You will learn to leverage your systems, the operations you delegate to other people like bookkeeping and even some marketing tasks. I’m always in charge of my marketing. I’m the idea guy but I don’t have to execute all the marketing tasks. I have people do that for me. But I do all the learning and researching to come up with the marketing ideas. I’m the visionary. That’s where you want to be.
I also maintain control of the purse strings. When you’re growing, it’s very easy to delegate things you shouldn’t be delegating. There’s a distinction here you should keep in mind: keep the control, but delegate the responsibility. Delegate the responsibility to execute tasks but keep the control of determining what tasks need to be executed.
The two areas you never completely give up control or personal involvement in should be your marketing/advertising and your income/expenses. You need to know every day what income came in and what expenses went you. You need to know your balance every single day. You also need to know what your current marketing strategy is and what you’re doing to improve it. You need to test it the next day, next week, and next month. Always have one eye on today, one eye on tomorrow.
When you do that with your marketing, you’ll be successful. You constantly need to learn what works and doesn’t work with your marketing.
If you’re the Agent who has already been spending years working with owner-occupants, this may take your time to develop and maintain these habits successfully. You need to learn when to put your owner-occupant hat on and know when to take it off. When to put your Investor hat on, and when to switch back and forth.
When you master this trick, when you learn to switch between the two rules of engagement, you will be successful. Here’s the deal: I actually built the far more owner-occupied business by working with Investors than I ever did working with solely owner-occupants. That was a very slow, tedious, grueling process. What I later realized was the more Investor clients I got, the more owner-occupant deals I closed. All of those Investors lived in houses. They all wanted to buy and sell their own personal homes.
A lot of the tenants wanted to buy homes, too. Eventually, I got a lot of owner-occupied business just by working with Investors. It may sound counter-intuitive but I used one aspect of the business to leverage another. While 95% of other Agents struggle daily to carve out a single piece of the pie working with only owner-occupants, you can have the whole pie.
When working with Investors, it gets easier and easier over time. They become more educated, they become more sophisticated, they become more experienced. They eventually do more of the work themselves. They do more of the financial analysis. They’ll do drive-bys, do all the physical analysis. As a result, any time an Investor approaches me and wants me to do all the work for them, I take it upon myself to educate them first. If they don’t want to be educated, I fire them. I’ll refer them to somebody else for another company and let someone else suffer through all that pain.
I have always committed to earning a minimum commission. In the old days, it was $2000. In some markets, that might not be enough. Perhaps $4000 would be a better standard minimum commission. I can’t say what would make it worth your while.
I know a lot of people who charge $3000 minimum commission. The reason this becomes important is if you’re in a low price market like certain parts of the Carolinas and Georgia or certain parts of Texas. You may find yourself working with transactions that are low priced. I would prefer to see you working with nothing less than $100,000. The average commission for that would be about $3000.
That’s why I always say my minimum is $3000. I didn’t do that until after I had it at $2000 for a while. I realized, “Hey, I bet I can command a $3000 minimum and it will still work.” It did. The good news is most of my commissions were well above that so I didn’t have to enforce the rule often. When do you need to enforce it? When you have your client sign the buyer agent agreement. That’s when you force that rule.
Another thing that’s very important when working with Investors is establishing your schedule. Every Wednesday of every week, I send my active buyers my schedule for the following week. What time slots I’ll have available. I tell them first come, first serve. It works like a charm. Not only do they respond to the sense of urgency and the degree of scarcity implied, but they get conditioned to operate on my rules, not theirs.
Think about most buyers. They want work based on their time. I tell them in advance, “Here are four, five, or six-time slots. Surely you can find a time slot that’s agreeable to you.”
If you do it that way, my friends, I promise you too will do 110 transactions in a year whether you have assistance or not. Because you’ll be doing it on your own terms.
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