Video Transcript

00:09 Barbara Corcoran: That makes sense and I think I mixed up all my points here, but let me go back to four if we could find it. Shoot the dogs early. I might look like a really nice person. Let me tell you, I'm also son-of-a-bitch when it comes to people, alright? So, what I did is I regularly fired the bottom 25% of my sales staff. Every six months, the bottom 25% disappeared, alright? I was like a hatchet lady. And let me tell you my logic why. I actually convinced myself, I did it out of goodness. And I really believe it. So, I'm sure I need a shrink to analyze this one, but at least let me share my logic.

00:42 Corcoran: I thought if I'm gonna allow people who don't really belong in the sales business, a hard business, real estate looks easy from the outside. I'd just show a farm, this is not an easy business. The success rate is one out of eight people that get license, go into the business, are still standing two years later. One in eight, not a good report card, right? So, I needed a means of flushing out my bottom, and getting on to the next people that might be good in real estate. And so, what I developed was a system where I red line the bottom 25% of my production and I told my Sales Manager. She's got three months to turn these people around. "If you don't, they're out." It sounds cruel, but you have to appreciate, when we hired these people, we said, "Here is your single objective, you must sell something within three months, or you're out." Okay? Everybody understood the rules.

01:24 Corcoran: Now, the three months hit. They think they're gonna have their head chopped off. Well, Ms. Charing, "No, no, you're doing everything right. No, just keep doing it. How else can we help you? What if we try this, what if we try?" Sales Manager cuddles around the kids and make sure they're gonna succeed. But when the next three months come by, you are definitely out.

01:42 Corcoran: Now I had, I believe in humor, and I had a little method that made my Sales Managers who couldn't fire, able to fire. And it went like this. If they didn't fire them, and I saw them still at the company occupying desks, not making money, I would take my little bunny slippers. They are very expensive suede, pink slippers I bought, real leather, suede, and had beautiful two little pink ears, and I would, on those little square notes, write the initials of everybody they didn't fire that I know is still there. I would fold them up, put them in the toed bunny slipper, and have a messenger hand deliver the bunny slippers to that Sales Manager. When they saw that shoe box coming through, it was like, "Holy shit!". They opened up the box, they started taking out, and folding, "Oh my God! I know I was supposed to fire, I didn't. I'm caught." Okay?

02:28 Corcoran: But you know what, that did for my company. It enabled me to advertise more than the next guy per man. It enabled me to have shoe shine boys every Monday, manicurists every Thursday. On Tuesday and Thursdays, I have masseuses rubbing their necks. It enabled me to build the business as though I was building a health spa, beautiful offices. It enabled me to have tons of fun, which people don't have enough on their own, especially in New York, especially if you're a real estate broker. You always think you can't go away for fun. Getting people a vacation was almost impossible in real estate business. But what enabled me to do is eliminate the people that weren't supposed to be in the business, never were gonna succeed, because I learned through running this business for 20 years, if a salesman doesn't succeed in the first six months, the odds that they are going to succeed are one in a million. And so we flushed out the people who are not supposed to be there, and we enabled them to go on to a life where they found the spotlight.

03:22 Corcoran: My partner Ester Kaplan used to say, "When you fired people, they left your office, it's where you promoted them." But you know why? Because I knew what they did well. I knew what they didn't do well. I told them like it is. They believed it, they agreed, and they felt released, as many must feel that way when somebody fires us from a job we're miserable in. If somebody is not doing well in their work, trust me, they're not having a good time. Especially in real estate sales, which is totally commission basis.

03:50 Corcoran: So, I fired the bottom 25% of my people, and I always fired one other individual regularly whenever I spotted it, and I never gave a reason why except, "You simply don't fit in here". It's the only reason I gave. You simply don't fit in here. And you know who I fired regularly? Complainers. You put one complainer in a group of 25 happy people. And you know, what goes wrong with complainers, and everybody, you find even complainers in kindergarten I think, right? But what goes wrong with complainers is they're in a pity party, "Oh, poor me. Oh, poor me." How many times can you say that? And then eventually, they look around and go, "Oh, poor me. Oh, poor you." And then, now, you're "Oh, yeah. Oh, poor me too."

04:30 Corcoran: And so what you have is you have suction of negative energy. And let me tell you, in the sales arena, it is so much about the head set more than the reality. It's so much about attitude, and ironically, you can catch great attitude from great people, and emulate them, and you can also catch terrible attitude from terrible people, without even asking. I see complainers as the physical representation of somebody who comes and you say, "Yeah, yeah. Just put your hand in my pocket, grab as much as you want." They basically take the money out of your pocket. Anybody see the Harry Potter movies? What do you call those guys that come suck you? What are they called?

05:08 Audience Member: Death Eaters.

05:08 Corcoran: The Death Eaters. That's a complainer. They're quiet. It's misty. You don't know it's happening, but "whoosh".

05:17 Corcoran: Alright? So, I gave up very early on, after putting lots of energy and time into making unhappy people happy, for about a year. And then I made up my new mantra, "Off with their heads. Shoot the dogs early. Shoot the dogs early". Okay.