John Salkowski is a highly successful Real Estate Broker and Owner of The JRS Realty Group based in King of Prussia, Pennsylvania. As a lifelong resident, his path to real estate was indirect, however his growth and success have now come to the forefront.
For more than a decade, John Salkowski has been leading The JRS Realty Group as its founder, president and broker owner. He has been recognized among the Top 1% of Realtors in the nation and has been featured in the Philadelphia Magazine for client satisfaction and customer service. In addition, he is a best-selling author of the book series– Leadership in the Line of Duty and most recently Sold – Listing to Closing: The Ultimate Home Sellers Guide.
However, Salkowski’s road to real estate success didn’t happen overnight. It has been a long, arduous process with lots of learning along the way. Salkowski has always used his failures as learning opportunities. He truly believes you learn more from your failures than you do from your successes. Growing up struggling was hard however, he wouldn’t have changed it for nothing. He truly believes because of his struggles, he has found his successes.
After 15 years as a Police Officer, John finally decided to follow his passion of real estate where he believed he could have a greater impact as well as more control over his day-to-day activities.
The reason I made the switch to real estate was due to my entrepreneurial spirit and strong desire to impact and touch the lives of thousands,” he said. “I have been on my own, living here, living there and working since I was 13 – cutting lawns and snow shoveling – while my friends were out swimming, sledding and having fun like most kids this age should. Being an entrepreneur is in my DNA. I have always loved real estate. Ever since I can remember it was a dream of mine to have my own home. Real estate just felt like a natural fit to go after my dream.
How did you get started in this business? What inspired you to start this business?
John Salkowski says his entrepreneurial passion started around the age of 10 years old. He would walk around the neighborhood where he grew up, pushing a lawn mower in the summer, carrying a snow shovel in the winter or asking the elderly residents if they needed any assistance around their home. Salkowski would cut their lawn, pull weeds, spread mulch, shovel snow or just simply carry their groceries in to their home for money. Salkowski believes that his work ethic was inherent from his mother. Salkowski grew up in a poor, lower blue-collar family, with a father who was a non-functioning alcoholic and was not able to keep a job, remember getting kicked out of their home. Later on, in life he discovered that the reason his family was kicked out of their home was because his father chose to spend money at the bar instead of paying their mortgage. Salkowski can remember living here, living there until they ended up living with their Aunt. Salkowski did without most of his childhood and had to rely on others to provide for him. A feeling that he says, he never wants to experience again in his life. He says, relying on others was the most demeaning feeling I have ever had. He vowed to one day, never have to do that. He can remember thinking back, when he grows up, he never wants to struggle like his mother of 4 had to struggle. From an early age he believes his passion for success was born.
Salkowski always loved real estate. He never had his own bedroom until he was 23 years old when he rented his first 2-bedroom apartment from an elderly neighborhood friend for $600 a month.
Salkowski became a Police Officer in 1993. In 1997 he purchased his first home, which he currently still owns in King of Prussia but is now occupied by his mother for the last 18 years.
Salkowski, while on patrol was dispatched to an alarm activation of one of the resident’s homes. Salkowski can recall upon his arrival of the home, meeting the homeowner outside his sprawling gated home. The conversation was started with Salkowski introducing himself to the homeowner. As the conversation continued, Salkowski learned that the man was a self-made multi-millionaire and a high school dropout from South Philadelphia who owned a very large commercial real estate brokerage. The two talked for 2hrs. As their conversation was coming to a close, Salkowski remembers asking the man, “if you could any advice to a guy like me, what would it be’. This man suggested a book for him to read, which you will learn more about in the later chapters that he said, if you read this book, apply what it teaches, will change your life forever. The very next day, Salkowski went to the local book store and purchased the book. Salkowski admits that he is forever a ferocious reader after his encounter with this multi-millionaire businessman. This was in 2005. Salkowski retired from Police work in May 2006 and started his residential real estate brokerage, The JRS Realty Group and has never looked back since.
How do you make money?
Salkowski now earns his living strictly by commission based. Salkowski now motivates himself by saying “he wakes up unemployed every day and in order for him to eat, he must hunt”. Salkowski has read hundreds of books on sales, biographies on successful businessmen and women, marketing, leadership and entrepreneurship since leaving his previous career to discover that the highest paying jobs in the world are that of sales and commission based. He has dedicated the last 12 years of his life to mastering his craft. Salkowski admits that earning commissions keeps him hungry, motivated and on the cutting edge of his industry. Salkowski states that if he does not sell, he does not earn money. He has mastered the lead generation and conversion part of his business. However, Salkowski admits that sales people do not have the greatest of reputations in any sales industry. Therefore, he bases his life and business practices from always acting from a fiduciary position. Salkowski refuses to do business or establish any relationship without first building rapport, earning their trust than lastly, their business. Salkowski’s goal is to leave people better than he found them, in every aspect of his personal life and business life. Something he instills in his daughter’s upbringing.
How long did it take for you to become profitable?
Salkowski openly admits that starting out in real estate was no easy venture. In the beginning years, he racked up some $40,000 in debt while starting his business. As he always says, “if it’s easy, it’s sleazy”. Salkowski has always faced adversity since a young age. He knows no difference other than being inspired by the grind. Salkowski has been profitable in his business for the past 8 years or so and is proud to say that he runs a debt free business and life. Only after a lot of ups, downs and learning curves.
When you were starting out, was there ever a time you doubted it would work? If so, how did you handle that?
John Salkowski has said there have been numerous occasions that he wanted to throw in the towel and give up. To shut down his business and go back to working for someone else. Whenever Salkowski would have a moment of wanting to give up, he would step away from what he was doing to breathe, relax and think of all he was grateful for. The reminder he likes to bring up to himself is his previous career. He would ask himself, “do I want to go back to that, something I was no longer happy doing”. This statement has always put me back on track. Granted, starting, running and operating a profitable business is hard work. No one is born with this skill set. It is a skill set that is learnable with the right mentors. Since Salkowski had no one to surround himself with in the business world, he had decided to join mastermind groups as well as to attend seminars. Salkowski knew that if he wanted to be successful in business, he must learn from others that are doing and accomplishing exactly what he wanted to accomplish. Standing on the shoulders of giants in the business world changed everything for me. The decision to do this was twofold, it was the most expensive yet rewarding thing he did for himself and building his business acumen.
How did you get your first customer?
John Salkowski learned early on in his business career that he could not rely on friends and family to generate business for him. Being in business is about generating leads that you must convert to business. As I learned early on, I was not in the real estate business per say, but the business of marketing my real estate services. So, Salkowski turned to the internet. He began running ads on Google and other forums to make the phone ring. This was not a cheap endeavor. The ratio of leads to sales was about 10 to 1. 10 leads to 1 sale. Needless to say, he had to master his conversion rate. He responded to inquires within 5 minutes. Salkowski learned early that in order to be successful you must respond to inquiries faster than your competition. Hence, the 5-minute rule in his office became a Standard Operating Procedure. His lead conversion went up the quicker he responded. Early on in his career, Salkowski felt like he was on call from 9am -9pm. These are the times he would respond to inquiries. This too, is part of his company’s Standard Operating Procedure. He preaches if you want to be successful, you must out work and out convert your competition.
What is one marketing strategy (other than referrals) that you’re using that works really well to generate new business?
John Salkowski is a best-selling author of 2 Leadership books and most recently his third book entitled, “Sold – Listing to Closing: The Ultimate Home Sellers Guide” was just released late 2017. Salkowski adds that since his book has been released, he has had a high demand for home seller and home buyer seminars from the general public who are looking to sell or buy. These intimate seminars are held at his office in King of Prussia and are limited to 20 people at a time. Salkowski admits that this marketing pillar has become one of his most popular in demand lead generating systems that creates now and future business.
What is the toughest decision you’ve had to make in the last few months?
Salkowski says that being in business for yourself you are always faced with adversity and challenges. You are the guy that everyone looks too when a problem arises. Salkowski believes that you must be a problem solver in every aspect of business. One of his favorite saying is, if you want to be successful in Real Estate you must be able to solve the problems of the consumer. Problem solvers thrive in business while messengers merely leave the business. However, if you truly want to be successful in business as well as in life, you must be decisive in your decision making. Decision making is a learned skillset. You must assess the problem or issue and be quick to resolve it. Decision making as he describes in his first book entitled, Leadership in The Line of Duty is a muscle that must be exercised. How you exercise your decision-making muscle is to train yourself to quickly assess and solve a problem no matter how small the problem or issue may be. Salkowski believes that his quick to assess and solve problems in all situations that arise in business is his strong suite that he believes was truly mastered while he was a police officer.
What do you think it is that makes you successful?
Salkowski credits his success to several factors. First and foremost, his tough upbringing is what has shaped him into the man he is today. Nothing ever came easy to him. I had to work hard and earn everything I ever had and/or accomplished. Being a ferocious learning and reader, decisive decision-maker, consistent, hard work ethic, problem solver, tenacious, disciplined, determined, passionate, goal oriented, eliminates distractions, does not watch or read anything negative such as the news or media, surrounds himself around positive, successful people, implementing successful habits in life and business.
What has been your most satisfying moment in business?
Salkowski admits that leaving those he touches better than he finds them is what truly motivates him. Salkowski meets hundreds of new clients each year and his number one goal is to leave a lasting impact on those he meets. Regardless if they choose to do business with him or not. Salkowski has a true passion for inspiring others. Truly what makes him tick is solving the problems his clients have or had whether it’s with a previous unsuccessful transaction or realtor and turning it around to a successful experience. His philosophy “we succeed where others fail” is definitely a reoccurring staple that you will read when reviewing his client reviews.
What does the future hold for your business? What are you most excited about?
Salkowski has an optimistic approach to everything he does. He believes his future is brighter than ever. I have everything to be excited about because my happiness and success depends solely on me. What better way than to be in charge of your own destiny. The future is bright for The JRS Realty Group. We are expanding our company, hiring staff and recruiting agents. Our market share is growing. Our client base is growing. Life and business couldn’t be better.
What business books have inspired you?
Salkowski has been an avid reader and writer since 2008. The one book that changed his life was Rich Dad Poor Dad by Robert Kiyosaki. This is a book that Salkowski learned about when he met a high school dropout, turned successful businessman and multi-millionaire. The next book that Salkowski admits that has changed his life is Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill. Salkowski rereads this book every December. There are a few others that Salkowski likes such as Three Feet from Gold also by Napoleon Hill that teaches you how to turn your obstacles into opportunities. Last but not least is The Richest Man in Babylon by George Clason. I have read dozens of books on marketing, time management and success by the likes of authors Dan Kennedy, Jay Abraham, Brian Tracy and Tony Robbins.
What is a recent purchase you have made that’s helped with your business?
I would have to say the best decision and purchase I have made most recently that has helped my business is having my listing and buyer presentations booklets created. There is nothing more impressive to a seller or buyer than pre-selling them on you by sending them out what we call our success package in a priority envelope through first class mail prior to meeting them. How this process works is that when we schedule an appointment and only after pre-qualifying the prospect with our predetermined qualifying questions is mailing them out one of our success packages. This preempts the client on our company, our branding, our marketing strategies and more importantly how they can be better prepared when buying or selling their home.
Why did you decide to make the transition from Realtor working under another brokerage to becoming a Real Estate Broker and Owner of your own independent company?
Becoming a broker and owner of his own independent and proud real estate brokerage, as he says it, was always a goal of his. Salkowski can remember back when he first thought about retiring from police work to work for himself. Salkowski admits that it scared the death out of him. However, he remembers reading a book and coming across a chapter about fear and how to overcome it. Salkowski read that having the fear to truly live your authentic life is one of the biggest regrets one would go through when lying on their deathbed. Salkowski has learned that in order to overcome your fears, you must do the exact thing that scares you. Salkowski made a promise to himself that if he ever left his previous career, he would never work for anyone again. Salkowski no longer wanted to be an employee that made someone else live their dreams, he wanted to be his own boss so he could fulfill his. Salkowski left his previous career in May of 2006 and has never looked back. Salkowski kept his promise to being his own boss, fulfilling his own dreams by truly living life on his terms. Salkowski is in charge of his own destiny and would not change it for the world. He says, if I can do, so can you. Stop saying your trapped. If you want it, you’ll find a way or you’ll find an excuse. Salkowski has found his way.