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How To Cure The Procrastination Blues

Procrastination is a problem everyone faces, but for real estate agents it can be a career killer.

How many times do you find yourself putting off making a phone call? Or, do you ever get to the end of a day and feel that important tasks slipped through the cracks?

Putting off important tasks not only prevents you from maximizing your income, it can lead to stress, frustration, and ultimately burnout. But don't get the procrastination blues. There are proven ways to address this common problem.

First, identify if you have a bad procrastination problem by taking a simple quiz included below. Next, get a hold of your priorities with five procrastination-busting strategies you can implement today.

Is Procrastination Killing Your Production? Take This Short Quiz...

Choose the response that matches your behavior:

I would quickly finish my work, but sometimes I get too tired, nervous, or upset.
4 = Strongly Agree
3 = Mildly Agree
2 = Mildly Disagree
1 = Strongly Disagree

I need to straighten my car/office/home before I start working.
4 = Strongly Agree
3 = Mildly Agree
2 = Mildly Disagree
1 = Strongly Disagree

When I've finished meeting with a client, I often start doing something else instead of starting on tasks for that transaction.
4 = Strongly Agree
3 = Mildly Agree
2 = Mildly Disagree
1 = Strongly Disagree

I often carry around papers in my car or stack them on my desk but never get around to reviewing them.
4 = Strongly Agree
3 = Mildly Agree
2 = Mildly Disagree
1 = Strongly Disagree

I like to do most of my work at the last minute, because I perform best when the pressure is on.
4 = Strongly Agree
3 = Mildly Agree
2 = Mildly Disagree
1 = Strongly Disagree

Sometimes, I put off starting paperwork for a transaction until I have every last piece of information.
4 = Strongly Agree
3 = Mildly Agree
2 = Mildly Disagree
1 = Strongly Disagree

If it weren't for all these interruptions, I'd get more of my top priorities accomplished.
4 = Strongly Agree
3 = Mildly Agree
2 = Mildly Disagree
1 = Strongly Disagree

When faced with a difficult client, I try to avoid speaking with them directly.
4 = Strongly Agree
3 = Mildly Agree
2 = Mildly Disagree
1 = Strongly Disagree

If I get turned down for a listing, it takes me a while to start looking for another opportunity.
4 = Strongly Agree
3 = Mildly Agree
2 = Mildly Disagree
1 = Strongly Disagree

If I take half-steps working for a buyer, I can often avoid or delay unpleasant tasks.
4 = Strongly Agree
3 = Mildly Agree
2 = Mildly Disagree
1 = Strongly Disagree

Tally your total score, adding the numbers that match each response, and then rate yourself.

A Score of 10: No problem.
Between 11 and 20: You're an occasional procrastinator.
Between 21 and 30: You're in trouble.
Above 30: You're nearly hopeless.

If you scored over 10, here are my top five personal tips for beating procrastination:

1. Complete tasks first thing in the morning.
All of the tasks for a transaction never end up being as bad as you think. And the later in the day you push them, the more likely you'll get distracted with calls to make and other chores. So, create your action list the night before, blitz through your list in the morning, and give yourself a small reward for getting them done.

2. Break big jobs into smaller ones.
If the details of a transaction seem daunting, most agents put off even starting. But if you break each major task into 5 smaller tasks, everything gets done faster and you feel better about your progress.

3. Team up with a friend or spouse.
In this business it's common to feel all alone. If you get others involved you'll stay more accountable to your goals and schedule. First, write down your goals – what is it you want to achieve? Then share these goals and your schedule with a friend or spouse to make yourself commit.

4. Get rid of all distractions.
What distracts you from getting work done? Is it your blackberry, checking the MLS for updates every hour, or another agent in the office? The key here is to identify what distracts you by writing it down every time you get sidetracked. Make a rule with yourself that you won't do that thing again until you finish your scheduled task. For many agents the biggest distraction is checking email constantly throughout the day. Limit your email checking episodes to 4 times a day or less and you'll be astonished at how many more priority activities get done each day.

5. Remodel your work environment.
If you work out of your home, you have to treat it like a real office. Remove anything not work-related like TV, magazines, and non-work books. And this is especially critical: tell your family that you're not to be disturbed when you're in your office.

Procrastination only sabotages your success. If you are going to achieve your goals for this year—and for your career—address this common issue without delay.

Flip video camera

Could you use this cool Video Camcorder in Your Business?
Share Your Best STUFF!

Real estate can be a tough, lonely business. Even top agents need a continuous flow of guidance, support and new ideas to keep going strong. When you share your best stuff with our community, everyone wins!

AND…remember, each month we hold a drawing to award one amazing FLIP video camcorder to an agent who submits an idea we use. So submit your best prospecting, marketing, horror story, or other real estate idea that makes you more successful, and you'll automatically become eligible to WIN a BRAND NEW FLIP video camcorder. Be sure to include an example if you have one! Click Here

The Best Way To Educate a Short Sale Buyer

Do you remember the value of educating clients from Issue 1139? An educated client is worth 8 to 10 times more than an UN-educated client.

Today, many buyers are considering buying short sale properties but they are "UN-educated" and often UN-realistic about the time frame and details involved.

Agent Nancy Biel Stewart uses a unique tool to educate buyers of short sale properties. Using a simple "short sale booklet" she gives her buyers an overview of the process and sets their expectations up front. This helps her diffuse their frustrations with the process AND is a powerful way to communicate her knowledge and value to clients.

Here's Nancy's description (and sample below)...

“Selling real estate today can be challenging in many ways. Many of our listings are in short sale situations. I represent buyers most of the time, so I have taken several classes on short sales to better help them. I use the handouts from these classes, combined information from my experiences and created booklets to give my clients who are considering the purchase of a short sale property.

One key to selling these homes is managing your client's expectations. I let them know up front that they may not get an answer from the banks on their offer for months and that other buyers may submit competing offers even after the seller has signed the initial offer.

My booklet explains the process from both the seller and buyer side so my clients know what they are getting into! If they proceed and become discouraged or anxious, I just refer them back to the book and calm their anxiety. Most read the booklet thoroughly and have a better understanding that all parties involved are under much stress and patience is the key to a successful closing.”

You can click on the image to see a sample booklet as a pdf:

sample booklet

QuickTip: How Do Top Producers Prospect?

“Learn to enjoy prospecting by beginning your daily follow-up calls from within your contact management database. Calling prospects who are the warmest calls first (your Sphere of Influence and Past Clients) is a great way to start the day.

Tell them you are calling to quickly explain your special guarantees for that particular quarter. Then ask who they know that needs the guarantee.”

Look Who's Now the Proud Owner of a
Brand New FLIP Video Camera!!

Flip video camera winners

Why is agent Nancy Biel Stewart smiling these days? Because she just won a brand new FLIP video camcorder! You can see her idea, “The Best Way to Educate Short Sale Buyers” in issue 1149. Congratulations Nancy!

Want to get your very own FLIP camera? It's easy. Just submit your very best marketing or success strategy (or QuickTip or Horror Story) by Clicking Here. Then, about every month we select the ideas we used in the last few issues and throw'em into a hat where the winner is selected randomly. The better your idea (examples help!), the more likely we'll use it, and the greater your chances of winning – just like Nancy here.

How To Become A “Stand-Out” Agent

Umbrella“Recently I've been trying to find ways to enhance the ‘stickiness’ of my real estate business. By this, I mean that I am consistently finding ways to stay top-of-mind with prospects and clients.

One idea I've been using is that of giving a free gift with any INITIAL appointment I have with a client. For example: I posted an online ad for a lower priced bungalow. I received a few leads, but one in particular was quite anxious to view this property that evening. After calling and setting up the appointment to view this home and a few others, I began to draft a personalized sales-letter to give to them when we met. In the letter I discussed the recent market changes, the jump in inventory, and more importantly the weather (it was raining for about two days straight).

The overt theme of the letter was ‘IT'S RAINING LISTINGS!’. One of the lines I used was ‘With this much choice for the buyer or investor, it's easy to drown in the overload of listings!’ Another line was "Don't get drenched with all the choices out there!" All of this was specifically aimed at tying into and reinforcing that *I* was the Realtor they should use to find their next property.

Along with this letter, I included a small gift card to a coffee shop. But it doesn't end there... Here's where the stickiness factor kicks in. Since I aim to make every interaction with my clients a memorable one, I ran out to the corner store and picked up a cheap umbrella for about $10. The kind that fold up and you can fit it in your glove box. I purposely picked the most obscenely bright color (yellow with black polka dots to be exact) and upon meeting the clients at the first location, presented the umbrella and the envelope with my sales letter, along with the highlight sheets for our viewings.

Needless to say they were enthralled and have been telling everyone they know that ‘Their real estate guy is Justin and you NEED to use him, he's the BEST!’ This was only last week and already they're looking to purchase two investment properties in the next month. Not bad for $15 of gifts and a few minutes of my time.”

Horror Story: The Greedy Listing Agent

“It's late at night and there is a phone call. Hello, how are you? (I am now thinking to myself OK should I know this friendly voice?).

My response was the usual, ‘Hi, how are you? ’ I had met this lady before through a friend of mine. She sounded worried and I honestly don't blame her. She began to tell her story of how her daughter and son-in law wanted to move a few counties away. They thought he would have no problems getting a job in this new town. They fell in love with a house, and THE LISTING AGENT wrote up the offer.

Once, the daughter and son-in law saw the written offer prepared by the listing agent, they immediately told her that the offer was a cash offer. They did not have the cash in the bank to purchase this home, and to be able to purchase this home they would have to sell their current home first. The mother indicated to me that the agent's response was ‘Don't worry. You have a year to sell your home, that's plenty of time. ’

Also, the prospective buyers questioned the deposit, $35,000.00 on a $300,000.00 purchase? The listing agent replied that ‘it was the minimum percentage required by her company. ’ They did not have the monies for deposit and thereafter proceeded to get a line of credit on their current home to fulfill the deposit. NOW, IT GETS BETTER and we all know what happens: MARKET CRASHES!

Nine months into this contract and their current home has not sold, the husband has not been able to find a job, and they are paying a line of credit for this deposit. To make matters worse the house value has declined. No financing contingencies, and of course, no appraisal contingencies.

I don't care what market we are in, what is going on in your life now. You have contingencies and I will list them in that contract. You need to sell your house, you need a mortgage, whatever your needs are to fulfill this contract I will list them. BUT WHAT DO YOU I TELL THIS LADY????

First and foremost, I replied that I am not an attorney. That her daughter and son in-law have a legal obligation under this contract and that they should seek an attorney's advice. I further replied that, if it was me, I would not sign that ‘Release of Deposit ’ form. I would send an explanation letter to the listing agent's broker with copy to the real estate commission.

How can these agents sleep at night? Was this representation one-sided or what? I understand that the prospective buyer's signed that dotted line. But at the time the contract was being signed no one mentioned the fact that they could lose their deposit and even be sued a year later. Let's go back to basics. We don't need to rush that quick offer to get it to the listing agent before another contract is signed. Did we forget that it is a ‘legally binding contract ’? Let's take the time to sit with the buyers and actually explain that contract.”

Issue #1149