You Can Start at Any Time: The day most people start a new habit or activity is New Year’s Day. The calendar change promises a new beginning. Studies show only 8 percent of people achieve the resolution established then. The secret is that you can start at any time by thinking success and then doing these activities daily to build a sustainable habit. This is how I have achieved my success vision and you can, too, by starting today. In 2002 at the age of 43 I became a licensed real estate agent and officially started in the business in August. I have notebooks all the way back to my first year where I began tracking the contacts I made. Every business day I reach out to 5 people, 25 per week. At the age of 57 I wrote my first book, at 58 I launched my podcast, at 59 I participated in my first sprint triathlon and although had never previously participated in any athletic competition placed the fastest in the novice category for my age group.
Asa part of my series about strong women leaders of the Real Estate industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Karen Briscoe. Karen is the creator of the transformative “5 Minute Success” concept. Her books Real Estate Success in 5 Minutes a Day: Secrets of a Top Agent Revealed and Commit to Get Leads: 66 Day Challenge® offer a combination of information and inspiration delivered through memorable stories. The daily format with takeaways propels one to achieve success at a higher level in business and life. Topics include: Commit to Get Leads; Consult to Sell; Connect to Build and Grow; Success Thinking, Activities and Vision; which all lead to the Sweet Spot of Success. Her most recent book, Flip Time / Love Life is a Heroine’s Journey tale about loving the life you have while you create and co-create the life of your dreams.
Her first book was featured in INMAN as “must read for your best year in real estate” in 2017. The book ranks on Amazon in the top 1% in its category. It has been endorsed by industry leaders Hal Elrod, Pat Hiban and Michael J. Maher. She is a contributing author to INMAN and Real Trends real estate media outlets.
Karen is the host of the “5 Minute Success” podcast which has ranked #1 on Overcast most recommended in the business category. The show has an amazing array of guests who achieve success at a high level. Karen also is a frequent guest on other podcasts that focus on entrepreneurial, success and motivation, as well as real estate related topics. She speaks on a national and local level on the “Best of 5 Minute Success.” Further, she has completed the John Maxwell Team Certification Program for Coaching, Speaking, and Training.
Karen is the principal owner of the Huckaby Briscoe Conroy Group (HBC) with Keller Williams. The HBC Group has been recognized by the Wall Street Journal as one of the 250 Top Realtor® teams in the United States. Since 1977, HBC Group has sold over 1,500 homes valued at over $1.5 billion. The team consistently sells over 100 residential properties annually ranging from multi-million-dollar luxury estates to condominiums and townhomes. Primary markets areas include Northern Virginia, suburban Maryland, and Washington, DC. As a real estate professional, Karen is a member of the Institute of Luxury Home Marketing, Senior Real Estate Specialist, FIABCI International Real Estate Federation and Women’s Council of Realtors®.
Karen earned a master’s degree from Southern Methodist University in Dallas, Texas and received her BA from Stephens College in Columbia, Missouri — her hometown.
Through HBC Group, Karen and her business partner Lizzy Conroy launched Community Charity Champions to raise funds for local nonprofit groups and organizations and was awarded the Social Corporate Responsibility Award by the Greater McLean Chamber of Commerce. The mission of HBC Group is to impact and improve people’s lives.
Thank you so much for doing this with us Karen! Can you tell us the “backstory” about what brought you to the Real Estate industry?
Itall started in the early 1980’s in Dallas at Crow Development Company, the residential arm of Trammell Crow Companies at the time. High demand for housing in Dallas drove a robust market, that is until the high interest rates and the Savings and Loan crisis effectively stopped development in the south. A few years later my husband’s career in public policy moved us to the Northern Virginia, Washington DC metro region. Over the next decade I served as the primary caregiver to our two kids due to my husband’s heavy work travel. In 2002 after 911, I reentered the real estate industry full time with the Staubach Company where I worked on the Nextel account. The position required me to earn my real estate license in order to facilitate the management of the national sales, engineer and warehouse offices. As you may recall, this was after the dot.com bust when technology was primarily in disposition mode rather than expansion and led to my being at Nextel being just a short stint. My neighbor suggested I “try” residential sales and found quickly that it brought together my “hard” skills of business building, negotiations and strategy with the “soft” side of relationships and care of people.
Can you share with our readers the most interesting or amusing story that occurred to you in your career so far? Can you share the lesson or take away you took out of that story?
Residential sales are a very personal endeavor. Most people who are buying and/or selling a home are also experiencing a major life event. There are positive motivators for a move including new job, increase in income or resources, marriage or long-term relationship commitment, rightsizing which can be up or down. The more challenging reasons are most commonly death, divorce, debt, even diapers can be demanding. Even people who are normally very analytical and rational in their professionals and demeanor can experience extreme stress in the move process. This is where I used to take it personally when people would often project that stress onto me. It was watching “You’ve Got Mail” with Meg Ryan and Tom Hanks, the 1998 romantic comedy movie that I discovered my best strategy for success in dealing with these situations. It comes from the scene where she reaches out to him by email for business advice. He uses a reference from “The Godfather” that it is not personal, it is business. That is the mantra that I use whenever these situations arise which enables me to separate the emotions from the situation. This one strategy has helped me in countless situations working with clients.
Are you working on any exciting new projects now? How do you think that will help people?
80×80 Movement — Challenges for Life — Milestones and Medals which is about making time for wellness and self-care as you create the life of your dreams.
I am the founder/creator of the movement, which is a community that supports members, and promotes the new normal for activity at any age. Anyone can create their own personal Challenges for Life to achieve eighty movement milestones by age eighty. The website provides an easy to use format to track progress on the journey. I founded the 80×80 Movement with the idea that I am not alone. There are lots of us out there — my age and older, and even younger — like me who disqualify ourselves from activities because we feel we are too old, too unfit, too unhealthy, non-athletes, or it’s just “not us” — and I think it’s time to change the conversation!
80×80 is about embracing every Challenge for Life, every Milestone, every Movement and just doing it, and knowing above all else — it’s Your Journey!
What do you think makes your company stand out? Can you share a story?
The 5 Minute Success principles are the core to the success of my business and life. It came about as often happens when people achieve a high level of success, others want to know how. The stories I share as I coach, and train are both informational with insights and inspirational. This voice has more impact and is transformational because people are more likely to remember the concept and be able to put it into practice. The core principles are:
- Commit to Get Leads: business development, prospecting, lead generation
- Consult to Sell: negotiation strategies, market knowledge, process and skill to convert
- Connect to Build and Grow: systems, leverage both macro and micro for scale
- Success Thinking, Activities and Vision: mindset and motivation
It is evident these principles transcend industry and profession as on the 5 Minute Success podcast I have conducted over 250 interviews with other real estate agents, other industry sales professionals, entrepreneurs, authors and other successpreneurs who have illustrated how these apply to their business as well.
None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person who you are grateful towards who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story about that?
As a new agent I met with success quickly which caught the attention of mega agent Sue Huckaby, who at the time in 2006 was #10 in the nation in sales. That led to becoming her junior partner. We met at church and Sue always said that our “partnership was made in heaven.” Sadly, she passed away in 2008, the same month as the financial markets crashed which led to the Great Recession and real estate market correction. In rebuilding the team, I recognized the benefits of working with a partner and fortunately past client Lizzy Conroy decided to enter the profession in 2009. As Lizzy is a member of the same church where I met Sue, we have carried on the tradition of our over decade long “partnership made in heaven.”
Ok. Thank you for all that. Let’s now jump to the main core of our interview. The Real Estate industry, like the Veterinarian, Nursing and Public Relations fields, is a women dominated industry. Yet despite this, less than 20 percent of senior positions in Real Estate companies are held by women. In your opinion or experience, what do you think is the cause of this imbalance?
In general, women’s strengths tend to be in the “soft” skills of relationship building and taking care of people whereas men’s strengths are often in the “hard” skills of business building, negotiations and strategy. As a mega agent when I am with other mega agents in most cases the numbers correlate to 20% women and 80% men. What I have found is that women tend to not put into place the business building strategies for success that men do. Also, women are more likely to take it personally when people choose to work with another agent or when in challenging situations whereas men are more likely to recognize it as part of doing business. In my book “Real Estate Success in 5 Minutes a Day” the “Connect to Build and Grow” strategies provide valuable information and inspiration. These principles get agents off the transactional hamster wheel from only as good as their next deal to sustaining success and creating scale.
What 3 things can be done by a)individuals b)companies and/or c) society to support greater gender balance going forward?
Awareness is key. Training on business building strategies at all stages. Increase opportunities for mentorship and connecting among others at all levels.
In your opinion, what are the biggest challenges faced by women executives that aren’t typically faced by their male counterparts?
Women often take time out of a career to raise children and/or for other family responsibilities. I effectively was out of the full-time paid workforce from 1988 to 2002 and one of the reasons that my success story is so powerful. I graduated from a woman’s college in 1981 which at the time Stephens and other institutions told me that if I took time out of my career for family that I would lose crucial advancement opportunities. Part time and in volunteer opportunities I worked diligently to keep skills current. Reentry was still with its challenges. If I had known then what I know now that I would be this successful at 60, I feel as though I would have worried less about the toll those “gap” years took on my confidence for reentering the workforce.
Can you share 3 things that most excite you about the Real Estate industry?
Opportunity is limitless in wealth creation in countless ways. Women are coming together in countless ways to amplify each other and network recognizing that together everyone achieves more. Technology offers the consumer a tsunami of information that increases the demand for real estate professionals to help consumers and clients discern and make wise personal and economic decisions on their housing options.
Can you share 3 things that most concern you about the industry? If you had the ability to implement 3 ways to reform or improve the industry, what would you suggest?
Opportunity to create wealth means that there will always be those that are greedy and are not pursuing the best interest of consumers, professional colleagues and the community. This is where regulations and standards are key.
What advice would you give to other leaders to help their team to thrive?
Technology changes at such a fast pace that there is a real concern that the real estate agent will no longer be relevant like other professionals such as travel agents.
Famed hockey player Wayne Gretzky was reported to have said: “Skate to where the puck is going, not where it has been.” This applies to the real estate industry as well, go to where the market and profession is going, not where it has been.
Ok, here is the main question of our interview. You are a “Real Estate Insider”. If you had to advise someone about 5 non intuitive things one should know to succeed in the Real Estate industry, what would you say? Can you please give a story or an example for each?
- Activity Block vs. Time Block: Many coaches and books on productivity recommend time blocking. This is where one sets aside a certain portion of time each day or week to lead generate and/or do other key activities. Countless people find this means of accountability as empowering. Others though “fritter away” the time and not actually accomplish anything. While in elementary school we discovered that our daughter did not learn like other children. She had the ability to appear to be busy with homework and yet make no progress whatsoever in completing it. After paying numerous tutors to work with her, we still felt frustrated at the lack of progress. What would happen is the sessions to meet would be for a set time and when that time was up, then she knew she could leave, even if the work wasn’t completed. This is to me like time blocking. Another tutor came highly recommended that held what she called “homework sessions”. At these sessions several students at different grade levels and skills met to complete their individual homework assignments. Everyone stayed until the work was completed, thus there was no incentive to use stalling tactics to put off doing the work. Tutoring by several lead teachers was available as well as coaching by accomplished high school and college students. It provided an environment of group accountability as well, no one wanted to disappoint the other students in the program. Activity blocking is where a set number of completed activities is committed to for each day or week. Thus, it is not time bound but rather completion bound. One can “front load” the activities by working ahead if time off is scheduled. Also, there is always the “catching up” that can occur if one falls behind. By tracking the activities one can determine what level of production is created accordingly. Then an agent can project their goals and know what activities are necessary in order to reach those objectives.
- You Can Start at Any Time: The day most people start a new habit or activity is New Year’s Day. The calendar change promises a new beginning. Studies show only 8 percent of people achieve the resolution established then. The secret is that you can start at any time by thinking success and then doing these activities daily to build a sustainable habit. This is how I have achieved my success vision and you can, too, by starting today. In 2002 at the age of 43 I became a licensed real estate agent and officially started in the business in August. I have notebooks all the way back to my first year where I began tracking the contacts I made. Every business day I reach out to 5 people, 25 per week. At the age of 57 I wrote my first book, at 58 I launched my podcast, at 59 I participated in my first sprint triathlon and although had never previously participated in any athletic competition placed the fastest in the novice category for my age group.
- WINN: When if not now? This is useful for when people are at a crossroads of deciding. It helps them think through the process and can be a catalyst to create urgency. This is applicable for buyer and seller clients, colleagues, mentees, staff, team members and even for yourself. When will you contact that lead, that client, if you don’t do it now? And the deeper question is: When are you going to live your best life, if you don’t do it now?
- Coopetition: This is the economic principle whereby cooperation and competition are merged. Imagine the combination of peanut butter and chocolate and the combined taste those two ingredients provide. The concept is integral to the consummation of most real estate transactions in the US. Real estate brokers agree to offer commissions to “cooperating” or “co-op” brokers. This system is a very efficient means of exposing properties for sale to the broad market. Embrace the benefits of coopetition.
- Work-Life Balance: The ideal to somehow achieve work-life balance sounds to me that it is an either-or dilemma. This worldview is like a teeter totter on a playground — when one side goes up, the other is down. The goal from this perspective is to achieve balance. A paradigm shift from that perspective is that it is all life. My work is a rewarding component of the whole. A Venn diagram is another way to consider this worldview. There is an almost complete overlap in the illustration, like an eclipse. From this perspective, work is not drudgery to finish and escape quickly in order to have a life. Helping people buy and sell homes is its own reward. Just think, as a real estate professional you can be part of the joy a first-time homeowner feels when she achieves her dream of having her own place. The work enables a family to sell their home to move near loved ones after they retire. It helps a young couple create their own “nest” to raise a family. Even in challenging situations, the real estate professional is there to be part of the solution and ability to move on.
Because of your position, you are a person of enormous influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the greatest amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂
“Flip Time / Love Life” which is a parable based on the Heroine’s Journey to the life one has as she creates and co-creates the life of her dreams. In my own life and conversations with countless other women, many reach a pinnacle of success only to discover that she has put off living life. The idea to flip time comes from Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs pyramid where one works their way up the pyramid, starting with basic and physical needs, then safety and relational needs and only then does one pursue the self-actualization at the top of the pyramid. What happens if one runs out of time and doesn’t get to the top? To flip time is to put meaningful work, creative and contribution endeavors first. What I have found on my journey is that by flipping time to focus on meaningful endeavors first everything else in my life has become better, including my relationships, my physical health and my business and doubled. In the real estate profession, land is to be valued at its “highest and best use”, living in flow and my zone of genius is truly my highest and best self.
How can our readers follow you online?
Social Media 5 Minute Success:
5 Minute Success website: www.5MinuteSuccess.com
5 Minute Success Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/5minutesuccess/
5 Minute Success Facebook Page: @5MinuteSuccess
5 Minute Success Twitter: @5MinuteSuccess
5 Minute Success Instagram: 5_Minute_Success; Karen.Briscoe; 80x80_Movement
5 Minute Success LinkedIn Page: https://www.linkedin.com/company/5-minute-press/?viewAsMember=true
Skype: Karen Briscoe
Social Media FLIP TIME / LOVE LIFE:
Facebook Group: www.Facebook.com/groups/FlipTimeLoveLife/
Animated Flip Time video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oqfrmD27LXA&feature=youtu.be
Social Media 80×80 Movement — Milestones and Medals — Challenges for Life
Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/80x80movement/
Thank you for your time, and your excellent insights!