Real Estate is a Full Contact Sport – by Dana Sparks
Real estate is a performance sport – a full contact one at that! To win the game for yourself and your clients, it takes strong skills, mental toughness, preparation, strategy, a good coach and of course… plenty of contacts!
These various components of success are synergistic and must all be addressed in concert. How many times in sports have you witnessed this fact? The most talented do not always win; the most mentally tough do not always win; the most prepared do not always win; those with the best strategies do not always win. There are countless stories of extremely talented athletes who do not win championships just as there are many “Cinderella teams” who do win championships against teams with more skills. None of these elements in and of themselves are enough for sustained success; “the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.” So how does this apply to gaining & keeping contacts in order to achieve a successful and profitable real estate sales business?
Skills: Your basic skills provide the foundation for your business.
In sports, we often refer to this variable as “talent.” Talent can come naturally and can be learned and honed. In business, sales skills can definitely be learned, practiced and refined. It is not about one’s background or one’s personality, success in establishing a profitable and productive business relies on getting good real estate training and having a good real estate coach to keep you moving forward! Some skills in real estate include:
- The Sales Contract – terms, time frames, consequences – protecting contacts
- Lead Generation – you must identify those who need your services – finding contacts
- Communication Skills – what to say to engage them in conversation – speaking with contacts
- Client Conversion – you don’t really “have them at hello!” – persuading contacts
- Your Value Curve – what you have to serve your clients to get them what they want – exceeding contacts’ expectations
- Market Analysis – how to price a listing to properly position a clients home to sell and how to guide a buyer towards an equitable contract price for a home – being responsible to contacts
Mental Toughness: Your positive mindset is vital to your career.
Ask any athlete how important their mental game is to their physical game and you will get answers of “90% of my game” and up! With a Ph.D. in Sport Psychology, I devoted seven years to the study of performance enhancement through one’s mindset! This area permeates all areas of your life. William James, 19th century psychologist and philosopher, summed it up well, “People by and large become what they think about themselves.” A real estate coach or broker who is focused on achieving results in your performance can definitely help you continually develop and refine your “Inner Game of Real Estate!”
- Knowing and Trusting yourself to serve your clients better than anyone else in the industry
- Focusing on what you need to do in your business when you need to do it to move forward vs. focusing on the negative “what-if’s”
- Blueprinting your intentions so the inevitable “bumps in the road” do not take you off course from your destination
- Visualizing your goals as if you have already accomplished them
- Mentally “Staying In The Game” so you will do what it takes to move yourself and others forward regarding their real estate investments and your real estate career
- Developing and maintaining that sense of Personal Confidence and Professional Competence
- Exuding the Attitude and Energy of the Leader your clients and colleagues so desperately seek
Preparation: Effective Business Systems will keep your business running smoothly and profitably.
Have you considered that athletes spend more of their time preparing than they do actually performing? To win at sports, athletes spend an inordinate amount of time on the practice field, in the training room, in the weight room, reviewing game films of past and upcoming games, memorizing playbook, polishing pre-shot routines, developing pre-game superstitions. AND… to assure their victory, many athletes have coaches for every aspect of their preparation and their game-day performance! How much time do you devote to not only preparing for an appointment but to learning and practicing your skills? Do you have at least one coach/mentor/partner?
- Lead Generation – do you have a systematic approach for who are you going to contact and how are you going to reach them
- Inventory Management – your clients hire you to do a job therefore you must stay apprised of the market in order to fulfill on your employment
- Consistent Client Contact – they just want to know what is going on – good new or bad
- After-The-Sale Follow Up – as a real estate agent, you play a major role in people’s lives; if you are not staying in touch with your past clients, someone else is!
- Past Client and Sphere of Influence (SOI) Servicing – your past clients and SOI will continually welcome your calls when you provide them with information about the market rather than simply asking them for a referral without providing them with something of value (not simply a recipe or forget-me-not flower seeds)
- Effective Communication Skills – you make a living through your words, how persuasive are they? Are you role-playing with peers? With your broker? With a coach?
- Informative Presentations – do you know your customer’s motivation and criteria for making a move? Do you present to their needs or do you have the same listing/buying presentation for everyone?
Strategy: Being able to navigate the real estate market of today
Upon entering any competition, a good athlete has a game-plan, a strategy to direct them towards winning! Athletes know their competition’s strengths and weaknesses, they know what plays their opponents perform in specific situations. Individual athletes, like golfers, know the course, the greens, the weather conditions. As a professional real estate agent, how well do you know your strategy for successfully selling in today’s market? Even if you are not a “numbers person,” you must know what is truly going on in today’s market to form your strategy!
- Market Management – thorough analysis of the activity in your local area
- Market Velocity – the speed of the real estate activity where you work: what this means and how to calculate the velocity
- Trend Prediction – it is all “hidden” right out there in the open! Real estate cycles follow a predictable cycle and forecast these cycles in advance so you can keep your clients ahead of the market rather than “chasing” the market
- Economic Variables – the overall financial impact on one’s decision to buy or sell today
- Tax Consequences of selling and buying property – now and with expected tax changes
- Act Now or Wait – financial analysis to compare the overall monetary effect to a client given changes in interest rates, house prices, amount of inventory, etc.
- Public Perception as propagated by the Media and “Professional Experts” – perception versus the statistics of your market
- Distressed Properties – past the tipping point to create pricing pressure on your market or not?
- Agent Competition – the agents that are doing business in your marketplace – do you know their track record, strengths, weaknesses – “full contact” indeed! (wink wink!)
Real estate truly is about results: if you do not perform at your highest and best, you will be sidelined! There are people who need to buy and sell houses.. There are investors who will ammass inventory for their business. Regardless of the economy, people will continue to get married, get divorced, have babies, have grown children move out, get transferred, take in an elderly parent, take in grandchildren, etc.. “Shelter” is a fundamental need truly making your job economic-proof!
The current economy (any economy for that matter) merely effects your approach and skill-set to your job regarding the four areas of this article. Are you performing in a way to get the results you want? If you want to re-establish, create or continue a profitable and fulfilling real estate business, find a supportive and instructional brokerage, good real estate training (within or outside your office) and a real estate coach or broker who will coach you through all four categories: skills, mental toughness, preparation & strategy and you are sure to score a “touchdown” … even in THIS market!