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Monday, October 31, 2011

How to Succeed in a Down Market – Words of Wisdom From a 30 Year Veteran

How to Succeed in a Down Market – Words of Wisdom From a 30 Year Veteran

October 27, 2011

My mom, Diana Rugh, has been a real estate agent for more than thirty years. In my early twenties, I sold real estate with her in Arizona and thought I knew everything. I found out pretty quickly, not only was I wrong, this business isn’t nearly as easy as many people think. If you have been in the business for any length of time, you know surviving 30+ years isn’t a small feat. Recently, I sat down and asked my mom how she’s survived the down markets. She shared these words of wisdom:

(1) Be Persistent

Todd Carpenter, Diana Rugh & Ira Serkes, California Association of REALTORS Expo 2011

It’s easy to get discouraged when times are tough, but persistence is key. “I’m too stubborn to quit,” my mom says. “Many agents are discouraged, I’ve been there too. This market is really hard, but I see agents who stop doing the tasks they need to do most. Failure is not an option for me. The only way to survive this kind of market is to keep pushing on. Inactivity won’t make it better.”

(2) Be Consistent About Prospecting

“Consistent prospecting is key in this business. We get so excited to get a deal, we forget that we still need business next week, next month and next year.” Without a doubt, we’ve all been there. When we get an active transaction, we have to make sure our customers are properly cared for and the transaction successfully closes but we can’t lose site of future business. I asked my mom how she takes the time to focus on the business development. “It’s not easy, she said, “Schedule prospecting every day and don’t let it slip out of the schedule.”

(3) Focus on the People

When you are paid on commission and you have a family to feed, it is not always easy to focus on the people instead of the paycheck. “My clients aren’t dollar signs, they are people. If I can help them, the compensation will come, both in terms of money, but also helping my clients reach their goals. There are days when this business is not worth the paycheck. If you focus on the paycheck instead of the people, the business won’t be rewarding, and it certainly won’t pay off long term. Your customers know when you see dollar signs in their eyes, and when you genuinely care.”

(4) Plan

Plan for the down markets. “The market is really difficult, but people still buy and sell real estate,” Diana said. “You need to be banking it away when it’s good and not overextending yourself. You always have to plan for months without a check. You also have to plan for taxes, and for business overhead that doesn’t go away in the down market. When times are flush, plan ahead for the future. Planning and saving will keep you in this business for the long term.

(5) Adapt

The business changes and your customers change over time. “When I started in real estate, we had a computer without a screen and listings came in a book,” Diana said. “Nothing was instantaneous. Many people resist technology but your clients are all using technology. It’s hard to change but you have customers who are in different generations and you have to adapt to their different styles to stay in this business.”

It’s not easy to prosper in this business for 30+ years, but she continues to adapt and learn new ways to grow her business. “Always be learning,” my mom says, “It’s essential to long term success.”

If you don't remotely know how or where to begin with building or re-building your business, come work with us. We already have systems in place that do it all for you!

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Suzanne O'Brien
(313) 516-6644

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