Squirrels and the Guessing Game are Killing Your Growth and Success

Eden Sunshine
Vice President, Realty Executives


One of my favorite characters from the movie “Up” was Doug the Dog. Doug had a very special collar that enabled him to speak to humans. He was enthusiastic, loyal, and easily distracted. He would often lose focus when he heard or saw a squirrel. Mid-sentence he would turn and say, “squirrel.”

I’ve observed how many business owners, Realtors, and brokers love squirrels too. I am talking about the shiny objects that distract our attention from action and activities that produce optimal results in hopes of finding the latest, greatest gimmick that will catapult their business.

Understand, I am not against innovation and improvement. I am all for it; at the right time.

Here are some key strategies that will enable you to be much more strategic when you consider potential opportunities for innovation and improvement. Doing so will increase your likelihood of success by minimizing distractions and squirrels.


Know Your Numbers 

Often agents, brokers, and businesspeople are not in tune with actual performance. They monitor their success by guessing. I once spoke with an agent who was considering adding another farm area to his mix of business development activities. If you have ever invested in building dominance in a farm area, you know that it is a significant long-term investment. This agent already had six areas he was working. I asked him how well he was dominating his current markets. He wasn’t sure. “Perhaps,” I suggested, “do a little market analysis to make sure you are dominating them.”

Later, having done some research, he established that another agent had overtaken him in transactions in one of his areas. Based on the information, he determined it made more sense to invest in regaining his share of the market versus launching a new one.

Understanding lead sources, conversion percentages, the benefits you provide your client that REALLY matter to them, and how well your farm areas are working will give you insights into quality decision making.


Be Strategic About Innovation 

I recently heard that attention is the new currency. Marketers are doing everything they can do to capture your attention. Realtors can especially be susceptible to distractions and offers purported to make your life easier, sell more, get more etc. When you know your numbers and the truth about your performance, it will help you temper and resist the constant demand for your attention.

In one of my businesses, I observed our leadership team considering an alternate to a software program that we currently have in place. The new potential vendor was offering a lot of bells and whistles that sounded very appealing.

I challenged our team to consider the results our current program was producing and asked if those numbers were acceptable. By the time we finished the conversation, we found that our current program offered all the functionality and efficiency we really needed to get the results we wanted. Yes, the other program was compelling, but didn’t offer any real tangible benefit that would enhance the business.

If your conversion numbers are not where they need to be, then you should be focusing on the areas of your business that impact conversion. If you are not getting leads when doing open houses, then focus on improving your open house system. If your listings aren’t selling at least in alignment with the market, focus on that.

Monitoring numbers will tell us the areas of the business we need to focus our attention.


Plan Sandbox Time 

Agents, brokers, and business owners by nature tend to be innovators. They like to improve things and make things better. It is often part of their DNA and can’t be squelched. A simple solution is to spend time researching and learning new things at a very specific, designated time each week. Get in the sandbox and play. As an example, spend two hours on Friday afternoons learning something new or researching an area of interest. The key is that you don’t have to take any action after you’ve played. Just satisfy your need to learn and explore. You can also use that time to look for ways to improve something that you’ve previously identified based on the numbers that is not working in your business.

In summary, being more productive starts with knowing your numbers, focus on fixing what is broken based on those numbers, and watching out for the squirrels vying for your attention.


Eden Sunshine is an entrepreneur, the creator of The Level 7 System, a speaker, author and Vice President of Operations for Realty Executive in Phoenix Arizona. Eden has coached and consulted with over 300 of the top Real Estate agents and teams throughout the USA and Canada since 2003. Eden specializes in helping businesses become scalable, positioned for exponential growth and productivity while establishing a meaningful, high performing business culture.