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Success Simplified – The FIX or Fire It Method



Fix or FireWise Words

“What ever is happening to YOU now, YOU either created it, YOU allow it or YOU promote it.” ~Unknown

Reread that.  It’s stark truth and reality for 97% of what is going on with our real estate careers.  Success and challenges alike.

Setting things right is simple…take personal responsibility and embrace The Fix It or Fire It Method.

Fix It or Fire It

Current Listing Inventory Not Selling?  Fix It or Fire It?

  1. Fix how the property shows compared to the competition.  Sellers won’t help themselves?  Fire them.
  2. Adjust the price to a competitive level.  Sellers won’t help themselves? Fire them.
  3. ReEvalute your marketing and promotional competitiveness.   If you are unwilling or unable to compete and deliver as promised, do yourself and you seller(s) a favor – release them and Fire Yourself.

Current Buyer Prospects Not Buying?  Fix It or Fire It?

  1. Re-Qualify prospects for urgency, motivation and ability.  If buyer prospects can’t or don’t need to buy, Fire Them (firmly but gently) as current buyer prospects, but stay close and earn referral recommendations.
  2. Re-examine what you think your prospects are looking for, Fix It and get back on track.  If you can’t draw it out of them or you aren’t listening, Fire Yourself.
  3. If you believe your prospects are qualified, you understand what they want, you’ve  shown it to them and they still aren’t buying, uncover the barrier/resistence/reluctance/fear/obstacle/etc.  If you can’t figure it out and Fix It, Fire Yourself or refer them to a trusted collegue who beams a different personality.

Current Prospecting Systems Attract Flies, Felons and Phony-Balonies or The Deafening Sound Of Crickets?  Fix It or Fire It?

  1. Examine all print and direct mail advertising.  Is it paying for itself, plus a profit?  How much have you wasted spent?  Where are you advertising.  How often?  Who’s your target?  What’s your message?  How many closed transactions has it generated in the last 6 months? If it’s not profitable, Fix Something about it (the message, the medium, the frequency, the quality, etc.) and reevaluate in 30 days or Fire It.  Seriously, if it’s not profitable, STOP.

Is Your Leader Really A Loser?  Fix It or Fire It?

  1. Assuming your committed, dedicated and motivated, does your broker Leader provide you with the intellectual, emotional, technological, strategic support necessary to thrive?  If not, talk to them about meeting your needs, if they are unwilling to adapt, Fire Them.
  2. If you feel you’re working with a bona-fide Leader, but your success is sketchy, examine your commitment, motivation, strategy and execution.  If you’re unwilling to adapt, do your broker leader, yourself and occasional victims clients a favor, Fire Yourself.

Do Your Vendors Make You Look Magnificent and Send You Referrals?

  1. Recommending competent lenders, title companies, painters, plumbers, baby sitters, roofers, etc., is what our clients expect us to do.  If the vendors we recommend aren’t reliable, courteous, professional and a source of referral recommendations, talk to them about your service requirements and your expectation for reciprocal referral recommendations.  If they are unwilling or unable to perform, bang-bang.  Next.

Are You Hugging It Out With Friends or Slugging It Out With Frienemies?  Fix It or Fire It?

  1. To have friends, you must be a friend.  If you are and they aren’t, talk to them and fix your relationship.  If they are unwilling to be a friend, Fire Them.
  2. If your friends are Debbie Downers, gossips, back stabbers or two faced, Fire Them.
  3. Hang and hug it out with positive, supportive, bright people.  Like people who read AgentGenius:-)

Our Shiny Future

Like I said, if we look around, evidence is everywhere.  If we always do what we’ve always done, we’ll get less and less. I’ve listed six areas where immediate action will yield semi-immediate results.  Listings will sell faster, clients will be happier, marketing dollars will work harder, we’ll attract qualified prospects, the people we bless with business will bless us, we’ll enjoy the benefits of competent leadership and the warmth of true blue friends will make our lives richer.

I guess the obvious question is, “When should we start?”

Photo Credit


Cheers and thanks for reading.

PS.  If you have a Fix It or Fire It idea, it’d be super cool if you’d share it in the comments.  If you know anyone who would benefit from this memo, please forward.


Ken Brand - Prudential Gary Greene, Realtors. I’ve proudly worn a Realtor tattoo for over 10,957+ days, practicing our craft in San Diego, Austin, Aspen and now, The Woodlands, TX. As a life long learner, I’ve studied, read, written, taught, observed and participated in spectacular face plant failures and giddy inducing triumphs. I invite you to read my blog posts here at Agent Genius and On the lighter side, you can follow my folly on Twitter and Facebook. Of course, you’re always to welcome to take the shortcut and call: 832-797-1779.

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  1. Eric Hempler

    February 8, 2010 at 8:56 am

    One bank I would love to fire is Chase Mortgage. Our mortgage was sold to them at some pont and the customer service experiences I’ve had have been so bad I wish I could choose who holds my mortgage. I think I recall having the option to have my loan sold to another bank and I think the next time around I’ll choose no.

    • Ken Brand

      February 8, 2010 at 10:14 pm

      I’m voting for you as the next Loan Czar. Cheers.

  2. Sue Davis

    February 8, 2010 at 10:50 am

    Loved this!!

    Shared it with my teenage son (not in real estate and says he never will be) who found it valuable too!

    I fired a seller last year who wouldn’t adjust their price based on new comparables in the market, wouldn’t stage the house to sell, and enjoyed making degrading comments about real estate agents. Ms. Seller was shocked that I would let her go, but boy did it feel good. The seller is still on the market with another agent and likely will be for years to come.

    • Ken Brand

      February 8, 2010 at 10:17 pm

      Cheers to you Sue, you never lose a listing you never had. If it’s not salable it’s not a listing, it’s an Ball and Chain…an expensive one, not a listing.

      Thanks for the compliment Sue, I’m glad you found it helpful.

  3. Greg Cook

    February 8, 2010 at 6:58 pm

    This should be required reading for everyone in our business. One of the biggest complaints that consumers have about the “professionals” in our business is that our professionalism and ethics go out the door when the commission is in danger.
    Fix it or fire it!

    • Ken Brand

      February 8, 2010 at 10:19 pm

      Amen Greg, we gotta set our boundaries, create standards and shared expectations…then stick by them. Rock on my friend. Cheers.

  4. Joe Loomer

    February 9, 2010 at 7:08 am

    Concise, blunt, and relevant. If you are not constantly evaluating the success (or failure) of ALL of your efforts (from the watchtower of the bottom line), you exist at the leisure of those that do – and you’re already working your way out of business.

    Classic “Candid” Ken Brand. I will be using this at our Team Meeting this morning. I certainly hope I’m back at work tomorrow, otherwise I was part of the problem!

    Navy Chief, Navy Pride

    • Ken Brand

      February 10, 2010 at 10:52 am

      Thanks Joe. It’s hard to say “No” to your own previous decisions. But if we can, we whoosh forward. Cheers.

  5. Carl Ericson

    February 9, 2010 at 5:38 pm

    Great article and advice, Ken! A great reminder to always be evaluating and improving our business and lives.

    • Ken Brand

      February 10, 2010 at 12:41 pm

      Amem Carl, it has to be a conscious decision to evaluate what we’re doing vs what we could be doing. Then pull the plug when necessary and move forward. Cheers.

  6. Cindy Marchant

    February 10, 2010 at 8:46 am

    This is an interesting post to me; I agree with it mostly. But, I would add that you need to give it enough time to figure out if it is working. I did the bridal show advertising way too long; so should have fired it sooner. But, take blogging for example, it takes a long time to get that to work and just because it isn’t in the first 90 days doesn’t mean it won’t.
    Maybe you need to add a dollar trigger to the fix/fire decision. If it is costing you money; fix/fire sooner. If it is nominal (blogging) maybe go longer. Of course, it does take time, but I learn every time I write so my time is worth it.
    P.S. Eric, I have my own Chase story…geez…they are a piece of work.

    • Ken Brand

      February 10, 2010 at 9:12 am

      Cindy, you’re point about blogging is sharp and correct and I’m glad you pointed that out. There are some things, blogging for sure that take time to really work. I think most Social Media falls into this category, Facebook, Twitter, Slideshare, etc. These on-line mediums never go away, they just keep adding up, the Long Tail in action.

      Thanks for sharing that important point. Cheers.

      • Eric Hempler

        February 10, 2010 at 10:14 am

        When we talk about long tail with social media I wonder how far out we’re talking to see results from our efforts. Have any of you seen some meterial on this? I was curious about it.

        • Ken Brand

          February 10, 2010 at 10:57 am

          The Long Tail and Real Estate is a quirky and interesting topic. One of the moving parts that makes it fuzzy, in terms of how long before you see results, depends on several factors, frequency, quality, topic, broadcast power, etc. One thing I’m certain of is that it does add up to positive things, I see it every day. Another factor is that all the SM tools are merging into search. Not long ago, Twitter and Facebook didn’t show up in Google, Bing or Yahoo, now they do. Today Google announces Buzz, this will also change how we’re found and perceived, how we share and connect. To me the main thing is get started, let time and technology do it’s thing. Being absent isn’t the answer.

          Cheers and thanks for the comment.

  7. Janie Coffey

    February 10, 2010 at 11:23 am

    5 Stars for this Ken!

    I feel like you just reached out of the screen and smacked me upside the head and said “Wake UP!” (I could have had a V8)

    You are right and I bet I could find something in each category to fix or fire (Starting with number 1 above!)

    Thanks for being a friend enough to show us Tough Love

    • Ken Brand

      February 10, 2010 at 12:44 pm

      Sometimes it hard to Fire others or ourselves….sometimes we have so much invested, we think if I go just a little further. Sorta like when you think you lost, but you don’t pull over to look at a map and get direction, before you know it, you have double back and all that time is lost forever. Cheers Janie and thanks for you $1.25:-)

  8. Judson Tate

    February 10, 2010 at 11:50 am

    I loved this article. Thanks for the pep talk. Some of us are taught to stick it out with clients who will do nothing but waste our time. They may eventually end up in a sale but at what cost? Thanks again!

    • Ken Brand

      February 10, 2010 at 12:45 pm

      The biggest regrets are not the things we FIRE, it’s the listing we kept that never sold, the people we showed who never bought, friends who friends and money we spent on marketing that sucked hard. Cheers. No regrets, forward march.

  9. Ken Brand

    February 10, 2010 at 12:48 pm

    Ummmm, I’m in big hurry, so I bang out my comments, thanks for commenting, anyway, when you read my comments it looks like I’m an illiterate idiot. I’m not, but when I’m rushing and I don’t proof read, well, I misspell and other things that ding my communication. Uggg.

  10. ColoradoHomeFinder

    February 10, 2010 at 6:38 pm

    Great post Greg. Twice a year I sit down and take a look at my marketing to see what’s working and what isn’t. If it isn’t providing ROI I get rid of it – or FIRE IT as you would say! I admire your direct approach and believe that streamlining other parts of my business with fix it or fire it is sound business advice for anybody.

  11. Kevin Baker

    February 14, 2010 at 11:35 pm

    Great Advice!
    Too often as Real Estate Professionals we forget that we are in charge of our own business and not the consumer.
    If they are being unrealistic, unreasonable, or unmotivated then we need to do the sensible thing and unleash them into the world to become someone elses problem.
    Unfortunatly most realtors don’t have enough business or enough courage to do this… if they did they might find more time for someone that would appreciate there ideas.

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Business Marketing

Use the ‘Blemish Effect’ to skyrocket your sales

(MARKETING) The Blemish Effect dictates that small, adjacent flaws in a product can make it that much more interesting—is perfection out?



blemish effect

Presenting a product or service in its most immaculate, polished state has been the strategy for virtually all organizations, and overselling items with known flaws is a practice as old as time. According to marketing researchers, however, this approach may not be the only way to achieve optimal results due to something known as the “Blemish Effect.”

The Blemish Effect isn’t quite the inverse of the perfectionist product pitch; rather, it builds on the theory that small problems with a product or service can actually throw into relief its good qualities. For example, a small scratch on the back of an otherwise pristine iPhone might draw one’s eye to the glossy finish, while an objectively perfect housing might not be appreciated in the same way.

The same goes for mildly bad press or a customer’s pros and cons list. If someone has absolutely no complaints or desires for whatever you’re marketing, the end result can look flat and lacking in nuance. Having the slightest bit of longing associated with an aspect (or lack thereof) of your business means that you have room to grow, which can be tantalizing for the eager consumer.

A Stanford study indicates that small doses of mildly negative information may actually strengthen a consumer’s positive impression of a product or service. Interesting.

Another beneficial aspect of the Blemish Effect is that it helps consumers focus their negativity. “Too good to be true” often means exactly that, and we’re eager to criticize where possible; if your product or service has a noticeable flaw which doesn’t harm the item’s use, your audience might settle for lamenting the minor flaw and favoring the rest of the product rather than looking for problems which don’t exist.

This concept also applies to expectation management. Absent an obvious blemish, it can be all to easy for consumers to envision your product or service on an unattainable level.

When they’re invariably disappointed that their unrealistic expectations weren’t fulfilled, your reputation might take a hit, or consumers might lose interest after the initial wave.

The takeaway is that consumers trust transparency, so in describing your offering, tossing in a negative boosts the perception that you’re being honest and transparent, so a graphic artist could note that while their skills are superior and their pricing reasonable, they take their time with intricate projects. The time expectation is a potentially negative aspect of their service, but expressing anything negative improves sales as it builds trust.

It should be noted that the Blemish Effect applies to minor impairments in cosmetic or adjacent qualities, not in the product or service itself. Delivering an item which is inherently flawed won’t make anyone happy.

In an age where less truly is more, the Blemish Effect stands to dictate a new wave of honesty in marketing.

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Business Marketing

Who’s teaching Gen Z to adapt to working with other generations

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Gen Z patch 1.1: How to work with other generations. The newest tech savy generation might need an update to work well with others



generation z

We know the current work force is made up of a multitude of generations which is the first time so many have been working at the same time in history and this is should be absolutely fascinating to dig in to the research and how this drastically affects businesses.

To think how we each have our work ethic and style influenced by so many factors on how and when (and where) we were raised, plus what generation our parents were in and what was passed down to them from the generation before. Millennials received a lot of attention for being entitled and lazy. Gen X receive constant jokes that they are the forgotten generation. And let’s not forget the cringe-worthy “OK Boomer” meme theme recently.

Now we have moved on to Gen Z (b. ~ 1997-2012) in the work force and many are currently attending college. There were other considerations for their name: Gen Tech, Gen Wii, Net Gen, Digital Natives, Plurals, and Zoomers. If you google about them, there are many books to read about this generation that has never NOT known technology.

They are used to being seconds away to finding an answer on Google, sending their current status to friends via a fun picture or video and learning anything they want to learn via their laptop (for example on YouTube, LinkedIn Learning, Google online courses, Udemy, Teachable, among others). They are no strangers to businesses evolving to continue to be consumer-minded and have an app for that when it comes to convenience like: ordering your coffee before you get there, order a ride from no matter where you are, order your groceries online and pick them up outside the grocery store or (gasp!) even have them delivered to you via some other third-party app. And let’s not forget, there better be Wi-Fi on the plane.

There are a lot of wonderful things about every generation and maybe some things we all contribute to regarding stereotypes. No matter age, experience or style, it’s key to learn about the people you are working with (peers, supervisors, leadership teams) or if you are an entrepreneur and business owner: your customers and any differences needed for them (should you be on Tik Tok? Is Instagram still where it’s at? How do you add online appointments to your site? Do you need an app for that?).

In this world of instant gratification, we have all adapted to the conveniences of technology so why would this new generation be any different. There’s been research shared with how they shop and even how they learn. Is anyone teaching them about those that came before them when they enter the work force or look to gain professional experience working with entrepreneurs, startups or small business owners?

I’d like to recommend taking a look at Lindsey Pollak’s research, read or listen (thank you, Audible) to her latest book, The Remix, How to Lead and Succeed in the Multigenerational Workplace and even her new podcast, The Work Remix, for any limited on time or attention span. It is really powerful how she is able to easily translate lots of research in to actionable items (let’s bring back apprenticeships! Skip the ping pong table for more time in nature!). She is kind and provides refreshing ideas on how to adapt our work styles to others as well as what is important in the workforce. She is also really against generational shaming. ALL OF IT. And that’s beautiful.

So, before we roll our eyes and throw a generational comment at someone, can we get to know each other better and be flexible and adaptable in how we find and work toward our common goals? For one, I’m excited working with iGen and am always asking myself (as a loud and proud Gen Xer) how I can adapt or meet their learning styles. All in fun, I do wish they would read my emails but I might have to let that go and get more used to text.

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Business Marketing

Malomo helps online retailers keep up with retail giants

(BUSINESS MARKETING) With giant companies like amazon able to offer free shipping, and super fast arrival times, how can a smaller company keep up?



Malomo home page

When Amazon is out here offering two-day shipping on all kinds of products from televisions to toothbrushes, ordering something from a smaller online retailer can have an almost humbling effect.

When faced with a basic UPS tracking number and shipping email, you realize how accustomed you’ve gotten to receiving play-by-play shipping information and a little photograph of your package when it arrives at your front step.

People have come to expect a lot from their online shopping experience. Huge online retailers, like Amazon, are crafting these expectations as another strategy to edge out competition. It’s all by design. So, how are smaller companies supposed to keep up with this demand?

Online retailers need tools that allow them to compete with the big boys and Malomo is here to help. Malomo is a shipment tracking platform designed for ecommerce marketers who want to level up their customer experience. Their mission is to help brands build authentic relationships with customers. Their platform allows online retailers to keep their customers up-to-date with shipping information using a beautiful branded platform.

Malomo could be a game changer for online retailers looking to build a more faithful customer base. Malomo’s platform can do so much more than send tracking information. The platform adds another layer to the customer journey by letting you create a digital space where your business can continue to build that customer brand connection.

Online retailers can use the platform to inform customers if there are any issues with their order such as a late shipment or a problem with an item. The platform can also be used to advertise other products, educate customers about the brand, or send targeted coupons.

In addition to offering a beautiful platform, Malomo provides online retailers with valuable analytics on customer behavior such as click-through rates on tracking information. Malomo integrates with popular ecommerce platforms such as Shopify making it a smooth addition to your overall strategy.

By integrating these ecommerce tools online retailers can harness the power of data to improve their customer experience, drive future sales, and keep up with customer demands for a world-class shipping experience.

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