Hi again, Travis Thom here. As we work through these Top Mistakes I hope you are finding the exercises, or Course Homework, helpful. As I mentioned yesterday, I’ve felt the pain of making these mistakes and it wasn’t until I evaluated why I was making them that I was able to redirect my energy in to making my business more profitable. The ol’ saying “work smarter, not harder” became somewhat of a professional mantra for me because, as we all know, our time is very valuable.
Today, I will be introducing you to Jack Master. Jack used to be a very good friend of mine and when I run in to him these days I sprint the other direction. Maybe you’ve heard of him or met him before? Jack of all trades. Master of none. Yes. That guy. Unfortunately, Jack Master is very well known in our industry. You see, Real Estate can sometimes feel like a hard-and-fast scramble to generate as much business as possible, even if the listings and buyers we generate completely lack consistency. I know what you might be thinking: “but consistent business is good, right?” Well, actually, it depends. I’ll explain what I really mean by consistency and why it is absolutely vital to the health and long term success of your business.
Ok, I’ll dive right in.
Here is the second of the Top 3 mistakes that I made, experienced, and witnessed first hand.
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In 2002 I was working with a client, a Seller, who specialized in commercial investment properties. As one of my first major clients not only did I work extremely hard to stay in his favor and impress him but he was also instrumental in helping shape the path of my career by asking me a very simple question:
“Are you trying to be everything to everyone or just get out of the business faster?”
At first, I didn’t understand what he meant but as I looked at the business I was doing in that moment it became very clear: I lacked focus. At the time of the conversation I had 3 transactions pending that still, to this day, stand out to me as examples of just how chaotic my time was truly being spent. I’m sure you will easily be able to identify my lack of direction, here. These were my transactions:
Oh, and a handful of buyers looking for property types I only pretended to understand and be an expert in.
It didn’t take an expert to see I lacked a clear market focus, or niche, and as a result I was most definitely not an expert at anything specific (yet). I was Mr. Jack of all trades, Master of none and my client, who had the 12,000 sqft of commercial offices, knew exactly what to say to help me redefine who I wanted to be as a Real Estate Professional.
While my closings were consistent, and I was making enough money to continue working for myself, I found that I was spending far more time than I should trying to be the “expert” for each of my highly unique clients and I realized I was never truly giving them the service I knew I was capable of. My commercial client’s comment was more advice, than a it was a question, and I quickly understood I had to develop a consistent market niche or I would continue being spread too thin while trying to be everything to everyone. I was never going to get ahead in any one market specialty and the longer I spun my wheels the longer I was missing out on developing a truly successful business.
When you find that niche that clicks with you as a professional it’s a very good feeling. It allows you the ability to dive deeper and learn every aspect of it until you truly become the expert. Having an expert knowledge base about a specific market genuinely earns your the respect of your clients, future clients, and most importantly yourself.
Once you have chosen it, you’ll find it’s much easier to get clients and people will begin to seek you out. Become your specific market celebrity. For example, I bet you can name at least one or two fellow Real Estate Agents who are currently regarded as experts in a specific market in your city (i.e. luxury homes, new construction, neighborhood specialist, etc). Become the next big market celebrity and make yourself as widely known as the expert. By narrowing your focus from Jack of all trades, Master of none your business will absolutely flourish and your time will be far more productive.
Your self promotion and marketing should be focused on your market specialty, not a shot gun approach to see what sticks. Agents who are highly successful have a laser guided scope focused on their market area or niche that specially targets those clients that are exactly the right fit. Do this, and you won’t have to worry about convincing your clients you are the right choice.
After my client asked me if I was trying to be everything to everyone I spent the next 9 years almost entirely focused on multi-unit condominium and townhouse developments. My company’s name became synonymous with this building type and the neighborhoods I focused on. As a result of this focus, I listed and sold over 80% of the condos and townhouses in these areas. I no longer had to pretend to understand a property type – I became the property type, and my truly deep understanding of my listings propelled my business through the glass ceiling I was previously stuck under.
The moral of the story? Say good-bye to Jack Master and hello to the new you.
Tomorrow I will go over Top Mistake Number 3 so be sure to look out for that email.