BY KATHY BEVAN
When it comes to grappling with a client’s problem, Josip Mrkoci brings along some pretty impressive credentials. The London, Ont. Realtor is a former wrestling champion with the University of Western Ontario, and an internationally recognized wrestling coach. Mrkoci was an official at the Montreal Olympics in 1976, four world championships and four world cups. He was a national team coach for Canada from 1975 to 1983, and helped organize the 1992 Pan Am Championships.
To recognize Mrkoci’s sports accomplishments, he was inducted into the Canadian Amateur Wrestling Hall of Fame at a special ceremony at the 2000 Senior National Wrestling Championships in May at Lakehead University in Thunder Bay, Ont.
Mrkoci has also received kudos in the real estate arena. He was the top salesperson for 1999 at the HomeLife London Realty office he owns with partner Jose Medeiros. He also ranked in the top three per cent for sales in HomeLife’s western region, garnering him HomeLife’s Ontario Emerald Award. And to top off his year, Mrkoci was presented with HomeLife’s prestigious Who’s Who Award at the franchisor’s annual awards gala.
“It was such an honour to win both awards in one year – to become a member of the Wrestling Hall of Fame, and to be named to Who’s Who,” says Mrkoci.“What a year!”
Mrkoci has been selling real estate for 13 years, ever since purchasing his first home.He and his partner now have three branches, in London, Strathroy and Grand Bend, and they both are active salespeople.
“Being involved in selling real estate, as well as recruiting salespeople, keeps us aware of everything that is going on in the market,” says Mrkoci.
He has finally chosen between his two callings, however. “After 35 years, now it’s time for me to leave wrestling behind me and put more time into our business.”
But Mrkoci is still going to depend on the same strengths he brought to his amateur wrestling career to help his real estate profession thrive.
“Wrestling is very much an individual sport – on the mat, you are one on one. It’s very much the same with business,” Mrkoci says. “That’s where my coaching background comes in. The same way I used to deal with different athletes, with their different sizes and temperaments, now I deal with clients, with their differing wants and needs.”
Mrkoci will continue to use his wrestling background to promote himself as a Realtor in the greater London area. His ads ask consumers to contact the ‘Real Estate Coach’, inviting them to “let me wrestle with your real estate needs”.
He says his vast experience in amateur sport has also helped him deal with one very important aspect of selling real estate. “I take rejection well!”
Mrkoci hasn’t totally left the world of wrestling behind him just yet, however. He’s off to the Olympics in Sydney, Australia, but this time to visit with friends and sit as a spectator. “I made a lot of friends through competition. It will be nice to see some of them once more, and to enjoy the Games from the stands.”
In the photo: Mrkoci is presented with HomeLife’s Who’s Who in Canadian Real Estate Award by Andrew Cimerman, chairman of HomeLife Realty Services, in April.