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Don't walk away with nothing with Bob Watson

With Bob Watson, Berkshire Hathawy Home Services. 

Bob Watson thinks big. A thought leader and international speaker in global sales Bob Watson travels all over the world with one message. He really wants agents to really value the worth in the relationships they cultivate every day. Currently working with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services which has operations in 25 states and over 22,000 sales associates he says, "People buy people before they buy products and services".

As the market becomes more global – deep connections forged between people are more important than ever. Economics and global geo politics don’t change that truth. Whether or not the economy is up or down, it still all comes down at the end of the day to relationships. Bob says, “Are mortgage rates going to go up? Yeah, mortgage rates I think should go up a little bit. Will that affect our business? Yes, it'll affect our business. But, when I started in the real estate business, mortgage rates were 15%. So, even if they went up 2% to 6.5% right now, or 5.5%, it's still a lot less, and we were selling the same number of properties back then when they were 15%. It was just a little bit difficult, we had to come up with some creative options to get the houses sold, but we sold the houses”.

Focus on the end game

He doesn’t want agents to walk away from a lifetime in the business with nothing. He says, “I always look at it as what's the end game? In Orange County, California we've got over 37,000 real estate agents. That's small geography but really only 150 of those 37000 are making, what I consider, a living. I think, what is the end game in real estate? And that is, get your real estate licence and make as much money as you can. And then, when you're ready to retire, have something like a pension set up. And, what is a pension? I mean, in the United States, pensions are a thing of the past. You have to save your money, put it in a 401k or a retirement account. So, when you stop working you can actually have some income to live off of”.

He continues, “I tell new agents to always put 100 dollars a month into your retirement account. But, also, put each one of your buyer clients and seller clients, into a database. So, I liken the database as your 401k or your retirement account for real estate agents. Because, at the end of your career, when you're finished selling real estate, you're going to walk away from that business. And, if you don't have a database that you can sell to the next generation of a real estate agent, then you're going to walk away from that with no income coming in off the people that you've had relationships with for the last 15-20 years”.

Looking at the long game and seeing value in the relationships cultivated over decades he says, “I've been in the business for 29 years. I didn't start my database until 22 years ago. So, seven years into it. And, I started adding all my clients details into an Excel spread sheet with their name, the property address, the husband or wife or significant other's name, the children's name, and then I integrated that all into a real estate database”.

He actively maintains contact with the 1256 people in that database. He says, “Although I am not currently selling, I do refer out those people. Because, my clients, my past clients, call me up and say, "You know what? We're getting ready to sell, we want somebody that's just like you, the way you handled us. Could you put us in touch with somebody?" And I'll receive a referral fee back on that. Now, when I decide to leave the real estate business, I'll hire somebody who's about two or three years into the business, partner up with them, and they will become my exclusive referral partner. And then, I will hand that database over to them over a certain period of time. And, I will still collect a referral fee for another five years, but I won't have to do anything. I call that building a scalable and sellable business. And, you can start that when you're starting out in the real estate business, because if you don't, you're going to walk away with nothing”.

Given the value and trust that is placed on relationships by punters he urges newer agents, to stop focusing on words like commission, transactions and numbers. He says, "I would say to everybody getting into the business, and I do say, focus on the relationship because that will drive more transactions than focusing on the transaction. Agents that focus on the transaction probably don't have a database set up, and whether you're working with a seller or a buyer, those sellers are eventually going to move somewhere else. And whether it's, in my case, from Washington D.C. where I started my career, or Los Angeles. I'm staying in touch with those sellers. And, they're moving within Washington D.C., but they're calling me in Los Angeles for the referral".

Bob has a friend, an insurance man who is 82. He says, "I know an insurance guy who has retired, and he calls his cheques that come in from those policies, mailbox money. I always think of it as, where's my mailbox money going to be when I'm 75? I want to have that mailbox money coming in every month. In the real estate business, as long as you can get out and about and you know the area, you're in it until you're in it”.


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