Getting Off the Rollercoaster:
When you Plan for Your Success in Advance
Blake wanted leads. Now. So he could close that next transaction as soon as possible, and see that deposit in his bank account soon afterward. He was a talented salesman: Blake hardly ever experienced any difficulties getting buyers into houses. On the listing side, he could quickly stage a house, post the photos online, and find a good buyer – if he got the appointment. Whether he was having a good month or a bad one, he was practically obsessed with leads – “They were the first thing I thought of when I got up in the morning, and the last thing I thought of when I went to bed at night,” Blake says. The way he looked at the needs of his business was so immature and single-minded, he would have reminded an Expert Advisor of a protester at a realtor’s demonstration:
“What do we want? Leads! When do we want them? Now!”
If anyone had asked Blake what he wanted his business to look like five months into the future, he would have not been able to say. If anyone had asked him about whether he was adding value to people’s lives, he would have lacked clarity about what that meant. What Blake thought about was spending time tending to his sphere of influence. “I went to every PTO meeting, loaded with business cards, and talked to as many people as I could,” he recalls. “I went to church with my wife just about every Sunday. And whenever anyone asked me to hit the golf course, I grabbed my clubs.” The temptation for real estate agents to spend too much of their valuable time with people belonging to their sphere of influence is a constant problem for real estate agents trying to master their calendars. But it also gets in the way of being able to take the long view when it comes to building their business.
Blake was doing about 2-3 transactions per month. Then he experienced a couple of months in which he lost business to other agents. He became concerned about how he would do for the year. At the same time, financial pressures started to tighten. His life insurance premiums went up. His wife, Claudia, wasn’t happy. Her job brought her a lot of stress, but she couldn’t leave it, because Blake and their son, Daniel, were on her health insurance. When Daniel wanted to go to a weeklong baseball camp in summer, Blake and Claudia had to treat it as an expense they couldn’t easily afford. To make things worse, Daniel responded by pointing out how often Blake had been playing golf, and started calculating the cost of greens fees. Blake reacted by getting irritated with Daniel, but he finally had to admit, he was really upset with himself. Then Daniel’s friends came back with great stories about baseball camp, contributing to Daniel’s resentment. Blake tried to help boost his business by getting buyers’ leads. But those potential buyers were nearly always part of someone else’s sphere of influence. The decision hardly resulted in a great ROI. Then Blake spoke with Erin, a good friend of his and also an agent. She laid the brutal facts on the table for him: Blake had no plan, and was floundering.
Erin had been with NAEA for a little over six months. When he met up with Erin, she and her husband had just bought a new house. She spoke with Blake about her experience. Not long after that, Blake dipped into the family savings to sign up. But even after that, and after getting a few listings, he was still edgy about wanting to close as many transactions as possible. Nurtures? Second pipeline? It made sense, but it took him the longest time to adopt the idea. What Blake really wanted was to close a few transactions quickly and take Daniel on a short vacation, to make up for baseball camp. Blake hardly paid much attention to his success coaching; at least, not at first. “It took me a while to unplug my thinking from doing business based on immediate gratification,” he says.
Blake eventually readjusted his whole perspective. “I had to move past the idea that if I couldn’t convert a lead within a month, it wasn’t a real lead. I started looking at the long view,” he says with a slight smile. “Rather than going for the next transaction and putting everything into that (and exhausting myself with it!), I decided to spend part of my energy on calling my nurtures. I got to where I looked forward to taking care of my tasks due when it came to nurtures. I have to admit – it was nice not having to convince them to go with me all on one listing appointment. Now, by the time I get to listing appointments, it’s way easier.” Blake decided to get up each morning, and while he’s hydrating, asks himself what he wants my business to look like in five months, and what he had to do every thirty days if he wanted to accomplish those goals. He promised Daniel the family would take a vacation together, but also admitted he had made a few mistakes and that it would take a while before he would be able to make the vacation happen. Blake asked Daniel if they could both work on developing patience. “It was a tough conversation, but patience is a great asset for life. I wish I learned it better when I was a kid.”
Now Blake hardly worries about the roller coaster. His second pipeline of nurtures is usually full, his business is steadier, and he relies on at least three conversions in the winter months and six or more in the summer months. He just took his family on a nearly weeklong trip to Sea World and Disney. He was able to take off more time than he ever thought he would be able to take off.