Holiday Kickoff!

Happy Thanksgiving week, y’all! However you choose to celebrate, I hope you have a relaxing and fun time with everyone you love the most. Maybe you’re going to experience the whole Norman Rockwell scene in an elegant dining room and a ginormous, glossy bird. Maybe it’s you and your family of choice crammed around a card table and you can barely eat the potluck dinner because you’re all laughing so hard. Perhaps your plans are just a low-key picnic on a blanket at the beach. Whatever it is, be grateful for it.

When I consider what it means to have gratitude, some of my first thoughts are of my Diamond Squad. So, today we’re gonna have a quick chat on what it means to build a team that works, one that you’ll be eternally grateful for.

But before we get to the attitude of gratitude—or the part of the week that requires stretchy pants—let’s get into the news.

Don’t let this be you on Thursday.


Let’s Keep the Arguing to a Minimum This Week

This Thursday, your opinionated Uncle Billy (more like Uncle Bully, am I right?) is likely to grill you about what the Missouri judgment means. It’s not because he’s interested; it’s that he thinks you make too much money and he’s envious.

Here’s how to explain this to him in a way he’ll understand.

You tell him that 500,000 sellers sued the five original defendants originally in this case, claiming that they were conspiring to keep commissions high. A couple of the original defendants looked at the case and said, “You know what? We'll agree to the fact that it could have been done better,” and they settled. Realogy (Coldwell Banker’s parent company) said this, as did Re/Max.

The National Association of Realtors, Keller Williams, and Home Services of America made the decision to go to trial. The whole crux of this argument is that the NAR required that the seller compensate the buyer's agent under their Clear Cooperation clause. So Bobby and Susie, the seller had to pay the commission for Sally, the selling agent, who represented the average Joe. And the argument was, “We shouldn't have had to do that.” Plaintiffs claimed they augmented the commission and that was price fixing. They claimed this was a concerted effort among these brokerages to cause the seller to pay a commission that they shouldn't have had to pay. This is the bit that grinds Uncle Billy’s gears. But let’s be honest—a whole lot of things grind his gears. (Do not even start him on the Starbucks red cups.)

Here’s what you need to make clear to Uncle Billy—the buyer's commission is set up so that the seller pays it is so that it can be funded within the loan. (Brace yourself, he’s gonna argue because that is what that man lives to do.)

So you’re gonna have to break it down. You tell him, “Let’s say you've got a $500,000 house, the commission is 6%, that's $30,000. Flip down the middle, that’s $15,000 to the listing agent, $15,000 to the buyer's agent. The sellers can pay $500,000 for that house. If the buyer's agent wasn't included in that, then the sales price is really $485,000 and the average Joe will have to write Susie a check for $15,000 for representing him.”

That’s when Uncle Billy will huff into his stuffing and say, “Sounds fair to me.”

Then you have to remind him, “Well, Uncle Billy, the average Joe, remember he's a police officer.” Uncle Billy’s ears will perk up because you know he has had that FOP bumper sticker on his pickup forever.

You say, “Maybe he's only got 3% to put down. So if the seller doesn't pay his commission, Officer Average Joe doesn't have the ability to be represented. Do you really want to send people making the greatest financial decision in their lives in to negotiate by themselves because they can’t pay separately for representation?”

That thought will shut him down long enough to decide he wants to pick on someone else at the table. (Spoiler alert: it’s probably going to be whichever of your nieces or nephews showed up to dinner with a fresh purple streak in their hair.)

Now, please enjoy your meal in peace.

So, what should we as professionals do going forward in light of this judgment? I’ll talk about that next week, and I’ll tell you about what happened when I had my seller offer an 8% commission.


Every Facet Sparkles

Y’all know I’ve been selling real estate since Jesus was a baby, so I’ve seen it all regarding working on a team. My team—the Diamond Squad—is run differently than much of what I’ve seen out there, and that’s because I know what works for us.

When I’m looking to augment my team, I evaluate every potential person with the DISC Personality Assessment. Understanding these four distinct types helps me maximize the team’s productivity, improves our communication, and goes a long way to help manage conflict.

D stands for Drive and that’s a take charge, get things done kind of person. I am a D. In fact, I am so D, I am surprised my name isn’t GlenDDa Baker.

When I hire agents, I look for I’s and S’s. I stands for those who inspire and persuade. S stands for those who support, serve, and show care for others. (C stands for clarity, and that’s who I want in an admin role.)

Contrary to what you may guess, I am never looking for a team full of Glenndas. I don’t want to bring on people who want to be me; I want to find those who are inspired by me because this is the secret sauce for the team to run smoothly. And with these personality types, they are the most adaptable when it comes to communicating with our buyers and sellers.

I always say I am the Michael Jordan of real estate, but I don’t want to be a coach for the same reason Michael Jordan doesn’t. If I tell you to do something and you don’t, I don’t understand it and I have trouble tolerating it.

For example, if I tell you to have an open house, the expectation is that you’ll start publicizing it and marketing it on social media a week in advance. You’ll door-knock. You will follow my rules of engagement. That means, the day of, you’ll also have ten signs and a whole bunch of balloons. If you don’t do this, no one will show up. I had words with a team member once about this (I had hired a D) because she didn’t do what I told her. The end result was, she stood around in an empty house. Oh, my stars and stripes, I set her straight on how she should have done it. When I did, she called me passive-aggressive. I told her, “Don’t ever mistake my aggression for passivity.”

Because I have been diligent in finding I’s and S’s (and ideally, IS’s), the way I run the team is super effective. In the Diamond Squad, we all know everyone’s clients and we absolutely jump into help each other, not for an exchange of money, but because it’s best for the team. And everyone has the same split, so there’s full transparency. While my agents are competitive in winning business, I have created a system where they do not compete with each other to the team’s detriment and that is key.

So many team leaders out there cherry-pick, keeping all the best leads for themselves, but that is not how I do it. I evaluate every opportunity that comes in and I assign it to the agent I believe will be the best fit for the client and their situation. For example, if I get in empty nesters, they go to Elizabeth because that is her forte. It’s not a round robin situation where whoever’s next gets whatever’s next; it’s all about who can convert that buyer.

We are constantly working on team building. When we do a retreat and we compare the transactions, we do the accounting and we actually see that everyone gets the same amount. So I’m guessing they are thankful for me.

And I could not be more thankful for them.


Work from This Home

We are all in for a treat today because this week’s guru is Internet sensation Samir Mezrahi! I promise you, he is the funniest accountant you ever will meet, but that’s not how you know him. After getting a degree in supply chain management, he moved to NYC to work as an accountant, before moving on to a job at Buzzfeed where he figured he’d have more fun. He took his love of architecture and channeled it into creating the now iconic Zillow Gone Wild, featuring some of the most outrageous and hilarious listings. But I’ll let him tell you his story in his own words!


24/7, 365

“Thanksgiving isn’t a day—it’s a state of mind. Being grateful and giving thanks is something you should live and embrace 365 days a year.

Glennda Baker