Real Estate Agent Magazine Phoenix sat down with Jon Kichen to discuss his career and how it has evolved over the years as well as his outlook on the real estate profession.
REAM: Did you have a career in another industry before embarking in real estate?
Kichen: My previous career was selling life, health and disability insurance during the late 1970s in New York City. I worked for Mutual Benefit Life Insurance, in the New York Metropolitan area. For part of that time, I worked on the 82nd floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center. I was also working as an administrator for a health insurance processing company that processed claims for policyholders with different insurers. Both jobs taught me selling and administrative skills that I have utilized over the years. Those skills were extremely helpful when I came to Arizona in 1980 to join my parent’s real estate firm. My insurance sales training consisted of my manager handing me a rate book, a package of applications and a pen, and literally pushing me out into the streets of New York City in the summer of 1976. I decided then that if I was ever in the position to train people, I would do it with detail and integrity to help them be successful.
REAM: What one trait most differentiates between a successful agent and an almost successful agent?
Kichen: Successful agents typically have a unique skill in one area or another and they find others to assist them in areas in which they have less skill, or less passion. For example, agents that truly enjoy the sales process might not be skilled at prospecting, or an agent that enjoys working with sellers might not enjoy working with buyers. Finding someone with complementary skills can often make both agents into more successful salespeople. Another quality is professionalism, and understanding that the client’s needs far surpass the needs of the agent.
REAM: What advice do you have for a real estate agent considering becoming a broker?
Kichen: For any salesperson deciding to become a broker, the motivation should be to further their education (and skillset) and not necessarily to start their own company, as many often do. More startup real estate companies are formed for the wrong reasons and therefore, often fail. Obtaining a broker’s license (in place of a salesperson’s license) provides quality education, but does not necessarily translate into a successful business owner. As some successful agents decide to go out on their own, they often struggle with the requirements of running an office and a business and therefore, not having the time to focus on their sales career.
REAM: What do you enjoy most about your day-to-day job?
Kichen: My day-to-day job is running my real estate school Desert Sage Seminars, and consulting with company owners, brokers and managers through my consulting firm, DSRE Consulting. I utilize my acquired skillset on a daily basis through both companies. Doing so enriches my knowledge base since I also learn as I teach classes and consult with other brokers. I also serve as expert witness in legal matters relating to the real estate industry.
REAM: What are some of the benefits of active participation in the real estate community and associations?
Kichen: Involvement in local, statewide and community programs and committees provides an agent with insight that might not otherwise be gained. Having influence in what occurs in the industry is a fulfilling role. I currently serve on numerous local, state and national committees that support and protect private property rights and REALTOR® issues.
REAM: What are some of your hobbies outside of the office?
Kichen: I enjoy photography of nature and scenery. I have also taken on the role as the family archivist, working on the family tree, images and documents going back more than 100 years to share with generations in the family. I am also collaborating with my brother Steve and we are writing a book about our dad’s life and his experiences during WWII.