Think Big Movement Podcast - Jon Dwoskin Interviews Dylan Tent

Dylan Tent is a disruptor in the residential real estate space, nicknamed the heli realtor, he is changing the way realtors market, prospects and grow their business.

*E – explicit language may be used in this podcast.

Read the transcript

Jon Dwoskin: Hey, everybody. I’m Jon Dwoskin, an executive advisor and business coach. I work with successful business people who are stuck and want to take their company to the next level. Today, though, get ready to grow your business big. Very big. In just a few seconds, you’ll meet a dynamic business owner, executive, or salesperson willing to share the best practices that fuel their growth and success. Each interview is no more than 15-ish minutes long, so you can quickly learn effective tools to put into your business today. Please listen with new ears and let’s get to learning, let’s get to growing, and let’s get to thinking big.

Hey, everybody, and welcome back. Thanks for taking the time to listen to the Think Big Movement podcast today. I appreciate it. I’m really excited to have my guest on today, Dylan Tent. He is a real estate professional in Birmingham with Sotheby’s International and he is changing the way that residential Realtors approach their prospecting to business, and the way that they market their properties. He is nicknamed the Hella Realtor because of the work he does, which he’ll tell you about in more detail, and we’re going to talk about today. But his way of marketing and branding not only his brand, but the homes that he sells for his clients is incredible. I’m excited to hear his story today and for him to share his best practices and thoughts about business with you.

Dylan, welcome to the show. Thanks for being here. Fill in the gaps and tell us a little bit about you and your business.

Dylan Tent: I’m glad to be on with you, Jon. I have to say, you were an inspiration for something that really did help my business take off. If you guys know Jon, he does his business tip of the week, or the day, depending on his schedule. I am a commercial helicopter pilot. I use my helicopter to sell luxury homes all over Michigan. But more than that, I use videos to market properties and myself. Whether it’s real estate tips, which is something that Jon and I spoke about over a year and a half ago that I implemented into my regime that produced great results, or customer services and referrals.

But every time I sell a home to somebody I take them for a helicopter tour of somewhere in Michigan, and it’s the personal touches that I really think help people remember you and give you as many referrals as they can come up with.

Jon Dwoskin: So, let’s talk about that a little bit more, because it’s not typical for a residential Realtor to just hop in a helicopter with a client. I know one of the things that you do is getting in your helicopter and taking pictures of homes and going door-to-door to see if people want to sell. So talk about how you do that, ’cause I don’t think that’s a common thing.

Dylan Tent: Before I got into real estate, I was working in California on my pilot’s license. When I realized how long it was going to take and the risk I was going to have to take to make a reasonable living doing it, I looked elsewhere. So I’m flying over huge homes in Malibu, and I figured, “Hey, I bet someone could take pictures of one of those properties and sell it to the homeowner for 500 bucks. So I came back to Michigan, rented a helicopter and a photographer and photographed every home over $700,000 in Oakland, Wayne, and Livingston County, and knocked on doors all summer and sold pictures to people.

So, I’m doing that, then one of my customers that purchased a photo said, “Hey, if you get your real estate license, you can sell my house.” My first listing was over a million dollars. We did a really good job on the listing, and the video, and the marketing. My second listing was $1.3 million. Our third listing was 2.7, and I have had the blessing of marketing some really extraordinary properties over a short career for somebody that has a baby face and looks like he’s 17.

Jon Dwoskin: But tell me this, what’s the average – I don’t know if you know this number. I don’t mean to put you on the spot. Is there an average, like, when you start the business, you say, “Hey your first couple of listings, your average house will be worth X.” Do they tell you that in the residential world?

Dylan Tent: Well, I can tell you this: the average Realtor doesn’t last in the job for more than three months. Most people don’t make in a year, or sell a house in their first nine months, and if you do six transactions in your first year you’re doing pretty good. In my first year I did over 18, and this year I’m on pay summit 24 already and we’re seven months into the year. My goal by the end of the year is to be in the top seven of my company that has 143 agents, and we have the number one luxury real estate brand in the world. Our average transaction at my office is over $970,000.

Jon Dwoskin: Wow. Wow, that’s incredible. I mean, you’re tenacious. You’re doing things differently. Talk to me about how you market your properties once you get these multi-million dollar homes.

Dylan Tent: More than anything else, social media and video. So when I put a property up for sale, I have a videographer that makes videos now. We’re not the only people doing this, but I feature myself in every video and I add something fun to it. If we’re selling a lake house I’m going to be wakeboarding or doing something on a beach. If we’re selling a home with a tennis court, I’m going to have a tennis model in a tennis short skirt and I’m playing her in tennis. We want to sell the lifestyle of homes. Not just because it makes people watch the videos for longer, but the more outrageous things that I do, the more people share them on Facebook.

So, let’s say in a typical listing, you put it up for sale, in a week you get maybe 900 to 1,000 views between Realtors, Zillow, Realcom, things like that. My properties, just on Facebook in one week, will get 30 to 40,000 views just from my virtual tour videos, which is more views than every real estate website combined in one week.

Jon Dwoskin: And so, go ahead, sorry.

Dylan Tent: Well, no go ahead. You go ahead.

Jon Dwoskin: I was going to say, and that’s all from you, basically, exactly what you just said, branding yourself in the video, making it fun, and selling the lifestyle of the home.

Dylan Tent: I have personally used dirt bikes to jump over, 100 feet over, what makes it look like jumping over a house. I have used wakeboards to do flips over the wake. I have used models. I have used trampolines. In every scene, in every video, I’m wearing a custom suit, which with my baby face helps. I always dress like a professional. I got my managers and owners that work regularly call me best dressed. I feel like I have picked up a lot of leads from wearing a custom suit every single day even though it’s hot out during the summer. I’ve absolutely made it look like I take my job seriously. I like to think of it as a uniform, battle armor, right?

I have read from other top-producing Realtors that you should put 10% of your commissions back into your wardrobe. Wear them every time you go out. Wear it everywhere you go. But, recently, over Thanksgiving, you know how everybody goes to their high school reunion bar, because everyone’s come to see everybody from school, out of 100 people I talked to that night, 99 knew exactly what I was doing with my job and my career and thought it was awesome because of the videos that I post online every week.

Now, that in itself. I don’t know their names. I usually know people’s names. These are people that I went to high school with, went to a big high school, and they all go, “Man, I love your stuff online. Man, I really like it. You look like you’re really doing a great job.” When I started I was not doing … I mean, I was not doing anything. Like, I wasn’t putting big numbers up on the scoreboard, but I looked like I was. You know, perception is reality. So, you see me dressed up in a nice suit, my first listing’s big, people assume you’re that guy, right? Whether you are or not. So even if you don’t have the big listings or the big contract, act as if you do and people will start to believe you.

I don’t know that much about houses. I don’t know that much about contracts or law. But regularly, I outperform people that have been doing this for 20 or 30 years with a lot more experience than me. They know more about the contracts, but my marketing and my whole persona and my image is completely generated around “this person sells”. People start to trust that, so …

Jon Dwoskin: That’s great. I mean, it’s huge and I think people discount the power of everything you’re talking about. What I think is so incredible is that you’re an open book telling them exactly what you do and how you do it, but very few people, if any, will copy what you’re doing. Which means you’ll continue to not even have a close second behind you and continue to grow your business. So kudos to that.

Dylan Tent: That’s something you and I talked about over a year ago. You’re like, “I tell people exactly what I do, no secrets, and they don’t do it.” I spend a lot on my listings. Whenever people ask me, “What does it cost to make your video virtual tours?” I’m like, “Yeah, it’s 1,000 bucks, between 500 and 1,000.” They’re like, “Oh, that’s way too much.” It’s like, when a property sells in five days instead of 45 days, I think my time is way more valuable than the extra three or four hundred dollars I put into a listing.

Jon Dwoskin: Right.

Dylan Tent: By not having to show it 20 extra times.

Jon Dwoskin: Right. Well said. I’m just going to tell people quickly how I know you. So, Dylan’s father is the holistic doctor that I go to. He’s a chiropractor. His name is Dr. Randy Tent. He is incredible. I’ve been going to him for probably 10 years now. In his lobby, he had a poster, a flyer, that was promoting Dylan as the Hella Realtor. So I thought it was so cool and I gave him a buzz just ’cause I wanted to pick his brain. Because he seemed to be disrupting the entire marketplace.

Like you’ve said a couple times, we went for coffee over a year ago, and we just kind of shared best practices and ideas and it’s great to see you having grown your business and continue to grow your business. It’s really cool and it’s really exciting that you’re doing fun things. But, I do agree, you can tell people exactly what you do, and most people will not do it. The more transparent you are, the better it is for you because internally you have a lot of clients who want to work with you and pair up with you because you’ll do something and make them money. ‘Cause they don’t want to do it, but they’ll partner up with you, I bet.

Dylan Tent: Mm-hmm (affirmative). Your business tip of the week, which I implemented, was something that people asked me about maybe once a week, “Oh, you need to keep doing those. Those were so fun.” When I would do a real estate tip of the week, I would not make it boring. I would make it hilarious. I would make it fun for people to watch it, and more importantly, share it.

Jon Dwoskin: Right.

Dylan Tent: But we had a lot of fun making these videos. That’s one of the best parts of my job, and I’ve been slacking on it because I’ve actually been busy. But I need to carve more time out for that because it was such a strong brand presence builder early on.

Jon Dwoskin: Yeah. I’m going to tell you, and I think I shared this with you last time. For example, over the last four days, I have recorded 100 videos. So, I basically do my videos for the year in two or three days. Then I upload them and then I have some nice social media.

Dylan Tent: Yeah, I need to get on that program.

Jon Dwoskin: Yeah, you got to do that.

Dylan Tent: I’m looking at some of the other things you were looking at talking about, too.

Jon Dwoskin: Hello.

Dylan Tent: Yeah, can you hear me?

Jon Dwoskin: Yeah. I can.

Dylan Tent: Another thing you had said – well, this is important to me and one of the questions you wanted to ask me about – what my favorite was. I’m sure you’ve read it, Dale Carnegie, How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Jon Dwoskin: Oh sure, it’s a great read.

Dylan Tent: Yeah, it’s a great read. I read that when I was eight, and I’ve read it maybe four or five times since then. I listen to it in the car, absolutely great for business. My grandpa actually was a Dale Carnegie instructor back in the day.

Jon Dwoskin: Oh, wow.

Dylan Tent: And he could shoot the shit with anybody.

Jon Dwoskin: Well, that’s great. Listen, you have shared some amazing nuggets of wisdom and I am really appreciative. Can you talk a little bit about, in the last couple of minutes that we have together, how you use drones in your business?

Dylan Tent: Video is what the future of real estate will be – anybody will tell you that. It shows you a perspective of property that’s unparalleled, and I personally enjoy. You’re going to get a whole bird’s eye perspective of a property that you couldn’t get before.

One other thing I’ve done, even for my listings that are inexpensive, I hire the best photographer that I can find, even for the small properties, because it makes an even bigger difference to sell a $200,000 house by hiring a good photographer than a million because people expect it on the big listings. But when you get good photos of a home you sell it much quicker.

That doesn’t change from when I used to sell motorcycles. I always got listed prices for bikes because I took the time to prepare them properly to show. I knew my research. I knew more about each bike that I sold before somebody came over. So they couldn’t argue with me about it. It’s just, when you know your numbers and you know your marketing and stuff like that, you are the expert and you’re telling them something that they don’t know about the property.

Jon Dwoskin: Okay.

Dylan Tent: Anybody can watch somebody through a lens into a kitchen or a cabinet, but if you can tell something that they don’t know about the home or the area, a great pizza place, a story, that goes a lot further than being a drone and walking somebody through a house.

Jon Dwoskin: That’s great. So well said. Just preplan, do research, and be ready to add true value and educate all the parties within a transaction. As we kind of wrap up, any last words of wisdom? And then I want you to give people your information so they can get a hold of you if they have a home to sell or know anybody who has a residential home to sell.

Dylan Tent: What I think a lot of people don’t do, is they don’t take action. There’s people that have the best ideas ever, but they never actually implement them. I think if you try, even if it’s a crappy idea and you keep trying at it every day, you’re going to produce results, and then you’re going to figure out the good ideas. I’ve thrown a lot of stuff at the wall to see if it sticks. I dropped out of college after watching a helicopter snowboarding movie. People thought that was stupid. Not to be pretentious or anything, but I’m out-earning most of my friends that are in college walking people through houses that I know nothing about. So that’s kind of comical to me, because I tell people – even I tell the customers, too – I don’t know that much about water heaters, or furnaces, or finishes, but they like hanging around me and I fight for them to the death and make them laugh and have a good time.

Jon Dwoskin: Wow. You know what? If you can make somebody laugh, that goes a long way. So kudos to you for doing what you do, and breaking the mold, and making it fun, and disrupting the market.

Dylan Tent: One other thing you have to understand as well is, when I started this job, I’d never owned a house. Most of these people have owned four or five, six, and they have gone through four, five, six or more home inspections than I had. Four, five, six more negotiations than I had, and I would still find them off of my enthusiasm and they could tell I cared. I think experience is a little overrated at some point, and I think action and enthusiasm can take you a lot farther than experience or talent.

Jon Dwoskin: I would agree. Action, and commitment, and consistency, and being fun, and somebody that people want to be around takes you a long, long way.

Dylan Tent: Yeah.

Jon Dwoskin: Yeah.

Dylan Tent: People try stuff one time and … I go play golf with people and they’re like, “I’m not good at golf,” and I say, “You went three times this year. You think Tiger Woods got to where he was by going three times?” “Oh, I’m just not good at golf.” It’s like, “No, you haven’t done it enough.” I race motorcycles professionally and people are like, “You’re just talented.” It’s like, “No, I wasn’t before, and I did it a lot.” I was like, “If you had as much time on the seat as I do, you’d go just as faster or faster. I don’t think I’m talented.”

Jon Dwoskin: Wow. Dylan, it’s great hearing your enthusiasm and watching your career soar. Tell everybody how to get a hold of you.

Dylan Tent: Yeah, you can give me a call on my cell phone anytime. I pride myself that I answer just about every phone call unless I’m flying the helicopter. You can call me at 248-990-0356. Visit my website, which is under construction right now, but it’ll be up in about a couple days,, or email me at

Jon Dwoskin: Give your phone number one more time, you broke up a little bit.

Dylan Tent: 248-990-0356.

Jon Dwoskin: All right. Dylan, thanks for being on the show. Thanks for sharing your ideas, your thoughts, and your wisdom. Great watching your business soar, and it was great having you on the show. I appreciate it. Thank you very much.

Dylan Tent: Have a good day.

Jon Dwoskin: All right. You too. Thanks, Dylan.

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