Business Lessons from Bagger Vance – Find Your Authentic Swing

Business Lessons from Bagger Vance - Home & Realty Magazine
Teri Conrad

Lessons From Bagger Vance

I recently gave a presentation to the business agents in my office based on one very short clip from the movie The Legend of Bagger Vance; “A down-and-out golfer attempts to recover his game and his life with help from a mystical caddy.” In one short clip there is a litany of business and life lessons that I believe if embraced can move anyone forward in a powerful way.

Shift in the industry:

“Lazy grass follows the sun. Same putt will go one way in the morning and t’other in the afternoon.” ~ Bagger Vance

Lesson: The real estate industry is shifting. As the world becomes more connected online and the connected consumer has more information than ever before, we need to ‘follow the grass and the sun’ and anticipate how best to serve our clients how and where they want to be served.

Get out from behind the computer and get in the market:

The night before the big tournament, Bagger takes his shoes off to feel the grass while he walks the course to assess for himself the lay of the land. He gets out of the books and gets a feel for the course.

Lesson: As real estate agents, we need to get out from behind the computer and learn for ourselves.

We need to gain knowledge about the product in our market! Join your office tours; get into conversation with people develop good relations with other agents and professionals in your market!

Slow down and get quiet:

Take the time to listen. Bagger is out walking the course at night. It’s peaceful. They have the space to assess without all of the noise.

Lesson: We live in a noisy world. It’s easy to feel compelled to always consume, take the opinions of others as gospel without assessing for ourselves.  Find sources that you truly trust and remember to step away regularly to hear your own thoughts.

Authentic Swing:

“Inside each and every one of us is a true authentic swing. Something we were born with. Something that is ours and ours alone and can’t be taught to you and learned. It’s something that’s got to be remembered.

Keep Swinging

Lesson: Don’t worry about not having any balls (listings/ current leads). Just keep swinging and stay in conversation. Immerse yourself in market knowledge. Continue the conversations. Practice, practice, practice. The more you engage in conversation, study the market, continue your education, write offers, negotiate deals, close listings, the quicker you’ll find your authentic swing. The sooner you’ll feel the course.

You can’t make that ball go in the hole – you have to let it.

Lesson: Close your eyes and visualize what you want to happen. Now keep swinging. Stop selling and start helping. Allow the business to find you. Be discoverable and helpful and keep swinging.

Teri’s lessons:

Loosen the grip a little. Stop trying so hard. Have a little faith. If you’re doing what you need to be doing, then it will come. Don’t worry about the competition.

See the field:

Feel that focus: you have a lot of shots you can choose from . There’s only one shot that’s in perfect harmony with the field – the shot is going to choose you. There’s a perfect shot trying to choose us. Get in the field. Look with soft eyes. SEE IT BIG. Seek that place with your soul.

Don’t think about it. Feel it.

and put yourself in the way of opportunity (Lesson from friend/mentor and successful bay agent Jim Walberg)

View entire presentation with video HERE.


Build Faith For Brand Power


When I discuss BRAND, I am referring to the entire experience a consumer has with a company or agent. How every thread from digital discovery, to sales, to customer service, to HR, to a referral is woven throughout the experience. We know that the first thing a consumer does (or an agent investigating a company to work with) is head to google. What do they discover? Does working with that agent or company match the expected experience? On a global scale, how important is the corporate brand?


I recently facilitated a panel at AREAA Vancouver Summit titled “Brand Power – Building Trust Globally” with amazing leaders: Budge Huskey, CEO Coldwell Banker, Elton Ash VP RE/MAX Western Canada, Brian Rushton VP Century 21 Canada, Chris Stuart – Franchise Director Berkshire Hathaway and my good friend Matthew Shadbolt Director of Real Estate Products at the New York Times! Did I mention it was a killer panel?


It was Matthew Shadbolt of the Times who early in our pre panel discussions hit on the subject that drove our entire conversation around building FAITH and what that means to the consumer and to the Brand. And yes ~ I do believe this is a “Conversation That Matters”.

 When we talk about trust, or brand loyalty, very often we’re really talking about faith…and the best brands are able to rise above the deafening digital noise and truly articulate purpose to their customers. And while that sounds grand, it’s the little things, done every day, that make a huge difference in moving that needle….

The challenge for any brand, be it an individual or a brokerage, is attention. We live in an age of excellence, where if an experience isn’t 5 stars, it’s either ignored, or swiftly forgotten. Who leaves a 3 star review anymore? It’s either amazing, or awful, and there’s no middle ground anymore in an increasingly unforgiving climate, especially online – this is something we feel acutely at The Times as you can imagine. But this is what real estate professionals have to tackle if they are to win business and rise above the noise. I believe they have to stand for something, and when I think of the best real estate brands, they do this.”

 Faith: complete trust or confidence in someone or something.

This is true for global brands, for brokerages and for agents. Whether you’re trying to farm your local neighborhood, or attract international buyers, how you present yourself at every touch will either confirm or refute the consumer’s expectations.

I have been fortunate enough to learn about BRAND via Matthew Shadbolt for many years, since his time at Corcoran Group and as one of Inman News’ Top 100 Most Influential. We share a passion for binding the customer expectations to the overall experience and now Matthew has has succinctly articulated the real goal.

Brand - Home & Realty Magazine

Build faith.

What Gordon Ramsay Can Teach You About Customer Experience

by Teri Conrad

When we work in the service industry we are making a brand promise to our clients whether we’ve ever worked with them or not.
Just creating a pretty logo and a clever tag line do not a brand make. There has to be a consistent thread of experience that ties everything together.

You’ve likely heard of Gordon Ramsay, a Scottish born British chef and restaurateur whose restaurants have been awarded 15 Michelin stars in total! He is well known for his tv shows Hell’s Kitchen , Kitchen Nightmares and many more. He earned a reputation for having exceptionally high expectations of his chefs and creating those impeccable experiences we all crave when we go out to dine. He recognizes that delivering on that amazing experience means a thoughtful, intentional approach to every nuance of the business. Case in point:

Customer Experience - Home & Realty Magazine

My husband and I were just visiting Atlantic City and the Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill is practically the first thing you see when you check in at Caesar’s Palace on the Boardwalk.

Customer Experience - Home & Realty Magazine

Our server Robert Klimkowski delivered that impeccable service that is true to the Gordon Ramsay brand! Robert was bright talented, charming and immediately made us feel welcome and cared for by taking a genuine interest in us. He noticed that my husband is a bit of a beer aficionado and made it his personal mission to give him a new experience. That’s when he brought out the Blue Moon Wheat Ale and a very special treat ­ the Framboise (a raspberry flavored beer) which he then poured about 1 ounce into the Blue Moon that created this lovely red ‘swoosh’ and an absolutely delicious summer beer flavor! NAILED IT.

Robert figured us out right away and the rest of the evening was just as fabulous. The food, the atmosphere; and especially the service!

Customer Experience - Home & Realty Magazine
Our fabulous server Robert Klimkowski

So, what can we learn from Gordon Ramsay that we can apply to our own business? Whether you’re in Real Estate or any other business we can all ask ourselves some basic questions:

Location Location Location!

1. How does your location make you feel? Is it inviting and comfortable? Do you enjoy being there? Think not only about the physical location, but all digital locations as well. Are your websites and design intuitive, compelling and relevant to your consumer? If the location is the interior of your car, does that experience reflect your brand promise?

Customer Experience - Home & Realty Magazine

Attention To Detail.

I had some preconceived ideas that I wasn’t even aware of based on my previous experiences Gordon Ramsay’s brand from his TV shows. Does your brand reputation precede you and match what you deliver? At the Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill you’ll notice an incredible attention to detail to deliver a ‘true authentic British Pub Experience’ from the menu to the British style furnishings, to the Royal Red colors/fabrics, to the English Bull Dog who appears on a few of the chairs, the giant tea stained british flag on the wall and the Palace Guard posts! (LOVE)

Customer Experience - Home & Realty Magazine

Automate and Systemize but also Customize When Possible.

At Gordon Ramsay Pub and Grill, Robert our server was supported by a streamlined team; each of which had a very special role to play to ensure amazing service. Tables were cleared quickly by one, water was delivered by another and the rock star chef (who was the winner from a season at Hell’s Kitchen) created delicious british fare beautifully presented! (The Gordon Ramsay burger was SO BIG that you had to come at it from two directions!)

We Can Always Do Better.

Finally when we received our bill, we were also presented with a digital survey asking for our feedback. Do you take stock regularly of what’s working and what can be improved? Asking your consumers for their feedback is just good business these days and it shows you care.

Customer Experience - Home & Realty Magazine
Building an amazing customer experience doesn’t happen by accident. It takes vision, a road map, and intentional execution. Gordon Ramsay gets it and delivers it! God Save The Queen!

THE BIG PICTURE: How having a big, risky vision can move mountains.

THE BIG PICTURE: How having a big, risky vision can move mountains.
by Teri Conrad

Picture - Home & Realty Magazine
Teri Conrad

They say in life ‘you get what you settle for’. In Real Estate, its easy to fall into the trap of routine, ‘busy-making’ activities and end up with a lack of direction. You wake up, check your Facebook, dig through your email, read a few articles and before you know it–it’s noon and you’ve done next to nothing to generate any real business.

Real Estate can be the BEST career and lifestyle and yet many of us struggle to attain the level of success that we desire. Why is that?

Marianne Williamson says, “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond our measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, ‘Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?’ Actually, who are you not to be?…Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won’t feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do.”

We usually start off strong with big dreams and some drive, but of course as things gain momentum, so does our RISK and our commitments and our responsibilities. We have more to lose, more people to let down and more opportunity to feel shame, so we back up, construct virtual walls and shrink.

Here are six ways to get back to THE BIG PICTURE and re-focus your business and life.

Here’s the thing; we believe the stories we tell ourselves. And in doing so, we create our own roadblocks and limitations. Shake free of your old stories. Are they really true?

Each of us have unique gifts to contribute to the world but you don’t have to do it all. With a little experience (and often some outside perspective) you will learn to hone your strengths and delegate your weaknesses. Systems, processes and partnerships can be game changers.

Picture - Home & Realty Magazine
Chase the moon

As much as we look to others to inspire us, we also weaken ourselves by measuring against them. This is a losing battle. Instead, focus on your own growth.

It all starts with getting clear about YOUR values, your skills, and what you TRULY want. You may THINK you want to be a top producer, but if at your core you value time with your family, freedom and space, then no matter what you do, you’ll always be stuck. Instead, tell yourself the truth about what you really want and construct solutions to combat that which you don’t want. For instance, if you crave more time on the weekends, perhaps you can partner, or hire an assistant. And if you’re not quite there yet, then create a plan to get there.

Solidify your vision in all the ways that are personal to you. Maybe you visualize details in your mind, create a vision board, or work with a professional business and brand agent to hone the details? …Now is the time to incorporate faith that you will figure it out as you go. One step at a time. Like a small child with a messy playroom to clean up, we can get overwhelmed with the enormity of our vision. Instead focus on the present. What is the 1 thing you can do This year? This month? This week? What can you do TODAY to move forward?

As Jim Walberg, Owner at The Bay Area Team in San Francisco reminded me “The universe will fill your cup, no matter if you carry a big cup, a little cup or a thimble.” (via Sonia Choquette) Jim has proactively been designing what he calls his “Magnificent Life” in a very intentional way. Jim is a cancer survivor thriver who refuses to use the word “GOAL” and instead uses “COMMITMENT” because in his mind a goal is no more than a wish.

So, don’t be afraid to dream big! All it takes is having a clearly defined vision and then making the space and time to get specific about your commitments. You’ll be amazed at how high you can climb one step at a time!

Teri Conrad Quote Henry DAvid Thoreau

Teri Conrad, founder of Agent Quest
Agent Quest helps brokers and agents achieve business clarity by defining and connecting heart-wired personal values to a clearly articulated brand roadmap. Marrying this with professional brand strategy, messaging and identity design, clients experience a ‘Brand Quest’ – creating a powerful and consistent brand identity from the ground up.