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RISMEDIA, June 8, 2009-One definition of “insanity” centers on engaging in repetitious behavior, but expecting different outcomes to result over time. However, that process happens all the time across many sales professionals and sales mangers in many different industries, including real estate. In 2009 real estate professionals need to answer a fundamental question: How am I managing my business differently than two years ago? Although many brokers have been appropriately aggressive in managing the expense side of the business equation, this discussion focuses on the revenue production side of the equation.

In tough markets and economic times, successful agents will avoid wasting time and other resources on low probability opportunities. Instead they focus their time on a) qualifying opportunities b) prospecting for higher probability opportunities and c) facilitating the sales process with expert knowledge of local market conditions.

• Qualifying Opportunities

Successful agents will place a priority on qualifying both sellers and buyers. Time will not be wasted attempting to market properties of unmotivated sellers who seek to knowingly “market” a property at a 30% premium in the hopes of stumbling across a “sucker.” Likewise, marketing properties for sincere sellers who are hopelessly out of touch with the local market in the hope that little traffic and no offers will educate them on market conditions will stop. Instead, successful Agents will focus their listing efforts on motivated sellers and will provide the local market expertise needed to appropriately influence sellers’ expectations and behaviors. On the buyers’ side, successful Agents will actively seek to qualify potential buyers’ motivation and financial situation. Substantial time will not be devoted to speculators seeking to purchase fairly priced properties at 30% of their value or buyers seeking 100% financing with a credit score of 640.

• Prospecting

On the seller side, successful Agents will actively seek ways to connect with better quality sellers – i.e., owners of multiple properties seeking to divest, bank owned properties, relocation driven sales, divorce driven sale, estate sales, etc. On the buyer side, activities will also become more clearly focused as Agents seek to connect with local companies to solicit relocation opportunities, first home buyers, etc.

• Local market expertise

Successful Agents will likely be highly knowledgeable of local market conditions and lending standards and will use that knowledge to influence the thinking of both buyers and sellers at many different steps in the sales process. And successful facilitation will require more information and insight than either the buyer or seller can directly obtain from Zillow or a similar means.

In short, success in the new market will require different thinking and processes, not simply working twice as hard using past paradigms and techniques.

To learn more about career plans of today’s agents, take our Career Plan Survey

Glen Jaffee is the vice president of AlignMark, Inc.For more than 30 years AlignMark has been a leading provider of innovative organizational effectiveness products and services. For more information about AccuRecruiter, Real Estate Simulator, or iNTELAGENT, visit Glen Jaffee can be reached at