Dr. Jeff Magee interviews Robert Slack
Dr. Jeff Magee interviews Robert Slack on how his Real Estate team RobertSlack, LLC went from $0 to almost $1 billion in total sales volume in 5 years.
Q: What traits have you learned are critical for success for an individual or organization to be relevant in today’s global market of options?
You must keep pushing forward! You need to be focused on what you do best, and there are a lot of ways to attack what you do. In our space, everyone wants to be all things to all people. What we do is focus on one thing: handling online leads. We have built a strong system and process around it, and we are doing it better than anyone else. In mastering this, cutting edge companies search us out to use their products, and we look for ways to repurpose our leads. Because of our process and strong marketing, the customer is always seeing our brand name and that draws greater yield. We are always re-engaging old leads in new ways, and we are finding that upwards of 20% now buy, whereas with our competition they lose or miss these sales.
Q: From your unique vantage point and unique experiences, what are the most effective ways you have found to create loyalty between you and others, that can be applied in business today?
It starts with the people that come to you in the beginning. They must be prepared to work and do the business the way we do business. Then, we treat people with respect and fairly. This grows loyalty in both directions. People that work our process are successful, and this reinforces loyalty on both sides. Now, agents that don’t follow our system, have no work ethic and don’t put in the effort, think this is just easy. Well, they quickly don’t work out.
Q: Reflecting back when you moved to America, what were the reasons for the move, and how did you accelerate your professional success to established your current success?
I grew up very poor in Northern England. We had no electricity or a car. When I was 21, my dad passed away. My mom had a sister in California. We had never been out of the UK to see her, so my mom and I came to California to see her in 1968. WOW, I saw the life that people had in USA versus UK. USA was another world away in everything, and I wanted this life. At that time and today, there is no legal immigration from UK to USA. So I got a work visa and bought a farm in CA. The economy in the UK was depressed, and there were no jobs, money or opportunity; and I saw the USA as a never-ending opportunity. I came to the USA to grow peaches. I saw peaches as dollar bills hanging on trees, got a Green Card and married the farmer’s daughter as they say. 38 years later, I am still married to that same California lady. The topic of immigration is on everyone’s mind today. I am him, and I came here. I have done a lot of business things and have found that real estate is the most enjoyable. And since 2006, I have made good and bad investments. In 2010, I found myself penniless, was selling used cars and realized I knew that at 65, I needed to do something different. I started writing on a sheet of paper all of the things I can do to buy groceries and realized that real estate was the way to go. So I took an online course to get my real estate license. This was an interesting experience. I joined the MLS, and I am a Realtor but had no business, no clients or homes to sell. One day, a person from Zillow.com called and started talking about lead generation. I used a credit card to buy $168 worth of leads, and that was what opened the door. I worked them hard, and it worked. Here is where the business light bulb went on. There was a formula to every successful business endeavor, and it was becoming clear to me what that meant for my business. I recognized I was getting exclusive leads, I recognized if you worked them smartly, you could close sales. Now I needed a team to work the ones I couldn't. In 2014, we opened our first brokerage with four colleagues started advertising that if you joined my firm, RobertSlack.com, I will give you X number of leads each month. Hard, smart, consistent work is the secret to growth – no matter what your background is. Lead driven work is what I focus on. I go to where the best leads are, and we go where the leads are (market growth), and we work them – good conversion, cost of leads to close, and we're their area agents. Now, we work more than 700 zip codes, and we are throughout Florida. We spend more on leads than anyone else in America today and have the greatest growth and profits to show for it. We will reach nearly $1 billion in total residential sales this year alone.
Q: What Qualities do you think make star performers really tick today and for tomorrow
You have to have the hustle! If you are low energy, you are probably not for us or anyone else that wants to achieve greatness. If you are humble, hustle and have a WHY that drives you, then we will be a good partnership. I see that this is true for anyone, anywhere and in any industry. But, there are some people and forces out there that cater to and thrive off of the opposite. I am 72, and I see a lot of people half my age failing – no hustle.
Q: You are a proven achiever, with wins and losses, and you never seem to give up, some would call you a “Thought-Leader” as you push others to think. What are some of the top points you would advise a leader to know or do, to reap the best performance out of their team?
I talk to a lot of people in real estate groups, outside of the real estate and on stage. I get calls from people across the U.S. wanting to talk about how to do what we are doing: I always talk with them and share with them. I have ideas, and I get ideas from others. I believe the more we share, we all can be successful and serve the clients. We share our successes and failures… bare your soul, be honest, humble and you will always rise-up and succeed. Listen for the deep questions people ask – that is where you learn as well – adapt to your business.
Q: In your present real estate business, RobertSlack.com, you have in a few short years, built a business from zero revenue to this year approaching a Billion dollars in revenue, what are some of the specific decisions you made along the way that would attribute this to?
It is important to surround yourself with people that are driven and share values and work ethic like yours. Be observant of others and make sure that those you work with and serve have shared goals and beliefs. This will then enable you to be focused and that will drive your accomplishments, and you will see areas of success where others are missing, not observing and are unwilling to go after. I have allowed this to organically drive the business we are in and make it clear of the business I need to be actively involved in for my team to be even more successful – remove the hurdles.
Q: What is the single most important mindset that people in your industry must possess over the next 3 to 5 years for them to be more competitive?
I am always amazed in business. And, in my business, real estate, everyone always sees it as local! Whatever business you are in, you must see it as global in scope and understand what that means for your business. Go anywhere in your mind and geography, think BIGGER! an example; if I have a license to sell real estate in Florida, I can sell anywhere in Florida, not just the one zip code where I live. I do not understand why people limit their successes by boxing themselves into a small marketplace when they actually live in a larger (global) marketplace. We spend $7M on leads each year, and our people work it whether that lead is in their backyard or across the state. It’s a mathematical formula to success, and what is the multiplier you work.
Q: If you had 2 minutes to mentor a high potential individual, what would you share with them from your professional vantage point of experience to be effective or successful?
If you have 10 negatives coming at you and one positive, focus on the positive. I can’t stand being around negative people – leave it at the door or leave them outside the door! You've got to be “ALL IN.” Don’t hold back to achieve greatness today. Be totally committed to what you do. I was 68 when I started this. I don’t buy green bananas; I am all in for now. Plow money and profit back into your business. Either pour it back into the business now and grow, or pay it in taxes and have nothing!
Q: What makes for an effective and lasting leader?
Vision – always make the future happen. Jeff Bezos and others are super brilliant and can see the NOW. More importantly, they see MULTIPLE FUTURE ways of being successful. They can imagine where the future markets will be, and that is where they live.
Q: When you interact with other leaders in Real Estate today, what tends to be the burning issues that keep you all up at night, that others should be aware of?
Nothing keeps me up at night in my business. If there was, I would change it. I am confident that whatever challenges come our way, we have the team to address them. If some issues happen that we have no control over, we can address them as well.
Q: What is next on the horizon for your company?
We are looking to grow into other states with our unique approach and systems. We are exploring ways to leverage our other related business entities in our market and outside as well – mortgage company, title company. Every business has math, the math reveals the trends and opportunities. We are just looking at growth in our present markets. And, we have a lot of market opportunity; 200% increase in business each year for the past several years. We sold over 2,500 homes last year, and this year, we are on pace to close 4,000 homes. We are headed for 10K homes in the next few years. We’ll perfect our business before we make the mistakes of growing too fast. Then we'll step outside of our home base.
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