While I love everything about my job, there are some things that really make my day – like receiving an ‘Ask Denise’ email. Every question has a different spin to it, because no two agents think about their issues and challenges in the same way. And I love that.
This week’s Zebra Report is based on five recent ‘Ask Denise’ questions. Thank you for continuing to ask … and thank you for making my day.
Question 1: Denise, should I spend more time at the office or at my home office? I get distracted at the office because I like to visit with my colleagues and staff. But I feel like it’s important to be there.
It really depends on your personality type. For some people, although being at the office can be distracting, it’s essential to feel alive and strong and fully engaged in business.
As an example, Promoters thrive with some distraction. They need interaction and camaraderie with others. It powers them up so they do great work. However, Supporters often find that being at the office is actually more detrimental than it is energizing. Supporters have a need to be very engaged with people—they give a lot of their time and energy, even when it’s not necessary. For a Supporter, being at the office is an energy drainer, not an energy booster. That’s why working from home on a very regular basis is important for a Supporter.
The one thing I can guarantee you is that you’re not asking this question if you’re a Controller or an Analytical. It doesn’t matter to them whether they are at the office or at home. Controllers and Analyticals have an innate ability to stay focused on the task at hand without being distracted.
Once you know what your personality type is, and how it affects you and your business so significantly, you’ll better know how—and where—you get your best work done.
Want to learn more? Come to our 2-day Safari on February 16th and 17th. We’ll show you how incredibly important your personality type is to every facet of your business.
Question 2: How do I counteract negative media when it seems like the market is starting to get better in my region?
You counteract negative media with knowledge. You have to really know your statistics, and you must have that information in front of you in an easy-to-understand format.
Let me give you an example. Recently Zillow had an article stating that the Seattle market is the 4th worst market to invest in right now. I don’t agree with that, and I know exactly why I don’t—I also track the statistics and see a much different picture.
Bottom line is this. If you know a recent story doesn’t jive with what you know is the truth, counteract act that story with stats and numbers and information. Have all the information you need to back your opinion up, so that the stories you hear and read don’t rattle you.
Additionally, don’t keep what you know to yourself. The people in your sphere are likely following the negative stories as well. Send something in the mail! Or call some of the movers and shakers in your sphere! When you have the strength of your data to back you up, you’ll be confident and knowledgeable in counteracting negative information.
Question 3: I’ve done many business plans over the years, but I never reach the financial level I want. What can I do differently to actually generate the success I’m looking for?
Thank you so much for asking this! So often I talk to agents who are struggling to reach the level of success they want, and learn that – sadly – they continue to do the same thing year after year, thinking (and hoping!) that “this year it will work.”
What you have to remember is that the business of real estate is quite complex. In order for you to know how much money you need to make, you have to understand how your days-on-market numbers affect your commission. You have to understand the relationship between your average sale price and your projected income. You need to understand how the quality of your database (or lack thereof) affects your ability to reach the next level you’re striving for. You have to know how your follow-up systems and lead generation systems affect your business.
Most agents only focus on one or two of these rather than looking at them all and understanding how they are all tied together. You have to use all of them to build a strong business plan!
I look at it like this: there are about 6 levels of business plans. Most agents continually stick to a plan that is much too basic. I’d say it’s a Level 1. I want agents to know what a Level 6 plan looks like, and how to use it to really – and I mean really – take their business to a whole new level.
At our February Safari, we’re literally going to start at Level 1 and finish at Level 6. When you leave Safari, you’ll know exactly what you need to do daily, weekly, monthly and annually to reach your financial and personal goals.
Question 4: I’m finding that I’m taking on too much, and my quality of life is really beginning to suffer. How do I balance my work life, and my personal life, and still make everyone happy?
This is another question I get asked all the time by my coaching clients. They are so busy at work, and so busy at home, that their overall quality of life is suffering.
When we really get into the discussion, what I find most often is that they just don’t know how to say, “NO.” They take on listings that take too much time, and won’t sell anytime soon. They give up family time to take non-committal buyers out instead. They volunteer for everything that comes up in their personal life, which takes valuable time away from their business.
What I tell agents to do is this: look at everything they are currently doing and assess two things – 1) does it produce short-term income, or 2) does it add value to either my quality of life, or the long-term success of my business. If it doesn’t fit into one of those 2 areas, they need to rethink how often they are agreeing to do things that hamper their ability to balance everything on their plate.
My last thought is this: you will never reach the level of business you want if you don’t have the quality of life you need to be happy. Remember that business plan we talked about above? The Level 6 plan we’ll create at Safari will teach you how to build a plan that gives you the balance you crave.
Question 5: My company has good name recognition in my market. They also have marketing materials I can use in my presentations. After a slow couple of years, why would I spend money on personal branding?
This is such a great question! While you can continue to use your company’s materials, you’re simply advertising your company – not you. I’m sorry to tell you this, but research shows that one agent looks very much like another to the consumer.
That’s exactly why you must stand out from the crowd. The most cost effective way to do this? Branding. Once you make the initial investment, it will pay off for years to come.
Imagine the impact to your business if every piece of marketing a client gets from you reinforces your marketing message. Trust me – it’s unbelievable.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI