- Be proactive, have a plan, prioritize, go above and beyond, listen, connect and learn -- these are the habits real estate agents should absorb into their daily routine.
You’ve most likely heard of The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Powerful Lessons in Personal Change, written by Stephen Covey in 1989. It has been adapted and has sold millions of copies over the years.
Covey defines effectiveness as “balancing obtaining desirable results with caring for that which produces the desirable results.” So, what does that mean for us real estate agents as we work day in and day out to produce those desirable results for both ourselves and our clients?
Certainly Covey’s habits are still relevant today, however, building them into our daily lives is difficult, especially when we’re already entrenched in our own daily habits — habits that are often harder to break and change than we might think.
You may already have these effective habits in your wheelhouse, you just haven’t realized it yet. If not, start employing them today.
1. Be proactive
This is so relevant! Being proactive in every aspect of your business is one of the best ways to expand your network, $ads and get those ever-important referrals for future business.
Anticipate your clients’ questions by giving them as much information as possible before they even ask them, and send out emails to your network asking for referrals before you actually need those referrals.
Invest in a CRM (customer relationship management), and one that allows you to create campaigns like Contactually, for proactively reaching out regularly to your network without much lift on your part.
2. Begin with the end in mind
In other words, plan for your future. It’s too easy to fall into the trap of focusing on the here and now and only working on what’s on your list for today.
But what’s going to happen when the busy season hits and you suddenly realize you didn’t plan for it at all?
Look ahead, and implement a system for how you’ll maintain your business, how you’ll achieve success and what that success will look like for you and your business.
3. Put first things first
How are you prioritizing the items on your to-do list? Covey stresses that in order to properly prioritize, you need to understand the difference between when something is important and when something is urgent.
Because there is, of course, a difference between the two, even if it doesn’t feel like it.
Establish a rating system for what you need to do, and file everything away under important or urgent. Try a task manager like Asana or Trello if you’re looking to move past a desk full of color-coordinated sticky notes.
4. Think win-win
Collaboration and interaction are key here. How can you make everything you’re doing a win-win scenario for all parties involved?
Although you might think that providing your real estate services makes it a win for your clients, is it really enough?
Real estate services are the basic foundation of what you’re doing, but going above and beyond those duties will make it a true win for your clients, and in turn, it will make it a win for you.
What’s better for your business than a happy client?
5. Seek first to understand, then to be understood
Here Covey recommends the fine art of empathetic listening. Take the time to understand what your client is looking for fully before jumping to conclusions or assuming what they need or want.
As you work with clients to make one of the biggest decisions of their life, make sure they feel they’re being heard and that you’re understanding their needs and wants.
Connecting with your clients at a more personal level is just as important as any other aspect of the buying and selling process.
Buzzword alert! To cut through the buzz, it’s all about teamwork and creating a positive space for teamwork.
You might be thinking, “I’m a solo, independent agent, this isn’t relevant,” but isn’t every relationship you create with your clients a team?
“Synergy” can be created between you and your clients, between you and your team, and even between you and other professionals you connect with locally.
It’s a matter of positive teamwork, and that’s something we can all get on board with.
7. Sharpen the saw
Never stop learning. We can all stand to improve our practices and stay as informed as possible in the field of real estate to be the best agent possible.
Network with local agent groups, read up the latest business or sales books, and check out any major conferences that you can attend.
The idea here is quite literally to sharpen your skills, hone new ones and keep abreast of any developments in the field. It’ll only serve to make you the best agent possible.
Where do you stand?
Most likely you’re already working these habits into your life, now you just have a name and “title” for each habit, and you can further optimize your business processes.
Although Covey’s seven habits aren’t the end-all-be-all guide to being both successful and effective as a real estate agent (and as a person), building these habits into your daily routine will improve your abilities.
At the end of the day, Covey advocates for building habits into your life that can only stand to make you a better agent, so what’s stopping you from doing that?
Brandon Doyle is a Realtor at Doyle Real Estate Team — Re/Max Results in Minneapolis and co-author of Mindset, Methods & Metrics – Winning as a Modern Real Estate Agent. You can follow him on Twitter.