by Bernice Ross
Inman News Features
“How can I increase my production?” is the most commonly asked question in the real estate business. In virtually every case, the person asking the question is looking to an “expert” to tell them how to fix the problem with their business. Before exploring this question in depth, it’s important to draw the distinction between training, accountability monitoring, and coaching.
Training is about acquiring new techniques and strategies. Typically when an agent attends a seminar or series of classes, it is up to the agent to integrate what they have experienced into their business. If you’re like most agents, you’ve heard lots of strategies, great scripts, and marketing ideas, yet you’re still doing the same thing you were 12 months ago. In most cases, the reason training makes little difference is there is usually no follow-up strategy for integrating what is learned into your business.
Many agents pay for “accountability monitoring” or so-called “making your numbers coaching.” This is a step up from training, but here the agent is still looking outside to their “accountability” call to keep them on track. Most agents usually walk away from this approach simply due to human nature — they don’t like being told what to do and hate having to admit they fell short in achieving their goals.
The bottom line in increasing your production is lead generation. Unless you’re a brand new agent, you already know what you need to do to generate leads. You don’t need another tool, gimmick, or technique. Thus the question isn’t “what to do,” it’s “how to get yourself to do it.”
A formally trained coach (one with International Coach Federation Certification) approaches this question from the point of view of achieving integration. Integration of new business practices or the expansion of currently successful practices can only occur when the agent has internal motivation to make necessary changes.
Prospecting, marketing, or doing any other business development activity is just like dieting: it is sustainable for a short period of time, but unless the internal motivation is in place, no long-term change will occur. Consequently, from a coaching perspective, how can you produce sustainable change in your business leading to increased production in 2002?
The coaching approach below focuses on finding what works for you — not what worked for some training guru or some other agent.
Begin by looking back over the last two years of your business and answer the following questions:
1. What three parts of your business work the best? In other words, what three activities are producing the most income for you right now? Once you have identified these three areas, what is one step you could take in the next week to begin expand your business in ONE of these three areas? Choose the one that is the easiest or the one you enjoy the most. Coaching achieves sustainable change by having the agent take SMALL steps over a long period of time. Activities you enjoy are sustainable.
Once you have the first small change in place, add a second one. For example, if you have a profitable geographical farm of 300 people, how could you add an additional 50-100 people in an adjoining location? If 20 people referred you business in 2001, what would it take to add an additional one referral per month for each month in 2002?
2. Forget about developing your weaknesses because some expert says you “should.” Yes, you “should” call For Sale By Owners and expireds. Nevertheless, if you dread the thought of doing so, you won’t be able to sustain the activity. Rather than trying to fit someone else’s preconceived “path to success,” ask yourself, “What are the three greatest strengths I bring to my business?” Just as a quarterback doesn’t kick the ball, so it is with real estate. Successful careers are based on two or three core skills you do extremely well. What is one step you could take this week to create more business from one of your strengths?
3. Carefully evaluate your business and be completely honest — what is not working? Is it a seller you’ve had for more than six months? A farm that produces no revenue? A buyer who never buys? Identify at least three things that are not working about your business and get rid of at least one of them this week.
To summarize: Your coaching is to take one step to expand your business based upon your strengths and to rid yourself of one activity that is not working.