You don’t have to look far to realize that low inventory isn’t just A story but THE story of real estate in many parts of the country right now. Although inventory has dropped 8.4 percent in the past year (National Association of REALTORS®), the market remains bright.
The team at Five Star Real Estate Group hasn’t let tightened inventory stand in the way of their success. Their business is proof that with an emphasis on taking listings, any agent/team can rise above inventory challenges to meet the needs of their clients and take their unfair share of the market.
It’s hard to believe that 3 ½ months ago Five Star Real Estate Group – who is now up 15.2 percent year-over-year in listings while their market is down 7.8 percent – was experiencing a slowdown in business.
After experiencing an unfortunate family tragedy and the loss of their top producer, something had to give. Exhausted, Cindy Carrigan, owner and principal broker of Five Star Real Estate Group, remembers sitting in Chase Williams’ (her team leader’s) office in the Spokane market center in tears.
“When we looked at her business, we knew something different had to happen and it would have to happen quickly,” says Williams.
“The answer was simple. He told me to be proactive by focusing on listings. He showed me exactly what needed to happen, and I’m so appreciative of that,” Carrigan recalls.
After the meeting, she called managing broker Doc Nicolson right away to put a plan in place that would emphasize listings.
Recognize the Value of Listings
Carrigan and Nicolson began resetting their business by giving their team a clear picture of the market.
“We sat down with the team for an hour and a half and dug deep to show them the lack of inventory in our market, last year’s previous inventory levels and what was happening in our area,” says Carrigan. “We knew that working with buyers was becoming difficult for them and stressed that, in order to reach their goals, they’d have to do it with listings.”
With a whiteboard in one hand and a marker in the other, Nicolson quickly mapped out the monetary value of making listings a priority.
“I drilled down the dollar-per-hour cost of working with a buyer versus a seller. After walking them through our listing process, they saw that they were spending (on average) six hours with a client and 3-4 times more energy working with a buyer. It became very clear that with listings they could control their time and the market,” Nicolson explains.
Speak the Language of Listings
Next, Nicolson and Carrigan worked diligently to get every team member on the same page by incorporating the philosophy of The ONE Thing and plugging everyone into the Career Growth Initiative.
“We read The ONE Thing together. So when we introduced that listings were our ‘ONE Thing,’ everything made sense and the team was able to commit to it,” says Carrigan.
Using the CGI Calculator, the team identified the number of listing appointments and closings they would have to secure in order to reach their profit goals.
“The CGI brought us clarity, focus and language that everyone could speak. Once everyone was speaking the same language, our culture began changing, because everyone knew what we were striving for,” Carrigan explains.
Train, Train, Train
Then, the training began! The pair spent hours training agents how to deliver winning listing presentations, implementing techniques from BOLD and weaving in the Language of Real Estate and Local Expert tools. They also began implementing daily team huddles to share which contacts were in their pipeline, scheduled listing appointments and how they were tracking on their goals. The team would also get together two times per week to prospect together using customized scripts.
“We were really involved with our team members. Instead of sitting at a desk, we sat next to them making calls. It was an excellent opportunity for them to learn and it really brought out the importance of leading by example. We were learning together,” says Carrigan.
Carrigan noticed that when one agent landed a listing, the entire team became energized. To help keep each other motivated, team members placed their listing goals on their office doors and celebrated each other’s successes.
To keep performance high, Nicolson held weekly coaching sessions or “411s” with team members. At each session, Nicolson would review the team member’s weekly goals, whether or not they reached them, what challenges they were facing and what activities they would implement next week to reach them.
Go the Extra Mile
As they look at their success this year, Carrigan and Nicolson attribute it to every agent’s willingness to go the extra mile.
“At the end of the month, we take a look at where we are at with our listing goals. If we’re behind, we initiate a 15th of the Month protocol and ask every team member what are two things they are willing to do above and beyond their daily activities so we can all get back on track by the 15th of the month. When your goals become the dictator of your actions, activities like the 15th protocol are nonnegotiable.”
Their rapid success has prompted Five Star Real Estate Group to increase their yearly goal to 250 listings (nearly double from 2016) and Carrigan is optimistic about the future of their business.
“By following Keller Williams’ system, we have been able to hire a staff member to manage pending listings, and we look forward to hiring someone to manage transactions. We don’t want to go back to where we were.”
Their strong comeback is a testament that when you focus on listings, today’s challenges become tomorrow’s opportunities!
If you’d like to hear more from agents like Nicolson and Carrigan, make sure to tune in to the weekly CGI Call, held Monday at 1 p.m. (CT). Learn more about the CGI and how you can join the call!