In my travels as a consultant and speaker, I hear plenty of conversation about what’s happening in the real estate market and why. Of course it’s important for all us to have this understanding as well as an educated opinion on what’s coming next. Unfortunately, too many people are so focused on the negative and unknown factors, they’re overlooking real opportunities.
For many of us who rode the wild roller coaster markets of the ‘70s, ‘80s and ‘90s, things today just don’t look that bad. In those days, I struggled along with my contemporaries to close deals with mortgage rates over 18% while in the throes of a full economic recession. I would light candles at night in hopes the finance gods would someday bring us a 12% 30-year fixed rate again! Yet, with almost every economic factor working against us, legions of brokers, builders, lenders and others continued to look for the sunshine and seek out new opportunities. We were determined to not just survive, but thrive. And we did.
I believe it’s time again to get back to reality and back to the basics. The market conditions earlier in the last decade looked more like “the happiest place on earth” than the real world. That was a gift. And of course, there was a serious price to pay for that gift as we faced the conditions of the Great Recession. The great news is that our current climate – interest rates, employment, income growth, household formation and inflation are all at historically favorable levels. Most important, there are millions of people who desire better housing solutions, and this demand will only continue to grow.
What’s the key to empowering ourselves to recognize and make the most of today’s opportunities? In my mind, there’s nothing more powerful than an “abundance” mentality. With an abundance mentality, we believe that there’s a lot more business out there if we do the right things to capture it. What we find more often is a “scarcity” mentality, founded on a belief that there’s a limited, finite amount of market share. While a perspective that drives us to be better, faster, stronger, etc. than our competition can be healthy, an attitude that the only way we’re going to get new business is by taking from someone else is not.
I once heard the story of trainer who was introduced to a sales agent who had been “working” fulltime for two years, but had not yet sold a square inch of real estate. “Shirley,” he asked, smiling calmly across the desk from her, “don’t you like real estate?”
“Are you kidding? I love real estate!” she gushed. “I’ve made the most wonderful friends here. I really enjoy the seminars we attend and the office meetings are fun too. I look forward to caravan day every week and the best part of all is the wonderful parties we have during the holidays. Getting involved in real estate has changed my life!”
With a puzzled look, the trainer then asked “If you love this business so much,” “wouldn’t you like to actually sell some real estate?”
Shirley leaned forward and answered softly “The truth is, when you sell a house, it’s really a hassle. There’s so much paperwork to fill out and so many things that can go wrong. I hear the stories all the time and it really scares me. I like real estate a whole lot better if I don’t have to sell anything.”
At this point it was clear he had gotten to the bottom of Shirley’s little problem with sales success. As I thought about it, however, I realized that this story carried more significance. Here’s someone who is professionally trained and presumably “in the business,” and yet she finds the real estate transaction terrifying. And she’s not alone.
The reality is that many potential homebuyers find the process even more terrifying than Shirley does. In the case of buying a new construction, we face the normal home-buying fears and then throw in the additional fears of dealing with a builder, construction delays and the myriad of choices and decisions to make. My point is that every day there are millions of people who would love to buy a new home or live in another neighborhood or community, but they’re simply afraid of what they’ll have to go through to get there.
Based on this reality, one of the most important fundamental messages I share in my certification training is that to really succeed in this business, we’ve got to find the ways to make it easier for our customers to buy. Anything we can do to make the real estate transaction less intimidating will work to bring buyers into the market who are held back by fear. As obvious as this may seem, relatively few in real estate fully appreciate the significance of this perspective.
Our most successful CNHS™ graduates apply this concept wherever they can in their business. Their outstanding sales success attests to power of this approach. Some examples:
• Educate Your Customers – The more they understand the realities, both challenges and benefits, of the home buying experience, the less intimidating it becomes. Share this information in brochures, advertising, on your website and in buyer seminars. Helping our customers begin the process with realistic expectations benefits all involved.
• Provide Outstanding Communication – In our business, no news is bad news! When our customers don’t know what’s going on, they feel out of control, which breeds fear and dissatisfaction. Ongoing communication helps them know you’re working consistently in their best interests.
• Deliver Outstanding Customer Service – Analyze every aspect of the customer experience and identify the many ways to make it more efficient, simpler and more easily understood.
• Consistently Work to Increase Your Professionalism – Through ongoing market awareness, professional training, organization, etc, we must consistently find ways to increase our ability to deliver the highest level of service and results.
• Above All – Truly Care About Your Customers – There’s simply no more powerful way to increase your success than to sincerely dedicate all of your professional skills and resources to helping buyers and sellers make their best decisions about one of the most important components of their lives.
I’m sure you’ll agree that the day-to-day practice of real estate sales offers many opportunities for us to improve the home-buying and selling experience. Rather than wasting energy worrying about the scarcity of business, adopting an abundance mentality empowers us to focus on making it easier for people to do business with us.
I believe we are surrounded by an abundance of individuals and families who dream of a new home or neighborhood that will improve the quality of their lives. To enjoy this abundance of opportunity, we must never forget that we’re in the business of making these dreams come true.