Thursday, November 15, 2018

How to Prioritize, Delegate & Focus on What Matters

The most common misconception about real estate agents is that what you do is a piece of cake. You set your own work schedule, have plenty of free time and still rake in gobs of money.

In fact, this misconception is what leads many right to the doorstep of the real estate industry.

Sadly, the truth is that there is no “flexible schedule,” especially for the new real estate agent. It’s even rare for many established agents. And, according to a Market Leader study, established agents make up a group known as “the least happy” in the industry.

Sure, as time goes on the schedule may ease – typically to a 10- to 12-hour workday, 7 days a week.

But, it’s the agent who needs to learn flexibility, not the schedule.

Once you get this, and understand how to prioritize, delegate and, most importantly, let go of the small stuff, life in real estate land will be so much better.

As we move into the holidays, clients trail off and your schedule will lighten up. Many agents take advantage of the lull to plan next year’s business. It’s also a good time to plan on — and commit to — balancing the two competing halves of your life.

“Delegation” isn’t a dirty word

According to a NAR statistic, 14 percent of agents use an assistant. The reason for this low number is that many agents tend to tie the timing of the hiring to a certain, albeit elusive, income target. “I’ll hire an assistant when I’m making $75,000 a year,” or something similar.

Or, perhaps by transaction count: “Once you hit 40-50 transactions per year, your production will be capped at that level unless you hire an assistant or someone else to help you manage your business,” claims Bernice Ross at Inman.com.

She does have a point, though – your production will be capped.

The truth is, there’s no chicken or egg thing going on here — most agents’ incomes increase when they hire an assistant.

This makes sense when you understand that your assistant relieves you of the mundane tasks that currently take you away from money-making endeavors. Answering the phones, checking email and making copies of transaction paperwork don’t make you money and they suck time.

The same holds true for writing your own blog posts (hire a writer), telephone prospecting and follow-up calls (hire a licensed assistant), posting to social media (hire a social media manager) and marketing (hire a marketing assistant).

It’s overstated but true that it takes money to make money. Free yourself from the mundane and you’ll free up time that will help you be more productive and maybe even take a day off.

Consider taking on a partner

Ok, so you’re not ready to fork over the bucks it takes to hire help. Have you thought about partnering with another agent? If not, consider this:

“You can take vacations – real vacations – ones where you do not work. In addition, you can take days off and if you’re sick you don’t have to answer the phone. In short, you will experience a higher quality of life,” says  Kelle Sparta, real estate trainer, and coach.

There’s a lot to consider when you’re thinking about taking on a partner or forming a team.

Pick up a copy of “The Millionaire Real Estate Agent,” by Gary Keller for some tips. You’ll also find information on structuring teams and partnerships at Realtor.org.

Tools and systems

Your tools and systems should be working for you, not the other way around

Sure, choosing the right tools and systems for your business is a chore in itself, but technology can help set you free, therefore it’s time well spent.

Automating the more important aspects of your business, such as ongoing branding with your target market, will play a big role in helping you find that balance between your work life and your private life.

Two of our most popular and effective ways to help you automate continuous contact with your target market are,

    1. The Market Dominator –  A 12 x 15 poster size, 2-sided, direct marketing piece that is delivered to your exclusive carrier route on a monthly basis, establishing you as the go-to professional in that neighborhood.
    2. Automated Just Listed/Just Sold Postcards – This done-for-you service integrates with your local MLS then generates postcards for your listings when they are active and sold.

As we move into the slower pace of the season, take the time to create targeted mailing lists and set up an automated campaign to get those marketing materials flowing to the right people.

Schedule “me” time

“You have to make a little time for the things that ignite your joy,” Laura Stack, author and productivity expert in Denver tells WebMD.

And, what better way to “make a little time” than by scheduling it?

Keep a log of your daily activities over the next week or two, paying close attention to those days on which nothing much is going on. Come on – we know you have one of those. By moving the activities of that day to another, or even spreading them out among six days, you can conceivably, actually, blessedly take a day off every week.

Make a commitment to remain unplugged on that day. That means taking no business calls (oh, yes, it will be painful) and no internet. In fact, get out of the house and leave the phone at home.

Guess what? The real estate world will continue to turn without your help for 24 hours.

If a full 24 hours to yourself is unthinkable right now, consider grabbing a smaller block of “me” time. Start with a half hour – get out and walk, workout, watch TV, do the laundry – anything but real estate.

Then, over the course of the next few weeks, expand that block of time by 15 minutes or half an hour.

One Detroit agent we spoke with weaned herself off the 12-hour day by leaving work 30 minutes earlier for a week. The next week she left an hour early and gradually built it up to where she eventually took an entire day off each week.

“Instead of just letting life happen, people who achieve work-life balance make deliberate choices about what they want from life and how they want to spend their time,” claims Harvey Deutschendorf at fastcompany.com.

Commit to achieving a successful balance between your work life and your personal life and put yourself in the happy agent percentage.

Start automating your Just Listed/Just Sold postcards with MLS Mailings today and begin the process of freeing up your time for what matters most.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 3 free ways we can help you STILL CRUSH IT in 2018!

1. Become a Listing Legend.

Ready to take a vertical leap in your real estate career? If you’re looking for inspiration…and the tools and methods to dominate a market and go to the top in real estate…you’ll find them in this free book. – Click Here

2. The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan.

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

3. The Free Online ROI Calculator. 

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero. BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too (now that’s what I’m talking about)!

Create a Real Estate Business Preparedness Plan

Everybody and their uncles have been blamed for the last shifting economy, despite the experts having a pretty good handle on its true causes. That whole subprime mortgage mess kicked it off but it wasn’t the only factor.

What the average American seems to be oblivious to is that recessions, like expansions, are a defining feature of a market economy. In fact, they’re two of the four phases of the “business cycle.”

We’re now in our 113th month of economic expansion, closing in on the record 120 months that occurred after recovery from the “dot-com explosion.”

The “R” word is on many economists’ tongues, and it isn’t a question of if we’ll sink into another recession, but when.

 But it probably won’t blow up the housing market

None of the economists interviewed by The Wall Street Journal said that the housing market will be the cause of the next recession.

This is good news for agents because, with the exception of the last economic downturn, home prices actually increased during the previous five recessions (stretching back 45 years), according to the Federal Reserve.

Be sure to point out this fact to your potential sellers who may be feeling a bit antsy about the future. Remind them that an economic recession doesn’t automatically mean a real estate recession.

Economic downturns do affect consumers in other ways, from dwindling investment portfolios to losing jobs. Spending, especially on big ticket items like real estate, drops.

Is your business ready should this come to pass?

Are you?

 What are the indicators?

Sure, we all know what a recession looks and feels like, but what are the economic indicators that prove we’re in one?

While some economists figure we’re in a recession after two consecutive quarters of down-trending real GDP, the National Bureau of Economic Research begs to differ.

“Rather, a recession is a significant decline in economic activity spread across the economy, lasting more than a few months, normally visible in real GDP, real income, employment, industrial production, and wholesale-retail sales.”

Right now, it’s tough to pinpoint any signs of a contraction in the economy. Optimistic retail trade groups see holiday sales rising nearly 5 percent this year.

We’re merrily rolling along with the highest employment rate since the 1960s, a projected Q3 jump in economic growth of 4.1 percent and rising personal incomes.

Lurking in the shadows of all this good economic news, however, are some niggling signs of a coming downturn.

 Get familiar with your numbers

This may seem like “well, duh” advice to most small business owners. Real estate agents, however, are a different breed. Many seem content to wing it, without a plan, without a budget.

If you want to last, especially during a changing market, a plan is a must and it starts with setting up a budget. To do this, you’ll need to get a handle on your production numbers, how much you spend on various aspects of your business and how much you expect to earn.

Dani Vanderboegh Inman.com offers an excellent basic budget primer at Inman.com.

Getting your spending under control – at least enough to where you can consistently set aside money for a “rainy day,” it is imperative to be able to weather an economic downturn and remain in business.

 Fine tune your marketing strategy

What else can you do to market yourself? If you’re not using direct mail, now is the time to put that system into place. If you’ve been putting off setting up a newsletter as part of a drip campaign, get to work on it.

In addition, create at least five different real estate lead generation sources. The more darts you have in your quiver, the better the chances you’ll hit something when it comes time to throw them.

Take some time to clean up your CRM and ensure that it’s working the way you need it to.

An economic downturn doesn’t have to mean the end of your real estate practice. Get busy on your business disaster preparedness plan by socking away money, setting up a budget and fine-tuning your marketing and you’ll be ready to weather anything the economy throws at you.

Start building your influx of new prospects by sending at least 100 monthly Community Newsletters to an area where you want more listings.

Need help targeting the perfect niche of buyers or sellers? Use our mailing list tool to create the ideal list (it’s easy) or call our support team for assistance at 866.405.3638!

PLUS: When you have time…here are 2 free ways we can help you STILL CRUSH IT in 2018!

1.  The 12 Month Done-For-You Strategic Marketing Plan.

The Real Estate Marketing Planner is a powerful 12-Month-Guide that strategically defines what marketing to do when. Four key market segments are included, Niche Marketing, Listing Inventory, Geographic Farming, and Sphere of Influence – Click Here

2. The Free Online ROI Calculator. 

Consistency and automation are the keys to success. Discover how effective direct mail marketing can dramatically increase your bottom line. Enter your statistics in our Free online ROI Calculator and click the ‘CALCULATE MY ROI’ button to see your results instantly! – Click Here

Also…check out these cool tools 

 Three Click Postcards – Just snap a home photo & create a postcard all from your mobile phone

MLSmailings.com – Automated Just Listed, Just Sold Postcards

Market Dominator System – Become a neighborhood brand

Want to Refer a friend or colleague? Refer them, Here. THEY get a Free $25 Gift Card and YOU become their hero. BTW, you also get a $25 Gift Card too (now that’s what I’m talking about)!