Whatever your business, slow markets or a sluggish economy can make things tough.
It’s natural to respond in fear and shift into self-preservation when that happens.
And it’s the worst thing you can do.
For one thing, it reveals that deep down inside, you believe you can’t make it. Which is a problem, and probably means you’re self-sabotaging in other ways to.
It is also really bad for business.
People operating in a fearful state of self-preservation often cut marketing dollars and put a stop on any investment in their own education.
Flipping on the autopilot and just trying to hang in there is a weak strategy for any business.
Even when money’s tight or when things aren’t selling as quickly as you’d like, it’s still important to invest in your business, your marketing, and yourself.
In fact, during market lulls may be the most important time to do that!
While everyone else is hiding under their desk, hoping the same old strategies will keep them safe, you will be perfecting your skills and understanding of the very things that distinguish your business from the rest.
You’ll lay down a power card while everyone else is lying down.
You’ll pay handsomely with time and money to learn new skills. As you apply what you’ve learned, you’ll surprise your colleagues.
Here’s another point.
Keeping up with the latest trends is critical to your business, no matter what the market is doing.
Even now, where and how people shop for homes is changing. It’s critical to be aware of it, and then know what to do about it. As a real estate agent, I need to know where people are shopping, and how to get in front of them.
When times are tough, don’t hunker down and hope for the best.
Work to understand the trends in your industry. It will require an investment of hundreds of hours of reading and listening to podcasts and attending seminars and workshops. It will also take time to practice using the related new software, platforms, and technologies you’re bound to discover.
Then get out there and be surprisingly generous.
I’ll bet you’re still wondering how this helps one to win clients.
Here’s the thing.
With your keen understanding of the market and trends, (and after some practice and troubleshooting) you’ll know where the clients are and how to get in front of them. Once you’re in front of them, your reputation as a knowledgeable and generous professional will attract people.
I know because it’s how I am attracted to businesses and leaders and authors and speakers.
I also know because as I’ve been generous and applied what I’ve learned, colleagues, competitors, and even clients notice. And they seek me out to ask questions.
Strangers will walk up to me and say “Hey! You’re Tina! I read your blog.” Or they’ll hire me because they found me easily exactly where they were looking. (You know where that is, right?)
What about you?
How do you weather slow times in your business or industry?
It happened again.
They’re coming for me, and they’re coming for you too.
They go out of their way to drive to your place, and lie to your face.
Money. Envy. A burr in their britches. Self-loathing. Ego.
Who is this insidious creature? Allow me to set the scene.
I recently listed the home of a sweet elderly couple I’ve known for most of my life. The kindly gentleman had been my brother’s childhood hockey coach way back when. In my hairdressing days, this man became a loyal customer. When I moved into reflexology, he was my client there too. Now, I get to be this couple’s real estate agent. I’m so honored to serve them, and grateful for their lifetime loyalty. You can’t buy that, you know?
Days after I met with the seller and discussed when to put the For Sale sign in their yard, a vehicle drove onto their driveway.
The visitor was another agent who had heard they were moving, and he had come with an agenda.
“So, you are going to list with Tina Plett?,” the agent had asked.
“I was just wondering why you wouldn’t choose a local agent…?”
My client, who was confused by this sudden confrontation about his personal choice, replied, “Tina is as local as it gets!”
The agent left, the mission apparently fulfilled. The goal had simply been to undermine me without provocation, even if it meant being confrontational with a sweet elderly couple.
The weird thing about it though, is not that it’s ridiculous, given that I was born in Steinbach, have lived and worked in Steinbach for most of my life and still do. The weird thing is also not that I have listed in and around Steinbach for years, nor is it that I have life-long relationships with several of my clients.
The weirdest part is not even that this undermining tactic keeps happening, or that the very agents who confront elderly couples in order to win some imaginary pissing match also list in multiple towns.
No. The weirdest part is that they think it’s necessary.
Is it that my success is intimidating to people? (Strong women everywhere will know this feeling well) And apparently this intimidation causes them to dive desperately into aggressive behaviour, and they’re okay with whomever that hurts, even if it is gentle elderly couples.
As usual, all I can really do about it is let you, the reader, know this is happening.
Then you will not be shaken by cowardly egomaniacs in suits who come a- knocking to intimidate you. Or perhaps they will try to steal a paycheck from me and use you to do it.
You will also know that they offer only lies.(Well, that and a willingness to intimidate innocent citizens like single moms and elderly couples if that’s what they feel like doing.)
And, most encouraging, you will also know that what I’m doing – my transparency, integrity, forward-thinking tech savvy, and kick-ass marketing – is working, and they want a piece of it.
So take heart, we’re on the right track…
When we first talked on the phone, she imagined our meeting would require her packing up all four kiddos, keeping them up way past bedtime, sacrificing yet another night of Dad time, and desperately trying to keep them all quiet and happy in an office somewhere.
When I offered to come by instead, and meet with her after the kids were in bed, she was shocked. She sighed long and satisfied, relieved. She thanked me profusely. There is so much time-sensitive stuff that has to get done with the buying and selling process, so much pressure and stress. I’m so glad to alleviate at least some of that with in-home meetings.
So was she. She knows time is precious, and we just saved her hours of it.
It reminds me of the last time I spoke with my cousin, who recently passed away. I was in a hurry, wanting to grab a Superstore rotisserie chicken to bring home for supper. I dashed in, discovered the chicken rotisserie counter to be empty, and headed back out of the store. On my way out, I met Steve. I felt compelled to stop and chat with him. We had a wonderful, deep conversation – the kind that makes you think it’s a God appointment. Months later, he was gone. I was so deeply thankful for that time we each took. I would have been disappointed had I chosen to race past. I would have wished for one more moment. Instead, we both decided to use that moment to connect.
Time is precious. It’s a rare commodity that should be respected and guarded, but also given generously. It’s not just our own time that is precious, but others’ time too. Everyone is busy, and wishing for more time.
Whether in your job, with your clients, or with people whose houses you want to buy or see – you’re dealing with people’s time. Respect, guard, and most of all cherish it.
Have you enjoyed a ‘God appointment’ lately? I’d love to hear about it!
Don’t let the zebra print fool you. This ipad is no toy. This is my office.
Some think that the brick and mortar office has an advantage in the marketplace. And that certainly was true a decade or two ago. Once upon a time, establishing one’s business in a solid building implied a solid place in the market. But times have changed.
Digital offices are the new way. They’re efficient, mobile, and accessible. Everything is online, and consumers expect to be able to find you there. I market tested this theory even back in my first years when I worked with a brick and mortar type of office. For a year, every single client I met with, I asked the same question. “Would you like to meet at… a) my (brick and mortar) office, b) in your home, or c) in a coffee shop or your favorite restaurant?” Know what happened? Not one single person EVER requested to meet me in the big building in which I worked.
I soon moved to an autonomous mobile agent situation (for several reasons), and continued to build a solid business. Mine is not built with concrete, but on solid, consistent, highly personalized service.
But. To have a mobile office requires tech savvy. Heck, whether one has brick and mortar or not, one needs to still be tech savvy. If you are not online (where your clients are!), you’re missing out on over 60% of the market!
One great way to start is to introduce your business to the ipad. You won’t believe what you can do with it, and how quickly. I was asked recently how I use my ipad for business, so thought I’d share here too.
The 4 Ipad Apps Essential To My Business
Scanner Pro is my preferred app for scanning. I can scan documents, signatures and all, and send them instantly.
PDF Expert is my favorite app for typing or writing on a document.
Evernote is my favorite app for buyer files.
Dropbox or Google Drive are online file storages, that are accessible from anywhere. This is where offers and all other documents related to a deal are stored in perfectly organized files.
In Real Estate, we have to respond to someone in a timely matter – immediately at times. Sending an offer in a hurry is a breeze with these apps. I can get my client’s signature right there in the restaurant, scan the document with the in app camera and it automatically converts to pdf right there. The PDF can email directly and on time, so we can close the deal.
What is keeping you from mobilizing your business online?
If you are already online, what is your favorite digital business tool? (and why?)
I’ve always hated paperwork. Work got done, but my personal paperwork I put off as long as possible. Maybe you can relate. (Oddly, when left alone, those papers seemed to multiply. Like weeds…)
I’ve been able to curb this nasty habit at work though, by going paperless.
For two years I’ve been trending toward making my office paperless. I’m finding it not only helps me escape inevitable paper piles, it also has other benefits. The change has helped me to stay organized – I do better with e-filing. It has also reduced my office supply costs, and saved me the time of printing and copying. And, going paperless also saves space and is portable.
Huh. That’s actually alot of benefits when I stop and think about it! Who knew?
I haven’t fully trusted the e-filing system so far, and have been making paper copies of some super important things. You know, just in case. But more and more I’m getting used to the paperless idea, and trusting more in my efiles. (Backing up the data helps) I aim to master this by the end of the year, becoming completely paperless. (Minus the mandatory print-contracts and offers and such as required by law of course).
How about you? How paperless are you?
Do you struggle with piles of papers too?