In this episode of In The Know, Oliver Graf sits down with MEGA entrepreneur Scott Duffy.

(Click The Video Below To Watch)


In this episode, Scott talks about the 3 things you can do to become a mega producing real estate entrepreneur.

Scott is a business growth expert who has spoken at the NYSE and been featured on numerous media outlets including CNBC, FOX News, CBS Radio, and his own show “Business and Burgers” in partnership with Microsoft. He was also named a “Top Keynote Speaker” by Entrepreneur and Forbes.

Here is how the video breaks down:

1:23 How this dude sold his last company to Sir Richard Branson!!!
3:23 Scott’s analogy of what it means to be in “flow” in business and in life
4:25 If you do this ONE thing you are 90% ahead of everyone else out there
5:30 What Scott has learned from interviewing top entrepreneurs from around the country
6:42 The #1 characteristic he’s noticed in all successful entrepreneurs
8:28 How Scott’s mom became a top producing real estate agent in Los Angeles with over a billion dollars in RE sales
10:00 Mindset and surrounding yourself with leaders when things get tough
12:00 The problem with having too many “hammers”
16:18 Scott’s secret formula for staying focused
17:26 The power of mindset: Believe you can buy the rainforest
19:40 How to massively shortcut your way to success


How to Become A Mega Producing Real Estate Agent – In The Know With Scott Duffy

Intro: Welcome to another episode of In the Know. I am here at Pelican Hill Resort in Newport Beach and I’m really excited to be interviewing Scott Duffy. He has been featured on Ink Magazine, Entrepreneur Magazine and has a current partnership with Microsoft. We’re going to be talking about the top three things that you can do to develop your skills and become a mega producer and how he sold his last company to Richard Branson and the Virgin group, you don’t want to miss this.

Oliver Graf: Sitting here with Scott drinking a Peroni, a nice fine Italian lager and Scott’s got his triple Mocha chino[Laughs]. You’re always working on a lot of really cool projects which I think is awesome. I think it’s inspiring for the people that are watching you on your journey. You started a company and sold it to Virgin and Richard Branson. So tell me about that because that as an entrepreneur is one of the coolest things I’ve ever heard.

Scott Duffy: I started a business that was like Expedia but for private jets and so people could go online and if they flew private jets instead of having to call a broker or look in the air charter guide, what you could do is you could go online to our site, you could do a search, find the inventory and book it from there. That was the idea. You never know where opportunity is going to come from, right and the call I got was from a guy… So when I met my wife, she lived in New York. I was in LA. I would travel back to see her, and one time I traveled back, went out with a bunch of people, we went to this club. Afterwards we went to have something to eat and the guy next to me was on Richard Branson’s reality TV show. He didn’t win but they really loved him, he was an amazing guy. They end up hiring him and his job was to like look for businesses to invest in or things to start so I get a call. It’s on Saturday night, hey Scott I’m in a party right now and I’m talking to somebody about private jets. We want to get into private aviation and the person says hey do you know a guy named Scott Duffy in L.A., he is working on a thing and you should talk to him before you do anything.
So he says if you’re the same Scott Duffy working on this project would you give me a call on Monday?

Oliver Graf: Wow.

Scott Duffy: So I did, right. I picked up the phone, I called. I said what’s up? He said here’s what we want to do, would you let RBD, our business development group pitch you next time you’re in town in New York and I said no problem. He said when you are in New York? I said dude, it just so happens I’m there tomorrow. And he’s like really? That’s great. Let me set something up. So obviously I’m not supposed to be there tomorrow, I get on the red-eye, I go to New York and I meet with the guys. Right.

Oliver Graf: So you had no plans to go there?

Scott Duffy: No, of course I didn’t. I meet with the guys and we did our thing and anyway… So that meeting and follow-up so what happened over the next few months is what led to the deal of Virgin. You know I think that in life you know like my friend Gary Goldstein says, he’s like, if you have a dream or you have an opportunity, you have to chase that thing down when you get a break, like it’s the last bus of the night. I think of it in the context of “flow” and the way I think about flow is, let’s say your water-skiing and if you water-ski, what happens is there’s a wake that develops behind the boat and basically what that is, is you’re riding in rough water but the boat creates this really smooth stream and that’s where you ski and that’s when you’re in flow. That’s when the guy calls and says would you come and meet with us? But here’s the thing, what happens when we’re skiing is, we take ourselves outside the wake, right. And we go, we ski in the rough water okay. So it’s a little bumpy, it’s a little choppy but here’s the thing, now you want to get back in flow. You want to get back in the wake and you have to go over some really rough water to do it. So it always happens that’s where most people fall, right.
So I think that when we’re in flow, when we have the opportunity we have to hit that thing so hard, stay in flow, makes it happen. You know what’s really cool about being in the real estate business is that, if you just show up, you’re 90 percent ahead of everybody else out there. That’s the person in this business that absolutely crushes it.

Oliver Graf: Yeah, they’re winning every day because they show up. They do the work and to your point real estate has kind of a chronic reputation of showing up late, not returning phone calls and those are the fundamentals… if you just show up every day and at least do the fundamentals, you can at least get yourself 90% there.

Scott Duffy: Yeah and by the way you’re lapping everybody that’s just hanging out on the couch.

Oliver Graf: Oh yeah for sure. They’re sitting at home watching The Today Show and you’re already in there making phone calls like you’re going to win. Right now what are you most excited about. What’s the exciting project that’s kind of like driving you?

Scott Duffy: I think the most exciting thing is our show, Business and Burgers, because it’s also so much fun. Business and Burgers is a search for the best burger in America and we say aside of tasty business advice (check out Scotts episode of Business and Burgers where he interviews Oliver and Sam). Basically what we do is, we go to one new city every month and we hit the best restaurants and brew houses and pubs and while we’re there, we just interview the top local peeps about the lessons that they’ve learned in business. What’s really awesome about the show is you start to notice patterns when you interview top performers. I think that the number one pattern, the number one thing that I’ve seen, it’s been consistent across like all these amazing people that we’ve talked to is, this incredible passion for learning. That’s what it is, like the single most… that connects everybody is this passion for learning. Today change is exponential and things move so quick. Here’s an interesting fact. A hundred years ago, so in 1917, the average male in the U.S. lived to be 49 years old. That’s it, 49. I’m 47, I mean that’s pretty scary.

Oliver Graf: You are creeping up on death’s door then? [Laughs]

Scott Duffy: No, so here’s the thing, a hundred years ago being awesome at one thing that may have been enough. That thing that you went to five years ago. Like the thing that you were best, your silver bullet, like the thing that always worked. Your superhero power, that thing five years ago, that is your baggage today. And so this idea, this passionate for learning and staying on top of things to keep a step ahead, I think that’s really important and it’s the number one pattern that I think I found in our guests.

Oliver Graf: So it’s just the pursuit of always getting better, always improving, always thinking, growing, challenging yourself, putting yourself in uncomfortable new situations…

Scott Duffy: Yeah and… So I have a book called “Launch” and it’s all about launching your businesses and products and services and the most common question that people ask me that have read the book is what do I do next? What happens now, I’ve put all of my energy into getting my new business right or my new whatever it is off the ground, now what? Think about how do we create breakthroughs? To me innovation is a hard work breakthrough. It’s something kind of magical and so how do we continue to create breakthroughs that keep us ahead of the competition both personally and in our business and what’s really cool is that when we can teach the people that we work with or that work for us, how to create their own breakthroughs, that’s when the real magic happens.

Oliver Graf: In regards to innovation and a pursuit of improving, what would you say to someone that was like brand-new in the real estate business and kind of just looking for a path on which way to go because the industry changes a lot, real estate is changing a lot. There’s the new stuff with Zillow that’s happening. Amazon is about to roll out a new real estate service. So things are kind of always changing and moving and to your point on innovation, what would you say to that agent that’s kind of like newer in the business that’s looking to kind of figure it out?

Scott Duffy: Can I talk to the agent that’s older in the business first?

Oliver Graf: Yeah, absolutely.

Scott Duffy: And then we’ll talk to the new one. So my mom… my whole family’s in the real estate business. I’ve been in the real estate business and by the way the real estate business is like the ultimate business for entrepreneurs, right? You’ve got your own business and my mom has sold about a billion dollars in residential real estate in Los Angeles.

Oliver Graf: Which is crazy. You were saying she’s one of the top producers ever?

Scott Duffy: Yeah, I mean she’s amazing. We talked about that thing you were great at five years ago, being your baggage today. I think that what happens is people who are good at something like real estate, they tend to want to rely on what worked for them in the past versus learning that new skill.

Oliver Graf: They get complacent.

Scott Duffy: They get complacent or may be what happens is they don’t get complacent, what they do is they work more and they work harder at the same thing that no longer works. So they’ll tell you, they’ll look at you and they’ll say what are you talking about? I work my tail off. I’m the first person here I’m the last person to leave but it just isn’t working, right. So it’s not just about the younger person or the old person. If you’re a younger person in real estate, I think it’s all about putting yourself around the right mentors. Sometimes being an entrepreneur can be a really lonely job. You have highs and lows, you have ups and downs. I’ve been in real estate. You may have periods where you’re not making a sale, you may have periods where it feels like you’ve reached a plateau and you can’t get off of it, right? And so what I always think to myself is how do you put yourself around a group of like-minded people and ideally leaders that will help you to keep your mindset where it needs to be when things are tough. Like so you want to learn how to play tennis, what would you do? You probably hire a coach, okay. And the coach will teach you how to hold the racquet and they would stand on the same side of the net as you and they would like lob balls to your forehead and your job is simple, all you have to do is like swing and knock the ball over the net. That sounds really easy right?

Oliver Graf: Learn the motion.

Scott Duffy: Learn the motion but here’s the thing, you totally suck and the reason that you suck and you can’t get it right is you have to think about it and thinking gets in a way of real graceful movement. So you miss and you miss and you miss, until one day boom, you hit it perfectly. Like you always knew how to do it before. Here’s the problem. The problem is when that moment happens, what most people think is that they’re ready to compete. But keep in mind, up until this point your coach is on the same side of the net and they’re lobbing balls to your forehead.

Oliver Graf: You just got in the game.

Scott Duffy: You just got in game. Now you have to learn how to move side to side so what happens is, you had the slight increase in performance and now with a new skill, there’s a little bit of a decrease but you plateau and so there’s a plateau that’s a little bit higher than the one before it. So what I always say is, you have to understand when you’re on that plateau and it’s okay because that’s when all the growth and all the progress is taking place. Think this way, think we’re going to plateau and go, we’re going to plateau and go and stay in that mindset.

Oliver Graf: It’s good advice.

Scott Duffy: It’s the coffee.

Oliver Graf: Yeah, must be. [Laughs] You put together a 90 day launch plan, tell me about what that would look like for someone in real estate? Like how could they do a 90 day launch plan starting today?

Scott Duffy: Starting today… well I think that the biggest mistake that entrepreneurs and real estate agents make and it’s really one and the same because like I said entrepreneurs, realtors, the same person right, is they focus on too many things at once. I call this “hammers and nails syndrome” and here’s what I mean. Let’s say I give you one hammer and one nail and your job is simple. All you have to do is hold that nail, bring that hammer back and drive that nail into a piece of wood, like really nail that one business. Now the odds are you may miss the first time, you may miss the second time but eventually I’ll bet that you’re going to nail it. So let’s say I give you two hammers and two nails, you got a problem. Who is going to hold the nails? Now so you find somebody crazy enough to do it, you have to hold a hammer in each hand bring them both back at the same time and strike and the odds are, you’re going to miss the first time, the second, the third time, you may never get it right. Let’s say I give you ten hammers and ten nails, you get the point. Don’t focus on everything, focus on one thing, really nail that one thing and then move on to the next. And if what you need to help with understanding is, what is that thing, that’s where big block comes in. Look to your coaches and look to your mentors and they’ll help guide you along the way.

Oliver Graf: As a third party observer, what would you say really catapulted your mom into the stratospheric level of top producer, mega producer? How did how did that happen for her?

Scott Duffy: Well I think it’s a few things. I think one is, my mom developed a very high end clientele and she was incredibly discreet and that was number one, in a city in an industry where everyone talks, she never did, alright. That’s number one and so she built trust. That’s number one, number two is my mom really paid attention to the details. My mom is a phenomenal negotiator and she’s not afraid to walk away. I think that, that’s probably one of the greatest things I ever saw with my mom, is my mom would walk away from stuff and I’d be like, what are you doing? You’re crazy and she’d laugh, she’d be like they’re going to come back and if they don’t come back it wasn’t meant… so my mom was very good at that. This is probably first on the list is my mom is great at mindset and I think that in the real estate industry like we were talking about earlier, we have highs and lows, we have ups and downs.
I can remember from my own personal experience, you have a property that goes into escrow in those next 30-60-90 however many days, that pain in my stomach about… or I’m not even sure what that feeling is, right. There’s a Yiddish word ‘shpillkies’ and it needs those nervous knots in your stomach about is this going to close or is it not going to close.

Oliver Graf: The anxiety, the stress…

Scott Duffy: The anxiety, the stress, it freaking sucks, right? But my mom was very good at channeling her mindset and then when things didn’t work, she was very good at getting things back.

Oliver Graf: So that’s really cool that you had that kind of sideline perspective on kind of watching her career… I just want to take what I think I heard you say and summarize… #1 The Devil is in the details right? She always looked out for her clients and always, I mean there’s nothing better that you can do for your clients then literally put yourself in their shoes and act like you were the one buying or selling the home and that’s when you’re really going to catch those little things. You’re going to notice the little details, the things that maybe don’t look right… #2 and then number two was the negotiating skills, right. One of the best things you can always do is not to be attached to the outcome and not be afraid to walk away, right? If you’re not attached to the outcome, if you’re not in there like begging for the deal, people can sense that and if you’re not attached and you’re not worried about walking away then that just gives you an upper hand at the negotiating table….  #3 The last thing I heard which I really like and I think is critically important and I think a lot of people underestimate is just the mindset of what it takes in real estate and managing those ups and downs. And is there a process that you go through, when you’re feeling down or you’ve had a bad day or deals are not going your way, that you kind of implement to get yourself back on the right track.

Scott Duffy: Yeah, so what I do is, I actually have a list of questions and I keep a list of two or three questions and I’m almost 50 years old and I still keep questions on my mirror in my bathroom. They’re questions… like they’re just a reminder and so what happens is, the more you say those questions, the more you practice those questions, it becomes your automatic response. Just start asking them, it’s like building a muscle you know and once you build that muscle and it’s strong… and by the way if you go sideways and you get lazy or something happens and you go into that negative question mode, once you start again muscles have memory and you can bounce right back.

Oliver Graf: I love the idea of the repetition just to kind of ingrain it into your head; obviously affirmations, things like that to just kind of visualize the situation changing or whatever so you can kind of get yourself into the state that you need to be in to close deals, to make things happen because if you’re not a hundred percent in it, or you’re only doing it because you’re desperate for a cheque, like that’s going to show through and it’s going to hurt you a lot more than it helps you. One story and I think this was from Necker Island that you told us a while ago me and Sam, that I thought was awesome and just shows the power of mindset, was the I’m gonna buy the rain forest story. So can you tell us that one more time because that’s a great story?

Scott Duffy: Yeah, sure. So I was invited to a Virgin CEO conference on Necker Island which is Richard’s home and I was totally pumped to be there and I remember the first night when it was time for dinner, I remember I got my food and I was looking for a place to sit. I saw Richard sitting down, went and sat next to him on the beach and he was on the phone and he was negotiating something. It was totally passionate and it seemed like everybody else that was just sitting there with us knew what it was he was trying to buy. So when he got off the phone, I asked him. I said what is it that you want to buy. He said this, the rain forest. And I’m like the rain forest… which one? And he said the Amazon and then I remember just like saying… I don’t know it just came out, I looked at him and go that’s impossible. By the way, when dealing with people, with these mindsets like Richard Branson or Tony Robbins or the guys that we just listen to, Sara and Jessi, you never say anything is impossible. So I remember him saying, he said you want to learn how to buy rainforests, I’ll teach you how to do it and the first thing you have to start with whenever you have a big goal is, what is your why? Why are you doing this? Because here’s a thing, being in business is tough. Being in any kind of business can be tough and if you don’t know why it is you’re doing this, if you’re not truly rooted in purpose then when things get tough, it’s too easy to quit. So Richards why was he wanted to stop deforestation and protecting the animals of Amazon, pretty cool.

Oliver Graf: Very noble cause.

Scott Duffy: Very noble cause. Now that we know why, the next question is how are you gonna do it? And so Richard said to me, he said that’s our why, do we really have to own the rainforest or could we lease it? Now for me that was like a huge shift in thinking. Instead if we could lease it and you got me in the room with a willing seller or leaser, do you think I could negotiate a good deal? I said of course man, Richard I’d bet on you. And so he said so okay here’s the third thing and this is where most people get stuck, how are we going to finance it and I remember that the people that were all sitting around starting to throw out names of people that were in Richard circle or they had really huge wealth, saying what if this guy or that guy or this girl or that girl and Richard putting up his hand and saying look, what if it didn’t matter if you gave a dollar or a dime effectively crowdsourcing buying the rainforest. And here’s the point, in less than like five minutes buying the rainforest seemed easier than eating a bowl of soup. If you have the right mindset, you have the right people, you put the right resources around you, you can achieve virtually anything that you dream.
But then the question is this, how do you start and it’s with one hammer and one nail. When you’re in real estate, it’s picking that one thing. Getting good at that one thing and then moving on to the next.

Oliver Graf: To have that sort of vision and to be thinking that big must have been like an incredible experience to see for you live, firsthand like that.

Scott Duffy: You know it’s really important for all of us if we have big goals, just surround ourselves not only with people that have big vision but people that are able to execute a big vision.

Oliver Graf: Mindset wise, work ethic wise, skill level wise it’s all going to a whole another level… and to get yourself to that level, you’re going to shortcut your way to success by hanging out with those people that are already there. The ones that are already doing it… then just observe and follow what they’re doing… that’ll shortcut your success as opposed to sitting around and kind of trying to formulate a plan with all the people that have never done it before. That’s how to get yourself to that next level.

Scott Duffy: That’s right and you don’t have to be a 10 million dollar producer. The thing is your big vision doesn’t have to be somone else’s big vision. Your big vision maybe I want to be a $50,000 producer, I want to be a $100,000 producer because for me and for my life and what I can get from being that, that is what I want and that’s awesome. Live in that space. Communicate to you, into Sam this is what I want, and then I know you can help them to build a roadmap.

Oliver Graf: Absolutely and then just show up, follow the roadmap, network up, work on your skills, try to immerse yourself in the details and really go above and beyond for your clients and really focus on developing that mindset to where you really believe that you can go out there and buy the rain forest and I promise you you’ll be unstoppable.

Thanks a lot Scott really appreciate you coming out today. Cheers, enjoy that coffee and now you are In the Know.


Let us know if you have any questions or if you have any ideas of future guests for the IN THE KNOW: The Oliver Graf Real Estate Show.

To learn more about Scott, visit his website at

Also, you don’t want to miss the episode of his show Business and Burgers, Creating a New Real Estate Culture, where he interviews Oliver Graf and Sam Khorramian:

To your success,

Oliver Graf

Oliver Graf
Co-Founder/President Big Block Realty & Real Estate Agent Trainers
Two Time Inc. 500 Entrepreneur