80/20 Prospecting/Service Model? Let's turn that around... Can I interest you in a 20/80 model?

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THANK YOU THANK YOU AR Gods for featuring my little rant last week about whether or not an 80/20% business model (where 80% of one's time is devoted to prospecting and 20% devoted to client care) is a wise course to take in a real estate career. I can't say enough how encouraging it was to hear so many commenters jump on the "clients-first" bandwagon, proclaiming that while they acknowledge prospecting for new clients must be done, it should NOT be done at the expense of one's current clients!


In the original blog, I promised to return with some more thoughts of my own on the matter, but most of those thoughts were already spoken within the nearly 100 comments. But I'll make good on my promise and share mine anyway, even though they'll likely just echo the brilliance provided by those who participated in the discussion.

Thought #1
If you are a new or struggling real estate agent and don't have any (or many) clients to care for, then I suppose you should be spending some signficant time looking for some - in other words, you probably can't fill up all or most of your working hours serving the clients you don't yet have. HOWEVER... hold true to the philosophy of putting clients first - when you get up in the morning, make darn sure that your current clients and prospects are fully taken care of before you even think about prospecting. GET INTO THIS HABIT EARLY and it will pay off for you big time in the future. I promise.

Thought #2
As many pointed out, taking great care of the clients you have is a FANTASTIC prospecting strategy. Those who neglect their current clients so they can pursue their future ones darn well better enjoy that pursuit because they'll be doing it their entire careers. In other words, very few referrals cometh to agents who don't take good care of their clients when they have them.  

But maybe that's okay for the 80/20 crowd. Maybe they're so awesome at prospecting, they don't need the trust, affection and referrals of their current and past clients, so it doesn't matter if their clients don't think much of them during and after their time together. The 80/20's just spend the rest of their career devoting 80% of your time prospecting! Hey, it's one business model that many subscribe to and they make it work, so if that sounds like fun to you, knock yourself out!

Thought #3
As many mentioned in the original blog, a 20/80 model (20% prospecting, 80% client care) IS a viable strategy once you have enough clients to care for. Spend your days taking great care of your clients and then stay in touch with them on a reasonably regular basis afterwards (which probably won't take even 20% of your time) and I promise you - you'll be golden. 

Thanks for such a great discussion, my friends!

* * *

We're closing out the 2011 Season in the SWS Virtual Studio with two related teleseminar shows... one this Thursday and one the following Thursday. This week's show is called "Secrets of Successful SWS'ers" and next week's is the grand finale - "Are You the Best Real Estate Agent You Know?" To register, just visit the SWS Calendar of Events here: www.SellwithSoul.com/about/calendar.





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Cindy Jones
Integrity Real Estate Group - Woodbridge, VA
Pentagon, Fort Belvoir & Quantico Real Estate News

Jennifer-as always good thoughts to consider.  It is the time of year when we have to be carefully looking at how we plan to build our business in 2012. 

Dec 06, 2011 07:01 AM #1
Chiara Petro
eXp Realty - Angie Cody Team - Knoxville, TN
Your KEY to Home Sweet Home - Knoxville TN

Jenifer, I'm sorry I will have to miss this weeks teleseminar. These are some great thoughts. For the 80/20-prospecting crowd, this should give some food for thought.

Dec 06, 2011 07:24 AM #2
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

I agree, great thoughts!  For me, I prefer having MY phone ring from people seeking me out rather than the other way around.  You got it right - not everyone wants a referral-based business (although I don't understand why), and would prefer to spend their time cold calling.  To each his own!

Dec 06, 2011 07:38 AM #3
Norma Toering Broker for Palos Verdes and Beach Cities
Charlemagne International Properties - Rancho Palos Verdes, CA
Palos Verdes Luxury Homes in L.A.

My current clients come first, and I'm always ready to add new ones.  I'm guessing I'm already a member of the 80% Client Care/20% Prospecting.  As a result my repeat and referral business is high--and that means less time spent prospecting.

Dec 06, 2011 07:55 AM #4
Corinne Guest
Corinne Guest, REALTOR® | Barrington Realty Company - Barrington, IL
Barrington Lifestyles

Busy streamlining my closed client and list of current propect follow ups. Not going to let them slip through my fingers into one of those prospecting all day long agents. I acknowledge it was a weak point and have finally found what works for me.

Dec 06, 2011 08:20 AM #5
Broker Nick
South Florida Real Estate & Development, Inc. - Coconut Creek, FL
Broker Nick Relocation Broker Service

I think this is a wonderful idea - without prospecting the business would be brought to naught.

Dec 06, 2011 11:01 AM #6
Former Agent
None - Adak, AK

Clients always come first.  That said, it's folly to believe you can thrive on a referral-only basis.  I am not one to leave my fate in the hands of others.  We must all have multiple sources of business, including SOI, referrals, farm (geographical, socio-economic, professional, or other), Internet, etc.

Dec 06, 2011 11:20 AM #7
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Aimee - I would agree that it's tough, especially these days, to generate enough direct referrals to live (comfortably) on and yes, it's preferable to have other sources of business providing a steady stream of good clients... but all that can easily happen in the 20% of the time you aren't taking care of current clients and I do believe that taking great care of current clients is a HUGE part of running an SOI business!

Norma - It's a beautiful cycle... you take good care of your clients and word spreads (unfortunately, the bar for client care is set very low in our industry), so your phone rings and you get more clients to take great care of... and word spreads... and the next thing you know, you haven't formally prospected in months and that phone keeps ringing!

If anyone doubts that this approach works... have you TRIED it? If not, don't knock it til you do! It's a wonderful way to make a living!

Dec 06, 2011 10:51 PM #8
Karen Salmon
Royal LePage Benchmark - Okotoks, AB
Okotoks Real Estate Agent

And once you have a strong referral base, then you can "prospect". That is, if you need to ;)

Dec 07, 2011 11:48 AM #9
Kimm Cloutier
Agawam, MA
Realtor - Agawam, MA

Since my clients always come first I will never be part of the 80/20 club.  The 20/80 model, however, is more my style.  By the way, I'm really looking forward to the launch of The Exceptional Agent next year!

Dec 08, 2011 04:26 AM #10
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