One of the key principles in the Law of Attraction is that if you want to expand your business, you must first have "empty space" in your schedule. The question is how to create it.
A number of years ago, I used to routinely talk about how busy my real estate business was. I stopped that habit when one of my best clients listed with another agent. Her reason? "The last time we talked, you sounded stressed out because you were so busy. It didn’t sound like you had enough time to handle our listing." Ouch!
The lesson here is that every one of our clients wants to feel that their transaction is our top priority. If your schedule is already packed to capacity, increasing your business is virtually impossible.
Granted, you could work on selling more expensive properties or decrease your list to sale time by pricing correctly, but what else can you do? Here are six suggestions.
1. Have clarity about who your ideal client is
One of the most important steps you can take to attract more high-quality new business is to know who is a good fit for your business and who is not. Because we are still experiencing a sluggish market in most areas, it’s tempting for agents to take almost any customer who wants to buy or sell a piece of real estate. This is a poor strategy in the long run, and here’s why: When you’re willing to work with almost anyone, you often say "yes" to clients who will never close a transaction.
2. Do more than just a financial "prequalification"
It’s important to know whether a client is prequalified financially, but there are other areas to consider that are equally important. Here are just a few of the questions you should consider asking:
- Will this person drain you of your time and energy?
- Will you have to expend additional time and effort to learn a new area where you don’t have excellent market knowledge?
- Is this person overly demanding?
- Is a listing that you are considering taking in a price range where the buyers can obtain financing?
- Does the seller have enough equity that you will not need to do a short sale?
- Is the seller current on all their payments?
- Does your buyer have another property that must be sold prior to purchasing?
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, your time may be better spent with someone who is better "qualified" to do business in today’s market.
3. How well are you using your opportunity time?
There is only so much that you can do in a single day. When you take a new listing or start working with a new buyer, then a chunk of your time must be allocated to that business.
For example, assume that you net $1,000 a week from your real estate business. That’s $25 per hour. To illustrate, if you attend a two-hour networking event or hold an open house where you do not obtain any leads, you just wasted $50 in opportunity time. Carefully evaluate each of your business-generation activities to determine where you are wasting "opportunity time." You’re better off taking the day off than wasting time on an activity that produces no results.
4. Let go of "clunker" clients
Imagine that you have an old, beat-up clunker sitting in your garage. As long as the clunker is sitting there, you don’t have room for a shiny new convertible. Some examples of the types of "clunkers" you may have in your business include unrealistic sellers who won’t reduce their price, buyers who will not be preapproved, or buyers who never make realistic offers since they must have the best bargain possible. By hanging on to these clients hoping that they will somehow close a deal, they’re wasting space that could be allocated to higher quality clients who will close a transaction.
5. Where do you get the best return for time spent?
Many agents would like to list luxury properties. It seems glamorous, but is it really the best way to spend your time?
For example, you may be tempted to take an expensive listing where the price range demands that you are present for all buyer showings. (This is a common practice in many million-dollar communities.) Also, the price range may be such that it takes a typical home 12 to 24 months to sell. Assuming that the purchase price is $1.5 million, you could probably sell five homes at $300,000 in half the time without nearly as much hassle.
Before making a decision to take every listing that comes your way, carefully consider what the average market time is in each area you serve as well as in each price range.
6. Sell quickly or hurt your reputation
Many top producers have stopped taking listings that will take a long time to sell. Having your sign in front of a property for too long creates the impression that the agent is not capable of getting the job done. To avoid this trap in your business, be aggressive about pricing your listings right and selective about the short sales you decide to list.
In terms of creating space for your business, it makes no difference where you start. Begin with what is easiest to you and clear away time and energy wasters a step at a time. It won’t take long to see real results in terms of more leads and more closed transactions.
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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