One of the biggest mistakes I see many real estate agents make is they don’t treat their business like a business. When I coach agents I ask them why they chose a career in real estate in the first place. Their answers usually boil down to two reasons:
- The opportunity to make a lot of money
Some agents see independence as an opportunity to do whatever they want, whenever they want, and they operate their businesses randomly or on the fly. They may have business goals, but often they lack the practices and discipline to turn their goals into reality. For example: They procrastinate on marketing and prospecting; they don’t have a system for following up on every lead; and they do random things during business hours, like surfing the Web.
Who Wins in a Changing Market?
The real estate marketing is changing. There may be hundreds or even thousands of agents in your area competing for dwindling business. Within the next 6 to 18 months, many agents will be looking for another way to make a living.
Even in down markets, there’s business to be had. Those agents who are committed and disciplined will be the ones who get the business that’s out there. To be successful in real estate, especially in today’s changing market, you must manage yourself and your activities as a business, with a plan, procedures, results-tracking, and accountability.
The Four Essential Systems
There are four key systems you need to run your business as a business. As you read about them, you may find yourself saying, “I already know all of this.” If you do, great, but do you personally have these systems, and are you using them consistently?
- A game plan – Your goals and the business and marketing strategies you’ll use to achieve them. Make sure they’re specific, measurable, and in writing.
- A schedule – A daily or weekly schedule of the actions you must take to grow your business. Without sticking to a schedule, most agents get sidetracked and lose focus on the most important business-building activities.
- A way to track your contacts, actions and results – Whether you use software or pencil and paper, you need to track your contacts and activity so you can know where your leads come from, how often you contact them, how many contacts it takes to get a deal, etc. Without tracking, you won’t fully understand your business or control your destiny.
- A way to get feedback – Most independent salespeople operate in the vacuum of their own ideas and perceptions. It’s important to have someone who can give you honest feedback about everything–from your business strategy, to your communication, to your appearance. Without outside feedback, you may be missing opportunities or getting in your own way without knowing it.
Case in point: I recently began coaching an agent who hasn’t had a transaction in over a year. At our first meeting, I noticed that his communication style was intense and aggressive, so much so that I speculated that he was putting people off. He asked his friends and coworkers for feedback, and they confirmed my theory. While he thought he was projecting confidence and strength, his prospects and coworkers saw him as overly aggressive and desperate. Over the past month, I’ve coached him on developing a softer approach and building rapport with his prospects. In one month since he’s changed his approach, he has four deals in his pipeline.
Whether it’s a coach or a coworker, find someone to give you honest and direct feedback. Without it, you’re living in a vacuum.
Use Your Systems
It’s not enough just to have these basic systems in place–you have to use them consistently. The systems will not only support your existing business, they will paint a clearer picture of where the holes are and what it will take to advance to the next level. The systems work synergistically. By planning and scheduling, you’ll get a handle on where to focus and when. By tracking your activity and getting feedback, you’ll see what areas need improvement and how you can adjust your strategy and schedule accordingly.
To be successful in the changing real estate market, you need to run your business as a business. If you don’t, the agent who does will get the business you want.
Tags: buying a home, finding a real estate agent, first time homebuyers, puyallup real estate agent, real estate business, real estate career, real estate coaching, real estate success, real estate systems, selling a home