I want to share with you a true story — not second hand or hearsay but real life. It is the story of how I discovered one tiny thing that had a huge effect in my business, and for that matter, my life in general.
From time to time I hear agents talk about how their work feels like being on a treadmill — that they are unable to take a break because if they do, their work dries up and they spend months getting it back up to speed. I can tell you from first hand experience, that’s how I felt.
I felt “not in control” of my own practice, a passenger if you will, when I wanted to be the driver. I was terrified of the thought of stopping for even a day or two because it would set me back weeks or even months. My typical day went something like this:
I would get out of bed at 4:30AM, have my quiet time, exercise, shower and get dressed, eat breakfast, and be at the office by about 7. That would give me a couple of hours to be productive before the other agents and staff arrived and interruptions seemed to be non-stop.
I spent those times working on maintaining my database, sending out postcards, writing content for my monthly newsletter, and the hundreds of other non-people and administrative functions of life in real estate. The vast majority of it was mind-numbing.
After 9AM I would finally be able to start calling my sphere of influence, keeping up with them and always remembering to end every call asking them if they knew anyone who was thinking about buying or selling real estate.
Depending on the office schedule, I may have had floor duty, where I could be a free secretary for the office for half a day while hoping that maybe I would have somebody call into the office who wanted help with buying a home.
Or I might have been scheduled to man one of our company’s new home open houses, and perhaps be lucky enough to scoop up a new client who was out looking at new homes. Most of the time was wasted but there were always those occasional shoppers.
When I wasn’t doing any of that, I would go out to my “farm” and walk the neighborhoods handing out business cards and hanging listing fliers on doors, hoping to meet the homeowners and chat them up and maybe drum up some business.
Hopefully, if all that activity generated a customer, I would be spending large blocks of time in a full-court-press showing house after house until I got them under contract. Then there were the inspections, and the million little fires that had to be put out so we could close.
Oh, and let’s not forget all the time-wasters like sales meetings, office meetings, caravan, meetings with advertising reps and phone calls with the million salesmen that wanted to sell me some magic formula to real estate riches. Talk about a treadmill. It never stopped.
One day I sat down for a minute and realized I was killing myself, working from 7AM until 9PM seven days a week, and that it was not all that much fun. I couldn’t afford to take any time off or it would result in a big gap while I got it all going again. I felt trapped. Out of control. A passenger in my own business.
So I analyzed all that I was doing and I realized that less than 10% was actually practicing real estate while the vast majority — over 80% of my time — was spent in the never-ending rat-race of finding that next customer. And with every single closing I was unemployed again until I could find the next customer.
That’s when it hit me that I needed to figure out a way to put the customer acquisition part of my business on autopilot. That would give me over 80% of my time back. But could I even do that? And if I could, how? Time to do some serious analysis. Here’s what I figured out:
I was spending much of my time on activities that were not the highest and best use of my time. I was doing lots of traditional customer acquisition activities that worked marginally, if at all, even though they were the supposed “tried and true” methods of years gone by. And if that were true, then times must have changed. Where were the customers now?
I speculated that since the internet had already changed many industries, like the travel industry, the car industry, the book industry, to name only a few, then maybe it was changing the real estate industry. I set out on a mission to crack the code — to attract online customers real estate customers in a different way. I already had a typical website but it brought me zero business.
I needed a website that actually brought in business. After looking extensively, I still couldn’t find one, so I decided I would have to create one. I built a tool to work with my website that was designed specifically for capturing online customers and when I did that everything changed.
I went from spending all my time trying to attract and gather customers to having that huge part of my business on autopilot. Let me give you an example of what I mean, because everyone should want to experience what came next.
I would wake up every morning to new customers in my email inbox. I would take a few minutes to call and engage them and all of a sudden I had more business than I could even handle. Instead of spending 60+ hours every week just trying to drum up business, I could focus on just the real estate part of my practice.
I mean, let’s face it: If you spend a total of 10 hours of actual real estate practice with each transaction, then you can close a deal every week and still have lots of free time. I don’t know about you, but I like the idea of being able to have some time free to do the things I love. More time with family and friends. More time for outside interests and hobbies. Time to take a vacation.
In fact, I still remember after making the decision to take control of my practice, going to the beach with my family for a week. While I was laying in the sun reading a book and listening to the waves crash in, my practice was still bringing in 2-3 new customers a day, and I even sold a listing! Sure, I spent an hour or so each day, keeping things running, but I was no longer a slave to my practice. I could finally relax.
As someone who has retired twice already, I can tell you that I don’t ever want to retire again. I want to remain active. I don’t want to sit around in my rocking chair and wait until my health fails. I want to enjoy life and I want to enjoy my work. Any by working smart instead of working hard, I can do just that.
But it all comes down to having the customer acquisition on autopilot. That is what robs us of all our time and freedom, always wondering where that next transaction is coming from. Now instead of wondering, I know that every day, with a very minimal input on my part, I will have 2-3 new inbound customers, day in and day out.
And because I have 60-90 new opportunities every single month, I spend most of my time eliminating those I don’t want to work with and not desperately trying to turn every single suspect into a prospect like I did back in those early days. Now, if I want to take off Friday to drive to Florida for a mountain bike race, I can do it and not think twice.
If I want to take the afternoon off and go see a matinee with a friend, I just do it. If I want to go to the beach or the mountains, or just sleep in, I can. Instead of being in the passenger seat, I am now driving my own practice. And believe me, that makes all the difference.
You know, it’s funny how such a huge difference can be caused by one simple thing. But if you analyze it, it makes perfect sense. If you are spending 50-60 hours of every week just trying to drum up business and you can put that on autopilot and instead spend less than an hour a day, suddenly you have a newfound freedom!
So as you read this, let me ask you a question: Is your life and practice more like the first example or the second. If yours is like the first, what would you do with an extra 40-60 hours every week? What kind of difference would it make to have 2-3 new customers every single day, day in, and day out?
If the first example seems more like your life, it’s not too late to change. I saw everything change for me in a month. From no business to more than I can handle, allowing me to pick and choose the clients I want to work with. I know it sounds simplistic, but it is absolutely true. I challenge you to think of any problem in our business that can’t be solved with more customers. You can’t.
So let me help you put your customer acquisition on autopilot. Check out my LCM Success system. The cost is very low and the return on investment is huge. More importantly, this one tool can turn it all around for you without breaking the bank. So check out my LCM Success today and have 2 new customers tomorrow!If you enjoyed this article, take a minute to check out my Ultimate Website with LCM technology -- the online lead generation tool that I pioneered over a decade ago and that started a real estate revolution.