His Real Estate Start
Ron Pepka was a very successful businessman in Las Vegas, where he worked in telemarketing for 11 years. Despite doing extremely well, Ron and his wife didn't want to raise their two children (boy and girl) in Las Vegas. When the family went to visit the recently retired Ron Sr.in Florida after 1 day, his wife Cathy wanted to move to Florida right away.
“I flew out to Florida to take my real estate test and I passed. I was kind of having second thoughts.” When he landed back in Vegas, the first billboard he saw was promiscuous, even for Vegas standards. “That's when I knew we were making the right decision.”
Ron had three choices: He could stay with telemarketing, car sales, or real estate. He went with real estate.
His telemarketing skills transferred well into real estate sales. Ron joined the local Century 21 office and was suddenly a big fish in a small pond, becoming the brokerage of eight salespeople’s top producer.
Wanting to grow beyond that, Ron joined the best and biggest company at the time, which was Remax Gulfstream Realty. "In my first year, I made over $100,000, and in my second year, I broke every sales record they ever had. I got into the Platinum Club, which is $251,000 gross commission income."
After a few years of working 60-70 hours a week, he was getting burnt out. Ron ended up selling a home to a Keller Williams owner who offered him a partnership in their New Tampa office. Ron agreed with the mission, vision, and values, and the rest is history.
Advice for a solo agent
For an agent who may or may not want to grow a team, what would be their first move?"
“You’re gonna want to hire an admin. There are $300/hr jobs and there’s $20/hr jobs. Do not spend your time doing the $20/hr jobs. You get an admin, you’ll be able to double what you do. Then get a buyer’s specialist because you can work with only 5 buyers at a time but you can work with 30 sellers. If you don’t have an admin, you are one.”
Growth Wasn't Always Linear
As is often the case, Ron’s growth wasn’t always linear. In 1996 his production was $1.4 million, jumping to $20 million by 2008. Ten years later, he was back down to $9 million. In 2019 the number had slowly reached $10 million, and it was that year that Ron made the decision to join Curaytor.
Ron credits Curaytor with helping him stay focused on his marketing and providing a starting point for the weekly videos he creates.
His commitment to growing his business has helped him get back over that $20 million in sales volume in 2021 and trend towards exceeding that in 2022.
After 26 years in the industry, Ron came to Curaytor in 2019 because he wanted the best in social media lead generation. "Your marketing is really, really good."
“I don’t have time to think of a script every week. And I know that the person that rules internet lead generation rules the real estate world. The best online presence that you can make, the more successful that you’ll be.”
The Value of Curaytor
Ron considers the question and laughs before answering, "Your brains. You’re always on the cutting edge, and you don’t quit. You’re always innovating. Every day you wake up, I can tell you jump up and say how can I make it better." Ron asks himself the same thing. He is always in search of being the best leader he can be.
Ron recognizes that "it's all about lead generation, is it not?" Curaytor's unique in its innovative marketing ideas and the way it wants to help agents execute those ideas. It's advertising, marketing, and content. It's the content that has somebody raise their hand and say I know Ron, I trust Team Pepka. He's a good guy and the team is 2nd to none. Content is key because content builds trust.
Knowing this, Ron puts out weekly video content, not just emails, templates, or blog posts.
“My understanding is that the public prefers video, so I take your script and kind of make it my own. I have a studio in my house, we have a green screen behind it. We modify the script in 10 minutes, have one or two takes, and we're done.”
Keys to Your Teams Success
On average Ron sells his listings for 104% of the list price. "We teach a consulting approach where we ask questions. At the listing appointment, there's a process. “I’m not there to sell them, I’m there to help them."
Ron explains that at Team Pepka, he puts homes on the market on Thursday and reviews all offers on Tuesday and that works really well. He tells sellers that it's not possible to underprice their home. By timing offers this way, it creates an auction-like atmosphere amongst the buyers, and they'd net more money than they asked for.
Taking a consulting approach, Ron and his agents tell sellers that one of three things will happen: "You may list the home with me, you may choose not to list the home with me, or I may choose not to accept your listing at all." As Ron remarks, meeting and exceeding expectations, incorporated is his other business. If he can't meet expectations, he's not going to move forward with the customer. He'd rather turn the customer down now than disappoint them later.
As for keeping talented agents, Ron says, "if you're not growing, you're dying. If your agents can't grow, they're leaving." He does weekly 411 meetings to review goals with agents, followed by an offer to hold them accountable for their latest goals. They usually take him up on the accountability.
Curaytor helps all his agents do better. They understand that to make $100,000 a year - you need 100 contacts a week. The higher quality those contacts are, the better the listings will be. It's important to make contacts, close contracts, and follow through with listing appointments.
Sky's The Limit
"Growth, in all areas," says Ron, "We want to grow a 30-member team - 15 admin and 15 salespeople."
We're not a discount brokerage. I don't cut my commissions. Clients are happy to get the service our team provides because we net them more money.
“Will the Zillows put us out of business? There'll always be a Ritz-Carlton. There'll always be Mercedes. Someone is still going to want that service, and they're not going to complain about paying for it. They know it's going to cost money, and they embrace it.”