A new “second place”

March 11, 2021

Remember the guy in the TV show Cheers who would burst in and pop down the stairs on his way to his stool by the bar?

“Norm!” everyone, including the patrons, would exclaim.

Cheers was an example of Third Place for Norm. Many of us have them. Well we did have them before COVID. I bet you can guess the first two.

Right, Home is first. Our workplaces used to be/are second. And third is the bar, cafe, gym, rec center, whatever. It is the third place where we would spend the most time outside of the first two. In Norm’s case, he spent more time at Cheers than the first two places.

That nose! It’s called a “Ward nose.” My grandfather Russell had the same one.

I recently made a significant change in my Second Place. I moved from Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices to Keller Williams Realty in Ann Arbor. It wasn’t because Berkshire Hathaway was a bad place to work or there were any issues there. I love the brand, what it stands for, and the people there. Who knows? Maybe I’ll be back there some day. It was not an easy decision because I am someone who values relationships above almost all else. In fact, it was one of those hard life decisions.

You might think it makes no difference what brand name is behind the Realtor® and for most people it doesn’t. My clients don’t care whether I’m with Berkshire Hathaway, Keller Williams, Reinhart or Let’s Go Realty (I made that up). I’m still the same person — hopefully a better version everyday — no matter the brand behind me.

What compelled me to uproot my business and take it to KW was a sense that it was the right time to make a change. KW offers me the Realtor®, the business person, a lot of tools and opportunities I felt are exactly right at this time in my career. And I’m someone who loves shaking up the status quo.

Why does it matter?

As a practitioner of real estate, not just a “real estate agent” who treats each person as a transaction, I am constantly, almost incessantly, pushing myself to do and be better for my clients. I’m always testing the boundaries of what is and what is possible. In the past, in certain organizations, it made me not the best employee. It happened back in the day when I worked at Nike. (Yes, that Nike).

One way to do that is to continually survey the landscape in the industry for those tools and opportunities I can put to use in the service of my clients and prospects. Let me repeat that last part: IN THE SERVICE OF MY CLIENTS.

In the end that is the only thing that matters. You won’t–or at least shouldn’t–notice any dramatic change in how you and I operate. But behind the scenes? I’m always working to do things better, to improve the experience, to make the road a little flatter in working together. We’ve all heard of “working smarter.” I’m trying to find shortcuts that allow me to communicate more effectively or more frequently (or less frequently if that’s what is wanted), to find the insights under every rock that might help make you a more informed, smarter client, whether you’re buying your first home or selling your tenth, so you can make the best decisions for you.  My tagline is “Your vision. My mission” for a reason.

So I’ll be driving to S. State Street for work instead of Plymouth Road on the northside for now and the logos have been switched. But don’t worry. I’m still me. I’m still obsessed with finding the highest practices in the craft of real estate to be the absolute best resource for my clients I can be.

If you’d like to have a conversation about this topic or, frankly, anything else, I’m up for that too. I dig good, meaningful conversation. I’ll buy the (socially-distanced) coffee.