RISMEDIA, August 13, 2009-In one of the meetings with my team several years ago, I was explaining a new marketing strategy I wanted to test. One of my top-selling agents seemed to disagree with my desire to test something new. I could tell by the way he was sitting and his non-verbal communication that he wanted to leave things the way they were.
Finally, he let loose and said, “What we are doing right now is working. Why would you change it? As soon as we figure out something that works, you immediately want to change it.”
His comments were sincere. I realized that I didn’t take the time to see things from his perspective. He was happy that things were working well. Heck, he was selling 10 to 12 homes a month. He didn’t want to risk messing up our successful approach. I couldn’t blame him after seeing things how he saw them.
I decided to share my thought process with the team. I went on to explain that if we continue to do the same things month in and month out, they would soon lose their effectiveness. That we must prepare for war in times of peace. This means we are required to constantly test new marketing and lead conversion systems within our business.
In reality, I was sharing a deep down belief I had about building a business. I believe that an entrepreneur (you) must always be working at a frantic pace. There are several reasons for this belief and mode of operation. Here are a few:
1. Advertisements that once worked will eventually stop working.
2. Lead conversion systems that once worked will eventually stop working.
3. Lending partners and other professionals that we counted on would eventually drop the ball.
4. Great employees or agents will eventually go bad. (Dan Kennedy taught me this and he was right)
5. Other real estate agents in our marketplace would eventually start to copy us, making it harder for us to stand out in the prospects mind.
6. If you’re not growing, you’re ultimately falling behind.
Building and running a business, any business, is a daily uphill battle. From my perspective, it should never get easier. If things get easy, something is wrong. You’re about to fall behind. Yes, you might call me paranoid. I would rather be paranoid and proactive than reactive and desperate.
For example, as we all know, the real estate “bubble” burst and the market changed dramatically.
Foreclosures, short sales and REO listings now dominating our business. They are currently a large percentage of sales in a great many markets. Chances are, the agents who adapted to this and went after listings early in the game have had some success. Those who didn’t adapt to this wave of foreclosures have struggled.
Now, smart agents are recognizing there is opportunity on the buyer’s side of the foreclosure market. There is less competition in this area than there s for listings, and those who have tweaked their marketing to attract foreclosure buyers are thriving. If you haven’t adapted to this new market, what are you waiting for?!
The “gaping hole” in this market is on the buyer’s side. Today, most agents only see the foreclosure listing opportunity. They have completely missed the buyer or investor who wants to get a great deal on a foreclosed home.
The media have made a big impact on the way buyers think. Buyers are nervous and don’t want to buy a home that will go down in value. They realize they can avoid this problem by buying a foreclosed home below market value.
The problem is that they don’t have anyone to help them find a foreclosed home and to help them avoid the costly pitfalls of buying the WRONG foreclosed home.
A Wall Street Journal column on the subject read:
“… searching for a foreclosure can be maddeningly frustrating. Newspaper notices of foreclosure sales are disorganized; foreclosure listing Web sites charge hefty monthly fees; lenders post only minimal information on the properties they’ve taken back. And many real estate agents have little experience with these sorts of transactions and don’t want to be bothered with them.
That means foreclosure buyers must be willing to do more sleuthing on their own to find the best deals.”
This means there is a major gap in the marketplace. If you can help buyers overcome these problems, you’ll quickly dominate the foreclosure market as a buyer’s agent.
This will mean changing your business, but if you truly want to build a great business, you must realize that it will be challenging every day. You’ll have to constantly push yourself and everyone around you to make things happen in your business. More importantly, you’ll have to act with a sense of urgency, especially when others feel that it is okay to coast.
When I coach and consult with real estate professionals, I’m constantly amazed by the lack of urgency. One might tell me about something they tried that worked well in their business. I’ll ask “What have you done to leverage this further?” In many cases, the answer is “Well, I plan to….”
What the heck?
You can’t build a business planning. You build a business doing.
You don’t have the luxury of waiting around. If something works, you have to kick it into 5th gear right now. You have to run uphill today, tomorrow and next week.
Back to my original story: After giving my rant to the team, my top agent said, “I never thought about it that way. I guess your idea is like an insurance policy for the business.” He then went on to share how he had noticed other agents copying us in our marketplace.
Bottom-line: Do not be patient with your business. Let your competitors be patient, not you! Act with urgency every single day.
Rob Minton, who reinvented his real estate sales business to sell 269 homes to a limited number of clients in one year, has written a very practical book on how real estate agents can sell more homes.