I've decided to "weigh in" on the issue of providing unanticipated services from the perspective of a real estate agent because I'm sure that many of you are working harder than you have in the past. Much of the weekend was spent in preparation for an upcoming presentation to title professionals. The title industry is facing profitability issues caused by reduced business levels and increased competition. The "knee jerk" reaction is to do anything and everything to bring difficult and possibly unprofitable deals to the table.
Providing unanticipated services in difficult deals
Real estate agents need to pay close attention to every associated cost of a transaction to sustain profitability, especially the incremental costs associated with providing unanticipated services. It's not enough to say that you're making $x,xxxx in commissions without considering the operating and opportunity costs of added services. You're unable to charge supplemental fees making personal productivity the only viable option to prevent losses.All time comes with tangible costs and consequences
Every time that you make a phone call or drive somewhere to facilitate a deal that wouldn't close otherwise, you're expending a valuable resource in the form of time. Don't think only in terms of overall compensation. Think in terms of enhanced production capacity or personal fulfillment if you were to spend your time differently. It doesn't matter if you used the time to blog for future contacts (business related) or watch your kid's ballgame (personal).
Are you a professional order taker or a professional decision maker?
- Tend to focus only on short term goals or gratification
- Will continuously offer additional services to appease others
- Will work 24/7 without concern for costs, consequences to industry, or profitability
- Perceive marketing as the most important business activity
- Shun the role of education in professional development
- Implement a comprehensive strategy that emphasizes long term success
- Understand the importance of professional boundaries and compensation
- Recognize the need for personal time as part of a bigger picture
- Integrate marketing as one of many vital business activities
- Embrace every opportunity to expand professional, business, and interpersonal skills
By giving services away for free, you create unrealistic future expectations and devalue your work-product. I know that it's a difficult reality to accept, but it's true. Buyers and sellers are likely to use you in the future, or refer your services to others, only if they respect your decision making abilities. Decision makers offer real value to a transaction; order takers do not. There's nothing wrong with explaining your time availability and the scope of your services at the very onset of a professional relationship. All other professionals do it.
So can you!
Your value as a professional lies not only in your ability to make decisions, but in your ability to use words to commit others to productive activity. It's all about the way that you communicate with buyers, sellers, and the other professionals in a transaction. This rule applies to your personal productivity and profitability in general and becomes particularly important when facing additional work-loads caused by difficult deals.
The key is to get things done with words. Talking is action.
Effective communication = Profitability!
Note: On Tuesday morning at 10:00 AM I'll be speaking at:
The Management Education Center
Eli Broad Graduate School of Management (Michigan State University)
If anyone works nearby and has spare time that afternoon, let me know.
It would be great to meet other members of Active Rain.