Coldwell Banker Bain Seal Manager In Training Program

Coldwell Banker Bain | Seal’s MIT (manager in training) is an innovative self-paced program which began nearly fifteen years ago.  It allows approved interested brokers (agents) the opportunity to learn what it means to be a Principal Managing Broker with Coldwell Banker Bain | Seal,  the second largest Coldwell Banker affiliate in North America, and the largest private, single-owner real estate firm in the Pacific Northwest.

Our reputation for knowledge, advocacy, skill and expertise is manifest in our branch Principal Managing Brokers. Learning how to be the leader, supporter, branch business manager and agent coach is a daunting task made easier by providing the opportunity to be “in process” over a reasonably long term. MITs learn how decisions are made and why, how to balance business risk and reward and how to coach and teach skills to different personality styles. They learn both the legal requirements of management and the business and ethical choices in helping agents and their customers achieve the goal of a home sale or purchase.

Some MITs get started and decide that management isn’t for them. Others stay in the program until they are offered their own branch.

We are pleased to present the Coldwell Banker Bain | Seal Managers in Training,  Eric Gouge, Chad Hardisty, Kenny Rogers, Stacia Smith, and Michelle Van Tassell.

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We have much to be thankful for this year!

CB Bain Happy Thanksgiving2011 has been “the turnaround year” for our brokers, their customers, our employees. Not only have our brokers sold more homes for more sellers and with more buyers than the last 4 years but we’ve also added to our CBBain and CBSeal family with new offices in Bellingham, Anacortes and Longview and our new Coldwell Banker Bain Commercial office in Vancouver!

We’ve continued to move forward with new and enhanced tools to help our brokers build their businesses…tools like an enhanced TechLine, CBBain and CBSeal mobile websites, new faster printer/copiers/scanners in most branches, faster data transfer services in almost every location, our new “In The Know” blog and a calendar full of FREE clock hour and sales training courses…and we have a few more tools to release before year’s end!

Surely 2011 hasn’t been all a bed of roses, but it’s been our best year in a while. The Company is growing and as strong as ever. We are constantly pursuing the mantra of “a great experience at every point of contact”. We make sure everyone knows that when Knowledge matters, CBBain|Seal is the right resource.

We are thankful for all the hard work, creativity and drive our brokers, management team and employees have expended in 2011…very Thankful indeed.  And we are looking forward to an even better 2012 with our CBBain|Seal family.

Happy Thanksgiving and Best wishes to all!

Mike Grady


Slow down:why getting back to managing relationships is key to our success

Home Buyers and SellerFor most of last decade, a primary motivation for buying or selling real estate was Speculation. Buyers took fast action to earn money, then quickly became sellers to keep from losing it. In that environment quick action – and quicker decisions – were necessary, and we all adjusted our real estate practices to move at that breakneck pace.

Now the speculative aspect of buying and selling has diminished greatly, and our customers are telling us in no uncertain terms: “Slow down! Educate us. Collaborate with us. Make us comfortable with our decision. Help us trust you.” This represents a return to relationship or consultative selling, which is built upon the foundation of quality relationships. The good news is that we excel at this. The even better news is that today we’re able to mix cutting edge tools and technology into the relationship with our clients.

Pursue Lifestyle Selling in today’s market

In today’s market, the primary motivation for buying or selling real estate is no longer speculation but Lifestyle. Lifestyle changes that contribute to the decision to buy or sell a home include marriage, the birth of a child, children growing older, children moving out (or back in), divorce, job promotion or relocation, aging and death.

Lifestyle selling is consultative selling. The first – and most important – step in successful consultative selling is listening. We must understand from our customers why they want to buy or sell, how committed they are to the process, and what they feel they need to know in order to decide. The most effective approach we can take is 50% listening, 30% research, and 20% educating or informing.

Lifestyle selling takes time! It requires collaboration. It requires converting information into knowledge. It requires the liberal sharing of that knowledge. Our display of relevant knowledge and caring advocacy are pivotal to building trust with our customers.

Use available tools to share knowledge and earn trust

Other important ways to build trust are to respond to our customers’ requests for information, to meet their sense of urgency with our own, to communicate with them in the manner and via the medium they prefer. As a company we’re focused on building tools that offer a way to do all this: informational videos, links to timely and relevant information, social media sharing, a mobile platform for data and communication. Using and sharing our unique tools like In the Know and This Week’s Relevant Links and The Real Estate Minute will help to convert information to knowledge and establish trust. And our new mobile websites allow us to communicate with our customers when, how and where they wish.

Continuing to earn our customers’ trust post-closing is critical to (a) proving the genuineness of our pre-closing position, and (b) building future business through referrals. This connection can be maintained many ways, but all are social. All.

Establish lasting relationships with old and new Friends

So slow down long enough to pick several communication platforms that work for you. The same message that you deliver to someone as a customer now can be shared with them as a “friend.” This will fulfill both your and their desire to maintain a meaningful relationship. It will also lead to new referrals that generate new relationships built on new – but enduring – collaboration and trust.


Finding gold in the rockslide

In Northwest parlance, the nation’s credit downgrade and the subsequent market volatility have been a lot like a rockslide – no one knows when they’ll stop or how much collateral damage they’ll inflict. But for real estate investors and brokers alike, the rockslide may not be all bad and may even have cracked open a vein of gold. Gold Vein

For those of us in the business of crafting a coherent message to would-be buyers and sellers, all the economic upheaval has brought both bad news and good news. The bad news is that there’s now more pressure on Congress to cut or reduce the homeowner tax deduction as a way of increasing government revenues and appeasing the rating agencies. The good news comes in two packages. First, mortgage rates have, despite predictions to the contrary, remained “at or near historic lows” (how many times have you heard – or said – that phrase in the past few years?). The second is that the Federal Reserve, in an unprecedented stance, committed itself to holding down short-term interest rates for two years. The message, in a nutshell, is that the Fed is waging war on savers by penalizing them for parking money in bonds, CD’s, and money market accounts, yielding them virtually no interest.

What does this mean for the housing economy and our humble profession? While nothing these days is set in stone or clear as crystal, it sure appears that the Fed is attempting to drive investors out of bonds and into higher-risk, higher-yield assets like stocks and…real estate! Investment properties are now probably at recent generational lows in terms of cash flow vs. treasury bonds. Simply put, we need to spread the word!

Here are some talking points for any investors sitting on the fence:

  • The rental market is booming, with rental demand expected to outpace sales demand for some time.
  • Home affordability indices are at record highs. To morph this message to investors, maybe someone should come up with a Investment Property Affordability index.
  • Mortgage rates are still phenomenally low. In the past few days 15-year fixed rate mortgages were at 3.5%. Remember when we thought we had it good when a 30-year fixed was double that?
  • Considered to be undervalued, Seattle and Portland housing prices are poised to rebound next year, with some predicting double-digit increases within the year thereafter.
  • Wild swings in global markets and on Wall St. make it clear that investing in stocks is not a sure thing.

So it’s time to crow from the rooftops that real estate is an investment that makes a lot of sense to a lot of investors. Do your research, develop your talking points, then send an email or Tweet to your heart’s content. Even better, find the investors in the crowd – those who’ve been landlords before and those who haven’t, but definitely those who are concerned about the volatility of the stock market, the cost of gold, and the terrible return on their money market accounts – and treat them to a venti iced mocha while you tell them the good news: buying investment properties is a smart move right now. Some might even say a golden one.


President’s Point of View: Read for Success

RSS reading for successMany times in the last 25 years I’m asked what I think allows me to be as successful as I am in our real estate business. The answer is always the same: I read. When I was actively selling, I read more than most all my buyers and sellers. I read more than most of the other Board members of EBA/PSMLA/NWLSA. I read more today than most real estate professionals.

I don’t read quickly, I read thoroughly. I read curiously. I read questioning…what does this mean? How can this help me help my clients/agents/managing brokers/Board/managers/Company?

I read in two areas. First is business and economic news. It’s easier today than ever because we can receive RSS feeds from the local Business Journals and the local newspapers. No more stacks of papers; the news is delivered faster; there are links to additional information and studies. I study the information, and turn it into knowledge that can be used by me when talking to people about the trends in our profession.

Leadership booksThe second area I read is human behavior, especially books about leadership, management and making decisions. I learn about how people think, why the act like they do and how we can influence people….including myself. On my most current list of books I have read or am reading: Rework by Fried and Heinemeier; The 21 Irrefutable Laws of Leadership by John Maxwell; What the Dog Saw by Malcolm Gladwell and The Truth about leadership by Kouzes and Posner.

David Siroty addressed the concept of being more knowledgeable than our clients at the Gen Blue Revisited talks sponsored by CBBain|Seal this past month. He was spot on: If you want to be trusted faster and more deeply….exhibit more knowledge, more understanding and more caring than your customer.

What are you currently reading?