Admit it… When you hear about an agent involved in one of those absurdly large, news-making real estate transactions, it’s easy to let envy creep in to your thought process and tell yourself things like…

…They’re one of the lucky ones.

…They must have known the right person.

…Or they didn’t earn it, etc.

Then you meet someone like Jon Grauman and hear his story – filled with all the same struggles new agents face – and you realize he’s worked extremely hard to get where he is today.

Earlier this year, that work paid off when Jon was involved in the eighth-largest real estate transaction in Los Angeles history… 822 Sarbonne Road in Bel Air, which closed for $75 million.

And he’ll tell you that transaction took tons of skill, patience, adaptability, perseverance and dedication to get closed.

In today’s blog, I’m digging deeper not only into the story behind this sale, but Jon’s journey as a whole. Let’s go!

Things Didn’t Start Exactly as Jon Planned

After eight years in the mortgage industry, Jon turned his sights to real estate sales in 2011. He quickly learned that his mortgage experience didn’t necessarily translate to instant success in sales.

Or any success, for that matter.

“I had no sales my entire first year,” he says. “I starved for that whole time.”

He admits it was a year full of collapses and “many dark moments,” but here’s the key… He never gave up. He continued putting the building blocks in place to grow his business.

“I was determined enough that I knew I would ultimately get where I wanted to be,” he says.

Starting to Gain Traction

Having come from the mortgage industry, the vast majority of Jon’s contacts came from other real estate professionals, so he couldn’t burn those bridges when he transitioned to sales. As a result, he had no book of business to work from.

What to do? He went all-in on Open Houses and eventually began building relationships and helping people buy and sell properties.

“I sat every Open House I could,” he says.

But that’s not all he did. Jon did his homework and prepped for them. He’d reach out to other agents asking about pocket listings or homes that might be hitting the market soon. Why go to all that effort?

“Buyers coming in are more knowledgeable than you are,” Jon says. “We used to be the gatekeepers, but with so much information readily available online, you gotta know your shit.”

Jon says because most Open House attendees aren’t going to purchase that property, you always need something to pivot to, ideally something off-market.

He also said his key to Open House success was that he never tried to “sell” people. Instead, he aimed to build rapport and provide value… to show people how he can help them.

“You need to be a local market expert,” he says. “If you’re not, why are people paying us so much money?”

An Eye-Opening Revelation

Jon considers attending the 2014 Success Summit a major turning point in his career.

At the time, he and his fiancé, Lauren, both worked in real estate, but had resisted joining forces professionally. Through the course of the event, Jon recognized an important truth: His ambitions out-sized his current ability to serve.

“At the Summit, I realized this isn’t a one-man job. You cannot do this job at a high level by yourself. Period, full stop,” Jon recalls. “There are too many touchpoints in every transaction to do it all yourself.”

He picked up the phone and urged Lauren to quit her current role and come work for him.

She agreed, and together they embarked on the next chapter of their journey.