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Sunday, March 17, 2013

There's more to it than the numbers

I hear the phrase, "It's all in the numbers", often when agents are discussing real estate. It’s all in the numbers – you need so many suspects to get so many prospects in order to get so many clients, so that you can get so many listings or buyers, so that you can close enough deals to make so much money. Numbers, numbers, numbers.

While I understand the mathematical logic of that argument, it has always gritted a bit on me; because I believe that it’s really “all in the people.” I’m just not comfortable with a philosophy that basically says if you get in front of enough people (no matter what your approach and people skills are) that a certain percentage will go with you and then a certain percentage of those client opportunities will turn into sales that you’ll make money off of. That ends up just looking at the people involved as numbers. I also believe it denigrates the role and people skills of the real estate practitioner by basically saying that any idiot who finds a way to get enough chances will somehow win.

Sure, I believe that you have to give yourself enough chances. You have to, through efforts of your own, get the opportunities to demonstrate enough people skills to be chosen to represent the owners and their property or the buyers. I also believe that if you limit yourself to some canned, “it’s all in the numbers” approach to what you do, that when you get those opportunities, you will, in fact, end up getting whatever small percentage of deals that fall out of that kind of thinking. Let’s be honest, many buyers and sellers end up choosing their Realtor for really stupid reasons. Many also end up regretting those choices.

So, if it’s not all in the numbers; what is the secret to success? I believe the answer has two components and the main one is how you define success. Those who define success only by more numbers – how much they earn from the sales – will likely never even consider the second component – how happy does the final outcome make the client and you? The funny thing is that the agents who focus more on that second component of success most often end up in the long run doing better on the first component. They end up with a constant stream of referral business that is built upon the foundation of making earlier clients happy and which brings in a constant revenue stream. Those who don’t focus upon that people aspect are constantly trying to keep that big, funnel-shaped new-prospect hopper full.

So is it all really a numbers game? No, it is and always will be a people game and the more you focus on that aspect – making your clients happy with the process and the product – the more you will be successful. After a while you won’t have to worry about the numbers, because the numbers will come to you. And the best part is that you will also feel good about what you do and how you do it. Now that’s my definition of real success – doing something that you like and enjoy and making a living off of doing it.

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