Episode 9: Secrets of Successful Niches with Dan Sullivan
Intro: Hi! This is Glenn McQueenie, and welcome to 20 Minutes of Insider Secrets of Successful Niches. This is where you learn the insider secrets to dominate your target market. You’ll learn to work with high-margin, super-happy clients, and build a tribe of loyal, raving fans for your business. So excited to have you join me today, so sit back and enjoy 20 Minutes of Insider Secrets of Successful Niches.
Glenn: Well welcome. It’s Glenn McQueenie, and thanks for listening to my Success Series podcast. I have a really special, honoured guest today, Dan Sullivan. Dan Sullivan is the founder and president of Strategic Coach. He’s been my coach for the last three years in the 10x Program, and I’ve got to tell you that it has fundamentally changed the way I run my company and my business, and it’s given me so much more freedom of time and money. And I’m just so grateful. So, hi Dan, how are you doing?
Dan: Hi Glenn, and the pleasure is equally mine, because I just sit in my recording studio here in my office, and I’m able to be introduced through you to all sorts of people that I probably wouldn’t meet otherwise. So this is just a great bonus to us, and I just really appreciate it.
Glenn: Well, thank you so much. And I appreciate you. And for those who don’t know Dan, he probably arguably has coached more entrepreneurs than anybody else in the world. He’s a visionary. He’s an innovator; a gifted conceptual thinker. He’s on a bit of a tear right now on writing books. Dan, you have a goal of doing, I think it’s 100 books? A book a quarter for the next 25 years, to do 100 books?
Dan: Yes. I’m just putting together book 8 right now, so we’ve done 8 quarters in a row, and it keeps me really alive. I have no interest in the notion of retirement. I’m in my 70s now, so I’ve got a game plan until 95, and so far, so good. It’s like the person who falls off a skyscraper and he’s on his cell phone, and somebody says, “How’s it going?” And he says, “So far, so good. Feels like flying.”
Glenn: Well, I invite the people, if they like what they hear – you can also listen to Dan. He’s got three other podcasts. One’s called “The Mindset Multiplier Podcast,” which is just fantastic and chock full of information. He’s doing another podcast with Peter Diamandis called “Exponential Wisdom,” and that podcast is at abundance360summit.com. And I think that’s really one of the most exciting, future, forward-thinking entrepreneur business podcasts on the planet right now. And he also does a great “10x Talk” with Joe Polish, and you can listen to that at 10xtalk.com. So let’s get started, Dan. And I just have to tell you that the reason I wrote my book, The McQueenie Method, is really because of you. And it’s because we were sitting in a class one day, and you were teaching the commodity trap that most businesses find themselves in right now. You were saying the only people who can do commodities really well would be like a Costco or a Walmart, and most businesses can’t compete on that scale. And what I’ve learned with my 28 years in real estate experience is that most realtors right now are caught in the biggest commodity trap of their life. I’ll just give you some real quick statistics from an article that I wrote based on the Toronto Real Estate Board right now. So according to the Toronto Real Estate Board, during the last 12 months, 62% of the individual active agents sold 6 homes or fewer. And that number has increased now to 78% just during the past six months. And if you look at it, that’s 6 deals at an average commission of $11,000, which equals about $66,000 in gross commission. That’s what they would make, and then they would pay their office splits and their expenses, and they’re left with maybe $30,000-$40,000 before taxes, which is about the equivalent of a very low-paid white-collar job.
Dan: Yeah, and they’re living in Toronto. With Vancouver, the most expensive city in Canada, I got on this about 20 years ago (the commodity). Quite frankly, a lot of it’s just what the impact of technological systems are doing – how much consumers can know that brokers and agents used to get paid for. It was data and information and knowledge, and a lot of this is provided for free, and consumers can bypass the agent and they can bypass the broker and get the information. So it becomes harder to differentiate yourself in such a way that people would be willing to pay the fee (the normal real estate commission). They’re just reluctant to do that, because they said, “Well, look. I found out all the information myself.” And industry after industry – it’s not unique to the real estate industry.
Glenn: And I’ve found that we’ve probably given up maybe 70 yards. We probably still control the last 30 yards, because it’s just such an expensive product that people will still pay a fee for the security of knowing that you’re going to handle the part of the sale. But the big challenge for agents right now is, “How do I create value in a marketplace where everyone is saying the same thing and doing the same thing?” I’m just wondering if you can take me through your thoughts on how you would be coaching not only a real estate agent, but any entrepreneur, on how to get out of the commodity trap by creating some type of technology or unique process or unique system that makes them different so they can charge more?
Dan: Yeah. Well I would say that all the unique solutions to commodity really lie in the relationship that you have with the individual consumer, and the networks of consumers. So in other words, you have to go deeper into what goes on in the mind of someone who is going to be, over a lifetime, maybe a two or three-home buyer, or maybe a four-home buyer, depending on when you catch them. And it isn’t so much about real estate, you see. This isn’t the issue. First of all, for most people, it’s the biggest investment that they make in their life. It’s the biggest outlay of cash that they will make in their life. And it’s also (if done properly), their biggest asset from a wealth standpoint. People use paid-up houses as a bank. They almost have their own personal bank, because of what you can borrow against the paid-up value of a house. But I think the big thing has to do – and Glenn, you’re the example for me, and even before I got to know you really well, (which I’ve had the pleasure of doing over the last three years) – I could tell you’re deeply interested in people. It just happens that real estate is the industry where you have expressed yourself and everything else. But you have basic qualities that would have worked in any industry. It all has to do with what interests you that you’ve ended up in the industry you are, but you have basic qualities. I could tell right off the bat that you’re deeply interested in people. You’re deeply interested in why people think the way they do about things – and not just about the product you’re selling, but just about their lives and how they’re planning their lives out. And I’m a strategic coach, but something that I’ve said to virtually every client I’ve had since ’74, (I started this business in ’74, so going on 43 years,) and I said, “I’m the model of what everybody has to be in the future.” And that is that when you’re thinking about the problems that people as consumers have in the marketplace, the problem isn’t actually really about real estate. Real estate is a way of implementing a solution, but it’s not really the problem. The problem is people don’t even know how to think about buying a house and don’t even know how to think about selling a house. A really good real estate advisor – I won’t call them an agent, I’ll call them an advisor – a really great advisor understands the problem that people face in thinking about their real estate future, or thinking about their home future. They understand exactly how this lack of clarity connects to all the different parts of their life: “How does it relate to our income? How does it relate to our savings? How does it relate to our family? How does it relate to schools and everything else?” So, real estate, because it’s such a big investment, and it has to be thought through so clearly, actually connects with almost every other human issue that people have in their active, income-earning days and in their family-growing days and everything else. And the solution to escaping from commoditization really lies in the advisor becoming very, very knowledgeable about all those other connections in life. They can actually talk in terms of the issues that people are experiencing when it’s coming to actually looking at real estate.
Glenn: One of my favourite books that you did was “The Dan Sullivan Question,” and I think what you did in that book so clearly, (and I’d recommend everyone to go get it), is you used a thing called The D.O.S. Conversation to enhance your sales – but more importantly, your rapport with the prospect. And instead of you telling and selling, it’s more about: just ask the great questions, and they’ll tell you everything you need to know.
Dan: Well, it’s just an insight. I’ve got a number one principle, (and I don’t express this in the book, but it’s just one I use for myself), that when I meet anyone new, I always remind myself that I’m Number 21. And people say, “Well what’s Number 21?” And I say, “Number 21 is the number that comes after the 20 most important things in their life that they’re thinking about 99% of the time.” So I said, “Right off the bat, I know I’m Number 21. And they never really think too further than 10, so this can’t be about me.” It isn’t about me; it’s about them. So if I’m going to be useful to them, I’ve got to be useful to those other 20 things above me, especially the top two or three. I’m a fifth child in a family, and it might have been six months into life that I knew that I was Number 5, and all the usable space was already taken up by the first four. So right from my birth, I had to differentiate myself, because all the conventional stuff was already taken up by other people, and I just learned how to find niches. And that’s a big word with you, Glenn, and I know we’ll talk about that. And that’s actually part of the way that you escape from commoditization, is: don’t compete in the general market the way that everybody else competes. Part of being commoditized is you’ve just decided to go into business in competition with 600 people, the vast majority of whom have more connections, more knowledge, and more tricks than you do. And I said, “It’s an uneven fight. I mean, you’re taking a knife to a gunfight if you try to do that.” So what I try to do is niche it, and one of the ways you niche it is through specific clients who will let you in on their networks. But they only let you in on their networks if you’re someone who’s actually interested in them and their whole life – not just their life for the duration of the sale. The reason why agents get commoditized is because they actually commoditize their clients.
Glenn: So true.
Dan: Yeah. I mean, they look at another human being and all they see is a commission. Well guess what? If that’s the image that you give to the client, they’re going to do the same thing to you. They’re going to reciprocate by commoditizing you. So the more I can show interest in all parts of their life, the more they differentiate me from anybody else who might be selling real estate.
Glenn: I’ve always said to our agents, “This is about counting relationships, not about counting deals.” And if you just see somebody as a deal or a commission, or “I need to do four deals this month,” you’ve already lost most of the game. Sales only are the end result of having really great relationships with people. And I also often find that they’re the gatekeeper to the other, as you said earlier, 200-400 people in their world. If you treat them well enough, they’ll open the gate and let you come into their world.
Glenn: But if you treat them just as a commodity, and just a deal, then you’ve already lost the game.
Dan: Yeah. I had an experience last weekend. I went into a men’s shop. I only go into a men’s shop if I know why I’m going into a men’s shop. I don’t go into a men’s shop to figure out why I’m there. So it’s a two-story, and I came to the bottom of the escalator. (I don’t know why they always put the men in the basement, but they did. Women are upstairs; men are in the basement. I guess there’s symbolism in that). But anyway, I get to the bottom of the escalator and I can see the salesperson waiting for me. So I get to the bottom, and I could see by his eyes that he was seeing his Christmas bonus coming down the escalator. And I got to the bottom of the escalator and I said, “Look. I know why I’m here. I even know where it is that I’m going to look for it. There’s nothing that you can do to help me. Get this? And if you’re anywhere near me when I make up my mind, you’ll probably get the sale.” I was looking for sweaters and I knew where they were, and I went and got my three sweaters. And he says, “Now, is there anything else I can interest you in?” And I said, “No, you can’t. I told you that when I came down the escalator.” And I said, “But see how easy the sale was? You just left me alone until I was finished.” I know Harry Rosen personally and I actually worked with him closely for about 10 years. And if you want to see a totally different approach to selling of clothing, you have a scarf or something, and he’d come up, and he wouldn’t even introduce himself, and he says, “Look at the colour here. Look how it does it,” and he’d spend about five minutes just talking to you about the colours and the dyes. He says, “I’ve been to Italy, where they make these.” And he said, “It’s just amazing, and the craft goes back 400 or 500 years, so you’re almost looking at a painting in an art gallery here.” And he says, “It’s just amazing, some of the craft that goes into these.” He says, “Here. Just put this around your neck and come over to the mirror, here.” And he says, “Look. Look how this is.” And he says, “Here, I’ll just get this overcoat.” And after about a half hour, the tab’s up over $4000 or $5000, and you’re so appreciative that you’ve had this experience for a half hour. He did it to me one day, and I said, “I feel really disgusted with myself that I’m enjoying this.”
Glenn: What advice would you give to agents about using the D.O.S., (the dangers/ opportunities strategies) to create a unique process?
Dan: So, this is a way that I would set up an insurance sale where you have a prospect. It would also be a prospect either selling the house, or in the market to buy a house. Let’s say it’s someone looking for a house and they want to buy the house, and it’s actually three months after you’ve moved into your house. I would say, “I want you to tell me what that experience looks like to be in the new house. It’s been a beautiful experience, and it’s done everything for you that you wanted it to do, and I would just like you to tell me what that actually looks like to you, so I get a picture of what this house is actually going to do to the rest of your life.” So first of all, I get them to describe their future, (and this isn’t about the actual house – it’s about what the new house is doing for them in their life to all those things that I talked about before, which would be their family, maybe it relates to their job, maybe it relates to a lot of different things). But fill it in, because they don’t see the world the way you see the world. They don’t think in terms of houses; they think in terms of their life, and what the necessary house is to support the life that they’re living there. And then once they’ve done that, I said, “Okay, now what I want you to do is tell me all the dangers you have right now that could prevent you from having that experience, and then all the things that would show up in objections – things that would delay their decision-making. And everything shows up in the form of dangers. And then I would say, “What are the opportunities a new house will actually give you?” And I do three dangers, three opportunities. And then I say, “What strengths do you have right now that you’re bringing to actually doing this?” Obviously, income is one of them (their ability to put in the down payment, their ability to handle the mortgage). And of course, they may have an existing property that needs to be sold, because that’s going to be a major part of the asset. And usually, people are leveraging upwards, and they’re using their existing house to leverage a bigger, better location house. And you have this discussion, and then what I always do is reflect this back in a letter: “So great that you gave me time where I could really understand how you’re looking at your future.” And then I would just reflect back in the letter what they told me about the five or six things that the experience is going to be in the future, and then the dangers that could prevent this, the opportunities that it’s going to give to them, and then the strengths that they bear. And one of the things I’ve noticed, Glenn, is that when people are really engaged and answering questions, they don’t actually remember the answers that they give. So when you reflect the actual answers, (and you can use their actual words), they don’t recognize it as something that they said; they recognize it as your deep insight into their life. We live in a world where people just don’t care about us. So all of a sudden I’ve got this real estate advisor, for God’s sake! A real estate agent who’s like a psychiatrist! I mean, I’ve never had anyone understand me so thoroughly, and he’s a real estate agent! And that’s how you differentiate yourself, because people don’t get listened to in every area of their life. Their brothers and sisters don’t listen to them. Their parents don’t listen to them. Because everybody’s busy. Nobody’s got time to listen. And this person gives me a half hour and then feeds me back a letter. Right off the bat, you’ve just differentiated yourself from every other person in the marketplace. You’re not commoditized anymore. And they will tell 20 other people about you. They said, “I just had the most unusual experience with a real estate agent.” But not only that. They didn’t have that clarity about their future before you talked to them. You’ve actually become a coach to them. That’s why I said, in the future (I was saying this back in the 1980s), in the 21st century, I’m the role model for who you have to be. I don’t care what profession you’re in – you have to be a strategic coach. You have to help other people get clarity about their futures.
Glenn: Yeah. Well, I mean, first of all, that’s just fantastic insight. But there’s nothing more powerful than when someone feels that they’ve been deeply listened to and understood. And when you’re talking, and the agent’s taking notes furiously, they’re not trying to talk over you or question you or belittle you or anything – they’re just listening deeply. And then when they can send it back in such a fantastic email that just says, “This is what I heard you say. This is what’s really important to you,” you’ve already got the winning formula, because no one else is doing this, right?
Dan: Oh yeah. Yeah. But I have to tell you, you can’t fake this. In other words, if you don’t actually enjoy this activity, first of all you won’t stay with it, because if you really are someone who only thinks about the commission, you’re seeing all this as wasted time. The one thing that you absolutely cannot do while you’re having this conversation with them is look at your cell phone or answer a pager or anything like that. So you’ve got to cut off from the rest of the world while you’re with this one person. And the more technologized our world becomes, the more things become impersonal because of technology, and the more value there is on total concentration, total listening, total understanding of another person’s situation. The value of that just keeps going up in the world, because it’s rare. The things that are most valued are the things that are most rare, and that kind of interchange in today’s commoditized world, is just very, very rare. It’s seen as a waste of time. You’re not being efficient. You could have had four or five email discussions in the time that you took, wasting, sitting down with that person. But you’re just creating the basis of a lifetime relationship that might lead you to another 25 or 30 other people, just because of the way you spent that first half hour.
Glenn: Yeah. You know, I’ve had a recent experience, Dan. I was interviewing a financial planner, and I’d called him ahead of time and said, “Listen. It’s a tight schedule. We only have about 45 minutes to meet, but here’s what a successful meeting is going to be for me. And I just laid out, here are the five things I’d like to talk about.” I met with the person, and at about the 30-minute mark, he hadn’t addressed any of those five issues, because that’s all I wanted to talk about. He was talking about himself and what he does, and I remember just stopping the meeting and going, “You know what? I don’t think we’re a match right now, because I gave you the tip off. I said, ‘Here are the five things I want to talk about.’” And I think whenever people really feel deeply listened to, they feel deeply respected. You’ve respected their time, their thinking, and it’s just a beautiful thing.
Dan: Yeah. And the other thing is that you’re giving enormous value without asking to get paid for it. You’re certainly not getting paid in dollars, which is what commoditization is all about: if it can’t be measured in dollars, it’s not worth anything. But it has enormous value. It’s funny. Your mention of the financial advisor is like my Number 21. I’ve got another rule: any new person I meet, certainly in a professional standpoint, I say, “Remember, this person was hoping to get through their entire lifetime without meeting you.” We’re approaching New Year’s here, and somebody that’s a home owner says, “You know what I’ve not been doing? I’ve just not been spending more time with real estate agents. Next year I should meet 10 new real estate agents and really get to know them.” I said, “Who does that? Who’s got that as their New Year’s resolution?” It’s like financial advisors or bankers – if I get through the entire next year without meeting any of them, I count that as a bonus year.
Glenn: Best year ever.
Dan: Yeah. So this is either a complicated subject for the people listening to us, sitting there saying, “I don’t know what this has to do with selling houses” or it’s a really simple conversation, that selling houses is just the by-product of something that happens before that. We’ve all got to get paid some way, and we’ve all got to pick some way in the marketplace to do it. That’s just a reality. But if you do a lot of other things well first, you don’t really have to worry about the commissions and the money.
Glenn: Yeah. It’s like you’re just lining up your dominoes, really. And I love when you said at one of our coaching sessions, that entrepreneurs – and I’m going to say agents in this same rep – have no right to expect anything until they create value first in the marketplace.
Dan: Yeah. I was born in the 1940s, so when I got into the marketplace in the 1960s, it was still very much of a corporate world. I grew up in the States, but Canada wasn’t any different. Basically, society was run by big corporations, big government, and big unions. This was the three-legged stool of all societies, and for an individual to go out and create a business of their own was very difficult. There wasn’t any capital for it. A smart person who had a certain amount of courage and self-confidence, and had an ability to sell, (selling is just a marvellous ability to have) – there was only a few ways you could go. Real estate was one, and basically life insurance was another. So if you look back in the 1960s and ‘70s of who the giants were, in any industry, they are found in the ‘60s and ‘70s, because those industries really pulled in a lot of talent, because that was the only way, without capital, you could actually create your own business. I think it’s still true today, but there’s a lot of other industries now that you can create with no capital, just with smarts. And technology has brought down the cost of starting a business, and can perform so many business functions. A really good computer with a really good set of software programs can replace three or four hires that you had to have in any industry in the 1960s or 1970s. So, Glenn, you can tell the difference between really great agents and those who are just going to be commoditized agents. First and foremost, they don’t see themselves as agents; they see themselves as entrepreneurs.
Glenn: 100%. And I think there’s a big movement right now to building really big entrepreneurial real estate teams, because the public just expects to be served at a fairly quick speed. There are Millennials, that if they text you and you don’t reply in a couple of minutes, they’re mad at you. You’ve really deeply offended them. So, in one of your other recent books, called “The Mindset Scorecard,” you talked about how you should be in the mindset-attracting business. And that is, “What are the optimum mindsets of the people for what you have to offer?” Can you just talk a little bit about that, Dan?
Dan: Yeah. I’ll give a little demonstration first of all, so that everybody listening can do this for themselves while I’m describing this. But we have a little exercise in Coach, and you did it at some point in the program, Glenn, where we just say best/worst experience. On one side you just write down the three best customers that you’ve ever had, and on the right hand side, you just write down the three worst ones you ever had. I’m not really interested in the worst ones, except to see the contrast, because when you write down these names and visualize them, you can feel the huge emotional separation between what it’s like to be with one of your best customers, and what it’s like to be in the presence of a worst customer. That’s why I put the three bad ones down, is just to get the sense of the contrast of how special the good ones are. But then I have an exercise where you identify eight mindsets that make your best customers the best customers. And then you say, “I’ve got three of them, but one of them is Number One, one of them is Number Two, and one of them is Number Three.” And you take the first one, and you say, “Well, what is it about this person that made them such a great customer? And what were the mindsets?” In other words, “How did they think about things that made them so easy to deal with and so enjoyable to work with?” And you will do two or three things right away, and then you say, “Okay, let’s move to Number Two,” and you pick up another couple of things, and then you go to Number Three and you’ll pick up another couple things, and then it will be very easy. Just by going back over it, you’ll pick up the final one. Let’s say you have eight. I don’t know why it is, but eight works better than 10 – 10 seems too many, and five or six doesn’t seem enough. So I found eight was really good. And then you write down these mindsets. And then what you do is you say, “How do I grade out personally against the eight mindsets?” And let’s say I have a scoring system that ends in 12, but on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 is you don’t have these mindsets at all, and 12 is you’re 100% in this mindset – grade yourself. And people will go around, and I can see them sort of chuckle when they go around, because the person they’ve described with the 8 Mindsets is actually them. So I said, “So here’s the rule for the future: Who you’re actually looking for is you.” And that is really, really interesting. And I said, “I don’t mean they have to have your personality. They don’t necessarily have your interests. But how they approach life and how they approach others is very, very congruent with how you do it. And so there’s no friction in the relationship right from the beginning. They appreciate the same kind of qualities in another person as you do.” And the one thing is that once they’ve found someone like this, they want to keep them forever, because the vast majority of people that they meet every day don’t have these qualities. So it doesn’t matter where you find it. You can find it in your local grocer. You can find it anywhere. But they just have a way of looking at life that’s very congruent with the way you look at life. And if you can build networks and circles and circles of relationships where everybody has these qualities, it’s a fantastic world that you live in, and things happen easily. The word goes around what a great person you are, so you have tremendous credibility in this network. And that is the ultimate way that you completely de-commoditize yourself in the marketplace. Stop working with people you don’t like. Stop working with people who fundamentally don’t like you. It takes a certain amount of courage. I mean, Glenn, I can see people sort of gasping when I say this. But I said, “If you look at the end of a year (any year), and you’re looking back,” which a lot of people can do right about this time, and say, “What were the most enjoyable things that happened to me during the year, and what were the most unhappy things that happened during the year?” I can absolutely predict backwards that your most enjoyable, most rewarding, most meaningful portions of the year is where you were in friendly mindset circumstances, and the worst ones were where there were mindsets that were not supportive of your mindset at all. So I said, “You know something about the past that you can apply to the future. The only parts about your next year that are really going to be fulfilling and really rewarding and meaningful is where you have lined up the mindsets properly with the people you’re dealing with. So blueprint the year for more and more happiness and more and more success, and more and more meaning.” And that’s what I call The Mindset Approach to it. And it’s nothing about a product. It’s nothing about anything. It’s just like radio stations. You’re picking up a radio station, and most people are static. And every once in a while, you come across someone who’s a clear station. Just listen to the clear station. Don’t try to listen to the static.
Glenn: Dan, I love what you just said there, because I think our current friendships and our best friends right now are really people of similar mindset. And I think a lot of us are not hanging out with the same friends we used to, just because their mindsets or our mindsets, they were just veering off on separate paths, and we just didn’t have that much in common. We didn’t have the same set of beliefs, goals, and values. And what I love about this whole platform of attracting similar mindsets is that what you’re really looking for is just you. Great clients will refer great people, and terrible clients will refer terrible people. It’s been my experience.
Dan: Yeah. And really great clients will refer great people, and absolutely do not want any reward for it. They’re doing it because they’re a great person, and they want to demonstrate that they’re a great person. That’s their reward. They get to demonstrate that they’re a great person to someone else who’s a great person. That’s the reward. So again, we’ve de-commoditized it. I do lots of things for people where I give my best services, and I said, “Now, you’ve got to understand that you own this 100%. You get to keep all the money, but I just think that what you do is so great I just want to send a lot of people to you because I think that they will benefit from you.” My reward for doing that is actually doing it. I get to do this, and I get to demonstrate something about myself.
Glenn: And you’re adding value to your friends. You’re like, “Oh, I know the perfect person who can solve that problem.” And there’s no money attachment to it. It’s like, “I just want the best person for you, because I want to help you.”
Dan: I used to have this phrase for people who saw everything in money, and I said, “It’s really interesting. They know the price of everything, and they know the value of nothing.”
Glenn: So true.
Glenn: So what would you say to someone listening right now to this podcast? What would you say to these aspiring agents, about creating their own niche market or mindset niche market or unique process? What’s the best piece of advice – the first step that you would take?
Dan: I would say that if we just go along with what we’ve covered so far in the industry, the vast majority of people you’re in the marketplace with, you are in competition with, because people have an attention span, and if somebody’s paying attention to someone else, they’re not paying attention to you. And what you’re selling is not an everyday event. House sales happen every day, but for a person who actually owns a house, it might happen three or four times in a lifetime. So the whole thing is that you have no control over when people decide to actually sell something or buy something. You have no control over that whatsoever. I mean, Dean Jackson’s got a really wonderful system, and I know you had Dean on as a guest. And I think Dean is brilliant, because he’s taken all the real estate in the world, and he’s selling it again. I said, “Dean, you are the laziest human being on the planet.” I always said that to Dean. I said, “You’re the laziest person in the world. You just looked at the map of all the most desirable residential real estate on the planet and you just put ownership on it and you’re selling it back to people.” Only one agent gets the beaches to do Dean’s system in. “You own the beaches. All you have to do is pay me every year for the beaches.” He doesn’t even care if you use his system as long as you pay him for his system. I mean, he’s an enormously clever and wonderful person. And actually, I have another podcast series. I should tell your listeners. It’s called “The Joy of Procrastination,” because both Dean and I are huge procrastinators, and we love it. So we wanted to share our love of procrastination. So we’ve got five of them up right now. So you just go into Google and put in “The Joy of Procrastination.” But the thing about what Dean really sells is that you can know that a person is going to have three or four transactions in their lifetime, but you will not know when they’re going to happen unless you’ve established a very deep relationship with them so that you’re the first person they would call. And then you have 50-100 people like this. I mean, the averages you gave to me at the beginning of the call here are really eerie. This is like the death rattle of an industry, when you think about it. This is like Scotty in the engine room of Star Trek saying, “She’s dead, Jim.”
Glenn: Well, I think a lot of agents are going to be dead.
Dan: Yeah, and the reason is that they’re not understanding that all industries are about people. They’re not about the stuff they’re selling; they’re just about people. And the knowledge they need is people knowledge. I mean, a certain amount of industry knowledge is necessary, and product knowledge. So I would say that that’s the first thing to establish your niche, is right off the bat, you have a perspective on your industry which is probably different from 99% of the other people in your industry. And then the other thing is that you have a way of engaging with people, which I described with the book, “The Dan Sullivan Question,” which people can get online, or they can just phone in. It’s just strategiccoach.com – Knowledge Products. And they can buy that book. It’s a short book. You can read it in about an hour, and it’s a method. So you learn something between people, and you establish these relationships where you are positioning yourself as one of the best listeners and most insightful people they’ve ever met in any area of their life. And then, I would say the third thing was just the scorecard that we talked about, that you then clearly identify only the people that you would like to work with in terms of their mindset. So your perspective on the industry, having a deep knowledge about every person you meet, and only working with people you really love. And if you’ve got those first three in place, I’m telling you, you’re probably selling 40 houses a year, just by virtue of the things that you did. And then I would say that in the selling process, start looking at only the part of the selling process that you really love, and then staff up around yourself and use other capabilities. In your case, Glenn, whether they’re using your back office capabilities or whatever, not only are they only dealing with people that they love, they’re only doing the part of the actual business process that they love. And that’s a niche you keep for life. If you have those four things going, you’re going to get paid more every year, because every year, another 10-20% of your competition is going to disappear because they’ve fallen off the commodity cliff.
Glenn: That’s so true, Dan, and I think what you just said is perfect. There are your four steps to survival in the commoditization world.
Dan: Well, and thriving, too. You don’t just survive; you thrive. I mean, so many industries are becoming binary – the binary code, which underlies the microchip. You’re either 0 or you’re 100. So in every industry, you have people who can’t survive, and people who are thriving amazingly. So we have these huge separations, this polarization. I see it in the financial industry. I see it in the medical industry. I see it in every industry, and maybe it’s just a reflection that we’re not living in an industrial world anymore – we’re living in a digital network world.
Glenn: For sure. Well if I can just add to what you’re saying there, Dan, what I’m stressing in my book, too – and I think you’ve summarized a lot of the key points – is just be you. Just bring you. Stop trying to be someone else. Everyone else is taken. Just bring your natural strengths to the niche market that you really want to serve. And it could be single women building wealth. It could be people buying their first investment property. It could be someone getting divorced who needs a patient hand. It could be a senior deciding to downsize. And they all have separate mindsets, needs, and responsibilities. And I think if the agent can just say, “Okay, what am I really good at? Who do I want to be a hero to?” and serve them with the integrity of those four steps that you talked about, I think it’s the winning formula for great real estate success.
Dan: Yeah, and the big thing is that the winners in the real estate market in the future are going to be bigger winners than we’ve ever seen in the past, first of all because the price of real estate is going up, especially in Toronto. I’ve got the number one private site surveyor in the city of Toronto. Sascha Kurzmer is my lovely guy, and I think he’s second-generation or third-generation in his business, but he’s an absolute genius. He has an algorithm that he’s put together which actually can predict land assembly. A lot of his is the big building stuff. It’s not personal houses. So he can see five years out, and he has all the contacts (the legal contacts and the political contacts), because big land assembly requires a lot of people’s approval, and it oftentimes will take 5-10 years to get a block to actually build a building. And then he does all the site surveying for it. So I said, “Just on what you know right now about Toronto and where you are, and you project out with your land assembly, if I go 20 years ahead in Toronto, what’s the population of the city?” He said, “Oh, easily 10 million” (what’s counted as the GTA and whatever they call the GTA at that time, because they keep pushing out the official city). He says, “Oh yeah. There’ll be another highway above the 407 by that time. Only New York and L.A. are larger in North America.” And I have to tell you, one thing that is not going to cost less anywhere along the way is real estate, especially as you get closer to the city centre. It gets more and more. I mean, you told me the other day, (because we live in the beaches), “Well, last year it was up 22%.” I have a home in Chicago, and it hasn’t gone up 22% in the last 10 years.
Glenn: We’re very lucky to be here.
Dan: Oh, we are! This is the sweet spot of the universe. Every Canadian needs to go to Syria for two weeks. I think every kid, when they’re 18, has to go and visit some place where they could get killed or starve to death and then come back, and then you wouldn’t hear any complaining for the rest of their life. I’m from the States, and there’s just nothing like this in the States. I’m from Cleveland, which was a city going downhill, and now it’s coming back up. But they turn out the lights at night in Cleveland. In Toronto, they don’t even build light switches in the big buildings because it uses up too much energy turning them on and off. This is just an amazing city. I’ve been here for 45 years and every single year it’s gotten better in noticeable ways. And so, it’s a wonderful place to live, but you’ve got to have your wits about you to thrive in a city like this. Such a pleasure talking to you, because when I look down the 8 Mindsets of the people I love working with, you’re a column 4 guy in all 8 Mindsets, Glenn.
Glenn: Well thank you, Dan. Thank you for your time on this. You’re a column 4 in my life, too. You’ve been so instrumental in helping so many entrepreneurs, and I think everyone listening today, if they could, would be screaming “Thank you so much!” just for the value that you’ve created and added to them. And I think you’re going to really make a big difference in a lot of lives of the people listening here, because they’ll finally get out of the trap. They’ll finally realize it. It’s been explained perfectly to them, that they’ll say, “It’s time to just build a big life, and live a big, purposed life, and leave a big legacy.” And that’s why I do what I do, and I’m just so grateful, Dan, for you and your time and everything you’ve created and everything you’ve done for me. So thank you so much!
Dan: Thank you, Glenn, and have a great holiday season.
Glenn: Great. Thanks, Dan! Bye bye.
Closing: Thank you for listening to my 20-minute podcast on Insights of Successful Niches. My goal is to give you more financial freedom by helping you take your natural strengths to a target market of people you’d love to work with. You could find out more information by downloading my book for free for a limited time. The book’s called “The McQueenie Method: Own Your Niche, Own Your Market” and you can download it at TheMcQueenieMethodbook.com. That’s TheMcQueenieMethodbook.com. Imagine what it’d be like to spend two days with me in person to help you find your niche market. I will help you take your natural strengths and unique abilities to a target market of people you’d love to work with. You’ll build a tribe of happy clients who become raving fans of your business. So, just go to TheMcQueenieMethod.com for upcoming dates. Thanks again and have a great day.