By Marc Roth
RISMEDIA, January, 2009-I believe with all my of my heart and intellect that we are smack dab in the middle of an opportunity of a lifetime. I don’t care what business you are in, there is unprecedented opportunity for you right now, and if you don’t act, you will look back several years from now with regret.
Like most of you, I’m predominantly tied to the real estate industry. Notwithstanding regional variances, the spring of 2009 will be about three years since the start of the economic change in our sector. If you’re still here and reading this piece, then like me, you should be pretty excited and motivated for the future.
I’m aware that every single day people in the government and media, often with implied credibility, are articulating doom and gloom about our economy with a bullhorn. They always lead with some statistic, and then explain adnauseum why it’s bad news. It’s so overwhelming that I think we are being brainwashed to project negativity regardless of the information.
I’m not pretending that things are rosy everywhere I look, but there is plenty of good news out there. I don’t have to be an economist to know that oil under $40/barrel is better than its peak at $150/barrel a couple months ago. I don’t need a master’s in finance to understand the benefits of interest rates being at the lowest level in any of our lifetimes. I may not have lived through the depression, but I’m old enough to remember the Carter years. For those of you who don’t remember, unemployment was high, gas was at record highs, and interest rates were above 18%. I remember when my dad was thrilled to refinance his house at 9.5%.
So what’s the big opportunity I’m alluding to? Frankly, it’s the same opportunity that’s been staring us all in the face since long before the pundits provided us with rationalizations for underachieving. There is an enormous amount of business out there waiting for us to grab it, and unlike any time in recent history, there’s a whole lot less competition. I imagine that NAR will tell us that approximately 5 million homes will have been sold in 2008. While I’m aware that 5 million is less than 6 million, it still seems like a pretty big number to me. Regardless of what else they tell us, I’m fairly certain there are far less real estate professionals today than in 2005.
I’ve spoken to a great number of very successful real estate agents over the last couple of months. It didn’t matter what part of the country they were from, they all had the same message. Unlike many in other industries, they were not even secretive about the keys to their success. In fact, I sat in a room at the NAR show watching Chad Goldwasser share his methods with about 500 or so people (and he probably shared it with a couple thousand that week). If you think I’m wrong, take a look at any real estate office that is still standing, and seek out the top two or three producers in that office. Do they appear to be making money? Do they still live in a nice house, and drive a nice car? Are they still investing in the growth of their business via an assistant, adverting, technology, seminars, coaches, etc.?
They already know what I’m telling you. They are working extra hard now to grab a bigger slice of a smaller pie. While others are quitting or contracting, they are expanding. They know that the real opportunity in a down cycle is to invest more of their human and capital resources to expand their business. They didn’t give credit to the economy when they were thriving, and they don’t blame the economy when they miss their goals (if they even miss their goals). They will still fare well during the perceived slower time, and they will be well positioned for explosive growth when real estate sales are more robust. Did you ever wonder why the most successful people in each office rarely appear nervous, and usually exude confidence? It’s not because they are faking it, it’s because they know they will succeed no matter what the economic cycle brings.
I know some will read this and say that what I’m revealing is no big secret, and you are right. Hard work and perseverance always pays off, and luck comes to those who repeatedly put themselves in a position to get lucky. I know some will say that it is easier said than done, and you would be right as well. Still, there’s plenty of great information out there about how to improve your business as well as your organizational, prospecting, presentation, closing, and networking skills. The real question is will you be one to seek it out and hold yourself accountable for execution.
Believe it or not, now is when real wealth is created. Will you be one of those creating it for yourself and your family? I sincerely hope you will look back several years from now and see this period as a great catalyst in your career. I assure you that I, those that I closely associate with, as well as those that I most respect and admire, believe it to be so.
Marc Roth is the CEO of HWA Home Warranty of America. For more information, please visit hwahomewarranty.com.