As this broker has discovered, a book club is a great way to get your agents together virtually and help them grow, foster connections and discover new tools. Here’s how to start one.

In challenging times, it’s a smart idea to revisit the fundamentals of good business. This April, go Back to Basics with Inman.

I’m an extrovert. I love the energy of The Address offices with our coffee shop and the low hum of agents, clients and community members going in and out of meetings and consultations. The first thing I focused on when stay-at-home orders were announced was keeping our team in contact. That’s when I started The Address Book Club.

Our first book was “The Lost Art of Closing” by Anthony Iannarino. It focuses on the preliminary steps that occur throughout the sale process, which agents can use to set up the eventual closing. It’s been a great process for us to talk about, especially as we navigate the challenges of our new market realities.

How the book club works

We read a chapter a day Tuesday through Friday. Then, every Tuesday through Friday we have a Zoom meeting to discuss our takeaways and brainstorm actionable ways to apply what we’re learning. 

Besides the opportunity to explore Iannarino’s insights, we get to communicate with each other — creating an informal Mastermind. “It’s been a great experience, digging into the book as well as discussing high-level real estate with many key players in the California real estate game,” said agent Katie Connelly. “I look forward to the discussion and the interaction every day, especially in this current climate.”

One of the highlights of our book club was the opportunity to hear from the author himself. In an Instagram post about the club and the book, I tagged Iannarino who reached out to me and offered to join us in our Zoom meeting. We ended up getting incredible insight into his process and his point of view. Imagine an opportunity to hear directly from one of the world’s most influential voices in sales and marketing.

“Learning and growing with my peers in this ever-evolving industry is pivotal to success,” said agent Maya Lazich. “Engaging with the best in our realm only compounds this growth. Book club makes this possible.”

How to start your book club

Thinking of starting your own book club? Here are some tips:

  • Create accountability with a schedule. It may be tempting to keep it casual, especially in the context of COVID-19 quarantine. However, we have found that having specific reading goals and a consistent meeting schedule brings additional structure to the work-from-home situation and keeps us connected.
  • Think beyond real estate. Look for great insights from consultants in the marketing, content creation and finance industries. Consider self-improvement authors. Look at classics like “Business Adventures” by John Brooks (a favorite of both Bill Gates and Warren Buffet) or Sun Tzu’s “The Art of War.”
  • Communication is key. Let your team know what you’re doing, why you’re doing it and what you’re expecting. Send reminders by email, text and social media messages. 

“Our ‘stay at home’ order has definitely been a reset,” Connelly said. “And I’m excited to come out of it with more tools, knowledge and stronger professional relationships than I had before.”

My goal is to make book club a regular part of our practice and to expand it to agents in other markets and other parts of the industry. If you’re interested in joining us, reach out to me for more information.

In the meantime, tell me what books you’re reading during the quarantine. What books do you wish your colleagues had all read? Be sure to leave your suggestions in the comments.

Troy Palmquist is the founder and broker of The Address in Southern California. Follow him on Facebook, or connect with him on LinkedIn.

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