September 27

A Conversation With Todd Bickerton – Realtor Businessman


A native of the riverfront community of Gananoque, Todd spent 18 years as a nation-wide sales representative and Vice President for the family’s brokerage business until pursuing his passion into real estate.

He is intimately familiar with the renowned 1000 Islands region of the majestic St. Lawrence River and her glacial scape of pitch pine and pink granite. In his opinion, there is no more an ideal location in which to raise a family or relax in retirement.

[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. Today we have the privilege of having Todd Bickerton here with us today. Todd, welcome to the program.

Todd Bickerton 0:51
Thank you very much, Umar.

Umar Hameed 0:53
So Todd, how long have you been a realtor?

Todd Bickerton 0:55
About nine years now, Umar.

Umar Hameed 0:57
What made you decide to enter this industry?

Todd Bickerton 0:59
It goes back to the 40s. My grandfather started a real estate company here. And it was insurance as well. And through big part of my life, I was in the insurance business 19 years of it. But we sold that and took some time off and then got into real estate. I've always wanted to do it. So I was talked a little bit when I was 18. And I wish I hadn't been.

Umar Hameed 1:25
What's kind of interesting is the hardest part of real estate for a lot of people is the sales component.

Todd Bickerton 1:31

Umar Hameed 1:31
Like when somebody says yes, oh, many people are proficient at you know, helping them find a house or helping them sell their house. But he's getting people to say, "Yes." And that's where I guess that foundational experience of being an insurance probably really helped.

Todd Bickerton 1:44
Yeah, it certainly helped you know, what you look at all the things that you could have done differently. But all the things that led me up to this point have helped. So it's a good thing.

Umar Hameed 1:52
I am a firm believer in useful lies. For example, people say, "You know, all your experiences so far led you to this moment in life, which is absolutely true. Was it a cosmic design?" "I'm not sure." But it's really kind of interesting if you don't see what happened in the past as a waste, but see it as a resource of how you can apply today to build what you want. Thoughts?

Todd Bickerton 2:14
Yeah, well, that exactly. Like, you know, you look at relationships, you look at anything. And if nothing else in sales, I always think of this job is more of a psychological, psychology degree that would probably be helpful as a background.

Umar Hameed 2:26
Absolutely. For sure.

Todd Bickerton 2:28
Understanding and people's intentions are a big, big part of it, just like you said, how do you get them to say yes.

Umar Hameed 2:33
So we'll come back to that in a minute. And then the other half of it is, in our society, we have beliefs in a gazillion areas, but there's some common areas. One is beliefs around money. And most people have bad beliefs around money. A lot of people think you know, money causes problems, it's not the causes [garbled] will turn into an asshole if you have too much of it. And all that stuff that is not true. You might but probably not. The second area is in selling. A lot of people like, "Hey, I'm not a salesperson. I don't like to be sold. He's too salesy," but no idea in the world has ever taken off unless somebody sold it. And some of the best salespeople I've ever met are three years old, they know which parent to go to, and how to ask to get what they want. We lose that. And so those two areas, the selling and money and then self-worth. How we see ourselves, most people don't see themselves as amazing as they are. They see themselves as less than some people dramatically so but some people it's like, "Oh, well, you know, I feel like an impostor, even people that are incredibly successful." So we need psychology before our clients do. Thoughts?

Todd Bickerton 3:39
That's pretty deep. But it's true. You know, like, you got to know yourself. And I was just thinking back to you saying that somehow you lose that ability when you're a three year old.

Umar Hameed 3:50

Todd Bickerton 3:50
And I don't know what it is how life just kind of knocks you down a little bit and you get afraid to do stuff. But certainly to be successful, I think you got to really just get yourself out there but you have to have the confidence for sure.

Umar Hameed 4:06
Absolutely. I think confidence is you know, "If you want to be sexy, be confident," doesn't matter what you look like. I like reading a lot of books. And I had read this book by Donna Karen, I'm not a fashion guy but I figured you know, "Hey, here's somebody that's got a brand that's International," I'll read the book. And there was this one scene that she had in her book that I literally saw it visually. She said she was in Palm Springs at the super high end resorts. We go to you know, get spas and diets and stuff. And she's sitting by the pool, and this woman walks across the pool, and she's a plus size woman, so not a traditional beauty. And the way she described it, Donna Karen was that every single guy looked at her and wants her and every single woman hated her. It was the way she carried herself with such confidence. Like she just said, "I am sexy and that's all you believe." So how you show up and Is is really powerful, right?

Todd Bickerton 5:01
Exactly, exactly. Yeah, that's, it's very true.

Umar Hameed 5:07
So let's go to the psychology of homeowners and homebuyers. If it was one person doing it, it is complicated enough. But usually you have a spouse, and then you have their parents may or may not their kids get involved, but there is a whole dynamic there that has to be dealt with. So tell me about one of those times where you actually had to be a psychiatrist to figure out what they really wanted to kind of get everybody to get clarity, because people have their ideas. And sometimes they think they're on the same page when they're very much not. So can you tell us about an example, we had one of those, we had to like, get everybody on the same page?

Todd Bickerton 5:43
So it happens a lot. It happens a lot. So around here, we're in like cottage, country, waterfront, all kinds of different things but people will always have these different ideas of what they're looking for. And it's hard sometimes the guys expectations are, "We're here," and [garbled] expectations are, "Werre here." And I'm being in generalized with that kind of a couple setup. To get them to meet in the middle, where what they're looking for actually exists, takes a little time sometimes. And listening, I think is the biggest part of it, to just sit there and maybe try to to get a little bit of time with each individual person on the property just to hear what they're talking about and things that they would like, that's easier than trying to talk to the two of them together. Because trying to talk to two people together, nobody will tell the absolute truth. But if you get them, if you get them separated...

Umar Hameed 6:44

Todd Bickerton 6:45
That's a lot easier.

Umar Hameed 6:46
And one of the most powerful questions, for me at least is, "How will you know you found the right property? Not what you're looking for, what you're looking for, opens up a different filing cabinet. But this, this, this, this, this?" And when you say, "How would you know you found it?" then all of a sudden, they have to think about it and go, "Hmm, I'll know when I see this. This is going on, that's going on as you get closer to the truth." And one of the nice things about that question is, that you give the person who's articulating it insights into what the hell they want in the first place, because they've never thought about it in that fashion.

Todd Bickerton 7:18
Right. So that's where you come in to the sales aspect of it, right? and big way. So if I'm looking at it, and I've got a couple that's looking, the guy's looking in one place, because he loves the garage, garage is amazing. And the lady is looking at a house and she loves it because of the bedroom setup for the children. But that particular house is just a disaster and not what they needed at all, because it's never going to work well. But you know, the property that they need, they've dismissed it. You just have to find a way to incorporate that into how you're going to show it to them. And take them there, maybe take them there when they don't have the kids with them. And just say, "Listen, we're walking through this, we're going through this, take a look at this," not say anything, just say, "I know you didn't want to see it. But come take a look at this." Let them have some time, filter through it. "And then maybe if you get a chance, if it's more about what's going to work for the kids, bring the kids next time, let's go for a second show," and take the kids with them. And then just let the kids run and see what the kids do.

Umar Hameed 8:20
So that's genius on a couple of levels. Number one, this thing called Systems Theory. And the System Theory says that if it's you and the homeowner and the spouse, and one of the parents, it will be a different experience if that parent wasn't there. So just bringing them back, seeing it themselves creates a whole new experience. And then having the kids and letting them see where they run to I think is totally genius.

Todd Bickerton 8:45
That's the aspect of the business that I enjoy. I, I really enjoy being able to talk to people for sure. But getting inside their heads and figuring out what they really want and then finally, getting them settled into the right home. That, that feels nice.

Umar Hameed 9:02
One of the stories I heard from one of my clients was, it was one of the earliest deals that he did. And it was a hard deal to close. Then at the closing the wife comes up to him and hugs him and says we wanted to go for the cheaper house but you forced us to go for this house. And I just want to say, "Thank you, thank you, thank you for being there and get helping us get our dream home." And that's what a realtor does is you help them get insights and help them get what they really want as opposed to what they think they want. And sometimes it's the lesser house.

Todd Bickerton 9:33
Yeah, yeah. And it's important to like here, I said, we're cottage country so it's important to know the ins and outs of where you're trading in real estate. Like I don't go too far out of our general trading area, because I don't know enough about it.

Umar Hameed 9:47

Todd Bickerton 9:48
Somebody who lives there does so you can find a referral source there. But if you know your specific area, you know all the different things about like if you're looking at water like currents, you know water-deep. If you're selling that place in the middle of January, somebody's like, "Well, the other realtor told me that there's not weeds here." And you'd be like, "Well, I've lived here for 40 odd years. There's weeds there all the time." So, you know, you know those things. And it's a bit of a tangent, but I think that's the important part is, is, know your area and stick to it.

Umar Hameed 10:20
Brilliant. And the other part is, what percentage of the homes that you sell are second homes versus people actually moving there to retire or whatever?

Todd Bickerton 10:29
Hmm, good question. I'd say maybe about 20% of them.

Umar Hameed 10:34
20%? And the...

Todd Bickerton 10:36

Umar Hameed 10:36
Is it just you and or do you have a team?

Todd Bickerton 10:39
Yeah, so right now, we've got a wonderful team. I've got two young women working with me. And they're both, one's executive assistant, one's a marketing assistant. And they're both learning in the whole real estate world.

Umar Hameed 10:52

Todd Bickerton 10:52
They're going up and stuff. So yeah, that's fantastic. And we're looking at bringing other other agents on as well. So it's, it's nice, it's good.

Umar Hameed 11:00
So what kind of vibe do you want to this place once you've got a few agents and you know, some admin staff you've already got? What's the vibe you want your clients to feel when they come there?

Todd Bickerton 11:11
That will work pretty laid back. I have to take you on a tour of the office here, but it's, you know, the, the whole main office is a couple of big three big couches. It's set up it looks like a cottage.

Umar Hameed 11:23
Nice. That's what you're selling? That's what you're showing?

Todd Bickerton 11:26
That's, that's it's a real comfy atmosphere. And we've had had some good parties here. We just had a really good party here and...

Umar Hameed 11:33
Now you're telling!

Todd Bickerton 11:34
Yeah, yeah. But it, what I wanted this place to feel like is you walk into a small town barber shop, you can come in, sit down, have a drink, talk, gossip, you know, share ideas, stuff like that. That's exactly what we wanted here.

Umar Hameed 11:51
I love that and that's a really good visual.

Todd Bickerton 11:53
That's coming together.

Umar Hameed 11:54
So I was in Fremont, California used to live in the States for a long time.

Todd Bickerton 11:57

Umar Hameed 11:58
And so it was a place I was going by it was a barber shop so I go in and there's a Mexican barber there. And it's like 10:30 in the morning, there's two guys sitting on the shoeshine kind of station and he's just reading papers and I'm getting a shoe shine the some of the people hanging around and the barbers are cutting my hair and he is very drunk at 10:30-11:00 in the morning. With a very sharp scissors going, "Fricking gringos are always trying to get you," it's like I'm thinking, "Oh my God, I'm gonna die here on this thing." But know that vibe of town, small town barbershop is a really good one to get. And that's something people would understand easily.

Todd Bickerton 12:31
Yeah. Well, I've been in like, I've been in all kinds of different offices, as I'm sure you have to. And the last thing I wanted was to anybody to feel like, "Oh, God, we shouldn't be in here. It's a rarity today." My dog isn't with me but he's usually here, big golden retriever. He comes to work. Rihanna, one of my assistants, she just had her cat here. It's you know, it's a friendly thing, right? People will poke their head in the door just to see the animals and...

Umar Hameed 12:57

Todd Bickerton 12:58
talking and people from all over the world. That's great.

Umar Hameed 13:01
Brilliant. By the way, my sister says that she has a golden retriever, too and she calls him a liar. She says not once has he retrieved gold is like [laugh]

Todd Bickerton 13:10
That's true. Yeah, yeah. He's he's worth his weight in gold. That boy, though he's, he's, he's been my buddy, buddy through all this.

Umar Hameed 13:21
What's gonna be interesting is the only entities that are in human are humans. And dogs teach you more about love and animals teach you more about love than humans do.

Todd Bickerton 13:32
Yeah. What's that they don't, they don't have to be there for here for as long because they already got it, right?

Umar Hameed 13:38

Todd Bickerton 13:38
They already know.

Umar Hameed 13:39
Brilliant. So as you move forward, and you're expanding your company, how does that change your role?

Todd Bickerton 13:45
Hmm. Well, one of the things I want to bring on Rihanna and Katie into the businesses because I, I feel fulfilled if I can mentor somebody, and help get them started and grow up and into the business because I'm, I think I'm still young in this, but I'm not going to be young forever. And so you got to have, you got to have a buildup of new people behind you that want to keep going, and to be there to help you. And, you know, when they get set up and become successful, then we'll get somebody else in right behind and start training them and just have that perpetual motion and keep it running.

Umar Hameed 14:26
I was, I did a podcast with this gentleman, Conrad, and they started their real estate practice with five realtors. And now they have a thousand.

Todd Bickerton 14:36

Umar Hameed 14:37
And just the vibe in that place is so amazing, because, like focus and caring, and it's all about family, even with that many people and I'd asked you know, like, "What was that like?" "It was like, hardest was getting over 100," he says, you know.

Todd Bickerton 14:53

Umar Hameed 14:53
"Getting up to 80 was easy and then getting over 100 was like the most difficult thing ever. And then after that it was a [garbled]." But the thing I liked about it was just really caring about the agents, caring about their clients still is very much the number one most important thing for them, which is nice.

Todd Bickerton 15:11
That's right. Yeah. Well, you know, anything in sales, you could have somebody that could sell you, your, your, that person could sell anything to anybody. But you have to be able to sell somebody something and feel good about it because they're gonna be [garbled].

Umar Hameed 15:26
Your [garbled] they want absolutely, yeah.

Todd Bickerton 15:29
That's where, you know, you're gonna, they're gonna tell your friend their friends, they're gonna do this, they're gonna do that. If you treat somebody badly that goes around way faster.

Umar Hameed 15:37
It's just actually in your neck of the woods, I would imagine but anywhere. So are you part of a brokerage?

Todd Bickerton 15:42
Yes. Part of Sotheby's, Sotheby's International Realty Canada so. Yeah, we're, we're, we're branch office of Toronto here, which is amazing. And you know, they've got such a network, and they've got so many things that they bring to the table.

Umar Hameed 15:57

Todd Bickerton 15:58
In a small town, we feel very fortunate to have that backing.

Umar Hameed 16:01
Brilliant. And is there like a head office, Sotheby's in Toronto?

Todd Bickerton 16:05
Yes. Yep. Yeah, on Yonge Street. And so, you know, we've, of course then everything virtually for the last number of years anyway. But it is nice to get to see people and I'm hoping this year we get to go up to the maybe the Christmas party and...

Umar Hameed 16:21
Oh, yeah. Bring your dog. Bring your damn dog.

Todd Bickerton 16:24
For sure. That's right. Yeah.

Umar Hameed 16:26
The, do you know why we had COVID? This is my personal theory. It was the guy that heads up the Zoom going, "Oh, please, God, make my system go bigger," "All right! Then will give you COVID." And it change the world in terms of. I've talked to realtors that have taken their cell phone on Facebook Messenger and walked around the rooms with their phone, "No, no. Go back to the closet, I want to see that."

Todd Bickerton 16:49
Oh, sure.

Umar Hameed 16:50
And purchased a home with basically live feed from the, the agent. And they trusted the agent. And that allow them say, "Yes, I want to buy it. Let's make it happen."

Todd Bickerton 17:00
That's right. Yeah. And you know what, it's, it's really worked well. And if you'd said that to somebody five or six years ago, they thought you were crazy.

Umar Hameed 17:07
And definitely. My hometown boy, I used to live in Baltimore, is Tom Clancy the author.

Todd Bickerton 17:13
Right. Okay.

Umar Hameed 17:14
[Garbled]. And he's got this one quote that I love. It's, "The problem with fiction, unlike reality, fiction has to be believable." And had somebody said, "You know, when you're just walking around, people buy a ticket, that will never happen. What are you nuts?" And of course, amazing things happen in the real world.

Todd Bickerton 17:32
That's true. Yeah, it's been really cool. You know, Zoom, FaceTime, all that stuff has been incredible.

Umar Hameed 17:38
Like what we're doing right now.

Todd Bickerton 17:40
Yeah, yeah. Prior life, you know, I will be on a train into Toronto.

Umar Hameed 17:45

Todd Bickerton 17:46
You know, it's so bizarre. Now, you don't have to do that. And but you still have the connection. So it's really a good.

Umar Hameed 17:51
So I'm a really savvy tech guy. And I did this, I've got this amazing workshop that's breathtaking. And one of the people there said, "You know, Umar, you could do this virtually, like, just record it and just have that." And my initial reaction was, "You have no understanding of how amazing I am and my connection with the people," and then they kind of annoyed me. And the next morning when I woke up, it was like, "No, that's a really good idea, actually," but the initial reaction was, "I'm special in some way being in my presence." But the reality is, no we live in a different world, and people absorb information differently. And the thing that slows us down is that, the human ego that I had when he first suggested it.

Todd Bickerton 18:31
We all have that though. We all have...

Umar Hameed 18:34

Todd Bickerton 18:34
...we all have to correct ourselves every once in a while.

Umar Hameed 18:36
There's this thing is called computer in the wall, I'm not sure if you ever came across this. But it was in India, it was a computer software company. They're on the edge of a slum so they got their walled off. And people that live in the slum, especially the kids are illiterate. So one guy gets, "What would happen if we put a computer that the kids could see, the mouse would be there, the keyboard and the screen, and we wouldn't let them access the computer, but they could interact with it." And so we just put up the computer, no instructions, and a bunch of kids are walking by this see the computer and it's like, "The hell is this." And they poke on it a little bit. And then there's one guy poking on it and doing shit and people behind him that don't know what the hell they're doing because they've never seen a computer are suggesting things, "Hey, you idiot, go up, pull, push it up, do this." And within like two weeks, these kids are speaking English. And they using the computer and it's surfing and it's just a self taught just by giving them access to a computer. So yeah, if we just give the technology to people, they'll figure out cool shit to do with it.

Todd Bickerton 19:36
Yeah, exactly. That's very cool.

Umar Hameed 19:38
So a few questions for you before we part company number one, what are you learning right now to manifest a better version of you? A better leader, a better realtor, a better human being? What are you playing with?

Todd Bickerton 19:50
Well, I knew this was obviously set up this meeting. So I've been kind of thinking about it yesterday had a horrible day. What I would call a horrible day, you know, you get down on yourself, you have a challenging thing going on...

Umar Hameed 20:00

Todd Bickerton 20:00
... and it was like, "Oh my God." And so last night, I actually went, my one daughter was going away for a night to her [garbled]. And so I went and had ice cream with her first and then I'm like, I had to go take a more, we've got some property we help take care of. So I'm gonna go take them over, and I'm just gonna go cut grass for a couple hours. And I was going around in circles and circles cut in line. And I'm like, thinking about the day and how bad it had been and stuff like that. So you know, it's time to finish this pity party. Like, you know what, you got to...

Umar Hameed 20:03

Todd Bickerton 20:05
...switch your mindset, and, you know, get your pants back on and get figuring stuff out. And it's easy to wallow, but you got to manifest a positive vibe, right? Because that's, that's where it's at. If, if you're bummed out all the time, nothing good is gonna happen.

Umar Hameed 20:49

Todd Bickerton 20:49
Keep moving forward.

Umar Hameed 20:51
So I was living in the States before I came here for a visit. So I might do this, I can do this, I'm almost an American. If I put a gun to your head right now and I said, "List 100 things you're grateful for?" The initial thought would be, "I can't do that," but you'd come up with 100. If I said, "200, you come up with 200." Everybody has so many things to be grateful for, like the glasses on your face that allow you to see [garbled] golden retriever.

Todd Bickerton 21:18

Umar Hameed 21:18
You look more handsome. When you took off your glasses, I look more handsome, just, just saying. So yeah, it's like, we can choose to focus on the negative, or choose to see the blessings we have. So I sold my house last year in May, and went on a quest and the quest was, "What am I going to do for the next 30 years of my life?" And what came up on the first five weeks of the quest I went to Greece was, "Oh my God, life is all about happiness. What if we help people be happier?" And the whole idea was, now can you to send me a video, if you could, Todd. Is a video that says, "Hi, my name is Todd, what makes me happy is and whatever it is, having ice cream with my daughter," or whatever it is, and send it back to me, you know, just texted over to me. And we've collected a ton of these videos and nobody has ever said, "You know, when I get this $50 million company, and I have this super gorgeous wife," and none of that shit is always the latter of my grandkids. The first person I asked was an Uber driver. And he said, "I work 12 hours a day driving Uber. When I go home at night, I take my eight year old son and my wife and we walked by the Mediterranean, that makes me happy." So everything anybody said was simple, attainable, doable by anyone. I think that's what we need to focus on, the positive, not the negative. Don't ignore the negative, we can solve that.

Todd Bickerton 22:39

Umar Hameed 22:39
But if you wallow with it,

Todd Bickerton 22:40

Umar Hameed 22:40
then solutions are few and far between.

Todd Bickerton 22:43
You gotta get out of that [garbled].

Umar Hameed 22:45
Yeah, absolutely.

Todd Bickerton 22:46
In sales. It's it's paramount, right? You can't, you can't sit in a bad mood, it'll just destroy you.

Umar Hameed 22:53
So what happens is when you sit in a bad mood, you're feeling bad. And then you take on the bad physiology and that deepens the feeling. And that invokes negative thoughts, which invoke worse feelings and worse posture. And before you know it, you're in a spiral, and it's hard to get out of, and all you need to do is do something. This is what I recommend people do. And I'd like you to do it right now, Todd, are you ready?

Todd Bickerton 23:18
I'm ready.

Umar Hameed 23:19
I want you to hold your breath for three seconds. [Todd hold breath for three seconds] And the reason I say breath is that's the one thing you control in the entire world that you can do right now. You could hold your breath for three seconds, or you could take a deep breath in, or you could lead out slowly. And just have one thing to say, "I can control something. What else can I control?"

Todd Bickerton 23:37
That's a good [garbled]

Umar Hameed 23:37
"I could play with my dog." Yeah, isn't it that breath is so important. So I wanna tell you something totally genius. So I have noticed that there is one part of me that I'm not accessing, where I could truly shine. And I've been thinking about it for a year now, what is that thing in here, I can't access it. I've removed a lot of the other blocks. And I came across this technique where you use breath to get at what's deep down below the unconscious. And I've been playing with that for about a week now. And it is like a revolutionary. You got to think about, you don't have to remember anything. But the thing I want to share with people is there's 1000 ways to get San Francisco. If that's what you want is to be a better version of yourself, it doesn't need to be using this methodology or that or the other. Just find what's right for you and just go for it and you will get there my friends. Todd, last question, what's one technique or one tool you use to make yourself better, happier, stronger, sexier, like what's the one piece of advice you want to share with the world?

Todd Bickerton 24:39

Umar Hameed 24:41
Totally genius. It's simple and that's. Okay, I lied. It's not just your breath, you can also smile. There we got two things. Todd, thank you so much for being on the program.

Todd Bickerton 24:50
Thank you.

Umar Hameed 24:51
I really, really enjoyed it. Thank you.

Todd Bickerton 24:52
Thank you.

Umar Hameed 24:58
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.


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