Welcome to “Letters from,” a column that examines the intimate thoughts of members of the real estate industry.
Learning from our mistakes creates a more powerful version of ourselves moving forward.
Name: Russ Fitzpatrick
Role: Founder of Associate Worx productivity platform
Years in business: 29
1. Why did you get into this business?
Honestly, I graduated high school and enrolled in university. My sales and marketing professor gave me an “F” for a correct answer that he acknowledged as correct but did not like as it related to the author’s opinion.
I promptly quit my academic pursuits and bummed around Fort Lauderdale beach for the entire spring break season. I had the good fortune of meeting a 26-year-old Realtor in my market that was tremendously successful, and he encouraged me to get my real estate license.
I went to work for a broker who was committed to teaching, training and coaching his agents, and that made all the difference. I achieved my GRI Designation at 19 years old and became a Floyd Wickman sweathog the same year.
I was most fortunate to be taught how to sell and to focus my energy on listing inventory at a very early age, and that remains the most important ingredient in our journey.
2. What is the biggest challenge you face right now in your business?
Real estate agent competency. The laziness and apathy of Realtors across the United States is paralyzing the industry.
Stephan Swanepol, recently engaged by National Association of Realtors (NAR), reported that the lower 85th percentile of agents in the industry are terribly under-trained, under-achieving and ultimately harming the entire profession of residential real estate sales and brokerage.
It is my single-minded focus to eradicate associate-level incompetency by providing the important specialized knowledge free from any charges, fees, contracts or obligations.
3. What do you know now that you wish you had known when you first started the business?
I wish I knew that I should have saved 20 percent of every dollar that I earn when I was first starting out. This business ebbs and flows for even the most talented professionals, and it is our personal responsibility to protect ourselves and our families against the inevitable lean times.
4. Who has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
Without a doubt Floyd Wickman. His programs don’t just sell you on more programs — they sell you on selling as a profession. He is my idol!
He has made me so effective with objection-handling techniques, professional dialogue and an easy-to-understand formula that I followed every year for all of my years in real estate sales.
5. What is one thing someone could do to help you in your business?
If I had a magic wand, I think it would have to be capital! Money to upgrade and expand our platform and to contract with greater leadership and greater delivery of important messaging to Realtors.
As an example I really want to attract the highest caliber of leadership to our network but sometimes I am limited by our economic denominator. Think of us like Kahn Academy for Realtors but without Bill Gates.
6. What tool has made the biggest positive impact on your business?
Listing presentation; I mean, before you believe in your listing presentation you are just an impotent prospector. Agents who don’t understand the “organized presentation of compelling arguments” can never be effective when talking to a for sale by owner, an expired listing or even a farming prospect.
Herb Gimelstob at Gimelstob Realty Better Homes and Gardens made me use a listing presentation 30 years ago, and that gave me the confidence as a young man to prospect, present and list real estate.
7. What do you think is going to be the biggest change in real estate in the next five years?
Change is good; capitalism is the ultimate equalizer. I think there will be fewer low producers because they will find out that if they can’t list real estate in the near future — they will starve to death.
are selling our own leads back to us, and only the listing agents can avoid that ugly trap. I think 2016 and beyond will be known as the lost or die era in residential real estate.
In life and in business human resources are by far the most valuable asset.
When I was a kid, it was my goal to be the smartest person in the room, but now my goal is just to get into the rooms with smartest people. I guess it’s my ability to get, keep and grow relationships with the smartest, most talented, hardest-working people in my industry.