Thinking Outside of the Box

This Blog Filters Settings article originally appeared in GRIT Unlocked, our handbook for building an unstoppable real estate business. Download GRIT Unlocked and get inspired to build a brokerage with grit.

The real estate industry is resilient and tough. We’ve been through several downturns in the past and always bounce back. But oftentimes, those downturns lead to a need for more creativity.

The goal should be to find ways to streamline your agents’ and their clients lives and make them easier. And sometimes, that requires leaders to think outside of the box and inspire their agents to follow suit.

A unified goal spurs inspiration

Our goal is to serve our agents and clients at the highest possible level in the spirit of loving-kindness, creating trust and abundance.

This philosophy resonates throughout our entire company and inspires us to do things differently than others in the real estate space. Our unified collaboration and commitment to fulfill the goals and dreams—for ourselves, our agents and our clients, operating from a mindset of abundance—is where everything is possible.

Giving our agents not only the permission to think outside of the box but encouraging them to do so in our approach to our work is why we have been able to continue to think bigger.

Don’t settle for the same old stuff

One of the ways we’re thinking outside of the box is by implementing our Chase Ready listing program. We’ve completely rethought how homes hit the market by transforming the process to enable buyers to make an educated and confident decision quickly and remotely and backing that process with leading technology.

This is just one of the most recent ways we’ve been able to cultivate a commitment to innovation, not settling. And sure enough, we’ve seen tangible results; those listings are selling faster and often for more money because the homes are ready for a buyer to purchase.

Strategies like these remove a lot of stress from sellers, buyers and agents, and map to that unified goal we’ve set.

It takes courage

Listen to the ever-changing needs of your consumers and agents, and act on it. It’s always our goal to go above and beyond what is expected, and we pride ourselves on being trendsetters in the market. It takes courage to do what other companies won’t. We believe that every action should foster collaboration and make a positive and lasting difference in someone’s life.

It all starts by shaking off fear of the unknown and not being afraid to think outside of the box.

A positive view of the future, especially in the midst of a crisis, is to turn negativity on its head — to think outside the box. At some point during the daily press conferences and uncertainty, we’ve all wished for a return to normal. Let’s face it though, nothing great ever came from normal and as Kozich suggests, “Don’t settle for the same old stuff.” Using crisis as an opportunity for creativity and innovation separates the winners from those with their heads in the sand. Take that same innovative outlook, the combination of systems and values, to your management and agents. Like Steve Murray alluded to, sometimes you need to look at the forest, not the trees. In coaching, you need to remind your associates of the bigger picture. Our next contributor, Eric Thompson, is the president of Windermere Real Estate Services Colorado. Thompson sets a high bar when it comes to his expectations of his agents, and for himself as a coach.

3 Keys to Using Technology Innovatively

Bring innovative ideas to your company through technology that turns your agents into superheroes. We’ve extrapolated from a fantastic exercise developed by the Har- vard Business Review (Finkelstein 2019) into 3 keys to being innovative. Bonus, you can use this method to innovate your marketing, your training, or any business flow not just your technology decisions.

Choose a clear problem or pain point that you’d like to solve for the company. Our sample problem will be the following:

  • Our brokerage wants to provide a sphere-focused CRM that would be widely adopted among our agents and offer perceived value for recruiting and retention.

Take a presentation pad or whiteboard and divide it into three columns. You’ll ask three questions to churn up innovative thoughts. Keep a copy from the session and compare it over time.

The First Key:

How are we currently trying to solve this problem? What is the current process for ______________?

Step 1: In the first column, jot down notes or phrases of any CURRENT company policies, key beliefs, assumptions, and practices.

Need some help? Consider the following:

  • Are you currently providing a sphere-focused CRM that your executive team perceives as valuable?
  • Are there assumptions about inefficiency in the current CRM?
  • Do you offer formal training on how to use CRM? How are new agents introduced to the technology?

Step 2: Reflect on these notes. Are there any that seem obsolete, redundant, backward, or old-fashioned? Circle the phrase(s) that seem the most inefficient.

The Second Key:

What are outside forces that affect our ability to solve this problem? What contributes to low adoption and usage?

Step 3: In the second column, jot down notes of any key concerns, threats, outward assumptions, roadblocks, or competitors.

  • What has held us back from approaching this problem before?
  • What contributes to low agent adoption and usage?
  • Technology rapidly evolves, executive or administrative team doesn’t under- stand the CRM enough to train agents on it.
  • Competitive season means agents have less time to learn something new.
  • We are out-recruited by a brokerage that professes its tech superiority.

Step 4: Circle the force(s) that seem the most impending or challenging to overcome.

The Third Key:

What can you do about it?

This is where the magic happens! Look at the first and second columns. The first column shows internal disruptions and the second shows external disruptions. You’re going to turn these challenges into opportunities (aka a growth mindset and innovation).

Step 5: In the third column, brainstorm how to solve the circled inefficient process in column one in a way that also rallies against the challenge in column two. This opportunity is where you will create innovation.

Need some help?

  • If you aren’t offering formal, consistent training (column one) and you fear that the market is too volatile for agents to prioritize attending sessions (column two), ask the question, “how do I use technology and communication to make training digestible and convenient for my agents because I know this CRM is going to make their business more successful?”