A math degree is not the usual path to becoming a real estate broker, but Andrey Nokhrin is not your usual real estate CEO.
The founder of FLIPT’s background in real estate and high tech makes him uniquely positioned to understand what real estate agents need and create tech that helps simplify their lives and businesses rather than complicate them.
I sat down with Nokhrin to discuss his background and his innovative way of joining the people skills of real estate with the possibilities of technology.
As a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
Although I grew up in Russia, I wanted to be a business owner in the United States. When I was 13, I read a book by Lee Iacocca, the Chrysler CEO, and it made a big impression on me.
I read Dale Carnegie books, and I actually thought it was really cool to live in a society like the one that was described. I even read the Trump book, The Art of the Deal, in English, and it made a big impression on me to become an immigrant entrepreneur in the United States.
So I guess I’m kind of living my dream.
Those books, especially Carnegie, gave advice on everything from having a paper route to meeting your neighbors and learning basic sales skills. So I wanted to come to the United States and start a business here.
How does your background in math inform the way you approach real estate?
So with a degree in mathematics, you generally have a more analytical mind, and you typically use that major to get a job with technology or engineering.
The way it helps me is that the more analytical approach helps with better problem solving, and it allows me break the barrier between technology and real estate more easily.
So I can see what is possible in the latest technology and how it can be applied to solve problems in real estate. It allows me to build a bridge between the traditional business of real estate and the latest data and information technology that’s available right now.
What is your best advice for a new real estate agent just getting started in the business?
I think my best advice is to get training. You get in real estate, you get your license, but you don’t really know much about sales and winning buyers or listings.
I think it’s very important to find a mentor or someone who can get you up to speed in the art of sales, the art of winning clients, because that is the part that you’ll need after you get your license.
Finding a mentor who has been there and done it will help prevent mistakes and keep you in the industry.
A lot of agents think if they get a license, the business will come somehow, but that’s not what happens. You get your license and have maybe one or two transactions per year, and it’s not enough to make a living.
Understanding the sales, marketing and business aspects is something agents who are new to the industry need to get up to speed on.
How would you describe your leadership style?
The most recent quote that I like is “If you still have to make decisions in your company, then you are not a leader.”
I like that quote because I do think that to call yourself a leader you need to be able to trust the decisions of other people on your team and in your company. If you are making all of the decisions yourself, you’re just a manager.
I’m always seeking to learn more and work with people who are smarter than I am. I love learning from customers. I feel that there is no perfection, just ongoing process. You can always learn and improve — the sky’s the limit.
What was your worst idea, and what did you learn from it?
The worst idea was when we launched an enterprise product to large construction companies. We gave construction people the ability to work on large projects by using their smartphones.
Unfortunately, we soon found out that people in that industry at that time were just starting to use email, so the idea of mobile collaboration was way too early for them.
So being too early with an idea is as bad as being too late — or maybe even worse.
While we had some successes — for example, our product was used to construct a Fort Lauderdale airline terminal — we learned that products for the construction industry take a really long time to move, the sales cycle is very long, and people in construction typically buy products project by project so once the project is over, they no longer need to use the software anymore.
That means you have start the sales process over again. So while we built a great product, the market was too small.
What makes a good day and what makes a bad day?
Sometimes, things go out of whack, or I feel like I haven’t used my potential to the fullest, or things didn’t go the way I planned. But for the most part, I try to see the good in every day that happens.
Life is short, and every day could be your last, so why not try to make it a good day?
Nokhrin is living proof that dreams can come true with hard work, big goals and an analytical approach to business.
If you know a real estate pro we should know, get in touch. I love meeting the leaders who make real estate such a great industry.