How to Control Email and Cell Phone Disruptions in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

One of the biggest problems in the commercial real estate industry is that of agents allowing too much accessibility.  Sometimes we are just too ‘accessible’, and others (particularly clients, team leaders, peers, and administrative staff) can get to us easily and directly with their diversions, priorities and ideas.  So who is in charge here when it comes to your business?  It’s time to set some rules.

This problem of ‘accessibility’ has to be controlled if you want to build a better real estate business.  It pays for you to switch of your email and mobile phone for at least 2 hours per day as you work on top priority issues.  The only exception to the ‘switch off’ rule would be when a deal is active and needs closure on a critical point.

With modern communications it pays to be selective in what you do with your time, and how you respond to requests for action.  An instant response to some things is not generally required.

Avoid Diversions

What are the common ‘diversions’ that people throw at us?  Try some of these:

  • The team leader wants to meet on unimportant team related things
  • A client wants to talk to you about recent property enquiry
  • A unqualified call has come in off a signboard or advertisement
  • Emails constantly coming off property advertisements
  • Team and client emails are coming at you all day on your mobile telephone and computer
  • You are being asked to work with or mentor other team members
  • You are copied in on just about every email issue that’s active in the business
  • A team member wants to ‘seek your comment’ on their activities and results
  • You have to proof read or check off documents and advertisements

Time and Task Focus

Here are some valuable ‘time and task rules’ for commercial real estate brokers and agents to help solve these problems:

  1. Move unimportant emails to a quiet time of day when you can read them over a coffee and when you can focus on the real messages and issues.
  2. Put delegation folders in your computer system where you can pass things to others.
  3. Put priority folders in your email system so things can be actioned depending on importance.
  4. Check your emails before the business day for urgent issues and don’t look again at any emails until around noon.
  5. Prioritize your calls, emails, and meetings so you are only reacting to the important things.
  6. Turn your mobile telephone off for the first 2 or 3 hours of every day so you can get to the important things such as prospecting.
  7. Know who your VIP clients are and set them with a special ring tone on your cell phone.

Given all of these things learn to selectively control your commercial real estate business and be prepared to say ‘no’ on issues that have little or no impact on what you do as an agent and where you are headed.

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