Table of Contents - How to go from selling cell phones to a top producing realtor
Scott Dillingham: [00:00:00] Welcome to the wisdom lifestyle money show. I'm your host. Scott Dillingham. The goal of the show is to show you how you can grow personally, financially, have a larger net worth and leverage your largest asset to help develop you into the person you want to. I take you through all the steps I did coming from nothing being told, I was nobody and that I was never going to accomplish anything.
Getting kicked out of high school to owning a multi-million dollar real estate portfolio. And my own company, you'll meet our partners, you'll , meet our friends and you'll quickly discover how you can improve your life.
So listen in and enjoy the show.
Thanks for tuning in today. Today, I have a really special guest for you.
His name is Joe Conlon.
Joe is going to tell you how he started from being a cell phone sales agent in a wedding DJ.
To a chairman's club or starting to winning the chairman's club award, which is the top 1% of all of Royal, a page in Canada.
for four years in a row. And also winning the top 35 under 35, also part of Royal, a page for four years in a row. So here's Joe.
Joe Conlon: [00:01:09] How are you doing Scott?
Scott Dillingham: [00:01:10] I'm great. How are you doing Joe?
Joe Conlon: [00:01:11] Good.
Really good. Yeah. Yeah. Pretty. I appreciate that introduction. Awesome. It's my first time on this show.
Yeah. he just getting it started. This is awesome.
Yeah. So I I got started at the age of 22.
At that time.
Maybe we'll rewind a little bit back to how.
How came to be and why I got into real estate. Originally I started I grew up in a family of seven brothers and sisters.
And my mom and dad were self-employed entrepreneurs. My mom's an artist. And my dad ran an art gallery with them.
With her and, I'd have friends and family and people say, how can your parents raise seven?
kids on art?
Scott Dillingham: [00:01:48] Yeah.
That's a great question.
Joe Conlon: [00:01:50] And watching how my mom was able to manage. And my dad they were doing art shows on weekends and going and selling her art. And she had art classes and a bunch of students where they would be teaching our classes inside. Building down the street or a building across the street and they were always leasing.
Space to, to house you.
Their art classes.
and watching them move through different times, whether it was after nine 11 or after different shifts and changes in the market.
And, it got to a point where people stopped buying that type of artwork and started going to.
Wayfair's and a home sense in places where it was just cheaper artwork, that's trendier and people started steering away from the frames and the.
in the traditional fine paint. I find artwork and painting. So I'm watching them transition through different markets on their own. I don't even think I realized it, but obviously there's a big struggle for artists out there and growing up in a family of entrepreneurs that went in that direction, it was interesting to watch and I think it embedded in me without even realizing it.
Always had my fair share of jobs. Whether it was from Tim Horton's to Starbucks, best buy selling cell phones. But there was one point where I got a job doing Inbound calls from. Tell R a T N T at Sutherland, it was just a call center. But for some reason I did really well and everybody's oh, the turnover rate, there is like two weeks. You're going to be in and out of there that you're going to hate it.
And I stayed there for about five months until I unfortunately got, let go. For,
Scott Dillingham: [00:03:17] oh man.
Yeah. He lets you go. I used to work there too. Yeah. On college. Yeah. Actually
Joe Conlon: [00:03:22] college. Yeah. Yeah.
Scott Dillingham: [00:03:23] I worked for N T I quit Sears and then I started working there and that's so funny. as Selling a DSL.
Joe Conlon: [00:03:30] That's exactly. That's exactly.
what I was doing. And I think we were goofing off on a separate line with a couple of the people and they audited the call on at and T came in and mass fired everybody. And, at the time I was actually their top salesperson on the floor and I started to fall in love with sales.
So after I left there I was unemployed for about two or three months. I didn't know what I wanted to do. So I went and took the money I had and purchased a bunch of DJ equipment.
And started a little DJ company on the sides where I was doing for about three or four years, deejaying weddings. On Friday, Saturday, Sundays.
And it was maybe doing 20, 25.
A year a wedding. So it wasn't like the biggest thing, but it was good. a good little side hustle.
I did end up picking up a job at best buy selling cell phones.
And there as well. I did really well. I was one of their top salespeople on the floor and I just started loving sales. So I figured if I could sell a cell phone, maybe I could sell a house. It's just a bigger product.
I was still doing the deejaying and best buy for the first year or so while I got into real estate.
But it got to be a point where I was selling. I think there was one month where I sold more houses than I did cell phones. And half the time I was on the floor at best buy, I was sneaking away to take phone calls for real estate. So I figured it might be a good time to transition out and make the leap into a full-time agent which I eventually did.
Yeah, I came from the odd loose end jobs found myself into sales Got, let go. Found myself back in sales. Took the courses. I think it was 22 years old when I got my license.
But it was a rollercoaster once I got in. It took me six months to get my first sale. And I was writing offers. Left and right. Nothing was clicking. I didn't know if the business was for me. And then for some reason, something clicked after a couple of sales.
I'm six months in and then I, hit the ground running.
and the second half of that first year, I ended up doing quite well. And then I found my love and my little niche in the market, which was at the time, first time home buyers.
And I found open houses were a big place for me to find those people.
Scott Dillingham: [00:05:28] Nice.
Is that how, cause I know you said it took six months to get your first sale. Was that how you did it was just going to open houses or,
Joe Conlon: [00:05:35] yeah. So
I was sending out messages to all the agents at the brokerage, because at that time there were more houses than buyers. So everyone was trying to get rid of open houses. So I was just, anybody want an open house? I'd get three or four phone calls. I'd pick the area that I thought I might have the best action.
And then I would go to those open houses, try and meet first-time buyers, and then I would take them out and educate them.
Because the first time buyers were really the only people that would listen to a 20 year old kid.
22 year olds, kids selling houses and At the time though, the average age in the industry was still in the fifties and I. I. would do these open houses because a lot of these agents just didn't want to do them anymore. And I also found I was one of the youngest in the industry at the time. It's a much younger industry now than it was the, most people getting in are in their twenties now.
Where I would think I was one of maybe five that I knew of in all of the city that were in their twenties. And I had social media on my side because.
a lot of the older generation agents weren't using social media. And at that time in 2012 Facebook was still just getting Getting it's space as far as marketing for businesses at the time. It wasn't used for marketing for businesses is used for sharing photos of you and your friends drinking on the weekends.
And then I started tapping into something that wasn't being used at that time, and I was able to build a following to help catapult me into future years. So if you see younger agents getting it now, They post something on social media, they're competing against. 20 to a hundred other people, their age doing the exact same thing. We're at the time.
I was the only one besides maybe a handful of other agents who were actually effectively advertising in the social media space. Instagram.
wasn't around. So everybody was on one platform.
Scott Dillingham: [00:07:14] Yep.
And do you find you still do it today and it's still really effective for you?
Joe Conlon: [00:07:18] It is still really effective because we were able to build a following that has stuck. There's a lot of agents who get in now and they have to compete against all the same methods and same things that are being used. We're always trying to innovate and stay ahead of the curve, but.
Yeah, I would say it's still just as effective, but it is more competitive now. And people are using the same things and same methods and same tricks of the trade. So I'm very thankful I got in when I did and I did what I did. I think timing in a luck was a lot of it, but It's it seems to have been one of the main reasons I was able to get where I was at.
Scott Dillingham: [00:07:49] That's awesome. And we got to stop for a quick break here, but when we come back,
Joe is going to go over.
How, when he was 27, he was fully burnt out. He threw his cell phone in a drawer. And he came back literally a month later.
And he'll tell you how we started the Joe Collins real estate team.
All right. Welcome back, Joe is now going to continue his story. On how he got to where he is and some of the life lessons that you can listen to and take with you to help you to grow.
Joe Conlon: [00:08:16] Yeah. Thanks, Scott.
So where we last left off was going into me starting as a solo agent in the business. Moving into it a little bit better than the first. get my feet wet. Second half of that first year, I started something, started to click and I got gotten.
Scott Dillingham: [00:08:30] little bit.
Joe Conlon: [00:08:30] the first.
half by my second year. I started understanding what I needed to do to build the business.
In a way that I believe that I could, it it still took time because I, as a young agent in the business, you still had to put plan, act a plan of action in place. And it took a little bit of a leg curve to get to that point.
So basically what had happened was for about two or three years, I was slowly growing year after year.
Tell I got to a point where I was out on appointments on a regular basis and not able to keep up with the administrative.
side of things. So I finally did hire an administrative assistant.
I got my own office space in a loft. Shit. And it was actually a shared space in a loft with a graphic designer. I think there was an artist, a photographer up there and a small magazine. And we just shared a loft in Walkerville and I had my assistant kind of working out of the corner of that space.
And her job was just to make sure that the paperwork was up to date taking in phone calls while I was out on appointments. So that was all working fine.
For a good while. But then there got to be a point where.
My business started to degrade in a bit, as far as like I was getting too busy and I wasn't able to service clients to the same level of service I was giving them prior to. And I started to struggle with being able to keep up with the demand, which is a good problem to have, but at the same time, I didn't want my reputation to suffer.
The assistant was great. I tried to keep up with the demand. It turned into very early mornings into late nights. I think in 2017 I did 107 deals in that year. And at boat August, I started to burn out pretty hard. I couldn't sleep at night.
Issue. eight. I started having issues with staying focused. I was always very tired.
And I just couldn't focus the way I would before to the point where I was getting chest pains, bad anxiety, things like that.
I finally took my phone and threw it into a drawer, shut the drawer, went to my cottage and just checked out and, Talk about losing business. Try throwing your phone into a drawer for a few weeks. Yeah. You lose people pretty quick. And at that point, I just didn't care. I needed to focus on my health and myself, and I didn't know what to do.
I finally came back and there was an agent named Stev Popovich. Who's now an agent on my team.
And he was new in the business and Fred and Frank binder.
Who are. The manager and the broker record of my brokerage saw that I was struggling and I needed help. And they saw a young agent that was also getting into the business that needed. Business. So they introduced me to Steve and said, why don't you mentor him? He can help you with some of this overload that you have. So I brought Steve on and it started working really well. And I started to realize that.
The best way to, to help myself grow was to bring on more agents to help me and to service my clients at a better rate.
At that time. I also knew.
Jill Winkler who's on my team was getting her license and was getting into the business and it was going so well with Stev. I figured I'd bring somebody else on.
and maybe start a small team.
I didn't want to call it a small team until I had at least three agents and my assistant. But when Jill got licensed I showed her, what I had to offer her and why I think it would have been beneficial to her.
At that time at the end of 2017, we did form what is now the joke on the real estate team.
We brought another marketing assistant on at that time and everything was going well again.
But we started to grow to the point where all three of us couldn't keep up. And I didn't realize by bringing on all this help.
How many people I actually was letting slip through the cracks. I didn't realize how much business was actually coming in. I was so busy and caught up with the clients I was working with. I didn't realize how much I had lost. We ended up bringing on more agents.
Steve wild then took onto the team. Krista Smith became.
My assistant who after two years of doing an awesome job as my assistant ended up getting licensed and she got married and is now Krista Kingston. And is she an.
I was also a member of the team. And then we ended up bringing on Zach.
Jenny. So where we stand today, we have six agents.
Three assistants and we have what would be a larger team now in the city. And we're doing very well in servicing the clients. To our fullest capabilities. Now, if we obviously ever got to a point where we can't service them, like we were before, we would just then expand and grow, but we at least now have the systems. And the.
Proper structure and infrastructure in place to be able to make that happen.
Scott Dillingham: [00:12:51] That's incredible.
That's a really cool story.
I like how you just started from cell phone sales.
And now you have a large team, probably one of the
largest in Windsor and Essex county.
Joe Conlon: [00:13:01] Yeah. Yeah, it's funny. I didn't go to school for business.
I didn't and I didn't learn.
A lot of these things in courses. And unfortunately, a lot of it's through trial and error and I probably could have learned things a lot quicker.
had I just went and
simple course, but I've taken the long and hard road of. Just trial and error and learning these things. But, I, by doing that, I've been able to fine tune our marketing to where it is today in our administrative assistant, our systems today and our lead gen and the agents and the things that we have now, we're all through trial and error and it, wasn't an easy road to get where we're at, but I'm proud to say we have a very good group.
And we're very well-organized to be able to service these clients the way we are. I don't stress as much. I now have two children that I can go home. to And enjoy. spending time with without being out till 10 o'clock every night.
Scott Dillingham: [00:13:49] That's
awesome No, That's incredible.
So for everyone, that's listening here. If you had to say one super important thing or the most important piece of advice that you could give to somebody. Who's looking to either. Doesn't have to be getting into real estate, but starting their own business or growing personally.
What would that advice?
to them be?
Joe Conlon: [00:14:07] Yeah, I wish from the beginning I would have focused on the infrastructure first. It's always great. Everybody wants to hit the ground running, get out, get a client. But I'm starting to learn that if you're going to build a business, it's better to start by focusing on the systems first, make sure your systems are in place. The last thing you want to do is two years down the road, realize that you didn't have systems in place to keep track of your clients and service your clients.
Follow up with your clients. And then you're going to be scrambling to find their phone numbers and emails and get back to them.
By having these systems and structures in place, it makes it easy to pull the trigger on bringing in an assistant or going home in the evenings and spending time with your family. If you don't have the organization, you're just making life harder for yourself.
And it's going to end up costing you. A lot of mental energy It's gonna end up costing you money.
and it's going to end up costing you. A good work-life balance.
Scott Dillingham: [00:15:01] No. It's true. They say, you cannot build a house unless you have a strong foundation.
Joe Conlon: [00:15:06] And I learned that the hard. way.
Scott Dillingham: [00:15:07] So your systems is your foundation, which is so true. I think
Joe Conlon: [00:15:10] and we're still building on that.
Scott Dillingham: [00:15:12] Yep. Yep. Which is incredible,
Joe Conlon: [00:15:14] always
room for improvement, but if I were to do it all again, I would have sucked it up and lost a little bit of money and built the systems first, rather than hitting the ground running.
Scott Dillingham: [00:15:23] Yeah, no, that's awesome. So do you anticipate winning the chairman's award this year? Again, you're going to be. Five years in a row.
Joe Conlon: [00:15:29] It will be five years in a row.
Scott Dillingham: [00:15:29] Good for you. That's incredible.
The really cool thing. I like chill about your story. Is it so much matches up with mine? For an example, I decided that I wanted to do something new and I didn't know what it was, but I knew that I wanted to do something new. So I applied for jobs all across Canada. And then I found one, which was at future shop and I moved and it wasn't too far away. It was in Sarnia, but I knew that I wanted change and I did whatever I needed to make sure that change would happen.
And you did the same thing you took. A month off. Put your phone in your dresser and you just moved on rested. And you came back for rejuvenated and had more strength and power. Than you did before.
So I think that's a great lesson for anyone who's listening as well. Is. Think of what you want to do. Even if it means taking a break, taking a hiatus from life and work, whatever it is. Take a break, sit down, figure out what you want to do and get it done. You just have to do it. I just did it, Joe just did it.
And we're both running two separate, but fully successful businesses. And you can do it too. I just want to thank you for taking the time today to listen to the show. I hope it inspired you and you learned something. And I look forward to meeting up with you next week, where we dive into more great topics. And feature more great guests to help you learn grow and develop personally and financially have a great day.
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