Interview With CEO & Founder of Kris Lindahl Real Estate – Kris Lindahl
Kris Lindahl is the CEO and Founder of Kris Lindahl Real Estate and a Twin Cities real estate expert. After studying to be a teacher and earning his education degree at Minnesota State, Kris discovered the world of real estate. In a remarkably short time, he went from being the state’s #1 real estate agent to leading the state’s #1 real estate team under a national brokerage umbrella to founding his own real estate company and more than tripling its size in two years.
Today, Kris is a CEO, a Business Journal 40 Under 40 winner, a nationally sought-after speaker, a bestselling author, a popular podcast host, and the leader of the #BeGenerous Movement, which encourages people to follow his lead in consistently donating their Time, Talents and Treasures to the communities where they live and work.
TELL US A LITTLE BIT ABOUT YOURSELF AND KRIS LINDAHL REAL ESTATE.
I grew up in Blaine, Minnesota, which is a small town next to the city of Minneapolis. My father was killed when I was a sophomore in high school, and even though I was already a natural entrepreneur, I realized that I had to make my own opportunities. I got a degree in education but decided to get my real estate license before becoming a teacher. I quickly became the top agent in Minnesota, then started what became the top-selling real estate team in the state. Two years ago, I started Kris Lindahl Real Estate, and now we’re the number one team-owned brokerage in Minnesota and Wisconsin, and number twelve in the country. We’ve succeeded by applying a team structure to the entire brokerage, which is unique in the industry.
HOW DID YOU GET STARTED IN REAL ESTATE?
It wasn’t really on my radar until a friend suggested that I get my license soon after I graduated from college. Up until that point, I fully intended to be a teacher. Even though I started my agent career during the Great Recession, I was immediately hooked.
CAN YOU TELL US MORE ABOUT THE KRIS LINDAHL REAL ESTATE SCHOLARSHIP?
A lot of people want to get into real estate and would thrive in it, but they need the barriers lowered. We’re minimizing the cost of getting a real estate license, from classes to books. We’ve had dozens of people take advantage of this opportunity. It’s great to see so many new people with fresh perspectives entering the industry.
WHAT INSPIRED YOU TO START YOUR SCHOLARSHIP AND MENTORSHIP PROGRAM?
Our scholarship program is part of our Be Generous core value. We believe in being generous to our clients, colleagues, communities and profession. Right now, real estate doesn’t have an “apprenticeship”-type system, where people can start their careers in real estate (or switch from their previous profession) and have useful guidance along the way. Since we started the program, we’ve literally seen people get the scholarship, choose to work for us and then become a top producer within months. That’s what keeps us inspired!
CAN YOU SHARE ANY NOTEWORTHY STATISTICS OR DATA IN THE INDUSTRY AROUND THE COVID-19 PERIOD?
At the start of the pandemic, everyone expected COVID-19 to be a repeat of the Great Recession of 2008/2009. I kept reassuring people that this was different because that period started with a real estate bubble bursting, while this one had nothing to do with the real estate market. Although many sellers have sat on the sidelines, I’ve never seen higher buyer activity and engagement in my entire real estate career. The pandemic has made us all value “home” more than ever before because our homes are now our offices, our schools, our gyms, our entertainment venues, everything. With people spending more time inside, they’re searching for homes like never before. As a result, we’ve just had two of our best months ever.
I KNOW YOUR SCHOLARSHIP RECENTLY HELPED AN ASPIRING OLYMPIAN, TELL US MORE ABOUT THAT.
It’s a great story that goes back to our Real Estate Scholarship Program. Carter Nielson was a state high school wrestling champion in 2015 and was training to compete in the Olympics. The pandemic put that on hold, but his aunt saw information about our program on Instagram and forwarded it to him. He earned a scholarship and is now selling homes in the Twin Cities! Hopefully, he’ll be a huge success, and also get another shot at the Olympics.
ANY OTHER EXAMPLES YOU WOULD LIKE TO SHARE ABOUT INDIVIDUALS YOU’VE BEEN ABLE TO HELP JOIN THE WORKFORCE DURING THESE TIMES?
We’ve helped a ton of agents join our team, which has been great to see. Since the start of the pandemic, we’ve nearly doubled our number of agents.
WHAT ADVICE CAN YOU GIVE TO OTHER STUDENTS THAT ARE CURRENTLY STUDYING TO BECOME A REALTOR?
1) Don’t do things just because “they’ve always been done that way.” I’ve been pushing to move the real estate industry into the future, or even the present. There are a lot of “traditions” in real estate that don’t make sense in the age of Amazon, Apple and InstaCart. The industry needs people who think differently and understand the consumer’s need for convenience.
2) Don’t try to do everything yourself. Agents in the established system are expected to wear 12 different hats, and it doesn’t work anymore. You need to join or start a team and focus on the things you love to do.
WHAT DO YOU WISH YOU HAD KNOWN PRIOR TO GOING INTO THE REAL ESTATE INDUSTRY?
I wish someone would have told me how much I would need to invest in personal and professional development. In the beginning, I was a selling maniac. It was all about grinding, working until I was exhausted and raising the bar on transactions. That led to burnout and the realization that I needed to work on expanding my knowledge and skills. The real breakthrough was a Brendan Bouchard event, where I learned that even successful leaders who seem confident and polished, deal with Imposter Syndrome. It’s good to know that no one has it all figured out. You can always keep learning and getting better. I’ve now transferred that mentality to my team through coaching and leadership training, and it’s amazing to watch everyone grow together and stay energized.
WHAT CHALLENGES HAVE YOU FACED? HOW DID YOU OVERCOME THEM?
The first big challenge was my father’s death. You never get over something like that, but you do learn to avoid despair and find an inner strength that you didn’t know you had. Another huge challenge was the state of the economy when I started, and the fact that the entire residential real estate market had just imploded. We’re facing incredible challenges today, but people forget how bad the 2008/2009 recession was. You could hear a pin drop. Prices plummeted. Foreclosures skyrocketed. And there I was, totally on my own, trying to figure it out with no real blueprint to follow. In the end, that was a blessing because I had to improvise and do things my own way instead of following a traditional playbook.
HOW HAVE YOU BEEN SUPPORTING YOUR COMMUNITY DURING COVID-19?
I’m glad you asked this because we jumped into action right away when the pandemic hit. I saw a lot of leaders either hiding or going into a state of paralysis, and I knew that wasn’t an option. One of the first things we did was decide that this moment was about humanity first, not business. We changed billboards from a sales message to one that said “Be Generous” and asked people to buy local. We started a program to purchase gift cards from local businesses based on suggestions from our Facebook followers. We hired struggling Uber drivers to deliver groceries to people in need. We continue to look for opportunities to give back and help as many people as possible get through this and come back stronger on the other side.
CAN YOU TELL US ABOUT THE #BEGENEROUS MOVEMENT?
I’d love to! “Be Generous” is our core value at Kris Lindahl Real Estate. It’s about donating your Time, Talents and Treasures to others as a way of life. It’s the most important part of our culture. We volunteer. We donate to causes that we believe in and that our social media followers bring to our attention. We started a charitable event called The Great Pumpkin Giveaway that has become a huge tradition in the Twin Cities (we even broke the Guinness World Record for longest continuous line of pumpkins, with nearly 9,000). In every possible way, I use my platform to help others. Because what good is having a platform if you don’t use it to make people’s lives better? Most recently, Be Generous has become its own clothing line and nonprofit (www.begenerousproject.org), and we hope that the movement will grow even faster than our business.
To know more about Kris Lindahl don’t forget to follow him on social media, he active on LinkedIn @company/kris-lindahl-team @ Twitter @krislindahl, Facebook @krislindahlrealestate and Instagram @krislindahlre