Hamilton Herald Masthead


Front Page - Friday, June 3, 2022

Farm work or home sales: The decision was easy

Asher Black is a 20-year-old Realtor with Keller Williams Greater Downtown Realty. He says he’d rather make cold calls and knock on doors than use social media to drum up business. - Photograph provided

As a boy, Asher Black developed a robust work ethic on the family farm in Petersburg, about 70 miles south of Nashville. Mowing, trimming and weed eating were all on his list of chores.

Black began lending a hand at his family’s homestead while he was still dreaming of someday being 10. Dressed in a T-shirt, blue jeans and boots, he’d help to erect a treehouse, garden and even slaughter livestock.

“I kicked off my journey on the farm at age 6,” he recalls.

Black was near the end of a 15-hour weeding marathon when he decided the farm life would not be for him. He was, however, drawn to creating things with his own hands, so he started a cellphone repair business.

“I bought, sold and fixed phones in high school,” he says plainly, as if everyone starts a business at that age.

Black liked having ownership of an endeavor, so after he graduated, he skipped college to carve out a place in the business world.

“If I’d wanted to become a doctor or a lawyer or something else where college made sense and I knew my trajectory, then that would have been a fantastic use of my time,” Black says. “But I thrive on developing relationships and making sales, so I decided to go that route.”

Black’s aunt, Nashville Realtor Holly Black, suggested real estate.

“Asher’s work ethic has always been impressive,” she says. “Whether it was working on the farm or running his cellphone repair business, he was a self-starter.”

Black is also not afraid to talk with people or try something new, his aunt continues. Rather, she believed his “bold and adventurous spirit and willingness to learn from others” would propel him to success.

“I knew Asher would quickly rise to the top in real estate because he has a drive like I’ve never seen in men his age.”

Speaking of age, Black was 19 when he took his aunt’s advice in March of last year. He also hung his freshly minted license at the company for which she works – Keller Williams. Based locally, he joined the team at KW’s Greater Downtown Realty.

It now seems as if his aunt’s forecast is coming true. Since selling his first home three months after becoming licensed, Black says he’s completed more than 40 closings.

He attributes his success to the work ethic he developed on the family farm.

“Two things can be nurtured in a young man who’s forced to weed eat for 15 hours straight: Either a phenomenal work ethic or a resentment toward weed-eating. I was lucky to have it go the first route.”

Many new Realtors join a team of agents, as a group environment can surround a rookie with experienced colleagues and feed them leads or appointments while they’re learning the ropes.

But not Black. Accustomed to building projects from the ground up, he stepped out on his own.

“I didn’t like the idea of giving away 50% of my commission because I knew I would earn it,” he shrugs.

Despite his age, Black also abstained from relying on social media to attract clients. Instead, he used an old-fashioned sales tool: cold calls.

“I thought, ‘I’ll do this for six months, and if I don’t sell anything, then I’ll try a different approach,’” he notes. “I did my first closing during my third month, and by my sixth month, I was up to six closings.”

Black says his ability to form relationships with clients was the key to his triumph.

“In 90% of my cold calls, I form the relationship during the follow-ups. The first step is cold calling a neighborhood and learning if there’s an opportunity or interest in selling. I try to not be sales-y with it but offer value and connect with people.”

Although some agents shy away from cold calls, Black says he enjoys making them.

“It’s refreshing to be indoors with the AC going and chatting with people as opposed to being outside in 100-degree heat holding a weed eater,” he laughs. “Everything about being in this industry is a blessing.”

Although Black’s aunt is thriving in the Nashville market, he didn’t lean on her for advice or mentoring. Instead, he says he worked out a formula for using cold calls to achieve his goals on his own.

“Real estate involves hard work but it’s not rocket science,” Black explains. “I need to make x number of calls, talk with x number of people, make x number of appointments and sign x number of listing agreements.

“It’s a numbers game. If I want do to 50 closings this year, I need to make a certain number of cold calls to get there.”

Black says the second key to reaching 50 homes during his second year is continuing to focus on sellers rather than buyers.

“The market is moving at a hundred miles per hour. If you can sign a seller, you’re pretty much guaranteed a paycheck.”

Black says reaching the 50-home milestone will position him to achieve his future goals. Among these is purchasing investment properties.

He already has his first – purchased not for himself but for renting to tenants. Meanwhile, he’s leasing a residence close to Highland Park.

From there, Black ventures out to do CrossFit, play soccer in a recreational league and attend services at Brainerd Baptist Church.

Meanwhile, his aunt watches from Nashville, growing more and more impressed.

“It’s an absolute joy to watch him grow as an agent,” she says. “I’m looking forward to seeing him meet and exceed his goals.”