Robert Ringer wrote Winning Through Intimidation in 1973 and renamed and re-released it in 2002. The name change was a good move because winning through intimidation was never Robert’s intention. How to survive in the jungle and overcome the intimidating tactics of its inhabitants is the real purpose and is much better expressed by the new title.
Robert Ringer assumes the alter-ego of a tortoise and pits his wits against the metaphorical hare. Keep on plodding along, never take your eye off the goal and something will happen to hold the hare up and very often the tortoise will come plodding past in the final straight.
Robert tells of his early days in the real estate business and of the different types of intimidating rogues he came up against. He lost a few battles early on but but was able to classify the intimidators and use the lessons learned to overcome similar tactics on subsequent occasions. He refers to this education period as his time at Screw U.
Basically Robert came to assume that every property seller was happy to use his services, take his time and expense but when the time came to pay up always seemed to have a good reason to hold on to some or all of Robert’s money (which he refers to as chips). Some set out from the beginning with every intention to steal his chips and some found good reasons at the close of the deal and did so with great regret but nevertheless it is safe to assume that no-one was happy to pay a real estate agent the commission due. That commission could be a pretty large sum and what on earth could make a real estate broker think he was worth that kind of money?
Robert very quickly learned to get the legal issues in good order. After a couple of mistakes he always got a signed commission agreement before doing any work. If for any reason there was no agreement he would walk away.
He learned the hard way to always have the right broker licenses in place in whatever state he was operating. The intimidating sellers knew the law and would always try the legal loopholes first. When alerting prospective buyers to properties he quickly learned to send all documentation registered mail so it could never be said that he did not introduce the buyer to the seller. Would people really behave that way? All the time.
And in a master stroke of legal maneuvering Robert decided to always have his own legal representative at the closing of every deal, a move that always took the buyer and seller by surprise and one that relied on the code of honour between attorneys to make sure he got paid. “It was one thing to make a sale” said Robert frequently in the book “but another thing entirely to get paid for that sale.”
We have covered basics so far but quite rightly because so many people don’t do the basics properly. However, there were three big revelations that really made the difference to me, and for which I will be eternally grateful and for which I would gladly have paid many time more than the cover price of the book. $14.95 incidentally.
Revelation 1. Not every deal can be brought to a satisfactory conclusion. In many cases it is obvious from the start that a deal will not be possible. Robert decided to sort these out early on and leave them alone. He concentrated his efforts on the deal that had a high probability of being made instead of chasing every possible opportunity and clinging to the desperate hope that one of them might come off. Most of us do that, I was doing it, but now if I see a deal is not going to result in a win, win situation I walk away, no regrets, no looking back and turning into a pillar of salt, it just saves so much time, money and heartache.
Revelation 2. It is not necessary to claw owns way up through the ranks learning slowly and waiting for others to die so you can take their place. No one has the right to hold you back if you have the ability to pass them. Other real estate brokers were less than kind to Robert and most were eager to fill his mind with their discouraging words. Had he listened he would have given up and taken a job at a fast food restaurant and there would have been one less competitor for them to worry about.
Instead Robert Ringer set out to learn the skills, develop the ability, show no respect for the industry leaders and put in place what he calls ‘The Leapfrog Theory’. In a nutshell it goes like this “It is my own decision to move right to the top of this industry in the shortest time possible and in order to do that I need to educate myself and to make certain changes, first to the way I think about myself, and second to the perception other people have of me. And that leads us to revelation 3.
Revelation 3. ‘Change your posture’. If you feel second rate you will act second rate and get paid second rate money if you are lucky enough to get paid at all. In the mind of a property owner looking to sell, the real estate agent was a necessary evil and Robert Ringer was just one more real estate agent. That was the perception that had to change. He set out not just to appear more than just another real estate agent but to elevate his posture so much that the buyer or seller would not have the audacity to even suggest that he was a real estate agent.
His first step was to create a unique calling card. A full colour brochure with a black, high gloss finish, hard cover that cost nearly $5 each to produce. I will spoil the book if I tell you more about the brochure, or about the string of private secretaries that eventually came along or the private jet for visiting clients and inspecting properties in other states.
Suffice to say that the tortoise passed the hare and left it in his dust. In his first full year after adopting these principles Robert Ringer closed deals resulting in $849,901 in fees, and that was a long time ago. A couple of years earlier he was scrabbling around hoping to pick up the odd $1,250 and too often getting his fingers burned even for that.
There is a lot in this book that any salesperson can use. Like all businessmen I need sales leads to keep my business thriving. Since reading this book I have discovered how to sort and wait for the best deals and to concentrate on those and not to go chasing after every fleeting promise. Not that I am idle, active sorting makes for a busy life, but I have discovered how to do that in the most efficient way. Because I am not doing the chasing I have developed the posture that draws the right people to me. Thanks to Robert Ringer.