Matt Lahood is one of the best known names in real estate so we’re excited to have him on board to share his wisdom as a columnist. In this edition, Matt explains how to mould your ideal week and stay productive when you’re not tied to a desk.
I travel around the country regularly in my role as Chief Executive Officer of The Agency and with many mobile agents at the company, organising an ideal work week has become a big topic of discussion lately.
A lot of people tie the idea of having an office to an ideal week – they get up, they go in, they sit down, they get a coffee, and sit at a desk.
But what I’ve found is productivity goes up when people are not tied to an office.
What exactly does an agent do in a typical day?
They have buyer appointments, listing presentations, settlements, networking meetings, appraisals and more. So the idea is to organise a day where you go from A to B to C to D.
A plumber doesn’t go back to an office every half an hour after an appointment, they keep moving all day. That’s how they stay productive.
Real estate agents are salespeople, but we’re also tradespeople, and the more you’re not in the office, the more you’re forcing yourself to be more productive.
The three main things that have the biggest bearing on structuring an ideal work week are discipline, culture and mindset.
Discipline is always important, even when you are in a bricks-and-mortar office.
But it’s even more vital when you don’t have a docking station or office you are regularly going back to.
You need to keep yourself accountable.
Changing your mindset to embrace a different kind of discipline can be difficult too.
Especially if you’ve been doing the same thing, the same way, for a long time.
The habit of driving to the office is replaced by driving to appointments, so you need to make that shift in the unconscious side of your mind.
Let’s say the average commute for an agent to their office is 30 or 40 minutes a day. Over five days, that’s three hours.
You’ve already shifted where you direct that time, and if you take those three hours and use it to ring past clients or visit five clients in a week for coffee, you are creating a new habit.
Everyone owns culture in their agency and just because agents aren’t tied to a central office doesn’t mean they can’t catch up with each other.
So rather than having sales meetings, get together every month and have some brekky at a local cafe.
If you put on a great breakfast spread and invite 30 agents to come along, versus having a full-time shop where you’re paying rent, you’re still better off.
You wouldn’t do that in a bricks-and-mortar office. Culturally, everyone coming in at a certain time, wouldn’t happen.
So the culture is stronger because having team members working remotely forces the leaders to do something to keep the team networking.
Watercooler and photocopier-type conversations are all about non-dollar-productive stuff, and a lot of that discussion is often negative.
On the other hand, when you get together for breakfast, you want to share the good stuff that’s been happening and move on.
If you’ve got good leadership, the narrative will be controlled by the leader.
It’s been 20 years since I’ve had a desk, and I’ve run some of the biggest teams across the country with no desk.
It works because it forces me to go and walk around and talk to the agents.
My shift in management style is that I work for the agents, they don’t work for us.
It’s my job to serve them and make sure they’re growing and have everything they need.
That’s the culture and the more I get in front of them, the more I can help with their challenges, help drive deals and drive revenue.
That’s what real leaders in the real estate space need to do.
Our brand doesn’t have shops in every suburb, but we do have a lot of agents.
When some agents join us their mindset is, ‘I need an office’.
A vendor does not care where you sit if you’re going to get the highest price for them, so let your results speak for themselves.
My agents are highly skilled, and their response would be: ‘Here is a list of my last 20 vendors, why don’t you call them? Don’t worry about where I sit, or which office I’m in, I achieved significant results here and here. Just let me help you get the best result.’
The agents who have best adapted since COVID-19 are the ones who view offices as irrelevant.
My most successful agents are not tied to an office anymore, because they realise they can operate more efficiently remotely.