Starting Strong with StartingPoint Realty [Interview]

Full disclosure: Ryan Gable helped my husband and I to buy our first home last year. His crystal clear niche marketing strategy is a big part of why we selected StartingPoint Realty over others in the marketplace. We figured if he was smart enough to target his potential clients with such clarity, then he was probably smart enough to help us find our dream home. We were right.

The one thing that this profile does not emphasis enough is Ryan’s people skills. There are many testimonials on the StartingPoint Realty website, but this one sums it up the best:

“Ryan is really a psychotherapist who doubles as a Realtor – kind of like a super hero.”

So true. His entire company’s enthusiasm is infectious.


Introducing Ryan Gable

Ryan Gable is the Managing Broker and CEO of StartingPoint Realty. After beginning his career in sales and sales management, Ryan launched his company in 2004… with zero real estate experience. Since that time, he has grown StartingPoint Realty into a successful venture with multiple offices – defining and owning the “first-time buyer” niche in the Chicago area.

 

What do you do?

StartingPoint Realty is a unique firm in the real estate agency industry because we primarily deal with the first time homebuyer market. Our mission and passion is to educate and inspire those who contact us looking for help with buying their first home. In 2014, 95% of our transactions involved a first time homebuyer – that percentage is the highest in the country. We have 15 agents and we operate two offices; Schaumburg, IL and Roscoe Village in Chicago, IL. Our Chicago office is actually set up as a homebuyer resource center with information, collateral, and available staff to assist and inform potential homebuyers. Not all of those who receive information from us utilize us as an agent, but it’s not about the commission with us, it’s about making a positive impact in the first time homebuyer journey.

What accomplishment are you most proud of?

When I started the company 11 years ago, I was on my own with no real estate experience. I had this crazy idea to focus solely on first time homebuyers. Many thought I was nuts. But I’m proud of the agents that we’ve brought on board to work at StartingPoint Realty. When you start a company with a niche that’s never been been done before, you’re operating on faith. I am most proud of the talented people who are dedicated to serving the purpose of our company.

How do you stay on top of things day-to-day?

Real estate is a constant wave. It’s up or down, rarely steady. We do have an office assistant and we utilize a Virtual Assistance / Marketing company (realsupportinc.com) and they are great. RealSupport helps us with marketing, administrative, social media – I pay them on an as needed basis so when we’re busy, we lean on them quite a bit. When it’s slower, we can pull back. This works better for us as opposed to operating and maintaining a full in-house staff. We also utilize a robust CRM system that helps us keep track of past, current, and future clients. When used on a daily basis, this system truly helps our agents generate more business and operate more efficiently.

How do you keep your eye on the big picture?

Written goals, objectives, tactics and time blocking. We started utilizing time blocking this year and the impact has been huge. As agents, we get so bogged down with client work between March and August, you have to make time to look at your overall strategy for the year. For me, it’s in the next 36 months. I time block one hour a week specifically to look at our long-term strategy. I am a visual person, so if I start to focus on a big goal, I usually get there. But I need to focus on it every week, not once a quarter.

On your worst day in the office, how do you put things in perspective?

First, I put on some Van Morrison. Astral Weeks is a great record to get my mind off of anything. A whole different landscape will surround me in a matter of seconds. Then I read our testimonials. We have quite a few on Yelp and archived on our website. The reviews are heartfelt messages and when I go back and read a few, I’m reminded of our mission and commitment to this group of people.

If you could give one piece of advice to someone starting out in your career path, what would it be?

For those starting a company (or working independently), there are three key steps that are so important and yet so cliché: find your passion, identify the need, and then commit to the work. I always keep it simple because I don’t see these three elements enough in the marketplace, except from the top performers.

I have a lot of friends and colleagues that quit their job and they talk about finding another job or starting a small business. I always ask, ‘what are you passionate about?’ or ‘what would you do if making money was not the main concern?’ and I’m always surprised by the answer of ‘I don’t know.’ In the real world, you need to make money…but start with your passion and your skill set.

Then you need to understand that working on your own is 110% hustle and that means 12 hour days, sometimes 7 days a week. At least in the beginning. I read a quote that the small business owner works 70 hours a week so they can avoid the 40-hour, 9-5 downtown job. There’s some accuracy in that statement, but I find a lot of people THINK they work 70 hours a week when they go into business for themselves, but they really don’t. Sometimes not even close and that’s why they fail. Hold yourself accountable and if you won’t, find someone who will (a coach, colleague, etc.).

What is your best networking tip or trick?

Very simple: Do it and commit to doing it once a month. There are so many fancy networking tactics, but most don’t commit to showing up. Show up and be yourself.

How do you stay engaged with your work?

I know the question is ‘How’, but for me the ‘How’ stems from ‘Why do I stay engaged’. I’m engaged with my work because I believe in what my company is doing. We are changing people’s lives and our client’s sense of accomplishment at a closing is priceless. We have the client experience down, it’s now a matter of growing the company and that keeps me engaged everyday.


To learn more about StartingPoint Realty, please visit www.startingpointrealty.com, follow them on Twitter, or find them on Facebook.

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