Today we have a special blog post for you all! We interviewed Ryan Ruehle, an agent who just closed transaction number 300 this year! He gives insight about how he went from knowing nobody to being a celebrity in his market. Enjoy!
So, to begin, I want to talk about Market Maker, selfishly, because you've been on the platform for just a little over a year and you told me you had closed 31 deals as of November, which is awesome, so like in 11 months you closed that amount.
And I know this is one pillar in your business, Ryan, which is a key takeaway for those watching. Multiple pillars are the key to having a strong real estate business. But, of that 31, I think your advertising budget is… I think all-in, you're $1,500 a month on Market Maker.
So, that represents about $16,500 that you had invested within 11 months. Do you know what that 31 transactions represented as far as gross commission?
I do, I do. A little over $6 million in volume, so that's, I think it was about $90,000 in commissions.
$90,000 in gross commissions? That's amazing.
To the house. I do a 50/50 split with my agents, so $181,000 would be the total, yeah.
So, $181,000 in gross commissions return on about $16,500 investment.
You're out there, and you're turning these opportunities and leads and appointments into commission dollars. That would be your investment, $16,500, to get back 180 Gs, if you're Ryan Ruehle, or Ryan Ruehle's team.
I just wanted to really lay that out foundationally, because like I was telling you, there's a lot of people who jump from product to product to product. They're always looking externally as far as the problem is concerned, and they're never looking internally for the skills. And so, it's just refreshing to have a badass like you who can just take something and be like, "Okay, let's install it into our company, into our team, and in doing so, we're going to be able to get a significant return on investment."
That's more than, what, 10x… $16,000 to $181,000, it's more than 10x-ing my investment.
Yeah, for sure. And I think that what escapes a lot of people is the how, and so I wanted to break that down, but also where we were just a minute ago is essentially people watching this, they'd say, "Oh, yeah, that's easy for him, he's a mega agent, he's got a mega team, he's doing 300 transactions. Of course, he can do that." Right? And so, I was like, let's go back to when that wasn't the case, and you were just fearful, like all of us were, to invest in your business. It's just completely unknown. And so, you were telling us that story. Let's go into that.
The thing that I've been very good at and blessed about is to invest in myself and to put myself in positions of being around extremely gifted, intelligent, people like Jake and you, Mike, and Jake Hinder, and Mike Reese, and all these people that have helped me in my business.
So, I knew early in real estate that I needed to invest in myself, so coaching was the number one thing. The only thing that I ever knew growing up is I knew sports, and I always knew that everybody that I'd ever done sports with had a coach. So, to me, it didn't seem any different to get into business and to have a coach because I knew nothing. I came to Columbus to go to Ohio State. Went to Ohio State, knew I wanted to get into real estate, started investing a little bit personally. Got licensed, and had no clue what to do.
So, the story I was telling is how I found Jake Hinder, who went to a very small conference at the time. I think it was the first year of Kinder Reese, or maybe the second year, and Mr. Wally Bressler I met and had me in their VIP room upstairs, and after a few cocktails, somehow had my credit card in his hand, and started signing me up. So, I literally went to this conference, guys, I was doing maybe, I don't know, 12, 15 transactions. I wasn't doing much business. But I knew where I wanted to get to, and I knew that I did believe in myself. I just didn't know how to get there, and I had no money.
So, I always came from some of these wrong beliefs that you needed money to make money, and that's not true. Having money makes it easier to make more money, but you definitely don't need money to make money. There's a lot of other paths. So, they invited me back to the room, a big room full of alcohol and fun people that can sell anything, and I got signed up for… Like I said, I got signed up for coaching. I got signed up for a lead generation website, and I got signed up for leads, and I literally, that evening, I spent more as far as what I committed to on my credit card than even what my personal monthly bills were. You talk about scary.
And then the story I was telling was I woke up the next morning, I went down to get some breakfast, and I called my mother because I had to confess to somebody what I just did, and try to figure out… You really, at the end of the day, usually want someone to tell you you're right. Right? You want them to reinforce the behavior that you just had. So, I told her what I did, she said you need to call these guys, you need to cancel everything. Ryan, you're… She knew what I was making. She's like, "You're not bringing in this type of money." But, the great thing about a credit card is it gives you a little bit of time.
So, after I got off the phone with her, I still… There's a bunch of just smart guys that I still was talking to before we were leaving the conference there, and they're like, "Ryan, you've got to go all-in, and you've got to at least give this thing a go and a try." As I said, I knew what I was capable of, or I felt like I did, and I just needed the tools to help me get there, and that was the coaching. And then of course, if you don't have certain tools in real estate, whether it's Dotloop or whether it's the MLS or whatever it is, you're not going to be successful.
So, for me, it was the coaching and lead generation. As I said, I was in Columbus, I knew nobody, and I looked like I was 12 years old, and all my friends were working at McDonald's and stuff. So, nobody was buying a home. So, I had to figure out how do I meet people. I was good at going and having some drinks at the bar and meeting people that way, but it rarely leads to actual business, is what I've found.
You can meet some friends, for sure. But yeah, as far as business, no. So, I had to figure out something. And thank God, these guys went two feet in with me. I started out, Mr. Cliff Freeman. Coach Cliff was my first coach and really helped me out a lot, and got me to understand the path that I needed to be on. I always tell everyone, without a GPS or something in your car telling you where to go, you can go anywhere. I just built a new house, and I have to use my GPS to get there because I'm still not really familiar with the area. So, if I just got in my car and try to go to the new house I just built, I'd get there, but it would take me a little while.
And that's what we want for our business. So, that's why, why do I spend money the way that I do on lead gen and Market Maker and all the different tools and stuff that I have? Is because I know… then scaling is easy. And that's the great thing about what you guys have put together and designed at Market Maker. I think our team yesterday had four converted leads onto our calendar. So, then it's just my agents, just making the phone work.
So, it's taking that plunge. I've learned, and I know Jake and Mike, I know you guys well, and I know that you live by this, that you've got to be so just natural being uncomfortable. You've just got to be uncomfortable, and you've got to be maybe scared and be able to really live in that world and thrive in it. And when I'm uncomfortable, I know it's a good thing, because I know that I'm moving forward and I'm doing something of what I'm supposed to be doing. When I'm comfortable, I get bored, and I know that…
It would be easy for me right now to just turn the dial back. We're doing 300, and we've got our systems dialed in pretty well, but that's not where we want to get to. I'm investing now into some different ISA things for nurture leads, and we're starting a CHT University here in Columbus, so it's going to be the Columbus House Team University that I'm putting together. So, I think when you get comfortable being uncomfortable, that's when things in your life start changing.
It's so true. A very similar story for me, except for I called my dad, and he didn't say, "Don't do it." He said, "Don't pay them the year in full," even though they're going to give me 20% discount. He said, "Pay them monthly so that you control the money, and make sure that it's what you think it is, and it's good." And that was his advice, and it was excellent advice. It took the pressure off. I had that amount of money in the bank, and I just wanted to get the discount on the 12 months of coaching.
But, I think honestly, the big couple of pillars there is the ability to be coachable, and too often for us, there are two things. One, it's fear, like oh, it's not working instantly, or that doesn't work in my market, or my market is different. And then the other one is just not being coachable.
What would you say to somebody who maybe comes and joins your team and isn't very coachable? How do you work through that? How do you get their mindset to be more open?
I think it's proof, because even as we were developing our team, and as you guys know, culture is so important and who you bring on, but we had some agents that came on that were a little bit more established. They had been in the real estate game for a minute. And, to an older school agent, which I had been in this almost 18 years now, but because of the way that I kind of developed and my pathway, I just love technology, and like I said, I had to find a path because I didn't have a sphere, I didn't have referrals passed to me, I didn't have any of that. So, I had to find a way.
But for us, it's proof. I have an agent on my team now, he's been with us I think three years, not even quite three years, and he's going to do about 50-some transactions this year, and his business was based solely on internet leads, on lead generation, conversion, a proven process, and system that we've put in place, so I can show you. It's not just me telling it. Because a lot of people, "Well, Ryan, you've got this big team and it's easy for you to spend money and do this," and yeah now, but like I said when I go back and I tell people I literally started with a shoestring budget and it was lean with revenue. If I didn't have the money, I didn't want to spend it, and that's why at the time when I was young I always thank Discover Card, because they were the gift that got me going.
So, it's believing, and I think, come from just a personality of being open-minded. That's why I know you guys if I brought you in the idea, Mike, I know you'd be open-minded, even if in the beginning you'd be like, "What the hell is Ryan talking about?" You'd be open-minded enough to look at it and have a conversation.
So, for me, it's showing these agents, "Hey, look at the proof. I can show you the closings. I can show you the numbers." What I love about, and I think what you love about what you've built, Mike is that it's scalable and duplicatable. We could literally drop into any market, I truly believe that and we'd have to get the right people, but we can generate the leads in any market, run the same systems and processes, and have the same results because human beings buying in Columbus aren't different than human beings buying in Texas or wherever. There is still that same process they go through.
I always say real estate is a process, not an event. Nobody wakes up and says, "I'm buying a home today." And you've just got to have everything in place, so when their time to pull that trigger, and they're like, "Yep, that's the house I want to go look," or whatever that buying signal is for them to show the agent that's in front of them, and that's what you guys obviously help do. The whole thing behind Market Maker is generating the lead and then helping the agent to basically get that lead down to the funnel to where they're ready to spend some money.
And I think that what makes you really qualified to speak on that is the fact that you do have such a large peer group specifically, and you hang out with mega agents all around the country, and you see the similarities in what they do and how it works there. Just like us, just like me, just like Jake, and I think that's what's so frustrating, is helping people understand that connection. I would never sell real estate without heavy lead generation, especially on the internet side, because it's much more empowering to have a conversation with somebody from that position than it is when I would door knock or cold call, all those things that are just high rejection.
I always said, people always talk about being lazy is bad, but I think for human beings, sometimes being lazy leads to innovation. The reason I always tried to find a different way of doing it, I was a little lazy at certain things.
I was brought up, you've got to be labor and do all this hard work, I'm like, whoa, let me find a way to do this easier. And what lead generation does is not only does it make it easier to be in real estate, but it makes it easier to sleep at night, because it's duplicatable, and if we're doing the things we need to do, I can get pretty close to exactly what my plan was every year by putting in our lead gen and knowing our numbers because I know the lead source and I know what the conversion on that lead source should be.
It's just fear of the unknown, but you've got to control what you can control, and no matter what, if you're going to still sell real estate six months from now, 12 months from now, six years from now, 12 years from now, you've got to constantly, in my opinion, build that database and build that future business, because it's just so dang powerful.
We had somebody yesterday that was raring to go, and he said, "I've got to wait a few months because I got to see what the president does for the economy." And I was like, "Okay, in a few months, you're still going to be selling real estate. The people that would be coming in now are going to buying and selling then. You're going to be just behind the 8-Ball." It doesn't change. Downturns happen. I talked to somebody the other day who's been licensed since like '82. She was like, "I don't even know how many downturns I've lived through now in real estate." She was like, "This one's been the most confusing because it felt like it was supposed to be, but then it's now inventory is crazy." But she was like, "The one thing I know I always have to do regardless is be generating leads." And I was like, oh, you get it, I love it.
She was talking about the database and always having to replenish it, and she just got it. And there are some people that do that. And I was going to say when you asked him how he gets his agents over it, and you said proof, I think that is glorious. And something else that just always pops into my head whenever you guys are talking, I think back of all the people that have gone through journeys like you guys, where you go from not knowing anybody in a market to being a top agent in your marketplace, selling hundreds of deals, and the most fascinating thing that I see between every single one of you that have done that is a lack of ego. Right? I feel like so many times, people have this ego thing that they have to battle, and they sometimes fail because it's, "I think I already know the answer, or how this is going to go," or, "I know what I should be saying," rather than just being coachable.
You're selling 300 deals a year, there's a lot of people that would be like, "Oh, God, I can learn so much from you," but you're still so coachable, and your mentality is like, "I don't know enough. We're starting to do more. I got to go figure it out and learn." And when that goes away, I feel like that's usually when growth stops happening, but the people always have no ego and they're willing to take action. And sometimes they have to be forced to take the first bits of action, but it's like, those commonalities are like, whenever I talk to somebody and they're newer or they're on the rise, you know what I mean, and they have that kind of mentality, I'm like, oh, yeah, it's a done deal. You'll be doing hundreds of deals within three years max, just because they have that built into them.
I was going to push back. I was going to say, I definitely have an ego. It's just, I don't place it ahead of getting to the goal. I always love that Kanye verse, the ego is the steam that powers the dream, and I think that there is a healthy aspect to ego, but again, if somebody's telling me how to do something better, I'm not going to buck up and be like, "I already know what I'm doing."
No, I think it is. We all have an ego, but what I would say was the biggest thing for me, Jake, was when I got into coaching, again, when I got in, and even now, I'm number four in all of Columbus, which is a huge market, and when I go, and even before when I go to these conferences, when I go, you know, Mike and Jake, the room that we're in, it's humbling. You've got to be humble to be in these rooms.
When you start hanging out with Jim Keaty, here's a guy selling 600 homes a year. And at the time when I met Jim, I think I was doing maybe right around 100, and I thought I was doing pretty decent. But that's what humbles you. And when you see very high D personality guys in a room sharing and willing to do what you guys, what you're doing now, what are you doing? You're giving back because you truly care, not just about Market Maker. You guys care about people's business, and that's what huge. When you can get people like that in a room, and they're still open-minded and they're still learning from each other, that's when you get something pretty powerful.
I agree with that wholeheartedly. I think also the competitive nature of the individual. You being in sports, you're obviously a competitive guy. I'm a competitive guy. One of the paradigm shifts for me was my coach, back in the day, I was like, "I'm generating too many leads. I got to slow this thing down. I'm not going to get to them all." He said, "Listen, every lead you don't generate is one that your competition does." And I was like, oh, snap, we've got to beat that competition. We ain't going to let them get any of those leads.
And what happens is, it's biting off more than you can chew, and nibbling like hell, but it kind of just pulls you through to that success, when you've got so many up to bat, so many up to bat, so many… You can screw it up a million times, but you finally get it right.
But there are skills. You're creating a university right now. I think that a lot of times, you get in your own way a little bit of thinking that you already got it down when there might be a better way, and when you have it, and you have that many up-to-bats, you know what I mean, it's hard not to just get it nailed down. And then once you got it, it's a skill that literally is like a money tree.
Yeah, I agree, and that was I think one of the main things that I learned when I started lead generating, and even at the time, I wasn't generating a ton, but before that, I was so scared to even get in front of someone because I didn't know when my next business was coming, and I really thought if I screw this up, I don't know when I'm going to eat again. And that makes things very scary. So, when you start lead generating, you realize, all right, let's hit the phones, let's be aggressive. If you screw up, you're going to have another lead. We're going to keep this machine going, and you're going to have a ton of at-bats.
When you understand the numbers of it, that's when you start liking some of the nos, because you know eventually no, no, no, no, no, yes. And when you really understand the model and the way that lead conversion works, it gets exciting when you're like, "Man, I hit the phones all day and didn't get anything. Do you know what tomorrow's going to be, Mike? Tomorrow's going to be a great day."
You know the flip side of that? I don't know why my mind goes like this, but when I would have a big streak, I'd be like, "All right, I'm about to come into a little dry time, I've got to pay those dues."
What do you think about this aspect? Of the fear, like you put it all on credit cards back in the day. You pretty much, it was get rich or die trying. You were either going to do it or you were going to crumble. Do you think that fear is a key component to really punching through?
So, you don't know what you don't know, and as I said, I knew the coaching part and I knew investing in myself because I knew that if someone else was sleeping and I was practicing my jump shot if somebody else was out goofing off and I was practicing, that I was going to get that far ahead of them.
So, I knew investing in myself was the biggest thing to go, and I think again, it's being uncomfortable. As I've gotten older, I've learned growing up, again, it's the mentality of just the small town that I was in, but everybody always said have a plan B and a C. Well, when I went into real estate, just like you said, there was no plan B because the corporate world, which is where I was, so I was going to Ohio State and I was working a corporate job, and I was miserable. And even at my age, at that time, I was making okay money, because I had moved up a little bit, I was a manager, I was doing all right. But I hated it.
And doing real estate, I wasn't making any money really yet, but I knew that's where I wanted to be. So, for me, it literally was, there's not going to be a plan B. We're going to go all-in with this.
A lot of coaching programs cost so much money these days, and that's part of their justification, like if it doesn't hurt, then you're not going to pay attention nearly as much and make sure you strike the value out of it.
And it's funny, I'm going through a coaching program right now, and I was last year. They lowered it because of COVID. Last year it was $2,500 a month for 12 months. This year they lowered it to $1,500. And you know what? I have not paid near as much attention this year as I did last year. And I got it on my list every day, I've got it on my calendar every day. It's a little more self-teaching than immersion and getting together like it was, but I'll tell you, I've noticed that to be true, that just that little difference in price, it's like, "Eh, I'll get to it," and here we are, almost three-quarters of the way through the year, and I'm only a quarter of the way through the material.
It's just one of those things, if it doesn't hurt, you might not pay much attention to it.
Well, I don't think people respect something that's given to them for free. You just don't. Either you earned it through the dollar pain of it, or usually, there's that sweat equity that you've put in and all the different things, and for me, it was, I like moving towards pleasure and away from pain, so always those were the things for me. I used to door knock. I used to do all of those things. And I hated it so much. But as I said, I wanted to have freedom, and I wanted to get out of that nine to five world so bad that I was willing to do anything.
And that's why I tell my agents now, I'm like, "Guys, you've got to understand the beauty of the world that you're in. We have appointments being sent to your phone, your calendar, and these are people that have talked about real estate." It's not like when I would grab the phone book back in the day and I would just, "Hey, Jake, you thinking of buying?" He'd he like, "What are you doing, dude? Why are you calling me? I don't know."
But once I found lead generation and then I didn't have to get the phone book and I didn't have to door knock, game changer.
What would you say to an agent out there that maybe has a respectable business, really never got into the lead gen side, or conversely, maybe is a newer agent, knows they have to do something, but they're still just fearful? What do you think the main thing that they need to focus on? Because look, there's a lot of different lead generation platforms and things of that nature, but not necessarily a plug for Market Maker, but their skillset, their internal mindset, what would you say to them?
I mean, they've got to get into it or be left behind number one. Everybody's scared about Zillow getting into the game and this or that. I say, forget about all that, focus on what you can control, but in today's world, you have to get into this game. And it depends on where you want your business to be, but like I said, to automate things, they've got to put the time into education. There's a ton of anything out there. There's a ton of lead-gen platforms. There's a ton of CRMs. There's a ton of it.
So, you've got to educate, and like what you guys are doing, I look at those things. You guys are giving back. There are agents such as myself on your platform that will answer a call for anyone at any time saying, "Hey, I'm doing this."
The proof's in just success. So, I tell people, if you don't have a CRM then the first thing you do is you've got to get something. If you're going to get something, do the research. I look at all the reviews of anything that I'm going to purchase. And I just make sure that I'm doing something smart with my money.
So, that's the biggest thing I'd tell someone, is you have to spend a ton of money a month on all of these tools, and I don't do it just because I think it's fun, and that's what I tell my agents. You guys are using the best tools of what I've seen out there, and I've been around the best, I think, real estate agents in the world.
I can't think of any other groups. There have been guys that are just more badass than these guys. So, I tell them the tools that we're using is the same thing. I say I've never been this smart. I always steal this from Kinder. I was never the smartest kid in the room, but I did hang out and I did sit by smart people because I usually didn't do my homework and I would borrow theirs.
That's always my argument for why women are smarter. I'm like, "Hey, I don't know about you, but I never copied off any guys in school. I copied off the girls."
Yeah, no, that's true. I made friends with some very smart people in school, and they helped me out a lot.
Well, man, I just appreciate you being on here. Hopefully what we've done is we've inspired some confidence in some people to take action and get out of their comfort zone, and if they've already done that, maybe giving them some hope to continue the good fight, because it is, it's a life-changing thing. And that's why I'm passionate about it. That's why I love this business, too, because, for me, I'd probably be in the shallows of real estate had I not found those key components of online lead gen and especially coaching as well.
Yeah. I would tell anyone out there, give you guys a call, because like I said, it makes life, it makes your business so much better to not have to worry. I have no worries about are going to keep lead generating. Now, you still got to do the work and put in the time, make your calls, do your follow-up, all of that, for sure. But you guys are doing so much of the heavy lifting. To be honest, I don't even know all the ins and outs of all the stuff that you do now. I just know you send me leads and I love it.
But you're right, it's life changing. And real estate, honestly, done correctly, real estate I think is the best industry in the world.
I agree and look at the impact that you're able to have on all the people on your team, all the families that you're able to help, the auxiliary businesses, title companies, insurance, mortgage. It's just a wonderful thing.
I love real estate, and it ain't going away. We're all going to always have to live somewhere, and so for me, it's a very safe investment, whether you're buying real estate, investing in the brokerage end, and selling real estate, and the main key takeaway that I really didn't drill down that I love as far as what you said is investing in yourself. I was always taught when you invest in yourself, no one can ever take it away from you. I'm not fearful about tomorrow because no matter what, as you said, you could drop me somewhere, anywhere and I can rub a couple of sticks together and come right back out, you know what I mean? And I'd probably do it somewhere that was warmer this time.
It's because I've invested that time into those skillsets internally, and again, nobody can take it away. They can't bankrupt it away. It's always there. And even just as important, it translates into any other business. I had a mortgage company, which translates into that business. Software translates into that business. Those skills are just paramount.
Well, I appreciate you coming in, and as you said, if you guys want some help with this stuff, go to MarketMakerCall.com, check it out. Thanks so much, everybody, and thanks again, Ryan, for being here, brother.
Appreciate you guys.
I really appreciate it.
Thank you, Ryan.