When change comes to town, it seems to divide people into two camps: victims and villains. Those who precipitated the change are often the bad guys of the situation. And everyone else seems to be warily looking for their name on the chopping block. Change has the same effect on businesses, which is why mergers and other structural shake-ups can be so damaging to morale and productivity.
But they don’t have to be. While reading Sharon Melnick’s new book, Success Under Stress: Powerful Tools for Staying Calm, Confident, and Productive When the Pressure’s On, I came across her seemingly stellar exercise for people who are going through this kind of flux. It’s called “WIN at Change.” While it is intended for the individual, I think that brokers, managers and leaders of all kinds could benefit from it.
The exercise is predicated on Melnick’s theory that if you take responsibility for your 50 percent of any given situation, your stress level will decrease, as you’re holding up your end of the bargain with the understanding that you can’t do it all. I think that’s a key component to this exercise, and I think managers would do well to mention that ideal as an introduction to the exercise. As Melnick says, “It’s tempting to comment negatively on other peoples’ decision or to be fearful of the uncertainty, but the way to stay productive is by managing yourself” (emphasis hers). If nothing else, it should quiet detractors long enough to get through the exercise!
So, here’s what you do. Gather all the stakeholders and hand them two pieces of paper. The first one should be split into thirds, and the second one blank. Here’s your script: Continue reading »
Finally, real estate brokers get their own E-Myth.
No, I’m not talking about some sort of internet rumor or online fairy tale. I mean that business writer Michael Gerber has made real estate brokerages the eighth stop on his planned 310-industry tour to “transform the state of small business.”
Gerber has a potent idea to sell. The “E” refers to entrepreneur; his first book was aimed at small business owners. He then branched out to offer advice to industries that tend to operate like small businesses. As one might imagine with such a commoditized approach, Gerber tends to paint with something of a broad brush in promotional materials. For example, in describing his E-Myth books here, he repeats seven out of the eight times that the industries highlighted in his books are each “a juggling act.”
It’s clear he needs a little help from his friends. Thankfully, he knows that. Each of his books features writing from an established industry leader. And thankfully for brokers, he chose Rich Rector to co-author The E-Myth Real Estate Brokerage: Why Most Real Estate Brokerage Firms Don’t Work and What to Do About It (Prodigy Business Books, 2012).
Rector has served as chairman, president and CEO of Realty Executives International since 1984. After purchasing Realty Executives Phoenix from his father in 1980, Rector led an aggressive international franchise expansion, growing the company to 800 franchises in 10 countries.
Rector composes every other chapter in the book, giving a real-life, down-to-earth feeling to what might have otherwise been a dry business tome. For example, Gerber’s chapter titled, “On the Subject of Pricing” is followed by Rector’s much more vernacular “What to Charge?” chapter. The every-other chapter concept gives the work a more conversational tone, as if you’re sitting down to coffee with these two entrepreneurial heavyweights. Continue reading »
By Brian Summerfield, Online Editor, REALTOR® Magazine
If you’ve gotten past the title of this post, you may be thinking: This guy wrote about a basketball book for a real estate blog? How self-indulgent is that? The answer: very self-indulgent. I admit it. But let me say two things in my defense. First, I didn’t start this book with the intention of covering it in The Weekly Book Scan. It’s something I’m reading in my free time, just for fun.
Second, although he didn’t intend to do it in The Book of Basketball: The NBA According to the Sports Guy, ESPN columnist Bill Simmons inadvertently delineates the conditions for a cohesive, high-performing real estate brokerage. He does this in the course of his discussion of the characteristics of great basketball players and teams, which are, as it turns out, very transferable to brokerages and the associates who work for them.
According to Simmons, professional basketball is today afflicted by an obsession with numbers. Too many team managers, coaches, journalists, and players have an unhealthy fixation on individual statistics, and don’t pay enough attention to the most important stats of all: team wins and championships. For instance, Allen Iverson led the NBA in scoring four times, while Tim Duncan led the San Antonio Spurs to four NBA championships. So who’s the better player? Iverson, on paper. On the court, where the game is actually played, it’s Duncan.
Similarly, in a brokerage, several associates may have good individual numbers, but if you don’t have the right mix of personalities, experience, drive, and specialization, any success you have may be short-lived. Effective broker-owners — and basketball managers and coaches — should aim to build a great team, not just a haphazard assemblage of talent. Continue reading »
By Kelly Quigley, REALTOR® Magazine
Broker to Broker: Management Lessons From America’s Most Successful Real Estate Companies by Robert Freedman (John Wiley & Sons Inc., 2006)
Buy this book from Amazon.com.
What can I do to get my brokerage into the news more often? How should I respond to limited-service competitors? Am I providing incentives that keep my sales associates motivated? As a broker, your ability to find the best answers to questions like these will determine the success of your business. Luckily, other brokerages around the country have dealt with similar issues and have found innovative solutions. This book, a collection of articles and columns from REALTOR® Magazine, aims to give you an edge by bringing you real-life examples of how other brokers have responded to obstacles and opportunities. The book’s three main sections — Managing Operations, Managing People, and Managing Risk — include articles and how-to guides for growing business, keeping associates motivated, and staying out of legal trouble. By reading about what other brokerages have done, you’ll spur ideas that will work in your market.
Tips From the Book:
- Boost your visibility in the community. To boost foot traffic into your brokerage office, choose a location in a high-traffic retail strip and make the space look warm and inviting so people will feel welcome to walk in and ask questions. When there is a local event, such as a parade or street fair, make your presence known by placing a booth outside of your office. Ask sales associates to staff the booth in shifts so they can chat with passersby about real estate.
- Add a staging service to set your firm apart. With competition among brokerages so heated, you should always be looking for new services that will set your company apart from the rest. One great example is home staging, which can help the home sell quicker and for a higher price. Sales associates can work with a professional home stager to make aesthetic changes to the home.
- Plan for ‘what ifs’ in your market. Improve your brokerage’s ability to respond quickly to change by developing a plan you would follow in the event of certain scenarios, such as major layoffs by a local employer, a natural disaster, or a major new competitor. Start by listing your company’s areas of strength and vulnerability and then identify probable future events. Finally, plan your response. This strategy will keep unpleasant surprises at bay.
By Kelly Quigley, REALTOR® Magazine
Five Minutes to a Great Real Estate Sales Meeting: A Desk Reference for Managing Brokers By John D. Mayfield (Thomas South-Western, 2004)
Buy this book from Amazon.com
Any managing broker knows it’s not easy to orchestrate a truly motivating sales meeting. It takes time, creativity, and research to plot out invigorating agendas that keep sales staff from glancing at their watches every few minutes. Luckily, the author of this book has done much of the work for you. In Five Minutes to a Great Real Estate Sales Meeting, you’ll find detailed plans for 52 concise sales meetings—one for each week of the year. Agendas include a theme, objectives, a list of items needed, and activities to get salespeople involved. Designed to fit into your sales team’s busy schedule, each meeting is planned to last just 10 to 15 minutes. Topics cover five main categories: motivational, marketing, prospecting, legal, and professional development. A CD-ROM that’s included with the book has handouts, quizzes, and slideshows to add impact during the sales meetings. The meetings are scripted, but there’s room to personalize each agenda and the materials to fit your personality and audience.
Tips from the Book:
- Motivate practitioners to believe in themselves. Have practitioners take out checkbooks and write a check to themselves for the amount they dream of earning some year. Tell them to carry this check in their wallets and look at it often as a reminder of the need to believe that they can one day, indeed, cash this check.
- Help practitioners avoid burnout. Light a candle in front of the group, and explain that the candle looks large and can burn for hours, but eventually will burn out. Tell the salespeople their real estate careers are in danger of the same problem if they’re not careful. But they can keep their batteries charged by delegating tedious tasks and scheduling time off on a regular basis.
- Demonstrate the need to build clients for life, not just one transaction. Ask salespeople to write names of clients they dealt with six months ago or longer. Next to those names, have them write the number of personal phone calls or mailings made to those clients since the closing. Then have them place clients’ names with zeroes into a trash basket, showing that every time they fail to get back in touch with a client, that client could be lost for good.