By Walter Sanford
Last week, I showed you nine silver linings that can be found in a difficult market. Below are 10 more reasons to embrace a tough market and still find success.
1. In this tough market, you should have time to pay more attention to the most profitable aspects of your brokerage business. If there are fewer transactions, it is time to capture the “prime” ones. A double-sided transaction allows a double commission with fewer delays. You know the needs of both parties, and there are less gambits.
You should have a system that turns on the minute you get the listing go ahead. As you walk out, take a sign out of your trunk and put it up. Call your assistant or a third-party vendor to get the new listing cards out in 24 hours. Delay the publishing of the listing in the MLS for about a week, but please do that as legally and ethically as possible.
Contact your database with a quick e-mail about the opportunity. You should also hold the one and only open house that Sunday. Do everything you can do to use the excitement of a new listing to get your own buyer. I challenge you to go back to your most profitable transactions of the past and design systems to experience them more often.
2. You are dealing with your old friends. You remember them — the top people, the survivors, the ones who were around during the last slowdown. The new faces have proven business plans. I challenge you to start leveraging their experience.
One of the best things that I did in my area during the last tough market was to put my Power Players Group together. I invited them to my home for a barbecue and proposed that they all send my assistant an e-mail with their No. 1 best buyer and No. 1 best seller, based on fantastic motivation. I wanted them to include, with the one person and one property, all the information that I would need to find them the right buyer/seller.
The leads were sent to me on Thursday. I assembled them and sent them out to the members on Friday. If a member did not send leads in, they did not get the list. Since it was my idea, my assistant and my system, I got a 24-hour head start. I put a transaction together every month from that information and so did most of the group. I challenge you to form some strange alliances.
3. A normal market means a normal life. Sellers are only selling if they need to sell, and buyers are only buying if they need to buy and are getting a perceived value. There is no more emotional buying, speculation, and using your home for estate building by flipping every two years. This means you can work a plan as discussed above. You can time-block your schedule. You can be less responsive to “urgent” and more responsive to “important.”
There are fewer reasons to buy and sell when prices are not going up as fast, going sideways or down. There are fewer reasons to jump up like a Pop-Tart to handle non-scheduled emergencies. Work the proven plans which produce more listings, make listing presentations, negotiate contracts and show properties to qualified buyers — all scheduled in the correct balance every day.
4. You need more marketing time. If a seller thinks that limiting your listing period will motivate you, please explain the opposite is true because of human nature. You, the agent, have to present the resources upfront. You want realistic expectations to pay back your overhead and make a profit. Please sell them on your time-blocked status reports, and go for a listing period that allows extra time for the buyers to go through the excess inventory. In most areas, a year listing is now the goal. I challenge you to get the time you need to make a profit.
5. Get out and see the inventory again. Yeah, I know, what seems like a waste of time. However, if you have an efficient office tour or a tour put on by the MLS, it is now time to start going on them again. You see, the new listings start leading the trend down, therefore allowing you to pay less attention to the comps and more attention to the listings that are setting the new low prices. When I went on tour in a tough market, the outstanding values were the price setters, not the sales from six months ago. If you have to talk to Realtors, then maybe say, “Hi” to them on tour. I challenge you to figure out how to efficiently see the new listings in your market area about once a week. Stay away from “Sam Slow’s” listings, because he never gets it right. See what the killers are listing, what they offer and how they are pricing.
6. There are fewer agents out there. Start wearing a name tag again. Put up one of those stupid magnetic signs on your car. There are fewer agents, even fewer who are not hiding in a bunker. Start showing your bright disposition. When asked “How is real estate going?” you can say “My clients are making a fortune. What are your plans in the next 24 months?”
7. You will never be poor again. You see the people having trouble now have never have seen a tough market. They have sold steadily for the last 10 years. They thought that buyers bugged you to buy and sellers asked you to sell. They thought you did not need down payments or credit ratings. They thought that real estate always goes up. They scoffed when you said, “Be careful.” They actually believed that it was easy to make a six-figure income in real estate. They bought their own home with no money down and got an interest only loan. They used the money. They saved on their loan and down payment to buy a great car(s) and beat the Joneses.
The ones who are making it have been through tough times before. Whatever does not kill you, will make you stronger. If you listen to me carefully and do the stuff you should be doing, you will make it. If you make it through this market, you will be set for life, because it does not get much harder than this. I challenge you to prosper now as you set yourself up for life.
8. You will be convinced that buyers are the least-profitable segment of the market, no matter what market. I challenge you to stop listening to non-agents selling technology that solicits buyers as your main income lead generator.
9. You will get to the point faster. “Either you want to buy or sell, or please call someone else.” You will be able to say that nicely with no one thinking you are full of yourself. I challenge you to start that exercise today.
10. And your last silver lining is that you will have a chance to become closer with my system.