The other day, I overhead a well-respected and successful real estate agent complaining that another agent working his neighbourhood has been copying his marketing efforts and it was frustrating him. He felt that because the other agent was not creative enough on his own, he had resorted to imitation of the successful REALTOR® and he did not feel it was fair.
While some things can be trademarked or copyrighted, a frustrating fact of life is if you do something successfully, there will always be those who are less creative or successful who will copy you. What one has to keep in mind is the copier seldom does as good a job and while they are trying to get up to speed, the creative one is one step ahead and moving forward so they are always out front. When someone says we are going to do the same thing as that person or company, you can tell they are operating from a position of desperation so when that happens to you, take pride that others are noticing your success and scrambling to copy it.
I see that happening in our own business, CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty where the former owners came up with a brilliant plan they called Vision 25. It provides such an innovative and exciting advantage for the salespeople that numerous agents from other companies began applying to join our firm.
Another difference of our company is we do not work on the “numbers game”, bringing in as many salespeople as possible. We do not see how a manager can effectively work on behalf of 150 or more agents at once so our model is based on having 50 – 80 agents only. As a result of this model, my wife, Myrna, the managing broker, has actually asked agents to leave the company and refused to take others into the company if she feels they are not a good fit or serious about their careers. CENTURY 21 Assurance Realty is building a team of people who work well together and make more than an average income for their experience. This model has attracted a number of well-respected and successful real estate agents.
To combat the recruiting success, one competitor came up with a campaign they added the number 40 to their plan thinking the number 25 stood for the number of extra services our company offers the agents and they wanted to be seen as being even better. They didn’t understand that the “25” stood for the percentage of increased income the program offers our agents. Making assumptions and reacting without a plan never works, Vision 25 was more than just a plan-it has become part of the culture of the office and that cannot be simply imitated and infused as part of another culture.
You cannot be all things to all people so rather than imitate the success of others, the key is to develop your own culture of success and promote it in the marketplace. Today while another new recruit was joining our office, the owner of one of the largest companies in the city called her and said he would meet any offer we gave her and he too would be soon starting a new plan to match ours. The reason this will never work is our plan only works because everyone in the company has to be on board. It does not work if only some of the people are on one program and others are on other plans. The reason it works for us it the former owners started the business with the plan in place and everyone who joined the company does so because they see the advantage of the vision. It is the culture not just a small part of it.
So when you see someone copying you, take a minute and smile because they are paying you the ultimate compliment. They see you are winning and they want to be like you. Know that while they can and will copy you, they will never be originals. Look around at the originals in the marketplace-they are all copied yet they all stand head and shoulders above the imitators. Originals look forward, not back, don’t worry about what the competition is doing, just map your course and keep moving forward.