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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Jason Sardi
Auto & Home & Life Insurance throughout North Carolina - Charlotte, NC
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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.

Aug 23, 2012 12:57 PM #1
Rainmaker
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Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

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

Aug 23, 2012 01:01 PM #2
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Lisa Von Domek
Lisa Von Domek & Associates LLC Team at Real Estate Broker/Associate with Real Living Real Estate Group www.LisaVon.com - Dallas, TX
....Experience Isn't Expensive.... It's Priceless!

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!

Aug 23, 2012 01:26 PM #3
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Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

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

Aug 23, 2012 02:44 PM #4
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Peggy Wester
Realty Executives Integrity - Grafton, WI
Real Estate Agent Ozaukee & Washington County Real

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!

Aug 23, 2012 02:53 PM #5
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Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

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

Aug 23, 2012 03:14 PM #6
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Gene Riemenschneider
Home Point Real Estate - Brentwood, CA
Turning Houses into Homes

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

Aug 23, 2012 04:11 PM #7
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Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

Little foxes, Gene.  Little foxes.

Aug 23, 2012 04:13 PM #8
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Kathy Streib
Room Service Home Staging - Delray Beach, FL
Home Stager - Palm Beach County,FL -561-914-6224

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. 

Aug 23, 2012 06:04 PM #9
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Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

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. 

Aug 23, 2012 06:10 PM #10
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Andrea Bedard
Thompson Company, REALTORS - Silver Spring, MD
M.A.; REALTOR Silver Spring, MD and beyond

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.

Aug 23, 2012 07:29 PM #11
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Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

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

Aug 24, 2012 02:25 AM #12
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James Dray
Wise Custom Realty - Bentonville, AR
AR., MO., or OK. I can find the home for you.

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

Aug 24, 2012 03:43 AM #13
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Terri Poehler
Realtor - Coral Springs, FL
Coral Springs Real Estate Agent

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

Aug 24, 2012 05:30 AM #14
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Diane M. Phillips
Frankly Real Estate Inc. - Manchester, MD
Realtor 443-286-4365

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

Aug 24, 2012 06:49 AM #15
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Debbie Laity
Cedaredge Land Company - Cedaredge, CO
Your Real Estate Resource for Delta County, CO

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.

Aug 24, 2012 12:55 PM #16
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Mike Cooper
Winchester Real Estate Sales, Cornerstone Business Group Inc - Winchester, VA
Your Winchester, VA Real Estate Pro

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).

 

Aug 24, 2012 05:21 PM #17
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Mike Cooper

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