From Near Death to #1 Brokerage in His State – Featuring Long Doan

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Long Doan Interview

Are you a VICTOR? Or a VICTIM? No matter where you came from or what your story may be, anything is possible with the right mindset. When Long Doan was 13 years old, he was smuggled out of Vietnam on a fishing boat. His chances of making it to the US alive were less than 50%. But he made the decision to take responsibility for his life, make the most of the opportunity he was given, and do everything in his power to help others.

Today, Long serves as the Founder and CEO of Realty Group, the #1 brokerage in the state of Minnesota. With more than 25 years in the real estate industry, he has grown Realty Group from zero to 450-plus agents. Long and his business partner, Mike Bernier, treat every agent as the CEO of their own business, reinventing the brokerage model as an education, development and operations center for realtors.

On this episode of Founders Club, Long joins Oliver to share his harrowing journey from Vietnam to the US and explain what that experience taught him about the power of mindset. He discusses what differentiates Realty Group from other brokerages, sharing their seven-step recruiting process and the secret sauce that took his business to the next level of growth. Listen in for Long’s insight around learning to USE your time rather than SPEND it and learn why the most successful people don’t win or lose—we win or learn.

Here is how the interview breaks down:

[6:10] What differentiates Realty Group from other brokerages

  • Treat every agent as CEO of own company
  • Plug-and-play partnership model

[13:12] Realty Group’s ecosystem of economic impact

  • Revenue share with vetted vendors (e.g.: plumber, photographer)
  • Negotiate better deal to benefit end consumer

[18:25] The five steps entrepreneurs go through to grow 

  1. WHY
  2. WHAT (systems)
  3. WHEN (use of time)
  4. WHO
  5. WHERE (expansion)

[20:45] Long’s seven-step recruiting process

  1. Know who you are + what you want
  2. Understand target audience(s)
  3. Craft message for each audience
  4. Deploy messages (i.e.: social media)
  5. Reach out with call, meeting
  6. Follow up (dating process)
  7. Check in re: experience

[30:30] The ONE thing that took Long’s business to the next level

  • Partnership with Mike (visionary and integrator)
  • Give up hats until doing what best at + love most

[33:58] Long’s insight on lead gen and nurturing relationships

  • Leverage tech for opportunities (Aspiration, Research and Transaction)
  • Use notes in phone as CRM, convergence of humanity and tech

[45:57] How Long leverages VAs in his business

  • Assign process-driven tasks to remote VAs (then what exercise)
  • Daily communication via Zoom or Google Hangouts

[53:11] Realty Group’s process for onboarding new agents

  • 106-point checklist including transition plan and ‘broker breakup’
  • Automated processes first ten days and 90-minute orientation

[57:59] Long’s harrowing journey from Vietnam to the US

  • Dad imprisoned in reeducation camp after Vietnam War 
  • Lined up to get rations for family daily (communist government)
  • Mom sent Long on smuggler’s boat alone at age 13
  • Spent eight months at Bidong refugee camp known as ‘hell island’
  • Made decision to be VICTOR rather than VICTIM

[1:18:13] The three ways we learn

  1. Imitation
  2. Experience
  3. Reflection

[1:20:24] Long’s experience as an immigrant teen in Minnesota

  • Entrepreneurial kid (scaled paper route and lawn mowing job)
  • Overwhelming culture shock, carried dictionary everywhere

[1:24:43] How the rest of Long’s family got to the US

  • Middle brother came two years later in similar process
  • Sponsored Mom and youngest brother seven years later
  • Dad eventually released and exiled to US (prisoner of conscience)

[1:27:41] The top three things Long has learned from successful people

  1. Take responsibility
  2. Take action
  3. Just figure it out

[1:29:51] What Long wishes he had known earlier

  • Take chances sooner
  • Surround self with people in growth mindset

[1:34:45] Long’s advice on scheduling and organization

  • Schedule workday and personal calendar
  • Don’t compromise personal commitments

Listen Here:

Key Takeaway:

Are you a VICTOR? Or VICTIM? No matter where you came from or what your story may be, anything is possible with the right mindset. Today, Long Doan joins Oliver to share his harrowing journey from Vietnam to the US and explain how he went from near death to owning the #1 brokerage in Minnesota!

Links to your favorite other players:

🎧Listen on Itunes here.

🎧Listen on Spotify here.

🎧Listen on Sticher here.

🎧Listen on Iheart Radio here.

🎥Watch Full Video on YouTube here: https://youtu.be/1sCoB551Dqc


From Near Death to #1 Independent Broker in His State _ Long Doan on Founders Club 1-58 screenshot

Full Transcript Below:

Oliver Graf:

Welcome to another episode of Founders Club. Today, we are out here at the beautiful Sanctuary Hotel on Camelback Mountain in Arizona. We are going to be sitting down with the founder of Realty Group, Minnesota’s largest independent brokerage, on his amazing story of growing his brokerage from zero to 450 agents, doing thousands of transactions, all of the systems that he uses, how he leverages virtual assistants all over the globe to scale his ideas quickly.

Long Doan:

The industry is changing, every industry including real estate, right? You want to be ahead of the change instead of behind the changes, which allowed us now to have the new local to be global, right? So now, it can be right next door, or the other side of the world.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, and his absolutely unbelievable story of coming to the United States from Vietnam at 13 years old, on the bottom of a fishing boat, and what that taught him about never giving up and becoming a champion.

Long Doan:

I remember making a choice, that I’m a victor and not a victim. I decided I was lucky instead of unlucky. I shouldn’t even be alive today. Because of that, any chance I get, I want to help people, because I never want anyone to have the same feeling I have that night, helpless.

Oliver Graf:

If you have any questions, leave a comment down below. If you like the show, subscribe, and we’ll see you on the inside.

Oliver Graf:

We’re out here on a beautiful sunny day in Arizona, out in Scottsdale, with Long Doan, getting ready talk about his amazing story of coming to this country, overcoming a lot of obstacles, building a very large, very successful brokerage in your market. Let’s just have a quick cheers before we kick things off. We’re going to enjoy a couple of Bloody Marys and learn some of Long’s ninja skills.

Long Doan:

Thanks for having me, Oliver. I always love to hang out with you, man.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, likewise. It’s always a pleasure. Tell me about how many agents do you have right now, and what do you currently got going on?

Long Doan:

Yep, so we’re over 450 right now. I think last I saw was 465 and growing, so we’re excited about that. When I say we, as you know, Mike Bernier is my business partner at Realty Group.

Oliver Graf:

Shout out to Mike.

Long Doan:

Yep, Mike Bernier, my brother. But yeah, we’re having good time. We’re learning and trying to catch up to you and Sam at Big Block, man. You guys are paving the way.

Oliver Graf:

Thanks, man. But real quick, I’m actually curious, I didn’t even have this question written down, but it just popped into my head. You’ve had a business partner for a long time. You’ve been able to make it work. Most partnerships don’t work, from my experience and what I’ve observed. Why do you think that you guys … because you guys really make magic together.

Long Doan:

Yeah.

Oliver Graf:

What do you think that is?

Long Doan:

Yeah, and you’re totally right. You and I probably have had a lot of people we know that had terrible partnership that didn’t work out, right? So you are, as well, lucky to have Sam.

Oliver Graf:

Totally.

Long Doan:

I do have Mike. I think that when you have the right ingredient, things just explode. I’m lucky enough to have the right person, who have the same mindset. At the end of the day, I think it comes with bringing different things that could help out the partnership. Really, on a business partnership, it’s like getting married. Now, you and Sam are like work wife, husband, or whatever you want to call each other. Same with Mike and I. I joke that I’m the husband, he’s the wife, because he talks more than I do.

Long Doan:

But at the end of the day, it’s a marriage, so you got to have the right chemistry and the right goals and stuff like that. I think that’s pretty important. Mike and I got together 2011. In 2014, we became partners. Even though I started Realty Group in 2009, 2014, we call it RG2.0, Realty Group 2.0, with Mike. That’s when things really took off.

Oliver Graf:

Where did you guys connect?

Long Doan:

When I started Realty Group 2009, I did a lot of bank owns at that time. You may remember that time, with a lot of foreclosures. I was an active broker. Then, I’m big on systems and process, right? We all know systems run business, people run systems. So I was tracking everything in my business and even my personal life, too. But I was noticing that I was getting about 1.5 calls as an average, per sign I had in the yard, per week.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

I was getting about 800 to 1,000 leads a month. I was focusing on getting more listings on the REO side. I’m like, “Hey, I’m sitting on a goldmine here. I need someone to work that part for me.” I put the feeler out, and Mike’s one of the few that, we end up sitting down together. I remember, Mike was running a white coat office, did a lot of their leads as well. He’s like, “Hey, man. White coats spend millions dollars a month to generate some leads. There’s no way you have that many leads, but I’ll sit down and talk to you.” We sat down, and I show my CIM. He’s flipping and flipping. He’s like, “Holy cow. What are you doing with this stuff?” I said, “I’m talking to you.” He came over and he helped me build the lead team, crushed it.

Long Doan:

Then 2014, when the REO, foreclosures starting to decline, my first 15 years on the mortgage side, so I’m like, “Hey, I like this real estate thing. I think I’m going to stay here.” I said, “Hey, let’s grow this brokerage together,” and he and I decided to be partners. The rest is history, so far.

Oliver Graf:

Very cool.

Long Doan:

We’re getting ready to go on RG 3.0 right now.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, I love that.

Long Doan:

And try to catch you guys.

Oliver Graf:

I love that, man. No, that’s really cool. I think what you said about a partnership being a marriage is very true. You wouldn’t just jump into a relationship and get married. A lot of people meet someone at a three day real estate conference, “Hey, let’s get into business together,” without really knowing them, doing any due diligence at all, just kind of off the cuff.

Long Doan:

Yeah.

Oliver Graf:

That’s why, in my opinion, most of them fail, right? You’re really looking for someone that, like in a marriage, compliments you, is good at what you’re not good at, will motivate you, you’re going towards the same goals, all that kind of a thing.

Long Doan:

And put up with you, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, and put up.

Long Doan:

Technically, Mike and I had a three year dating process.

Oliver Graf:

Okay, good.

Long Doan:

How about you and Sam? How long were you guys together before you started Big Block?

Oliver Graf:

Well, we met in college, so it was a little different, yeah.

Long Doan:

So you dated a long time.

Oliver Graf:

He’s my college sweetheart. All right, cool. You have 450 agents and you guys are growing really fast.

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

You’re an independent brokerage, right?

Long Doan:

Correct, like you guys, yep.

Oliver Graf:

You don’t have the quote, unquote, big brand name.

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

What is it that people come to you for? Why are you growing so fast?

Long Doan:

Yeah, at the end of the day, we’re in the people business, right? When we start to grow the brokerage in 2014, we decided, what can we do to be different? Both of us had been agents ourself. I had to be an agent for two years before I got my broker license. Mike been an agent for a long, long time. We want to be the broker we wish we had when we were agents. I’ve been at 100% shop. I’m like, “Okay, great 100%, but you give me nothing, so 100% of zero is still zero.” I was at a split company. I’m like, “Hey, I don’t use that. I don’t use that. Why am I paying for that?” So, just something missing.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

In the people business, at the end of the day, it’s about understanding what the needs are. For me, I think throughout life, I’ve always had this … we all know about the golden rule, right? The golden rule is, do unto others as you want to be done unto yourself.

Oliver Graf:

I thought the golden rule was, he who has the gold makes the rules.

Long Doan:

That too. That’s a good one, too. But I believe more in the platinum rule.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, okay.

Long Doan:

The platinum rule is, do unto others as they want to be done unto themself.

Oliver Graf:

Love it, okay.

Long Doan:

We’re constantly pretending we’re the agent, or we have town hall meetings every so often for our agents, to tell us, hey, what do you love about what you have here? What do you wish you had here? We always figure out a way to give them everything they need, so that they can be successful.Wwhat our model has then ended up being is, we have what we call a partnership model, a plug ‘n play partnership model. We treat every agent as the CEO of their own company. You come to us, you plug into our system and we give you everything you need to grow a business and in return, we become partners. Because of that, our models has now taken traction, because as you know, and you and Sam are leading this space, too, is that the industry’s changing.

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

Every industry, including real estate, right? I mean, everything’s changing, and you want to be ahead of the change instead of behind the change.

Oliver Graf:

That’s true. Yeah, for sure. It’s interesting, what you just said there about you built it because you wanted to build what you were looking for. That’s almost verbatim the conversation Sam and I had. Because a lot of the rent-a-brokers, they’re like, no support. “Don’t call us, we’ll call you. Just let us know when you close a deal,” type thing.

Long Doan:

Right.

Oliver Graf:

A lot of the other traditional shops are high split, not a lot of support, not a lot of training, it’s usually very watered down. Then, they also have floor time and mandatory meetings and a lot of things that just waste your time.

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

We looked at it the same way, like, “Okay, let’s build a hybrid of these two things, where we can pay the high splits, but still offer the support and the training and the back end and create.” I love what you said about them being the CEO of their own business, and just being able to plug into the bigger network.

Long Doan:

Yep, I agree.

Oliver Graf:

Why did you choose the 100% model?

Long Doan:

Well, at the end of the day, when I was at the other company, before I had my own brokerage, I would say, “Hey, I wish I can take the money to buy more leads, to maybe hire an assistant, to get a better CIM.” I’m like, “But wait, after all my split, I don’t have anything left to do,” right? Now I’m running on a 35 to 40% split to myself, every time I close a deal.

Long Doan:

The reason we do 100% model is that, again, we treat them as partners. We’re going to give them everything they need to succeed, but we also now a la carte. Let’s say I’m going to give you 100%, and I’m going to teach you what to do and how to invest back in your business. That 100% they get, of course, we give them a lot, too.

Long Doan:

Our model, and I think you’re the same, I think the new model for real estate is the [teambridge 00:09:59] model. It’s a cross between a team and a brokerage, right? You’re building a business. Could be a solo teambridge, could be a large team. You want to run your business the way you see best fit you. What I wanted to do, so in our model, we have a subscription base, which is a monthly fee. I think you guys do similar. With our monthly fee, includes all the benefits they have, a CIM, marketing suite, you name it. We have all of those stuff, including support. Then we charge a per file transaction, per side. When they close, there’s a flat fee, and the market is 495. They keep 100%

Long Doan:

Then we teach them in our training, in our coaching, all the stuff, say, “Hey, go back and invest more in ad spin, boosting, get this tool and technology in addition to what we have. Go get an assistant.” So now, they might be an 85/15% split, but the 15 they reinvest back in the business is only for what they need, not the other agent, who didn’t need what they need.

Oliver Graf:

Now they can tailor it to their own business, their own goals.

Long Doan:

Yep. So which lead to, most people think in terms of linear, I call it, either horizontal or vertical, right? You have to do this to get to this to get to this. Mike and I think it’s an ecosystem. It’s like a circle and everything’s inside. What happen in it is, they’ve done studies, and in my, our market in Minnesota, so California might be a little bit higher, but on every real estate transaction, Oliver, there’s an $84,385 average in economic impact. What that means is that-

Oliver Graf:

I like where you’re going here.

Long Doan:

… real estate, right, title, escrow in some state, mortgage, insurance, staging-

Oliver Graf:

Moving company.

Long Doan:

Moving company, right? Plumber, you name it, it’s tied to that ecosystem. When they come in, the end consumer experience is the most important, right? They send their client to get someone to help them paint their house. They want to send them somewhere that they’re not going to come back and go, “Why did you send me there?”

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

“I’m not going to come back and use you again. I’ll never refer anyone to you again,” right?

Oliver Graf:

They screwed me over, this and that.

Long Doan:

That’s right. Number one, we vet those people in the ecosystem, that comes in, because end-to-end consumer experience. Come on in, because we’re in the people business. When you establish that relationship with the client you have, either it be buyer, seller, if you do it right, they’re going to call you, say, “Hey, I’m looking to buy a car, who should I call? I need to switch my insurance, who should I call?”

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

They’re coming to you for everything, right? We want to have a place to provide that, the $84,000 worth of economic impact that we can take advantage of. You have to use someone else, anyway. We vetted these guys. They’re going to do a good job. What we do then is, we start partnering up with all of these relationships. I know you and Sam do a very good job of that, as well.

Long Doan:

When they come in, we’re willing to say, “As your partner, you can keep everything you earn on the real estate side.” Of course, we keep a small portion of it. “But in return, give us a shot at earning your business for the other stuff that we have already partner up with.” Our 100% model allow us to do that, because our clients or customers, because we treat every agent as our customers and our clients, right, they understand that, if you give me this, in return, I like to help you grow. It becomes a true partnership.

Oliver Graf:

It’s a real win-win.

Long Doan:

Yeah, we have really high penetration on all of our partnerships.

From Near Death to #1 Independent Broker in His State _ Long Doan on Founders Club 24-7 screenshot

Oliver Graf:

Out of those, what percentage are things that you’ve just created like an affiliate relationship versus things that you’ve owned and that you’ve started yourself?

Long Doan:

In our space, there’s this thing called RESPA, right? There’s a RESPA space, and you have to do it correctly, to make sure you check with your attorney, set it up correctly. You got the mortgage, title insurance, real estate in that space. Then outside of that, we set up a lot of rev share. We revenue share. The reason we like that model, so the other side, you got to set up ownership, partnership, you do that correctly, the mortgage title insurance. That’s the normal stuff.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

But what people don’t realize is that, that’s not all of it. Probably 75% of it-

Oliver Graf:

Most of it is not that, right, yeah.

Long Doan:

That’s exactly it. People miss out on those opportunities. The reason we like the rev share model is that as business owner, we also want to invest thing that has a return, right.

Oliver Graf:

That’s right.

Long Doan:

The MSA, Marketing Service Agreement, used to be a big way. But people started getting sick of just giving you $1,000, $2,000 a month, and they’re not getting the return they want. In the rev share model, we only get paid when they get paid.

Oliver Graf:

Performance based.

Long Doan:

That’s exactly it.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

It’s success based. Because of that, they’re willing to maybe go a little bit more. For us on those, it’s usually between 10 to 20% rev share, usually, and about 15%.

Oliver Graf:

What kind of companies are you building those rev share relationships with?

Long Doan:

Everything in that ecosystem. Moving company, plumbing, photography, video, you name it. Anything to be in that $84,000 ecosystem, which you know, can keep going on and on and on, right?

Oliver Graf:

If someone was, let’s say they’re either a solo agent, or they have a team and they wanted to create a relationship like this, how would they do that? What’s your process?

Long Doan:

Yep, we sit down and we discuss this. It’s a business, right? At the end of the day our key is the end consumer. We got to take care of them first.

Oliver Graf:

That’s right.

Long Doan:

Most and foremost. Just because someone willing to pay us, we may not work with them.

Oliver Graf:

I actually really love that you keep saying that. Because I couldn’t agree more, that that … you need to find vendors that align with that-

Long Doan:

That’s right.

Oliver Graf:

… and will take care of your customers. Because if they’re burning your customers, you’re losing customers, too.

Long Doan:

That’s right, exactly. Because we’re all working in the same pool, right? That’s the first and foremost. Then we sit down and we find out, how could this benefit everybody involved? I think in any partnership, Oliver, as you know, everyone has to win. Anytime one wins more than somebody else, someone’s leaving the relationship.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

For us, bring an idea to us. Because usually, that’s where it starts. An agent said, “I got this awesome plumber, that I love him. Let’s sit down and talk.” Okay, properly licensed, bonded, great review. Another thing that I know you and Sam experience, as Mike and I do, is when we partner up with somebody, they don’t realize that you better learn how to scale.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

Because we grow fast, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

When you plug in the system, it’s going to go from two a week to 15 appointments a week.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Can you scale? That’s probably the next big thing we look at.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

Then financially, how does it all help? Again, make sure that we’re not padding that over and above what the client was going to pay in the first place. We actually usually start with, will our client get a better deal by going through us, versus go straight to you? Usually, might be five, 10% discount.

Oliver Graf:

I like that.

Long Doan:

Then, we talk about the next step. We’ll always build that way.

Oliver Graf:

That’s even one more win in the equation. Because now, the agent’s winning, you’re winning, the vendor’s winning, and the person buying is winning.

Long Doan:

That’s right.

Oliver Graf:

Because they’re also getting a discount.

Long Doan:

Yep. The benefits may only not just be discount. It could also be preferential treatment, right, timing.

Oliver Graf:

Okay, extra services.

Long Doan:

That’s right. I’m going to your appointment before I’m going to somebody else. We want to make sure that they are getting the benefit by being part of this ecosystem with us.

Oliver Graf:

I love that, man. That’s really good advice for anybody. Because really, anybody in the business could do that. It’s simply just go out, build some relationships with people that you can refer, or figure out something that you’re already referring out, and then create a relationship where there’s a rev share and a discount to the customer, and make sure that they can fulfill and do a great job on the back end, so you look like a rock star. Then everybody wins, and then you’re making more money.

Long Doan:

You’re right. Let’s say you don’t have enough of the volume like you guys and we do. As a solo agent or team, they can still do that in different value added. For Mr. Buyer/Seller, by using this vendor, you can get quicker service, whatever. They themselves don’t have to be getting any financial gain, either.

Oliver Graf:

Right, exactly.

Long Doan:

It has to be a win-win for everybody.

Oliver Graf:

It’s almost like group insurance, right? Because as an agent, you’re plugging into a bigger sphere of buyers, you’re getting a discount based on volume, that’s good for business.

Long Doan:

Which is why I think our models, yours and us, are going to start growing pretty fast in this next five years, because everything’s changing in real estate. I think merger and acquisition will be big and bigger. A team themself cannot go out and get an [inaudible 00:18:00] price account, right?

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

For this account, this kind of relationship.

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

They can join someone like us, and benefit from it, while they still run their business, without giving up their identity or their goals, right? The teambridge model.

Oliver Graf:

I love the teambridge.

Long Doan:

It could be a solo agent, it could be a team. Essentially, you’re going to partner with somebody, to get all the big company advantages, while running your business on your own.

Oliver Graf:

And doing you.

Long Doan:

Yep, yep, and have the autonomy.

Oliver Graf:

Very cool. I love that. What are you doing to grow now?

Long Doan:

We’re starting to the point where you guys were, probably a couple of years ago, we’re about a couple of years behind you guys. For us, our thing next is to start figure out how to … because we’re doing pretty good. I think that all entrepreneurs, that’s us, business owners, go through I think the five step, in my mind, right? The why, what, when, who, where.

Long Doan:

Why? Why do we do certain thing, our vision, whatever it is. Then what, the system. What do we need to do now to get that? Then the when. You get to a certain point, you’re maxed out on your time. When can I do this and when can I do that? Which lead to the who, because now you have system process, you plug into people. Now, my role is this, this is my lane, this is the best use of my time. I need to bring in someone else to do this. Then the where would be the expansion into wherever.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

We are now between the who and the where. I think you guys are starting to think of the where, right? You’re starting to do expansion.

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

That’s where we’re at right now. We’re starting to look for the right people to partner up with or to plug in, to start taking us to the next level. Five years into 2009, when I start the company, is when Mike came onboard. That was RG2.0. Now, we’re 10 year mark, just this last year. We’re now 3.0.

Oliver Graf:

Love it.

Long Doan:

Our 3.0 is a lot of expansion growth.

Oliver Graf:

Love it. So you’ll be going into new markets and staying within Minnesota, or do you have plans to expand out?

Long Doan:

Yep, so our 3.0 includes dominating Minnesota, first of all. We have about 25,000 licensed agents in the state of Minnesota, nothing compared to where you guys are hitting in California, and about 14, 15,000 active agents. I think that when we get to about 10% of the market share, 12, 1,500 agents, we’ll probably have saturated the market. This year, 2020, our goal is probably-

Oliver Graf:

That’s the goal.

Long Doan:

We have five office in Minnesota right now, we’re probably going to end up at seven to 10. Then in 2021, and as we’re sitting here in Arizona, we were in Florida, I think the snowbird states from Minnesota is naturally these two states that we’re going to start looking at expanding in.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, man. It’s cold in Minnesota.

Long Doan:

Yep. Today is warm. I heard it’s in the 30s. But I’ll take 70 today, all day.

Oliver Graf:

It’s a heatwave. I love what you guys are doing. You’re recruiting a ton. You’re growing fast. What would you say is your top tips around recruiting and getting talented people to join your team?

Long Doan:

Yep, so because we’re in the people business, for us, it’s all about the people. We’re really selective. We’re not looking to add just everybody and we’re not right for everybody. We want people, at the end of the day, to help others, and then money will come. Don’t worry about the money part, right? Worry about the people. We don’t go after everybody. We’re really big on bringing people who are the real estate professionals. Because in our industry, the barrier of entry is really low, as you know. There’s a lot of people who are part-time. We’re probably not a good fit for those, unless they’re serious about doing real estate, they just have other jobs or businesses. Because, we own multiple businesses. So people can, but not everybody can.

Long Doan:

We go after people who says, “Hey, I want to change the industry, I want to change the way things do. That’s who we are. They come onboard with Realty Group. We’re kind of like a revolution right now of what we’re doing. We’re different. Because I think the larger national brands who’ve been around for a while, the traditional real estate, is dying. I consider us like the speedboat. We can make adjustment. Where those guys are like the Titanic. They literally see the iceberg and they’re heading into it, and they’re literally telling their people, “Brace for impact. We’re hitting it. We can’t get out of the way.” Then people are jumping off the ship, and jumping onboard with us, the rescue ship that’s floating around and catching them.

Oliver Graf:

The rescue ship, I like that.

Long Doan:

Yeah, so that’s who we are, seem to be attracting. We’re also getting to the point where we’re now attracting versus chasing.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

I’m sure you’re getting to that point, as well.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, that’s the thing about recruiting, is once you get to a point where you hit critical mass, it becomes the opposite. You’re turning more people away than you are bringing people on, because you can be a lot more attached to getting the right fit, the culture fit, the people fit, all that.

Long Doan:

That’s right, yep.

Oliver Graf:

How are you going after talent? Is it leads? Are you cold calling? What’s your methodology here?

Long Doan:

We actually, Mike and I, put together a pretty proven and tested seven step recruiting process.

Oliver Graf:

Oh, I like this. Okay.

Long Doan:

I believe, I don’t care if you’re building a brokerage or a team or you’re just a solo agent, you can use the same process for recruiting buyers and sellers, right?

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

Because at the end of the day, we’re still, we’re in the human capital business, right?

Oliver Graf:

That’s right.

Long Doan:

You’re trying to get as many human capital as possible. For us, number one is to know who you are, and who you want. Same if you’re a solo agent watching this, it’s not just about recruiting which buyers and sellers you want to work with. There’s not everybody you should work with, right?

Oliver Graf:

That’s a very important distinction.

Long Doan:

That’s right. Then the second one is, understanding your target audience. Now that you know who you are and who you want, you want to target that audience specifically. Then the third one is that there are different target audience you may have. Now, you have to focus on each of those target audience with the right message.

Oliver Graf:

The message, yeah.

Long Doan:

For us, we have usually three, four different targeted audience. Number one is demographically. Geographically, as well. For some reason, even agents don’t come to an office, they still want one nearby, 15 to 20 minutes. I don’t know why, because they come in once a month. They’re like, “I need an office.” I’m like, “We never see you, now we open the office,” right?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

We target around that. Two, is my production. The average agent in the state of Minnesota and nationally do about four a year. I don’t even know how people make a living doing four a year, right? But when you divide everybody into the headcount, it’s about four a year. We average double to triple that. We usually try to go about eight or more. That’s our target audience. We do about eight to 16 with a different target audience. With different message, 16 to about 30 or so are different, and 30 and above is different. We have target audience, with different messages.

Long Doan:

The third group is the models, the KW, the Re/Max, the Coldwell, whatever’s out there. We know what they’re strong at and what they’re weak at. By the way, we never go and put anybody down. But we always follow and show them what our strength are, right?

Oliver Graf:

Exactly.

Long Doan:

This is what we have that could be best fit you. We don’t put anybody down. We just talk about us.

Oliver Graf:

Right, yeah.

Long Doan:

We go after that. Then we craft each of those message, which is step three. Step four is deploying those messages. We use social media. We have what’s called a layer, stack campaign, mailer, texting, email, social media. But one thing we do a lot of is videos. Because we are in the people business, so visibility is credibility.

Oliver Graf:

Great line.

Long Doan:

The more people see you, because people work with people they like and trust. Nowadays, we cannot go door knock a thousand people and introduce ourselves. “Hi, this is Long. This is Oliver. Here’s all about me,” spend an hour telling them about me. But with social media and videos, they start seeing you, okay? They go, “Oh, that’s Long, that’s Long.”

Oliver Graf:

There he is again.

Long Doan:

Exactly. So now, we attract instead of chase, which, and only then, you lead to step five. Most people go right to step five. They start making the call. They cold call people, “Hey, let’s meet. You need to sell a house? You need to buy a house? You need to switch brokerages?” They’re like, “Hey, I don’t know who you are and no, I’m not switching.”

Oliver Graf:

Who are you again?

Long Doan:

Right? That’s when we follow up with calls, step five. Then we reach out to the target audience that we’ve been targeting and re-targeting. “Hey, would you like to sit down with Long or Mike to learn more about Realty Group? We’d like to learn more about you.” But at the end of the day, we’re in the people business. We just want to network, learn and share. We may not be a good fit for you, or vice versa. We have very good success with networking with people. Many of those have a second or third meeting. Like, “Hey-“

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, that’s a great very soft approach.

Long Doan:

Because we’re dating, right?

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

We talked about it earlier.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

I’m not going to come to you and say, “Hey, you want to get married?”

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

“We just met today. You want to switch brokerage and come with your broker?” We dated, usually two or three meeting. I’m one of those big believer in the people business, so as much as I want to scale it out, I also need a one-on-one relationship, face-to-face, belly-to-belly. I want to look you in the eye. I want to hear about your story. I want to know who you are, to see if it’s a good fit. So that’s step, five, which we go through the whole process, including you are part of it. We sent out a reminder text, all this other stuff, okay?

Long Doan:

Then, step six is then, that’s when we do the followup. Our followup is, you met. Is this a good fit? Yes, transfer. Here’s what you do. No, maybe later. We invite you to an event, to a training. Just make sure we’re still stay contacted.

Oliver Graf:

[crosstalk 00:27:16] in your web.

Long Doan:

That’s right. Then once they do join us, step seven is then social proof. Now, we go, “Hey, how has it been? Been 30 days.” Because guess what’s happening, especially on the real estate piece, including the buyer-seller? If you are a solo agent the buyer’s just bought a home, the neighbor, the friend is watching them. “How is your agent? How did the process go?”

Long Doan:

Recruiting is the same. When a KW agent come to us, by the way, KW is a great model, but we seem to have very good success with them. One of every three agents with us come from a Keller William. When a KW agent or any agent come to us, that office is watching them. “Hey, why did Oliver move? How’s it going over there, man? Is it as good as they say it is?”

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

We’re in that honeymoon period, so we want to make sure we take care of them. When we do, we want to talk to them about it. “How is your experience here, blah, blah, blah.” Then we ask them for their permission if they like, so we go and target that office or that model, to say, “Hey, Oliver is here now. He’s having great fun. He’s loving it. If you would like to find out more, click here to talk to Long or Mike.”

Oliver Graf:

I love that.

Long Doan:

That’s a seven step recruiting process.

Oliver Graf:

I love that. Wow, that was a much more involved answer than I thought it was going to be, but I love it. That’s brilliant. I like that it didn’t end once they joined. Because I think a lot of people, just like in marriages, they get married and then all of a sudden, they stop pouring into the relationship.

Long Doan:

That’s right.

Oliver Graf:

They stop going on dates and stop checking in as often and just get comfortable.

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

But really, it’s almost more important to take care of them even more once they join, because that’s when you accelerate referrals. That’s when you can really leverage that relationship to the fullest.

Long Doan:

Yes, so it’s hard enough to get someone. It’s even harder to keep them.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Our retention is even more in-depth than our recruiting. Now that we have them, we’ll constantly reach out to them, see if you need something from us. We’re following up with them. We set up one-on-one if they need us. So yes, totally agree. I’m sure you guys have the same.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, and how’s your set-up for servicing those 450 agents?

Long Doan:

Yep, so because we’re in the people business, and we want to make sure we service them, so we have what we call three main area. First one, when they call the main number, they can press two for Agent Services. That’s our concierge.

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

“Hey, who do I talk to about this? Where do I find this? Can you help me order business card?” Anything for them to be a real estate agent professional at Realty Group.

Long Doan:

The second one is to press three, and it’s Broker Services. That’s your professional help.

Oliver Graf:

Any transaction related work.

Long Doan:

That’s right.

Oliver Graf:

Contracts.

Long Doan:

Calling doctor, almost, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

“What box do I check? What form do I use? How do I get my clients out of this deal?” Then the third one is our processing support, the file.

Oliver Graf:

Got it.

Long Doan:

“Hey, can someone help me process the file? I’m not good at this, I want someone to do that for me.” But how our system is unique is that when they call, text, email us in one of those, and if they don’t get an answer right away, a ticket is created. So like a ticketing system. We’re going to call back to follow up, to solve that ticket.

Oliver Graf:

I love it.

Long Doan:

That’s the way that we work in our retention services.

Oliver Graf:

How are you doing that? Is that Zendesk, or what do you use for that?

Long Doan:

We are using actually Zendesk.

Oliver Graf:

Zendesk.

Long Doan:

That is correct.

Oliver Graf:

Okay, and you’ve been happy with it? You like it?

Long Doan:

Yep, yep. We had RingCentral before.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

Which served good for us, but as we grew, Zendesk is working better for us.

Oliver Graf:

Okay, so I put out on the Facebook group, we’re both in the Real Closers Facebook group, which is free to join, by the way, if you haven’t joined already, I put this out that we were going to be doing this interview. I got a question from Freddie Rodriguez, so shout out Freddie. “What’s the one thing that really took your business to the next level?”

Long Doan:

Thanks, Freddie, for the question. If anyone read some books, Rocket Fuel is just the one I’m going to be referring to.

Oliver Graf:

Great book.

Long Doan:

You have the visionary and the integrator, right?

Oliver Graf:

The integrator, yep.

Long Doan:

Most of us start out wearing both hats, the visionary and the integrator. I talk about the why, when, who, what, where thing. What happened then is, when I partnered up with Mike is when my business start growing, because successful people have figured out how to leverage time. I don’t care if you’re a billionaire or homeless. We all have the same amount of time.

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

Successful people figure out how to use time versus spend time. This is all the amount of time that you have. How do you use it? Because if you don’t learn how to do that, someone else is going to spend your time for you.

Oliver Graf:

I love it.

Long Doan:

The biggest thing for me is learning how to use time. For example, when I was actively doing real estate, as well, I would have a buyer who used to say, “Hey, I want to go look at this house at 3:00.” Guess what most of them would do? “Honey, can you go pick up the kid from school. I got to go do a showing,” right? That’s bad. That’s when you can change that, is understand how to use time. To go from, and I don’t care which role you are, you can be the visionary or the integrator, some of us can wear both hat, but find the other, whoever allowed you to do what’s best, or someone who’s better than you at it. For me, that was Mike. Mike is both a visionary and an integrator. But when he first came in, he serve as the integrator. He really help us fix everything and put it all together. So we’ve served both roles, but he was better than me at that.

Oliver Graf:

That’s great.

Long Doan:

For me, there was the who part, okay?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

Because for us, I think we go through, “What do you want to do?” Then some of us go right to scaling. We bring in a person to help. Nope, you first have to figure out your efficiency first.

Oliver Graf:

Yes.

Long Doan:

Maximize the time you do have, so that you can keep more. Because in the beginning, we have more time than money, right? We do pretty much more of the tasks. We wear 12 hats, but we put system process in place to be very efficient. Then and only then, we go, “Okay, these are all the roles I’m wearing. Which one am I the worst at, the weakest at, or not the best at, or I hate doing?”

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Bring in someone else who’s better than me to do that.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, start there, for sure.

Long Doan:

That’s right. So I start giving up hats, until I wear the one I’m either best at or I love the most.

Oliver Graf:

I really love that a lot. Great book, Rocket Fuel. If you haven’t read it, definitely check that out. I love what you said about, if you’re one or the other, find the other one.

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

Because it is, that’s what really makes the magic happen is the visionary pushing the thing, making it impossible goals and keeping everybody going and motivated. Then the integrator is behind the scenes pushing the buttons, making things happen, building the systems and allowing you to scale the vision.

Long Doan:

Yep, yeah. That’s what I love about you and Sam. We learn a lot from you guys, right? You guys are both two, but you also know, someone’s got to do something.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

One thing great about you is, you’re not out there always talking about how great you are. Just want to fricking get [inaudible 00:33:54] done, man, excuse my French.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, yeah.

Long Doan:

That’s why you guys are where you’re at, because you and Sam have a great partnership, as well.

Oliver Graf:

Appreciate the kind words.

Long Doan:

Yeah.

Oliver Graf:

I want to shift gears, because I know you’re doing, you do a lot of lead gen for your team and you’re helping people grow and you’ve built great systems for people to plug into. Right now, where in the lead gen, where are you finding the most success?

Long Doan:

Yes, so Mike handle more of this part, obviously. But for us, we would rather teach our agents how to fish than give them a fish every day. There are seven different styles of success, we believe, in the people business. It’s based on your personalities. Some people believe in the DiSC test or the Myers Brigg. For me, I like the Seven Styles. For example, it’s my 28th year now. I’ve cold called and door knocked before. I’m pretty good at it. But it’s not my favorite thing to do. That’s what we call the Hunter Style. Supposedly, only about 8.3% of the population are Hunters, because over thousands of years, we’ve evolved. You want fish, meat, vegetable, you don’t need to go do the hunt for three days anymore.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, you just go to the store.

Long Doan:

You stop at the grocery store, nicely clean and wrapped, right? But we do have the Hunters there. They say, “Show me where the deal is, I’ll go shoot them.” Those are people be on a lead program. I prefer to cultivate relationships with my friends, family, sphere of influence. We call that the Farmer Style. Then, you have your Expert Style, the investment, the first-time home buyer, the lake home, luxury.

Oliver Graf:

More niche.

Long Doan:

That’s right.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

You have your Hyper-localist, the San Diego, Phoenix area, you know your market really well. Then, you have your Lifestyle one, church people, bikers, musicians, people you hang around with in your life. Then, you have your Billboard and your Bus Benchers. I’m sure every market have those. Then you have your Tribal one. It’s your tribe, your peeps, black people, gay people, Asians, women, veterans, whoever you identifies that way. Most of us have a combination of about two to four. Some people might have all seven.

Long Doan:

When we help our agent, we focus on where their strength and weakness is at. But for our Hunters, we do have a lead program. The way leads now is working is that most agents will come to us and say, “Hey, most of my business from referral. I did so-and-so transaction last year, 20.” What they don’t realize is, they’re probably missing out on the other 20, because it’s a people business.

Oliver Graf:

Right, there’s a lot on the table.

Long Doan:

That’s right. It’s a people business, so it’s a face-to-face, belly-to-belly relationship, but if you’re not leveraging technology, you’re missing out on an opportunity. Because someone’s upstreaming your people, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

NAR have done a study that 87% of buyers and sellers said they use the same agent, but only 12% end up doing it. Why? Because of lead generation. Where I see the leads going is, we’re partnering up with a lot of great company. You guys probably do, too. One of them is Ylopo, but there’s a lot of them out there, is dynamic marketing, the AI technology.

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

It’s not static anymore. You have to be learning the behavior and changing. What Mike and I have done really good at is, and I’m sure we picked it up somewhere with networking with all you great guys, we call it the Art of Nurturing a Relationship. Jesse Bodine, shout out to him, he thinks he came up with it. We don’t know where it came.

Oliver Graf:

Shout out, Jesse.

Long Doan:

We might have learned it from him. Yep. A-R-T, art, Aspiration, Research, Transactional. That’s like a funnel, right?

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

If you’re on the top of the funnel, you’re not as motivated until you get down to further in the tunnel. Now Big Brothers is watching, AI technology. You and I know, we might meet somebody at the bar. For me, when I have a meeting with someone on my calendar, I don’t care what happen, right after, I seem to get a Facebook notice, “Hey, you want to friend this person?”

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

That’s the AI technology, right?

Oliver Graf:

Right, yeah, exactly.

Long Doan:

Same thing with us. We might get a notification, one of our agent and a lead, say, “Hey, call John Smith.” Why? John is checking out some DNR website for fishing. He happen to click on the city page, look at some listing. Well, John’s aspiring to moving from the city to near a lake somewhere.

Oliver Graf:

Or maybe buy a vacation house at the lakes or whatever, right.

Long Doan:

That’s right. So all of a sudden, you call up, “This is Oliver, checking in, John, see how you’re doing.” John raise his hand out of the pond, right? “Hey, what a coincidence, Oliver. I was thinking about moving.” That’s an aspiration example.

Long Doan:

A research example could be, “Hey, call Katie in your database.” Why? Well, Katie Smith was on Facebook, share an MLS and a Zillow link with her husband, a four bedroom, three bathroom. You call up Katie, “Hey, what a coincidence.” Now, you’re on the MLS search, right? You’re catching Katie before Katie would realize.

Long Doan:

And then, a transactional. I’m in there doing it right now, looking for home. All of these examples is where lead generation is going. If you’re not getting on those AI technology, you’re going to be behind.

Oliver Graf:

What are some of those technologies, so people can-

Long Doan:

We got Ylopo, Call Action, we use Follow Up Boss for our CIM. There’s many. Like I said, these are not the best ones, that’s just who we use. But they’re out there. The average agents is about 57, right? They are baby boomers going up. Those guys actually have a big database of clients. If those are not switching to technology, leveraging it, you’re going to lose out to the millennials.

Oliver Graf:

To the NextGen, yeah.

Long Doan:

Who are coming in, the NextGen, so we’re in the middle. We’re getting the best of both worlds. We’re the NextGen. We’re getting the best of … we got stuck in the generation gap, little bit. You get this good, this, and not that. But yes, technology is definitely something you need to start leveraging.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, yeah.

Long Doan:

We’re working together with something called SweetAssist.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Right? It’s just how to put everything together.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, yeah. For sure. It’s such a critical component. It’s actually one thing that I think you and Mike are really good at. That’s one of your superpowers, is staying on top of the what’s hot, what’s coming up, the newest softwares, the newest AI stuff that’s on the market. I got another Facebook question, which kind of goes right in line with that, which was from Billy Colstock, so shout out to Billy Colstock. “What technology are you using for your database followup?” It’s basically a few different questions in one, database followup, lead capture, conversation conversion and closings.

Long Doan:

Yeah, that’s a pretty big question, Billy. It’s probably take an hour to go into it, right? But instead of answering that question, I’m going to pivot a little bit, just like the politician that talk about whatever and may not answer the question. That’s what I’m doing right now, maybe. For me, I think it’s actually my phone, okay?

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

All this technology, you forget, if you don’t follow up, make the call, it doesn’t matter.

Oliver Graf:

Yes.

Long Doan:

But I, because all the technology keep coming, right, sometime you change your CIM, sometime you switch to a bigger, better. For me, for 28-some years I’ve been in the business, first 15 years on the mortgage side, it’s been my phone. The cell phone get better and better. I have an iPhone, could be whatever, Android. Every contact I have in there, I think over 5,000, every one of those contact is a relationship, right? I have notes. I have your wife name, your kids’ name. Because I stalk people I know. I see on Facebook, they hang out, whatever, I go in there and add my note.

Long Doan:

First of all, I always call to check in and build relationship. But I usually cheat. That’s my CIM is my phone, my technology. “Ah, so-and-so. I remember now, he plays soccer, he’s a golfer, he like to coach his kid base …” I will ask, say, “How’s the baseball season going?” Stuff like that that allowed you to leverage technology to still have, so a term I came up with, and I Googled it and I haven’t seen it, so I think it’s mine-

Oliver Graf:

So you heard it here first.

Long Doan:

That’s right. I believe that, right now in the people business, especially, with all the technology, we’re seeing a convergence of humanity and technology. One will not replace the other. Technology would never replace it. There’s a lot of AI. There’s a lot of robots thing. But there’s certain thing for us, in the people business, people can’t replace us because of EQ, the emotional intelligent part is the thing we’re always going to beat out on the technology.

Oliver Graf:

Right, yep.

Long Doan:

Because of the convergence together, they’re going to come together, I call it techmanology. It’s a cross between technology and humanity. Techmanology, by the way, that’s human, not man or woman. I’m not being sexist at all. Techmanology is something you need to be aware of. Don’t just leverage technology so much that you think technology is the-

Oliver Graf:

Going to do everything for you.

Long Doan:

That’s exactly it. Just leverage it to allow you more opportunity for this. You and I used texting, emailing, right, IM-ing, to set this up?

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

But now, we’re here. This is the part you need to make sure you focus on.

Oliver Graf:

I love that. Just expand on that a little bit, what is your process for staying in touch with those 5,000 people that you’re keeping notes on? I mean, is it like you get notifications when it’s their birthdays and stuff like that, or what’s the goal?

Long Doan:

Yep, so because I don’t produce anymore, I leverage my database differently. But I still get calls from people all the time, right? There’s minimum thing I do. Thank you to Facebook, otherwise I wouldn’t remember everybody’s birthday.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

It always pop up, remind me.

Oliver Graf:

It does make it awfully convenient.

Long Doan:

That’s one thing I do do. Also, you got to understand to know when to take it offline. Most of the time, I don’t say happy birthday to people on Facebook, because I saw them.

Oliver Graf:

It’s easy.

Long Doan:

I actually text them, directly to their cell phone. I think you might have gotten one from me maybe on your birthday, saying, “Happy birthday, Oliver,” versus just, “Oh, yeah, I’ll just cheat.” So then, the automatic thing you set up sometime is not good either, right? You automatically send them a birthday or happy anniversary from your CIM. What you probably should do is have your CIM remind you-

Oliver Graf:

To make the call.

Long Doan:

And then make the call or do what you need to do. For no reason at all. Not you’re doing it just to try to get a deal, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

You genuinely want to build a relationship. “Hey, man. I saw you with your kids, happy anniversary,” that day. Because what happen is, on an average, people know 250 people. In the real estate business, they may not be buying and selling a home right now, but they may know somebody who’s buying and selling a home. Just by you having those relationship built with them, it’s a whole different, now you’re track versus chase.

Oliver Graf:

I like that. I like that a lot. That’s good. I love how you’re just kind of pleasantly persistent. You’re not calling to bother them or calling for any reason. You’ve got your notes, so that you can hit your key points. One cool thing that I actually noticed that you had technology-wise was, whatever you used to schedule this with me. Because I was the one reaching out to you to set this up, then all of a sudden, it’s all, “You have been alerted that we have this thing tomorrow.” Then one hour before we started the shoot, I get another text message, “Don’t forget you’re shooting today with Long at 1:00 PM.” I was like, “Wow, this is great.” What tool is that, because I think that’s something I’d like to implement, as well?

Long Doan:

Yes, absolutely. First of all, I think all of us sometime think we make the switch. When we start running a business or do work, we start doing the work. You should actually, everything should start with you, right, personally. I also have system process in my personal life. If you don’t do that, you can’t just turn the switch on. For me, it’s all about being organized. For me, it’s system run business, people run system. When I say business, it’s also my personal business. I use ScheduleOnce. But there’s Calendly, there’s many thing out there.

Long Doan:

What I do is, when someone want to meet with me, I use that technology for them to get on the calendar. Then they automatically get a reminder. First of all, accept the invitation. Then, an hour before, you get a reminder. If you were on my calendar to meet for an actual recruiting meeting or networking, because today is a weekend. If it wasn’t a weekend, I have a team member actually will call you 45 minutes before the meeting. An hour is an automatic. 45 minutes is a system process, “Hey, just want to make sure you’re still meeting with Long at 123 Main Street.” Once they say, “Yes, I’m meeting,” then that’s when she also send me a confirmation. For me, I want to make sure I don’t waste your time, my time. I want to remind you. I know you’re busy.

Oliver Graf:

That’s a great tool, too. Because, I thought it was really cool. I was like, “Wow.” At first, I was like, “Does he have a VA or something that’s doing this, or what?” But that’s a cool tool, so ScheduleOnce.

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

All right, cool. I’ll have to check that out. Back to and staying on virtual assistants, because I think that’s also something you and Mike are really killer at, how are you leveraging virtual assistants right now, in your business?

Long Doan:

Yep, so it’s kind of a cool combination. Because for us, we’re doubling down on space versus virtual. Even if most agent work from home, as you know, I would say we’ve been tracking, about 3% of agents rent from you. They are a big producer or a team, they need space. Otherwise, people work from home. But when they come into the office, we want to have a place for them to go to. Because over thousands of years, human want other human interaction. When they got out of the caves, they want to come into a place to all hang out, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

That’s why you guys have a fun place too, where you play foosball. I think you might have a keg, even. I don’t know if it’s still there or not.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, yeah. It’s there.

Long Doan:

So, yeah, so you like that fun. For us, the way we want to do it is, we want people to have the opportunity to come and hang out. With that being said, we have multiple offices, like you guys do. Because of that, we have people at each offices. To essentially, they are already virtual. With technology nowadays, we do daily huddle with the staff. I don’t, but someone doing it. They do it via Zoom. We’re using technology. We treat everybody like they’re at the same office, down the hall, just that our meeting is not handshake, it’s just they can see you, which allowed us now to have the new local to be global. So now, it can be right next door, or the other side of the world. We use some VA from the Philippines, also help us. People use them from all different country. Ours, half of our staff are true virtual. The other half is state virtual.

Long Doan:

We have three people at our flagship location, and then four, five around other offices. Another seven, eight somewhere else. As we keep growing, we’re going to service our agent. For us, at that model, because of the favorable exchange rate in different part of the country, these people are making like six figures in their market. We’re able to scale and be more efficient and support our agents with that model. For us, we leverage VA to help us grow.

Oliver Graf:

The ones that are overseas, what are the types of things that they’re doing for you?

Long Doan:

Very good question. What we found to be the most efficient with our VAs are, especially in a different part of the world, is that their culture different. There’s a difference there. They don’t understand certain things. When I used to do a lot of REOs, I remember hiring a couple VAs. After a while, I get these questions like, “Hey, that house has furniture and that house don’t. It doesn’t have furniture.” “Well, not everyone do.” They don’t know that furniture don’t come with the house, things like that.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Then we went to anything is checklist or process-driven. It’s the best for them. They just follow the process. “Okay, I do this, then this happen, do this, this, this.” Whereas thing that needs on-the-spot solving and being creative, it’s tougher. So 80% of them, that’s the best job. The other 20% can do that, but it’s a different level. We leverage that type of tasks to our VAs, then our stateside are handling the people part. You need to have people at the offices, because agents, an agent pop in, “How do I use the printer, again? It doesn’t work.”

Oliver Graf:

Right, “How do I get on the WiFi,” all that kind of stuff.

Long Doan:

That’s right. That’s not a VA type, right?

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

This is a relationship, but whereas the task oriented, that’s how we’re leveraging them.

Oliver Graf:

I love that. Then, did you use an agency to find those, or how are you finding your VAs?

Long Doan:

Yep, there are many way. You can go directly. We enjoy the agency, because someone can help us do all the stuff.

Oliver Graf:

There’s usually a manager in place.

Long Doan:

That’s right. So then, it’s kind of like your Indeed for VA, right? They bring you the qualified candidates and we interview them, we like them. If someone doesn’t work out, we say we don’t. They replace us with another candidate. We like that. Could we go directly? Probably, but we want to focus on what we’re best at, right?

Oliver Graf:

Totally.

Long Doan:

Not dealing with that.

Oliver Graf:

Totally. What services that, or what agency do you guys use?

Long Doan:

There’s many different out there, so shout out to MOD, that’s who we use.

From Near Death to #1 Independent Broker in His State _ Long Doan on Founders Club 1-4-45 screenshot

Oliver Graf:

MOD?

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

Okay, cool.

Long Doan:

I can’t remember what they stand for anymore.

Oliver Graf:

Well, Google it, MOD virtual assistant, I’m sure you’ll find it.

Long Doan:

Yeah, so there’s Virtual Desk, there’s VA Hubs. So yes, we use MOD.

Oliver Graf:

Then, I think you hit something on the head, which was, they’ve got to be just very linear processes. I think that that’s what VAs are best at.

Long Doan:

Agreed.

Oliver Graf:

In terms of what they can help you with. What are you using to manage that? Is it like a Trello board, or is it like a … what are you using?

Long Doan:

That’s one of them. We do use a Trello board. Here’s all the steps. You’re very right, they are best at linear stuff. After this, then this. As a matter of fact, we actually use that to build the system and process. We call it the, “And then what,” exercise.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

We reverse engineer back, to build this. This is the listing process. An agent got a listing, and then what? They fill this paperwork out. And then what? They turn it in? And then what, and then what? We build that backward. Then they follow the process the other way around.

Oliver Graf:

That’s perfect.

Long Doan:

We do use Trello quite a bit and checklists and all of that stuff.

Oliver Graf:

Anything else other than Trello?

Long Doan:

Then just daily communication, because we want to make sure everyone know what the left hand doing, what the right hand. Because as a CEO-

Oliver Graf:

Not to cut you off there, you’re talking to your VAs daily?

Long Doan:

Yeah.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

Our team run that.

Oliver Graf:

That’s just a daily Zoom call?

Long Doan:

Yep, all the time. Every morning, and then sometime something really quick, we Zoom. We use Google Hangout as well.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

So we’re, “Hey,” quick. We literally, instead of going to the hall to talk to them and have them come to your office, we’re just using technology. They’re literally in communication all the time.

Oliver Graf:

Love that. Then what about keeping them accountable? How do you make sure they’re actually doing the checklists, that they’re not missing steps or that it’s getting done right?

Long Doan:

Yep, inspect what you expect, right? We are always constantly doing that, to make sure that they are keeping up with what they’re doing and completing the tasks, doing a good job.

Oliver Graf:

What does that look like? Because obviously, you’re not checking every single one. Is that just spot checking one every 30th thing that they’ve done, or-

Long Doan:

Yep, so we can see in Trello board what’s been checked off, what’s been completed. Then, we do spot check, to make sure that the quality is there.

Oliver Graf:

Great.

Long Doan:

It’s just a process system we have in place.

Oliver Graf:

I was going to ask, emails, do you have someone managing your emails for you?

Long Doan:

Yep, so when I did a lot of bank-owned stuff, I was actively involved in it. One thing that you need to do is process system, right? I created an email that I myself have access to, and my assistant. So then we’re both seeing it, but she’s handling all the tasks. I’m just seeing what’s happening. I still do now in most certain way. But for me, I’ve also done a really good of keeping separate emails. What I mean by that is, some you just get a ton of junk mail.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, some you just get bombarded.

Long Doan:

That’s right. So I got my personal email and my task email. One thing we do really good in our business is create departmental task email. Like, [email protected], [email protected]

Oliver Graf:

[email protected] whatever, yeah.

Long Doan:

Versus the person. Because you might move around. They might quit. They might leave. You don’t need to change that. With that being said, we can create a shadow or ghost email, where we can oversee that kind of stuff.

Oliver Graf:

Love that, yeah. Then, got another Facebook question here for you. This one’s form Keaton English, so shout out to Keaton. “What is your onboarding process for new agents?”

Long Doan:

Yes. Keaton, we got a 106 point checklist. We’re back to recruiting, right. This is in term of a broker and agent, or team with an agent. When an agent say, “Yes, I would like to join your team or your brokerage,” we then have what we … the two things we work on. One is called a transition plan. Here’s your transition, right? Because there’s a lot of moving parts. If you don’t have your personal email ready, and you’re with the brokerage or the team email, we need to figure out how to do that. If you have a transaction pending, we got to make sure you work with your broker.

Oliver Graf:

Move that over.

Long Doan:

Move that over, whatever the right way to do it in your state or your market, help order your business card, complete the application process. We have 106 point checklist. We go through the entire process. But what we do do is, we get it all ready for them, but we don’t hit the button. Because we’re in the people business, we want to help them with what we call the Broker Breakup.

Oliver Graf:

The Broker Breakup, I like that.

Long Doan:

Because, you never want to burn any bridges, right?

Oliver Graf:

Right, yeah.

Long Doan:

You’re in your market, especially like you guys, we’re growing too. We constantly have a target on our back, they think we’re doing something not right or we’re always taking people from them. We’re not. We’re just a better alignment. Usually nothing personal. When people come to us, “I love where I came from, but you guys are just aligned for my business to grow,” right. We always encourage them, we have it all ready, we’re going to hit button when you give us the okay, but handle your Broker Breakup. Some will say, “My broker or my team leader pay me to get my license.” We have these true example. “He was in my wedding. I need to have a conversation with him before I make the move.” Some said, “Hit the button, and I will call, text, email, meet him for a courtesy. Hey, nothing personal, thanks for the opportunity. I’ve moved to Realty Group to better service my business.”

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

What happen with the onboard process is, when they say, “Yes,” they come onboard. We do the transition and when we onboard them, they receive an email from us. It’s like a SOP, standard operating procedure. It’s like a 15 page email. We said, “Save this and refer back to this.” This is your logins to all of our platforms. This is who you call. This is where you go find your NAID, for your HUD offer. In there, we’ll give them a 10 days onboarding, post-onboarding. Day one, go on social media, swap out the other company banner, put in ours, Realty Group, change your signature line. Day two, log into your CIM, update this, put your picture in.

Long Doan:

Then we put them on the drip campaign with a system process, the automated. Day one, they’ll get a text reminder, “Did you do your day one task? If not, refer back to the email.”

Oliver Graf:

Love it.

Long Doan:

“If you need help, call or meet with our Agent Services. They will walk you through it.” Once those 10 days over, within the next … the first 30 to 45 days they are with us, we encourage them to attend a 90 minute orientation. Okay, “Now that you’ve been here, what kind of question you have? By the way, here’s our key ecosystem. Here’s all of our businesses that we partner up with. You can use whoever you want, but if you’d like, we’d love to help you with it. This is who you go for this. Just a reminder for you, this is our vision. This is who we are. This is why you are here. This is how we do our business. If you have someone you think would be a good fit, this is how you refer them to us.” That’s our onboarding process.

Oliver Graf:

I love it. I love two things that you just said right there. I love having a transition plan ready and I love the Broker Breakup. Because there’s sometimes where they’re like, “I don’t ever want to talk to that person again. I don’t really care what happens.” But then, in most cases, it is a relationship and you don’t want to burn the bridge and you want to do it amicably and to have a plan in place and to help them do that, I think is huge.

Long Doan:

Absolutely. Matter of fact, sometime people struggle with that, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

It’s tough. So I would not say we’re teaching them or coaching them, but we do talk about it.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Because most of the agents come to us are very productive agents, right?

Oliver Graf:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Long Doan:

If I was their broker, I don’t want them to leave.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Okay? So I let them know that, it’s going to be tough. Because just like you breaking up with your boyfriend or girlfriend, in the past we all have relationship. Guess what they’re going to tell you? I promise I’ll come home early. I’m going to help with the laundry. I’ll help cook dinner. Then three months later, they’re back to it. Guess what your broker probably going to say? “I’ll give you 10% more in commission. Sure, I’ll get that CIM that they have that we don’t have here.” We get a lot of those that, “God, I wish, I should have moved six months ago, when we talked. They talked me out of it. I stayed. I wish I didn’t.”

Oliver Graf:

And now I’m back.

Long Doan:

That’s right.

Oliver Graf:

I want to talk a little bit about your past, because I think you have a really cool and interesting story about how you came here, built the business and did all that stuff. Tell me about rising dragon.

Long Doan:

In most country, including Vietnam, your name means something. Of course, I was born in Vietnam. My mom and dad didn’t plan on me being here, in America. So Long actually stands for, means dragon. And Hung mean rising. So Long Hung, then Doan is my family name. So Long Hung Doan mean the rising dragon. When I came to America, right about in the ’80s, that’s when Sixteen Candles came out.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

Well, we all know where I’m going with this, right? Long Dong. So for me, Long Hung Doan, or mispronounced, has a whole different meaning than a rising dragon. So yeah, that’s what my … why the rising dragon. That’s actually my true name, in Vietnamese.

Oliver Graf:

Rising dragon.

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

That might be one of the coolest names I’ve ever heard in my life, by the way. That’s cool. Tell me about, you’re from Vietnam, how did you come over, when did you come over, and then how did you transition into real estate?

Long Doan:

Yeah, so people about our age or older might remember the Vietnam war. If you’re younger, you might have learned about it from history. In 1975, the American left Vietnam, and the North side, and we live in the South, we were American friendly. So the Communists came in, took over the South in Vietnam. In most Communist countries, including Vietnam, they have this thing called re-education camp. Anyone who can think for themself is a threat, okay, so musician, poet, attorneys, professors. My dad was a professor. By the way, my mom and dad both went to school at Florida State University. They came back with degrees.

Oliver Graf:

Oh, wow.

Long Doan:

My dad was a Ph.D. My mom had a Master’s. Anyways, because my dad was professor, he was invited to the re-education camp.

Oliver Graf:

Invited.

Long Doan:

I have two younger brothers. I was eight and my younger brothers were four and two. They came and arrested my dad, and we didn’t reunite until I was 32 years old.

Oliver Graf:

Oh, my gosh.

Long Doan:

From eight to 32 before I saw my dad again. Yeah. So anyway, from the age of eight to 13 is when I actually finally left Vietnam. When the Communists came in, the way that they controlled the people is through economy, right? They rationed everything. Even if you had money, you couldn’t buy anything. My mom was working two, three jobs. She was actually a teacher. She taught at university and school. I was the oldest. Back then, my dad was the oldest, too. So we lived with our grandparents, because he took care of his parents. Every day after school, I remember, I would go line up for two, three hours every day, to get our rations. Every Monday, I get a ration of rice for the entire family. Every Tuesday might have been spices. Every Wednesday might have been some protein. Thursday, detergent.

Oliver Graf:

Wow.

Long Doan:

We did that for years, right? I remember, when we did have protein, it was little piece of meat that was heavily salted, so you can eat three bowl of rice with it. It was pretty tough.

Long Doan:

Anyways, back then, a lot of people left Vietnam. We’re a coastal country, so many people left by foot, through the jungle, to Thailand, which is north of us. But 80% of it by boat. Two million people left Vietnam during that time. I was one of those boat people. We actually tried three times. The first time, it was my mom and my two younger brothers and us, so all four of us. This is like putting all your eggs in one basket, because the survival rate was less than 50%.

Oliver Graf:

Wow.

Long Doan:

I’m a coin flip. I’m here today because I landed on the right side, okay? Anyways, the first try, we’re all there. My dad was in prison, obviously, so he would never say yes to it. My mom made an executive decision, say give it a better life. We waited to be pick up, to get on the boat, to try to leave. She chickened out. “Hey, man, we could all die.” She’s like, “Hey, I’m not feeling this thing.” She used my younger brother, he was an excuse, “He’s not feeling well, we’re not doing this.” We found out later, that group made it. We could have all made it. No. Maybe weren’t meant to be.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

Because it cost money, so she pretty much spent all her money on our family, and we didn’t do it. The second time, her brother was a mechanic, my uncle. So she, as and entrepreneur herself, work a deal out where he can be the mechanic for the ship, the boat, and I get a free spot. During that time, I was about 12. This was the early ’80s and the Vietnamese people at war with the Chinese. If you get caught and you’re 16 or older, as a male, you’re pretty much sent to the front line until you’re shot to death. That’s a death sentence. We already know that if we get caught, my uncle’s going to bail. I’m only 12, so figure it out.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

It’s pretty corrupt in most third world countries. The process for the boat people to leave is pretty crazy. You buy a spot on a boat. It’s human smuggling. It’s river fishing boats that they build secret compartment underneath. There’s this river through a lot of Asia countries called the Mekong River. You fish down the river until you get out to international water. That’s the escape plan. You go through all this checkpoints and then you would bribe the Coast Guard to let you go by, because they can tell, the boat’s sinking a little bit more, right? There’s a bunch of other people underneath.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

I was one of those underneath, and we pay the money and they took our money and turn us in. We got caught the second try. My uncle bail. He told me later, he just jump on and he got away. I got caught. I remember, there was about eight of us in this group. I remember, this is the summer. It’s very hot and humid in the summer in Vietnam. Go to Florida, Oklahoma or Tennessee down there, and multiply by two in the summer, the humidity, the heat. I remember they made us sit outside, no food, no water, for two days. They just tease us. I was only 12 at the time, so pretty scary. “Hey, don’t worry. The Americans on their way to pick you guys up.” They’re literally just tormented us.

Oliver Graf:

Wow.

Long Doan:

But I eventually did get to go home, because I was only 12. The third try was the time I made it. Third time was the charm, I guess. I knew I was leaving at some point, but they don’t tell me, because I was 13 by now. Because hey know I’ll tell my friends, right, my cousins. Somebody’s going to find out about it. My mom been working on this deal I didn’t know about. I do remember it was a school night. My two brothers got to go to my cousin for a sleepover. I should have thought that was a red flag, right? Because you don’t get to go hang out, have fun on school nights in Vietnam. Then, my grandma made me my favorite meal, which is barbecue pork. I remember, “Hey, eat as much as you can.” I’m not fighting my brothers for it. I’m getting plenty of food. I went, “Wow, this is kind of cool.” I wasn’t thinking.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, I like this. Yeah.

Long Doan:

Right? Then at nighttime, my mom and my grandma came into bed with me, and they’re talking to me about, they say they love me, all this stuff. In the Asian culture, we don’t show a lot of affection like that. So I should have thought of something. Just 13, da, da, da, I never think anything of it. I remember about 3:00 my mom woke me up, and said, “Hey, it’s time to go.” That was go time. I knew then, okay, it’s time to go.

Long Doan:

She took me by bicycle, I remember, out of the city. Because, we live in Saigon. So all the Vietnam movies you see is like rice paddy, I never even seen one, because I live in a city. She took me by bicycle out about an hour, I remember. We met a strange man I’ve never met before. That was our contact. Before I left, my grandma, my mom, my grandma said, “I love you. Be brave.” My mom said, “Okay, be brave. We love you. You can do this.” But remember at the time, I was 13. I’ve tried it twice. I’m thinking, “Okay, Mom. I’ll see you in a couple of days.” It’s not hitting me yet.

Long Doan:

This other guy has a moped. We ride out about an hour outside the city again. We now met up with a smaller group. I was the last one to show up, and there were already eight people there. I was number nine. At this checkpoint we met up. We now have to go to where the dingy is. That’s when I experienced the rice paddy. We were walking through a rice paddy to get the dingy, 10, 15 minutes. It felt like a long time for me. For an Asian guy, I’m pretty tall now-

Oliver Graf:

You were by yourself with no family, at 13 years old?

Long Doan:

That’s correct. My mom bought me a spot. How she did, I think she might have gotten a few people on the boat and she earned a commission or something that she traded in. I remember I was really small back then. I remember, the mud was up to my chest. I’m thinking, “Man, I step off, I’ll be suffocating.” Anyways, we made it through a dingy. It took us to the big boat, which is not even that big. You probably can’t see this patio right here, but it’s about two, two-and-a-half size a normal bedroom. We’re the last group to come down to the boat, coming down. I see just packed with people. But I remember that last time, too. This time, the boat was a little bigger.

Long Doan:

We got down there and I didn’t know about the time of it until later, when someone told me, but we were down there fishing down the Mekong River, and it felt like a much longer, but it was only three days. Now, imagine you go to a concert, camping, outdoors, you go to one of those satellites to go to the bathroom. It hasn’t been cleaned in a long time. No air circulation, being in the dark, and I found out later it was three days. It felt much longer. People throwing up, going to the bathroom-

Oliver Graf:

Just right there.

Long Doan:

And you sitting literally shoulder to shoulder like sardines. Every time we go through a checkpoint, we hear this knock, knock, boom, boom, on the top. We know that everyone be really quiet.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, be quiet.

Long Doan:

Including the family with little kids, they’ve been reminded that if someone make a noise, you muzzle them, whatever you got to do, man. We’re not getting caught, especially there were a lot of men on this boat. That’s death sentence for them. This time, we got lucky enough that we got through all the checkpoints.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

It felt like an eternity for me, but I guess it was only three days.

Oliver Graf:

Only? I mean, come on.

Long Doan:

That’s right.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

We got out to international water. This is the furthest I’ve gotten.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

Last time, we never got on the boat. Second time, we got caught. We got out, international water, and this is where you see in books and movies, hundreds of people on the boat. Now we all come on top.

Oliver Graf:

Everyone can come out, now.

Long Doan:

Yep. I remember, I was pretty polite. I was taught to be at the time. I was helping everybody come in the top. I was one of the last few that come up. I remember coming up and I felt like I went from hell to heaven. You know that fresh air we take for granted? I was like, “Oh, my God, this smells so good. I can actually breathe.”

Oliver Graf:

Wow.

Long Doan:

I’m excited, ready to jump up and down, a 13 year old boy. All of a sudden I look around, and everyone looks actually scared. All of a sudden, it hit me. This is the stories we’ve been hearing. This is the point of no return. If you get caught, at least you get to go home. You’re out here, you’re either going to die or you make it. So here’s the escape plan for the boat people back then. If you get out this far, you float until someone picks you up, in the big ocean. What happened back then is, the Red Cross-

Oliver Graf:

So crazy.

Long Doan:

… had created refugee camps all over the nearby countries: Malaysia, Thailand, Indonesia.

Oliver Graf:

To accept the people coming.

Long Doan:

That’s correct.

Oliver Graf:

Uh-huh (affirmative).

Long Doan:

Refugee camps, right? This is the ’80s, when the economy was also bad back then. Our money is worth not even the paper it’s printed on. When people leave, they convert them to jewelry. They would take gold chain, watch, whatever, to take it with them. A lot of surrounding countrymen, it’s also pretty bad for them, with the economy, but they also know this, so they turn pirates.

Oliver Graf:

Great.

Long Doan:

On river fishing boat, in the river … you got the ocean, you don’t have the speed, you can’t maneuver, you’re small, you’re pretty much defenseless. So this ocean fishing boat would come find us, take all the jewelry, rape the women and sink the boat. That was mostly killing, because they take all your gas, the food, whatever, right? They’re pirates.

Oliver Graf:

Wow.

Long Doan:

That was like, so you don’t die slowly. Lucky for us, we never ran across a pirate boat. But at 13, I did get to see floating bodies. So it must have been a nearby boat that was sunken at some point.

Oliver Graf:

Wow.

Long Doan:

Pretty scary for a 13-year-old.

Oliver Graf:

Totally.

Long Doan:

I was by myself. I don’t know anybody on the boat. We had about a day left of food, water, and gas. We got lucky. Our plan worked. We ran across a commercial ship. Your goal is to run into a good guy ship and not a bad guy. We ran across a good guy. They’re just passing by and they probably know, during that time, so they hooked us up, and this is where, just picture this big cruise ship, San Diego port, right?

Oliver Graf:

Like an oil tanker, or something.

Long Doan:

One of those big one.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

And we’re this little, tiny, river fishing boat. We dock up. I remember everyone get all excited, because we know that this mean it’s good, right?

Oliver Graf:

This is looking good, yeah.

Long Doan:

I remember at 13 I’m thinking, “Okay, I don’t know what’s next.” I’m thinking, “We get to get on the ship. We get food, take a shower,” all this stuff. This is now, by the way, we’ve been floating for about seven days. We’re in day 10 now. They didn’t let us up on the boat, because probably, you might have disease or something.

Oliver Graf:

Right, they don’t know what you guys are, right.

Long Doan:

Yeah, that’s right. They throw down some food, water, and then they call into the nearest refugee camp. For us, it was Malaysia. I remember, they put food down. I was really little, then. It probably looked bigger than it normally is. It’s probably a normal apple. But I remember this big, juicy red apple I got to eat, right? I’m like, “Oh, my God, I can get to America, eat all this awesome food.” I’d been hungry, because we literally have enough rice and water just to survive. We’re not eating a normal ration, either.

Long Doan:

We waited, and about a day before they come out, they pulled us into the refugee camp. Now we’re the 11th day. The process is, they onboard you. You check in. They give you shot. Then, that’s when you declare what country you want to go to. For me, we already planned this, if I made it this far, America. My aunt and uncle who live in Minnesota, that’s how I ended up there.

Oliver Graf:

Uh-huh (affirmative), got it.

Long Doan:

I declare and I actually ended up staying there for eight months, because I’m an orphan. Most people there four to six years, because number one, they’re not an orphan. Number two, they may not have family that sponsor them, so they have to wait for a non-profit or church to sponsor them.

Oliver Graf:

No.

Long Doan:

So it took longer. Anyways, this is the part I tell a lot, that I believe that mindset is extremely important. I didn’t realize. I discovered that mindset is everything at that point. I didn’t know then, but later on, I knew. I remember that first of all, I get to send a telegram now, to my mom. You have kids. I have kids. I send my kid to a sleepover next door-

Oliver Graf:

That’s was probably the happiest day of her life.

Long Doan:

… I’m calling, texting them, make sure they’re okay. Imagine, you don’t know where your kid is for 11 days, and you know it’s a flip of a coin.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

He might already die, it’s been 11 days. He didn’t make it. She told me later, obviously, she was very happy that she got that. I remember I got to do that. I remember that night, after all of this excitement, whatever, I found a spot on the beach. By the way, it’s in Wikipedia page, the refugee camp I was at, the name of it’s Bidong. B-I-D-O-N-G, okay, Bidong. It’s nicknamed Hell Island. It was considered to be, at the time, the most heavily populated place on Earth.

Oliver Graf:

Wow.

Long Doan:

I was one of 40,000 people on the size of a football field. Imagine sleeping on dirt floor, have plastic bag pretty much over you. I was there for eight months.

Oliver Graf:

So heavy.

Long Doan:

There was people there four to six to seven years, okay. Anyway, that was camp life later. Anyways, the first night, I remember finding a spot on the beach. It was very crowded by everyone go to bed now, and I found a spot on the beach that was kind of secluded. I remember it finally hit me. Okay, I’ve told this part of it thousands of time. I remember just crying. I remember crying all night. Because besides getting hurt as a kid, I’ve never emotionally cried.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, no. That’s so heavy.

Long Doan:

I remember it finally hit me. And I’m thinking, “Crap, am I lucky, or am I unlucky?” Okay? “Am I lucky that I made it, or am I unlucky that everyone I knew, my friends, my family, is on the other side of the ocean?”

Oliver Graf:

They’re all back there, yeah.

Long Doan:

I’m probably never going to see them again. I know that my job is to figure for myself, at 13 years old, and go help the rest of my family. That’s a lot of pressure on a 13 year old boy, right?

Oliver Graf:

Totally.

Long Doan:

I remember crying, crying, just crying all night, just thinking in my head, that internal struggle, that am I lucky or am I unlucky. I remember the sun was just coming up. I had to make a decision. I don’t want people come and see who this kid. I remember saying to myself, “Put your big boy pants on, and go figure it out.”

Oliver Graf:

Wow.

Long Doan:

At that point, Oliver, I remember making a choice, that I’m a victor and not a victim.

Oliver Graf:

Powerful.

Long Doan:

I decided I was lucky instead of unlucky. I could have done the unlucky victim thing the rest of my life. I was 13. I was a boy. I had nothing. What am I supposed to do, right?

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

I’m like, “No, I am lucky to be in this position, go take advantage of it, and help everybody.” Because of that, the way I am now, you know me, I love to meet people, love to share. I’m very passionate about helping people and paying it forward, because I’m a 50/50 coin flip. I should not even be alive today. Because of that, any chance I get, I want to help people, because I never want anyone to have the same feeling I had that night, helpless. I don’t even know what I’m going to do for myself, let alone taking care of my family, right? So any time I have the chance to help people, I do. That was the moment that I think shaped my life until today.

Oliver Graf:

That’s unbelievable.

Long Doan:

Yeah, so that’s that. Then camp life was a whole different other story.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah. How’d you get out? How did you eventually make it out and get to Minnesota with no money, no family, no papers?

Long Doan:

That’s right. All the paperwork had been done, to sponsor me.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

Just about every morning, sometimes there was not, which is a big disappointment, but just about every morning, the camp intercom system come on. It’s like you’re winning a lottery. They calling out the names of people who get to leave.

Oliver Graf:

Oh, wow.

Long Doan:

I don’t care if you’re going to America, Australia, England, wherever you’re going, Germany, France, those were some of the big country that people going to. I remember, we all, ding, ding, ding, everyone’s like, “Oh, man. I hope it’s me today.”

Oliver Graf:

Who’s going today?

Long Doan:

“Hope it’s me today,” right. I remember my name was called. This is eight months. I know you’re like me, we’re pretty lucky where we’re at right now, right? We have a great life now. Sometime, successful people like us also struggle with that guilt feeling. We know we have better than some of the people, even though we work for it, right, we still feel it. I remember having that feeling. I remember telling the one adult we kind of look up to, our mentor that help all the orphans there, because I had a friend who was in the group that’s been there five years.

Oliver Graf:

Oh, my God.

Long Doan:

Still there. I remember telling him, “Can I give my spot to that person?”

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

I remember he’s kind of like hitting me across the face, like, “Shut up. You don’t say that. I don’t want to hear that. You take your chance and you get out of here.” That was a pretty tough one, you know?

Oliver Graf:

That’s heavy.

Long Doan:

That’s how I got, and I remember that person gave me a little bag, because I came to the camp with just a pair of short and a shirt, literally nothing but the shirt on my back, right? I remember, he gave me a nice pair of jeans and a shirt, said “Go to America. Good luck.” I remember leaving and all my friends would say goodbye to me. It was a pretty bittersweet day.

Oliver Graf:

Crazy.

Long Doan:

But then I got to America and the rest is history.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, wow. What a story. I mean, to come from that and to go through that at such a young age is just profound.

Long Doan:

I think what I learned from that whole experience is, first of all, Confucius, I have talked about this, right, we always want to learn to grow. Because for me, my biggest thing is never to grow more than somebody. But I just want to be a better version of myself from yesterday. Every day, I want to grow. I have a thing I do every day. At the end of every night, I’m going to think about the day. Did I learn something today? If I didn’t, I have a book next to me. I would read 15 minutes, because I want to learn something. One thing Confucius says is that there’s three ways we learn. Sometime all three, I do all three. But there’s three ways we learn. One is imitation. That’s the easiest form of learning. We call it R&D, right?

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Research and development, now ripoff and deploy.

Oliver Graf:

Exactly.

Long Doan:

We do that a lot with each other.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, of course.

Long Doan:

Hey, that worked for you, man, I’m going to imitate you, right?

Oliver Graf:

Of course.

Long Doan:

The second form of learning is called experience. That’s the toughest. You have to go through it, and do it. I’ve learned my life through a lot with experience in my past. What it has created for me is that I don’t want to ever wish that on anybody else, because that’s not what I want. But it allow me to have, this called, a reference point. We all have a different reference point. Mine is so low that there’s … it can’t go anywhere but better, right?

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Because of that, I think many entrepreneur have that, is that we seem to take more risk, because we’re not afraid to fail. If we do, our experience tell us that you can go back and do it again.

Oliver Graf:

We’ll bounce back, yeah.

Long Doan:

Right? So that’s by experience. But the third one that I’m trying to talk about at the end of the night, that I try to do every night, is my reflection. Reflection is considered the most noble. I reflect on my day every day. Have I imitated something? Have I learned something by experience? If I have, how does it affect me, and others around me? All this experience have allowed me to really be where I’m at, because all the thing that I have been learning and continuing to learn.

Oliver Graf:

It’s really amazing. Michelle’s crying, she needs a tissue. I don’t even know where to go from here. That was just like, “Wow.”

Michelle:

Yeah.

Oliver Graf:

So you get to the States. You start. What’s your first job?

Long Doan:

I got here, and I left when I was in eighth grade. I got to America, I went to ninth grade. I came, and I lived with my aunt and uncle in Minnesota, of course, that’s where they live. Otherwise, I went from 60 degree in Vietnam, being parkas, jacket to minus 60.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

But anyways, my aunt and uncle actually live in the student housing at the time. He’s finishing school at the University of Minnesota. He took us in. My aunt and uncle are kind of like my mom and dad then, took me in.

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

They had two kids, my cousins, so we live with them. My first job at there was a paper route, and mowing the lawn at the student housing. That’s where my entrepreneur I think got started. I remember all my friends having fun, same age. I was 13, 14 at the time. I got the paper job, and I’m like, “I got a paper job and I got a lawnmower job and I got school. How can I manage all this?” I remember telling my friends, “Hey, you want to help me with the paper job?” I was getting $15 to do the paper. I would contract it out. I have two friends that would do it for me for $3 each. They would take half of the student housing. I pay out $6 and I was getting $15.

Oliver Graf:

That’s a good hustle right there.

Long Doan:

Then I would spot check. I would go over to the building, make sure they got dropped off every now and then. That was one I was able to scale. That’s how I learned.

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

Then I had my lawnmower job. This is a pretty big complex. It’s 300-some units. I remember, “How can I keep this job and keep growing it?” I’m like, “Okay, what’s the best use of my time?” I want to do only the riding lawnmower, that’s the more fun part. I contracted the weed whipping and the hand mowing part, the place you can’t get the lawnmower in. I contract that out to my friends. Then, I contract out to my friends to set up sprinkler all over the complex, to grow the grass faster. We have the greenest grass, the best-looking grass, my whole time I was there. That was my first two jobs. My third one was, you’re about my age, so break dancing was back back then. Remember break dancing, MC Hammer and the whole thing?

Oliver Graf:

Yep, yep.

Long Doan:

I remember the same thing. I’m like, I want to learn how to break dance to impress the girls. But I also want to know how I can help my friends do it. So I found a guy who break dance and I contract with him, so I would get more people to come and learn from him, and we split the money. He keep half to teach, and I keep half to bring the people. So I was really a broker back then.

Oliver Graf:

So you’ve always been an entrepreneur then, yeah. Yeah.

Long Doan:

That was my first three jobs when I first started.

Oliver Graf:

Wow. That’s great, man. I’m curious about you, obviously have an accent, obviously way less now than back then. But has that ever been a challenge for you?

Long Doan:

Very good point. My mom and dad were professors. They spoke English. But for me, when I learned English in Vietnam, just like us here to learn Spanish, “Hi, hello, [inaudible 01:23:36]. Where’s the bathroom?”

Oliver Graf:

Where’s the bathroom?

Long Doan:

Not conversation.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

When I came over, I was in, they call it an ESL program, English as a Second Language. I remember, I carried this dictionary everywhere. Every time my friends would say something and I would say something back, I would look up the words. By the way, when you look up the words individually, put together, they do not make sense, okay? Nowadays, I’m still like, “That doesn’t make sense, what it’s saying.” But I think me being younger, the younger people assimilate easier. We’re out there with friends, we’re talking. Whereas the older generation retain the accent longer, because they only go to work, they come home. They’re not out there mingling and doing all the stuff.

Oliver Graf:

Right, they’re speaking Vietnamese at home and all that, yeah.

Long Doan:

Yes, exactly, right? That’s why I think I didn’t have that. But yeah, I do remember the biggest struggle for me was the culture shock. I came in the ’80s. In Vietnam, the only thing I knew was Elvis, the Beatles and Clint Eastwood.

Oliver Graf:

Hollywood, yeah.

Long Doan:

Yeah, that was first, that was the big thing, when you come over here. Man, my biggest shock was MTV. I remember there’s so much stuff going on, there’s so many stations, there’s so much music, there’s video, there’s movies, there’s sport. Man, it was overwhelming.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, wow. So just the bright lights, big city life of U.S. life.

Long Doan:

Yep, so I went to school. For me, two years later, my younger brother actually made the same trip. He actually made it.

Oliver Graf:

Oh yeah, I’m glad you brought that up. I was going to ask you that. What about the rest of the family?

Long Doan:

Yeah, so my second brother did the same thing. My mom get him on the boat again. Two years later, he made it, too. But he ended up in Indonesia. He had his own story. They had all snake infested, all this other stuff. For me, in Malaysia, one of the first couple of night was hard for me to fall asleep. First of all, I miss my parents now, right?

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Everybody I know. I’m sleeping on a dirt floor. I remember, there were rats crawling on me the size of puppies.

Oliver Graf:

Oh, my gosh.

Long Doan:

Because this was very dirty, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

I was pretty scared. My brother’s story was, no rats, because the snake ate all the rats. I wish we had snakes at our camp, right? They would have ate all the rats.

Oliver Graf:

Gosh.

Long Doan:

But anyways, he made the same trip, made it over. He lived with my aunt and uncle and myself, as well. When I was 18, I went out to go to the University of Minnesota. I worked three jobs. He was eighth grade at the time. We lived together and I raised him, put him through high school, put myself through college.

Oliver Graf:

Man.

Long Doan:

Then later on, I sponsor my mom and my youngest brother. They eventually, took them about seven years for the paperwork to go through. I have to prove now I’m a U.S. citizen, I have a job, I can sponsor them and support them. So seven years they come over.

Oliver Graf:

Seven years.

Long Doan:

In the meantime, my dad now has gotten up to, because he writes articles about human rights and democracy, it get published all around the world, my dad now is considered pretty much the Nelson Mandela of Vietnam. There’s many people like him, but he’s one of those. When I got out, by the way, John McCain adopted him as the prisoner of conscience.

Oliver Graf:

Wow.

Long Doan:

Back then, the U.S. actually have an economic embargo on Vietnam. Every time the U.S. government talk to the Vietnamese government, my dad name was come up. That’s the only reason they didn’t kill him off. Otherwise, he’d be dead. When I came over, people realized I was the firstborn of my dad. I became the poster child. They had me go all around the country to speak about human right, democracy and my dad. I accepted half a dozen of awards on his behalf. I met the Kennedy. They presented him with the human rights award from the Kennedy. I met Ted Turner, Tom Brokaw.

Oliver Graf:

Unbelievable.

Long Doan:

I accepted the journalists award. I was giving speeches in front of Congressmen, Senators, big group, at the age of 16, 17, 18. I had to write my own speech. It was pretty scary for me. I did a lot of that, until my mom and dad come over. That’s when eventually, they agreed to let my dad go. But because he became such a big name, that was … they wouldn’t let him stay in Vietnam. The only way he could leave is be exiled.

Oliver Graf:

Had to leave.

Long Doan:

That’s how he came to America, and that was 20-some years ago.

Oliver Graf:

It’s crazy.

Long Doan:

They lived with us in Minnesota for a while, then my mom and dad moved to Washington, D.C. My mom just retire after 20 plus year with the State Department, working there.

Oliver Graf:

I mean like, you’re living proof that anything is possible, because if you can come from that, being a scared, dirty, 13 year old kid at the bottom of a fishing boat, leaving Vietnam during war times and coming here and doing what you’ve done, and building what you’ve built, it’s absolutely unbelievable. It’s extraordinary.

Long Doan:

I’m a testament. That’s why I share my story all the time, to tell people that. Because I’ve discovered it’s all about the mindset.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, 100%.

Long Doan:

Because our belief systems dictate what we do say and think, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

If you can change your, in here, you can change anything. If I could do it, anyone can do it. That’s why I love sharing my story, just to let people know, man, whatever you’re through right now, struggle, I think that if people realize I kind of learned three things. I would say that I’m one of those that barely come up with something on my own. I’m a reflection guy. I imitate, and by experience, I put it all together. I’m sure whatever I’m saying, people will find in books and stuff, say, “Hey, Long, you’re just paint drying.” Probably. I’m admitting to that.

Long Doan:

But the three thing I have learned from successful people, I believe, is number one, that on the beach that night, and now I tell people all the time, is start taking responsibility. Stop lying to yourself.

Oliver Graf:

You’re in control of your own destiny.

Long Doan:

You’re in control of your … it’s not to somebody else, it’s not because of your situation.

Oliver Graf:

No one’s going to do it for you.

Long Doan:

That’s exactly it. Take responsibility, stop the lying to yourself. The second thing is, take actions. So many people dream up this great goal, dream. They never do anything about it. Take action. Just go fricking do it. You might do it wrong. Who cares? Learn from it, right? You don’t win or lose. You win or learn. Every time you don’t win, you’re learning how to win. The third step I believe is just figure it out.

Oliver Graf:

That’s right.

Long Doan:

Instead of can’t, it’s how.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

I want to own a 25 unit investment property apartment. I can’t do that. I don’t have any money.

Oliver Graf:

Right, exactly.

Long Doan:

How can I own that? I think those are the three thing that I’ve learned, that I share with everybody. It’s all up here. When you start there, you can do anything.

Oliver Graf:

Those are great. Those are great, man. I love your story. It’s really unbelievable. What a testament to really, anything being possible, and how great we have it here in America.

Long Doan:

Yeah.

Oliver Graf:

You take it for granted a lot, but when you hear stories like that, it’s like, wow. It’s really something.

Long Doan:

Yeah, yeah.

Oliver Graf:

Looking back over your 25-plus year business career, what would you say is one thing that you just wish you knew earlier, looking back?

Long Doan:

Yep. As much as I took the chances, I wish I would have even taken more chances.

Oliver Graf:

Okay, tell me about that.

Long Doan:

Yep, so do something sooner. Back when I was doing mortgages, my first 15 years as a mortgage side, knowing what I know, I should have owned investment property back then instead of now.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

So I say, take chances sooner. Then, the other thing that I wish I do more is, I surround myself with more people that I can learn from.

Oliver Graf:

Definitely.

Long Doan:

Because we’re the average of the five people we hang around with, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

I wish I would done it, because one thing is the guilt thing again, right? The time my name came up to leave a refugee camp, all this other thing. All of us are always growing. Successful people, again, internal growth, we’re talking about, right, personal growth. You always want to be better version of yourself, not better than somebody else.

Oliver Graf:

Definitely.

Long Doan:

Because any time you compare yourself to somebody, you’re going to be disappointed. Because there’s always somebody better than you, and somebody worse than you.

Oliver Graf:

Always.

Long Doan:

That is the definition of average.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

The best of the worst and the worst of the best, okay?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

You’re never going to be happy, it’s all about you. The guilt thing I have sometime is that as I grow, my friends and my family sometime don’t grow at the same pace.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

I feel guilty leaving them. I wish I would have either helped them grow with me, or start surrounding myself with other people who are also in the same growth mindset. That’s one thing I wish I would have done earlier.

Oliver Graf:

So important. I’ve had a chance to ask this question to a lot of successful people, now. I think that the most common, and I’m sure you would agree Michelle, is the most common answer is, “I wish I would have gone bigger sooner. I wish I would have done more soon. I wish I would have taken action on that one thing sooner.” When you’re listening out there, go out, take action now, don’t wait, and things’ll happen. Because, everyone seems to say that same thing.

Long Doan:

True.

Oliver Graf:

It’s interesting.

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

What about, speaking of investing, what are you investing in these days?

Long Doan:

Because we’re in the real estate, I think the real estate space is, makes sense.

Oliver Graf:

Yes.

Long Doan:

But it’s good to always diversify.

Oliver Graf:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Long Doan:

You have technology, you got real estate, you got the market really good, obviously. But I think the most important part is, invest in yourself. That’s probably my biggest investment, is Closing Table is here. Awesome shout out to you guys. I have attended several event. I will not make it to the actual event this time, because I promise my wife I’m here on vacation now. After today, I’m on vacation.

Oliver Graf:

Because you’re busy vacationing.

Long Doan:

Yeah. But so go to an event like this to learn, surround myself with people like you guys, partner up with people to do stuff. The best investment in myself, number one. Number two, to invest in the people around you.

Oliver Graf:

That’s a good one.

Long Doan:

Because we’re business owner, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

So we’re going to invest in the people, so that, remember I talked about I’m growing? I want them to grow with me.

Oliver Graf:

I love that.

Long Doan:

I want to invest in them, because I think it was Richard who said this, that, “Train people so they leave you, but treat them right so they stay.”

Oliver Graf:

So they stay, yep.

Long Doan:

That’s the biggest thing is that we want our people to be so good that they get the calls all the time. They show us text, email, “So-and-so is calling me to come work for them, because of all the stuff I’m learning here.”

Oliver Graf:

Yep.

Long Doan:

“But I’m not leaving, because you invest in me, and you show you care.”

Oliver Graf:

Love that. That’s great advice. I really think it’s so important about investing in yourself, because that’s something that I think a lot of people overlook. Even if you can’t afford to go, I mean, we’re right now, and I’m sure you’re the same, we probably spend $50,000, $60,000 a year going to more events, going to high level Masterminds, surrounding ourself with great high thinkers and expanding our network and connections on all of that. I think even if you can’t afford to do that, at the very least, go to some boot camps. Go to some. Because if you can just pick up one relationship, it can change everything. If you just pick up that one strategy that moves the needle in a big way, it changes everything. By investing in yourself and going to those things, it can make all the difference. I mean, it sounds like you and Mike even met at an event?

Long Doan:

No, at a local event, maybe, but it wasn’t-

Oliver Graf:

Okay, okay, yeah, yeah.

Long Doan:

But you guys [crosstalk 01:34:50]-

Oliver Graf:

But either way, my point is, you can find a business partner.

Long Doan:

That’s right.

Oliver Graf:

You can find strategies and all that, so I love that.

Long Doan:

Yeah.

Oliver Graf:

This is a question I usually like to end with, and it’s just more of an actionable, like what, in your day-to-day life, personal business, whatever, what are your favorite tools, apps, softwares that just make your life easier, help you grow, help you manage things, whatever it is?

Long Doan:

Yep, so I talk about it again, right, successful people learn how to leverage time, right, besides people, system, process, and technology.

Oliver Graf:

Yes.

Long Doan:

For me, the one thing I do all the time is my calendar.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

Okay, because I only use the time I have on my calendar for my work and then I have my time for my family, right?

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

So if you didn’t get on my calendar, it’s not happening. We’ve heard the prioritizing of the big rock, small right, right?

Oliver Graf:

Mm-hmm (affirmative).

Long Doan:

For me, it’s a time slot. Everything that I-

Oliver Graf:

So no, “Got a minute,” meetings.

Long Doan:

That’s right, exactly, right?

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

If it’s on my calendar, it’s happening. If it’s not, I’m finding a different time, or it’s not happening. For me, that’s how I do it. Staying very organized and run from this calendar. Speaking of organized, again, I think most successful people somewhat have OCD. We’re the perfectionists. You have to have system process in your personal life, so that it translate to your business life. Because, it should be natural. It’s not like you hit a switch.

Oliver Graf:

Right.

Long Doan:

Now, I’m at work, I have to put in this mindset. For me, I’m that way. Even in my personal life, I have a way I organize my dishwasher, okay? My wife just shake her head and walk away. I’m like, “Hey, I can get 20 more percent efficient with the dishes and they clean better because of how I face them,” right?

Oliver Graf:

I love it, yeah.

Long Doan:

In my closet, I organize my clothes by long sleeve, short sleeve. Even when I dry clean my clothes they come back, I rotate them. My dishes when I put away, I put the clean one to the bottom, the other one at the top, because I want to rotate them, so I’m not using the same dishes all the time. I think that translate to how I manage everything, including my time. So the biggest tool I use is my calendar, and how to leverage my time, like ScheduleOnce is part of my calendar tool.

Oliver Graf:

Yep. You mentioned business and personal life. It sounds like you’re very structured. I’m just curious, what’s your workday calendar versus your personal time calendar every day?

Long Doan:

We’re fortunate enough to get to the point now where we can do this. For me again, I’m learning how to use time. My goal, it doesn’t always happen, but a lot of time is, I work Monday through Thursday, 8:00 to 4:00. On my calendar, that’s where everything goes in. Then Friday, 8:00 to noon. Friday, for me to catch up meeting, something I couldn’t do. After 4:00 is my family time. Because I’m not active agent anymore, so I don’t have as many showings and listing.

Oliver Graf:

Right, okay.

Long Doan:

Every now and then, I might take one or two, so I might adjust. But that’s my goal.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

I also prioritize my time on my calendar. If I have a phone, then I will share you. It’s color coded. Blue for me is work stuff, red is personal.

Oliver Graf:

Okay.

Long Doan:

So my family, red. If I have a red on there, I’m never changing it. If it’s 3:00, my daughter’s 16 now, she’s my youngest, she just got a license. So I lost my Uber Dad job. My boys are 19 and 23.

Oliver Graf:

My Uber Dad. I love that.

Long Doan:

Okay, so I used to have her on 3:00, go pick up from school, right?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

So at 3:00, and I’d drop her off in the morning. If people call and say, “I want to meet at 3:00, I need a call at 3:00,” I’m like, “I’m busy. I can’t at 3:00.” Versus some people would say, “Hey, can someone go pick her up or drop her off so I can do this.” I don’t.

Oliver Graf:

Because you prioritize that as being important.

Long Doan:

That’s exactly it. I don’t sacrifice those.

Oliver Graf:

Yeah.

Long Doan:

I think that’s what people need to learn, is that in your personal and business, because we’re in the people business, it’s hard to find a balance piece. Because we’re constantly working, but yet, we’re not always working.

Oliver Graf:

Right, yeah.

Long Doan:

You know that weird space we’re in?

Oliver Graf:

Yeah, yeah. Or sometimes, it doesn’t feel like work, like you’re at a networking event.

Long Doan:

That’s the point, right?

Oliver Graf:

Or you’re at a Closing Table conference or whatever, right?

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

Then you’re working, but you’re not actually working.

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

I feel you on that.

Long Doan:

Yep.

Oliver Graf:

Man, I really got to say, it’s been an absolute pleasure talking to you, Long. I really appreciate it. Thank you so much for sharing your amazing story.

Oliver Graf:

If you guys liked the show, go ahead and hit the subscribe button. If you have any questions, just leave a comment down below, and we’ll get back to those. I’m sure Long is willing to circle back around and answer any other questions. Also, if you’re on Facebook, Real Closers, the Facebook group, it’s free to join. You can ask questions. We make these interviews pretty interactive, and hope you liked it. We’ll see you on the next one. Cheers, man. Appreciate it.

Long Doan:

Thanks for having me.

Oliver Graf:

Thank you.

Oliver Graf:

(silence)


Pullout Quotes

“Systems run business. People run systems.”

“We treat every agent as the CEO of their own company.”

“Help others and then money will come.”

“Visibility is credibility.”

“Successful people figure out how to USE time versus SPEND time.”

“I start giving up hats until I wear the one I’m either best at or I love the most.”

“If you’re not leveraging technology, you’re missing out on an opportunity.”

“INSPECT what you EXPECT.”

“The survival rate was less than 50%. I’m a coin flip. I’m here today because I landed on the right side.”

“I remember making a choice that I’m a VICTOR and not a VICTIM. I decided I was lucky instead of unlucky.”

“Every day I want to grow.”

“Our belief systems dictate what we do, say [and] think.”

“You don’t win or lose. You win or learn.”

“If you didn’t get on my calendar, it’s not happening.”

Connect with Long

Connect with Oliver

Resources

Other episodes of Founders Club you might like:

How Rodrigo Built a $100M+ Per Year Mortgage Business– Featuring Rodrigo Ballon

How to Crash Proof Your Real Estate Business ft. Mike Ferry

Thank you for watching this Long Doan interview!

If you’d like to see all the episodes go to: www.OliverGraf.tv/FoundersClub

If you have any questions, comments, or ideas contact me here.