As Gary Keller often points out, people tend to wildly overestimate how much they can achieve in one year while wildly underestimating how much they can achieve in five years.
David Hoffman is a perfect example. In 2013, when the North Carolina lawyer-turned-real estate agent joined Keller Williams, he closed $18 million in sales. Five years later, he and his team closed $190 million.
Yet, despite the seemingly steady revenue growth, it’s been anything but a smooth ride.
“I was leading with energy and vision,” Hoffman shared during a recent conversation with Chris Suarez as part of the KW MAPS Coaching program Build Your Business to Expand. “I had money in the bank, but I didn’t have strong relationships. The business was dependent on how fast I could call someone back. I had become an urgent-care doctor.”
“Volume hides a multitude of sins,” Suarez observed. Suarez, who in addition to leading KW’s Expansion Coaching is the founder of Xperience Real Estate based out of Portland, Oregon, asked Hoffman to dig into the specifics of what he’s learned and the systems and models he’s implemented to build a bigger, more predictable business.
For Hoffman, it all started with reminding himself why he wanted to be in the business and what he wanted to make possible for his people and the communities they serve. (In 2017, the team was able to give a quarter of a million dollars back to those communities.)
Here are five steps Hoffman took to lead his team to the next level
Don’t reinvent the wheel
“I wasn’t following the model because I thought I could be more creative,” Hoffman explained. “I had all these ideas!” When he realized he was making mistakes and that his success wasn’t sustainable, Hoffman re-read Gary Keller’s bestselling book The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. And then, he read it again … and again.
“We were growing, but we weren’t growing our systems,” he said. “So we basically ripped the business apart and started over.”
Be true to your mission
Hoffman was initially attracted to Keller Williams because of its commitment to “God, family, then business,” and for the opportunity to expand into new markets.
As part of the team’s reset, Hoffman got very clear on why they do what they do. “We do everything for the people placed in our lives,” he explained. “Whether it’s a stranger we’re meeting or a past client, every relationship has a place in our lives. We always want to put people ahead of numbers.”
Know your numbers
While Hoffman has newfound clarity on the importance of putting people ahead of numbers, he also knows he has to know his numbers, and not just top-line production.
“For a long time, our P&L was in my briefcase and I didn’t show it to anyone,” Hoffman said. “I was ashamed if I was making too much money in a location and I was ashamed if I wasn’t making enough.” Today, every location has its own profit and loss report and the leadership team is very purposeful about reviewing these monthly and regularly adjusting the budget.
Get into business with the right people
When agent expansion first started taking off, Hoffman said he felt pressured to open more locations and hire more team members. “You can be successful with a small number or a lot, the key is to make sure you’re adding value and that your business is repeatable,” he said.
Talent is another area where Hoffman had strayed from following the model. “We’ve opened expansion locations we’ve had to shut down,” he said. “Now we have an application process. We follow Career Visioning. And, I don’t talk to potential partners until the end of the process, because I don’t want my excitement to be the reason we get into business. In fact, I’d rather not get into business and stay in relationship than have to shut down shop.”
Leverage your unique value proposition
While there are many pathways to providing great service, teams should leverage what they do better than anyone else in their marketplace. For Hoffman, that’s generating repeat and referral business.
“We often talk about contract to pending or pending to close, but we don’t often talk about close to referral,” Suarez noted. “One of the strengths of your model is managing that strength at the hub so you can confirm it is happening.”
“That’s the only job security we have,” Hoffman said. “Clients need to know you care when you have nothing to gain.”
Build Your Business to Expand is available to Keller Williams associates and includes weekly calls by Suarez; organized around topics like growth, operations, follow the model, and lead generation and sales.