May 10, 2010

Is It Time for a Pit Stop?

If you look up "pit stop" on Google, you'll come across the following Wikipedia definition:

"a pit stop is where a racing vehicle stops in the pits during a race for refuelling, new tires, repairs, mechanical adjustments, a driver change, or any combination of the above."

In this crazy career we call real estate, it just might be the time in the race for you to pull your car in and get some services to help you keep the "pedal to the metal" and reach the checkered flag of the Real Estate 2010 in record speed. Let's look at areas where a simple tune up might help your performance in the last half of the race.

Plan Your Strategy

I am no gearhead but any novice racing fan will tell you the importance of a pit crew's strategy when it comes to winning a race. Deciding when to pit, when to take on fuel and when to change tires could be the difference between winning and losing.

As you look at the 235 days left in the calendar year, do you have a good idea of when you'll be working, when you'll be taking days or weeks off and what needs to get done to achieve the goals you set at the beginning of the year?

Refuel for Optimal Mileage

The mental wear and tear of this industry is hard to describe but you all know how it affects you, your fellow agents and your families, so building time into your daily schedule for exercise, spiritual reflection and a healthy diet are great ways to ensure that your "engine" won't sputter along the way. While each of us may require a different amount of sleep each night, you know what your body needs so plan accordingly. It's probably easier to sleep less hours consistently than for shorter periods during the week and then long hibernation-like slumbers on the weekends.

Maintain Your Tires So You Don't Have to "Re-Tire" Too Early

The four wheels of a car serve as the foundation for the race car itself. They need to be able to react to the road as well as the direction the driver wants them to go in at any given time in the race.

What are the foundations of your business? Dialogues, objection handling techniques and daily prospecting activities. Do these things "roll" off your tongue without thinking? Can you rely on them under pressure? Are you "turning over" enough opportunities each lap (day) to insure that you'll have a carload of clients

Do You Trust Your Mechanic?

Anyone who owns a car should have that one "go to person" whom they trust when it comes to your car. Are the repairs that may be needed made efficiently and timely with great quality and confidence? Can you jump back behind the wheel and drive without fear of another issue popping up?

Who is your "business mechanic"? Do you have a coach, manager or business partner that can help you "tweak" your systems and services for maximum efficiency? Can you proceed with their advice and guidance, knowing that the directions and paths that were suggested will keep you on the track towards the finish line?

Need any Mechanical Adjustments?

A great pit crew member will be able to sense the slightest issue with a car they have spent so much time with. Perhaps it's a new set of lug nuts for a tire or a different torque on the flywheel (I'm not even sure if that makes sense but it sounds "mechanical", doesn't it?).

A good agent will always be seeking the best tools for his or her business - both technology tools and general sales tools like forms, checklists and follow up systems. What's in your garage that needs to be updates, changed or thrown away? When does your old clam-shell cellular contract expire so you can update to a smart phone? Is it time to purchase that video camera or are you still hoping the MLS Books might make a comeback?

Every Three Months or 3,000 Miles

It may be rather cliche but I still know many people who religiously bring their cars in for their standard oil changes as suggested by the dealer or service teams at your neighborhood service centers.

Why do we do that? Probably because we know that preventative maintenance is the best way to insure that our investment in the vehicle will be a wise one that we'll recoup the best return on over time. $50 spent today is better than $500 when we least expect it.

Shouldn't our own business deserve the same "preventative maintenance" approach? Attend regular training sessions, coaching appointments and webinars. Spend time each day tending to your data bases and reaching out to personally touch people who can help you build your business. Maintaining repeatable checklists, systems and protocols in this business will help us keep our engines humming along regardless of the road conditions we may face. Keeping our "pipeline" filled with ready, willing and able clients will avoid the unpleasant smell of a dying engine.

Green Flag Racing

It's time to buckle up and keep your eyes on the road. The energy you'll gain from the occasional pit stop might be just the attention you need to pass a few more cars in front of you and reach the speeds needed to win this race.

Remember the reason why the windshield is bigger than the rear view mirror - because what's ahead of you is far more important that what is in the past.

In the words of former NASCAR great and current NASCAR analyst Darrell Waltrip, "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity...Let's go racing boys!"