In your real estate practice, you have a plate, and you can only put so much on that plate before things start falling through the cracks. These cracks are what I call “fires” – you know, those things that become emergencies because you just let them.
What I’m about to share with you at first glance may seem cold, however, I believe that with a little thought, a little practice and your own adjustments, you can achieve the income you want. and make time for yourself with your family – while elevating the respect you deserve from your real estate clients.
Balancing work and life in real estate is not an easy task.
At no time in my real estate career have I allowed myself to appear too eager or desperate for a client, and my clients have always felt special and taken care of, even though I have observed a strict daily schedule. Here is how it can be accomplished:
First lesson: You know your threshold for the number of customers you can handle at once. Your pipeline needs to be full, and the next client in line for your services needs to know you’re worth the wait, and be assured that the same care and attention will be given to them as soon as they’re “next” (don’t never answer a customer call while you are with another customer, otherwise it will not work for you). A customer became “next” when an offer was accepted on one of my existing transactions. My threshold was originally four customers. If my pipeline was growing fast, I brought in agent assistants. While they waited their turn, my assistant held their hands and kept them busy with pre-qualification, buyer deals, etc.
lesson two: When I accepted the following client, clear rules of conduct were established. I don’t leave the house (home office) until 10 am. I have better things to do with my time than sit unnecessarily during rush hour. Some love this phone time, however, your attention isn’t always given and the possibility of missing vital details while driving and negotiating increases exponentially (as do safety risks). My phone calls were made from 8 to 10 before I left my office.
lesson three: All my appointments were on the half hour – I don’t know why, but it worked and I was always on time, as were my clients. The same was true for phone calls. Schedule them on the half hour. You will find, for example, that if you have lunch at noon, you are ready to work again at 12:30 p.m.
lesson four: Be home before or after rush hour. I preferred before. The implicit impression of my working hours with my clients worked in my favor almost 100% of the time. Why? Because I skipped the seller bs of showing them the most expensive houses first – I actually took them to the featured house in the range they wanted. I set the appropriate expectations first. I listened to my clients and they appreciated. The day they waited maybe for my undivided attention gave them immediate results, and they loved it.
fifth lesson: If you can’t show your buyers their next home within five visits, you’re either deaf to their needs and wants, or they have no intention of buying – if you’re experienced, you will. know when you see it, and they waste time on the next customer in your pipeline. Place them on a drip campaign with a Buyer Agreement in place, or refer them.
Sixth lesson: Decide when your working day ends. Mine was at 5:30. However, from 8:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. I was working on offers, faxing, typing lists, responding to texts and emails.
Seventh lesson: Not all clients suited me. For example, I have a travel zone. The markets in which I work. Working outside of this area takes time from my traveling clients and time from my family. Refer them, or if you’ve tapped into a more distant area, build your team. Teams can grow and shrink as needed.
eighth lesson: Are you a company. Real estate is a business. You have opening hours and you have you time. My time spent with my family, but I love marketing, so I added a 6th half day for my marketing, blogging, etc.
As my business grew, my referral network grew. I used an assistant until an independent brokerage was established. We had a clear code of how we conducted our business, encouraged our buyers’ agents to adapt their business model as I described, and never allowed an inexperienced agent to handle more transactions than their limit. Inevitably, my threshold rose to six, but it took time.
With the technologies we have today with instant communication, it’s very easy to let things slide onto your plate. So my last lesson is to use an assistant frequently.
It is possible to work and inhabit but it takes discipline and a set of business rules for yourself that you are responsible for in addition to the code of ethics. It’s about being honest with yourself and never being so desperate that something can’t wait a minute.