Do you have what it takes to win in the rough-and-tumble world of real estate? Current team leader and former MMA champ Paul Domenech shares his story about how friends, family and hard work helped him build his brand and take his business from nothing to No. 1 in just a few years.

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My path to real estate was winding, to say the least. I was a club promoter, a bar owner and a black belt mixed martial arts world champion. However, during my fighting career, a good friend was ill-served by his real estate agent, and I decided to get my real estate license to ensure that never happened on my watch.

Believe it or not, I found that there were a lot of parallels between real estate and MMA. One of the ways I built my reputation in fighting was as a matchmaker: setting up well-matched opponents for fights.

I did whatever was needed to make the matches work, whether that meant cutting weight together or figuring out transportation to venues. As a result, I became known as someone who served others. Soon, people were seeking me out so they could fight for me. 

How it all began

I built my real estate business the same way: My job is taking care of my clients. I serve as their coach, am always in their corner and willing to do whatever it takes to see them win. The way I saw it, there was no losing. Even if I lost money, I saw it as a gain because people want to reciprocate when you give.

When you invest in clients, they want to return the favor. I genuinely believe in a lifelong customer who will send business my way because of how I treated them. 

I knew from my MMA career that being successful takes consistent training and a lot of time — it took 17 years to earn my black belt! Fortunately, I met with early success in my real estate career, completing 42 transactions worth $8 million in my first year. I was named a finalist for ERA Real Estate’s National Rookie of the Year in 2016. 

Complete package

Another thing I learned from my MMA career was that it’s critical to be a complete fighter. That’s why I was also good at boxing, kickboxing and wrestling — they all helped me be a better MMA fighter. As a real estate agent, I made sure I knew about all of the elements involved in a real estate transaction.

I became knowledgeable about title, lending, insurance and real estate. My philosophy was that I couldn’t provide maximum value to my clients if I just stuck to real estate.

That approach paid off: In my second year, I closed 76 deals. By my fourth year, I broke 100 deals. I completed 136 transactions worth $62 million last year. Moreover, of the 136 deals I did last year, 97 percent were repeat customers or referrals.

Unconventional marketing

So how do I make it rain? I mentioned the first answer earlier, and that is unparalleled customer service. And that approach is well within anyone’s reach as an ingredient for success. But the other direction I took is a bit less traditional: I don’t market myself as a real estate agent. 

I realized early on that my personal brand was wrapped up in many different areas such as motivational speaking, personal training and home remodeling. I was my authentic self in all of those areas, so I chose to market my upbeat, inspirational personality to my entire sphere with just my face and a simple tagline like, “Changing lives — you deserve better.” 

One saying I use is, “Be kind, remain savage and change lives.” I create top-of-mind awareness by taking out billboards and planting signs that listed my website — no name, no number, no call to action. The approach creates curiosity and a sense of FOMO (fear of missing out). It raises the question, “Who is this guy?” 

And even if people didn’t need a real estate agent at the time, they are continually reminded of me. And for those who decide to follow me on social media, I serve them daily affirmations and inspiration. My belief is if people don’t know you exist, there is never a chance of them becoming clients. 

Family values are the foundation of my business

One of the biggest influences on me in the past three years has been the birth of my son. Quite simply, being a dad gives me purpose. Helping people allows me to do good in the world and make it a better place for him. 

My son is also a powerful teacher. At age 3, he asks questions incessantly, and I find myself having to break them down so he can understand. This has been very helpful in communicating effectively with my clients.

I take the time to explain everything during my listing presentation, which I insist that every client listen to. This way, I know that if someone doesn’t want to work with me, it’s not because they don’t understand the process or the value I provide. 

It’s been a wild ride these past few years. I have tremendous gratitude for every single one of my customers who has helped me build a business I love, a business built around helping people. I’ve found that if you fall in love with running, you will always win the race.

Paul Domenech is used to pushing the limits and beating the odds. In four years, Paul has built a thriving real estate business. He earned Rookie of the Year finalist and Inman Innovator awards in year one, finished every year as a top ten -producing agent, and received ERA Real Estate International’s top customer service award in 2018. Connected with him on Facebook and Linkedin.

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