January 17, 2010: we have arrived — which means, I guess, we’ve survived, we’re alive, we’re ready to thrive. We’ve come through a very tough period of market collapse, huge changes and corporate chaos. I salute those of you who continue to carry the Help-U-Sell banner high and are setting your sights on the next hill ahead.
We’re crafting a new kind of real estate franchise here. All of us — there is no ‘them’ — are participating in its creation. We are evolving to a place where franchisor and franchisee have the same objective, the same customer, the same soul. I can’t tell you how rare that is. I’ve worked for several of the national franchises and I assure you, behind closed doors they are very clear who their customer is: it’s the franchisee. And their objective is generally to sell as much stuff as possible to their ‘customer’.
Our customer, the customer of both the franchisor and franchisee, is the buyer and seller of real estate. Our mutual objective is to serve as many of them as we possibly can. We are in the real estate business first; franchising is just a strategy we are employing to reach the largest number of buyers and sellers. We are partners with our franchisees and, as in every partnership, there are expectations on both sides.
Our franchisees expect us to protect the brand, the business model and the operating system they are working so hard to establish in their individual market places. They expect us to be open and accessible to them, to communicate and to listen. They expect us to anticipate and react to changes in the market and the real estate business. They expect us to be as close to the cutting edge of our industry as possible without getting cut. They expect us to constantly look for and find new and better ways to make our business model work. They expect us to deliver training and tools that help them build profitable businesses. They expect us to establish a forum where they can share ideas, brainstorm and solve problems. They expect us to recognize achievement and reward it.
We have expectations, too. And they all have to do with being Good Citizens. (Truth is, we all share these expectations. We all want to live and work in a society of Good Citizens).
I’ve said it so many times: Help-U-Sell is a culture: a unique, way of looking at he real estate business with its own values, goals and definitions of success. It’s also a family: we care about one another and move together as a unit. Our history includes periods of dysfunction in the culture and in the family, times when we were at cross purposes, where we couldn’t trust each other, where we lost our way. We never want to go through that again.
We expect our franchisees, our partners, to participate, to attend meetings, events, seminars and teleconferences where we come together as a team. We expect them to be open, to share ideas and to ask challenging questions. We expect them to use the tools and stay true to our core identity: that we are a set fee real estate company and we save consumers money. We expect them to respect the Help-U-Sell marks, logos, colors, and other identifiers. We expect them to report their transactions within 24 hours of closing. We expect them to be current in their accounts or to make arrangements to become current. We expect them to be truthful, not just with us, but with everyone. We expect them to attack their business with passion and a sense of mission. We expect them to speak up when they need support. We expect them to reach out when others are in trouble. This is all part of being a Good Citizen.
The Big Technology Summit is coming up the first week in March. We’ll be in Sarasota March 1 & 2 and Las Vegas March 3 & 4 (by the way, the Vegas hotel is still not firm, but it’s looking more and more like the Palace Station, a very nice place with lots of dining options, great rates and even a free shuttle to the airport and the strip). The meeting is very important to all of us as we take a giant step toward becoming a dominating force on the web. The new Broker websites will be introduced and attendees will learn how to customize, localize, optimize and make them attractive to search engines. The new websites will be one of the biggest tools we have and this meeting is where we’ll learn how to use them.
We’ve made the decision that attendance will be by invitation only. And the invitation will be extended to Good Citizens in our Help-U-Sell family. We have a good group now, a set of franchisees who all can be Good Citizens. Most already are. But we still have some who don’t report their transactions and/or haven’t made arrangements to take care of their financial obligations. Most of them are waiting to see what happens, waiting to see if the new company will survive, waiting to see if we will move forward. To them, I have to say, the wait is over. It’s been over for months. We have a vision, we have a plan, we have tools and we are moving forward. It’s time to get on-board . . . or get out.
Interesting. Though we are not actively marketing franchises at the moment, our website kicks out new franchise leads on a fairly regular basis. Last week we got 8. In 2009 we received over 100. These are outsiders who see the power of Help-U-Sell, who recognize the positive change and who may want to be involved in our next stage of growth. If they can see it, why can’t you?
The train has left the station and it’s time to scramble to catch up and get your seat on-board. Many Smiles . . .