Slow Time Is 'Go' Time for Winners (A Sermonette)
When past figures look better than present figures on the production board, it's time to shift gears and adjust attitudes if you want future figures to be favorable.
The Fix is In!
The old saying, "if it ain't broke don't fix it" has an equally profound flip side: "If it IS broke, it ain't gonna fix itself!" Just waiting for "things to get back to normal" is exactly the wrong strategy to combat downturns in activity. To borrow yet another old adage,"When you find yourself in a hole, the very first thing to do is stop digging."
On the procedural front, it's time to reexamine your listing inventory and separate the wheat from the chaff (i.e., the difficult missions from the impossible). Sellers who have shown themselves unwilling to accept the best offer obtainable from the best buyer available and have nothing to lose by not doing so are not sellers at all. They are, however, burglars of your precious time and should be encouraged to take their homes off the market and, simultaneously, off your back!
Truth to tell, every listing which has attracted no attention and generated no offers for a long period of time is OVERPRICED and its owner should be so informed!
It's also time to look at each of your operating expense items and satisfy yourself that it is returning sound value to you. Classified advertising is a good place to start. Its purpose is to make the telephone ring and if that isn't happening, work the ad budget over with a machete. Ditto institutional advertising that is more oriented toward vanity than tangible results.
Hack away at every line of your expense journal, including non-essential incidentals, such as lavish lunches, Starbucks and similar big-buck luxuries. Target the budgetary blubber that tends to accumulate during heyday periods. Also, shift your activity focus to personal prospecting and persistent follow-up.
Work harder and longer that you've been doing recently, concentrating on nose-to-nose, toes-to-toes and eyeball-to-eyeball contacts with prospective buyers and sellers.
Get in touch with referral sources and ask them for leads. They will ALWAYS be your most lucrative sources of business.
Above all, DO NOT allow yourself to be demotivated by the voices of doom and gloom that are so pervasive in the media and, perhaps, among your collleagues.
The pie may be smaller, but all you need is a larger slice of it - easily taken from the weakest of your competitors...as well as the formerly formidable ones who are now either wringing their hands or sitting on them.
When the going gets tough, the tough get back to the basics...and they not only survive, but THRIVE!
An Urgent Suggestion
If you haven't already done so, PLEASE order a copy of "THE REAL WORLD OF SELLING REAL ESTATE." Its 400-plus pages are loaded with nuts-and-bolts guidance in the areas of Attitude, Work Habits, Personal Behavior, Communications, Customer Relations, Prospecting, Buyers, Sellers, and Self Improvement. These are solid nuggets of knowledge that have contributed to the success of thousands of professionals throughout the Free World over more than fifty years.
This is not an expense and could be the best INVESTMENT you'll ever make!
Dealing with the Nasty 'F' Word
No, not that one (although it DID get your attention, didn't it?) We're talking about a FEAR that is stalking the marketplace these days.
Buyers who are able to buy and eager to own are holding back - afraid that this isn't a "good" time to make that big commitment. The temptation to "bottom-fish" is strong, especially when they read predictions that a soft market may soften even more. What they need to think about is that waiting may cost them in several ways: A narrower selection of homes to choose from, the probability of increased mortgage rates and an abrupt "bounce" when the turnaround occurs.
They also need to be aware that the turnaround WILL come, as it always has in the past, and what they might "overpay" by acting now will soon be lost in the resumed upward march of inflation. Overshadowing that logic, though, is the aforementioned fear of making a "wrong move."
People ready, eager and able to buy right now should be told that, fear notwithstanding, the worst possible move in the long run might be not making a move right now!
Your challenge is helping them to see the light...AND the right way to go.
A 'Neversay' Phrase
No matter how outrageously wrong they may be (and, heaven knows, they often are!), nothing grates on the ears of customers like, "You don't understand."When they really don't understand, the appropriate comment is, "I'm sorry, I'm afraid I didn't make myself clear." This multiple use of the first person singular takes the blame for miscommunication away from the customers, avoiding any possibility of offending them and opening the door for another avenue of explanation.
Old sayings notwithstanding, customers won't always be right, but you can only tell them they're wrong at the risk of making your point and losing their good will. They have no obligation, really, to understand you. Rather, it's your job to make your message understandable to them. You understand that? (Just kidding.)
Once Is More Than Enough!
When you've just experienced an unpleasant setback, it makes sense to review it once in order to determine what went wrong and how it might have been avoided. But DON'T make the common mistake of replaying that event over and over in your mind, and, both for their sake and your own, DON'T recount it to others. Reason: Your subconscious mind doesn't - it can't, in fact - distinguish between what's actually happening to you in the present and what you're vividly recalling.
Thus, you're reliving each misfortune every time you think about it again or unload your tale of woe on someone else. This prompts your subconscious to record that "this is the way things are," which sets you up for similar setbacks in the future. It's only when things go well that you should replay them in your mind and include them in your conversation.
The more positive images you imprint in your subconscious, the more likely it is that the same good things will again come your way in the future.
Hell Hath No Fury
Like a "family expert" scorned.
Good old Uncle Fred is that tagalong advisor who may make a nuisance of himself by thumping on walls, kicking foundations and occasionally snickering when you mention a positive selling feature. Before you ignore him, though, make sure his approval is not a prerequisite to making the deal. Even though he may not be a signing principal, if his approval is necessary, he is as important as the buyers themselves, and must be treated with the same deference.
Along the same lines, if the blessing is needed of an "Uncle Fred" who isn't present, consider inserting a clause in the agreement making it "contingent upon inspection and approval by (whoever) on or before (specific date in the nearest possible future)."
You can explain to the buyers that (subject to the seller's concurrence), this arrangement will hold the property for them and still give them the benefit of Uncle Fred's sage advice. A side benefit to you, the seller, and the transaction is that the buyers will enjoy a pressure-free period of "almost ownership," during which to bond with the property and internalize its benefits to them.
Positive mental attitudes and "up" behavior are highly infectious conditions, but it makes more sense to be a carrier than to wait until you catch them from others.
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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