Josh Cunningham, founder and CEO of rokrbox, fast-tracked his entrepreneurial career by helping to solve a recurring problem for real estate clients and learning an important lesson along the way: Don’t trick them.
Josh first stumbled upon the ISA, or Inside Sales Agent, role in real estate while attending seminars with Vyral Marketing founder and CEO Frank Klesitz. Vyral Marketing works with top agents to create content and to get referrals and repeat business.
The entrepreneurial spirit
Many top professional teams buy real estates leads online, but their agents don’t always do a good job of following up on them.
Like any good entrepreneur, when Josh heard a lot of people complaining about a common frustration, he decided to solve the problem. [00:39]
He started rokrbox.
A rocker box is a gold mining tool used in the 19th century to separate the sand and gravel from the gold. Likewise, rokrbox takes your real estate leads and separates the tire-kickers and time wasters from the motivated buyers and sellers. [01:26]
Tapping into the student market
Rokrbox is strategically located directly across from the Texas A&M University campus in College Station, Texas. Many sharp and enthusiastic young professionals go there looking to grow their skills.
Josh provides them with the opportunity to develop real-world sales skills, CRM skills, and pipeline management skills. All of his student-employees typically graduate with multiple job offers from some type of sales professional career. [02:21]
Since starting in 2013, rokrbox has worked over a million internet leads, hired over 250 ISAs, and trained them to move forward in their careers.
Looking back, Josh believes that scalability was his biggest sales-related struggle. He knew he could do the job but wasn’t sure if he could train others to do it. When he first started hiring college students, he realized a lot of the same struggles that most people run into when building any sales team.
Set clear expectations
His first mistake was in not clearly setting expectations for the new hires. The job posting on the Texas A&M website was too vague.
It wasn’t clear that a new hire could expect to make a ton of phone calls a day, could expect to be rejected all day, etc.
It was just too ambiguous.
As a result, a new hire might go through the entire interview process and personality assessment only to quit almost immediately after starting the job.
One young man, in particular, spent over 15 minutes learning the types of calls to make, the technology/scripts/dialogue used and the likelihood of repeated rejection.
He excused himself to use the restroom and never came back. [04:28]
Josh blames himself. He had failed to set expectations and to make clear to potential hires what they were getting into. He felt as if he had tricked people into taking the job which is not how to start a sales organization on the right foot.
As a result, rokrbox implemented observation into the business. Now, they invite promising applicants back to pair up with a senior rep as part of the interview process. They spend a full hour learning what to expect on a shift – from the technology to the daily team huddle, to the reports and the metrics.
They are encouraged to ask questions. It is their chance to interview the business.
At the conclusion of their observation session, applicants are asked to send an email to explain how they would fit into the rokrbox culture.
It has been amazing to see the persuasive essays they receive. [05:43]
Josh enjoys hearing people explain why they want to be a part of the organization more than having them sneak away on a bathroom break, never to return.
He highly recommends showing potential hires exactly what they can expect. Show them what it is like to be on the phone or knocking on doors. Be totally straightforward from the very beginning.
Josh believes that when building a culture worthy of your organization, it is likely that you will strongly attract the right people and strongly repel the wrong ones. And certainly, not everyone who attends an observation responds. The work and the pace intimidate some people. [07:30]
But he wouldn’t change a thing.
Rockrbox invests a lot of one-on-one training in every new employee before they are ready to do the job. Twenty hours on the new hire combined with 20 hours of the trainer’s time: Forty hours is a huge investment if someone might either bomb or quit.
It is definitely better to be transparent and upfront.
Anything less is simply a waste of everyone’s time.
Have a collection of people that are all driven and motivated, in a cohesive unit, and headed in the same direction. A team that supports and enjoys each other becomes a better team because of it. It’s the most harmonious thing you can do with any business.
Know the culture you want to create and then protect it. Invite others to observe whether or not it is right for them. [09:16]
Once you become a leader of others, give them your expectations and the tools to succeed.
Clearly communicate all of it – the good, the bad and the ugly. [11:22]
“Don’t Trick Them” episode resources
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