How would you like to look back 12 months from now with great satisfaction at how not only YOUR REAL ESTATE BUSINESS HAS GROWN but your personal growth has kept the same pace?!!! This blog is all about how to make that a reality.
For that to happen you’d probably have to make some changes, right? Change as a concept is not something we naturally embrace. Let’s first take a quick look at the concept of change and how we resist it.
Resisting Being Open to Change…
Let’s face it, there is really only a very small percentage of the population that doesn’t resist change. It’s almost automatic to resist change… I call it “the reflex no”. You could argue that it’s human nature to resist change. It’s part of our survival instinct that says “keep things the same for now”.
It isn’t change itself that is the problem, it’s the fear of the change making things worse – not better that causes the resistance. It’s that uncertainty, the not knowing how things might turn out that creates the resistance. If you were sure that the change was going to be for the better then it would be easy to accept whatever’s coming next, right?
Here’s the tricky part… while not all change is for the better, not investing in change guarantees things will stay the same. So now you have to decide… if you’re 100% satisfied that everything in your life and business is “just perfect” then you never need to consider any changes. Trouble is, that’s never the case. There is ALWAYS opportunity to improve your life and that of the loved ones around you.
Have a look at financial guru and best-selling author Dave Ramsey’s (“Total Money Makeover”) perspective on change. Dave says that…
“Until the pain of staying the same becomes greater than the pain of making a change… you will not embrace change”.
Think of how a FSBO finally decides to list their home with you. Before that happens, they must first come to the conclusion that they can’t do for free what you do every day as a real estate sales professional. When they’re ready to interview you for the job of selling their home and invite you in to make a listing presentation it’s because…the “pain of staying the same” has become greater than “the pain of change”.
Another example would be when you decide that a difficult home buyer has become very high maintenance and they are just “not worth the trouble”. Keeping them is more painful than prospecting for new leads. That’s when change is much easier to accept.
Test yourself on this one… everybody says they are “open to change”… are you really that way? One of my favorite lines as a successful real estate Agent has always been this…
“I’m not asking you to make a commitment over the phone Mr./Mrs. Prospect… I’m just asking you to keep an open mind, okay? Let’s get together and look at your options. I could see you today at 3 PM or would 5 PM be better?”
Let me say the same to you… keep an open mind on change, look deeper than just your initial resistance – you’ll find some amazing nuggets in the list that follows that will energize you and your real estate sales business forever. Change is good. Change and growth are synonymous.
Here are 10 strategies and techniques (+ a Bonus item) that you can take on right away that will ensure both personal and real estate sales results growth. They are not identified in any order of importance.
Guaranteed they will help you make some very exciting changes in your life and your sales results. Here’s the list:
- Raise the Bar on Your Sales Expectations
- Confront Yourself
- What’s Your Dress Code?
- Your Commitment to Staying Motivated
- The University on Wheels
- Stop Resisting Getting Better
- Bookend Your Day
- Create a “Clutter Free” Environment
- Be the Right Kind of Magnet
- Go for Zero Drama
+ a BONUS Strategy
Treat this list like a buffet. Begin anywhere you like and pick the ones that you know will make the biggest difference for you and get started on your plan.
- Raise the Bar on Your Sales Expectations…
It is universally accepted that human beings are capable of achieving significantly more both mentally and physically. Psychologists say that we only use about 10% of our brain’s capacity. Knowing that, it is strange though that the majority of the population resists any concerted effort to do more/accomplish more.
A couple of years ago I conducted a real estate Sales Seminar at an office where two of the attendees revealed that each was stuck at a certain level of production for the last three years. One was doing 18 home sales per year and the other had sold an average of 40 houses per year. Each felt they were at their upper limit as evidenced by their results over the preceding 3 years. Their individual home sales totals never changed from year to year.
Curious though isn’t it? Same office, same real estate agent training program, same marketplace and one real estate Salesperson was stuck 18 home sales per year and the second had leveled out at more than double the same number. They had both arrived at a permanent expectation for their real estate sales results, and nothing changed.
Why?…they had decided that their “set point” was 18 and 40 transactions respectively and didn’t seem to be able to get past that. Set Point by definition is “the level to which things naturally return given no permanent change”. Typically for example, people’s weight stays at a set point over long periods of time (unless they introduce a permanent change in their diet/exercise regimen).
So how do you break through your current set point and “raise the bar” on your results? Wherever you are now in your production is the result of a self-imposed limitation? How to increase your overall real estate sales production?
If you look back to the definition of Set Point, you will discover that the solution is built in. The key is “permanent change”. When you resist raising your expectations, you resist growth and progress.
— The first step is to change your home sales expectations to a higher level. Demand and expect more from yourself…why not, what do you have to lose?
–The second step is to implement ideas, techniques, and new sales skills to allow you to break through to the next level. Introduce some permanent change – just make sure it’s permanent. That’s how you change your Set Point.
The only risk when you get out of your box and take on new and exciting challenges is this:
There’s bound to be some bumps in the road along the way. The good news is that this risk is much less than the risk of standing still. Raise your expectations and go for it! Nothing to lose and virtually everything to win.
A simple approach that is not intimidating is to “be 1% better today than you were the day before”. Identify the items that have the biggest income on your real estate sales results… lead generation, follow-up, and making presentations. Next, commit to making two more contacts today, call that lead you’ve been avoiding following up with, ask for a referral from the next prospect or past client you approach.
Raising the bar doesn’t have to be a quantum leap… use baby steps and build your momentum progressively. Have fun with this and watch your progress, you already know that you capable of much more.
- Confront Your Self…
Looking in the mirror and challenging yourself is not easy to do. Confrontation doesn’t typically come naturally for most real estate sales professionals… or for most people in general. It’s hard enough to confront others let alone confront ourselves! When we resist confronting ourselves, we avoid self-improvement and as a result we stay the same. That’s a much more comfortable place to be (at least in the short term).
Confronting yourself doesn’t have to be a traumatic experience. It starts with establishing some minimum standards and then making sure you meet those levels of performance on a regular basis. As outlined in the previous point, you can then raise the bar little by little until you get to a satisfactory level of success (i.e.: 1% per day).
Examples of minimum standards could be:
— a minimum number of hours prospecting for buyer or seller leads each day
— ensuring that you write out your personal goals in a notebook every day
— adding one person every day to your past clients and center of influence database
— closing for the appointment or the signature 3 – 5 times
The key to making this work for you is if you fall short on a particular day you must make it up the next day. For example… if your goal was to make 15 contacts per day and on Wednesday you only did 11. Then on Thursday you would have to meet your minimum standard and do the extra 4 on Thursday. Keep it simple.
Personal confrontation can be a good thing, it’s not about beating yourself up – it’s about being your word at all times. Set some reasonable minimum standards and stick to them rigidly. The end result is: not only does your real estate sales production improve, so does your self-confidence.
- What’s Your Dress Code?
An interesting dilemma here… how do you want to be viewed by your real estate buyers and sellers? Many Salespeople feel they can build more rapport if they take the casual approach. I’m asking you to keep an open mind here… here’s my mantra for you to consider:
“You can’t overdress but you certainly can underdress!”
This is one of those choices you can’t afford to get wrong. Being too casual runs a much greater risk them being too formal. Considering that the transaction for helping someone buy or sell a house involves literally hundreds of thousands of dollars and typically many years of payments, do you really want to run the risk of being too casual and offending them?
How would you feel if you went on appointment to see your attorney or your physician and they were dressed in shorts and flip-flops? Dress the part of who you want them to see you as.
People will form an opinion of you before you even open your mouth. It only takes about 3 seconds for them to come to a conclusion as to who they think you are. And all this starts before you even did a chance to begin to build rapport.
Sometimes it’s too late if you get off on the wrong foot. Be the real estate sales professional – create the right impression and then build rapport. You can’t lose taking this approach.
One last item to confirm how important this is…how do you feel when you have a new outfit on? How do you feel when you know you look like a million $$$?
It isn’t just for your clients and prospects that you should dress professionally. It affects the way you carry yourself, it affects the way you talk, your eye contact, your handshake, the way you walk, even your energy — everything! Do it for yourself as much as you do it for others. They win and so do you.
- Your Commitment to Staying Motivated
Years ago, the “father of personal development”, Earl Nightingale, told us that 93% of the population doesn’t have written goals. The second half of that equation was that the other 7% are consistently more successful. This 7% includes creating a successful real estate sales career. It’s not uncommon for someone who doesn’t write out their personal goals to tell me that, “Oh, I don’t need to do that Bruce, I know what my goals are – they’re in my head”. Interestingly enough, when I ask the same person to rhyme them off to me, they become vague and confused. Their goals are not clear.
A study conducted by Gail Matthews at Dominican University shows that those with written goals are consistently more successful in life and business than their opposite counterparts.
Why should you do this – what’s the advantage to writing out your goals every day? Why can’t I just keep them in my head? There are two important answers to that question:
—There is a time management benefit – you focus on the more important things in your life. You waste much less time on the unimportant, and you get a lot more done in your real estate sales business.
— There is a long-term benefit – it keeps you motivated! By staying motivated you will be much more inclined to achieve your real estate sales business goals more readily. This then is the vehicle to allow you to achieve your personal goals. You get more of what you want for yourself and your family.
Many people are not really clear on what their personal goals are… here’s a simple solution to get you started: Identify 2 goals for each of the following 3 categories and write them out…
— My Health
–My Financial Future
Lastly, considering that 80% of the population is visually driven… why not create a dream board with pictures to illustrate the goals you have written out? It is easily done, you no longer have to invest in a stack of magazines… there’s enough images on Google to fill your dream board every time.
Have fun with this – you can even involve your family putting it together. It’s a great way to motivate yourself and stay on track.
Just make sure you review your goals every day. I have been writing out my personal goals every day in a journal for many, many years. I also have a dream board in my office. It makes a huge difference! Stop resisting this one. This particular item alone will dramatically change your life!
Start by doing the simple exercise above for those three categories (health, family, and financial) and write down your top six goals. Do it again tomorrow and you now have a routine. It is literally that simple.
There is great power in staying motivated. There will be days when you need to draw on that reserve in your tank. Sort of like an extra supply of oxygen when you’re short of breath.
- The University on Wheels
Believe it or not, the bulk of the population resists getting better by constantly enhancing who they are. Without delving into all the psychological issues behind self-help and personal development, there appears to be two reasons for this:
— fear of change and upsetting the status quo (“I don’t like change”)
— fear of acknowledging that there is any room for improvement (“There’s nothing wrong with me the way I am right now”)
This is a big mistake – life can be so much more fulfilling and your real estate sales business can be so much more successful when you continually enhance who you are. This particular point is a very entertaining approach to growth.
Here’s how to deal with this very comfortably. When you are working, your car can become as Brian Tracy says, “a university on wheels”. Make a rule for yourself that between 8 AM and 5 PM that you will listen to words of wisdom and inspirational thoughts from some of the leaders in the personal development industry.
Experts like Tony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Jack Canfield, Jim Rohn, Darren Hardy, and real estate Sales Trainers like myself. There is no shortage of highly effective and highly engaging material available… Amazon, Audible.com, iTunes, etc.
As the expression goes, “Work all the time that you work and play all the time that you play”.Take advantage of this 8 – 5 daytime self-improvement approach.
Here’s a great plan for your follow from now on… no more radio in the car during the day while you are working. Same thing when you are exercising. Fill up your iPod with great ammunition so you become mentally tough and unstoppable.
Years ago in his bestseller, “Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus”, Dr. John Gray explained how we need to “fill up our tanks” every day to deal with all the negativity in the world. The real estate sales business can drag you down periodically. You need to combat that by replenishing what is deleted from your tank as a result of your day-to-day activities.
Sales Tip…Many of my Coaching Clients listen to my “All the Right Words” Scripts and Dialogues Package every day in their car. It’s a great way to internalize what to say and how to say it. Very quickly you will hear yourself repeating the key phrases, homebuyer and home seller objection handlers, and closes naturally without memorizing.
- Stop Resisting Getting Better
A personal observation…of all the resistances to growth that I run into as a Sales Coach and trainer, this for me is the most inexplicable of all. This is the one that shows up most often, and this is the one that when overcome, gives the biggest return on investment.
As a real estate sales professional the most important task you must master is the ability to communicate effectively. To make a compelling listing presentation, show homes to your buyer, handle objections confidently, lead generate + follow-up smoothly, and close for the appointment or signature naturally… takes practice.
Fully 95% of all real estate Salespeople do not practice their scripts and dialogs regularly. This is an astounding mistake in judgment! Instead of practicing on their peers (who will not be buying or selling a home with them)…they practice on their next prospect (who they hope will be buying or selling a home from them). This doesn’t make any sense. To put it bluntly… it is a very lazy approach. NO Excuses.
The first resistance to scripts and dialogues shows up as, “They don’t sound like me, I don’t want to sound scripted or salesy”. No argument there… if you don’t practice them, they won’t sound like you. So what do most real estate Salespeople do? They wing it and hope that they say the right thing. A practiced script is unbeatable, it’s the right words and it’s you delivering it professionally.
If you want to be the consummate professional real estate Salesperson, you must practice. Every other profession (sports, theater, criminal lawyers, etc.) practices all the time. Real estate sales is a highly lucrative profession for those who put in the extra effort to be top notch communicators. Pay the price and you will truly be at the top of your game. Know what to say and how to say it.
The formula is 30 minutes of role-playing and practicing real estate scripts and dialogues every morning five days a week. Get 4 separate role-play partners plus take part in our Role Play Coaching sessions every Thursday morning.
I did this for years and there is no doubt in my mind that’s why I was so successful. I am not alone. This is another one of those critical issues. Overcome this resistance and your real estate sales career will explode!
- Bookend Your Day
Considering that your Mindset and your Attitude are a critical aspect of being successful in real estate sales (and staying mentally tough) it’s a mistake not to give yourself a “mental boost” to start off and end your day. This is called “bookending”. You bookend your morning by starting things off powerfully and inspirationally plus you bookend your nighttime by ending things peacefully. You deserve that (and so does your mindset).
It can be argued that fully 90% of real estate sales success is directly attributed to the strength of your mindset and your day to day attitude. I call it “The 90% Factor”.
The AM Bookend: Reading or listening to some inspirational material to kick off the morning only needs to be a small part of your overall a.m. routine. It doesn’t take much time, as little as 15 minutes. It’s like an injection of adrenaline to prepare you for an exciting day ahead. Your choice might be spiritual material, motivational material, or just general easy reading to get you started. Build up a library of your favorites and then draw on them on an ongoing basis.
The same approach before you turn out the light to go to bed is incredibly powerful! This clears away all the clutter of the day and melts any frustrations or anxiety that have built up. It allows you to drift off to sleep with good thoughts in your head.
The PM Bookend: Nighttime reading can often be about totally different content than your morning reading. Perhaps an inspirational biography or story about someone you admire (“10 Things I Learned from Bill Porter” by Shelly Brady or “The Book of Negroes” by Lawrence Hill). The added benefit is you’ll sleep better and wake up fully reinvigorated.
Want to make sure that this happens on a regular basis? The simplest approach is to put this in your daily schedule. That way, it’s like every other important appointment you have – it just becomes part of your regular routine. In the quiet of your own home you can reinforce yourself with great material before the day gets rolling and at the end when you’re winding down.
- Create a “Clutter Free” Environment
All you have to do is watch one episode of “Hoarders” on A & E and you know the dangers of too much clutter. Having too much clutter, or none at all, is a “learned skill”. You weren’t born that way.
An uncluttered life allows for an uncluttered mind. The opposite results in chaos and overwhelm unnecessarily. A good metaphor would be to consider how an operating room is set up in a hospital. They can’t afford to have a bunch of unnecessary surgical instruments and hospital gowns lying around. They are supremely organized.
Here’s why you want to be clutter free…
Resisting keeping order in your life is inviting a multitude of unnecessary distractions that can easily spoil many aspects of your life and your real estate sales career… peace of mind, productivity, organization, time management, and definitely your self-esteem.
With the heavy workload and multitude of distractions in the life of a successful real estate Salesperson who is listing property, showing houses to buyers, generating strong sales leads, and negotiating sales offers it’s almost impossible to keep everything under control. Putting everything in its place on an ongoing basis is a tough challenge. So…keep everything neat.
The great acid test is to ask yourself… “How would I feel if my most important client came into my office or my car right now?”
#1. Clean up your desk and your office once a week. Set aside 30 minutes weekly and put everything back where it belongs. Friday afternoons or Saturday mornings are a great time to do this.
#2. Clean out your car once a week. Go to the car wash once a week and make cleaning out your car part of this exercise.
#3. Just for fun, be sure to clean out your clothes closet at least every six months. If you haven’t worn it for six months then out it goes! Time for an upgrade. Make a home sale this week and treat yourself to a couple of new outfits.
Just remember that there’s only so much room in your mind for dealing with all those “plates you are spinning” every day. Put the unnecessary plates where they belong. “Running Your Business Like a Business” requires the discipline to put everything in its place on an ongoing basis. Get in the habit of following the weekly cleanup routine suggested above.
- Be the Right Kind of Magnet
Some Agents in the real estate sales business get so wrapped up in the fact that “it’s a tough business” that they lose sight of the need to present a positive image at all times. People are attracted to energy… positive energy that is. You need to be the type of person that others want to be around.
As Michael Port shared in his bestseller, “Book Yourself Solid”… it’s important in the real estate Sales business to be “emotionally attractive”. A major part of doing so would be to exhibit the kind of energy that your home buyers and sellers are looking for.
Sometimes that’s hard to exhibit with all the ups and downs of dealing with objection handlers, rejection, deals falling apart, and customer loyalty fluctuating unexpectedly.
Start with the guidance offered in Jon Gordon’s classic short read… “The Energy Bus”. It’s all about positive energy. It is an invigorating read and you can complete it in 1 – 2 hours tops. You will never again struggle with being positive. Mr. Gordon provides “10 Rules to fuel your life, work, with Positive Energy”.
Suggestions like: “better today than yesterday”, “navigate adversity and potholes”, “no energy vampires allowed”, etc.
Sometimes we resist the need to exhibit positive energy and enthusiasm. It isn’t always done consciously. To the contrary – no one walks around saying, “For the rest of the day, I’m going to be irritable”. It can sneak up on you. You know deep down inside you can’t afford to do that.
All you have to do is go to a restaurant and run into a grumpy waiter and you know the effect it has on you. Works the same way for your customers. As the old expression goes, sometimes you just have to “fake it ‘till you make it”.
A question I used to ask myself constantly is the following, “Would I buy or sell a house with me right now?”. Sometimes you have to be brutally honest with yourself and realize that the answer is NO. Is it that point you must give yourself a talking to. You can reverse being the wrong kind of magnet very quickly. When you like being around you, others will too.
- Go for Zero Drama
Everyone has ups and downs in their life. Everyone has setbacks and disappointments that can really knock you back on your heels. It is a very personal thing. In this case it is very important that I give you the definition of “Drama”.
I’m not talking about something major like a death in the family or divorce. The drama I’m talking about is defined as… “Letting day-to-day setbacks and adversities have a power over you that is well in excess of the significance of the issue… in other words – overreacting”.
We have all seen other real estate Salespeople make a big fuss about something that really doesn’t deserve all that much emotion. We are quick to identify them as “drama kings/queens”. Scenarios where their home seller went with a discount broker, their home buyer bought an open house they visited, the home inspection went sour, etc.
Disappointing and upsetting? Of course, but not life-threatening. William Shakespeare wrote a play about it… “Much Ado About Nothing”.
When it happens to us of course… “that’s different”. This is where your mental toughness kicks in. Often it is not different… this is where you must step back and take a look at things objectively. The challenge becomes twofold:
- Which ones do I react to and let them have power over my routine?
- How long am I going to let it affect me?
The best way to get to zero drama is to always have your “big picture” in mind. You have to ask yourself, “In the BIG scheme of things, is this issue really going to change my life dramatically?” The truth is… probably not.
What do you have to do to get back on track? This is where the power of saying NEXT! kicks in.
As talk show host Ellen DeGeneres has been quoted, “So many people prefer to live in drama because it’s comfortable staying there”.
Don’t let yourself get caught up in drama. Let others have their “pity party”. Your job is to recognize that there will be setbacks and they will test you. Get back on the horse, get back into your routine, and do the things you know need to be done that day, right now. Don’t let drama creep into your life real estate sales business.
In the event something really does knock you back on your heels, take a deep breath and set a time limit on how long you’re going to let it have any power over you. When that time limit expires, it’s back to normal. This is the difference between being unnecessarily emotional and running an effective real estate sales practice.
Okay, so there are 10 terrific strategies for you to look into right away. I have one more suggestion though, something that is very critical to the whole process…
BONUS Idea…Pat Yourself on the Back
A lot of real estate Salespeople fall into the “Yeah But” mindset. This is the habit of not separating your sales successes from your ongoing ambition. This is a mistake. Let me explain…
In a recent real estate sales Coaching session, one of my clients (Tom) had a particularly successful week. I complimented him and he responded, “Yeah but, I’ve really got to keep going here – I’ve got some big goals”. Tom didn’t realize it until I pointed it out, that everything he deserved praise for was wiped out when he introduced the “yeah but”. It was almost like the success was not important. Because of his desire to produce even more sales volume he resisted patting himself on the back.
My Coaching tip was to remind Tom that these are two separate items:
#1. Your success is one item and you need to relish it for a moment. Pat yourself on the back.
#2. The second part… the ambition to do more is also one item…they are separate. Do not spoil the moment by letting one overshadow the other.
Take the words “yeah but” and delete them from your vocabulary. When you do something well, enjoy it. You deserve that moment. That’s not being egotistical, it’s recognizing your achievement. Then you can move on to the next challenge you are facing. Keep them separate.
Leave a comment below. Which strategy will you take on first? What else would you add to your personal list? I’m always open to your suggestions.