I recently finished reading the New York Times Bestseller Essentialism:The Disciplined Pursuit of Less by Greg McKeown. If you haven’t picked up this read, I highly recommend you do! As busy as most real estate agents like you can get, it can be difficult to “get back to basics” and keep focus on only the most important things in your real estate business and personal life. This book is a great guide to show you exactly how to do that.
A Quick Summary of Essentialism
We have shared with you all the tools and best practices on how to run and market your real estate business. While these are all very essential things for your success, we can often lose sight of basic principles that can really accelerate success and maximize your time and effort. Essentialism gets you back to those basics by reminding you of key ways to pare down your business. It helps you to stop being “busy” and to be truly productive. It shows you how to re-focus and get back on track so you don’t waste valuable resources (time, money, effort) on the things in your real estate business that just don’t matter.
This book may be best summarized by highlighting some of the key takeaways. These are topics that you have likely explored already, but taken into the Essentialist approach that McKeown offers, it brings them all together in a powerful way that can make a difference in how you do business.
- The Power of Choice
- Understanding Trade-Offs
- Less but Better
- Take Care of Yourself
- Cut Out the Fat
- Create a Routine
How to Practice Essentialism as a Real Estate Agent
The beauty of this book is that you can apply each of its tenants to everyday life, but let’s look specifically at how you as a real estate agent can make it work.
The Power of Choice
Every day, you make choices that affect your real estate business, for better or for worse. The power of choice as an Essentialist practice comes down to understanding that you have many things you feel that you have to do but that you have the ability to choose what makes sense for you and your business.
In real estate, you are presented with numerous choices every day, especially with clients, that you feel forced to make. It could be with pricing a house a certain way or how to market a property. Maybe someone at the office has asked you to do a training for new agents even though you don’t have the time. Feeling obligated to make a decision against what you know is right for you or opting into a situation that will not yield a larger benefit for your business allows others to take control of your time and talent and, ultimately, your success.
When you do make a choice, it often means that you must give something else up. Making decisions is easier if you accept that truth.
If you have a very specific budget for advertising, for example, and have six different options to advertise your real estate business, then it may be tempting to put your spend into every vehicle because it “covers your bases.” Deciding on just one or two types of advertising allows you to create more quality campaigns and to more easily manage and monitor those efforts.
Trade-offs can be as subtle as how you brand your business. You might see a few different hot neighborhoods, types of properties or demographics in your area. If you try to cater to every one of them, then you risk diluting messaging about your strengths as a real estate agent and who you are.
Defining your particular brand around a specific area and/or demographic may diminish your potential reach. However, you can bet that people will connect more often and more meaningfully with you if they knew you were the go-to person for luxury condos or that you work successfully with baby boomers. Having laser focus also helps streamline your messaging, your marketing and your lead generation efforts.
Less but Better
This is where the 80/20 rule comes into play. We’ve all heard that 80 percent of success in any business, even real estate, comes from 20 percent of your effort. Identifying what that 20 percent is that you do to be successful can help eliminate wasted marketing efforts, lead generation and conversion tactics.
Take a little time to explore that 20 percent and work to maximize your efforts in those areas. The idea of “less but better” helps you focus on only the activities and ideas that bring you the most success with the least amount of effort or spend.
Take Care of Yourself
You only have so many hours in the day. You may think that every waking moment needs to be spent on any and every activity to boost your business. While it is important, of course, taking care of the most important asset you have (yourself) is worth more for your business. Exercising, planning time with family, getting enough sleep and taking some much needed solitude are all practices that should not be overlooked for real success.
More so, committing yourself to these important aspects of life is what will re-energize you and help you think about your real estate business with a clearer mind and a more enlightened focus. Think of it again as a trade-off: time you spend on yourself is time away from work but the return is much greater.
Cut Out the Fat
This is perhaps one of my favorite parts of Essentialism. Cutting out the fat means saying no artfully, setting healthy boundaries and getting back to the vision of your real estate business.
You might find that you are often pulled in many directions as a real estate agent. It feels hard to avoid because you are the business. But recognizing opportunities that are the most essential and that will really help your business flourish can eliminate a lot of what won’t doesn’t truly affect your bottom line.
Clients can often take advantage of your time by asking you to do things that will bring little success but require a ton of effort. Stop and think about whether it makes sense and find the will to say no, then offer an alternative that does make sense.
It’s always tempting to answer the phone with every ring. However, being “on” 24/7 can quickly become overwhelming and paralyze you from stress. Find systems or technology that will keep your leads or clients engaged and feel taken care of. Hire someone or a service to help relieve some of those calls. If you feel as if a system you have in place is not working as you expected, don’t feel guilty because you invested time and money into it. Take a moment to re-evaluate its worth and either eliminate the system or start over.
Create a Routine
Once you know what systems and practices work best for your real estate business, incorporate them into a daily, weekly or monthly routine that you and your team can follow. Have small goals that you can accomplish to inch you closer to your bigger goals. If you know that following up on a lead with an email, two phone calls and a letter yields you the most success, then make sure you do that with every lead on a specific schedule that has worked so nothing falls through the cracks. If you take a look at your marketing plan and see that only two out of five different tactics lead to the most listings, keep doing those things and make them a regular investment of your time and effort.
Last Words on Essentialism
It’s not often easy to change your mindset after years and years of doing business the way you have. An investment of time toward eliminating what doesn’t work, establishing and practicing ways to continually evaluate that and committing to a routine around those activities will help you take more control over the success of your real estate business. Keep focus on what really matters, professionally and personally, and don’t give up even though it seems hard. With time, it will become a lot easier to see the forest for the trees and to get your business back on track.