Branding is the topic of Omaha Realtor, motivational speaker, and author Van Deeb’s next as yet untitled book.
“I believe that in our new world in the business climate we are successful because of the way we brand ourselves,” Deeb said. “I think you’ll see more and more people brand themselves and not just sit back and wait for the phone to ring. I want to help people with that because that’s what I’ve been doing my whole career.”
Deeb’s career began in the early 1980s when he received a marketing degree from the University of Nebraska at Omaha and then enrolled in a real estate specialty school in Dallas in 1983.
Deeb remained in Dallas — which was the No. 1 real estate market in the U.S. at that time — for 10 years. To build a list, real estate students are advised to call everyone they know and tell them they are in real estate.
“I had no one, so I had to start from scratch and organically create customers without any resources,” Deeb said.
Deeb moved back to Omaha in 1993 where he started Deeb Realty out of his 200-square-foot basement. He slowly added agents, eventually bringing on 350 agents and becoming recognized as one of the largest independent real estate firms in the Midwest.
In 2009 he sold the firm — known today as Nebraska Realty — to Andy Alloway who had started as Deeb Realty’s receptionist and advanced to assistant manager, manager, general manager until finally, Deeb sold him the company.
Deeb, who has been doing motivational speaking for 25 years, opened Big Omaha Realty in 2011.
“This company was designed to remain extremely small and more customer service oriented,” Deeb said. “It makes me a better motivational speaker when I can tell my audience that I’m still in business, that I’m still doing it. It makes me very relatable to my audience.”
Deeb has written five books, beginning with “Selling From The Heart” in the late 1990s. His latest is “Baxter: My First Dog at 59,” which he put his branding book on hold to write.
“I had to write about the joy [Baxter] brings me,” Deeb said. “He’s a 10-pound, 2-and-a-half-year- old Havanese. I named him after [Will Ferrell’s character] Ron Burgundy’s dog in Anchorman.”
His previous business book was “The Power of Asking.”
“It goes with my seminar’s design,” he said. “It teaches people how to ask people for business as
well as how to be the person people want to do business with. It’s very beneficial for entrepreneurs and people who are trying to build their business.”
Deeb writes all of his books to share his victories and his failures, which he hopes will encourage and empower others with the knowledge that they can accomplish anything they set their minds to.
“My message when I go out to speak to people is that there’s nothing they can’t do if they have the work ethic and the discipline,” he said. “A big reason why I write these books is because of my own experiences.
“When I read inspirational, motivational, and spiritual literature, if I get one thing out of it, it was worth reading the whole book. I want people to know what I’ve experienced in business. It’s experiences of what to do and what not to do. Being a business leader, I want them to know the failures and the victories. My books aren’t encyclopedias — they may be 95 to 195 pages — but my whole mission is to hopefully resonate with something they’re going through in their business lives, something that will be helpful.”
In several of his books, Deeb talks about the power of the handwritten note. People often tell him that they are writing five handwritten notes a day or are writing 10 each week. He knows many people who keep his books in the front seats of their cars as a reminder of the basics and fundamentals of being successful in business.
About three years ago, Deeb started a monthly podcast.
“It’s a great way to reach my audience because they can listen in their car or their office,” he said. “[The podcasts] are designed to help people move forward, to feel that they’re OK, that there are ups and downs of being in sales and in business. The purpose of the podcast is to help people in their journey, not just in business, but their journey of life as well.”
Reflecting on his career, Deeb noted how technology has revolutionized the real estate industry.
“When I got into the business in 1983 we had no cell phones, no internet,” he said. “You were considered high-tech if you had a fax machine. We didn’t have the resources. Today there’s no excuse for real estate agents to not be extremely successful because the resources are abundant.”