Breaking Bad Real Estate Habits
A day in the life of a Real Estate agent is different for each of us. Many of you reading this blog probably have your stuff together and are top-producing, highly-effective agents. However, if most of us are honest with ourselves, we still have a ton of bad habits that contribute to making our jobs stressful sometimes. We get into Real Estate for many reasons, with one being a flexible schedule—we want to be able to participate in things that we could not as easily do with a 9-to-5 job. Unfortunately, sometimes that “flexibility” of not having a set schedule can make us feel like we are “on call” or “on the clock” 24/7 instead. Here are a few ways to break those bad habits.
1. Be in the moment
It’s easy to develop bad habits when it comes to time management. We are not designed to multi-task, which often causes us to waste time or not perform at our full potential. Because of this, we end up with many incomplete projects. If we schedule our time in blocks on our calendar and are intentional about it, we can accomplish much more. Similarly, it’s important to schedule family and personal time the same you would with an appointment. Quality of life should be the number one reason why we make this industry our career.
If we ask the ones we care about who are outside the Real Estate business, many might say that we allow the flexibility that comes with our jobs to consume our time, which interferes with quality time spent with them. I’m not saying to neglect your business—only you know what is best, and sometimes you really do just have to take the call. Still, it’s important to be aware of how you are spending your time when you are with the ones you love.
A personal example for me is that when I sit down to dinner with my family, I do much better if I put my phone on the charger and out of my pocket. If I have it nearby, I’m more likely to want to check it. When I’m with my family, I want to be in the moment and engage in real conversation with them. I know that there are exceptions to this rule, but if we can get around the general concept of “there are no emergencies in Real Estate,” we can allow ourselves to disconnect from our phones for twenty minutes to enjoy and appreciate dinner with the family.
2. Break your bad morning routine
Treat your morning as if you had to be at work at a certain time, ready to go for the day.
It’s easy to get distracted in the mornings. We get the kids ready and off to school, then we do some chores around the house. While watching TV, we drink several cups of coffee, check email and kind of work from home. Suddenly, it’s 9:55 and you are trying to decide whether to “work from home in pajama pants and vintage concert t-shirt” or to get dressed to meet friends for lunch and prospect for business.
Sleepy head get out of bed…
Get yourself on a schedule by being dressed and ready at the same time every morning so that you can enjoy the flexibility that a career in Real Estate can offer. Starting your morning right inevitably leads to having a more productive day and career.
3. Become a creature of habit
There is nothing wrong with working from home, but be purposeful with your work schedule. If you like working from the office or the local Starbucks, be consistent and try to get there around the same time every day. Whatever you do, be sure to pick a work space that allows you to focus on your business without distractions.
4. Don’t drop the ball
We talk to hot prospects, but we often get busy and put little to no effort into actually helping them. Then we think we’ve sown the seed by just setting up a MLS search or putting our clients on a cookie cutter drip campaign. We kick back, relax, and wait for them to call when they are ready to see the house and make the offer. Let’s face it: many of our clients are so busy that they may not look at what you are sending them every day. If your market is like ours, there is little to no inventory coming to market that fits their criteria exactly.
Time is of the essence. Your hot prospect can quickly get cold or become your competition’s hot prospect. Since there is now so much market detail readily available to the consumer, we may no longer be the “gatekeepers of the information,” but we are still in sales!
5. Keep it personal
Technology is great for automating processes, but communication is key. Communicate in the way or ways that work best for your clients, but try to go beyond just sending an email. When appropriate, pick up the phone and give them a quick call. Please don’t just say there is nothing on the market. Earn their business and let your prospect know you are working for them. If there is nothing available, call and let your client know you did another search a little wider and broader. Perhaps you can find a few options to share with them to see if they would consider altering their search criteria. In doing this, they would at least know what the market has to offer. You get the point: try to offer other solutions to meet their requests, letting them know that you are on top of their situation.
6. Prospect daily
Like any job, there are peaks and valleys with Real Estate. I respect working hard to keep a deal together, but do not worry over it. So often I see this cycle: agent loses focus, agent feels financial pinch, agent freaks out and thinks “I have no listings and nothing under contract!” Then, they bust their tail, prospect, work the phones, and get several deals under contract. After this, they get stressed because they are “so busy” dealing with the under contracts as they work through them. As most of them close, they are fat and happy for a few weeks. Then the cycle resumes.
The key is to continue the daily hustle of prospecting.
Work every under contract you have to your fullest to try to get to closing, but don’t let it consume your most importing business-sustaining activity, which is prospecting for new business. One thing that I have always done is to walk inside my local bank to deposit my commission checks. Yes, we have the auto-deposit ability, but going inside forces me to stop and talk to my bankers and the staff inside the banks. They send me a ton of referrals because they know that I get properties sold since I often deposit commission checks. I also meet a lot of business owners and contacts inside the bank. That ten-minute weekly activity has paid big dividends for my business.
7. Always think “on to the next”
Real Estate is a numbers game—the more we get under contract, the more deals we have that don’t end up closing. I’m excited when one is under contract, sure. But it then just becomes a task list process to see through closing. Yes, it can be time consuming and stressful, but it is just another stage of the process. I don’t count on a pay check any more with an under contract than I did when I got the listing or the buyer’s brokerage agreement signed. I focus daily on prospecting for new business, whether it is someone buying now or someone that wants to sell in two years when their kids graduate.
Constantly filling a pipeline of business is the key! A great way to prospect and grow your business is to let people at the coffee shop see you working. This gives you the opportunity to grow your sphere of influence.
What if we thought about it like this: for every one client that we get under contract, we ought to then find another client to replace that one in the event the first didn’t close… and so on. Don’t focus on the amount of commission either. Focus instead on working the deal, and the money will work itself out. The mindset has to shift in this regard. You aren’t thinking “numbers.” Your goal is instead to always have one more under contract.
8. Build your empire
Real Estate requires a lot of self-motivation. It all starts with staying on target each day, making sure that you are cultivating good habits and focusing on tasks that will help to build your business. In Breaking Bad, Walter White says he’s not in the “money business,” but in the “empire business.” This is exactly how you need to think: you’re building your Real Estate empire.
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