SHANE SMOLLEN: Three unavoidable things multi-million dollar agents master

Three unavoidable things multi-million dollar agents master

Blogger: Shane Smollen, principal, McGrath Estate Agents: Avalon, Castle Hill, Crows Nest Epping, Hunters Hill, Lane Cove, Lindfield, Mona Vale, Palm Beach and Pymble

I seem to be averaging at least three to four emails a day from an ever increasing group of real estate gurus. The cynical part of me wants to unsubscribe to some, but the optimist says keep them coming because I might miss something.

To be fair, each of them is generally on the mark - anything that says prospect more, get more organised, build your skills, delegate and have a wonderful life is unlikely to be wrong.

Almost everybody who has been in real estate for one year or more can probably write the secrets to real estate success, so why don't more of us get on and do it? We clearly know if we do more of the right things we will enjoy more income, more choices, more acknowledgement and satisfaction - but somehow, the changes don't seem to happen quickly enough.

What is that all about? It's generally not hours - we're investing plenty of them. In fact, there just doesn't seem to be enough in the day. As agents, we only have time to sell and time is finite - so start to build an awareness of where that time is going. High earners spend over 75 per cent of their time prospecting, listing and negotiating, and average earners usually spend less than 20 per cent - the balance is invested at drastically lower rates of pay per hour. A time log in 15-minute increments completed for two weeks will tell you many things about how you are being paid.

For many of us, being busy - often crazy busy - is a habit we can't get enough of. The rat race has no winners. The real winners have learnt what are their most valuable activities and they protect them with great vigilance. The greatest threat other than our own awareness and discipline comes in the form of people who have not learnt the value of their own time.

They will talk about how bad the market is for hours if you lend an ear. They will tell you even when the market is smoking hot it's bad because apparently the competition are over pricing, dropping fees and giving away marketing. It's impossible to succeed in such a good market with so many agents so desperate!

Now try to get the attention of a two million dollar-plus agent when they are engaged in prospecting. They probably won't be rude, but they will be succinct. Watch the difference in response when you tell them how tough it is or about your latest loss. They didn't reach that level through luck but rather, somewhere along the way, possibly years from when they started, it clicked. They worked out that you make your own luck, time is precious and without clarity and a plan, the days just fill with stuff.

If I had to say what's in common with the 15 agents on my team on track for between $1 million and $3.5 million this year, as different as they all are, and keep it to just three things (other than that they are inherently optimistic) it would be these:

  1. They value time - the important stuff is compartmentalised, focused upon and highly valued whilst the rest is delegated. Having somebody to delegate to, even for a couple of days per week, has a hidden benefit - you become more accountable and responsible because you are setting an example constantly.
  2. They understand the benefits of core area focus - do you want to list your own home with the fourth best agent in your area? I don't. Stop trying to work such a big area and focus on an area every working day of your life that you can build a 25-50 per cent share of. Even at that point, you are losing two or three out of four, so any less and you are not in the game. Real estate rolls when you have profile and market share, but if you are all over the place relying on momentum to carry you through, nearly every listing is a challenge. Our highest earner has one of the smallest areas, so nearly every action and result is an investment in his personal brand and future business.
  3. They have a written plan, a coach and track their activity daily. Without tracking your activity and being accountable, even low levels of dollar productive activity can feel manic. Doing 20 appraisals in a month doesn't feel much less busy than a target of 30 - ie. it's only a couple less a week, give or take. But do this over a year and you will be 50 per cent off your income target. Tracking makes things tangible and having a coach who genuinely keeps you on track makes the journey much more supported and successful.

What's the key difference between a $1 million and a $3 million agent? Honestly, it's incremental - they just do and say a few more of the right things every hour, every day. Because they are so serious about their goal they plan further ahead and as a result, have less low months.

For most, the best way to double income is not learning how to do twice as much as what already feels really busy, but having a strategy around eliminating the crap months. I have a simple philosophy, which is you should go hard or be on holidays. Life is not about how many hours and how much torture you can inflict - ours is an outcomes business.

By becoming more focused and efficient, most agents can take back hours, weeks and months with their families. One day we won't have any more hours to give back, so for God's sake, don't waste them in a real estate office messing around.

I don't know any high earners who don't work hard, but every one of them has added 'smart' to 'hard' and the formula is unbeatable.

So stop leaving all the fun to the top one per cent when you have what it takes. Are you prepared to make a few changes?

One of those may be to stop putting yourself through the pain and limitation of working around negative people. If you change nothing else, change that.

I don't know any perfect agents, but I do know a bunch that are serious about improving and becoming the best they can be. They fail regularly and each time they dust themselves off, get upset for a moment, put it back in context and get on with it. That's what we all have to do.

Nail the three big things and hang around the right people. It's bullet proof.

So there you go, another guru, another email - is it time to listen?

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Shane Smollen

Shane Smollen

Shane is considered on track record to be one of Australia's highest producing principals and a specialised coach to elite agents. His 10-office group within the McGrath group includes many of the country's highest producing agents, including five of the top 10 in NSW from the Real Estate Business Top 100 ranking, the recently awarded Agent of the Year John Paranchi, and last year's number one ranked agent Peter Chauncy. He has some limited availability to consult to agency principals wanting fast, sustainable growth.

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