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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?”

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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.


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Written By

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.



  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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