Going Global with Startup Investor & Advisor Kyle York
THE RELENTLESS from Slate Studios and CENTURY 21®
FEB 28, 2020 • 5:00 AM
(Non-host voice): This paid podcast is produced by Slate Studios and Century 21 Real Estate. All uses of trademarks, brands are not meant to convey sponsorship or affiliation of this podcast.
THEME MUSIC UP [energetic and positive]
From Slate Studios and Century 21 Real Estate…
This is The Relentless – a podcast about looking at sales differently.
Stephanie: “What If”
Amanda:…What if I thought outside the box?
Shonnie: …What if it was more of a celebration with our clients than work?]
In every episode we’re pulling back the curtain – with thought leaders across industries…
…and talking about how they embrace change, overcome hurdles… and stay RELENTLESS.
I’m Dr. Julie Gurner – I’ve spent over a decade studying the behaviors of the ultra-successful — and have used those insights to empower business leaders in finance, technology, and real estate.
“Think globally, act locally”
– it’s a methodology embraced by entrepreneurs that are looking to make the leap – to scale and grow their business.
Whether it’s expanding within your community or halfway around the world – going global requires you to be nimble yet consistent to provide valuable and customizable service.
Having a global mindset allows you to shift and grow. And no one knows that better than our guest – Kyle York.
Kyle York: This is Kyle York. I’m a start-up investor and advisor to entrepreneurs.
He’s currently the CEO and co-founder of York IE, a company that advises entrepreneurs and helps reshape the way startups are built, scaled, and optimized.
Kyle: Yeah, I’ve been very focused on helping entrepreneurs really think locally, but also scaling globally with a local heart and global ambition.
He previously served as the General Manager and Chief Strategy Officer at Dyn – the leading cloud-based internet infrastructure company
We specialized in the domain name system. So we basically helped companies connect their end users to the infrastructure behind those websites.
Companies like Twitter, the New York Times, Amazon, and Netflix.
Believe it or not, that’s getting more and more complicated obviously as the internet gets larger and larger and audiences get more and more global.
But long before Kyle was supporting these giants of the internet and catering to global audiences, he had to learn to help customers at his family’s sporting goods store in New Hampshire.. And there was NOTHING digital about it.
Kyle York: Up until my dad retired in June of 2018 running the sports shop, he was still doing paper receipts.
Julie Gurner: Wow.
Kyle York: He did nothing online. All of his inventory management was on clipboards, done with pencil and paper. I think along the way over the years, obviously myself and my four brothers were always pushing my parents to embrace technology and the internet for obviously efficiencies, but also for innovation and growth. But they were comfortable in the business they had built, which was a phenomenal one, and it supported the five kids and the lives that we were able to get.
But Kyle was always drawn to technology. And eventually he would get into the business of internet infrastructure.
When he joined Dyn, he never imagined how big it would become.
Kyle York: I joined, it was 15 engineers. I was the first sort of go-to-market leadership hire running sales and marketing and growth for that company. We scaled the business to 100 million of annual recurring revenue and sold to Oracle in 2016.
Kyle York: So it was a phenomenal run. We learned a lot along the way, but we weren’t your traditional tech Silicon Valley startup who raised a ton of money and had a bunch of talented team members who had done it three times before. We were kind of first-time entrepreneurs and startup hustlers learning on the fly. The management team at the time when I joined was all in our mid-20s, so we didn’t have decades of experience. We sort of had to write a lot of our own plays. We had to trial and error a lot of things, and we built a real global business. And it came from very humble beginnings and scaling companies to that level of scale. We were 500 employees, we had offices in Brighton, England, in Singapore, in Australia, and California. We built something very special, and I’m very proud of it. It’s nice to look back on in hindsight. It’s not always easy, and it’s not always so glamorous in the throes of scaling.
Julie Gurner: So can you tell me a little bit about Dyn in the early days?
Kyle York: The company it was predominantly engineers. They worked on something that was a three-letter acronym, DNS, the domain name system. No one really understood it, predominantly worked with home consumers at the time
Kyle York: I mean, think days before we had laptops and mobile devices connected all to your home network. This technology didn’t exist, so you had to be a real tech geek to do this on your own.
Kyle York: What they realized was,companies were starting to no longer buy physical hardware and servers to run their web applications and websites. They were starting to use someone else’s, the cloud’s, and renting it from the likes of Amazon Web Services, AWS, or Google, or Rackspace was a managed hosting company at the time. So it was a lot of market timing that had to do with it. But really my role was really to try to be a shot in the arm at building a brand, taking that brand to customers, conveying a value proposition to which these B2B businesses would want to give us some money for the services we provided.
Julie Gurner: Yeah, I mean I want to talk a little bit about your relationship to the customers at Dyne, because it was a very locally-oriented business. But it had a reputation for absolutely extraordinary service. In fact, one of the things that I do admire about the company is that you really turn customers into evangelists. When you all did seek money, it was your customers who gave you your first round.
Kyle York: Our customers were internet businesses that were based everywhere and had end customers everywhere. I think that from day one was the nature of the business, even though it started with these consumer roots, it started in a dorm room at Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Worcester, Mass. The company never raised outside capital from 2001 when it was incorporated all the way to 2012. The first money it raised, and I did that in air quotes, was actually a donation button thrown on the website for these consumers to help support this project.
Kyle York: I think that connection to customers, I mean, definitely survived all the way through the independence of Dyn. We worked like heck inside Oracle after our acquisition in 2016 to make sure the customer was always put first. I think that DNA was super-important the entire ride.
Julie Gurner: Can you give any insights, any tips, on how to make sure that as you’re scaling your business, you really keep the customer front and center?
Kyle York: Yeah, you are nothing without your customers. I think when you look at venture-funded businesses or outside-funded businesses … So those listeners, you might have a friend who’s helping fund your new company or you might be investing your own capital into your new real estate business or what have you, I think it’s important to realize that the customer isn’t the investor. The customer’s the customer. Many times, you see so much focus on shareholders, when the focus really needs to be on stakeholders. Because if you focus your energy and effort on those stakeholders, those customers, those partners, then everything will work out just fine for the shareholders.
Kyle York: We really focused hard on that, again, from the very beginning on the consumer side of the business. But as we went B2B, business to business, and started to scale out our company, we created what we call the customer advisory board. We put our customers in lights and use them as a sounding board. It was a universally valuable and rewarding engagement to have with one another.
Kyle York: I think that is something that I don’t think enough companies obsess over. How do they turn their best customers, their most loyal customers, into their biggest advocates and evangelists to amplify their message? It’s a tough weave. You can’t abuse them. You can’t have one customer doing five reference calls a day. I mean, I think pretty quickly they’ll get burned out and say, “Hey, I think I’ve helped enough.” You definitely need to be able to build programs that make this scalable, and I think it can apply to any business.
Julie Gurner: You’ve also gone through some real world crises. In 2016 there was a cyber attack on Dyn and it really had large scale impact. I just wondered if you could share a little bit about what happened and kind of your trajectory through that.
Kyle York: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, when you’re operating internet infrastructure services, it’s the plumbing and the electricity behind the internet. That was the responsibility and the accountability that we had as Dyn, as an internet infrastructure or a steward of the internet.
Kyle York: That day, October 21st, 2016, There was a distributed denial of service attack is what it’s called, and they sent a barrage of traffic at our infrastructure servers, and there is performance degradation all throughout the world and actual real issues on the east coast of the US.
Kyle York: A dirty secret about that day that not a lot of people know is the night before I was up very late with our board, and we executed the letter of intent with Oracle to be acquired and sent it to Oracle and said, “Thanks. We look forward to your countersign.”
Julie Gurner: Wow.
Kyle York: I wake up at 8:00 AM, our largest customer in the world, Amazon, is calling me frantically because they’re seeing some issues on our network. We had to decide, how are we going to react? We knew from a customer perspective that customers were going to be impacted. How we responded, how we communicated proactively, consistently was going to make or break what happened with Oracle, but also just what happened with the future of our customers and our careers.
Kyle York: In a matter of hours we were able to get services restored, It was just a miraculous day. Now, right in the middle of this day, Oracle countersigned our agreement because they saw our response.
Julie Gurner: Wow.
Julie Gurner: Yeah, it really does demonstrate that leadership doesn’t just happen when things are going well, but that you can also provide leadership when things are not going so well. You have real world experience in some of the worst tragedies the internet has seen, but have really pulled through for the consumer. I think anyone can really learn from those messages, right?
Julie Pickup: You can have the biggest real estate deal of your career fall through, and though it’s devastating in the moment - staying focused on the customer, and on making that sale - still has to be where your focus remains. It teaches the customers what they can expect from you, and keeps your business grounded.
Julie Gurner: So when you talk about evolving a company, How do you know it’s time to go global?
Kyle York: It’s one thing to have a customer base that’s global. It’s another thing to start to employ staff and to go through sort of legal and tax and regulatory efforts, office space, all those things, and expand your company globally. Because of the internet, you could put a credit card in on our website the day we launched and be anywhere in the world and buy our services. It was software delivered over the internet.
Kyle York: When we went business to business, our lead forums, where people would go on our website and submit to talk to us or send us an email, these companies could be anywhere in the world, and right away we had to do business with them.
Kyle York: I think one thing we realized fast was that we were a American-based company. We were U.S.-based company and that we weren’t overnight going to have jurisdiction, legal entities, in every part of the world. So we had to sort of be [inaudible 00:21:15] We also weren’t going to be able to translate our website or our contracts or our software portals into 50 different languages overnight either. That would be crippling to our business’ ability to be successful.
Kyle York: So we decided right away we’re going to anchor in supporting these companies from the States. We still went 24/7. We had folks who worked overnight. Then as we started to get to some critical mass and some scale in both customer base and revenue, that’s when. And at that time when we decided, okay, maybe it’s time to go into Europe. I think beyond that, we ended up going from Europe, and then we followed the sun, and we went all the way into an office in Singapore and an office in Sydney, Australia. But it happened, in a nice sequence, at the right pace where the business supported the opportunity and enabled us to go bigger with it.
Julie Gurner: I love that. So the business is supporting that opportunity. You have to wait until the initial business is at a certain level. When you’re crafting this team and you’re hiring talent that expands in the way that you did, you’re starting from a place like Manchester, New Hampshire. How do you go about kind of searching for that talent?
Kyle York: Yeah, so first and foremost in New Hampshire, I mean, we knew right away we needed to be an employer of choice. It was a lot of the sort of intangible, softer things out of the gate.
Kyle York: As we obviously started to grow and have customers funding our scale, we were able to start to pay more market rates and increase and improve our benefits. That really is where the tipping point happened here in New Hampshire at our headquarters at least, where we became the employer of choice where people wanted to work if you were in tech.
Kyle York: Then when we went internationally, we actually screwed up the first time. I mean we went to London, which couldn’t have been more culturally different than Manchester, New Hampshire. I always say there’s two types of people. There’s builders and there’s managers. That’s a different sort of concept. We were hiring managers internationally, because we were saying, “We already have customers. Let’s hire some management to help us manage those customers.” Customers don’t want to be managed. And offices can’t be managed, they need to be built. So we ended up actually moving that office to Brighton, England. Kind of similarly, honestly, from Boston to Manchester. It was London to Brighton.
Kyle York: We realized that you couldn’t take the exact same culture and move it down into a different part of the world. You had to have obviously core principles of how you treat your employees, how you work with customers, how you build products and ship products and support the technology in the market. But you’re going to obviously have different people with different backgrounds.
Kyle York: We used to always joke, it was kind of like a Bizarro World, especially the British office. It was like a Bizarro World version. There was a version of me over there, a gentleman named Paul Haywood. He kind of looked like me, he kind of talked like me, but said things like, “Lovely,” and, “Cheers,” and had an accent and liked cricket and rugby and soccer. I was like, “Oh wait a second. We’re kind of the same, but we’re different.” That honestly was how it shaped up, and that carried forth all the way into Singapore and Sydney as well.
Julie Gurner: What advice would you have practically for someone who’s making moves to go global with their company but would like to scale in a very thoughtful way?
Kyle York: Yeah, I think I spent an unbelievable amount of time throughout Europe, everywhere from Amsterdam, to Dublin, to Berlin, to London, to Brighton. I was all over the place trying to determine what was the right location for us. We spent a lot of time on the ground, myself, other leadership, meeting with customers, meeting with potential employees and partners in these regions, learning the lay of the land. I think that’s critical.
Kyle York: Then once you decide to open, I’d highly recommend transplanting somebody from your headquarters into these regions. Remember also, you’re probably not going to just nail everything, just like in business, right the first time every time, but again, stay the course. Don’t be weary. Play the long game.
Julie Gurner: That’s a great takeaway. Are there any lessons that you learned from global expansion at Dyn that really you’re able to bring to your roles today?
Kyle York: Oh, absolutely. I mean,.. Active today, I have about 60 portfolio companies that I’ve invested in or I’m on boards of or my company has strategic advisory in or we’re consulting with. We’ve got a myriad of companies across industries all trying to disrupt the markets they’re in. That’s the unified kind of grouping of these companies. I think each of them are trying to figure out sequence and pace to growth. One of those levers is very much international, finding new customer bases, reaching new audiences, but there’s loads of different levers to growth. There could be different types of sales teams. There could be different pricing strategies or contracting strategies. Once you do that and you establish your business model and your operating model, and what teams and people you need, and you know that core DNA, when I say break the model, what I mean is what new investments am I going to make? What acquisitions am I going to make or new product launches am I going to have, or what international market am I going to enter? These are the knobs and levers that I talk about that aren’t baseline part of your operating plan. But they’re the things that can take you through the moon, and I think that’s what’s important.
Julie Gurner: A lot of our listeners are real estate agents, and they’re not necessarily going to scale their businesses kind of globally in this big, splashy way like maybe a large corporation might, but they know that having a global mindset still matters. So what are some small steps they can take to just be more open to international opportunities?
Kyle York: Well, I think it’s important to sort of set your goals and your ambition. I think you can be a realtor in Baton Rouge, Louisiana who is world-renowned for teaching the world the learnings you’ve had and how great you are. Right? There’s actually a great local realtor here in town who I absolutely love.
Kyle York: She’s a wonderfully passionate, kind of emotionally connected local realtor that works with a lot of friends and family, and she’s putting hor her learnings on the Internet every single day. She’s just using Facebook Live, and she’s just engaging the market.
Kyle York: So Embrace your unique differentiation, sort of regardless of scale or reach opportunity that you see,
Kyle York: I think it’s just incredibly important to be the best you can be in your environment, but also, if you’re really, really good and differentiated in some way, share that with the world, because people want to see it.
Julie Gurner: Yeah. I think a side benefit is that it may actually attract international customers who may be buying a house in Baton Rouge or buying a house in New Hampshire, that they see your content, they look for you online, and you’re the person who really stands out to them.
Kyle York: Yeah. If you want to scale, innovate. Right? I mean, let’s say you do want to scale, and you’re in real estate. Well, that doesn’t mean you’re a realtor in real estate. I might say, “Hey, maybe there’s some technology tools that I’ve been leveraging that, man, maybe I should hire a software developer and make this better. Geez, maybe I should put out a blog, or maybe I should start doing online curriculum.”
Kyle York: it’s about taking that unique experience and broadening the business lens a bit to what you might want to become.
Kyle York: Not everybody is going to have the same level of ambition or goals or reach or scale.
Kyle York: Honestly, I can say firsthand, it’s not all glamour to grow and scale. I mean, geez, we had friends who lost jobs or people I had to fire or different investors along the way, customers that quit on us. I mean, it’s just not all rosy all the time. So no different than your day-to-day job if you’re a sole proprietor. It’s hard. So I think making sure you really, truly are aligned with the people you work with on what you’re trying to build and sticking to it is important.
Julie Gurner: So if you can talk a little bit … because you’ve mentioned that \it isn’t all glamorous. I’m wondering if you can give an example of a really rough patch that you’ve had personally on your journey?
Kyle York: as the company scaled and got bigger and bigger, our board and investors wanted to continue to hire people who had been there, done that. Right?
Kyle York: I didn’t have experience running a 500-person company =multi hundred person sales and marketing teams, and the board wanted to hire those types of people. I really struggled with what that meant to me, career-wise. What does it mean to be a leader versus a manager? Is it about a big team? Is it about your voice? Is it about your external evangelism? Is it internal? Is it with customers? You really start to soul-search on skills, and can I scale?
Kyle York: There was times, honestly, where it was affecting my health. I mean, I remember laying on MRI tables, visiting doctors because I was getting migraines, actually the first and only time in my life. I thought I had a brain tumor or something, and it was all just because I thought the powers that be, the man, in air quotes, the board, the investors, the hired gun executives, I thought they were all attacking me. I didn’t feel like I was being treated fairly. But when it really came down to is I felt like I was losing control. Right?
Julie Gurner: Yeah.
Kyle York: When you feel like you’re losing control, weird things can happen. Right?
Julie Gurner: Absolutely.
Kyle York: So it ended up turning out that I just had migraines. I was stressed. I powered through it. I stayed committed, and I ended up being the general manager at Dyn and the VP of product in Oracle Cloud Infrastructure for three years. Here I am now with my own firm, controlling my own destiny, with my friends. Sometimes, in the moment, you forget that careers are long, that people aren’t attacking you. I implore people to make sure they look to their support systems and to their loyalists in those hard times, because those are the people that are going to carry forward with you, and there’ll be there for you forever.
Julie Gurner: So Kyle, one of the things we always ask people who come on the podcast is what does being relentless mean to you?
Kyle York: Being relentless to me means you’re never going to give up, at all costs. You’re going to maintain conviction. You’re going to set a vision for yourself on that path. You’re going to stay in the guardrails of the goals you set for yourself, but you’re going to be relentless to get there, and you will not accept failure. I think that is what relentless means.
Julie Gurner: Kyle, thanks so much for being here. It was a real pleasure to speak with you.
Kyle York: I really appreciate you having me. It was a lot of fun. Thank you.
Coming up we’ll talk to a real estate agent in Australia who’s found a way to think globally about his growing business.
That’s in a minute here on The Relentless.
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Before the break we heard about how having a global mindset really influenced Kyle York’s work in a direct way….
But we were curious about how small-business entrepreneurs look outward and take steps that are inherently global in order to grow.
Whether it’s attracting international clients or tapping into the local immigrant community there are steps you can take to make sure you are not operating in a bubble.
So we turned to Australia to talk to a Century 21 real estate agent there.
NICK: I’m Nick Papas, I’m from Century 21 Eastern Beaches Maroubra. I think Australia itself is so multicultural and you’ve got people from all different parts of the world that are wanting to live in Australia.
Fortunately Maroubra wasn’t directly touched by this year’s devastating bushfires. So Nick jumped at the chance to help out with recovery efforts.
We did an appeal to just get people donating food and toiletries and things like that I’ve got an office meeting room out the front. We had that filled to the rims, like we could fit any more things in, we had to sort of stop after two days.
Nick: I think that really showed me how lucky I am as well, to be working and living in this community.
It’s not surprising Nick is ranked in the top 1% of agents in his network - as well as globally…
And for a while he’s been noticing this trend of relocation to Australia from Asia, America, and Europe, and it made him think…
Nick Papas: “Well, why aren’t I helping these people relocate? Why aren’t I helping these people try and find their feet here in Sydney, where I work, where they want to be?”
And once he started…
Nick Papas: just naturally progressed that I’d helped one family which led to that family talking to the next family, that family talking to the next family, and eventually without even realizing, it became global.
And what he found was that catering to international customers, requires a certain amount of openness…
Nick Papas: we live in a world where things are changing so quickly, I think if you’re not open-minded to hearing other people’s stories or listening to how they do things, you’re only going to go backwards in life, or stay stagnant, not grow.
Julie Gurner: You live and work in Maroubra-
Nick Papas: Correct.
Julie Gurner: … it’s a suburb of Sydney, near the coast. Can you paint us a picture of what the community is like, the kinds of people to live there?
Nick Papas: it is a very coastal lifestyle, so the lifestyle of where we live, you can imagine it’s a bit like I don’t know, let’s say Hawaii, Waikiki, if that makes sense. Everyone’s very relaxed, everyone’s very chilled out. It’s a surf community, very coastal community, we’ve got some beautiful parklands, we’ve got I believe the best coast in the world,
Julie Gurner: Absolutely. You know, earlier in the episode we heard from Kyle York, he’s an entrepreneur in New Hampshire whose digital services really benefited from having a global mindset. When you have a client based service like real estate, what is the value you see of having a global mindset?
Nick Papas: I think me keeping my mind on that global mindset, and being able to service communities from different parts of the world, it’s learning how they interact with business transactions, their models, their values. It allows me to deal with people on a different level, at a different scale, and have an understanding of how they want to be dealt with.
Every nationality, every country has different customs about how they negotiate. I know real estate in America is done very differently to what it’s done here in Australia. There’s no buyer’s agent, you’re dealing directly with the seller. You’re the middleman, you’re the broker trying to broker both ends of the deal. Like, we’ve got a lot of Europeans that are buying as well, and in Europe, sometimes there’s not even a broker.
Nick Papas: People, depending whereabouts in Europe, sometimes they just sell to people they know and recently sold a house to a French family and they said, “Look, Nick, when we buy a house off somebody,” … “In France, we get to meet the family before we decide to go ahead because we want to know who they are and what they’re about.” I thought wow, that doesn’t usually happen here. When I was negotiating with this owner, I said, “Look, I think it’s going to be really important that these people get to meet you and your family and understand how long you’ve lived here and why you’re selling, because that’s going to be a decision that they’re going to” … Like, it’s going to be a decision making thing for them about who you are before they finalize their offer.
Nick Papas: I think if I didn’t have some type of global mindset where I was looking at what’s going on around the world, how people are transacting and doing business in my industry, that probably wouldn’t have got these people to pay the best price for the property, and transcript on that property.
Julie Gurner: Absolutely. There seems like there’s a real openness to it, and a real willingness to understand where other people are coming from.
Nick Papas: 100%. Because everybody’s got a different way of doing things,
Julie Gurner: What part of your everyday work requires a global mindset?
Nick Papas: Thinking outside the box. I believe listening to people like Tom Ferry for me, in the morning I get his emails when I wake up, and I read them and listen to his little podcasts that he has going on. That to me is more of a global thing that I do, because I’m listening to someone overseas, in a totally different country that’s working in real estate in another country where I believe real estate in America’s now on the way up. So I’m trying to learn things from how they’re doing things over there.
Julie Gurner: Is there a way that you advertise to specifically speak to and reach ethnic communities that helps expand your business?
Nick Papas: In my community, it’s more about word of mouth. in the Greek community, because I am of Greek background, I probably get a lot of business out of the Greek community. I’ve even had a client that came to me only this week, they live in Greece, and they’ve got a property where I am and they said, “Look Nick, we know Century 21, and we know you’re involved with the local Greek school. Your kids go there and we’ve heard about you. We’d like to rent or sell our property here in Sydney.” Through the Greek community more..
Nick Papas: We’ve also got a big French community, and I think that’s just all word of mouth and working with them. Same with the Indonesian culture, we’ve got a big Indonesian culture here,
Julie Gurner: Do you make an intentional effort to be a part of those communities and to reach out and be involved?
Nick Papas: Yeah, I do. I do. Like today, actually it would have been good for you to be part of this and maybe get it on video, but it’s Chinese New Year so we are having a dragon come to the office today, we’re going to do like a huge walk around the shopping center with the dragon and give out lucky envelopes to all the community, because we have a huge Chinese and Malaysian Chinese community here. We’re going to go out and celebrate with them
Julie Gurner: Yeah, it sounds like a real appreciation.
Nick Papas: Yeah, that’s right.
Julie Gurner: So Everyone who does business on a global scale has times of challenge. Kyle York described a massive cyber attack for example, and for real estate it might be economic downturns or changes in the market, so how do you support your global business during challenging times?
Nick Papas: Well, I think you’ve just gotta keep up with what’s going on and understand again, it’s understanding their wants and needs. Like you know, I remember we had the GFC come here and that was a big thing in America, and the downturn in the market here didn’t last as long as it did in the US, so we had a lot of people that were here investing in the US, because the market was so low, so we had a lot of clients saying, “Nick, why would we buy here? We’d buy in the US.”
Nick Papas: It’s like, “Okay, great. Well, if you can make money over there why wouldn’t you? But do you know what’s involved with doing that?” And they were like, “Yeah, you just go buy a house.” It’s like no, it’s not that easy. We have the thing of being able to say, “Look, we can then put you in contact with the right people where you want to buy, and let’s let them help you.” The good thing about that is when people make money in real estate, what do they do with that money? They invest it back into real estate 9 times out of 10.
Nick Papas: We already had those clients that were investing in real estate that were going to make money in the US market, but they were eventually going to bring the money back to Sydney, and then do something with real estate here. I had a few clients that were doing that. I suppose I took the positive side of that negative thing that was happening here. It was like, “Look, yeah, let’s help you make money over there so when you do bring the money back, we can help you invest it here and then we both make money together.”
Julie Gurner: So it’s really playing the long game?
Nick Papas: 100%.
Julie Gurner: So, what’s your process for targeting international customers seeking to own homes in your market?
Nick Papas: For me, a lot of it’s probably done now through social media, targeting the right groups where you can find people that are going to be looking into real estate. A lot of my Chinese clients advertise in their different newspapers that I know will go globally, and then they’ve got websites, and they advertise on their websites.
Julie Gurner: It seems like you really market where people are and not where you want them to be…. Newspaper marketing may not translate in every area - but you really picked up on the fact that newspapers are a trusted source for the certain communities that you cater to.
Nick Papas: For me, when you’re looking in the newspaper, your time, that’s a real specific target. So those people that are looking in their newspapers, in their community newspapers, I mean their language and all that, they see you advertise there then they think, “Well, this person’s working with our community.” So when they’re thinking about doing something real estate space, they think of you because you’re working in that community. the best digital way you’re going to find those community groups, as far as on a global mindset for me, is through social media.
Nick Papas: social media’s helped me grow my business on the digital aspect tremendously.
Nick Papas: it’s like anything, you need to engage, to need to get involved and I don’t know how it is in the US, but in Sydney, Australia, like a lot of agents are putting up them driving their fancy cars , or eating at an expensive restaurant. “Look what I sold, look what I did.”
Nick Papas: I take a bit of a different approach, I look at saying, “Look, this is how I can help you. This is how,” a bit of a case study on the sale, not about how flashy the sale was, or like maybe a little bit about the buyer. Maybe telling them that look, this buyer had these struggles and this is what we did to overcome those struggles with them, to get them where they needed to be. I take a bit of a different approach on my social media.
Julie Gurner: And it sounds smart, though. It sounds like this is a way that you really extend your voice to other countries and talk about your values.
Julie Gurner: So what are some key tips that US Agents should consider as they adopt a more global mindset with the real estate business?
Nick Papas: I think you’re just broadening your horizons. Once you start thinking global, you start looking at different people, your referrals are going to be different. You’re going to be dealing with a totally different type of clientele. When you’re dealing with a global client, you know they’re not going to be wasting time. They’re not going to be going out of their way to ring up an agent on the other side of the world. It’s just not going to work like that. They’re going to be qualified, they’re going to be ready to transact or to do business, so I think you’re getting good clients.
Julie Gurner: So what are your goals for global growth this year?
Nick Papas: Look, for me this year is like when I look at it globally, just with everything that’s happening in Asia and I’m trying to work for huge Asian community, Chinese community. In the past, they’ve sort of, we had laws that came into Australia that were not allowing them to invest as much. But I think now they’re looking at saying, “Well look, we’re going to have to sort of loosen those up a little.” So for me this year it’s about finding ways to interact better with our Asian communities that are wanting to buy into Sydney because I think there’s going to be a huge amount of, and an even bigger amount I should say, because there’s already a huge amount, but a bigger amount of Asian communities wanting to buy into the Sydney real estate market.
Julie: Aside from networking, do you have any actionable tips for agents looking to move forward into a more global space and think more globally?
Nick Papas: Just look at your community, look at their needs and look where they’re coming from and just look who they are and see what you can do to interact with those needs and those wants. And most people today, we live in a pretty multicultural global type of world. You know what I mean? The people are coming from all walks of life, different parts of the world and they all need somewhere to live. So look at how you can help them.
Julie Gurner: So one of the questions that we do ask from everyone who comes on the podcast, what does being relentless mean to you?
Nick Papas: For me it’s about pretty much not giving up. There’s going to be good days, there’s going to be bad days. I think you just got to look at and say, “Well, where there’s a problem, I’m going to find a solution. I’m not going to indulge in the problem.” And I think when you look for solutions in anything in life, lifetimes are pretty good.
Julie Gurner: Nick Papas. Thank you so much for joining me on The Relentless.
Nick Papas: Julie, no problem. Thank you for having me. It’s been great. It’s been good to listen to you guys and can’t wait to be part of your journey as well, so thank you very much.
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