Leigh Brown took the stage for the #ICNY panel No Excuses for Stupid Behavior in Real Estate. Brown is a well- (and out-) spoken broker/owner of Re/Max Executive Realty in Charlotte, North Carolina.
- Get off your dead ass and get involved.
- Be yourself at all costs.
- The NAR is the Realtor super PAC.
NEW YORK — Broker/owner Leigh Brown promised to make some waves when she took the stage for the #ICNY panel No Excuses for Stupid Behavior in Real Estate.
She is the well- (and out-) spoken broker/owner of Re/Max Executive Realty in Charlotte, North Carolina.
Brad Inman told her she could talk about whatever she wanted to, which she said is “the best thing that can ever be said to Leigh Brown.” She wanted to know why y’all are being so hateful and inspire everyone to hustle instead of complain.
Watch the whole thing here.
Please see the entire transcript of Leigh’s talk below:
Our next presenter doesn’t want to hear any of your excuses. Y’all come on down and give a big welcome to the one and only Leigh Brown.
So before I get started I was told that y’all need to be filling out these little squares of cardboard about why you love Inman Select because they’re going to give you something for free. And if your name’s Alissa you wrote little hearts on yours trying to be cute and then of course Sherry Chris writes in all caps. So write whatever you want but they’re back there at that little table.
So this morning, Brad Inman told me I can talk about whatever I want to talk about. It’s the best thing that could ever be said to Leigh Brown. (Laugh) Because you know I’ve got some things to say this morning. And I’m going to tell y’all something and I am not PC. I am not here to molly-coddle any of you and make you feel all warm and fuzzy about who you are and what you’re doing in this business. And if you don’t like what I have to say suck it up buttercup because maybe it’s applying to you. So what I’m going to say is this. We’ve got to stop having excuses in this world y’all. It’s full of it.
Did you realize the internet has made all of us into a bunch of trolls? Look how nasty people behave. Do you even read comments anymore? I try not to because it’s full of hateful, nasty people. But I read them anyway because I’m trying to love on them like Jesus told me to but Jesus didn’t have to deal with trolls on the internet. But he would have lost his temper too. In fact I was getting beat up this week because when you’re under the microscope because you have a desire to help make real estate better and because you want realtors to be better at the craft that they’re practicing you’re going to get attacked. I had people calling me Gomer Pyle this week. But I’m going to tell y’all what. This is my accent. I ain’t changing it for any of y’all. It’s my people. It’s where I came from so stop talking shit about my accent. (Cheer)
And then I also had some people tell me I needed Botox and I said well screw you. I earned these wrinkles. Every buyer that ever no showed and every seller that ever refused to get out the house on the day of closing gave me a wrinkle. I’ve earned them so quit telling me I need Botox. Because here’s the thing. I am what I am and I’m not making excuses for that. So why do y’all do it? Why are you letting people tell y’all what you’re supposed to look like in real estate? What you’re supposed to do? How you’re supposed to behave? What you’re supposed to talk about and not talk about?
Well when you’re outspoken like I am you’re going to make mistakes. I make mistakes. I made a really big giant one in November. I made an off-color joke. Because you know what? One of the comments that has become a major problem in our society is this idea of “cultural appropriation”. That’s the biggest crock of shit I’ve ever seen. Let me tell y’all something. When you talk about “cultural appropriation” you’re creating silos amongst everybody that doesn’t look like you.
I don’t want to live in a world that looks just like me. That would be kind of exhausting. I know this. If you want to know who I hang out with it’s black, it’s white, it’s Hispanic, Asian, gay, straight, old, young. Let’s see who I’ve missed. Am I missing anybody? Oh Indians dot and feather. I’ve got all kinds of people in my tribe. I don’t want a world that’s boring. Do you? Why do we act like we want that? And you’re like, “Well Leigh I don’t want to offend anybody.” And I say well screw that because I’m tired of being so boring and bland and not having an opinion.
So when I made my mistake, y’all, I owned up to it because I do know that I have a big mouth. This is not any big secret to any of y’all who watch my videos. Y’all know this. When I made my mistake I raised my hand and I told NAR what I’d done and owned up to something that nobody even knew really what had happened. And I got blacklisted and I was told to get off stages and I was told to keep my mouth shut and stop talking because I made a mistake. And I say shame on the organization that doesn’t allow us to be human. Shame on everybody in this room that doesn’t allow somebody else around you to be human. And I see y’all do it on Facebook and Twitter y’all. You trash other agent’s photos. You trash their lockbox or lack thereof. You trash them showing up for a showing or not being late, what they did and didn’t say and buyer agency. I’m the first one to admit we’ve got a bunch of jacklegs in real estate and I’d like them to go away to hell. I’d pay $5,000 in dues if it’d get us down to 200,000 producers. How about y’all? (Clapping) NAR will have all their money. That’s fine.
But y’all what happened to showing a little bit of grace to each other? What happened to that? And if anybody in this room has made nasty comments to me I probably responded to you and said, “Tell me why you being so hateful.” I had a woman yesterday tell me, she wasn’t nearly as hateful as the other ones. I said that does not excuse you. (Laugh) I teach my children to behave better than that y’all. I tell them to look at the core of a person for their character and their heart. And to make no excuses for their love of Jesus Christ. And to make no excuses for their desire to be better in this world. And to make no excuses when they’re friends with the kid on the playground nobody else will play with. We have all become eighth grade mean girls and shame on us for that.
And I’m going to tell y’all something because I’m an old person. You might not know I’m a grandma. I drive at ten and two just like this. I won’t see you if you’re waving at me. (Laugh) And if you want to know how I relax I cross-stitch. Does anybody here still cross-stitch? (Laugh) See, I told y’all I’m a grandma. But here’s the thing about cross-stitch. Does anybody in here do any needle work? There’s like four of y’all. So thank you for making me feel better. So listen. On the top of cross-stitch it looks real good. And in real estate we all try and make it look good. Don’t we? We’re all rainbows and sunshine and unicorns and glitter and it’s always a great time to buy or sell a house aren’t we? (Laugh) Houses are fun. I have to show off. Oh I showed eight houses this weekend. I’m exhausted. (Laugh) Oh I’ve had so many closings this month I’m blessed and stop with the #blessed. Jesus did not bless you with a closing. That was your hard work. Come on people. This is silly. And I just lost my train of thought. But anyway.
On the top of the cross-stitch it looks good. Doesn’t it? The top of the cross-stitch looks good but underneath. Have y’all ever looked at it? It’s a hot mess because things are going back and forth and crisscross and this and such. And you know in this room everybody looks real good. But there’s people in here that are rape survivors. There’s people in here that have had partners and spouses cheating on them. There’s people in this room that have children going through their own dark nightmare of hell. And you don’t know what people are going through so why the hell are you judging and acting so high and mighty? Stop it. And stop talking like your commissions are the be all, end all. Y’all want to know why consumers hate us so much? Because we brag about how much money we make. And look at it right now because all of the brands are announcing who got club levels and awards and woo, you made lots of money. And consumers see that and think you made how much money? Too much. And y’all are like, “I earned it Leigh. I earned every dollar.” I say yes maybe you did but shut it. That’s not important.
And I’m going to tell you something, why we’re talking about things that are not going to happen. Hiring a coach on the internet who tells you you’re going to get a hundred listings this year if you do what he says. That is not statistically feasible. If all y’all sign up for these programs you’re not all going to get a hundred listings. You know this, right? But y’all sign up for it. It’s so easy.
You know what’s so interesting to me? Realtors are the easiest target in the world for opening up your wallets. You people will spend some money. But that’s not going to get you a hundred listings. That coach who had never held a license or sold a house because y’all should be asking some questions about these coaches. Or maybe they last sold one in 1978. Well that’s fine but things are slightly different now. The difference is that that coach looks like a silver bullet to you and it’s not a silver bullet. You know what’s going to make you get a hundred listings in real estate? It’s hustle. It’s work. Y’all are going to have to get off your dead ass and work. And you can walk out there and buy all of these little shiny gadgets that you heard are going to disrupt the industry. Well you know what? The only thing that’s going to get disrupted is your business because you all spend so much time trying to set it up you won’t be able to call anybody and sell a house. (Cheering)
Y’all there’s certain things about real estate that do not change throughout all the technological shifts that we go through. And that is that the ones who hustle succeed. The ones who get up out of the bed, throw some clothes on. Because according to Seth Godin that’s an accomplishment. So what! Now you know how they’re succeeding. They’re getting on the phone. They’re calling people. They’re not on Facebook clicking Like and on LinkedIn clicking thumbs up. They’re picking up the phone and saying, “Hey. How are you doing?” And you people are allergic to your telephones. They’re like 80 of y’all that were doing deals in the hallway but the rest of y’all were hitting decline so you could screen it and see if you want to talk to them or not. We have to get over this y’all. All this technology is important. But it’s more important to hustle.
And part of hustle is being who you are without apology and without excuses. Screw up. So what? Get back after it.
Have any of y’all ever overpriced a house? You should raise your hands if you have. Anybody that doesn’t raise their hand is either a vendor or a liar because we’ve all overpriced a house. That was a mistake. Did you own it? Did you call the seller and say, “Uh. I kind of overshot things. Sorry about that. Let’s adjust this.” Or did you say, “Well the market adjusted.” Bullshit. Own your mistake. You screwed it up. You told them they could get more than they could get because you wanted that listing. Stop it.
I’m going to tell y’all another little secret here. We’re in an election year. I’m a political nerd. I know this. This is my Super Bowl. What? Not just the Panthers because you know we got Cam Newton. And you know because you should always be pulling for Cam VP. But the thing I’m going to tell y’all is this. If you don’t like politics suck it up. You’re going to tell me you’re just not going to get involved because I might offend somebody if I have an opinion. Well you know what I’m going to say four words. I’m going to see if you have an opinion. Hillary Clinton. Donald Trump. And boy the chords in your neck got tight when I said those two names. (Laugh) It should have scared the daylights out of you that one of them is going to be our president. Does that scare you as much as it scares me? Get off your dead ass and get involved.
I’m going to tell you something. Y’all are telling me, “Well I don’t like Donald Trump.” Well so what? Ask him about realtor issues when you have a chance. Ask Hillary about realtor issues. Ask any of the candidates that you like. I just picked those two because they’re crazy polarizing and all the Bernie fans are smoking weed outside. They’re relaxed. They’re cool. (Laugh) And the thing is we as realtors we avoid these political topics because it’s uncomfortable. We don’t want to get uncomfortable do we? Y’all saw Seth’s big old graph with the big Normal in the middle. Y’all don’t want to get out of that. You’re like oh no I’m fine. I’m fine right where I am. Get out of the normal. It’s not any fun in there, I’ll tell you. It’s way more fun to piss people off because you’re going to have as many fans as you’re going to have enemies. Hopefully. And you will bring those people closer to you. You rely on them. They’ll be your tribe. They’ll be your supporters. They’ll be there for you. And guess what? That tribe includes my clients.
I travel the country not for the money y’all. I paid to come here just like y’all did. But I want you to get better at the craft of real estate. And I want you to look at it in a different way. And quit looking at it like it’s 1978. Quit it. With your little fake, made up stuff like bringing your cousin through the house on day 179 of the listing and acting like it was an important showing. And can’t you just extend it for two weeks while she decides. They know we do this. And the rest are uncomfortable isn’t it? (Laugh) So stop it. Be honest with people.
Why do the consumers not believe us when we say there’s multiple offers on this house? Because we’ve lied about it for years haven’t we? We have. And shame on us for that. Shame on our industry. And shame on us in the room for not trying to train our colleagues better. So all those agents you’re fussing about on Facebook and Twitter that you can’t stand because they’re awful. Have you taken the time out of your life to call them and say, “Hey baby we might want to change this. It’s not helping your case at all.” One agent in my market had listed as a seller name and MLS A. Nonymous. (Laugh) I called him and I said, “I think it’s funny but I’m a realtor. To the consumer it looks like you’re being a jackass. So you might want to fix that.”
But do you take the time to reach out and make somebody around you better? We can’t count on the industry to educate realtors. We can’t count on the state commissions to do it because they don’t really care either. And you say it’s the broker’s job. I’m a broker and I’m broker than my agents because all they do is (whine) in my ear. And so if you want your broker to do more training why not put your ass in the seat when they have a class? You want to talk about agents getting better? (Cheering)
And what’s the excuse your agents give for not coming to training? They’re too busy. That is such a line of crap. And we’ve all used it. When you say, “I’m too busy” that just means I don’t think that’s important enough for the time that I have. So maybe the brokers need to offer better training. Maybe agents need to show up for it. But maybe we as an industry need to be more collegial and reach out and help each other. I sold 300 houses last year with my amazing team not through any magic fairy dust or luck but through working together to get better at the craft of real estate, understanding that every time we talk to a buyer and seller we are addressing their largest financial instrument.
So I’m going to tell you you need to get involved in politics this year. You might hate NAR. I don’t care. The best thing NAR does is advocacy. And the men in the halls described it perfectly. Write a check to RPAC. It’s the realtor party y’all. It’s not the Republican Political Action Committee. It’s the realtor party. (Clapping) You don’t want to see a future where the Feds get their way in real estate.
So I’ve given y’all all of this opinion. What are you going to do with it?