A few months ago, I wrote a column listing the things I would do if I ran a fictitious real estate brokerage company called Davison Real Estate. (See “Real estate in a pickle: Here’s a solution.”)
Over the past several weeks, I have talked with dozens of brokers reeling from the credit market crisis. It has again prompted me to ask myself, “What would I do?”
It goes something like this:
From the Desk of Marc Davison
CEO, Davison Real Estate
Dear Agents and Staff:
Good morning. I trust you all had a wonderful summer. Welcome back.
As you know, we are in the midst of a storm raining down on many Americans. Foreclosures are skyrocketing. Many parents are right now explaining to their children why they are packing up what’s left of their belongings and moving … somewhere.
Most of you, of course, are painfully aware of this. You may have former clients in this situation.
Despite assurances that the credit market will somehow be stabilized, deals will continue to fall out of escrow. Well-qualified buyers will struggle to get through underwriting. You will be tempted to indulge the false hopes of sellers when pricing homes. You will make far less money.
So starting today, we — you and me, together — will begin to rehabilitate a company body that has over the last 10 years become fat, lazy and spoiled. If you join me, in time we will emerge healthier and more prosperous. If you recoil, dig in and cling to the past, then I ask you now to take your real estate license elsewhere. There may be a place for you in this industry, but it is not at Davison Real Estate.
To begin, let me reintroduce you to who we are as a company. That name that appears on our storefront, on your business cards and on your yard signs is a name that has meaning and history. The people that built this firm did so on a handshake, on their word, and on deeds performed within the community. All were bankable. Beginning now, I expect you to carry that history faithfully forward.
We will have to work hard to regain the confidence and trust of the public. From now on, every human being we touch will no longer wonder if we have their back. They will know it.
Starting today, we will begin an audit of every program, practice, application, vendor relationship and product we have. What doesn’t fully honor and respect our customers will be discarded. No more drip e-mail tools; no more script-peddling luncheon speakers; no more dual agency legerdemain.
We are also going to look at who among you has not attended our training courses and who instead consciously decided to ignore the many support services and tools we have made available. Too many in our company have chosen to remain uninformed and underskilled. That is no longer acceptable.
Attached to this letter you will find a list of approved lenders, title reps, home warranty folk and vendors. These are the most reputable partners in our community. If your cousin Bob is not on this list, he is no longer permitted to touch one of our customers. If you transgress this policy, you will be handed back your license.
After you read this letter, please make an appointment to meet with the highly trained professionals within our marketing department. Beginning now, everything that communicates our mutual message to the world will go through them. Your signature file. Your business cards. Your personal Web sites. Your fliers. Everything.
The story you tell the world reflects on your peers within this company and throughout the entire industry. As professional men and women who handle the most important financial transaction in our customers’ lives, we will present ourselves accordingly.
If you are ever approached by someone from HGTV, TLC, Lifetime, “60 Minutes”, “Dateline” or any other news organization, be advised that as long as you represent this firm, you will refrain from engaging them. Be mindful of the fact that everything you say and do is a reflection of this company and every individual who works here. If this does not meet your approval, start your own brand.
In 30 days we will be removing from our office all copy machines, filing cabinets, fax machines, folders, transaction binders and other 20th century tools that drain our company of resources and subject our customers to unnecessary hassles. Get a Tablet PC, e-fax account and PDA, and start using the transaction management system that we invested in four years ago. Hairstylists know to show up to work with precision tools. So should you.
Starting now, all homes we list will be marketed online with no fewer than 20 pictures, a video or virtual tour, and articulate, honest copy. If you do not know how to make this happen, get briefed today on what has been possible now for years. There will be a test tomorrow.
Finally, as a member of this firm, remind yourself daily of your commitment to be the best. If you’re not the best, then you are nothing. Look around you. This building, our executive team, our technology, our history — it’s a foundation we expect you to add to, not take from. Honor it and you have my word that it will honor you.
CEO, Davison Real Estate