Brian Pate, Raleigh’s top and well-respected real estate professional shares his 25 years of experience and knowledge in the real estate business.
As Brian Pate started off his career in the entertainment industry, sooner than later he realized that he wanted to build a career in real estate. He then moved into the real estate industry, where he put complete focus on building and coaching his team. Brian has achieved immense success in his career so far where the teams he has coached have produced over $1 billion in real estate sales. Today, Brian’s team, The Pate Realty Group has been ranked in the top 1% of Keller William real estate agents in the world! Learn more about Brian’s journey by checking out his interview with PropertySpark below!
When did you start your career in real estate?
I was licensed in 1993 in North Carolina and 1994 in South Carolina. Today I only maintain my North Carolina license.
Please in a few sentences brag about yourself, if you really had to impress someone about what you do, what would you say?
Real estate teams I have been affiliated with have sold over one BILLION dollars worth of real estate in my career. Ultimately, each transaction though is about a family and not the statistics. My goal is to provide a high level of service to help people.
What inspired you to start in real estate and how did you motivate yourself to keep going?
Before I was in real estate, I was in the entertainment business as a night club and wedding DJ. The businesses are similar in that there is a significant amount of self promoting involved. I continued with the DJ business up until 2014 when I sold it after we were named the #1 wedding DJ service in the United States by WeddingIndustryExperts.com. At that point, I focused completely on my real estate career and building my own team. Ultimately, what motivates me is helping my team members to achieve their goals.
Comparing your business from back then to now, what has been the main thing that allowed you to expand your business?
Having been a manager for over ten years, I was able to see what most agents were doing wrong. I often would have an agent come to my office and say, “I want a bigger split.” I would try to explain that a bigger split didn’t mean any worthwhile gain unless there were more transactions involved. Once, I told an agent, “You have sold zero houses in the last 4 months and you want a higher split? 70% of zero is still zero!” That was in 2012, when my frustration peaked and I mentally started to move back to the sales side rather than managing.
What’s the most profitable aspect of your business, why do you think this is and how can others apply this to what they are doing?
Social media changed the game of real estate. Back in the dark ages, we used to keep all of our database on 3X5 file cards on boxes on our desk. Making calls every month to drum up business while tracking those calls on the front, back and sides of those cards. Facebook allowed us to communicate with our sphere of influence on a daily basis while Twitter and Instagram allow the same on an almost hourly basis if desired. We can track over 50% of our annual Gross Commission Income (GCI) to our social media presence.
How do you work? (Do you wake up early, work late, communicate, what jobs do you do yourself, who do you talk to, etc.)
My day starts with my daughter at the bus stop. I still take her there as it is a valuable few minutes I get to spend with her. If anyone has ever watched my Wednesday morning videos of, “Guess what day it is” with my daughter Cassidy, you can see how much fun we have.
By 7:15 in the morning, I’m in the office and my Listing Manager, Logan Heitzman, has put on my desk what I need to get done in the morning. I start with that, then communicate with sellers (as I only work the listing side), followed by a lot of reading to keep up with stats and trends. The mornings are usually similar as it is when we will program our social media posts and collect the data for updates that we do. Afternoons are more reactionary used to schedule meetings or appointments. Activities during that time can vary depending on what needs to be done.
My main thing is this: I have VERY good people working on my team. Logan does an outstanding job of keeping everything organized and I have to work to stay out of the way. She has her systems down and it is my job to work within those systems and not jump in and screw something up. She is much more organized than I so she basically holds me accountable for what I do each day. Our Lead Buyer Specialist, Marsha Smith, handles all of the buyers agents on the team (there are 4 total). I don’t touch the buy side. Marsha was trained in the hospitality industry (hotel management) and she trains everyone on the customer service needed on the buy side. Marsha is assisted by our Closing Coordinator Stacey Robinson. Stacey handles contract to close on our buy side transactions. She and Logan operated separately so that we can maintain Designated Agency under North Carolina law, meaning that we can advocated for both sides in the transaction separately.
When did you realize you were successful/made it and how did you feel/celebrate?
I remember when I used to dream of making $50,000 in a year in real estate. Today, I make about $50,000 per month in GCI. The first time I broke $300,000 in annual income in 2013, I bought my dream car, a Mercedes Benz. I had always wanted one and my coach told me to go buy it. It is still my daily car and every time I get behind the wheel, it motivates me.
Looking back, what could you of done sooner to of got to that point quicker?
If I could turn back the clock, I would have studied computer science more in school. I’m pretty much self taught on the computer. As a result, it has taken me some time to learn Search Engine Optimization (SEO). Although I consider myself to be strong on social media, the HTML coding and back end work could use improvement.
The best thing I did was work with my father in the newspaper business. I was helping to design ads and learned “Impact Words” at a young age. My mother and father also used to drag me to events when I was growing up. I learned to look people in the eye when shaking hands and the basics of networking from them.
I still wish I were better at staying in touch with people. It is so much fun to keep up with what is going on in our friends’ lives. Although technology was designed to save us time, it feels like sometimes it makes us even busier. Today, if someone sends a text message and I don’t responds within an hour, they think I’m mad or ignoring them.
What should other real estate entrepreneurs reading this be focusing on to expand their own business?
The highest priority for any real estate agent is to know your numbers. If you don’t know your income, how many people are in your database and how often you communicate with them, then you are really not in the business.
Second piece is to stop posting listings on social media from Realtor.com, Zillow, Trulia, etc. I am amazed at how many agents post a link to those sites on their social media, not realizing they just sent the lead to an agent that pays those services for leads. If someone wants to learn more about that, they can take one of my social media courses I teach.
What do you consider the main differences between those people who have been successful in your industry and those who have failed?
Success in real estate is a choice. You can choose to be a real estate agent or you can choose to run a business. Anyone can show and sell 3-4 homes per year. It is a different level of thinking that creates 50 or more transactions per year.
I have watched the stats for new licensees in North Carolina for years. Currently, there are about 90,000 licensees and that number has remained consistent for about 5 years now. However over 7,000 new licensees enter the business every year. That tells me that there are about 7,000 per year that leave the business too. Many times, people will be asking me about the real estate business. They will say, “I would like to TRY the real estate business.” I tell them, “You don’t TRY the real estate business, it TRIES YOU!”
How has social media and online marketing affected your real estate business? How much more success have you had now after implementing social media and online marketing efforts?
In 2006, I was already teaching classes about how to use Facebook for business. I was an early adopter and have continued to be that way. Today, I use Facebook for communicating with the masses in my database. Twitter is used for demonstrating my knowledge of the market and trends while Instagram is used for advertising listings and showing followers my personal side. On Instagram, you will find me sharing photos of my family as well as at many events that we attend. My biggest following is on Twitter as I have many real estate agents from across the country following me to keep up with trends in the Raleigh market. I am constantly posting statistics and other good information rather than just posting my newest listing like most agents.
Ultimately, if a real estate agent wants success in social media, we must engage the audience and interact, not just shout out information on our newest listings and brag constantly. Other people will have to anoint you as knowledgeable, not declaring it yourself.
We hope you’ve learnt a great deal about becoming a successful real estate agent. Make sure to reach out to Brian Pate for a phenomenal and a one of a kind experience in buying or selling real estate in Raleigh!
Learn how this real estate agent tripled his commissions just with social media and how you too can become a social media superstar.
That big blue button has tempted you before right? You want to Facebook Boost your Real Estate listing. Find out why you shouldn’t!
A question we get often from Realtors is “how much should I spend on social media?” Find out exactly how much to spend and how to spend it without getting ripped off!