Is it Okay to Blame the Market for Your Lower Production?

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Education & Training with Sell with Soul

In my last blog, I mentioned that I refuse to work with agents (on a consulting basis) if their only explanation for their struggles is to blame the Other Guy. If someone isn't willing to first look in the mirror to find the solutions to their dilemma, I know I'll be of no use to them!

But let's talk about blame for a moment... rational blame versus irrational blame.

I think it's pointless to "blame" our clients for our troubles. Oh, we real estate agents are experts in doing this - after all - the phrase "Buyers are Liars" is deeply ingrained in our industry, as obnoxious as it is (don't get me started). We ridicule our sellers for wanting Top Dollar for their home in Less-than-Top condition, or for "needing" a certain sales price to be able to sell. Well, guess what? The ability to resolve these transaction-specific issues IS our job and the reason we're paid the way we are. If we can't empathize, thus effectively communicate with our clients, then that's our fault, not theirs.

That's a topic for a different day.

Today I want to talk about the other thing we blame for our struggles - The Market. And y'know what? I'll buy that. I do think it's perfectly reasonable to blame the market and/or the economy for a failing (or frustrated) real estate career. Hey, if buyers aren't buying, there's NOTHING we can do about that - we certainly can't manufacture buyers if none exist!

So, what if YOUR market sucks? And some certainly do. I've been contacted by agents in most of the askinfamously sucky markets, including Las Vegas, Florida, Michigan and Phoenix, wanting to know if I can help them. Well, frankly, I'm not sure I can, at least not in the time-frame they need in order to survive.

Here's what I ask these struggling agents:

JA asks: "In your market...

...is there business to be had, if you could figure out how to get it?" (One agent I spoke with said that the very top producers are selling no more than a dozen homes per year. If this is true, I'd say that no, there is NOT much business to be had at this time).

....are there buyers?" (Of course, this is related to the first question, but a bit more specific. In some markets or specific market areas, there simply may not be a buyer on the planet right now. Again, there's nothing that can be done about that.)

... are houses selling?" (Many agents ask me for help getting listings, but when I ask this question and the answer is "no, not really," I have to wonder why one would want listings!)

If you work in an unviable market, then you need to make some tough decisions; decisions that may conflict mightily with your gut. Here are your options as I see them:

1.       Focus on the future - stop fretting about the NOW and strive to increase the number of raving fans in your Sphere of Influence. When good times return (and they will), you'll be one of the few still standing. Of course, this requires that you have an alternative source of income or that you drastically curtail your lifestyle.

2.       Back off... slow down... take a deep breath. ARE you doing what you know needs to be done to generate business or are you so scared and frustrated that you're spending most of your time bon-bonning on the couch (or behind the keyboard)? Don't declare the market dead if you haven't given it a good effort. Even if your good efforts fail, at least you'll know you tried. Re-evaluate your business plan and review (or create a list of) your activity goals. Are you holding up your end of the bargain? If you can honestly say that you aren't, give it a few more uber-focused months and see if things turn around.

3.       Quit. Yeah, quit. There's no shame in throwing in the towel and moving onto something else that pays the bills and allows you to sleep peacefully at night. I know lots of agents, great ones even, who have chosen this path and they're actually proud of themselves for making this very tough decision.

But... if your market is okay (and many are), stop blaming the Other Guy for your troubles and let's get you back in the saddle!!!

 

JUST RELEASED!

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Rainer
45,021
Jenn Neumann Deer
RE/MAX Southern Shores - Surfside Beach, SC
Surfside Beach Real Estate

In our area, the market is definitely tough, with scarce buyers and way too many sellers who can't afford to sell at the current market value. but we are still surviving and keeping busy.  Hopefully 2009 will be busier and more buyers will be willing and able to buy but we are going to stick it out for the long run!

Dec 15, 2008 11:00 AM #57
Ambassador
1,118,540
Russ Ravary ~ Metro Detroit Realtor call (248) 310-6239
Real Estate One - Commerce, MI
Michigan homes for sale ~ yesmyrealtor@gmail.com

Sometimes getting out of the business is the best decision for some agents

Dec 15, 2008 11:02 AM #58
Anonymous
Gene Quinney

Good post! In times like these people need to re-evaluate their business model and change for the better. Either we change with the times or the times will force us to change. Either way, there are many other ways to earn an income and times like these cause creativity to flourish or flounder and only the individual knows which one that will be...

 

 

Dec 15, 2008 11:34 AM #59
Rainer
24,337
Gene & Kim Quinney
Northwest Equity Home Sales - Tacoma, WA

I didn't realize I was not logged in when I wrote that...LOL

 

Gene

Dec 15, 2008 11:37 AM #60
Rainmaker
571,718
Bill Gillhespy
16 Sunview Blvd - Fort Myers Beach, FL
Fort Myers Beach Realtor, Fort Myers Beach Agent - Homes & Condos

Evening Jennifer,  Terrific post and tells it like it is.  Even some excellent agents will be moving on.

Dec 15, 2008 11:46 AM #61
Rainmaker
487,085
TIM MONCRIEF
Tim Monciref - Austin, TX
Over 2,000 homes sold…..

Let 'em quit.  There is a direct correlation between the amount of available commissions in the market as there are agents at any given time (Shift, Gary Keller)

Dec 15, 2008 12:16 PM #62
Rainer
184,664
George Tallabas
RE/MAX Advantage - Nampa, ID
Idaho Real Estate

I can actually blame the current market for one of my best years ever and for just being named #1 in my office, the largest office in our County!

Dec 15, 2008 12:16 PM #63
Rainmaker
234,025
Patricia Beck
RE/MAX Properties, Inc., GRI, CDPE - Colorado Springs, CO
Colorado Springs Realty

You always write great stuff that makes us all think Jennifer.  Blaming clients or the market is definitely not the answer.  Agents have to be willing to work hard if they want to stay in real estate.

Dec 15, 2008 12:29 PM #64
Rainer
5,286
Lou Coco
Keller Williams Realty St. Louis - Webster Groves, MO
St. Louis, MO Real Estate 314-477-7642

Great post Jennifer and great comments by all the agents following up.  I'm with the majority here in thinking that the market is not in control of our destiny WE ARE!  I'm going to sell a few more houses before the year is up just to prove that point (and by the way, buyers aren't liars, they're our friends, especially now).

Dec 15, 2008 12:59 PM #65
Anonymous
Marie Goodwin, Coldwell Banker Stuart and Watts Real Estate

Jennifer

What a Great post and everyone has covered it all... A lot of Agents want the Buyers dropped in thier lap with a check in had.  We have been blessed and when someone ask "Are you busy. How's the Real Estate Market"? We are staying busy and the market is good, rates down and properties being reduced now's the time to buy. Looking forward to reading more of your post's.

Dec 15, 2008 01:17 PM #66
Rainer
17,029
Nick Ruta
Whitehall, PA

I agree with the one comment, come the first of the year, when dues are up....you're going to hear a giant sucking sound as thousands and thousands of Realtors drop out.   We had 300 sales last month in our area, with an MLS membership of 2600.   There's simply no way these people, who do nothing, are going to fork over their NAR dues...no way, not in this economy.

The cleansing is upon us and I think by spring the population of Realtors nationwide is going to be significantly lower than it is today....which personally, is a good thing for those who actually are still striving and actually doing business.

Dec 15, 2008 03:14 PM #67
Rainmaker
655,882
Bob & Carolin Benjamin
Benjamin Realty LLC - Gold Canyon, AZ
East Phoenix Arizona Homes

Another good post as always -- thanks for your consistently good posts. All the best for the holiday season.

Dec 15, 2008 03:20 PM #68
Rainmaker
123,094
AMBER NOBLE GARLAND - Top Real Estate Expert, Property Tax Appeal Specialist & Author
Strategic Marketing Expert & Relocation Specialist Serving New Jersey and nationwide! - Marlboro, NJ
- The Agent You Can Trust To Deliver REAL Results!

No it's not alright to totally blame the market and everything under the sun. We need to be accountable for ourselves first and foremost. If the market has slowed down, that means we've got to pick up the pace and work a little harder, that's all. Great post!

Dec 15, 2008 05:30 PM #69
Rainmaker
160,728
Retired Notworking
Tallahassee, FL

"When the going gets tough, the tough go shopping". Oops, that's from another era, the 80's, when the economy was better. This market is tough, but I try to focus on the people I meet and talk to each day with the expectation that what I sow today is what I'll reap tomorrow.

Dec 15, 2008 09:46 PM #70
Rainmaker
484,157
Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn
Sell with Soul - Pensacola Beach, FL
Author of Sell with Soul

I had a technological almost-catastrophe yesterday, so I've been terribly remiss in acknowledging all the fantastic comments here! Not much I can add to them, except to thank all of y'all for such thoughtful posts. In fact, many of you inspired ME to listen to my own flippin' advice because y'know what? I've been doing a little market-blaming myself for my inertia, even though the market here in Denver isn't bad at all.

Thanks to all my AR friends!!!!!!!

Dec 16, 2008 12:27 AM #71
Rainer
179,139
Mark MacKenzie
Phoenix, AZ

Hi Jennifer,

This is a great quote, "Focus on the future - stop fretting about the NOW and strive to increase the number of raving fans in your Sphere of Influence. When good times return (and they will), you'll be one of the few still standing."

I think a lot of agents underestimate the importance of building a database and not just "getting a deal."  A deal will put food on the table today, a database will feed you for the rest of your career.

Dec 16, 2008 01:00 AM #72
Ambassador
664,258
Paul McFadden
Paratex - Seattle, WA
Pest Control, Seattle, WA.

Jennifer. Nice post! We could but what good does it do? The people that will survive and thrive are the ones who get up every day and go to work. They treat it as their favorite job and profession and act accordingly. Those that don't probably need to consider doing something else that excites them again.

Dec 16, 2008 01:03 AM #73
Rainer
229,238
Ryan Shaughnessy
PREA Signature Realty - www.preasignaturerealty.com - Saint Louis, MO
Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner

Enjoyed the post - Identifying problems without offering solutions is just griping and whining.  It isn't the market.  It is you.  Re-invent yourself today, find a niche, and hit the ground running.  I had a very interesting conversation with a colleague and fellow broker in St. Louis.  He had an agent who was paid a salary and was assigned the job of birddogging new business.  For over 12 months, the guy came to work and when asked about new business he simply said "Don't Know... The Market is Bad."  Well, my fellow broker had enough.  He is a small independent operation and recently figured out that he makes more money with less agents.  He suggested that the guy take 3 weeks to develop a plan or proposal to generate sales or at least sales lead.  Guy comes back in "Not much you can do in this bad market" but here is my 3 items list.  What?  Not much to do?  There is a ton to be done.  Guy lost his job - or rather went back to commission only "eat what you kill" sales.  Moral of Story:  Instead of griping, try to develop solutions and maybe the bad market will be just a little less bad for ya.

Dec 16, 2008 03:22 AM #74
Ambassador
769,886
The Somers Team
The Somers Team at RE/MAX Access - Philadelphia, PA
Real People. Real Dreams. Real Estate.

JA, it is always good to learn from the competitor (s) instead of blaming them to improve ones skill, gain focus and move foward !  I cannot imagine any local market being that bad... as Jim Cramer says "There is always a bull market somewhere" .  I think agents need to adapt and adjust to create a niche of what can help one be successful and focus on that.  Futher, I think things will turn around sooner than later.  This is a great time to ramp up on the marketing when others are pulling back !

Dec 16, 2008 11:58 AM #75
Anonymous
centerville real estate

The article provides some helpful info on real estate marketing. I suggest, you may also visit www.mortgageinformationfinder.com/centerville-real-estate/ to known more in details.

Dec 16, 2008 05:32 PM #77
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Rainmaker
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Jennifer Allan-Hagedorn

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