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2011-01-25 00:04:17

The ‘New Normal’: The Three Habits of the Agent Who Will Thrive in 2011

I just did a keynote for our WCR chapter. In it, I asked attendees to define the ‘new normal’. Everyone is talking about it, but, what is it? And, more important, what are three habits of the agent who will thrive in that ‘new normal’ of 2011?


My definition of the ‘new normal’:


A real estate market where practicing real estate successfully requires a much higher level of dedication and mastery than in an ‘on fire’ market.


To create even a median business, the agent must act like the mega-agent acts-- in any market. That means:


  • The median agent must pro-actively lead generate (can’t wait for leads as they were able to do in an ‘on fire’ market)
  • The median agent must be practiced and packaged (must have good sales skills and presentations)
  • The median agent must devote more than 30 hours a week to selling real estate (the consumer has rejected the part-timer)
  • The median agent must have an active database
  • The median agent must come to work every day


Managers: Reading this, do you believe success waits for the non-committed part-timer in this ‘new normal’ atmosphere?


Here are the three habits of the successful ‘new normal’ agent. Also, I’ve provided action plans for you to put into your business plan.


The Three Habits of the ‘New Normal’ Agent  


1. Become an Early Adopter                                     


Few people change quickly. But, in this era of rapid change, we real estate professionals can’t afford to 

lag behind. If you’re still

waiting for 2007 to come back, you’re going to have a

long wait! So, make up your

mind that you will go ahead and do what you’ve been putting off. You’re just wasting opportunities.                                                      A Marketing Study


Note: I’ve never seen a top producer who didn’t get right to it. But, I’ve seen dozens of people fail because they fought progress, questioned every piece of advice given—and failed miserably. In this rapidly changing world, the fighters against action just can’t win.


Action plan: Right now, list three things you’re going to do for the first time this year. Now, put ‘drop dead’ dates on them.


Managers: Do you have someone who fights you every step of the way? Behind that is only fear. Yet, it’s not fear of failure. It’s fear of getting into action. It’s fear of success. Either figure how to get them into action, or you will need to help them find a career change.


2. Work Hard


It has always amazed me when interviewing an agent, the agent would state that she wanted to make lots of money in real estate, but she could only work 10

a. m. to 2 p. m. 4 days a week—no nights and weekends, of course! (I worked 50-60 hours to survive and thrive, so, I the thought occurred to me that she must think she was much more talented and special than I…….),In this ‘new normal’, the person not committing to 40-50 hours a week just can’t deliver what the consumer wants (see the consumer survey later in this article.)


If you haven’t read the great book, by Malcolm Gladwell, Outliers, get it now. Gladwell shows how people get really good at what they do when they work hard and long at it. See the examples of computer pioneers—and the Beatles. Going to Hamburg to work in the strip clubs in the late 1960’s, the Beatles had to play eight hours a night, seven days a week. They got really good at it! In fact, Gladwell said it took 10,000 hours of practice for someone—in any field—to master it. How much practice do you get selling real estate?


A National Association of Realtors’ Survey


Take a look at how number of hours worked coordinates with income in real estate earned:



So, go ahead and commit to success. No one got successful merely with a ‘magic bullet’, or hiring a huge team so they didn’t have to work, or any of those other things the seminar gurus sell unsuspecting agents. Who does well with that philosophy? Just those seminar gurus! If you still don’t believe me, please get the book Outliers. Then, commit.


3. Inspire Trust


You can’t sell anything of value to anyone without inspiring trust in them. (Well, maybe a set of $19.95 knives…) How do you think the consumer regards us today? Take a look at the California Association of Realtors’ survey of buyers in 2009. See how the ‘overall satisfaction’ rating plummeted in just six years:


Yes, I know that was a difficult time. Yet, buyers don’t buy every day. The ‘taste in their mouths’ will last for a long time, if we don’t do something differently.


If you had rated a service person as a ‘4’ out of 100, would you go back to that person, or even that particular service again, and pay a fee? I think not.



For your own internal review on how to inspire trust, click here.


What We Need to Do to Re-Inspire Trust


First, recognize trust in us has eroded greatly. Then, set about specific actions to re-establish trust with your would-be and present clients.


One method: Survey frequently and regularly to find out how we’re doing. Stefan Swanepoel, in his Trends Report 2010, says,


Consumers are now looking much harder at “proof of experience” in the form of comments from past clients. 


Want to see what consumers think of real estate agents’ service? Check out


You will see the good, the bad, and the downright ugly. With the proliferation of social networking channels, consumers easily can tell everyone in the world what they think of a particular agent (and the company, of course).


We can run, but, we can’t hide any longer.


Action plan: If you’re not surveying regularly now, you must start. And, you must survey more than just at closing. Survey at important points of contact, like after the first appointment, at the sale negotiation, etc. If you find an area that needs fixing, fix it fast! You will get many, many more referrals that way. Remember, it takes 6-9 times more marketing money to get a new customer than to keep an old one. This is the era of the referral—not the ‘next’ type of old-style business.


New Normal Actions Put You Ahead in 2011


It’s pretty simple, really. In fact, all great ideas are simple. They’re just difficult to execute. So, here’s what you need to put in your business plan:


  1. Become an early adopter. Decide on the 3 things you’re going to do for the first time—the actions that will leverage your business.
  2. Work hard. There has never been a slam-bam, easy-squeezy way to be successful—at anything (I know that, as a musician). Accept that working hard gets you where you want to go. And, commit now.
  3. Re-inspire trust. People are looking for someone they can count on. We’re in a ‘personal service’ business. That’s what we have to offer that is invaluable. Develop, nurture, and value your trust quotient.


If you’re reading this as a seasoned agent, you may say, “I’ve heard it all before’. If so, take heed to what the greatest basketball coach in history said,


“It’s what we learn after we know it all that counts.”      John Wooden.


Take a fresh look at how you do business. Re-commit to excellence and mastery, and you will have re-vitalized your career.

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