How Opcity Helped Former Firefighter Ron French Break into Real Estate

Posted by Alex Reardon on June, 19 2019

Ron French entered the real estate business just two years ago, and it turns out he’s a natural. His solid rapport-building skills, genuine respect for his clients, and 15%+ close rate are just a few things that made the Memphis-based agent stand out as a clear pick for this month’s Above & Beyond feature.

A real estate career wasn’t always on the agenda for Ron. He spent 26 years as a full-time firefighter and paramedic and was on track to becoming a fire chief when a bad knee injury forced him to leave that profession. Not ready for retirement, he decided to pursue real estate. He’d always been interested in the field, and with some experience flipping homes and building houses of his own, it felt like a natural fit.  

Ron started out selling homes to friends and family, and relied on cold-calling and some basic marketing to get his name out. Then his brokerage, KAIZEN Realty, partnered with Opcity—and Ron started seeing success on a whole new level.

“I just took to it like a fish in water,” he told us. “Opcity is a slam dunk for new agents because it provides a really good opportunity to build your client base. It gives you new opportunities now, but it also sets you up moving forward. If you treat [your referrals] right, they’re going to want to work with you the next time they need an agent.”

Opcity is also a great way for newer agents to gain experience, Ron pointed out.

“There’s no better way to learn and get seasoned quickly than to actually go out and do deals. There’s a lot of value in that experience. It’s like in the fire service—you can sit with your head in a book and learn everything about fire behavior, but until you get in a room with actual live fire burning, you’re never going to get the true experience you need to be successful as a firefighter. The same thing is true with real estate, or anything.”

Ron’s former career has undoubtedly influenced his approach as an agent and contributed to his success in real estate. He communicates well with people and is comfortable being a leader and taking charge when needed—qualities he attributes to his experience as a fire instructor. He’s extremely detail-oriented thanks to his paramedic background. And his clients can always rely on his punctuality. As Ron put it: “You can’t be late in the fire service.”

Succeeding as a new agent really boils down to a willingness to put in the hard work, Ron said. For him, that means making himself readily available to clients 24/7. People like to flip through their phones and look at homes, he said, and typically it’s toward the end of the day—when they’re laying in bed, or sitting in front of the TV.

“That’s when they see the home that piques their interest, and they want to talk to somebody. I tell my clients I don’t care if it’s 11pm and it’s pillow time, if you see a home that’s the right one, text me the address. I’ll look it up, see if it’s available, set a showing. I’ll get us in there the next day,” he said. “I know that’s not for everybody. But it’s a sacrifice I’m willing to make, and it pays off.”

Quality communication is extremely important to Ron. It’s something he knows he can always bring to the table, and says it’s helped him differentiate himself as an agent. Being easy to get ahold of, quick to respond, proactive in your outreach, and diligent about following up are all major pieces of that.

And above all else, Ron approaches his work with integrity and authenticity. “I bring me. Being real with my clients goes a long way. There’s no manipulating things. I let my clients lead the way, and I make their goals my goals,” he told us. “And no matter what, they’re going to be treated well. They’re going to get the service they deserve. Nothing else comes before that.”

Topics: Agent Training & Education, How to Succeed with Opcity