I think I may have come to the proverbial end of the road when it comes to my blogging on prospecting. I’ve said it often enough, prospecting and running are very similar. So on yesterday’s run, my 89th of the year, I decided to figure out how much money I would have made if I stayed true to my rules on prospecting.
Imagine this; Your goal was to contact 10 people for every time I ran. Just so we are clear, when I talk about prospecting I’m talking about meaningful real estate discussions that last more than a few minutes. So you’ve talked to 1000 people (100 runs times 10 people).Now, the general rule of thumb for prospecting is that every 50 meaningful conversations will get you a buyer or a seller contract. That means that you signed 20 contracts over the course of the year. Guess what? If you work in Toronto you are doing better than 3/4’s of all TREB agents already. For simple math lets assume that the average commission is $5,000 because, as a new agent, you are doing a few rental deals in there too. This year you have made a pretty decent living.
Prospecting is a simply thing to do once you sit down and put your mind to it. As I have found, it is much harder to do it consistently. Just like running, there are a lot of excuses for not getting out of bed at 5:30 in the morning and hitting the pavement for an hour. What I have learned is that prospecting, like running, can be habit-forming and that is the true key to success. Sure, lots of things can get in your way, and it’s easy to roll over and go back to sleep. The hard part is to take the first step. You get out of bed one leg at a time, right?
So what’s the goal for the next year? How about keeping it simple. Hear’s the funny thing about consistent prospecting that is a real bonus for the following years. Remember those 1000 people who you talked to? They are still prospects. You still have 980 people who you didn’t sign a contract with, so in year two you can add them into your next 1000. You are bound to pick up a couple from the first 1000 and another 20 from the next 1000. See how it works? It’s the sales funnel in action!
Well, I’m going to keep running as long as my knees and back hold up. Now I just have to think about other things to blog about. Any ideas?
Any fans of the Six Million Dollar Man out there? If you are, then you’re probably familiar with the opening scenes that set the stage for the series. “Steve Austin, a man barely alive. We can rebuild him. We have the technology. We can create the first bionic man. Better than he was, stronger, faster…” Well you get the picture.
Wouldn’t it be great if there was a simple operation or maybe a pill that we could take that could give us that bionic strength? An edge over Joe Average? Believe it or not it’s in us already. Here’s just another thing I learned about pushing myself physically every day. When you go out to do the same repetitive exercise day after day, your body stops building muscle or stamina. Eventually you have to run more just to see those gains again. Last year I ran the same distances every time I went out. Occasionally I would add a bigger run if I was feeling good, but generally I did not change my routine much. After a year of running like this I noticed that, not only were the runs getting easier to do, I stopped losing weight as well. Things started to improve the moment I pushed myself more.
It occurred to me that the act of prospecting could also get a bit boring. There, I said it. You pick up the phone everyday and call ten people, day after day. Great. The reality is that it’s what you HAVE to do and there is no one out there who would argue that if you keep doing it you will stop making gains. But I wonder if it ever crossed your mind that maybe there is a better way to meet more people…faster. Are there other ways to network?
The exercise is simple. For new agents out there, please remember these two words….SALES FUNNEL. The more people you put into the giant funnel (your contacts) the more sales are going to pop out of it. I suppose that is why even the best agents are always prospecting.
Every January I have a little sit down with the agents in my office to do a little business planning. I send out a survey before hand and ask them to put their goals on paper. It always seems a bit more real when you see it in black and white. We talk about the successes of the year, what worked and what didn’t, how much money they spent and what did they spend it on, etc etc. It’s a great exercise and I get an instant overview of who is going to be a stand out in the coming year. Let’s face it, if I have to chase you down to do some business planning then I know how committed you are to work.
If you’ve seen my video posts before than you know how important running is to me. It is a perfect metaphor for life and business. If you want to succeed you need to work…hard. Last year I made the committment to run 100 ten Kilometre runs and I made it, barely. I learned a lot about what I was capable of during that year but if I hoped to lead by example, and do 20% more in 2013 then I had two choices; run more often or run more distance. I thought about keeping my distance the same and running more but finding the time for 100 is hard enough when you factor in climate challenges, injury or sickness. Instead I opted to run a longer distance. What’s an extra 15 minutes anyway? To date I have passed the midway point. 50 twelve kilometre runs under my belt.
If you are like most of the agents out there then your goal is to make more money this year than you did last year. Well, like my running, there are two ways to do that; sell more houses or sell more expensive houses. Either are possible.
Selling more houses requires a bit more planning and time management. If you want to increase your income by 20% that may only translate to 2 extra deals a year. Not an insurmountable challenge. Spend a bit more money marketing, keep working your prospects, network a bit more, do a few extra open houses this year, utilize other advertising mediums. Selling more expensive houses should also be relatively easy. Talk to your old clients and get them to sell and buy bigger houses, convert renters to owners, expand your farm area.
Either way, the opportunities exist if you are willing to commit to working hard and forging new opportunities. We are at the halfway point in the year. If things haven’t been going your way, it’s time to do a little re-evaluation. The summer is not just an opportunity to travel and relax, it is also time to lay out a plan for the Fall. It is going to get busy again. I promise.