Three Best Methods to Position Yourself for an Exceptional 2011
Economists are talking about businesses recovering in 2011. Let’s talk about you. Are you ready to take advantage of more business opportunities? What’s in your 2011 business plan? If you have been waiting for something to change, it’s time to get back into the game with your best ‘game face’. I know. Lots of agents (and managers!) have kind of ‘laid out’—as we say in the music business (it means don’t play) because things were tough. People got frustrated, depressed, and gave up hope. But, don’t stay in indecision and miss your own business recovery! (This applies to managers, too.)
Here are the three best methods to assure you’re ready for what could be your best year yet.
Before you read this. Get ready for some bluntness. This is not a time to tip-toe around the realities of what it takes to succeed today!
Get your systems in place so you can go fast.
Do you run your business via systems? According to Michael Gerber, the best-known (and best, I think) small business guru, “The coordination of your systems is your business plan.” So, if we accept that definition, the lack of our systematization almost assures we have lousy time management, lousy lead generation, and lack of follow-up (and a lousy business plan!). If any (or all) of these maladies has been affecting you, it’s time to ‘calendarize’ the creation of your systems.
Schedule it. Decide which system you want to create/refine first and put it on the calendar for January. What do you need? Lead generating systems, buyer systems, seller systems, and personal marketing systems. Otherwise, you just can’t ‘go fast enough’ to re-generate your business. (Managers: you need recruiting systems, selecting systems, coaching systems, and training systems).
My first blunt observation: Agents who don’t step up to organized professionalism will have a very tough time convincing those discriminating clients to work with them.
Suggestion for managers: Have a series of training sessions where your agents list all the systems they need. Then, prioritize them and start helping your agents put them together.
Get your ‘attitude’ about business success tuned up.
Managers: Are you still managing to the laggards? Are you feeling sorry for those who chose not to slug it out in the last two tough years? Are you avoiding putting standards into place because you’re afraid the losers will leave? It’s time to stop managing in the past and lead for the future. Remember, ‘Likes attract’. It’s time to tune up your expectations and tune up your teamwork so you’re working with winners, not losers.
Agents: It’s not 2008 or 2009 now. It’s the ‘new normal’. People who manage their attitudes, develop themselves, and recognize the demands of the consumer will thrive.
Another blunt truth: If you don’t want to actively lead generate and grow your business, it’s time to find a ‘real job’.
The proof: A recent study by Baylor University with hundreds of agents showed that agents who spent 55% of their time in pro-active lead generation made much more money than those who spent the majority of their time in re-active lead generation.
Business planning note: Do you know where you spent most of your time last year? Was it pro active or reactive lead generation? (Proactive means you go out and find them. Reactive means you sit and wait.).
Business planning tip for 2011: Put at least 55% of your lead generating time in proactive lead generation (making phone calls, seeing people). Don’t expect to wait for the phone to ring or that email inquiry to make you rich!
Accept that lead generation is the keystone of a successful business—forever.
I love how some real estate agents regard pro-active lead generation: They think it is a ‘have to if nothing else works’ rather than a ‘requisite of success’. Wake up. The days of easy deals and low customer expectations are over—and I hope they never come back! Why? Because the real estate agent who actively lead generates deserves to win more often—in good and bad times. Also, in my opinion, it takes more than a few hours of dedication to real estate sales per week to satisfy the consumer. Full-timers deserve to win big. Part-timers: Find something else you love and do it!
Managers: Do you have a lead generation plan for recruiting? The same principle is true for you. The days are over when you could just populate your office because people ‘turned themselves in’ to you.
Advice: Set aside two hours a day four days a week to lead generate. All your dreams will come true.
Putting Things into Perspective
Sure. You can be worried about social media, excited about the possibilities, and thrilled that you now have a blog. But, the biggest challenge for a real estate agent isn’t to become a social media maven—it’s talking to more people. Wouldn’t it be great if we could invent/take part in something that just enticed people to come to us—and we could still charge those ‘generous’ commissions? Not going to happen in the kind of climate we have today. Trust is at an all-time low-trust about politicians, about the economy, about salesperson claims. It’s just common sense that, the lower the trust, the more the relationship must be developed.
Be very careful of believing the social media gurus who are trying to convince you that just putting it out there on the web will ensure you sell 24/30/40 homes (you make up the numbers) next year. If that were true, everyone with a blog or a Facebook page would be a mega-agent. I’m not saying that social media isn’t a new and terrific way to introduce yourself, or communicate over time. Here’s the principle:
The highest commissions will be gained from agents who form trusting, long-term professional relationships with their clients. That takes much more than technological correspondence.
What level of commissions and success do you want? Make up your mind to go for it in 2011!
Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is a former master-level CRB instructor, popular international speaker, National Realtor Educator of the Year, and author of 6 books and 20 audio programs. She specializes in ‘people development’—strategies for real estate professionals to enjoy highest production and profits. Join her newsletter community and receive her complimentary eBook,Getting to Yes: Ten Powerful Tools to Bash those Barriers to Purchasing Today. Learn more at www.carlacross.com, or contact Carla at 425-392-6914.
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