Video Transcript

00:09 Barbara Corcoran: Recognition motivates better than money. I discovered this because one day, I realized that my competitors, the big companies in town, had high-priced sales, and we were low-priced people. We weren't connected, so you need connections with the right clubs for high-priced sales. I'm thinking, "How do I get high-priced sales?" And you know what woke me up? I lost a great salesman to a better firm, and her reason for leaving is, she said, "Well, we really don't have the right listings." And I thought, "I'll never let that happen again."

00:34 Corcoran: So I had to think about, "How do we get high-priced sales when my salesforce does not have the connections?" And so, what I did, was I went and I ordered giant gold ribbons, horse ribbons that they put on those big thoroughbreds? They're about this long but I had printed, 'cause I did it in a catalog, I had printed on it $1 million, dollar sign, 1-0-0-0 however many things. And I stood at the Monday meeting, on my little box, I'd gone like, "Guess what? From now on, anyone who could get $1 million listing, or make $1 million sale is gonna get a gold ribbon." Well, they're all, "Oh God", rolling their eyes, right? But there was one young salesman in my group, and we had, at that time, maybe 35 people or so, Ron Rossi, who was an ice skate champion and decided to come into sales because he was getting older, my first gay salesman, also my first salesman I lost through AIDS. I maybe lost eight within a year in an AIDS epidemic, saddest year of my life.

01:28 Corcoran: But Ron Rossi was sitting there, bright-eyed, bushy-tailed, didn't even know yet that sales was hard, and he saw the gold ribbon, and his eyes lit up. I didn't notice that. But do you know what Ron Rossi did? He happened to be having his teeth cleaned in midtown Manhattan somewhere and the other woman had happened, in the office had happened to clean Mrs. Geddie's teeth and said, "Oh, you're in real estate?" "Yes, I am!", very outgoing guy. She said, "Oh. Well, Mrs. Geddie told me she is selling her apartment." So he went to where she lived, looked it up, hung out, made friends with her chauffeur who parked outside on 5th Avenue, and you wanna know, he came in with a $3.5 million listing.

02:04 Corcoran: Now, here's what happened. Ron Rossi, that new kid on the block, the gay guy? I could see the attitude, they were all women. What? The gay what? I said something socially incorrect, I think, right? Oh, okay, good. I usually do, so far so good. Alright.

02:25 Corcoran: Okay, back to Ron. So, when I awarded Ron that ribbon, what did he do? It had a hook on the back, I said, "No, you can't wear it, Ron", which he was happy to wear it. I said, "Put it on your bulletin board", I said, "And because of the sale, I moved him front and forward in the sales pit. So, everybody coming in had to see his gold ribbon. And they walk in, "Good morning", and see his gold ribbon, alright?

02:46 Corcoran: Let me tell you it drove the salesforce to think differently, okay? And so what I found is I learned to use recognition again and again to build people up and frankly, I never really had the money in those early years. I didn't have, and even when I got the money, I didn't wanna pay for money, so I used recognition anyway. Do you know I had dinner with my top salesperson, who at the time, was making $1.5 million, when everybody else was making $40,000 a year? And she invited me for dinner, and then never sat down with me. She was on the phone the whole night, Carrie and she lets me imitate her Chinese accent. After she walks in here, she'll say, "Do your Chinese accent. Do your Chinese accent!"

03:21 Corcoran: So, what did Carrie do? Carrie was not there for dinner at all or anything and I'm like, "Why am I sitting here talking to her husband who doesn't say a word for two hours?" But here's what I got from my dinner with Carrie. In the middle of her living room, and she had a penthouse apartment at Trump Tower, beautiful. But in the middle of the living room, she had a glass box. What do you think was in that box? She had worked for me for five years. The five cheap-ass fake gold trophies of "Salesman of the Year". She had them in the box. You had to walk around it to get to the couch. [laughter] I'm like, "Holy God. This is the most tasteless thing I've ever seen." Alright? But I immediately went back to the office and I made her a gold laminate chair. When we moved offices to better quarters, I lined her section with her now seven assistants with gold carpeting, which was terrible, it didn't look good like the rest of the spot [04:09] ____, but everything I knew what her buzz was golden recognition. When she'd come in and say, "I want 85%... I'll be 85% commission now. You make too much money. I want 85%." I go, "Carrie, I can't give you 85%, but wait till you see what I got you."

04:27 Corcoran: Right right? Right! So, she's an extreme example but nonetheless, I saw that again and again, recognition will buy you time. Recognition, not phony recognition like, "Oh, you're amazing", but like, "I really wanna tell you what an amazing job you did." Private recognition, not public, that way kind of... Whatever you could do to give people recognition of their uniqueness and success, people will marry you forever.