Tough Love for a Tough Market... plus 10 real estate success rules you will need to survive the storm.

Education & Training with Bestagents Inc.

It’s time to sit your sellers down and give them the news they hired you to deliver. THE TRUTH!

Anyone can sell real estate in a booming market but sooner or later, the boom comes to an end and the property market will be nursing the mother of all hangovers. It’s what you do next that is important and has the power to make or break your career.

Right now, words and phrases like ‘wholesale economic meltdown’ and ‘global recession’ are on TV, Radio and newspapers every hour of every day. Economic forecasters are telling anyone who will listen about record layoffs, record foreclosures, and record business failures.

I’m not buying into the whole doom and gloom thing but I believe we have a duty to get our sellers sold in this market because it is genuinely the right thing to do. Our sellers are looking for leadership and direction. If they didn’t value your opinion and ability as a real estate professional, there would be another agent’s sign in their yard or they would be doing the For-Sale-By-Owner thing. So let’s not spend any time and energy thinking about something we can’t change (the economy and consumer confidence) and work on what we can change (Getting our sellers sold) 

If you were selling real estate in 1990 to 1993 you’ll remember the delayed property meltdown we had after the stock market crash of October 1987. If you were still in school then let me tell you it was brutal.  

But tough times called for tough measures and my success soared when I took responsibility for getting my sellers sold and administered some tough love. Where price reductions were needed (which, like now, was almost everywhere) I got them. I helped my owners who said “We just haven’t found the right buyer yet” understand that there was no right buyer at their price. There was the raw emotion of raised voices and tears but I made sure my sellers fully understood I was ‘in their corner’ and would do whatever I needed to do to get them sold for the best possible price.  

In reality, I cared a little too much. I laid awake at night worrying about my sellers and wondering what I needed to do to help them understand that I knew what was best.  After all, they had hired me to get a job completed.

So here we are again. Like the tides and the phases of the moon, the economy and property market flows in a cycle. Many newcomers to real estate don’t have access to the skills they need to not only survive current conditions, but use it as stepping stone to launch their career.  

I notice the former school teachers and taxi drivers are going back to their old jobs. Real Estate is "too hard" for them. I also note the top performers are busier than ever, doing what they need to do to get the job done.

If you are lucky enough to ‘cut your teeth’ in a market such as we are experiencing at the moment, then the forthcoming upturn that will surely come, will be the real estate nirvana you’ve been waiting for. So let’s roll up our sleeves and get to work. Our sellers need our help. Today!

10 real estate success rules you will need to survive the storm.

The first thing I noticed when I began working with Real Estate’s Top Performers was how quickly they adapted to changing market conditions. The following 10 rules are the things top real estate professionals are doing to make sure they keep ahead. I welcome all contributions and additions to the list.

1. Get your properties sold
Handling a higher volume of property for sale means getting properties sold and not keeping them as pets! The reality is that keeping a property on the market for a longer than average time means it’s probably going to sell for a lower price and until it does, you’ll be the one burning time, money and energy trying to find a buyer.  

2. Grade your listings

Top Performers regularly ‘grade’ their sellers as to motivation by scoring each client from 0 (no motivation or reason to sell) to 10 (lots of motivation to sell). 
Once grading is complete, you are left with a list in motivated to sell order. Then, it’s simply a matter of working through the list. By the way, in my experience it’s super cost efficient to identify the unmotivated sellers as these clients are taking your valuable time and resources. You are better off suggesting they list with your competitors.

3. Would you like to see a completed sale by Christmas?
Great question and the answer will tell you a lot about your seller. Motivated sellers will say yes. You need to meet with them. Don’t do it over the phone. Sit down and hit them between the eyes with the news they hired you to deliver...The TRUTH! Now is the perfect time to find out who wants to be sold by Christmas.

4. Review all expenses and eliminate waste.
Top Performers in real estate act as though they are a corporation. This helps them think in an effective and business-like way. They are constantly reviewing expenses and take the necessary action steps to eliminate waste. Here’s a good way to look at costs. As you work your way down your monthly expense summary, highlight the expenses you can’t link to helping you earn more income. Are your marketing expenses pulling their weight within your personal ‘corporation’? If you were a shareholder in You Inc. would you be happy with where the President is spending your money  

5. The 60 test
Boy, the alarm bells started ringing when I first did the 60 test. Here’s how it works. Isolate your recurring monthly expenses. It might be anything from a cell phone plan to a car leasing agreement. Now multiply each expense by 60. Many of these expenses have been around for a while and you may still have them in a few years. I figure 5 years or 60 months is about an average time. If you think of them in monthly terms they don’t seem like much but multiply by 60 and you will see the real cost of each expense.

6. Mind your language
The messages you ‘send out’ every time you’re with a potential client say a lot about you, where you are and where your head is at. Top Performers consider each listing presentation as a ‘performance’ where they have to be in the moment and get everything right. People can tell when someone is acting one way and saying something else. You body language is something people will pick up on.  

7. Marketing You. Reconnect, reinvent, realign and repeat.
I believe more money is wasted by the real estate industry looking for new business than any other industry I can think of. Our target market is virtually bombarded with anything and everything in the hope they may be selling.  

When things get tough, many real estate salespeople start distributing all kinds of crazy letter drops in the hope they will attract new business. Amazingly, they turn their backs on the one group of people they should be speaking with on a regular basis.

Real Estate’s Top Performers understand the power of relationship marketing and reconnect with former buyers, sellers and contacts. A tough market is a great time to reassess your personal marketing calendar. Are you sending a consistent message or confusing your market with different marketing looks, styles and concepts? The best and most productive news you can give your market is your success. Give them news of recent sales in their location. Offer a regular Property Report if you have the resources to access this information. Be sure to use give-to-get-marketing wherever you can so you prompt them to contact you.  

‘Package’ a can’t-say-no offer that will make them want to call. Help them understand you are the ‘go to’ real estate professional in their location.

8. Get on the phone
I believe Alexander Graeme Bell should be the patron saint of real estate. No other industry is so suited to this simple yet life changing invention. Real Estate’s top performers make 20 plus calls each day (Mon to Fri) they understand the essential importance of keeping in touch with their future sellers.

9. Spend more time on Dollar Productive Tasks
I once went to a time management seminar and was fascinated to discover how much time I was ‘frittering’ away. I’m not talking about being a machine, but nothing is worth the pain of ‘working hard’ day after day for minimum results. Real Estate is about swapping our time for money. The more effective we are with our time, the more money we will earn regardless of the market. 

10. Get Organised. Reduce, delegate, eliminate.
When you think about it, most of what we do is a repetitive process. Look at your ‘process’ and see what functions can be automated. Work out just how you spend your day and take some time looking at what can be reduced, delegated or eliminated. It’s like going through your sock drawer and tossing out the ones you never wear.

Let’s keep in touch!  
I would love to be a part of your success. If you believe the above rules and ideas will help you boost productivity and take your real estate career to the next level, then I'm ready to share more with you. If you click on the link below I will send you 50 Free Success Ideas plus regular updates and ideas I learn every week from working with Real Estate’s Top Performers.


Comments (10)

Karen Anne Stone
New Home Hunters of Fort Worth and Tarrant County - Fort Worth, TX
Fort Worth Real Estate

Ray:  I have had such negative results whenever I hear or read the phrase "tough love" that I hesitated to read this post.  But... you've got some good ideas here.  Thanks for sharing.

Oct 05, 2008 08:48 PM
James G. Pycha
James Pycha (R) - REMAX KAUAI - Princeville, HI
(R), REMAX Kauai Broker

Hi Ray . . .   good stuff indeed .  ..   What do you think about the immediate future?



Oct 05, 2008 09:08 PM
Amy Salisbury
Leading Edge Properties - Charles Town, WV
West Virginia Realtor/Jefferson/Berkeley


Thanks for the great post!  Timely and informative, you've also given me a great focus for some of my "pet" listings!  Talk about getting back to the basics!  I'm bookmarking this one! 

Oct 05, 2008 10:41 PM
Norma J. Elkins
Elite Realty Group - Morristown, TN
Realtor - Elkins Home Selling Team

Great post and very very good advice -- THanks for sharing!

Oct 05, 2008 11:06 PM
Mike Wong
Keller Williams Realty Southwest - Sugar Land, TX
Realtor: Commercial, Residential, Leasing, Invest

Ray thanks for the 10 tips. Going to print them and post them in my office.

Oct 05, 2008 11:21 PM
Katie Evans
Keller Williams - Greenville, NC

Ray, When I sat down and looked at my "waste" it was sellers.  I am cleaning house by Christmas.  I now only take the listings that will sell in 90 days in my market.  I tell the others to call me when the other agent cannot sell it. 

Oct 05, 2008 11:36 PM
Richard Shuman
The Only B.S. I Have is from the University of Massachusetts - Lake Mary, FL
Real Estate Broker - Orlando Area - Love Referrals

I'm not buying into the whole doom and gloom either. It seems like the media wants Obama to be president so they only talk about the bad things! They need to shut up!

Oct 05, 2008 11:48 PM
Kathy Fey
Fey & Associates - Dacula, GA

Whatever it takes for agents to get motivated, I'm for.  Negative thoughts don't accomplish anything.

Oct 05, 2008 11:55 PM
Steve Homer
The HBH Group (Keller Williams affiliate) - Round Rock, TX

Ray:  Excellent post!  In tough times, it is back to the basics and they must be executed as a matter of mastery.  I am working hard at this time to beef up lead generation and to reduce expenses to a very frugal level.

Oct 06, 2008 12:12 AM
Winter Baserva
Seasons Realty Group of Atlanta Communities - Atlanta, GA
Realtor -Homes For Sale, Atlanta, GA

I loved this and its all very true. Thanks for sharing your top producer knowledge with us.

Oct 06, 2008 12:28 AM