Never Stop Changing

March 1, 2005

Like many of you, I’m a salesperson at heart. I started my career in the publishing business by making the calls and visits and closing the deals that get advertisers into the publication. More than 30 years later, I still enjoy every opportunity I have to explain to advertisers the advantages of doing business with America’s more than 1 million REALTORS®.

So you’ll forgive me if I start this, my third annual report to REALTOR® Magazine’s readers, with the advice of a sales guy. Bruce Barton, founder of the international ad agency BBDO, once said, “When you’re through changing, you’re through.” William Safire quoted Barton recently in his last column for The New York Times Op-Ed page. I like the quote a lot because it applies in so many ways to so many things—including REALTOR® Magazine and its readers.

As “the business tool for real estate professionals,” this magazine is all about helping you deal with change—technology advancements, new marketing methods, new federal laws and regulations. We work hard to help you gain a competitive advantage in the face of change. My corollary to Barton’s quote: When you fail to adapt to change, then you fail.

Over the last year, we published more than 430 pages of editorial content we hope inspired you to greater business success. A year ago, we published an issue entitled “All You Need to Succeed: 321 indispensable tips” to much positive reader response. This month marks our third annual “List Issue,” which we’ve filled with hundreds of tips (more than 400 if you are the designated REALTOR® in your office and receive the “For Brokers” section of the magazine) to help you be more successful in your business and your life.

Our first list issue, from March 2003, won several publishing awards last year, including a regional gold and a national silver from the prestigious American Society of Business Publication Editors. Together, the magazine, REALTOR® Magazine Online, and the Show Daily newspaper we publish at the REALTORS® Conference won 20 awards for excellence in editorial and design. That beat our previous record of 19 awards won in 2003.

But, like many of you, the magazine isn’t about resting on past success. So this year, we’ve introduced something new to the publication, a thought-provoking series on excellence and innovation. As our editor explained in kicking off the series last month, this is a departure from the typical how-to articles that are the foundation of our magazine. Instead, these pieces are essays written by leading thinkers on topics important to a successful real estate business: customer service excellence, the nature of influence, ethics, creativity, what makes advertising work, nurturing a positive spirit, and work-life balance.

Our senior editor Mariwyn Evans introduced the series in February with an article on what it takes to move from innovation to entrepreneurship. This month, business professor Mary Jo Bitner looks at service excellence (page 46). April will include an essay on the nature of influence by Peter Handal, head of the international training organization Dale Carnegie Training. You’ll find all past articles from the series at REALTOR® Magazine Online.

The reader benefit of these pieces is more subtle than much of what appears in REALTOR® Magazine. We hope the series will help you think more daring thoughts about key aspects of your business and, together, the essays will inspire you to move beyond whatever level of success you’ve achieved to date. Because, as Barton said, “When you’re through changing, you’re through.” It’s true for people and for publications.

Frank J. Sibley

Frank J. Sibley is the senior vice president of consumer relations for the National Association of REALTORS®.

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