Maintaining the CEO Mentality with Mike Grbic
The Closers Podcast has been awash lately with talk of creating long lasting brands. This week we dive into a three part series with Select Homes Team Real Estate’s Mike Grbic and Adam Bailey out of Wichita, Kansas. With several awards under their belt, a clear-cut focus on growth and plans for expansion, these guys are clear about what they want and how to achieve it. In this episode, owner and leader Mike Grbic speaks to his own story of growth, avoiding stagnation and choosing the right people. This installment is the first in a series of three podcasts on Select Homes Team Real Estate.
What Are Your 3 Tricks of the Trade?
“I’d say first and foremost we’re in the people business. I think recognizing that we are in a people first business, not talking just about clients although that’s important, but really team members, right? We’re in the people development business really more so than we are even in the real estate business. It’s a matter of getting the right people, doing the right things, and then doing those things right. The people is a huge part of that. I’d say hiring people who have the capacity to be more than what you’re hiring them for, you know? Don’t hire for what you need. Hire for what that person could do for you. I’m looking for people who could perhaps even replace themselves and step up a level if that makes sense. I think that’s key.
Second, I would say as a leader and I’m sure we’ll get into this, as a leader, you’ve got to take personal ownership of your own development path. Are you the leader that you need to be for your team? A lot of times if you’re looking at a plateau in your business like I’ve had, you have to look in the mirror.
I think third would be following proven models. Innovation’s great, but you need to pick the low hanging fruit first, build a solid foundation. There are plenty of models out there in our industry. Follow some of those proven models, build a firm foundation, and you can innovate and build on top of that.” Mike Grbic (2:40)
Finding Your Way to Leadership
“I graduated high school in 1990. I got my real estate business in ’94 so I was still pretty young. Not too long out after I was out of the military. I believe the reason I actually got a real estate license the first time was I watched Carleton Sheets’ late night television about investing in real estate and I thought the thing to do is get a real estate license. I was very young, ignorant, and arrogant which is, by the way, a deadly combination. Didn’t know what I didn’t know and I was too prideful to admit it. I was really with the wrong company. I joined a 100% company which means you didn’t have any training, any support, I kept all my commissions but when you sold nothing it’s still nothing, right?
That was a learning point in my life. I became a statistic of the industry like a lot of people. I wasn’t really pointed in the right direction. At the time, I had another business so I continued with that, as well, and then sold that in 2001, that other business, and then went to work for the company that I sold to for a year. I was let go from that in May of 2002 and then that’s what led me to come back into the real estate business full time. Mid-2002 got back in real estate, got with a really good company, had some training. More so they just pointed me in the right direction, some really great models.
I know a lot of the guys that listen to this, and gals, are something with star power and the work that Howard Brenton did back in the day, really back in the mid-90s and on through to I think 2010. Great coaching, great training, trained on everything I could get my hands on. If somebody was coaching on it, training on it, selling a marketing program about it, I bought it. I was a huge student of the industry. Mid-2002 got back in the business, end of 2005 we had the number 1 team in Wichita. From that point, for about 5 or 6 years, we were right around that 300-400 units mark. We plateaued and for 5 years we kind of bounced around in that 3-400 units …” Mike Grbic (4:40)
What Comes Next After You Reach Your Goals?
“Very true. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to a Tony Robbins conference but 1 of the key questions he asks is have you ever set a big goal, achieved it, and then got there and said is this all there is?
I hit that point in my life right then in 2005, 2006. I achieved my goal, my goal was to be number 1, OK now you did that, pat yourself on the back. Now what? You look around, you have no friends, you have no life, you’re working 24/7. I didn’t have good work satisfaction. I didn’t enjoy it. I wasn’t contributing. I wasn’t giving. I hit a brick wall. I couldn’t get past 400 units. At the time I kind of prided myself on this. I’m sure I stole it from someone else but my slogan at the time was the hardest working realtor in town. Nobody would work harder than me and that was true. I would outwork anybody. I didn’t have a [inaudible 00:07:45] a job, I had no life. I’m not proud of that. I actually did a jingle one time and it said hardest working realtor in town.
I think one of the key things I recognized was the need to top grade my people. I had a lot of B and C players on my team and I allowed them to be there and that was my fault. That was one of the failures of my leadership back in the day. I had a couple of A players but a lot of B and C’s. They were bringing everybody down and who do you think they attract to your business? Who do you think they hire? Who are the friends they recommend to come work there? You could see I was kind of in a vicious circle. Then I looked in the mirror and I realized I’m the one who hired them …” Mike Grbic (8:00)
When to Take Your Name Out of the Game
“That’s a great question. Why does anybody market themselves? I think that’s part of what’s inherent in our business. The traditional real estate business model the way it’s done today, I think if you look at the way we all started, we went to work for a brokerage in order to start attracting business to ourselves and not just every agent in the brokerage. We had to create our own brand within the brokerage and then at some point, you realize that there’s a limited life span of what I can accomplish under just me. I can tell you there’s many, many, many rainmakers around the country and I would say probably 99% of them that if they got hit by a bus today their team would fold. They don’t have a business, they have a job.
Especially if the business is marketing that person, that face, that ego, that guy on the side of the moving truck or the bus, right? We have to, in my opinion, really get away from that and start moving towards an ego-free brand of real estate. I’m seeing this evolution, and there’s a lot of real estate teams doing it, including ourselves, that are moving away from the “Bob Smith Team” and going more to like what we have, the Select Homes Team Real Estate where it’s not about a person. It’s not about a person at all for many reasons. Number 1, I think one of the reasons I did that would be an exit strategy. How do you ever leave the business, sell a business, how does it develop a brand equity at all if it’s named after you?” Mike Grbic (12:50)
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