Thousands of agents have heard me speak over the years, and as I took the stage in Doncaster a couple of weeks ago, one agent heckled ‘marginal gains’, and I couldn’t have felt more proud. You see, no matter whether I am speaking at an event or consulting with an agency, I always drill home the importance of marginal gains.
Evidence of the success of this approach can be seen when you take a look at Team Sky. In 2010 they employed Sir Dave Brailsford; he believed in what he referred to as ‘aggregation of marginal gains’, which he explains as ‘the 1% margin for improvement in everything you do!’ In other words, if he improved every area of cycling by 1%, then altogether that would amount to an incredible improvement.
“We are always striving for improvement, for those 1% gains in absolutely everything we do.” Sir Dave Brailsford.
Whether it’s society, our peers, or our leaders, we seem to have this notion that we have only achieved greatness if we have achieved something ‘big’. Take weight loss, for instance; we praise people for losing a certain weight within a certain time. We put pressure on ourselves to achieve this goal rather than looking how we can implement long term changes in our lifestyle, e.g. in the food we eat and the amount of exercise undertaken. By gradually improving our lifestyle we can ensure that we don’t just achieve our goal but we sustain it also.
How can we translate this into estate agency?
If you put measures in place to improve your market appraisal rate by 1%, and secured 50% of that 1%, imagine what a difference that would make to your bottom line. If you were to improve the next month by 1% and so on, then the impact on your business over a year would be incredibly impressive.
“In the world of business, the smallest changes and tweaks to existing models and approaches can be substantially more effective than large, disruptive ones, in increasing revenue, changing direction, and even choosing an initial path for a start-up” marketing expert, James Duval.
This approach also works in reverse. When monitoring your business you may find that an area is down by 1%, which may not be particularly noticeable, and you might even disregard it. But what if another area did the same, and then another? All those 1% declines could prove extremely detrimental to your business.
When I visit a business I look at every element to see how each area can be improved. Again, the change may be so small, just a little tweak here and there, but the overall effect it can have on the performance and profitability of your agency shouldn’t be under estimated.
“Success is a few simple disciplines, practised every day; while failures are simply a few errors in judgement, repeated every day,” Jim Rohn.
The principle above is nothing new, but it is one that is not practiced enough. It is an important strategy that your agency can’t do without. Times are getting tougher and competition greater, therefore, to survive you need to change and adapt. Big bold moves can be disruptive. No agency is perfect, no business model timeless; we all have to mould to the needs of the market, our clients, and our business.
Strive for marginal gains in your business and you could be having a very successful 2017.