Rhyan Finch is the CEO and principle broker of 1st Class Real Estate, a top-ranked agency (and now franchise) in Virginia’s Hampton Roads region. He’s also the author of Explode: The Proven System to Sell 500 Homes a Year While Keeping a Balanced Life.
Today on Stay Paid, Rhyan discusses his path to the top and offers wisdom you can use to scale your own business.
- Keep track of all your most important numbers and determine which practices get the best results.
- Real estate brokers can thrive when they create lasting relationships with investors.
- Anticipate what your employees will do (or not do) and learn to provide them with the coaching they need.
Q: Introduce yourself to our audience.
I started as a plumber. I didn’t go to college. I went through some challenges in my personal life and had a failed marriage. I also had a daughter, and I realized I needed another career that would give me the flexibility to be there for her.
I played church softball with a guy who was in real estate. I joined him, got into real estate, and the sky was the limit. That was 2006, so I’m coming up on 13 years in the business.
Q: How long did you do residential real estate before running a team?
I worked with a property manager who wanted me to do team sales. I thought, “Nah, forget that. I’m going out on my own.”
But I was really loyal, and he also ran a local, competing firm. I left his team and basically just went to work on the other side of the building. I went from making money every month to losing money.
He was generous to me, and he let me leave. I got fortunate by landing a Fannie Mae account. I did a really good job, and they took me across the country. I had about 12 states where I ran businesses for Fannie Mae. We built out software so we could manage all the properties.
Fast forward to 2013. We basically got too big. They shut us down, which led to the next thing—which was opening up 1st Class Real Estate. We stayed in the same building for a year and then bought a 6,000-square-foot building. We just grew from there.
Q: How did you make the jump from an organization where your leads were provided to one where you generated the leads?
At that point, we had the capital. I went and got different investors when we transitioned. I had all these REOs, and we had all these relationships. We took over the listing market with that.
We always dominated the listings. If you went to buy a property from an investor, they would give us those leads. We would get our buyers from sign calls. We also ran AdWords for buyers.
Our mantra was “If you own the listings, you own the buyers. If you own the buyers, then you can own the agents.”
Q: How many follow-ups does it take to guarantee success?
It’s all about who you put in the game. Some people aren’t coachable, while others are naturally talented.
Figure out who can close, then take them through the lead source that converts at the higher rate. The way to win is to do the basics better.
We want to field the calls right, follow up right, and say the right things. If you’re not saying the right things, it doesn’t really matter.
Q: How did you get to the point where the business stopped running you and you started running the business?
You have to get a whiteboard and write down all the people you’ll want to have on your team. You’re dissecting all these pieces to replace yourself, because right now you’re doing everything.
I hired people for all those spots. But you can’t just hire them and let them go. They may have an idea of what their best is going to look like, but they still need coaching. Somebody who’s been there has to be able to say, “I’ve been there and done that. Here’s how you’re going to get to that next level.”
My coach referred me to this guy who said, “I think what you’re doing can be a franchise.” He broke it down, figuring out how much everything cost us. I started to see the field completely differently, and I realized I needed to get all those costs down.
If I’m able to package a better value than what all these parts would cost individually, I can sell this to other people.
Q: How are you expanding your business through franchising?
We’ve got four franchises up and running now.
I’m going to go on a little bit of a rant here: a CRM will not do deals for you. We have a CRM, and every agent gets it. They think they need it to manage leads, but we do it to give them the leads. We can track everything on our end. We know which agents are converting leads and closing them.
People overcomplicate things, but this is really simple. We know how to do the basics well.
We set the right culture to win. We have the data. We can look and see whether someone did their appointments or called to follow up. It’s about knowing whether someone will do something or they won’t, and then getting them to do it anyway.
Q: Which routines have driven success for you?
As soon as you think you’ve made it, you’re going to fail, because pride wants you to fail. God has humbled me so much from so much failure. My job and role might have changed along the way, but I have to do the same thing over and over again. I’ve got a purpose—and that’s going to get me through.
- Determine your lead to appointment ratio. Take that number to the next level—figuring out how many appointments turn into a close—and so on. Take action, track results, and pivot.
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