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Tough Markets Make Tough Agents

Three Keys to Thriving in Today’s Economy

By Roberta Ross, “America’s Six Figure Real Estate Coach”
[Note: This article was so popular when it appeared in Broker/Agent News in 2008, we wanted to share it again!]

You’ve no doubt heard the saying, “When the going gets tough, the tough get going,” right? Well, while that is a great old adage, I believe more to the point in today’s tightening market it would be better to say, “When the going gets tough – the tough dig deeper.”  Tough times do call for tough measures, thicker skin, smarter strategies, finite focus and the ability to embrace the adversities. I am reminded of the Philosopher Friedrich Nietzsche’s words, “That which does not kill us makes us stronger.” Well friends, it’s not our time to go – so what do you say we seek the strength we need to not merely survive, but thrive in any market?

1. Anchor or Rocket-booster? Floyd Wickman says that adversity can be an anchor or a rocket-booster depending on your attitude and your actions. I invite you to look at today’s current market changes for the tremendous opportunities they present. Challenges are great conduits for change. They force us to really examine what we are doing and truly take our professionalism, focus and efficiency to the next level. Look to those agents who have successfully navigated tough markets and real adversity in their careers and you’ll discover that many of them made more money, captured more market share and developed some of their sharpest skills as a salesperson and negotiator during down economic times. Why? Simple: timing is everything and when they looked around and saw 80% or better of their colleagues in the industry going into fear mode or leaving the business altogether – they recognized the opportunity to ignite the rocket fuel before them and take their careers to the next level. Ask yourself this: Do you want to be weighed down by an anchor, or realize new career heights? The choice is yours.

2. Clean House. I’m not talking about dusting the baseboards in your kitchen. More importantly in a changing market, you need to clean up your thought processes, habits and priorities. Put these three things on the top of your spring cleaning list and you will help set the stage for a fresher outlook, a streamlined business plan and a clearer sense of direction.

  • Thought processes.  Your thoughts are the springboard for your actions, your actions–or what you do—determine which direction you will go. Do you really want to start that whole process with a negative? Of course not. There is enough negative news out there to go around – feel free to leave your share on the table, television or parking lot when you head into work for the day. Your brain – your powerful mind – is truly still the best computer in the world – and like all computers it is susceptible to what we used to call in the OLD days of technology, “garbage in – garbage out.” Feed your mind with affirmations for success and with viable information that will help you help your clients.
  • Habits.  Oh, this one can be tricky. What’s that old saying? “Old habits die hard.” Indeed they do, but kicking those unproductive habits off of our daily to-do lists is a critical part of building momentum. I’ll give you an example. I know many of you are bloggers and have incredible success from this online networking portion of your business. I caution you however, to make sure that your “blogging time” doesn’t cut into your “prospecting time” with live, voice-to-voice, face-to-face, belly-to-belly contact with your prospects. Many of you want to spend hours and hours trying to design your own marketing pieces, newsletters, postcards, draft, redraft and redraft again your business letters or re-decorate your cubicle in the office. While that’s all wonderful – it will not make you any money. So focus on building GOOD habits such as committing to an “Hour of Power” each day of no-nonsense, full-tilt prospecting.
  • Priorities.  One of the things we focus on in our seminars is teaching real foundation builders for salespeople. Understanding and IMPLEMENTING the basics are a must-do in a changing market. Things like smart budgeting, measurability, consistency are key. One of my favorite foundation cornerstones however is “Work high priority activities first.” I truly believe that as professionals and entrepreneurs who are looking to put themselves ahead of the competition and build experience repeatable, sustainable success in ANY market – stay true to those items closest to their revenue line. What do you get paid to do as a REALTOR? Prospect, Present and Close. Each work day, make it your priority to prospect, consistently fine tune and tweak your presentation and learn to close like the pro you are. It’s a funny thing about these three items. If you ask a dozen agents what the MOST important component is – you will get mixed reviews. All are important, backwards, forwards and in between. If you are strong and confident in your close and presentation, it takes a little of the fear out of prospecting. If you are terrific at prospecting, you know you’ll be in front of more people and forced to perfect your presentation and close. Stick to these top priorities, delegate as much of the “busy” work that is bogging you down and you’ll see that revenue line build before you know it!

3. Toughen Your Standards. Are you ready to be tough? Are you willing to shed the negative influences, thoughts, habits that tether weaker agents to mediocre income levels? Start today, right now. Toughen up, get back to the basics and dig deep when it comes to those core activities that will help you weather any market such as:

  • Stay close: Your sphere of influence is the lifeblood of your business, both in now revenue and future referrals. Stay in touch. Consistently, creatively and with care, EVERY month.
    Farm effectively:  We have a saying, “It is more important to reach the people who count than counting the people you reach.” In other words, know your best customers, farm using targeted data mining to find more of the same and concentrate your efforts, energy and marketing dollars on the people with the highest propensity to buy or sell from you.
    Get out there: Are you an active, visible part of your community? Today’s consumers are looking for advocates, people they can trust, know, and communicate with on a first name level. Forge those relationships with smart networking and community involvement.
    Put systems in place: You know it, I know it; we all know it. Profit and productivity in a challenging market is no small thing and it is not something easily done by those “flying by their seat.” Top producers ensure that systems are in place to automate their marketing, allow for checks and balances and provide a constant stream of prospects to fill their pipeline. Systematize! It will save your sanity and help you earn top dollar!

Now, more than ever, it is a time to dig deep and really search for those nooks and niche markets that are perfect for your personality. It is a time to carefully measure your results while remaining in a visible presence in the market. It is a time to know what you are made of and as always, where you are headed by way of goals and dreams. The right goal, the right mindset and attitude coupled with a fierce determination that you can control YOUR economy regardless of THE economy will win you results and help you to wear the confidence of someone who not only has survival skills, but the kind of spark and staying power most entrepreneurs strive for.

Go ahead, get tough. We’re right there with you.

Roberta Ross
“America’s Six Figure Real Estate Coach” has been in the real estate business since 1995. She is a speaker and coach and travels nationwide speaking to real estate agents on lead generation, mindset, and business develop. Her unique blend of business experience, sales success, and energized, meaningful speaking style enables her to educate, entertain and motivate real estate professionals to achieve their goals.  She believes in working smart and structuring a plan that is effective, efficient and enjoyable!  To invite Roberta to bring TOUGH MARKET skills to your associates and sharpen your company’s competitive edge; or to have her speak at your next event or association meeting click here

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