Business Lessons From the Wonderful World of Real Estate!

In Your Watkins Business, you must never become discouraged about turn-over (the loss of associates), or poor productivity by some associates. It is a fact of Life – people will enroll in your business and simply disappear or not become productive. There is only one solution to turn-over and poor productivity and that is continuous and impassioned recruiting and sponsoring.

When you understand more fully the nature and dynamics of Network Distribution you will understand what you need to do to achieve success. Following are some lessons from the world of Real Estate Sales Management.

Fran, as a Real Estate Broker, was the Manager of a large Real Estate Office for several years. She spent a large portion of her time in recruiting and training new Sales Associates. While she was bringing people into her Agency others were dropping out. What she discovered over a period time was that at any given moment 1/3 of her Agents were new and in training, 1/3 were seasoned and productive, and 1/3 were inactive or on their way out of the business. She worked desperately to re-energize and retain those who were not productive or on the verge of quitting.

She began to take this personally and wondered why in the world she could not build a strong organization with more stability and less turn-over. How come she could not get higher productivity across the board? She focused a large portion of her time and energy in working to re-activate and motivate the 1/3 who were not producing. Often she mumbled to me that she was managing a “salvage operation.” At one point, she said, “I am trying to save a lot of souls and burning out in the process”.

She analyzed her leadership style and reviewed all of her Agency’s Policies. She did a comparative study of her Agency’s Commission Structure as measured against other Agencies. She interviewed everyone on staff and looked for flaws in her management practices. She conducted “exit interviews” as people left her agency. She interviewed and analyzed every sales associate she could find, who had left her Agency over the past two years. This is what she found.

People did not leave her Agency because of Fran’s Leadership or Management Style. They did not quit because of Policies, Practices and the Commission Structure. If they could not produce it was not through any fault of the Agency or Fran. They simply could not make it in Real Estate for many reasons. They could not make it because of LIFE!

Some decided, that after experiencing the demands of the Real Estate Profession, it was not for them. They simply did not like the dynamics and expectations of the business and quit. There were illnesses, separations and divorces, debilitating accidents and other life circumstances that prompted many to leave the business. Some went back to 9 to 5 jobs. A couple moved to distant locations, because their spouses were transferred. Some retired and no longer had the need to work. The point is simply this – people’s lives and life circumstances are in a constant state of change.

Fran finally realized she had absolutely no control over those changes. She also had to recognize that not everybody who gets a license is “cut out” for success in the Real Estate business. She discovered that expending time, energy and other resources on that “bottom” 1/3 (the inactive, ineffective and the on-the-way-out-the-door Agents) was simply not a prudent management practice. It was simply a waste of her time.

It may sound callous, but she found that it was very difficult, if not impossible, to help those who did not want to be helped or had limited interest in success. Dejectedly, at one point she said, “I guess there are just some souls you can’t save!” Although she realized that she had no control over the life events that impacted her Associates she still felt badly that she could not help these people that she cared about.

Fran then began to accept the fact that it was the nature of the Real Estate Business (and almost every sales organization on the planet) to experience significant turn-over of Sales Agents. She began to realize whole new levels of success when she starting focusing her efforts on intense recruiting and training. She gave most of her time to the 1/3 she was bringing into the business and the 1/3, which were the seasoned producers.

Her annual sales figures and over-all organizational performance and profitability soared after she began focusing most of her time and attention on recruiting and training. She worked with her new crop of Agents to give them the guidance and support they needed to learn the business and become productive.

Of course, she continued to provide solid support for her top producers. She spent whatever time was necessary to give appropriate guidance and technical support to these seasoned producers.

However, as she refined her thinking, she spent even less time with her top producers and concentrated even more time on her Recruiting and Training efforts. Most of the top producers were self-starters and self-navigators who could manage their time and conduct their business professionally. They did not need a lot of “hand-holding” or attention. She made certain that her top producers were fully recognized and rewarded for their efforts. She was always there for them, but she also learned that they did not need her nearly as much as she thought they did.

When Fran gave up trying to make everyone a champion, and shifted her thinking toward intense recruiting, she started experiencing real success. She became a master at recruiting and launching people on new careers in Real Estate. Her listing inventory went through the roof, because there were so many more people coming into the Agency. Her top producers loved it because the greater number of listings gave them more to sell. Her Agency became more vital, competitive and stronger. She unleashed remarkable growth and profitability.

From this experience, Fran developed three operational principles that can apply to our Watkins Business as well:

Principle I. Do NOT waste time on the unmotivated, non-producers. Do not try to make champions out of people who do not have what it takes to be champions. Let go of those who decide to quit. Stop trying to salvage the unsalvageable!

Principle II. Continuously focus on intense recruiting. Make recruiting your dominant business activity. Make it a passion!

Principle III. Identify those Associates who have the potential to become top producers, and who demonstrate the desire to succeed. Give them all the help and support they need to achieve success. Teach them the skills, attitudes and knowledge required to build a break-away business. Position them for success and then get out of their way and let them excel.

Live by these three Principles and watch your Watkins Business GROW!

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