Where We Are Now: April 9, 2020

Work From Home — Day 25

Reflections on 2008 Playbook & Teamwork

5:47AM PST

Team –

We started Morgan Lane (a residential brokerage) in Marin County in September 2006. In August 2007, Countrywide went down as a result of the sub-prime mortgage meltdown. Bank of America stepped in to save Countrywide.

Marin County was not impacted by the sub-prime meltdown, but the event brought caution to the forefront of my daily thinking. We were growing Morgan Lane at the time, reaching our target of 24 of the finest real estate professionals in Marin around June 2008.

Then the equity markets melted down in September to October 2008. This 100 percent impacted Marin County. In October 2008, our markets came to a slow crawl. Our brokerage revenues fell off by 60 percent and stayed there for six months until the low of the equity markets in March 2009.

We were a very nimble team. We executed with a stopwatch versus a calendar. We reduced costs, renegotiated leases and dialed back variable expenses in every way we could. This process took 21 to 30 days.

Then, as a team, we quickly shifted our priorities. We met face-to-face with as many clients as we could fit into a day. I vividly remember so many discussions. Most clients thought hardship was unique to their home or family. Not true. One of our professionals, Max Applegarth, said to me, “When the sky falls, everyone gets hit in the head.” So true and so comforting to our clients.

Our move from defense to offense happened within 30 days of the October 2008 meltdown. We not only sought-out but we created our own opportunities to gain market share. Everyone on the team helped each other secure listings and council clients.

We looked at many alternatives for our future success. We considered merging with the local Sotheby’s brokerage, a large regional approached us to be a franchise, but at the core we were a team focused on our collective success. Ultimately, the opportunity to acquire Pacific Union came our way. Right place, right time and ready comes to mind. Ready is the operative word.

Friday marks the fourth work from home (WFH) work week in NorCal and third in SoCal. Curves are slowing! Apexes may be achieved in the coming days. Now is the time our team shifts from defense to offense.

In a conversation with Brent Thomson, COO, yesterday, she remarked at how amazing our team works together up and down California. Our marketing, operations, and finance teams have reacted, adjusted, and are executing so well to support our real estate professionals.

History is repeating itself. The good will become great! Opportunity to soar is before you. Create your own opportunities by calling your clients just to check-in. These calls will create unexpected opportunities and referrals. Trust your instincts, act with confidence; your competitive drive to succeed will carry the day.

This morning, I feel like I have seen this movie. While I hate the way it started, I already love the way it will finish.

This is Where We Are Now.



Mark A McLaughlin