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CHICKEN LITTLE BECOMING CHICKEN BIG? (A JPK SERMONETTE)
Is the sky of real estate brokerage really falling?
You might come to think so, if you read the mainstream media and listened to the doom-shouting pundits.
"The housing bubble has burst," wails an "economic advisor" on the front page of the Money Section of USA TODAY, echoing the gloomy view of many of his colleagues.
It is worth noting that, prior to becoming a modern Nostradamus, the background of that visionary was exclusively in the banking business and he presently structures investment portfolios, which are, one can safely assume, mostly resident on Wall Street.
Elsewhere in the same news item are these undeniable facts:
The median price of single-family detached homes in the USA fell 1.7% in August, 2006, compared with the same month last year, the first such year-over-year drop in more than a decade - and the number of sales was down 12.6%.
Such a "bubble burst" in the stock market would have been brushed off as a mere "correction" or pause, but the economic gurus pounce on it like vultures when it occurs in real estate.
Equally factual is that the reported "plunge" in value and activity are from the unprecedented highs reached during our recent feeding frenzy, which might be characterized as an order-taker's market.
Sellers who are "losing" money these days are, for the most part, simply enjoying reduced profits.
Not true, of course, of those who bought at the peak and are now forced to sell, but these unfortunates are relatively few.
Most grievously wounded are the recent "flippers" who counted on short-term profits during the heydays just past. They bet and lost, which is a reality in the gambling game.
Predictably, many buyers who are able to act have chosen to be unready and/or unwilling, but they represent a small minority, leaving acres of diamonds in the prospecting mine.
Major casualties within our industry will occur among the aforementioned order-takers, who will swoon at the siren song of the Chicken Littles and sit on the sidelines until "things get better."
Truth to tell, things WILL get better in real estate, as things always have, but in the meanwhile is an opportunity for those willing to seize it.
Sellers who want to sell - or have to sell - can do so by simply matching their prices to the best offers obtainable from the best buyers available in the "now" market. What they could have gotten last year is as irrelevant as a losing lottery ticket.
Those unable or unwilling to meet that critical criterion are not really in the market and should save themselves (as well as their agents) a lot of discomfort by getting out.
Buyers who wish to and are able to buy should pay whatever they have to pay - no more AND no less - to get what they want. What they might gain by "bottom fishing" is likely to be offset by limited choices and/or missed opportunities.
Brokers and agents - as opposed to those order-takers and hand-wringers cited above, have an obligation to sell those facts of real estate life to the prospects who will otherwise be singing an "if only" dirge in the future ("Why, I remember when I could have....!").
During my 50-plus years of involvement in real estate, there have been many periods when the sky was said to be falling in our world, but no sky - high or low - ever was or ever will be the limit for any but the chickens in real estate marketing.
FOOTNOTE: Check www.joeklock.com for volume discounts on our popular audio CD, "THE FACTS OF LIFE (For Home Sellers").
DON'T SETTLE FOR THE STATUS QUO
Thomas Edison once wrote: "Restlessness and discontent are the first necessities of progress."
You can take that to mean that in order to effect positive changes in our lives, we must first become dissatisfied with things the way they are.
Too often, we're inclined to feel like we want to do better, but at the same time we're reluctant to break out of the cocoon of our comfort zone into an unfamiliar (and maybe a little scary) pattern of change and innovation.
If you're not progressing at a satisfactory pace, it may be that you're just not DISsatisfied enough with the status quo.
Recognize that being "in the groove" can, over time, lead to being stuck in a rut - and that turtles move ahead only after sticking their necks out!
SOCK SOME OF IT AWAY!
Your monthly budget should always include an automatic "deduction" to provide for future investment, retirement, or some intervening contingency.
Preferably with the help of an expert in such matters, analyze your "putaways" and determine whether they're sufficient to afford you a comfortable lifestyle in your years of leisure and/or need.
If not you, who? If not now, when? If not at all, WHY not?
YEAH, YOU SAID IT, BUT DID YOU REALLY MEAN IT?
The message on your answering machine was something like, "Your call is very important to me," wasn't it?
And didn't your automatic e-mail response say pretty much the same thing?
Oh, and one more question: If those other parties were face-to-face with you right now, how many seconds, minutes, hours or days would it take you to recognize their presence?
Keep those questions and your answers in mind with respect to returning phone calls and responding to e-correspondence.
It isn't easy to ignore people when you're standing eyeball-to-eyeball with them, but those who call or write you are no less desirous of your attention...ASAP.
Like it or not, your response time will be one of the major criteria they'll use to measure the quality of your service.
Don't leave them hanging a moment longer than YOU would like to hang if the positions were reversed.
You DID say the customer was important, did you not?
THE REST OF US MAKES THE BEST OF US
The late Vince Lombardi was fond of saying that "Fatigue makes cowards of us all," and it applies every bit as well to the business world as to the football field.
If you're feeling out of sorts, sort out the less important activities in your daily routine (maybe starting with the boob tube) that prevent you from getting a good night's sleep on a regular basis.
Only your own experience will determine your particular need for shuteye - and only mental discipline will ensure that you get it.
When, at times, a full night of "Z's" can't be managed, substitute cat-naps or, in a pinch, just a couple of minutes of quiet time with deep, slow breathing and no interruptions.
Weary workers are worrisome, both to themselves and those around them.
ADD THIS THOUGHT ABOUT REFERRALS
Thanks to Nancy Klock Corey (Opus 6), ace manager for Coldwell Banker in South Florida, for these reflections:
Asking for referrals should begin with the earliest moments of a customer relationship.
Too many sales pros wait until after "the deal is done" to make those satisfied customers card-carrying members of their fan club.
Problem is that after the transaction has closed, so has the customer's mind, which moves on from the buying process to other matters, such as moving, maintenance, decoration and needed upgrades.
People in the process of buying are transaction-minded and are talking to just about everyone about it.
Ask for referrals, of course, after the closing, but also remember to do so beforehand - starting with Day One.
PS- If you have any referrals headed thataway, contact firstname.lastname@example.org
ONE FOR THE ROAD
A young fool asked a wise elder: "What sort of weather will we have today?"
The wise one replied: The kind of weather I like."
The fool inquired: "How do you know that?"
Said the elder: "I learned long ago that I can't always get the weather I like, so I have learned to like the weather I get."