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Gary Gold has been in the real estate industry for four decades.
But during that time he’s never officially taught a real estate course — although he’s never shied away from sharing the hard lessons he’s learned through the years either.
The Los Angeles luxury real estate agent has been speaking professionally about his career experiences and insights for 15 years and has been incredibly open with other agents who have sought out his help.
“People had been asking me through speaking and doing all this stuff, ‘Are you ever going to be a coach?’ And I’m like, ‘I don’t want to be a coach,’” Gold told Inman recently.
And although he still isn’t considering coaching at this point, Gold has launched a live, online mentorship program called “Compete and Beat the Best” to have the ability to share his advice with a wider audience than the dozens of people who approach him after a speaking engagement and with whom he inevitably ends up talking for hours.
“I’ve just been compelled to do it,” Gold said of his inspiration to launch the program. “I do have an agenda — I’m not exactly sure what it is — but I’m really good at [mentoring] and I love sharing how I’ve gotten out of some messes in my career with other agents.”
When Gold’s name comes up, a lot of people think of his then record-breaking $100 million sale of the Playboy Mansion in 2016 or his $150 million sale of the Chartwell Estate about three years later. But Gold is quick to point out that his journey hasn’t been a smooth one. From falling in and out of love with real estate a number of times over the course of his career to struggling with drug addiction and other health issues, Gold has had to start from square one multiple times.
“In my career, I’ve sold some great houses — I’ve had an incredible career — but it hasn’t been pretty,” he said. “When people look at me, they see all these spectacular wins, but I’ve had to start over and reinvent myself multiple times.”
That’s just one of the reasons why Gold is an excellent candidate for the position of mentor — he’s experienced it all. The industry vet said the program is catered to agents stuck in a rut or who have hit a plateau or agents who are one of the top in their market — but want to climb the ladder just a few more rungs to be hands-down No. 1. But other agents can benefit from the program too, of which the first session launched on Thursday.
The program’s initial run will feature one Zoom session per week over the course of four weeks, a weekly Q&A at the end of each session and a “Bonus Session” on the 32 biggest mistakes agents make to sabotage their success, as well as membership into the Compete and Beat the Best community for $997. Gold capped this first round of online mentoring at 35 participants.
Inman recently sat down with Gold to hear more about his program and how agents can benefit from it. What follows is a version of that conversation edited for brevity and clarity.
Inman: Why did you decide to launch this program?
Gold: I’ve got 40 years of experience and have been really successful and have been that person [who was great and had a series of bad things snowball to sabotage them]. While I was developing this course, I was saying to myself, ‘Oh my god, I need to get it together in this department and that department …’ So I was student No. 1, and I always find that if you’re teaching, you learn things on a deeper level.
And for myself, who is very successful, it was very obvious to me the things that I stopped doing or that I have lagged on. It’s equivalent to, if you have a closet full of clothes you don’t wear, it’s camouflaging a bunch of clothes you would wear if you could even find them.
I think those types of things for a real estate agent are really dangerous. If your Google Drive or all those docs are just filled with crap that is worthless and you don’t have a system in place, all that congestion is going to slow you down in this highly, highly competitive market.
It starts to catch up, and then you’re really behind the eight ball. I’m teaching agents how to pull that all together.
What is the mentoring program like?
Most people today, there’s so much information [out there] and business is so sophisticated and there’s all these people talking you into doing all these different things — but there’s really just four things you need to be proficient at and ultimately master, and you will kill. I focus on those four things and go deep on them.
Can you share those four components?
The components themselves are not earth-shattering information. It’s just, this is what you need to focus on, and I’ve got a very black belt, elite way with all kinds of tricks and 40 years of success and failure in how to do it.
The first one is that stage when you’re capturing leads. I don’t think leads by themselves are particularly valuable — it’s a very vague term. A lead could be someone who sends you a message on Zillow or in your email on a property, and 90 percent of the time it’s a bot. But when you really identify an opportunity, taking those opportunities and managing and nurturing them.
And there’s a ton of them out there. Leads are abundant and they’re everywhere and I think the best ones are free. The problem is for every lead you have, 10 other agents have the same lead. So to get to be one of two or three, when [the client is] ultimately ready in the bottom of the funnel to make some decision, that is how it all starts.
The second step where it’s hardest for people other than the best to score, is when you have those two or three people going after a listing appointment. All the money is in listings for the most part. This applies to buyers too, but the people with the properties are the ones that control the market.
This is probably where I had my biggest epiphany — is when I sold the Playboy Mansion, I was competing with three or four of the best agents in the country. I didn’t have the credentials to compete with them. Their credentials, their track record, blew mine away.
First of all, I didn’t think you could sell the Playboy Mansion, and then I was like, How am I even going to ask for an opportunity? — I don’t think I can even do that, I’d be embarrassed — Maybe I can?
And then I still didn’t know how to do it to — I think I have a shot at this — I’m getting this f***ing listing no matter what and there’s nothing that’s going to stop me!
But I figured out some distinctions there — how to compete against the best agents and beat them. And I didn’t go there and tell the client that I was better than the other agents — I just convinced them I was the best agent for them. I sold them what I had, I looked at what my strengths were, I looked at what they needed, and I was able to do that.
The third part that I teach — and this can be devastating — you gotta sell the house to make a commission. And as we get into a tougher market, more listings are not going to sell and they’re going to have a second agent. How you treat that client, communicate with that client from the moment you list the property to the moment you sell is critical.
First of all, one listing gone awry where it’s just not connecting and there’s frustration and anxiety, can suck up 75 percent of your life force. I’m not even putting down the seller. But if something’s gone wrong, they’re super frustrated, they’ve got their biggest asset in the world that’s not selling and you’re the person who’s in control of it. That’s like a bad marriage — you’re in trouble.
So I’ve put a lot of work into — how do you have this really good working relationship with a client and how do you communicate with them? You could do all the right things to the client and do it at all the wrong times, and you are going to have a really bad outcome.
If you don’t tell a client in a very graphic way because people are distracted — they don’t know exactly what you’re doing marketing-wise until they call you at 8 o’clock one night with the husband and wife on the phone saying why isn’t our house selling? If that’s when you lay out all your great marketing, you’re doomed, it’s too late.
They don’t care what you’ve done because it didn’t work and they’re frustrated. If you let them know along the way in a really organized way what you’re doing for them, you’re on the same team.
Which gets to my fourth point: Create a machine to get more business. Any one really successful sale can lead to 10 others. And the ultimate goal, what I teach is, I call it ‘taking opportunistic leads,’ turning them into opportunities, which you turn into contracts, which you turn into sales, which you then turn into more opportunities. And then you literally have this closed-loop business that just continues to grow every year and you’re not looking anywhere — you’re literally generating your own leads.
That’s the ultimate goal. And when you do a great job and are organized and leverage everything about a sale in a positive, good way, you can create more business out of it. There’s no better advertising than a listing and a sale, if you do it right.
The website for the mentoring program mentions maintaining your clients’ loyalty — how have you kept your clients’ loyalty?
One thing I do, and I discuss it in my course, I become people’s agents before they give me a contract. And I have put a lot of work into people and they end up listing with somebody else. And some people would say to me, ‘Why do you put all that effort into someone when there was no commitment?’
I said, ‘So what, big deal.’ So you don’t get the listing. That’s my cost of doing business. You never know where these things lead. You did a good job that will be remembered in the universe or with that person.
The bigger the listing, the more likely it’s not going to sell in the first stage. You might get it the second time around, you might get referrals. I think it’s just a great way to do business.
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Email Lillian Dickerson