Expert Interview Series: Travis Robertson of Robertson Coaching International Discusses The Business Side of Real EstatePDH Staff
Travis Robertson is CEO and Founder of Robertson Coaching International, one of the fastest growing real estate coaching and training companies in North America, He is also one of Inman’s 25 Best Real Estate Coaches.
How did you become such an authority on real estate? Why are you so passionate about it?
I actually don’t consider myself an authority on real estate so much as I am on building successful businesses in the real estate industry. I am deeply passionate about business.
Having been a part of building 3 multi-million dollar companies, I’ve learned a lot about how successful companies are created. I know how to market a business, how to sell, how to hire, how to scale and how to build systems – all the things that any successful agent or broker needs to know if they are interested in making more money and not being slave to their businesses.
My passion comes from a deep desire to help business owners create businesses that fund their life – not businesses that run their lives. I’ve had both. So that’s why I launched Robertson Coaching International with this vision: “To radically improve the lives and business of people all over the world.”
To what do you attribute your success in real estate? What qualities do you think all successful agents have?
First and foremost, my faith in God and my amazing wife, Lisa. They keep me grounded and focused.
After that it comes down to having a very clear vision for what we’re building, an intense focus, a massive drive and the industry’s best team of people working with me. I am so proud of the team we have and our culture.
Last, but not least, it’s our clients and the success they’ve had in their businesses and lives. In 2015, our average client grew their gross commission income by 78% and grossed an average of $534,221. They don’t come to us making that amount of money. And not only do they make more money, they gain control over their lives. They often have more time and freedom to pursue what’s most important to them. It’s something I’m very proud of.
When should real estate agents consider hiring a coach?
It really depends on where they are in their business. If you make over $100k in gross commission, you need a coach to help you scale, make more money, increase your time with family, build a team and even plan your exit from the business.
If you make under $100k in gross commission, you need a coach when you are truly serious about making more money and you’re ready to treat this like a business and not an expensive hobby. Most agents say they want to be successful. But only a few of them are actually willing to do the work that it takes to be successful.
If you’re tired of being average, if you’re tired of being broke, if you’re tired of being stressed about your business or your finances, you need a coach.
How important is the right training to success as an agent?
It’s critical. You can’t be successful without it. Plain and simple. There is so much crap out there and so many distractions. Most of the training that exists won’t actually help you be successful.
The most successful agents invest roughly 10-15% of their income in their education. Most reading this will think, “Of course they do! They have the money to do that.” What those agents don’t realize is that successful agents invested in training and coaching when they didn’t have the money – which is why they now have the money.
What type of training do you think is essential for real estate agents?
You need to break down training into two basic buckets:
1. Real estate training – This is the basics such as how to fill out a contract, local laws, ethics, etc. All of this is important and it’s where most people stop their training. They do the bare minimum to get and keep their license. However, none of this will actually help you make money, grow a business or be successful. It’s why most agents are broke.
2. Business training – This is about how to actually build and run a successful business. It’s marketing, lead generation, conversion, sales, negotiation, hiring, systems, scaling, etc. This is what the best agents invest in. It’s impossible to be successful without an understanding of this stuff.
Sadly, even most of the “business training” is focused on shiny objects. They’re all sizzle and no steak. They have agents feeling like they need to use a 100 different platforms, tools, products and social platforms to be successful. It’s BS. The goal isn’t to be everywhere. The goal is to be in the right places at the right times. Everything else is just BS vanity.
How has the real estate industry evolved since you started your career?What do you think it will look like in the next 10 years?
It’s so much more competitive now but there’s also so much more opportunity for those who get technology and video and social media to really dominate in their markets.
The biggest difference over the last 5 years has been the growth of teams. This is really what we’ve become known for as a coaching company. We’ve been advocating and helping build teams since day one – long before most people got on the team bandwagon.
Teams are the future of this industry. The more technology advances, the more agents are required to try to keep up with it all. A great team can always out-service a great individual. They can also serve more people. It’s not popular to say that but it’s true. And notice I said a “great” team. A mediocre team can’t out-service a great individual. But a great team can.
The thinking that you can be an expert at every area of your business is a myth. You could get by on that in the 1980s and 1990s. But not today.
What strategies have you found will guarantee success as a real estate agent?
You must know how to generate new leads for your business.
The single biggest myth in this industry is that you can build a long-term, viable business that works in any market just off of repeat and referral business. You can’t. How do I know? Because from 2008 – 2011 repeat and referral business dried up for the vast majority of agents. Agents who didn’t know how to go out, kill something, drag it home and feed it to their families went out of business.
This is critical: people do not repeat and refer at the same rate in a down market!
Anytime someone tells me that they have more than 80% of their business from repeat and referral I tell them they are in a huge danger zone. I prefer no more than 70% from those sources.
On the flip side, what are bad habits agents can get into that can lead to fewer clients and commissions?
Not treating this like a business. If you think you can work part time and make $50-100k consistently, you’re delusional. 54% of agents make less than $50k gross. Pull out expenses and taxes and you’d have made more as a greeter at Walmart.
Wake up early. Have office hours. Prospect. Hustle. Don’t wait for business to call you – get out there and create the business. Invest in training. Invest in coaching. Stop lying to yourself about how hard you work. If I were to audit your day, I’d probably find so much wasted time. Sure you’re busy. But busy doing what? The goal isn’t busyness – it’s effectiveness.
What are your favorite resources for agents when it comes to staying up to date on industry news and trends?
The Swanepoel Trends Report is fantastic. I read Inman News religiously. I think the Facebook group Lab Coat Agents is an excellent resource. And we are starting to publish more information on trends and news for our coaching members.
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