I got fired…

I’m not one of those “Guru’s” who never makes a mistake or has never suffered a loss. I think that the most valuable lessons I have ever learned came as a direct result of a failure of some sort.

The other thing I want to express is that you can do everything right…and despite your best efforts things don’t go well.

Here’s my story…

I recently listed a property for sale at a price and terms that I thought would have sold almost instantly. I was wrong! Some background first. I got the listing because the Seller was dissatisfied with his former broker. It seems that his former broker listed the property and in the six months that it was on the market never showed it even once.

I had a buyer looking for that type of property. I called the listing agent who informed me that he could set up the showing. However, when I got to the property I was told the listing had expired and that the former agent had nothing to do with the property. That process was another story entirely. Anyhow, after my showing the Seller asks if I would consider listing the property.

Long story short…we do the proposal and list the property for sale. We promote the property using the Marketing Campaign Checklist© and we send him a Listing Retention Letter© every week. We showed the property at least 20-30 times during the term of the listing. We reduced the price of the listing, we called prospective buyers who passed on two other similar listings. And yet we couldn’t get the property sold.

Last week the Seller sent me a letter terminating our listing agreement. He stated that though he was satisfied with the level of activity he was terminating the agreement because we hadn’t succeeded in selling the property.

The fact is he was correct…we had failed!

I can argue why firing us wasn’t a rational decision. He must start over with a new broker. Like his previous broker the new broker thinks putting the listing in LoopNet and the MLS is going to get it sold. The new broker is a residential agent with no industrial tract record. The Seller is desperate…desperation causes people to make unusual decisions.

But, here is the take away…he’s absolutely 100% correct!

He hired us to achieve and specific outcome. The sale of his building. Even though we marketed the “heck” out of the property we didn’t meet his objective. We did everything “right” we had the property on about 20 different websites, we broadcast emailed it to 16,000+/- CCIM’s. We mailed postcards, contacted neighboring owners, shared it at commercial networking events, called other potential buyers from other industrial listings we had. We even sent out broadcast emails across the country to over 180,000 investors, brokers, and user…not once but twice…and still nothing.
Theoretically, we made all the “right moves” and yet we failed our mission!

Tony Robbins says, “When people succeed they tend to party but when they fail they tend to ponder.”

Here are some of the “take-aways” from this experience.

First, you need to understand that in life and commercial real estate you can do everything right…and still get the wrong result. We did everything right…except sell the property. We marketed, we called, we showed, we mailed and toured and at the end of the day didn’t sell the unit. To give you some context in the same time frame we sold and closed with the original prospect/buyer and leased several other units.

“Face reality as it is, not as it was or as you wish it to be.” Jack Welch

Second, the reality is that we didn’t sell the building. Despite our best efforts the building remained unsold. Newsflash, in commercial real estate and life…sometimes “sh!t” just happens. I have a theory, if you’re not getting in trouble or having upsets your not doing enough business. We can rationalize our actions and efforts, but the reality is that we didn’t sell the building.

Like Tony Robbins says, we lost…so we ponder. We took a critical look at what we did in this case, what we did well, what we could have done better, what we could have done differently. Armed with that critical assessment we decided that this was just one of those cases that “got away”.

Another interesting “take away” was that even though we didn’t sell the property in his letter terminating our agreement the Seller acknowledged all the efforts we had expended on his behalf. Even though we missed the mark the Seller confirmed our marketing process and communication with him.

This is principally why I stay in the business…how much credibility does a coach, guru, or mentor have if they have never done a transaction or haven’t done one in 20 or 30 years. The only constant in commercial real estate is change. That is why we update our Marketing Campaign Checklist© and Listing Retention Letters© monthly to keep the marketing relevant, timely, and effective.

The myth of multi-tasking!

Here is the truth about multi-tasking…you can’t do it!

Have you ever watched a self-proclaimed multi-tasker at work? It’s almost comedic to observe the erstwhile multi-tasker in their state of frenetic, frantic, fantasy. I found a company called Despair.com and they have an awesome poster (below) which I think sums it all up.

courtesy of Despair.com

How do I know? I have tried multi-tasking and must keep reminding myself why it doesn’t work.

First, like the poster says it seems like a do twice the work…but half as well. When I try to multi-task invariably there are mistakes, missing words, and numbers in the wrong place. The result, I must go back and correct the work that I did, taking up the time that I supposedly saved by multi-tasking!

Depending on what I am doing I tend to “commingle” projects where I get pieces of this project mixed in with another project. Again, requiring me to go back and extract the “boo-boo” and clean it up.
I find that I get the best work when I “compartmentalize” and focus on the task at hand. First, I eliminate distractions. I know that if I am interrupted it can take me minutes to remember what I was doing, then I have to reconstruct in my mind what was coming next. Sometimes the “reconstruction” takes longer than others!

Second, I lose stuff. I spent 20 minutes last week looking for my reading glasses…which were pushed up on my head. I walked around the entire office trying to figure out where I had put them down…only to discover them on my forehead.

Third, the sense of gratification at having completed the task. I live by the theory T.R.A.F. or Trash, Refer, Act, or File. I learned this from a book called Organized to be your best, by Susan Silver. In short if it’s not relevant I simply launch it into the circular file. If it’s not within my purview, I simply refer it to whomever is responsible for that department. If it’s something I am interested in, I have learned to act on it immediately. I have on occasion set something “aside” for later only to discover I have put it somewhere so safe I can’t find it. My newer computers have a greater ability to hide things from me than I have a capacity to remember where I put them. Finally, if I don’t need it now but may need it later I File it. That way I can get it off my desk and move on.

Part of my new-found discipline is using a virtual assistant. This was really brought home for me after reading Tim Ferriss’ book The 4-Hour Workweek (see book list for additional resources). For a few dollars an hour I can off-load all the busy work that I don’t need, or want to do.

Recently, I had my “assistant” add 300 of my workshop attendees to my database, all while I was sleeping. He did the task as I slumbered, I woke to a complete and updated database. With technology you can employ assistants to do virtually anything inexpensively while you focus on the task that absolutely require your time an attention.

In closing I would suggest if you want to get more done in less time, enjoy less stress, and do an occasional victory dance don’t try to multi-task. Compartmentalize, assign a finite amount of time for the task and watch the task get done. It has been said that “work” expands to fill the time allowed…conversely, if a specific time block is assigned it’s amazing how often the task gets done.