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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

Bite-sized retail: Macy’s plans to move out of malls

(BUSINESS MARKETING) While Macy’s shares have recently climbed, the department store chain is making a change in regards to big retail shopping malls.



Macy's retail storefront, which may look different as they scale to smaller stores.

I was recently listening to a podcast on Barstool Sports, and was surprised to hear that their presenting sponsor was Macy’s. This struck me as odd considering the demographic for the show is women in their twenties to thirties, and Macy’s typically doesn’t cater to that crowd. Furthermore, department retail stores are becoming a bit antiquated as is.

The sponsorship made more sense once I learned that Macy’s is restructuring their operation, and now allowing their brand to go the way of the ghost. They feel that while malls will remain in operation, only the best (AKA the malls with the most foot traffic) will stand the test of changes in the shopping experience.

As we’ve seen a gigantic rise this year in online shopping, stores like Macy’s and JC Penney are working hard to keep themselves afloat. There is so much changing in brick and mortar retail that major shifts need to be made.

So, what is Macy’s proposing to do?

The upscale department store chain is going to be testing smaller stores in locations outside of major shopping malls. Bloomingdale’s stores will be doing the same. “We continue to believe that the best malls in the country will thrive,” CEO Jeff Gennette told CNBC analysts. “However, we also know that Macy’s and Bloomingdale’s have high potential [off]-mall and in smaller formats.”

While the pandemic assuredly plays a role in this, the need for change came even before the hit in March. Macy’s had announced in February their plans to close 125 stores in the next three years. This is in conjunction with Macy’s expansion of Macy’s Backstage, which offers more affordable options.

Gennette also stated that while those original plans are still in place, Macy’s has been closely monitoring the competition in the event that they need to adjust the store closure timeline. At the end of the second quarter, Macy’s had 771 stores, including Bloomingdale’s and Bluemercury.

Last week, Macy’s shares climbed 3 percent, after the retailer reported a more narrow loss than originally expected, along with stronger sales due to an uptick in their online business. So they’re already doing well in that regard. But will smaller stores be the change they need to survive?

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Business Marketing

Why you must nix MLM experience from your resume

(BUSINESS MARKETING) MLMs prey on people without much choice, but once you try to switch to something more stable, don’t use the MLM as experience.



Discussing including MLM experience on a resume.

MLM experience… Is it worth keeping on your resume?

Are you or someone you know looking for a job after a stint in an MLM? Well, first off, congratulations for pursuing a real job that will provide a steady salary! But I also know that transition can be hard. The job market is already tight and if you don’t have much other work experience on your resume, is it worth trying to leverage your MLM experience?

The short answer? Heck no.

As Ask the Manager puts it, there’s a “strong stigma against [MLMs],” meaning your work experience might very well put a bad taste in the mouth of anyone looking through resumes. And looking past the sketchy products many offer, when nearly half of people in MLMs lose money and another quarter barely break even, it sure doesn’t paint you in a good light to be involved.

(Not to mention, many who do turn a profit only do so by recruiting more people, not actually by selling many products.)

“But I wouldn’t say I worked for an MLM,” you or your friend might say, “I was a small business owner!”

It’s a common selling point for MLMs, that often throw around pseudo-feminist feel good slang like “Boss Babe” or a “Momtrepreneur,” to tell women joining that they’re now business women! Except, as you might have guessed, that’s not actually the case, unless by “Boss Babe” you mean “Babe Who Goes Bankrupt or Tries to Bankrupt Her Friends.”

A more accurate title for the job you did at an MLM would be Sales Rep, because you have no stake in the creation of the product, or setting the prices, or any of the myriad of tasks that a real entrepreneur has to face.

Okay, that doesn’t sound nearly as impressive as “small business owner.” And I know it’s tempting to talk up your experience on a resume, but that can fall apart pretty quickly if you can’t actually speak to actual entrepreneur experience. It makes you look like you don’t know what you’re talking about…which is also not a good look for the job hunt.

That said… Depending on your situation, it might be difficult to leave any potential work experience off your resume. I get it. MLMs often target people who don’t have options for other work opportunities – and it’s possible you’re one of the unlucky ones who doesn’t have much else to put on paper.

In this case, you’ll want to do it carefully. Use the sales representative title (or something similar) and, if you’re like the roughly 50% of people who lose money from MLMs, highlight your soft skills. Did you do cold calls? Tailor events to the people who would be attending? Get creative, just make sure to do it within reason.

It’s not ideal to use your MLM experience on a resume, but sometimes desperate times call for desperate measures. Still, congratulations to you, or anyone you know, who has decided to pursue something that will actually help pay the bills.

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Business Marketing

This smart card manages employee spending with ease

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Clever credit cards make it easier for companies to set spending policies and help alleviate expense problems for both them and their employees.



Spendesk showing off its company credit cards.

Company credit cards are a wonderful solution to managing business expenses. They work almost exactly like debit cards, which we all know how to use, am I right? It is the twenty-first century after all. Simply swipe, dip, or tap, and a transaction is complete.

However, keeping up with invoices and receipts is a nightmare. I know I’ve had my fair share of hunting down wrinkled pieces of paper after organizing work events. Filling out endless expense reports is tedious. Plus, the back and forth communication with the finance team to justify purchases can cause a headache on both ends.

Company credit cards make it easier for companies to keep track of who’s spending money and how much. However, they aren’t able to see final numbers until expense reports are submitted. This makes monitoring spending a challenge. Also, reviewing all the paperwork to reimburse employees is time-consuming.

But Spendesk is here to combat those downsides! This all-in-one corporate expense and spend management service provides a promising alternative to internal management. The French startup “combines spend approvals, company cards, and automated accounting into one refreshingly easy spend management solution.”

Their clever company cards are what companies and employees have all been waiting for! With increasing remote workforces, this new form of payment comes at just the right moment to help companies simplify their expenditures.

These smart cards remove limitations regular company cards have today. Spendesk’s employee debit cards offer companies options to monitor budgets, customize settings, and set specific authorizations. For instance, companies can set predefined budgets and spending category limitations on flights, hotels, restaurants, etc. Then they don’t have to worry about an employee taking advantage of their card by booking a first-class flight or eating at a high-end steakhouse.

All transactions are tracked in real time so finance and accounting can see purchases right as they happen. Increasing visibility is important, especially when your employee is working remotely.

And for employees, this new form of payment is more convenient and easier on the pocket. “These are smart employee company cards with built-in spending policies. Employees can pay for business expenses when they need to without ever having to spend their own money,” the company demonstrated in a company video.

Not having to dip into your checking account is a plus in my book! And for remote employees who just need to make a single purchase, Spendesk has single-use virtual debit cards, too.

Now, that’s a smart card!

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