Across the country, agents are becoming “victims” of the slowing market. Will you join the victims as their business continues to decline, or will you emerge as one of the victors?

“The market is terrible!” “Nothing is selling.” “No one is calling.” “No one is showing my listings.” “I’m not getting any referrals.”

Each one of these statements contains the seeds that can grow into a failed real estate business.

Now compare the following statements:

Across the country, agents are becoming “victims” of the slowing market. Will you join the victims as their business continues to decline, or will you emerge as one of the victors?

“The market is terrible!” “Nothing is selling.” “No one is calling.” “No one is showing my listings.” “I’m not getting any referrals.”

Each one of these statements contains the seeds that can grow into a failed real estate business.

Now compare the following statements:

“Slowing market … so what? Bring it on!” “My investor clients love this market — there are so many opportunities!” “What slowing market? I’m making more money now than I was last year!” “While I’m still taking listings, I’m now also actively prospecting for buyers, especially first-timers.”

What’s the difference between these two sets of statements? If you examine them carefully, you will note that the first group of statements blames the agent’s lack of production on external factors. In contrast, the second set illustrates agents who take charge of their business, even when times are tough.

Professional coaches attribute this difference to being in reaction rather than response. Consider the following “reactions” to the market:

“I can’t help it if there are no buyers!” “It’s not my fault that these first time buyers can’t get a loan. The subprime mess is the reason they can’t get financing.”

Now consider the following “responses” to the market:

“Sure the market is slow and it’s harder to qualify for a loan. I make sure that every one of my buyers is preapproved. When I have a first-time-buyer lead, I send them to the mortgage broker first. It’s a lot smarter to spend your time on buyers who can purchase rather than driving around someone who is not qualified.”

“There’s plenty of business out there. You just have to change your strategy. While I still focus on obtaining listings, I’ve placed much more emphasis on obtaining first-time buyer and investor clients. Instead of selling to people who want to flip a property, I’m now selling to people who want to live in their home for a long period of time or who are looking for a solid investment that will generate long-term cash flow.”

Shifting your business focus may not be easy, but it’s certainly worthwhile. The key place to begin is with your mindset. The law of attraction says, “Like attracts like.” If the other agents you work with are complaining about the market, escape as quickly as possible. Their negative attitude is just like the flu — it’s highly contagious and very debilitating. Instead, join a mastermind group or spend your time with people who are successful. Focus on what they’re doing to succeed and imitate them.

Next, you must be proactive about your lead generation. If you are working by referral exclusively, a slowing market can be the kiss of death for your business. The simple reason is that referral systems rely on someone else to find your leads for you. Consequently, you are not in control of your lead generation. To counteract this difficulty, the wisest course of action is to add both a traditional and a Web marketing component to your business. To succeed in a slowing market, you need all three components.

For example, make virtual tours available through your yard signs with the new podcast technology. Potential buyers can download a virtual tour of the property on their cell phones. The new call-capture technology allows your callers to opt in to receive a message from you so they’re not surprised when they receive a phone call back. You can also add the “push-to-talk” technology from RealPing to your Web site, which allows site visitors to contact you from their computer. When your cell phone rings, you can show them other listings on your site while you’re out in the field — no laptop needed.

In terms of traditional marketing, the tried-and-true methods still work. Open house continues to be a great place to pick up buyers. Experiment with holding open houses during the week, especially on routes to schools or other activities where parents may be dropping off their children.

You can be a victor in any market provided that you take charge, surround yourself with people who have positive attitudes, and proactively search for leads.

Bernice Ross, national speaker and CEO of Realestatecoach.com, is the author of “Waging War on Real Estate’s Discounters” and “Who’s the Best Person to Sell My House?” Both are available online. She can be reached at bernice@realestatecoach.com or visit her blog at www.LuxuryClues.com.

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