Meet Don Aldrich!
An interview with Don Aldrich, REALTOR® at Keller Williams Arizona Realty. Don serves as the Chairperson of the Finance Committee on the Keller Williams Arizona Realty Agent Leadership Council (ALC) for 2022.
1. Tell us about your background and interest in real estate.
I am a native of Maine, otherwise known as a “Maine-iac” and yes, we do have a unique language of our own. “Pahk the Cah in Ba Haba!” Maine is a beautiful coastal state in the New England region of the US. It features a stunning rocky shoreline, the amazing Acadia National Park, delicious Lobster Rolls, and a lifestyle that is unique in the Northeast. It seems that everyone in Maine wears L.L. Bean boots and fisherman’s sweaters, but I when I lived there, I was usually wearing tennis whites. I was the Captain of the Tennis Team at the University of Maine.
In fact, after graduation I actually turned down an opportunity for a Tennis Pro job in Scottsdale. I thought to myself, who wants to live there? I chose a position as a Tennis Pro at a year-round resort in Pennsylvania. Then in 1983 I was introduced to BMX biking. The national organization wanted me to move to California and work for them at BMX races.
I moved to Los Angeles during the 1984 Summer Olympics and began my career working at the United States Bicycle Association (USBA). USBA was a Bicycle Motocross (BMX) national sanctioning body based in Tempe, Arizona, and I would go to tracks throughout the country, sell racing gear and merchandise, and help them upgrade their tracks for National races. We would run races on Friday nights through Sundays. The USBA ended up merging with the American Bicycle Association (ABA), which is based in Gilbert, Arizona.
How I got into Real Estate
While in Los Angeles, I joined a running club. Many of my friends would spend their Sundays working at open houses and would ask me when I was going to start selling real estate. I thought they were crazy–I wasn’t going to spend my Sundays at open houses, I was going to the beach! But every time I would travel to BMX tracks all over the country, other people also would ask me if I was in real estate, or tell me that I was well-suited for a role as an agent. In 1986, I finally obtained my real estate salesperson’s license. After securing my license, I told my boss at the ABA that I was giving notice and was going to become a real estate agent.
I distinctly remember what he said to me. First, he said I could pick up my last check as I left that day. Then he said he had heard that real estate was a very tough industry for anyone to make a living in. Finally, he told me, “And quite frankly, I don’t think you’ll make it!” I shook his hand and said “Watch me!”
Well, his words definitely stuck with me–as motivation! In my first year I went on to sell 17 homes, and I knew I was going to be successful. Having someone tell me they don’t believe I will be successful certainly gave me that extra push to keep moving forward.
2. What specifically brought you to Keller Williams Arizona Realty?
At first I was with Coldwell Banker. I moved to Re/Max, and spent 25 years of my real estate career with them. I then hired a National real estate coach who I was coached by for 20+ years. Over that timespan being involved with that coaching company, I came to know many successful agents and many coaches located all over the country. For the last ten years I was being coached, many of those friends left Re/Max, and many of the coaches, moved their businesses to Keller Williams. And in that ten years , they all asked me to take a look at KW. Unfortunately, I kept saying no.
How I came to Keller Williams
After the crash in 2007-2008, I lost everything. But I stayed with Re/Max. Five years ago, I was visiting a friend in Chicago who is with KW. My friend asked me to go to Mega Camp, and offered to pay my way. I said no, and my friend called me stubborn. I never thought of myself as stubborn, but his words made me think twice.
When my wife and I came back to Arizona, we visited Keller Williams Arizona Realty. I knew if she was convinced about a move to KWAZ, then it would be a good thing for both of us. We both agreed KWAZ has the right coaching, culture, profit share, and the network that I needed for my career. All 25 years of Re/Max signs and equipment went right into the trash. Then I called my friend in Chicago and asked him why he didn’t tell me about KW before, and he said he did! I just wasn’t listening at the time, I was too much in my head being a part of the other brokerage.
3. What do you like most about working at this brokerage?
The systems and methods at KWAZ have helped my business increase dramatically over the past five years. By comparison, my peers over at Re/Max have seen their business decline during this same period. I think to myself, “Thank God I listened to the people telling me what I should do.”
At my previous brokerage, I was limiting myself. I would think I am a $12 million producer, maybe $18 in an exceptional year. Another agent from Re/Max came to KWAZ and wanted me to be his team’s coach. Production went from $80 million to $220 million, and we became the #19 team in all of Keller Williams. As it happened, this agent left the brokerage.
Kristan Cole our owner, was watching me, and I had started taking her classes. I became Kristan’s Scottsdale’s expansion agent, and my performance nearly doubled in my first year with her team. Agni Mitra , a former client of mine , joined me in Feb. 2020 as a buyer-agent partner and he has helped me sell more homes and improve our service to our customers. Together, we sold $ 30 million in real estate in 2021 & our 2022 goal is 80 transactions and $ 60 million in sales volume. Kristan coaches me and I also have a MAPS coach that help me pursue aggressive goals. It may take a couple years to get there, but with great support, coaching and some hard work, it WILL happen!
First, KWAZ changed my career.
Then, KWAZ changed my life–and made real estate fun again!
4. Tell us about your Committee and its focus.
I am the chair of the Finance Committee. We are currently reevaluating the market centers office fees and cost per square foot for individual offices. This is just one segment of running a large market center that we are focused on at this time.
I am looking forward to learning from David Morse and Leslie Creswell, and excited to have such a great team to work with!
5. What motivated you to accept the leadership position of your Committee?
This role will make me a better businessman. I will need to be vulnerable, transparent, and humble. I have to run my own business like a “business person.” Therefore, serving as Chairperson will help me learn and grow, and for this I am very grateful.
6. What do you hope your Committee is able to achieve this year?
My hope is that the Finance Committee is able to provide clarity around the specific financial measurements and goals for the market center. I also want to develop a sound base of knowledge that I and others can pull from to help the market center continue to grow, in a smart and profitable manner.
7. Where will we meet Don Aldrich in the future?
Coaching is a possibility as one of the many opportunities across several areas of the industry. I have a strong referral business from thousands of out of state agents that I developed over 20 years through the coaching organization and that is a good thing for future business. Living in Scottsdale has its benefits–many people want to move here! I may not be knocking on doors in 10 years, but I can help guide others on my team to do it.
I currently send out a daily inspirational BOLD LAW email and have adopted the moniker “Mr. BOLD.” I enjoy this very much, and I have been told that I should write a book of BOLD LAWS, perhaps as an accumulation of daily affirmations. Maybe it will be a best seller someday ?
Learn More About Keller Williams Arizona Realty
We hope you enjoyed this opportunity to meet Don Aldrich. To learn more about Keller Williams Arizona Realty and the many opportunities we offer for your real estate career, contact us today. Our recruiting team will be glad to speak with you about the many reasons why we believe KWAZ is the best Scottsdale real estate brokerage to work for!