BY BOB CORCORAN
A joke that circulated around California when I lived there a few years ago was that when the cops pulled you over, they’d ask to see your real estate license. Of course, those were different times – times when “faux pros” were out in force, when anyone could sell a house. Today, if you’re reading this article, I suspect you’re still in real estate and I would venture to say you’re a “real pro.” First, congratulations for having the resolve to stick it out. But second, stay vigilant. I know times are tough, we all do, and we’re all going through it together. I mention this because I saw a rather startling statistic recently. It came from a survey the National Association Realtors (NAR) released this summer that said only 73 percent of agents were “very certain” they’d stay in the real estate business for another two years. That hit me in the gut. That means one in four Realtors is thinking of quitting. My message here is simple: you can do this.
Professionals are the amateurs who didn’t quit. And here’s another quote I like from Winston Churchill: “Kites rise against the wind, not with it.” You’ve stuck with the market this far. You’ll only be stronger by continuing to see it out. But besides inspirational thoughts and quotes, I want to share what I think will help you on a more practical level as well.
First, stay focused on what gets and keeps customers. In tough times, it’s easy to lose focus. With that in mind, please indulge me with one more quote from Jack Welch, the former CEO of General Electric: “The goal of business is to get and keep customers.” If you stay focused on that one sentence, you will go a long way in weathering the storm. Buddy Blake, a friend of mine who’s a broker in Wilmington, N.C., has quadrupled his market share in the last three years. How? Focus. “Everything we do is about giving buyers and sellers what they want, period.” Buddy’s advice for making it through the hard times: “Quit doing everything except prospecting. Pick up the phone and work your leads.”
Second, bend with the times. Here’s where many fall out of the real estate game: they don’t adapt to change. And the market has changed. Consider this from NAR: Nearly one-third of all existing homes sold recently were either short sales or foreclosures. That’s an opportunity. NAR knows it and that’s why it’s offering a Short Sales and Foreclosure Certification Program online or at the REALTORS Conference & Expo in San Diego, Nov. 13-16. Visit RealtorSFR.org for more information.
Third, continue your education. Now is when you likely have time to focus on continuing education. Don’t let the opportunity to learn and become better pass you by. Look at pro athletes and all they do to stay sharp – hours and hours of fine-tuning their skills. What are you doing specifically to sharpen your skills to be more productive?
Fourth, network with agents in areas where you’re weak. Stick together. It worked when your kindergarten teacher told you, and it works today in the business world. Network at every turn with other agents via your local, state or national Realtor associations.
Fifth, get an outside perspective. When times go sour, I’ve seen many Realtors lose their objectivity – they can’t see the trees through the forest. Others can often see what you can’t. So get a coach, a mentor or advisor who can share a fresh and objective view of what’s happening and how you can capitalize.
Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. (CorcoranCoaching.com, 800.957.8353), an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice.
Copyright 2009 Agent Publishing LLC