“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant;
If we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.” –Anne Bradstreet
The year is off to a great start and by all accounts, activity is showing great signs of upward movement across the country. We’re hearing reports of multiple offers, properties going into contract in mere weeks, and buyers finally coming out of their long hibernation.
Many parts of the country did not experience the typical cold, snowy winter they have in recent years. Some may blame it on global warming or it just might be a forecast that things are heating up in 2012. As the winter fades away and the second quarter arrives, here are some things that Realtors can learn from spring.
1. Spring training
Every year, beginning in February, the best baseball players in the world begin arriving in Arizona and Florida to get ready for another season. And what is they are reporting for?
That’s right. The best players in the world show up each year to go back to the basics. They’ll spend six to eight weeks practicing, throwing, catching, hitting, fielding, running and all of the other things that most people assume they should all know how to do.
Yet, because baseball is their business, they all need to be at their best because … well, their job depends on it.
baseball image via shutterstock
They will work on things hundreds of times that may happen only rarely in actual games. They practice “pickles” (also known as “rundowns,” when a base runner is caught between two bases) and the “suicide squeeze” bunt play, which is intended to get a runner from third base to home plate.
They will turn double plays until their hip muscles hurt, and field enough ground balls that they will need ice and Motrin to ease their aching backs.
They do it in the spring so when the teams start playing “for real” in late March and early April, they don’t need to think about what they’re doing in a game situation. They instinctively react and make the play.
They also connect with their fan base — some of them new but many of them lifelong followers — during spring training. They sign autographs; they talk to the fans over the railings and from the bullpens in these smaller, more intimate stadiums; and they often meet face-to-face with people away from the ballpark because they may be staying in the same hotel or resort.
What can Realtors learn … ?
When things get challenging, how often do we say, “It’s time to get back to the basics”? If the basics work so well, why must we always get back to them? We should just keep doing the things that help us become successful. Baseball players are good at hitting, fielding, throwing, catching and running. What are the basics you need to be successful in real estate?
Some of the top players in baseball throughout history have been referred to as “five-tool players.” These players excelled in:
- Running for speed.
- Arm strength.
- Hitting for average.
- Hitting for power.
True “five-tool players” are few and far between. A player like the great Willie Mays is considered one of the best all-around players ever, and modern-day stars like Alex Rodriguez and Albert Pujols are also what many would consider a “five-tool player.” Because they help their team in more ways than other players, they demand and receive higher salaries.
Could you be a “five-tool agent”? What if you excelled in the following five areas of real estate and could demand the highest fees from your clients because you help them succeed in their real estate needs?
- Prospecting. Do you have an array of systems, methods and processes to focus on business-development activities that will help you secure appointments with people who have a real estate need or might know someone who does?
- Personal marketing. Do you leverage all the available methods to create and maintain a consistent “connection” with your network? This includes social media, direct mail, local “top of mind awareness,” and a mix of personal and brand recognition. When people see one of your company’s yard signs, do they think of you?
- Property marketing. You promised your sellers maximum exposure of their property in order to secure the “best buyer.” How do you feel about your ability to capture the most eyeballs regardless of price range, location or condition?
- Transaction service. It really boils down to this: Do you under-promise and over-deliver? From start to finish, are you providing truly remarkable service to each and every client you work with?
- Client follow-up. It costs more to build a new relationship than it does to maintain an old one. Are you satisfied with your systems that you have in place to insure that people who have done business with you in the past will be able to consider you “their Realtor” on their next transaction or for that next referral?
When was the last time you practiced your listing presentation? How about the dialogue you use when presenting an offer to a seller or a buyer representation form to a potential client?
The difference in a skilled, smooth delivery versus sounding like a rookie could be what helps you secure that next listing. And having an almost subconscious reply to that next objection just might be the home run you need to score the deal.
How’s your contact with your fan base? Is it consistent throughout the year or is it time that you got back to some regular contact? A nice mix of methods of contact is the best way to earn that top-of-mind awareness, so figure out what your approach will be this season. Direct mail? Social media? Face-to-face? Door-to-door? Maybe a mixture?
It’s time for you to get in the game.
In the Catholic religion, Lent is the time between Ash Wednesday and Easter. It is approximately 40 days long (although some biblical scholars may argue about its actual length). Some adherents eat no meat on Friday’s in observance of Lent, and choose to give something up during this time as a showing of their faith.
Most people choose to give up something they consider a vice — like drinking alcohol, smoking or watching television — while others use it as a motivator for things like “no chocolate,” “no sweets,” or another popular one that I have heard about: “No Diet Coke.”
Can you imagine if people chose to give up things like whining, apathy, blame, procrastination and pessimism? In the lyrics sung by Louis Armstrong, “What a wonderful world this would be.”
What can Realtors learn … ?
This one is pretty simple. It’s been said it takes 21 days to create a habit, so focusing on a task or activity for almost twice that long is sure to create some positive results.
Think of what might happen to your business if you could honestly commit to something for 40 days.
Making calls to past clients? Sending handwritten notes? Establishing a consistent presence on social media sites like Twitter, Facebook or Google Plus? Posting to your blog or even leaving a comment on someone’s blog for 40 straight days?
How much positive change and energy would you have heading into the busy summer months if you could stay focused and intent upon your mission for that long?
3. Daylight saving time
Not every part of the country recognizes daylight saving time, and that’s OK because it reminds us that all real estate is local. Whether you “spring ahead” or not isn’t really the point.
The days are getting longer. The sun is filling the morning sky before many have left for work, and it remains a little lighter into the evening hours.
horizon image via shutterstock
It’s also a great time to change the batteries in your smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms. Those new batteries could be a matter of life or death.
What can Realtors learn … ?
Have you ever said to yourself, “If I only had more hours in the day?” Well, daylight saving time won’t give you more hours (nothing will), but mentally it can make the days seem longer.
It’s just easier for most people to wake up and get going when the sun is out. It’s hard to get up and run or head to the gym while it’s still dark and cold outside (c’mon, I can’t be the only one who thinks that) so the early sun helps get our bodies up and moving.
If we’re up earlier (or active earlier) we’ve got more time for business development, business support, family time, personal time, physical exercise/activity and community involvement.
Which of those areas would you like to get more of into your day? Which of those areas might help you become a more successful Realtor? Which of those areas might help you find more balance in your life?
Spring is the time to adjust your internal clock and start spending the appropriate amount of time on each area in order to achieve your goals.
Just like our smoke detector’s batteries, it’s a great time of year to charge your own batteries when it comes to your continuing education.
Most states require that real estate agents take a specific number of hours of classroom training to maintain their license. This is the perfect time of year to schedule some classes to attend before you start getting really busy.
I see many agents in a heated panic because they waited until the end of their “CE” (continuing education) cycle to get their classes completed, and then they are racing to finish the required number of hours to submit their renewal.
The last thing you need is a bunch of clients and closings lined up when you receive that lovely notice from your state’s real estate licensing agency letting you know that your license has been suspended for failing to complete your required CE classes.
Tomorrow: Tax time, tending your garden and MORE!
(Click here for Part II)