This week I had the opportunity to speak with several real estate agents about their upcoming 2020 New Years’ resolutions. Research has shown that about half of all adults make New Year’s resolutions. However, fewer than 10% manage to keep them for more than a few months. Like me, does this statistic make you wonder why? What’s the solution? Consider this:
What would happen if starting today, you never tolerated inaction in yourself? Think about that for a moment again, what would happen if starting today you never tolerated inaction in yourself?
From the book, Atomic Habits, there is a common mistake that often happens to too many of us. The error has to do with the difference between being in motion and taking action. They sound similar, but they’re not the same.
When you’re in motion, you’re planning and strategizing and learning. Those are all good things, but they don’t produce a result. Action, on the other hand, is the type of behavior that will deliver an outcome.
Here’s a couple of practical examples:
- If I outline 20 ideas for articles I want to write, that’s motion.
- If I write and publish an article, that’s action.
- If I email 10 new leads for my business and start conversations with them, that’s motion.
- When I set an appointment, that’s action.
- If I search for a better diet plan and read a few books on the topic, that’s motion.
- If I eat a healthy meal, that’s action.
Sometimes motion is useful, yet it will never produce an outcome by itself. It doesn’t matter how many times you talk to the personal trainer, that motion will never get you in shape. Only the action of working out will get the result you’re looking to achieve.
If the motion doesn’t lead to results, why do we do it?
Sometimes we do it because we need to plan or learn more. But more often than not, we do it because motion allows us to feel like we’re making progress without running the risk of failure. Most of us are experts at avoiding criticism. It doesn’t feel right to fail or to be judged publicly, so we tend to avoid situations where that might happen. And that’s the biggest reason why you slip into motion rather than taking action: you want to delay failure.
It’s easy to be in motion and convince yourself that you’re still making progress. You think, “I’ve got conversations going with four potential clients right now. This is good. We’re moving in the right direction.” Motion makes you feel like you’re getting things done. But really, you’re just preparing to get something done. When preparation becomes a form of procrastination, you need to change something. You don’t want to be planning merely. You want to be practicing.
Some ideas to get out of motion and into action:
- Work expands to the time you give it: Set a specific time for each task.
- Set a schedule for your actions: Basic time blocking.
- Pick a date to shift you from motion to action: set hard deadlines.
- Ignore, switch your feelings: “I don’t feel like it” to “Let’s get this done!”
For some goals, setting a daily or weekly schedule doesn’t work as well. This is the case if you’re doing something that is only going to happen once: studying for your broker exam or getting your GRI. These things require some planning upfront (motion). They also need plenty of action to complete them. For example, you could set a schedule each week to study. In a situation like this, research shows it’s best to pick a date. Put something on the calendar – like the test date. Make it public. This is when X is happening. In other words, set a HARD DEADLINE.
Research shows that people who make a specific plan for when and where they will perform a new habit are more likely to follow through. Too many people try to change their habits without these basic details figured out. We tell ourselves, “I’m going to eat healthier” or “I’m going to write more,” but we never say when and where these habits are going to happen. We leave it up to chance and hope that we will “just remember to do it” or feel motivated at the right time.
Hope is not a strategy!
An implementation intention sweeps away foggy notions like “I want to work out more” or “I want to be more productive” or “I should vote” and transforms them into a concrete plan of action.
Many people think they lack motivation when what they lack is clarity.
A straightforward way to apply this strategy to your habits is to fill out this sentence:
I will [BEHAVIOR] at [TIME] in [LOCATION]
- I will follow up with 4 leads a day for 30 minutes at 9 a.m. in my office.
- I will complete part 1 of my project, investing twenty minutes at 10 a.m. in my office.
- I will exercise for one hour at 5 p.m. at my gym.
- I will make my wife a cup of tea at 7 a.m. each morning in the kitchen.
Give your habits time and space. The goal is to make the time and location so apparent that, with enough repetition, you get an urge to do the right thing at the right time, even if you can’t say why.
To put it: planning out when and where you will perform a specific behavior turns your environment into a trigger for action. The time and place trigger your behavior, not your level of motivation.
Motivation is short-lived and doesn’t lead to consistent action. If you want to achieve your goals, then you need a plan for exactly when and how you’re going to execute on them regardless of how you feel.
There are some lessons that only #failure can teach. Failure is not the problem… inaction is… procrastination is.
Let’s commit this week to move from motion to action.
These statistics will shock and surprise you. So, get ready. We recently did a blind study on incoming leads. 85% of the new leads received a follow-up, 15% got crickets.
So what is the psychology of the 15% of sales professionals that never follow up on a new lead? Even more shocking is we found that of the 85% that did make the initial follow up, only 25% made a second attempt! And of that 25%, only 12% made a third attempt. So what’s going on here?
It’s the voice inside your head. It’s a growth vs. fixed mindset.
- 2% of sales are made on the first contact
- 5% of sales are made on the third contact
- 10% of sales are made on the fourth contact
- 80% of sales are made on the fifth to twelfth contact
Persistence is the key to your success. In a study specifically related to real estate sales, sales professionals that made three attempts vs. those that made five or more attempts had more than a $100K difference in annual income.
Today we are bombarded with information. We are in information overwhelm. But that does not mean someone doesn’t want to buy, sell or invest. It might be, like me, right now, it isn’t a high priority.
Staying connected is the key. Using content from tools like Keeping Current Matters can help, yet so can a casual check-in call, text, or video chat. It’s you vs. your baby, and nothing is in your way except for your growth vs. fixed mindset.
Our work lives have become more demanding, presenting us with more complex challenges at a relentless pace. Add in your personal needs, family needs, and other commitments, and it’s easy to feel always overwhelmed. For most of us, the typical response to growing workloads is to work harder and put in longer hours, rather than to step back and examine and find a new way of operating.
The cognitive impact of feeling overwhelmed continuously can range from mental slowness, forgetfulness, confusion, difficulty concentrating, or thinking logically, to a racing mind or an impaired ability to problem solve. When we have too many demands over an extended period of time, cognitive fatigue kicks in. The effect makes us less productive and leaves us feeling even more overwhelmed.
If you are feeling overwhelmed, here are some key strategies to try:
Have the courage to stop what you’re doing. Give yourself the time and space to slow down, so you can see the bigger picture and get a handle on things. Regather yourself. Center yourself so that you have the energy to make wiser, healthier decisions.
- Get clear on your priorities.
Taking time to contemplate your priorities is key to having focused flow. What’s most important to you right now? How do you want to run your business and live your life on a day-to-day basis? Look at the bigger picture and how you want to spend your time and energy.
Lin Yutang said, “besides the noble art of getting things done, there is the noble art of leaving things undone. The wisdom in business consists in the elimination of nonessentials.” What don’t you need to do? What can you automate, delegate, or eliminate?
Having too much to do often has to do with unrealistic goal setting and over-committing your time and energy. Are you overly ambitious? Are you not being realistic about your goals and what you can do?
People who are overwhelmed spread their energy too thinly. Often, it’s hard for them to say “no” because they fear disappointing others. When you feel scattered and pulled apart in a lot of different directions, are you willing to pull yourself back in and say “no” to others? Are you ready to get more comfortable saying no?
Be willing to focus on just a few things at a time. Put limits on certain activities that aren’t important. By limiting your time and energy for specific endeavors, and not allowing yourself to get lost in the day-to-day, you can create more time and space in your life. Limit the number of emails, FB time, talk time, any activities that consume the unproductive time in your life. The paradox is that by creating more discipline and limitation in your life, you create greater freedom.
- Re-imagine a new schedule.
Imagine a new lifestyle from scratch. If you made your business effectiveness, health, and happiness a priority, what would a perfect day look like? What would an ideal week look like?’
Being overwhelmed is not a fact — it’s a state of consciousness that limits your freedom and happiness. It requires a shift in perspective. Often, when you’re feeling overwhelmed, you’re over-thinking everything that needs to get done. You’ve lost yourself, and you’re no longer present.
Instead of seeing the things outside of you having power over you, be willing to stop and regather yourself. Bring yourself back to the present moment. Remember that you have a choice about the way you want to feel.
There are 84 days left in 2019 and 60 productive working days, depending on how many days you work, how many holidays you celebrate, and so on. Regardless you have about 84 days to wrap up 2019. 84 days!
What will your bank account look like on January 1 of 2020? Is it your desire to have a more significant bank account or a smaller one? Whatever your goal is, NOW is the time to make that happen.
The next 60 days will be critical for setting yourself up for strong close to 2019 and a fast start to 2020. What you do in the next few days and weeks will determine the size of your bank account on January 1 and your momentum for the first quarter of 2020.
CHALLENGE 1: What would happen to your business if, for the next 20 working days, you made one new appointment each day?
Let’s face there are two types of agents today: hobbyists and CEO’s. This article is not for hobbyists, those part-time agents who dabble. For those of you that run your business like a business, those of you that know your daily number and know what it takes to generate one sale, then this article is for you.
CHALLENGE 2: Get clear about the next 84 days:
- Write down the number of sales you’ve made so far this year.
- Write down the source of those sales.
- How many listings will you earn between now and the end of the year?
- How many additional families or investors do you want to serve between now and the end of the year?
- How many contacts do you need to make to drive that number
- One rule of thumb is 40 contacts to 1 sale.
- Who are they, and how will you go about connecting with them?
- What systems do you have in place to create the result you desire?
After completing the quick exercise above, here are 5 actions you can take so you’re not broke on January 1:
- Decide Now. Decide now how many days you will work, how many days you will be off, and how many “flex days” you’ll have between now and the end of the year. Decide what direct response marketing campaigns you will run. For example, if you will create an investor campaign to take advantage of year-end investment buyers.
- Up your CRM game. There is no excuse for not having your CRM updated and working for you. It takes discipline; yet once you realize your CRM is the engine that drives your train, that task becomes less negotiable.
- Delegate. Is it time to find some help? An office or virtual assistant. Your highest and best use is prospecting.; lead generation; going on appointments and negotiating contracts. Everything else delegate. Scared? Get resourceful, many new agents I know are sharing a fractional assistant to split cost yet keep them fully employed.
- Diversify your lead generation sources. Too many struggling agents rely on ONE, maybe TWO lead sources. FOUR sources of business – split between influence strategies and control strategies – provides diversity and stability to your real estate practice. Note, don’t add four sources all at once. Start with one new source, get it working and stable then add another until you reach four sources.
- Target Market Clarity? Any market rewards the hyperlocal expert. Are you an expert in a community? Are you an expert in a profession like Nurses, FBI agents, CPA’s? It’s probably time to get hyperlocal and specialize.
So, I’ll leave you today with three final things to consider:
- Knowing what you know now, what immediate adjustments do you need to make?
- Cash is king. Are you building your cash reserves? Are you reducing bad debt? Investing in marketing? (Hint: You can do all 3.)
- Have you started a small weekly accountability group with like-minded, goal-oriented CEO’s like yourself? If not, what’s holding you back?
Unplanned events can disrupt everything. I’ve experienced that several times in my life. And we all know there’s nothing you can do to prevent unexpected events. There are some strategies to cope with. And coping, especially for self-employed business owners, is critical to maintaining the resources to recover and ultimately thrive.
Work In Short Bursts
While it sounds simple, working in short bursts is not that easy, yet very useful during uncertain times. After all, you can’t truly focus when your world is in chaos.
Working in short bursts only works if you know what you have to do. So, creating and keeping a list of things that you have to do becomes very helpful. When you work in short bursts, the question “what’s the most critical task I can work on right now” becomes useful and essential.
Every time you plan a moment to yourself, don’t play with your phone, but instead, squeeze in some work even if it’s only 8 or 10 minutes. Pick one thing that you feel like doing at that time or is critical for you to get done. Your goal is not to work like this forever. When you’ve weathered the storm, you’ll get back to your regular routine.
Life is very demanding and even more so during a crisis. You need proper fuel, rest, and support to handle the physical and mental stress that you endure. As a business owner, the weight is on your shoulder yet it’s ok to permit yourself to:
- Decide what matters
- Scale back
- Rest and refuel
Stay Focused On Your Tasks
When something important interrupts your life, it’s easy to develop tunnel vision. Before you know it, your whole life is disrupted.
- Prioritize and delegate
- Use your support system
- Stay in the moment, what needs to get done now
For self-employed business owners coping in a time of crisis is critical to maintaining the resources to recover and ultimately thrive. Preparing in advance can make coping easier.
I was recently reflecting on some coaching conversations and thinking about vectors. Let me explain:
In math and physics, a vector is a quantity having direction as well as magnitude, especially as determining the position of one point in space relative to another.
If a pilot makes the slightest one-degree error in the aircraft’s flight path, after traveling one mile the plane will be off the course by 92 feet. And after going 60 miles, that error adds up to being a mile off the path.
A minor off course adjustment over time and distance magnifies the error. If a pilot were flying from New York to L.A. a one-degree shift in the flight path over the entire course would put the plane 40 miles to the South in Orange County at SNA not Los Angeles at LAX.
“The secret of your success is found in your daily routine. You alone are responsible for what you do, don’t do, or how you respond to what’s done to you.” Darren Hardy, The Compound Effect
I work with a lot of entrepreneurs, and many times they call with a complete overall idea – overwhelmed and burned out – yet many times it’s just the 1-degree change that compounds over time. Yes? Who can relate?
The compound effect, it works both ways. What small course correction can you make this week?