Agents know the value associated with availability. Being able to show a house, talk with a lender, work on a contract, or simply answer a client question promptly is what makes agents stand out. It’s no secret that in today’s world, people want answers FAST. The longer someone waits, the more likely they are to get impatient and try something else.
But no matter how efficient you may try to be, there are still only 24 hours in a day, and hopefully a few of those are being dedicated to sleep! Mix in family time, eating, events, and leisure time – on top of your daily work routine – and there’s not many hours left in the day.
Even if you have all of your day scheduled out to the minute, there are other factors hampering your productivity. For example, according to a study published by John Pencavel of Stanford University, “employee output falls sharply after a 50-hour work-week, and falls off a cliff after 55 hours.” The study also found that someone who puts in 70 hours produces nothing more with those extra 15 hours.
This is an important fact to remember, as it can be easy to get lost in one’s work and want to always be available. However, this study shows that the value in availability and the value in productivity are not linear.
The world of real estate poses even more of a challenge to your day as transactions and deals happen in real time and can often require these types of time commitments. Meaning, Sally and Joe don’t necessarily care that you had already put in a 60-hour workweek, because they’re ready to make an offer NOW.
With anything, though, there has to be balance. Passion for your career is a wonderful thing, but it can’t blind you to the other aspects of life. This in mind, we’ve created a few tips to help ease the stresses, even marginally, of being a real estate agent.
1) You Don’t Always Have to Answer a Phone Call
There is no law or unwritten code of real estate ethics that binds you to having to always answer your phone. As mentioned above, there’s obvious value in being available, so we will clarify…you need to be more selective with your time on the phone.
Picture this; you just sat down at home to eat with your family after a 12-hour workday and your phone rings. The number is unrecognized, but you don’t want to miss out. There are a few possibilities here:
A) The call is from a valid lead that is interested in learning more about one of your listings
B) It’s a spam call (we’re all very familiar with the frequency of which those come in)
C) It’s not work-related or spam – maybe a friend who got a new phone number and was calling to let you know (but really, who would do that…we’ll explain)
No matter what the general feelings on the matter are, the reality is that in this day and age, not a lot of people actually call anymore. Texting is the preferred method of communication, and the numbers back that up. Did you know that conservative estimates show that nearly 6.5 trillion texts are sent every year?
People do it, a lot, and it’s something to take advantage of in the right circumstances. Of course, we’re not saying to try to close a deal with cute house emojis and abbreviated phrases. However, if you receive an unexpected call from an unrecognized phone number, a quick “Thank you for calling, I’m sorry I can’t take a phone call right now. Would it be all right if I called you back in a little bit?” text goes a long way.
A text like that would accomplish a couple things: first, and maybe most important, it weeds out spam calls. The strong majority of spam calls are automated, meaning they can’t text back! (Spam texts are a different story).
This would also help to maintain your prompt reputation if it was a genuine lead calling. They will appreciate the quick response, and may even follow up with more information about the listing or information they need. That way, when you do have time to talk on the phone, you have a head start.
If you think a quick text would be just as time-consuming as answering the call in the first place, consider adjusting your voicemail greeting to inform the caller you are unavailable to talk on the phone at the moment, and that they are free to text you.
2) Embrace the Team Approach Where Possible
Many agents do this already, and it’s something that all should at least consider. Basically, you allow yourself to spread priorities across a team (even if it’s just you and one other person), to free up time.
There’s a reason that in schools teachers have a maximum number of students per classroom. That ensures that they have the adequate time needed to fully cater to each individual student’s needs. The same can be said in real estate. Odds are you reach a point in your busy season where you have so many clients/leads that, logistically, there isn’t enough time to properly service each person.
When clients feel neglected, they may either try a different agent altogether, or sulk through the process without the intention of referring you in the future.
A role that can be beneficial to most agents is an administrative assistant. Someone who fields calls, schedules open houses, takes information and then organizes it for you to use in the future.
3) Use “Slower” Times to Catch up and Plan Strategy for the Future
As we talked about in a previous article, there certainly are slower times for agents, even if slower just means a 50-hour workweek instead of 60.
Use that extra time when you have it to regroup, refresh, and organize yourself for when you’re back to being busy.
View any time where appointments are light as a time to reflect on your business systems – strengths, weaknesses, marketing tactics, web presence, lead funnel. Then look for areas where improvements can be made that will benefit your efficiency, workload, and bottom line.
As always, at our office, we can help walk you through many of these things and more. There are a variety of areas we help you that can benefit your business in the long run – here are just a few.
Burke, Kenneth. “How Many Texts Do People Send Every Day (2018)?” Text Messaging Service for Small Business – Text Request, www.textrequest. com/blog/how-many-texts-people-send-per-day/.
RedTapeChron. “Memo to Work Martyrs: Long Hours Make You Less Productive.” CNBC, CNBC, 26 Jan. 2015, www.cnbc. com/2015/01/26/working-more-than-50-hours-makes-you-less-productive.html.