Your Business: Below the Surface

On today's Episode #207 on my Monday Morning Pep Talk, I will discuss the 10 transaction stages that need to have systems and processes built out and executed on so that you have a chance to create repeatable, remarkable experiences allowing your business to grow. We recently had Thomas Wright, CEO of Summit Sotheby's International Realty and also President of Majestic Realty Collective (a collection of SIR affiliates), in Chicago to speak to our brokers at Jameson Sotheby's International Realty and he said, "Most people try to achieve things with brute force but if you want long-term sustainable success, you have to have systems." He is spot on.

In this MMPT, I'll go into a revised and complete list of transaction stages that require systems and processes in order to build a predictable and enjoyable business. A transaction system or process is all of those steps you take from the time you get the lead (client introduction) through the few weeks after a closing (post- closing processes).

There are 10 different transaction stages that need well thought out systems and processes:

  1. Listing Presentation Process: Create a process for everything you need to do between first client interaction and the signing of a listing agreement. This includes your listing presentation.
  2. Listing Launch Process: Build out and document your strategies needed to bring a property to the market.
  3. Listing Contract to Close: What are the steps you take with a listing client/seller to the finish line once the property goes to contract.
  4. Listing Post-Closing Process: How do you transition a seller from the closing to a lifetime of follow up? It's a much different process than the buyer post-closing process.
  5. Initial Consultation Process – Buyer: What is your step-by-step process for educating a buyer and introducing them to the buyer agency agreement?
  6. Buyer Search Process:  You need a process for how you roll out the search process to the point of contract.
  7. Buyer Contract to Close:  You produce a remarkable experience for a buyer and then you'll need a step-by-step, contract-to-close process.
  8. Post-Closing Process – Buyer:  How do you transition a buyer from the closing to a lifetime of follow up?
  9. Referral Process – Incoming: What is your process for handling incoming referrals from other broker/advisors?
  10. Referral Process – Outgoing: How do you stay on top of referrals you've sent to other broker/advisors in different markets?

You listen to this list and you think: "That is a lot of work." Yes, it is a lot of work to build a business but it's more work re-inventing the process with every seller and buyer. Having the business between your ears and never documented is way more work.

In MMPT Episode #192, I talk about "Multiplying Your Time.” "Multiplication" states that by building out a process once and executing it consistently over time, you will pay yourself back the original time invested with the time the process saves you. Once the original time invested is paid back, you benefit from time savings moving forward for the life of your business.  This is how super achievers and ELPs leverage time.

I could spend hours training on this one topic alone but during Take Flight V4.0 on this podcast, time will not allow. Look for some further resources on the topic coming in 2024. For now, to document these processes, you can simply start by using Excel or a Google sheet before you move to a more advanced business process-based app like, ClickUp or Trello. Pro Tip: Each task within each process should have an owner. As your business grows, you'll need to add capacity/people. You can re-bucket those tasks and reassign the ownership as needed.

The vast majority of brokers/advisors never take the time to go below the surface of their business (those areas their clients don't see) and spend the time to build sustainable systems and processes that can be repeated over and over. This part of your business could be the perfect area of focus for a 12 Week Year, quarterly initiative or several quarterly initiatives.

I love to research and tell stories from the "real world" that prove my point and I'll do that again today. At Disney World in Orlando, the park has a hidden, below the surface web of networks, rooms and hallways called "The Utilidors,” a secret underground city. When the park was built, they used what they had learned as operational weaknesses from Disneyland in Anaheim. At Disneyland, all of the workers had to exit through doors and corridors adjacent to the park. When building Disney World in FL, they dug down as far as they could and used the extra dirt to build the park up allowing for "The Utilidors.” Because of it, the park became way more efficient. Not only do the Utilidors house the sewer lines, pipes, cables and other utilities you’d expect to find below ground, there are also storage areas, offices, break rooms, make-up and dressing rooms, a cafeteria, a barbershop, a “zoo” to keep the Disney characters comfortable when they aren’t onstage, along with out-of-sight passages leading to 29 access points. Here’s a quick-to-read article that explains this process improvement in great detail. It's a fascinating story of process improvement that allows Disney World to operate much more efficiently than Disneyland.

Start your own process improvement by asking yourself these questions:

  • Do you want to grow your business?  You need repeatable systems and processes.
  • Do you want to eliminate mistakes?  You need repeatable systems and processes.
  • Do you want to sleep better at night?  You need repeatable systems and processes.
  • Do you want to create something that can be leveraged and taught to future team members?  You need repeatable systems and processes.
  • Do you want to better explain your unique value proposition to your buyers and sellers?  You need repeatable systems and processes.

What does your business look like right now below the surface? Do you have these 10 transaction stages processed out? If not, when your business is ready, this is the next stage of its maturity.