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On December 7, the sun will go down at 5:29 p.m. in Miami. It’s the earliest sunset of the year for the city. On December 8, Seattle will have its earliest sunset of the year when the sun goes down at 4:17 p.m. Our friends in the Pacific Northwest won’t even get out of the office in time to see the sun (If we’re honest, it will probably never come out from behind the clouds that time of year. So sad.)
When we turned back the clocks and enjoyed one extra glorious hour of sleep on November 3, we gave up a significant amount of daylight. These short days will present unique challenges to our industry until we spring forward on March 8.
Many agents see 5-8 p.m. as primetime for facetime with prospects and clients. Typically that window allows agents to get in front of people in that sweet spot between the end of the workday and sunset. The fall and winter are not necessarily conducive to that as evidenced above with the short days and early sunsets. Most agents will surrender 70-plus percent of the time that they spend in front of clients. They will accept it as seasonality and not even try to course correct.
Why do these early sunsets present such a challenge? First, it’s hard to show properties or have your properties shown in the dark. Buyers can’t get the best impression of a home when it’s dark out. The entire feel of the showing is different. It’s difficult to evaluate the condition of the home, namely from the exterior. As a buyer specialist, your clients may miss a house they would really like otherwise.
As a marketing specialist, the prospective buyers viewing your listing may not be willing to pay as much as they would otherwise if they saw it during the day. We say that we market properties to present them in the best possible light to buyers. In the fall and winter, that needs to be treated literally.
Initial consultations held in that same time slot present their own challenges, even if you hold them in your office. Research shows that exposure to sunlight improves alertness, functionality and thus productivity. With shorter days and meetings in the dark, it’s easy to see why your prospects or clients could be less attentive and more drained during evening meetings than they maybe during the spring and summer. We want to be in the best position to convert, and drowsy prospects may be less ready and willing to make a decision to work with you.
That’s enough of the dark side of the shortened days. What are we going to do about it? We have previously discussed the importance of an abundance mindset in the fall season when so many agents dial it back. Every season presents an opportunity, and the short days of the fall and winter are no different.
These shortened days provide an opportunity for you to expand your ACE; your authority, celebrity, and expertise. What does it mean to be viewed with authority, celebrity, and expertise? As an authority, you are viewed as an accepted source. You have the information and power to settle disputes and bring clarity to situations. As a celebrity, you are well-known and renowned within the industry. There is social proof that shows you to be someone who is greatly respected in their circle. As an expert, you are viewed as a specialized professional with a valuable set of skills in your field. You are among the best of the best.
What the heck does the sun going down earlier have to do with your positioning as an authority, celebrity or expert? Fair question. There are two specific reasons: You are better able to do business during business hours and you are better able to present unique insights to which the rest of the industry is ignorant.
Do you know who doesn’t care what time it gets dark? Doctors, lawyers, accountants and numerous other respected professionals who don’t need to convince patients, clients, and customers to meet with them during the business day. When these folks tell customers to show up at a given time, they do it. They value what the experts offer, so they show up when they’re told.
Are most realtors as educated as folks in these industries? No. That’s a common yet equally pointless objection. Don’t allow yourself to entertain such negativity. The better question to ask is “Are all realtors capable of being as knowledgeable in their respective field as those folks?” Absolutely. They are fully capable of attaining and communicating that level of expertise. Most won’t though.
Thanks to the shorter days, you now have even more clout behind why your prospects and clients should meet with you during the business day. You can communicate to them the challenges we previously discussed to help them understand the importance of meeting on your terms. It is in their best interest to listen to your instructions on the matter.
Most clients don’t want to waste their time any more than you want to waste yours. By helping them to foresee the challenges of buying and selling in this season, you’re bringing them a perspective they likely aren’t getting from anyone else. The agents that are still sticking around the market are probably doing everything the same way that they would at any other point in the year, and it’s slowing down their entire process.
Furthermore, by inviting them into the office during the day, you will put them in a better position to make an important decision. They will have greater focus and clarity if you meet during the day. Retention of the information about your systems and the process as a whole will be far easier than if you met in the dark after work. It is in their best interest.
Think about how great it would feel to better position your prospects to convert, better prepare your clients for the transaction AND get your evenings back. This can totally reshape your business.
And this new approach doesn’t need to be limited to the fall and winter. Implementing these strategies now can help you gain momentum heading into the spring. You can set a precedent that this is how you do business: in the office during business hours. You can establish yourself as an expert with a unique and valuable approach. You can expand your ACE in this season.
Meeting with prospects and clients during the business day is not a silver bullet for improving your ACE. You still need to bring top-notch information and strategies to present yourself as more comparable to a doctor, lawyer or accountant than you are to the average agent in the industry, but you’re foolish to ignore how this specific strategy and season can positively impact your perception in the marketplace.
There's dining, shopping, a mall, and even a golf course. Garland, TX is home to Firewheel, an awesome part of the city that has something for everyone. Firewheel Town Center, an open-air, urban complex with more than 100 shops - from unique boutiques to major retailers, such as Dillard's and Macy's.
“Scarcity” is a word that is used consistently in our office and probably yours as well. There is scarcity as it pertains to inventory in the current seller’s market. We market properties aggressively to create even more scarcity. Certain markets bring with them a scarcity of leads.
If not checked, this scarcity mindset might just scare us into a rut in our businesses. You may feel like there is a scarcity of opportunity in the market place as the leaves start to change color for the fall. You get down and discouraged. Because your efforts seem futile, you don’t practice the habits that have generated business in the past.
Maybe you’ve been around the block. You have a few Q4s under your belt. You’ve seen the market slow down and your production slows with it. You’ve accepted that it is what it is. You have come to terms with the fact that there is a scarcity of opportunity.
Or maybe you’re a youngster in the industry. You haven’t seen many fall and winter markets, but you already know what to expect thanks to all the Debbie Downers in your office who mailed it in after Labor Day. Time to dial it back and hope you have enough cash reserves to get you through to March.
If you find yourself in one of those two groups, I have good news for you: You will be as right or as wrong as you want to be. If you want to have a scarcity mindset and allow that to dictate your fourth quarter, go for it. You will be a product of your expectations. More for the rest of us.
But I invite you to something different. I invite you to an abundance mindset. Join us as we step into the abundance of opportunity that comes with the fall market as the Debbie Downers check out.
There is no reason not to be optimistic. You can continue to maintain the pace you have set up to this point in the year and then some. More than that, you can positively communicate with your prospects and clients about the fall market and the opportunities available to them.
Let me prove it. I ran a search of the four counties in which our team works to determine how many homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2018. The numbers were too big for MLS to spit out a number, so I narrowed it down to our ideal price points.
In our target areas and target price points, 7,249 homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2018. Let’s assume that you’re selling a listing a week. That means you need to find 13 deals in the fourth quarter. In reality, if you adjust goals seasonally, it’s probably closer to 10. We will stick with 13 though.
If an agent in our market intends to sell 13 homes in the fourth quarter in our ideal area and price point, they would need to close a whopping .179 percent of the homes that sold last fall. That means you’d need your name on one out of every 557 closings in the market.
On top of that, 3,180 homes failed to sell during the same time frame. What if you were able to convert some of those listings in the first place? What if you were the agent they signed, and you actually delivered on what you promised and did the job those other 3,180 agents couldn’t? There is an abundance of opportunities available to you.
Get out of your own way and believe in yourself. There is no reason to slow down. There is no reason to spread pessimism to your fellow agents and clients. You can achieve your goals and help your clients to do the same. Agents that sell a listing a week will keep an abundance mindset and keep driving hard in the fall.
Google Maps is not always accurate. How can you know how long it is going to take to get to downtown Dallas from Frisco, Allen, Plano, Fort Worth, Irving, Garland, and all the other major cities?
Todd, a DFW Resident for over 15 years has everything you need to know to make commutes around the Metroplex.
Plano has recently changed its laws surrounding constructing secondary residences or guesthouses on Plano citizens' properties.
Plano City Council approved an ordinance change in February that allows more residents to construct accessory dwelling units, or backyard cottages, on their properties. The ordinance change includes regulations on the dimensions, architectural design and access to parking for potential backyard cottages.
After sending developers back to the drawing board in early June, City Council unanimously approved a plan to revamp a portion of the former Richardson Square Mall site at Plano and Belt Line roads.
Lease negotiations are underway with Chipotle, Jason’s Deli, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Starbucks, Blaze Pizza, Aspen Dental and Marble Slab Creamery, according to developer Frank Mihalopoulos.
The prevailing belief within the real estate industry is to think that each business is a one-size-fits-all business. Every prospect gets the same script. Every buyer gets signed up for home searches, sees properties and then closes. Every seller takes photos, throws the home on MLS and then hopes it sells. It’s the way it has always been done. It’s what the consumer expects, which is why so many agents are viewed as commodities. Everyone does the same thing, provides the same value and consequently is worth the same commission at the closing table.
Most agents are only perpetuating this assumption. It’s just the same thing over and over again. They peddle the same basic systems, steps and even narratives to everyone. But you’re not most agents. Providing world-class value involves a customized approach for each and every client. You have to evaluate and adapt accordingly.
Expert consultants take the time to evaluate the needs of their client. You should spend a substantial portion of your initial consultation understanding the motivation, timeline, and goals of your clients. Once you have a firm understanding, you’re able to prescribe the best course of action. Evaluate their needs and adapt your services.
Agents who want to tell their clients how they will lead them before hearing the needs of their clients are no different than a doctor writing a prescription before asking for the patient’s symptoms. It’s foolish and is by no means the best way to care for the client. Too many agents struggle with this because they want the shortest possible route to a commission check.
This doesn’t mean there won’t be plenty of overlap when you compare one client’s process to another. Sometimes what is best for this client is also best for that one. However, the overlap should only exist because it really is what is best for multiple clients rather than because it’s the only way you know how to do it.
Now let’s step back and take a broader look at the need to adapt and evaluate your business. The need for this is no more evident than when it comes to seasonal adjustments. You will prospect and lead clients differently in fall and winter than you will in spring and summer. You won’t work any less hard. You won’t provide lesser service. You may not even do less business. It will just look different.
Plenty of homes are still sold in the fall, but the route we take to the closing table may look different. We need to evaluate how the difference in the season and consequently the market is going to force us to adapt.
We will deal with prospects differently from one season to the next. In the fall, we need to speak into the fallacy that all real estate transactions happen between March 1 and September 1. It’s just not true. This is another lie that the industry peddles.
Prospects need expert advice to understand that they can still achieve their goals in the fall. In fact, they can take advantage of the myth that the market slows down. If they’re trying to sell, all of the sudden a huge chunk of the competition is going to be convinced that they shouldn’t go on the market. This creates natural scarcity for sellers.
But wait! Won’t all the buyers disappear? Nope. Even if the number of buyers in the market drops, creating less demand, they will drop in proportion with the sellers, so supply will drop too. It’s not as if everyone still wants to sell and no one wants to buy. The numbers of buyers and sellers in the market will fluctuate together when you’re looking at seasonal changes.
Generally speaking, a big chunk of the buyers leaving the market in the fall were probably just tire kickers, to begin with, if they just gave up when September rolled around. If a buyer is seriously looking in the fall, they seriously need a home. A seller may get fewer offers, but each one of those buyers is going to be all-in on getting home. I don’t need to explain how fewer buyers in the market are beneficial to the buyers. There is far less competition for them to deal with.
Good agents will grasp that they can still help clients buy and sell in the fall. Great agents will know how they can adapt their strategies to take advantage of the fall. They will use this information to their advantage. They’ll steal houses for their buyers from homeowners who think they’re forced to settle just because the leaves changed color. They’ll create absurd amounts of scarcity and urgency for their sellers, forcing buyers to bring their best and highest where other sellers are just sitting on their hands panicking.
What do you need to do to make this the best fall and winter of your career? What opportunities do you see to do more deals and provide better service while other agents are going into hibernation?