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The Business Freedom PodcastEpisode

It’s Okay to Not Know Everything Straight Away (How Thomas Elrod Built a Sustainable Real Estate Business)

By REBS Team


It’s Okay to Not Know Everything Straight Away (How Thomas Elrod Built a Sustainable Real Estate Business)

REBS Team    May 21, 2020



You might think that you know it all already when you start your real estate business. But there’s such a huge difference between the technician mindset and the team leader mindset.Fubbi 4.29

A lot of real estate team leaders come into their roles after doing well as technicians.

They’ve managed to sell a bunch of houses for someone else. Or, they’ve done well in sales in one arena and think they can transfer the skills over to real estate business ownership.

There’s maybe just the slightest touch of arrogance (or maybe it’s underestimating the challenge).

Then the reality of running a real estate business hits. You end up struggling to scale and you are doing the work of 10 people.

That’s the position that Thomas Elrod found himself in.

I think his journey with Real Estate B-School can teach people a lot of really great lessons.

From Cars to Houses to Team Leader

Thomas started his career in the automotive industry. If you needed a car, he was your man.

But then the financial crisis of 2008 hit. We know that those in real estate got rocked pretty hard by that. But for Thomas, the crisis meant that he didn’t have a business anymore.

He says that dealers all over the United States lost their dealerships.

Unfortunately, the dealership that he owned was one of them.

2009 hit and he decided he needed to try his hand at something new. So, he signed up with the local real estate school in December 2009. He got his license in early-2010 and he got to work.

That first year…didn’t go as well as he’d hoped.

Thomas says he thought he already knew it all when it came to sales.

But in that first year, he made just three sales (and most of those were to friends and family!)

Things did get better. Two years later, Thomas managed to get himself up to about 30 sales and he brought an assistant on board.

And it was in 2014 that we met. We shared a beer and I asked him a question:

“Are you still in production?” 

Fubbi 4.29b


The Challenges

The big challenge with Thomas was that he had a technician’s mindset.

When I asked him if he was in production, he said that of course he was (he may also have called me a dummy under his breath :D).

We needed to change that mindset. Thomas needed to realize that not all team leaders are in production. In fact, the truly successful move away from production so that they can scale more rapidly and effectively.

It’s the people who get stuck in the technician role that truly struggle.

Thomas realized that he was in that position. He says that he worked like 10 men or women instead of teaching 10 men or women how to work.

And it affected him in ways that he hadn’t even realized. His health started to suffer and he put on weight. And he’d started to neglect some of the relationships that he had.

He needed to change his mindset.

On the business side of things, he also saw that he had no clarity. He didn’t know where his leads came from and what happened to them once they were generated.

There wasn’t any tracking at all.

That lack of clarity meant that he had no power over where his real estate business went.

Finally, Thomas freely admits that he was never much of a marketing guy.

The vast majority of his business came from outbound prospecting. He spent so much time cold calling and door knocking.

He didn’t even have a website!

The Solutions

Cracking the technician’s mindset was the big challenge.

The solution was to show Thomas why being a coach was more important than being a player. He’s a team leader, yet he wasn’t really acting like one.

Once he started mentoring and guiding his team, the business started to scale.

Thomas saw that his real estate business wasn’t all about him. And he shifted his mentality in terms of how he saw his team.

He began to treat them like his most important clients.

Thomas also implemented tracking and started to focus more on marketing.

Now, he has the web presence that he’d once avoided. Plus, he uses the three-sign system for his yard signs to pull in even more high quality buyer leads.

That results in a lot of time saved compared to his old prospecting ways.

The End Result

Let’s kick this section off with a look at performance.

In January 2019, Thomas’ real estate business made 31 sales in 31 days. That amounted to about $10 million in volume from his 4 outside sales agents.

But the biggest results for Thomas came in how he changed his mindset.

He says that he had to breakdown to breakthrough. He had to accept that he didn’t know it all and that there was a better way to do things.

Now, he’s turned his real estate business into a true team effort. And he has control over his life. He’s living life by design rather than default.

Most importantly, he’s a healthier man for it. He’s lost a lot of the weight that he put on when he felt buried under the weight of his business. And he now has the time to work on the relationships that he had lost focus on before.

What Can You Learn?

Thomas has made some significant changes to his real estate business that you can learn from.

Lesson #1 – Build a Marketing Presence

It’s still a little astonishing to me that Thomas didn’t have a marketing presence when we started working together.

95% of his business came from prospecting. I shudder to think of how much time he must have spent knocking on doors and cold calling people.

It’s not a scalable strategy. Fubbi 4.29c

So the first lesson is that you need to use the tools available to you. Create a website to showcase your listings. Get on the listing aggregator websites.

And take advantage of multiple yard signs. Three signs in the yard with three different calls to action leads to three times as many buyer leads.

You don’t have to abandon prospecting if that’s something you’re comfortable with. But you don’t have to do one or the other either.

Lesson #2 – Be a Coach Instead of a Player

Thomas says his business really started to make big strides when he switched his mentality from player to coach.

It’s one thing to be in the weeds with your team. But when you’re a player, you’re not giving the team what they need from you.

Don’t be afraid to release the reins when it comes to production. Pass the baton to your team and assume your new responsibility of coaching them to do better.

Feed into your people and let them learn from your experiences.

Lesson #3 – It’s Not All About You

Thomas is a man of faith, much like myself. And he says we’re all at danger of building shrines unto ourselves.

He realizes now that this is what happened with his real estate business. He made the business all about him because he still had that technician’s mindset.

Here’s the key thing to realize.

As a team leader, buyers and seller are no longer your clients.

Your team members are your clients. They’re the ones who directly benefit from what you have to offer. They can then take that knowledge to serve the buyers and sellers who are their clients.

Thomas brings up the example of Jesus washing his 12 disciples’ feet as proof of how he served those around him.

That’s the role that you should fulfill for your team. Serve them so that they may one day be even better than you are.

Lesson #4 – Personal is as Important as Professional

The last lesson is a simple one.

Your personal life is as important as your professional life.

That’s something that so many team leaders lose sight of when they’re buried in production. They stop focusing on themselves and their people.

It becomes all about the numbers.

Your personal and professional life go hand-in-hand. That’s true of everybody in your real estate business.

Be cognizant of that fact and make sure you don’t lose sight of your personal life in pursuit of professional gain.


 The Takeaway

Nobody knows everything (myself very much included!)

But I do know that mindset is such a crucial part of building a successful real estate business. You have to start as the technician. However, every great team leader adapts and becomes the coach for their players.

That’s what Thomas achieved and he now has a much stronger real estate business as a result.

I believe that Real Estate B-School can help you to do the same. That’s why we’re here for you if you feel like your real estate business has started to get the best of you.

PLUS: Whenever you're ready ... here are 4 ways I can help you scale YOUR real estate business and achieve true time and money freedom.


1. Schedule a FREE Business Growth Strategy Session

If you'd like to get on the fast track and find out what you can do right now to scale your real estate business ... schedule a FREE Business Growth Strategy Session, Click here.

2. Get My FREE 'Real Estate Business Growth Blueprint' Report

This 15 page report will give you the framework and step-by-step process I used to go from $0 to consistently selling over $3m per year in gross commissions working 1 day per week. Reading this report could be the most important thing you do in your real estate career, Click here.

3. Join The Business Growth Network

My favorite thing to do is talk with other successful team leaders about the good, bad and ugly of their real estate businesses. To join the conversation and connect with other Top Producing Agents and Team Leaders, Click here.

4. Get The REBS Online Toolbox

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Much Love & Respect,

Lars' signature

Lars Hedenborg

Founder of Real Estate B-School

P.S. If you are struggling right now wondering what your next step is, here are a few ways I can help you right now:

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