For most real estate agents, time and money are directly correlated — if you have a lot of time, you don’t have a lot of money; and if you have a lot of money, you don’t have a lot of free time.
We use words like “hustle” and “grind” like badges of honor. We condition ourselves to become boastful of the pitfalls of the industry. Working late into the night, no days off and being 24/7 agents are all things that we market (as good things) to potential clients.
Although there is immense value in working hard, there is also value in life balance. If we can break out of the cycle of wanting more and enter a place of wanting better, we stand to win as an industry.
Here are three ways that you can leverage your time, make the same or more money and get a little life back.
1. Solve the real problems for your business
In our world of rapid marketing, real estate agents are at the top of the pile when it comes to being sold on sales products. Meaning, we will buy the next shiny object if it makes the right promise.
The trouble with that is we are often solving problems that we don’t even have. For example, agents might believe that more leads are their challenge. But once they take a closer look at their client experience and process, it is clear to see that conversion is the real challenge. Still, they will fill their pipeline with more purchased internet leads hoping that a few will stick.
We believe that cold calling is the best way to generate business. (It’s the oldest way — that’s for sure.) But what we fail to look at is the ROI on our time.
The truth is that everything works. The key component in this business is finding what works for you. It could be cold calling or it could be Facebook ads. But, again, everything works.
Identifying and solving the real challenges that plateau or stall your business is one of the biggest leverage moves available. When it comes to creating time and money, being selective as to what you bring into your process can increase both.
2. Own your schedule
Clients in real estate want a strong leader in the buying and selling of property — someone who is decisive, knowledgeable and service-oriented.
Most often, what they get is someone who, at the drop of the hat, will rush right over to agree with anything the client brings to the table.
When we talk leverage, schedule is the primary reason agents have time or don’t. Using time blocks, scheduling emergencies and being firm in your standards around communication are all great ways to stay in good leadership and service while still having your own time for life.
There are always exceptions to the schedule — things that come up that need immediate attention. There are also things that should be skipped (like the two-hour listing presentation for a potential client who just wants the comps and has no interest in showing you the home or its features).
Holding a meeting for something that should be covered in an email is not productive.
When a request for time is made, it is not that you are unavailable that will sway a client one way or another. It is how you communicate your availability. It is how you establish expectations from the start. It is how you uphold your standards.
Most people expect you to keep to a schedule, but it’s the first thing to go when deals are being made.
3. Don’t be everything to everybody
In our commission-based world, this is the hardest to see until it is too late. The truth of the matter is that often the best deal you will do is the one you don’t.
When you create your personal brand in real estate, it should attract people that you want to work with. Sometimes, people who are not right for you will show up as a result of your efforts. Deciding whether they are fitting your mold or you are fitting theirs is a skill worth having.
If we max our effort into fitting into every potential clients mold, we lose our time. When we lose our time, we lose our ROI.
Finding your core values, strengths and points of growth will help agents stay in a zone of delivering professional, valuable service to people who want those things. Deciding how you show up and who you want to serve the most is valuable information to have before you set out to grow your business.
The potential clients who just want a tour guide will be weeded out quickly. The fact is that you are not for everybody.
As we progress in our evolving industry, having a sense of normalcy in life will prove valuable. I don’t believe that we will ever get to a point of “normal business hours,” however, we can use our time in valuable ways for both us and our clients.
The process of adding value over a controlled amount of time starts with agents believing that such a business is possible.
It is not an easy task to operate on a higher level. It is also not easy to burn out and have to start over again or reinvent your business midstream. Taking control over how you do business is a valuable asset to have as the markets and process change.