I heard Saul Klein, one of my favorite technology speakers say, “real estate is a ME TOO business”. He meant if one agent see someone doing something that looks good others will do the same thing no matter if directly produced a result. When I heard that I thought of lemmings. Will we go so far to follow people to our death because everyone else did the same exact thing?
Here are some things I thought about:
Why does every agent have their picture on their business card?
Why does every agent have yard signs that look exactly alike?
Why does every agent go on broker tour?
Why does every agent mail out postcards?
Why does every agent send out baseball calendar schedules?
I am not saying any one of these things are right or wrong. How does a seller select a listing agent? I would assume they would look at all of the things that the agent will do and make their decision on quality or price. Quality meaning the services offered that make people say WOW! Doing the same thing as the pack will make people say next.
Here are some things that will make us unique from the rest and avoid the herd mentality.
- Stop doing phone duty. I have done phone duty and their is nothing more de-activating than sitting waiting for a phone call for someone that may or may not want to work with me in the first place. Instead use that time calling past clients, sphere of influence (SOI) and enhancing the relationships we already have. People will work with those they know like and trust. Phone duty can be a desperate gamble of time when our SOI is a sure thing.
- Stop holding open houses. Ever spent time, money, and energy to hold an open house and no one showed up? I have and it is a sickening feeling to leave and then call the owner to give our best reasoning why no one showed up that day. Maybe the weather? Maybe the holiday? Maybe is graduation weekend? Since most houses are sold by other agents or showings away from the open house why are we misleading the sellers that this option will work. Instead spend time calling our SOI if we want to work with buyers.
- Stop advertising in the newspaper. Shelf life of newspapers are faster than a 2 hour movie. Instead of taking the time to create the ad spend $10 to go see the latest action movie and save $200. At least we were entertained by seeing the movie.
- Stop saying yes to every client. Some clients will make us work harder than warranted. The 24/7 agent mentality will damage our relationships with our friends, family and anyone outside the business. Unless we are getting paid like a brain surgeon, set rules for our clients to follow. If they won’t follow our rules then find clients that will. 80% of the problems come from 20% of the clients.
- Stop spending money. Just because the money is in our budget or we see the next greatest toy or service put a hold on our purchases. Most advertising is a waste anyways. If we have done a good job with our clients then the word of mouth will spread faster than the flyer we sent out in the mail.
- Stop pretending you know everything. I know what I don’t know and that is fine with me. There are plenty of other people to refer to when we do not have the answer. There is nothing worse than giving an answer that maybe false.
- Stop showing every house. If a client asks us to see 40 houses on a weekend do we get started setting the appointments or do we dig deep to see why they have selected the ones they liked. Ask qualifying questions like, “How does this house make you feel? or What make this house stand out amongh the rest?” The more questions we ask in the beginning the more time we can save our clients and ourselves.
- Stop praying. Responsible people do pray but take responsiblity when the situation did not work out. If a negotiation turned sour do we assume responsibility or blame the other agent? If an inspection has huge problems could we have have known about some of these problems ahead of time. Praying may help mentaly but things happen for a reason. Take responsiblity and move on.
The best way to avoid the herd mentality is to take education classes outside your local area. Attend conferences, conventions, and seminars from successful agents who know what they are talking about. Take designation classes such as GRI, ABR, CRS, PMN, CCIM, and CRB to learn from accredited schools and instructors. Visit www.REALTOR.org to see the available courses you can take which will take you to the top in your market.