You must be Ruthless to win in Commercial Real Estate, or so Jonathan Keyser thought.
Jonathan Keyser, founder of Keyser, and author of You Don’t Have to be Ruthless to Win is changing the way commercial real estate business is done in Arizona and beyond.
Raised by missionaries, Jonathan was shocked into reality when he entered the commercial real estate brokerage business. He learned how others played the game, and because he wanted to be successful, he abandoned the lessons learned as a child, to look out for number one, regardless of the cost.
Service Makes You Poor
Jonathan knew early in life that he did not want to be poor. As a child of missionaries, his life was about service. He was surrounded by people without means, and therefore, having little did not bother Jonathan.
Upon returning to the states, he realized he was poor, and he equated serving others as the source of his being poor. Therefore, if he did not want to be poor, he thought, he had to look out for himself only. If he looked out for number one and could be ruthless, he would win and he would make a lot of money.
Ruthless to Win
It worked. He worked for a large CRE brokerage, and was quickly recognized as an elite performer who was destined to climb the corporate ladder. He admits that his success came at a cost. Determined to be successful, he was willing to be ruthless to win. He did whatever it took to make the sale that benefited him the most. While he enjoyed the success, he was conflicted with who he had become.
Then he heard about a different way of doing business. He learned that if he returned to serving others, that eventually people would want to do business with him, because they knew he could be trusted. If he committed to service, the mentor assured him, the money would take care of itself.
This new philosophy fit with the morals from his youth, and that made him feel good. Jonathan liked what he heard, but asked the mentor, why others do not follow this method? The answer was simple, people were not willing to invest the time it takes.
The Long View Towards Success
Sales has always been a numbers game. To make more sales, talk to more prospects. When the results driven culture manifest itself, the numbers emphasize sales, not service. This lack of service rarely leaves the customer with a good experience.
In order to change the experience for the customer, you have to give without expectation. Why don’t companies do this? The answer is simple, cost.
To create a better experience that allows a relationship to develop between the salesperson and the client takes time. Time that produces no immediate results.
The Keyser Way
Jonathan made the decision to become a person of service. No longer was he worried about making the sale. He wanted to truly help all those who he came into contact with. For five years, he focused on service, convinced that things would work out. He admits that before things started to role, he was tempted to go back to what he knew worked, but he resisted.
At the end of five years, he realized the abundance his mentor promised. So much so that he and his group of like minded entrepreneurs who experienced the fruits from their service, made the leap and formed Keyser.
Today, Keyser is more than a commercial real estate firm. It is an organization committed to doing what is right for the customer, its motto: “Relentless client champion.
Each week I ask my guest, “What is the Biggest Risk Real Estate Investors face?”
BIGGEST RISK: For me the biggest risk is cultural dilution.
It’s something that I’m very actively aware of daily. There are so many times that I’m tempted to choose revenue over culture. Whether it’s because I have to let somebody go which are some of the biggest lessons I’ve learned in the past. Somebody talks a good game. You think there’s somebody that’s wired for service. Then they get in and you realize that that was just it was just a really good sales job they used to get in the door.
And making sure that people are living it right it’s easy for people to get busy and forget that we are committed to these 15 cooperating principles and that’s what makes us special so cultural dilution as we scale I think is the biggest risk. Because if we if we dilute our culture then we’re just another real estate firm and ruthlessness springs up and everything that I set out to change goes away.
And that’s part of why this book is so important to me right. It’s like in it we describe the three levels of reinvention which is an inside out reinvention. It’s start with yourself and you reinvent your company culture around service and then you reinvent your relationship with your stakeholders. And it has to be that inside out thing.
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