Ep. 110 – Chantel Ray Chief Operating Officer, Heather Roemmich

Ep. 110 – Chantel Ray Chief Operating Officer, Heather Roemmich

Accountability among team members makes a leader’s job infinitely easier, but fostering it without micromanaging is a delicate balancing act. Real estate company, Chantel Ray is huge in accountability and goes to great lengths to reward that in its teams. Overseeing the company’s operations is the indefatigable Heather Roemmich, a powerful leader who manages to be a COO of two companies and to be a great wife and mother at the same time. Joining Cameron Herold for a conversation, Heather shares how the company treats its employees as stakeholders and empowers them to take charge of their professional development and personal growth within the organization. We can also learn a thing or two about accountability and efficiency from Heather herself, who schedules her days from 4:00 AM to 9:00 to accommodate her various, equally-demanding roles.

Heather Roemmich is the COO of Chantel Ray Real Estate. After graduating from Virginia Tech with a degree in Political Science and a concentration in Legal Studies, Heather discovered real estate, obtained her license, and began selling as a full-time career. A few years later, she joined Chantel Ray Real Estate as an admin, taking on any administrative tasks she could. Shortly after joining, she began selling again and worked as an agent for several years.

Heather started from a lower-level management position and worked her way up. She established various processes to help the company become more efficient, and she did this for all departments as she grew through the company to streamline their operations. Heather was promoted to COO, overseeing all operations of the company. This allows her to go into each department on a regular basis and make sure their systems and processes work seamlessly, always finding ways to become more scalable and more efficient. Heather cofounded a marketing and media company called Simpronto, which she also serves as COO, where she oversees all operations. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her family, her husband, Kyle, the two children, Brayton and Adalyn, and being their cheerleader at all their events. Heather, thanks for joining us. Welcome to the show.

Thank you for having me.

You are busy. Two companies, two kids, husband, growing career, how do you manage all that?

The schedule is key. We’re a scheduled family. We get up early. If you try to get me after 9:00, it’s a no-go because I’m asleep because I’m back up at 4:30. There are seasons in your life where you have a lot of opportunities and a lot of different areas that I’ll look back on this one day and miss the chaotic craziness of life. I’m in a season where I have a lot of opportunities to do a lot of great things. I want my kids to see that you can be a little bit of everything and be successful at it and you don’t have to give up one thing. I’m still a great mom and a great wife, but also an entrepreneur and a business leader.

The 4:30, is that whole Miracle Morning idea from Hal Elrod? What got you started on that?

It’s been a process, I will say. At times, I have neglected myself. Usually, the first thing that you give up is self-care. About a couple of years ago, I made a decision. I’m still young. In order to be the most successful that I can be, I needed to take care of myself as well. There are only so many hours in the day. I decided that those first hours are my most productive. I needed to get up and take that time for myself. That’s when I get up and I exercise. I have a Peloton bike, so I ride every morning and that is my freedom time. I can get myself set on a schedule. I use the Michael Hyatt planner. You check off each day and I write them out. I hold myself accountable for making sure I get those things done. That’s how I started the 4:30. It took some progress. First, it was 5:30 and then I pushed it to 5:00 because I wasn’t getting enough time in the morning. That’s my me-time. Before my kids get up, before the craziness starts the day, I’m able to get some time in for myself.

Does your husband get up at the same time or does he sleep in?

No. He’ll usually sleep in, which makes our situation even more unique. My husband is an oil rig engineer. He is not based at home. He’s gone about two-thirds of the year off-site on an oil rig. I am by myself a lot of the time. He’s gone during all this craziness, which is good and bad. He fits in with our schedule. When he comes home, he follows his suit. He gets in the schedule.

Being based in Virginia Beach, you must be friends with all the SEAL moms then.

Yes. We have lots of support here, even though I’m not a military wife and I never ever claimed to be. They go through a lot of stuff. We have similarities. You’ve got to be strong and keep moving.

I was at a wedding there years ago with a guy that was in the Navy SEALs. It was interesting to hear some of the stories of their families and how they work through stuff. You got a background with some legal tie in as well. It was my undergrad as well. I was a Bachelor’s in Law. What do you think you pulled with you from the legal studies? What do you use that you learned back then?

My original plan was I was going to go to law school, that’s what I wanted to do. When I graduated from college, my first week out of school, I discovered real estate and I saw this legal contract and I was like, “This is neat. I could do contracts, but not have to go to law school and have another mortgage payment on top of it.” I decided to get my real estate license and give it a whirl. I’m a detailed person on the DISC personality scale. I’m a CD. I love the details. I like to read and that’s what complements our president and our CEO. She’s not a high C. That’s where I come in. We’re the Yin to the Yang.

I read everything well. I make sure I know the details of every process and system. anything that we’re signing up for, I do the due diligence research and make sure it’s going to fit with our company and what we’re trying to do. I would say I take a lot of that. I love doing the research part of it. I learned a lot about that. I took constitutional law. I was able to read legal briefs and then write briefs on this and that has helped me in being able to read something and summarize it for someone. CEOs want information quick, short and to the point, and that’s what I’m able to do. I get all the information and then give them the three-second blurb of why we need this or why we don’t.

I hadn’t thought about that, but you write the legal briefs. It’s a big skill that we pulled, to take that entire case, and summarize it down to what it nets out to be. It’s interesting.

The nitty-gritty.

I remember at one point when I realized I should not be practicing law. I was sitting on a plane and I was reading a French legal agreement. I had studied French in school as well for a couple of years. Here I am reading a contract that’s in French and it’s Quebec, which is French Civil Code and not English common law and I’m like, “I don’t speak French well enough to be doing this. I didn’t study law. I only had two years of contract law. I’m reading one in a case that I don’t even understand their whole precedent system. Maybe I should get a lawyer to read this one.” It’s nice to understand it, but not to practice it. You’re scheduled. You hold yourself accountable. People always say, “How do you hold your employees accountable?” I said, “We can’t.” What do you do around accountability with people? What are your thoughts related to that?

We are huge with accountability. I give people in my organization this example, I say, “Even LeBron James has a trainer. LeBron James does not wake up every single day and he’s like, ‘Today, I’m motivated. I’m going to do X, Y, Z. I don’t need anybody to tell me to do this or to hold me accountable.’” We give that example. As humans, we are not wired that way. Even myself, I hold myself accountable but I still have times where I have to reach out to someone and say, “I’m doing X, Y, Z. I need you to check in on me.” No matter how strong you are or how well you are with that, it’s not human nature for that.

What we do is everybody in our company makes three commitments every single week, and these are the three things that they are going to get done. They’ll come back to me and say, “I got two of them done, but I didn’t get this one done.” I’ll then say, “What happened? What got in the way?” “My kid was sick.” I say, “Let me ask you this question. If you get this task done, I’m going to give you $1,000, would you have finished it?” They’re like, “Yeah. I would have finished it.” I’m like, “That’s how we have to act every day.”

No matter what happens, I got kids, you’ve got kids, everyone has times where they get sick but we’ve got to dig deep in ourselves. We do a lot of different things. We’ll do departments versus departments. I’ll take my video department versus my web department. Whichever team completes its commitment to the highest percentage is going to get lunch delivered to them. You have to hold people accountable but you have to do it in a way where they don’t feel like you’re micromanaging them because that’s the big buzzword.

I like that you’re asking some questions to get them to see for themselves that they could have done it. Instead of saying, “You could have done it,” which doesn’t do anybody any good, you’re opening their eyes to realize they probably could have done it or found a better way and helping you remove those obstacles. It’s smart.

You have to bring them to self-realization. In the real estate company, we have independent contractors. All of our agents are independent contractors. They don’t have to ever come into the office if they don’t want to. They don’t ever have to speak to us if they don’t want to. They’re 1099. We do not have any legal way to hold them accountable. What we do is we have taught our managers to do this exact same exercise with them, but in a way that they’re leading themselves to self-discovery.

SIC 110 | Chantel Ray COO
Chantel Ray COO: You have to hold people accountable but you have to do it in a way where they don’t feel like you’re micromanaging them.

 

Giving them examples, for instance, I’ll say, “What are your goals for this month? How many houses do you want to close?” “I’d love to close two houses this month.” “Great. What are some activities that you’re going to do to try to get that done?” We go through this scripting roleplay with them to bring them to their own goal and then I say, “Is it okay with you if I check in with you next week to see how you did on this?” They’re like, “Yeah.” They then feel you care about their success.

When I do check in with them next week and they didn’t hit their goal, I’m going to go through that same activity with them and I’m going to say, “What else could you have done? Do you think that if you had one more hour in the day, could you have finished this? If you would have spent one more hour prospecting, could you have got an extra appointment?” They’re like, “Yeah, probably.” I’m like, “Are you willing to recommit to that next week? I’d love to check in with you again because I think you can do this.” They don’t realize you’re holding them accountable. You trick them into it. People need that. It builds a culture of accountability and that’s important for us.

I love the system approach to it. I love that you’re holding them accountable. I love that you’re thinking about it from their perspective and coaching them and cheering them on as well. You’ve got four locations and two of them are virtually or remote locations. You did the whole COVID-19 crisis. How many employees are you managing? Where are the four locations? Are they all in the same state or different states? Give us a scope.

We had a revisioning. One of the things that we thought was that in order to expand, we needed storefronts and that was our closed-minded thinking. In the real estate industry, you think like, “The only way I can gain ground is by having these storefronts everywhere.” We started to take a different approach to that. We set the vision to our management team and we started to put some things into place. Right before all of this happened, we do company-wide awards banquet/meeting and we cast the new vision to them. It’s not new. We called it our tweaked vision where we’re going to move some of our locations virtual and when we had already moved two of them virtually.

We still have a few storefronts, but we’ve turned them into hubs. I’ll give you an example. We have about 180 agents and we had seven locations. We’ve narrowed it down to four. They’re within two states: Virginia and North Carolina. The first thing we did was we used to have weekly classes in the offices. What we did was we slowly started transitioning these to virtual on Zoom. Broker training class, one, it expanded. People who might have been busy and said, “I’m not going to drive to the office,” weren’t taking advantage of the great training that we were offering. We’re like, “It’s online. I can watch it.” We saw an increase in participation in that.

The things we started to do is start to take things from being so much in-office to a virtual training environment. That was the first step that we did. COVID-19 has sped things up a little bit. We’ve been able to take our admin positions that were in those locations and those have become virtual. We have what we call branch office administrators. Those were the administrators that were in each of our branches. We’ve turned them into VOAs, we love good acronyms, those are our Virtual Office Assistants.

The great thing about going virtual is where we had a limited talent pool before because we needed a physical person. Anyone anywhere can work for us. Our talent pool has exploded. I can have somebody who’s a phenomenal office assistant, accountant. We don’t have to meet face-to-face with these people. We have developed great systems to be able to track what they’re doing, set goals. We can have people who maybe wouldn’t have drove to an office for a job, who can work virtually. We’re seeing an abundance of talent that we had limited ourselves on.

I’ll be a little controversial. Knowing that, you told me before that some of you are still coming into the office. Why the push to still come into the office when you’ve also got the knowledge that this was already working before where you needed to work remotely? You guys are already starting to crush it. What do you like or what are you holding on to that’s still at the office?

We have a lot of high I’s that work for us. As you know, in the DISC personality, those people like to be around people. It’s funny because I talked to our director of web development. He’d come to my office to talk about something. He said, “I worked nineteen years remotely. I would pay anything to come to an office because it is lonely working at home.” We do have a few key positions. Our call center is still working in the office, but we have done remote testing with them. We have done some shifts from home and we still have some shifts in the office. We’re trying to gradually make that change. Ultimately, we still like being around each other a little bit. We’re socially distancing at this point. We keep our distance.

That’s what it is, we like it.

We like to be around people.

We’re going to see a shift where a lot of companies will recognize that going remote can work and will work and does work, but I like it anyway. It’s like, “Why do we eat at In-N-Out Burger once in a while? Because I like it once in a while, maybe twice a year. I know it’s bad for me, but what the hell? I also have to live my life once in a while, too.” Where are you learning? How big was the organization when you joined?

When I first joined, we were a part of another brokerage. We were like a team. We grew into what you would hear now is called a mega team. When I first started working, there were probably fifteen agents and three of us admin. I was selling real estate. I kept looking at Chantel’s website. Back then, she had her little dog in all of her little pictures and I was like, “What is this? Her signs are popping up everywhere. We’ve got to research what she’s doing.” Finally I was like, “We can’t mimic her. We need to join her.”

I came on as an admin position. Within a few months, I was selling again. It was small. She had this electric energy. I’m an efficient worker. I’m not somebody who’s going to sit around and I’m like, “I only have six hours’ worth of work to do so I’m going to stretch it out to eight.” I get my work done and then I would go in and say, “I finished everything for the day. Is there anything else I can help you with?” She’s like, “Yes.” I was like, “I’ve got to learn from this person. I’m not going to pass up on this opportunity.”

As she saw that I could do certain things, I would get more responsibility and get more things and get opportunities to manage teams. That allowed me to start to develop. I was the apprentice. I stood on her hip and we grew. I was in real estate when the recession was happening in 2008. The market was tanking, but our company grew by 40% each year and that was because she is a marketing guru. When people were pulling out because they didn’t have the money, she was buying the radio spots. She was buying their ad space. We were killing it.

Warren Buffett has said it for years, “When people are greedy, be fearful. When people are fearful, be greedy.” When people were running away from marketing, she was running into the radio stations, billboard companies and saying, “Give me more.” Probably getting good rates on it and loading up the truck, right?

Correct.

Cash is king in a recessionary market, anyone who’s investing in their brand or in marketing or even in their people. Are you making good investments in growing your people?

Yes. That’s the other thing. We’re already seeing the recruiting increase because agents know where to go when it gets bad. The writing is on the wall. This is a time when we’re encouraging, even our employees too. Every week, everyone listens to a leadership podcast. We’ve been focusing on what we need to be doing in this virtual environment, like virtual showings for agents. There are a lot of things that we need to do to move to where the market is moving. We encourage everyone, every week. We have a management meeting every single week. They have to listen to some podcasts. Sometimes, we give them great ones to listen to. Sometimes, we let them pick their own. They can’t come and give us a summary. They have to come and give us an implementation. They get extra points if they do.

What’s that mean? Walk me through that.

What we were finding when we first started it was we would get these great Cliffs Notes of what they listened to.

It’s like, “I learned all this stuff, but I’m not going to do anything with it.”

SIC 110 | Chantel Ray COO
Chantel Ray COO: We give credit where credit is due. It’s an empowering culture and they feel like they have a voice.

 

If they send us that, we’re like, “That was nice, but where’s your implementation?” What they have to do is they say, “I listened to a podcast on how to make sure communication stays king during remote working.” We’re like, “Okay, great.” They’re like, “I love when they said, ‘This is the time when you have to have an extra vacation because people feel lonely when they’re at home by themselves.’ What I’m going to implement is I’m doing an extra call with each of my agents every single week, where I’m going to check in to see how their family is doing.” That’s one little example. They have to say, “This is what I’m going to do.”

Sometimes, they have gone a step further and they will have already implemented it. They’re like, “I want to create this system with this form that so and so filled out. I already went to our web developer. He’s already created it and it’s on the website.” We give out a gift card each week to whoever had the best implementation idea. They know that there’s a prize on the line if they go the extra step. It not only gets them thinking, “How can I have an impact on the company from what I listened to?” We also want them to be doers. We want them to take it to the finish line. We get the people who not only have an idea but then implement it. We reward that.

It’s amazing. For years, I’ve said that if you have your employees read a book or do a video, they should come in and do a five-minute book report. You’ve taken it to the whole next level. I’ve been frustrated with companies that have their employees read books or watch videos, they don’t even get a book report. What you’re doing is to the Nth degree. That’s powerful and simple.

It gives people a voice. They feel like they’re getting to make an impact in the company and that was one of the biggest things.

They’re getting to make their own decision on something to do and go do it. You’re already giving them permission.

A lot of people ask me like, “Why have you stayed at that company so long?” I’m at the top end of the moment. I have a couple of names from my generation. I’m the older Millennial, but then they call it something else. That generation is known to stay somewhere a couple of years then move to the next step and move to the next step. I said, “One of the things that I’ve loved about being at this company is we have the opportunity to make changes and make an impact.” You don’t feel like you put a note in or fill out a comment, “This would be great if we had this.”

As a company, we’ve implemented this. This is done. We are all on the front line. Everybody has a voice. By doing that, it empowers them. This isn’t Chantel Ray Real Estate company. This isn’t some pronto company. This is their company. It’s almost like they’re all the stakeholders and they all have some bite in it and they get to see that come through. We give credit where credit is due. It’s an empowering culture and they feel like they have a voice.

You touched on something and I’ve been wanting to ask the question. You’re here as a Second in Command for a big real estate group, 180 employees operating and four offices. On the side, you started to co-start a marketing agency. Is it tied into Chantel Ray at some point?

Yes. Chantel is always in marketing. It’s something that she’s gifted at. As we did that, we added on our web developers. We added on videographers. At any given time, we have between 2 and 4 videographers on staff. We produce all our own commercials or radio spots. We run all of our own social media. For years, people have come and said, “You need to open your marketing company.” We’re like, “We don’t have time for that. We’re running a real estate company. We don’t have time for a marketing company.”

Over the years, Chantel and I have worked hard to automate a real estate company. It can run on autopilot. Systems processes automation is huge. That is what I do every single day. How can I make this run faster, stronger and without fewer hands involved? We were like, “We have time. We can start to do this for other people.” We broke off a portion of Chantel Ray Real Estate into this company called Simpronto.

We do all of the marketing and media for Chantel Ray Real Estate, but we also do it for other companies as well. Producing podcasts, producing commercials, producing sales funnels, we have the whole team behind it that we’ve been doing for ourselves all these years and have proven growth of how we’ve been able to use our marketing and our media to grow our company and our revenues every single year. Now we can do it for other people. What we did and what we developed over all these years has allowed us then to break off into this other company that we can now do for other people that they’ve been asking years for. Now we’re able to do that.

It’s strong. I like it. It makes a lot of sense. It’s cool, the way you’re scaling this thing out. What’s the focus for Chantel Ray, for the organization? You talked a little bit about tweaking the vision. How do you cast your new vision or how do you tweak it?

At times, we thought we might want to franchise, that’s why we were on the storefront model. The only way to grow is to put more stores out. We tried that in Charlotte. We put a storefront in Charlotte, North Carolina. It’s about six hours from us. One of the things that make our real estate company unique is we provide leads for our agents. When I say we grew during the recession, not that we’re excited by any means for going into recession, but this is a time when we will grow again, we provide leads and appointments for our agents. We have a call center that sets appointments for them. We did that in Charlotte.

What we found was that we had all of these carrying costs in Charlotte. We had a building. We had manager salaries. We had admin salaries. The average real estate lead from generation lead to generation to close time is about eight months. We had eight months of cost growing before those first closing started to come in. It was a great lesson for us to learn. That was what took our pivot. We were like, “We got to rethink this. This is not how we’re going to scale and grow.” This was before all of the craziness that’s happening. We were like, “We’re doing something wrong. Let’s step back and relook at this.” That’s when we decided in order to scale and to grow nationally, we needed to figure out how to be able to work without any storefronts. That’s where we’ve created this virtual model.

A couple of our offices, as their leases have run out, we’ve turned them into these virtual pods where they have a leader. They have a hub near them that they can go into if they needed to print or see someone. Most agents don’t want to go into an office. They work from Starbucks Panera. Most clients want to meet in their homes or at the property. We don’t need offices to meet people. What we have done is to create new systems.

We have this interactive onboarding that we’re launching. When a new agent comes on, they don’t have to sit down and meet with anyone anymore to sign paperwork. They have this fun, interactive little program where they get to fill out their name, birthday, license number, all of these different things. They automatically sign everything electronically. It puts it in a test system. One of the admins grab it, they onboard them onto our system, and then they’re there. They’re already in training. We don’t have to have these physical locations anymore. That’s been the biggest thing. That’s what we wanted to relaunch to our agents.

The thing is when people see something changing like, “Why aren’t you opening an office in this area? Why aren’t you opening an office here?” They’re like, “Is something wrong? Is the company doing bad?” We have to cast that to them to say, “We’re not going to buy any more buildings. We don’t need to. We can provide you everything you want virtually. You’ve already shown us that you hate coming to the office. We don’t need to keep providing office spaces for you that you’re not coming in. We’re creating this virtual environment for you.” We wanted them to see that so that they understood where we were going.

Do you measure anything like revenue per employee or gross margin per employee or profit per employee to see if you’re gaining efficiencies as an organization over the years?

Not particularly. We should do that. That’s something that I will implement after this. We look at our growth revenue over the years.

It’s got to be on a per-employee basis. The per employee part is the economic denominator. What was tweaking for me, and I’ve seen it with a lot of companies, we can either gain efficiencies or lose efficiencies as we grow. The entrepreneur is often going, “It was much easier when there were fewer of us.”

That’s 100% true. Looking at our employee count from last year to what we have, we have almost half of the employees we did, but we’re doing the same amount of work. I’ll give you an example. For instance, what we call our branch office administrator, they process all of the contracts for our agents. They do everything when the listing gets turned in or our contract gets turned in, they take it to closing. For instance, they run a checklist on it. When I first started working for the company, they had these twelve-page paper checklist. One of the things that I did when I was in that department, I said, “This is going bye-bye. We’re not doing paper checklists anymore.” They all had a heart attack because they are high S, they’re admin, they don’t like any change. I found a system where they could do everything online.

What we did was I made this checklist and it reminds them every seven days, they have to check in on the file. Every seven days, a human has to go and say, “Is this on schedule to close?” They get an email back and they forward it. I sat down with my web developer and I was like, “I don’t want them doing that anymore. You are smart enough to write code that when a contract goes in, it’s going to know if it’s in this status, every seven days, it’s going to send an email to this contact that’s labeled the closer and it sends them an email.” They’re all writing this templated email and they’re taking the time.

It’s things like that which have allowed us to be able to do the exact same work with half the amount of people. I don’t try to get rid of people’s jobs because we find other places for them. Natural attrition happens. When we don’t have to keep hiring more people to do the exact same thing, I’m able to do more volume with fewer people. If I did that based on who we had and what we have, I would say that our efficiency has definitely gone up because we’re able to do the same amount of work with a less amount of people.

SIC 110 | Chantel Ray COO
Chantel Ray COO: Every now and then you have to step back and say, “Is what I’m doing what I should be doing? Is there any way we could do it better?”

 

Did you get any pushback internally with the team when you started doing that?

Yes, always. I always have to remind them of a previous time when we’ve been through a change. They don’t love change. I have to delicately go through that process with them. I’ve done almost all of their jobs. Because I came through the ranks, I have an understanding of how frustrating things can be. I will sit down with them and say, “I know this is annoying and takes time. If I got this off of your plate, would you be happy?” “Yes.” We then go to the next process. I tried to do it in a way, but there are some things that they are like, “You’re taking something away from me. I’m losing control.” I tell them, “Give it 30 days.” In 30 days, they’re like, “I’m much happier. I feel a lot less stress.” I’m like, “Yes because you’re not doing a mundane task that automation could do for you.”

There’s a friend of mine, Ari Meisel, he talks about to stop, optimize, automate, outsource as a way to think about things. Often, we try to optimize stuff or automate it. Before we even do that, it’s often good to see if we even need to do it. Do we kill stuff off? I love that you were able to optimize your team by so much to get rid of a lot of the people as well over time.

We’ve always said, “If it’s not our core competency, we need to outsource it.”

What do you outsource?

When I was an admin, we had showing calls and that means anytime, anyone wanted to see a house. One of our guarantees is we have a live agent from 8:00 AM to 9:00 PM and will never miss your showing call. That’s different in the real estate industry because not every person can have somebody available. We have this little flip phone and we have a spreadsheet we print out every day. Someone would call the show house and we find them on the spreadsheet and we schedule it and everything.

What we did was I came one day and as the years progressed on and I was more in an operational role, I said, “This is time-consuming and something we should not be handling.” We had moved it to our salespeople, our inside sales center, and I was like, “It is not the best use of their time to be scheduling a showing for someone when they could be making an outbound call to set an appointment with someone who’s going to generate us revenue.”

I found a program that was only going to cost us $1,500 a month. They handled everything. It was a 24-hour showing service. All we had to do is enter the instructions in and we never had to touch it again. They had better technology, a better system for it. It took all of those customer service calls off my salespeople so they could do twice as many sales calls. Sometimes, you’re like, “That’s an expensive program.” When you look at how much time somebody is doing a task that is not revenue-generating, it’s got to go. Things like that, it’s like, “That’s got to go. That’s not our outsource. That’s not our core competency. We’re not doing it anymore.”

Good for you, smart call. Think about your team, are there any core areas that you’re trying to grow your management team or your leaders on?

We’re constantly trying to grow them thinking of like, “What’s going to be our next move?” A lot of times, we’ll listen to things and there’s a lot of great self-development out there and we encourage that. Sometimes they’ll listen to a podcast and say, “I didn’t get anything I can implement, but I found some better things on how I can manage my team better or whatnot.” What we want them to focus on is how can they find an area that they manage and take it to the next level? How can they find something that we’re doing that’s not efficient? How can they bring that to light?

You would be shocked at how often people do tasks because it’s on their task list. When we come to them and I’ll be like, “We used to have a moving truck.” They would check it out to clients. They’d have the sheet and they checked it out. One day I went over and I pulled the book out and I was like, “This says that we need to do X, Y, Z.” I was like, “We don’t do this anymore.” They’re like, “I know but it’s on the checklist so I check it off every time.” I’m like, “Why would you do that? Why wouldn’t you tell someone?”

You might do something every day, but every now and then you have to step back and say, “Is what I’m doing what I should be doing? Is there any way we could do it better?” That’s the behavior that we try to reward is when they find something, we’ll blast it out to the company and say, “We want to give kudos to X, Y, Z. They discovered that this process is old. We shouldn’t be doing this anymore.” We try to get everybody bought into the vision of, “How can I make things excellent and efficient?” That’s one of our core values, excellence and efficiency in everything we do. Trying to have everybody live that is important.

That’s smart. I love that you’re challenging the employees to find a better way and to get efficient on their own and also it sounds like to learn about the stuff that they’re working on. One of my coaching clients in Europe, in Geneva, anytime he’s thinking about his core projects for the next quarter, he goes out to the Harvard Business reviews and tries to find the old Harvard Business Review articles or booklets that are all about that stuff. He tries to learn about it. He’s like, “If I got a board meeting in six weeks, I’m going to read everything about board meetings.” He’s always trying to apply his learning to something specific instead of general smart. If we were to go back to Heather Roemmich who was 21, 22 years old, graduating college and was going to go into real estate, what word of advice would you give yourself back then that now you know to be true but you wish you’d known earlier on?

I am a perfectionist. I have a hard time letting go of things. Letting go of projects, letting go of tasks, that’s been my Achilles heel as someone who, throughout the company, has done every job. I often find myself doing something that I shouldn’t be doing because I know how to do it and I feel like I can do it better and faster than someone else. One of the things that I still work on daily is delegation in my personal life and in my business life. I like control. That’s something that is difficult for me to give up. I’ve gotten much better at it. It is a skill that I have to work on a lot. I’ve had to learn you can’t do everything, you can’t. That’s how I’m able to juggle many things. I place people in my life that I trust and I hire people. When I hire someone, I want to make sure that they’re able to do the job and then I have to trust that they’re going to do it.

Every now and then, I have to step in. We lead by servant leadership here. I’m not going to ask somebody to take the trash out that I wouldn’t do it myself. There are times that I step in and say, “I will do this, too. I’m not asking you to do something that I wouldn’t do.” It is something that I had a hard time with at first and I learned the hard way. I was, at points, overwhelmed. I’m like, “How am I going to get all this done in a day?” That was the great thing about having a supportive CEO, she would say, “Heather, we need to have a hard talk. Someone else can do this and you need to give it to them.” That was difficult for me because I was used to doing everything. I’m still learning to delegate that.

It’s amazing. She’s got a solid COO on her wing.

Thank you.

I’m impressed. I’ve been scribbling down notes to pass on some of my coaching clients, too.

Thank you.

Heather Roemmich, the COO for Chantel Ray Real Estate, I appreciate you sharing with us on the show.

Thanks for having me.

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About Heather Roemmich

SIC 110 | Chantel Ray COOAfter graduating from Virginia Tech, with a degree in Political Science and a concentration in Legal Studies, Heather discovered real estate, obtained her license and began selling as a full-time career. A few years later, she joined Chantel Ray Real Estate as an admin, taking on any administrative task she could. Shortly after joining, she began selling again and worked as an agent for several years. 

Heather started from a lower-level management position and worked her way up. She established various processes to help the company become more efficient. She did this for all departments as she grew through the company to streamline their operations.

Two years ago, Heather was promoted to COO, overseeing all operations of the company. This allows her to go into each department on a regular basis and make sure their systems and processes work seamlessly, always finding ways to become more scalable and more efficient. Last year, Heather co-founded a marketing and media company called Simpronto, which she also serves as COO, where she oversees all operations. When she isn’t working, she enjoys spending time with her family, her husband Kyle, their two children Brayden (9) and Adalyn (6) and being their cheerleader at all of their events. 

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