In 2006, I left my very comfortable corporate job as an insurance underwriter to start a career in real estate. Several people thought I was crazy, but I didn’t care — I knew that working for someone else was just not for me. Entrepreneurship was in my blood, and I saw real estate as the conduit for fulfilling my business building dreams.
For those of you who don’t remember what was happening in 2006, here’s a quick refresher: the economy slowed, the labor market weakened and the housing boom came to an end. Home appreciations decreased, homes were sitting on the market longer and consumer debt skyrocketed. A year later, we entered the Great Recession, which lasted until mid-2009. The perfect time to change careers and take the biggest risk of your life, right?
Here’s the thing, there is no perfect time to make a move. Regardless of the economy or the housing market, people are still buying, selling and investing.
Is it going to be harder? Yup. Is it going to take more time and more effort to achieve the same results? Definitely. It also will weed out those who can’t hack it and leave the very best real estate professionals in the business acting as fiduciaries for their clients.
The one thing you should be focused on
We’ve been talking about another market shift for years now. But it’s not just the real estate market that is shifting this time — it’s the entire real estate industry.
In 2006, during my first seven months in real estate as a single agent, I closed 38 transactions. How? By being extremely focused on one thing — appointments. In fact, for a few years, in the worst housing market in recent history, I increased our business year-over-year by focusing on appointments. Appointments lead to listing and buyer agreements, which lead to closings, which leads to profit.
My exact model
As the market continues to shift, real estate agents and business owners will be looking for predictable cash flow. The best way to accomplish that is through appointments. Here is the model I created to get appointments in my first few years in real estate:
- Reminders: Put a huge reminder everywhere that says: “One appointment held per day.” Put it in on your iPhone home screen, in your bathroom, in our car, on your fridge. Keep it front and center.
- Lead gen: Stop resisting lead generation, and embrace it right now. Who cares if you get rejected. Go for the rejection, and learn to embrace it. One more no means you are that much closer to a yes.
- Remove distractions: Email, drinks with your friends, putting together a marketing flyer – they don’t matter. Nothing else matters but securing one appointment a day. Everything else can wait.
- Plan ahead: Prepare your call lists and lead generation lists (door-knocking, open houses, farming, etc.) a day or two in advance. Don’t waste 30-45 minutes screwing around trying to figure out what lead generation you are doing that day. Plan ahead, get organized, and then execute.
- Make calls: Implement a minimum of two call nights per week and one full call day, in addition to your regularly daily lead generation time block. Reserve the rest of your time for meeting with the customers you set appointments with.
It sounds simple, right? But it’s not easy. Having that level of commitment and sustained focus is downright hard. Don’t cheat! When you do, the only person you are cheating is yourself. You must embrace the boredom of the activities that you know will lead to the results you want. This isn’t the time to get creative. It’s time to do the work. This is where we start to see the separation between the amateurs and the pros.
The appointment is all that matters
Although I am no longer a single agent, this is still the plan I am putting in place with my 20-plus CEOs and our 215-plus real estate agents around the country. Nothing matters but the appointment. I challenged them, and I am going to challenge you to get hyper-focused on this for the next 90 days.
This means taking every appointment that you can. A FSBO wants a price opinion? Great. Take the appointment. A buyer says they are a year out from buying? Awesome. Take the appointment. Your friend has a wild idea on a Saturday night to buy an investment property with their sister? Sounds good. Take the appointment.
Why? Because action breeds action. This is a numbers game right now. If you take five appointments, then one of them is going to result in a pending sale, which leads to cash flow, which is ultimately what you are after. Make it your personal mission to nail at least five appointments per week. They are there. They are happening with or without you. So why not you?
Keep the right team
If you are a business owner, there are a few additional things to keep in mind during the shift. While we are focusing on cash flow through appointments, we also must pay attention to expense management. During a shift, you must cut expenses and the first thing people usually go to is eliminating staff.
That’s not a smart move.
Let’s remember that investing in the right people is one of the best investments you can make during a shift. The right person is going to be able to withstand the grind and help you navigate the change to put you ahead of competitors.
Having the right people is a powerful offensive move. Hiring the right person could make or break you during a shift. So, while I’m a huge proponent of reducing expenses by a minimum of 10 percent each month over the next 12 months, that does not include people. In fact, you may even need to take on a new staff member to help you push through.
The shift is not coming. It’s here. Focus on one appointment a day, invest in the right people and expense management, and you won’t just survive the shift, you and your business will thrive.