What to Know About Being #1: The key to a successful partnership with Craig Proctor & Eric Mitchell

by 19 Mar 2013

Craig Proctor (pictured left) and Eric Mitchell (right)

Craig Proctor and Eric Mitchell have forged a synergistic relationship. In fact, their relationship is a mirror reflection of the business philosophy that has made them extremely successful. It is a relationship, partnership, and friendship – however you term it – which is at the heart of every successful sale. The foundation of such a relationship is not simply reciprocity in how they serve each other, but most importantly, how they provide tremendous value to their clients.

“Value” is often a bastardized word. Most real estate and housing professionals use it simply as a marketing slogan; they have little understanding of what it actually means to deliver value to their clients. It is sad, really, when a sales professional speaks such terms as ‘customer for life’ or ‘we deliver maximum value for our clients’, and yet, when it comes down to articulating exactly what that value is, you either get a blank stare or you hear superficial statements that demonstrate little true understanding of what customers really want. If you are a consumer  and are looking for a ‘partner’ to assist you in the most important buying decision of any consumer’s life, but you hear such a vague description regarding how you will be effectively served, I suggest you run; run fast and far, at least until you run into Craig Proctor and Eric Mitchell.

When I spoke to both Craig and Eric, what I found interesting about both professionals was their strong sense of humility and service. While both have achieved important success in their respective careers, neither has succumbed to the pride of being #1. Too often, those who ascend to the top of their game forget the hard work and lessons that got them there. The result? They no longer operate on the very principles that resonated with their customers in the first place.

There is a sense of entitlement for many sales professionals who achieve #1 status; it is a seductive attitude that, unless rejected, will become the reason for their downfall. If I had a dollar for every ‘top sales professional’ who was once #1 and then later ran into financial hardship, I’d be a wealthy man. Salespeople are truly a dime a dozen, but sales professionals are very difficult to find.

Sales professionals are those who take their professions seriously. Sales professionals are committed to their industry and make a point of learning as much as possible to ensure that their businesses operate at peak efficiency so their clients will receive superior service. Knowledge is power in sales, and effectively leveraging this to strengthen and “add value” to your relationships is what takes a sales professional to the next level in their career. It was refreshing to share and discuss with Craig and Eric their ‘not-so-secret’ secrets to success -- concepts they embody in their respective professions.

Craig Proctor Mortgage Professional America

Craig and Eric have always operated in a manner that runs against the traditional, old-school methods of their industries, and this is the foundation for their success. The ability to support each other as affiliate partners and provide precisely what it is their clients need is at the heart of both their success and service. Eric supports Craig to ensure each client fully understands their respective lending options in the market today. The goal is to provide each customer with the lowest interest rate and lowest monthly payment feasible given today’s market conditions. The focus of the way they work together is to determine what is necessary to get the best deal done for each consumer who needs their help.

Craig - #1 in the world, for 15 consecutive years.

Craig Proctor attained early success in real estate and was named the #1 real estate agent in the world by RE/MAX when he was only 29 years old. After dropping out of college, he was living with his parents, working a “safe” job that paid little and challenged him even less. Looking for direction, and against his father’s advice (given the high failure rate of new agents), he followed in his father’s footsteps and got his real estate license. To everyone’s surprise, including his own, he achieved remarkable results (but did so, initially, on the back of very hard work.) As a highly successful RE/MAX agent, Craig earned nearly $4 million a year in commissions with his innovative, outside-the-box thinking, and he remained a top agent for RE/MAX for 15 years. Currently, Craig applies his years of real estate experience as a coach and mentor for other agents looking to earn more money while working less hours by implementing Craig’s systematic approach. Like a sports coach, Craig Proctor takes the innate talents of his clients and helps them to utilize those talents as effectively as possible through his Quantum Leap System, a formula for generating high quality leads and converting them into paying clients.

Craig’s System & a McDonald’s Franchise: If you own either one, you will make money

In describing Craig’s system and approach to the market, Eric compared Craig’s system to owning a McDonald’s franchise. If you follow the system and are disciplined in supporting sustainable and scalable processes, you will be highly successful. “To not embrace this is like buying a McDonald’s franchise and never opening your doors. With Craig’s system, you will be successful – I have seen it too many times in my career for this to be coincidence. What Craig is offering other agents is exactly what is needed in our industry today,” says Eric.

Craig Proctor's Quantum Leap System is built on three pillars: Lead Generation (through what Craig refers to as Automatic Reverse Prospecting – in other words, direct response marketing that compels prospects to seek out the agent rather than the other way around), Lead Conversion and Lifetime Customer Service. Craig delivers his system through various training options, but the basic tool kit agents receive includes a wide range of marketing materials (ads, scripts, reports, presentations, etc.) Clients also gain access to live weekly webinars, free seminars, online training and more. Access to the Quantum Leap System also includes a monthly newsletter, advance notice of Craig Proctor's free half-day seminars, and an extensive online Quantum Leap Marketing Manual. Applying Craig Proctor's Quantum Leap System can help real estate agents to change the way they approach advertising, learn to implement new technologies to attract and retain clients, develop and refine a message about their unique benefits to clients, and delegate their work effectively to carefully chosen assistants. In addition to his Quantum Leap System, Craig Proctor offers an intensive coaching program to teach real estate agents advanced techniques in selling and marketing real estate services. Through this program, clients can receive step-by-step instruction from Craig Proctor on how to implement the Quantum Leap System. The program includes ad clinics, weekly role-play clinics, question-and-answer sessions, and an exclusive coaching workbook.

So – who is the man behind the system, and how does it make agents so wildly successful? We discuss this with Craig and Eric for this month’s interview series:

So – where did you two grow up?

Craig Proctor: We both grew up in Canada – I grew up in Toronto and Eric grew up in Regina. In Canada we don't have title companies close, we have real estate attorneys, but many states here in the U.S. do the same. Our banking systems are very similar, yet different at the same time.

Where did you go to college, Craig?

Craig Proctor: I attended the University of Toronto for a time but didn’t finish. I didn’t see how what they were teaching me was going to help me build a career for myself. I didn’t have a clear idea of what I wanted to do with my life at first and took a part time job at a local hospital while I figured it out. My dad was a real estate agent and discouraged me from following in his footsteps. He was well aware of the high failure rate of new agents and was trying to save me from falling on my face. I was 25 years old and, like many young men, I saw my dad’s warning as a challenge and did the opposite of what he told me to do. The problem was, when I got into real estate, I made the same mistake most new agents make: I looked around at what everyone else was doing and simply copied them.

Eric Mitchelle Mortgage Professional America

What was that?

Craig Proctor: Most agents beat their heads against the wall with ineffective “prospecting” such as cold calling, knocking on doors, calling FSBOs and Expireds, etc. The name of the game is to chase after anyone and everyone in the hopes of finding someone who wants to buy or sell. That’s how I started out, and I worked really hard – to the point of burnout. As a Realtor, you spend 80% of your week hunting down people and 20% of your week helping people. Real Estate courses do well in preparing you once you have a customer, but the one piece they don't teach you is how you get one.

So what was the catalyst that grew your business?

Craig Proctor: My early success was ironic. While I achieved #1 status very early in my career, I killed myself to get there and didn’t see how I could sustain the pace I’d set for myself. Believing that there had to be a “better way”, I started studying different industries. In 1990 I stumbled upon Direct Response Marketing, and this changed everything for me. Instead of advertising the way most Realtors do , such as talking about how many designations they have or their sales record, or vague, empty statements such as “I care”, my ads gave Prospects something they wanted. In other words, instead of talking about myself, I focused on benefits I knew were meaningful to my prospects.

When I removed myself from the ads, I achieved a very different result. Suddenly prospects were calling me (I didn’t have to chase them). Realtors spend a fortune trying to brand themselves. Your customers don’t care about that. What they care about is WIFM (What’s in it for Me). If you can offer your clients something tangible and meaningful in your ads, that’s when they will pay attention and seek you out.

Tell us about your success – what was the evolution?

What I realized is that every part of my business could be systemized. I became successful not because I was a gifted selling machine, but because I developed a superior system for each step of the process. I developed a system to generate leads, a system to convert those leads to appointment, and presentation systems to convert those appointments into signed contracts. When I taught this system to agents I hired to assist me, they achieved the same success I did.

So, how did you get into Real Estate Coaching?

Craig Proctor: While I had no intention, at first, of going to into training, I was overwhelmed with requests from other agents to help them do what I was doing. I was flattered that people wanted to ask me questions, but it was a challenge. So in 1995, I did a seminar. I knew I was onto something when agents would spend the day with me or attend a seminar, and then go back to their markets and become wildly successful. It was not about me; it was about the system.

My coaching business wasn’t a success overnight. I had to work hard. At my first seminar I think I had only 25 people who attended, but then I had 40, then 100, then 200. We started creating coaching programs and hundreds of people in these programs were able to achieve a great deal of success as a result. We now regularly have over 2,000 agents in attendance at each SuperConference. I’ve trained over 30,000 agents worldwide and many of those are now high 6 and 7 figure earners.

Tell me about Eric Mitchell.

Craig Proctor: We do hundreds of half-day seminars across the country each year and Eric is one of my best partners. He is committed to the real estate community as much as I am, and that is why we make such great partners. It means so much more to work with people like Eric. We are communicating what each Realtor wants; the marketing is so simple.

Our secret is fairly simple: Offer prospects something they want – and then make it easy for them to get it.

We simply serve our clients in a knowledgeable fashion. We want to make sure the agents we work with are the best, most knowledgeable in the business. Eric helps provide these options in ways I haven’t seen.

Generally, Realtors are well prepared to deal with the buyer who wants to buy today, but the reality is that 80% of the leads we generate are down the road customers, so an effective follow-up system is imperative. This consists of regular, scripted follow up on the phone, but also of written communication (such as newsletters) to share things like how to get the best financing, marketing information, hotlists of properties, etc.  

Eric also wanted to be the information provider or the expert. And so, we make good partners in this way.

The mistake most Realtors make is to market themselves as salespeople. Eric and I make a conscious effort to market ourselves as information providers, people who consumers and agents need in order to make the best decisions about their future.

The lender-Realtor relationship is generally adversarial – how do you break that?

Craig Proctor: Well, Realtors say – my lender is lazy; but remember you only need one lender – you need someone like Eric who values the relationship. Realtors are lazy too. Realtors need to set up a team – a lot has to go right to make a transaction happen.

So, how do you secure the best lending partnerships?

Craig Proctor: The conversation I had with my lender went like this: What is my business worth to you? I would like to double my business. If I do this, you will benefit from this too. So, let’s determine the best way to educate our clients – let’s lead them together.

What is the worst thing about Real Estate Agents?

Craig Proctor: Most Real estate agent ads are terrible. Every market has the hat lady; someone with a dog in their ad; the condo guy, etc. In general they are terrible marketers, and yet many think they are great at it.

It is not that these don't work at all, but they just don't work very well. If you want to be a top producer, this isn't the way. Cold calling is not the way either. Typical real estate agent training doesn’t teach a better way. You have to go outside for that training, and this is where I can make a huge difference for agents who want to get to the next level.

So, what is the system?

Craig Proctor: Here is a quick example: offer a Free over-the-phone prequalification – part of what I would do is a quick pre-qualification; get the lender on the phone immediately to do this. First-time home-buying seminars; we do these over the phone, providing people with information they can benefit from. Should they want to learn more, they can call us for more information. We did this many times. We recorded it, and then we would play the seminars two times weekly and people would call in. Quite honestly, this part of the system was quite easy and repeatable – and prospects loved it because there wasn’t any sales pressure; it was information that could best serve them.

What is the best way for Realtors to succeed today?

Craig Proctor: Honestly, hang out with those who do more than you, production-wise. Get a strong mentor – success leaves clues, and you can pick up on these. You have to be hungry, and unfortunately, too many Realtors attempt to figure out this business on their own.

You can target demographically where the sales are going to be – in Canada, we often refer to the old Wayne Gretsky quote, ‘You don’t want to skate where the puck is, you want to skate to where the puck is going to be.’ The reality is, real estate is the same way, and in my system we help agents figure out where the sales are going to be.

What drives you and Eric?

Craig Proctor: Quite honestly, we love seeing people become successful.  Realtors will become successful if they follow my system, but the system doesn’t run itself. You need to be committed and disciplined to the business in order to serve clients. As Eric says, if you buy a McDonald’s, it will not open its own doors. The system isn’t about me. Everything I teach is completely duplicatable. If you can copy, you can succeed. Both Eric and I love to help people discover how they can be successful.

Rick Roque Mortgage Professional AmericaRick Roque, Managing Editor. For comments email Rick at:  rroque@thenichereport.com or call 408.914.5895. To contact Craig Proctor, call 800-538-1034 or email craig@CraigProctor.com. To contact Eric Mitchell call 888-696-1344 ext.729 or email emitchell@eric-mitchell.com.



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