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Think beyond the next closing – focusing on your pipeline

How to Be Productive

I’ve recently had some trouble with one of our short sale closings. The approval letters had been obtained (for the fifth or sixth buyer) and this buyer was ready to close. However, the title company was uncomfortable with some of the language in one of the short sale approval letters. No problem. I’ll see what I can do to get the collection company to change it. Unfortunately, the collection company was a little bit tough to deal with and several people (including escrow officers, title officers, mortgage loan officers, the listing agent and moi)­ lost countless hours trying to resolve this little problem. It’s unfortunate how much time was lost on minutiae.

You see, to make money in real estate you need to think BIG. You can preach all that you like about how you love helping people, but if you consider selling real estate your career, than you need to think BIG.

BIG means create a big pipeline of prospects, and a big marketing and business plan. In coaching agents, I have seen so many agents focus tons and tons of their time on the problems plaguing one single transaction that they do not spend enough time building their pipeline. I’ve seen short sale listing agents spend 10, 20, 30 hours waiting on hold at the banks to get their short sales approved. How many short sale listings could that very same agent have taken while paying someone else to wait on hold for that very same 10, 20, 30 hours? You see, it is all about thinking BIG, making a plan and sticking to it.

Put simply, if I have 80 deals in my pipeline, and my business is cut 50% by a new law or some new lending regulations, I still have 40 deals in my pipeline. I’m a little bit disappointed because I just lost 40 deals. Right? But if I have 2 deals in my pipeline and I lose 50% of those 2 deals, I’m really going to have a hard time making ends meet!

So next time you find yourself fixating over the minute details of a transaction, step away and ask yourself if this is the best use of your time. Are you thinking big or thinking small? Perhaps you could hire an assistant or outsource the transaction coordinating or short sale negotiations.

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If someone told me that I would get $2000 per day everyday of the week just as long as I agreed to give away half of it, I’d be on board in a minute. Would you? If you want to see your business increase, than you need to think big; you need to be willing to give away that $1000 and focus on collecting the next two grand!


Photo: flickr creative commons by Cindy Funk

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Written By

Melissa Zavala is the Broker/Owner of Broadpoint Properties and Head Honcho of Short Sale Expeditor®, and Chief Executive Officer of Transaction 911. Before landing in real estate, she had careers in education and publishing. Most recently, she has been able to use her teaching and organizational skills while traveling the world over—dispelling myths about the distressed property market, engaging and motivating real estate agents, and sharing her passion for real estate. When she isn’t speaking or writing, Melissa enjoys practicing yoga, walking the dog, and vacationing at beach resorts.



  1. ken brand

    June 21, 2011 at 6:04 pm

    My brother call it, "Multi-Dimensional Thinking". But it doesn't matter what you call it, "Thinking Big" or "Multi-Dimensional Thinking", as you point out, it's KEY to success. Thanks for the reminder, it's easy to slip on the blinders and stumble.

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