Rod Santomassimo had already been very successful by the time we met in 2010. He’s played college lacrosse for one of that sport’s legendary coaches. He’d been a successful commercial real estate broker. He’d earned the Certified Commercial Investment Member (CCIM) designation held by only six percent of brokers, as well as an MBA from Duke’s Fuqua School of Business.
Rod had recently founded his coaching firm and he thought that writing a book would “validate my expertise.” He has written several articles for national publications, so he had the skills to write a book. But he realized that writing a book is a different kind of writing challenge and that having a writing partner would provide additional expertise and free up time that he needed for his growing business.
He asked people he knew for some recommendations. Mike Myatt recommended me and Rod and I hit off when we connected. Things got a little dicey when I wrote the first sample chapter. Rod hated it. But we got the style right the next time around.
The premise for the book was straightforward. Rod thought that most great brokers learned from other great brokers. He wanted to write a book that put that process on the page, but with twenty-two great brokers not just a couple.
Rod sent questionnaires to the top brokers he identified, broken down into three groups. The core of the book was a group of mid-career brokers who dominated their markets. There was a group of newer brokers who showed great promise. And there was a group he called “Game Changers,” brokers who quite literally changed the way business was done.
Each questionnaire asked for biographical and career information. That’s fairly common, but Rod also asked each broker the same questions about things like building and working with a team, using technology, prospecting, advice to a young broker, and more. We put the answers in the final portion of each profile, under the heading “In his own words” or “In her own words.” The result was scannable nuggets of good advice.
When the book was done, Rod put together a potent marketing program utilizing his blog, email, social media, and more. He collected dozens of endorsements for the book. There was an initial marketing campaign that sold out the first printing in a couple of months. Today Rod continues to promote the book as part of his regular marketing. Brokers Who Dominate currently ranks number one on Amazon for “commercial real estate broker” and consistently in the top five for “commercial real estate.”
Publication of the book kicked off a virtuous cycle of promotion through speeches and articles and coaching. Rod’s firm, the Massimo Group, is far larger today than it was when the book was published. When I interviewed him, Rod described all the things he’s done to grow his firm, then he concluded with this:
“certainly there’s a lot more that goes to our growth besides the book, but I will tell you, if someone said, ‘Rod, name the one thing that really turned the corner for your firm,’ I would say it’s the book. I would absolutely say it’s the book.”
In his own words: Rod Santomassimo’s advice for anyone thinking about writing a book.
“Look, it’s blood, sweat, and tears, locking yourself in a room for months after months and not seeing your family, feverishly looking over the book and making sure every detail is correct before you get it out. The book’s got to be your passion.”
“Writing a book is a major project, and like all major projects, you can’t do it by yourself. Get help.”