Today's Market Realities Part I: When to Venture Out of Your Comfort Zone... and When to Stay in...

Education & Training with Sell with Soul

As promised, I'm writing a little series of blogs on how I'm coping with this ... ahem... more challenging real estate market that my not be going away any time soon. Phooey on affirmations and positive thinking - let's get to WORK! (okay, so there's nothing wrong with positive thinking - please continue to do it).

In the past, I've written about how it's just fine to stay in your comfort zone - especially if you're an introvert. My assertion has been that most of us are just fine the way we are - that we have plenty of skills and talents and wonderfulness about us that we can utilize in our business-building efforts, without doing something new and, well, scary.

Been thinking about this lately, especially with the dramatic decrease in the volume of business up for grabs in this less-than-vibrant real estate market.

When the pickin's are scarce, sometimes it's necessary to be a bit more aggressive to get your share of the available pie. Let's face it; in many markets there simply aren't that many buyers and sellers out there, so it's likely gonna take some extra effort to track down the ones who are.

For the Power Prospectors among us (which certainly doesn't include ME), this is no big deal. In fact, the PP's might actually enjoy the challenge. But what about us more Reluctant types? Those of us who shudder at the thought of chasing down our prey? Am I advising us to do it anyway? To ignore our fears, our hesitancies, perhaps even our conscience?

Probably, maybe and no.

Ignore your fears? Probably. Your hesitancies? Maybe. Your conscience? NO.

FEAR: Earlier this year I started speaking publicly which terrified me at first, but I got over it and now I LOVE it. I conquered that FEAR by facing it and am a better person for it (and a bit wealthier since now people pay me to speak!).

HESITANCY: I have a HESITANCY of approaching FSBO's and Expired listings. I worry about making a fool of myself and dread the thought of being rejected, although I believe with all my heart and soul that I can help and might just be the best thing to ever happen to them. To date, my hesitancy to prospect to FSBO's and Expireds has kept me from doing it. I also HESITATE to spend any money on advertising, farming or web-lead purchase because I don't believe it's an effective use of my precious dollars. However, if you think it might work for you, there's certainly nothing wrong with such promotional activities.

CONSCIENCE: However, my CONSCIENCE will not allow me to do anything that resembles making a nuisance out of myself - that is - pestering my friends or pestering strangers with cold-calls, door-knocks or annoying pleas for referrals. No matter how desperate for business I might find myself, I will not subject other human beings on this planet to that desperation. That good old Golden Rule... don't do to someone else what you wouldn't want done to you...(and I tell ya, I despise telemarketers).

So, what's the punch line?

Well, that it may very well be necessary to step out of our comfort zones in order to survive this real estate market. However, that doesn't mean we have to abandon all our principles and throw ourselves on the altar of Old School sales philosophies.

When considering a new prospecting technique that you aren't terribly excited about...check with your gut. If your gut is just nervous because you haven't done it before, you might want to give that idea a shot. However, if your gut is telling you that it's wrong, then mark that particular idea off your list!

What are some of your fears & hesitancies that you're willing to explore? REO's & Short Sales? Daily blogging? SOI'ing? FSBO'ing? Foreclosure auctions? Open houses? Networking? I'll share mine if you share yours!



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Andrea Palmer
Jones & Co. Realty 239-333-5556 - Cape Coral, FL
Phone 239-333-5556

I really need to get out off my comfort zone ( I hate cold calls)!!! That will be my goal for this week!!!


Dec 09, 2008 12:13 PM #14
Loreena and Michael Yeo
3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co. - Prosper, TX
Real Estate Agents

I've been trying different avenues since we parted ways as mentor-mentee. Blogging is my major source of business now, hence you can understand my activity. You know how I feel about blogging as a powerful passive prospecting method. I like it that way. I still correspond with my SOI, which is my 2nd source of business. I'm also trying Borino's expireds and I do understand that I may need to step out of my comfort zone to see successful there.

I'm not afraid of stepping and venturing out. I'd love to see what I can do when I stand outside my FEAR (False Evidence Appearing Real) box. If I continue to feel uncomfortable and dont have a good feeling, I will quit. But until then, you taught me: If I dont try, I'd never know.

Dec 09, 2008 02:36 PM #15
Susan Haughton
Long and Foster REALTORS (703) 470-4545 - Alexandria, VA
Susan & Mindy Team...Honesty. Integrity. Results.

Well, I look at it this way...when all of us introverted types got started in this business, how did we go about it without all those dreaded old school types of activities??

Right, we did it differently.  And we not only survived, we thrived.

What has changed?  Volume.  That's all.  So I think all we need to do is go back to the basics we used to get started in our first year and do more of THAT stuff.  It still works.  We just need to do more of it.

Dec 09, 2008 03:09 PM #16
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Susan - Great point! And I agree it's probably the answer; however, I do think it's valuable to explore other avenues that we might have previously ignored... maybe they'll work, maybe they won't - and, a side benefit - it might get some kinda revved up again since they're trying something new!

Loreena - That's exactly how I feel (surprise surprise). I'm willing to try some new things, but I'm positive my business plan will still center around what's always worked for me and what I'm "comfortable" with.

Andrea - Then don't do cold calls!!!!!! I hate 'em too and would never advise anyone to get over THAT particular fear!

Alyce- I loved reading your comment! And you'll find more of us at the Sell with Soul forum if you haven't checked us out already - it's a FANTASTIC group. But to answer your question... with a question... what is it you think you "have" to do to be successful, but don't wanna?

George - Agreed. Although I pretty much know when my gut is telling me "No Way!" And I trust it - if I'm feeling squeemish about doing a particular prospecting activity, I won't do it until I've found a way to be proud of what I'm doing.

Dec 09, 2008 11:26 PM #17
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

I actually am thinking about calling FSBOs and Expireds.  I need to get stuff moving!  I do not want to just "cold call" people or door knock (I'm secretly thankful that many subdivisions prohibit soliciting and door knocking!)

Dec 10, 2008 12:18 AM #18
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Karen - the cool thing about trying something new is the energy it gives you. But please, don't feel the slightest bit guilty about NOT soliciting! IMO, it's just WRONG!

Speaking of FSBO's & Expireds... what's your plan of attack? Do you believe you're the best thing that could ever happen to 'em? (I suspect you are!)

Dec 10, 2008 12:23 AM #19
Linda Jandura
Raleigh Cary Realty - Apex, NC
Realtor, North Carolina Buyer & Seller Specialist

Jenn- thank you for saying this--However, that doesn't mean we have to abandon all our principles and throw ourselves on the altar of Old School sales philosophies.

I was so afraid when you said you were going to start a new series and revamp your ideas that you would tell us to start cold calling and knocking on doors! Thank You for sticking to your principles.

Dec 10, 2008 12:25 AM #20
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Ah, Linda, surely you know me better than THAT!!!!!!!!

Dec 10, 2008 12:28 AM #21
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

Jennifer - I bought Borino's system way back when and then was totally unable to do anything with it because I let life get in my way.  I am going to go after them with all I've got - I have successfully marketed and sold 4 previously expired listings and working on 3 more to add to my portfolio.  Of the seven previously expired listings I have had, 3 of them contacted me first - I didn't call them! 

My problem has been getting my kick butt resume together, and just actually contacting the expired people. Really, I want to say I've been "busy" but I'll be honest and say I wasn't as motivated as I should be.  I need to be more motivated - not pestery, just more motivated.  LESS LAZY! LOL

Dec 10, 2008 12:29 AM #22
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

The cool thing about expireds & FSBO's is that (I assume) once you've done it a few times, it's much easier and maybe even enjoyable. What's always stopped me from doing expireds here in Denver is that I never found any I actually wanted! At least, that was one of my excuses...

Dec 10, 2008 12:35 AM #23
Karen Rice
Davis R. Chant, REALTORS - Hawley, PA
Northeast PA & Lake Wallenpaupack Home Sales

One of the expireds that I sold is my "golden child."  It was an "unusual" house (I really would like to say WEIRD but that's negative.  LOL).  It had been on the market for two years with two other agents.  The price was certainly a factor (the seller didn't like my price but agreed to it anyway, and we did git 'er done) but also the marketing aspect - the previous agents did nothing to showcase the coolness of the home; they did what they could to make the listing as uninteresting as possible (bad photos, few photos, you knwo the routine). 

The buyers bought this house not only because it was in their price range, but because it was the most unusual house in the area and they LOVED that.  They never would have known that had I marketed it the same way the other agents did. 

This is more difficult to do with cookie cutter homes - how DO you make them stand out? LOL - but in this case the expired was fun.

Now I"m letting one of my listings expire and I'm hoping he lets someone else have it! How bad is that? LOL

Dec 10, 2008 12:42 AM #24
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

Great advice, no use in doing something you don't feel comfortable with and if you don't feel comfortable doing it, you probably won't find success that way either.  I have been working with another Realtor on expireds for quite some time now, we'll see if it pays off!

Dec 10, 2008 07:13 AM #25
Joddie Roberts
Mountain Real Estate and Property Management - Spokane, WA
Your Spokane Realtor - Spokane, WA

I'm learning how to overcome my fear of thinking I'm pestering someone when I do step out of my comfort zone, pick up the phone and start making calls.  In reality I'm just trying to find out if I can help someone in need, there is no harm in that. 

Dec 10, 2008 04:11 PM #26
Elva Branson-Lee
Solid Source Realty GA - Atlanta, GA
CDPE - Atlanta Real Estate & Short Sale Agent

I'm so glad I found this thread!  People like me! Yay! It's as if you've been reading my mail. I hate receiving unsolicited sales calls and make a point to NOt buy anything from anyone who contacts me that way. So naturally, this makes it hard for me to intrude on others with my cold calls. EXCEPT when it's an Epired or FSBO, at least I know these are people who want to sell their homes and need my service. Still, I'd rather mail them something than make that unsolicited call. But the hard fact is, calling works better.

Dec 12, 2008 12:57 PM #27
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

JA - I love the way you think and the way you write.  It is great.  As usual, you bring up some good points.  I think agents should do a little of everything that they are comfortable with and a little that they are not comfortable with.  And if it is something that one is totally not comfortable with, than X that out.  So within that frame, there is so much to do.  Sometimes it is within ones comfort zone to do it, but it just is not being done at all.  Which is why just being proactive is critical.  The more one puts themselves out there, the more potential for business their is.

I think blogging is a great way to start and be consistent with ones blog weekly.  Also targeting a certain sector of ones market is important.  We send out weekly letters to expired and withdrawn listings - no phone calls or door knocking.  Simply from our letter, this past year we must have got over 10 listings, many of which have already sold.  It is a soft letter and invites them to call us.  Further, we only send the letter out in certain neighborhoods that we have been targeting and are our expert marktets.

Am very interested in knowing your shares of experience and plans for 2009 as well.  ~ Chris

Dec 12, 2008 11:40 PM #28
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

Chris - I always love your comments on my comments! And I think you put it very well - try a little of everything, but be comfy deleting something from your plan if you don't like it! Except I know that I don't need to try cold-calling! Blech!

I'm still stewing over my plans for 2009. I have so much going on in the speaking/training/writing part of my life that I'm not sure where selling real estate fits in. I enjoy selling real estate and I'm rather good at it, AND I like the material it gives me to write about (!), but I don't think it's what I'm called to do right now. However, it sure does pay well...

Dec 13, 2008 12:06 AM #29
BIG DAN Corsair


Jennifer, reading your Posts are EEERRRIIIEEE!, it is like you are picking words out of my brain that have been there for years and need to come out!!!

Being the INFJ that I am, I can so relate to your attitudes about business. Its really interesting to read your comments and consider where you are in life, I'm about 20 years ahead of you and it all still matches.

Dec 13, 2008 03:09 AM #30
Kim Peasley-Parker
AgentOwned Realty, Heritage Group, Inc. - Sumter, SC


I think we are all struggling with getting out of our comfort zone.  I just spent several days preparing a business planning training session for our office.  All this is part of my plan though as I want to use the training I am doing to recruit new agents. 

I have stepped out of my comfort zone and trying my hand at expireds and withdrawns.  No luck so far, but I will keep it up and see what happens.

Dec 15, 2008 02:22 AM #31
Kelsey Barklow
Evans & Evans Real Estate - Johnson City, TN
423/948-9154, Marne Drinnon 423/202-2277

Going out of my comfort zone: I do it but I don't really like it but maybe if I do it more often, I won't mind it and may actually come to enjoy it. You think? I, too, hate to think I might make a fool of myself, say the wrong thing, accidently insult someone, etc. but I guess I just need to have more confidence in myself because so far, I've done okay so I must be doing something right. You'll never know if you don't try it, right?

Dec 15, 2008 05:42 AM #32
Larry Riggs
Century 21 Redwood - Frederick, MD
GRI, SRS Your Frederick County Specialist


   Ok, I hope this response doesn't go too long but I think it's good stuff. While my fellow Realtors are out on the golf course I'm on a ropes course. I am a facilitator because I love it. Don't tell the company but I'd do it for free. It's that rewarding. I work with all sorts of groups but mostly I love corporate, military, police and leadership groups. They are groups that come out with a purpose. One of the more powerful events we have is called the leap of faith. Basically you climb to the top of a 25' pole, stand on top and jump out to catch a trapeze. It's not physically hard but it's probably the most emotionally challenging event on the course. I've had to do many "emotional" rescues where the clients are yelling, crying, even sobbing hysterically because they're so terrified. What makes it worth all the crying is to see them when they come down. I remember one corporate customer who was hysterical up there. I talked to her after the program. When I asked her about the event she started crying and clenched her fists and said "I have dreams and now I know I can face anything" Pushing through fear is powerful. Pushing through terror is life changing.

    Many years ago I use to teach classes on that kind of thinking. Lots of Tony Robbins among others. After some of the gut wrenching struggles I've faced this past year I decided to pull out some of my old tapes and listen. It was mixed for me. On the one hand, the information was good. On the other hand I could only ask, what had I let happen to myself. I listened to myself share personal stories of pulling off unbelievable things. I was so angry with myself for letting others talk me out of the person I knew I could be. Life really beats us up sometimes. The sad thing is, it happens so slowly we don't even know it. It's time to live out new incredible stories. The past doesn't pay the bills. I've asked myself if I do it as a people pleaser. Funny thing is, people talk about you no matter what you do so might as well do what you know to be true and right. Just my thoughts!

Jan 19, 2009 08:06 AM #33
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