So as the market seems to be finally improving in my area, I found myself reflecting on what I've learned through the experience and want to share it with you.
Despite the market I ended up selling 50 homes last year, 48 the year before, and 65 the previous year, prior to that my production was consistently 100+ deals with my best year being 140 deals.
Prior to the market crash I began to downsize my business as I transitioned into coaching, training, and speaking to help other agents build a successful business of their own.
When the market crashed I dove back into my real estate business to ensure its survival. My intention is to leave my business to my kids when they're old enough and to spend my time coaching, training, speaking, and writing.
I wanted to share the things I've gained from building a productive business despite a horribly challenging market because if I can do it, you can do it too. If I can do it in the worst housing market we've had in decades you can certainly do it as we head toward the recovery and I want to help you.
So while I was prospecting the other day I just started writing down the things I've learned from being in this market and still having a successful business, here is what I wrote:
1. Sometimes it will truly take hard work, long hours, and dedication to keep a business afloat. Accept and just do it.
2. Staying away from the news and media is a must to maintain a strong mindset.
3. Isolation is sometimes necessary to do the things others are unwilling to do. Continuously talking to people about how horrible the market is and what's not working isn't going to lead to your success. Isolate yourself if necessary.
4. Carefully track where your business is coming from so you know what's working and what's not. You should know where every single deal initiated from.
5. Choose what works for you and do it. Don't allow yourself to be overwhelmed with all the different avenues of growing your business. It's just like the chewing gum section at the convenient stores, there's too many choices! Find your niche and stick with it. You can become the best at whatever you choose but being involved in too many different things will only lead to stress, overwhelm, and an unpredictable business at best.
6. It's imperative that you know your market statistics. And by that I mean detailed statistics. Whether working with buyers or sellers they're looking for your knowledge and expertise to guide them in these unstable times. Be prepared to confidently answer questions about average list price, sales price, days on market, list to sales price ratio, number of homes for sale, sold, and not sold in your market.
7. Dress for success. If you look professional and well put together, automatically confidence exudes you. Consumers want confidence.
8. Be honest, don't tell sellers what they want to hear just because it's the easy and comfortable way. They need to know the truth about the price and length of time it may take to get their home sold. Don't just try to take the listing and get out the door. Later, you'll wish you had educated them ahead of time. The more they know up front the better for both of you.
9. Take care of yourself. Eat better, exercise more, drink more water, go to bed earlier. It takes much more out of you to sustain a tough market so you've got to put that much more in.
10. Talk to and study what other top agents are doing. Don't be jealous of them or just shrug off that you can never do what they do. You can and will if you want to. Ask them to lunch or for coffee so you can pick their brain and learn from them. If you aren't comfortable talking with agents in your marketplace then Google top agents across the United States and call some and ask for a few minutes of their time. You'll be surprised at how willing and honored they'll be to support you.
11. Whatever you are around on a daily basis is what you will become. Pay close attention to who you spend your time with and what you spend your time doing. If you want to have a highly successful business it takes different choices.
12. You must have highly efficient streamlined administrative systems in place to handle the back end of your business.
13. It's imperative that you have strong affiliates who are willing to support you. Lenders who don't need you to do their job by pre-qualifying buyers or doing loan applications. Closing companies who don't need you to coordiante closing times, surveys, homeowners insurance, and title searches. Find highly competent affiliates, meet with them to discuss your expectations of them, and then get out of the way and let them do their job while you do yours which is to sell more houses.
14. Know what to say and how to say it when handling questions and objections from your clients and other agents. I co-wrote a book, Now What Do I Say?, a collection of over 400 answers to more than 70 of the most common questions and objections we face in real estate. You can purchase a copy on our website at www.yourethedifference.com or on amazon.com if you'd like to discover some proven ways of handling objections.
15. You have to continuously work on price reductions if your listings aren't selling. I can't tell you the number of times I call on an expired listing and the first thing they say is "I never heard from my agent, I thought we should reduce the price but my agent never discussed it with me". First of all to list a house and never communicate with your seller is completely unacceptable. You should be communicating with them on a consistent basis that goes without saying. But you should also discuss with them at the listing that in this market if the home isn't selling you need to continually look at whether or not the price needs to be adjusted to remain competitive with the market. If you educate them up front this will much easier when time to adjust the price. And whenever discussing a price reduction don’t call it a price reduction call it a price adjustment. The word reduction just doesn't feel good to a seller.
16. Before you ever give advice to a customer or client always align with them first. This is something you'll see throughout the objection handler book I mentioned above. Before we handle an objection we always align with the client and let them know we are their side. Validate their question, concern, or objection. Say things like; I understand, that makes sense, most people feel just like you do. Before negative news say things like unfortunately, I hate to have to tell you this, I wish it weren't this way. This sounds simple and almost as if we would naturally do it but if you pay attention to your communication I bet you'll discover that you rarely do it if at all. As Zig Ziglar says, "people don't care how much you know, until they know how much you care".
17. Clean up, clean out, and organize everything in your life. Your car, your home, your office, your closets. If you aren't using it or haven't in over 6 months throw it away. Clutter only clutters the mind and create unrealistic overwhelm and sense of busyness that isn't really there. Cleaning up, cleaning out, and organizing makes room for fresh new stuff and time to truly be busy doing income producing things. Relationships too, if you need to forgive, clear up, or sometimes sever relationships then do so. To not do so is a heavy load to carry.
18. Have a goal and business plan for what you want to do in your business and in your life. Don't just aimlessly begin everyday. Have a purpose, a scheduled, a pre determined goal of what you want to do each day, week, and month to accomplish your goals for the year. Read this and recreate as necessary. Things change, the market changes, we change. The business plan doesn't have to be the end all, it's a guide to get you to your destination and sometimes there are road blocks and detours that have to be overcome. Speaking of which, as these occur in your life be like water and continue flowing around them. To stop wouldn't lead water to larger bodies of water just as your stopping won't lead you to your large goals and dreams.
19. Look at your expenses on a monthly basis and stop spending where not necessary on things that aren't benefiting your life or your business. Know your finances and know them well. A great coach of mine once told me if you can control your money, your weight, and your environment you can have anything in life you want. I believe this and have lived by this rule ever since.
20. Speaking of coaches, it would highly benefit you to have one. And no, I'm not saying this so you'll hire me, however I would love to support you and teach you everything I know to help you get where you're going. Whether it's me or another coach having one will without a doubt help you get where you're looking to go easier and faster than you'll do it on your own. You'll have someone in your corner who has been where you want to go holding you accountable, and teaching you everything you need to know to get there.
Do you go on a long road trip without a map showing you how someone else has gotten there? Not likely. The same should hold true for your goals and dreams. Why would you try to get there without a road map? Money, yes it will cost money but the best investment you will ever make is in yourself. When I started my business in a brand new town years ago where I didn't know a soul, didn't even know how to get to the grocery store and back, was pregnant and had no money and my husband had just lost his job. I knew I wanted a highly successful business in real estate but didn't know how to get there or what to do. I got a credit card and hired my first coach for $1,000 a month. $12,000 for the year. Even completely broke with a baby on the way it didn't seem like too much to me. I figured if they could help me sell two or three homes that year it would pay for it. And if I did what they actually told me to do I would do that and much more. Which I did, I sold 39 homes my first year in the business in a brand new town where I didn't now anyone, 5 months pregnant when I started. If I can do it, you can do it too. I would love to help you get there. If not me, then choose someone who can.
I hope this has been helpful for you. Cheers to 2012 being a much better year than the last few years in the housing market!
If I may be of support to you, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or visit our website at www.yourethedifference.com to see our products and programs. We offer the objection handler book on audio as well so you can learn not only what to say but also how to say it when handling the tough objections we face.
"Christy Crouch is the co-founder of You’re The Difference Sales & Life Coaching, the co-author of Now What Do I Say?, and still an active agent in Virginia. She has participated in closing thousands of transactions throughout her career and has been inducted into her company’s Hall Of Fame for her production. If you are interested in talking with Christy about coaching with her, please email her at email@example.com.