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Too Much Time On Our Hands

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“It was nice meeting most of you this morning.”

Even by the somewhat loose standards of the monthly sales meeting, this had to be one of the oddest conclusions to a sales pitch that I’ve ever heard. Nice to have met most of you? Which ones of us was it not nice to meet?

Wait, that probably would have been me. Because once and for all I’ve reached a point where I don’t want to be sold in my own company’s office meeting.

A couple of years back while at Century 21, we sat in pained silence while someone from a marketing company kept badgering us, “Who’s going to be signing up? Who’s ready for more business?” Our manager finally stepped in but about five minutes too late.

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Why Are We Here?

There was a basic understanding at my last office. I came in weekly to collect my two everything bagels with cream cheese and for that bribe I would sit through whatever presentations were given. When there was birthday cake, I wouldn’t show because the terms were different.

Right now, everything bagels probably couldn’t drag me back in even if the meetings at the new office only are monthly. Because there needs to be a sufficient value proposition to make the meeting worthwhile.

When I was a broker at Schwab, we looked forward to our weekly meetings because it provided an hour’s respite from the phones. That was the value. When I became a manager, though, the meetings quickly became painful – thin agendas that used to provide an hour’s respite now were sucking an hour out of my week I could have used for far better purposes.

My former manager once tried bi-weekly meetings only to discover we didn’t have any agenda items. His solution? Weekly meetings. Why? Punishment for a lack of ideas to bring to the bi-weekly meeting. Guess how many agenda items we had on a weekly basis?

Time Management and Realtors

Basic reality says that every hour spent in an office meeting is an hour spent not working with clients, not prospecting (be it door knocking or blogging or whatever works for you) and an hour that otherwise could be spent doing something productive.

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I’m one of the precious few agents in my office who has not attended Brian Buffini’s 100 Days to Greatness. It wasn’t intentional – I just happened to have clients in town looking at properties on the day the program was offered.

Here’s the thing … you’re supposed to send a lot of thank you notes. I get this. Do I need to spend five hours being told this? Probably not. Do I need to meet with my peers once a week to compare notes on how many I sent out? Probably not. I can spend that hour that I would spend in the meeting writing out thank you notes, if I ever got to that level of discipline.

Agents will sit through these meetings and many others all the while believing that the act of the meeting constitutes activity when in reality there’s no real estate being sold – just the latest, greatest methods of staying in touch with clients. Which is valuable as a concept but downright painful as a weekly/monthly sales pitch.

Dalton’s Arizona Homes Weekly Meeting

In lieu of the office meeting, I’m going to start my only weekly meeting with my marketing team – Tobey and Captain Morgan. The requisite stroking will take place … I pet their heads, they lick my hands and we all feel loved and valued. There will be food, and they will sit under my desk waiting for me to deliver it to them.

And even as Tobey’s sneezing on my leg and Morgan’s resting his lippages on my knee and there’s little left to discuss, I will be more productive. Because I’ll be sending e-mails and working on my websites and otherwise building my business while skipping all of the small talk that seems to extend your average sales meeting far too long.

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Tobey and Captain Morgan don’t engage in small talk … well, not unless it’s time for night night and they want to get up on the bed.

Even that’s more productive than the weekly sales meeting.

Written By

Jonathan Dalton is a Realtor with RE/MAX Desert Showcase in Peoria, Arizona and is the author of the All Phoenix Real Estate blog as well as a half-dozen neighborhood sites. His partner, Tobey, is a somewhat rotund beagle who sleeps 21 hours a day.

15 Comments

15 Comments

  1. Jay Thompson

    May 7, 2008 at 12:41 pm

    You could always join a small, independent boutique brokerage that runs a “virtual office”, No boring sales meetings, no pushy vendors. Just a team of agents working together to make the real estate experience better for our clients, and ourselves.

    😉

  2. Vicki Moore

    May 7, 2008 at 2:08 pm

    I specifically go to office meetings to avoid whatever it is that I don’t want to be doing at that moment, otherwise I don’t go. 🙂

  3. Jeremy Hart

    May 7, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    And I guess I’m the anomaly, who – usually – finds some value in the office meetings. Boring they can be sometimes, but I think there’s a benefit (at least for me) to the meeting. Now I’ll be thinking about Jonathan hanging out with the dogs though, and maybe I’ll be rethinking my position!

  4. Kris Berg

    May 7, 2008 at 2:55 pm

    JD – Well said! Yet another example that you and I are a lot alike.

  5. BawldGuy Talking

    May 7, 2008 at 3:10 pm

    While at PRU, I was bludgeoned into attending the weekly snorefest. After three consecutive weeks where my questions resulted in embarrassed silence, I was quietly given a pass.

    Good times.

    I’m about to head of to a BawldGuy Inc. meeting, which is held daily. I usually take my coffee ‘with room’.

  6. ines

    May 7, 2008 at 3:46 pm

    Rick and I take turns with meetings held 2x’s per month

    (btw- Captain Morgan is adorable!!)

  7. Jonathan Dalton

    May 7, 2008 at 4:45 pm

    Ines – About Morgan, “that was long ago and far away and so much better than it is today.” 🙂

    Jeff – I like your meetings

    Kris – Great minds and all …

    Vicki – it was worth it when I was getting free bagels, but not so much anymore.

    Jay – nice try.

    Jeremy – I try to find value. Depends on the meeting, though. I’m also one those arrogant bastards who tends to think he knows as much or more than anyone in the room most of the time. (And of course I usually do.) Little things rub me the wrong way like the way blogs are made to seem cute and the company blog as edgy when it’s anything but. And the market insight usually pales to what I can find elsewhere.

    Example – today’s sheet for the meeting indicated there’s a 17-month supply of inventory locally. If we were in January, that would be correct. Right now, though, it’s 10.8 months.

    I don’t mind sharing but I’d like some knowledge to be shared back, if that makes sense. And it doesn’t ever seem to work that way, considering the knowledge to be gained just through my Google Reader.

  8. Glenn fm Naples

    May 7, 2008 at 5:33 pm

    LOL – meetings without an agenda are a waste. If no agenda just cancel it. Or better yet, meetings where all suggestions or recommendations are put down.

    Now you know why I practice real estate by myself – I don’t have to meet with agents or brokers – just meet with clients and prospect. Funny thing – no meetings and I am making more $’s.

    Is there a correlation – less meetings more $’s?

  9. Jamie Geiger

    May 7, 2008 at 8:51 pm

    I quit going about 3 months ago- gas is to expensive, and the time is better spent, like you, working on the websites and blogs and having my dogs around my feet and Waylon putting his big nose under my elbow when it is time for me to meet with him and rub his head and big floppy ears. I had my 17 years of meetings when I worked in the corporate world.

  10. Larry Yatkowsky

    May 8, 2008 at 1:55 am

    2 years and counting since the last one. My outlook towards the business has improved ever since.

  11. Teresa Boardman

    May 8, 2008 at 5:00 am

    Have been feeling guilty about not making office meetings. They don’t provide a lot of value and do take a lot of time and not they are not revenue generating activities. I think real estate companies need to have meetings so they have a reason for existing.

  12. Doug Quance

    May 8, 2008 at 8:12 am

    We only have one meeting a year… and we turn it into a party.

  13. Suzy

    May 9, 2008 at 12:54 pm

    For one very weird minute I actually thought Tobey and Captain Morgan were humans. That was a very disturbing minute.

  14. Eric- New Orleans Condos and Lofts

    May 23, 2008 at 9:31 pm

    I go to about 20% of the meetings. You can see other agents that you rarely see. its rare you hear something new. You can always work on something while you are listening. 12 years ago I went to all to increase my learning curve. The meetings were better, that was before the internet and blogs. Now I can come hear and get more info and no stupid questions. Quick and quiet.

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