For whatever reason, the industry that is real estate has not had very much in the way of good sales skills training.  Most of the things that agents have been taught to do over the past 50 years would get them fired if they had a sales job for a corporation, and an actual boss.  And consequently, since the average agent in the country sells less than three homes a year, I would have to say their production would also get them fired.

It seems that everything you could be taught, trained on or suggested to buy is another way to avoid actually calling or meeting with people to ask them to buy or sell real estate.  It’s like someone decided that real estate was like working in a shoe store.  People need shoes, so they’ll come in when they want shoes and buy them.  All a shoe salesperson has to do is be there when they show up and they’ll get the sale.  If the store wants more people to come to the store, it can advertise or send out mailings.

That would explain the open house.  Except that NAR posts numbers showing that only 1% of the people who buy a home actually buy the open house they saw.  And since studies have shown that buyers usually look at over 50 homes with over 10 realtors over the course of months and months before they buy, IF they buy, it doesn’t seem like the most effective way to sell real estate, does it?

So, there’s the doubled-edged sword in real estate.  Agents are independent contractors and basically their own bosses.  However, many agents haven’t been taught about scheduling/time-management, active sales techniques, sales skills, objection handling, etc., etc.  Further more, agents typically do not have a manager or boss who is going to hold them accountable, or fire them if they don’t produce very well…so there’s no real incentive to work.

That’s because real estate has become a place where many brokerages want hundreds of people to sell 3-4 homes a year, so there’s no real lean towards good, solid sales training.

Why?  Because an agent starts of with a low split, so the company makes more money if they have a bunch of low producing agents then if they have a few top agents.  Thankfully, not all companies have this mentality, however many do.

So now there’s all sorts of new gadgets and websites and blogs, etc. all under the auspice of helping an agent sell more homes.  So go get a page on Facebook, and then blog on Active Rain, and make sure you have some sort of call capture (which most agents admittedly don’t even call the potential buyer back in a reasonable time), have a profile on Linked-In and make sure you can get the MLS sent to your blackberry, so you can text and email your clients.

Notice a theme?  All the new technology functions like the old technology – passive ways to avoid talking to potential buyers and/or sellers, and wait for people to discover your profile and ask to buy real estate.

SIDEBAR – people look for listings, not agents.  But let’s say they look for agents.  And let’s say you have a Facebook page.  Now let’s say a potential buyer finds you and connects with you as a friend.  Do you think they’re going to buy from the agent who posts a picture of themselves drunk in a catsuit on Halloween?  Do you think it’s in your best interest to post something crude on another friend’s wall that your buyer can see?  (I wouldn’t write this unless I’ve seen or heard about it, so some agents have/are doing this).

Hey, look, I’m pretty much addicted to Facebook, but I don’t have delusions that someone’s going to sign up for our coaching and courses, or buy our products because of it.

The whole point of this blog is about changing your business.  In my opinion there are two kinds of change.

One is to adopt every new trend, technology, gadget, etc. as it becomes available.  If you were like Microsoft and could devote specific people or teams to run that stuff, it would be worth it.  As it is, you’re a single agent, or you have a small team, all of who should be concentrating on helping people buying and selling homes.

The other kind of change is looking at your past business and implementing things that will help you do better, achieve goals, sell more homes.

It’s easy to get suckered in to everything that’s out there.  People are advertising “never call anyone again” lead systems.  Realtor magazine has a whole back section dedicated to advertising all the newest technologies (and old one’s too) for you to buy and try.

Almost everything in real estate is designed to get you to talk to less people, spend a lot of your own money and basically sell three homes a year.  If you think I’m off my rocker, check the national stats.  Even before the last three years of this downward cycle, the average was only about 4.5 homes sold per agent.

So, if you don’t like your production for the last few years, and you want to CHANGE it for the better, you can’t do more of the same you’ve been doing and you shouldn’t just look to jump on the next technology bandwagon (if every agent has a Facebook page, what separates you from the others in your market anyway?).

You need to get yourself on a schedule, so you don’t chase buyers and sellers around on their time, especially when they’re not qualified.

You need to get yourself some scripts, so you know what to say when you call people.

Yes, you need to call or door knock expireds and FSBO’s and the people you know and your past clients and ask for business (there’s or referrals).

You need to learn objection handlers so you can get people to choose you over the competition.

You need to follow up any leads you generate from calling or door knocking.

You need to try to stay on your schedule as much as possible and focus on the income generating activities like phone calls, door knocks, follow up and apppointments.  **Making a flyer for a listing is NOT income generating.  Spending four hours at a home inspection is NOT income generating.  Waiting for sign calls is NOT income generating.

If you want to do more business than you’re already doing, those are the changes you need to start making.  And, yes, you’ll want to hire a coach to help you implement those changes.

Last year, or average client sold over 40 homes a year, and more importantly averaged more than a 40% increase in their business from 2007 to 2008.

Beats the heck out of 3 homes a year, doesn’t it?

Scott Friedman

You’re The Difference