Everyday real estate professionals are bombarded with information about new business models and disruptive tech companies. You can thrive if you adapt and focus. Glenn Bill, a broker with CENTURY 21 Sheetz in Indianapolis and a real estate coach wrote the book, “The ABCs of Attitude,” that offers helpful mindset strategies for real estate professionals. Listen and come away ready to take on the disrupters and find your niche for success.
An Interview With Glenn Bill
Every day there’s a new business model or tech company kind of aiming to disrupt the real estate industry. So what does disruption mean to you?
Disruption means a lot of things to me. I always tend to like to go back to what Webster has to say about it, and the definition per the dictionary is, it’s to break apart, it’s to rupture what is ongoing and to interrupt the normal course of activity. So I start with the idea that there are people out there and brokers out there, businesses out there that are really trying to do things differently.
But the other thing that disruption means to me is that it’s really an opportunity to capitalize, leverage and grow your business through the disruption. As a real estate broker, for years I was real estate broker for 17 years, and one of the tricks that companies do to get recruits, is to disrupt them, to disrupt their business. It’s not really intentional or mean spirited, but we know in competitive recruiting from broker to broker and in different markets, the more we can distract agents from what they do, their production tends to go down, and then you can be the broker there to get them.
This whole concept of what is disruption, what does it mean is a deep problem. It’s an onion with a lot of layers, but ultimately what I found is that it’s the number one way for agents to not perform their best ability. Simply because of the disruption and the chaos that is created. To me, that in a nutshell is what’s going on with this unbelievable word called disruption that everybody’s talking about now
When brokers and real estate professionals are faced with this new competition, what do you see are some of the biggest mistakes that they make?
Well I think the biggest mistake really comes from their perception of the disruption, right. People try to emulate what they don’t necessarily know, and thus brokers and agents both are always in a state of catching up or in a state of chasing that, what most people would call, a shiny object. So what tends to happen is brokers and agents are losing their authentic self. They’re losing their sales self, and they’re becoming somebody that they’re not really meant to be, and that’s the biggest mistake that I see is just a lack of authenticity.
As I tell brokers and agents all the time, you are your best agents. People do business with the authentic you. So many people are trying to emulate and copy and create disruption, they’re losing who they really are. Thus losing their customer base and their agents, especially in the recruiting model.
How does their attitude play into the success of the broker in times of disruption?
I know a little bit about attitude, and I wrote an international best-selling book called, The ABC’s of Attitude. We study in-depth number one, what’s the definition of attitude. We know the definition of attitude is the way you dedicate yourself to the way you think and what you have happening in disruption is people are hijacking your thoughts. So what I work with people on, I work with brokers and agents on, is how to maintain our thought, how to stay true to our thought and attitude, you’ve heard it, attitude is everything.
When I go talk to CEOs and corporations, I always ask them, well how many programs have you given your agents and/or your employees on attitude? They agree, Glenn attitude’s everything, but you know what, yeah, we don’t study it, we don’t know how to define it, we don’t know how to re-teach it, we don’t know how to ignite it. But basically what attitude is, is your way of thought. My purpose in life is to help people commit to their way of thought, not to not be open.
But with distraction, with disruption, what I’m finding and what I’m seeing are people are so overwhelmed, they’re so confused that they’re not taking the time to think for themselves and they’re just following the thoughts of other people. Commitment and dedication to a way of thought is what I find high performers, successful brokers and agents have. They have their plan, they’re not getting disrupted, they’re not getting sidetracked, and their way of thinking and their attitude has changed.
What are some ways that brokers, leaders and even real estate professionals can up their game and compete? Give me some specific examples of some strategies that they can use.
I did a keynote for a company out in Iowa, and we talked about this thing called disruption and what people can do. The new disruption in the real estate business that I believe is the back to basics relationship model. Technology is fantastic, I coach and train agents all over America, and I help them understand that there’s no better more secure business than helping the people who like you, trust you, and will refer your business. Chasing internet leads that may close 4 out of 100 isn’t necessarily a model that is sustainable for high producing brokers. As a matter of fact the agents and brokers who I train that are doing 20 million or more a year, and who are doing half a billion in transactions, what I really see in their top producers and top brokers is, they are so laser focused on the relationship with their customer instead of the relationship with the internet provider or the relationship with a new shiny object in technology that’s gonna generate them income or generate them leads or so-called leads. Those are the ones that are scaling their businesses and making things happen.
I get calls every single day from platforms all over technology and media, and they ask me the same questions. I know that the agents who are listening to you have gotten this call daily, and it’s hey, could you use more business. It’s like, hello, that’s the easiest opening sales call. I don’t know who’s training these people, but what they’re doing is, the outside forces are calling our real estate agents, they’re cold calling our real estate agents and saying don’t cold call, it doesn’t work, use us. Then our agents actually buy it. They’re being cold-called, and they’re getting sold. We’re giving away commissions, we’re giving away power, and what I like to focus on is helping agents. You know what, you can make a really great living selling 48 to 52 homes a year with people you love, with people you like, with people who like you, and with people who refer you. That’s what we help people learn how to do. I help brokers the same way, there’s no magic formula for recruiting people. The recruiting element, it’s all about relationships, and the people that can master relationships, master what we call emotional intelligence, which is in our book. Those are the people who can create relationships in a shorter amount of time and become more effective and scale their business better than any internet platform. So that’s some of the things that I believe that people needed help with.
What are some things that brokers can do to help their sales associates stay productive, and give me some examples of the things that you see agents doing or brokers doing that have been successful with the agents and brokers that you coach
Getting back to basics can mean different things to different people. There’re a lot of people that are saying, let’s get back to basics and start cold calling, and that’s not really what I’m saying. What I’m saying is getting back to basics, and when I try to help people do is to get people to do business who like and trust you. In my seminars I always ask people, how do you know if somebody likes you. We always get answers, well we talk to you, or they look you in the eye, or they answer the phone. I think you and I both know that in all three of those instances, we do that with people we don’t necessarily like.
What I try to help agents do, is do business with people they like. If you like them, chances are they like you. One of the things that I always get back to is, the way you feel about somebody is the way they feel about you. I believe that’s an inescapable truth of life, so one of the basics is lets start focusing and doing business with people we like. It creates such a more fulfilling business model than anything else. I also like to talk about giving value. When we talk about values, an overused word, like disruption. When I ask people to define value, they don’t know how to do it. Value is simply doing something for the customer on behalf of the customer before we even ask them to do business with us. So I challenge real estate agents and brokers, and I ask them, what are you doing with your client base and/or in the community that is for the customer, on behalf of the customer, before you even ask them to do business. The agents and brokers who understand this concept of value get business, and they get business with people they like and with people that are like them.
In our SOS program that I do, we show 21 different ways to create value, and actually do something in the community for the customer that is like that. A lot of that comes down to, and is linked to content development. The internet’s free, knocking on doors is certainly free. Going to talk at a Sertoma club or local club, or creating an event for customers or … I led first time home buyers seminars. Even though there may only be six or eight, but the ability to communicate content that benefits the consumer, huge, huge way to go about them doing that. Then simply by surveying people. You can put surveys out on Twitter or on Facebook all the time, and asking people what do they want from their real estate broker. But possibly the most powerful and most important that I teach people is, when you’re engaging with your client base, you need to ask them what business are you in and how can I help your business. Every listing would sell, even though I do everything I do, we sell over 120 homes just myself and my team. We constantly strive to see our customers as peers, and we find ways to help them in their business. When I increase my customer’s business, you’d be amazed at the referrals that come in. That’s just a few of the things that we teach and talk about with our people that we work with.
So what about retaining agents. What are some tips that you have for brokers. The agents are faced with so many new choices and business models, sign on bonuses, different ways to do business. So what are some things brokers can do to retain their agents?
I’ve always said this and people have argued with me, but I’m telling you this, agents have need to feel significant. There’ll be agents that say I don’t want the awards, I don’t need to feel significant, leave me alone, I don’t want anything from my broker. I’m like, okay, well that, if you want nothing from your broker, you’re probably gonna get nothing from your broker, and how does that really build your business. So, I look to Merck. Merck was called one of the highest retention companies in America.
As I mentioned, I speak to corporations allover America, and Merck’s number one nugget for retaining their workforce, was the people that work for Merck said this. “Merck is interested in my personal development more than anything,” so what I have found is that the brokers who are able to retain their agents, number one, they know how to recognize and make their agents feel significant. They know how to make their agents feel certain about their career, but more importantly, they bring in people like me, not to be self-serving, to help them with personal development. Because we know this, if you are not personally satisfied, if you’re not fulfilled, and if you’re not living in a space of learning, then you are ripe to get recruited by somebody who wants to provide that atmosphere for you.
So I’m a big believer that if a broker’s there to help, not you only become a better salesperson, but to help you become a better person. Those are bonds that can’t be broken. When you remove that personal development from a person’s life, they feel alone, and they feel like they’re in the wrong place. So that’s my number one key to retaining agents, and boy it’s proven out to be right for a lot of different people.
You speak a little bit about leveraging disruption to increase market share. How can one go about doing this?
I always talk about three ways to deal with it.
1.) Does this help my customer more than me?
Focus on your Customer – A lot of the disruptive models in real estate are about the agent making more money, and recruiting other people, and we’ve seen the consumer on the sideline.
2.) Does it help me give value to the marketplace more than the disruptor?
In other words, I try to say is this disruption more important to the marketplace or is what value I’m providing, which we talked about earlier, better?
3.) Can I double my business, my profit, my margins, my units, my commission without this?
The secret to market dominance, I know is this, it’s the time you meet somebody till the time you get to the closing table. The agents who don’t have to spend eight months with a customer, would only have to spend eight hours with the customer for the whole transaction, will increase their profitability and their numbers. So there’s three ways to deal with it obviously. Number one we wanna focus on the customer, number two you wanna give value first, and number three you do wanna embrace and learn and take the best and leave the rest. A lot of disruption occurs, you got a smorgasbord of 20 new things. You know what, take two or three of those things and put them into your business model, then proceed to try to be your number authentic self.
Leveraging disruption very simply is this, create more certainty in other’s lives than the disruptors. Disruptors by nature are creating uncertainty in people’s lives, and 70% of America crave certainty more than uncertainty. That’s one way of leveraging. Number two, it’s chaos versus a clear path. In other words, I try to simply people’s business models, business plans and brokers mission statements if you will, and create that clear simplified path. I recruit against it, when it’s all said and done, disruptors are great, I don’t mind them. But you know what they do, they do actually create the opportunity or the biggest opportunity to sell more real estate, to recruit more agents, because everybody’s running around looking for who can create that model that’s simple and that is certain. That’s what we talk about when we talk about leveraging disruption.