Steve Titcombe has been a firefighter paramedic for Michigan’s third-largest city for 21 years, and he normally works more than 60 hours a week in that role. He’s also been a licensed Realtor for 26 years — and an associate broker for the past 15 of them. He works at Xpress Realty in Michigan and serves the Detroit metro-area suburbs.
Titcombe took a five-year break from real estate in 2009 and returned to the industry in April 2014. He was starting over completely from scratch as an independent, and he didn’t even have signs or business cards, much less a marketing plan.
Feeling lost with all the change in the marketplace, Titcombe became a listener of Real Estate Coaching Radio, and it inspired him to seek out a coach to help him get organized and back on track in real estate.
His plan worked: Less than one year after getting back into real estate, he’s on track to have over 29 sides closed and just under $8 million in volume before the end of April 2015. He has no staff, no assistants and still works 60-plus hours a week at the fire station.
In today’s interview, Titcombe joins us to discuss balancing his successful real estate career with a full-time career in emergency services, and how real estate coaching has helped him dramatically increase his production and closings while still working full time in the fire department. You can listen to the complete audio interview and read interview highlights from it below.
Steve Titcombe from Xpress Realty:
How do you prioritize your time?
“I really only focus on the three important things — prospecting, setting appointments and closing,” Titcombe says. “When I say closing, I mean the that I focus on the properly priced listings, and then the buyers who have proven themselves worthy of my time and commitment to them. That happens when they’re qualified, and they’ve signed a buyer agency agreement, and they’re ready to go.”
“I’ve narrowed down my prospecting to the specific, most logical way to get the best results, which is my circle of influence, my expireds and FSBOs, and then by providing fast and furious lead follow-up from all my sign calls.”
Titcombe credits his ability to juggle a full-time career with his real estate business to working the steps in his real estate coaching program. He started by developing a business plan, and he uses a spreadsheet to track his performance on the various dollar-productive activities he takes on through the day.
“I went through the Real Estate Treasure Map, created my business plan, and that forced me to determine what I really wanted to achieve. Without doing that, you’re still going to flounder, you’re still going to make excuses, and you’re still going to find other things to take up your time.”
“Once I had that plan in place, then I went through it and focused on the things that I had access to right now that could give me an immediate return on my investment of time spent and produced the greatest results for my business.”
So what single thing does produce the greatest results for your business?
“That would have to be expired listings,” Titcombe says. “It’s a no-brainer. It’s the one major income-generating spoke that you can do anywhere in the country, at any given time, and your target has completely identified itself for you.”
Were you afraid of prospecting expired listings at first?
“Oh, absolutely — especially when I was just getting back into the business. You know, I was in the REO mindset, where stuff was always thrown at you — and you were more of an administrator than a salesperson. Getting back into it, all of a sudden I felt like, ‘Oh, I gotta be perfect. I gotta have this down. I gotta have that down. It’s gotta be perfect.’
“Quite honestly, what I finally did was download your prospecting script, took it down almost verbatim, read it out loud a few times to practice it, and then I made it my own and started using it. That helped me overcome my fear of rejection.
“It was kind of like my first day firefighting … the very first house fire that I was going into was kinda scary — especially when you see flames blowing out the window and actually rolling over your head in the front door when you go in.
“Trust me, expireds aren’t that scary. Especially when you’ve got somebody who’s taken the fear out by putting together a proven system that works for so many others. You’re not going to get hurt. Trust me when I say that.”
Having balance in life: admirable goal or myth?
“I would say that it’s an admirable, achievable goal in my opinion,” Titcombe says. “If you start out with your business plan, and then you enhance your morning by adding in the ‘Miracle Morning’ routine or something similar, then you’ll discover what your driving purpose is for the day versus a to-do list. You discover a ‘why’ that goes deeper than just a dollar value — and that’s going to carry you into action every day.
“So what I do is once I’ve gotten all the important income-generating activities done and completed for the day, then I enjoy my family, my hobbies, my friends — and then before I shut down for the night, I take care of the after-hour activities so that I can start in the morning with a clean slate. For me, that creates some peace and balance.”
Knowing what you know now, what would you have told the “you” of 10 years ago to do?
“Oh, that’s easy — I would research and align myself with a proven mentor and coach. Not just one who’s the ‘senior man in the office’ with 20 years of success from just winging it. I’ve been around those people, in different franchises as well, and that knowledge never really transfers.”
What was the definitive moment when you said to yourself, “It’s time to hire a coach”?
“With enough years of just ‘plodding along,’ and going against the grain half the time, I realized that I still was not achieving the success that I was looking for,” Titcombe says. “I just didn’t have any balance, and I didn’t have any free time. On the years where I made great money, I didn’t even know who my family was at the time because I was so busy.
“Now, there’s so much more control — I’ve got a piece for my income, the time I spend with my family, the time I can dedicate to keeping myself healthy and fit, and I’ve got a balance. That was the biggest thing — I didn’t want to go backwards this time.
“I have a 19-year-old son who’s getting into real estate now, and I didn’t want him to go through what I went through. So I wanted a sure-fire thing that exceeded anything I’d done before. I needed the most successful mentor that I could find to get the greatest return on my investment.”
Tim and Julie Harris have over 20 years’ experience in real estate. Learn more about their real estate coaching and training programs at timandjulieharris.com, or tune in to Real Estate Coaching Radio every weekday at realestatecoachingradio.com.