’ve discovered about, and besides as real estate agents, I think it’s a trait of any sales professionals, but they’re easily distracted. This idea of the shiny object or the Squirrel Syndrome, like saying, crosses are bad or hits their email box, they’re like, “Oh no, I could do that.”
And so the book is set up to actually, in a way, because everything is different, it actually feeds into that, that real estate agents get bored easily if they’re just reading a textbook of information. So it brings in information and inspiration, and you’re more likely to remember it if you’re inspired. Information’s only valid or valuable if you actually practice it. So that’s how the idea came about. And what I’ve found is that it’s really resonating with people. Google has done a study that’s about the attention span of the average adult right now. It’s five minutes.
But it does actually, though, build on itself. So there’s these core fundamentals that are pretty universal to big, successful and related business. And so it puts it into a format, I call it a new delivery system, that puts it into a delivery system that’s very easy and manageable and people are more likely to do and put into practice.
Okay. Well let’s talk about putting it into practice. What have you found have really been the more popular strategies for a success or the things in the book that really resonated with people? And if you could be specific about them, that would be great.
So even though the book is different, every day is different, the concepts break into really key areas. And the first one is the commit to get leads. So I think that a lot of times, agents are surprised to find that they get their license and nobody calls them up. That it’s not like that they’re getting their doors knocked down from all these people who want to do real estate deals with them, that they have to actually lead generate or prospect or business development. It’s called a lot of things. And it really is a commitment because sometimes you don’t feel like it but you still have to lead generate or set up some sort of systems to have business come in.
And so the ideas that resonate the most, I find, are the commit to get leads. And I remind agents that it isn’t just real estate where you have to actually go out and get business or be proactive about it. Even dentists, they need patients before they have somebody to practice on. And same with attorneys. And even nonprofits, churches, they call it evangelism. So really most everybody is in some forward form of lead generation business. So this is the strategies that are in the book, but I can share a couple of them. One is what I call license to view houses, and to actually use the process of knowing the inventory by going out and basically seeing the homes as a muse, and a muse is something that generates ideas. Because I find that when I’m in a home, I think people.
That’s just the first thing I think of. I know there’s an agent in our office and he’s always looking for the deal of the day. And then he calls up everybody until he finds somebody who’s like, “This is it. This is the deal of the day. You need to buy this.” So another way to use the license to view homes is to go to neighborhoods where you have been on a listing appointment and you want to have something truly valuable that you can circle back with a potential seller, client, or customer. Another way I use it is when my friends’ homes will come on the market in my friends’ neighborhoods, it gives me a chance to have a opportunity to, call them and have a real estate conversation. Absolutely should conduct your sphere on a frequent basis, but this is a different conversation.
And you say, “Well, I’m in your neighborhood. I just happened to be looking at the house around the corner.” And everybody wants to know what’s going on in their neighborhood. So it makes a great real estate conversation. So there’s a number of the commit to get leads, but that is one of the core aspects to running, really, any business. But for sure, biggest successful real estate agent. And then once you have that lead, then you have to consult the lead. You have to get right through the process. Because if you have leads, if you don’t get them to settle, then there’s not going to be any money coming in. So there’s strategies for taking a buyer or a seller through the consultation process, and there’s a number of techniques and tips for success stories for doing that.
Then kind of like what we talked about in the beginning, where what happens many times is people will get stuck in that loop or that transactional loop of just, they’re only as good as their next deal, and they’ll work really hard and get a transaction to settlement and then they’ll wake up and go, “Oh my gosh, I don’t have anything to do.”
And they just get caught in that cycle. Whereas if you work on the business, connect, develop, and grow a business, then it becomes more sustainable. It’s not quite as much of a rollercoaster feel. So there’s some strategies on how to get out of that loop, if you will, and build something that’s more sustainable and ongoing business enterprise.
Okay, and I know you feature quite a few success stories in your podcast. So what’s one of your favorite stories of someone who really follows the advice of the books and their business was transformed by it?
Well, I actually got to go ahead of that. And that is the person who’s transformed my life. Hal Elrod, who wrote The Miracle Morning. He is not in real estate, but he is in sales. He came out of CUTCO. And I find sometimes his insights from other industries actually are very valuable, because learning what other people had done and gone before sometimes can help real estate agents just take their business to the next level. And that did it for me, because Hal Elrod’s Miracle Morning, the idea that you start your day, that the rest of the day, it’ll have a better outcome. And it really is habit, so The Miracle Morning is a routine or a habit. Hal has endorsed my book as part of that Miracle Morning, because it has these components called savers, and reading is one of them. So the idea, even if you just spend one minute on each one, or five minutes on each one, that if you focus on your own personal development early in the day, then the rest of the day will go better.
And I found that to be true, not just for myself but for so many people. And I think that has been one of the outcomes of writing the book and having the podcast is that the people that I have talked to who recognize the fact that working on your own personal development, it’s like raising all boats, if you will. So the business is going to get that or as you get better. And there’s countless people that have shared that wisdom through the years, but it really has been true for myself and the people that I have talked to. And that’s why the making reading for your personal and business development or doing something to invest in your personal and business development on a daily basis has the most impact is because the cumulative effect of that is where people really achieve a higher level of success.
So I did not meet Hal until I started writing the book, and it was the idea of the every morning, read for five minutes on your business. And then when I found out Hal had this whole Miracle Morning program and I met him, he endorsed my book and now part of his coaching. But it really is, I found, true, and that’s probably the biggest impact that I have seen is for myself and the other people that follow that type of mantra of doing these discipline practices every day, and achieving a higher level of success.
Yeah. And I’ve found through my interviews with top brokers and agents and teams that that is one of the things that almost every single one of them does is they have a morning routine, and they read, generally are doing some reading, some type of reading during that routine. So that’s interesting.
Well, Jim Rohn has this quote, I wanted to share a Jim Rohn quote, “Success is nothing more than a few simple disciplines practiced every day.” And, as you said, I think that it is truly one of those success principles that, if people put that into practice then everything else is likely to fall into place.
Yeah, that makes a lot of sense. So what, other than obviously read and follow your books, what do you think are the most important three things real estate professionals can do to find success? And I guess other than establish a morning routine, since we’ve already discussed that.
Well, I know it’s kind of circling back to, but I do think this commit to get leads is the key, because when a business has an overflowing amount of opportunity coming in, then everything else seems to work better.
So when you have a shortage of leads, then oftentimes people get into a negative spiral or a desperation spiral, or an obscene one happens sometimes is it then that becomes this self fulfilling prophecy. When you have an abundance of leads, an abundance mentality then, as an agent, you have so many more choices. So I actually find it surprising sometimes when, in choosing new agents, people that are more seasoned understand how it works better, but new agents become concerned that they’re going to get too much business. And I’m like, “Oh, that is not really a problem.” Because you have somebody else’s. You could refer it, you could team up with somebody, you could get staff, you could cherry pick, you can have more choices as to who you work with, that you could set standards and you can create a more professional environment.
And I said, that’s like, it seems to be the one thing that if when people figure that out, then that’s when they really start to get into a positive virtuous cycle in their business. But that is like a commitment. It really is. Because there are times when I don’t feel like lead generating, and yet I know that is very important to do it on a regular basis. And the other aspect to it is then what happens is people get busy, and they lead the lead generations slide, and then that’s when they get caught in this rollercoaster? So that one thing, I think that an abundance of business opportunity will, other situations or other issues or aspects to a business, seem to work out when you have plenty of business. When you don’t have enough business, then that’s when things begin to spiral in a negative way. So that’s the one thing.
And then, you said three, but the other one would be this idea of do the functions at the same time of building a business as you are. There’s a book called the E Myth Mastery and the E stands for entrepreneur. So the entrepreneur myth is, I’m going to go business for myself and I can have all the free time I want or I can make all the decisions. And then they get into it, they realize, “Oh shoot, I also have to do all these other things, in terms of running a business. While I am good at being a real estate agent, I still have to run a business.” But those functions really need to happen very yin and yang. They need to happen at the same time, because when they don’t, then that’s when oftentimes, the agent or the sole practitioner or the entrepreneur gets really into a situation where they’re only as good as the next deal and they can really survive and then thrive is an ongoing operation, and really have to treat it like a business. And look at it like a business from the beginning. And then that’s where I find that people achieve higher level success when they do those things.