Big Changes, Bright Future
Mega agent David Hoffman of the Lake Norman – Cornelius market center (N.C.) didn’t get his start in real estate. In fact, before he became a successful top-producing agent, Hoffman was the go-to guy if you wanted to know about the “jock tax” – the practice by some tax authorities of levying state and local taxes against traveling professionals, especially professional athletes. Then, one day, Hoffman made a life-changing decision to follow his heart. This decision led him to real estate and ultimately to Keller Williams and Mega Agent Expansion.
A successful economist with a law degree and dreams of becoming a sports agent, Hoffman was frequently tapped for media appearances and keynote speeches. “It was my dream coming true,” he recalls.
He was scheduled to speak at a sports and entertainment law conference in May 2004. But the morning of the event, he was going through some mail and came across a reminder card for a multiple sclerosis (MS) fundraising walk. The discovery struck a cord because several months earlier his mother passed away from MS.
“I love that the Mega Agent Expansion model lifts geographic barriers and has the ability to take my business to the next level.”
Suddenly, he had an epiphany: his longtime dream wasn’t what he wanted after all. He wanted to be in a business that was centered on genuine relationships with mutual benefit. It was time for a change.
Hoffman made arrangements to decline the speaking opportunity and instead, participated in the MS walk in honor of his mother. He recalls being filled with emotion and clarity on that fateful day. He was ready to make a career change.
A New Beginning
Hoffman had bought and sold a couple of homes and enjoyed the experience and so he decided to pursue a real estate license.
In his first year of his new career, Hoffman sold 46 homes, breaking rookie records. Over the next eight years, he built a sizable business in his market, working for a brokerage owned by a man who was his longtime mentor and a respected community leader. However, he wanted to expand because he was so busy that he was having to turn down so much business, but his current brokerage at the time didn’t have the mechanisms for him to do so. He wanted to go where his opportunities were endless.
Expanding to the Next Level
It is because of Mega Agent Expansion that Hoffman joined Keller Williams in March 2013. He launched his new business in Huntersville, N.C., where he saw opportunity for the kind of growth he wanted. As Hoffman built his successful real estate business, he focused on what he thought it would take to be limitless. He devised these three guiding principles which he practices daily:
- Treat people the way they deserve to be treated.
- Become the expert in what you’re doing.
- Follow up and follow through.
“If you can do those things at the highest level, that lets people know you’re someone they can count on,” he says.
Managing Fast Growth
With the Keller Williams systems in place, Hoffman began building the infrastructure he needed to build a large real estate business. In 2012, he closed $20 million. In his first year at Keller Williams, he closed more than $30 million, and that number jumped to $54 million in 2014. In June 2014, he began expanding his business and added three more offices. With 18 team members, the team is on track to meet its $100 million goal in 2015 and will add two to four more offices by the end of the year. Within five years, he wants to have 50 offices.
For Hoffman, success starts with finding the right market area based on economic strength and opportunity, then pairing it with the right leader to run the office. “You can’t do one without the other,” he says. While his first three locations are relatively close to each other, his fourth office, in Charleston, S.C. – a top second-home destination for Charlotte-area residents – was more than an hour away. That requires work maintaining relationships through frequent communication and in-person meetings, when possible, he says. He hires people based on work ethic, enthusiasm, and cultural fit, as well as experience. The infrastructure is important, he says, but it needs to be supported by people who truly care about clients and the business and who are all working well together.
KW MAPS Coaching and the accountability it provides have also been important to business growth, he says. Whenever he has questions, he has a coach to help guide him to the right answers, which also helps him keep positive and not bring work challenges home with him.
“There are weeks where I think, ‘Holy cow, I have no idea where to go.’ My coach is spot on every time. She cares about the team, so she cares about me. She knows my strengths, and she knows my weaknesses. She knows how to see other leaders on a team. They may watch their words because they don’t want to disappoint me, but she tells me the truth,” he says. In late 2014, Hoffman became a coach himself, now helping 25 agents.
A Focus on Goals
Even with his fast-paced growth, Hoffman isn’t harried. Making time for family, friends and other personal goals is important to him. One of those goals is public service, which drove his decision to run for mayor of his hometown of Marvin, N.C. He says his team has been incredibly supportive, running meetings themselves and tending to clients while he works on his campaign and coaching activities.
It’s been hard to not be hands-on all the time, but he says that’s the beauty of Keller Williams systems: he is able to take the time he needs to achieve his goals, confident that the business will run well, even when he can’t be there all the time. Even with his fast growth and expansion plans, he still picks up his son at day care in the afternoon, he says. And his employees are enthusiastic about helping him because they know that the success of one member of the team helps everyone, he says.
“Your specialty is your time. Always be present, always follow through with what you connect to. When you live your life by treating people well, being an expert in what you do, and taking care of others, opportunities line up,” he says.