On Episode 288th of The No Limits Selling Podcast, we have Ray Otten, a Licensed Real Estate Broker at Joanne Goneau Team RE/MAX Absolute Realty Inc. Certified Coach with Workman Success Systems. He dedicated his career to becoming a top Ottawa Realtor and it shows; 78% of his business is from past clients and referrals. His reputation comes from the strong personal connections he makes with his clients and the infallible systems he has created to ensure success in their real estate ventures.
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[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
Hey everyone! welcome to another episode of The No Limits Selling Podcast. Where we talk to industry leaders about how they grow themselves, their teams and make the industry better. Today, we have Ray on the show with us. Ray, why don't you introduce yourself, you're at Ottawa. Welcome to the show.
Ray Otten 0:58
Thank you very much. You're so I've been a realtor for 32 years. As I mentioned, I've started my exit strategy so my succession plan, which is a five year process. So I have in May of 2024 is going to be my retirement. I have run a team of up to 24 people in the top of my business, selling just over 300 homes a year, putting us in the top echelons of REMAX, who I spent most...
Umar Hameed 1:27
Ray Otten 1:27
...of my career with. And to add to that, I've been the past president of a Real Estate Board, support the province by being on the professional standards and Arbitration Committee. And then for the last 15 years, I've been a real estate coach as well working for Ken Goodfellow. And currently I'm a senior coach with workman success systems, which I do in concert with my selling of my business.
Umar Hameed 2:01
Love it. So do you have a team right now?
Ray Otten 2:05
No. So when I turned 60, I looked at finding someone that would be willing to take over my team that I could mentor, and then continue an income stream and ultimately sell it. I couldn't find anyone that wanted to work that hard. So what I ended up doing was looking at a merger situation, which I've done. So I've merged with Joanne Garneau, who actually owns a brokerage in our city. And I made a commitment that I would spend five years working on her team as a listing specialist. My compensation model was very different than a typical listing partner, which would actually be my payout for selling my business. And then there would be an income stream for a few years after I retire as long as I maintain my license and can receive referrals. So she's been working my database of about 1700 local clients that are in the Ottawa area. And hopefully a number of them will utilize her team when I stop working.
Umar Hameed 3:16
Brilliant. So oftentimes, you know, it's kind of hard for a team leader to actually sell their business, I've actually, it doesn't happen that often, right? Often, they just disbanded and kind of move on.
Ray Otten 3:27
It's It's so true. My background before I became a realtor was I was an accountant. And I particularly was a cost accountant. So I was a very big believer in systems way back in the 90s. Believe it or not, I had systems for just about everything, anything that was replicatable. In my business, I created a system for it. And that allowed me to have the ability one to really scale my business to sell over 300 homes a year. But number two actually have a really strong database, really strong systems that someone would be interested in taking over. And that's really what Joanne did, she took over a strong database, as well as she incorporated a lot of the systems that I used into her business as well.
Umar Hameed 4:16
So no pressure here, I'm just getting my iPad to take some notes. So you know, you have to be awesome. That's, that's all I'm saying. Here we go. So it's fortunate that we're chatting right now today because in some regards, the business of real estate is pretty darn simple. And then the challenging part is the mindset part. Because if you take a look at all the things you need to do, picking up the phone prospecting, presenting, getting people to say, "Yes, I want to work with you," negotiating, not caving in on your own commissions, just all that wrapped of things that our mindset gets in the way. So talk me about mindset, because you were leading 40 agents. What were the different aspects of mindset that you saw when you saw someone had the ability to be a rockstar, but they weren't performing at that level? How much did mindset play a role in that?
Ray Otten 5:07
Mindset is number one. And what I always talked to my coaching clients as well as to my team members. Number one, we need clarity, we really need to understand what we want to do. And then number two is we have to have that focus. You know, what are our daily success habits? Well, for me, number one is every day I've got a prospect if I want to be successful, and I can't have a day where I'm tired, or I can't have a day where I've got a lot of appointments, I have to prospect five days a week. And And with that, that generates that income flow. You know, just keeping top of mind with my database so all my calls now are warm, or they're referrals from past clients. And that allows me to sell 30 to 40 homes a year, independently as a listing partner, working two and a half to three days a week, full time and spending maybe about an hour or two those other days, just prospecting.
Umar Hameed 6:06
Love that. So I was doing a presentation to a REMAX team in Burlington, but 100 agents in the room. And I'd ask them, you know, if you were more confident and bolder and fearless, how many more transactions would you do? Like, where are the areas that you get stuck? How many more transactions would you do a month? Would you be surprised to hear that the answer, on average was two extra transactions per month, if they could be bolder. Especially in the area where they feel threatened or fear, if they could overcome that two transactions extra month. Do you think that sounds about right?
Ray Otten 6:40
That would be a very realistic number. I think that you know, any realtor should really have early in their career, a goal of doing at least 24 transactions a year, which would be the those two deals a month. But so few realtors actually do 24 transactions in a year.
Umar Hameed 6:58
Yeah. So these agents were actually doing 24,30,40. But they figured so for a good example is if they were reluctant to ask for referrals, or do it consistently, they said, by not doing that they were missing out two transactions a month or by not prospecting in the way like you do it diligently. They do it sporadically because fear comes up two transactions missing out of their pocket that goes into another agent. So here is a question for you, Ray, where are the common areas where realtors struggle like realtors can be good at one area maybe not another? But what would be the top five areas that if you that you could highlight for us where realtors struggle?
Ray Otten 7:40
Well, I think the the first one is consistency. You know, everyone has a phenomenal day. But very few realtors have a phenomenal week, a phenomenal month, a phenomenal quarter, or a phenomenal 12 months, where they can say at the end of the year,
Umar Hameed 7:57
Ray Otten 7:58
I was consistent throughout the year. So that would be the first thing. The second one is probably more so in the last 10 to 15 years than ever in the past. It's all the distractions. You know how many realtors go into the office at you know, nine or 10 o'clock in the morning and jump onto emails, jump on to text, return phone calls. But they really don't do any money making activities. They're basically reacting as opposed to being proactive. So that's another real challenge that most realtors have. You know, they go home at the end of the day and said, "I didn't accomplish anything that I was hoping to do." I think the thing that probably brought the most clarity was when my daughters were probably about five and six years old and I came home from work and they knew what I did. And they said, "Did you sell a home today daddy?" And I said, "No." And they said, "Well then what did you do all day?"
Umar Hameed 8:57
Go to your room.
Ray Otten 9:02
So you know that really kind of shined a light on you know, they got it.
Umar Hameed 9:06
Yeah. From the mouths of babes. So consistency, distractions. What's number three?
Ray Otten 9:12
Number three, I think systems. I think they basically fly by the seat of their pants most of the time. They don't really understand the things that they need to systematize to make sure that they have a steady income. You know, they may not have a formal listing presentation or a formal buyer presentation. They may not have a pre list kit that goes out. They don't have a formulated marketing plan that outlines what they're going to do over the next 12 months and what the budget is. And then that ties into the next one when I talk about budget is most realtors don't know their numbers. And you have to remember, this is a business We sell real estate, as a business. And all businesses...
Umar Hameed 10:07
Ray Otten 10:07
...need to know what their P&L is every month. They need to know what their cash flow is. They need to know that they're making their remittances to the government, that they're not going to get into trouble at the end of the year when they've spent all their money and have nothing to pay the government, which the government's really not that concerned about the good lifestyle we have, they just want their share.
Umar Hameed 10:17
Absolutely. And number five?
Ray Otten 10:32
I think number five is the need to leverage ourselves, once you start becoming successful. An exercise that I do with all my clients and with my buyer agents, is to find out what their hourly net worth is. So if you've got an agent that's working 2000 hours a year, and they made 500,000, gross commission income, then their hourly worth is $250.
Umar Hameed 11:01
Ray Otten 11:02
If you start looking at how many agents spend an hour printing colored feature sheets or doing things that are, you know, 10,15 $20 an hour work. You realize very quickly the importance of hiring an assistant or hiring a buyer agent, or both, to leverage yourself. And that's the only way you can really see your business flourish. We don't have the bandwidth to do the $20 an hour work and consistently make that 250,300,500. I calculated my hourly income in 2021. And it worked out to $1,551 an hour. Do you think I print color feature sheets? Absolutely not.
Umar Hameed 11:50
Yeah. So this conversation has gone in a totally different direction than I thought Ray, because you can tell you're an accountant, because and it is a business. And I think sometimes, actually, oftentimes realtors lose sight of that. And I think just looking that way, is critically important. So I'm gonna backtrack a little bit. So what do you think stops people from being consistent? Like, what are the things that get in the way of them doing that? So I'm gonna go back to the five that you mentioned and let's dig a little deeper?
Ray Otten 12:21
Well, I think it goes back to those two key words, that clarity, knowing what you want, and then actually implementing that clarity. And that's focus. And I think where we all fall down is focus. You know, if you and I could be 100% focused every day, we would still accomplish a lot more, even though we're good at what we do.
Umar Hameed 12:42
Absolutely. And just kind of going back to the clarity of knowing what you want is important. But also, knowing who you are, is that fundamental foundational piece, of where my strengths or weaknesses, what do I really want out of this career and really spending time thinking about them, once you get a good sense of who you are, as a human being, getting that clarity of what you want to build, just becomes even more potent. So distractions, that is a huge one for everyone, including me, I'll put up my hand, because it's so easy to be looking at what's happening on your phone, on your social media, on breaking news stories on what other agents are doing. So having that discipline which kind of goes hand in hand with it the other side of the coin of being focused when you need to be doing the task at hand without jumping to another task. Because it seems [garbled] at the moment.
Ray Otten 13:35
Exactly. Personally, for me, I'm most effective in the morning. So the important things that I need to do I do in the morning. So I get into the office, I return my emails, I return my texts, I return my phone calls. But by 9:30, when I'm in the office, and I'm focused on prospecting, I do my prospecting calls. So they're all done by the time lunchtime pass. That doesn't mean I don't return calls in the afternoon and in the evenings, I still do that. But the all the outgoing calls, the outgoing emails, the outgoing texts, the personal handwritten notes, those all happen in the morning, Monday to Friday. The afternoons are for listing appointments for buyer appointments or negotiating offers and the same thing in the evenings. And then I take Sundays off, but I do work Saturday morning, if I have a client that might be a school teacher, or a dentist, etc. So I always have a down day during the week. And that doesn't mean I won't be returning calls on Sunday, but I don't book any appointments on Sunday. And that's been my family day for the last 25 years.
Umar Hameed 14:44
Brilliant. You said systems and I think one of the things that was systems are bad is people have this illusion of, "I don't be locked down with this. I'm a free spirit I need to do this." But people that are great at what they do they have a system because when you have a system and I can go Ray, the coach and say, "How do you do what you do? Well, I kind of wing it." But if I go, "This is my system is not working as well as it could," you can analyze it and say, "Oh, on step two, your do this and see how it changes your results," that if I've got a system, we can improve it, if I'm just winging it differently all the time, then it's almost impossible to improve what you're doing.
Ray Otten 15:21
Absolutely. So in business, I always like to simplify things, if I can, and I look at our business is really two components. It's the systems and the people. And if you have a problem, it's either a systems based problem, or it's a people based problem. And with the people, maybe they didn't get correct training on the system, whether that's the scripts that they need to have to be an effective buyer agent, or the scripts to be able to nail that listing presentation, or the objection handling, those are all part of the systems that we need to learn, then the the other component, the human element is, if they just don't care, then they're never going to learn those systems, and they're never really going to succeed. So hopefully, we make the right hires and we hire people that are willing to learn, willing to work hard, and really care about the consumer. And those people are very teachable, or very coachable, or both. And with that, they really succeed.
Umar Hameed 16:23
You've known a lot of realtors, and probably coached a lot of realtors and led a lot of realtors. What percentage of realtors would you say, treat this like a business where they're looking every month at the P&L and what's going on with the cash flow? What percentage you would you say actually do that?
Ray Otten 16:40
There's kind of two different percentages or two different groups there, I think is that the general public, so a lot of the realtors that are in my office or that are in my board. And I would be surprised if more than 20-30% of them actually looked at their financials on a consistent basis. Once you enter into coaching, the numbers become very important for the coach. I would say that that number probably doubles at least that you get 60% or more of the coaching clients actually looking at their numbers, but that a lot, a lot of that's driven by their coach. By their coach, you know, every month saying, "Okay, so where we at? you know, what's your gross commission income? what are your expenses, etc?" So making sure that that bottom line is where it needs to be. I've coached people where their expenses ran 50% of their gross commission income, but they were paying their buyer agents, a 60% split. So basically, every time the buyer agent sold something, it cost them money. And the only profit they had was the dwindling profit they were getting from their production, since there wasn't a cost of goods sold. So once we identified that she went on to renegotiate everybody's split. So she actually ran a profitable business, because she would generate $400,000 of income and bring home 260. So that's not the model we want. But because she didn't look at her numbers, she wasn't aware of this problem.
Umar Hameed 18:23
Brilliant. So a couple of things. Ray. One is what's the best advice you've ever received as a real estate agent?
Ray Otten 18:31
I'd have to say running a team was lead by example.
Umar Hameed 18:35
Walk your talk.
Ray Otten 18:37
Absolutely. So if I want my sales team to prospect, I have to prospect. If I want my team to act as professionals or look like professionals, I'm walking into the office with a suit on. You know, up to a year and a half ago, I wore a tie every day. I have polish shoes, I wear a nice watch, my car's always clean, you can find even a gum wrapper anywhere in my car. So it's really living the way you want to portray yourself.
Umar Hameed 19:10
Model the behavior you want. And what is a mind hack or a technique you use to be more efficient or taller, better, stronger, faster? What's one thing you'd like to share that people could implement today to make an impact?
Ray Otten 19:24
Okay, so this might be a little bit odd, but I'm a big believer in affirmations. So every day before I go into my office, or before I put my suit on to start my calling, I say, "This is going to be the best day ever. And I'm going to lead by example." So those two phrases, you know, we wake up in the morning and we can either wake up grumpy, or we can wake up in a good mood. I just choose to wake up in a good mood. And every day of the week, there's going to be somebody that's going to try to ruin that for you. Well, I don't let them do that. Because people asked me all You know, "Ray, you always seem to be so positive and so happy." Well, wouldn't you rather work with somebody that's positive and happy that somebody that, you know, gives you the impression that you're wasting their time or, you know, they don't really care about you. So that's really important. And then my team, I want them to be proud of me. I want them to recognize that I'm the hardest working person on the team. And it creates an incredible amount of loyalty and hard work. I have a buyer agent that's been with me for 23 years. I don't know how many realtors have staff that have been me that long.
Umar Hameed 20:35
Not a lot. That's for sure. Ray, thanks so much for being on the program, solid gold advice. Dear listeners, do these things, consistency, get rid of distractions, get systems that really work. If you don't know how call Ray he'll show you. Get a budget, treat it like a business and leverage yourselves, that's a pathway to success. Ray, thanks so much for being on the show. I'm looking forward to our next conversation.
Ray Otten 21:01
My pleasure. Have a great day.
Umar Hameed 21:07
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.