We, as real estate professionals, (Sales Agents, Brokers, and San Antonio Property Managers) have the ultimate responsibility to control our time and how we expense it back to our clients and customers. We are the owners of our time, and it is our responsibility to control our time. The responsibility to control our time is our responsibility alone. It rests on no one else. Being strong in our time management skills can mean the difference between success and failure in real estate sales. Unfortunately, we have three strikes against us before we start.
The general public has little or no respect for us generally. The general public does not understand what we really do. Most people think that if they call or page us we should return their call within minutes and drop everything to show them a home or meet with them at a property we manage. They think we should show them our listing at any time of the day or night, even if they have no intentions of buying or renting.
My belief is that I am not obligated to fulfill any unreasonable requests. I am not obligated to take time away from my family to show potential buyers a house or meet with the management client because they want to see it now. Because people want something, does not mean they can have it. If most people called their doctor and wanted to see the doctor right now, they could not. Why should we REALTORS® be treated any differently than doctors, lawyers, and accountants? If the prospect or client on the other end of the phone has no respect for your time, that prospect will not have respect for the other parts of your service as well. He also will not have respect for you as a person. If a prospect has little respect for you, his attitude will not change when he becomes a client.
You must earn a level of respect for your time on the first call, whether you call the client, or the client calls you. You must set the tone that my time is valuable, and if I am going to give you, the client, some of my time I expect to be paid. I am making an investment of my time with that.
How many times have you called an attorney or your accountant to ask a few quick questions and you are billed for 15 minutes to 30 minutes of time? You will receive a statement almost every time. Rarely do attorneys not start the meter when they pick up the phone. Of course they do, because the caller is buying their knowledge and their time. Why should we as real estate professionals be different?
I know I provide as much value as my attorney or CPA, do you? What do you make per hour? Do you know that number? If you do not, you should. To figure out your hourly wage, take your gross commission dollars earned and divide that figure by the number you worked in a year. Remember to count all the hours. The answer will give you what you earn per hour. Focus on doing the activities that pay you what you are worth per hour. Only a few activities that we do allow us to be highly paid.
We help perpetuate the problem by not controlling our clients. There are too many Agents who are available 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. There is no other profession whose individual members are on-call 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Yet, we seem proud that we are there for our clients at all times. Our clients do not work a schedule like that in their jobs, why should we? Take back your family time. Inform your clients of your days and evening off and stick to your schedule. Do you really want to do business with someone who does not want you to have days off or family time? It is solely up to you to set a clear standard.
As real estate professionals, we need to stop the practice of 24 hours a day, 7 days per week. We need to stand firm and say, “No more.” Even my wife’s OB doctor has days off and may not be there for our child’s delivery. He explained many years ago that fact very clearly to us up front. To be honest, I thought nothing of it. He is willing to risk not being at our beck and call at the appointed hour. Why shouldn’t we adopt the same practice as real estate professionals?
Some of us are independent contractors. We get to do what we want and when we want to do it. I have observed some of the work habits of my colleagues. It is not a mystery to me why many of my colleagues do not make any money. It seems to be the grand mystery for them some reason, but not to me. If many Agents in the business left real estate sales for another sales job, they would not last a week. Some of these real estate professionals have sold real estate for ten to twenty years, and they will tell you so. If you want to make any money, you must treat yourself and your career with respect. Show up at the office at the same time every day. Complete your workday at the end of the day. Do not regularly take a two-hour lunch break. Treat this career as a real job or a real career. Your clients are counting on you to do so. If you have that philosophy, you cannot help being successful. I have never seen an Agent who came in early and put in a full day’s work who was not successful. Remember that no one will help you develop the time management disciplines you need but yourself.