Join me for a unique interview with Ray Higdon, a sought after leader in the marketing and sales training space. Ray’s common sense style of providing value to others, treating people right, and sharing a message of your ability to achieve anything you want, if you want it bad enough, is a message that everyone needs to hear. Don’t miss this episode!
Mike: Welcome to the FlipNerd.com podcast. This is your host, Mike Hambright. On this show, I will introduce you to VIPs in the real estate investing industry, as well as other interesting entrepreneurs whose stories and experiences can help you take your business to the next level. We have 3 new shows each week, which are available in the iTunes Store or by visiting FlipNerd.com. Without further ado, let’s get started.
Welcome to today’s FlipNerd VIP show. Today, I have with me an exciting guest, Ray Higdon, who is a national sales trainer and coach, has sold a number of best-sellers on Amazon, and is a 7-figure coach and trainer to folks in the real estate industry and a lot of other industries; network marketing. Before we get started today … it’s going to be an exciting interview.
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Ray, welcome to the show today.
Ray: Thanks for having me.
Mike: Exciting to see you. You’re somewhere warm, obviously, which a lot of us that are watching this show are not. You’re down in south Florida, is that right?
Ray: I am. It’s a little chilly, actually today. I think it’s 67.
Mike: It’s all relative.
Ray: It’s a little chilly. Just sitting … hanging out on my back porch here.
Mike: That’s all relative, I guess. I was talking to somebody earlier, another guest that we’re going to have on soon, and it was supposed to snow 6 inches where he was at today. I guess it’s all relative.
Ray: This is true.
Mike: We talked a little bit before we started the show today. We actually have never talked personally before, but you’re somebody that I followed on social media. Although you primarily operate in the network marketing space, you’ve got a lot of great lessons about training, teaching, and treating people right. As we talked a little bit, there are, really, a lot of similarities in network marketing, a lot of other industries, really, for entrepreneurs. We all face a lot of the same issues in terms of leadership and creating a business that we don’t have to be involved in every single minute of every single day, and things like that. I’ve really admired everything that I know about you and everything that I’ve seen you do. I’m glad you could join us as a guest today.
Ray: Thank you. Thanks for having me on.
Mike: Awesome. Why don’t you go ahead and introduce yourself and tell us a little more about you.
Ray: Absolutely. I guess consider myself a sales and marketing trainer. A lot of times, I’m speaking at different events and things like that. My primary niche is home-based business and network marketing. A lot of times, I’m asked to speak at RIAs or speak and train insurance agents. Just last week or the week before, I had a group of insurance agents that wanted me to help them with their scripts and how to close more people. I guess my specialty has always been in training, and it’s something that … I do have a history in real estate, actually, and that led me to where I am. I’m happy to talk about that as much as you would like.
Life’s been good. I went through some tough times, like most people; went through personal foreclosure, lost it all. It was simply by me not adapting to a change in economy. We were able to bounce back. 2010 was my best income year ever, until 2011, until 2012, until 2013. It’s … we’ve been on a pretty good run here for a few years, and this year should be no different.
Mike: That’s awesome. Why don’t you tell us just at high-level, about your experience in real estate and the good and the bad parts of it.
Ray: Absolutely. There’s certainly both. I read my first book on real estate, April 2004, and June bought my first duplex. Me and a partner, we just saw, ‘Man, residual income just makes so much sense. If we could get a unit producing more than $100 or more, obviously, a month on a cash flow, then we would buy it.’ We put home equity lines and we were buying in the first, I think, 11 or 12 months, we bought 37 units: Triplexes, single families, duplexes. That was the plan. The plan was to build up a huge portfolio, make a bunch of residual income, cash flow-wise. Then it was funny because we were very, very strict on our numbers. There was one deal that it was close to our numbers, but it wasn’t quite close enough. I just decided, I’m like, “We’re good negotiators. We got it for a decent price, just not our price. Maybe I can get someone else to buy this.” I learned wholesaling and made $8000 on that contract. I’m like, “Whoa. Wait a minute.” That was a lot easier.”
Started at first, it was me. I was turning 5-6 contracts a month. Then I trained about a dozen negotiators, basically, and we started flipping quite a few houses. We probably flipped about 200 contracts, and we did some fix-and-flips here and there.
Mike: This was all in south Florida.
Ray: 98% of it was south Florida. There was some north Florida that we did that we didn’t really like doing. We liked being able to just be closer to the action. We catered to investors. When the financing changed, that entire model just didn’t work for us. I didn’t really adapt. I went through a period of pretty deep depression and I got beat up pretty good. It led me back around to the whole point I got into real estate, which was residual income. Now we train people how to create residual income and whatever it is that they’re focused on. It was a great lesson; learned a lot. I’m thankful that it happened early on in life versus later on.
Mike: When all that crashed, what year was that? Was that 2007-2008?
Ray: 2008 is when it really, really hit me. One of the things … we were putting $25,000, $30,000 a month into advertising and marketing. There started being this sliding scale of, ‘Wait a minute. Deals aren’t closing. They’ll close next month, they’ll close next month.’ About 6 months into that, I’m like, “Whoa. We’re bleeding a lot of money and none of these things are closing.” I remember December 2008, Christmas, I just … I was with my kids but not with my kids, because I was so stressed out financially.
Then just one year later, I had created a $10,000-a-month income very residually in a completely different niche, and it’s been fantastic ever since. Whatever your passion is … my passion is training and coaching people how to be top earners. Whatever your passion is, you can make money on it.
Mike: Why don’t you talk a little bit about that? I think like I said, some of the similarities with real estate investing and network marketing and a lot of the things that you focus on; sales and training, really as a whole in pretty much every industry, is that you’ve got to hustle, you’ve got to network and meet people. You can never meet too many people. They say your network is your net worth. That’s just true in so many industries, which is why in all honesty, a lot of the guests I’ve had up to this point have had direct connections into real estate. Obviously, you have a real estate … some background there. There’s so many similarities in what you do and what you teach that I wanted to have you on.
Can you talk a little bit about some of the things you just alluded to of taking personal responsibility? I think there’s a big part of entrepreneurs that a big part of what drives us is the drive to not … to have control over your financial destiny, your life and your lifestyle, your family’s life, and all those things. Obviously even though you struggled in the real estate business … and in all honesty, who didn’t struggle in real estate in 2008 in Florida? It’s not like you were the one guy that was unlucky there. Obviously, you had the drive to get back. Why don’t you talk a little bit about that entrepreneurial drive and what it takes to be successful as a self- employed person or entrepreneur?
Ray: I would say in this context, there’s 4 things that are important, that are really, really important. I could talk about this for a long time. Number 1: Value, putting value into the marketplace. Value could be you referring someone to someone. Value could be you making someone feel better. Value could be you training people. In real estate, I started a real estate investor association; I had chapters in Pittsburgh, chapters in Morgantown, West Virginia. I always provided value. I always understood value, not to the degree that I understand it now, but I always understood it. A lot of free training, a lot of things to help people. Number 1: Whatever you’re trying to be successful in, provide value. Be a value provider.
Number 2, and this is more for maybe scalability and things, but you want to have … you want to know how to sell. I was always really good at creating scripts for real estate, for network marketing, for whatever, and teaching people the tonality tricks, teaching people the things that they need to do to close more sales. I’ll give you one quick example: One thing that we did really well is we would call on FSBOs. With a for-sale-by-owner, one of my famous things that I would teach all my people is whatever they’re asking for, obviously that’s not what we want to give them. One little tonality shift that I taught is, ‘I know you’d like $200,000 for your house. Man, I’d love to give that to you, but the reality is, this is what the market …” just that little transition there is very powerful, and then you give them what’s happening. Obviously, you don’t do business with everybody.
Number 3: Investing in yourself. In the last 11 months, my wife and I … and we sell coaching. I think a lot of coaches; maybe they think that they’ve arrived. We haven’t arrived. In the last 11 months, we’ve spent $134,000 in just coaching. That’s not products, that’s not events, that’s not travel; that’s just coaching. We’re always looking to raise the bar, raise the bar, raise the bar.
Lastly, vision; creating the vision of where you really want to go. This is something that so few people teach. They teach you how to write goals, and goals don’t stick. You’ve got to have a vision. You’ve got to know what will your neighbors think when you move into that new area? What will your neighbors think when you drive in with that new car, whatever that car may be? What will your high school sweetheart think when he or she sees you massively successful? How will you feel when you’re on stage and you’re in front of 100,000 people, if that’s your goals? Creating and crafting that vision is just so important for you to succeed.
In the realm of value, one of the most beneficial books for me, and I’ve now very gratefully become friends with them, is Bob Burg’s ‘Endless Referrals’. I can tell you, that was a pivotal book for me and for real estate because it taught me how to be not so go for the throat sales-y in the wrong environment. At one point, I was … if I met you at a networking meeting, I’m trying to close you. If you step back, you can actually do … you can go faster by going slower. That book really helped me to more develop relationships. If I’m talking to a lead or a prospect, that’s a different story; I’m mission-centric. If I’m networking, that’s a different story. A lot of people get that wrong.
Be of value, help people, listen. Listening is the most important skill. Develop out your niche and have that vision, and always think to yourself, ‘How scalable are you? That was a big lesson for me, in that there was a point where I was making good money but I was stressed to the max. My lifestyle sucked, had a lot of overhead, and just it was all dependent on me. Now, I literally could just stay at home in pajamas, and make plenty of money and continue to scale up. Think about scaling with whatever it is that you’re doing.
Mike: I think there’s a lot of folks that struggle, especially entrepreneurs, that struggle from creating a business with the intention of creating something that they never think, ‘I’m going to create myself a job,’ but they do. It’s hard. It’s hard to … when you’re the key man or the key woman in your company, it’s hard to … a lot of us have gotten to where we are by being control freaks or it’s hard to hire people to work as hard as you will. Everybody, a lot of folks that have employees, those employees generally are not … they don’t have the same mentality as you do, as the owner. They don’t think of working a little bit harder, working on the weekends or evenings, or whatever it takes to get things done, because that’s not their business. They’re generally, depending on how you’re aligned and how you compensate them, they’re not … they don’t have the same interests as you.
When you talk about your vision … so my wife is huge on this. We’ve got vision boards, and she’s meditating every morning and really an inspiration for me. She’s pulling me along in a lot of ways. Are there any simple tools or things that you use to document that vision and visit it often? Tell us a little about how you do that with a spouse, because clearly if you’re not aligned with your vision of the things you want with your spouse and you’re both chasing the same thing, then it’s not going to happen.
Ray: It’s an interesting phenomenon. My wife and I actually work together, and it’s … I’m very blessed in that way, but I also really designed it that way. I went through a divorce; I was engaged to someone for 4 years and got disengaged. It was at that point, after just having some relationships that just didn’t work out for one reason or another, I wrote down exactly what I wanted. I wanted, obviously, someone who’s beautiful, someone who has a great sense of humor, someone who got along with my kids, got along with my friends, someone who is ambitious, someone who supported me, someone who is grateful. I actually designed the … I wrote it all down, and then happened to meet her.
For example in November, she did a Facebook product launch that did almost $900,000 in sales. She’s … you probably might learn that she’s actually the better person to interview than me, but we both have a whole lot of fun together. The key thing that I find with spousal support is you need to be real with them. I’m going to give you some suggestions.
Number 1: Find all the things that you’re grateful for versus all the things that piss you off. That’s something that you do early on in a relationship, and it tends to change, for most people at least, as they live together and stay together longer. Even if that spouse is not supporting you at the time, look for ‘What are you grateful for?’ Are you grateful maybe that they go to a job or that she cleans, or he cleans? I don’t want to be sexist. Whatever the things that you’re grateful for, focus on those things, and then be real with them. Sit down with your spouse and say, “I’m going to run for this thing. I’m going to make it happen. I’m going to take action.’ Really sit down with them, be real with them, tell them what you’re going to do, and then go do it.
The thing with a support line is it shouldn’t be never-ending, where you just … they just keep supporting you, supporting you, supporting you, supporting you, and you never do anything, you never make any money, or you never create anything of value. It can’t be a never- ending support line, because that gets old. I can tell you from coaching a lot of people that their spouses weren’t necessarily supportive at first. You start making money, they start becoming supportive. That’s just the deal. You start taking them on trips to Fiji or trips to wherever, they start becoming supportive. The thing is, a lot of people, they look for endless support with no results. That’s not going to work. Even the most precious of spouse shouldn’t do that. They shouldn’t support you forever with no results at hand. You need to get to work.
That’s some of the suggestions. Then from there, you design. My wife and I, we looked at ‘How can we … how can I capitalize on my strengths, and she capitalize on her strengths?’ There’s some things that I do, she does not want to do. There’s some things she does, I don’t want to do. You have to figure that out. One of you maybe prefer to work in the phone leads. One of you, maybe don’t. One may ne … I’m a content creator; I create 5 to 7 blog videos every single week, week in, week out, for years. She doesn’t like to do that but she also likes the phone. She likes calling leads and things like that. Design that out.
As far as vision, there’s a point, and I don’t know where it is for everybody. At first, your vision if you’re not getting massive results, it needs to be almost selfish. I know maybe that sounds weird, but selfish in a way that you see yourself with those things: With the car, with the house, with the money, with the speaking on stage, with envious looks from others, with the I-told-you-so attitude. At some point, it can switch, where now … for example, 3 of our coaching clients are Top 10 earners in their companies. Out of hundreds and hundreds of thousands of reps, they’re in the Top 10; all 3 different companies. Why is that? It’s because you follow a system and it works.
You start to switch. Once you hit certain benchmarks in your life, you start to say, “This year, I want to have 50 of my coaching clients speak on stage. I want to have 10 of my clients write a best-selling book. I want to have 7 of my clients make over $500,000.” You start to switch, and that creates a new feeling within you. Very hard to generate that feeling if you’re operating out of scarcity. If you’re not making enough money to cover the bills or experience life the way it’s meant to be experienced, it’s hard to really get jacked up focusing on others’ goals when you still have those. You know what I’m saying? That’s how we’ve switched. At one point the goals were all me, me, me, me, me. There’s nothing wrong with that. The thing is, for you to accomplish those goals, you have to create value for others or you won’t accomplish them. There’s nothing wrong with those goals at first. At some point, it may switch for you.
Mike: In my experience too, it helps motivate you to get there. It doesn’t mean you’re necessarily going to get those things. There have been things that I’ve said, “Once I hit this income threshold in my business or my job, I’m going to buy a Rolex or I’m going to buy a fancy car.” When I got to that point, I usually didn’t want those things. It helped motivate me to get there.
Ray: Focus on the feelings. What’s the feeling? Actually in Dallas 2 months ago, we spoke in front of 6000 people. I focused … I spoke in front of 6000 people before I spoke in front of 6000 people, because I envisioned it. What would it feel like? I knew what I was going to wear. I knew what I was going to say. I already had generated that feeling within me, and I already knew how the crowd would respond. There was a standing … a whole entire stadium of standing people all fired up. I created that feeling before I actually experienced it. Focus.
The feelings to me, we’ve won cars and stuff like that. I’m not a big … I’m more of an experience guy. I wanted … we honeymooned in Fiji, and we did all these … I’m an experience guy. I want experiences way more than material stuff, but that stuff’s nice, too.
Mike: We talk a little bit about, obviously in network marketing, the same thing in real estate investing, there’s a ton of folks that … there tends to be a high failure rate because … and most of it, really, is because a lot of folks turn it into a hobby. They don’t really get committed to being successful in what they’re doing. In all honesty, they have a tendency, especially in real estate, to have been oversold. They went to a weekend boot camp or they went to … read a book, and this all sounds so easy. When you get into it, it’s not that easy.
Talk a little bit about what it takes to get … for an individual I guess, to really burn the boats and be committed to something without cutting themselves off from whatever is … if it’s a job or income. There are some folks that it would be disastrous for them to quit their job and go invest everything in something that … of course if they really believe, they can maybe make it happen. Just talk a little bit about that transition from something that is a hobby, to be totally committed and all in, if you will.
Ray: A couple things there: One, I don’t suggest … it’s a very rare person that can quit their job and actually fill and manage that time appropriately to build a business, whatever that business is. I tell people, “If you can’t build your business part-time, you also can’t build it full-time.” You have to want it. You’ve got to go to work 9 to 5, and then go to work 6 to midnight. That’s just the deal. If you want to … again real estate, network marketing, anything, I believe if you can’t build it part-time, you also can’t build it full-time. You’ve got to manage your time. Your time management will dictate the velocity of your success.
I’ve found … one thing that actually was frustrating for me in real estate was I felt like there was a lot of people out there that just aren’t making money and they’re spending a lot of money on courses and things like that. The best thing about network marketing is also the worst thing about network marketing, and that is its low barrier to entry. Your typical course is $200, something like that. Your typical to start your business, it’s not thousands, it’s hundreds. Some people treat it like that; they treat it like a hobby. They treat it like they do it whenever they feel like it. That’s true. I don’t see a lick of difference as far as level of success in real estate percentage- wise versus network marketing. I just don’t see any difference in any way, shape, or form. It’s just the same old, same old. It’s who creates a vision, who takes action, who is consistent. That’s the deal.
You got to be … one of the best books on this type of topic is by Gary Bannerchuck called ‘Crush It’. In that, he talks about how he was managing at the time a $15 million wine company and spending 4 to 5 hours a day on Twitter answering wine questions. He built that to a $45 million business. I’ve since had that absolute pleasure of sharing the stage with him on two different events now. It’s … you got to want it, man. You’ve got to want it really bad. What I find is there’s a big difference in anything between the hungry and the needy. The needy need … you might hold their hand and walk them step-by-step every single thing to do. The hungry, whether you show up or not, they’re going to make it happen. The hungry, whether they have a great mentor or not, they’re going to make it happen. A mentor cuts down your time. You can skip a few phases with a mentor and take an action. The hungry, they’ll make it happen no matter what.
I literally … I have read a book, one book, and then bought real estate because I take action. I had never … I’d actually never … I remember saying this: I hadn’t been to a real estate investor course, and we had already bought a whole bunch of different rentals. I don’t necessarily recommend that because we could have been smarter, but action is the absolute key. One quote that I really like is “Pain pushes you until a vision pulls you.” That’s by Michael Becklith. That’s very powerful for me, because what I find is there’s a lot of people in pain and they let pain punch them around. Non-successful people focus on their circumstances. They focus on the lack of money. They focus on their lack of time, the lack of support, the lack of blah-blah-blah-blah-blah, whereas successful people focus on where they’re going. They focus on their vision. They focus on their goals. They go make it happen despite all those other things. Despite that the dog bit them. Despite that the car broke down. Despite that they’re dead broke. They make it happen despite. That’s just the biggest difference I see between successful and non-successful.
Mike: Awesome. Tell us a little about your coaching business. Outside … if, traditionally, and this is from somebody that doesn’t have a lot of experience in network marketing; a little bit, but not a lot. It seems that, typically, folks that are in your same network marketing company are the ones that you’d be helping because you have some benefit. If they win, you win; all those things. Talk a little bit about coaching folks that are in totally different businesses and how that works for them and for you.
Ray: I don’t publicly advertise my personal coaching. I do group coaching, and with the right people we do more personal coaching. The deal with any coaching is you want to hire someone for a specific purpose. Our thing is we teach you how to have effective marketing. We teach you how to close more sales, period. We teach people how to get more leads, recruit more salespeople, and become top earners in their industry. We’re living proof. My blog is rated under 20,000 in the world in Alexa, under 6,000 in the US, for traffic. Our coaching training business cranked out over $1 million last year. We’ve done webinars that did over $300,000 in sales. A lot of times … I just got a testimonial in from someone that took my presenting course, which I barely even advertised, and they have a business that teaches Hollywood actors how to get gigs. In their very first webinar, they did $57,000 in sales.
That has nothing to do with network marketing. If you teach the basic persuasion skills and closing tactics on how to close on webinars versus how to close face-to-face or over the phone, it works. We put out a lot of free value, too. There’s a lot of people that just aren’t ready for coaching because they … not because they don’t believe in the coach, but because they don’t believe in themselves. We rolled that out, too. There’s a lot of people that just visit our site and check out our training that don’t buy stuff. That’s cool, too.
Mike: Like I said, I’m not in network marketing, but a lot of what I do is similar. I actually bought a training course from you a while back on YouTube marketing or video marketing. There were some interesting things there. Obviously, I’m doing a bunch of video-type things now. I think there’s a lot of things that you teach that folks certainly outside network marketing and real estate could benefit from. We’ll definitely add a bunch of links below the video for the stuff that you think makes most sense. How do folks get a hold of you if they want to learn more about you and follow along with some of the free training, and things like that that you provide?
Ray: My website, it’s real simple, real easy to remember. It’s RayHigdon.com. Really, for the giveaway, I have a free giveaway, like most websites. On that website is a 29 sources of leads, and it’s 29 places to be able to pick up leads and prospects for any niche, really. I give you 29. It’s a free audio. You can listen to it on your phone or on your computer; 29 different places to locate leads, whether it’s for real estate, whether it’s for network marketing. You can get that free. Then we blog 5 to 7 times a week and put out some good value there on leadership mindset, sales, closing, marketing. If that’s of benefit to somebody, then feel free to check it out.
Mike: Great. We’ll add those links below. Anything you want to add, Ray, about just from a motivational standpoint, about how to help people be successful or how people should think about … let’s say it’s early, we’re still early here in 2014; what people should be thinking about, about how to have a killer 2014.
Ray: It’s really about creating that niche. What is … seeing the faces of the people around you when they see you successful; what’s the feeling that you’ll have when you get that award, you flip that first property, or you build that business out? You really need to build that vision, because that vision will pull you. When my feet hit the ground every morning … and I’m an early riser. I don’t try to be; I haven’t used an alarm clock in probably a decade. I’m just an early riser. When my feet hit the ground, my vision is pulling me every single day. It’s not something that I’m like, “Man, I got to grind again today.” I love the climb, I love the grind, and you want to love the climb and grind. Design … instead of looking for what works, look for what you want. We’ve designed our life the way that we want. We operate … we travel a lot, we’ve been all over the world, and we operate the way that we want, and you can do that, too.
Mike: Awesome. Thanks for joining us today, Ray. Really appreciate it.
Ray: My pleasure.
Mike: Hopefully, our paths will cross soon.
Ray: Yeah, man, for sure.
Mike: Take care. Have a good day.
Ray: You too, man.
Mike: Bye-bye. Thanks for joining us on today’s FlipNerd.com podcast. To listen to more of our shows and hear from incredible guests, please access all of our podcasts in the iTunes Store. You can also watch the video versions of our shows by visiting us at FlipNerd.com.