Doubling the Recipe Doesn't Always Mean More Cookies

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Broadpoint Properties Cal BRE #01324959

My friend Christie is a school nurse at a San Diego County middle school. The school receives all sorts of food donations, but does not have a kitchen or permission to prepare food on site. A few months ago, they received a donation of 140 bags of Hershey's semi-sweet chocolate chips. After seeing the boxes lying around the school for awhile, she decided to take matters into her own hands. She donated the bulk of the chips to a local food pantry, and then saved a few bags for a local block party.

At the block party, each family was supposed to use the chips to prepare some exciting chocolate chip treat. I decided to use my two bags and follow the traditional recipe-doubling it, of course.

If you do not have a baker's kitchen and baker's equipment, you may not be able to successfully double the recipe. I didn't realize that my Kitchen-Aid mixer was too small to handle all of the batter. I didn't realize that I did not have enough cookie sheets for ninety-six cookies. I didn't realize that I did not have the arm strength or the patience to make almost 100 beautiful cookies.

The whole idea sounded great (and yummy) when I got started. But, in my efforts to be super-efficient and double the recipe so that we would have cookies for years to come, I was foiled. I made a huge mess. I had to use and reuse the cookie sheets, and the oven was on for hours. At the end of the whole project, I asked myself, "Was it all worth it?"

Well, the cookies came out pretty well. But I did learn a lesson: sometimes in an effort to save time, we are actually cutting off our noses to spite our face. I thought that I might as well make 96 cookies, since I was already making 48.

Sometimes when I try to double up on my marketing efforts or multi-task to be more efficient, I seem to spread myself too thin. I do not end up putting my best efforts into my work-in the same way that my cookie experience kind of died a slow death.

There's a limit to the number of listings my team can handle, the number of short sales we can negotiate. If we take on too many, then we are spreading ourselves too thin. We are not able to provide the level of service that our clients expect. We are not able to provide the kind of service that we want to provide. Doubling up on the number of listings we take on does not always mean that we double the number of closings just as doubling the chocolate chip cookie recipe did not quite yield the chocolate chip cookie experience that I had hoped.


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Craig Hilbun
The Hilbun Team - Lake Elsinore, CA
Your Neighborhood Agent

A high level of service is what separates the great firms and the not so great.  Great anecdote and there's definitely a point to be taken here!

Jun 29, 2010 02:24 AM #1
Deborah Byron Leffler BzyBee Real Estate Lady!
Keller Williams Realty Boise - Nampa, ID

Awesome analogy!   I love it and have often felt this way...overwhelmed at the results ....and really no time saved in the end!   I can tell some of the volume agents who really think of their clients as numbers adn commissions...they really don't care what happens to the client~  

Jun 29, 2010 02:50 AM #2
Kent Dills
Broker, Dills Real Estate - Bellingham, WA
Real Estate 817-495-8028, Bellingham, Washington

VERY GOOD analogy Melissa.  We absolutely have an upper limit on everything we do and get to a point of inefficiency.   Glad you used something important like baking chocolate chips cookies to make the point!   ;-)

Jun 29, 2010 02:54 AM #3
Gloria Todor
Century 21 Absolute Realty - Springfield, PA
& Doug Durren (484) 431-3686 in SE PA

Melissa, A great analogy.  It's great you went with your promptings to double your cookie output.  Your experience will be helpful for the second attempt. As long as one's heart is in the right place there usually is valuable information to be obtained.


Jun 29, 2010 03:17 AM #4
Mary Douglas
United Country Ponderosa Realty, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado - Red Feather Lakes, CO
REALTOR, Red Feather Lakes, Colorado

Hi Melissa, Well those chocolate chip cookies in the photo look really good! What a great analogy, too!  We can only do so much, offices can only provide a high level of service until they are overburdened, and ovens only hold a certain amount of cookie sheets!   

Jun 29, 2010 03:32 AM #5
William J. Archambault, Jr.
The Real Estate Investment Institute - Houston, TX


Marketing is like baking!

It's better to have 48 great cookies than 96 mistakes.

"If you do not have a baker's kitchen and baker's equipment, you may not be able to successfully double the recipe."  That's great advice, in the kitchen or office.

I love chocolate cookies!


Jun 29, 2010 04:37 AM #6
Aaron Osborn
PEG, Ltd. - Houston, TX

Melissa, great post.  It is much more important and critical to adopt the "quality vs. quantity" philosophy in the real estate world.  With the amount of personal attention that needs to be given to each client, you can easily over extend yourself in a hurry.  Once you have enough production to grow your team (while delivering the same level of service); at that time can you begin to take on more volume.  Happy Selling!

Jun 29, 2010 09:04 AM #7
Sussie Sutton
David Tracy Real Estate - Houston, TX
David Tracy Real Estate for Buyers & Sellers

I started Weight Watchers and I am craving chocolate chip cookies! Yum those look WONDERFUL!

And you are right spreading yourself thin makes for a big mess in the end!

Coming to you from Texas...

Jun 30, 2010 04:35 AM #8
Regina P. Brown
MBA Broker Consultants - Carlsbad, CA
M.B.A., Broker, Instructor

Melissa, great post & wonderful story.  I always love reading your posts!  Enjoy your vacation...

Jul 03, 2010 10:03 AM #9
Jane Peters
Home Jane Realty - Los Angeles, CA
Los Angeles real estate concierge services

But don't they say "if you want something done, give it to a busy person".  :)  Have a great 4th.

Jul 04, 2010 05:31 AM #10
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Melissa Zavala

Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County
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