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Quantity – Quality – Viability

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“Miracles are great, but. they are so damned unpredictable.”
– Peter Drucker


The Sequence

Quantity, then quality, then viability.  That is the correct sequence with regard to leads, listings and leverage.

Leads always comes first.  In this business if one can not generate sufficient leads nothing else will matter.  It will make no difference how smart you are or how much you know – if you don’t have any customers to talk to.  Lead conversion is obviously the action sitting between having sufficient leads to wind up with a sufficient amount of listings.  But just having enough leads is the very first thing.

Getting Careful

Ever “get careful” with a client or customer?  You know, where you don’t dare screw up?  It is a great feeling, isn’t it?  Not.  Nothing succeeds like insouciance.  Show me someone “being careful” and I’ll show you someone who is really “serious” and who is also about to make mistakes.  When one is playing, having fun, there is no need for carefulness.  To achieve this with customers it is necessary to know that you can get more.  If you know there are lots of them and that they are easy to acquire then no need to be “careful with this one”.  You’re happier and the customer gets a much better experience too (as they are being taken care of by someone who is relaxed about about the outcome and knows what they are doing).

Quite often, if one has the viewpoint that customers are scarce, they get into carefulness.  This is common with agents barely making it – as the very reason they are barely making it is they don’t have enough customers.  The reason they don’t have enough customers is either they don’t have an effective lead generation system or don’t consistently use the effective one they do have.  Either way, not enough leads is a “bad” thing as it leads to carefulness.

Future Viability

The future success and viability of a real estate office can be accurately predicted by how many producing agents they have.  Not how many high producing agents, just how many producing agents.  Offices (particularly those paying rent for space in a commercial office building) with just a few producing agents are often candidates for going out of business.  For agents it is how many listings they have; the average number of listings an agent carries will be the best indicator of their future viability.  Notice it is quantity first, not quality.  Having one or two “good ones” is not a substitute for having many listings.  In the first place if an agent has two “good ones” he won’t have them for long and he is at once down to zero listings for sale.

Obviously we strive for the very highest quality – in every area of our business.  But when just getting an area going (for the very first time or when getting it going again) do not fixate on quality.  It is quantity.

Russell has been an Associate Broker with John Hall & Associates since 1978 and ranks in the top 1% of all agents in the U.S. Most recently The Wall Street Journal recognized the Top 200 Agents in America, awarding Russell # 25 for number of units sold. Russell has been featured in many books such as, "The Billion Dollar Agent" by Steve Kantor and "The Millionaire Real Estate Agent" by Gary Keller and has often been a featured speaker for national conventions and routinely speaks at various state and local association conventions. Visit him also at nohasslelisting.com and number1homeagent.com.

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11 Comments

11 Comments

  1. Brian Brady

    June 26, 2008 at 12:12 am

    Russell, I’m convinced you have ESP. I mentioned that I was holding on pretty tight and needed to get back to the “pick and choose” mentality I had earlier this year.

  2. Matthew Rathbun

    June 26, 2008 at 5:32 am

    You right (no surprise there) that being professional and yet still relaxed with your clients is very important. Some of the best clients I had were those who I enjoyed and they knew it. If I didn’t particularly like someone, I never heard from them again after the transaction. Those who I shared meals with or visited after the closing have been a great source of referrals and repeat business.

  3. Greg Cremia

    June 26, 2008 at 5:34 am

    Finally, a blogger who isn’t trying to make me feel like I am wasting my time collecting large quantities of leads. If you can get them in large quantities the odds are in your favor that some of them will be useless and some of them will be gold mines and everything in between.

  4. Mack in Atlanta

    June 26, 2008 at 7:40 am

    It’s no secret, you have to list to last in this business.

  5. Nickie

    June 26, 2008 at 9:10 am

    Great point!

    When you feel good, it rubs off on others, including your clients. Your clients will be attracted to you because they will want some of what you’ve got.

    What you focus on expands. Think about scarcity and you create scarcity. Think about working with the perfect clients, in the best transactions, with the best agents, having the perfect number of transactions and you can attract that. When things get tight, it can be a challenge to remember to keep the negative out of your head, but it sure does make a difference when you stay on track with your goals.

    Thanks for the reminder! Today’s focus will be LOTS of quality leads, the best of both!

  6. Ken Smith

    June 26, 2008 at 9:34 am

    Russell I think besides trying to be “perfect” that not having enough business leads many agents to do things that many would consider inappropriate or even unethical.

    “The future success and viability of a real estate office can be accurately predicted by how many producing agents they have.”

    Thanks for reminding me of that. Thinking of opening an office and I was commenting last night that I don’t want agents doing small amounts of business. My wife said “you really wouldn’t want to take an agent that will do 6 transactions year in and year out”. Naturally she is correct, those 6 transactions a year cover a good amount of bills for an office.

  7. Michael Wurzer

    June 26, 2008 at 9:42 am

    Ever “get careful” with a client or customer? You know, where you don’t dare screw up? It is a great feeling, isn’t it? Not.

    Russell, the quote above summarized exactly my feelings about “sales” when I first started running FBS. We were a small company (still are) and wanting to grow (still do). I’d find myself in front of an MLS Committee or Board of Directors explaining our software and, as questions would come forward, the pressure would mount. I so much wanted their business and the desire to say YES to every question was incredible. As you say, that is NOT a good feeling. In fact, for me, it was the worst feeling.

    I realized I couldn’t live with that and needed to change my perspective. My job wasn’t to “get a sale” or “win” but to figure out with the customer whether what we offered met their needs. If I could convince myself first that we were a good fit for the customer, then I had no problem saying no when it needed to be said — and, for all the reasons you describe, that made all the difference in the world. Immediately, whether we had a hundred or zero prospects in the pipeline, I had confidence working with customers we had pre-qualified that we were a good fit for them and that made the sales process relaxed and fun instead of stressful and awkward. And the results speak for themselves — since adopting this consultative sales approach, we’ve been consistently winning as much business every year as we can handle. And we’re having fun doing it.

  8. Scott Cowan

    June 26, 2008 at 10:22 am

    Russell,

    I was starting to think the listings I have right now were “dogs” and then I read this post. Sure I have some listings that might be a challenge to sell in this market but the more listings I get the better I feel and I find myself being more relaxed. Not that I want overpriced listings or leads that will waste my time. It is so much easier to know when to say “next” when there is more in the pipeline.
    Thanks!

  9. BawldGuy Talking

    June 27, 2008 at 12:12 pm

    Note: I’d love to have Michael Wurzer in front of the local yahoos in charge of the San Diego MLS. (Listening Sandicor?) So far they’ve proven they’re not qualified to organize a one man picnic.

    One of the lessons learned while working for Dad back in the day, was how the massive quantity of listings tended over time to generate quality too. The sales of the better looking, priced, financed listings provoked positive change from both listing agents and sellers of the ‘poorer quality’ listings.

    Before you knew it, Dad had quantity AND quality, ‘cuz the smart agents, the ones who lasted that is, benefited from the quantity via a far steeper learning curve. Seems increased income is a motivator, go figure.

    Make sense?

  10. Caesar Parisi

    June 28, 2008 at 4:12 pm

    I feel the quality of agents should be more important than the quantity. Unfortunately that is no longer the case in many brokerages as it has become a numbers game. I do have to pride my company on recruiting mostly quality agents.

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Business Marketing

Technology is helping small businesses adapt and stay afloat

(BUSINESS MARKETING) Small businesses need to utilize digital platforms to adapt their businesses during COVID-19, or else they may be left behind.

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small businesses new tech

While many may not have imagined our present day back in March, and to what extreme we would be doing things “remotely” and via “hands-free contact”, we have to give some credit to small business owners who remain flexible and have pivoted to stay afloat. They deserve major credit on adaptations they have made (and possibly investments) in new technology (ordering online, online payments) especially at a time when their in-person revenues have taken a hit.

There are various marketing buzz words being used lately to say “let’s keep our distance”, including: curbside, to-go, hands-free, no contact, delivery only, order via app, social distancing and #wearamask.

The thing is, if you really think about it, small businesses are always in evolution mode – they have to pay attention to consumer consumption and behaviors that can shift quickly in order to stay relevant and utilize their marketing and advertising budgets wisely. They heavily rely on positive customer reviews and word of mouth recommendations because they may not have the budget for large scale efforts.

For example, we use Lyft or Uber vs calling an individual cab owner; we order on Amazon vs shopping at a local mom-and-pop shop; we download and make playlists of music vs going to a record or music store. Small business owners are constantly fighting to keep up with the big guys and have to take into account how their product/service has relevance, and if it’s easy for people to attain. In current times, they’ve had to place major efforts into contactless experiences that often require utilizing a digital platform.

If stores or restaurants didn’t already have an online ordering platform, they had to implement one. Many may have already had a way to order online but once they were forced to close their dining areas, they had to figure out how to collect payments safely upon pickup; this may have required them to implement a new system. Many restaurants also had to restructure pick up and to-go orders, whether it was adding additional signage or reconfiguring their pick up space to make sure people were able to easily practice social distancing.

According to this article from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, “Studies have shown that 73% of small businesses are not aware of digital resources, such as online payment processing tools, online productivity tools, e-commerce websites, online marketing and other tools, that can help them reach customers around the world. If small businesses had better access to global markets, it could increase the GDP of the United States by $81 billion and add 900,000 new jobs. During the pandemic, this could also mean the difference between thriving and closing for good.”

There are some larger corporate technology companies offering ways to support small businesses whether it’s through small business grants from Google, resources and grants from Facebook or Verizon giving them a break on their telecom bill. The challenge with this may be whether or not small business owners are able to find time from their intense focus on surviving to applying for these grants and managing all that admin time. Many business owners may be focusing on what technology they have and can upgrade, or what they need to implement – most likely while seeing a loss in revenue. So, it can be a tough decision to make new technology investments.

It does seem like many have made incredible strides, and quickly (which is impressive), to still offer their products and services to customers – whether it’s a contactless pay method, free delivery, or even reservations to ensure limited capacity and socially distanced visits. There are still some that just haven’t able to do that yet, and may be looking at other ways to take their business to a wider audience online.

We would encourage, if you can, to support small businesses in your community as often as you can. Understandably there are times that it’s easier to order on Amazon, but if there is a way you can pick up something from a local brewery or family-owned business, this may be the lifeline they need to survive and/or to invest in new technology to help them adapt.

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Business Marketing

There’s a shortage of skilled workers, so get learning

(BUSINESS MARKETING) COVID-19 may end up justifying training funds for lower-class workers to learn new skills. Skilled workers are desperately needed right now.

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skilled worker

The COVID-19 pandemic (yes, that one) has ushered in a lot of unexpected changes, one of the which is most surprising: An increased call for skilled workers — a call that, unfortunately, requires a massive retraining of the existing workforce.

According to the New York Times, nearly 50 percent of Americans were working from home by May; this was, reportedly, a 15 percent increase in remote work. The problems with this model are expansive, but one of the greatest issues stems from the lack of training: As employees of lower-class employment transitioned to working online, it became increasingly evident that there was a shortage of skilled workers in this country.

The Times traces this phenomenon back to the Great Recession; Harvard University’s Lawrence Katz points to some parallels and insinuates that this is an opportunity to elevate the lower class rather than regressing, and it seems fair to put the onus of such elevation on lawmakers and senators.

Indeed, Congress has even addressed the issue of skill equality via “bipartisan support” of a $4000 credit for non-skilled workers to use toward skill training. For Congress to come together on something like this is relatively noteworthy, and it’s hard to disagree with the premise that, given the invariable automation wave, many of our “non-skilled” workers will face unemployment without substantial aid.

COVID-19 has accelerated many trends and processes that should have taken years to propagate, and this is clearly one of them.

Supporting laborers in developing skills that help them work within the technology bubble isn’t just a good idea–it’s imperative, both morally and economically speaking. Even middle-class “skilled” workers have had trouble keeping up with the sheer amount of automation and technology-based skillsets required to stay competent; when one considers how lower-class employees will be impacted by this wave, the outcome is too dark to entertain.

It should be noted that non-skilled workers don’t necessarily have to scale up their training in their current fields; the Times references a truck driver who pivoted hard into software development, and while it may be easier for some to focus on their existing areas of expertise, the option to make a career change does exist.

If we take nothing else away from the time we’ve spent in quarantine, we should remember that skilled labor is integral to our success as a society, and we have a moral obligation to help those who missed the opportunity to develop such skills fulfill that need.

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Business Marketing

6 tips to easily market your side hustle

(BUSINESS MARKETING) It can be hard to stand out from the crowd when you’re starting a new side hustle. Here are some easy ways to make your marketing efforts more effective.

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side hustle marketing

Side hustles have become the name of the game, and especially during these turbulent times, we have to get extra creative when it comes to making money. With so many of us making moves and so much noise, it can be hard to get the word out and stand out when sharing your side hustle.

Reuben Jackson of Big Think shared five ways that you can market your side hustle (we added a sixth tip for good measure), and comment with your thoughts and ideas on the subject:

  1. Referrals: Don’t Be Afraid to Ask!
    If you’re going to make a splash, you have to be willing to ask for favors. Reach out to your network and ask them to help spread the word on your new venture. This can be as simple as asking your friends to share a Facebook post with information that refers them to your page or website. Word of mouth is still important and incredibly effective.
  2. Start Where You Are
    Immediately running an expensive ad right out of the gate may not be the most effective use of your (likely) limited funds. Use the resources you do have to your advantage – especially if you’re just testing things out to see how the side hustle goes in the real world. You can do this by creating a simple, informational landing page for a small fee. Or, if you’re not looking to put any money into it right away, create an enticing email signature that explains what you do in a concise and eye-catching way. Check out these tools to create a kickin’ email signature.
  3. Gather Positive Reviews
    If you’ve performed a service or sold a product, ask your customers to write a review on the experience. Never underestimate how many potential customers read reviews before choosing where to spend their money, so this is an incredibly important asset. Once a service is completed or a product is sold, send a thank you note to your customer and kindly ask them to write a review. Be sure to provide them with links to easily drop a line on Yelp or your company’s Facebook page.
  4. Be Strategic With Social
    It’s common to think that you have to have a presence on all channels right away. Start smaller. Think about your demographic and do some research on which platforms reach that demographic most effectively. From there, put your time and energy into building a presence on one or two channels. Post consistently and engage with followers. After you’ve developed a solid following, you can then expand to other platforms.
  5. Give Paid Marketing A Shot
    Once you’ve made a dollar or two, try experimenting with some Facebook or Twitter ads. They’re relatively cheap to run and can attract people you may not have otherwise had a chance to reach out to. Again, the key is to start small and don’t get discouraged if these don’t have people knocking your door down; it may take trial and error to create the perfect ad for your hustle.
  6. Go Local
    Local newspapers and magazines are always looking for news on what local residents are doing. Send an email to your town/city’s journal or local Patch affiliate. Let them know what you’re up to, offer yourself for an interview, and give enticing information. The key is doing this in a way that your hustle is seen as beneficial to the public, and is not just an ad.

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