Eric Pearson is all about entrepreneurship. He currently owns numerous successful companies, but his primary focus is Pearson Smith Realty. So perhaps it is a bit surprising to hear that when he told his mom, Judy, he was going into real estate she was practically in tears. “She wasn’t excited about it, that’s for sure! I must say, though, since that initial reaction, she has always been my biggest supporter.” He was a public accountant at the time, and while the job seemed safe, he took that “leap of faith” after buying his first house.
Like most starting out in real estate, it was not easy. He had to borrow $1,000 from his then-girlfriend and now wife, Janet, to help sustain him until he closed on his first deal. However, today he is the CEO of Pearson Smith Realty, at 35 years old, and is riding a serious wave of growth, with nearly 1,000 agents currently on staff, eagerly admitting, “I’d be lying if I said we anticipated the growth we’ve had. At the end of the day, we are definitely blessed.”
One thing that Eric has always appreciated about the business is, as he says, “With the right mindset, anyone can achieve great things in this industry. There is really nothing special about me — no ‘it’ factor, in my opinion. I was just consistent and did the activities I was supposed to do,” he says, downplaying it all, noting that routine and discipline are vital for success.
Growing Eric’s Vision
As Eric defines success, he starts off with what it isn’t: “It’s not materialistic.” For him, it’s being able to be present and in the moment with whatever is right in front of him at any given time. “If I’m working on my business, then I’m all into my business. If I’m with family, I’m all into family. That’s hard for a lot of people to have that focus with what you do,” but it is what he strives for.
A role model and inspiration in his own life was his father, Michael, who passed away in 2018. “My dad was blue-collar, worked hard, and led by example. He enjoyed life, and died way too young, for someone who loved life so much.”
When asked if he could come up with some words to describe himself, his modesty kicks in yet again. “What I would say, and it is likely that nobody would agree with me since we have had such tremendous growth…I’m rather average. I’m not the smartest, but I’m smart enough. I’m not the most tech-savvy, but I know enough to be dangerous.”
Here is where he excels: getting the most out of people. Not in a dictatorship style, but with a lead-by-example approach and put-others-first mentality. “I’ll eat last” is something he references often (taken from Simon Sinek’s book, Leaders Eat Last) when speaking about his work with agents. Eric strives to meet people where they are, not where he wants them to be. “Real estate is not a one size fits all, it’s customizable. Let’s identify your strengths and [capitalize on] them.”
Real estate became Eric’s passion. In 2011, in his first year, he closed two transactions, three listings, and seven rentals for a total of $2.5 million in sales. In 2012, he had 30 purchases, nine listings, and $15 million in sales. And then, in 2013, he began building a team. The team quickly grew to 17 agents and Eric learned some valuable lessons. First was that he was meant to help others flourish, so that meant he’d fully step out of production. Second, that if he wanted to truly grow and expand, he’d need to innovate and find ways to provide value to all agents, regardless of where they were in their career — from new agents to the top producing agents (and teams) and everywhere in between.
Then came the brokerage. Eric reached out to his uncle, Chuck Smith, with the idea of Pearson Smith Realty. “I focus on brokerage vision, recruiting, culture, and growth while Chuck (CFO) handles internal operations and financials. I couldn’t do it without him,” he says. Pearson Smith Realty formed in 2014, and five years later, they are growing strong. They have one primary objective: fairness and transparency for all agents. “Our job is to take care of our real estate agents. If we take care of them and provide them with what they need to be successful, in turn, they will take care of the consumer. When we all do that together, it’s a win-win-win!”
Pearson Family Fun
Eric and Janet were high school sweethearts and now live in Eric’s childhood home in Ashburn with their three children: six-year-old Royce, four-year-old Everley, and their eight-month-old daughter Wesleigh. They bought it from his mom and renovated it into their forever home. “I have some amazing memories here and we are hoping to do the same thing for our kids.”
Obviously, with three young children, the family keeps super busy. But the COVID-19 pandemic helped put a lot in perspective. Eric has been going back to the basics and is even doing odd jobs around the house. “You feel accomplished when you do something on your own. Not to mention,” he jokes, “I realized that my wife is more impressed when I complete a simple task around the house than anything I accomplish in business.”
Sidebar: Eric’s 3 Pillars to Success
- Protect your time! Time block, and ensure your key performance indicators take priority. By doing so, results will come, and it will lead to a great work-life balance. Never be afraid to turn down a meeting if it does not align with your goals.
- Consistency equals results! Create a business plan and attack it immediately. Waiting for it to be perfect before getting started often leads to never getting started at all. Stay laser-focused on your goals and what will get you there. It is better to be great at a few items than mediocre at many. Results take time; always be mindful of that.
- Relationships are the key to everything! Whether it is with employees, vendors, partners…you must build trust. Always make it a win-win, which is key for growth and success. Surround yourself with the right people who share your goals. How you build those relationships will determine how strong your business is and will become.