experts: real estate column Friday, March 16, 2007

Stop whining!

We can learn a lot from our competitors but if all they have to offer is to do something cheaper, then they're on a fast track to nowhere.

By Marty Douglas

As published in REM - independent news and opinion for Canada's real estate industry.

"Never let a poor man tell you how to get rich!" -Larry Winget.

I saw Larry at NAR last year, bought his book, Shut Up, Stop Whining and Get A Life and, more importantly, read it from cover to cover and moved on, absorbing yet another self-help guru moving through organized real estate. However, I did jot his remark into my collection and so Larry has influenced my life and now, as a reader of this column, will influence yours.

And that’s the point.

The secret of success is about ‘learning a living’, according to another guru, Marshall McLuhan. What are you doing to add to your store of learning about this real estate career you have chosen? Conferences are a good starting point. And if you are in the mood for an international conference with unlimited learning opportunities and a mouth-watering buffet of a trade show, consider November in New Orleans. Have a look at for a flavour of the first large conference into the Big Easy since Hurricane Katrina. Approximately 10,000 Realtors from around the globe will see and hear Harry Connick Jr., George Bush (Daddy) and Bill Clinton. More than 600 exhibitors in the trade show and 200 educational/motivational conference sessions are crammed into a long weekend from November 10 to 13.

It’s a keeper.

Back to Larry Winget, and “Never let a poor man tell you how to get rich!” Our company is a full service independent with more than 225 Realtors in 15 offices, serving Vancouver Island and the Sunshine Coast of B.C. Our real estate board has just over 1,000 members serving all of Vancouver Island except for Victoria. We have the same make-up of membership as most other boards – large national franchises, independents, large offices of 70 (I know in metro areas 70 isn’t a large office, it’s just a corner wing of a large office!) and many offices with fewer than five licensees.

For a variety of reasons, small offices want to differentiate themselves from their larger competitors, independents want to establish credibility without a franchise, and franchisees want to be – dare I say it – “above the crowd.” Whenever a competitive issue comes up, my boss says, “We can learn a lot from our competitors but if all they have to offer is to do something cheaper, then they’re on a fast track to nowhere.”

That is precisely Larry Winget’s point.

It drives me crazy to see the cheap competition tail trying to wag the dog. And by cheap, I don’t mean lower commissions. We encourage all of our sisters and brothers to find their way in our marketplace. However, when your ‘way’ doesn’t meet the payroll, have a look at your ‘way’ for the reason rather than blaming the competition.

We’re seeing it nationally now with Realtors who want all the things the large brokers have without joining the large broker. Realtors who vote for reciprocity so they don’t have to get listings. Realtors who want the “View My Listings” button removed from because when the consumer clicks on it and gets nothing, they look bad. The ones who don’t want the MLS system to publish their medallion standings because they are below the salt. The ones who won’t bring their T4 slip to an interview with a new broker. The Realtors who hide behind privacy protection and the Competition Act because they don’t have the credibility to stand on their record of achievement.

For them I say, you don’t need to read Larry Winget’s book. Just the title should do it: Shut Up, Stop Whining and Get A Life.

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Recent Articles by this columnist:

Surviving in a slower market
Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The downside of teams
Saturday, October 02, 2010

Thank you, FINTRAC
Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A Snapshot of Alberta
Thursday, January 03, 2008

No song and dance for weighty housing issues
Monday, October 29, 2007

All articles by Marty Douglas

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