Creig Northrop has been the #1 realtor in the US three times in his career. he has a personal passion for real estate – unlike any other. Just like Michael Jordan loves basketball, Bill Gates loves software, and Warren Buffett loves the stock market, Creig loves real estate. Every one of these successful people loves what they do and that is why they can create amazing results in their fields. Passion can give you the competitive edge because it gives you stamina. Passion is the fuel that keeps you going when your competition is ready to quit or gets complacent.
Creig began my team with a vision; to be the best in the industry - integrity and unquenchable drive are the stepping stones that have made The Creig Northrop Team of Long & Foster Real Estate one of the most productive and successful Teams in real estate history. The Team began with a special focus on Howard County – and has now expanded to nine additional Maryland counties including Anne Arundel, Baltimore City, Baltimore County, Carroll County, Frederick, Harford, Montgomery, Prince George’s, and Washington, D.C.
- Build a strong foundation or you have nothing to stand on
- Pick a big goal and go for it
- Energy is contagious make sure yours is high
- Reach one, teach one is one of our guiding philosophies (make sure you listen to this section on the podcast)
[Podcast Transcript Using Artificial Intelligence]
Umar Hameed 0:01
Are you ready to become awesomer? Hello everyone! My name is Umar Hameed, I'm your host on The No Limits Selling Podcast, where industry leaders share their tips, strategies and advice on how you can become better, stronger, faster. Just before we get started, I've got a question for you, do you have a negative voice inside your head? We all do, right? I'm gonna help you remove that voice and under 30 days guaranteed, not only remove it, but transform it. So instead of the voice that sabotages you, there's one that propels you to much higher levels of performance and success. There's a link in the show notes, click on it to find out more. All right! Let's get started.
Umar Hameed 0:41
Hello, everyone, welcome to another episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast where we interview leaders on how they grow their people how they were themselves, and how they grow revenue. And before we get started with today's special guest, I wanted to remind you have a project that I'm working on is called a Happiness Project. And all we do is something really simple. We collect videos from people saying hi my name is Creig Northrop. And what makes me happy is and just by sharing that people watching those videos go happiness isn't someday when I get the job when I get the girl when I get the house happiness is here today. It's all around us. And all you need to do is take a look and the idea of these videos is to give people hope and go wait a minute, I could do that today. So today's special guest has been the number one realtor in the US numerous times. His name is Greg Northrup. Creig, welcome to the program.
Creig Northrop 1:28
Thank you very, very much very excited to be here. I'd love to kind of address some of the topics you got ahead of you. They want to make sure your screen is clear though I want to make sure that Chris clearness I will I get a little fuzziness.
Umar Hameed 1:40
But what's happening Creig is yeah, sometimes it gets a little fuzzy. But what this software does, we'll do a plug for Zen caster, Zen caster records you in HD audio and video on your computer, HD me on my computer, and after our interview, it beams, both pristine recordings up to the cloud and they marry. And we both look handsomer than we actually are.
Creig Northrop 1:59
That makes us all happier, then there you go. Very, very excited to be here. Very excited to kind of talk a little bit about what I think is the most hottest topic period out there. I know you and I chatted a little bit prior. And I think these topics are so relevant. So question oriented, and especially with the market the way it sits right now, in the sense of growth and and in limited inventory and raising interest rates and the war and inflation, you got all kinds of dynamics right now, what's an agent to do? Should I grow in this market? Should I become a team? These are all great questions I believe we're going to address today.
Umar Hameed 2:35
Brilliant. And just before we go further down this topic, I was talking to someone that owns Keller, Williams, Romania, and they're bordering on Ukraine, and they're just one of the real estate groups. So what they're doing is they're realtors are driving to the border picking up refugees in the homes that haven't been sold yet. They're giving them a place to live. And that's what Realtors do. They connect with community. And when it comes time to take action, they step up. And that comes from leadership. And one of the things you did Greg is the screen was a little fuzzy. And when you're not a good leader, you're just like, I hope this works. When you're a great leader, you go Hold on, there's a problem going on here. And that's leadership. And so when we have someone who's a realtor who is successful, that gets an administrator and gets another helper, and then they decide they're going to start a team. And then all of a sudden they go from being a realtor to a leader. So why don't you talk about you know, when people should do that, if they should do that? And what would be the steps you would take to start a team and ensure you're successful.
Creig Northrop 3:33
So I was in two types of teams, there's team by nature and team by name and a team by name just to be named a team because it's sexy. I don't recommend it. I don't recommend it that way I know nature naturally should flow into it. Why? Why should you do a team because it certainly is a good reach to more people service more people, you have more opportunity out there and you grow others because by growing others being go do what they want. If you can get them what they want, you always get what you want. And I think that's the philosophy of a good team leader. But first, importantly, the number one principle of a good team leader is to lead by example, you have to first do it before you can ever grow it to steward someone else's life. Right. So the first thing you have to do is prove it to yourself. Be that leader of your one I was called leader, one before leader of many. So let's lead ourselves to have your goals set it up. Honestly, to be a team leader, you really shouldn't be looking at team leadership under $10 million. It To be honest, that's sort of the threshold of saying wow, I'm in a plateau where I'm starting to get busy. I need some help. I'd love to start grooming some others, things like that under 10 million to be honest, you should be able to handle it yourself.
Umar Hameed 4:43
And one of the things you said which I think is critically important is you can be a manager and tell people what to do and give them some guidance. But unless you lead yourself and you know what your weaknesses are and are figuring out ways to overcome them. I'm still coming up with my weaknesses process. and really knowing who you are and why you're doing it. And that self leadership gives you the platform to be a leader for other people. Otherwise, you're just a manager and you're just a poser and not somebody that's doing it for real. And being a leader doesn't mean you don't make mistakes. It means when mistakes happen, you can rebound and overcome, and also put up your hand and say, hey, something's going on. I'm gonna talk to another team leader that's been through this, that all comes from inner strength. And that comes from leadership. So if you were starting a new team today, Greg, you've reached the $10 million milestone, you've got one or two assistants, and then how would you start looking for people to join you? Because it's different for different people, right? So walk us through that. How do you do the first three agent hires and get them to be successful?
Creig Northrop 5:44
I think what you have to first do to your points I say figure out your why's your weaknesses right and find others that can build your strength on that right and you always say you can't you can't really figure out how to sell until you learn why you're selling right so why do you want to be a team define it create a mission create the reasons why you want to do it, then it started attracting like minded people right and so ideally people want to be are attracted to teach for number one reasons Rainmaker. Right You have to be a rainmaker you have to want to give away leads a lot of people don't like to delegate a lot of people don't like to, you know, to you know, they think they can do it better so if you can do it someone else can do the tasks 70% of the way you do the task, delegate it and that's where I learned with leads there got better than I trained people better than I to handle these leads better. So firstly, you start with a buyer's agent. You start with somebody that can start with the buyers start training them get them that way. Often we allow them to be both the buyer and seller he because I don't like the word buyer agent general, but in general, first I got all the time agent. But ideally, that's where you start because the easiest thing for a team leader to give away is the buyers first buyers first right let them work on them, see them train them, Adam shadow you have them be more you, you and different clothes. That's the philosophy of a really good leader, trainer, mentor. You know, all the great things that come into play coach, all all the team leader definition is mentor, Rainmaker leader, you know, you know, Coach, you know all this stuff, you're responsible for it, the minute you sign up for it, you can't look back, because now you're responsible for other people's lives, their livelihood and all of this. So attract like minded? Where do you find them? I think you find them you have to decide when you grow up and you want to do a team, this is the why do you want to work with new agents and grow them to where they want to go? Do you want to start with mid grades, when we first started our team was two years experience, we didn't have a platform to teach young new agents, right, because they take a lot of time, as the seniors, you got to jump to that two level two year level, because either you're going to spend time, you know, showing them how to write a contract, show him how to do listings, or you're going to have them how to get more listings, how to get more sales, and you got to decide which leader you want to be. Now with a reality. We added all that with Elevate and all that. So our team leaders benefit from hiring, because they get all the training of the of the newbies that we didn't have before. And we do new team training classes. So to your point, if you don't understand or know where to go to get to the next level, because every level has a different level, go find it who has, right and that's why because we were number one the nation the team, we actually built the library and knowledge in our brokerage so that we have other team met and team leaders Comrie every other month with other team leaders, and we coach them consistently. That's what's lacking in the brokerage model. No broker is brokers are scared of teams. And they certainly not a train teams, because they've never been a team. Right. And I think where we grow and have grown, so starting by region first, be ready first, and it only takes one, start with one you don't need to get 10 People 21 Start with one make them the best imitation of you, and then others will follow.
Umar Hameed 9:06
So let me dig into that a little bit. So certainly the best imitation of you on one side. And at the same time you were talking about you know, you've got strengths and weaknesses. And you need to get people that can shore up your weaknesses and can do those things. How do you square the to another version of you versus [garbled]
Creig Northrop 9:23
If I'm a millennial right now coming in wanting to build a team and let's just say I hit my 10 million threshold I got my buyer agent. The next person I would go is what don't I like to do? Do I not like the product paperwork but then to get a mini you right now you go administration, you go buyer agent first ministration second, the administration is really going to be your weakness finder. This one, the salespersons gotta not mimic you. The the admin has got to take on your weaknesses, right? I don't like paperwork. Therefore, I have client care coordinators called minis, I don't you know, I'm not really I don't want to stage a house. So I have stagers already done For you, I don't want to market so you're going to market here, I'm not going to social get a social media specialist, you know, get a videographer, which is all the video side, things like that, get that weakness, one that you don't want to do while you're still grooming the salesperson.
Umar Hameed 10:13
Nice. So we've got a team, let's say we go to three people, four people, we're doing well, but now you've got different personalities. So how do you stay in integrity? Because you don't want to manage? You know, Judy, one way and John and other way. And there's a different set of rules for everyone that creates injustice and stuff. So how do you basically set the tone for the team, the culture for the team? So you attract the people you want? And other people go, you know, this is not right for me? How do you do that piece before we go on to a midsize team?
Creig Northrop 10:42
Everybody wants to be part of something.
Umar Hameed 10:44
Creig Northrop 10:45
And they want to feel like they are. And then many is called inclusivity, one of our core values is inclusivity, they must feel included, you must treat everyone equal. And they must feel like they have a voice. So in order to do that, if you do that, and make sure there's no favorites and all that which is always a challenge as you grow. And the other challenge you get into especially starting with three is they feel like if you hire somebody, it takes away from their business. And you as a team leader got to make them feel the bigger than the family grows, the more opportunity grows as well with it. And I think that was a challenge as we were growing the team, especially on a small team scale. First is they thought it would took away from the opportunity when it really actually maximize their opportunities. Because the more signs on the street and the more brand you get out there, more awareness built the whole group off. And that's how we've gained number one the nation, not by having 100 people your mid size, Dean is how we got to the number one nation, not our big size team.
Umar Hameed 11:42
How big was your team when it was mid size, like how many agents?
Creig Northrop 11:45
Mid-size was 20, maybe 25, maybe 25 tops is what got us number one the nation through the recession. So it wasn't this 100 people and had to have people just add people to have bodies, we call them ghost agents is not the model you want to get to you want to be lean mean, and be able to have that fighting machine. And what I mean by that is, is we have only full time agents, ideally, right? You do a party and then you better make sure you have some some requirements for what part time looks like. And then you better make them all follow some kind of coded dress, because at this point, we're seeing a lack of professionalism and the way they're, they're showing up and flip flops are showing up in jeans, you know, you're gonna have team leaders have more power than brokers do. So utilize that power by making them show up on meetings on time, putting some disciplines together on accountability, all the great things are great from professional dress, all that team leaders can do. We're brokers can't. And I think that's where team leaders owe it to the level of professionalism and keep our business this way that they need to start holding to a higher standard than then would be if I went on my own. Why Why? Why would I not stay on my own? If I'm not held to a higher account of accountability, selling more houses and feel part of something? What Why wouldn't I just stay here, you better give them a reason of why they want to join a team. And that's part of where I think a good team leader doesn't do before they go start a team. They need to plan you need to plan the strategy. And why did they want to do a team? And then would they want to join my Why would people want to join? What I want to join my own team? Right? Always say that what I want to do, then, then this is why you don't want to be an animal agent. Why beneficial the team is right here.
Umar Hameed 13:27
Brilliant. So just free move to midsize team, what would be three problem areas for small teams where they can derail or disband or basically the owner starts earns less income because they're distracted with all the other things and not focusing on what's important. What would be three pieces of advice you'd give somebody that's you know, got a small team. So they come a large team.
Creig Northrop 13:48
Call the three C's of clothes, right? We'll use it here, right? First, you got to make sure they all care first, right? Because you're not going to get anywhere if they don't care to be on your team. They don't care about the sellers or buyers. They just don't care. They're the wrong player. And you should find out I always say, Well, they say hire slow and fire fast, right? I mean, I think you need to adjust and adapt and pivot fast. Right? Second, you need to see consistency in not only in their performance, but in your performance with them. Because consistency is such a problem in real estate, that what happens is if they if they're not marketing themselves in any given way, and or they don't get the lead benefit from that, that that that piece of marketing, they stopped doing it, which is the biggest mistake anybody can do. So consistency. And last is competence. You won't be able to build competence in a team member, they're going to have to have some instilling a sense of competence. And then you're going to with the brand, build competence around the brand and who you are, but they got to bring some kind of I call it vitamin C to the table. They have to have some competence in what they do already. Because it's going to be you don't have the time and energy to build the competence. They're going to need that. They're going to need to get them a small group set A, because it'll take away from the others that you're trying to build. And then then what happens is, the woe is me, the negative comes out 90% of our thoughts are negative, and then it becomes up a team against the team leader, which is not a healthy environment.
Umar Hameed 15:15
Correct? Do I look fat in these jeans? No, never mind this negative voice coming up. Exactly. So what is the relationship between competence and confidence?
Creig Northrop 15:26
Hmm, that's a great question. Competence means you have to understand, I call it empathy, right? Competence has a lot to do with empathy and understanding, putting yourself in other people's shoes being competent enough to do the job and interpret the needs of the seller than anyone else. Competence is the competence to be able to portray, but be able to, to portray that, that with authority that you have the knowledge experience and the backing behind you, that's how I would say to to differ.
Umar Hameed 15:55
So somebody in the industry that we know, in the Baltimore area, great realtor, great team, and one of her team members, is a rock star. And so one of the concerns is I don't want this person to leave my team. And so they basically, you know, made sure that their needs are met, and they take more of a leadership role, and maybe even considering a deeper partnership. Because you know, when you find a rockstar, it's not trapping them, but it's like, hey, let's build a home for you where we can build this thing together. So talk about when you get a rockstar in your team, what's a good strategy? Should you keep them in your team? And if you should, how do you do that?
Creig Northrop 16:33
Continue to add more value, and get interested in what they're interested in. And we'll and find out where they want to go and go with them. It's very important to do that, you know, don't get intimidated by rockstars. I always say, I'm not gonna let them outperform me when I was a team leader. So that was one of my key. So like I had, it pushed me harder to go more with them. And I always had to consistently add different value to them. But my value became what their value was, it wasn't my value, always it grew to where their values were. And then I kind of shared their values. If they were doing the PT, I got interested in Buffy, if they were interested in in wanted to coach I learned that coach, you know, things like that. These are where you grow with your team, that a lot of team leaders still, I don't know, I guess not competence into a level that I consider rock stars. Don't go if you don't want to be a rock star, don't be a team leader. Right? Brilliant. That's my first answer.
Umar Hameed 17:30
So people go to a mid size team. They grow from a small team, let's say they've got about 10 people in their team. Now, all of a sudden, you start getting new members into the team that come in that are rock star. So we've got a team that's doing well, then all of a sudden we get someone that's like phenomenal. Sometimes that creates jealousy, that kind of stuff. So how do you bring somebody that's got a lot of talent, and so a they feel welcome. And B doesn't intimidate the current team members. So how do you...
Creig Northrop 17:58
Don't, don't get that don't make exceptions or change systems around somebody, regardless of their production, regardless of who they are, treat them all as equal. And the team will respect you for that. We bring somebody in and we give red carpet and we do everything differently than we did with the others. And then of course, there's going to be resentment, right? Because now they're the love child or whatever it would be and, and so the problem was we created, we are the problem. And we are the solution, that you're very clear, we created that problem. If we treat them all equally, I don't care if it's a $500 house or a million dollar house or a $10 million house, I still treat the seller the same way. Right. It's the same way with people, people are people. That's why we're in this business, treat them all the same, keep them on the same set of rules and explain to the ones that have been with you, you built the foundation to allow us to get to this rock star person. Now we're going to build with us all together and just elevate us all rising tide raises all ships.
Umar Hameed 18:56
Brilliant. So sometimes as a leader, you need to put your finger on what's happening in the market where profitability is in sometimes you might take a deviate from what you were doing in the past and say, Okay, we're going to actually go more luxury market now. Or we're going to go in this area change is difficult for a lot of people to handle. So how do you prepare the team for a change that you want to make as a leader? Because sometimes if you don't make the change, then you get into trouble. So how do you frame the change? And how do you get people to not get scared on the journey?
Creig Northrop 19:28
So same way we did when we went through COVID over communicate, make them feel part of it. If they feel inclusive and part of the decision of it, then you have no problem. You see, sales isn't telling somebody ID. It's called shopping with brands. It's called, hey, we're just gonna go look at a new existing accessory that's higher than we were before. We're not going to go we're just going down this direction and we don't care who you are. A lot of team members or team leaders don't communicate well with their team members. And so then then they find out answers from someone else, and then you lose trust in them. The minute you lose trust the team member lose trust in a team leader, it gets very challenging at that point.
Umar Hameed 20:10
Brilliant. So Creig, since you've been doing this for a while, you've probably had more than your fair share of screw ups. So when you were a team leader, can you share some of the things that you know, you learned, like, Oh, my God, I made this mistake. And this is how I learned it. This is how I fixed it. Do any of those come up?
Creig Northrop 20:26
Yeah. So Well, again, one thing I learned is, don't, don't hire a class you're not ready for which is was the whole year or two years, I learned that the hard way, because I didn't have that. So again, pick your pick your thoughts, write it out. Don't grow too fast. No reason to, there's no reason to listen. It's, it's a journey, not a sprint. And you really got to understand that as a team, because the problem with Team teams as they tend to either when you start wanting to start growing, everybody starts wanting it's like, Oh, my God, it's like really good pie. I use it, right? It's like everybody wants it. So be choosy. on who you pick. We interviewed every one of them. In the beginning, were we a little more loose in the sense of who we paid. Of course, we work and we're new, we didn't know. We weren't, we interviewed everybody. We checked our credentials, we obviously had some rules and regulations. They're the kind of things you grow into, the faster you get that and then determine the team you want to be when you grow up, the better and quicker, you're going to get to where you want to go successful.
Umar Hameed 21:31
Brilliant. Just before we close up a couple of questions, Creig. So Creig, what makes you happy?
Creig Northrop 21:37
Happy. What makes me happy is making others happy. I'm about happiness of others. Now, I know that I can't always make everyone happy. The only way you can do that is so ice cream. Right? But ideally, for me, it's growth, it's watching others get where they want to go, and that I was part of it in some way, shape, or form. Whether with me or not with me, I coach agents outside of my brokerage, it's not about that. But it's just kind of watching everyone around us grow and and when we don't, that makes me unhappy. Finally, when I don't see them grow to their potential, I always say I'm going to push you beyond what's expected. Right. And when I do do that, I'm looking for you to to also step up, go that extra mile always. And that's what makes me happy because they're the ones I call unsung heroes. They're the ones that do a day in and day out that don't get noticed. I that's what makes me happy when I recognize them.
Umar Hameed 22:30
Brilliant. What's one piece of advice you would give our viewers and listeners that they could implement immediately to become better? stronger, faster, happier, sexier? What would you What's that advice?
Creig Northrop 22:41
Find somebody that's doing what where you want to go find them? Get with them. i We my wife and I flew around the country and met with them of people that were above where we wanted to go sit with them, they'll all take a coffee, they'll all take a lunch pit utilize the world you're in and whoever is best and wherever fashion doesn't have to be real estate, any profession. Find out who's doing what you want to be done, figure out how they did it, see what their journey is ask the questions we're doing here. And you'll get to that path faster by listening to somebody who's already done it. And I don't think people do that enough. He said in our brokerage, it's a library of knowledge. So we create that. So it's almost like right around you surround yourself with other like minded people. But most people are on their island on their own. Right. Most team leaders are on their island on their own. Pick up the phone call me. I'm you open invitation. You want to start a team, nobody better I know how to do it. I've been there. I know what a small team looks like mid team looks like big team looks like. Now I know it took a team made them a brokerage. I've done it all. So I'd be happy you don't really people actually call not many. And that's what sad. I opened the invitation to every panel, I do have an amputee. I don't know whether I don't know what that is. But get over it. make the hard calls. If you can a call to somebody better to talk through and learn from it. I'm not sure you're gonna make hard calls to the clients and the team members that need to be talking to.
Umar Hameed 24:01
So this is a lesson I learned when I was like really young. Creig, you know, if you decided to give me a gift, which I hope you do back way back when I'd be like, hey, no, Creig, man, that's too much you shouldn't have and then somebody took me aside and said, Hey Omar, when you do that you disrespect them, they want to give you a gift. Let them enjoy the gift of giving and just say thank you. And the same thing is true here. You've got Creig who's done it all that a gift to Creig is asking his help or advice, because that brings you joy and why figured out if you have ego I know it all. I guarantee you don't. And I bet you if we weren't on this podcast, I said do you know it all? Creig, you'd say, "Nope. Still learning?"
Creig Northrop 24:40
Oh, we've learned...
Umar Hameed 24:41
It's still going.
Creig Northrop 24:42
Absolutely. And I'm willing to help others at any given time period. That's what makes me happy. Back to your question. Helping others. These podcasts sitting here talking about anything we can do to help anybody be better than you were yesterday is my number one goal. My number one passion is people.
Umar Hameed 24:59
Brilliant. Greg, thanks so much for being on the show. much appreciate it. And this was the third one. We'll see you the fourth one, I'm sure.
Creig Northrop 25:06
You got it. Thank you, buddy. Have a great day.
Umar Hameed 25:09
Umar Hameed 25:14
If you enjoyed this episode, please go to iTunes and leave a five-star rating. And if you're looking for more tools, go to my website at nolimitsselling.com. I've got a free mind training course there, that's going to teach you some insights from the world of Neuro-Linguistic Programming and that is the fastest way to get better results.