Simple Keys Can Make a Big Difference in Your Business

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119

I have four simple keys that can make a big difference in your business. If I've learned anything about the real estate business in the past two decades it is that it is unpredictable. It does have cycles, and then a recession like 2008 comes along and changes everything. Because of that, it is wise to remove anything in the business that is not contributing to your success. Hopefully, these suggestions will help.

Key 1. Take a critical look at your business. Is it where you want it to be? If not, honestly ask yourself why? Look at it as if you were a business professional looking to buy the business. Would you accept it as it is, or would you start making changes as soon as you received the keys to the office? It can be easy to become blind to our challenges.  You create something, it has some success and it's your baby, but will it grow into a productive adult?

Key 2. Jettison things that don't work. I know this sounds harsh, but that can be systems, equipment and people. When I started my own brokerage I had a number of agents from my previous company ask to join me. I declined. In that office, a very small group of the 25 agents did all of the deals. The others sat around, drank coffee, made copies and searched Facebook. I didn't want that in my office, so I didn't invite anyone to come along and I turned down those who asked to join.

The same is true of systems. What worked in the 80s, 90s and early 2000s may not work today. There is a coach, a program, a pay-per-click site, a website marketer, and many other things around every corner waiting to be funded by your hard work. When online marketing companies solicit me to provide leads, I have a standing policy. Give me sixty days free and if I have one good closing I'll sign up for a year. No takers to date. I always ask if they don't have confidence in their product, why should I?

Surround yourself with the right people. I mentioned above that I didn't take any agents in the early days of Cornerstone as a brokerage, but I have taken some in the past few years. I also needed an office administrator. I hired one in June of 2016. She came highly recommended and she had a good interview. She only lasted two days. It's not that I'm hard to work with, but I expect results and excellence. I'm not a charity or a rehab facility. If someone works with me, they've got to have high energy, they've got to be open to learn and they've got to earn their keep. She did not have the juice to be a high-performer, and I didn't have the skills, the patience or the "want to" to change her.  I hired a new office administrator in November 2016 and I am really excited at how she has worked out. She is a kindred spirit who is not only doing a great job, but she has great vision and she wants to learn. Hire people who enhance your success. 

Key 3. Reward those who help you be successful. I love rewarding those who cause me to be successful. That includes lenders, closers and other agents. I send referrals to my lenders and closers and I even send referrals to local agents I enjoy working with. Sometimes I just can't get to everyone who is asking for help. In those cases, I have a handful of local agents I gladly send those clients to. My crew gets the first opportunity, but I have given excellent clients to other agents in my market. 

I also reward my clients. I'm always grateful that someone picks my company over all other options in our market. I always give a closing gift to my clients, but I also send my electrical contracting company through the newly purchased home to make repairs or changes prior the buyers moving in. At the end of the year, we revisit all of those clients and send gift baskets as a holiday gift to add one more thank you for their business. I rarely lose a client. 

Key 4. Set aside funds for a rainy day. This year started out a little quiet, but by the end of January, my plate was full. I did more business in January than I did in the fourth quarter of 2022. The success of January was a great time to set aside funds for a slower period if one came. The local market is unpredictable as many are. So, being prepared for the ups and downs is an excellent way to make sure you're in business next year. With this business, it's important to make sure you keep enough resources set aside that you can survive market anomalies. I thank God daily that I'm in a business that gives me that level of freedom. 

The keys could be endless in most any business, but these four help me stay on top of my game. What keys can you add to this group? Feel free to share with us so we can all grow and succeed together. 


Four Simple Keys Can Make a Big Difference in Your Business


Comments (21)

Dr. Paula McDonald
Beam & Branch Realty - Granbury, TX
Granbury, TX 936-203-0279

Excellent points here! I particularly like #2. Everyone does not automatically get in the door as an agent. I have a small, boutique brokerage and I like to be very particular with whom I bring into my fold.

Feb 06, 2023 02:59 PM
Anna "Banana" Kruchten
HomeSmart Real Estate - Phoenix, AZ

All great business tips Mike!  I've pretty much ran our business like you have and it's so important to take an honest look at the business & keep shifting when needed, attract like-minded folks and reward them well, and keep funds in the bank for when needed!  Too many folks forget that last tip and can get stuck 'when' the markets shifts, and it will folks!  I've experienced many shifts in the market this past 30+ years.

Feb 06, 2023 03:36 PM
Lynda Eisenmann
Preferred Home Brokers - Brea, CA
Broker Associate ,CRS,GRI,SRES, Brea,CA, Orange Co

Spot on, great on every point. As a broker/owner for 40+ years, I can say there is a lot for others to learn here! Great job! 

Feb 06, 2023 07:58 PM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

Those are four very important tips, Mike.  Simple keys can make a big difference.

Feb 07, 2023 12:45 AM
Myrl Jeffcoat
Sacramento, CA
Greater Sacramento Realtor - Retired

CONGRATULATIONS Mike, on having this blog FEATURED in the Old Farts Club group!  

Feb 07, 2023 12:45 AM
Andrew Mooers | 207.532.6573
Northern Maine Real Estate-Aroostook County Broker

Getting in when the market is toughest early on in your real estate career. That's the universal key to unlock all the tumblers. Best way to clear your head to see what needs to be done is knowing the feeling of a wolf on the other side of the locked door Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD .

Fire in your belly is the passion that drives you mixed with creative time management for high production results. Do you rise and shine and can't wait to begin your work day? If not, if you frown and did you say "Meh"? There's a locked door needing a locksmith holding you back as you drag your heels, bitch and complain.

You are wasting daylight or time to shift careers, maybe retire "after the thrill is gone". Dial it all back to do you still love your job, helping people in real estate matchmaker buyers and sellers? 

The flame rises, but it soon descends
Empty pages and a frozen pen
You're not quite lovers, and you're not quite friends
After the thrill is gone, oh
After the thrill is gone

Feb 07, 2023 04:12 AM
Joe Jackson
Keller Williams Capital Partners Realty - Columbus, OH
Clintonville and Central Ohio Real Estate Expert

This is an excellent post with great information. Thanks for sharing it.

Have a super fantastic week!
Joe Jackson, Realtor-KWCP

Feb 07, 2023 05:14 AM
Edward Gilmartin
CRE - Boston, MA

I worked for a company that had an office fire. Office was closed for 90 days for repairs. It was the most productive 90 days ever because no one hung around wasting time in the office

Feb 07, 2023 05:41 AM
Gwen Fowler SC Lakes & Mountains 864-710-4518

I have a project each year to close the office for repairs: new flooring, painting, windows, lighting, etc.  Everyone must work from home.  Many don't return after the disruption.  

Feb 09, 2023 04:35 AM
Michael Jacobs
Pasadena, CA
Pasadena And Southern California 818.516.4393

Hello Mike - whether it's business or another part of everyday life, a closer look can lead to an improved perspective.  And we can learn quite a bit too.  

Feb 07, 2023 07:48 AM
Ruth Grainger-Starr
Gold District Realty - Cripple Creek, CO
providing AWESOME real estate adventures

A great post! I agree saving money for a rainy day is critical. My life has been flipped upside down and I have not had the real estate business that I had this time last year (not complaining at all the cows need me) however it is nice to have peace of mind finically.  I am starting to grow my brokerage and I really appreciate your thoughts on that! 

Feb 07, 2023 10:56 AM
Marte Cliff
Marte Cliff Copywriting - Priest River, ID
Your real estate writer

Simple - but not easy. Some of those decisions are difficult to make, but oh so rewarding!

Feb 07, 2023 12:33 PM
Kimo Jarrett
Cyber Properties - Huntington Beach, CA
Pro Lifestyle Solutions

Plan your work and work your plan. Adapt, innovate and execute fearlessly. Maintain discipline to always pay yourself first and learn to be wise spending your income. Stay healthy and strong. 

Feb 07, 2023 11:02 PM
Dorie Dillard Austin TX
Coldwell Banker Realty ~ 512.750.6899 - Austin, TX
NW Austin ~ Canyon Creek and Spicewood/Balcones

Good morning Mike,

I like your 4 keys that make a difference in your business. All relevant and very important aspect to be successful in real estate. I like your #4. I had a great December and made sure I set aside funds because I knew the listings I had coming on would not be on until February or march. Now we've had this ice storm in Austin and all the properties have significant tree damage which will take weeks to clean up! Could be April now before coming on the market! Meanwhile I'm working with buyers but just able to get out to look now that we have power back!

Feb 08, 2023 06:46 AM
Patricia Feager, MBA, CRS, GRI,MRP
Selling Homes Changing Lives

Mike Cooper, Broker VA,WV, MD - you truly are excellent at what you do. I enjoyed reading what you have written. 

Feb 08, 2023 02:34 PM
Mary Hutchison, SRES, ABR
Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate-Kansas City Homes - Kansas City, MO
Experienced Agent in Kansas City Metro area

Surround yourself with successful, positive people--that is so important. Congrats on your success!

Feb 09, 2023 08:25 AM
MaryKay Shumway
The Kellstrom Ray Agency, Inc. (Est. 1948) - Sister Bay, WI
Door County Wisconsin's Real Estate Expert

Loved this, especially Item 2.  Best wishes for a wonderful 2023!

Feb 10, 2023 06:00 AM
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

Great KEYS! 

"Hire people who enhance your success."

Feb 10, 2023 06:50 PM
Diana Dahlberg
1 Month Realty - Pleasant Prairie, WI
Real Estate in Kenosha, WI since 1994 262-308-3563

Spot On!  Excellent Keys!!!  Most Important:  Surround yourself with positive successful people! A Great Post!  Thank you!

Feb 10, 2023 06:59 PM
Charles Ross - eXp Realty LLC
eXp Realty LLC Salina Group - Salina, KS
Love To Help People

Excellent information. Thank you for sharing. Have a wonderful day and a blessed weekend.

Feb 11, 2023 02:29 AM
Brian DeYoung
also affiliated with Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Heritage Realty - Ithaca, NY
The Realtor with personal investment background

I love your 60 day policy for leads....

Feb 13, 2023 11:17 AM