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2007-12-20 16:16:00

How to Cope with Unsold Listings and Other Tips from Joe Klock

Better Right Now Than 'After the Holidays'
Many potential buyers, sellers and (sad to say) TOO many sales associates have put their real estate action plans on hold for the duration of "the holidays."

So be it, maybe, with some salesfolks, but no such respite is available to managers...OR, for that matter, to those who choose to manage their own business affairs wisely.

The day after New Year's may be when that starting gun is officially fired for 2008, but it's too late then to rummage around for track shoes and to warm up idle marketing muscles.

REMEMBER: Foresight trumps hindsight every time in the management game! Most managers are pretty good at dealing with problems when they come up, but the best of the breed are those who can spot problems BEFORE they arise and head them off before they become crises. Superstar leaders read the tea leaves of current events and formulate contingency plans "just in case."

It's more than just a clever quip that it wasn't raining when Noah drew up plans for the Ark!

Whether responsible only for yourself or (especially) if an entire team looks to you for leadership, the time for a pre-sprint pep talk is NOT after competing runners have already sprung out of the starting blocks.

Proper running (except for also-rans) means being fully prepared at the starting line to compete with the other runners AND to make it over the identifiable hurdles ahead. Proper business planning begins with what the technocrats call a "Situation Analysis," which is simply a study of what's happening on the ground right now.

Given the current marketing climate in most parts of the country, the next item in this article  would be an appropriate agenda opener for your 2008 Kickoff Meeting. .. even if you're just meeting with to yourself!

Read on, before moving on to the next holiday happening

How to Cope with Unsold Listings
Let's face it: Those unsold homes may NOT be blamed on "the market." They are unsold simply because, at the price and terms offered, they do not meet the needs and wants of the prospective (ready, willing and able) buyers presently available.

You need to take three actions RIGHT NOW:

  1. Take a fresh look at each property with "buyers' eyes" and spruce up its appeal through staging, cleaning, decorative upgrading, clutter removal and performance of deferred maintenance.
  2. Rework your Competitive Market Analysis, with heavy focus on the current competition and those expired and withdrawn listings (solid evidence of what current buyers are NOT interested in buying).
  3. Have some serious "talky time" with your would-be sellers about the results of those first two steps and your recommendations of future strategy. If they CAN handle the truth, you'll be able to pump new life into the listing. If they can't handle it, hand the listing back to them! You'll save yourself a lot of time and aggravation and they'll appreciate your honesty.

About the WORST thing you can do is join them in the waiting game.

TIP: Our audio CD, "The Facts Of Life For Home Sellers," is an excellent ice-breaker and has proven to be especially effective in this market. Details at and we'll fill your order via First Class Mail!

FOOTNOTE: Remember, too, to remind reluctant buyers that today's missed opportunities WILL be tomorrow's regrets when the market turns around (as it always has in the past!).

The moment you join a management team, "they" automatically becomes "we."  The very first time a middle manager uses "they" in referring to upper management, the system has been crippled.

Complain to superiors when you think you're right and they're not? Absolutely ... but always directly to them and never, NEVER in the presence of those lower than you in the chain of command. Just as parents should always present a united front to their children, so should there be solidarity in management at all levels.

Fake It Until You Can Make It
Feeling lousy? Too bad ... but you have no right to show it! Your ups and downs are not only highly visible to the members of your team, but tend to set the group's mood. Both enthusiasm and negative behavior are highly contagious and, as a manager, you are a major carrier.

You can't, of course, control everything that affects your emotions, but you CAN choose how you react ... with emphasis on the "act" part. Whenever you're in the presence of your people, powder your face with sunshine, pepper your speech with positive words and dazzle them with behavioral footwork.

All the world's a stage and, like it or not, as a manager, you're always downstage center and in the glare of a spotlight!

Affirmation of the Month
"I am closing the gap between my performance and my potential in everything I do."
There is nothing - repeat,  NOTHING - we do that we can't do better by repeating those powerful words, vividly picturing ourselves actually DOING something better, then affirming that "this is me; this is the way I am, and no other behavior is acceptable to me!"

Try works!

Present Company Not Excepted
No rule is a good one unless it applies to everyone in the team, including the lead dog!Management by objective is no more important than management by example, and skirting the rules can never be a legitimate management perk. If you expect your team members to observe specific standards of appearance, deportment and procedure, make sure that you are always a model of perfection in all those areas. "Don't do as I do, do as I say" is as alien to good management as favoritism and dishonesty.

If it ever becomes necessary to make an exception for yourself (or anyone else), be sure to explain it clearly; and if you step out of line, even accidentally, own up to your failing and resolve to sin no more. Your strict adherence to "the book" will not only promote similar behavior in the ranks, but will boost your stature as a true leader.  Bending the rules in your favor reduces you to the rank of "boss," which is one of the more unpleasant four-letter words in the business world.

Words to Thrive By
"You gain strength, courage and confidence by every experience in which you really stop to look fear in the face." - Eleanor Roosevelt

FOOTNOTE: True bravery does not mean acting in the absence of fear, but doing so in spite of it!

Your Feedback Wanted
The first printing of The Real World of Selling Real Estate has been selling at a clip which suggests that the inventory will have to be replenished fairly soon.

Meanwhile, we'd like those of you who have read it to e-mail ( your candid comments - particularly about how it has helped you to learn more, earn more and serve better. The confidentiality of your reply WILL, of course, be respected.  Thanks!.


(Joe Klock is the author of 432-page collection of sales tips, The Real World of Selling Real Estate. World renowned trainer Tom Hopkins says, "The wit and wisdom of Joe Klock is a great tool to lift you up as you face the daily challenges of the wonderful world of real estate sales." )

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