By Susan Doran
Ryan Jones admits that he has been known to grow a beard in order to look older.
A young guy who is a top producer in a business brimming over with those in the 50-plus group, Jones is barely 30, having reached that milestone so recently the candles on his birthday cake are still warm.
Snapped up by Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty at a recruiting luncheon four years ago while taking his real estate courses, Jones says he was keen “to hit the ground running.” Before long he was the brokerage’s rookie of the year, and is described by broker/owner Ross Webley as “a shining star.”
Considering that he grew up in a customer service environment, selling on the floor of his family’s Radio Shack franchise from the age of 12 and then going on to obtain three degrees from the University of Ottawa, Jones figured he might have an advantage.
Although Jones’ wife has a running joke that he spent all that time in school and then chose a career for which school is not really needed, the knowledge he gained in university actually “feeds my business daily,” Jones says.
“My Master’s degree (in human kinetics – that’s sport psychology to the layperson) was focused on consultation and intervention, working with individuals one-on-one or in a team setting to help them perform at their best, including mental coaching, consulting with athletes on how to perform at peak levels and deal with emotions,” he says.
This skill-set enhances his work as an agent, particularly when “helping people through the emotional roller coaster of buying and selling,” he says.
His two other degrees – a Bachelor of Education and a Bachelor of Science – have proven useful for cultivating qualities such as patience, he says. The sense of teamwork and forward momentum gained through five years of playing rugby at university are integral to the mix and to his success too, he adds.
Jones is consistently one of Coldwell Banker First Ottawa Realty’s top 10 producers. Last year, after being nominated by his broker, he won a spot on Coldwell Banker’s international “30 Under 30” list, an honour given to the Coldwell Banker network’s top young real estate professionals world-wide. It celebrates the heritage of founders Colbert Coldwell and Arthur Banker, who started their company at 24 and 28-years-old, respectively.
Jones was the only Canadian honouree on the list in 2015.
Among other attributes, the letter of recommendation his broker sent to the 30 Under 30 panel described Jones’ “passion for learning,” and his “humble, generous and smiling approach with everyone.”
Says Jones: “Our company has the same philosophy as I do, to continually learn and grow.” To this end, he recently got his broker’s license.
“The second you think you have it figured out, you are done,” he says. “There is always something new to learn.”
Not surprisingly considering his age and philosophy, Jones embraces technology, including Coldwell Banker’s online tools.
“I like to be very hands on. I control the message I send out,” he says.
Jones does a lot of work with first-time buyers and military relocations. He has many ways of conveying his message and prospecting, including social media, his monthly e-newsletter, his website and quarterly mail-outs, as well as taking advantage of opportunities to develop relationships within his company network at conferences and elsewhere.
“My methods are very focused on growing the business organically, by referral,” he says. “I do open houses to meet new people and I keep in contact with past clients….Cold calling never appealed to me. It doesn’t align with my values.”
He works hard, is organized and makes a big effort to remain “totally invested.”
“To set yourself apart and make the process smooth you have to have your ducks lined up, to trust in the process and be consistent,” he says. “Have a process to make sure you are guiding clients to an informed decision and not wasting time….Qualifying, pre-approvals, knowing that listening is more important than telling. You want to show your clients things that actually appeal to them…..I am very budget conscious. It’s important to set clients up so they are not house poor.”
He’s also aware of how crucial it is not to be afraid of stating the facts.
“It’s hard to have the ‘tough conversations,’ for instance, where you tell a buyer that what they want does not exist,” he says. “But you are the professional and you need to tell them what they need to hear, not just what they want to hear. There’s a quote – something along the lines of the difference between professionals and amateurs is that professionals regularly do what they don’t want to do.”
Having a mentor is also key, particularly for new agents, he believes. His mentor saved him repeatedly, he says.
“You get a sense of the mentor’s process,” he says. “It’s one thing to get your license, but then how do you sell? When I was negotiating my first purchase, I must have called my mentor after each phone call with the listing agent to bounce ideas. It was almost like my mentor was in the room – she might as well have been. It’s awesome to have that support in the process.”
Despite his education, his youth and everything else he has going for him, “I had times in my first year when I thought I would not make a go of it,” Jones admits. “Anyone who says they haven’t is kidding themselves.”