First Person
24
m

Conversation With Dan Smith

Dan Smith
May 15, 2018

I wanted to learn more about someone who could boldly claim something that most people run from: failure.

So I sat down with Dan Smith. The first thing I wanted to know, who is Dan Smith?

If you've ever asked Dan Smith who he is, you know he'll tell you he is an amazing Dad, he’s a pretty great husband, and he’s considered to be a pretty good real estate business consultant.

In that order.

He’s also a published author, speaker and real estate strategist. And he’ll be the first to tell you that he’s failed. A lot. In fact, he admits it right in the title of his book, Failing Greatly. And it wasn’t an easy decision to be as open about failure as he is.

“There's a lot of vulnerability there,” he shared. “But people have approached me and said, ‘Thank you for writing it with such honesty. I thought I was the only person who only went through that.’

So what how bad was this failure, you ask?

Try being two days from living in your car.

But Dan doesn’t share stories like this to get sympathy. Instead, he shares it to connect. To help others identify with him. So he can turn around and help those people.

Dan owned a real estate and mortgage company, which he sold in 2006.

“I then proceeded to have a complete meltdown in my life,” he laughed.

Building back from that proved to be a transformative experience. And that gave birth to his book.

Since 2011, Dan has been consulting. And to find his clients, he has to build relationships.

For Dan, building relationships starts with asking questions.

“It's not about your favorite three people: me, myself, and I. It's about them. It's asking questions about them [that] really opens the engagement up rather than trying to tell them how they should be or how you are or your opinion of them.”

Superficial chitchat is not Dan’s style. If he’s going to work with you, he’s going to get to know you.

“I think that's how I go about building the relationships -- really dig down,  just keep getting to another level like you're digging in archaeology,” he described. “And you get to one level of an ancient civilization? You don't just stop, satisfied that you got there. Find the civilization that was even below it.”

Maintaining those relationships is critical work to Dan. He does it by being present in multiple ways. It’s not just phone calls or just texts or just emails. It’s all of them.

“If I can mix an email with a call with a see-you-in-person on occasion, then I can start using technology. Because you know what's really cool? A video email. You know what's cooler than a text? A video text. You know what's cooler than a Facebook comment, than me just being like, 'Hey, congratulations, that's awesome.' Me doing a, 'Hey, I'm so excited for you. I just saw your post and, and man it looks, sounds like things are going great. Congratulations.' So keeping in contact with them, people are visual."

Dan has time blocked out every day to communicate with people, with his sphere of influence.

Not every close relationship leads to business. In fact, some of Dan's best friends work with someone else.

And yet when he talks with other agents who have upwards of 50 transactions, they can’t fathom why some of their friends and family don’t hire them.

Perhaps it’s privacy. A home purchase means your entire financial and personal life has to be visible. Perhaps that’s easier with someone you don’t really know. Dan even sees that with his own coaching business.

“I've got a couple of my best friends who have other people as their consultant, coach, or strategist. They don't use me, and they're literally my best friends and super successful agents, and we probably talk three times a week authentically.”

Instead of trying to transform your personal relationships into new business, Dan argues that you should be cultivating stronger, more personal relationships within your business network.

Nurturing relationships is actually more important in the tech era, than it was in the analog era.

“I learned that in order to truly be successful, you have to take a look at what everyone else is doing, and then go do something different. Because most of the people in the market aren't succeeding.”

And when Dan looks around right now, he sees agents everywhere investing more money and more time into lead gen. If you want to stand out, you need to flip the script.

Ten years ago, our phones flipped open. Mostly when we wanted to make calls.

Now, the world is at our fingertips, demanding our attention 24/7/365. For better or for worse. Sometimes both.

“It's so dynamic now, how much communication you have,” Dan said. “All these people found each other and lost loved ones and best friends from high school on Facebook, and like, all these relationships are being established.

And I think now there's this other piece that like, hey, we need to have a solid business relationship and a personal relationship. Because if you won't somebody else will. In fact, 27 people friended me today!”

After that friend request, comes the natural getting to know you phase. I wondered: how does an agent introduce their business without sounding, well, smarmy?

“So what do you do is you turn the conversation with another question. So the conversation comes up and they say, ‘So what do you do?’ You say, ‘Oh, you know, I'm in real estate. I help people buy and sell homes on a daily basis. Who do you know that's bought or sold a home in the last year?’ They're gonna know somebody!”

But what if data could inform that conversation? What if a Realtor could access information that highlights the people most likely to sell in six months? What should agents do differently?

“Everything!” Dan said. “Now prioritizing becomes a big issue. It depends on what kind of data you have, but you start with what's the most profitable.”

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