Mike McElroy is a top producer that attributes much of his efficiency to systems. He believes in empowering his brokers with these processes to help them grow their own practices. In our conversation, Mike deep dives into his favorite systems, tools, and technology that drive his business. We discuss the importance of mentorship, coaching and how his firm, Center Coast Realty, stresses culture to create an environment for his brokers to thrive.

Mike McElroy can be reached at mike@centercoastrealty.com and 312-561-4095

center coast realty


D.J. Paris 0:14
Hello, and welcome to another episode of Keeping it real. The only podcast made by Chicago real estate brokers for Chicago real estate brokers. My name is DJ Parris. I am your host to the show. And we are back. So we took a week off to celebrate the Thanksgiving holiday, and appreciate all of the feedback that we’ve been getting recently. And just yesterday, we got two or three really wonderful messages from listeners with really great ideas of future episode topics. One in particular, just give you an idea of what people are writing us. And maybe that’ll spurn some additional thoughts for our listeners on what we should, you know, work on in 2018 for episode ideas. So we said, hey, I’m really good at doing open houses, but I’m not really sure how to convert those leads from once I they come into the open house, they get their information into actual clients. So I’m going to be talking to Carrie McCormack about that, hopefully this weekend for our next episode. But if you have ideas, please do not be shy, you can reach us on our Facebook page, which is search for keeping it real pod, or on our website, we have a contact form keeping it real pod.com. And today on the show, we have Mike McElroy, and it’s one of my favorite episodes we’ve done because Mike and I are huge tech and systems nerds and we just geeked out for almost an hour about all the systems he used a lot utilizes with his own business and also the brokers that he mentors and coaches. So I think you guys are going to love it. And also remember to tell a friend, if you have other brokers in your office that you think would like to hear what top heavy hitter producers are doing piece, please pass this along to them. And then lastly, if you’re somebody who wants to advertise on our show, and get in front of about 5000 brokers every time we do a podcast, reach out to us and you can you can you can sponsor a show. So thanks so much. We’re glad to be back hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving and into the holiday season here. We’ve got so many episodes, we’re gonna try to get through all of them before the end of December. I think I have five that are waiting to be produced. So we’re gonna get those out to you shortly. I’m glad you guys are liking them so much. It really means a lot to us. And again, thanks and undo our interview with Mike.

Today on the show, we have Mike McElroy. Mike is the founder and managing broker of center Coast Realty. He believes real estate is the most accessible and rewarding pathway to personal and financial freedom. And his mission is to help Realtors build rewarding profitable careers. Graduate of Indiana University Mike has served on the Chicago Association of Realtors finance committee, as chair of the association’s award winning Young Professionals Network and on the board of the Indiana University’s Alumni Association, charter chapter. Thanks, Mike for being on the show. Welcome. Thanks, TJ. Good to be here. Well, you were on our very first list of people to interview and in fact, when I saw you at a YPN event on a technology panel that I think you moderated if I remember correctly. You were one of the impetus is actually for me to get this podcast going because for years I had told my boss like that would be really fun to do as a way to give back to the community and certainly even to our own brokers who are always interested in hearing what top producers are doing. And I said, I wrote your name down, you might have been the first or second name I wrote down if people I wanted to talk to you, in particular because of your love of systems and sort of what you’ve done at your firm and, and just how you’ve built your business. So I’m really excited to finally get you on the show here. So thank you so much for your time.

Mike McElroy 3:55
Absolutely. I had no idea and I’m at that’s very gratifying to hear that I was able to be a small bit of inspiration for this awesome podcast

D.J. Paris 4:04
that you’ve put together. Thank you actually say that to everybody.

I was just gonna say

it really is the truth. I was sitting there in the audience and I go, I gotta get I literally was talking about this doing this for years. And then when you started getting specific with with systems, I was like, Oh, this is exactly the kind of information I want to put out there. So anyway, I would love to hear about how you got into real estate and can you tell us that? You know that story? Yeah, absolutely.

Mike McElroy 4:31
So I guess my real estate story really starts back in college when I was lucky enough to get a great taste of entrepreneurship back then. Where I was able to run a franchise. It was actually a franchise painting company where I got to do sales and marketing and recruit and hire and train and basically run an entire company from scratch. So I got the entrepreneurship bug back then, you know, I didn’t make a ton of money, but I learned a lot. And I knew I always wanted to run my own business. But for some reason, after college, I decided to try to work for somebody else. And, you know, that went okay for about two years. But after that, I just, you know, is was actually the middle of the recession. And I was working, this is kind of a dumb story. But for some reason that’s always stuck with me. I was working at a radio station selling advertising in Chicago. It’s a tough job. It’s a tough job. And I had a guarantee, but it’s 100%. Commission to and it’s just, it’s it’s like real estate when it comes to 100% Commission, but with way more oversight. So by the end of it, our station wasn’t doing well, because not a lot of people been advertising in 2008. And I think they had us, you know, signing out on a whiteboard to go on calls just to you know, make sure they knew where we were at at all times. So I remember one time, there was a Starbucks and I was in the AON center. So Starbucks downstairs, was going down for probably my third cup of coffee at 1030 in the morning, because that was sleepy. And I saw these people who are working at Starbucks. And what struck me about those people was, they had been there for my second cup of Starbucks, and my first cup of Starbucks. So they were just hanging out in Starbucks all day. And I was, I thought, Who Who are these people, they’re just they don’t have to go back upstairs to their boss. They’re totally free. This sounds amazing. I want that. But I didn’t know how to get it until a couple of months later, when out of the blue, a friend of mine, from a previous job called me and said his company was growing really quickly, and they were hiring. And they were looking for people to be leasing agents. And I didn’t really know anything about that or real estate at all. But he told me that he set his own hours worked from home sometimes, and made really good money, just meeting people, and probably the least salesy sales job he’d ever had. And I said, Okay, that’s interesting. So I checked it out. It was a really great entrepreneurial company, with a lot of very forward thinking, and they really wanted to change the industry. Or a few, you know, structural things that didn’t quite work for me. And funny enough, back then you didn’t need two years of experience in the business to get your managing broker’s license, which you right? Absolutely, should, absolutely should, but you didn’t really expect them. And I said, even then I was like, You should probably, I need a little more experience. But what the heck, if you’re gonna let me get it, I’ll just get that one. So I did, and after about 10 months in the business, I just struck out on my own. And that’s kind of how I got started.

D.J. Paris 7:50
That’s yeah, that’s really interesting. I think, you know, leasing is a great way to cut your teeth, and just get a lot of sort of face time with with clients. Obviously, it’s a different type of transaction much faster, less, in some ways, less complicated, of course, but what, what so when you when you started your own company, or as as your own managing broker, how old were you? I was 24. That’s amazing.

Mike McElroy 8:16
Still 24 I was 24 when I turned 20, for the week before I got into real estate, and I was still 24 When I started off on my own. So I learned how I learned how to I’m trying to think, you know, I learned all the requirements that the IDF PR has for a real estate office, before I learned, you know how a loan is underwritten, learn things kind of backwards.

D.J. Paris 8:43
In I imagined at 24. Most of your friends weren’t running around buying homes. So are you originally from Chicago or from I

Mike McElroy 8:52
grew up in the west suburbs? Yeah, I grew up out in Naperville.

D.J. Paris 8:55
Gotcha. So how did you know I mean, being 100% on your own? How did you you know, grow your business in the early years? What were some of the ways that you, you know, got in front of prospects?

Mike McElroy 9:06
Yeah, so I did everything. It was kind of, I was kind of wandering around in the real estate, wilderness, just kind of trying all kinds of stuff. So I definitely, I worked with a lot of renters and you know, you can have non exclusive listing agreements with apartment buildings in Chicago, and market those properties and meet renters that way. I also approached a lot of individual landlords who I saw who had their signs up or just had ads on Craigslist, and I said, Hey, you know, you’re doing this all wrong. Probably not getting a lot of exposure, because you’re not on the MLS and you’re not also following a whole bunch of rules that you’re going to need to Why don’t you let me take this for you? And all those people ended up buying or selling or both, eventually, so it was kind of a great way to build a base for my business. Back when, frankly, you know, homes weren’t selling too terribly well, in Oh 920 10 2011. Anyway, so when things finally turned around in 2012, I was in a great position.

D.J. Paris 10:13
I want to I want to back up just a moment, because I think this is an important point that maybe some of the brokers who are listening aren’t as familiar with with respect to leasing. And we get this question a lot in our firm as well, when a new broker comes on board, maybe is younger, or, you know, doesn’t have a lot of sales immediately to close, which would be pretty common to to not have. But what we always tell them is, a lot of times, they’ll go, oh, well, maybe I’ll do some leasing as a way as a stopgap solution before the sales really pick up which I think it makes a lot of sense what I tell them, and I suspect you would likely have have similar thoughts would be about going out and getting your own listings. And so you know, what Mike talked about, you actually said a lot in that previous part, which he basically told you how to go out and get rental listings, which was, you know, and this is something that is largely ignored by the broker community with rental listings in particular, there’s property management companies that will work with many different firms, you mentioned that. But then there’s the ability to go out as a leasing agent or licensed leasing agent or as a broker and getting your own rental listings. And it’s could be as simple as you see a for sale, or for rent sign, and you call them and say, hey, you know, I’m a broker? Are you currently working with a broker to help you get this place rented, I can do that for you. And I charge you know, one month’s rent or whatever it might be, you can also look at Craigslist ads, as Mike said, and start calling and saying, hey, I can help you, you know, with your exposure and get this place rented, it could be on a non exclusive basis, as well. So I apologize for getting a bit off track. But I think what you said was so incredibly valuable right there. For people who do want to do leasing, getting their own listings is I think the way to go, yeah,

Mike McElroy 11:49
absolutely. And just being educated, if you’re gonna go with leasing, and I get it, there’s a times it can be kind of a driver, you just got to look at it as getting paid, you know, if you don’t have money to invest in your business right up front, because we’re just getting started, it’s a great way to get paid, I’ll be at not a ton to network, look at it as networking. And so if you’re gonna do that, make sure you educate yourself on the not just a lot of brokers, especially at what I guess I’ll call traditional firms are familiar with what’s on the MLS, and that that’s kind of all they really have access to a whole universe of luxury residential property for rent out there. And I get it can be a little intimidating if you don’t know exactly what you’re doing. So hopefully, your broker or someone in the office can kind of help you out with that. But, you know, it’s actually a little bit more profitable. And more importantly, it’s the other half of the picture for your clients. And when I got started back in 2010, that’s really what I was offering is just, hey, listen, you know, you can go with one of these kind of leasing agencies, and they’re just going to take on the electric department circuit, or you can go with a traditional broker, and they’re going to show you what’s on the MLS, but I got both. So I was able to kind of niche myself that way.

D.J. Paris 13:05
Boy, that couldn’t have been better said that is absolutely the case. So if you’re, if you’re a broker who works at a firm, where you’re only looking at the MLS, for rentals, there is a world of a non MLS apartments that are available to you and vice versa. And the ability to offer both is is you know, obviously the, you’re just you’re just providing a better service at that point as well.

Mike McElroy 13:26
And, of course, they pay better to, like,

D.J. Paris 13:29
Well, yeah, that’s, that’s very true. And so and then you also said something at the very end of that, that was also critical, which was a lot of those people ended up becoming buyers down the road. So you know, it’s a wonderful way to jumpstart the career to get paid more quickly than waiting for your first sale to close not to say that everyone should should do leasing, but it’s certainly not the worst idea, everyone who will not everyone, but almost everyone who’s bought a place was a renter first. So I think that is a very, very smart, smart, smart plan.

Mike McElroy 13:59
And you got to stay in touch to not to keep going down the rabbit hole. But there I always tell people ask, you know, what should I do to get started in real estate and I always say, meet people and stay in touch with them. Or to get a little more specific make real estate connections, that’s I call a real estate connection, the contact information of someone who knows you’re a realtor and what that means. And then you got to organize that in a database CRM, whatever you’re using, and you’ve got to systematically nurture those contacts because that you know, everything you just said, the turning into buyers and sellers, you know, some of it would have happened just because people had a great experience and they remembered me but a lot of it wouldn’t have if I hadn’t stayed in touch with those

D.J. Paris 14:41
people. Well, I am guessing based on my understanding of your love of systems that you never let somebody go to the end of their leasing term without calling them prior going Hey, your leasing your your your lease is coming to in the next two months or you know, are you thinking about what you may want to do is this fact it’s a lot of it’s as simple as that. And I would bet you Most brokers sadly, don’t think to make that call.

Mike McElroy 15:05
Yeah, no, you’re absolutely right. And let’s

D.J. Paris 15:09
so that’s a great segue into into systems because I, you know, that’s that’s obviously something that’s really important to you. Can you talk a little bit about how you’ve systemized your business, and then how you even use it in your coaching when you when you work with your brokers in your own office?

Mike McElroy 15:23
Sure. So we’ve gone, I’d say we’ve had three major innovations in this in this realm. And I guess I sort of have this, maybe a little bit of an engineering mindset is a nice way to put it obsessive compulsive as another way to put it. So anytime I do something more than once, it should be a system. And it helps me go faster, and actually provide a better and more and actually more personal service to my clients, because I’m focused on them while my my system is running in the background. So the three big things for us, the first one was a system to automate service for clients. And I guess before I talk, I always like to clarify, a system should not be confused with technology. A system is just a term for a repeatable process that you follow that delivers a desired result. Hopefully that makes you work faster, or delivers a better product to your clients. So a system doesn’t have to be a piece of technology, it’s just a process that you follow. Technology helps you follow that process, it helps you organize that process and make it go faster. But those, those two terms get kind of interchanged a lot, and they’re definitely different. So the first, the first thing we did was really document exactly how we go about representing a buyer and a seller and also a renter and a landlord, although we focus mostly on on how to represent a buyer and a seller. And this is something that everyone from Michael Gerber and the E Myth to Gary Keller and Millionaire Real Estate Agent will tell you or Gino Wickman. And traction, all great books, by the way to read is you’ve got to document your systems. And so what we did was we started with just kind of a loose skeleton of here are the steps in a process. Whether you’re working with a buyer or seller starts with the moment you start talking to him, and how you prepare for that present first presentation, how you prepare for your showings, etc. And what we did was we just broke that down into it’s literally hundreds of sub component parts over time. So what would happen is I would get it really took off when I hired an assistant. Because I would say, Alright, I want someone to set up these showings. And my sister would say how would I set up these showings. And rather than explain something to someone five times we just document it. And we write down the exact process for setting up showings to make sure that everything’s confirmed, and I’m show up in the wrong place. And I have all the information that I need when I get there. And having that framework allowed us to build on that. So you know, eventually I had this client and she said I need to live within a half mile of a gym and a grocery store. And I said, Oh, wow, that’s so we started doing all this Google mapping, right? And you’re creating these little Venn diagrams in your brain. Like, I remember where the thing you just searched was and I was like, we need to build this. There’s this thing called Google mind maps, that’s a piece of technology, assist, right technology, and allows you to plot and save a whole bunch of different plots on a map. So we realized that a lot of people had the same issues. And we started doing that before every round of showings. So once we came up with this idea, like a lot of brokers, I think they have these cool ideas like oh, this would this would really improve my service, I should do this. And they do it once. But then they don’t they forget to do it the next time. They don’t execute on it every single time. But once you have a process that you follow, every time that you come up with something new and add it to your process, you just you end up following that every single time you execute, and you learn so much faster and allows you to iterate and really quickly improve the speed and effectiveness of your service.

D.J. Paris 19:28
Yeah, I’m just I’m sorry to jump in the middle. I was we did an interview early on in the in the show’s history, which is still early on in our history, but it was one of our first episodes. I think it was Kim Curtis could have been in a psychologist. Oh, yes.

Mike McElroy 19:42
Right. Yeah, great systems. Okay, good. So I’m pretty

D.J. Paris 19:45
sure it was Kim and one of the things she does and I hope that I’m attributing this to the right person because I have the world’s most horrible memory, which is why I have systems. But she talked about when she works with buyers and sellers. She asks them literally I believe it’s over two 100 questions, and she does it on paper, I suspect if she sits down with them for an hour or two before she ever does anything else. That’s what it is. That’s her system. Right. And I thought, boy, that’s that’s, you know, that’s a very low tech approach to a system but an incredibly effective technique.

Mike McElroy 20:21
Oh, totally. And I’ve done a deal with Kim, I want to say about a year and a half ago, she worked with Jonathan self in our office, but I oversaw it. And you can tell when you’re working with someone else who’s following a process, it goes much, much smoother. And I just like to go ahead, give a shout out. Thank Kim for the awesome contract sheet with all the information on it that she sent out at the beginning, that we now have created a template from us. Oh,

D.J. Paris 20:47
there you go. Wow. That’s amazing. Well, great. Yeah, I’m sorry, but you weren’t you are saying?

Mike McElroy 20:55
Oh, um, yeah. So I guess I’ll throw some technology in there too, because I know, that’s what the people want. So we use a tool, technology tool called Asana as a CNA, just kind of like yoga. And basically what it is, is it’s a really light, flexible, powerful task management system. So a lot of realtors know that they, especially if you’ve been around for a while you have a checklist for certain parts of your process, like you have a new listing checklist or you have a new contract checklist. So what Asana does is it organizes all of your checklists into one place into a project that you simply duplicate every time, you have a new version of one of those projects. So like we have a buyer template. And every time we work with a new buyer, we duplicate it the same thing for sellers, and workflows, you step by step through the entire process from start to finish. It organizes it. So it’s not overwhelming. And it but it goes down to an incredible level of detail. Because every time we make a mistake, or every time you learn something, it gets documented in there. So like, hey, if your buyers buying new construction, make sure that you’re not the first one to close or your underwriting process will be a huge pain. Like that’s a massive value add for our clients to avoid that, that underwriting quagmire. And experienced agents will remember that, you know, most of the time, but when you get busy and you got four or five deals that you’re negotiating at the same time, you know, sometimes you miss stuff like that. So just even me having it written down, I go through it every single time to make sure I don’t miss something, even though I’ve done it over and over again. And for new agents, it’s it’s invaluable. They can kind of just color by numbers, their first couple of real estate transactions with support of course. And for teams. You can assign tasks to people with due dates, keep track everything. So it allows you to scale really quickly and, and bring an assistant up to speed quickly as well.

D.J. Paris 23:04
Yeah, and so just to reiterate, Mike is referring to Asana, which is as a as a add a, it’s free until you start getting into the more premium features. And then it’s a very nominal cost. It’s a very well respected system. For our own workflow, I use a different tool, which is Trello. Mike and I were talking offline. And for certain types of things. Trello is great as well, some project management workflows, it’s okay for, and we use that. But if we if we didn’t have a system, and initially when we started this podcast, we really didn’t. And it just became a huge mess. And with and so it’s it’s really revolutionized our ability to stay on top of things, what other what other pieces of technology are you using to systematize your business.

Mike McElroy 23:48
So the next thing we implemented was a really great CRM, and I couldn’t find a real estate specific sarin that I liked. I feel like the problem with a lot of those is, and I get why they try to just work off the shelf. And the truth is, you need to set a CRM up, you need to spend a lot of time kind of mapping your business to the CRM to make it work. That’s why people pay consultants, you know 10s of 1000s of dollars to implement Salesforce in their business. And so there’s a lot of real estate CRMs are kind of trying to, you know, bridge that gap by just working off out of the shelf, but what they they lose a ton of functionality in that process and they lose a ton of flexibility. So we use HubSpot which is the big the big advantage of HubSpot is it’s integrated and it’s automatic. So it allows you to do a ton of different automations like if you flat if you categorize a certain contact as a buyer, it can sign them opt for a sequence of drip emails that goes out every two weeks that kind of nurtures them with advice about the market buying a home. It can, it can if people click a certain link in a certain email, it can trigger another email or it can say it can send an email to a owner of that contact and say hey, so and so has really taken a good look at your market update yet you just sent out it might be time to follow up. So we love we love HubSpot around here too.

D.J. Paris 25:29
That’s good HubSpot also directly integrates with Asana if I’m if I’m thinking correctly,

Mike McElroy 25:35
I’m not directly. You could do some things with Zapier. Zapier. I

D.J. Paris 25:40
see or if this than that, you know, either Zapier Yeah, yeah, so So that’s also really interesting, too. But what Mike is talking about with HubSpot is is what’s called if this than that, not not the actual system if this than that, but but this idea that when x happens when x event happens, you know why results. So you know, you’re dropping somebody in a very specific marketing track, or you’re dropping them into a particular group, which then receives a different level type of communication. We’re talking about systematizing. You know, the way you you communicate with your clients, your prospects, your closed, you know, contacts as well. Privates previous relationships. If you would, I apologize. I know where I might be getting you off track, you’d mentioned three major things. Were the first to the CRM and Asana or were there other

Mike McElroy 26:28
Yeah, Asana, CRM, and then the last one. So, you know, we started with taking great care of our clients with Asana. The next one was finding more clients with a CRM. And then our most recent one that I’m really excited about right now is planning your business. So a lot of realtors struggle, especially when they’re starting. But even when they’ve got a level of experience, or kind of just running on pure talent, they don’t have a great plan. And by plan, I mean, a sales plan. So if you want to close this many deals this year, exactly how many people do you need to put under contract? Go on showings with meet with? And how many prospects do you need of each of those types of business? And, and you really need to kind of plan that out. So you know, how to approach your year. And from there, you need to track how you’re actually doing? Are your conversion rates, you know, are is the same number of people that you meet with closing that you thought would you know, is that lining up? Or do you need to adjust something. So we built and it’s still kind of in minimum viable product status, but it’s pretty powerful already. It’s just, it’s just a series of spreadsheets, that syncs with our CRM, but what it allows you to do is input a few variables, and it spits out your entire sales plan for the year. So every single month, you know exactly what you’ve got to get out of your chair and go do in order to make yeah, that’s,

D.J. Paris 28:06
that is so so important. And well said I’ll give you a colorable example which speaks to this. I early on in the podcast interview, Josh Weinberg of the of the mutual Jeff’s Weinberg group, which I’m sure you know, those guys. And I asked, and I don’t know if this made it onto the podcast or not, I think it did. But if it didn’t, I’ll just repeat it or share it for the first time. But I asked Tommy what his team’s goals were for the, you know, the rest of the year. And it was interesting, because he’s He says, Yeah, we don’t really think like that. He says, what what we do know is, if Tommy meets 365 new people within the next 365 days, that’s literally that’s our goal is that he goes out and meets 365 new people that we’ve never talked to, basically one a day or, you know, however many that that is, when the AC works. We know we’re going to hit our actual financial goals, we don’t even worry about it because they’ve they’ve systemized systematize that down to he’s got to meet one person today. And if he does that, everything else falls into place because they know their conversions, right. And they trust that everything else has already been figured out. But it all boils down to just one basic activity, which then sets everything else in motion.

Mike McElroy 29:19
Yeah, I love those guys, because they make it so simple. Right? Now, there’s a lot of work that goes into figuring that, of course. But once you’ve got it, that’s the goal. That’s exactly the goal. So once you’ve figured out how many prospects How are you going to meet those people, you know, is it open houses? Is it going to networking events? Is it calling your sphere, and then figuring out exactly what you need to do every day? And that’s perfect. I just need to meet one person. Awesome. Like if that’s something you can just do. Right,

D.J. Paris 29:51
right, that that becomes something that that yeah, it’s right. It’s very, very doable, and I’ve tried to do that in my business as well. And I wanted to luck, you know what we’re what we’re really talking about a lot of this aside from the specifics of Cisco Systems, and also potentially using technology to, to assist those systems. We’re talking about coaching, right, ultimately, and I know that’s really important to you in the, into the culture of your firm and what you’ve built. So can you talk a little bit about the importance of coaching and how you do that with with your own brokers? Yeah, absolutely.

Mike McElroy 30:21
I mean, when you’re out there, just writing contracts and meeting clients every single day, I think brokers, very smart and talented people, they forget to just take a step back and take a look at their business, and actually plan. So I think that’s what coaching really helps with. So I still meet with even our experienced brokers, we meet once a month, and we say, alright, what were your goals from last month? What were the results? What roadblocks Did you run into? What else do you want to workshop, let’s set some goals for next month, and just being forced to take that hour and take that bigger picture view of their business helps them kind of get their head out of the trenches for a second, make sure they’re not not, you know, that they know, they’re running really fast, we just got to make sure they’re running in the right direction. So that’s, I think that’s really valuable. And the other part of it is just accountability. You know, you need even before when it was just me out there, I collected, I organized five or six different people that I just respected. Like my parents, a buddy of mine who is in business, one of my best friend’s dad’s. And I said, Alright, guys, I’m gonna put together a plan, and a whole list of goals, I’m gonna send it to you every month, you don’t need to respond, I just need to send it to you. And if you have anything to say, by all means, let me know. But I just need, I need that accountability. And so I had kind of this advisory council, my first couple years in business, before I got an actual coach myself, because I couldn’t afford one back then. And I think having that accountability is really valuable. So just the perspective, the sounding board, and also the accountability is something I really, I would encourage every broker to go and get.

D.J. Paris 32:15
Yeah, and I’d like to add to that, too. And I’ll tell you what I do, which is probably sounds pretty unusual and silly. But I went to a presentation by a gentleman named Marshall Goldsmith, which people can google him if they’d like, but he’s, he’s one of the foremost experts on leadership. And he’s in the world, he may be the foremost expert. He’s written, like, 60 books, and he’s definitely the guide. And one of the things he said is, is he had said to, to our this group that I went to, he said, The most important thing I’ve learned after, I think, 50 years teaching this in universities, and also to the public was that you need an accountability partner. And also, like Mike had just mentioned, maybe not one that necessarily rewards or or punishes you, but just one that you can report to. And so I got this idea from him. And he showed all this data, he’s a statistician, really, and he showed all this data that says, if you do this, you are way more likely to get more done. And and so what it is, is I have a series of habits, daily habits that are really important to me, like back to the Josh Weinberg story, you know, like, maybe it’s meeting one person a day, that’s not my particular habit, but I have other ones similar to that might be like, Did I eat correctly? Did I go to the gym? Did I, you know, it was nice to the people closest to me, or did I reach out and it was like, good to my clients, etc. There’s a number of habits, you know, and I get eight hours of sleep, you know, that sort of like, and so I pay somebody and just to show you how inexpensive it can be, if you’re not the ability to you know, to hire a really expensive real estate coach, but if you know the habits that you want to take, I pay somebody literally it’s $8 a week, this person lives in Istanbul, Turkey, this is what he quoted me as his price. He calls me every morning at 830. We have a 92nd phone call, he asks me 17 questions that I have written for him. He does not judge whether I did something or not like one of my questions is did you have to chop sugar? Which is one of my questions. Do you have sugar? Well, today I had to say I had sugar yesterday not that big of a deal. I don’t I’m not but you know, most days I tried to say I didn’t have sugar. So he asked me those questions. He report records in a Google spreadsheet and that is literally the extent of our of our relationship. You’ve never met this guy before. I’ve never met him never met him. I’ve been doing it for six months. $8 a week eight using and and so the point is, and I found him just by going to website where you say here’s what I’m looking for. People can bid on the business and he’s was it. Okay, yeah, there’s gonna be we’re gonna say Upwork I’m assuming you upwork.com is a great place. Fortunately, guru.com there’s there’s a lot of places so you can find these and it’s not necessarily an accountability partner, who I mean he doesn’t have any opinion whether I do something or not. He doesn’t care if I walked my dog or I didn’t. But it’s important for For him to ask, it’s important for me to have him asked me to keep it in the front of my mind. So I’ve, I’ve distilled the most important things to my business, and also just my personal life down to a series of habits. And Mike’s talking about this a lot as well. And so if you don’t have somebody who, like Mike did it probably in a more effective way, we found people in the industry who can help them, at least hold them accountable. But if you don’t have that, you know, you can hire somebody for next to nothing. To ask you this. It’s pretty great.

Mike McElroy 35:25
Just to kind of I mean, you know, it’s, it’s those a little bit I love that he just doesn’t care at all. It does. Well, I

D.J. Paris 35:31
have told I have told him not to care, because I said, I told him, I said, I don’t need your judgment. And 30 agree every day, and in a day can never be perfect anyway. So there’s always there’s only 17 questions, he asks me, and I’m going to have not completed one of those tasks. And that’s okay. I don’t beat myself up about it. I just think, okay, I didn’t do that yesterday, I’ll try to do it today. Right. But the point is, it’s just keeping that constant accountability of, you know, of just remembering your daily task, because I think and I’d like to get your thoughts on this. I think oftentimes, not always, but oftentimes brokers, they sort of know what they probably should be doing to grow their business, they know they should write personal notes, they know they should reach out to their friends and family, they should know should they should meet more people and stay in touch, but they oftentimes just find themselves not doing it, they get caught up in the whatever’s coming at them. And by doing by systematizing, you know, okay, every month, I’m writing a personal note to so and so or whatever those habits might be. I imagine your life is a series of habits as well.

Mike McElroy 36:33
Yeah, habits, habits pick you up when your motivation levels drop, because they’re going to your motivation that have fluctuate over time. And your habits are what keeps you going through that. I’m just I’m sorry, I’m still glad my mind is kind of running

D.J. Paris 36:47
reeling from the $8.

Mike McElroy 36:50
Like the data you could get from that, too. You said he puts it in a spreadsheet? Yeah, asked you to rate every day the day before and then can be up all the other. Oh, my God, you’re gonna have so much fun with this. Sorry. Yeah.

D.J. Paris 37:03
I do. And it’s again, it’s never the goal is not to even have a perfect date back the goal that I could have a day where I miss every single one of those. And the goal is not to like, beat myself up, right? The goal is just to this and go, Oh, okay, well, I didn’t quite get things done. And that’s also a nice opportunity to, to have days where you really fall short and to not, you know, beat yourself up and destroy your self esteem. But, um, so that’s a nice opportunity to, but it’s, it’s literally just to remind me because, like, this is embarrassing. I’ll give you one of them. I literally have them asked me did you clean the cat box, I have a cat. And, and I cleaned the cat box twice a day now. And I used to do it like once every three days, which I apologize for anyone listening. They are probably completely disgusted by that. I wouldn’t be too but that’s what I was doing. I wasn’t adding it. And I knew I was supposed to clean it at least once a day. But I wasn’t. And I went. Now I know if I have to if I have to report to somebody, it’s like, I’m 41 This is embarrassing. But if I had to like literally report it every day, I’d probably do it. And so he asks me every day, even though now I do it twice a day, and I’ve never missed. I still will never take that off the list because it gets got me to do things.

Mike McElroy 38:12
Oh, I love that. Okay, stealing.

D.J. Paris 38:15
All right, well, this isn’t about me, this is back to you. Let’s I want to let’s talk about the culture of your office. Because, you know, I’ve always been impressed by sort of the way you you conduct yourself the way you carry yourself how you present. You know your thoughts and ideas. Can you talk a little bit about how you’ve built that into your into center coast?

Mike McElroy 38:33
Yeah, absolutely. And I’ll give you one right off the bat. So we have a team meeting every Tuesday at Two on Team Tuesday. And the first thing we do is we go around the room, we all share one win from the past week. And we share one thing that we learned. And I’m excited because I’ve got my thing for next week already, which is this phone call thing. But yeah, so I actually, I owe a lot to the Young Professionals Network and the Chicago Association of Realtors. Where, you know, we first were, you saw me talk, that’s all got started. And it’s this culture of really forward thinking, growth oriented, just fun people. And I was really lucky to be chosen. I don’t even know how this happened. But they chose me to to be the chair of the Young Professionals Network, say 2014. So after that, I said, Man, I need need, like this. How do I stay? How do I? What can I do with this? And I thought, you know, let’s start a real estate office. That’s exactly the same way. So we really I look for people who are genuine, who are passionate, who are good problem solvers, and most importantly, who are open minded. I find that’s one of the most valuable traits just in a human being in general. And it’s really important to us here at center coast.

D.J. Paris 40:00
Yeah, I and yeah, and I think also the ability for their leader in this case you to have systems to be able to teach, I think is incredibly valuable. I can’t tell you how often and I’m curious to get your opinion on this. And I know everyone does things differently. And there’s certainly no specifically right way to necessarily run your systems. But I’ve heard people say, Well, you go to a listing appointment with a blank sheet of paper. You know, and you listen, and then yes, I agree. That’s part of it. But I think, Boy, I it’s not the way I would do it. Yeah, I’m curious on your thoughts on on that, because I’ve heard that a lot.

Mike McElroy 40:37
Interesting. I haven’t heard that one. No, I show up with a whole bunch of questions. I’ve written out the same questions every time plus the other. Right. I thought that that was prepping.

D.J. Paris 40:49
That’s right. Yeah. But

Mike McElroy 40:51
I think the point is, is you do need to list here’s where I think maybe they’re going with that. And I think this is really valuable. It is easy to show up at that sheet of paper unlisted questions, and just ask them and then wait for the answer, and write down the answer and go. Okay, thanks. And move on to the next one. But that’s not right. I really coach people that you got to dig, and you got to find the why. to these questions. To really figure out what your client’s motivations are, and what’s going to be important to them in the process. Like, I want to find out if a buyer craves a lot of control in their life. You know, because if that’s the case, then we need to talk about some things. Right started. And we will and that will really help the rest of the process. So don’t just ask the questions. Listen, I think is the takeaway there and ask it another question.

D.J. Paris 41:47
Boy, well said, Well, I have kept you long enough. And I could keep talking to you for a while. But you are. You’re a busy person. And so I will, we will let you go. But, Mike, if if there are any? Well, there’s really two things. If there are brokers out there that are interested in learning about your firm, what’s the best way they can reach out to you

Mike McElroy 42:05
drop me an email? My email is Mike at center coast. realty.com. And yeah, I’m always I love you know, I just love this conversation. So I love talking to people who are, like I said, growth oriented and forward thinking. So I’m always happy to talk shop, let somebody pick my brain and vice versa.

D.J. Paris 42:27
Yeah. And also, if you are a buyer seller or a renter, or our landlord, for example, that’s interested in having Mike represent you. You can contact him the same way. Do you also provide your phone number or do you not typically, yeah,

Mike McElroy 42:41
email is probably going to be the best way to get me just in case I’m what I always tell my clients when I’m with them, I’m with them. So email is probably best, but my number is also 773-828-9467.

D.J. Paris 42:55
And also, Mike’s website is center coast realty.com. It’s well built it’s it’s an excellent one of the better sites I’ve seen for for an office. So check that out as well. Well, Mike, thank you so much for being a part of the show. Really appreciate your time.

Mike McElroy 43:10
Thanks, DJ. This was a blast.

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