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Why Aren’t You a Top Producer?

Wednesday, December 22, 2010 — As someone who has interacted with thousands of agents from around the world, and who has had the privilege of discussing both successes and failures of many real estate practices, I can tell you that the difference between very successful agents and average agents is razor thin.  You would truly be amazed.

For that reason, I thought it might be helpful and encouraging during this tough time to talk about some of those differences and perhaps shed some light on areas we might be able to improve or focus more energy in improving our practice.  I thought I would start by going through a list of the various things that take our time and energy, and then after listing them I would contrast the two —  super-successful and average.

So what do we do as agents, anyway?  Let’s see — we list houses for sellers, we search for homes with buyers, we advise and counsel our clients, we negotiate, we handle all the administrative details between contract and closing, we generate new business.  That pretty much sums it up, doesn’t it?

Okay, so we waste time in useless meetings, and we spend time training ourselves to be better at what we do.  But for the most part, just about everything we do falls into one of those categories.  Now let’s take each of those activities and let’s examine the differences between very successful agents and average agents.  I think when we do, you’ll be amazed, and I also think you will be excited.

List homes for sellers.  Let’s face it — if there are a million Realtors® practicing today, there are probably a million listing presentations.  But at the end of the day, they all have the same basic elements, like the CMA, the interview, the actual presentation, and hopefully, writing the listing contract.  Then comes the advertising of the listing, the ongoing counseling of the client, the presentation of offers, and the staying in touch.

Some of the best listing agents are only average producers and yet some of the top producing agents are only adequate listing agents.  Why?  Because making the listing presentation and marketing the listing, while important to quality of practice has little to do with your quantity and therefore, your earnings.  We all know top producers who do a very sloppy job listing homes, and we probably also know great listing agents that can hardly earn a living in real estate.

Search for homes with buyers.  This one always killed me.  I need a license to operate a lock-box but I can have an unlicensed assistant do prospecting and discuss details of transactions with my client.  Many times I have been riding in my car with buyers, making small talk, all the while thinking I could probably train a chimpanzee to show homes.

I think we can all agree that it doesn’t require a vast amount of skill to search for homes.  Sure, the longer you’ve done it, the better you get at it, but even the greenest agent doesn’t lose deals because of his ability to search for homes.  In other words, there is very little difference in the way average agents show houses as opposed to top producers.

Advise and counsel our clients.  While all advice is not equal, do you think for a minute that the quality of advice differs greatly between top producers and average agents?  I doubt it.  Actually, in my experience, average agents often have more time to do a better job advising and counseling their clients because they are not immediately off to the next deal.  Certainly, the thing that keeps average agents from being top producers is not their ability to advise and counsel their clients.

Negotiate.  The only substantial difference between the negotiations of high volume agents and average agents is the number of negotiations they are involved in.  I am not aware of a single agent that improved his production by learning to be a better negotiator.  Are you?  I didn’t think so.

Handle all the administrative details.  In my experience, average producers tend to do a better job handling administrative details.  Top producers tend to drop balls because they are so busy racing from deal to deal.  Suffice it to say that your ability to handle administrative details will never keep you from being a top producer.

Generate new business.  Generating new business is the only activity that seems to separate the average from the super agents.  Don’t believe me?  Go back and read through the list and think about each other activity the real estate professional is involved in.  When you do, you will have to admit that this one activity is what separates the men from the boys, so to speak.

Okay, the key is in generating new business.  Now what?  Having determined where the vast disparity lies, let’s dig a little deeper and see if we can figure out how top producers generate business and compare it to how average agents do it.  I believe it comes down to a few very simple differences.  See if you don’t agree.

Top producers have lead generation on auto-pilot.  They generate business while they sleep and wake up to new inbound opportunities each new day.  Average agents spend the bulk of their productive time “drumming up” business the old-fashioned way, by sitting duty desks, riding around meeting people, calling friends and old clients, and doing open houses.  Time they could better be actually working with clients.

Top producers can tell you within a few leads, how many customers they will generate in a given month while average agents have no clue because they depend largely on luck.  In other words, top producers are driving their own businesses while average agents are passengers in theirs.  Don’t get me wrong — both spend about the same amount of money in advertising, but the differences are huge, because of what they spend their marketing budget on.

Think about it this way — today 94% of all real estate customers begin online, and yet most agents today invest the bulk of their marketing time and dollars in off-line activities.  What a shame.  Top producers, on the other hand, have learned the secret of generating low-cost, inbound leads from the Internet using a few simple and inexpensive tools.

One such solution is this amazingly simple and inexpensive system used by many agents across the US, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa.  This system is a stand-alone system and works with or without an existing website.  It’s very simple and it costs less than a cup of Starbucks a day.  Simply amazing!

Other agents are assembling their own collection of the individual pieces, but whether you use a simple ready-made system or you put together your own collection of more complicated and expensive technologies, the key to becoming a top producer today is creating a system to provide you with a steady source of inbound business.  Auto-pilot.  It should be generating you leads while you sleep, leaving your productive time for working with clients.

Having watched a number of top producing agents make the transition to effective Internet marketing, I can tell you the payoff is huge.  It is typical to see business double or even triple and at the same time see their work load cut in half.   If you think that effective Internet marketing might be the missing piece of the puzzle in your practice, I encourage you to check out the LCM Success system.  Here is a link:  http://LCMsuccess.com

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