“Good” Ain’t Great No More: 3 Things You Gotta Know NOW

Posted by: Carl Medford on March 18th, 2009

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. 

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2 Comments on ““Good” Ain’t Great No More: 3 Things You Gotta Know NOW”

Tony Sena

“This should be a no brainer, but it ain’t.”

This is so true. It drives me nuts when I call other agents and majority of the time they don’t answer so I leave a message, which is fine but usually they don’t return a phone call for hours and sometimes days. It’s just crazy, how are they still in business?

Greg Harrelson

10 Ways to Excel in Today’s Real estate market

The conversations floating around most real estate offices today are more about surviving this awful market versus creating a solution that will have you excelling during these challenging times. For most agents, the difference between going out of business and building a successful business during these market conditions is simple.

To excel in today’s real estate industry; an agent must go back to the basics and keep the plan simple. The following tips are just a few insights as to how I have recently coached an entire company to average a 33% increase in closed sales in 2008. These tips are fresh and apply to today’s market conditions. In addition, these are the tips that we will use to create a quantum leap in our production over the next few years.

1.Hard Work – Unlike a few years ago, we are going to have to go back to the days where we had to actually earn our commission. The market will not support the ‘order taker mentality’ any longer and our prospects want to know that we are going to do everything in our power to accomplish their goals.

Examples of Hard Work:

a.Get to work early – treat it like a real career.
b.Work off a schedule – If it is not in the schedule, it does not exist.
c.Work a full day – how can you expect full time pay from part time effort?
d.Practice your skills- Top Producers spend hours perfecting their scripts.

Don’t be discouraged because you will have to work hard to be successful in this market. In today’s economy, anything we do will require Hard Work. Put the effort in now and not only will you succeed in today’s market, you will make millions when the market turns up again.
2.Turn Your Schedule into a Ritual – Your real estate business should be treated like a ritual. As we observe real estate agents across the country, we see many examples of inconsistency in one’s schedule. They show up one day at 10 am and the next day at 3pm. You never know when they will be there. Lack of consistency in ones schedule usually results in lack of consistency in income which is by far the biggest reason for failure.

It is extremely important for you to breakup your day into two schedules. The first one we call ‘The Ritual’ and the next we call the schedule. ‘The Ritual’ consists of very few activities and lacks in flexibility. In order to complete
‘The Ritual’ correctly, you must complete it first thing in the morning without interruption. The recommended starting time for your ‘ritual’ is 8 am.

The ‘schedule’ offers plenty of flexibility and should begin after the ritual is complete. This will consist of a multitude of tasks depending on appointments, follow up, negotiations and other orders of business necessary to complete. It is recommended that the schedule start at 11:00 am each day.

Here is the actual ‘Ritual’ of some of the top producing agents around the country:

6:00 am Workout – (optional)
8:00 am Generate new business
11:00 am Start working your schedule

Here is the actual ‘Schedule’ of some of the top producing agents around the country:

11:00 am Check messages
11:30 am Lunch
12:30 am Return Calls
1:00 pm Research Properties
2:00 pm Buyer appointment
3:30 pm Listing appointment
4:30 pm Negotiate
5:00 pm GO HOME

It is very important that you understand that there is no flexibility in the ‘ritual.’ It is okay that your schedule changes everyday yet you must stick to your ritual as if your life depends on it.

3.You Must Remain Detached – We all know that a lot of people are losing money because of the markets decline. I witness too many agents having a hard time talking with clients that are in a financial bind. Today, real estate agents are like doctors. A doctor has a patient come into their office and it is his responsibility to properly diagnose the problem and then prescribe a cure. There will be times when the doctor discovers that the illness is terminal and there will be times when the illness is not so bad and the cure is simple.

In either case, the doctor has the responsibility to remain detached from the situation and discuss the matter in a professional way. The doctor cannot avoid the terminal conversation, he must tell the truth no matter how he thinks the patient will react.

You, the agent, are not the problem. You are the solution to the consumer’s challenges. Remain detached from the transaction and discuss the possible solutions that can help your client reach their desired goals. This strategy is critical to the success of your business and I recommend you spend time role playing different scenarios with your business partners.
4.Change Your Environment – All of us perform better when we are around top performers. The highest paid agents in the country will tell you that their office environment was one of the most important factors in building a profitable real estate career.

Changing your environment is more about you then it is about the others in your office. In most cases, it will be you that has to step up and take charge of your environment. When visiting top producing offices around the country, I noticed some very interesting characteristics that contributed to the success of its agents.

A few characteristics of a powerful environment:

a.All agents start working at the same time
b.All agents participate in group role playing
c.All agents follow the same ‘Ritual’
d.Communication not competition between inner office agents
e.Zero tolerance for negativity
f.All agents participate in a company weekly coaching program
g.Agents held each other accountable for their goals
h.No boring office meetings – only training sessions
i.Everyone works together as a team

You must understand that the environment that you are in is the environment that you have chosen. If your environment is not supporting your goals then you need to make a change. I have noticed that with the changes in the market come changes in agent’s attitudes. Do not let a negative environment influence how you do business. There have been a lot of agents with great selling potential that are no longer in business because they were influenced by a negative environment.
5.Master the Art of Conversation – My coach once told me that selling real estate is nothing more than having a quality conversation. He went on to tell me that if I would master the conversations of prospecting, lead follow up, listing and buyer presentations, handling objections, price reductions and negotiations then I would have mastered the art of selling real estate.

At first glance, you may think this is a lot of work. Remember, we are handling the largest financial transaction that the average American conducts in their lifetime. It is our responsibility to take the time and put in the effort to learning the conversations necessary to make the sale.

The fastest way to learn the conversation is having effective scripts and to be involved in role playing with your fellow agents. Mastering the Art of Conversation is the same as mastering golf, tennis or any other hobby. It takes practice. A little practice can make a big difference in your ability to increase production.

It is recommended that you spend a minimum of 5 hours per week role playing with a partner the various scenarios that you will face in selling real estate.

6.Generate Daily – This is by far one of the most important activities that an agent can complete on a daily basis. It also happens to be the one activity that most agents fail to complete every day. This market will not support the ‘order taking mentality.’ Business is no longer walking through our doors. You have to go out there and create your own business or risk being forced out of real estate.

There are many reasons why agents avoid generating new business everyday. A few of them are:

a.The company has never trained on generating activities.
b.The environment does not support generating activities
c.Agents fear rejection
d.Agents do not have it in there schedule
e.Agents do not have the proper scripts

There are many reasons why agents fail to generate daily and those are some of the main reasons that agents are failing today. Look at the top agents in every market and you will find agents who are generating new business through prospecting and other activities everyday. The agents that are committed to generating daily are the agents that will not only survive in this market but will be thriving for years to come.

Find a coach, a company or a mentor that will teach you how to generate. This is the one thing that you can start today that will bring you instant business.
7.React Quickly – It is a little confusing as to why I have to talk about reacting quickly yet it is an area that we see a lot of agents losing money. We have recently been doing a little research on how quickly agents respond to email request and seller / buyer calls. We have found numerous cases where consumers have told us that they had to email 10 different agents before they got one to respond. In addition, many prospective buyers have claimed to call 5 different companies before they got a live real estate agent on the phone.

This is a great opportunity for those agents that are reacting quickly to emails and seller/buyer calls. You need to make a commitment to answer all email requests within 3 hours and return all lead phone calls within 1 hour. Our prospective clients want to know that we are working and the longer you take to respond to their calls and emails the more they think we are doing something else or are not interested in new business.

Remember, there isn’t a lot of agent’s still selling real estate right now. If you will pay attention and react quickly to incoming leads then you will get more then your fair share of business.
8.Create A Success Plan – If you want to excel in your real estate practice then you must have a business plan. Behind every Top Producing agent is a well-thought-out plan that describes every action necessary to reach their goals.

Your business plan is a working document that must be read every week throughout the year. The plan is like a road map. It must describe where you are currently, where you want to go and then detail the exact route that you are going to take. Just like a map, you should be able to look at your business plan and see exactly what you need to do next.

In today’s market, it is unacceptable to be working without a business plan. Your company should have a copy of a business plan for you to use. In the event that you are in need of an effective business plan then please click on the link for your free copy.

9.Fill Up the Mindtank – We have all heard the saying, “You become what you think about, most of the time.” If you believe this to be true then you must focus on what you feed your mind on a daily basis. I coach my agents to attend ‘automobile university.’ This is a university that any of us can attend. This year is going to award those agents that are truly committed to a career in real estate. I urge you to turn the radio off in your car and start listening to audio books. I know of agents around the country that listen to nearly 40 audio books per year while driving in their car. Imagine the return on the investment from this activity. You are already spending the time in the car, now you are changing the quality of what you are feeding the mind. If you will put enough good information in your mind then good information will start coming out of your mouth. Make sure you start feeding your mindtank today. If you want up to date training on how to increase your production, try out our weekly coaching download. Burn it to a compact disk and play it in your car.
10.Take Action – I hope you found the above information to be helpful. Unfortunately, there will be hundreds of thousands of agents that will read or be taught ways to improve their business yet less than 5% will actually follow through. Make a commitment to be one of those that Take Action and take action now. This market is a gold mine for those that are taking a proactive approach to selling real estate.

Every where you turn, you will hear agents talking about how bad the market is and how tough it is to make a sale. Pay attention to these agents for a moment and you will see that the only action that they are taking is the action of talking negative. Ask them what they plan to do about it and they will look at you like a deer in headlights. They will tell you that there is nothing they can do.

Read through the above steps a few times and write down 3 things that you can commit to putting into action for the next 90 days. Tell three people what you are committed to and ask them to hold you accountable. Those that are in have a plan and are in action with that plan are sure to succeed. Do not over think the plan.

Nearly 95% of agents will follow this formula;

ready, aim, aim, aim, aim, aim, fire.

Nearly 5% of agents will follow this formula;

ready, fire, fire, fire, aim.

You need to choose which agent formula you will follow and you must understand that 5% of the agents are making nearly 95% of the total income.

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