Check, check……is this thing on?
I don’t know what to say, but it’s an honour to be here!
When David asked us to “fill in” for him while he’s away, I first thought he was joking. I actually laughed out loud as the idea seemed absurd to me. Now, it probably doesn’t seem like a crazy idea to most people, after all, everyone deserves a vacation, and having a partner or colleague “cover’ for you while you’re away seems to be standard practice in most industries. But this was TRB, and as many loyal readers will already know: this is Dave’s baby.
In case you’re not among this elite group of loyalists, let me provide some more context for further clarity.
Toronto Realty Blog was started in July of 2007 and the first blog was entitled, “To Stage Or Not To Stage, The $112,000 Question.” At this time David had only one subscriber – his mother. A lovely lady, who is still an avid reader and even visits us at the office from time to time – Hi Carole!
From then to now, David has single-handedly written just under 3,000 blogs on a countless number of topics relating to the Toronto Real Estate market, and at the same time become one of the top brokers in our fine city – the very top at Bosley. And I know from anecdotal conversations I’ve had over the years, that to many people, the success of his career and his blog seem to naturally go hand-in-hand. The point of view held here is that the harder you work at promoting yourself, the more success you’ll inevitably find in your career. But I’ve never thought this exactly true, especially when it comes to blogging as a form of promotion.
In this digital age, there’s no shortage of self-promotion out there and real estate agents were notorious for this even before the advent of Instagram and Tik Tok.
Now I’m going to be careful here as I don’t want to be called the old man wearing his tinfoil hat (again), so I’ll slow my roll a little and clarify. I have no issue with self-promotion per se, and I not only think it’s important to believe in yourself, but to put yourself out there, and make an impact in the world – ideally a positive one.
What I take issue with at times, when it comes to social media in particular, is the level of untruthfulness, shallowness, and materialism we often see while people are practicing self-promotion.
But I digress, and to bring this back to my original point; not all promotion or publicity necessarily leads to success in your field. You might be thinking, but Chris “any publicity is good publicity”, and I hear that. But although this may hold true in show business, I would attest that it doesn’t necessarily translate in the same way when it comes to selling real estate.
Again, I’m not trying to say that publicity is bad, but there are literally a plethora of “million-dollar” agents out there that don’t actually sell any real estate. And maybe it’s a case of “fake it until you make it”, which I understand to an extent, but I have a feeling it has more to do with the fact that the life of a top agent is not easy one, and a ton of hard work.
I’ve gotten to know a few of the top agents in the city now and I think most would agree that to operate at their level of success, you must be on call 24/7. The market never stops and in a competitive service industry – clients come first. This means weekends and evenings, often until the wee hours… so it’s not always easy to find time to post pictures and videos of fabulous dinners on the town with clients – like you might see on TV or any number of social media channels.
And this is my point – when it comes to self-promotion and successful execution of one’s job; it’s not always easy to do both well, and the two don’t always go hand in hand.
But then there’s blogging… another form of media altogether.. and while David manages all the expectations and duties of a top agent, he also finds the time to craft a 2000-3000 word blog post, not once, not twice, but three times per week!
Not to mention make them funny, engaging, and educational.
Think about this for a second… 2000-3000 unique words every week, three times a week, and he hasn’t missed a week for 15 years!
You could call into question some of the topics he chooses or the opinions he may hold – in fact, we often welcome that at TRB – but you just can’t call into question his work ethic and dedication to this blog.
Today TRB is one of the most subscribed real estate blogs in the country and we have a growing team of agents whom we train to provide an unmatched level of service to all our Toronto Realty Group clients.
Sooooo.. you might be able to better understand now why I thought he was joking when he first decided that he was going to take a week off, and wanted us to sub in. But, after I realized he was being serious, I then thought.. heck if he can make it to #1 at Bosley while crafting three blogs a week, surely, I can handle just one – one time.
But then the big question – What would I write about within just one post.
This then lead me to start thinking about the ingredients that might make for a great TRB post.. and after polling and discussing with the rest of the team, I was challenged to include the following list of things, in no particular order, in under 2000 words:
Tell a real estate story
Go on a Rant
Pay homage to Dave
Take a shot at Dave
Quote a movie
Make reference to a fond memory
Give out a prize
I think it’s safe to say that my initial introduction has already accomplished a few items on my list;
pay homage to Dave – check, go on a rant – check, and hey, if anyone can tell me exactly how many blogs Dave has written to date in the comments section below – I’ll send you a Starbucks card!
There that’s three – give out a prize – check – so let’s see if I can’t get to the rest.
How about a story to start… or maybe a little bit more about me first?
I grew up in Toronto and way, way before I started my career in Real Estate, I worked in sales and marketing in the advertising world. In fact, I started my career with an advertising agency working on The Molson/Coors account – and as much as I love my job today – this must have been the most fun job I’ve ever had. There wasn’t a lot of money to be made as a junior in the space at the time, but for a 22-year-old Chris – the perks were amazing! Just think – beer, sports, advertising, and you get the gist. I also happened to work with an incredible team who taught me a lot about everything, and I still miss them from time to time. – Jef, Ryan, and even you too, Travis!
Okay that’s my fond memory and a random shoutout – check check
To make a long story short, after that I moved into sales, then went back to school, got married, had two kids and I now work with David operating and selling with Toronto Realty Group.
But David and I go back a lot further then Toronto Realty Group and we’ve known each other since high school! We even worked together one summer running a small student landscaping operation – although I was the boss back then – I think that’s as much of a shot as I’m willing to take.
Shot at Dave – check
We weren’t in the same year at school, so we never had a class together and it’s safe to say that we ran in different circles back then too, but we had some laughs and saw our fair share of trouble too. I’m sure I can think of more than a few incriminating stories about Dave from high school, but I won’t go there, more so out of fear of reprisal.
This is his blog after all and the man has a memory like an elephant, so I have no doubt that for every one story I can think of about him, he would have ten stories about me.
Flash forward again, now circa 2013, and he was instrumental in my decision to get into real estate in the first place. It wasn’t a hard sell, the daily pace and variation were the main draws, but the alternative of a corporate cubicle and somebody talking about their “case of the Mondays” was the final push.
I had my doubts at first though, and it wasn’t until our first listing that I really started to understand what we were really doing – our business model.
It seems forever ago now, but my first listing with Dave was a run-down spot in Little Italy that I had picked up while working an open house in the area a month previously… and it needed work – a lot of work.
In retrospect, it was the perfect listing to start out with as it not only offered a ton of experience in how to get a property market-ready, but it was also a great starter home in the downtown core, which attracted a ton of interest from both buyers and sellers alike.
Naturally, as my first listing, I wanted it to be perfect and I literally coordinated the renovation of the entire kitchen and basement before painting, staging, and polishing the rest of the house. No stone would be left unturned, and the listing had to be spotless. I can still distinctly remember our stager showing up on stagging day to find me on the roof fixing a loose shingle and turning to Dave with a grin, “Your new guy is really committed eh?.. I don’t think I’ve ever seen you on a roof.”
We promoted and sold the listing on offer night after well over 100 showings and broke a record in the area at that time. It was obviously a huge success for us and our client, but it also cemented my belief in what was and still is our value proposition at Toronto Realty Group.
Tell a real estate story – check
Properties don’t sell for top dollar just by putting a “for sale” sign on the front lawn or merely posting them on MLS, and the delta you can obtain by hiring a full-service agent and putting in the effort to prep, stage, and market a listing properly can be massive!
I drank the TRB Kool-Aid that day per se and even now, I’m still often dumbfounded when I see how some people choose to list and sell one of their largest, and only tax-free, assets.
I’m not sure if this counts as shameless, but it’s definitely “plug” worthy I think – so check.
Each to their own I suppose, and eight years later this is still one of the reasons the job is so interesting. Every listing, every seller, every agent, and every offer night are different – no two days are the same and regardless of the market conditions, there’s always an opportunity to seize out there.
Sure there’s been some ups and downs over the years, and it’s certainly not an easy job for a spouse to put up with – Cass you are the absolute best and I thank you from the bottom of my heart for everything you do for us – but I wouldn’t trade it all for the world.
Now I’m fast approaching my word count and running out of time before my next appointment, but I’m also very cognizant of the fact that I checked most of the boxes on the list I was tasked with but couldn’t slide a great movie quote in there somewhere – that was supposed the be the easy one.
I guess that’s it… so close yet so far.
I couldn’t do it… and next time I’ll think twice before accepting such a commission.
Next time when I’m asked to sub in, I’ll just have to say;
“Sorry Dave, I’m Afraid I Can’t do That” – HAL 2001 Space Odyssey.
I can already hear the boos for that one.. I hope you all have a great Monday!