Season 1, Episode 9
How A Little Faith Can Help You Win Big
Join Suzanne Johns and Lyle Leads as they discuss Suzanne’s story and how having a lot of faith helped her win big in life and business.
In this episode we will cover:
– Jumping into business without having prior knowledge
– Taking risks when you are just getting started
– How to take action when you don’t have all the answers.
– How to maximize online networking
– Tips for networking via Zoom
Lyle: All right, we’re on with Suzanne Johns and she’s going to show us her new baby. Suzanne focuses on luxuries, quality properties. Check out that puppy, they are so cute.
Suzanne: This is Maddie. Maddie. Say “Hi, Maddie.”
Lyle: Yes, that’s cute! She’s the kind of person who deals with luxury and unique properties like large properties, ranches and lands and all that kind of fun stuff. So today we asked her to come on to share a story.
Lyle: We thought it’d be fun to show her puppy, how is the puppy?
Suzanne: She’s 10 weeks old. She’s cute playing with your homework. I think you said she eats my Post-it note.
Lyle: All righty. So, Suzanne, take it over. Tell us how you got into being an entrepreneur.
Suzanne: I got into real estate, actually, straight out of college. I was supposed to be a schoolteacher.
I was one month from graduating with my degree for my teaching and a friend of mine told me she was going to go to a real estate seminar.
And when I came along I asked why I should come? She goes, well, just because there are a couple of guys that you want to date are going to be at the seminar and we’re all going to go for drinks afterwards.
And I went, well, now that I’ll do it’s all about boys.
So I sat through the real estate seminar for a couple of hours and it just resonated with me. I’m like, wow, this is really cool. I want to do that. And I knew nothing about it.
No one in my family had ever been an entrepreneur, first of all, and they had never been in real estate.
So I went up to the instructor after this thing was over and I said, well, I want to do it. You’re talking about how I do that? And I said, well, you got to get a license, you know, OK, how do I do that? Because we got to take some classes. All right. All right. Where do I find those?
So he sent me to a real estate school that he was associated with.
And I took the classes and then I went and took my exam and I said I had a college degree.
I go straight for my broker’s license. So that was in California. And I graduated with my teaching degree. And of course, I did not want to become a teacher. And my parents think to this day they still wait for me to get a real job, which is not going to ever happen.
But I didn’t know anything about the business. Nobody had told me anything. I’ve never been in sales before and I just knew it was something exciting and I wanted to try it.
And, you know, when you’re young, you’re dumb and you just jump out there and, you know, I went into the deep waters and I get real lucky.
A friend, the same instructor, introduced me to a broker in town and he said, well, why don’t you go to work for her to show you kind of what to do? And it just started in commercial real estate.
I didn’t start in residential because that’s what she did.
And back then, you know, we didn’t have cell phones. We didn’t have it.
We have pagers, which I’m sure most people don’t even know what a pager is anymore. But we didn’t have any of that stuff.
We had a phone book and a phone and basically put a phone book in front me and said, start making calls, you know?
And I was sitting at the front desk and a guy walked in the door and he said, I’d like to look at some apartments. And I went, well, OK, OK.
So I ran back and said, I need to show some apartments, how do I find those?
And she goes, well, here’s three I know that are for sale in town, go shopping. Those one of them happened to be the apartments I lived in. So I knew the staff, I knew the maintenance guys and I knew most of the people there that lived on my floor so I could get into other apartments. And so I showed him that one last. And I stopped and talked to all the maintenance guys so he could hear about the history of the property.
Then I stopped, and talked to the leasing ladies so they could tell him all about, you know, vacancy and things like that, which I didn’t know that was what you were supposed to do. I’m social. So, you know, it was easy for me to do that.
Then we’re on and knock on doors so that he could get in and take a look at the units themselves that people already lived in. Had he been just a buyer, nobody would have gotten him into units. They’re already occupied.
So we came back to the office and told him, I hope he had a nice time. I didn’t know to ask for the sale. Nothing I did, nothing allowed me green. I was less and less than nothing. And I wished him in an honest, merry way.
About 20 minutes later, he came back in and he went, not really kind of like to buy that last one he showed me. And I went, Oh, OK, that would be great.
And then I ran back to my broker’s office and said, How do I write a contract? Because I didn’t know.
Nobody ever told me that either. They don’t teach that in school.
Suzanne: No. No, they don’t. So anyway, she goes, well, the title company is next door.
They’ve got Sparer contracts. They’ll give you one and you can write it up.
Well, I didn’t know how to do it. And luckily I was friends with people at the title company and I said I need help. So they said bring them in here, and we will write the contract for you. So they did and it closed 44 days later.
And the next thing, this is really stupid.
I guess I didn’t know what I was supposed to make when I sold those apartments.
Nobody ever told me what the commission was, so I was just figuring I’d make maybe fifteen hundred dollars and I’d be so excited about that it would pay my car payment for the next couple of years.
So I’m like, this is a great deal. I’m doing this forever. So they gave me my check at closing and I went out to the car and opened the chec. I really wasn’t paying attention, you know, messing around, and so I’m thinking, OK, if you go to the bank, open it up and it was forty five thousand dollars. Well, this was 1978.
You get so much money that really is now, you know, well, I just about, you know, you know what, all over my car and I went, oh my gosh, they paid me the wrong check.
I really am back on the balcony.
I said, I think you gave me the wrong checks. Would you give me the right one?
Let me see it. She opened up. She goes, Oh, no, honey, this is your commission check.
And when I’m doing this forever and that’s how I got into real estate, that’s great.
So it just, you know, it’s just little things where it was dumb luck. I wasn’t afraid to try.
And if I failed, it didn’t matter to me. I just wanted to do it, you know, and that’s kind of how you have to do it when you get into becoming an entrepreneur.
I don’t care what it is you choose.
I’m going to be a basket weaver if you got a passion for it and you’re not afraid to fail, because look how many times you know the guy, Alexander Graham Bell, you know how many times he failed before he was able to put together the phone or the telegraph or any of those guys.
You know, they didn’t do it first time or second time or fifth time or twentieth time
So that’s the most important thing you got to do. And they just kept trying from then on. And I tried something different all the time.
There’s so many different facets of real estate.
So that’s why I went from doing commercial, to other industries. And then I started doing investments and I started doing 1031 tax free exchanges. And every time somebody brings up something different, I would think, well, you need to learn that.
And so then I would make sure that I would take the classes and get educated on it and then go out and give it a try.
And it’s worked out every time that I’ve done that. So that makes it well-rounded so that I can work every facet of real estate from the commercial to the residential to the unique. You know, they are specific.
I think the only thing I really don’t want to do and I could, but I don’t want to. And it’s a little scary. I mean, that’s oil and gas leases.
Those are a little bit more specific and a little tougher.
And they have some, you know, unique expectancies when you’re doing those and some I don’t know those are a little spooky.
So I don’t do those. But everything else I do and I really enjoy. When I was a kid, I did ranches and land, so I lived on a ranch.
You know, I grew up. Riding a horse, and so all of those things resonate with me and I understand farmers, my grandparents were farmers, my great grandparents were farmers and ranchers. And so all that stuff is just not that usual, you know. I’m not the one that’s the residential agent that’s going to stay in the house down the street.
Suzanne: I’m going to do the other stuff that’s unique. I like that is so much more fun.
Lyle: Well, they get to pick your lane.
Lyle: The keys to what you’re talking about, though, as you say, it’s dumb luck, but it’s the relationship you already had in place. It was dumb luck. It’s being caring for people and knowing the people around you. I think the people around you and learning that those are your two key strong points for your life, you’re always going to learn something new.
Suzanne: We worked together on a website and you were going to learn to like, show me what to do. Otherwise, just do it up.
Lyle: Well, that’s true.
Suzanne: You know, you’ve got to really have an open mind. And I guarantee you, there is no way in hell I know everything about this business. Even today. I’ve been in business over 42 years.
That’s a long time. But I don’t know at all, you know, and the day that you say you do is the day you will fail or you will fail big time. So you’ll get yourself in trouble. You do something stupid because you just knew it. I’m willing to listen to everybody.
I want to know everybody’s opinion. I want to know everybody’s, you know, whether they want to actually work the deal. And then then I’ll put together what makes the most sense.
Lyle: So what are you doing right now to grow your business with something you can tell somebody help them with?
Suzanne: I do a lot of networking, collaborating. I don’t do any advertising. I just don’t. There are so many agencies out there that try to sell you leads and sell you.
And I’m sure that’s in every business, not just real estate business.
And I guarantee you those leads are crap.
So the ones that you’re going to get are the ones through personal relationships.
And so that’s what I work on. I’m very social. So this being in my house all the time does not work well for me because I am extremely social.
And I want to make sure that I connect with people and I want them when they think of something that has to do with whatever I do, they can immediately think of me and that’s where I get my referrals from. And then the collaborations are important.
I’m having a meeting with a guy tomorrow that we’re going to collaborate on doing a land development deal.
And that’s just because he has a great lender and I didn’t have access to that lender. So that’s pretty cool.
Lyle: That’s cool. So help somebody understand, like especially now in our digital world, a lot of the networking you’re doing is online. How is it different than just talking to somebody in person?
How is it different from what you’re doing online?
You actually have like 12 people on a screen or something. How does that work?
Suzanne: Well, you know, I would say what I’m saying, right?
I start paying attention to what they do and and whether at especially if they’re going to have some kind of synergy for me so that I see if it’s something that I need to be able to get with them later.
She’s right here. We’re trying to get the dog out. Sorry, she’s all wound up.
Lyle: What happens when you call her?
Suzanne: She’s too little to pay attention to.
Lyle: Oh, yeah.
Suzanne: Anyway, we love it.
Lyle: That’s right.
Suzanne: Well, you know, life happens.
Suzanne: But I really do pay attention to who’s on the screen and who’s on the call. So I’ll know whether or not it’s something I should ask them if they would like to get together off of that call on a one on one or face to face.
Everybody calls it something different.
Lyle: Right. Of course.
Suzanne: And then we can figure out if we have something in common or if we have a way that we can refer business to one another. Because everybody does business with somebody that they know, like and trust.
Lyle: Exactly. That’s huge. And when you’re on an online platform, I know you do like master networks, those kinds of things within that platform. Do you call them or email them? What’s your best way of connecting with those people?
Suzanne: Well, first of all, I connect through chat that’s on the resume.
And then after that, then I find a whole lot better results if I text them or are instant messaging.
So I try to text back and forth because then I get an automatic response, then give them a chance to forget that they met me right now or that they were in the meeting or wherever.
So that way I can get them on my calendar right away and figure it out.
And if there’s more that we need to discuss, maybe we only have a chance to talk for 30 minutes. But we set up a second one after that.
So if it’s going to work that some of them have taken off where we actually are doing and live so that if they’re here local.
Right, then they don’t want to do a Zoom after we’ve chatted for the first time, then I’ll meet them for coffee, or meet them for drinks, or for lunch. And I use Facebook Messenger a lot.
Lyle: Yes, I know. It’s great. So many people miss the point of that. Why do you think that’s so powerful right now in our society?
Suzanne: Because everybody is instant gratification.
Lyle: That’s true.
Suzanne: So that’s exactly why. Because I know that’s the very first thing that you will look at as soon as you get an email. They’re going to look at it even before a text because it’s an alert.
Something’s happening on a platform that I know.
Lyle: That’s right.
Suzanne: And then I can forward things or I can set it up or I send them information, and then if they want more information, then I will get them to give me an email address and then I’ll send that via email. But then I will also tell them in an instant message. I just sent that email to you so they know that it’s there.
Lyle: That’s smart. And do you find like do you do any prospecting letters at all, somebody you’ve already been warmed up to?
Suzanne: Most of them are the ones that I’ve already met through my networking groups, and then I have different networking groups for different types of people.
So if I’m looking for CEOs and CFOs and anything like that, then there’s a different set like E women and things like that are more geared for that type of an entrepreneur or a business owner versus master networks, which is more of your B2B. You know, you have to. Decide what it is you’re selling and whether or not that particular individual can no one refer to the quality client you’re looking for or number to buy your services.
And most of those folks in master networks aren’t going to buy my services because those properties are going to be seven hundred fifty thousand dollars or more.
Suzanne: Whereas you need to be doing something like insurance or bookkeeping or something like that, that’s a little bit a whole lot lower dollar figure, right.
Lyle: And did you find any more groups that you’ve been offline or in your house, more or less?
Suzanne: Yeah, I have found there’s and you know, if you want another group that’s really widespread, it’s called Happy Networks. Happy networks are networks. They are big.
And you can do it coast to coast.
And then if you really want, I think they’ve got a couple of meetings in Mexico or for Mexico, Canada and somewhere else in Britain. In Great Britain.
Lyle: That’s a group I haven’t heard of and how many different groups are you currently involved in?
Suzanne: Because I think it does a lot, you know, I make the rounds, I really do make sure that and here’s what I learned.
People will say you’re everywhere. Not really.
But I make enough of the rounds that you think I’m everywhere. Because you’ve seen me enough times in different places.
So that now might be my first time that comes to mind. If something shows up that’s in my purview that I work on or that I do, I immediately come to mind.
But I work hard at making sure that I get that notoriety or that recognizability.
They all know my name. They all know who I am.
Lyle: Exactly. And it’s a pinpoint focus too. You have a very specific thing. You’re looking for people’s ranch’s. You said you’ve got to be over 50 acres, mostly people you deal with. And so that knocks out a whole bunch of people. So wasting your time.
Suzanne: Yeah, that’s true.
Lyle: You know, and that helps you.
Suzanne: I also do really expensive houses.
Lyle: But somebody knows if they don’t have a million dollar project, they probably don’t want to call you. That’s not your forte.
Suzanne: Not if it’s two hundred thousand. I probably will find much for you anyway. There’s nothing in that price range anyway anymore.
Lyle: No, no. All right. Well, how can people get in touch with you? Tell us how to get in touch with you and we’ll give a final thought and let you go about your busy, busy day. All right.
Suzanne: Easiest way is obviously my phone number. And you can text me or email me or instant message me as well.
Lyle: Perfect. All right, any last final tip you give somebody who’s thinking they might want to do something in real estate, but they’re not sure.
Suzanne: Don’t be afraid. Don’t be afraid. And you know what?
Pick up the phone if you really want something. If you want some honest advice, I have no problem answering questions because there’s a lot of sharks out there and you gotta keep your eyes open and your ears open. And don’t be gullible. There’s a lot of people who will tell you exactly what you think they think you want to hear. But it isn’t doesn’t necessarily have a ring of truth to it. It just sounds good.
Lyle: Sounds good.
Suzanne: You bet, though.
Lyle: Thanks for being with us at Optimize Profitability Podcast’s. The Suzanne Johns Lyle. We’ll see you on the next podcast. Have a great day, guys.
Lyle: Bye bye.
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