Robert Donica

Even Bosses Need Coaches

Every quarter, I drive to Chicago for a chance to meet with some of the best and brightest business owners I’ve ever met. Like me, they are striving to take their companies to great places. Unlike me, they are really amazing people. I snuck in ;)

The organization that facilitates and leads these meetings is called Strategic Coach. SC pulls entrepreneurs from all over the world into small groups (there were about 20 of us in my group) and has an all-day session on how to be better: better business owners, better bosses, and better human beings. To say it has been life-changing would be an understatement. Knowing these talented people, and to spend focused time with them each quarter to strategize our way towards greater things, has been immeasurably valuable. So now you know the setting for this blog.

The Dirt About Open Houses

The last time I was in Chicago, we were specifically addressing services we might be doing that don’t add real value to our clients’ experiences with our companies. The point was to be efficient and authentic. If it doesn’t really add value, don’t do it. Period. It’s a waste of resources and time. It’s bad for morale, and it’s damaging to customer satisfaction and trust. Our larger group had broken into small groups to discuss this on a more individual level. While listening to one of our group members share his story about how his wealth management company was striving for new heights with client education, I heard the words “open house” come from the neighboring group. I checked out of the conversation in my group and leaned my ear in the direction of those words O P E N   H O U S E.  How in the world did those words appear in this setting? Here’s the dialogue:

Jay: I’m having a hard time grasping this concept. I mean, can someone give me an example?

Mike: Think of it like an open house. I’m in commercial real estate, but I started in retail. Agents would convince their sellers to let them do open houses so they could drum up new how do I sell my house on my ownclients. Every agent knows it doesn’t sell houses, but the sellers don’t know that. That’s what we’re working on now. Flushing out activities that don’t create value for our clients. You can still do those activities, but you need to be honest with your clients about what the real value is and who really benefits.

Jay: Wait, wait, back to open houses. People actually fell for that?

Mike: They used to. Like I said, I’m in commercial real estate, so I don’t know how common it is anymore.

I nearly jumped out of my chair and hugged Mike.  We’ve been in SC together for three years now, and we do chat about real estate from time to time. But Mike invests in commercial buildings, so open houses didn’t seem like a topic he’d be interested in. But obviously open houses are known, across the county and across industry lines, to be worthless to the seller 99% of the time. Mike and Jay laughed at the thought of such gullible sellers, which made me wince.

I hate that, I really do.

I hate that sellers are being used for prospecting, all the while putting them at risk for theft. I hate that sellers do all the work to get a home ready for the open house, and agents reap all the rewards. That’s why we work hard to educate our clients about the risks and (limited) rewards regarding open houses. If you just can’t live without doing an open house, we’ll work with you to accommodate your expectations. But we won’t promise you results from an activity that so rarely produces them. We will, however, focus on what DOES work – great photos, agents who are fun to work with, visible signage, and systems that chuck inefficiency to the curb. When you are ready to sell, or buy, call us. You’ll be glad you did!

Good luck out there!