Sean Everett is a Las Vegas-based REALTOR® and the founder of Everett Academy, an interactive training system that teaches agents the fundamentals of real estate.
Early in his career, he was diagnosed with a Chiari malformation—a rare brain condition that began causing the left side of his body to become paralyzed—and he needed to undergo emergency surgery. Despite the setback, his business still managed to grow by 20% that year.
Today on Stay Paid, Sean tells his incredible story. He explains how implementing systems got him through those tough early days, and how a systematic approach continues to help his business thrive today.
- Find systems and processes that will enable you to work more quickly and efficiently.
- Don’t begin every phone by talking immediately about the sale.
- When you’re hiring people for your team, make sure their values align with yours.
Q: Introduce yourself to our audience.
I was born and raised in Las Vegas. When I was about 8 years old, my dad started flipping houses. He paid me four dollars an hour to smash things and throw them in dumpsters, which is every kid’s dream.
By the time I was about 15 years old, I decided I wanted to start my own business. My dad had a set of properties, and I started landscaping all of them with a buddy of mine. I built that business up, and then sold it. When I was about 16, I got into auto detailing. I sold that business, too.
After that I became an iron worker, while beginning to work as an agent on the side. This was when I started to get really sick. I was feeling nauseous and throwing up every morning while dealing with massive headaches. I was in the hospital all the time.
I found out that I had a Chiari malformation, a condition that meant my brain was bigger than my skull. Unbeknownst to me, the malformation was making the left side of my body become paralyzed. Within a couple weeks, I had to have an emergency surgery.
I had been full-time in real estate for about a year at that point. I brought on my wife, Ali, to help me out because I didn’t know how long I’d be out of work. I don’t remember too much of that year, but we increased our business by about 20%. It was my wife who helped change my mind-set and who created systems that allowed our business to grow.
Q: How did you handle the news of your condition?
My first thought was about the surgery and how scary it seemed. I jumped on YouTube and started watching videos of the procedure. The surgery was going to be performed at UCLA, and my malformation was the biggest one they’d ever seen. They were surprised I wasn’t paralyzed already. It really freaked me out.
To keep my business on track, I asked some of the people at my brokerage to help me out. At the same time, I was helping my wife get ready to take her real estate license exam.
Q: How did you manage to increase your business that year?
It was all about creating processes, implementing systems, and making things go faster. There are so many things you can do for free in real estate that will bring you a ton of business. You can run a Facebook page and make it phenomenal. You just have to stay in front of people.
We built a database. We called up our leads and found out what was going on with them, while asking if they knew anyone else who needed help. You should be able to get 10 new leads from every person you talk to. I would say 99% of our business is repeat business and referrals.
Q: Can you give us a little more detail about the types of calls you make to your database?
First and foremost, if you don’t talk to someone on a regular basis and then go right into selling as soon as you talk to them, you’re making a mistake. One of the best things that you can do is to find out when birthdays, anniversaries, and other important dates are. We use a system called SendOutCards that lets you send cards with your handwriting on them. It’s such a nice presentation, and everybody loves it.
Q: How did you start building a team?
We started out with our branding, as well as a foundation of what we were trying to achieve as a company. We got some of the nicest business cards you’ve ever seen. I know a lot of people don’t use business cards, but anyone I’ve shown them to has always said, “Wow, what a nice card.” My wife used to run a hair salon here in town, so she was really good at building the foundation of a business.
You also need to have a purpose beyond making money. For example, we contribute to charities. You need to figure out what your end goal is and then work backward.
We started out with just a couple of buyer’s agents. We started bringing people on, giving them our knowledge, and then giving them leads, as well.
Q: What made you decide to hire these buyer’s agents?
I just figured I’d get all these agents on a team so that I’d be able to make a lot of money without doing all the work. That was the wrong thinking.
A lot of agents don’t know the first thing about real estate. Real estate schools really don’t teach you anything about the business. People need to have hands-on education. That’s the only way they’re going to learn anything.
Our team used to be made up of 20 agents, and we had to chop it down a little bit. Now, I’ve got it dialed in where I can add people like crazy, and I don’t physically need to be with them. I got set up with a training platform, which we built out and customized. That’s what Everett Academy is. People can watch a video about whatever it is they need to learn.
Q: What advice would you give to people looking to hire?
I have a click funnel page lined up, and I ask a bunch of questions. People need to answer those questions before I’m even going to interview them. If the answers are good, I bring them in, and they can start working through my first couple of training modules.
I want them to know my systems. Everything they need to know is on the training portal. They all need to complete certain modules before they can go out into the field.
Q: Once people have passed that initial test, what comes next?
Next, I want to hear how people are on the phone. They can’t be super salesy or have no energy. There needs to be a certain feel if I’m going to hire them.
I also want to see how people are on video, because if someone is a little scared to get on camera, then they’re probably going to choke when it comes to interacting with clients. I like to get my people uncomfortable. I put them in uncomfortable situations, and then see what happens.
Q: What routine has driven success for you?
I map out my whole week. I live by the calendar on my phone. I try to wake up before the sun comes up. That’s a Grant Cardone thing. If you get up before the sun, you start the day out winning. By getting up that much earlier than everybody else, you have an advantage.
I’ll make sure to read a couple chapters of a book every day. I like to consume information because you never know when that information is going to help you.
I also make a minimum of 25 calls a day to past and current clients.
Q: What would you tell your younger self?
The first thing would be to get a bigger network. The second thing would be to slow down. I think I should’ve hired an assistant before hiring buyer’s agents, so I would’ve been more prepared to grow.
- Call 25 of your past clients and have conversations with them. Use a second follow-up call to offer them something of value. Watch as these phone calls bring you more business.
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