From Buyers agent to Investment Specialist interview with Tuan Tran

Episode #5:“20 Minutes of Successful Niche Secrets” where I Interview Tuan Tran from Keller Williams Referred Urban Realty

Intro: Hi! This is Glenn McQueenie, and welcome to 20 Minutes of Insider Secrets of Successful Niches. This is where you learn the insider secrets to dominate your target market. You’ll learn to work with high-margin, super-happy clients, and build a tribe of loyal, raving fans for your business. So excited to have you join me today, so sit back and enjoy 20 Minutes of Insider Secrets of Successful Niches.

Glenn: Well hello and thank you so much for listening to my Success Series. I’m Glenn McQueenie, and I’m very excited to have a real special guest today, Tuan Tran. How are you doing, Tuan?

Tuan: I’m doing fantastic, Glenn. Thanks for asking.

Glenn: Great. And thank you so much for taking time to join me on this call. Tuan really started off working on a team and slowly moved out on his own, and then discovered this really cool niche of investment properties. And what he’s learned is that the more that he focuses just in that one area, not only for himself, because he’s buying investment properties, but now bringing that passion to other people to help them build their wealth, that it’s really becoming this really big business for him, because his average sale price has probably tripled. The margin he makes on investment properties are really, really big. There’s a much bigger commission on a $2 million sale than a $300,000 condo sale. And through that, he’s been able to double or even triple his income over the last year or two. So welcome, Tuan. And I’ll pass it over to you. Why don’t you just tell our audience a little bit about yourself and just your journey into building a really cool, nichey, wealth-building business?

Tuan: Well, absolutely, Glenn. Thank you for inviting me. It’s always an honour talking to you and being invited. So as you said, I started off on a team, and I learned a lot through that. I had some great mentors. I think the biggest turning point in my journey was once I discovered working with investors. And it’s kind of funny. I always loved investment properties personally, and just resisted it, to be honest with you. I just worked with a traditional buyer of a home, and by working with investors, as you said, it allowed me to really bring out the best in me. I was able to be a little bit more genuine in how I presented myself, because I really did have a passion for that. And it allowed me to get into different markets, high-volume markets, (some of the commercial deals that we were doing), that just made making money so much easier. When you’re dealing with a $2 million or a $5 million, or even this year, a potential $20 million deal that we’re doing, and it takes the same amount of time as when you’re working with a $500,000, or even less than a $500,000 purchaser or seller, that really was a great breakthrough for me in my career.

Glenn: Well, you know, it’s fantastic, Tuan. And I love what you said there, and also what you’re doing, which is, you’re bringing the real Tuan and your natural strengths, just to a market of people, because you’re really passionate about, not only what it’s done in your life, but helping those people. So you kind of get the double whammy of not only it’s another sale, but it’s like you’re watching these people get out of debt, build wealth, build equity in their business. And I’m sure the feedback you get from them is, you’re changing lives, right? The feedback just must be tremendous.

Tuan: Well, it’s kind of funny, especially in the investment world. The feedback you get, initially, you get obviously the instant gratification that they bought a home or bought an investment property to build wealth. But they don’t know the journey they’ve gone on. I think the real impact for me, and the feedback I’ve been getting, is when they come back for the second, and third, and fourth, and some of my guys right now, five and six properties in such a short amount of time, and the impact they’ve had in my life, and the joy that they brought me. And the impact that I’ve made on their life, in really just changing the course of their financial life that really helps them in the course of their everyday life.

Glenn: Yeah. You’re really becoming the difference-maker in their lives, right? This isn’t just, “Oh, my real estate agent.” This is, “This is Tuan. And I was so nervous about buying my first property, but it was such a great experience, and now I’ve been able to buy 3, 4, 5, and 6, and maybe I can now start quitting my job that I hate” and just really stay in their passion, too.

Tuan: Well it’s kind of funny, because you really do change their destiny. You open so many options for them, and just talking about wealth building with my clients has given me a new purpose. It’s funny. When you first get into real estate, it’s about you, I almost find. You want to help your clients, but it’s about you learning the market, you trying to do the best you can for your clients. And now that I’m a little bit more seasoned in this industry and I know what I’m talking about at a high level, I can really make it about them. And it’s given me a different purpose. Rather than, “Hey listen. This is a great house for you to live in” it’s, “This new property can be a stepping stone into a whole new future that you didn’t even think about.” So it opens up so many more possibilities. Whether this next property is going to be funding your child’s college career, or it’s going to be funding your vacation every year, whether big or small, or just funding the rest of your life. It really does give them a different perspective.

Glenn: So why do you think that a lot of the traditional teaching in our real estate industry is still focused on, “Okay. Wake up. Go and do two hours of lead-generation into your cold calling or prospecting,” instead of focusing your lead-generation on people you want to work with? Why do you think that’s so persuasive in our business?

Tuan: Well I think it’s because right now in our business, it’s like school. You don’t know what you don’t know. So I still think that there are applications for that, and it’s up to the individual to create that basis and use that for their own benefit. So it’s still a contact sport. It’s still a contact game. But now I contact the people that I want to contact. And as you’ve taught before, I get to talk specifically and have specific conversations and have high value and high knowledge about those conversations. I think the reason they talk about cold calling and door-knocking is because when you first come into the industry, you don’t know what you don’t know, right? And I guess the one thing that I wish I did do coming into the industry, is actually specialize in a niche market, just so that when I did have a conversation, I could bring more value to that.

Glenn: Instead of being the generalist and having the kind of basic information that all the other agents have, now you have the more specialist wisdom. I think your perceived value is higher from your client, too, because they’re like, “This guy knows what he’s talking about.”

Tuan: Yeah, absolutely. There’s a saying: “A turtle doesn’t take a step until they stick their head out to expose their neck.” And what happens is, I think a lot of people are scared initially when they come into the industry to really give good advice, because they haven’t spent that time and education into really learning their niche market.

Glenn: Yeah. So true. So what would be a great first step for someone listening to this podcast? You’re coaching them. What would you tell them? What would you say?

Tuan: Before you just get out there and start doing stuff, (and I’m a big proponent of just taking action and doing stuff), but take a little bit more time, and not just figure out what’s the easiest thing that there is out there to do, but what’s something you really enjoy or have a passion for, or you think that you like? Whether you know it 100% or 25%, or whatever that number is, is just to take some time and think about what the ideal world would look like, something that you’re interested in. I think taking time to think about what you’re really interested in, and what possibly would make you happy, or ideally would make you happy, and then just go out there and try it out. That’s probably the advice I would give to anybody just coming into this industry right now.

Glenn: I love what you said there, but isn’t it the same way as how we pick our friends? You pick friends because you have similar likes and interests and values. You don’t try to be friends with everybody, because that’s impossible, and if you just almost built your real estate business that way, like “Well what am I interested in? And how can I find other people who are interested in what I’m interested in?” And then by bringing value to them, almost create your own tribe of people. Because I know now, with you, like you’re not out there cold calling and prospecting to find people who want to buy investment properties. The opposite’s actually happening. You’re getting so many more referrals now from people because when they’re out and they talk about their investment property, they said, “Oh, and you should give Tuan a call.”

Tuan: Absolutely. You know it’s kind of funny, because once you start working with a few, it’s as you had talked about previously in some of the courses that we’ve taken about building a little bit of a tribe and being the superstar in that tribe, and then just letting your reputation precede you.

Glenn: Yeah. But you enter that magical world of lead-receiving instead of lead-generating all the time.

Tuan: It definitely is. And it’s awesome in a sense, when you are lead-receiving, having a standard for those leads as well, being able to work with who you want to work with, and being able to just say to other people that if they don’t meet your criteria, that we’re just not a right fit, or not a match, and being able to refer those people out. It just brought so much more joy in my daily activities.

Glenn: Right. You get to work with people you really like! Isn’t that amazing?

Tuan: Yeah. It’s like working with friends every day. That’s how I look at it.

Glenn: So what were some of the roadblocks that you encountered? This wasn’t always like, “Oh yeah, I just thought about my niche and boom!” It’s not that easy. I mean, there are still a couple of roadblocks that will come in your way. What were some of them that you had to kind of deal with?

Tuan: Well I think exactly what you said. There’s so much information out there, and for me and my personality, my roadblock was I have kind of a squirrely personality. I get distracted real easy, looking at the shiny new thing. So for me, the biggest roadblock was not being focused, and building a business on what other people thought and other people’s interests, rather than my own. I think that was the biggest one. One of the things I said earlier was I resisted going into investment properties, because one of the reasons was that I just thought I was doing that for myself, and I didn’t know if I was bringing that much value for others and if they’d be interested in it. So I took more of a traditional approach. People want to buy homes for them to live, and I just didn’t know how to add that value to them at that time. And things have definitely changed for the better now. Being a specialist, now I know how to add that value. I know how to connect the dots right now.

Glenn: Yeah. And I think the consumers can tell if that particular agent knows what they’re talking about. And the more knowledge you’ve gained and the more experience and wisdom, it just makes you more confident. So when you talk, people listen.

Tuan: It definitely gives you more of a presence. That’s for sure. And it makes it a lot easier to convert the people who are very serious and looking to buy or sell their investment properties right now.

Glenn: So what specific actions should people listening right now take? The one that they should take right now?

Tuan: I think the one for sure is, when we get in there, there’s so much going on, and really taking a step back and taking more of a macro approach on building your business. Having the end goal in mind. “What would be your ideal business?” And then just kind of planning backwards. And whether you have the exact plan, or something pretty close, or something that’s not even close at all – the fact is that you’ve taken the time to think about it, and then just take action. Do something. Take a planned action or a planned activity. I think for me, those would be the two best words of advice I could give you: number one, take some time to think about what you’re really interested in, and really just take action. Whatever it is, don’t be scared. Regardless of what people tell you, what they say, what you read. I think just to take action, and find a great mentor. One of the great things about being part of the Referred office was we have a lot of really great agents. And with that said, I only really listened to a couple of them – you being one of them that really resonated with me, and just trying to follow in your footsteps, and a couple of the other agents in our office like Florence and Carlo and Jamie.

Glenn: Right. So I’m thinking, as I was listening to you there, if I was coaching someone right now to get into investment, like that niche of investment properties, I find knowledge is power and confidence. I would probably tell them, “If that’s the niche you want to go into, why don’t you go and learn all of the product first? What are all of the triplexes and fourplexes and sixplexes? Or stores with apartments in your area? Like almost do a 1-kilometer geographic search and just print out all of the sales and all of the active listings, get in your car, and drive by.” And I think if you spent some time doing that, I think you’d get a little bit more confident, because then you would really start connecting what rents are, and what values are, and why rents are different in different neighbourhoods, and why prices are so much different. Wouldn’t you agree?

Tuan: I would absolutely 100% agree. Actually that’s exactly what I did. I took one day a week, taking a look at what was in and around the area that I was working in at the time. A lot of people think that investment property is really, really complex in Toronto. It’s not. If you actually take a look at the number of listings that come out as duplexes and triplexes, there’s anywhere between 30-40 in the GTA typically at any given time, give or take 10 here and there. So to know the market and to keep updated with the market is not a difficult thing when you’re looking at more purpose-built properties like that. I’ll take it one step further. If you’re really interested in investment properties and you really want to learn it, go buy one. And if you can’t afford to buy one, get associated with one. Partner up with somebody who has the ability to purchase one, or get involved with managing one, even, that maybe one of your clients owns, and take a fee for that. Just to really get an idea, get a hands-on idea of what investment properties are like. And that will give you a different perspective, more value-added, when working with clients.

Glenn: Yeah. Wow. I think that’s great advice. Well first of all Tuan, thank you so much for joining me on this. But is there anything else that you’d like to add? Or maybe questions I didn’t ask or that you would like to share with our listeners just before we wrap up?

Tuan: I think the only thing that I would add is, one of the things that I’ve learned is always being learning-based. I think that one of the things is that you always need to be curious; you always want to be learning-based, and always look out for the best courses. And go to the same courses two and three and four times, over and over and over again. It’s like your Double Your Income. I can’t tell you, when you did your beta-testing, to the current form that it’s taken, how much information that I’ve gotten, and how much value I’ve gotten from each time I’ve gone to the course. It’s like that saying: “No man ever visits the same river twice,” because it’s never the same river or never the same man, or something along those lines. And I would just say continue to go to courses, and just learn about your niche as best you can.

Glenn: Right. Gather the information, learn what you need, because you know, that whole hyper-local, organic information can never be Googled. And I think it’s also a protection for people to maintain their value in the world. The more super-hyper local niche information you have, I’ll guarantee you it will never get Googled, and you’ll never lose that part of your job. But if you’re trying to just stay as a generalist, and “I’ll help you do this” and “I’ll sell this condo” and then “I’ll do that rental.” I’m seeing more and more that the public just does not see any value in the average real estate agent, but they are flocking to people with specialized niche information. And I know you’re even becoming like a celebrity now, because when people are thinking about income properties, you’re getting referred, and it’s like, “Oh, you’ve got to work with Tuan. Now he doesn’t work with everybody, so you better be really nice to him.” But it’s just a wonderful business and platform that you’ve built. So congratulations, Tuan, and thank you, thank you, thank you so much for taking time to join me on this call.

Tuan: Well, thank you, Glenn, for allowing me to be part of your world, and help me grow my business.

Glenn: Awesome. Okay. Have a great day, Tuan!

Tuan: You too. Thanks Glenn!

Glenn: Thanks again. Bye!

Closing: Thank you for listening to my 20-minute podcast on Insights of Successful Niches. My goal is to give you more financial freedom by helping you take your natural strengths to a target market of people you’d love to work with. You could find out more information by downloading my book for free for a limited time. The book’s called “The McQueenie Method: Own Your Niche, Own Your Market” and you can download it at That’s Imagine what it’d be like to spend two days with me in person to help you find your niche market. I will help you take your natural strengths and unique abilities to a target market of people you’d love to work with. You’ll build a tribe of happy clients who become raving fans of your business. So, just go to for upcoming dates. Thanks again and have a great day.

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