Becoming a big thinker can go a long way when it comes to adding value for your clients. That’s one of the main topics Justin Stoddart talks about in this episode. Justin is the Founder of Think Bigger Real Estate. He discusses how you can connect inspiration with purpose. He talks about what he thinks real estate professionals actually need versus what most people think they need. He also discusses the strategies he educates realtors on and what they are missing that they should be sharing with their clients. Justin is passionate about the relationship between financial advisors and real estate agents. He insists that becoming versatile and adaptable can and should be done to avoid being replaced by technology.
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Think Big, Add Value with Justin Stoddart
Our guest is the Founder of Think Bigger Real Estate. Let’s be honest, most realtors struggle with their value proposition and an ever-increasing automated technology revolution. Our guest educates, inspires, provides tools and most of all, pure passion to help these realtors increase their value proposition and earn the right to be well-paid at the center of the real estate transaction. He’s an author and a nationally recognized award-winning producer, speaker and trainer. He also has owned, ran and grown multiple small businesses. He’s become an expert over the years of helping people and coaching people. He’s a thought leader in marketing, branding and business strategy. Please welcome, Justin Stoddart.
It’s good to be on the show. Thanks for the opportunity.
Justin, I’m excited to interview you and share some of the wealth of knowledge that you have. What is more challenging, inspiring six kids under the age of ten or thousands of realtors with less than five years of experience?
That’s a toss-up. I find more joy with the family, although my passion has become helping real estate agents. There’s a lot of similarities. You’re helping them find a deeper purpose. My son is probably my weakest link when it comes to work ethic. We pride ourselves on being workers in the family and he’s always finding a way out. I have always remembered the quote, “There’s no such thing as a lazy person, just an uninspired one.” He’s been trying to get me into this Pokémon GO and I’m the farthest thing from a video gamer that you’ve ever seen so I’ve been fighting it. I’m always like, “Let’s go play catch. Let’s do this.” Finally, I said, “Corbin, I need your help raking leaves in the yard.” He saw and his eyes rolled and I said, “What if you teach me how to play Pokémon GO afterward?” His eyes lit up and he was out in the yard grabbing leaf bags.
Afterward, my daughter messaged me and she said, “Dad, where are you guys?” It was FaceTime. I said, “I’m out with Corbin playing Pokémon GO.” She goes, “I didn’t know you like Pokémon GO.” I said, “I don’t, but I love Corbin and I’ll do whatever it takes to spend time with him.” The moral of that story is that at the end of the day, getting people to realize their potential has a lot to do with helping them find their passion, what they’re excited about and what gets them going. Being a father is my favorite, but I also absolutely love what I do. I see myself as someone who is helping to tap into the most untapped natural resource in the world, which is human potential.
How do you connect inspiration with purpose? How do you bring those two together? I imagine part of what you do is helping people to think bigger and beyond what their natural tendencies are or think beyond what the marketplace in circumstances are. How do you help with that? What is a tool or strategy you use to help the business professionals that you help?
We’re in the thick of business planning season so it’s been enlightening to go through the process. I see a lot of people making a mistake when it comes to putting a plan together. You probably find this as well in your line of business of helping people commit to bigger financial plans and better strategies to help them get there. Nobody’s inspired by numbers. Maybe that’s just me. Maybe there are engineer types, mathematicians out there that totally are but I find that all put together using the economic model built out by Gary Keller in his book, The Millionaire Real Estate Agent. There’s a clear path as far as how to build a sizable business and I see agent after agent going through that process or similar. At the end of the day, their business plan is nothing more than an annual reference point. After they created the plan, they didn’t even know what they wrote down and they’re not inspired by it.
I always teach that this can’t be an annual event. It has to be an ongoing process. The best way to bring enough inspiration is when people find a deeper purpose. The first question I ask in this process is, “What are you about? When you get to the end of your life, how do you want to be described? How would you want people to describe you and the impact that you had upon the world and their life and your life?” Those two are deeply correlated. It’s interesting when people start to think longer-term like that. They start to think bigger about the impact they want to have. They start to get some buy-in and then we break it down from there to go 10, 5 or 1 year.
From there, all of a sudden, they’ve got to know the numbers because that one year becomes compelling. It’s a pathway to get to the five years, which is a pathway to get to the ten years, which is a pathway to get to how you want your life to end up. At that point, numbers become inspiring because they’re a means to an end as opposed to an end in and of themselves. It goes back to helping people ask that question, what do I want? What am I about? How do I want to be remembered? What’s the impact or legacy I want to leave when I’m gone? It’s long -term, but if you can then back it up, it gets real to people.
Would it be fair to say that in order to think bigger or have a bigger impact or inspiration, in the beginning, you need to think longer-term or start with the end in mind? It’s in one of Stephen Covey’s books. Work your way back and hopefully, that’s a big enough why and a big enough inspiration, which is going to help you get into the details. Sometimes it’s hard to get inspired by the nitty-gritty day-to-day details, but if it’s a big enough why and a big enough vision for the future, you can be more inspired.Getting people to realize their potential means helping them find their passion, what they're excited about, what gets them going. Click To Tweet
Yes. From Steve Jobs to Stephen Covey to Bill Gates and everybody that’s done some remarkable work will say that it’s quite boring. Gary Keller teaches this as well. It’s quite mundane and quite boring. That’s where most people go wrong. They think that it’s always going to be super exciting. The excitement comes as you step back and look at the bigger picture of what you’re working on. My mom gives a great analogy of a tapestry. She said, “When you look at life on a day-to-day basis, it looks like the backside of a tapestry where you’ve got these strings and knots, and nothing looks good. Occasionally, if you’re brought around to look at the other side, you’ll be like, ‘That’s why I’m going through these struggles. That’s what I’m working on. That’s why I have to do this boring work because I’m becoming something so that I can create something.’” That’s a great perspective. It comes down to you having a longer-term perspective and being able to zoom out and be like, “That’s right. That’s what I’m working on. That’s what I’m becoming in this process. Get back to the super boring, mundane stuff.”
Talk a little bit about the practical stuff. Give our readers a little bit about your story, where you started your business and how it moved to your focus.
I was raised by entrepreneurial parents, who had little to nothing beyond high school education. They were younger parents than what they would have planned out originally and they beat all statistics with great work ethic, great determination and a lot of grit. They built great businesses and I always admired them. In my DNA, I was to be an entrepreneur. I always thought that I was working for somebody else. It was because I failed and I couldn’t do it on my own. I went into business on my own. I went to work for a high-end home builder until I could leave and start my own high-end home building company. I did that for years until the market crashed. Finally, I closed the company in 2009 when my high-end custom home business turned into a kitchen and bath and/or even a fence repair business. At that point, I was like, “I never like building anyway and I don’t like doing this kind of work.”
It was a time of introspection for me. It’s that time for a lot of people in 2008 and 2009. I realized that my passion wasn’t building homes. It was building business and building people. I was hired to run a marketing company in Oregon back where I was from. I moved back home and from there, I had a conversation with a friend of mine, who had become the sales manager in a title and escrow company. I talked to a few sources who said, “You don’t want to do that. You don’t want to be a business development person within a title company. You’d be super bored. Those are customer service personnel. All they do is schmooze, hand out pens and notepads, and put little apps on your phone that offer minor bits of help. It’s not super interesting. That would make you bored.”
I wanted to get together with my friend. We sat down because he was well connected. He’s in the real estate industry and he offered me a job at that point. In my head, I’m thinking like, “This isn’t what I was expecting or intending this to go.” It was a time when, frankly, I needed a job. I was coming out of a downturn and hadn’t yet figured out what my next move was going to be. Although I had been employed by a regional marketing company, I’m still trying to find what I was passionate about. All of this, at one point or another, goes through maybe multiple times in our career saying, “What do I want to be when I grow up?” That NBA basketball ballplayer dream from grade school didn’t quite work out. I’m also not an astronaut. I didn’t pursue that route.
Tom Cruise in Top Gun, becoming a fighter pilot was one of mine. Was that one of yours?
When I was 35 years old, I had four going on five kids at the time. This is past the point of like, “I should have figured this out by now.” I had a four-year college degree. I had my own businesses and it was like, “Now what?” I went to work for the title company. In my head, it’s an interim stepping stone to get to the next point of starting my own business. A few months into it, I realized, “There’s a big opportunity here,” because my role is to get new business from real estate agents and I saw limitless potential in helping real estate agents. It’s a tough job being a real estate agent. It’s tough creating boundaries. There’s a constant need for lead generation and downward price pressure for massive tech companies. There are all kinds of reasons why it’s tough to be a real estate agent.
I saw an opportunity to step in and take the lessons that I learned from being a business owner and running small businesses to be able to offer some help. It wasn’t too long ago that I started to dig in deeper and realize, “Rather than always having my sights on being an entrepreneur and seeing this as a setup for something else, what if I dug in it and became an intrapreneur and transformative inside of a Fortune 500 company?” That’s where my aim has gone. I’m doubling down on all of the activities. Number one, get awareness. The Think Bigger Real Estate show builds awareness and then from there, I have a funnel that gets me in front of people through live events that I teach. The next step is getting face-to-face with people and offering superior help that makes them want to partner and be in business with us in our title company. That’s the pathway to here.
I’m grateful for the path. It’s different than the one that I would have expected to be on, but I do see tons of opportunities. Many people believe that unless their name is on the door, they’re somehow subpar. I’ve had to come to grips with that coming from an entrepreneurial family. At the end of the day, I don’t have to impress anybody but my wife and six children. Ultimately, my life’s mission is to help others have a tremendous life of impact. Wherever I can best do that is where I need to be, not somewhere that’s just good for my ego. That’s the journey to where I’m at.
Will you give our readers an example of your service? Speaking mainly to the business professionals, realtors and entrepreneurs that you’re working with. Give us a sense of working with Justin and his team. What are the 1 or 2 things that you’ve helped to hone in and focus on? What tools do you give them to help increase their value proposition?The more that we stay in our own little silos, the more that algorithms will step in to replace us. Click To Tweet
The end result that I want for people that work with me is to say that they have clarity and they’re getting results. All too often, partnership from vendor type relationships looks more like a cheerleader. It’s like, “Let’s be friends. I’ll take you to lunch. We’ll become chummy.” You send me business because we’re friends. I don’t think that’s what the industry needs. Real estate agents have plenty of friends. What they need are real business insights and help when it comes to growing their business. I respect my real estate agents’ client time by setting appointments with them and digging into what are the biggest challenges that they’re facing so that in our next meeting, I’m not coming in to just be chummy. I’m coming in with real solutions, whether it be an added knowledge or added network that can help them get the results that they want.
I was having a happy hour one night with a friend of mine who’s a lender and I said, “You and I have become friends after the fact that I started adding value to your business.” That’s what it should go. All too often, the value proposition is friendship. I said, “The value proposition needs to be, ‘I’m here to grow a business.’” Afterward, if we’re like, “I like you. We should spend more time together,” then it becomes a friendship after that. It’s turning that on its head and I was like, “Let me create results and clarity for you and you create the business that you want.” If after the process, we become good friends. Most of the people who accept that value proposition for me, they’re like me so we tend to like each other, a friendship develops out of that. That’s what I offer to people are clarity and results.
Adding value is a good point. An organic friendship may develop versus sometimes. It’s the other way around where it’s more of a friendship or acquaintance and then they may lack the skill or clarity to add the value. They think that because they have a friend, maybe they’ve earned enough to represent somebody or to rid their realtor because of the friend versus adding the value first. If that’s what you’re saying, that’s a good point you bring up.
People have asked, “What does that mean? What will it result for me?” It’s not a one-size-fits-all. The problem with my industry is that we tend to look at our corporate marketing departments or whatever and say, “What do you think realtors need?” I see people in my industry go and they deliver, “Here’s what we think realtors need.” It’s like, “Did anybody consult a realtor on this? I don’t have a one-size-fits-all. This is what I do for real estate agents.” There are some common threads, some things that I do, and some processes that I walk them through to gain that clarity.
Each agent is different and each of their goals is different. Each of the specific strategies that they want to employ is different. I found that if I can continually be growing my network and knowledge, the Think Bigger Real Estate show helps me do that, then when I sit down with an agent, I can find out what are their goals? What are the strategies that they want to employ? What are the voids that they need to fill? I’ve got a whole library of stuff that I can choose from to help them with that. It’s customized and specific to what’s going to work for that person based on where they want to be.
It’s an art and science, and every market is different. Every realtor is different and even subcultures within every city are a little bit different. If you can coach and bring value and inspiration from all of the people you’ve worked with and connected with, and then customized to that person and say, “Here’s what’s probably going to work best for you based upon what I’ve heard from you and what I’ve learned,” then you become invaluable to them as a coach.
I want to strategize with you. As a part of this, many of your high-end realtors, primary home realtors, let’s say they own a high-end primary home such as their Baby Boomers. They may have lived there for a long time, and they struggle with capital gains tax. Part of our show is focusing on how you may help or how your realtors help high-end homeowners either defer, eliminate or not have to pay so much in capital gains tax. Do you have any particular strategies that you’ve learned along the way that you could share, either a deal story or anything that you help advise on the tactical part of let’s say 30% to 50% that they may pay? For a home, there’s no depreciation recapture. It’s probably not going to be that high. It’s probably going to be more like 30% to 37%. Anything that you help educate your realtors for that?
Part of that is being connected to great people like you. One of the best episodes on that topic that I’ve ever done is when you share your expertise in everything from Delaware statutory trust and all the other tools that are brought to the table by professionals like you. Rather than gaining expertise in that field, I have an indexed network and I bring people to the table to gain that expertise. I’m probably not the best person to ask that question other than I’m an indirect help in the sense that I want to get my clients in front of Brett. I want to get my clients in front of his expertise. We have this massive population of Baby Boomers that are coming into a situation where a lot of wealth is preparing to be transferred and/or they’re trying to get out of certain real estate investment properties that have been high maintenance. They’re looking for ways to do that without giving it all away to the taxman. I can’t emphasize enough the value that you bring and that expertise is becoming more relevant all the time.
Another partner of mine does great work in that regard. He’s somebody who does reverse mortgages and those have a bad name or at least they have in the past. They’ve changed a lot over the past couple of years to where anybody over the age of 62 can essentially double their buying power and defer their payments by having something like that in place. It’s the government’s way to offer value to that generation. That’s not only those that are in desperate need of accessing equity from their home but those that want to extend quality of life a little bit longer, as opposed to living off what they have and trying to keep their eye on their mortgage payment.
A part of what we like to do is provide different ideas and strategies that help different people because everyone may not fit a particular niche, such as the Deferred Sales Trust or Delaware or 1031 exchange. I consider you a wealth advisor. You’re a wealth advisor, coach and a realtor who is an advisor in the real estate world. What are some of the biggest mistakes general wealth advisors are making with their clients? In other words, what are they missing that they should be sharing with their clients? Another way to put it is there are different people in your space or even outside of your space that is coaching or mentoring realtors, what are they missing that they should be focused on to make sure they’re getting the proper training, mentoring and coaching to help their business?
I’ve done a lot of research as I’ve been authoring a book. Real estate agents are in trouble if they continue with their existing value proposition. In order for them to remain in the transaction and remain well paid, they have to become less salesperson, less customer service representatives, and more of a wealth advisor for their client’s real estate portfolio. The process as I’ve been doing this research is I’ve been interviewing a lot of financial advisors to find out how they set themselves apart so that I can then go back to real estate agents and say, “Here’s how you can show up in the world. Here are the conversations you can have. Here is what it sounds like to think like a financial planner.”Anything that you put time towards will continue to grow. Click To Tweet
It’s been interesting as I’ve interviewed a number of those wealth advisors. The ones that I see doing great things rather than taking expertise in one area, for example, life insurance, that’s maybe a common one that all of us have experienced, that’s their only expertise. I don’t think that’s necessarily a bad thing but those that are more the center of all things financially are going to have an advantage. What I mean by that is that they don’t only know about their life insurance or their 401(k) or their annuities. Although they do have an area of expertise, they build a network of people who can allow them to be educated to their clients on all things. I don’t mean that necessarily that they need to be an expert in real estate, but this is one of the prime things that I teach real estate agents.
If you go to a financial advisor and you say, “I understand you have annual reviews with your clients every year.” In that process, you’re probably checking in on not just their stocks, bonds, annuities, and insurance, but imagine that a good financial advisor is also checking in on how’s their real estate like, “Do they still live at this address? Do they still have a couple of rental properties?” You don’t know that simply because you’re trying to get them to liquidate and put more money into their portfolio that you get paid on. It’s more of a holistic adviser to know what their overall strategy is.
As an advisor, being able to have a key real estate partner that has the mentality of being a wealth advisor for their real estate portfolio and when you sit down with a client rather than going straight into the stuff that you ultimately get paid on, you look at a more holistic view. You can say, “I understand that you still have a property in this zip code. Based on the information I’m getting from my real estate adviser, it looks like that zip code is appreciated by about 7% of the past year. Congratulations on the growth. That’s great. What are your plans? Are you still planning on staying in that home? I know you’ve got kids going off to college. Are you planning to stay?” You might be saying, “That’s what a realtor should be asking.” Yes, I get that but if a wealth advisor or a financial planner can be asking that question, what ends up happening is that that client gains trust with that advisor. They’re not just talking about things that are monetizable for the wealth advisor.
People start to look for other places or don’t stay on plan or they don’t have full trust in their advisor if they’re only giving advice on, “Buy more of this,” as opposed to, “Let’s look at the whole picture. It’s great. You have another rental property. Are you thinking about adding more? That’s great,” or, “Are you going to get rid of them? Great.” Being able at that point, once you learn that information to say, “Do you have a real estate wealth advisor for your real estate portfolio?” You’re like, “I don’t understand. We have a realtor.” “There’s a lot of people that can help you buy and sell a house. There are fewer people that truly act as I do but for your real estate portfolio, if you’re interested in an introduction, I know somebody.”
That wealth advisor can position themselves to be at the center of all things financial, gain more respect and trust from their clients, and potentially add value to a trusted real estate partner who is having the same conversations within their sphere. Not just about real estate, but about your whole financial picture. You can build this powerful team like Robert Kiyosaki taught us all should have, in Rich Dad Poor Dad, the key players of having an attorney, CPA, realtor, financial advisor, and all these people that guide us to wealth. That’s where the future of well-paid industries that are experiencing downward price pressure is going to start to grow their value and maintain a profitable customer base because they are helping people preserve and maintain wealth, not just selling the products. That model is going to go over and the internet will take that away.
Maybe this is a good analogy. The realtor should become the offensive coordinator where they’re not a wide receiver who’s just selling a house. They’re the offensive coordinator who’s connecting them with a financial advisor, insurance professional, home contractor and anyone else in investment, maybe it’s in commercial real estate. They connect with a commercial real estate broker and collectively, they’re the source of value, even though they’re not necessarily getting paid on any of these things until they sell the house. They’re known as the trusted advisors adding value beyond just selling a house and they become the trusted advisor for the overall wealth strategy as a part of a team.
Financial professionals need to think similarly. The more that we stay in our own little silos, the more that algorithms will step in to replace us. As our value becomes our network and our knowledge even extends beyond what we do, we add significantly more value to the clients. We become difficult to replace with technology. We become the center of all things financial and a connector to other professionals that can help preserve and grow wealth they wouldn’t have access to without us.
I’m looking at silo equals replacement. If we try to do it alone or try to keep doing the same things we’re doing that equals more likely to be replaced by automation or technology versus team equals more value. Something that can’t be replaced is we’re all bringing our individual expertise together.
That’s a great way to put it. If you have somebody who has connected you to significant value, it gets easy who you’re going to use. You’re competing in a place where other people don’t know it exists. One of my mentors taught me that. It goes back to the Blue Ocean Strategy, if you’ve ever read that book. There’s this bloody red ocean where everybody’s competing and fighting, and the only thing you can do is lower price because everything’s the same. Whereas, when you can start to extend your value to new areas, take care of concerns that others aren’t taking care of, in this case, connect them to professionals and knowledge that they wouldn’t have access to. There’s nobody that can compete with that. There’s nobody else that’s doing that so you’d become the natural choice for people. An easy and a valuable one for them and a valuable one for you.
In this world of rapid pace, rapid noise, a lot of negativity out there, a lot of new ideas, and everyone’s claiming they have the best ones in a lot of ways. How are you staying centered on your personal values and/or how do you help other business professionals stay centered? How do you keep from being discouraged?
At the end of the day, anything that you put time towards will continue to grow. If you were to compare whatever part of your life to a plant, giving it light and water, it’s going to grow. Oftentimes, people’s faith and/or their families like date nights and individual time with kids become one of the small rocks. Going back to Stephen Covey’s analogies, it turns into a situation where you’re not feeding it and growing it. As a result, what ends up happening is that people are not growing in those areas.Numbers become inspiring because they're a means to an end as opposed to an end in and of themselves. Click To Tweet
For me to stay grounded in my values, I make commitments on a weekly basis for personal devotionals, church attendance, and temple service. These aren’t things that I’ve got to decide, “Am I going to do this on Sunday? Am I going to get up Tuesday and go serve at my temple?” They’re on my calendar. Those are the big rocks. Those are in place. I’ve got Saturday night date night. I’ve got six kids so each night of the week is assigned to a kid. After family time, after family gospel study, I go to spend individual time with that kid. Maybe we go down to the dollar store, they get to pick something out. Maybe we go sit on their bed and read books. I’ve carved out time for each of those things.
To your question, how do you keep from being discouraged? I’m doing some mentorship with Grant Cardone. He’s the grandfather of Thinking Bigger, which is my theme so I figured, “I better learn from the guy.” One thing that he’s taught me is you have 10x goals that you have no idea how you’re going to figure out and how you’re going to do it. Everything has to change in order for you to reach those goals. You write those goals first thing in the morning, before you go to bed, and anytime during the day where you’re feeling down, you suffer a loss or you’re discouraged. If there’s one thing that I’ve learned, it’s that time on task over time equals success. If you can put in the proper amount of time on the task, that’s proven that will work. There’s no doubt that you’ll have success.
Barbara Corcoran told one point that she would take any time with somebody who gets up faster than somebody who’s wildly talented. Most of us will get discouraged. It takes us off task for the rest of the afternoon and maybe the rest of the week. If you can immediately have a practice where you get discouraged, go right to your goals, reconnect with that deeper purpose and get that inspiration, what ends up happening is that you get right back on the horse and there’s little downtime if any. We’re all going to suffer discouragement. Life’s full of that.
If you go around thinking you’ve been robbed because you had it down there or you lost something, you’ve missed the point of life. We’re supposed to have resistance here so that we can grow. Rather than be discouraged about it, fight through it and allow it to make you stronger. Have time committed and systems and practices in place to where you don’t leave it up to your own self-will and determination or decision making at that time when you might not be in the right state to make a good decision. Be the determining factor of how fast you’re going to get over that.
I want to first thank you for being on the show and sharing your wisdom and inspiration. I know you released a book. Do you want to share what that book is and where people can find it?
In fact, there’s a chapter selection that is available on my website. The book was released in the first quarter of 2020, but I’ve put together some chapter selections that are available for people that are specific to the tactical things that we’ve been discussing. This relationship between financial advisors and real estate agents and how those two have the ability to add significant value to each other’s clients. Also, to lead generate together in a way that ups the value proposition of both parties. I encourage people to go download that. They’ll find it by going to my website. It goes much deeper, more holistic than just the tactical. It goes into moving from a customer service representative to being a leader, which is the ultimate insulation against industry disruption.
I want to thank you for being on the show and I also want to thank our followers for reading another episode of Capital Gains Tax Solutions podcast. As always, we believe most high net worth individuals and those who helped them struggle with clarifying their capital gains tax deferral options. Hopefully, if you’re a business professional, you’ve learned a little bit from Justin of ways to think bigger, think outside the box and get tools, mentors and coaching to help you fight against the automation that’s going on in the world to increase your value proposition. Work as a team. Strategize and focus on becoming a wealth advisor more than an individual who may be selling homes or whatever particular thing that you sell. As always, not having a clear plan is the enemy and using a proven tax deferral strategy is the best way to grow your wealth.
- Think Bigger Real Estate
- The Millionaire Real Estate Agent
- Rich Dad, Poor Dad
- Blue Ocean Strategy
- Grant Cardone
About Justin Stoddart
Title and Escrow Industry Challenger, Host of the Think Bigger Real Estate Show, Author of the Upcoming Book- The Upstream Model- The New Rules for Growing a Real Estate Agent’s Business, Margins & Identity, Father to 6 Amazing Little Human Beings
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