The Little Foxes Spoil the Vine

By
Managing Real Estate Broker with Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc 0225086119
http://actvra.in/GKT

There is an old saying that says, "The little foxes spoil the vine."  The idea is taken from the biblical story in Song of Songs 2.15.  The picture is that big foxes were destroying the vineyard.  So, the vine-dresser built a fence.  That stopped the big foxes from getting to the vines, but the little baby foxes were able to crawl under the fence and they started destroying the vines. 

It's a great illustration for our lives and businesses.  We see the big things that rob us of a Fox Thiefhealthy thriving life and business, but sometimes the little things go unnoticed.  When I launched my brokerage, the economy was still on life support.  Because of that, it was it was very easy to accept every BPO company, every REO company and every client that came along.  The same was true of my electrical contracting company.

We pulled ourselves up from the double whammy that the economy gave us, and we accumulated a lot new clients.  Good, right?  Not necessarily.  A year into the new brokerage, I started evaluating the companies we work with.  During that time, I started eliminating the BPO companies that paid too late, had cumbersome portals to enter information on and had unrealistic expectations.

That number of BPO providers (little foxes) dropped from around 40 companies at the peak  to about 10, and today it's six.  All pay on time, they realize we know more about our market than they do on the other side of the country, and they are willing to listen. 

foxNext, I went after the REO companies and lenders (more little foxes) that were difficult to deal with, demanded more than they paid for and didn't always reimburse us when we had expenses.  That number dropped from about 10 to 3. I also dropped the property preservation companies we work with.  Too much paperwork, too little profit.  Bye-bye.

I then turned my attention to the electrical contracting business.  Who were the clients we loved to work with, and who were the clients who frustrated us (little foxes)?  I dumped the biggest government contract because of the voluminous paperwork they demanded for the most mundane jobs, and I fired 100% of the retail maintenance companies we worked with.  That eliminated 12 clients.  I also dumped three contractors. 

I say all of this to encourage you to review your business clientele and determine who is it that profits you and your business, and who is it that causes you unnecessary stress and aggravation.  We all have those moments in any contract situation where things go awry.  That's not what I'm talking about.  I'm talking about those REO providers, BPO providers, investors or other clients who make your profession miserable.

Trust me, if you dump a few of them, you will free your time up to prospect better clients and develop your marketing presence.  If you're not bogged down with poor quality clients, you will have more time to knock on doors, design marketing materials, shake hands, call potential clients, pursue leads and develop your business.  Remember, "The little foxes spoil the vine."

 

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Topic:
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Ambassador
506,647
Jason Sardi
Your Agent for Life
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina

Mike - I never heard that saying.  I like it.  What you say is oh so true.  And hanging on to those little foxes may end up spoiling the chance to find the business that actually is profitable and efficient.  It's not only a game of numbers, but of efficiency in time.  Nice post, Mike.

August 23, 2012 12:57 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Thanks, Jason.  I see a lot of folks chasing nickels while the dollars pass by.  Little foxes.

August 23, 2012 01:01 PM
Rainmaker
1,023,989
Lisa Von Domek
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!
Lisa Von Domek & Associates LLC, Real Estate Broker/Associate with Real Living Real Estate Group www.LisaVon.com

Good afternoon Mike,

Excellent post, and a reminder to all that there is a difference between work hard and working smart...this is working smart!

August 23, 2012 01:26 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

There you go, Lisa.  I have a feeling you know how to do that.

August 23, 2012 02:44 PM
Rainmaker
204,179
Peggy Wester
Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County Real
Think Young Team--Realty Executives Integrity

What a great post and analogy, Mike. I, too, had never heard the fox story but this is a great reminder for all of us. You can almost feel the weight lifting off your shoulders as read through this. Hats off to you!

August 23, 2012 02:53 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Thanks, Peggy, and hopefully you'll no or few little foxes in your life.  8-)

August 23, 2012 03:14 PM
Rainmaker
1,237,398
Gene Riemenschneider
Turning Houses into Homes
Home Point Real Estate

That is a good analogy.  Thanks for the post.  I have fired a few people so I could earn more.

August 23, 2012 04:11 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Little foxes, Gene.  Little foxes.

August 23, 2012 04:13 PM
Ambassador
1,434,893
Kathy Streib
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224
Room Service Home Staging

Mike- smart move.  I think that sometimes when we're in business, we don't want to let any of it go, even if they're costing us more in time and headaches than they're worth. 

August 23, 2012 06:04 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

Very true, Kathy.  It's scary to drop clients, but it's liberating too.  Some clients can consume more time and energy than they are worth. 

August 23, 2012 06:10 PM
Rainmaker
450,327
Andrea Bedard
M.A.; REALTOR Silver Spring, MD and beyond
Thompson Company Realtors

Hi Mike, that is some great advice. I never jumped on the REO bandwagon .. I just knew it's not really up my alley. I believe that it shows if I do something I'm not enjoying entirely ..

The same thing can be applied to your sphere - pay more attention to those you get along well and are most likely to refer you.

August 23, 2012 07:29 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

You bet, Andrea.  I always liked the REO market, but I haven't been thrilled with all of the companies involved.  Happy Friday.

August 24, 2012 02:25 AM
Rainmaker
947,288
James Dray
AR., MO., or OK. I can find the home for you.
Wise Custom Realty

Morning Mike it is the small things that ultimately brings down the house.  The problem is to decide as you did which ones to dump and it sound like you did it right

August 24, 2012 03:43 AM
Rainmaker
284,750
Terri Poehler
Coral Springs Real Estate Agent
Realtor

Good business sense. I will have to review and do the same thing.

August 24, 2012 05:30 AM
Rainmaker
386,343
Diane M. Phillips
Realtor 443-286-4365
Frankly Real Estate Inc.

Mike ~ Working smarter is always a good idea. I admire your choices and weeding of the little foxes. Wonderful post!

August 24, 2012 06:49 AM
Ambassador
803,953
Debbie Laity
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO
Cedaredge Land Company

Great analogy. You are so right. Sometimes it's the little things that can cause us the trouble, but they often escape our radar. I do a lot of BPOs like you. I also list REOs. I have my favorite BPO and REO companies, and tell others to take a hike when they call. I will also tell them why.

August 24, 2012 12:55 PM
Rainmaker
773,991
Mike Cooper
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc

You bet, James.  I let some companies go that my colleagues were aghast at, but they were not worth the time, trouble and personal investment. 

There you go, Terri.  Good luck with that.  I love working with the companies I've kept.  They are all high performers, pay quickly and are willing to be flexible when necessary.  Everyone wins.

Thanks, Diane.  It was time.

Me too, Debbie.  I don't fool with a company if they don't keep their website up, or if they are unrealistic and demanding and I don't keep them long if they are slow or never pay.  I will be quick to go after them if they don't pay (and have).

 

August 24, 2012 05:21 PM
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Rainmaker
773,991

Mike Cooper

Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro
Winchester has a place for you! Call me.
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