How Evolution Leads to Growth…and Greater Satisfaction

The Reinvention of Thompson Carr Auctions

Partners Todd Thompson and Dale Carr were on cruise control. Other local businesses suffered as the bubble burst in the real estate market, Thompson Carr’s story was different. Long-time auctioneers in the Sevierville, Tennessee region with a specialty in real estate, their business was fueled by the bank-ordered liquidation of properties. They had become a major force in the region’s real estate market.

At its height, the business included a real estate brokerage group with 20 realtors, and the original, core auction business. Life was good. Right?

Not if you ask Todd Thompson’s wife, Janie. She was watching her husband become a fire fighter, a reactionary, with no time to call his own.

Busy isn’t always better

Todd has always had diverse business interests. He was ready to jump on a new business opportunity at a moment’s notice. Todd mused, “Chasing rabbits was bred into me. My folks owned, among other ventures, a small supermarket, restaurant and motel in Berea, Kentucky. I grew up learning to do many things. I’ve always been excitable. I’d pursue an opportunity, get people on board, then something else would catch my attention…and I’d be off!” Now, the responsibility of a real estate business, an auctioneering company, rental properties and other investments had become overwhelming.

“Honest to Pete, I owe Joe a hundred-fold for what he did for my business!” —Todd Thompson, President, Thompson Carr Auctions

“I’d never hired a consultant before, but Joe Calhoon had served several dozen auctioneers and I knew of his reputation from the National Auctioneers Association. I opened up, giving Joe full access to my business.”

We started the PriorityAdvantage™ system with an Organizational Health assessment, strengths assessments and the PriorityAdvantage™ planning process.

“After interviewing my team and me,” said Todd, “Joe dropped the bomb. He told me, “You need to focus on your passion, on what you do best, where you’re most productive. And here’s what you need to do to get back on track.”

“Close or sell the real estate side of your business. It’s taking your focus off the auction business you know and love,” was Joe’s counsel.

“I was shocked and floored,” Todd declared. “I told Joe, ‘I didn’t pay this money to be told to close the business! I want you to fix it!’

Over time, Todd was finally convinced. “When I considered how much time I was investing, how little money I was making, and how many frustrations I was experiencing in the traditional real estate business, I knew I had to make the change.”

Thomas-carrJ.B. Say defines an entrepreneur as someone who moves resources out of an area of lower production and yield into an area of higher production and yield. “Thinking like an entrepreneur, it was a no-brainer. I needed to get back to the auction business full-time,” said Todd.

One of Todd’s real estate agents, Geri Rennie, bought the traditional real estate business and continued to rent space in Todd’s office complex. Todd and Dale moved upstairs with the auction team.

Inside every old business is a new business, just waiting to be born

Within a year, the changes took shape:

  • The realtors did well under new management.
  • Todd, Dale and team enjoyed a record year in the auction business.
  • According to Todd’s wife, Janie, their quality of life improved.

And in the next year, Dale followed his passion. Always involved in city government, Dale won a seat in the Tennessee legislature.

Business is good, maybe even great, at Thompson Carr Auctions. “What we went through with Joe was monumental!” says Todd.

Life changed for Todd Thompson’s family, as well. The Thompsons adopted two orphaned girls, now ages 8 and 13. Todd delights in his family time, “I’m working on being the dad I always dreamed of being.”

Todd recently summarized the experience of working with Joe Calhoon and the PriorityAdvantage™ system: “Now that we’re on the back side of the process, I can tell you it was not easy to go through. But it’s the best thing in the world to happen to my new business. My quality of life is so much better. I can now focus on what’s important. We do what we’re good at, what we’re passionate about.” And the new business is born.