A REALTOR®’s modern retelling of the Tortoise and The Hare

Once upon a time, there was a very successful Real Estate Broker named Rain Maker. Rain was a truly nice person, always professional, and did his best to represent his clients well. He was so good at his job, that he got busy, then busier, then busier still… and eventually, he got so busy, he needed help. Like all smart Real Estate Brokers, he started by hiring an assistant to manage his transactions and files. However, he had so many leads and people who wanted to work with him that he decided he needed to hire an agent or two to work the leads.

So, Rain Maker went out searching for the best agent to work on his team. Some of the people he knew told him he had to hire people who were like him, who would work smart, stay organized, and always do their best for their clients. Some other friends of his told him to go out and hire a master salesperson, someone who was unafraid to put himself out there and become everybody’s buddy. There were so many potential agents out there, he didn’t know what to do, so he hired two very different agents and decided to make them compete against each other for a full year. He thought that whoever had the most production at the end of the year, he would keep, and he would replace the other one with more agents that worked the same way.

The first agent he hired was Joe Hare. Joe hustled. He was the kind of agent that never met a stranger; everybody liked him and became fast friends with him. He worked hard, then went out and played hard. He didn’t necessarily follow Rain Maker’s systems, but one couldn’t argue with the production he brought in. He had some quick success.

The second agent he hired was Pete Tortuga. Pete was also a really nice guy, and everybody liked Pete. But unlike Joe Hare, Pete was more reserved and followed Rain Maker’s systems impeccably. After two months on the team, Pete hadn’t had any closings, and Rain Maker was getting worried he’d have to let Pete go.

When Joe Hare and Pete Tortuga started on Rain Maker’s team, neither had much experience as agents. Both had been in sales before. But, Rain Maker was a kind and benevolent leader, and provided lots of training, lots of support, and lot of leads to both Joe and Pete. He didn’t hold them accountable, though, so a lot of the time they were left to do things on their own.

Joe started out like a house on fire. When he got a lead, he’d pick up the phone and call that lead immediately. If he got hold of the prospect, he’d do a good job of qualifying them and would set the appointment. Pretty soon, he had a few transactions closing and started making decent money, but he was going through leads twice as fast as Pete.

Pete would also reach out to leads right away. He would text first, then call, then he would also do a great job of qualifying the prospect. He was getting some appointments set, too, but not as many as Joe. He wasn’t getting transactions closed very quickly, and after a few months, hadn’t made any money.

Rain Maker kept reminding his team about the contest. Pretty soon, Joe figured out that he was so far ahead that he could relax a little and play a little instead of working so hard. He started only calling the leads that were high dollar value, figuring he could close fewer deals and make more money. Pretty soon, he stopped following up on the people he couldn’t get hold of, as well, because the time spent on the phone was interfering with his golf game. Still, after six months, he had closed quite a bit of business and was way ahead of Pete in the contest. He decided that summer was coming, and he would take a couple of vacations. After all, he had a few pay checks under his belt, he knew that he was ahead in the contest, and he knew that all he had to do if he needed more money was start over and begin calling leads again.

Meanwhile, Pete kept plugging along. He wasn’t having Joe’s success, but he steadfastly followed Rain Maker’s systems. He would qualify people, then follow up with them, then keep calling and following up with them. After a few months, he became busy with appointments, but still hadn’t had many closings. However, as winter became spring and spring was heading toward summer, Pete got a couple of transactions closed. He had been working on those people since early winter, so he felt really good about it. While Joe Hare went on vacation, Pete kept working, and soon the people he had been talking to all along were ready to buy houses. Pete got super busy, and by the time Joe Hare came back from playing golf, Pete Tortuga was starting to catch up.

Joe made a few calls and got a couple of things going again, but it wasn’t as easy. For some reason, he was having a harder time qualifying people. He had spent so much time working on his golf swing that he forgot how he used to qualify people. He had a hard time setting appointments, and when he did, he was having a hard time closing transactions. Still, he was well ahead of Pete, and decided he needed to go relax for a couple of weeks so he could be ready for one more push.

As Joe Hare went on vacation again, Pete Tortuga kept following up and staying in touch with people. Soon, he was closing a couple of transactions every week. By the time Joe Hare came back from vacation, it was early fall, and Joe and Pete were almost neck and neck in the competition.

But, because the kids had gone back to school and the weather was turning cool, the leads started to dry up. Joe kept asking Rain Maker for more and better leads, because he couldn’t make anything happen. Rain Maker told Joe and Pete that he couldn’t provide any more leads than he already did, because the market was changing. Besides, Joe was already using more leads than Pete was getting. Meanwhile, Pete was continuing to work with those people he had been working with all along…and was continuing to close transactions. Pretty soon, Pete Tortuga had taken the lead in the contest and was just maintaining his pace while Joe Hare was starting to panic. By the time winter had come again, Pete was pretty far out front, new leads had slowed down to their seasonal crawl, and Pete was feeling pretty comfortable. He decided to take a couple of days off here and there, but made sure Rain Maker and his assistant would cover for him while he was out.

Joe Hare started to panic. There were no leads. There were no appointments. There was little chance for him to catch Pete Tortuga and keep his job.

As the year came to a close, it was clear to Rain Maker what made a good sales person and member of his team. He knew that he had to hire more people like Pete Tortuga, who followed the system and did a good job of taking care of business. He had been blinded by the flash and ease with which Joe Hare started, but the steady consistency of Pete Tortuga had given Rain Maker comfort that his business would continue to grow. And, Pete got to make a good living, live a good life, and still have time off.

If you look for them today, you’ll still find Pete Tortuga working with Rain Maker. He supervises a team of agents who work the system and do a great job. You can look for Joe Hare at the local grocery store, where he stocks the shelves at night, or at the gas station, where he is attendant by day.

By Phillip Greenberg, MBA
Consultant and Coach