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2009-03-01 21:16:24

The Other "Secret" to Real Estate Success


I’m not one to discount the mental wear and tear we endure in this business of sales, but really, how hard is it?

I suppose if I were still that restaurateur who wakes predawn to slave over a hot stove, while hoisting huge sacks of produce to be chopped, and then drive home late, only to set the alarm and do it again tomorrow—well, maybe you would say, “Mike, you just don’t understand. We work hard in a different way.”
Okay, I agree that real estate sales can be hard work. I coach an extraordinary group of successful agents and many are up with the roosters and then heed the owls and crickets as they park at night. I also know a few struggling agents who put in those long hours, yet see less than stellar results.
My point is this. Putting aside the “work smarter, not harder” theory, which I’m sure to receive letters about, I’d like to examine our work ethics. I’ve heard so many stories about how poor you were as a child or maybe you grew up on a ranch and had early morning chores? Well, that was me, and here I sit, in a nice padded office chair, sipping Starbucks and typing on my very cool Mac computer.
Regardless of your path, take a moment to pause and examine your own work habits.
No, really -- pause and reflect…..
Okay, I’ll try to put this in perspective. During the last snowfall in Paradise, while wrapped in a warm flannel blanket on my cushy sofa, I was attempting to psyche myself for that 50-foot walk to the mailbox.  Meanwhile, one of my Facebook friends wrote on my “wall” and asked if I had been to Lake Tahoe this year. As I typed back, my thoughts turned to the multi-lane highway and I suddenly remembered Donner Pass, which is along the way.
If you recall your 8th grade study of the Donner Party Expedition of 1846, a group of American emigrants began a long journey on the California trail. They encountered severe snowstorms, fatigue and plenty of other hardship. Soon the food ran out and they slaughtered the oxen, but eventually, that option ran out. Their notoriety of course, was that when things got so desperate, they resorted to cannibalism to survive. Of the original 87 pioneers who undertook the journey, 39 died. Seven were eaten. On a side note, one of the survivors went on to open a restaurant. I’d love to see a list of his specials.
Anyway, if you can imagine back to that group, crossing such a treacherous area so long ago, and then you ponder picking up the phone to call your clients and discuss the market, and perhaps why their house hasn’t sold—is it really so hard?
Yeah, I know the thought of calling a pajama clad seller who just finished her toast and tea may send shivers up your spine, but come on! Are you afraid of her questions? Are you not prepared with market data? Do you have a price reduction strategy scripted out? If not, is it because you didn’t take the time?
The problem with the Donner Party so long ago is they actually changed course from the original plan. The leader thought a short cut would shave a little time from the journey, so off they went, trying to save a little work. Yes, they knew winter was approaching, but they still took the easy route.
Ask yourself, when you sit in that climate controlled room and debate whether to make your phone calls or perhaps put a little work on lead follow-up; do you ever take the short cut instead? You know what I mean—do you work on that Facebook profile, explore the “Make Six Figures Without Prospecting!” e-mails or reorganize those desktop files? I know I have, and just like that fateful trip so long ago, the hardier competition would eat me alive.

Of course, real estate sales can be tough work. It can also reap great rewards. Unless I’m missing something though, it takes one to create the other.

Mike Butson is a real estate practiioner and a RealTown Blog member. He specializes in real estate fianance and marketing. Check out his RealTown Blog.



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