By Michael Krisa
RISMEDIA, March 4, 2008-I know this may sound like a simple question to ask but it is truly amazing how many real estate professionals never really think about it … and the result is clearly displayed in their profitability or lack of. I posed this very question to Danny Griffin in a recent audio interview and what he shares will have a profound impact on salesperson and broker alike.
Danny Griffin has earned numerous Top Honor Awards in his short real estate career. In 2004, he was ranked No. 1 in New England and was again in the Top 10 worldwide for Realty Executives, but left the company to start his own firm, Danny Griffin Real Estate headquartered in Cape Cod, Massachusetts, also serving Boston. Plans include additional offices in Florida.
Michael Krisa: There is one word you keep dropping into the conversation and it’s the word “business.” Do you think that the agents that are truly successful make a conscious distinction between treating their real estate career as a business vs. a job?
Danny Griffin: I encourage every single one of my independent contractors to incorporate from day one. And there are several reasons for that.
Number one, I want them to understand that even when they are working under my umbrella, they have to understand that they are running their own business. My marketing arm, my organizational arm, when it comes to closing coordination and customer service is only there to support their business. When they incorporate, they no longer see it as them. They see it as a thing, an entity, an asset. So, I think that’s a very, very important point you make.
Secondly, there are tax advantages and benefits to owning your own company, so you want to get educated in that realm. But you’re absolutely spot on again, that many, many agents and brokers, for that matter, in this industry see this as a job. And I would say broker associates. Obviously, brokers understand they own something here. But even broker/owners should begin to understand that when they hire somebody, they are hiring miniature businesses underneath their umbrella. And they need to support those people and understand that those people have to be encouraged to run a proper business.
Too many of us come into this industry, and again, it being so easy in most places to get a license, you sit down at the desk expecting the national franchise or the local mom-and-pop shop to all of a sudden somehow miraculously teach you how the fish are going to jump directly out of the ocean and into your frying pan. It’s just not going to happen.
You have to take a proactive approach, and when you see it as a business you tend to be more proactive. You put the pressure on yourself to go work in an organized fashion and make sure that you do consider all those areas of leverage, marketing, technology, and people, and having a plan as to how you’re going to move forward and do business with people.
I think it’s a great point that Michael makes. Make sure you understand you do not own a job. You absolutely do not own a job. You own a business. Treat it like that from day one, including all of you agents and broker associates who work for a national franchise. It is not a job. Even though somebody else takes care of the skeleton of running a brokerage, there are still all those aspects of your business that you need to take care of.
I can’t tell you how often I walk into another brokerage, and I sit around for a few minutes waiting to pick up some paperwork or meeting with somebody, and I just see agents just sitting there absolutely not moving in any forward direction to grow their business; just hoping that the brokerage itself has enough activity that when the phone rings, they can somehow magically come up with the right words to convince somebody to do business with them. And it’s just not good enough.
Krisa: Here’s where I get to show off that I was actually paying attention during my university days. … In physics, we learn that nothing stays the same; we are either moving forward or back. So to put this in a real estate context, if these agents aren’t doing anything proactive to build their business, then by default they’re actually eroding it.
Griffin: That’s absolutely right. I guess in looking at it proactive versus reactive, I use those words a lot, Michael, as well with clients. And the prospect needs to see that you are going to take a proactive approach.
For example, let’s take a seller. A seller needs to know, “What it is that you are going to do for me above and beyond all these other people?”
“We are going to take a proactive approach. We’re not going to sit back and just wait for MLS to do something. We’re not going to just sit back and hope that open houses, which sell 1% of property nationally, are going to magically sell your house. We’re going to do these other things for you. We’re going to show you how we’ve developed this VIP buyer program where we continuously recruit people to come work with us, and then continuously match them up with our listings.”
You have to give people a unique selling proposition. What makes you different? So, whether you’re talking to the prospect or yourself, you have to be proactive in developing that business. You just can’t sit back thinking that the brokerage is somehow going to reactively make you money. It’s just not going to happen.
You have to go there, leverage off of that name that those people have created, just like I did at Realty Executives. I used their name in the beginning to help me get my name, but I went to work every single day trying to figure out how to proactively take it to the marketplace and be active enough to go get people before other people got them.
So, you have to be aggressive in the beginning for sure, and then you have to continually organize it and systemize it, so that you don’t have to reinvent the wheel every week, every month, every year.
You come into a systemized approach where you have multi-fronts of business. We have mentioned referrals as one source, but do you have a way to compel prospects to come to you and visit your technology? Does your technology give them a reason to leave their contact information? Again, those are all proactive ways of building your business.
Michael Krisa, aka “That Interview Guy,” has been a practicing real estate professional since 1989. He has won numerous awards for outstanding sales achievement and has managed a number of top-producing offices.
For the past four years, he has hosted his own syndicated interview series feature some of the best and brightest people in real estate today.