The beauty of building a real estate business is that you can truly make it your own. Agents and brokers have interests as diverse as the properties and people they work with. Some have a passion for pets, arts, or charities. Others, like Richard Courtney, are hardcore Beatles fans. He has an entire room dedicated to Beatles memorabilia.
Courtney has found a way to marry his passion with his real estate business, which has helped him carve out a brand in the bustling country music capital of Nashville, Tenn.
Known as “the Beatles guy,” Courtney, broker and co-owner of Christianson Patterson Courtney & Associates, has written two books on the iconic band. His clientele consists of producers, writers, and other music industry employees. He also hosts a weekly Beatlemania radio show called “From Me To You” on Nashville’s Hippie Radio 94.5 FM on Sunday mornings.
He still vividly remembers the first time he heard the Beatles. He was playing toy soldiers with a friend, and his friend’s sister put on the record “Meet the Beatles.” “I ran into the room and asked, ‘What in the world is that,’ and all these teenage girls were sitting there, and they told me it’s a band called the Beatles, and I remember standing there looking at their faces on the album cover,” he says. “After that, I was hooked. Now, 55 years later, I’m still reading everything I can about them.”
Courtney got into real estate in 1979, enticed by a roommate who was in the business. The roommate led an enviable lifestyle, not having to wear a suit and tie to work every day and making three times more than Courtney made as a banker. Courtney started out working for a builder, selling properties in a subdivision. Soon after, he penned his first book, a self-published novel (with 229 grammatical errors and typos, he points out) called I Never Saw a Beatle. He landed radio interviews, which got him into the radio scene.
“There are so many people here in town who are part of the Beatles legend. The place is loaded with Scousers,” Courtney says, using the nickname for people with the Liverpool accent.
Soon, he noticed that it was primarily music industry folks who would turn out at his book signings. He got to know many of them, which opened the door to an elite clientele.
In 1999, Courtney took a CRS designation class, and one of the assignments was to track his sales. When he dug into the numbers over his 20-year career at that point, he was surprised to find that home sales connected to his Beatles activities outnumbered all his other prospecting activities by four to one.
Courtney took his Beatles passion a step further and has organized four Beatles-related events since 2004 to raise money for charity. The events have featured personalities like George Harrison’s sister, Louise Harrison, and her band, the Liverpool Legends, as well as panels of speakers and industry experts. When he hosted a viewing of the Beatles’ 1964 film “A Hard Day’s Night” at the Belcourt Theatre in Nashville a few years ago, he advertised the event with flyers at musician hangouts, diners, and coffee shops, and he invited past clients. More than 1,200 people showed up. All in all, he’s sold dozens of homes as a direct result of his events, and he has supported local charities while broadening his Beatles circle.
“It’s been a fun ride,” says Courtney, who hopes to throw another Beatles event in the future.
Courtney’s second book on the Beatles, Come Together: The Business Wisdom of The Beatles, came out in 2011. This one is truly an intersection of his business acumen and Beatles passion. He’s turned the book into business-building courses covering the management and leadership of the Beatles, and he’ll train management teams in banking and real estate.
If you’re in Courtney’s database, you’ll notice that every mailing has a Beatles reference—some cleverly subtle, others humorously obvious. And his family, “the fam four”—a play on the Beatles’ nickname “the Fab Four”—sends Beatles-themed holiday cards to his clients every year.
“You can’t fake it,” Courtney says. “I encourage our new agents to find something you’re passionate about and go as overboard as I have here and make it happen.”