Realtors have very specific time management challenges and the best way to overcome them is to observe how successful realtors stay productive.
Iovox asked Mark Ferguson, Founder of InvestFourMore and member of the Forbes Real Estate Council, to share a few of his top tips on productivity for real estate professionals. InvestFourMore is one of the most popular real estate blogs with 300,000 monthly visitors. Mark is also the managing broker and owner of Blue Steel Real Estate.
Mark Ferguson and family
Top time management tips Mark shared with iovox:
- What are the most common mistakes realtors make in managing their time?
One of the most common mistakes I see is many realtors getting ‘shiny object syndrome.’ They want to try 10 different marketing tactics at once, instead of focusing on a few proven ways to get business. Selling real estate is not rocket science. Networking, creating a database, and meeting people is the best way to sell houses.
Realtors also get caught up in activities that might not have a direct impact on their business. The activities that will generate business do not include spending seven hours on your website or creating the perfect business card. Those things need to be done, but networking and working on the core activities of the business comes first.
Some agents get so caught up in their marketing activities that they end up neglecting to return client calls or doing follow-ups. Phone calls and clients always come first, and the marketing can wait.
Another thing that can drain a lot of time is not asking a client if they are working with another agent or if they have been pre-qualified. These are the first things a realtor should do when meeting a potential client. I have seen realtors waste weeks with clients who have never talked to a lender and could not buy a house.
- What are the top time management tips you recommend for realtors?
Mark:Dedicated Call TimesI recommend setting up specific time slots or days of the week dedicated solely to calling people. For instance, you could block every Tuesday from 9 AM to 11 AM for calling current clients and leads. You do nothing else during that time.
Schedule ActivitiesSet a schedule so that you have a plan for when you will work on marketing or have open houses every week. This plan could change if something more pressing comes up, but the more you can schedule the better.
Network JudiciouslyMeeting people is a great way to drum up business. But guard your time. Having lunch with home inspectors, lenders, and title companies every day is not a good use of time. You should network with them occasionally, but place far more importance on meeting potential clients or people who can refer you business.
Is a lender referring you business? Great, spend time with them and show them you appreciate their help. Are lenders only wanting you to send them business and offering nothing in return? Don’t be afraid to say no to appointments if you don’t have time.
- What tools do you use to stay productive?
I try to use email as much as I can with people who like email. If a client does not like email, I will call them.
I use Dropbox for pictures, files, and other uploads. It is super-fast and easy. I can access it from all my computers and mobile devices.
DocuSign is amazing for electronic signatures. It saves so much time over printing and scanning or meeting in person to sign a contract.
- In a recent article on InvestFourMore, you spoke of the importance of figuring out the true value of your time. Why is that so important and how do you make that calculation?
I find the true value of my time loosely based on how much money I make. If I calculate my annual earnings, I can figure what I make per hour. The simplest way is to divide your annual revenue by the number of hours you worked that year (easy to extrapolate from your average weekly hours worked.)
Next, let’s say you make $100 an hour. This means that if you can outsource a task that only costs you $20 an hour, you’d be better off delegating that task instead of doing it yourself. You can concentrate on the more complex activities that generate more revenue, and let others work on the more routine tasks.
By doing this, you keep increasing your hourly earnings because you work more on high-level activities. So many people get stuck working in their business instead of on it. The more you work on your business, the more money you will make and the more time you will have.
I do not limit this idea only to business activities. For instance, I can have someone mow my lawn for $45. If I tried doing it myself, it would take double the time and it would look a lot worse. I would also have to spend time maintaining my lawn mower, getting gas, and so on. By having someone else mow my lawn, I have more time for my business as well as my family.
- You emphasize a lot about the importance of delegation. How do you determine which tasks should be delegated?
One of the first things I look at with delegation is how much do I like doing a particular task? I hate doing taxes and therefore that was one of the first things I delegated in my business. I hate invoicing, paperwork, accounting and so I have delegated all those tasks. The happier I am, the more work I get done, and the more money I make.
The other factor that determines whether I delegate something is the cost of delegation versus my worth – as I explained earlier.
ConclusionSumming up, the most crucial time management tip for realtors is to invest time in the right activities. Focus on activities that directly contribute to revenue and invest your own time in the most high-value activities.
For those of you that rely on the phone to grow your business, don’t forget the free productivity enhancing app from iovox.
Now that we’ve heard from Mark, what other productivity tips for real estate professionals do you recommend? Let us know by commenting below.