The light from my grandfather’s Zippo lighter danced on his face as he slowly drew in the sweet-smelling smoke from his pipe and said, “Knowing a tomato is a fruit is knowledge.” I had no idea what he was talking about until, after slowly exhaling wisps of smoke, he wryly continued “Knowing not to put it in a fruit salad, now, that’s wisdom.”  It was 1983, I was 13, my hair was long, and my thoughts were short.  I had no idea as to the implications of the wisdom my grandfather had conveyed to me that night until years later. 

You see, experience and expertise are different things entirely.  You want to experience expertise to become an expert.  Like your clients, you want wisdom more than information; you want insights.  Your clients want to know more than “what” to do, they want to know “why” they should do it.  As a business owner, you should too.  The method, the reasoning, behind an action or decision is far more important than any information as they will lead to better and better outcomes.  You need to know “why.” You want to know the “method behind the madness,” and, more importantly, why it works so you can replicate it and improve on it.  You want to think like a scientist.  Why? 

Contrary to popular belief, scientists want repeatable results far more than they want to be “right.”  Seriously?  Yep. 

You see, scientist use the scientific method (yeah, that one you learned in high school) to create experiments to test their ideas.  Then, they publish their results for peer review and criticism.  For you, that means taking the resources available to you, either on your own or through a host, “publishing” your results by taking them to market and observing your results. Then, and this is critical, you make one change at a time, repeatedly, to your method until you get results that make sense.  Results that make sense, now that’s wisdom.  Applying this wisdom will improve your results over time, and you will make more money. 

Let’s look at some examples: 


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The first example above is my favorite.  So often, agents are told to post this or email that, but they’re not told why.  Is it part of a branding campaign?  Is it purely promotional?  If so, why are you promoting that particular product at that particular time?  If it’s more strategic, what are the strategic objectives and why are they important?  The wisdom in this example is that custom pieces are important but have diminishing returns.  Maybe combining some social media related to your email campaign would be a better use of your time after the first custom email or two, maybe not.  You’ll need to experiment to find out. 

That’s why has a process for its agents rather than a step-by-step cookie cutter “guide” to being a successful agent and business owner.  Anybody who tells you they have a system that worked for them so it will work for you needs peer review of their process.  After 30 years in business, I can tell you that, if such a “system” were possible, someone would have already written that book, sold it, and be sitting on their own private island somewhere.  Such a system is a unicorn and nothing more. 

What we do is try to get to know our agents, their goals, their resources, and their aptitudes.  From there, we point them in the right direction for them to experimentally discover methods and solutions that work for them.  Is it easy?  No.  Is it simple?  No.  Is it business?  Yes. 

Even the owners of make themselves available to their agent partners every single day.  They understand that they are your business partners.  They want to be in the trenches with you, looking for ways to incrementally improve your business results. 

Having said this, if I had one piece of “wisdom” to offer an agent, it would be to stop looking for simple answers to complex questions and do the work to build methods that drive the results you want.  So, what should you do with this “wisdom?”  You’ll know as your experience becomes expertise and your methods become magic.   

Owl with wings spread sitting on wooden crate that says tomatoes not fruit salad

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