Paul Ringon is the principal and team leader at The Ringon Group, a straightforward and hands-on real estate group. In his segment, he discusses what he looks for when hiring top performers and how unnecessary fluff can make agents lose buyers.
Topic – Inman Connect highlights
Mentor – Paul Ringon
Kevin: The amazing thing about going to a conference like Inman Connect in New York, just the number of people you meet. We’re approached by many operators, agents, and people who run businesses to interview them. One in particular that attracted me was my guest in this interview, and that’s Paul Ringon. While he had a lot to offer, it was really the catchphrase behind his business that caught my attention. You’ll see what I mean.
Kevin: My guest this time is Paul Ringon. And Paul has his own team. I’m particularly attracted to talk to you, Paul, because of your byline. I’ve got to say, most unusual, the no BS or the no bullshit approach. Paul, welcome.
Paul: Thank you for having me. I appreciate it.
Kevin: Tell me about your company, and how it’s structured, and where you work from.
Paul: Sure. I’m the principle and team leader of The Ringon Group Fine Homes at DeBianchi Real Estate. So if you wanna think of it as a brokerage within a brokerage, that’s kind of how we explain ourselves to people. You see a lot of team structures, especially where we are in South Florida.
Kevin: So explain to me the term of a broker. A broker is someone who can have an office or their own business, real estate business, whereas an agent is something totally different. So do you have agents working for you?
Paul: We have agents working as a team. A broker is the only one who can legally hire agents and pay agents.
Kevin: And that’s, you’re a broker.
Paul: I’m actually not a broker. So I’m a team lead. It’s a way of possibly owning a business without having to own the business.
Kevin: Yeah, I understand that. That’s actually quite common in different parts of the world now. It’s becoming quite strong. On your team, I believe, three people, tell me what they do.
Paul: I’m the team lead. I also handle a lot of the marketing. Prior to real estate, I owned my own brand development agency, so that’s kind of made its way into how we operate as a team. Alvaro, who’s here with me at Inman, is one of my associates, and he handles a lot of the buyers and sellers as well. It’s kind of, we have a lot of reciprocation. So when you get me or Alvaro, you get the entire team. Then my partner Wesley is also part of our team, and he has more of an administrative role. So he kind of deals with a lot of things behind the scenes, as well as kind of putting me in two places at once. And that’s how we’re structured right now.
Kevin: Because in the US there’s the environment or the structure, a system of a buyer’s agent and a seller’s agent.
Kevin: You’re moving through that. So you can actually work for the buyer and the seller?
Paul: Yeah, we actually, right now we don’t assign any particular associate to buyers only or sellers only. We kind of cover all bases when it comes with that. There are people that will argue that it’s not efficient, but for us, it seems to be working right now.
Kevin: Is it about efficiency, or is it about transparency? Because some people say that one team can’t work on behalf of the buyer and the seller.
Paul: We try to be very transparent, and that kind of ties back into our no bullshit … can I say that?
Kevin: You can, well, you’ve said it, so it doesn’t matter.
Paul: Our no bullshit real estate experience.
Kevin: Okay, tell me why you’ve taken that approach. Because do you sense that there’s a lot of BS in the industry?
Paul: I think any new agent in the industry, I’m going on my sixth year now, you come into it wondering why some agents get this listing, or have these buyers. You open up any listing that’s a million-plus, or even under it, it’s like you have the cellphone shot. You have the picture of the toilet seat open.
Paul: Very unprofessional, and they’re making $30,000 on this, yet they can’t spend the money to properly market, to even answer their phones. Some only will communicate by email. We’re in a day and age where things need to be instant, you find that there’s a lot of BS surrounding that, or they oversell, and then you step into the property, and it looks nothing like the photos.
Kevin: Because there’s two things different there. There’s the BS side to it, which is buying listings, overestimating their value, and then trying to work them down in the market value. The other side is the unprofessional side, which is the bad photography and bad representation. Do you think that’s bringing about a new age agent in that they’re a lot more professional and more full-time?
Paul: Sure. I tend to network a lot. I have a lot of colleagues in the industry that have either been in real estate shorter or longer than I. It seems like those agents that really wanna be in it, and you have a good work ethic, those are the agents that are rising above everyone else versus the ones that, “Oh, let me just dip my toe in it,” and then you see them gone within a year or two. I think the people that I at least surround myself with, tend to be a little bit more savvy, and wanna know the tools that they can use to market properties better, and just try to cut the BS, and don’t fluff things.
Kevin: It takes a while to establish a following in any industry, but particularly in real estate. It’s a high-value proposition that we’re offering. We’re dealing with someone’s most valuable asset. So there has to be a great level of trust, and you can’t have that if you’re moving in and out of the industry. I’ve often wondered if people who are doing it part-time can really be all that successful.
Paul: I have a reference to that. There was someone that I knew that decided they were just going to now also become a realtor, and it was like, “Trust me with this because you trust me with something completely unrelated.” Business creates business, so how are you supposed to know the ups and downs, the ins and outs of things, if you’re not dealing with it constantly and consistently?
Kevin: Yeah, because great agents make difficult things look easy. I think a lot of people believe that they can come into real estate and give it a try, when really real estate tries you. Can I ask you, Paul, then when you’re recruiting for people, top performers, what do you look for? What makes them stand out?
Paul: Personality. You gotta have personality. You can’t just be a wet rag. You have to be committed to really finding what it is, that common thread is, between you and your client, whether it’s a buyer or a seller. Once you find it, you pull at it, and you create that connection. I often joke that we cross the line between client and agent and become more friends. Those are things that I look for. How are you gonna relate to the people that we’re working with? Because it’s really, it’s not always about organisation. It’s not always about being able to sell someone. It’s relationship based, and a lot of people forget that.
Kevin: It’s empathy too, isn’t it?
Kevin: I mean, being able to put yourself in someone else’s position, understand that this is a big, emotional shift for them that you do quite often, but they may only do it once or twice in their life.
Paul: Sure. For me, I bought my own home with my partner a couple years ago, and to be able to relate to the issues. Because the joke is that we’re our own worst clients. But with our lending process, with the searching for a home, I can actually empathise with people. I’m like, “Listen, I went through the same thing looking for my own home. I went through the same thing trying to get the money.”
Kevin: Can we talk about technology just for a moment?
Kevin: We’ve only got a minute or two left. But technology, Facebook, Twitter, great levels of quick communication, but are they effective? You can’t beat the face-to-face.
Paul: It’s funny that you mention that because I’m actually speaking later on this week, Opening up The Real Estate Marketer’s Toolbox. I’m excited to share the things that have worked for me and my team.
Kevin: What are they?
Paul: Facebook, Instagram, just even the basic levels of using it, but the tools to elevate, and how to actually use those platforms to connect with people. It’s really not about the flash. It’s communicating genuinely to anyone that’s watching. We’ve gotten leads off of Facebook and Instagram. You never know who’s watching till they contact you.
Kevin: What sort of content are you putting out on those platforms?
Paul: We put a lot of content geared towards the homes that we sell, of course, neighbourhoods. We like to get really heavily involved with small businesses. Having a small business previously, and considering this is a small business, those are the things we wanna push. Kind of enlighten people about areas.
Kevin: So it’s more about the lifestyle of the area that you wanna get into as opposed to the properties that you’re marketing. It’s a bit-
Paul: It’s a mix.
Paul: And sometimes if my clients are comfortable, we’ll put them on camera too. Let people see the journey they’re going through. It’s not all flash and glam. Sometimes you gotta wade through the crap out there on the market to get to the home that will really fit them.
Kevin: Yeah. Paul, glad to catch up with you here. Thank you.
Paul: I appreciate you having me.
Kevin: We’re enjoying being here, and it’s great to be in your country. So thank you for being wonderful hosts. It’s been great.
Paul: Thank you.
Kevin: Good, Paul. Thank you very much.
Paul: Have a good one.
Kevin: That was just one of the 60 interviews we did when we were at Inman Connect in New York. Now you can see those. We recorded them in video, and you can see them all right now at propertyTV.io. Check it out for yourself. We compiled them into shows, and we’ll also be featuring them individually. That website again is propertyTV.io.