The ebb and flow of the real estate business can be affected by the seasons, the economy and more. Luxury agent Amie Quirarte shares ways to weather the slow times while building your business.

This January marks Inman’s fifth annual Agent Appreciation Month, which culminates at Inman Connect New York in a celebration of agents at the end of January. Plus, we’re rolling out the coveted Inman Power Player Awards, as well as the New York Power Brokers and MLS Innovators awards.

The verdict is in — the old way of doing business is over. Join us at Inman Connect New York Jan. 23-25, when together we’ll conquer today’s market challenges and prepare for tomorrow’s opportunities. Defy the market and bet big on your future.

This post was updated Jan. 8, 2024.

Lake Tahoe is a unique real estate market, as it’s mostly a seasonal and second-homeowner destination. Selling real estate here has helped me to become accustomed to the inevitable slowdowns every fall and spring.

At the beginning of my career, it wasn’t easy to normalize the downtime and find productivity in my business, even without clients. I would become anxious, stressed and paranoid until I found ways to utilize my free time efficiently. 

Below are a few steps that you can implement in your business when you’re low on clients: 

1. Remind yourself that every single agent, even the most successful agents making millions of dollars every year, experience lulls in their business

We’ll have highs, lows and everything in between. So while you’re having your best year, I could be having my worst year. That doesn’t mean you won’t ever sell a house again; it just means that the timing of your clients, or future clients, hasn’t reached the inflection point of a sale yet. 

As hard as it is to not compare yourself to others or desperately watch the sales tick away in the MLS without your name, work on staying grounded and believing that your time will come. A positive mindset will work wonders for you, while a negative mindset can negatively impact your work. 

2. Work on your business instead of in it

The downtime is a great time to master your systems, become clear on what is working and what isn’t, home in on your farms, get to know the behavior of your farms and more. The downtime allows you the gift of time, which is when most of us can be the most creative.

I like to start each day by sitting in silence for 20 minutes. I put a timer on my phone and don’t pick up any electronics during those 20 minutes. I simply sit with my thoughts and let the creative juices flow. I have a journal dedicated to my “thinking time,” I journal down all of my ideas once the timer goes off. I have my best (and most fun) marketing ideas during this time.

3. Plan events or create a value proposition for past, present or future clients

Planning events can be time-consuming, so downtime is the perfect opportunity to work on one. Contrary to popular belief, you do not need to shell out a large chunk of cash to host a successful event. In fact, you can do it for free.

Recently, we hosted a free, first-time homebuyer seminar with a local mortgage broker at a brewery in town. We used social media to market our event, had the space donated to us and put together the slides ourselves. We had over 30 attendees, many of whom converted into leads. 

The best part? We’ve been able to help our first-time, local homebuyers buy a home in Tahoe. 

By creating and hosting events such as this, you’re helping others, first and foremost, but you’re also adding more familiarity to your name and what you do, which is what marketing is all about. 

4. Spend time with people you love and your past clients

My favorite type of lead is a referral from someone I know, like and trust. There is no greater honor than being introduced to a friend’s friend based on their confidence in me as their Realtor. The best way to gain that trust is simply by spending time with people. 

Ask friends out to coffee, mention your business and what you’re doing, and ask them about their business. Be genuine.
If you don’t have the funds to take someone out to coffee, ask them to go on a walk, start a book club or tailor it to their and your personal interests.

These meaningful moments with people go a long way. The more time you spend working on the relationships in your life, the more people will think of you anytime the word real estate is mentioned. 

5. Ensure all of your online profiles and social media channels are up to date

This one is self-explanatory, but make sure your bio is correct on every real estate site, add all of your past sales, ask past clients for reviews, and do your best to stay as relevant as you can online. Your online presence makes a difference, and finding time to dedicate to this is essential. 

While it may be hard to mentally adjust to having very few clients, I hope you can look at it as a positive with unlimited potential to unlock the next phase of your business. If you are running at all cylinders all of the time, you won’t be able to ensure the mechanics of your business are still operating at full capacity. 

I like to think of real estate like a conveyor belt: If you become too focused on the end of the line (closings, current transactions, etc.) you won’t have anything to work on once you reach the end because you haven’t been reloading the belt with new items (i.e. new clients and escrows). Therefore, to reach your full potential in this business, you must master the conveyor belt from start to finish. 

Amie Quirarte is a luxury real estate agent with Tahoe Luxury Properties in California and Nevada. Connect with her on Facebook or LinkedIn.

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