Three systems to incorporate into your commercial real estate business

Aug 04, 2022
the fact that goals are ceilings and systems are floors

You may not rise to the level of your goals, but you will only fall as far as your systems allow.

That's my take on what James Clear says in his best-selling book, 'Atomic Habits'.

With that in mind, here are three systems that will make your commercial real estate business less exposed to economic uncertainty and better able to produce consistent results:

  1.  CRM and pipeline tracking software
  2.  One-on-one meetings
  3.  Documenting processes

To find out how these work, and to get some help with implementing them into your business, your first port of call is episode 99 of CRE Success: The Podcast.


Episode transcript:

Two people can set the same goal but achieve different results.

Do you agree with me?

Of course, it's true, right?

If I say, “I'm going to do 100 push-ups”, and you say, you're going to do 100 push-ups, it's not necessarily true that we're both going to get there.

So how can you increase the odds of you being the one who succeeds?

Well, it's through the systems that you put in place that are designed to help you achieve the results that you're looking for.

So, in the case of 100 pushups, it might be that you've got a trading regime in place that will make it more likely that you'll be able to hit that goal.

Because goals are ceilings, but systems are floors.

So today, I want to talk to you about how we can create higher floors to increase the minimum output that you and your business can achieve. 

Hello, and welcome to Episode 99 of CRE Success: The Podcast. I'm your host, Darren Krakowiak. And I help commercial real estate leaders to develop their people and grow their business.

I hope you're enjoying our series of episodes on leadership. We've still got a couple more to go.

Over the past two episodes, we've talked about vision, we've also talked about culture.

So, vision is all about, where are we going? How will we know when we get there, or that we're on track? And why does it matter?

And last week, we talked about culture, specifically, looking at the importance of you being the best leader that you can be.

Because leaders ultimately are reflected in their business and the businesses are a reflection of the leaders that a business has.

And today we're talking about systems.

Now, these are just three of the topics that we'll work through together in a 12-month program that I've created to transform your commercial real estate business with CRE Success: Agency Solutions.

It's my own system to help you operate a successful business. And it is underpinned by a series of systems that will help you to become the most effective leader that you can be.

Go to for more information.

You can leave your details. And then if you do that, we can start working on a plan to help you transform your commercial real estate business.

So, if you know the book by James Clear, 'Atomic Habits', you may have heard this quote in the book, he says, "You do not rise to the level of your goals, you fall to the level of your systems." 

And that's a really great quote.

I would change just one word in that quote and say that, "You may not rise to the level of your goals, you can rise to the level of your goals, but you may not. But certainly, you will fall to the level of your systems."

And systems are great because they help you form habits. And once you've got a habit in place, that reduces the need for self-discipline. 

So, it takes about anywhere from the research shows 1-9 months to form a habit.

But once a habit is formed, there's a lot less resistance in order to get something done, because it's something which is more automatic.

Now it takes 9 weeks on average to form a habit.

So, the hardest part of forming a habit or getting a system in place is the early days.

Because there's just more natural resistance to getting it done, it's a little bit more difficult to do.

But once you know how to do it, and once it becomes second nature to do it and it is a habit that you've formed, it's then very easy to continue doing and to benefit from the systems and processes that you've put in place.

And systems and processes are not about turning people into robots. It's actually about freeing up space in people's minds.

So, we don't want to stop you or your people from actually thinking, we want to free up more time to think strategically.

Because our mind is not cluttered by trying to remember each and every which thing that needs to be done.

Because there are systems and processes in place that ensure that things will be done properly every time.

The other thing I would say though, is yes, we don't want to turn people into robots.

However, things that can be systemized and can be turned into a process are often opportunities down the line for automation, outsourcing and delegation.

And just because the technology doesn't exist today to automate every part of a process, it could exist in the future.

So, taking the time to put structures and systems in place means that we can look for opportunities to create efficiencies down the line.

What I want to do in today's episode is share for you just three examples of things that you can turn into systems that will help you improve the operation of a commercial real estate business.

And those three things are the CRM, the customer relationship management software that you're using.

It is also one-on-one meetings. And I'm a big proponent of one-on-one meetings. It's something that I encourage all of my clients to put in place.

And I'll deal with some of the objections that sometimes people have about putting one-on-one meetings in place and why they actually are a really good habit to get into.

And also, the documenting of processes to remove human error, and also to reduce the disruption of staff changes in your company.

So those are the three things I want to talk about. We'll start with a CRM.

And in a previous episode of the show, Episode 83, which was the '24 month check-in', I talked about my own personal experience with CRM and how using a CRM has made me much more consistent with my prospecting.

What I would say to you now is that if you use a CRM, you're going to have a system for documenting the sales process, including taking notes after meetings.

You don't have to actually be the person who enters notes into a CRM, you can delegate that to somebody else.

But we want to have a record of what's been discussed that we're not just relying on our memory.

And also, we want to make sure that we follow up when we said we would, by using our CRM and having that CRM to send us a notification, letting us know that it's time to follow up.

Now, if you're thinking, I don't need that I can remember everything.

My question is, if you could remember everything, do you have enough on?

Because if you could remember everything that's going on, then you're probably not playing a big enough game. And perhaps you should have a few more balls in the air, which you're juggling.

So, you've got so much happening that you can't possibly rely on your own memory to remember at all.

So that's about CRM. And that is a system that you can put in place.

It is a software system, which will help you systemize the lead generation, prospecting, deal conversion and deal completion process.

The next system I want to talk to you about is one-on-ones. And one-on-ones, just meetings that happen between a direct report and their manager.

And I recommend that they happen once a week. I won't go into the whole mechanics of how it works.

But the common objection that I get from people about implementing one-on-one meetings in their business, apart from the fact that they may not even have direct reports that are set up or reporting lines or organizational chart, that's something else that we'll need to work on if that's the case.

But the two things that I hear people say is, "Well, we speak every day anyway, so why do I need to set aside time to speak to those people?"

Well, what a one-on-one does is it creates the time and space for conversations that perhaps are happening at other times in other places.

And also, "Won't it take me more time to have one-on-one conversations with each of my key people?"

But it also demonstrates a commitment from you as a leader to give your people your undivided attention, a time and place where they know that they're able to bring up anything that is important to them.

And not just 5 minutes here, 10 minutes there, which is ad hoc and can often be if you're the leader hijacked by your agenda, as opposed to what is important to them.

And once you get in the rhythm of one-on-one, once they are scheduled, once they are something that's happening every week, they will become something which is easier to do.

And that will actually save you time as opposed to take more of your time.

Because of all the other conversations and disruptions that were previously going on, these are now all handled within the one-on-one meeting.

And you've got more time to focus on bigger priorities.

Not that your staff aren't big priorities, but you'll have more time to focus on deeper work, uninterrupted to get into the flow state at the times when you're not doing a one-on-one.

And when you are in one-on-one conversations as well, wasn't going to go down this rabbit hole, but I'll tell you what we'll think about what it was is that, generally, things that are important are likely to come up in those conversations more likely than they would be to come up in just random ad hoc conversation.

So, you can have bigger topics of conversation coming to the fore, which gives you the opportunity to deal with bigger issues and resolve them before they actually become potential problems.

The third system I want to talk about is the actual act of documenting processes.

For example, it might be, when we get a listing? What are the eight things that we need to do once we get verbal confirmation that we have won that listing?

And what I often hear people say here is that, "Our people already know what to do."

Or, "Our people don't want to put this into a process that we check off a list because they already know how to do it and they don't need to be reminded of what it is."

And a couple of things that I would say to you there is, "Well, what if they leave." "If those people leave, do the processes just walk out the door with them?"

And also, people make mistakes.

And if we can make it easier for people to not make little mistakes, then we're less likely to see errors, and we're more likely to achieve consistent levels of results.

And the other advantage that I would say for employees of having systems and processes is it gives them opportunities to rise to new levels of responsibilities.

Systems mean that people can more seamlessly move into their role. So, it means that they're not so irreplaceable in their current role.

Now, there'll be some people who are happy to stay in their roles, because they're not interested in bigger career opportunities. And that's fine. 

But for people who might be reluctant to put these processes in place, that's an argument that you can share with them to help them do it.

I think the other thing that processes do, if you have them documented, particularly if you're using a software program to share the processes, you can delegate processes, you can automate processes.

These processes and systems act as a marketing tool for clients.

And you can say, "Hey, once we get this listing, these are the 28 things that will happen through the process to once we actually get the sale done, or the lease signed."

So, it's a marketing tool, but it's also a recruitment tool for your people. 

If we're letting people know, we've got the systems in place that will help you perform better in your role, I think that gives new recruits more confidence to want to join the team.

What we're doing is we're basically creating habits. And we're taking the risk out of things, and we're making things almost second nature.

Kind of like when you jump in the car and you don't have to think about driving, you just get there.

You just know how to do it because you've been doing it so well. But nothing is left to chance.

And back to the comment that we talked about at the start of the episode about goal setting, I think goals are good for setting a direction, but systems are better for making process.

So, we can make big lofty goals. And I certainly recommend that you do that.

But if we don't have the systems in place, then we're unlikely to make the progress that we are looking for.

So, that’s a little bit about systems which is just one of the topics that we cover within our 12-month business and leadership coaching program for commercial real estate leaders that you can find out more about at

That's our episode for today. Thank you so much for listening. I will speak to you soon.

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