Barry O’Reilly is excited to welcome this week’s guest, Ryan Serhant, to the Unlearn Podcast. Ryan is founder & CEO of SERHANT., the bestselling author of Sell It Like Serhant and Big Money Energy, and is one of the most successful and well-known real estate brokers in the world. He is a producer, public speaker, and star of multiple TV shows. In this inspiring episode, Ryan talks about how he revolutionized the traditional brokerage model and his strategies for building businesses of tomorrow.
“I have never sold a house in my entire career,” Ryan tells Barry. “What I’ve sold is about $5 billion dollars worth of enthusiasm and confidence.” When he started out in real estate, he didn’t have the ‘right’ education, connections, or experience. What he did have in spades though, was self-confidence. Every day he would convince himself that he was the greatest real estate broker because he knew that clients were not just buying a house, they were buying into his belief that he was the very best in the business. Barry asks Ryan how he helps clients see something exciting in an otherwise ordinary property. “Facts tell, stories sell,” Ryan responds. He no longer just gives information, he deciphers it so that clients see the potential. He describes how he used themes to decorate apartments in Hell’s Kitchen to get potential buyers excited about the location and the energy of the area. “I sell enthusiasm, I sell energy; and people buy into the energy of the marketplace, and so we had to create that,” he remarks. [Listen from 2:00]
“I diversify opportunities for happiness so every single day is exciting,” Ryan comments. He learned the hard way to never depend on just one “line of happiness”. As such, he used his skills to create other businesses and diversify his income sources. This led him to create his online education platform and his real estate media production company. “It’s really proven beneficial for my long-term career,” he adds. Barry comments that diversification is one of the tenets of Nobody Studios: “It’s all about diversifying because you’re building lots of different businesses; you’re diversifying your skills, your portfolio, your investment strategy; and I think it’s really important for people to see that as a skill to develop.” [Listen from 9:05]
(Read the blog on Crowd-Infused Innovation: a New Approach to Product Development)
Business books teach product, process, then people; Ryan learned that people should come first. “What I realized was you can think of the greatest product ever, …[but if people] were not part of the ideation of the products – especially in the early phases – they have no emotional connection to it, and they’re just never going to care the same way you do.” Employees who are emotionally committed to your company will give their best and “will do everything possible to make sure that the company is successful,” Ryan tells Barry. He shares how this has played out in his own businesses: his team shared ideas that brought significant growth to the company. Ryan is also thinking about getting into the minds of his future customers. This is how he future-proofs his business. He says, “I want to make sure that I’m living in the future far enough, so I can predict my future.” Barry comments that planting seeds for the future is actually winning two sides of the market. “It’s actually drawing in and retaining the people who you have today because [you’re] doing something interesting and innovative, but you’re also starting to work on your acquisition funnel,” Barry says. [Listen from 16:00]
(Listen to previous podcast, Engage in the Lives of Your Users with Donald Farmer)
How to Get Started
We are in the attention economy, but you can grab your customers’ attention for free. However, you have to speak to them in their language and play in their field, and their field is in their phone. Ryan’s advice for anyone wanting to get started in business is to determine the story you want to sell, and why it’s better than your competitors’ story. “Get that story out there in the form of content,” he tells listeners. Barry admires that Ryan does not pretend, that he’s authentic in what he shares with the world. “People are buying you; they’re buying the experience of understanding you; they’re buying your perspective,” Barry remarks. Ryan adds that clients come to him to interpret the facts they already know, the same reason they listen to the news. People don’t want to think, he points out. “Do the thinking for people and you can be wildly successful,” he advises listeners. [Listen from 24:05]