After twenty years working as a consultant, Thomas Downing moved back to Chicago and started a new career in real estate. Without a sphere of influence or any leads handed to him, he produced over 12 million in his first year and earned Chicago Agent Magazine’s Rookie Of The Year award. Three years later he is a consistent top 1% producer and continues to build his business. In this interview Thomas explains why his customer-experience background helped prepare him for real estate and gives advice to brokers on what they could immediately implement to grow their practice.
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, and we are very proud to celebrate. If I did my math right, and I may not have but I think this is our 75th episode. And we are so grateful and honored to continue to do the show people seem to keep listening. Our readership or listenership rather keeps going up. And that is we have no marketing really. So this is must be because people are passing it along to other brokers in their office, other realtors, they think could benefit from hearing from top producers sharing their strategies of success. So after looking back over 70 episodes, we’re honored to keep going forward. And we have a huge list of brokers that have reached out to us directly, or have suggested brokers to interview for future episodes. So please keep those suggestions coming. Although we can’t always immediately reply to everyone. So if you sent us one, we got it. And it’s in a list and we will eventually get to that person. So thank you for that. The other thing I want to mention is we are always looking for great questions. So maybe you have a question that you would love to ask a top producer, send those over to us and we will add them into our interviews, right this is for you. This is for you to learn from these these Mavericks what they’re doing to increase your own production and treat your clients more effectively effect sorry, efficiently, and of course effectively. So if you’re not already a subscriber, this is the first time listening or if you haven’t yet subscribed officially, you can find us on iTunes just search for keeping it real podcast, as well as Google Play. If you’re an Android user or any podcast app you might be using for your mobile device or tablet you should be able to find us you can also subscribe directly on our website which is keeping it real pod.com Please please please find us on Facebook which is also keeping it real pod and we push all of our episodes live there. By the way on our website, you can stream all of our episodes as well. So thank you for 70 episodes and on to our interview with Thomas Dalek.
Today on the show we have Thomas Downing. Thomas has clients deserve the highest levels of service and he’s honored to have received 100% client satisfaction rankings ratings rather, He’s ranked in the top 1% Also in the top of what matters most to his clients simply providing the best purchase terms. He is also proud to have won the 2016 agent Choice Award from Chicago agent magazine as from Chicago magazine rather as a as a North Shore native Thomas’s as an in depth market knowledge and insider’s perspective on the nuances of successfully buying and selling homes within each community. He was a former advertising executive and business management consultant. Thomas provides proven marketing and strategic expertise to his buyers and sellers. over 30 years of successful successful negotiation experience. Thomas delivers more value to his clients surpassing the industry standards with higher returns on his clients investments. By the way, you can check out Thomas at his website, which is Thomas downing do W N ing, Thomas downing.com. Thomas is that app properties and welcome to the show.
Thomas Downing 3:47
Thank you very much. I’m glad to be here.
D.J. Paris 3:49
Well, thank you for taking time out of your busy day. I would we were just talking offline. And being that I know you’re Northshore native, but I know you hadn’t lived in Chicago for a long time before jumping into real estate can. Can you tell us that story of how you got involved in real estate?
Thomas Downing 4:05
Sure. Well, I kind of took the long way to get there. But I’ve always had a passion for real estate, whether it’s just buying my own homes and you know, fixing them up and then selling them later. Everywhere I’ve lived but in the 1980s I went to go work for Panem in New York City doing advertising and marketing for them. The last job I was working on their loyalty program, up until the end of Pan Am sure Yeah, and was there until about 1990. So then after Panem with the wit went the way it went, I went out to work for coding wells in San Francisco, which is a direct marketing agency and I worked mostly in high tech firms at the beginning of all that was taking place in the 1990s and really enjoyed it and I had an opportunity to really learn kind of an emerging industry, how to sell software and other products through the mail. It was very targeted marketing. It was a kind of a new industry when the internet started to really become big that data applied directly. And I got to do work on that as well. And then had the opportunity in the year 2000 and moved down to Texas and started a company called the turning point group with another partner. And as business management consultants, we work specifically on how do businesses align themselves with the best customer experience to keep people coming back into refer business. So it was kind of a very specific field. But it kind of built on everything that I had done before with direct marketing and advertising. So it was great. We got to work on Disney and AT and T and Time Warner Cable and several companies, and just how do you how do you build your brand? And even how your customers interact in a holistic way towards your customers so that they have an experience that keeps them coming back?
D.J. Paris 5:43
And then what then you did you eventually move from Texas, then back to Chicago?
Thomas Downing 5:48
I did at a short stint in Minneapolis. But you know, at that point, I had been traveling constantly between pan-am, you know, the ad agency and turning point crew up, I just, you know, I was done. I’ve got a million miles on United, the harder. Nothing fun, not fun places to do it. But when you are living
D.J. Paris 6:07
the you were kind of living the consultant life to some of this, you’re you’re going out to client sites and probably spending the week there and flying back that kind of thing.
Thomas Downing 6:16
Exactly. That’s exactly I was doing and I got a little tired of it after gosh, you know, almost 20 years of that type of life. I kind of came into real estate purposely. I was done with turning point grew up, I was done. You know just kind of with that lifestyle in general. And I knew I wanted something different. It’s something I always wanted to do. So it was not one of those things. I looked at like well, maybe I’ll try this out. You know, it was definitely a passion from the beginning. And you know, at the age of 50 started a new career and I’ve not looked back I absolutely love what I do.
D.J. Paris 6:49
Yeah, and we should say you are out in the northwestern suburbs. Do you focus specifically in that area in the North Shore? Are you kind of do work everywhere? You know, I’m just curious where you’re
Thomas Downing 6:59
my Office and Office out of Glenview and Winnetka. My license is hung in Glenview. I saw all over the North Shore and and some of the northwest suburbs as well, as well as North Chicago. I actually live in Andersonville. Oh, gotcha. Yeah. So I kind of make that commute in reverse. But I’m passionate about the North Shore. I grew up there and I know the houses. And for some reason, it’s just a real passion to be in that area.
D.J. Paris 7:23
Wow. Well, we should talk about, you know, you are only in your third year, and you’re posed poised to do about 20 million, maybe more, which is an incredible accomplishment for anybody in their third year. You are now a top one percenter. And can you talk about sort of an in your first year winning this, you know, Agent Choice Award? Can you talk about what you did? And I we were talking offline about? You’ve listened to some other episodes we’ve done? And, you know, we would our listeners would love to know how to somebody get to that level, not only in their third year, but even in their first year?
Thomas Downing 7:59
Yeah, I think because I had been gone for so long, I did not have a sphere. And I know a lot of new agents, we get hammered that into our head, you know, contact your sphere of work your sphere. For me, you know, you had no sphere? It was really frustrating to hear it actually or to talk about CRM programs or whatever, right? Nobody? Yeah. So for me, I treated it like I treated my other businesses. I worked, you know, I still work very hard. But it is a passion, and you have to make it part of your lifestyle. So like some of your other guests that I’ve heard speak as well as other people I’ve heard speak. I did a lot of the basics, but I think there’s probably a little bit of a difference. I also get a little frustrated when I hear people say that we’re in a sales business, right? Because we’re not in the sales business. We’re in a service business. Yep. It’s very, the sales is very little, you know, the negotiations are important. There’s no question. I mean, that’s why people hire us is that negotiation is probably one of the most critical factors. But if we think about the entire transaction, almost all of it is servicing our clients and helping them through the process, sometimes emotionally, and sometimes just, you know, just transactionally. But if I look at it, from a perspective that this is that this is a relationship business, not a sales business, and that it’s relations, not transactions. And I really focused on trying to measure my success based on the relationships I was forming, not the transactions in the first year. Now, I was pretty fortunate. At that properties. We have a program where they call it road to Rolex. And if you sell a certain amount, I think it’s 12 million or so you can win this Rolex and I was lucky enough to get it that first year. Wow. But I think I think part of having that much sales in the first year had everything to do with just some really basic things. One was I did three open houses every weekend and I still do open houses, and I have one team member Julie Schultz. She does them regularly as well. Now, she just started. She just celebrated one year yesterday, actually. So it’s not new for me on the team side. But I didn’t want on Saturday and two on Sundays. And that’s just, you know, a big part of it.
D.J. Paris 10:15
I’m sorry, I don’t mean to interrupt you. But I do want to know, how you obtain these open houses, right? I’m assuming these were listings you did not have mostly? Did you just go up to other brokers in the office and say, I would love to do an open house for you? How did you build those relationships?
Thomas Downing 10:32
I’m so glad you asked that question. Because that now on the other side, now that I’m more, you know, I’m a listing agent, primarily, right, I would say that it’s really interesting to watch the other side of it. Because when I was just getting started, which wasn’t that long ago, I still feel like a newcomer, I would make myself as available and as, let’s say, useful to that agent as I possibly could. So I know some agents will, you know, I’ll ask for help on open houses. And they’ll really want to know how long the open house has been, you know, how sure, valuable is the houses, they get kind of picky, which is fine. But I’m looking for somebody who’s, you know, doesn’t mind doing the dogs occasion? Sure, and, and will help me out. And so what I did was I gave really good feedback on exactly what was happening, my own feedback, and I put it in emails and texts, so that they could just for that under their clients, I made it super easy for them. So because I treat them as customers, I mean, other agents are our clients as well. And a lot of ways we don’t think of it that way. But it’s a key part of the business. So I would ask for the open houses. I would take anything they give me. Sure. And then as I became more useful to them, I started, you know, they’d put me on more useful open houses, and they relied on me. Hi, so
D.J. Paris 11:46
I was I just wanted to ask real quickly. Now, you’re on the other side. And I know you have you have some some members now that you go to how often do newcomers come to you on their own saying I would love to do an open house for you? Is that a common occurrence? Or is it not that common?
Thomas Downing 12:01
It kind of goes in waves, I would say that when we have at that property. We had kind of a we’ve had a big growth spurt in the in the North Shore, we were opening two more offices. So there’s there are more newcomers coming. And they’re pretty good about asking, honestly, oh, that’s the training tells them to do that. So it is it’s it’s sometimes hard for me if I’ve got you know, 15 or 16 listings at one time I forget who did I’m sure. So I’m not the best at going back and making sure that I’m following up with the right people. So another piece of advice would be to you, it’s okay to hound that agent. I don’t mind. You know, if you ask every weekend that that’s great, because that will give it to whoever’s asking,
D.J. Paris 12:41
and when you were asking, you know, when you were first, how often would you would the broker say, I don’t really need any help on this one? Like, what was the hit rate?
Thomas Downing 12:51
No, that’s a good question. I it just depends on you know, in the spring market, when everything’s going crazy, because we are a lot more cyclical in the in the north shore than they are the city. Okay, so we we have a strong spring market, we have a fall market, and then things definitely slow down between those markets. Or those times, but I would say that it was probably one out of five, you know, I mean, you have to keep asking, you can’t give up on one. The other thing I would do is send it out to everybody, you know, in the office emails just saying, Look, I’m available this week, if you need help. And so if I wasn’t getting what I needed, I just keep asking until you do, but I was always busy.
D.J. Paris 13:29
And then were you doing anything you think unusual or and I don’t mean unusual, strange, but just maybe unique. When these open houses either to promote them, or when when buyers walk through that you think helped your success.
Thomas Downing 13:45
You know, there, we actually took a class at open houses, and wow, that’s great. And I’m really big on the education as well. I constantly try to learn and and see what I can learn from there. But I would say that one of the things I learned was just to be yourself, you know, people are going to work with people they want to work with, and there’s not much you can do about that. I tend to be pretty relaxed and kind of jokey. And that’s not gonna work for everyone. And I know that. So, um, you know, I think the best advice I heard was to absolutely be yourself, be confident, don’t over try. And so one of the things I learned is, you know, as soon as someone walks in the door, you don’t jump on, right, let them come in, let let them get settled, put on their booties, take off their shoes, and then I stick up my hand and say, you know, Tom, you know, get their names. I tell them three things about the house that I’ve come up with, you know that, you know, either people have asked me about or might be of interest, and I tell them I’m gonna be out. I’m gonna get out of your hair. I’ll be in the kitchen. And if you have any questions come see me. So that way they feel comfortable because let’s face it, when you walk into the open house, you know you’re about to get a cost, right? The more that I can just make them feel comfortable and actually coming to me the better. I also took a pretty early stance that I would not You know, I do collect names and numbers and things, but I don’t contact them unless I have some kind of connection with them. Because, you know, I’m just I know a lot of people don’t agree with that, you know, they say you get all the names and contact them three times and all that. I just don’t I unless there’s a strong connection, I don’t bother them. So how would
D.J. Paris 15:19
you determine if there’s a strong connection? What would that look like?
Thomas Downing 15:23
Yeah, that’s, so if they did come and start talking about the house and some questions, and then if there was some, if there’s some point where people are saying, you know, what, I’m really looking for a four bedroom. Well, now that just opened the door for them to start talking about the four bedrooms in the neighborhood. And you know, I’ve done my homework, I know what’s available around the, around the neighborhood, I might even have listing sheets for all those houses, and they’re available, Open House dates, so that I can actually be useful right there and say, Well, look, I’ve got this, you know, available to me, I have to talk a lot about the private listing network, because that’s one thing, they don’t have access. So if they do want to hear about it, I’m happy to talk about it. So you know, all those things you can do to bring them in, but you kind of know, there’s a point where they’re their guard is down, and now you’re actually talking in the kitchen for a while. And I’d rather spend time with that, than trying to get a numbers game and talk to every single person. And no passive, it’s busy.
D.J. Paris 16:14
Gotcha. And so you have you collect some numbers, not all, or rather, maybe you collect them all, but you’re contacting people you’ve had some sort of meaningful conversation with after the fact. And what what percentage, just I don’t know that you’ll necessarily know the number, but what would you guess would be the percentage of the deals you ended up doing that first year? Were from those open house? You know,
Thomas Downing 16:37
I would say 90% of definitely from open houses, because there’s, I didn’t really have any other resource, right? There’s one, there is one other that I’ll talk about in a second. But for me, that was really the the, the bread and butter was my opportunity to meet people and talk about statistics. I mean, you know, 60 to 70% of them are unrepresented. That’s, you know, we can send out letters, we can do cold calling, you know, all those types of things. But where else? Are you going to find people who are actively looking that are possibly not represented? I mean, if we’re not putting all our attention to this, it’s the lowest hanging fruit. So it doesn’t make any sense. Not to.
D.J. Paris 17:13
Yeah, it’s really, really interesting that there are still brokers today who are not big fans of of open houses to get buyer leads. And I talked to broker after broker, almost, you know, always 1% top one percenters who just say that is simply not the case. And clearly was not the case for you, are you able to have tremendous success with that? Is it still a huge source? Obviously, I know, you work a lot by referral, being in your third year, that’s probably started to become more and more prominent, but do you still get a lot of leads that way for, you know, other future purchasers?
Thomas Downing 17:48
We do, you know, my, my focus, you know, more of a, I’ve really been focusing on listings. Now, that’s my third year, and that was kind of her plan was to become more of a listing agent. So Julie, does a lot of the open houses, that’s how we get buyers absolutely for, for the group. For the most part, now, my focus really is selling the house, because it’s my listing, I’ve kind of moved to that side of it. So the focus is on really identifying those people that are going to be a good fit for this house. If I do meet people who are looking still, then I’m able to just pass them along to Julie with a warm transfer, we have a meeting in the office to go over, you know what the process is like to buy a house and the two of us meet together with the new the new buyer. And then she she kind of takes from there, but and she’s done a great job of even bringing in her own. But but for me now, my focus is really how do I best serve as my, my listings, you know, and so how do I make sure that I, you know, do my best because it is more of a buyers market right now, this time of year, I think everywhere now, but it has been for the last year in the North Shore. So anything we can do to help to move our house to the top of the list. You know,
D.J. Paris 18:54
what we’re doing everything we can Yeah, you had mentioned earlier that there was one other suggestion that you had or something that worked for you, maybe especially to open houses.
Thomas Downing 19:03
So if you work for a larger firm, often they have opportunities for relocations. And I’ve also heard so many agents talk about how, you know, horrible relocation is because they take so much of your, you know, commission and you know, and frankly, it does, you know, depending on your, your split with your company, it might be somewhere between 60 and 75% of your commission by the time Yeah, everybody’s had their handout. But to me, I look at that. So so let’s say it’s at the worst case scenario, you get 25% of the commission. Well, if you have a marketing budget, and you’re looking at it that way, which would have could have been 10 to 15 to 25% of your, you know, earnings. Well, right there as a marketing budget. So for me to have, especially as a new agent, I’m trying to prove that I’ve got some kind of sales under my belt, you know, that’s one of the worst things when you first start is that you know, the last few how many sales have you had, you can’t really answer right or easily. So well, you can’t answer easily because you could say right and so, to me, I look at it as another there’s a huge opportunity to learn our craft, and to be handed a listing by the time you’re done, you now have, you know, if you’ve done two or three that entire year, those are two or three listings that absolutely just gave you experience and gave you credibility in that market. So, to me, I still do them when, when possible, and I just really believe in the amount on the listing side, you know, you can do that either way. On the listing side, why wouldn’t I do it? You know, it’s my sign on, right, which is the best advertising you could possibly. And so, you know, it’s just to me those two things go hand in hand.
D.J. Paris 20:33
Yeah. And I was curious to in the North Shore, and I don’t know, I suspect this maybe gets taken more advantage of in a good way, and maybe in the suburbs than here in the city. But how often? Are you doing any efforts? And the answer may be no, but I’m just curious. So if you have a site, you have a listing in the neighborhood, how often do you end up getting other listings in that neighborhood? Is do the neighbors take notice? Are you reaching out to them? Or?
Thomas Downing 21:00
Absolutely, yeah, no, absolutely. That’s that’s a big part of it, too. And you know, that further is even the point about the relocation because if it’s a listing side, then you’re and you’re getting buyer’s offer as well. So it always pans out in the long run. But no, absolutely. I’ve gotten listings, next door neighbors of people around the corner, who’s who come into your open house where they see your sign. At one point, it was kind of embarrassing. I wasn’t used, you know, I still really do consider myself a newcomer. And I have had it happen a couple of times where I’ve been to people in a party, and they’re like, oh, my gosh, I see him everywhere. And it just, it just cracks me up. Because actually, the ones that that came from, are likely to relocations that just happened to be on very, very busy streets that most people wouldn’t want to sell, wouldn’t want to sell. But they saw my son. It’s funny. So
D.J. Paris 21:49
I you know, you know, we should mention to the listeners who are who are realtors who are looking to maybe get involved in relocation transactions that you can reach out to relocation companies and say, I would like to be available. If you work for a firm that doesn’t necessarily have those connections, like Coldwell Banker for examples is directly connected to the biggest relocation company, but, but other brokers can, too, right? Obviously, at properties, you know, has probably those connections, as well as other firms, but you can directly reach out yourself to and just keep hopefully politely pestering them until they give you an opportunity. But yes, you know, obviously, they’re going to take a percentage of that, but it is it is a potentially a free listing or a free buyer. And, you know, good a good way to cut your teeth for
Thomas Downing 22:33
sure. Absolutely, especially in the start when you’re starting.
D.J. Paris 22:38
And we should talk about you know, your growth has been the fact that you did was it 12 million in your first year.
Thomas Downing 22:44
Yeah, so my first count, how
D.J. Paris 22:46
I always love this question, because the person who founded our firm, was the was the car Rookie of the Year, way back in like 2003. And I said, Oh, when did you close your first sale? So he was like, the, I don’t know, if he was the thing. He was the top producer for the Chicago area. And he goes, seven took me seven months, you know, and then he ended up closing seven deals at a seven month and then other brokers who, who, you know, are these top rookie producers tend to do it more quickly. But how quickly did it happen for you?
Thomas Downing 23:17
Um, you know, I was, I was lucky in the sense, you know, there’s a couple of things to it, and it kind of goes hand in hand too. But I go to the office every day, even when I’m there as much as I can. And so there’s things that happen in the office just because you happen to be sitting there. But there was a situation where I was able to help an agent, the relationship was falling apart a little bit with these people. And there was a you know, it just made sense for me to actually help out just because they were about to lose the listing directly. So I was able to kind of take a split with her and take over and help just kind of smooth things out and get the deal done in the long run. So I was able to have a closing pretty early in my career, but you know, I don’t know I don’t know how much of it is luck and how much is it? But, you know, if I hadn’t been there wouldn’t have happened. So yeah, it’s they started pretty early though, for me, I I started working open houses immediately and helping out other agents. And so I did pick up buyers pretty quick. Gotcha.
D.J. Paris 24:22
Gotcha. And now would you ever did you ever think or would you ever think to move your specialty closer down to Anderson Ville area? Or do you really love the north, you know, working with North Shore?
Thomas Downing 24:36
I have just had a closing on foster and I’ve done some down in the in the literature but yeah, I mean, it’s, it’s, it’s more it has been more people that are selling their home in the city and moving up to the North Shore, so I’ll support them on that side. But it’s kind of my passion. I actually like to be able to park
D.J. Paris 24:56
Yeah, sure. Sure. Well, I just I love it. Seville my parents are from the North Shore. They’re from Northbrook in Glenview. So we know that area quite well. But um, I used to live nearby Andersonville. And I just I’ve always tried to get up to Andersonville as much as I can. But I, I love the fact that you that you live there and do the commute out. So any other pieces of advice, you’ve given a lot of good, a lot of good strategies, but anything else for brokers looking to increase production that maybe you feel that they’re not doing that you see sort of, you know, in general, and I know you have blinders on? I’m sure for your own business. But do you see other brokers maybe not taking advantage of certain things? They could be?
Thomas Downing 25:37
Yeah, absolutely. You know, for me, I tried, you know, in the beginning, I didn’t start with a large budget either. So, for me, the way I came into this was that, you know, I was going to eat what I kill sort of thing. So as I, as I had had transactions, I just sort of tighten my belt, and put in I know, people talked about 10 to 20% of your of your sort of income going back to marketing. And I was doing close to 50, because I just knew that, in order to build the business, at this late in the game in my life, at 50, I was I just realized I was going to just have to really hit it hard the first few years. And then hopefully this pans out so that I can start doing the referral side of it and relax a little bit. So I, I think setting a stretch goal for yourself was really critical. For me, I see a lot of agents, just kind of really, as I said, just go from transaction to transaction. But unless you have a year plan, and then break that down to what it’s gonna look like each month for how many relationships you need to actually start talking to. That’s critical. And I’m, you know, what gets measured gets done. And I just can’t imagine not making it work without having some kind of yardstick for how I’m going along the way. And then the other part was investing in key learning like I did not, I tried different things. So you know, I’m an X marketing guy. So you try different things. You give it a year, and if they don’t work, stop it and move on to something else. So I was doing a lot of Every Door Direct Mail shirt that is that you could use to the post office and I did pretty heavily. It didn’t really work for me. I know a lot of agents, it works really well for big agents. It didn’t for me. So I stopped that. I tried Zillow leads in the beginning, that also was not a good
D.J. Paris 27:18
that’s not especially if your personality to call somebody 15 times before them.
Thomas Downing 27:26
Yeah, probably not, you know. And so it wasn’t that particular product wasn’t a good fit for me. I know other people I get like I don’t really well. But I will say one thing that helped me a lot was I don’t know if you’re familiar with Ninja training,
D.J. Paris 27:40
Colorado, everyone raves about it. That’s all I know. Yeah.
Thomas Downing 27:44
It’s, it’s amazing. And so it was offered at our at our office, and I signed up for it. It was a little expensive for me at the time. But it’s something I put into practice. And it really did change the entire way i i did my business I was doing well, to start with for sure. But when I did that, and it was very early on in that first year. There it exponentially changed everything like it, it changed my whole way of approaching relationships, again, things that are not just about the transaction, but just how do you really kind of fit your lifestyle into this workplace so that there’s a match between the two of them, and they become much more holistic and easy, frankly. So it’s been a really, I can’t talk enough about that. I did also get my CSR GRI I’m not really big on a lot of letters behind the names because I’ve just looked at an ARS surveys and customers really
don’t care about that. But or they just don’t understand them. Yeah, it’s not high on their list of why they choose an
agent. But both of those, those two in particular gave me some really good tools I thought to that have been very useful.
D.J. Paris 28:53
Yeah, if for the brokers out there listening, who are obviously interested in learning from people like Thomas and who mentioned, you know, the ninja selling program, which is very well respected. And there’s others too, right. So you there’s Brian Buffini, he’s got a great system, Mike ferry, his son, Tom Ferry, there’s there’s other systems out there that are all different, you know, for different personalities, but I always say like, choose one of them. And, you know, these are pretty well respected systems, and they work. You know, maybe they don’t all work for every broker, but they will work if you find the one that matches your personality and investing in a system, I think is is it there’s just inherent accountability when you’re spending hundreds or 1000s of dollars on a system, you’re gonna probably put that into practice. Maybe more so than if it’s just you on your own. So I’m a huge, huge fan of of doing, suggesting that too. Well, we should. I think you have given us so much good information. I think this is a good point to to wrap up and Thomas has given a tremendous amount of his time too. So we appreciate that. If any If buyers or sellers or investors are interested in working with you directly, what is the best way that they should reach out to you?
Thomas Downing 30:08
Thank you. Yeah, the best way to probably reach me would just be by phone at 847-778-9952. Or they can go to my website with my contact information at Thomas downing.com, as you mentioned earlier in the show,
D.J. Paris 30:24
yeah. And Thomas is obviously extraordinarily nice person, he’s very easy to get a hold of. And, you know, we appreciate his his time as well on the show. Oh, I want to just ask one final thing. I’m sorry, I just realized, I wanted to hear what was the was if you could distill one piece of advice from all the years of sort of the branding side of it, and I know you did more than branding, when you were a consultant, but sort of the whole holistic approach to customer service or the customer experience? Is there one key learning that that you would like to share that has helped you in your real estate business?
Thomas Downing 30:59
Wow, that is a great question. And I, you know,
D.J. Paris 31:01
I’m putting I’m putting you a little on the spot. So I apologize for
Thomas Downing 31:03
that at all, it actually is an easy answer. As a business management consultant, one of the things I was doing with regards to customer experience was doing a lot early on with healthcare, large hospitals and healthcare systems in Seattle, in Texas and other places, where they were trying to build their brand now around changing a patient experience into a customer experience, which is really hard to do in that industry, because of just the personnel doctors and nurses feel like they are caregivers. What was said to me, and it’s, and I swear I think about it every week, this nurse was talking about how important it is when we have these really huge life, life issues that take place. So when someone is in a hospital, that typically is a very big life event for them, they’re not there. Sure, you know, whether it’s having a baby, which is a great, you know, joyful experience, or something worse. And when our minds are different when we’re in an experience like that, and I really do like buying a house to this as much as we take it for granted. We’re around it all the time, just like nurses around patients. These are huge events in people’s lives, no matter who they are, it’s usually the biggest purchase we’ve ever made in our life. And if we’re truly focused on them as people and as an experience, then we have to realize that that everything we say and do is hitting the the gray matter in a different way than just talking on the street, the way we are reacting to what’s going on around them the way we convey the information, what the other side is saying during the negotiations, how we’re supporting them with our vendors, and you know, other parts just to make this whole thing come together. You know, we sometimes forget just how much stress they’re under, and how much they’re remembering every little facial tic that we’re going through as we do this process. So whether we have a good experience or bad experience with them is it’s it’s critical based on the amount of service we’re providing at that point, and listening and kind of really remembering the fact that we’re here helping them on a on a major life event. And as long as we take it seriously like that. And remember that each time I think that’s how we get repeat and referral business as well as you know, customers for life because it is so critical, and it’s easy to forget it.
D.J. Paris 33:15
Well, I want to thank Thomas downing for being on the show. He’s very generous with his time and hopefully everyone who listened, starts doing more open houses and starts treating the client maybe more holistically in particular, with respect to understanding how important these these transactions are to them. So Thomas, thank you for being on the show, and we appreciate your time.
Thomas Downing 33:39
Thank you so much for having me. It’s a pleasure.