Leadership 101

Aug 27, 2014

By Floyd Wickman, CSP, CPAE, National Speakers Association Hall of Fame and founder of The Floyd Wickman Program and The Floyd Wickman Team 

The #1 fact of life in the real estate business today is drama. I believe today’s leaders have to resist the temptation to get caught up in it and focus on the five jobs of a sales manager: recruit, train, direct, motivate and upgrade. 

“Sure, Floyd, that sounds good in theory,” I hear my friends in leadership say, “but you don’t see the steady parade of agents coming into my office with transaction problems. It’s overwhelming.” 

Please believe me, I have a lot of empathy with you. I still teach one or two programs a year myself, and I hear it, too. Problems, problems, problems. 

The experts at NAR and RealTrends agree with what my clients tell me - that the majority of licensed agents are closing between 0 and 3 transactions a year. And I believe this is the source of most of the problems that occur during a transaction.  

Agents who regularly have at least two closings a month have the systems in place and the training and experience to handle most problems. It’s the untrained co-broke agent without the systems, experience and training that has a tendency to throw the proverbial monkey wrench into the works. Not maliciously, of course.  

I know, because I was one of them. My first year in real estate I had five transactions, and two fell through. I was the “untrained co-broke.” I wanted desperately for every single one of them to close. I needed them to close. But when a problem came up it felt like the world was coming to an end. 

In a word - 'drama'. 

Once a thread of drama creeps into a transaction, these agents will march into your office, throw the deal down on your desk, and then go into a holding pattern until you fix things for them. 

Keep your open door policy if it’s something you have promised, but add a few guidelines to help lower the emotional temperature. I call it The Ask The Experts System. I used it to build my speaking career, and we use it in our program, in our coaching, and in our company. 

When someone comes to you with a problem, ask them to first clarify what their goal is. Of all the possible outcomes, what is most important to them? What is their priority? What do they want to have happen. That’s called taking responsibility for the desired end result. Remember, it’s impossible to achieve a goal you don’t have. 

They don’t need to go over al the details and the drama. They just need to fill in the blank. “My #1 goal is ________.” 

Follow that by helping them put into words what they believe is preventing them from achieving that goal. What is the biggest obstacle, problem or challenge? Again, fill in the blank. “My #1 challenge is _________.” 

Finally, have them ask you, “What is your one best piece of advice?”

Getting people to clearly state what they want, and then state what they believe is stopping them, takes the emotion out of most situations, and focuses the discussion on solutions, not drama. 

You can take it a step further, and get everyone involved together, either face to face or on a conference call, and have each person Ask The Experts. You facilitate. When everyone who has a stake in getting to a closing has a chance to state their goal and their challenge, and ask for advice, you are much more likely to eliminate obstacles, problems and challenges. 

Best of all, it will dramatically shorten the amount of time it takes to move a shaky transaction forward, and the amount of drama in the air. 

I hope you enjoy these blog posts and articles enough to share them with your friends and colleagues. And, as always, if there’s ever anything I can do to help your cause, I am only just a phone call or text away.

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