So you're not a top agent. Perhaps you're not even a medicore one. You have no clue how those other agents get to that point where they're doing such huge volume. You're busy all day every day chasing down leads, working with clients, and trying to salvage the deals you do have. Personal life? What personal life? You can barely keep up with everything you have... how can you possibly grow your business?
If that sounds like you or close to it, here's what's wrong:
It all boils down to 3 main issues. Scheduling, Organizing, and Prospecting. Let's break them down, explain, and show you how to change things around.
Most agents have some sort of calendar. Some use it for appointments and some don't use it at all. Some write in their appointments and then forget to look at it again. Some have every intention of utilizing their calendar but as soon as things get a little crazy and juggling becomes a necessity, things fall off the calendar and never get put back on.
Time block your schedule and I mean every part of your day and incorproate your personal life and business into that calendar. Every time period from the moment you wake up to the moment you go to bed should be listed on your calendar.
Do not over book yourself. Leave some flex space on your calendar that allows for movement but still time block it out. Just list it as client time. Client time can be moved around and swapped out for other things you have on your schedule that are more flexible as to when they occur. So, let's say you have client time booked for 2-5pm but your client wants to meet at 10am. Whatever you had at 10am can be moved into the 2pm sot. If you don't have clients that day, what else is on your calendar for later in the week that you can accomplish now, giving you a jump ahead?
Learn how to use Google calendar. You can time block, set items to repeat weekly, set multiple reminders, color code, drag and drop items to rearrange your schedule as needed and it's easily accesible from anywhere like your phone and/or tablet. This will ensure you're calendar is chasing you and reminding you of what to do when, instead of you struggling to remember things and showing up perpetually late or missing appointments altogether. It will also ensure that everything you want to get done, does get done. I even schedule time for me and my 11 year-old daughter to watch movies together. Trust me... it works.
A lot of agents I know have a mile-long paper trail following them wherever they go. They get a lead and write it down on a piece of paper (a random piece of paper) and then promptly lose that note or forget to follow up. When you're in the middle of doing three other things and then take a call, you are now working on auto-pilot. Yes, that is the same auto-pilot that drives you around some days when you look up and wonder how you got there because you have no recollection of the drive or the scenery up to that point. They're working off of the aforementioned paper calendar... sometimes... when they feel like it. They have an organizer with them but don't use it much except for scribbling down notes sideways in the margins. They're office is a disaster and so is their bedroom closet. The car is cleaned out at the last minute when clients are about to show up and it's accomplished simply by dumping everything strewn across the passenger side and back seats directly into the trunk. Computer files? Back-ups? Cloud Storage? Well... let's just hope your system doesn't crash. Sound familiar?
Do ONE THING at a time and do it well! FOCUS is everything! When your mind is focused, you're able to accomplish more. Set a time to return calls and set that expectation up on your voicemail so you aren't rushing to answer your phone.
Become as paperless as possible. Carying around a phone and tablet is a whole lot easier than dragging around a bunch of files. All those files can be kept on dropbox and instantly synced across devices. Make sure you organize your files well so data is easy to retreive. Ex: Real Estate
Utilize your Google calendar to also manage all the activities you need to get done and when. The system will remind you to get it done. Make sure you've time blocked for that activity within the day it needs to be accomplished.
Create a "Business-in-a-Box" and keep it in your trunk. Anything you could possibly need for your real estate business on the go: Extra contract files (both seller and buyer) just in case your digital stuff goes on the blink, blue pens, sign riders, lockboxes, zip ties, a tool kit, toilet paper, a gallon of water, 2 large umbrellas, air freshener, items for children to play with, etc. Always be prepared for anything!
Anything that looks overwhelming to you (like cleaning out that bedroom closet), just do it in 15 minute incremements. Set your kitchen timer for 15 minutes and go at it until the buzzer goes off. Do that once a day and soon enough that closet will be organized without a huge time commitment.
Stay organized even with your food. Get a small portable cooler that can be plugged into your car's power outlet. Stock it with water bottles, fresh fruit, nuts, hummus with crackers, even a sandwich if you have a long day ahead. Keeping your body fed and hydrated will keep your energy from dragging and lagging throughout the day. This will also prevent McDonald's drive-throughs. At home, set aside half a day, once per week, to make your food. Preparing it in advance so you can "heat & eat" throughout the week is a total lifesaver! Mastering the crockpot is another useful dinner saver.
Hire a VA. When you run out of time, see what things you can funnel off to a virtual assistant. I'll be posting soon about VAs and what to look for when hiring and working with one so stay tuned to the blog for that. Setting a budget with them and handing off the lesser tasks can really boost your ability to perform at higher levels. You'd be surprised how much the experienced professional virtual assistants can accomplish in very little time. I spend less than a $100 per month (many times half that amount) on mine and she does a ton for that amount of money. If you're thinking about hiring, make sure you check Master Agent Life where you can not only work with a team of virtual experts, the team is managed for you so you don't have to spend any extra time on anything you don't need to.
The biggest thing to remember here is that clutter and chaos drags your energy down. Remove the clutter and disorganization and you remove the weight that's holding you down. You will be amazed at the amount of time this frees up for you.
Do you have a roller coaster income? You know... where you do lots of prospecting but then you get busy and don't have time for it anymore so you just focus on your clients and then once you get them closed you have to start all over prospecting again and it's 3 months before your next closing? Do you know where your business comes from? Have you tracked where the business you actually closed was originally sourced from? Take a second and mentally think about the deals you closed last year. Were they mostly referrals? Open Houses? Internet? Door Knocks? Farm? How often are you actively prospecting each week? Are you working with a coach?
When you prospect consistently, you consistently produce leads, meaning you also consistently produce income. Top agents do not ever stop prospecting. It's done daily without fail. Prospecting is after all, how you make money. The first thing you need to know is what prospecting methods work best for you and then do more of them. If you're not sure, try different types until something clicks. Remember that face-to-face will always generate the most traffic especially when placed against something like advertising. Ex: You send a postcard to everyone in the neighborhood with your smiling face plastered in front of a listing photo and a "Just Sold" banner across the top. vs. You door knock the neighborhood and tell everyone you just sold their neighbor's house and hand them an info sheet that shows the prices/specs of yours and other recent sales and ask them if they or anyone they know may also be interested in selling. Your sphere will generate the strongest leads. Try reading The 7 Levels of Communication by Michael Maher for the best training on building and maintaining a strong referral network.
Check sites like Inman News, ActiveRain, and others for creative real estate marketing and prospecting ideas. What works for agents in other markets could work for you in yours with a little bit of tweaking. If nothing else, perhaps their ideas will spark some of your own.
Prospect DAILY! Timeblock for it. If you are the type who gets ansy after making a few calls and you feel your energy start to decline, do it in increments. Instead of making calls for a solid 2 hours, time block 4-30 minute sessions. You'll get the same amount of prsopecting in but you'll be energized and focused each time.
Do not worry about getting more leads than you can handle and do not stop prospecting because you don't have the time to work with anyone else at the moment. You can always refer the leads to someone else in your office and collect a referral fee. How do you think agents grow into teams anyhow??
Working with a coach ensures you are on track with the goals you're looking to hit. If you want to earn $200,000 this year, you need to break that down. What's your average sales price? That will determine your average commission. With that, you can determine how many transactions you need to close this year to achieve that income goal. Now, how many listings vs. buyers do you work with? How many buyers do you get from each listing? What do you do to get those listings and buyers? These are the questions your coach will ask to determine what targets you need to hit each week and each month as well as to detrmine the strategies you need to utilize to get there. If you're worried about the expense, see what other options they have within your budget. As a coach myself, I offer programs for all different budgets. Check Master Agent Life for details and pricing on the different programs offered to keep your life and business together and on track.