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Defining Your Focus in 2020

Posted by Ryan Rodenbeck on Thursday, February 27th, 2020 at 11:27am

Ryan: So, you know, as we've evolved as a brokerage, like what we've tried to do is put a focus on company and help you grow your business.

And in 2018, we really wanted to get into the actions of, the subject of goals, right? And, not just kind of put a goal out there, but also break that down into what it takes to achieve your goals.

If you guys have done professional development meetings with me, you know, that we don't just put your goal out there, we look at what you did in previous years. If your lead sources were company leads, if they were open houses, if it were spear, and then we really tried to break that down so that you know, what it's going to take, how many actions it's going to take, and then on a weekly basis, what it is what those actions
are.

In 2019, our focus was on the actions. We did that by, you know, forming these accountability groups and then working with you guys for professional development and in our monthly meetings.

The accountability groups are a voluntary group, where you come in and you pick three micro-commitments. A micro commitment is a commitment to the actions that lead to the result.

I think we've been very successful with that. The accountability groups kind of grew from a training program that I was in last year. I've seen a lot of people around the nation forming their own. That was our focus on 2019, where the actions. In the end of 2019 started thinking about like, where can we bring this the next level? And so often we are focused on our goals so much that we lose sight of the process. What I thought we would work on is the process of the actions.

What I mean by process is like you're performing actions on a daily basis and what are those actions that lead to your goals? They're open houses, they're making calls, they're doing digital and print farming. What our goal at least for the first quarter, maybe the second is kind of drilling in so that we are masters of our craft, masters of our process, we look at every single action that leads to the goals and make sure that we're really, really good at it. That's our commitment as broker to the agent, that's your commitment to your clients. That's also your commitment to your family to you know, make sure that you're doing the best to serve your clients.

You know, one of the things I talked about a lot is moving the needle. There's a philosophy called Kaizen. And what it is, is it's working on a process where you turn the dial just a little bit, and perfect the process. It's not like big sweeping movements. That's called innovation, which innovation, there's a place for innovation. But Kaizen is working on the process. We've been doing this and kind of a half out or way of last couple of years. We don't have to reinvent the wheel here. We just need to focus on what it is it's going to make you the best at what you do it whatever that is, whether it's doing your open houses or making calls. The book Atomic Habits talks about that a lot and I'd highly recommend that.

To drill down on what this is, your goals are going to be your, 30,000 foot view of what you're doing, right.
And we do that at the end of the year, each year. We also focus on that on our professional development meetings that we're doing with each of you guys. And you do not want to lose sight of that. Your actions are your specific things that help you achieve your goals. And that's going to be more like your thousand foot view. Your process and by the way, when it comes to the actions, the way that you're focusing on that is making commitments to the actions every week. I think it's so common in real estate, for real estate agents, to just you know, kind of wing it. They don't really know what they're doing. They don't have a process for achieving their goals. They want to make, I want to sell 10 million this year, but they don't have it lined out of how they're going to do it.

We focused on that a lot last year, we're going to continue focusing on that. You don't want to lose sight of your goals are your actions. The process is like, it's like in the trenches. It's what you do every day. And so
that is going to be our focus for the next, at least two quarters. And so what I mean by that are like, these are your common three. Your open houses, how can you make an open house the best possible. Are you putting enough signs out there, is your mindset in the right place? Do you know when you're doing an open house are you smiling green people asking the right questions, or is your follow up as good.

And I'm telling you, I've done this so many times myself. I scheduled an open house, and I'm like, fuck it, I'm just going to show up, put some signs up, you know, maybe have people sign in and just get it done. That's not going to be the way to success. We're going to drill that down today, when it comes to like making calls again, is your mind in the right place? Are you asking the right questions? When that lead that you're talking to kinda gives you the sense that they want to get off the phone? Do you have a second plan?

When I'm calling agents and talking to them, and I realized that they want to hang up on me, then, you know, I shift my mindset. I know that I need to not try to close that lead. I'm going for the second best thing, which is I'm going to drill down into their business and leave them with something when they hang up that phone they said, you know what, that wasn't so bad. That's the same thing you should be doing when you're making calls you need educate them, you need to serve them, you need to leave deposits with them so that when the time comes, you can make that withdraw.

And then finally, digital and mail farming. We're going to touch on that a little bit today, with the guys from Farm Genie, we're going to give you the tech to do that. But in the coming months, one of my initiatives for the year is to have you guys, I want people to really get more into listings. One of the things that we had contemplated and tried to do was set up accounts and do the ads for you guys. That's not scalable. It's not realistic, but we still want to help you with that. Over the next few weeks, and maybe at the next meeting, we're going to have a training on how to set up your Facebook account, your business Facebook account so that you can actually use it to do ads. You're not going to have to do all this yourself, we're going to set it up, we're gonna tell you exactly how to do it, we're going to give you the programs to do it, we're going to give you the graphics to do it, everything is going to be streamlined, but you're going to have to manage the account yourself. It sounds overwhelming, but it's going to be step by step tutorial from us.

I think that's all I got for that intro to this. Isabel is gonna jump in here and kind of go through her segment.

Isabel: As Ryan was talking about processes, it made me think, you know, the biggest thing that happened is that we had no process, we had absolutely no process for making sure that we would be successful with these people. We just thought if we work hard enough, we'll make it work. And that's only on the buyer side that doesn't even go into the listing side of things, which was with listings. I was just hoping that like, I would get on the phone with somebody and they would let me come over to their house. And then I was hoping that they wouldn't ask me any questions about the listing agreement that they would just sign it and I was hoping that they wouldn't have a different opinion about price and like want to overprice their house.

And I was hoping that they didn't know any other real estate agents in town. Because if they said, well, you know what, we have to have a meeting set up. I had no way to handle that objection. I didn't know how to handle the price objection. I didn't know how to handle the commission objection. I didn't know how to handle a we want to think about it objection. Like I just had no tools at my disposal. And so what we did instead, was we worked really, really hard. And eventually we were able to close a couple of deals that way. But we didn't have a process, we were just working hard to make up for that. And in my experience, that's a really good way to head for burnout in this business. Has anybody ever felt that way? Like you're just working super hard and like nothing's going right. Yeah, I'm seeing a lot of head smile. So eventually, someone came along, maybe a couple of years into the business for me, and taught me how to sell and that changed my life.

So the first thing that I'd like to talk about a couple of observations that I've made about this business in the years that Chris and I have been selling real estate that are relevant to the challenges that I've talked about in the story that I just told you. The second thing I'd like to do is talk about the program that we have designed here at Spyglass that is specifically intended to address those challenges. And then third thing is we'll talk about the logistics of that program. So that if it sounds like something that might be interesting for you, if it sounds like it would do good things for your business in 2020, then you'll know how to go about signing up for that. Does that sound good to everybody?

Observation number one that I've made about this industry is that being an agent is harder than it looks. So I think all of us get into real estate with the expectation that this will be an easy way to make money like you do the math 30% of the sales price and like the sales price last, I mean things cost like half a million dollars at least. So like this will be right? That's so easy. Like just all you have to sell one house, and you'll make a lot of money, right? So it's always harder than it looks because we just don't come in understanding the expenses that go along with this business, how hard it is to actually get something to closing how freakin hard it is in the beginning to get somebody to say yes to working with you. Right? It seems like that shouldn't be that hard. But it is.

The second observation is that real estate school teaches us nothing about how to sell so we can spend months learning about like, what was all that said, I feel like we have so many sections on like eluvian rights or something or we're parian whatever and about the floodplains and, and I was just like, am I ever going to use this? Like how many sections that they have on the lead based paint year. When I am actually selling real estate, and I get out there and I'm like, oh, this is a house from the 1970s. I better Google the lead based paint here. If you're fit the agenda or not. Was there any reason for us to learn that 75 different ways right?

We learned all of that but we didn't learn anything about what do you do when somebody wants to hang up the phone on like Ryan's talking about. What do you do when somebody says I want to commissiondiscount? What do you do when somebody says, you know what I am interested in buying, but I'm going to wait . How do you handle those kind of conversations, they don't teach you anything about that.

The third observation is that there are a ton of agents in Austin. So I counted this up here today we're pushing 15,000 licensed agents in the Austin area right now. And only a handful of them are successful. So 15,000 is a lot of freaking agents. That's a lot of us. And only about a third of them are actually breaking like minimum wage. So I did the math on this Sunday was kind enough to share with me some of the stats of like what the production is and agents broken down by these different price brackets. And only one third of these agents once you do the math are actually getting above a minimum wage amount of money that they're making.

And so that means also with those numbers, there's less than seven agents who are bringing home six figures. Once you account for expenses and taxes and slips of your broker and everything else. Now, does anybody go to real estate school expecting to earn, like less than $100,000 long term in this business? I think everybody gets into this business thinking, I'm going to make money if I do this, right. And everybody's expectations of what it means to make money is different. But I think everybody thinks like, if I'm going to go be self employed, and I'm gonna answer my phone at night, and I'm going to become a really good salesperson, like I'm gonna make money. That's what's gonna happen. I'm not going to make $30,000 at the end of that.

Observation number for the public does not go easy on us. Does anybody notice this? They expect us to answer the phone late at night. They expect us to do commission discount. There's all these kinds of expectations that are placed on us because even though so few of us are actually making money. That's not what the public thinks. The public thinks we're all rolling in it. The public does the math. And they think that we're doing a lot more volume than we are. And so they have these super high expectations of us. And there's a couple of things that come along with this. So I have a joke that I learned from somebody in my head, like, I think this was a JB Goodwin joke. Whenever I talked to somebody, and they're like, oh, yeah, I have a friend in real estate, then I'll joke with all the like, well, you know, if you don't have a friend in real estate, you don't have very many friends.

Because this goes back to that whole there's 15,000 of us, right? Everybody knows somebody who's gotten into real estate, because it looks easy. And so that means that very often, when you're talking to somebody, they're gonna say to you, oh, well, I also have a friend who I'm interviewing, like, oh, well, thanks for calling, but like, I'm going to talk to my friend because they just got their license. You're gonna run into that objection a lot.

The second thing is they have exaggerated income projections for us. The public thinks we're making more money than we are because they don't really understand how the industry works. They don't understand how hard it is, which leads to asking for commission discounts and rebates. That's why we're competing with people that rent then, that's why sometimes buyers say, well, you know, I'm just looking at new homes, and I'll go look at them first. And so then we'll just do it for 1%. Like all go look at the home, and then all you have to do is just like, just finish off the contract. It'll be super easy for you. So you'll do that for a discount, right? You know, it's not just on the listing side that we get these commission requests on the buyer side, too. They expect us to answer the phone nights, weekends and holidays, because again, they think that we're making more than we are they think this is easier than it is. So like, you're making 3% of this huge amount of money. Like you should answer my call at 9pm. Right if you've ever had that happen?

And then after all of this, assuming that we can get through all of this somehow and finally get this person under contract, let's say even for a full commission, maybe they don't get to closing. Something happens, they change their mind, they get cold feet during auction period, or the lending doesn't work out. Whatever it is like you might go through all of this stuff, handle all of these objections really, really well and still have somebody doesn't get to the closing table.

And the fifth observation is that conditions are changing constantly in this business. So you might have a buyer who tells you that they want a downtown condo, and then suddenly they're looking at houses in the suburbs. You might have a seller who says, oh, I'm not in any big hurry. Like if it takes my house five months to sell, no big deal. We're happy to do some price reductions. Like if it doesn't sell after a month, we'll start to reduce the price. Have you ever had a seller tell you that in your two weeks in and they're calling you screaming at the White House of insult? Does it ever happen to anybody? I've just accepted at this point that when sellers tell you, they're not in a hurry, they're not needing to lie to you. They really truly believe in that moment that they are not in a hurry, that they don't know the process yet. They don't understand that they're going to get two weeks in and people are going to move they're stuck around after looking at the house and track in dirt and let out accidentally, and they're going to be so sick of it that they just want to household. They just don't know that yet, but we as agents know that.

So all of this means that it's really important that if we expect to thrive in this business, we learned to be dynamic. We have to learn to be dynamic sales people, because the conditions are constantly changing and so we have to be ready to adjust to change in circumstances to handle lots of different objections to handle people in all kinds of different emotional states. Because our clients aren't always super calm. Sometimes they're dealing with divorces. Sometimes they're dealing with financial reversals, death. Sometimes they're just dealing with their own money, crap, right? There's a lot of kinds of things that go into this, that mean that scripts aren't always going to work.

One of the problems with like scripts for example, is that the other side doesn't know their lines. When you start to tell someone a script and you they're supposed to respond with this, well, what if they know? What if they say this other thing? Now what do we do? Which is why it's so important to be dynamic. So what we've done is we've designed a program here at Spyglass that we're calling Dynamic Selling, and it's a six-week sales training program. This is designed specifically for Spyglass. I've worked with John and Ryan and Sunny and collaborated with them to put together this program that is specifically intended to address these challenges that we've talked about.

So, would y'all like to know the basic goals of this program?

So the first goal is we want to help you guys in converting leads into commissions faster and more predictably. This starts to go back to what Ryan was talking about in terms of having a process. You know all of this stuff, we're going to talk about a ton of tools today Ryan talked about sort of the high level, how do you convert goals into actions? And how do you have processes to make sure that that all happens.

We have a ton of tools at Spyglass to support you. So we have Genie coming and talking later, we have John talking about open houses, all of this stuff, really, at the end of the day, he just intended to support you in creating leads, and then turning those leads into clients and commissions. That's it. There's a lot of different ways you can choose to run your business you can choose to farm, if you want to. You can choose to do open houses, if you want to. You can choose to work on referral only, if you want to. As long as you have people going through this process you have people going from leads to clients to commissions that you will be successful. At the end of the day it doesn't matter which one of those tools you use. But the tools support you in converting leads into commissions faster and this is where sales comes in. That's where the salesmanship aspect of this comes out.

So I've spent the last five years diving really, really deep into the psychology of sales. As I mentioned, someone came along and taught me how to sell and that completely changed my life in my business. Over the last five years, I have gone deep into one on one coaching with really great salespeople. I've gone deep into group training programs that are taken several of reading books, studying sales, psychology. I feel like I've just devoted myself heart and soul to learning the art of sales in the last five years, and taking all of that and applying it out in the field. What I've done as we've designed this program together, is to take what I consider to be the most impactful lessons that I learned and package them up into the six week training program.

Back to Ryan's point about a process, the whole point of this thing is to give you a process for what do you do with these people. We don't have a lack of leads. We have a database here at Spyglass. 18,000 leads or something like that, or more 20,000 leads something like that. We don't have a lack of people to talk to. But I think all of us would like to be making more commission dollars.

Here's an important point, making more commission without working ourselves to death. Because it doesn't mean that to close more deals, you have to work twice as hard. You don't have to work twice as hard to close twice as many deals. But you do have to become more efficient at how you convert people. So that the process can support you and being more efficient getting more of those people to the closing table.

Then the last thing is incorporate the existing Spyglass tools and processes. So as I mentioned, we have an enormous suite of tools here. We have a ton of leads there all of these things that Spyglass is bringing to the table to make our lives really, really easy. And I think that the rocket fuel that a lot of us need is to figure out how do we fit all of this together to make it successful. Because tools are just tools. If you don't know when and how to use them, how to tie them into your own sales process in a way that feels really authentic to you and with your clients respond to you.

So let's talk about what this program is not.

This program is not a class. So if you have taken classes at a more like a maker class or something like that, this is a completely different ballgame. So this is not going to be something where, you know, you take a few hours out of your week, it's a distraction from work, you don't really get anything done. You sit there passively, like this is not that. This is not low commitment. So for anybody who's thinking about this, I'm gonna let y'all know. This is a serious commitment at the six weeks. The in person portion of it is only a couple of hours, but the amount of work that comes along with that outside of it is significant. And the reason that this is such a high commitment is because it's really important that if you want to be living a different life, if you want to be closing a different volume of sales, you're going to have to get comfortable doing things that currently you're not comfortable with. And so to make that happen, we're protecting the environment with a really high level of commitment.

And the last thing I'll say is that this program is not necessarily for everyone. So if you're currently happy with the amount that you're closing, if you don't feel like you really want to make a big change in 2020, then this would not be the program for you. Because the stuff that we're going to ask of you, you're not going to be willing to do it if you don't want to make changes.

Okay, number one, this program is interactive. So as I mentioned, it's not a class and one of the reasons that I say that is because we'll be working together during these sessions, on sales tools, sales psychology, and we'll have kind of like workshop elements going on. And we will also have homework that's happening between these sessions.

What it is, is it is a serious commitment of time, energy and attention. So as I mentioned this six weeks is not for somebody who's like, this is, you know, something that I could kind of do on the side, during the six weeks, it's going to take some serious commitment to actually take you out of your comfort zone into this new place where you want to be. And in order to make that happen, I'm asking for a commitment of time, that people show up on time, be ready to learn, commit to showing up to all the sessions, all that kind of stuff. It's going to require moving a few things around in your life to make sure that you have the focus that you need to get the homework that it is focused on sales psychology.

So as I mentioned, that's something that I've done a lot of work on in the last few years. And I want to make sure that this program really delivers people actionable tools for things like how do you take someone from being just a lead like a text message or an email? How do you convert that to a phone call? And then when you have them on the phone, what are the tools that you use to get for that phone call into an appointment and then when you have that appointment, have you powerfully lead that appointment so that you walk out of there with a signed buyer's rep agreement or a signed listing agreement for 6% or more? And then how do you take that person from being a client all the way to the closing table, each section about their specific sales tools and sales psychology pieces that go along with all of that?

Just to go back to what Ryan said, actually did you guys notice he dropped this and really subtly, but I heard it, I thought it was interesting. Ryan, you said something about making deposits with people so that you can make the withdrawal later. So that's one thing I thought that really resonated fair like that. And that's one thing that we work on as part of the sales psychology. What can you offer to people so that they feel like they're so enthusiastic to come and sit down with you in this office, or to have you come over to their house, that they don't feel like it's a burden on them, they feel like they're actually getting a benefit by having your time. That idea of how do you offer something that's so compelling that they feel like they're getting the better out of that deal?

And then the last two, this program is tailor made for Spyglass. So this is not out of the box program that we bought from somebody else. This is a program that we have designed together very intentionally to fit the needs of this brokerage. And the last thing is, it's designed to make you money immediately.

If you're willing to show up and do the work, then I can tell you you will be putting new clients onto your roster and taking those clients into contracts very, very quickly, during and after the program.

So if anybody's thinking that this could be a good way to start off your 2020 and get some momentum going, and here's the details of this.

The dates are going to be on Tuesdays from two to four starting on February the 11th. And that's just six Tuesdays in a row starting on February 11. We have a couple of weeks before we get started and not too much time is coming up pretty quick. The cost of the program is 9.97 a person.

How to sign up? Email me and Ryan and let us know that you're interested. And we can get you enrolled and get you started in there. We do have a limited amount of space just due to space constraints that we have a brokerage. So if you guys are interested, let us know we only have a few spots left at this point, I think, maybe like three or five, something like that. So if you're interested, let us know. And that's my email in case you don't have it. It's easy isabel@spyglassrealty.com.

And if you're sitting here thinking like this sounds really interesting. Sounds kind of compelling, but I'm not sure if it's good for my business, either I'm not sure that I'm doing enough business to justify this or I think I'm at a higher level and maybe I don't need this but I'm not sure if any of those kind of questions are going through your head.

I'm happy to chat with you. So if you want to have a private conversation about what's going on in your business and whether or not this could be a good fit for you, just drop me an email or give me a phone call or whatever. And I'm happy to talk.

The last thing that I would bring up is an idea that I learned about recently that really resonated with me. And I think this is true of our clients to about the half-life of enthusiasm. So this is the idea that enthusiasm has a very short half-life. So when you talk to someone and they say, yeah, I would like you to come over to my house for a listing appointment. That enthusiasm only lasts a little amount of time, right pretty quickly. They get distracted with life, they get distracted with other things and all of a sudden having you come over doesn't seem nearly as attractive as it did a week ago. The same thing is true of enthusiasm across the board.

If you're sitting here right now thinking this sounds interesting, that sounds like something I should do. This sounds like something that would be really worth it for my business. I would encourage you to take action on it today. And the reason that I say that is because as soon as we all head out here. Sometimes we do to the end of today, our life is going to start to get in the way. We have family commitments, we have personal commitments, we have all these kinds of things going on in our life that will very quickly start to talk all of us out of taking action for ourselves. So it would not at all be surprising if you are sitting here right now feeling enthusiastic, and then by tomorrow, you're already over it. So if you're thinking about it, do yourself a favor and make a commitment before life talks you out of it.

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