A little regarded factoid has seemingly escaped attention as of late. With the current economic woes slapping many Realtors upside the head, numerous compatriots have decided to throw in the towels and get out of the ring. So far, no new news. However, it’s WHO has left the business that should be getting our attention.
And ever more important, who is LEFT in the ring? The Realtors who remain are the good ones.
They’re the ones who have enough skills to keep their businesses alive through these down times. They’re the ones who are succeeding in the face of hardship. They’re the ones who are GOOD! And they know they have to do two-to-three times the volume they did two years ago just to break even.
They are your new, leaner and meaner competition.
If you plan on going head-to-head with these folks and coming out with a paycheck, you’d better learn how to move beyond being simply “good.” I searched the web for a quote that would fit here, hoping that Churchill, Lincoln or even Ziegler could help pull us up by our socks. Unfortunately, none of them had a quote that worked, so I’ll quote myself!
“Times like these DEMAND greatness.”
Ironically, the move from good to great isn’t very far or even very difficult. Many good business writers stress that it’s the little things repeated consistently that ultimately make the difference. It’s true: the little things add up and do so VERY quickly.
So here are three critical “little” things to be doing consistently to help you level the playing field:
1. Project a positive outlook.
This is not some “new-age” cosmic thing about projecting positive thoughts, aligning yourself with sunspots, yada yada. This is common sense. Everyone I know is going through tough times. Quite frankly, they are concerned about themselves and don’t care that you’re suffering too. In fact, with everyone moaning and groaning about how bad things are, people are actually looking for persons who project a more upbeat attitude about their current situation. So you only closed one transaction last month. That puts you in the top 10% nationally! Find something to be upbeat about and project it everywhere you go. How are you doing? Great! Thanks for asking!
2. Answer your phone.
This should be a no brainer, but it ain’t. I write a weekly column for a local real estate marketing association that appears in two area newspapers. I try to quote two local real estate professionals each week and feature them in the articles. To get their quotes, I try to get them on the phone. Key word … TRY. I call their office numbers and I call their cell phones. And have discovered a startling fact. 95% of local REALTORS don’t answer their phones. Or call back -– even when I’m trying to give them free advertising. At first, I thought it was an anomaly. Not so.
And then there are the REALTORS who, when you call their phones, have messages that state, “Thanks for calling. I will be returning calls today from 11-11:30 and 4-4:30. Leave a message and I will call you back.” Or this one, “Thanks for calling. If you are calling after 5:00 p.m., leave a message and I will return your call tomorrow.”
Not to brag, but 99% of the time, if you call my cell phone, you get the following response: “This is Carl!” And then I wait to see what you want. As in, I answer my phone. At 5:48 a.m. Or at 8:26 p.m. I do this because I’ve figured out a simple little fact. You are calling when you want to talk to me. So that’s when I should be interested in talking to you. I understand boundaries. I understand family time. And I don’t answer my phone just any old time – use your imagination. BUT … most of the time, I do. Because I understand good business. Don’t like it? Go get a standard 9-5 gig.
3. RESPOND NOW!
Just received a HomeGain.com text or email? I give myself 30 seconds to respond. You read it right. Not 10 minutes or when it’s convenient or next Tuesday. 30 seconds. I will pull off the freeway, stop what I’m doing, etc. to respond NOW. Because there’s a potential client on the other end of my computer who wants to do business with the first person who responds. I respond so quickly that I often get a response back right away. Before they even realize that 76 other Realtors are eventually going to get around to sending them a proposal. I respond so fast they think I’m the only response they will get, so they respond back! (And I truly hope you don’t start doing this as well, because I might actually start getting some competition!)
The reality is this: it’s not unusual for me to be talking to a lead within five minutes of them hitting send. The first question many ask is, “Are you real? Or is this a computer generated call!” They are blown away with the quick response. AND … if I’m talking to them, you won’t get a chance to. It’s that simple. And by the way, this applies to every facet of your business. People want to work with people who respond NOW.
Bottom line: You no longer have the option of merely being “good.” If you’re going to compete with the remaining crowd, good ain’t good enough anymore.
Not if you want to eat, that is.