There’s an old saying: "The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results." If you want to improve your business, the question is: "What will you do differently to get different results?"
The real estate market is changing rapidly. The old skill sets that worked in the past are no longer effective today. Technological changes are occurring so rapidly that it’s simply impossible to keep up with them. Generational differences require agents to have multiple marketing plans and strategies to fit the niches they serve. Due to lower price points, even agents who are doing high volumes of transactions aren’t making the same amount of money as they were several years ago.
In this environment, how can you reinvent your business so that you will be one of the people who will continue to thrive no matter what the market does? Here are four steps that will get you started.
1. Create a strong foundation
Rather than tossing out everything you’re doing to "reinvent" yourself, build your foundation upon what is already working well. An excellent approach is to use the "80-20" rule.
For most agents, 80 percent of their production comes from the top 20 percent of their business activities. Identify your personal 20 percent and let that be the foundation for any innovation you decide to implement. Dump the bottom 20 to 40 percent of your activities that produce less than one or two deals per year. By dumping these nonproductive activities, you create room to experiment with new ways of generating more business.
2. What do your clients say you’re good at?
Many times your perception of what constitutes value is different from what your clients actually value most. For example, you may believe that your clients really value that you’re the No. 1 agent in their area. As a result, you market yourself as "No. 1 in sales volume." If you were to ask your clients, however, it’s much more likely that they value fast response time. You’ll never know what they value unless you ask them.
Some questions you may want to pose to new clients include "How would you like me to communicate with you?" and "In terms of working with an agent, what matters most to you?"
For past clients, ask, "What did I do that met or exceeded your expectations?" as well as "What else could I have done to serve you even better?" Asking these questions provides you with critical feedback that can help you identify how you are meeting or exceeding client expectations as well as help you identify where you need to improve. In fact, one of the best ways to do this is with a post-closing survey. These surveys almost always increase customer satisfaction levels dramatically.
3. The biggest reinvention: your mindset
Have you ever wondered why some agents do well no matter what the market does? The Law of Attraction says what we focus on, we attract. For example, if you focus on how bad the market is, you will attract clients and situations that support that belief. If you make a list of all the characteristics of your ideal client and envision yourself working with that type of client, many of those "ideal" clients will appear in your business. …CONTINUED
Consequently, be aggressive about creating an environment that is "negativity-free." This can be a challenging task because negativity is everywhere. While you can’t totally escape it, you can limit your exposure by turning off your radio and television. Instead, use that time to read, listen to training or motivational podcasts, or spend time with people you enjoy and who make you feel good.
If your office is full of negative people who are constantly complaining about how bad the market is, work from home.
If the challenge is with a family member, the next time that person starts to complain ask him or her to tell you about one thing that went right today. Every chunk of negativity you eliminate brings you closer to having the right mindset to achieve your goals.
4. Innovate to dominate
You have identified your greatest strengths based upon your production and client feedback and you’re working on creating a positive mindset. The next step is to innovate. The challenge is that there are so many choices it’s hard to decide which innovations are right for you.
In every market, there are early adopters. (These people may be in industries outside of real estate.) Read their blog posts or follow them on the social media sites to see what is working for them. When you encounter something they are doing that is working well, ask yourself, "Is this a fit for my business?" and "Is this something I would enjoy doing as a regular part of my business?"
If you answered "yes" to both questions, then experiment with the new approach or technology. If it works, keep it. If it doesn’t, discard it and try something else. Don’t allow yourself to feel guilty because you’re not doing what everyone says you "should do."
Ultimately, reinventing yourself is an ongoing process. Always work on expanding the key business activities you do well, continually seek feedback from your clients, eliminate as much negativity as possible, and try three to four new things each year. These simple steps can remake your business so it’s better than it has ever been.
Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, trainer and author of "Real Estate Dough: Your Recipe for Real Estate Success" and other books. You can reach her at Bernice@RealEstateCoach.com and find her on Twitter: @bross.
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