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Time is moneyWe all have 1,440 minutes in every day—so why are some of us doing more in less time than others? It’s not because they’re managing time better, but because they’re managing themselves better.

Ashton Gustafson was in REALTOR® Magazine’s “30 under 30” class of 2010. He is an inspirational speaker, manages a real estate blog, owns two brokerages and a management company, and works his own listings. What’s his secret? He redefines time management, saying there are things that must happen every day in your business to bring you the kind of success you want to have happen.

Two Guiding Beliefs
“In 2012, I made a commitment to do 120 transactions in a year without a team, without an assistant or a buyer’s agent,” Gustafson says. By August of that year, he’d reached 95 of those transactions, but woke up one day totally burned out, his body shutting down from adrenal fatigue. It was then he reevaluated what it means to be successful. What it means is success begins with changing your guiding beliefs about time management and lead generation. His epiphany was that his days needed to be more and more about less and less. Everything, he learned, doesn’t matter equally. Seventy percent of Gustafson’s business comes from people he’s done business with before. He realized that:

  • Doing business with people you have done business with before matters more than chasing new business or new customers.
  • Success comes when you focus your life, career and day on the things that matter.
  • Time management is about focusing more on the few things that truly matter.

Are you doing the things that actually drive your business, or are you buying into the belief that all things matter equally? Most of us believe we have to do everything well, but the truth is, we don’t. We only have to do a few things—the things that really matter—well.

Redefine Success
Stop defining success as just getting a listing or selling a property. Those are end goals, but aren’t the most important goals. The reality is something has to happen beforehand to make that sale or listing possible. Sales and listings happen when you plant, grow and harvest the seeds of connecting with people. Successfully planting those relationship seeds is as much of a success as harvesting the results of that planting.

Lead Generation — The Law of the Harvest
“Eighty percent of people can only name one real estate agent,” Gustafson says. “Fifteen percent can name two, and only five percent can name three or more, and that five percent are most likely REALTORS®.” Lead generation is about the law of the harvest. If you want things to grow you have to plant the seeds. Most real estate agents spend their days managing things, chasing things, putting out fires, and running around instead of doing the absolute necessary work of planting seeds so something can be harvested.

So, even if you are getting leads, how are you going to connect with them? Here are some suggestions from Gustafson:

  • Offer a home evaluation. Everyone in your sphere should get or be offered a home evaluation every year.
  • Send hand written FYI notes about neighboring properties after closing. People are curious. They want to know about what’s happening around their neighborhood.
  • When you show up, listen to the market every day and report back to your sphere of influence, you begin to earn the space of the market expert.
  • Have a system — drip campaigns on foreclosures, CMA requests, and new listing automation.
  • Call to say “Happy home anniversary,” or just check in, or simply “Hi.” People would rather have a friend than a real estate agent. People say, “I have a friend who is a REALTOR®,” not “Hey I have a REALTOR® who is a friend.”
  • Simply and consistently connect with people.

Are you planting seeds? You get what you give. People will chose you for one of two reasons, (1) because you’re a friend and they trust you, or (2) because you’re the local expert. Seventy percent of people will choose you because you’re a friend, which is why you want to be a friend rather than a REALTOR®. When people aren’t friends, they choose experts. If people don’t know you, if they don’t know you’re an expert, they ignore you.

Think about how you crossed paths with the clients you’re currently working with. Gustafson says, “Most of us forget about the small, unseen things that must be done on a daily basis, like my practice of ‘60 Daily Points of Rhythm.’ These are my metrics. I aim to earn 60 points a day, by creating these non-negotiable actions”:

  • 25 relationship building calls
  • 25 personal prospecting emails sent
  • 5 handwritten notes of gratitude

The 60-point total is completed by achieving the 55 points above, plus points from things like:

  • Offer written
  • Offer accepted
  • Closing

You have to tell your day where it’s going to go, or it will tell you where it’s going. The day will bring you what it wants to do.

To learn more about Gustafson’s time management and lead generation tips, including his “Not-to-Do List,” watch the full webinar. For more free real estate education including best practices, visit Secrets of Top Selling Agents. Be sure to sign up for the upcoming webinar, Marketing Luxury Homes, with Jim Remley on Wednesday, May 25th at 1 p.m. ET.