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Quantity – Quality – Viability

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“Miracles are great, but. they are so damned unpredictable.”
– Peter Drucker


The Sequence

Quantity, then quality, then viability.  That is the correct sequence with regard to leads, listings and leverage.

Leads always comes first.  In this business if one can not generate sufficient leads nothing else will matter.  It will make no difference how smart you are or how much you know – if you don’t have any customers to talk to.  Lead conversion is obviously the action sitting between having sufficient leads to wind up with a sufficient amount of listings.  But just having enough leads is the very first thing.

Getting Careful

Ever “get careful” with a client or customer?  You know, where you don’t dare screw up?  It is a great feeling, isn’t it?  Not.  Nothing succeeds like insouciance.  Show me someone “being careful” and I’ll show you someone who is really “serious” and who is also about to make mistakes.  When one is playing, having fun, there is no need for carefulness.  To achieve this with customers it is necessary to know that you can get more.  If you know there are lots of them and that they are easy to acquire then no need to be “careful with this one”.  You’re happier and the customer gets a much better experience too (as they are being taken care of by someone who is relaxed about about the outcome and knows what they are doing).

Quite often, if one has the viewpoint that customers are scarce, they get into carefulness.  This is common with agents barely making it – as the very reason they are barely making it is they don’t have enough customers.  The reason they don’t have enough customers is either they don’t have an effective lead generation system or don’t consistently use the effective one they do have.  Either way, not enough leads is a “bad” thing as it leads to carefulness.

Future Viability

The future success and viability of a real estate office can be accurately predicted by how many producing agents they have.  Not how many high producing agents, just how many producing agents.  Offices (particularly those paying rent for space in a commercial office building) with just a few producing agents are often candidates for going out of business.  For agents it is how many listings they have; the average number of listings an agent carries will be the best indicator of their future viability.  Notice it is quantity first, not quality.  Having one or two “good ones” is not a substitute for having many listings.  In the first place if an agent has two “good ones” he won’t have them for long and he is at once down to zero listings for sale.

Obviously we strive for the very highest quality – in every area of our business.  But when just getting an area going (for the very first time or when getting it going again) do not fixate on quality.  It is quantity.

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at nohasslelisting.com and number1homeagent.com.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Brian Brady

    June 26, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Russell, I’m convinced you have ESP. I mentioned that I was holding on pretty tight and needed to get back to the “pick and choose” mentality I had earlier this year.

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    June 26, 2008 at 5:32 am

    You right (no surprise there) that being professional and yet still relaxed with your clients is very important. Some of the best clients I had were those who I enjoyed and they knew it. If I didn’t particularly like someone, I never heard from them again after the transaction. Those who I shared meals with or visited after the closing have been a great source of referrals and repeat business.

  3. Greg Cremia

    June 26, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Finally, a blogger who isn’t trying to make me feel like I am wasting my time collecting large quantities of leads. If you can get them in large quantities the odds are in your favor that some of them will be useless and some of them will be gold mines and everything in between.

  4. Mack in Atlanta

    June 26, 2008 at 7:40 am

    It’s no secret, you have to list to last in this business.

  5. Nickie

    June 26, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Great point!

    When you feel good, it rubs off on others, including your clients. Your clients will be attracted to you because they will want some of what you’ve got.

    What you focus on expands. Think about scarcity and you create scarcity. Think about working with the perfect clients, in the best transactions, with the best agents, having the perfect number of transactions and you can attract that. When things get tight, it can be a challenge to remember to keep the negative out of your head, but it sure does make a difference when you stay on track with your goals.

    Thanks for the reminder! Today’s focus will be LOTS of quality leads, the best of both!

  6. Ken Smith

    June 26, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Russell I think besides trying to be “perfect” that not having enough business leads many agents to do things that many would consider inappropriate or even unethical.

    “The future success and viability of a real estate office can be accurately predicted by how many producing agents they have.”

    Thanks for reminding me of that. Thinking of opening an office and I was commenting last night that I don’t want agents doing small amounts of business. My wife said “you really wouldn’t want to take an agent that will do 6 transactions year in and year out”. Naturally she is correct, those 6 transactions a year cover a good amount of bills for an office.

  7. Michael Wurzer

    June 26, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Ever “get careful” with a client or customer? You know, where you don’t dare screw up? It is a great feeling, isn’t it? Not.

    Russell, the quote above summarized exactly my feelings about “sales” when I first started running FBS. We were a small company (still are) and wanting to grow (still do). I’d find myself in front of an MLS Committee or Board of Directors explaining our software and, as questions would come forward, the pressure would mount. I so much wanted their business and the desire to say YES to every question was incredible. As you say, that is NOT a good feeling. In fact, for me, it was the worst feeling.

    I realized I couldn’t live with that and needed to change my perspective. My job wasn’t to “get a sale” or “win” but to figure out with the customer whether what we offered met their needs. If I could convince myself first that we were a good fit for the customer, then I had no problem saying no when it needed to be said — and, for all the reasons you describe, that made all the difference in the world. Immediately, whether we had a hundred or zero prospects in the pipeline, I had confidence working with customers we had pre-qualified that we were a good fit for them and that made the sales process relaxed and fun instead of stressful and awkward. And the results speak for themselves — since adopting this consultative sales approach, we’ve been consistently winning as much business every year as we can handle. And we’re having fun doing it.

  8. Scott Cowan

    June 26, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Russell,

    I was starting to think the listings I have right now were “dogs” and then I read this post. Sure I have some listings that might be a challenge to sell in this market but the more listings I get the better I feel and I find myself being more relaxed. Not that I want overpriced listings or leads that will waste my time. It is so much easier to know when to say “next” when there is more in the pipeline.
    Thanks!

  9. BawldGuy Talking

    June 27, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Note: I’d love to have Michael Wurzer in front of the local yahoos in charge of the San Diego MLS. (Listening Sandicor?) So far they’ve proven they’re not qualified to organize a one man picnic.

    One of the lessons learned while working for Dad back in the day, was how the massive quantity of listings tended over time to generate quality too. The sales of the better looking, priced, financed listings provoked positive change from both listing agents and sellers of the ‘poorer quality’ listings.

    Before you knew it, Dad had quantity AND quality, ‘cuz the smart agents, the ones who lasted that is, benefited from the quantity via a far steeper learning curve. Seems increased income is a motivator, go figure.

    Make sense?

  10. Caesar Parisi

    June 28, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I feel the quality of agents should be more important than the quantity. Unfortunately that is no longer the case in many brokerages as it has become a numbers game. I do have to pride my company on recruiting mostly quality agents.

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Business Marketing

Buffer’s four-day workweek experiment: Boost or bust?

(BUSINESS MARKETING) After trying out a four-day workweek last year, Buffer is moving forward with the format going into 2021, citing increase in productivity and work-life balance.

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Man working in office with headphones on, making use of flexible four-day workweek.

The typical five-day workweek is a thing of the past for Buffer, at least for now. The company has decided to implement a four-day workweek for the “foreseeable future.”

Last year, the company surveyed its employees to see how they are dealing with the ever-changing landscape of the pandemic and the anxiety and stress that came along with it. They soon learned employees didn’t always feel comfortable or like they could take time off.

Employees felt guilty for taking PTO while trying to meet deadlines. Juggling work and suddenly becoming a daycare worker and teacher for their children at the same time was stressful. So, Buffer looked for a solution to help give employees more time and flexibility to get adjusted to their new routines.

Four-Day Workweek Trials

In May, Buffer started the four-day workweek one-month trial to focus on teammates’ well-being. “This four-day workweek period is about well-being, mental health, and placing us as humans and our families first,” said Buffer CEO and co-founder Joel Gascoigne in a company blog post.

“It’s about being able to pick a good time to go and do the groceries, now that it’s a significantly larger task. It’s about parents having more time with kids now that they’re having to take on their education. This isn’t about us trying to get the same productivity in fewer days,” Gascoigne said.

Buffer’s one-month trial proved to be successful. Survey data from before and after the trial showed higher autonomy and lower stress levels. In addition, employee anecdotal stories showed an increase in worker happiness.

With positive results, Buffer turned the trial into a long-term pilot through the end of 2020. This time, the trial would focus on Buffer’s long-term success.

“In order to truly evaluate whether a four-day workweek can be a success long-term, we need to measure productivity as well as individual well-being,” wrote Director of People Courtney Seiter. “Teammate well-being was our end goal for May. Whether that continues, and equally importantly, whether it translates into customer and company results, will be an exciting hypothesis to test.”

Trial Results

Company Productivity
Buffer’s shorter workweek trials showed employees felt they had a better work-life balance without compromising work productivity. According to the company’s survey data, almost 34% of employees felt more productive, about 60% felt equally as productive, and only less than 7% of employees felt less productive.

However, just saying productivity is higher isn’t proof. To make sure the numbers added up, managers were asked about their team’s productivity. Engineering managers reported that a decrease in total coding days didn’t show a decrease in output. Instead, there was a significant output increase for product teams, and Infrastructure and Mobile saw their output double.

The Customer Advocacy team, however, did see a decline in output. Customer service is dependent on customer unpredictability so this makes sense. Still, the survey showed about 85% to 90% of employees felt as productive as they would have been in a five-day workweek. Customers just had to wait slightly longer to receive replies to their inquiries.

Employee Well-Being
With more time and control of their schedules, Buffer’s survey shows an increase in individual autonomy and decreased stress levels reported by employees. And, the general work happiness for the entire company has been consistent throughout 2020.

What’s in store for 2021?

Based on positive employee feedback and promising company results, Buffer decided it will continue the company-wide four-day workweek this year.

“The four-day work week resulted in sustained productivity levels and a better sense of work-life balance. These were the exact results we’d hoped to see, and they helped us challenge the notion that we need to work the typical ‘nine-to-five,’ five days a week,” wrote Team Engagement Manager Nicole Miller.

The four-day workweek will continue in 2021, but the company will also be implementing adjustments based on the pilot results.

For most teams, Fridays will be the default day off. For teams that aren’t project-based, their workweek will look slightly different. As an example, the Customer Advocacy team will follow a different schedule to avoid customer reply delays and ticket overflow. Each team member will still have a four-day workweek and need to meet their specific targets. They will just have a more flexible schedule.

Companies who follow this format understand that output expectations will be further defined by area and department level. Employees who aren’t meeting their performance objectives will have the option to choose a five-day workweek or might be asked to do so.

If needed, Fridays will also serve as an overflow workday to finish up a project. Of course, schedules will be evaluated quarterly to make sure productivity is continuing to thrive and employees are still satisfied.

But, Miller says Buffer is “establishing ambitious goals” that might “push the limits” of a four-day work week in 2021. With the world slowly starting to normalize, who knows when a four-day workweek might reach its conclusion.

“We aren’t sure that we’ll continue with the four-day workweeks forever, but for now, we’re going to stick with it as long as we are still able to hit our ambitious goals,” wrote Miller.

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Business Marketing

10 easy steps to get into Instagram marketing

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Want to up your social media marketing game? Start better with Instagram for your business using these easy tips to quickly get established.

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Instagram post open on a tablet

When Instagram first came on the scene, it was simply a place to share pictures of your cat or a pie that you just baked. While it still is a place for that kind of content, it has also grown into a platform where one can influence others and build an empire.

So, if you’re looking to step up your social media marketing game through use of Instagram, look no further than using these 10 steps from Neil Patel.

  1. Switch to a business profile: This is super easy and can be done in just a few clicks. Switching from a personal to a business profile gives a better look at your followers through Insights, allowing you to see analytics and impressions. It also adds a contact feature that takes a visitor right to an email draft to you – just like it would on your website. All this and it makes it possible to publish ads.
  2. Use free marketing tools: Because Facebook owns Instagram, they operate kind of similarly. As mentioned in #1, Insights allows for a deep dive into personalized analytics to see what kind of posts are clicking with your audience and which aren’t. That way, you know what kind of content to continue with and what to do away with.
  3. Post product teasers: There are a variety of ways to do this, including posting about flash sales or linking business platforms that sell your product to make it easier for your customer to shop. The trick here is to not be pushy, but instead be enticing and make the post convenient for your consumer.
  4. Create a sponsored ad: Like Facebook, you can post ads and include a specific budget of what you want to spend. You can showcase one ad or multiple with the carousel feature. You can also target the exact demographic you’re looking to hit.
  5. Instagram stories: These last 24 hours and don’t have to be as “fancy” as a regular post. Give followers a glimpse into your brand with behind-the-scenes shots, polls, fun questions, etc. Make them feel like they’re part of the experience and use this as a way to tell your brand’s story.
  6. Partner with influencers: Work out a deal with influencers who have a decent following. Send them one of your items in exchange for them posting a photo of the item and tagging your brand. This will reach their whole followership and build your credibility.
  7. Collect user-submitted photos: Share photos posted by customers loving on your brand or product. Either share them to your story, or use a regram app to repost customer photos to your feed. It’s basically free advertising for your product.
  8. Hashtags: Come up with an interactive hashtag solely for your brand. Think in terms of verbs (a la Nike’s “Just Do It”). It can be punny or practical, but something that people attribute to your brand and your brand only.
  9. Timing and over-posting: Look into the best times to post – this is when your users are most active. It will be helpful to use Insights to understand when your time to shine may be. According to SimplyMeasured, the worst days to post on Instagram are Wednesdays and Sundays, while Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to post. Also, don’t over post. It’s annoying and it’s always best to err on the side of quality over quantity.
  10. Track the right metrics: Insights do no good if you aren’t looking at the right data. You need to keep tabs on whether or not what you’re doing is increasing your follower growth as well as growth for your interaction. With research, use of Insights and a little trial and error, you’ll get yourself to where you need to be.

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Business Marketing

Unpopular opinion: Coworkers are not your ‘family’

(MARKETING) “I just want you to think of us as family,” they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing up “that” topic on Thanksgiving…

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family coworkers

The season 10 opener of “Undercover Boss” featured Walk-On’s Bistreaux & Bar. Brandon Landry, owner, went to the Lafayette location where he worked undercover with Jessica Comeaux, an assistant manager. Comeaux came across as a dedicated employee of the company, and she was given a well-deserved reward for her work. But I rolled my eyes as the show described the team as a “family.” I take offense at combining business and family, unless you’re really family. Why shouldn’t this work dynamic be used?

Employers don’t have loyalty to employees.

One of the biggest reasons work isn’t family is that loyalty doesn’t go both ways. Employers who act as though employees are family wouldn’t hesitate to fire someone if it came down to it. In most families, you support each other during tough times, but that wouldn’t be the case in a business. If you’ve ever thought that you can’t ask for a raise or vacation, you’ve probably bought into the theory that “work is a family.” No, work is a contract.

Would the roles be okay if the genders were reversed?

At Walks-Ons, Comeaux is referred to as “Mama Jess,” by “some of the girls.” I have to wonder how that would come across if Comeaux were a man being called “Daddy Jess” by younger team members? See any problem with that? What happens when the boss is a 30-year-old and the employee is senior? Using family terminology to describe work relationships is just wrong.

Families’ roles are complex.

You’ll spend over 2,000 hours with your co-workers every year. It’s human nature to want to belong. But when you think of your job like a family, you may bring dysfunction into the workplace.

What if you never had a mom, or if your dad was abusive? Professional relationships don’t need the added complexity of “family” norms. Seeing your boss as “mom” or “dad” completely skews the roles of boss/employee. When your mom asks you to do more, it’s hard to say no. If your “work mom or dad” wants you to stay late, it’s going to be hard to set boundaries when you buy into the bogus theory that work is family. Stop thinking of work this way.

Check your business culture to make sure that your team has healthy boundaries and teamwork. Having a great work culture doesn’t have to mean you think of your team as family. It means that you appreciate your team, let them have good work-life balance and understand professionalism.

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