What methods do you use to generate leads and to build your business?  How do you plan to grow?  Is the answer by doing the same thing, but just more of it?

Brute Force

Most real estate agents use the brute force method to build their business.  What is brute force?  Well, my definition of brute force is doing the same time consuming things, but doing more of it.

For example, maybe you cold call 10 people per day.  Using brute force, you would start to cold call 15 people per day to grow your business.  One year from now, you will probably have more business.  But is the extra time you put into it using “brute force” worth it?  Or do you think you will burn out or get frustrated before you enjoy the fruits of your effort?

I get tired just thinking about just doing “more” of the same work.  So let me tell you a story.

Back in high school, I ran cross country in the fall and indoor track in the winter*.  I loved the competition, and I got fast enough to where I actually won a cross country meet my senior year.  (*I also played baseball in the Spring, but that’s not relevant to the story.)

When I was in college, I ran to burn off the stress from classes and studying.  That’s when I actually started to enjoy running.

I still run today.  These days I run to enjoy the outdoors, to stay healthy, and because I just feel better after a good run.  And when I go out with my friends on Friday night, I tell them “I run so I can drink.”

A couple of years ago, I had a few major changes in my life.  Those included getting married, which involved the time consuming planning of a wedding, and moving across the country, which involved packing, unpacking, repacking, unpacking, and getting resettled.  Add a few other things on my to-do list, and running wasn’t so much of a priority anymore.  I still ran occasionally, but I also got much slower and about 25 pounds heavier during that time.

That was both frustrating to me and a wake up call.  It was time to get serious, kind of.

So I started running more regularly.  My first runs were short and slow, for me at least.  In my prime, I was going out on 6 to 10 mile runs, at pace of about 7:30 minutes/mile.  But when I decided to get back into running, it took me 2 days to recover from a 3 miler that I ran at a 8:45 minutes/mile pace.

As a lifelong runner, I was disgusted with myself.  So one day, I decided to really push myself.  I went on a 10 mile run.  I was going to force myself into shape.  It was tough.  It was slow.  And I strained my calf that took me 3 months to recover from.

What’s the moral of this story?  Does it even have a purpose?

The moral is that I tried to get back into good running shape with brute force.  Although I was a runner, I went out for a run that was just too long for me.  My brute force method resulted in me getting injured, and sidelined me for 3 months.

The same can happen when using brute force for generating leads.  Although it might sound like a good idea to just push yourself harder, you could get burned out very quickly.  It won’t be an injury that sidelines you, but it will probably be something else.

Smarter not harder

Most real estate agents don’t have their own business website, despite the effort of all the website sales people that real estate agents constantly hear from.

But why?

The answers that I hear most frequently from Realtors are:

  • “I know I need a website, but I just don’t have time.”
  • “I know I need a website, but I can’t afford to pay for one more thing.”
  • “I know I need a website, but I don’t want to update it with my listings.”

Did you notice something about all of those responses?  They each started with “I know I need a website, but…”

Real estate agents know that having a website is smarter.  But they all have an excuse not to get one, and instead opt for some brute force method.

Peer into the future

Picture yourself a year from now.

Imagine over the course of the year, you were doing the same exact methods to generate leads and build your business as you are today.  How enjoyable are those tasks?  What would your business look like?  Would it be considerably different than it is today?  That’s a pretty realistic future, right?

Now imagine that you got a website today.  In addition to everything that you do today to generate leads and build your business, you also spend just 2 hours per week writing content for your website over the course of the next year.  You write about the communities you serve.  You let your personality show in your writing.  Assume that you posted some content every other week (assuming a good post took 4 hours to write).  A year from now you would have 26 posts of well written content.

With 26 pieces of content written about your real estate market, your communities, and other information your clients and leads find valuable, what would your business look like a year from now?  Would it be considerably different than it is today?  That can also be a realistic future.

Almost everyone can spare an extra 2 hours per week.  Instead of watching Netflix on Tuesday night, you spend that time to write.  Or while driving to work, you record a voice memo on your phone and transcribe it when you get home.  Or instead of going out to lunch 2 days a week, you bring lunch from home and write during that time.  There are many ways to gain 2 extra hours per week.

Still not convinced?  How about looking back in the past to one year ago from today.  Picture that you got a website that day one year ago.  Is there something that you could have done over the past year to set aside 2 hours per week so you could write instead?  You certainly weren’t maximizing every moment of your time for an entire year!

Where do you think your business would be today if you had a personal website with 26 pieces of valuable content?  Do you think you would have leads coming to you?  Do you think your communities would view you as a local authority?

My running injury was 9 months ago.

My calf had fully recovered 3 months after being injured.  I came to the realization that my body was much older than it was in college.  I decided to do more realistic distances for my age.

So I went out for runs of shorter distances that my body could handle (3 miles).  I went to the gym on days I wasn’t running.  I started out slow and easy, but I made sure to run on a regular schedule.

After a run one day 6 months after I started this schedule, I realized I felt really good.  Not sore or even very tired.  Then I looked at the running app on my phone and something dawned on me.

I had been running at least 6 miles every time I went out, which was twice the distance of when I started.  I didn’t even realize I had increased my distance over the last 6 months.

I was also running at a 7:45 minute/mile pace.  I didn’t even realize that I had gotten an entire minute faster per mile than I was 6 months ago.  A minute per mile is huge!

But the real surprise was that I had dropped 20 pounds in just 6 months!

What’s the moral of this story?  Does it even have a purpose?  It certainly does have a moral and a purpose!

I had almost given up running completely due to frustration from my brute force method of getting back into running shape.  But instead of giving up, I decided to start back running a manageable distance at a manageable pace.

All of the small amounts of effort that I put in on a regular schedule made me faster, healthier, and in better shape just 6 months later.

Final Thoughts

Although most real estate agents get overwhelmed by the thought of getting a website and writing content for it, just putting in a little bit of effort each week will add up quickly.  The effort will get easier and faster.  A year from now, the pay off will be huge!

And when you have a website a year from now with 26 pieces of local content, it will dawn on you how much more business you have generated with little extra effort on your part.

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