Five Disciplines To Guaranteed Annual Increases

by Dirk Zeller

Real Estate sales are changing and growing at an alarming rate. Even with all the mergers, sales, and consolidations of the industry, there is one constant. The agents who learn to be better business and sales people will be more successful in this industry. Agents who learn the five disciplines of increasing production will have a thriving business.

The first discipline is creating a schedule. That schedule should encompass their whole life. Their personal life must be factored in to create balance. I have seen far too many agents sacrifice their family to achieve a production goal or certain amount of commission earned. When they finally reach their goal, they have no one to share it with or they realize what little importance that goal has compared to their family. I have a friend who tragically lost a child and now is reflecting on the years of decisions made for the sake of a few plaques and personal production goals. Those plaques or even the money earned are little comfort to her at a time of great sorrow. What a hollow feeling for that highly successful agent!

The schedule should encompass the “time block” system. By time blocking I mean to schedule specific time for each daily activity in real estate. Schedule time to prospect, qualify buyers and sellers, negotiate contracts, return phone calls, listing presentations, and show property. The better you “time block” the more effective you will be. The more that one adheres to the schedule the more success one will have in sales. Remember to allow for a little “play time” or “flex time.” You will need some time to relax and decompress. This relaxation will enable you to stay focused and sharp during the “up time.” To give yourself 15 minute “flex time” every two to three hours should be sufficient to break the tension or catch up so you stay “time blocked.”

The second discipline is to prospect daily. There are as many ways of prospecting as there are people. The key is you must do something daily to bring in the business. You can prospect via the phone or in person. You can prospect expired, FSBO, cold call, apartments for buyers, investment properties, your sphere, and out of area owners. The list is truly endless. The truth is if we are not spending a minimum of one hour everyday prospecting for new business we will have difficulty during stretches of our career. Even calling your past clients and asking for referrals is an excellent way to prospect.

Often when agents get busy, prospecting is the first discipline to be shelved. Their theory is I am busy; I do not need to prospect anymore. This is the time to pour it on. You have momentum, so keep going. The analogy I like to use is if a plane is on the runway it takes a tremendous amount of energy to climb to 20,000 feet. Once the plane is at 20,000 feet it can throttle back a little and easily maintain its cruising altitude. If the plane throttles back completely, it will soon be back down on the runway. Do not throttle back in your prospecting or you will find yourself on the runway quickly. By continuing to prospect, you can then climb higher or do the same production in less time. Consistency in your prospecting leads to consistency in your pay days.

The third discipline is qualifying the potential client. This one is crucial to success. I see more agents make mistakes in this area than in any other. They are afraid to qualify people to the point of excluding them out. The whole goal in qualifying is exclusion of the unmotivated. If you do not become skilled at excluding out the unmotivated buyer or seller, they will waste your time. They will eventually drive you out of the business, both emotionally and financially.

The most valuable commodity you have in life is your time. We all have a finite amount of time here on earth. We do not even know the amount of time we have left. If we choose to work with unqualified, unmotivated, unloanable, unable to sell people too often, we are out of business. By properly qualifying all leads, you are saving yourself from putting them in your car or going to their house to find out they are not a lead at all. Spending five hours showing property only to find out that they are working with another agent, unable to buy due to bad credit, have no money, or are unrealistic of the value of homes today is a painful experience. Any one of these people cause us frustration and macaroni and cheese for dinner. Do not allow these people to control your business. The majority of the agents in our industry really need to strengthen this discipline dramatically. They allow their clients to be the CEO of their real estate sales company.

To all of us, leads are like security. If we have them we feel secure and we do not have to find new ones. The truth is a lead by itself has no value. What is the true value of your leads? What would someone pay you for all your leads? Why not make them worth something to you and your family by qualifying them well, and then setting an appointment or throwing them out if they are of no value (which are most of them). Leads have little value warehoused in your computer. If you are not following-up on them, chuck them. You can always create more leads. You can get more than you can handle. Why not pick only the best ones?

The fourth discipline is understanding your business. By understanding, I mean know where it comes from. What are the top three income producing activities that you do? Where do you spend your time daily? Compare those two answers, what are you worth per hour? Take your gross commission and divide by the number of hours worked. Take that per hour dollar value and determine the activities you can do to earn that amount per hour. Then do those activities the bulk of your day. I will give you a hint it is not putting up signs and lock boxes unless you want to make less than $10.00 per hour. You are a business owner of a company that sells millions of dollars a year in product. You need to know about your business.

The fifth discipline is developing a philosophy. By philosophy, I mean guidelines for doing business both personally and professionally. If you understand your value per hour and your average commission check, you can determine the type of people you are willing to work with. You may not be able to work in a certain price range or with certain types of people. When a buyer does not give you the exact answers you need, you can refer him to another agent or drop him because he does not meet your philosophy. We were not put on this earth to help everyone. There are people we cannot help. This does not make them bad people. That also does not make you a bad person. It just makes you a business person who expects a reasonable profit for the time invested. Once I was clear on my philosophy of what was a client and what I expected of a client, I did not have to deal with people who did not conform to my philosophy. You need to concisely define your world of business. This definition will enable you to better select the people to work with. We have all selected the wrong people, bent on our beliefs, spent large amounts of time and money working with people we should not have and felt awful afterwards. Then we never were paid or appreciated for our efforts. You will feel much better turning them down before you invest your time, energy, and money in a losing cause. This understanding of your “core” philosophy will enable you to seek out the people meet it rather than finding than those that are not. You will generally find what you are looking for. You will also be able to quickly dispense with those that do not meet your standard operating procedures.

By learning the value of control in your life you will be able to create a growing thriving business. You will also be creating a thriving life.


©Copyright 1998 by Dirk Zeller. All rights reserved. Used with permission.

Dirk Zeller has acquired a tremendous amount of sales and real estate sales knowledge with his many years in real estate sales. He is an accomplished sales and success coach, trainer, and author. Dirk is the President and Head Coach of Real Estate Champions. Real Estate Champions provides one-on-one coaching to some of the top and up and coming producers in the real estate industry.

You can reach Dirk at:
Real Estate Champions
11325 S.E. Lenore Street
Clackamas, Oregon 97015
Phone: (877) RECHMPN (732-4676)
E-Mail: [email protected]