Getting Out of the Bunker

You might have heard that the economy has been challenging for real estate professionals for a while now. The media (both traditional and social) inundates us with news of economic woes, short sales, foreclosures, joblessness and the challenges of being in the real estate industry. We see people leaving the business because its become too challenging, and seeking jobs which may be less rewarding both financially and emotionally, but have some stability to them.

Business is War

In 1993 Fast Company’s Mark Fuller said “Business in the New Economy is a civilized version of war. Companies, not countries, are battlefield rivals.” Today the economy, as well as our business rivals seems to be our enemy, but there is nothing you can do about it except quit or work had to triumph. And when you make the choice, that old saw “Quitters never win and Winners never Quit” comes firmly to mind.  But you do choose who you get to be in your scenario.

Stop Being Defensive

Its not surprising that in many instances people feel besieged in this war by their “sea of troubles” and end up by creating business strategies that are reactive rather than proactive. That leads us to adopting a “bunker mentality” which is defined by the American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language as follows.

bunker mentality, noun

An attitude of extreme defensiveness and self-justification based on an often exaggerated sense of being under persistent attack from others.

In this case, the others are the economic events that pervade our consciousness, but we still end up in the defensive mind set found by soldiers who huddle in a fortified bunker, waiting for an attack to end so they may go on with their lives. We think about maintaining business rather than growing business and we avoid change for fear of making a mistake that will lose the battle for us.

So let’s go back to Shakespeare for a moment and a quick paraphrase

To succeed or not to succeed. That is the question.
Whether ’tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing end them.

I know that the market throughout the country is challenging – more so in some parts of the country than others – but it is clear to me that the only way to thrive in these circumstances is to get out of your bunker – take arms against the sea of trouble and vanquish them by going on the offensive in your market. Try new marketing methods, do more of what works, and stop doing what isn’t returning results for you. Sure you’ll make mistakes, but if you are sensitive to the changes in your business, when you make a mistake you can immediately change course and try something new.

Take charge of Your Business

Every marketplace has similarities and differences and I don’t want to assume that I know yours. But I do know that if you take charge and make changes you’ll get results – some good and some bad, but each one cam be a learning experience.  And some of them are very basic.
Need more buyers? – maybe you need to rethink floor time, open houses, calling  past clients to see if they have friends who might be looking for a home, or reaching out to investors you worked with before. How about Home Buyer  tweet-ups, or Webinars, or meet ups at the local Starbucks to talk about your Market statistics?

Need more sellers? Never called FSBO’s and expireds? Now would be a great time to do that since they face the same challenges you do without the knowledge and  tools you have available to you .

Need to get your current inventory sold? Ask for price reductions every two weeks , and fire sellers who don’t want to sell badly enough to do it ant the price their home is worth.  If your properties aren’t attracting leads on the Internet, review the photos, the description or the price. To paraphrase my good friend Brian Copeland., “The first time your home is shown is on the Internet, and we want to make sure the showing goes well”

There may not be any “magic bullets” – I know that the last three recessions I endured didn’t have any, but those people who go back to basics and work hard will not only survive this market but will thrive.
But in any case, get out of your bunker and start winning your personal war.

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