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Front Page - Friday, April 24, 2020

Edrington’s rules for home productivity

Doug Edrington, CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices J Douglas Properties, has implemented an eight-part plan designed to help keep his agents healthy, focused and productive. - Photo by David Laprad |The Ledger

Ever since the coronavirus pandemic turned homes into shelters, Doug Edrington has noticed people are “staying up late and drinking too much.”

He says this with only half a smile, suggesting he’s not joking.

As the CEO of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices J Douglas Properties, Edrington wants to help his team leaders and agents to continue to be productive, so he’s implemented an eight-part plan to focus and fortify their mindset during this season of abnormality.

“We’re creatures of habit, and right now, we’re out of the norm,” Edrington says. “This plan can help to provide structure.”

The plan begins where most days start – with the simple act of getting dressed – and goes on to include steps centered on an agent’s mental and physical health, the well-being of their business and strategies for succeeding during the pandemic. These include:

1. Suit up and boot up every day

Even when an agent is working from home, he or she needs to look professional, Edrington says. This means dressing for the part.

“If you’re wearing sweatpants and a T-shirt, your unconscious mind is telling you to chill. It’s telling you to clean the house or watch TV. But when you put on your work clothes, you’re subconsciously telling yourself it’s time for work,” he notes.

2. Take your M.E.D.S.

M.E.D.S. stands for meditation, exercise, diet and sleep, all of which play a role in a person’s health, Edrington says. But he’s not asking anyone to go to extremes to meet unrealistic goals.

Rather, Edrington says a few quiet minutes on the porch in the morning could serve as an ideal meditative experience, and he recommends a short walk for people who don’t normally exercise.

Edrington doesn’t offer any suggestions for diet, but he does say he and his wife have cut meat out of their diet and claims he “feels a million times better.”

Finally, Edrington says a good night’s sleep can help to boost productivity. “People in general are staying up later than they normally do and their mornings are messed up. They’re not operating at the level they should be.”

3. Follow an 8 a.m.-1 p.m. schedule

Edrington has been working with his people to design a daily schedule that begins at 8 a.m. and lasts until 1 p.m.

“If you start your morning well, you’ll likely have a really good day,” he says. “I’m not worried about what happens after 1 o’clock because if the morning starts out right, the rest of the day is going to go well, too.”

Spencer Heller, an agent with The Edrington Team, says the daily schedule helps him to meet his goals and makes working from home manageable and productive.

“With COVID-19 forcing us to work from home, it could be easy to waste time, but I can’t afford to do that,” he says. “So, I set a daily schedule that lasts from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m. and outlines everything I’m going to accomplish that day. Breaking my day down by the hour and half-hour forces me to stay on track and keep moving toward my goals.”

Doug Lawrence, who co-leads The Lawrence Team with his wife, Sherry Lawrence, is directing his agents to be intentional about their daily goals, with specific quotas for connecting with contacts, showings, new searches and more.

“This ensures they’re checking on the well-being of their clients and prospects, keeping leads and other business activities in their pipeline and are pushing out fear and a stagnant mindset,” he points out. “This program has been very successful as we’ve navigated this time of ‘business as unusual.’”

4. Prospect a minimum of two hours a day

Edrington urges his agents to dedicate two hours of their 8-1 day to prospecting. This should include one hour of focusing on past clients and the agent’s sphere of influence and one hour of searching for new business, he says.

“A lot of agents have been making humanitarian calls to past clients, and they feel satisfied after talking with all of those people. But it’s important to also look for new business right now,” he adds.

5. Follow-up with every person in your database who planned on moving in 2020

Before the pandemic, the economy was strong and real estate activity was at a fever pitch, Edrington notes, with a great number of people planning to buy, sell and invest.

While many of these potential clients are still capable of doing these things, they’re also nervous about the effects of the pandemic on the economy, Edrington explains.

To ease a client’s uncertainty, he recommends turning conversations about timing into strategy sessions. “The No. 1 question consumers are asking us today is, ‘How do we time this?’” he says. “This is a good time to take advantage of what’s happening in real estate. Rates are low, values are going to increase and rents are ridiculous, especially since the tornado.

“So, reach out to everyone who said they were planning on transacting in 2020 and discuss how to time those things properly.”

6. Track and measure your activities

Edrington says statistics show that people who track and measure their activities have a better outcome on their goals. He therefore recommends his agents diligently record their activities for one month.

“If you step on a scale every day, you’re more likely to maintain or lose weight,” he suggests. “So, whether it’s the number of handwritten cards you mailed, or the number of phone calls you made, or the number of videos you sent out, track and measure what you do for at least 30 days.”

7. Be accountable to someone

As a real estate coach, Edrington is a big fan of accountability, as he says it motivates people to work persistently toward their goals.

“Most people will let themselves down easier than they’ll let someone else down,” he says. “If you’re trying to get healthy without telling anyone about what you’re doing, you’re more likely to slip off the wagon.”

To this end, Edrington recommends each of his agents have three “accountability buddies,” including one for a morning call, one for a midday call and one for an evening call.

“We’re calling the morning calls the morning launch. You should talk with your accountability buddy about your plan for the day,” Edrington says.

“The afternoon call is the midday reset. How did you do this morning? What do you plan on doing the rest of the day?” he adds.

“The evening call is the strategy call. Reflect on your day and what you’re going to do tomorrow,” Edrington concludes. “It sounds like a lot but it’s just a five-minute phone call.”

Edrington says the benefits of accountability extend beyond keeping people on track to include fulfilling the need for social interaction.

“One of the complaints Realtors have right now is they’re lonely,” he says. “They’re used to getting out and being around people, and now they’re stuck at home and everything is a webinar. Accountability helps.”

Heller has also become a fan of accountability since adding these calls to his daily routine.

“Having someone to talk with about my goals and work through my frustrations is a key to success for me right now,” he says. “It can be easy for me to become worried about our current situation, but being able to lean on someone who know what I’m trying to accomplish helps to push me through those moments.”

8. Roleplay 15-20 minutes a day

Finally, Edrington recommends roleplaying with another agent every day to practice what to say during conversations with clients, as it can help iron the wrinkles out of their responses to pressing questions.

“We’ve always done this, but it’s really important right now because we’re facing different objections, especially when it comes to timing,” Edrington adds. “So, we have agents practicing what customers are likely to say and how we can guide them through their concerns.”

Edrington’s eight-part plan stems from his shift to a new style of coaching that’s specific about the actions the agent should perform.

When he launched J Douglas Properties in 2018, he took a softer approach that allowed an agent to discover what works and does not work for him or her.

“Instead of telling a new agent, ‘You need to sell 40 houses in your first year,’ we asked them, ‘What are your goals?’ And if they said, ‘I’m not going to do open houses but I want to talk with for-sale-by-owners,’ we would respect that, coach them through it and let them discover if it’s right for them or not.”

Since the beginning of the pandemic, Edrington has pivoted to a style of coaching he calls “directive.” Instead of letting an agent discover for themselves what does and does not work, he gives them specific tasks to complete, such as making a certain number of phone calls or Facebook Live videos.

“Our business is too fragile during the virus to let people discover their own way. Before the virus, you could fall into deals through discovery and still be successful, but right now, we’re literally telling people what to do,” Edrington explains. “I’ve told people here, ‘If you’re not willing to do this, we need to help you find a new brokerage because you’re not going to make it.’ Someone who’s coachable is open to that.”

That said, there are two things Edrington won’t quantify for someone: When to stop drinking and when go to bed.

It seems there are still a few things his agents will have to discover for themselves.