Peter Mueller built a successful business, doing what he loves and traveling the world doing it. His company, The Profit Centre, provides training and coaching designed to help Brokers, Team Leaders, and Realtors make profit predictable. But along the way came the greatest pain he’s ever known… the loss of his daughter.
When she became palliative, one day Peter just went for a walk. No direction, no purpose. He just started walking. It was in these moments he found something transformative.
In this episode Peter talks with Ken candidly about his profound experience navigating through heartache. This is a thought-provoking conversation that explores the depths of the human spirit.
Ken can be reached at:
Peter Mueller (00:01):
The Profit Centre was sort of like an epiphany and a paradigm shift that happened to me in the late 1990s and where I was realizing that I wasn't wildly profitable and I hired a business consultant who helped me immensely. And from that experience, that's where The Profit Centre was born.
Ken McLachlan (00:34):
Welcome, everybody. It's Ken McLachlan. This is my podcast called Realty Life, where I get to sit around and talk to magnificent people in the world. And my guest today is really, if there was a magnificent plus, this is the guy that I always wanted to talk to and meet and greet and get you to know him. My friend Peter Mueller is here today. Hey. Hi Peter.
Peter Mueller (00:56):
Hey, Ken. How are you?
Ken McLachlan (00:58):
I'm wonderful, sir. Excellent. Good to see you. I'm glad you're with us today, and thanks for taking the time. I think your story, your journey is amazing. I want to share it with everybody. So just a little bit of background, you have a company called the Profit Centre?
Peter Mueller (01:12):
That's correct. Yeah. So
Ken McLachlan (01:14):
What is that?
Peter Mueller (01:15):
Well, yeah, The Profit Centre was sort of born out of my real estate experience, and especially it was born out of my brokerage experience. And the whole premise of The Profit Centre was that I was your atypical salesperson and sales is my jam and getting acknowledgement awards, that's what really motivated me, inspired me. But The Profit Centre was sort of like an epiphany and a paradigm shift that happened to me in the late 1990s and where I was realizing that I wasn't wildly profitable and I hired a business consultant who helped me immensely. And from that experience, that's where the profit center was born. So it is a training, coaching, consulting company based on premise is to, as our mission statement says, to passionately enhance people's lives by guiding them to greater profitability.
Ken McLachlan (02:23):
But you spend time with broker owners and team leaders and things like that and help them develop a strategy to be a better business person, correct?
Peter Mueller (02:30):
Absolutely. Absolutely. That's
Ken McLachlan (02:32):
Our primary. I'm really curious about how you go from being, because I first met you, you probably can help me with this in the, I don't know, when was, it was nineties. It was the nineties. Nineties. And we were looking, I remember we were introduced, you had a brokerage in the west end of Toronto. That's right. And my partner Kent and I were looking at expanding or the opportunity of expanding in that time. We thought that was just a little bit out of a realm, I believe, when we talked to you about that.
Peter Mueller (03:04):
Well, that's a funny story because I was excited when you guys were interested, and then when you called me back saying, you know what, Peter, we feel it's just a little out of a realm now. You got 2000 agents, 40 offices all around the world and say, really, Ken, really.
Ken McLachlan (03:23):
Well, maybe you fueled something with us at that time, but I want to understand how you get from being a real estate broker owner to developing this fantastic company that helps a lot of different people. I mean, what was your training to help you do that? What was the background?
Peter Mueller (03:41):
Oh gosh. You know what? That's a very good question. I guess I started in real estate back in 84, so it sold for 10 years. And of course the natural evolution sometimes of an agent is to create a team, but teams didn't really exist back then, so it was to start a brokerage. And so I fell into brokerage naturally, but then after 10 years, I got to be honest with you, I got a little bit bored and I sold for 10 years. I did brokerage for 10 years. So maybe that was, that's my life cycle. I don't know. What happened was when I decided to sell and was out of brokerage, I had a company reach out to me that wanted me to be part of a director for their broker coaching division. From that and learning from that experience and going on events and speaking, it was a natural evolution then to create my own. So that's where it came from.
Ken McLachlan (04:42):
What do you learn from doing all the work you do? What's your experience been like coaching different people? What has the great things about that? What are some of the frustrations about it? What's your learning curve on the whole thing?
Peter Mueller (04:55):
Well, gosh, the greatest thing that I learned from it is just, it just constantly evolves and expands. And when you are consulting, if you will, you get to stand on the outside and look in so you're not invested in the weeds. So when you get to speak to great people and very accomplished people, which are the ones that seek us out, actually, then what happens is you learn so much from them. It's unbelievable. And from that learning, it just builds and builds and builds and evolves, processes and systems. You start to write books, you start to write scripts. It's fascinating. I love it.
Ken McLachlan (05:37):
Absolutely love it. Yeah. You've done well. You've made a big difference in a lot of people's lives. I last saw you in Chicago at a conference, and we spent some great time together, dinners together, and getting to know you a little better at that time helped me understand that finding your niche in life is so important, rather than being a generalist. A lot of people are, and I was at one time as well, to get it down to the micro sense, I think that's what you've done.
Peter Mueller (06:04):
You know, couldn't have said it any better because I knew from early on that even public speaking was sort of something that I got awards for as a kid and wrote speeches and I never, but when you're younger, you don't know that you are a certain type or whatever it may be. And so when you fall into your niche, I don't even think you fall into your niche. I think if you fall your heart, it leads you to your niche, and that's kind of what happened. So I'm so thrilled to be doing what I do today.
Ken McLachlan (06:39):
What's next for you in your business?
Peter Mueller (06:41):
Well, right now, we just expanded internationally, which is so exciting. We're in 41 countries in Europe right now with our training program. We just want to keep evolving our trainings for agents, teams and brokerage. But brokerage is our sweet spot, right?
Ken McLachlan (06:58):
Peter Mueller (07:00):
Love it. And the speaking and the travel and the keynotes doing keynote speaking.
Ken McLachlan (07:04):
Yeah, you told me you're going to Aruba, you're going to Bangkok. That's right. Where else you go?
Peter Mueller (07:10):
Ken McLachlan (07:11):
Peter Mueller (07:12):
Yeah, three weeks. I fly to Bangkok after I do that conference. It's the Pacific Max Pacific Asian Conference. I leave that to go to the European conference in England. And yeah, then there's Aruba and then there's Turkey. Yeah,
Ken McLachlan (07:28):
I think that's fantastic, and I know how great your work is, but I want to switch gears a bit here, and I want to talk a bit about which really is the theme for this podcast about how we all deal with our life, how we get through things in our life, how we grow, what impacts us, what tools that you have to impact you. And I don't know how much you want to share about this, Peter, but I know we all have major crises in our life, and how do you get through things? What keeps you going?
Peter Mueller (07:59):
Oh, gosh. Yeah. I mean, that's a big question. I mean, I know I shared with you that I lost my daughter in 2020, and that's probably the greatest tragedy or difficulty or challenge I've ever experienced in my life without a doubt. I think everything in my life seemed to be falling apart as well. And in 2020, covid hit, of course, in our line of work with when you're doing keynotes and speaking, and that's where you generate your business, all the wheels were falling off by July of that year. My daughter went palliative, so we knew that the end was near.
It was hard, but I got to tell you something. You have to persevere and you have to find ways to find your peace and your solace. And I'm going to be writing a book called I'm Still Walking, and it's about one day I was just stood outside of my home and I looked around. This was just after she was going palliative, and I didn't have, I just started walking. I had no agenda, I had no objective. I just started walking. And about two hours later, I came home and I did it again the next day and the next day. It wasn't something I decided to do, and I had this goal, but what I found was that it just helped me be alone with myself and talk to the big guy upstairs and be able to just, I just gained this intimacy and this personal relationship with him into such a deep level that I've never had before. And that really helped a lot get me through the most difficult times in November 2020s when she passed away. So that really made the difference for me or helped me.
Ken McLachlan (10:12):
So your walking transitioned you into conversations with God. You have a conversation, if I may, with your daughter every day. Absolutely. When you walk, and you said something to me that I've taken to heart because I said to you that I exercise, I'll walk and I do that kind of thing, but I always have headphones. I listen to a podcast, I listen to music. But you said to me that you never do. You wanted to be with yourself and with conversation with your God and your daughter, and rather than being abstracted with or distracted, I guess is the word I'm looking for with music and all that, and I kind of thought, well, that's brilliant. I've never given that alone time, which I think is really important to have that and to spend time with yourself. I always was distracted. Everything in my life is a distraction. I'm always have something going and all that. So do you do that every day?
Peter Mueller (11:16):
Yeah, absolutely. Every day. It's like you said it very succinctly. You never spend time with yourself. And we have this brain that is talking to us, or our conscience talks to us every day, but the problem is the distractions and the noise. And so when we don't listen to that, we are not listening to the greatest advice you could ever receive. You know what I mean? Yeah. So it was a beautiful discovery. If you'll
Ken McLachlan (11:46):
Right. What did you learn about yourself, or what do you learn about yourself in those talks?
Peter Mueller (11:51):
Okay. Well, there's an expression in Christianity called Walking in the Light. Well, I got to tell you something. In life, not a lot of people like to walk in the light, because when you walk in the light, you see everything and you especially see yourself, and you see your flaws. You see your faults, your mistakes, you see the things that you've done wrong. And when you confront that, that's a very healthy thing because it allows you then to be aware, how can it be better? How can it be a better person, a better father, a better, better friend, a better parent, all the whole list.
Ken McLachlan (12:33):
So spending that time alone is really important. Listen, I've learned that from you. I'm going to do it. I'm actually going to sit there. I might find out stuff I don't want to find out, but that's okay. That's okay.
Peter Mueller (12:44):
It's okay. Yeah.
Ken McLachlan (12:45):
And it's okay. I bet you've lost a lot of weight doing this too.
Peter Mueller (12:49):
Well, I've never had too much of a difficulty when it came to weight. My dad is 91 years old. He's still tall and lanky. Bless him. I know. So I guess I got a little bit of that. But yes, it did sort of help a lot when it came to my physical wellbeing as well. Yeah.
Ken McLachlan (13:07):
Peter, how did you get into real estate? How did that happen?
Peter Mueller (13:09):
Oh, great. Yeah, great story. So maybe not a story again that I want to expose necessarily, but when I was in high school in my final year, we had grade 13. Back in the day, I was struggling, man, I was failing. I had three credits left to go, and they were horrendous. And I actually said, I quit. And so I was 18 years old. My parents are in real estate. Oh, wow. My dad, Walter Mueller, he was, again, I didn't know how good he was until I got into the business, but he was amazing. And I guess I got a little of his gift. He's very communicative. He's this very funny and charming. And my mom, who is the quiet one, but does all the detail, the dot, the i's Cross T, she ran annual real estate. So when I got out of school, I'm thinking, huh, you know what? I think I'll get my real estate license. Right? And that was in 1984 when we went three little books, five weeks, boom, you're done. But here's the greatest thing that I discovered is when I got into it, I found out I was a natural at it. Because again, when you're 18 years old or 19 years old, you don't know who you are or that you are anything. And that's how I got into it. My parents were in the business. So there you go.
Ken McLachlan (14:38):
So I think that's, a lot of people get into it because an influence they have from other people. And you see this what they've done in their lives and the independence that this business gives to us and the opportunity that it gives to us to grow and to be ourselves. And I think it's just sensational that you've found your way from starting as a real estate agent to be a real estate broker owner, and then deciding that, as we talked about before, you were going to micro it down to that. And then you transition into how am I going to help myself be healthier? It might be emotional, and all the stuff that you've gone through, the changes in your life. And so you develop another skill, which is really how to deal with that and how to handle that. And it's just really inspiring, Peter.
I think it blows me away how you've done that and the difference you're making for people and all the greatest things that you're doing. But I did ask you a little while ago, and I don't think we really developed more of the conversation on it, when you're dealing with these team leaders or broker owners, what do you see that really is like, wow, I just wish they would get this. I just wish they would understand this. And I think it'd be really interesting for everybody to hear it coming from you, obviously without naming names, but coming from you is what is it that everybody is disconnected on in your view?
Peter Mueller (16:01):
I do a little piece called The Five Purposes of a Business, and the first purpose of a business essentially is to make a profit. I say the second purpose is to leverage your time. Third is to differentiate. Four is your value proposition and our professional fulfillment. And the last one, have something to eventually sell. So here's the greatest thing. I wish you asked the question where you could just shake them and wish they can get this, because I was that person, and this is why I can relate to people and I understand them. It's like being a salesperson and being a business person are two completely different things. And what I see is the biggest challenge with brokerage is because 70% of them were just like me, or 75, maybe percent. They don't get about profitability, and they always focus on volume. So here's the thing, Ken, and this is true. When you're in the sales industry, what we always acknowledge and recognize is volume, number of sales. Who's the top producer? Who's the biggest team? Rick Broker, who's got the most agents, the most opposite? So we're so volume focused. There's the old saying by Peter Drucker, what you measure gets improved.
Ken McLachlan (17:27):
Peter Mueller (17:27):
Here's the problem. We're always measuring volume, but we're never measuring return on volume. So this is what I want team leaders, brokers to teach them is, guys, guys, listen. You got to look at the bottom line and help them get to that mindset. That's the biggest thing.
Ken McLachlan (17:46):
Yeah, and I agree with you. That's insight about the, and I talk about the ego in our business and we all have it. And yeah, of course we're all guilty of it. And I think it's a good thing to have a healthy ego and all that stuff. Yes, but the big, but is this here when we do things in our business, because other people are doing it, other people are marketing this way, they're the newest, the best, the shiniest type of thing. It kind of doesn't reflect well on our bottom line because we're chasing something that we really don't really know the answer to. How much money is it going to make us on that? And I think that actually when you sometimes do less volume, you're less volume to do things, you're actually making more money. So that fine line defining what is my return on my investment is really critically important. And I know that you spend a lot of time with people helping them define what's going on in their lives and what the return is on that. And sometimes it's coaching them to fuel, to pull things back at what they're doing. Right?
Peter Mueller (18:49):
That's a very, I'm so glad you brought that up when you said about less volume could produce more net. I have a book that's launching in the fall called The Nine Levels to Greater Profitability, how I Tripled My Net Profits in 12 Months. But here's the point that I didn't say in the title. I did it with 10 less agents and I didn't raise fees and I tripled net. And so when you tell brokers that they go, that's not possible. I'd say, well, yes, it is possible. And here's how I did it. And it's sort of like the natural solution always is sell more, recruit more. And those are good things, don't get me wrong. But they're not the only things. And that's to your point. So thank you for bringing that
Ken McLachlan (19:36):
Up. Well, I think it's important, and I know you do that. I know that's a big focus of your business. It's called the Profit Center, which is really the whole thing is what are we in this business for other than, certainly we love what we're doing, we help people, we're fulfilled by it, but we have to have money to contribute to so we can help other people as well. So the profit is really important on that. So bravo for doing that. I think you make a hell of a lot of difference to people's lives out there. Peter, I'm glad you shared your story. Can I ask you something? How old was your daughter?
Peter Mueller (20:08):
She was 32 when she passed away.
Ken McLachlan (20:10):
What's her name?
Peter Mueller (20:12):
Ken McLachlan (20:13):
Tricia. Wow, Tricia. I know, I know. You have other great kids. You're a grandfather now. Yes, they do. Which is fantastic. And from Windsor, right?
Peter Mueller (20:23):
That's right. You've got a good memory, Ken.
Ken McLachlan (20:26):
Good for you, man. Well, congratulations on
Peter Mueller (20:28):
That all. Oh, by the way, I should say this. So Tricia, Jessica, Nikki, all three girls, I figured God thought he needed to emasculate me a little bit, but what was so exciting was Jessica, my middle daughter, she is actually 30. Oh gosh, she's going to kill me. She yours is 31, 32. She had a boy. So Charlie. So I finally got a boy.
Ken McLachlan (20:55):
Oh my God. Yeah, I saw pictures of him. He's sensational.
Peter Mueller (20:57):
Ken McLachlan (20:58):
Good for you, buddy. Appreciate it. So if people wanted to get ahold of you, Peter, how do they do that?
Peter Mueller (21:05):
I would think that the best way to get ahold of me is just email me firstname.lastname@example.org. And by the way, the profit center is the U R L and centre is spelled the Canadian Way. And I can say to my American friends, not like the wrong way.
Ken McLachlan (21:25):
So for our American friends listening, it's spelled C E N T R E. That's right. Dot com. Yeah, com. How many years have you been doing this?
Peter Mueller (21:35):
Oh, The Profit Centre now is in its 15th year.
Ken McLachlan (21:38):
Wow. Congratulations. I wish you 15 more great years in your profit center and your business and your impacting. I hope you continue walking. I hope you continue talking and hope you continue listening because you are making an incredible difference. And I thank you for it.
Peter Mueller (21:54):
Ken, thank you so much for having me and wish everybody make it a profitable day. Take care.
Ken McLachlan (22:01):
And I'm really pleased that you are here today. I want to thank everybody for listening. Thank you for Peter Mueller and The Profit Centre for being here. If you like this, please tell your friends about it, share it to other people, subscribe, do everything you can about it, because we really like to talk to people and learn from it. I've learned so much from talking to Peter this morning, and until next time, Peter, have a great day, everybody.