Who would have thought that many real estate businesses would have had bumper sales numbers despite the COVID-19 pandemic? But this was the case for many real estate agencies, and for many real estate salespeople.
It is predicted that 2021 will be even better than 2020. That appears true as we enter the second quarter of 2021.
But is it so for you? Are your results booming? Is your career?
Many years ago, somebody said to me, “If you can’t make money during a boom, get out of the industry” but that is a bit harsh. Many salespeople receive just a little typical industry training. Frankly, it doesn’t work, and it doesn’t encourage repeat business.
Although you can sell everything you list, there is massive competition for listings. If you haven’t been taught effective methods for finding new clients, and then listing them when you give a listing presentation, you will do it tough.
But there is an answer: PLAN. I believe that you have to options: plan or struggle. It’s your call.
Set yourself up to make the most of this sellers’ market:
Working toward meaningful goals makes us happier and more focused. Think about what you want to achieve. Write it down.
Determine INCOME AND TARGETS required to achieve your goals
What income will you need to earn in order to achieve those goals? It should be a higher income than you have earned in the past – you need goals that stretch you, while still being realistic for your present skill level.
Plan how to achieve your targets
What listing sources – e.g. For Sale By Owner (FSBO) – will you mine to produce your required listing target? When you get the listings, you will make the sales.
Determine how many potential sellers you will need to speak to each day so that you achieve your targets. If you are not speaking to 40 potential sellers each working weekday, you might not be doing enough to get the listings you need if you are to achieve your goals.
One of the biggest challenges salespeople face is staying focused. Affirmations help with focus, if not cure it altogether.
“I, Gary Pittard, accept and enjoy that I have earned $200,000 in December [year] and everything I do contributes to this result.”
Write an Affirmation like this fifteen times a day for twenty-one days, and sign each one, then tell me if you lack focus!
To work, the Affirmation must be realistic and linked to your plan. The correct order is:
- Income and Target Calculation
Once you have all these in place it’s time to get to work. If you study your craft, your actions will become more competent as time passes, and you will achieve more results with less effort. You will be happier and enjoy your career more.
If you want to learn more about goal setting, get hold of the audio program Your Path To Deliberate Creation by Bill Nasby. You can order it at billnasby.com. If focus is your challenge, Bill’s program will help you.
Success doesn’t happen by accident. Plan, or struggle: it’s your call.
Is the thought of an increase in your monthly targets daunting? If your leader told you that it’s time for you to list 8 properties a month, would you resist?
Most salespeople would resist because they look at the entire figure. Eight listings a month sounds a lot.
Funny, but it’s all relative. I remember times when salespeople listed between 10-15 properties a month without fail. As selling fees increased, listing numbers decreased. This tells me that most of the battle is in our heads. We imagine things to be tougher than they are.
I know one winner who said that right from the beginning of her career she expected to list 8 properties per month. She said, “It was daunting until I broke it down into bite-sized chunks. Eight listings a month is only 2 a week. I can do that!” And she did. For over twenty years this winner has listed eight properties or more per month.
Once she decided on 2 listings per week, she planned where to look for those listings.
Some prospecting sources are warmer than others. Sure, a fair amount of talking to strangers is required, but strangers don’t stay that way forever. Regular contact over time turns the original random call into a series of warm calls, and listings are often to be found by following up warm leads nurtured over time.
You could knock on doors, or you could knock on the door where property owners have advertised their property for sale privately. Look past the ‘no agents’ warning and speak with the property owner anyway. Ten FSBOs give a higher listing yield than 50 random door knocks.
This is just one example. My point is that you will increase your chances of achieving higher targets if you know where your business is likely to come from. A listing plan will keep you on track and keep you working on the warmer listing sources.
In the absence of a listing plan you can drift, making a few calls here, a few calls there, but with no real consistency or focus on the most likely places to find listings.
No plan = drift. Plan = focus. It’s as simple as that.
If you want to increase your listing results, you must fill your prospect pipeline. You do that by talking to people – at least 200 potential sellers every working week.
Does this sound a lot? Break it down into bite-sized chunks – it’s 40 a day. You can do that, can’t you? Even at an average of 6 minutes per call, this is under 5 hours total prospecting time per day, allowing for time spent calling on premises where nobody is home.
Start at 9 AM, finish at 2 PM. Grab a bite to eat, then attend your afternoon appointments.
See what that does to your results, income and life!
A salesperson in Adelaide was doing it tough. For two years he struggled and could barely make enough to cover his bills.
I admired him for persevering but secretly wondered how long he would last before he pursued another career.
But something changed. I spoke with him earlier today and he sounded like a new man. What was he doing differently?
He said, “I’m not working with people who waste my time. I’m busy and if they want to sell, I’ll work with them. If they want to argue and tell me that another agent said the property is worth $50,000 more, I’ll kindly suggest they list with the other agent.”
His results for the last few months improved from 0-1 sale per month to 3 sales per month. He’s held that for the last two months and the month I spoke to him was shaping up well too. He was making his hard work pay off.
This attitude didn’t just boost his results and income. It boosted his self-esteem and his feeling of worth. Don’t underestimate the importance of this.
By regarding himself differently, as a sales professional whose advice should be heeded, and by refusing to work with stubborn people who refuse to listen to common sense, his demeanor changed. He thought like a professional, he believed he was a professional, and he acted that way.
When he acted like a professional, he saw the results that professionals get.
Real estate sales is difficult enough without working with overly difficult people. Do you have clients that refuse to follow sound advice? Why are you working with them?
If you want your hard work to pay off, stop working with stubborn know-alls and find people who are happy to be guided through the selling process. There are plenty out there if you look for them. By look, I mean prospect for them.
Do you know why most salespeople continue working with the wrong people? They are DESPERATE.
Why do you think they’re desperate.?
Because their prospect pipelines are EMPTY.
If you won’t actively search for the right people, you are doomed to work with the wrong ones. You will be frustrated, and your results will be low.
You’re better than that.
Make your hard work pay off. Find the right people and work with them. Leave the wrong ones to your desperate competitors.
An essential ingredient to saleable listings
Happy New Year! I hope 2021 is your best year ever, and if you have goals, challenging targets and a plan, you’ve already laid the foundations for this to be a reality. Now all you need do is get to work and follow your plan.
A key to better results is to increase your list-to-sell ratio, to sell more of the properties you list. Your market may be moving now and your list-to-sell ratio might be high, but it would be foolish to think things will stay this way forever.
Have you ever had sellers refuse an offer you know was fair? They wanted a higher price and you doubted whether you could get it.
The culprit might not be seller greed, but a lack of feedback on your part. This can result in a lack of information given to the sellers, for them to understand which offers are fair.
Feedback is essential to sellers understanding where their properties sit in the market. What is a likely selling price for their property? Most agents gloss over this figure at the listing, afraid that if they tell the truth they will lose the listing.
Good honest feedback from buyers who are active in the market help sellers understand their properties’ fair market price. When experienced buyers say that a property is worth $1.2 million, this is good information for the sellers, even if they had hoped for more.
Jayne Finlay, a winner from Page & Pearce Real Estate in Townsville QLD, discussed the importance of feedback during Pittard’s Convention Week. Jayne said, “What’s the point of having listings if you don’t talk with your sellers?”
Jayne carries a lot of listings in Townsville, where prices dropped by 40% over the past 5 years, and believes that honest feedback is essential to pricing her listings so that they are competitive in a marketplace where many properties are for sale. She sets aside Mondays to call her sellers. She recaps buyer inspections and the feedback they gave.
When talking with buyers, Jayne always elicits price feedback from the buyers, feedback she can pass on to the sellers. Jayne will seldom conduct an inspection with buyers without asking them what they think the property is worth.
This helps her qualify the buyers, to see whether they know the market, and gives good information to convey to her sellers.
Professional salespeople don’t avoid the issue of price. They don’t gloss over it. They look the sellers in the eyes and tell them honestly what the buyers said.
Sellers don’t always like what they hear, but it’s the truth, albeit told diplomatically.
They say that truth hurts. Lies hurt more. Do you want to make more sales? Give regular and honest feedback.
“May you live in interesting times” is purported to be ‘the Chinese curse’, although its origins in China are doubtful. Chinese or not, the year 2020 has seen ‘interesting times’ thanks to the COVID-19 pandemic. Despite this, many agencies have had a good year.
As 2021 approaches, what are your predictions for next year – up or down?
Did you think I was talking about the market? No! I’m talking about YOU!
Will your results be up or down in 2021?
I don’t make light of the hardship COVID-19 brought to many businesses and families, but so far real estate businesses in most places have fared reasonably well. Look around – plenty of people did well despite the pandemic.
Others, who were probably struggling pre-pandemic, continued to struggle, but the pandemic provided them with a convenient excuse.
How has the pandemic affected you? Are you heading into 2021 believing that it will be a great year for you, or are you concerned about tough economic times, thinking it will be a tough year?
The forecasters may be right in saying that the economic fallout from the pandemic will be severe, but does that mean a bad year for you?
Forecasters don’t always get it right and even if they are right on this occasion, does this mean that people won’t need to sell their properties? Does this mean that people won’t buy?
The business of real estate will continue. Future prices may be a lot lower than today’s prices, but in ANY market, properties priced at or near the market price of the day, will sell.
“You become what you think about” said Earl Nightingale. Think failure and you’ll fail. Think success and you will seek ways to succeed.
So, what does 2021 hold for you? Success or struggle? It’s largely up to you. How you think determines your actions, and your actions determine your results.
I want you to enter 2021 expecting to succeed. And I want you to define that success and plan how you will achieve it.
Now more than ever, I urge you to plan 2021. Plan to make it a hugely successful year.
- Goals – you need something good to work toward. Goals help you become immune to rejection. Without goals, you won’t have a hope.
- Plans – keep you focused on the activity necessary to win. What fee production do you need to achieve your goals? How many listings and sales per month are required to achieve that production? How many prospecting calls each day must be made to achieve your listings target?
- Affirmations – a great tool when times are tough. Affirmations help you to cement the belief that you are a success. Written 15 times a day for 21 days, a good affirmation will help you focus on winning, instead of worrying about the market.
If you want to know more about goal setting, get hold of Bill Nasby’s Path To Deliberate Creation. It’s a great goal setting program. You can order it from www.billnasby.com.
You can also read my book, Why Winners Win. It can be downloaded in eBook format or a copy can be purchased from www.pittard.com.au.
- Training – you’re either getting better or you’re getting worse. The direction you’ll go is determined by the training you do. Good training, aligned with your values and attitudes, is essential for long term success. Training will also make you ‘market proof’.
- Practice – turn knowledge into skill. Training will give you knowledge, but it’s only by practising what you learn that skill develops. You need knowledge and skill.
How 2021 treats you is up to you. You can choose to be a Market Victim, or a Market Opportunist.
Enter 2021 believing that there is opportunity for you to have your best year ever, set goals, plan, write affirmations, train and practise and success will be yours.
Up or down in 2021? Your choice.
- A feeling of deep admiration for someone or something elicited by their abilities, qualities, or achievements
- Due regard for the feelings, wishes, or rights of others.
To respect someone is to admire qualities in them and to show regard for their feelings, wishes and rights. Respect should be shown to everyone we meet, not just to those who can benefit us.
This may seem controversial, but not everybody in our industry agrees that all people should be treated with respect – although nobody will say so publicly.
But ignore their words and look at their actions. Here are three examples, but there are many more. Ask yourself, do these industry practices show respect? Do they make you proud?
Buyers are often treated poorly. A classic example is when an agent has multiple buyers on one property. Several buyers pay for pest inspections on properties they don’t have a chance of buying because the agent has quoted a low bait price to make them interested. They pay hundreds of dollars for building and pest inspections and never get to make a bid.
Buyers’ offers are disclosed to other buyers. No agent will admit to it, but we know that agents do this. It shows a lack of respect to the buyer who made the offer and shows a lack of ethics in sharing the offer with another interested party.
It’s not called ‘conditioning’ these days, but “managing the clients’ expectations” is mutton dressed as lamb. Whenever a salesperson quotes an unachievable price to sellers, or lies by omission and allows sellers to believe they will achieve an unrealistic price, it’s still conditioning.
This disgraceful practice is common in the industry. It results in sellers being pressured to reduce from a price the listing agent led them to believe they would get. ‘Market feedback’ is blamed for the failure to achieve the quoted price, but it all began with the salesperson’s dishonesty at the listing presentation.
Clients have long memories. If you intend on staying in real estate for the long haul, you need repeat business. In order to get repeat business, you must be honest and respectful at all times.
Treat them honestly and fairly. Treat them as you would a family member, and not as a one-off transaction.
Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, many salespeople were saying that they were selling everything they listed. “We’d make more sales if we had more listings” was a common statement.
March 2020 was an uncertain month. Nobody knew what restrictions the government would apply and what effects those restrictions may have on business. This caused many salespeople to ‘mark time’ where actions were concerned. Some cut their hours, most cut their prospecting, and often their offices cut marketing to save money.
Nobody seemed to notice the overall drop in actions that create listings, because most were focused on survival.
Fair enough – but action and inaction have consequences. Cutting marketing and prospecting (inaction) had a knock-on effect months later. That knock-on effect was a shortage of stock.
Pre-pandemic, salespeople complained of a shortage of stock. But cutting down prospecting actions, and cutting down marketing actions, only compounded the problem. If you were low on stock before the pandemic started, and if you cut actions that create listings, you’re even shorter on stock now.
Obvious in hindsight, huh?
Okay, you’re short of stock. What are you doing about it?
If a lack of marketing and prospecting caused a lack of stock, it stands to reason that by increasing marketing and prospecting to HIGH LEVELS, over time your stock will increase. And with that increase in stock come more sales.
For decades we told salespeople, “Massive action leads to massive results”. But more recently I modified that saying. I now advise salespeople: “Massive RIGHT action leads to massive results”.
You can be very busy on the wrong actions. It’s massive amounts of the right actions that get results.
As I wrote this article I received an email from Wayne Beard, of Harcourts West Ryde. The email said, “We have had 10 listing enquiries so far this month. This is because I doubled our letterbox drops last month”. Smart man.
If you’re low on stock, you have an empty listing pipeline. That empty listing pipeline means that you have little to sell. That leads to an empty buyer pipeline.
If you’re not talking to people, you’re emptying your sales pipeline.
You can’t sell what you don’t have.
What are you doing to get more stock?
I have said on many occasions that clear goals are an essential element in achieving consistent results.
No doubt, many of you began 2020 with clear goals. Then along came COVID-19 and perhaps your goals went out the window. And if you didn’t abandon the idea of achieving goals this year, you may have put your goals on hold. I wouldn’t blame you if you did.
But without goals, the adverse effects of the pandemic on your income will be deeper and remain longer.
If you put your goals on hold, may I suggest that you dust them off and reset them?
Survival, or Growth and Prosperity?
By the end of September, three-quarters of 2020 will be behind you.
You have four months to get yourself out of survival thinking and into a growth and prosperity mindset. You have four months left of the year to get results.
And which line of thinking will serve you better – focusing on surviving, or focusing on growth and prosperity?
We become what we think about. Think survival and you will survive. Think prosperity and you will do the actions to manifest prosperity in your life.
The last pandemic the world saw was in 1918. I’ve never seen a pandemic before and neither have you. COVID-19 was a shock.
However, we need to keep moving forward!
Set goals, put plans in place, and focus on prosperity. Then get to work.
Your thinking makes all the difference.
What you do from this point on determines whether you’ll be a victim, or somebody who overcame adversity and who grew not only as a salesperson but also as a human being.
I can’t change the COVID situation, but I can change how I deal with it. I can choose to set goals and to work toward them.
You have that choice too.
Dust off those goals!
Talking with salespeople at differing skill levels, I notice a subtle, but critical, difference between the pros and the rookies. The difference is that pros have an ‘eye’ for results.
Let me explain.
Talk to a professional salesperson and the conversation quickly moves to results. How many listings they got, how many listings they’re working on. Likewise with sales – sales they’ve made, sales they have ‘cooking’.
Contrast this to a rookie or struggling salesperson. The conversation bogs down in process – how many people they’ve prospected, how many appointments they’ve attended. These conversations centre around actions.
Whether their actions were the right actions that lead to results hardly rates a mention.
Don’t get me wrong, process is important – but focusing on process alone may see you lose sight of the bigger picture.
When I interviewed Jeff Haden, author of The Motivation Myth, for Pittard TV, he said:
“Your goal must always choose your process”.
Put another way…
Your planned RESULTS determines the ACTIONS you do.
Without a focus on results, actions can be random, misdirected, and make you no money.
Ask a rookie or struggling salesperson, “Why do you prospect?” and the answer will most likely be, “To find somebody who wants to sell”. And while this is technically correct, contrast the answer to one a professional salesperson will likely give to the same question: “To get a listing!”.
Actions are a means to an end. That end is the result.
Focus on the results you want, then choose the actions that will get you those results. Then get to work on those actions, but always keep in mind that it’s the result you’re after.
Develop an eye for results. You’ll achieve more.
When an aircraft takes off, a huge amount of energy is required to get it off the ground.
Aircraft use a lot of fuel and require a lot of thrust to take off. Once clear of the ground, climb power is applied. Once the aircraft reaches the cruise, thrust is set to cruise power. Each power setting is lower than the one before.
In the cruise, the aircraft has momentum – a high cruise speed is achieved with a minimum amount of power, which allows the aircraft to fly high and fast. High speed with a lower fuel burn.
Momentum is a lovely thing. It takes a while to achieve it, but once you have it, you accomplish more with less energy.
Sales careers are the same.
If you are new to Sales, or are experienced but in a performance slump, your present position is like an aircraft on the ground – you’re going to need maximum energy to get ‘off the ground’.
- Getting off the ground means speaking to people, building contacts, creating leads, working those leads, following them up, converting them into business, and repeating the process until you see a constant flow of results.
- Getting off the ground means consistently looking for new business – prospecting in large numbers, every day. It means diligently entering new leads into your CRM, tracking those leads accurately so that they are followed up on the days when you said you would be back in touch with those clients.
- Getting off the ground means working on your listing presentation, perfecting it so that you win more of the presentations you give. It’s counterproductive to generate leads, only to blow them at the listing presentation.
The profession of Sales is just that – a profession. It requires study, practice, competent actions and good old-fashioned hard work. Lots of it, to get off the ground.
But once momentum is built, results seem to come a little easier, with less effort. That’s the power of momentum.
Are you still on the ground? Are you denying yourself the power of momentum?
You can do something about it. You can study. You can practice. You can get to work. Once you’ve built momentum and the results are flowing, you can reduce ‘thrust’ (effort) and still enjoy the results.
It’s work before reward. It’s thrust before the cruise. It’s effort before momentum.
On an agency visit I spent time with a salesperson who had fallen short of target for the previous two quarters. When I asked what her goal was for the coming quarter she replied, “Hang in and keep my job“.
I told her this was the wrong focus. Fear-based thinking is always the wrong focus. It’s a terrible way to work – there’s nothing inspiring about it, nothing to look forward to.
Focusing on keeping your job robs you of focusing on something better.
This salesperson needed a holiday – she was running on empty. I suggested that the holiday should be her goal. Work hard until Christmas and focus on earning $10,000 for a decent holiday with her husband.
I discussed planning with her. I asked what she needed to produce in fees, and then sales, listings, and the amount of prospecting she’d need to do in order to achieve the fee production target. Once the planning was done, it was time to get to work.
When I spoke to her one month later, she was already halfway to her goal. She was booking her holiday. She sounded like a different person.
Fear-based thinking causes you to second guess yourself. It robs you of confidence, decision-making ability, and it prevents you from seeing opportunity
By changing her focus, and then planning how to achieve it, she took control. She produced the results necessary to achieve her positive, worthwhile, goal.
She had the skill – it was there all along. All she needed was to focus on the right goal and a change in attitude.
Falling victim to the wrong focus can be easily cured by daring to focus on something better, a worthwhile goal.
If you are ever tempted to focus on the negative, change your attitude and thinking. Other people are making great incomes in real estate sales. Why not you?
I was talking with a Diamond member of Pittard’s Winners Circle recently. The topic came around to telling sellers the truth about the likely selling prices of their properties.
This million-dollar producer said, “I tell sellers that in this market their properties will sell for $x. If they aren’t willing to price near that, I won’t take on their listing.” He hastened to add that he explains this to sellers more tactfully than that, but his point is that sellers must be told the truth about the likely selling price by their lister.
“It takes courage to tell the truth and jeopardise the listing”, I said. The top performer replied, “It’s more a matter of integrity”.
Of course, he’s right – avoid the truth, or alter the price to win the listing, and you tarnish your integrity and your reputation. So why are agents known for lying about the price, or lying by omission and avoiding price completely?
The answer is skill. It takes superior presentation ability to tell the truth in real estate and still win the business. If you intend telling the truth – and you should – you’d better be an outstanding presenter. And I mean outstanding.
But there are rewards, aside from the well-being that comes from knowing you tell the truth.
As an example, I attended an auction where the agent quoted $4.5 million to the sellers at the listing, and $3.5 million to the buyers during the open homes. He came unstuck when there was only one bidder at the auction. Now he had a $1 million gap to negotiate. Trust me when I say that he wasn’t that good a negotiator. It was passed in.
The property eventually sold for around $4 million, which was about the right money, but it could have sold months earlier had the truth been told at the beginning. And although the agent made this sale, will the sellers ever use him again? Will the buyers sell with him when the time comes? I don’t like his chances.
You see, integrity matters. You can’t be honest most of the time – it’s an all or nothing concept. Sure, it takes tact and finesse to deliver it, but the truth is an underrated sales tactic.
Why take on listings that aren’t going to sell? Why take on sellers that won’t listen to the truth, who don’t trust agents anyway, and who price so high that nobody enquires? Why take on sellers who aren’t serious, who consume your time, energy, your company’s money and your morale. When they leave to go to another agent, they don’t even sincerely thank you!
Even if you use the sellers’ money to pay for advertising, rather than your company’s money, it does your reputation no good when you take clients’ money and fail to sell the property.
Perhaps your market is so hot that properties sell anyway. But it won’t always be like this.