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.