When Tom Ferry first spoke with Doug Edrington in 2015, Ferry suggested he travel to Chattanooga and cut off one of Edrington’s arms.
Sensing Ferry was making a point, Edrington expressed fondness for his arms and then asked, “What are you telling me?”
The conversation had started with Ferry, a nationally leading real estate coach, asking Edrington to declare his goals as the leader of a real estate team. Edrington said he wanted to sell 1,000 houses in a year.
“Let’s do that this year,” Ferry said.
Since it was already June, and The Edrington Team had sold about 200 houses, Edrington skeptically asked how that would be possible.
“Easy,” Ferry replied. “You’ll become the cheapest real estate agent in town. You’ll cut your commission, and everyone will market their house with you.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Edrington scoffed.
To make his point from a different angle, Ferry asked Edrington if he’d ever tried to lose weight. After Edrington said, “Every day,” Ferry asked how much he’d like to lose. Edrington said 20 pounds.
“Your arm is about 20 pounds,” Ferry noted. “I’ll come to Chattanooga and cut it off.”
“What are you telling me?”
“You’re not clear on what your goals are. You’re saying you want to sell 1,000 houses, which we can do, but you don’t want to lose an arm to lose 20 pounds. You have to be clear on what you want to accomplish.”
That conversation was the beginning of a yearslong journey that shaped the business Edrington opened in 2018 – Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices J Douglas Properties – and redefined his team, which is presently No. 4 in the Scenic City area, according to Greater Chattanooga Realtors.
The discussion also marked the start of a relationship that has afforded Edrington the ear of one of the top real estate coaches in the country.
Next month, Edrington will use his access to Ferry to benefit the Chattanooga real estate community at large. On Wednesday, Oct. 11, 8:30 a.m.-12:30 p.m. at Hunter Museum of American Art, Edrington will host an invitation-only seminar featuring Ferry as the sole speaker.
The cost of admission is a new or gently used coat, which Edrington plans to donate to a local charity that assists people experiencing homelessness, he says.
The event can accommodate 300 guests, many of which Edrington has personally invited. Edrington is leaving about 50 seats open to people who would like to attend and reach out to him for an invitation. (Call Edrington at 423 802-3430.)
“I’ve reached out to everyone who’s anyone in this business in Chattanooga,” said Edrington, who notes that agents from several different companies have accepted his invite. “I’d like for everyone who’s established in this business to be able to drink from the fountain from which ... (one of the top teams) in Chattanooga has been drinking. But I’m also inviting a lot of new agents, as well as people who have been thinking about getting into the business, because they need to be exposed to good content.”
Ferry will discuss a number of key issues during his visit to Chattanooga, Edrington says, including current and future market dynamics, how the real estate industry is changing, and the impact Ferry expects artificial intelligence to have on the business, among other topics.
Like any motivational speaker worth his or her salt, Ferry is energetic, Edrington assures; however, he’s also tactical and refuses to pull punches.
“He’s not only about cheering people on; you’ll walk away with pages and pages of notes. So bring a couple of pens, ask a lot of questions and, before you leave, circle one or two things and say, ‘This is what I’m going to focus on for the rest of 2023.’”
Edrington first connected with Ferry in 2015 through Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices president and CEO Gino Blefari. “I told Gino I’d heard about business coaches becoming a thing in our industry and had been thinking I needed one to reach the next level,” Edrington recalls. “And he said, ‘Let me introduce you to my coach.’ I didn’t even know Gino had a coach. That told me I definitely needed one.”
Ferry invited Edrington to attend his company’s business development meeting in Orange County, California. Edrington says the experience opened his mind to new possibilities.
“As Tom exposed me to the high level at which he’s running his company, I realized we (in Chattanooga) had blinders on to what’s possible in this business and to the strategies that could help us grow our businesses.”
Edrington initially learned under the tutelage of one of the coaches within Ferry’s organization, who immersed himself in the details of his business. This opened his eyes even wider, Edrington says.
“We learned our commission structure was wrong and we had no delegation. We had people who were working hard, but no one had specific goals. To be successful, we needed specialists in each area, so we prepared ourselves financially and then made those changes. Over the years, creating those delegations has enabled us to develop into a strong organization.”
Ferry eventually began coaching Edrington personally and invited him to become one of his coaches. For the next six years, Edrington not only ran his business, but he also coached real estate teams across the country.
Edrington says agreeing to coach was one of the best professional decisions he’s made.
“It taught me that leadership is a learned skill and not a natural ability. I realized I was a great salesperson but not necessarily a great leader. A lot of things changed for (the Edrington Team) because Ferry’s company doesn’t simply hire you and say, ‘You’re a coach.’ They put you through leadership boot camp and then hold you accountable to key performance indicators with your coaching clients, whether it’s more listings, more sales or higher recruiting levels.”
For example, after Edrington launched J Douglas Properties in 2018, Ferry told him to begin focusing on ancillary services. This led to the launch of an in-house title company Edrington dubbed Northshore Title & Escrow.
“I would not have done that without Tom. He’s helped a lot of people, but you have to lean into the organization he’s built to get the most out of it. That’s been big part of our business. He and his company have greatly impacted our lives and helped us to grow our business tremendously.”
Now that Edrington has convinced Ferry to speak live in Chattanooga, he’s hoping to fill every seat. “I attended his annual summit in Dallas a month ago. Seven thousand people were there and another 15,000 watched virtually. To get someone of that caliber to come to Chattanooga is a big deal.”
Best of all: It won’t cost an arm or a leg.