Importance of Time Management in Commercial Real Estate Brokerage

I had coffee with a commercial real estate friend recently.  We were talking about lack of time for agents and brokers, and too much work to do in a business day.  It is worth sharing our conversation.  It might help your ideas about time and how you run your diary as an agent or broker.

Have you ever reached the end of a working day and felt that you have achieved very little?  Has the clutter of ‘must do’ agency issues overtaken all of your good intentions and daily planning?  Read on for some solutions.

Here are some facts that Brian and I were talking about.  I am sure you can relate to these:

  • In most parts of our industry there are plenty of things to do.  When you look at an average day, you have prospecting, marketing, negotiation, inspections, documentation, client contact, and deals to progress.  What do you do first?
  • Small simple things such as property inspections invariably take too much time and drag out well beyond the allocated time to complete.  From that point onwards the rest of the day that was well planned is now out of control.
  • Active deals are so important and still need to be completed.  If you do that each day, you have no time for prospecting.  What should you do first?
  • What do you do when a client wants to talk to you?  Are you available?  If you have a good number of listings you will know that they all need marketing work.  The clients also need some of your time.

The thing to remember here is that these are all standard issues; everyone has them in our industry.  How you handle them will ‘make or break’ your career momentum.

Here is an important fact that you may find useful.  Read it a couple of times and I think you will get the clear message:

‘The degree that you believe that you are in control as an agent or broker will be the degree to which you will be successful.’

Read the sentence again and I think you will agree with its logic.  If you believe you have things under control, it is easy for you to get traction and build results with listings and commissions.  Success is an internal thing and personal control helps you grow success and results in commissions and listings.  So what’s the message?  Get yourself under control; use your skills and disciplines to achieve that.

Remove the Pressure

When you try to do too many things as a broker or agent in a working day, something has to give and ‘control’ is the first thing to go out the door.  An ‘out of control agent’ is a recipe for business damage, negligence, and mistakes.  A liability law suit could then just be around the corner; not good for you or anyone else.

Show me a ‘top agent’ and I will show you someone that really has things working to a very simple system.  Here are some ideas from ‘top agent friends’ to help you with solving this work focus and business challenge:

  1. Simplify your day.  ‘Less is more’ when you want results in brokerage.  Only set a target of doing 3 or 4 things in a day and choose the most important ones as part of that.  Everything else can go on the ‘random action’ list for actioning when you have time.
  2. Most things will take twice as much time as you expect.  If you allocate 45 minutes for an inspection, double it.
  3. Only book up 1/3rd of your day in advance.  That 1/3rd is non-negotiable and key things have to be done in that time.  It should be the same time frame each day.  Most top agent’s prospect in that time.
  4. Don’t let the ordinary tasks take over your day.  The most important things are to be done first; normally that will be prospecting for two hours.  When you have completed your ‘priority tasks’ such as prospecting, then you can get on with inspections, client contact, negotiations, and documentation, marketing, and team meetings.
  5. You should be the one to control your diary.  Don’t let others make bookings for you.  They have no idea about your priorities and focus.  Don’t chase around after other peoples bookings and timetables.  Set your own.
  6. Make notes. Write ordinary things down for attention at the end of the day when time is less intense.
  7. Watch out for the big time wasters such as emails and mobile telephone calls.  Only respond to them twice a day or when time permits after your key issues are attended to.
  8. Shift time wasting meetings to early or late in the day.  Ensure that you keep time wasting meetings to a very short duration.  The same should be said for ‘team meetings’.   Don’t let someone else’s request for a meeting impact your diary ‘prime time’ without a very good reason.

One important fact brings this all together.  Each night take the time to plan your next day in a simple ‘day book’ or diary.  Take your computer based diary entries from your smart phone or tablet, and write down in your ‘day book’ exactly what you are to be doing the next day and when.  Prioritize key issues.

This ‘written’ process is well known to be highly effective in business circles and certainly applies in commercial real estate brokerage.  It uses a method known as ‘RAS’ or ‘reticulation activation system’.  By you writing things down it helps you use the ‘reticular cortex’ of your brain to deal with work issues and pressures.  From that point onwards you are under ‘real control’ in your real estate business.

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