Stan Albert: Put Your Business In Top Gear

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Stan Albert: Put your business in top gear

Are you driving your business in standard gear, or are you driving in automatic?

I just returned from our franchise’s Canadian conference in Whistler, B.C. and was totally blown away – not only by the magnificence of part of Canada that I’d never seen before, but by the magnitude of what some of the higher producing sales reps are doing to create a fantastic career.

The conference venue in itself was totally awe-inspiring. How could it not be, surrounded by the towering mountains and vistas? Kudos to the organizers for what was to me, after attending many of these functions, a well-rounded event that had something for everyone.

I was especially impressed with one of the keynote speakers, John Furlong, the chair of the Olympic Committee for the Winter Olympics 2010. If you get the opportunity to go to the Olympics in two years, it will be a feast for the eyes and moments to cherish forever. The best thing about conferences is not only the leisure/fun time away from business, but also the opportunity to meet up with colleagues from far and wide over lunch, coffee breaks, fun nights and the closing dinner. If you go to these events, be prepared to share your experiences and you will receive back 10-fold some great information about what your colleagues are doing to enrich their careers and give back to their communities.

I was tremendously impressed with the charity works that reps do in all communities, large and small. Many of you know by now, how high I am on referral business. I happened to sit at the closing dinner with a salesperson of some fame, Ken Eddy, of Re/Max Central in Calgary. I remembered him from his presentation at our franchise in March, and he and I discussed many areas of the business. One thing stood out – that over his many years in the business, he has made over $1.5 million in commissions from referrals. No small feat eh? He attends as many franchise functions as possible during the year and still has time to travel abroad for up to a month at time. Of course, he has a sales team of about seven.

So, is your career in standard drive or automatic? (By the way, if yours truly didn’t live in Toronto, I would probably drive a standard shift car.) We all have to face the fact that this business is changing every year. More and more brokerages are entering into franchises. There is more education/training available now than ever before. The websites that compete with us conventional guys are becoming the wave of the 2000s and beyond. Take a look at Zillow.com, which has over 40,000 listings. If you are not planning or involved with one or more websites, you are not in the “automatic” sphere that will make you a wealthy representative.

The idea that we will follow the U.S. into the doldrums due to the sub prime mortgages is nothing more than some economist waving a red flag. Nonsense. This could be nothing farther than the truth. It is true however, that we are due for a correction. When, only the good Lord knows.

The other biggest trend is the wave of immigration coming into Canada. I don’t for the life of me understand why you, as an entrepreneur, are not taping into this market. If you speak a second language, or your significant other does, then tune yourself into your country of origin’s websites. Check out the real estate offices in your birth country. Take appropriate steps to drive those immigrants to your website(s). I’ll talk more about that in next year’s columns. Attain as many designations as you can. Consumers respect the fact that you have worked harder than most and can offer more in the way of services and knowledge. And that’s the way I see it from my desk this month.

Thought for the month: “Real success comes from loving what you do and doing what you love.” Jacob Albert 1900 – 1980

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Here’s a letter to the editor that I recently sent to REM concerning Bob Aaron’s article on Seller Property Information Statements (SPIS)s.

I am somewhat miffed and at the same time flattered that Mr. Aaron would take the time to take my article to task.

Mr. Aaron, it would please you to know that I read your columns religiously, after I see how the Jays/Raptors/Leafs are doing. Have done so since you started writing! I have great respect for your information. However, I do not doubt, as other brokers do, that you have a mound of cases relating to SPIS issues. Over the years that I have been managing offices since the SPIS came out, I’ve overseen nearly 12,000 agreements.

To date, none of my brokers or I have been to court over an issue arising out of SPISs. That doesn’t mean that you, as a barrister/solicitor, don’t have ample “ammunition” to throw out to the public. What other brokers and managers emailed me regarding your article, was that you stated if a consumer signs a SPIS they should get a good litigation lawyer. If this is not fear mongering, I don’t know what is!

Wouldn’t it be better to recommend to OREA that you have some better, safer clauses that you, as a respected lawyer in the industry, could offer to make the form less prone to litigation? As well, the article I wrote stated that there are two views on SPISs. And yes, I totally agree, that it does currently protect Realtors in whichever province they practice in.

Stan Albert is celebrating his 36th year in active real estate, and is with Re/Max Excellence in Woodbridge, Ont. He serves on committees at RECO and at the Toronto Real Estate Board. He is an established trainer and business consultant and can be reached at salbert@trebnet.com.

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