The words “schedule” and “real estate salesperson” typically are never seen in the same sentence. Let’s face it, most agents get into the business for, among other things, freedom of schedule. And, most agents aren’t trained in sales, business planning or scheduling, so it’s not a strong suit of the industry.

I’m going to start off with this point: having a schedule (that you actually follow) will actually FREE you up. It will give you FREEDOM. The basic reason is that you will be more effective and focused in the time slots you allot for the activities you have to do. And you will be choosing how your day goes instead of your day choosing how it goes without regard to you.

When we don’t have a schedule, we are at the whim of people and circumstances and distractions. We run our lives and our businesses at the effect of everyone and everything else around us.

And, without time limits, we usually, inefficiently and ineffectively take as much time as possbile to get something done. If you give someone 8 hours to do a one hour job, they will typically take almost all of that 8 hours to do it.

I’m sure you might feel it’s extremely important to take the call of the sign call buyer as soon as they call, or the seller who wants to know what happened with the showings over the weekend. And I say, bull****.

The percentage of buyer sign/ad calls that actually convert to viable customers (by viable I mean people who list and/or buy a house) is extremely low. You’re really not going to run the risk of losing someone just because you didn’t drop everything to take that call right then and there. Call them back reasonably soon, but in a time that you have scheduled for that type of call back.

And if you set up your sellers so that you communicate with them regularly (once a week, as mentioned in my post about client communication), then your sellers won’t be calling you, and even if they do, they know you’re going to be calling them back at the stated time to give them the info anyway.

The trick is to tell everyone what your schedule is, and put a version of it on all of your voicemails. “…I return all calls between 1 and 1:30, and again between 4:30 and 5pm…” But don’t put that out there if you’re not going to call people back at those times. That’s worse than being sporadic, now people think you lied to them.

But Scott, what about emergencies? What if the house is on fire?

They should be calling 911, not you. Really, there are extremely few real estate emergencies. I hesitate to list these, however you might consider: day before, or day of closing issue; day of or day before mortgage committment issue for your buyer (new conditions); and bringing an offer to a last and best, multiple offer deadline.

And really, if you’re generating business (doing consistent lead generation and follow up), then you either have an assistant handle this stuff and/or you don’t have to jump through hoops. Let’s face it, you jump through the hoops because you don’t have as much business as you want/need, and you’re attached to the deal.

Ever notice sometimes that you’re more committed to the buyer buying or seller selling than they are? That’s a sign of being way to attached to the outcome, which will have you think of every little thing as an emergency.

So, since 99% of the time an emergency is only in your head, you really don’t have to worry about dropping everything to handle it. Even if you don’t have an assistant, there is a buyer, seller, agent on the other side, title person and mortgage person…all capable of handling what needs to be handled. You don’t have to jump in the middle of everything.

Let me put this another way: do you let anything get in the way of your listing or showing appointments? No, you treat them like gold, don’t you? In fact, if you’re like the typical real estate agent, you treat the 3 hours before the appointment, preparing…ahem…like gold too.

Well, treat your income generating activities as if they were an appointment with a buyer or seller. Don’t let anything get in the way of you generating leads, business and ultimately income, or you’ll end up having a hell of a lot of free time and no leads, business and ultimately income in the end.

On my next post, I’ll talk about how to make a good workable schedule that will actually help you do more business and feel more FREEDOM.

Scott Friedman