Jason Williford is a serial entrepreneur, author, speaker and consultant for high-producing real estate agents. After years in the trenches of real estate, he set himself and his team apart with strategies and techniques that were learned in other industries and applied to real estate. His unique talents and knowledge fill industry voids for high-performing real estate agents and team leaders.
Jason and his partner went from being dead broke to exponentially growing real estate expert advisors with zero lines of credit. Inc. recognized their company as the 354th fastest-growing, privately held company in America and included them on their Inc. 5,000 List three years in a row. We’re excited to have Jason on the show today.
Welcome to The Author Hour Podcast. I’m your host Benji Block and today on the show, we’re joined by Jason Williford. He’s just authored a new book. The book is titled, The Ultimate Real Estate Machine: How Team Leaders Can Build a Prestigious Brand and Have Explosive Growth with More Freedom and Less Risk. We’re so glad to have you joining us here on Author Hour today, Jason.
Jason Williford: Thank you very much. I’m glad to be here.
Benji Block: Absolutely. Jason, for our listeners who may be new to you and your work, can you tell us a little bit about yourself and the work that you do?
Jason Williford: Yes, the work that I do is Platinum Real Estate Coaching which I— me and my partner, we grew. We went from broke— we had less than $700 between the both of us when we started our real estate business together in 2011, and four years later, we were Inc. Magazine’s 354th fastest growing privately held company in America.
I believe that’s out of over 10 million or so small businesses in America. We had exponential growth and then grew the next year to 904, then the next year was 1345 which was tough to do when every year you’re starting over from scratch to again, grow exponentially again.
My passion has always been in sales. Since 1999 when I first got into 100% commission sales, I’ve always enjoyed, for one, being a sponge to the best one that’s been on the sales force, The Gurus, my mentors. I’ve been blessed with great mentors through the years and really, the greatest mentor is the co-author of this book, Jay Abraham, who is known as the godfather of marketing and known as the $21.7-billion-dollar man. He’s, by Forbes magazine, one of the top five business and marketing strategist consultants in the world.
Yes sir, it’s a real blessing to work with Jay as well on this book. We’re both excited about launching it.
Benji Block: You dedicated the book to two people. Your daughter and then Jay Abraham, right? He’s listed as a co-author. Talk about that relationship and how that’s had just a big impact on your business and your life.
Jason Williford: Yeah, basically, I first heard of Jay Abraham approximately in 2013. He was coming to speak at an event, and I’d done some deeper research and it’s like, “Jeez Louise, this guy is the real deal.” He’s Tony Robbins’ advisor, he’s Daymond John’s advisor, he’s been Stephen Covey and Brian Tracy’s advisor, not the other way around.
Then he got on stage and one of the pieces of his talk was about the strategy of preeminence— which is being the number one most trusted advocate for the consumer in your space, in your market, in your industry, whatever it is that you’re doing— and of course, us being in real estate, that became the premise of falling in love with your clients, whether it be your external clients, being those that are home sellers and home buyers of residential real estate, or it being internal clients, being your staff, your agents and all that.
That has been pretty much a foundational principle for our business, but there is also many other lessons learned, products, knowledge that Jay has in his arsenal after over 40 years of doing what he’s done. And this is a guy that used to, in the 90s when he did events, people would pay up to $25,000 per ticket, just to attend one of his seminars. And that’s talking about 90s money, not today’s money. He’s $120,000 for an eight-hour private consultation and why in the world do people pay that much?
Because it’s simple. He’s worth that much. If someone is going to pay $120,000 for eight hours and they saw the business problem that makes them two million, five million, ten million through the years, it’s a great investment, right? That’s probably of my expense items through the years, that’s my favorite expense, which is really not an expense. It’s an investment back into yourself, spent— my partner and I over what, $600,000 just on professional development and skills training, high-level mastermind, high-level seminars, et cetera, then probably right about another five to $600,000 worth of Jay Abraham’s time as well, to where he is my direct mentor.
That was the beauty of putting this book together; Jay speaks at a very high level, very high vocabulary, even Tony Robbins says that about Jay. So, some of it was being, you know— Einstein even said that any fool can make things complex, but it takes a real genius to make things simple and I’m not saying that Jay makes things complex, I’m just saying that I knew that I had to make it relatable and understandable to the audience so it would simplify things that they could also grow a real, real estate business, not just be a real estate agent. Because that is one of the worst things that can happen to a real estate agent, is time goes by very fast and the next thing you know, you’re 70, 75 years young and you’re selling real estate, not because you want to but because you have to.
That’s just not, to me, creating a life by design, to work your entire life. In a nutshell, what the book allows the readers to do is build a sustainable business that has an exit strategy attached to it. One of those seminars I did was Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery and actually, Jay spoke at that event as well.
Actually, I had shingles during the whole event, it was very painful. Tony keeps it very cold in his rooms to keep you alert, and it was like needles sticking me for like 14 to 16 hours per day in the back. Jay spoke at that event and one of the things that Tony Robbins says very early in Business Mastery is that, if you don’t have an exit strategy, whether it’s two years, five years, 20, 50 years from now, whenever the timeframe may be but if you don’t have an exit strategy, you don’t have a business, you have a job.
Benji Block: That’s good.
Jason Williford: That’s the goal of the book, to not only educate them to build a business but also create more freedom back in their lives. Because successful agents, some of them work like 80 to a hundred hours a week and they’re just out pounding the pavement, they’re road warriors. Also, makes it to where your time away from home is not good and if you look at the wheel of life— and I think it’s Zig Ziglar that came up with the wheel of life— there’s eight spokes in the wheel of life and one of those spokes is business, not all eight of them. I mean, you have family, you have relationships, you have love, finances, et cetera, et cetera.
That’s the reason why the divorce rate, if you did just a little bit of research on divorce rates of real estate agents, it’s like, for women, I think it’s number four of all professions and for men it’s number five. I may have that flipflop but long story short, men and women are within the top five for divorce rates. Not to mention all the stress that comes along with real estate. Real estate does look easy to the outside world but it’s not, there’s a lot of stuff that goes on behind the scenes that people just don’t see that a real estate agent has to do.
Long story short, the book is not only designed to help them grow a business exponentially, utilizing Jay Abraham’s timeless principles, because this is not a book about just what you need to do right now. That’s a fad that will quickly wither away. This book is about timeless principles, no matter what happens and changes, that they can go back into the book, not just read it one time but keep that book on the shelf and bring it down when they do have a business problem, something that’s stumping them, and they can go back into the book and figure out how to crack the code or excuse me, release that log jam that’s holding their business up and break free.
Developing Your Mindset to Be Solutions Driven
Benji Block: Awesome. Well yeah, I love this idea that you want to simplify and then help create sustainable real estate businesses. Let’s jump into some of the content here. One of the things you advocate for early on in the book is innovative breakthroughs and not just small steps or incremental growth, right? What’s the thinking there and maybe could you provide an example?
Jason Williford: Yes, I can provide a quick example. I study a good bit of neurolinguistics programming, which is human psychology and human behavior, human communication. I’m always working to get better; I’m not saying that I’ll never tell you I know it all, but I did have a call with a coaching client just a couple of days ago. He said something about, “Hey, it’s going to take— that’s a good idea for me to be able to break through this fear of snakes that I have.”
Because part of his business model is working with investors and there’s times that, when you’re going into an investment property, sometimes the— many times, actually, the maintenance on the home hasn’t been kept up and him speaking about, “Hey, I have to go into these basements and these crawl spaces and I worry about the snakes and my girlfriend, she just jokes around, isn’t serious, but she’s kind of picks at me a little bit because of it but that’s something I’d like to breakthrough in the next couple of years.”
What I mentioned to him is like, “No, no, no, no. I’ve seen people break through phobias and fears like in five minutes. Why in the world, if that’s something that truly holds you back in life, why do you— if you don’t have to wait two years, why do you have to wait two years? Because you can break through that phobia in minutes.” If it’s something that’s holding you back, you know?
Benji Block: Yeah, absolutely. I’ll quote you here. I loved this paragraph, you said, “You cannot achieve the mindset of a creative breakthrough genius with an old negative problem-focused mindset. You’re going to need to change the way you think from here on out. You must shift your way of thinking to an opportunist predator, rather than a problem-focused prey.”
I just wonder, for you, Jason, what has that journey been like, and is that something that you’ve— as the opportunist— always sort of been on the inside of you and you’ve always advocated for others to find it? Or is it something that you’ve watched develop over the years?
Jason Williford: I’ve watched it develop over the years and I’m still developing myself.
Benji Block: Right, yes.
Jason Williford: Again, I’m always evolving until the day that I die. Here’s my saying that a mentor told me and hopefully it’s in the book, I can’t remember if it is, or it isn’t but you’re either green and growing or you’re brown and dying. I think that there is no stagnant point at any given point in time, including right now, me and you being on this episode right here. We’re either getting better or we’re not.
Benji Block: Yup.
Jason Williford: I’m always working to get to be better at that. One thing that I found in the past couple of years, it really helps me out, is Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. And one of the reasons I even started it was because I had claustrophobia— which is kind of crazy also for me to do it for that reason because you’re being pinned down. I’m a pretty stocky guy, I work out six to seven days a week and when they pair me up with someone, it’s usually someone that’s 250, 300 pounds or so, and being smothered with someone on top of you, you have to think of ways to get out of that, like different angles to get out of that. Just one of my mental models that came from this, that I even use in Jiu Jitsu, is simple; figure it out. “I’m stumped. Figure it out.” That’s my mental model, that’s just my next stop figured out.
That sounds very simple but what about when you just have that mental model that rather then, when you’re crushed by something bad that’s happened in your day or in your life of just focusing on that problem and getting down— and yes, I do, I have a lifelong history of depression. I’m just a very authentic and upfront person so one of the reasons why I do all that training, which is probably right about over 60 grand in the past 18 months of just neurolinguistics programming, is programming my own mind to get what I demand out of life but also, handle my own emotions. You know what I’m saying?
To live in more of a warrior and a wizard— not that I’m a wizard— but there are different archetypes that you can live in. But I want to live in that more than live in my orphan, which is my bad childhood and living there too long and living in me being homeless— when I was homeless, living in the back of my 300 ZX. I don’t want to— now, it’s good to quickly visit those spaces to know where you’ve been, where you don’t want to be back again, but also to celebrate how far you’ve came too.
I think many people, when they have something catastrophic happen in their life, they can live in that moment and, without a doubt, it holds them back from getting what they want not only in their business but out of their life.
Benji Block: When it comes to these mental models and trying to navigate the warrior/wizard and trying to be more there, versus maybe in that orphan space, how have you seen that translate specifically into your real estate and business development?
Jason Williford: It just— my mind shifts to simply— rather than focusing on the problem, I’m focusing on a solution with the simple mental model of, “figure it out. Just figure it out.” And then I go to figure it out, what can I do to solve this business problem to unleash that proverbial log jam that if we— if we had a river and the river was flowing perfectly and now the next thing you know, there’s now log jams that’s constraining the business. Constraining the systems, the processes, procedures, et cetera— how do I remove those logs from the process to free it up, to free back up the system?
Or, I live in the world of optimization and the reason why I live in the world of optimization is from being a student and protégée of Jay Abraham, there’s never a finish line. There’s always improvement that can be done in every area of your business and that’s really what this book does.
It’s all about discovering breakthroughs and why did I make chapter number two, the chapter of unleashing your inner creative breakthrough genius. My strategy, my hidden agenda with that was to open people’s minds up to a new way of thinking, to shift their paradigm, to program their mind so that they open their mind up to the rest of the chapters in the book, so they see things that they didn’t currently see in their business.
Benji Block: In real estate clearly, problems arise. In fact, in the book you list 10 plus and then we kind of need the strategy, right? There is a strategy that you advocate for that I loved reading about, and you mentioned it a little earlier. You learned it from Jay, but it is the strategy of preeminence. How can that be a game-changer for listeners? When I say, “The Preeminent Agent” what qualities would that agent exude?
Jason Williford: The Preeminent Agent is— and it ties in back to mindset, what we were just talking about in chapter two— it’s very high level not just generically viewing the client, not just as a client because you have a listing agreement signed or a buyer agreement signed, which is our fiduciary responsibility— that word always gets me in the pronunciation— but you really, at a deep high level, have a fiduciary responsibility to protect their best interest and your viewing your target audience as clients before they’re even clients.
You fall in love with your clients more so than you do your own products and services. You sell clients not more than what they need. You don’t sell them a $700,000 home if they only truly need a $550,000 home. But on the other end of that stick, you don’t sell them less of what they need either, being if they do need that $550,000 home, you do everything in your power to not let them buy that $350,000 piece of crap home that’s going to cost them in the long run $400,000 in repairs just to get it up to where it needs to be at, or it’s just flat out the wrong home for them.
Maybe they’re trying to be a little cheap, sometimes I can be cheap as a consumer. For the most part, though, I believe in value and not paying a cheap price because cheap and great quality usually are not in the same sentence when being a consumer buying anything, especially buying a home. I think that’s a pretty big one, not allowing them to buy too little either, but not allowing them to buy too much.
Asking them the right questions, being the trusted advisor and I guess something that I can relate back to how I’ve utilized that in our business, the strategy of preeminence is just one example, Instant Offer companies. Metro Atlanta, the market that we’ve built our company in is also one of the top targets for Instant Offer companies that want to partition, they want to disrupt the industry.
They would love to remove the real estate agent from the transaction because— and I can’t remember the number but I did the calculations one time— how much approximately does the real estate consumer spend on commissions throughout America in a given year? And it was an astronomical amount. I can’t remember if it was $100 billion or $10 billion. I can’t remember the number, but it was astronomical.
Of course, there are people that would love to intercept that money, link the buyer and the seller up and cut the real estate agent out. Part of this book also, the reason I wrote it was to protect the industry as well for real estate agents to give much, much, much, much, much more value than these companies could even think about giving, and how I used that was like in a rodeo campaign when they came into the market.
We had a choice that hey, we could join that offer and say, “We have an instant offer. We can give you an instant cash offer in 24 hours” and how those programs really work is investors are buying those and investors, if you’re a seller, are they’re going to pay you top dollar for your home? Of course, they’re not, because they have to have a profit margin within there so they can be a profitable business.
That became part of my strategy of writing the ad copy for the rodeo response of positioning that, hey, an instant offer could work great for you if your home is in poor condition, if you’re in a distressed situation, you’re about to lose your home and lose your equity. That could work great for you but if you are not in this market that we’re in right now, you need to be aware of those programs because they could be losing you 20 to 30% of your equity.
That was just one quick example of being the trusted advocate for the consumer. Whether my choice at the time was the right choice or not, that was the choice that I made that hey, let’s stand up for the consumer. Just be straight with them because those ads, they are not too— in my book— straight with the consumer because they don’t tell about what really happens after they get the offer. That is the strategy of preeminence. It’s looking after the consumer. It’s being that trusted advocate for the consumer.
Setting Yourself Apart
Benji Block: You touched on marketing there a little bit and some of that ad copy. Let’s go there for a minute. How would you identify where you have some marketing availability? What are some strategies that maybe have helped set you apart, and then on the flipside, what are some of those big mistakes you see being made when it comes to marketing in real estate?
Jason Williford: Within the book— and it’s all in the book. And I know we’re here to discuss the book and I don’t want to give out all of the secrets so everybody will read the book, you have to buy the book, but there is two primary chapters that dives deep into marketing and this is another pull from Tony Robbins’ Business Mastery, which I love Tony and a lot of the content actually started with Jay Abraham’s teaching for Business Mastery.
Business Mastery is like $10,000 just for one ticket for a four-day event, so it is very expensive but it’s money well-invested. But there’s two chapters in there and what are the three highest dollar-producing activities that any business owner can be doing. Number one is strategy, which obviously is Jay Abraham’s wheelhouse, and it has become mine as well through the years. Number two is marketing. Number three is innovation/differentiation.
Any business owner that is your highest dollar-producing activity that you can be doing as owning your real estate business, whether you are an independent agent, it’s just you out there which you really do have a team usually. If you are producing agents selling 25 plus homes at least per year, you’re going to have people that you have to rely on to just do that amount of business, usually, unless you’re working 100 plus hours a week but those team leaders.
Whether you have one agent, five agents, you know, 100, it all starts out with strategy but then marketing. I did ask this question to Jay Abraham when I did my first private consult with him and it is kind of just a curiosity question, and the question was, “Who wins? Who wins, the master strategist or the master marketer?” and Jay is a tough one to get onto. I mean, he’s had over 10,000 clients and over, I believe, it’s a thousand different industries through the years.
But for just a few seconds of putting him onto, for just a couple of seconds and then he was like, “The master strategist wins”, because if you’re not a master strategist, you don’t have a marketing plan. You don’t have a marketing budget and if you do not know marketing— because marketing is a very close second— if you don’t learn how to acquire clients, not only acquire new clients but also retain clients to create lifelong clients, which is another piece of the strategy of preeminence, how do I not only create a client one time that’s going to buy a home or sell a home? How do I make that client be a lifelong client that calls me back five to seven years from now and says, “Hey, that home you bought from me, that you helped me buy, I’m ready to sell it but I’m also ready to buy a home, but I also have a friend that’s looking to do the same thing.”
Not even going back to the sell-cycle with real estate is a long sell-cycle, being it’s not like someone buying a car every two or three years, whatever it is. Seven years has been a normal timeframe of people making a move, the normal average timeframe. Does that mean I have to wait seven years on average for someone to come back and do business? No, because a raving fan client is going to be sending you referrals.
Not just sending you referrals, and there’s a chapter in the book and it’s all about referral business in there because referrals, they are the number one most proven, most profitable, easiest to work with client but they’re also the most overlooked and underutilized lead source on the planet. And Jay’s asked this question for many years, 30 plus years, so I got it from him, and I started using the question. The question is, how many predictable referral strategies do you currently have in your business that predictably generates referrals?
The most common answer is usually zero to two and that is one thing on a side note that I did develop a product from Jay Abraham’s “secret vault” I call it, stuff that he just has in there personally and I discovered a completely innovative— because he’s known as the referral guru around the world, like even Damon John says, “Hey, he’s the best in the world when it comes to referral generating systems” and celebrity endorsements as well— but I created a lead agent referral mastery, which was used in that product.
I purposed it specifically and exclusively for real estate agents, where there’s 217 predictable referral strategies to choose from, where the goal is to take that zero, to two strategies and make that 15 within 90 days. 15 strategies versus zero or two that utilizing that most proven, most profitable lead source on the planet, which is referrals, which has probably been around even before Jesus walked the planet.
Benji Block: Referrals are a walking billboard and always going to be, especially in this day and time where advertising is everywhere, referrals are the secret sauce. They’re what you need, so I appreciate that and then the resources in the book, as mentioned, speak a lot more to that and dive in deep to where it’s highly applicable. There’s so much in the book that is that way on purpose, strategies that you can apply to your business and take straight from the book.
Jason, I want to say thanks for spending time with us here on Author Hour today. As people have listened and they’ve gotten so much out of this interview and this content, if they want to connect with you further beyond just checking out the book, where can they find you and where could they reach out?
Jason Williford: They can find me on platinumrealestatecoaching.com or jasonwilliford360.com, which that ties to all my social media, Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, all of those channels and also there’s a link that goes to platinumrealestatecoaching.com as well and there are some free resources that I plugged in the book, that’s hidden within the book so you have to read the book, and there’s also massive action assignments after most of the chapters.
This is not just a book to read for your intellectual entertainment, it is a book designed for you to execute to move your business forward and upward.
Benji Block: Amazing. Well, the book is called, The Ultimate Real Estate Machine, it’s on Amazon now. We encourage you to go pick it up. Jason, thanks for being on Author Hour today. I know this book is going to be a great resource for so many.
Jason Williford: Thank you very much. Thank you for having me on.
Benji Block: Absolutely.