The Math That Created Take Flight

On this 233rd episode of my Monday Morning Pep Talk, I will take you through my breakthrough moments that truly impacted how I thought about my business and its growth. Interestingly enough, almost all of those breakthroughs included math equations and percentages to prove their effectiveness. What I love about "the math" when determining what would work or not work is that math does not allow for gray area. The confidence and trust in a system is the basis for consistency. It's the consistent execution of a proven system that brings you the results you desire. Take Flight is an operating system that I have 100% confidence in. Today, I'll take you through a quick timeline of how it came together and the math behind it that gives it the undeniable validity I've come to witness.


Before I discuss the "numbers" that should drive your business, I want to remind you of my professional purpose and that is to help you, the broker/advisor, optimize your productivity and help you become the best version of yourself. Why? "Because Happy Brokers Sell More Real Estate.” I help you become that by teaching you to handle the challenges and opportunities that you face every day. If you can effectively manage those certain situations that arise on a daily basis in your business, you'll be more productive and live a life that is the best version of you. My ask is that you listen as if you are in a one-on-one coaching session with me in my office or on a phone call.


In 2012, I was in Scottsdale for a spring break with my family. The girls were young and were spending the afternoon at the resort's kids club. I came across a YouTube video by Dean Jackson, considered one of the original direct marketing gurus and someone who, interestingly enough, came out of the real estate industry. He talked about a sales funnel that had 3 areas of concentration. The top part of the sales funnel was the "before,” the marketing and lead generation section. The middle section of the funnel was the "during," where you have a client in an active transaction with the opportunity to show value with the emphasis on creating a lifetime relationship. The base of the funnel was the "after" where your list of private clients resides and where your nurturing efforts are organized to maintain lifelong relationships. Having had my own brokerage business that was growing, I realized that the reason for its growth was because I was doing a decent job in those 3 areas. While watching that video by Dean Jackson, the lightbulb went on. This framework that he discussed was visual and packed a lot of what I had learned into one basic diagram. Today, this basic concept continues to make up the underlying operating system of Take Flight. It's proven because it has been beaten up and stress tested over a long period of time. I've learned that if you have all 3 parts of your business working together, you can create massive momentum.


I took this framework and started to fill in the blanks. Why does it work?  I needed proof. There was no better way to find the certainty/proof than through "the math.” Here's what I found through my research, implementation and success building my brokerage business.


I read The Go Giver by Bob Burg in 2011 around the same time I discovered the "sales funnel" framework. The big takeaway from that book was "the law of compensation" which states that your income is determined by the number of people that you serve and how well you serve them (value). I took that and stressed tested it against the funnel. I realized that I needed lead generation (the before) to bring the people into the funnel, and I needed to take really good care of them during the transaction (the during), and when I was done with the transaction, I needed to continue to take care of them over the life of my career (the after). Bob Burg just verified for me that this concept is proven and is a basic "law" of operation if you want to succeed in business.


The law of compensation is a basic equation that bears repeating. You take the amount of people you serve times how well you serve them and you'll get your income. I went on a quest to improve those 2 areas and my business doubled the year after read The Go Giver and focused on improving my sales funnel.


I want to thank Steven Covey and Barbara Corcoran for helping me understand the importance of focusing on what matters, especially when it comes to lead generation and marketing. Steven Covey taught that we need to stay focused on "large rocks" and not the pebbles. In a significant moment for me, watching a YouTube video in 2013, I watched as he took a willing participant through an exercise on stage to prove that you have to keep your focus on the "large rocks.” The concept using rocks is why I use the "3 Rocks of Marketing" to describe "the before" portion of the funnel when teaching Take Flight. How do we identify our top 3 priorities? Well, you can thank Barbara Corcoran for that. When she was running The Corcoran Group in New York, she would tell her struggling agents to go back through their last 25 transactions and decipher where those opportunities came from. Once they did the exercise, she would tell them to go do more of "that.” In many cases, they had strayed from consistently doing what worked for them in the past. Point made, Barbara and Steven. Pick 3 "rocks" and put your focus on them consistently for a long period of time. If you stray, do the research again, and get back to what works for you. The marketing and lead generation section of the sales funnel is where my client base found me and got to "know me."


Next, I realized that I needed to "Deliver and Leverage" opportunities within the transaction. This is the second stage of the sales funnel Dean Jackson called "the during." Through my study and research, I realized that if I created an amazing experience using dialed in systems and processes, I would add a lot of value that would create a "remarkable experience for my clients so they would remark about me," helping me turn that 1 opportunity into 3. All I needed to do is create those systems and processes, execute them and keep my head up so that those additional opportunities didn't slip by me. The math: I should get 2 extra opportunities out of every client transaction if I delivered for my clients while leveraging my value. In Take Flight, I call that during, middle section of the sales funnel "Deliver and Leverage." It's the section where my client base learned to "trust me."


Now, as we move into the last portion of the funnel, I realized very early in my "comeback" in 2008 that I needed a database to contain my contacts. Every coach I followed online, via YouTube, and my best friend Google, all used and discussed the need for a database, now lovingly described as a CRM. How many people do I need? In the 1990s, British anthropologist Robin Dunbar discovered that that there was a correlation between brain size and social circle. The Dunbar number suggests a cognitive limit to the number of people with whom one can maintain stable social relationships - relationships in which an individual knows who each person is and how each person relates to every other person. That number lies between 100 and 250 based on the situation.  This is where I originally came up with the Top 150 (the proposed number by Dunbar) which then got reduced to Top 100 (and should probably be smaller based on the daily pressures on an individual real estate broker). If that "social circle," or your Top 100, is well taken care of, it's been proven that you should get a 20% return on your efforts. That means that out of 100 people, you should get 20 introductions in any given year. Do the math on those numbers. Is it worth it to you to stay engaged with your clients? The answer should be obvious. I named the base of the sales funnel "Database and Relationship Management.” It’s where your clients continue to "like you" post transactions.


Are you seeing a theme? Throughout the levels of the sales funnel, your business can be incredibly "predictable and enjoyable" if you focus on 3 main marketing and lead generation strategies, take amazing care of your clients during the transaction creating 2 additional opportunities and then once they've transacted with you, stay top of mind through organized follow up efforts throughout the life of the relationship, creating introductions by a Top 100 made of raving fans.


We are not in this business for our health, and that's why the law of compensation is so brilliant. If we want to maximize our income, we need to maximize our impact by identifying more people who know us, like us and trust us as their real estate broker. They get to know us through our marketing, they learn to trust us based on how well we take care of them during the transaction, and with some coordinated efforts post transaction, they learn to like us because we are not just another salesperson watching them "drive the car off the lot.”


The knowledge that I've accumulated over 15 years of developing Take Flight works every time. It's built on the foundation of mathematical formulas that are proven and consistently stressed tested. If you can't trust the math, you can't trust anything.


If you found this coaching session helpful, you can get the replay on @YouTube, @spotify and @applepodcasts searchable under @askjimmiller.  While you're there, I'd love it if you'd hit subscribe.