Danny Davis is the Broker/Owner of San Diego Brokerage. San Diego Brokerage is the culmination of Danny’s experiences over nearly two decades in residential real estate. San Diego Brokerage helps home sellers and buyers analyze the financial and emotional/lifestyle elements of a move while going above and beyond to make the process easy for them every step of the way. Danny’s focus is on cultivating long-term relationships with his clients, building trust for help, advice, and referrals long after the sale is complete. Danny and his clients build a life-long bond predicated on reliability, reciprocity, and genuine connection, which is a key attribute to Danny’s value proposition for success.
Where did the idea for San Diego Brokerage come from?
My career in real estate began when one of my college roommates had become a mortgage lender – in 2001 he was the first person I knew who had a cell phone. Chatting about real estate one day something about the industry struck a chord for me. The concept of helping others build security and wealth through homeownership became my passion.
I grew up modestly in the small northern California town of Lodi. Knowing that I wanted to see the world and signed on to join the Army when I was 17 years old. I quickly ascended to the revered Army’s Honor Guard. My plan had always been to build a career in the professional sector, so once my military service was over, I took advantage of the Army College Fund and GI Bill and enrolled at SDSU to study business and hospitality. Between the end of my military service and the beginning of college, I moved to Florida where my best friend and I bought an old Dodge RV. We traveled together from Florida to San Diego and had quite an adventure. Life in San Diego proved to be more difficult than I had anticipated while working 3 jobs and attending SDSU full time, all while living in an RV. Before long, the RV broke down and we began amassing parking tickets and shortly after, it was impounded. Living on cold public beach showers and free Belmont Park churros was growing old, so I found an apartment to share with college friends and put my nose to the grindstone pounding out my degree. In 2001, I graduated with my BA in Business and set off to begin my career.
Not long after that in 2002, I joined a powerhouse team of realtors out of a Re/Max office in La Jolla and quickly became the top-performing agent on my team. For several years, I was the team’s top-performer and eagerly soaked up all of the knowledge, expertise, and experience I could. I had immense gratitude for the transformation I was seeing in my own life and the transformations I was able to help others achieve.
Finally, the time came to move on and lead a team of my own, so I made the move to a Keller Williams franchise where I spent a lot of my time coaching other agents. I quickly realized what most of the big brokerage houses are all about; building a downline, training in sales strategy, and learning to speak in rehearsed scripts. To me, this degraded the profession I had come to love and switched the emphasis from client-first to agent-first – something that didn’t sit right with me. Before long, I chose to leave Keller Williams to start my own brokerage so that I could establish my own company culture, one that emphasized giving back, community involvement, and putting my client’s well-being and goals at the forefront of every single thing my company did. This is when San Diego Brokerage was born!
What does your typical day look like and how do you make it productive?
I start my day by arriving at my office before 8 am. The first thing I do is create a to-do list, then respond to emails and messages. The next several hours is a flurry of internal and client meetings, phone calls, and appointments. I keep my notepad by my side everywhere and every important thing that comes up gets written down on my list. Later, I end my day back in my office by returning calls and emails, reviewing my to-do list, organizing my desk, and finally looking out at the ocean for a moment of meditation before I lock up and head home to spend the evening with my beautiful family. Some days a routine is a grind and others it’s your anchor during rough seas. This routine and structure are what keeps me productive – I have a system to stay organized, a method for keeping control over my time, and strategies to manage stress – such as meditation and mind-clearing exercises – for moments when my focus and drive are lower.
How do you bring ideas to life?
My secret weapon for bringing ideas to life is undeniably my team. I surround myself with bright, motivated, creative people who can take inspiration from an idea or notion that I share with them and they completely flesh it out, build upon it and bring it to life even bigger and better than I’d imagined.
What’s one trend that excites you?
There’s a trend, an awakening really, in marketing that requires authenticity, genuine connection, service, and transparency. I think this is the greatest thing ever to happen to the business world, especially for service-based businesses. Consumers are now every bit as attracted to WHY you do something versus WHAT it is that you do. When you’re able to bond with clients in this way, it creates loyalty and referral business from clients whom you love working with.
What is one habit of yours that makes you more productive as an entrepreneur?
Being proactive rather than reactive is a powerful habit to develop. A habit to break is sitting back and waiting for the business to come to you. I have seen it many times where people will sit and wait for an influx in business and then complain when their calendars or rosters are not full. I challenge this by coming into the office every day and when I feel there isn’t enough work to be done in one avenue of my business, I find a way to channel that focus into another avenue of my business to create synergy between our projects. I not only have to develop successful habits for myself, but I have a role to play in inspiring successful habits with others on my team.
What advice would you give your younger self?
I would give myself a pep talk I needed badly at several points in my younger years. Those pep talks would sound something like this – “It’s going to pay off.” “Stick to it.” “Your grind leads to your ultimate happiness.”
Tell us something that’s true that almost nobody agrees with you on.
This is something that has more to do with confidence than whether people necessarily agree. In business as in all areas of your life, you have to be yourself. If you are yourself and you’re genuine, it’s going to come across that way and if it doesn’t come across the right way to certain people, then those are probably people you don’t want to do business with. You only have one life, there are so many people out there pretending to be something you’re not – who wants to spend their life pretending to avoid judging? I want people to judge me, I just want them to judge me based on who I really am.
As an entrepreneur, what is the one thing you do over and over and recommend everyone else do?
I meditate daily. Obviously, meditation has to do with breathing. I think it’s very important that when you get overwhelmed that you take a step back from everything so you don’t respond poorly. Meditating allows you to take a step back and clear your mind. Meditating doesn’t mean necessarily sitting cross-legged on the ground for an hour – often for me it just means leaning back, closing your eyes, and giving yourself the opportunity to breathe and respond rationally. It’s just like in an argument with your spouse – if you respond brashly at the moment, it’s likely that that argument is going to escalate and no one is going to win. If you take a step back, breathe, and get into a better headspace, 9 times out of 10 – hell 10 times out of 10, you’re going to be able to come up with a resolution that works for everyone.
What is one strategy that has helped you grow your business?
Consistency. Do it even though you don’t want to, or you’re scared. The only way you’re going to grow your business is by being consistent with your actions. Realize that working and helping people is not a punishment, it’s a celebration and a great privilege. Breaking bad habits is a mental game. Interrupt the pattern and have an honest conversation with yourself. You’ve got to be as assertive with yourself as you would with someone else – even more so because it’s so easy to keep recreating that bad habit – maybe it brings you pleasure in the instance that you’re in – but you’re mentally damaged afterward. Consider the consequence of the bad habits, project yourself in those shoes, and consider the action you’re about to take through that lens.
What is one failure you had as an entrepreneur, and how did you overcome it?
I had an interesting mistake that I made and it’s around staying within your wheelhouse. I took 7 new construction listings in a rural area outside of San Diego that was outside of my usual market when there was only 1 house that had been built, and 6 of them were still under construction. The developers wanted me to hold open houses every day in the model home. I let them set the expectations and I didn’t sell any of the houses. I was driving over an hour each day and it was a huge waste of time. I didn’t ask for a marketing budget because I didn’t want to lose the listings. Lesson learned – Stick to your wheelhouse and don’t allow outside influences to make up your mind for you. Don’t allow outside influences to curtail how you do what you know you’re the professional at. Make your own decisions, decide if it’s the right situation for you. Don’t allow money to talk when it’s going to cost you more time, effort, and energy than it’s worth.
What is one business idea that you’re willing to give away to our readers?
One business idea would be to create a water brand called “Dumb Water” and place it right next to “Smart Water” at a lower price. The slogan would be something along the lines like, “Don’t be dumb and pay more for water.” Something to think about.
What is the best $100 you recently spent? What and why?
I recently purchased a play kitchen set for my daughter. I bought this set because I get to see her enjoying fun while learning new skills through play and it’s an incredible experience to watch. It’s also the worst $100 I spent recently because it took me 6 hours to set it up. Everything’s a balance, right?
What is one piece of software or a web service that helps you be productive?
Hands down, my CRM is the one piece of software I couldn’t run my business without. In a sales-oriented service-based business, your contacts are your lifeline. I use my CRM to organize my contacts, to stay on top of follow-up, to track client engagement, to get information and content out to my database, and to make sure everyone on our team is in the loop with our clients.
What is the one book that you recommend our community should read and why?
The book that comes to mind that has made a significant impact on me is “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People.” This book provides the basic principles that can guide each and every person to succeed in their own way. It’s a great framework to work off of.
What is your favorite quote?
I ride my peloton in the morning and there are certain things that are said to me from the coaches on peloton – there are certain things that I find inspirational and when I get off my bike I write them on my board. My quote right now would be “Find things that move you on a daily basis and use them constantly.” I think one quote would get tired, but if you keep finding ways to get new inspiration, words that you can think about that will change your perspective or create your day, why not do that every day.
- Being proactive rather than reactive is a powerful habit to develop.
- The only way you’re going to grow your business is by being consistent with your actions.
- Find things that move you on a daily basis and use them constantly.
Carlyn runs the day-to-day publishing operation here at ideamensch and interacts with our awesome customers and entrepreneurs. She is likely editing this with a cat on her lap.