Over the last twelve months, I’ve had the opportunity to see first-hand how some real estate businesses have fallen into a death spiral. And yet in the same difficult market, I’ve seen other businesses soar.
What makes the difference? What are the most common things that real estate agents do to destroy their businesses?
1. Work in the moment.
While that sounds very enlightened, it’s a recipe for disaster. Working in the moment happens when an agent is working reactively—handling the crises of each day as they come along. If this describes you, then you are not paying enough attention to the past or the future. You’re allowing your business to drag you around and lead you away from the important tasks on which you need to focus.
Running your business this way leads to only two destinations: feast or famine. You are totally dependent on the whim of fate. You allow your business to run you instead of you running your business.
Instead of living in the moment, you should be planning ahead. You should have rules, including set times that you’re on and set times that you’re off. You should be following your marketing plan, which leads me to…
2. No marketing plan.
When you have no marketing plan, you are an active participant in the destruction of your business. A marketing plan clearly shows you the tasks you need to perform at specified times each month to keep your business moving forward.
Even big established corporations still have a marketing plan. Everybody knows Coca-Cola, right? So, why doesn’t Coca-Cola just stop marketing? Because if they did, a competitor would rise up overnight and steal all their customers.
“But Denise, I’m a salesperson, not a marketer.”
Wrong. We are all marketers. The shoe store on the corner sells shoes, but they’re really in the marketing business. They have to market themselves to get people to walk in the door to buy their shoes. Without marketing, they don’t exist.
By neglecting your marketing plan, you’re neglecting the building of your business. A solid, well-crafted marketing plan is the only true way to escape feast or famine.
What are the things you’re going to do on a monthly basis to keep your name top-of-mind with your clients?
3. Follow-up only when you need business.
This is possibly the biggest mistake I see agents make. They’re great at follow-up when they need a transaction now, when they see their pipeline shrinking, or when they get an unexpected bill.
If you want a successful long-term real estate business that flows with not a hint of feast or famine, then you absolutely need a strong follow-up program that runs no matter how many clients you have at any given moment.
Your clients need to hear from you on at least a monthly basis. No matter what.
And when I say “hear from you”, I do not mean email. They’re just going to delete your email. They need to be able to touch and feel something from the regular mail that they get from you every single month.
Follow-up is the driving force behind all successful real estate businesses. Without it, you will eventually burn yourself out, ending up with no leads and no ability to take your business to the next level.
4. Lack of presentation skills.
Many agents think it’s better to “wing it” when it comes to presentations. Many agents have been “winging it” for thirty years.
That may be your opinion, but your opinion doesn’t cut it when it comes to presentations. I view extensive presentation work and perform makeovers on hundreds of agents. I can tell you emphatically that I have never—ever!—seen an agent “wing” a presentation to me and been able to say, “Wow! That’s really good.” Even the agents who think they are good at presentations horrify me with their lack of skills.
Winging it doesn’t work in today’s hyper-competitive environment. You need a presentation that appeals to different personality types. It’s not a “one size fits all” world.
5. Lack of unique services.
We all tend to think that in the big picture, everyone sells real estate the same way. That could not be farther from the truth.
Every agent needs to sit down and take a good hard look at what unique services they offer their clients. What unique services do you offer for buyers? For sellers? What kind of buying or selling experience do you provide? If you can’t enthusiastically say to yourself or your clients that you provide a unique service that makes the transaction easier and smoother, then you are missing out on a great opportunity.
One of the quickest ways to destroy your business is to be like everyone else. You need to be a contrarian agent. You need to be different and special.
I know an agent who found himself working with senior citizens. Together, he and I created a “concierge program” for seniors. That included him picking the person up and delivering them home. It also included providing larger-font mailing packages created with senior citizens in mind.
Was this a lot of work? You bet.
Did his business dramatically improve overnight? Absolutely.
Because the senior citizens rewarded him with referral business. Their children and their grandchildren lined up to work with him because his concierge senior program was so successful.
Offer unique services and you will reap many rewards.
6. Lack of self-discipline.
Improper phone etiquette. Lag time in responding to emails. A messy and disorganized office. Sloppy marketing materials. All these contribute to the destruction of your business.
You need time in your daily schedule where you handle all the small tedious tasks that keep your business running.
Do you have a time set aside to work on your projects? Do you have a time where you do your communication and follow-up? Or do you get up in the morning and let the day drag you around? Start directing your own day! If you don’t, you will fall victim to exhaustion and burnout.
These are six easy ways to destroy your real estate business. If you can identify yourself in one or more of these, take the needed steps to make a change in your business.
When working with agents, I use a powerful tool that helps agents identify their weak spots. It’s called our Business Analysis. At almost five hundred questions long, it goes deep into the 30 categories that contribute to the success of your business After completing the Business Analysis you receive a “prescription” on exactly what you need to do to take your business to the next level.
You can read more about our Business Analysis here.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI