The next time you watch a race on TV, listen in to when the spotter and the driver communicate with each other over the radio. Frequently, you’ll hear the spotter say “keep digging,” which means try a little harder to catch the person in front. You’ll see the driver that’s in second, third or fourth start to run lap times that are faster than the leader, and if time doesn’t run out, they’ll overtake the leader. Like racing, in real estate, agents who are struggling need to just keep digging. But enough with the racing analogy, here’s what you should do to remain successful and ahead of the pack.
1. Treat your business like a business. All too often, I see agents who have no idea how much they’ve made, how much they’re spending or where the next client is coming from. If they ran a retail shop like they ran their real estate business, they might be out of business at the grand opening. I learned to play Red Light – Green Light with my expenses and to only spend money when there’s money to be spent. I watch my marketing dollars very carefully and look for a return on every dollar spent. If that return doesn’t occur in a time I determine reasonable, I pull funding and move on. Therefore, create a budget, review where you’ve spent money and eliminate the things that don’t work.
2. Set goals and stick to them. Goal setting is a big part of our business. Without goals, you can go an entire year and not make a dime. Make your annual goals and write down what it will take to achieve those goals on a monthly, weekly and daily basis. Then, step back and view your goals as a business person investing in you. Would you say your return would be worth the investment? If not, up your goals.
3. Don’t depend on your broker for business. Get off your butt and network! Almost three years ago, my wife and I left the Annapolis area and moved here to Charlotte to be closer to her family. I didn’t know anyone and no one knew me. I had been in real estate for three years and desired to build a business here. I could have went the route of signing up with a broker who mandated desk duty, etc., but my experience has been you build strongest business by networking. Also, I hate to see those guys take so much of my pay check every sale. So I hit the pavement, got involved in my community and groups, and built my business. I also started blogging, which has resulted in a huge influx of new clients. None of those activities cost a dime, yet they are among the highest producing daily activities you could do to build your business even in tough times.
4. Get out of the office. That agent you love chatting with about “Dancing with the Stars” by the water cooler isn’t going to buy a house from you. They’re licensed to help themselves. Instead, go put yourself in the path of buyers with open houses, working model homes, volunteering, holding workshops, etc.
5. Expand your knowledge. Every agent must continuously work towards improving their skills, knowledge and understanding of the market. The reason I post market stats to my blog is that I am doing that research anyway to find out what the market is doing and where it’s headed. As a result, when I go and meet with a prospective client, I am better equipped to share with them about the housing market in Charlotte than the typical agent who says, “Oh yeah, the market is strong.” I recommend getting involved with a training program, possibly hiring a coach, attending seminars and whatever else is holding you back from achieving your full potential, as well.
I am really proud that all of my hard work is finally starting to pay dividends and I’m really excited to see where I’ll be when the real estate market here in Charlotte recovers. I expect my group to be among the top groups in the area because we’ve set our goals, work hard daily to meet them and will have grown our business during the most difficult of times.
Remember, the fastest guy does not always win the race.
Jonathan Osman is a Charlotte area Realtor, certified luxury homes marketing specialist, team leader and seller specialist of the Charlotte House Hunter Group with Keller Williams Realty – Charlotte Southpark. He was a geek before it was cool to be a geek, and is a techno and audiophile as well as a rabid race fan.
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