The decline in the housing market over the past two years has been hard on everyone, particularly real estate agents. When the market moves in one direction or another, it’s vital for agents to change the way they do business in accordance with the current market. Shift, by Keller, Papasan, and Jenks, teaches us their philosophy on the changes we need to make in our business for continued success. This is the same group that brought us The Millionaire Real Estate Agent, which I reviewed earlier in the year. While Millionaire focused on taking a good business to great, Shift teaches us how to change with the times, and streamline our businesses for today’s market.
As the market has shifted south, most agents have continued to do business as usual. A lot of these agents are seeing tremendous reductions in business, while their expenses somehow remain the same. Many agents have left the business altogether. A few agents, however, have taken the lead in changing the way they do business, and have positioned themselves for success, even during this extremely slow market. The changes, and systems, the currently successful agents are using are the same that Keller draws upon throughout Shift.
I was surprised by how useful I found this book to be. While I feel like I have heard most of the content of the book from one person or another, Shift brings it all together, and shows the reader how effective simple changes can be. It’s just a matter of convincing yourself, and your clients that the world just doesn’t work the way it used to. Keller breaks the process to success into twelve steps, each of which I feel would make any agent stronger. It’s like a business recovery program.
Throughout the twelve steps he mostly focuses on efficiency with both our time, and our money. For example, and we’ve all heard it before, only 1 – 2% of sales are coming from magazine ads, yet agents pump thousands of dollars a year into a form of marketing that fails 98% of the time. On one hand, this is the most costly form of marketing, and on the other, it’s the least effective. Does that sound like it makes sense? Is that the kind of marketing the most profitable companies in the world do? Keller would definitely say no. Along with using our money more efficiently, Shift teaches us that we must use our time more effectively as well. We no longer have the privilege of wasting time on tasks that don’t lead us directly towards our goals. We must take the time to determine what we do that is effective, and what isn’t effective. We must then rearrange our schedules to focus only on what is effective.
These are just brief examples of thought process behind Shift. I think that most agents will read this thinking, yeah, I‘ve heard that. But how many have actually made taken the advice they’ve previously received and made a change? Not too many, I’m guessing. To find the ones who have, I bet all you have to do is take a look at the sales numbers for any office. Those who are at the top have almost definitely found a way to work in the current market, and take advantage of the opportunities that are out there. Whether they’ve mastered FSBO’s, Short-Sales, Bank Owned, or just retooled their marketing to focus all their energy into what is actually working, it’s certain they have changed the way they’ve done business from just a few short years ago, in order to be successful today.
When the market shifts, we must shift. Those who do can succeed. Shift will put you on the right course. While it won’t lay out every detail (these business books never do) it will certainly reinforce and clarify the ideas that you’ve been hearing so much recently. Sometimes a little motivation goes a long way. A change in mindset, knowing that things can be done better, is the first thing you need to do, and picking up a copy of Shift is the second.
I’ll leave you with my favorite quote from the book:
Money talks, and often says, “Goodbye.”