A failure to plan is a plan for failure.
Times, they are a changing! A mere 3 months ago, we were all planning on having a huge year, growing our business, and enjoying life. And then the world stopped and the world of real estate shifted. What do I do now? Will we all get sick? When will I get my next paycheck? How am I going to pay my bills? WHAT’S GOING TO HAPPEN NEXT!?!?!?!
In her last post, my colleague and master wordsmith Maya, mentioned Gary Keller’s book “SHIFT” in which he discusses how to adjust your business to a changing market. It’s a great book, but many just look at the bullet points and assume they know what to do. So my goal is to break down that 300 page book into easy, digestible, and actionable pieces in four simple steps.
4 Steps To Winning During A Real Estate Shift
- Cost control
- Work your database
- Wow your clients
A failure to plan is a plan for failure. How do you know what actions to take if you don’t know what actions you need to take, which actions make sense, and which actions are going to have the biggest impact on your business? When real estate shifts gears, the first thing you need to do is to do a deep dive into the numbers and find out where you are, where you need to be, and what actions are going to yield the best results or biggest return on investment.
What are your lead generation sources? Which sources have produced the biggest return on investment? Which lead sources have had a negative or minimal impact on your bottom line? What systems do you use to manage those leads and the rest of your database? What about your website and it’s cost versus return? Do you have any staff or contractors that may not be pulling their weight? If you don’t know your numbers, then you don’t know your own business. During a real estate shift, this can kill your business faster than anything else.
Now that you know your numbers, it’s time to control those costs. Make sure you are taking into account ALL costs - There is the financial cost and then there is the time cost. Financial cost is easy - it’s the cash you pay. Time cost is a product of how much you value your time and how much time you spend managing the system OR how much time you will have to spend doing it yourself if you don’t have a system in place.
Since this real estate shift started, you probably have more free time on your hands, right? I think we all do, but you do value your time, right? So how much is your time worth? $20 an hour? $50? $100? You may find that you save more money by keeping a system that is working versus getting rid of it and doing it yourself. If you have a system that is working well but is not in your current budget, then perhaps you can cut your budget elsewhere, on a product that isn’t delivering the same quality results, to make it fit.
Work Your Database
Social distancing doesn’t mean you have to be socially distant. You need to work your database, and you need to start doing it last week/year/decade! You don’t have to be the proverbial salesperson calling to get people to buy today, especially in today’s shifting real estate (and life) environment. Just because you are a real estate agent doesn’t mean you can’t be human—reach out to people, check on them, let them know you genuinely care about them. Make sure they are doing well.
Ask about the family and kids if they have any. Check to see if there is anything that you can help them with. Share with them a funny post or meme on social media or by text - by the way, have you seen our FREE real estate content library? You can find some great inspiration there. Once you have reached out, don’t be afraid to reach out again with a similar kind gesture. Happy Grasshopper specializes in writing email messages that people want to read and want to respond to. Think about what you would read, what you would respond to, and then write that.
You’ve spent a lot of money growing your business and building your database - don’t neglect it now! One marketing agency found that past clients are 5x more likely to repurchase, 5x more likely to forgive a mistake, and 4x more likely to refer someone to you as compared to new leads. Think about this when trimming your budget in step 2 above - If you have to choose between a database tool and a lead generation tool to cut off, research says it’s a smarter idea to cut the cord with the lead generation tool during a real estate shift.
Wow Your Clients
This part goes without saying, but it’s HOW you wow them that is important. Stay on top of the trends and be able to communicate those trends to your clients. Know how those trends affect current market pricing and how your market has responded to the current real estate shift. Some areas haven’t slowed down a bit, while others have ground to a halt. If your market is still hot, don’t let a client low-ball thinking they can get away with it - make sure they know what’s going on and set expectations upfront if they don't listen. During the real estate shift of 2009-2012 time period, one of my most used phrases was "In my opinion, the seller is going to laugh at this offer and may even be offended. Of course, if you want to submit it and risk losing the house, I'll do as you direct me to do."
You need to understand how the current environment has affected all aspects of a real estate transaction. How has the title company, the inspector, the surveyor, and the lender been affected? Are inspectors afraid to go out and inspect homes during the shutdown? Are surveyors backed up? Don’t write a 30 day close contract when a lender is taking 45 days to approve a file. You are setting yourself and your clients up for failure that way. And trust me when I say don’t believe the lender when they say all is good and 30 days is fine unless you really, Really, REALLY trust them and have worked with them before. Ask other agents in your office or in your area if they have had recent delays.
Real estate shifts are uncomfortable and require change but they are inevitable. You will either shift with the market and grow your business, or you won’t shift and will go out of business. Panic is not the answer, and fear is only useful if you use it to motivate you to do the right things. With the right planning and the right actions, you can make it through this market shift and come out better and stronger at the end.