Time to Put our Real Estate Businesses on a Diet?

Is your real estate business top-heavy? Are you as lean as you need to be to run the race to win in these tight times?

How often have you looked at yourself in the mirror and declared“I have to do something about my weight” and decided to go on a personal diet plan, but never apply the same critical eye to your business?

I was in a real estate office recently in Florida that clearly needed a “makeover.” It was as if I had been transported to a real estate office in 1976. Journey was playing in the background, they still had literally scores of listing sheets taped to every window that existed in the strip-mall office, and of the five or six employees I observed, only one was working the phones. The rest were taping listings to windows, hoping for the next Bee Gees song.

What a waste of time! What a waste of salaries! Who searches for homes today by going to a strip mall and reading listings taped to the glass?

Today most real estate professionals would agree that their business model has to change, but few have taken any major steps to affect that transformation.

I’d like to suggest you look at your organization today with a critical eye towards “fat”, and consider putting your business on a radical diet.

Fat is defined as the accumulation of substances designed to “store” fuel to convert to energy in the future. This is good for polar bears, Eskimos, and whales, all of which have to survive frigid temperatures for months at a time. But it does no good for marathon runners, Iron Man competitors, or anyone over the age of 18 who is looking for a date. And it also is not good for our businesses.

Fat kills, and keeping “fat” in our businesses as a way to save up or to wait for a day in the future when we’ll “need it” is a formula for disaster in today’s new housing market.

A couple of friends of mine are trying to lose weight and get into shape for the coming summer season, and they’ve opted for the “Atkins” plan. For those of you who haven’t tried this popular diet program, it is basically a “low-carb” dietary plan that allows you to eat protein and fat, with a limitation on carbohydrates. Whether it’s called the “skiers diet”, the “sugar busters” diet, or any other variation on the theme, its success is based on the scientific property known as ketosis.

This is the diet that you start out thinking, “Oh, I can eat all the protein and fat I want, but no carbos? That should be a slam dunk!” Then around day nine with our cravings for carbos through the roof, you can hear us all say such absurd statements as “Pass the butter please, I need to spread more fat on my two bricks of cheese. I’m going to eat it like an icecream sandwich!”

As ridiculous as that sounds, that diet, because of ketosis, actually works. And it can work on your business too.

During ketosis, the body switches from using glucose for energy to using fat, and you lose weight as a result. It is as if our bodies recognize the change of state in our eating, and in order to make up for the lack of one, (carbos) it burns the others. I’ve lost twenty pounds many different times in my life on this plan, and if done rationally, can really get you in shape.

We can apply the same to our businesses, too. By eliminating just one thing that “we’ve always done in the past”, and perhaps overboarding on the two others that remain, you can get your office in to shape as well.

What do I mean? I mean stop doing certain things immediately, and start innovating. For example:

  • Instead of “training” new agents in our offices by giving them a notebook, a logo, and classes on “How to get Listings” held in a stuffy classroom, why not train them on the street? Don’t waste time having them work with paper, they need to learn how to deal with people! Put them with your most seasoned agent, and have them spend an entire week with the expert, learning how to “sell themselves” rather than “getting listings.” The future is all about super agents who have lifelong relationships, not about “getting listings.” How antiquated.
  • Instead of pasting listing sheets to windows, for no one to see, how about handing out one-page flyers that use terms the public is familiar with today? “Foreclosure Bargains and How to Cash In.” or “Don’t miss the next Foreclosure Auction!” If you put these in a little POP display in local restaurants, hotels, and your local Walmart, you will get callers. Fat agencies will be pasting listings to office windows until their business dies of arterial blockage. Lean agencies will be running fast to keep up with current trends. http://www.discountedproperties.com/
  • Instead of “farming” a neighborhood, try niche-marketing a segment. Jason Gokei was a nobody a few years ago. Then he trimmed down his staff, changed his focus, and put the pedal to the medal by announcing that he was the “Condo King!” By focusing solely on this segment, he has become California’s number one agent in this niche. http://www.californiacondoking.com/
  • Instead of driving clients around individually, why not have group showings, group events, and group tours? Marc Joseph birthed “Foreclosure Boat Tours” in Coral Gables Florida to abandon his old “fatty” marketing, and start something new. His business is booming because he cut the fat out of his old operation, and started being lean and efficient. Last week was featured on over a dozen news outlets. http://www.foreclosuretoursrus.com/

What else could you do to trim the fat in your organization, and make it leaner for the times? Send me your suggestions and we’ll post them.

The good news about all diets is this: Once you start trimming and leaning out, it gets easier and easier by the day!

Want to find out if you have what it takes to be a Real Estate Agent or Broker?

About The Author: Geoffrey Thompson is an owner and founding partner of Express Schools, LLC. Since 1996 the companies under this banner have offered online real estate licensing and insurance licensing courses as well as online real estate exam prep and insurance exam prep.

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