Here's What I'm Thinking About

Trends | Tactics | Resources | And Other Stuff

Leading with Mindset

Oct 08, 2019

When I first met Kim I was intimidated. It was almost twenty years ago. She was selling a company that had created a unique hiring assessment to help attract and retain real estate agents. I had recently started my first corporate real estate job at Royal LePage Canada and was intent on making changes in the industry.  She was confident, she was smart, she was driven, she was opinionated and I loved everything about her energy. 

She was convinced that if a person could control their mindset and focus they could reach new levels of fulfillment and success. This was back in the day before these things were being talked about as part of the mainstream. 

So we put together a pilot of real estate agents to beta her new coaching program. The rest as they say is history. All these years later and here we are. 

Kim has gone on to develop Frame of Mind Coaching into a world class resource for executives across many industries. One of the things I admire most...

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What's Missing From the 2019 Franchise Report

Oct 01, 2019

Realtor Magazine recently released the 2019 Residential Franchise Report. They have been conducting this study every two years since 2003. This year's report plus all past reports can be found here.

Some of the notable facts from this year's report: 

  • 11 percent of all brokerages were affiliated with a franchise company (down slightly from 13 percent two years ago)
  • 42 percent of REALTORS® are affiliated with a franchise (down from 43 percent in 2015)
  • Re/Max is the largest brand by number of offices and Keller Williams by number of agents
  • Brokerage affiliation at Coldwell Banker averages 22 years. The longest of any of the brands. 
  • Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices, added 16,000 new agents over the past two years—a jump of 15%—and 140 new offices (the acquisition of companies like Long & Foster contributed greatly to this growth) 

Reading the report got me more curious about what is happening in the industry outside of the realm of franchising....

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Leading Indicators That An Agent is Leaving You

Sep 26, 2019

I remember it like it was yesterday, it was the first week of January and we were officially back to work and ready to take on a new year. That was until my two top agents walked into my office and told me they were going to a competitor. I had not seen it coming and was devastated. 

In some areas of the country a broker gets a notice from the state letting them know an agent has left their company and transferred their license to another brokerage. Gone are the days of an uncomfortable conversation and the attempt to win the agent back. 

There is a point of no return. Once an agent reaches it with their current brokerage, it is almost impossible to retain them whether they talk to you in person, send you a text or simply transfer their license. 

As a brokerage there are some leading indicators you should be watching to give you hints 30, 60 and 90 days in advance of an agent or team actually leaving. The more proactive you are with having the retention conversations...

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Talking to Strangers and Real Estate Life

Sep 24, 2019
Hiring people, whether we are hiring agents for our brokerages or staff members is challenging. We have an interview process, we screen applicants, ask questions, give hiring assessments — yet most often we are wrong in determining the potential fit and productivity of a person. 
Why is that? 
Malcolm Gladwell’s new book, Talking to Strangers- What We Should Know About the People We Don't Know,  tries to answer the question of why we are so bad at talking to strangers and understanding them. I’ve been a Malcolm (yes, in my mind we are on a first-name basis) since his book Blink. I once stood in line for almost two hours to meet him and have him sign copies of his book for all my staff. Whenever, I play the dinner party game... who would you have dinner with? Malcolm Gladwell is on my list. 
But this book, wow! I’m not going to say read it, my ask is listen to it. On Audible, the book is read by the author plus he has...
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Lookin' for Love

Sep 19, 2019

Sometimes I read things on Facebook that just get stuck in my head and I can't get them out. This is an example of one of those times. This question and the constant loop of the old song lyrics "lookin' for love in all the wrong places" got stuck in my head. Bonus points if you know that song! Seriously message me! 

Anyway, I think people often look for the answers to their challenges in the wrong places. The operational side of running a real estate team or a brokerage is something that you are not going to learn at a conference. You will learn about systems, software, ideas, strategies, etc. but what you won't learn is how to piece all of those things together in your personal business. 

So go to a conference for all the other great reasons there are to attend a conference. But don't go thinking you will magically find the fix to your operational challenges. That fix is going to take time, planning, implementing, documenting and refining.

So as the song goes, don't go...

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Systems Beat Memory

Sep 17, 2019

Caller ID tells me it is Fred calling. Fred only calls when there is a problem. I already know what the problem is. Sally, our office administrator was out sick today and wasn't there to get something done for Fred. He's calling to complain. I know it. 

Have you ever lived this scenario? 

It happens all the time in real estate offices across the country. Key support staff members are so good at their jobs that they never write down how they actually do their job, it is all in their head. That's just fine, until they are out of the office. And the Murphy's Law of Life kicks in meaning that your biggest complainer will somehow be impacted by their absence. 

There are two ways to prevent this phone call in your business. 

  1.  Have documented systems and checklists in place for every task that every employee does. This can take the form of an operations playbook and doesn't have to take a lot of time to develop. Start with simply checklists and keep it in hard...
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The Myths and Mystery of the 100% Commission Business Model

Sep 12, 2019

Having spent almost two years running the largest 100% commission transaction fee brokerage in the country, I learned a lot. One of the most lasting impressions is that this is a business model that very few people in the industry really understand and even fewer give the proper respect to. 

 The Myths of a 100% Brokerage Model 

I'll start with the most common misconceptions.

  • 100% commission brokerages can't make money. In fact, Real Trends has done the research and shows that the 100% brokerages on their list are making at least the same amount of net revenue or better as commission split or traditional brokerages. 
  • That 100% commission brokerages don't offer comparable services and support as their competitors. This of course may vary by market but the large 100% commission brokerages absolutely offer tools, training, technology, mentoring, coaching and any other typical tool or service you would put on the list. 
  • That 100% commission brokerages don't...
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Do I Need a Coach, a Mentor, a Trainer or a Consultant?

Sep 10, 2019

A coach, a trainer, a mentor and a consultant walk into a conference. How do I tell them apart and who do I hire to help my business? 

Good question! Let's start by examining the difference between these four functions and skillsets. 


A coach doesn't need to know all the specifics of what you do or be an expert in your area of business in order to help you. What they do need to do is tell you what you don't want to hear but need to hear in order to move your business forward. 


A mentor is someone who is doing or has done what you are trying to do. A good mentor leads by example. They can tell and show you exactly how they approached a situation or what they did to achieve a goal. 


A trainer tells you what to do. Training is about skill building. It focuses on scripts, dialogs and how to's. It's then up to you to take what you have learned and put it into action. 


A good consultant combines the talents of a coach, mentor and...

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NFL Roster Cuts and Real Estate

Sep 05, 2019

This past weekend all 32 NFL teams had to cut their rosters from 90 players to 53. This is a mandatory cut required by the league. Team leadership is faced with hard decisions. It doesn't matter who they like, what individual players are nice or good people. What matters is performance and contribution. 

Leadership is faced with the decision to limit their roster to the strongest 53 players, who they feel will make the biggest contribution to the ultimate goal of winning. 

I wonder what would happen if real estate brokerage owners and team leaders had the same deadline. What if you had to cut your roster down to the strongest performers in your company? 

One of the reports I use in brokerage/team operations, is the quadrant report. It separates the agents in an office or on a team into four quadrants. The transaction numbers change by company, so I've used general rule of thumb numbers for the illustration below, but essentially you are segmenting agents by production...

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My Next Chapter

Sep 01, 2019

Almost 20 years ago, I packed up my personal belongings into a U-Haul and started the twenty plus hour drive from Nova Scotia to Toronto, Canada. I hugged my family good bye, got behind the wheel and cried for the next three hours. Not because I was sad, but because I know life would never be the same. What I didn't know was the amazing adventure that would lay ahead.  

I grew up surrounded by entrepreneurs.  My Dad, my step Mom, my uncle- all small business owners. I got my real estate license in college and started my own real estate brokerage while in my early twenties. Having sold my business, I was now moving from my hometown to Toronto to work in my first corporate real estate job at Royal LePage Canada. 

The transition from young entrepreneur into corporate world wasn't easy, but we'll save those stories for another time. Through a lot of hard work and determination I've been blessed with a great career in Canada and the United States working with and...

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