Welcome to our monthly feature, Close-ing Time – in partnership with TheClose.com.
As a real estate agent time is your most valuable commodity. You need to plan your time to maximize running your real estate business. In this episode, Chris emphasizes different time management strategies and best practices to help plan your days. Chris and D.J. also shares some of their favorite pieces of technology for more effective time management.
If you’d prefer to watch this interview, click here to view on YouTube!
Chris Linsell can be reached at email@example.com.
D.J. Paris 0:00
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Welcome to keeping your real the largest podcast made by real estate agents and for real estate agents. My name is DJ Paris and I am your guide and host through the show, and today is our monthly series titled closing time with Chris Lynn sell from the close. Now this is a partnership between keeping it real and the closed.com. And let me tell you about the close. Now the close.com is the kind of real estate website designed to give agents teams and brokerages actionable strategic insight from industry professionals. They cover real estate marketing, lead generation technology and team building strategies. From the perspective of working agents and brokers who want to take their business to the next level, please visit the closed.com That’s th e c l o s e.com And subscribe to their newsletter so you can get notified every time they publish an article now with us as always is crystal and Sal. He is a staff writer and a real estate coach for the close. Now Chris is the closest residents expert on real estate topics ranging from marketing lead gen transactional best practices and everything in between. He’s a licensed agent in the state of Michigan. Chris has been part of a hundreds of real estate transactions from modest rural starter homes to massive waterside compounds. When he isn’t writing you’ll find Chris fly fishing or performing on the stage in his communities theater sorry of his community theaters production, although I guess obviously those that might be put on hold or virtual productions right now. Chris, welcome once again to keeping it real. We’re excited as always to have you. Thanks, DJ. Yeah, spending more time in the river and less time on the stage. But that’s, that’s fine. Either way I’m getting I’m getting a mental kind of vacation. Every once in a while. I’ve heard that phishing is become more popular as a result of COVID Are you seeing more more Fisher people out there? You know, maybe, but honestly, I I’m like, you know, don’t don’t even ask I’m not giving away my secret spots. I go deep, I go deep into the woods. And truthfully, I love catching fish. But that’s kind of a bonus for me. I want to be out by myself standing in the water connecting with with nature and you know, with my cell phone in the car and and nobody talking to me. So if the fish come, that’s great. And I’m trying to get further far enough out into the woods that I would have a hard time finding people even if I wanted to at this point. So so so no music are you there? Just Are you listening to anything while you’re there? Or are you totally just one with nature totally disconnected. I don’t I don’t bring anything with me. Much to my wife’s chagrin, I often will leave my phone in the car. Even so, so. Yeah, I mean, like you and like most people, honestly, I’ve got headphones in or,
Chris Linsell 3:45
you know, sitting in front of a screen, what feels like 16 hours a day. And so any opportunity I have to unplug from that and and get away from it. I definitely take
D.J. Paris 3:56
Yeah, well that’s a that’s smart. I have I don’t have a lawn because I live in a high rise building. But my friends who mow their yards I say how do you mow the yard without listening to to music or podcast and like that is they go that is my time to reconnect and get quiet and there is a great one of my favorite quotes. It’s by a mathematician. And I’m blanking on his name at the moment will come to me in a second. But Blaise Pascal he was actually also one of the sort of forefathers of computer programming even though this was well before there were anything known as computers. But he had a great quote that said he was a mathematician and he said something like all of man’s miseries derived from not being able to sit alone in a quiet room and think you know, which I I don’t do enough of but which is you know, probably part of the reason for the stress that I experienced I need to get quiet and and relax. But I also want to mention the clothes because for our listeners who are the uninitiated people who are hearing this for the first time. It’s a fantastic resource. It’s a great website. They the articles they write are long form articles, specifically designed for agents to grow their business. And you recently launched the clothes Pro. So the clothes.com is a free blog where you can read their articles, and now they have premium content as well. Do you mind sharing with our audience what the close Pro is?
Chris Linsell 5:23
Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve got the close Pro, as a great kind of augmentation of the things that we do every day on the clothes, if you go to the clothes.com, you’ll find a ton of like you said, fantastic content resources, strategies, really aimed specifically at real estate professionals. If you are a licensed real estate agent, or you want to become a licensed real estate agent, or you’re helping somebody who’s a licensed real estate agent, we’ve got stuff for you. If you want to take it to the next level, we’ve got the close Pro, at the close Pro, we’ve got things like a members only resource library where we have a ton of long form strategy guides, we have checklists, we have templates, we have scripts, we have the sorts of things that are going to take the tasks that you’re already executing on right now and make them easier and more efficient. Another thing we’ve got, there are courses I’ve written a course for the close called six simple systems to transform your real estate business. We’ve got another course there by a co coach of mine named Shawn Madre about surviving and thriving through any market, pretty appropriate for for right now. And we also do small group coaching calls free as a part of being a member of the close Pro, no additional cost to that just a closed pro member, you get to come every week, ask some questions, get some inspiration. Sorry for anybody who’s got young young listeners here, but I call this our Monday kickoff and kick ass call every every week we get together and really, you know, set our set our feet towards the right direction of the week. And this is where the clothes Pro is. You come you pay pay a monthly membership fee to be a part of of this and we we deliver to you every single month with tools that are going to power up your business.
D.J. Paris 7:21
And it’s remarkably inexpensive, they have different tiers. So you can head over if you can visit it at the go to the clothes.com. And then you’ll see a link for the clothes Pro. And there’s a two week free trial. So try it before you buy and no contracts kind of a cancel anytime scenario. So it’s really a sort of no lose situation, check it out. So so funny enough, I got on this call a few minutes late and Chris was kind enough to be patient while I was getting set up. And the reason I was late is we at our firm, we have two companies we are actively producing brokerage, which is about 700 brokers. And when I say brokers, that’s just real estate agents, we just call them Illinois, we call them brokers. Every state has a different sort of different nomenclature for what an agent is. So we have 700 agents in our actively producing firm. And then we have a holding company for agents that aren’t actively producing and we have about 500 agents. So total of 1200. And right now in Illinois, which is where we’re located. The continuing education and license renewals are due by the end of the month. And we have been running an audit to figure out who has who has and who has not completed their CEE being that there is too little well about three weeks left. And most of our about half of our agents have not yet completed. So we are doing this full court press to make sure everyone remembers to do their CEE and their their renewals. Now in your state. In all our listeners states, this might not you might not have this particular deadline. But in Illinois, every realtor has this deadline. And so I was a little bit stressed out because we’re trying to make sure everybody remembers because we have to terminate people if they don’t renew, because the State forces us to on October 1. And I was mentioning this to Chris and he let me rant about it for a minute or two. And they said oh, by the way, we have written an article just recently on the close so what we’ll post a link to this on our website, but it what it does is it lists some of the closes favorite online see, you know, websites, you know, we promote a lot of those same websites for our own agents, but it’s a great article and not only does it have some just good online nationwide see schools but it also talks about each each state and it has links for most states about how to get more information about what requirements you have for your own particular situation. So I’ll post that link for everyone on our keeping it real pic Facebook page, so please everyone find us on Facebook, which is facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod but it is an awesome article, great resource, really for any agent in the entire country just to get a sense of what’s the requirements they have in some good schools to choose from. So that’s the kind of content you get on the clothes and it’s totally free. How cool is that? So
Chris Linsell 10:07
yeah, totally, totally. And you know, one of the thing I’d say about this to DJ is that real estate professionals I know, I am certainly in this camps that don’t hear me at all speaking in a holier than thou by any any stretch. It’s it’s hard to prioritize stuff like CEE, especially when you’ve got 100 Other things that are right at the top of your mind, you’ve got fires burning, and literally, if you’re in California, it’s really it’s easy to not prioritize this, which is why giving yourself you know, a straight, you know, executable path towards success. By doing online, CEE is really the way to go. I mean, I know my life really changed for the better when I said, Oh, I can do all this online. And I can do this at like, 11 o’clock at night, if I feel like from my couch, while I’m, you know, watching the office or something like that. Like, these are options that just about every realtor in the United States has available to them, including those of you in Illinois, stop procrastinating, go to the article, find somebody who can give it to you get your stuff done, don’t let DJ fire you.
D.J. Paris 11:21
I don’t want to, you know, it’s funny, it’s actually, every every two years in Illinois, we have we had go through this and we as a company, we always freak out right around this time, because so many of our agents haven’t yet completed, their their CEE and or their renewal, and, or they do one and they don’t realize they have to do the other or vice versa. And it gets, it gets very complicated. Because, you know, the the systems that our state uses to renew are a bit antiquated, and not super user friendly. But I did my C earlier this year. And, and again, I was just able to get it done. And the whole thing, I think I was supposed to do 30, technically 30 hours, I did it online. And I think it was all together took me about two hours. So it’s not always is daunting. But we’d certainly recommend doing an online course. So we’ll send a link out to this article so that our listeners and viewers can can can check it out. It’s a really great, it’s probably the best article online about, you know, sort of all encompassing See, for for agents. So thanks for that. So let’s talk about time management. Because right now, the you know, it’s funny, so I was talking about our agents are having to renew, and right now is kind of the most difficult time for them to find time to do it. Because obviously, real estate activity is is very, very active. Here, in least here in the Chicagoland area rates are very low, inventory is low, but there’s a lot of buyers out there who are all competing with one another. And that means agents are busy. So time management, this is probably a perfect time to talk about how to how to run your business, and to have some sort of balance where you’re not completely neglecting certain parts of it because you’re busy.
Chris Linsell 13:08
Yeah. Oh, man. It’s the truth. Honestly, time management was such a stumbling block for me early in my excuse me early in my real estate career. And honestly, early as a professional time management was a real challenge for me, in in any job I had. And it wasn’t because I was a procrastinator. It wasn’t because I was lazy. It wasn’t because I was disinterested. It’s the opposite of all those things. It’s because I’m proactive, because I am passionate. And it’s because I want to work like these are. These are things I think people who struggle with time management sometimes get down on themselves, or miss, you know, Miss categorize themselves as someone who isn’t good at what they’re doing. And it’s usually the opposite. It’s usually that you’re so passionate about something that’s hard to keep all of your priorities straight. So getting a good time management strategy in place is really key. I’ve got a few tips that I’d love to share. I’d love to chat about with you, that I coach other real estate professionals on and I can tell you with, you know, absolute certainty, these are not things that I’ve read in a book, these are things that I learned through trial and fire, in addition to, you know, learning about them from other people, too. So what do you say you want to dig in on this with me?
D.J. Paris 14:35
I would love to because I need these tips myself. So I’m, I’ll be taking notes as as I’m listening.
Chris Linsell 14:41
Okay, well, great. So the first the first tip I have for folks is to just set expectations and to set expectations with everyone. This includes your colleagues, you know the people who depend on you for other things, especially if you’re on like a real estate team. To set realistic expectations for when you’re going to be delivering things, when you are going to show up at the office when you’re going to leave. And this, this works with your clients to, you know, set expectations for the sort of service that you want to provide, and meet and exceed those expectations. And the key here is setting them appropriately. Be thoughtful about what your your bandwidth is, in start by setting appropriate expectations, you’d be shocked at how much it matters to you that it’s done today, and how little it matters to, you know, your client that it’s not done tomorrow morning, you know, like, like, sometimes it matters much more to you that it’s done, then that matters to them. So figure out where those expectations are and set them appropriately. I mean, what do you think about that, like, I think expectations are challenging for real estate professionals in general.
D.J. Paris 16:06
They are because again, I’m speaking with respect to clients, clients, you know, the vast majority of clients are probably working a traditional nine to five job, they’re likely not as available to speak to an agent, even if they’re currently working in the middle of a transaction. They might be busy from nine to five, if they have a traditional, the traditional work hours. And then okay, so then from five to let’s say, 10, or 11, whatever time that client is still up, they have family responsibilities, but they probably also getting together with their family and saying, Oh, wait, we need we do have a question about this transaction, let’s reach out to our agent. And so all of a sudden, a text or an email might show up in an agent’s phone, you know, late late night, you know, let’s say it’s 10 o’clock. I’m not a producing agent. But what I would tell our agents and I want to hear your, your, your take on this because I just have a theory, you’ve actually put this into practice in your coaching, as well as your own business. I’m curious, I always tell our agents make sure before that text comes in, that the client understands what times you’re available to respond, and what the expectations should be, should they send a text message late at night, and how quickly you’ll get back to them. And I think that really should happen at the first meeting or right when you start working with a client say, hey, here are my hours, here’s my customer service policy. And you don’t have to get super formal about it. But just say, hey, if a text comes in after 9pm, there’s a good chance I might not see until the morning, in which case I promised to respond to you first thing, or just whatever your official policy is, I’m curious, do you get that granular with respect to you know, late night messages, because I know this happens a lot to our agents and just want to hear your thoughts on what to do.
Chris Linsell 17:50
Yeah, definitely, definitely get granular, I get down to that level, I even go as far. Honestly, as I don’t use my personal phone number with clients, I use a Google phone number that can send and receive text messages. As far as a client is concerned, they can’t tell the difference. The difference, though, is I can turn that off. And I can even set away messages with some of the new Google the Google Voice opportunities, so that like an auto responder so that if somebody is sending me a message at, you know, midnight, they’re gonna get something back from me. And it’s gonna say, I really value your communication. So excited to work on this with you. I get into the office at 8am You’re going to be the first person I talked to something like that. You know what I mean? Like, like, those sorts of things. People just want to know, you know, the person who’s sending you a text at 11 o’clock at night. It is rarely My house is on fire. I need you right now. It is often I’m thinking about something that I want to tell you before I forget, that person is not looking for your immediate response, that person is looking for an acknowledgement that you they’ve been heard. And so providing them with that using an automated process is absolutely the way to go. I mean, this is why we set away messages in our email when we go on vacation, because we want people to know that their message has been received, do the same thing with the rest of your communication to set those expectations appropriately. Really, really smart. Great
D.J. Paris 19:29
Chris Linsell 19:30
So my second set expectations, that’s number one, number two, delegate. You’ve got to delegate non essential tasks to people other than you and a mentor of mine early in my career, put it perfectly and I steal this from him. So Mike, thank you for thank you for your inspiration here. I’ve used it many, many times. He told me, Chris, everybody has got a b and c where If they’re a work is what they are born to do, it’s where they make their bread and butter, it’s where they are better than their competitors. This is where if we could pick this is where you would focus all your time, your B work is the work, it’s okay you don’t mind doing it. But it’s not really where your passion is. And it’s not really where you’re making money. And so even though you don’t love it, you kind of got to do it in order to support your a work. And then your C work is the work you hate doing is the work that sucks your will to live. It’s important, it’s got to get done. It’s putting stamps on the on the mailer envelopes, it’s checking to make sure the area codes are on all of the phone numbers in your CRM, it’s verifying the sale price from tax records on your farm area houses, it’s the sort of stuff that honestly that serial killers love doing. Okay? That’s the sort of stuff. I hate doing that. But if I, if that stuff didn’t get done, the mailers wouldn’t go out, my CRM would have inaccurate information. So the moral of the story is delegate, you’d be shocked at how many people maybe you wouldn’t actually, I bet a lot of people wouldn’t be shocked right now, there’s a lot of people who are looking for stuff to do, there’s a lot of people who are looking for ways to make money, not as a full time job. But as like a couple hours at a time here or there, you go to places like Fiverr, or Upwork. And you’re gonna find freelancers that live across the world and across the street, who are willing to do all of this stuff for you. And real estate professionals typically overlook the fact that you have a finite set of resources. And I don’t just mean money, I mean time, too. And so if you’re gonna manage your time, you kind of delegate out the tasks, spend some of your budget on freeing up time for yourself.
D.J. Paris 22:11
Yeah, it’s a great suggestion. So I have a couple of strategies here, Chris mentioned one. So so really identifying Chris mentioned your A, B, and C activities and figuring out a way to at the very minimum, getting the C’s off your plate for now, so that you can focus on the A tasks, maybe even pushing the beat tasks, if possible off, but a lot of our listeners might be saying, hey, you know, that’s just not in my budget right now. And I would agree that at first glance, it might appear to be something that’s quite costly, you know, I can’t afford an assistant. But Chris mount up a really good point, I want to go back to it, because it’s, it’s exactly what I’m doing right now. So just to give some context around what I’m about to say, so I mentioned earlier, we have 1200, brokers, about half of them have not done their continuing education and renewals, which means in about, you know, 21 day is if they haven’t yet completed that we are forced to terminate them, which is also a huge problem, obviously, for our business financially, but also just the workload of terminating, you know, that many people would would take us days and days, and then most of them are going to come back, because they’re going to finish their see and pay a little late fee to the state. Anyway, we’re trying to avoid all that. And the reality of it is we just don’t have the manpower to to make 600 phone calls every single week, to these people, along with text messages and emails. So we outsourced this. And we actually use Upwork. Well, we actually for this, we didn’t use up work, but upwork.com, or guru.com, is a place where workers from all over the globe will compete for this business. And so with these kinds of phone calls, really anybody can make them. And so we have a staff of five, what we call virtual assistants, they’re quite affordable. And they’re now spending about an hour a day each on this task, you know, so even if they were cost, you know, let’s say, you know, maybe it’s $10 an hour, or maybe it’s $15 an hour, maybe it’s less, whatever the cost is, think about how inexpensive that is versus spending, you know, a full week, every week basically making these calls just to keep everyone making sure their CDs and renewals are complete. So this is something that I do myself, and we have found a team. Now if you say okay, well, maybe I can’t even afford that. Or that seems like a quite a bit of work, then go to someone in your office. See if there’s somebody that has an assistant that isn’t fully busy and say can I borrow them for 30 minutes a day? Or an hour a day? And and what would you what would the cost be for that what you might find or go in on it with another agent, maybe share those responsibilities? You guys both work together? There’s a lot of options here that that are more affordable than you might think.
Chris Linsell 24:55
Oh God 100% And you know, it’s important I just I always put this in really In stark contrast, for anyone who I’m having this conversation with, think about your a work for most real estate agents that involves working and actively moving deals towards a close. And think about, if you are, if you are getting too close, let’s say you’ve got a sale at, you know, at 3% You know your your GCI on this 15 grand, if you’re, if you spend 15 hours, collective 15 collective hours getting that that transaction from start to finish, you are before taxes and fees, obviously, you’re making 1000 bucks an hour. That is really valuable time. I mean, shoot, even if it takes you 30 hours to get start to finish, you’re making more than most attorneys in the United States at that point. And you are doing so really in your own control, you know, with with your own ability to control your time here. And so if your time is worth 500 bucks an hour, doesn’t it make sense that you would pay somebody else $12 an hour, right, so that you could have that time back 12 for 500 is a pretty easy exchange,
D.J. Paris 26:26
and also for for activities that you’re not best at doing and is not, you know, maybe even worth, you know, yeah, you’d be giving up that that huge hourly wage. So that’s always another great tip is if you want to figure out, you know, how much to spend in your business and what you you know, what your worth should be is you want to start at the end. And you know, think about what would I like to earn this year? What’s a reasonable amount that I could shoot for? That’s, you know, more than what I’m currently doing, and then back out and figure out, Okay, how many hours am I willing to work? And that’s going to dictate your hourly rate. And then okay, now there’s going to be B, and C activities all throughout every day of those years are of that year. So then how do I take that off my plate so I can get back to my hourly rate? Well, just like most attorneys are most successful attorneys will have an assistant or a paralegal or somebody in their office to do some of those B and C activities, which are not lesser activities, they’re just not what’s ultimately going to bring in the business and maintain the business. And it’s and it’s not, you know, the attorney didn’t go through three years of law school and pass the bar to then worry about some of the B and C activities, which they’re probably not, maybe they won’t even do them as effectively as somebody who that is their specialty. And so finding those people and building that into your budget will ultimately, you know, really help your business. So think of it as think always think of your business as you’re a business owner, and you need probably need an employee or two. And it doesn’t have to be a full time employee could be an independent contractor, somebody you just hired to do. What if everyone listening just said, you know, a lot of us are probably familiar with Brian Buffini and his system with with coaching, and he’s big into sending out what he calls items of value once a month. And everyone knows, that’d be probably a good idea to throw something in the mail to everyone in my sphere of influence once a month, but you probably just don’t get around to it. But every time you do that, you’re probably at least you might not get a transaction, but you’re certainly getting some some some goodwill, and you’re keeping your name in front of people and you say, Well, okay, I don’t have time to do that. But maybe it’s worth spending $100 for somebody to help you do that once a month, even if it just resulted in maybe it’s $200 a month. So let’s say it’s 200 times 12 is 20. What $2,400 If you spent $2,400 a year, and just got one transaction out of it, in most cases that would more than pay for itself
Chris Linsell 28:51
more than pay for it. And and think about for yourself like, you know what you said you said something? No, that was super interesting to me. And something I think that is a common theme in a lot of real estate professional narratives, which is, this may not get me a transaction. But you know, it’s important to remember, there’s a lot of activities that kind of fall into that category. And I want to be totally crystal clear here. There is all of that stuff does contribute. It may be in ways that are difficult to measure. But I guarantee you if you dig deep enough into your personal business data, there will be eventually you will arrive at a quantifiable number, a quantifiable value for each of those touches that you talked about. It may it may be challenging to find it first. And you may have to get somebody to help you dig in and interpret your personal data. But I guarantee you there is a quantifiable value for every single postcard that you send And there’s a quantify, there is a bump in your GCI, even if it is but in the single, double or triple digits of dollars that occurs when you do that stuff, you just have to figure out how to measure that. And so this is, this is what I’m talking about when it comes to delegating, find people who can put you in a place where you can spend your time on your a work. And it doesn’t have to be, like you said, doesn’t have to be hiring a full time professional for 50 grand a year, it can be a couple hours a week, at 12 bucks an hour, just to give you that time back. So So that’s, that’s tip number two, actually, tip number three is not too dissimilar to what we’re talking about now. And it is, is that is my the tip here is that real estate agents should be time blocking. And not everybody knows what this means. And it actually means a couple of different things in a couple of different industries. But here’s what here’s how I interpret this strategy in the real estate field. Think about for a second DJ, you’re active on social media, you I mean, especially with with the podcast here, you know that you could, if I said, DJ, I’m gonna give you some time to plan some Facebook posts, you know that there is, if I gave you 10 minutes to do it, you could spend 10 minutes doing that if I gave you an hour to do it, you could spend an hour doing it, I gave you a if I gave you a day to do it. You could spend a day or a week I mean, you really can for most of our tasks as real estate agents, there is not necessarily a clear end to that task. There are just kind of chapter markers in it. Yeah, right. Whether it is, you know, sharpening the contacts in your CRM, or your social media planning, or your newsletter planning, or your real estate farming strategy, all of these things are these big tasks that have kind of chapter ends, but there’s not a really an end to the story of them. And because of this, I suggest to real estate professionals that you rather than plan on, you know, rather than plan on accomplishing a task, rather plan on accomplishing a task for a certain period of time. Use that use your measure of success, the amount of time that you are putting into it rather than the number of checkmarks in the in the ledger, so to speak. Because it is super easy to get deep into a task and realize, oh, no, I’ve been doing this for six hours. I had other plans today. Right? Lock it out on your calendar, I’m spending an hour doing this, I’m spending 45 minutes doing that, I am going to measure my success by by checking the box that says I was focused on this on I was on interrupted I was undistracted for 45 minutes doing this that is my measure of success.
D.J. Paris 33:06
Yeah, time blocking is so is so critical. And you’re so right, because I’m in the process of rebuilding a website for our agents, which is a knowledge base for our firm. So agents can you know, read support articles, watch training videos, get help after hours, when when we’re in bed, and I build websites, I enjoy that I’ve been doing that my for gosh, 20 years. And it’s so easy for me to I love doing this task, because I can lose a whole day doing it. Because there’s so many things to do. And I never put an end date on how much time I’m going to spend on working on this website. And so as a result, I always underestimate how long it’s going to take, I think, Oh, it’ll take me 10 hours? Well, it’s probably really going to take me about 30. And as a result, I just start doing it. I go, I’m going to be done. You know later today? Well, no, because I haven’t put an end cap on it. And I can’t trust my ability to determine how long it’s going to take to do something. And as a result, I just get hyper focused, I lose track of time. And then all of a sudden the day slips away. And what I should have moderate, I should have moderated the amount of time I spent on that task and parsed it out over several days with a start time and an end time. And it will just and then because then the next day I’m playing I’m playing catch up with all the more important activities that are driving our business. So I’m sure everyone listening can relate to that. And also think to like if your task today is, as Chris mentioned, as an example, this just sparked a thought of mine. So I apologize for going a little off topic. But Chris brought up a really good point. It’s probably about sharpening your sphere of influence and going through and making sure all the area codes are correct for all your contacts. And these are all things that were like Gosh, on a rainy day, this is what I’m going to do. I’m going to pick up the phone and call 150 of my contacts. Well, you’re probably not going to be able to do that in a given day. Just to add ask them, hey, I want to just make sure that this is the correct address for you still and, and oh, by the way, when’s your birthday, I don’t have it in Mike, I wanted to add it. So this would be a great by the way, a great exercise if you’re looking, you know, every one of us can probably spend some time and tightening up our our sphere of influence because of course, that becomes our book of business over time, or those become our advocates who then refer business to us, if you don’t have information about you know, where they work, what their, you know, maybe their their if they’re married, you know, what is their their anniversary around their marriage, what is their birthday, where, you know, any what their kids is, ages are, maybe kids birthdays, things like that, if you don’t have that information, it’s a lot to get. And that would be a great opportunity, as we went back to a previous suggestion of hiring somebody to call on behind behalf and maybe send out an email to everyone saying, hey, my assistant is going might be reaching out to you to get some information. Boy, that would be the some of the best use of time and money, where you’re not having to pound that and pounding the phone is great thing too. But for tasks that are really be like, I really shouldn’t be building our knowledge base, but I got excited about it. I liked doing it. And so as a result, I can’t trust myself to just know when to stop for the day, I have to put that end cap on it. Or else I’m going to lose the whole day. So so definitely put a start and end time on there. And then for anything where you think, Gosh, i i My time is better spent elsewhere, get someone else to do it for you.
Chris Linsell 36:28
Big time, big time. So I my last two, my last two time, management suggestions are a little, they’re a little counterintuitive. For real estate professionals, I usually get some weird looks when I say these. So so bear with me here. The first one is, go against the grain. Do what people are telling you not to do. And when you’ve got large repeatable tasks, like for instance, scheduling your Instagram feed, yeah, do not sit down and do 30 photos at once. Right? Don’t Don’t, don’t even do 20 photos at once. Do anything anything, you’ve got a large repeatable task, do small batches of that. And it’s not just because of the amount of time dedicated, there is something magical about small batch production, when it comes to real estate at any kind of knowledge work in that if you choose to do small pieces of a task at a time, you are given the opportunity after each small batch to go back and measure your effectiveness to measure how you are performing. And to take those measurements and make changes to the next batch. So here’s a great example. Let’s say you have got a handful of new listings coming up, you’re gonna do some promotion for these new listings on Instagram. And you’re gonna plan out all of your Instagram posts over the next seven days on a Sunday afternoon. Well, you may spend three hours putting together all of these Instagram posts. But what if the first couple of them completely flop, and you realize, oh, man, maybe this isn’t resonating with my audience? Well, you’ve lost three and a half hours, three hours, however long it took you on Sunday point. To do all of this, it seemed like a good idea at the time. Because we are told, once you get into that groove, you can just crank them out, you’ve already got yourself set up for it, why not just do them all at once. That way, you’ll save time, you’re not saving time. You’re, you’re consolidating your time into one day, but you are risking not you’re risking the ability or giving up the ability to measure and then pivot your strategy. If it doesn’t work, and you’re risking, you’re giving up the ability to double down on your strategy if it is working, because you’ve already put in the time. Don’t do it like that. Go in small batches, produce two of those Instagram photos at once and measure the results. And then save yourself 15 minutes later on to say, Okay, how did this do? What can I learn from this? How can I improve the next batch? And so rather than going about your real estate business with the assembly line, mentality, think about it as the artisan mentality you are creating. You are watching you’re observing and then you’re doing it again, in small batches because you can learn something every time and you’re gonna save so much time In the long run because of it,
D.J. Paris 40:01
I have a thank you this that’s such a great suggestion. And it triggered a memory from this podcast. From a few years ago, I’ve got a great story to illustrate this exact point. I’m so excited to tell the story because I hadn’t thought about it until you just said this. It’s a funny one. So I asked, and I need to remember to start asking this for future guests, which is tell us about your biggest real estate failure, which a lot of people probably don’t want to share. But I did use I used to ask that a lot. And I had a great story where a gentleman he was a top producer here in Chicago in the suburbs. And he lives in this cute little suburb and he sort of the suburb guy, that’s his his, his suburb is where he does most of his work. He’s been doing it 30 years. I said, what’s your what’s give me a, because he was kind of a funny guy said, Give me a funny failure, something that didn’t work. He goes, Oh, I have a great one. So he said, there’s always a lot of garage sales, particularly on the weekends here in my suburb. And you know, there’s Facebook groups that show you where they are. And he said, you know, he goes, I had an idea a couple years ago, because I’m pretty well liked in the community, I thought, I’m going to do something really nice. I’m going to create all these giant garage sale here. Like signs, I’m just going to pay for them. And I’m going to then, because I know where these garage sales are, I’m going to drive up maybe the day before and knock on the door and say, Hey, I know you have a garage sale tomorrow, I already have a sign for you can stick right in your yard. And by the way, if you want, I’ll put one down the street saying there’s one arrow going this way. He goes, this was he goes, this was the smartest and best idea I’d ever had. He goes, I thought everybody’s going to want this. And then in the bottom it said courtesy of so and so real estate agent, which you know, is what but he said he goes, I made it even super tiny so that nobody would think I was just out to promote my own stuff. Because I actually just thought this was a nice thing to do. And it would be fun. And who would say no to that. And he made 100 of these signs. And he said he and his son their team, they started going around and they said nobody wanted these signs. Not one person wanted them. He goes, we tried 10 in a row. Everyone, he turned us down. They’re like, No, we’re good. And he was laughing saying next time, I’m going to make three signs and see if I can get one personally. And he’s like, obviously abandon that idea. But that was a perfect example of he batched it all together. And this happens to me, I’m a marketing guy, I have every idea I have, I think this is the best idea I’ve ever had. And now I have learned to small tests to do these small, you know, an oftentimes what we call an A B test or a split test, right test to two competing ideas. But I do it in a very controlled small sample way. So that I can I can test before blasting, you know it out to a larger audience. So Chris is example Sorry for going on and on. But this, I thought it was such an appropriate story. So yeah, try out things small. And by the way, too, it also becomes kind of fun, especially if you’re talking about social media. And you know, every day, if you say okay, I just have to come up with three posts today. That’s really a doable, achievable task. And if you enjoy doing it added into your day, add it make it an everyday thing, because you enjoy it. That way. You’re not having to batch it all out in one day and hope that you’re on the right track, you can get the feedback, like Chris said, but then also you get these little tiny wins every day of completing the task, which is also something that that is is important, you know, is getting these little wins all throughout the day and making them small and achievable. So I’m sorry, but that was such a great suggestion.
Chris Linsell 43:32
No, absolutely. I like your your friends story is such a perfect illustration of some of these, like negative loops that real estate professionals get stuck in. Because we have there is a certain amount of disconnection, which seems counterintuitive, but it’s true, certain amount of disconnection between the work that we do behind the scenes in our offices, and what actually happens on the street? Because I guarantee you if that if your friend had gone out and talked to some of these garage sale, folks beforehand, yeah. Or like you said, just made three of them to start. I bet Yeah, I bet you the conversations he would have had, would have rather than Hey, I’ve got the sign. Why don’t you put it in your yard? I bet you if he had started the conversation with Hey, you know, I’m a local real estate agent. I also love garage sales. I saw that you had a garage sale coming up, what would be helpful for you? I don’t want to I don’t want your money. I just want to I don’t want to support my community, what would be helpful for you? Somebody may have said to him, you know, we got signs. We don’t want it to feel like it’s sponsored. But you know, if you wanted to blast this out on your social media, right, love, I love that. And then all of a sudden, you know, maybe an idea emerges out of that maybe I should create a Facebook group. That is, you know, my own my own spin on on, you know, garage sale announcements, that sort of thing. Like who knows exactly what it is. But the really the point is, you know, test small, iterate often save time. I mean, it’s just it’s a, it’s a very clear formula. And you know, actually this is this leads into the last point which is, which is super easy to just stay consistent. You were talking about it earlier, consistency is a huge time saver for real estate professionals, I will give a good example for me, in the last year and a half or so I have gotten. Boy, I hate to use this word lightly. But I think it applies here. I’ve gotten religious about the way the first two hours of my day are, I protect that time. Just absolutely. without, without any hole, no, no holds barred. I protect this time, because I’ve got it figured out Mike, those first two hours are the most productive time in my day. And I won’t let anything get in there. Once you find a time positive, productive strategy, protect it, get consistent with it, and make sure that you are prioritizing it. So that your your the things that work for you continue to work for you. And ultimately, with this with with consistency, you can build on things that work for you, inconsistency trying to reinvent the wheel every day, you’re going to spend time trying to figure out how to fit it all in. And that in itself is inefficient. So figure out what works, get consistent with it and protect that time.
D.J. Paris 46:47
There’s a lot of a lot of interviews I’ve had with agents who are top producers, we talk about this quite a bit, and it comes up a lot naturally, well, they’ll they’ll say, you know, my most productive time of the day is first thing in the morning. And it also could be really late at night, depending on someone’s preference around, you know how when they sleep and when they’re free from family responsibilities, work responsibilities, etc, or clients and find that time, it doesn’t always have to be first thing in the morning, which is naturally what I think a lot of us think and and for me, I need first thing in the morning as well, that works best for me. I’ve interviewed plenty of agents who say, you know, especially if there’s a house full of, of children and other responsibilities related to you know, outside of work that sometimes late at night is a good option as well. But whatever that time is, you know, this this is, even if it’s just I want to spend 20 minutes a day thinking about my business, you know, whatever those activities are, you need to, you know, obviously schedule them. And then as Chris said, really protect that time, because it’s so valuable, but my boss for years. He’s consistently an exercise guide. And he has always been that and I said, Well, you are so disciplined. He says I’m not disciplined at all, I just schedule it, I have to schedule it because I’m not disciplined. And he said every day he has to not every day, but four days out of the week, he has to be in the gym at some point to help with his stress. And he was telling me about it for years and years. And I always knew I should exercise. He says you don’t even understand how much more productive you’re going to be. When you start doing that. I said, yeah, no, I mean, everybody knows that. But he goes, No, he goes, you don’t really know it. He goes, you know it intellectually, but you don’t really experience that I started doing. And I said, Nick, I’m going to have to take time out of my workday to go to the gym, because that’s when I can do it. And he goes, I don’t care. That’s that’s good time for you. So it’s really been and thankfully I work for somebody who is fortunate. I’m fortunate enough to have somebody flexible, who’s giving me that flexibility. But the point is, I am actually a lot more productive in the remaining time I have. And so whatever those activities are for you whether it’s working on your business, or whether it’s like like Chris says sometimes going out and and being one with nature and fishing or whatever activities recharge you. Those are the activities that are just hey, I’m going to focus, I’m going to hardcore focus on my business for the next two hours and or prospecting or calling all my clients. Because what happens is, you know, those two hours are easy to lose. Because we have things coming at us all day long. We have reactionary things. If anyone who’s listening read Stephen Covey’s book, I think it’s First things first, where he creates a quadrant and it basically what it is is urgency versus importance. And the four quadrants are urgent, important, urgent, not important, not urgent, important, not urgent, not important. When something comes in his suggestion was figure out if it’s urgent and important and doesn’t need as Chris said earlier at the very beginning, hey, does this need to be how important is this to respond to right away? There’s we get it dopamine rush from responding to things right away feels good to us. But it might not be important. You know, urgent things aren’t always important. So figuring out when things come in, take a breath. And especially if you’re time blocking, you just do away with those distractions. But even when you’re not time blocking, and something just comes in, think about it for a second before, you know, especially if it’s a text message, just think about it for a second and go, Okay, do I need to respond to this now? What’s the expectation? How important is this to the client? And does this fit in with my schedule? And is this going to derail me from being productive? Or is this going to add to my it is going to get me back on track, whatever it is, then respond. But think about it. First, you should think you should guard every minute of the day, that way, they’re not what’s the best thing to do, right, the second to grow my business. And if it’s, if it’s you know, and by the way, if you haven’t told that client in advance, hey, I might not always respond within two minutes to every text, maybe you do have to reply to them. But think about your next client and say, you know, next time, I don’t want to be in that position, I don’t want the client to be stressed waiting for me to hear back and waiting, say, How come they’re not getting back to me, they usually get back to me right away, making sure the expectation is set and making sure you are guarding your time, and just trying to balance it all out. And, and, you know, it’s, it’s not easy. But this is where good coaching comes in, as well. So you know, I have a trainer at the gym that I pay for helping me exercise, because she keeps me focused. And you know, if anyone else can, if you’re able to afford a coach, this is a great way to stay focused on keeping on track with your day.
Chris Linsell 51:40
Yeah. And, you know, on that note, I’ll just I’ll tell you, you know, I do coaching and consulting and, and help realtors and actually some non Realtors with stuff like this every single week. And I want to just leave folks with some action items here that you can take right now. And this won’t cost you a dime here, there are two tools that everybody should take a look at. You can get these for your if you’re a Mac user, they have desktop apps, but they have apps for both Android and Apple phones. And you can use them on the web to for helping you keep your time management strategies. At the forefront. The first app is called tick, tick, t i c k ti CK tick tick. It is it is a to do list app, you can set up lists, you can set up deadlines, you can set up blocks of time that you’re going to spend on the individual tasks. You can color code things, I use this, I’m not kidding you it is the first thing I look at every single day. And usually the last thing I look at before I turn my work brain off. So tick tick, this is this is something to check out. The other thing I like to use to go with it is another app. Again, they have a desktop app for Mac, but you can get on the web or on your phone. It’s called toggle to GGL. And there are a timer It is essentially a glorified timer that allows you to create, you know stop and start timing to see how long you’re spending things. And I take both of these apps and I have integrated a time management system that is really really valuable for me. These are things that if you you know this costs you nothing. This The only thing I think this cost you is five minutes to go investigate it, take a look at it for yourself, go download it, give it a try. See what see what works for you. Because ultimately, you know, there is a big time confusion. And I’ll leave folks with with this little parable here and hoping that I can get through to at least at least one person listening to this. There’s there’s so much confusion between long hours and effective hours. Right? I just My heart breaks for these real estate professionals who are working these 55 6070 hour weeks because they have such a demanding job and it’s the busy season. You know what, it’s the busy season, because there’s lots of people shopping, there’s lots of people selling, it’s not the busy season because you are working this much. There are ways for you to manage your time and take advantage of the busy season. Don’t confuse a 16 hour day as better than a 10 hour day. Because you can get the same amount done if you manage your time properly. And ultimately, you know, as a real estate professional, I want the what is best for the health of our industry and that means best for the health of our professionals. And it’s just not healthy, to work that much to stress that much to have to carry yourself professionally for 16 hours a day for 12 and for 14 for 12 for 10 hours a day. Honestly, I mean, I tell folks, you should have one half day every week, pick it, I don’t care what day it is, pick it, pick a day that is a half day and spend some time doing mentally restorative stuff. It can be semi work related, but you are in this industry because you wanted flexibility on your schedule. So find ways to be efficient with your time and take control of that clock.
D.J. Paris 55:30
And that’s wonderful, I have one additional suggestion to leave our audience with. And this is something I do personally, actually, I’ll show you and for those listening, you won’t be able to see this, I just have to pull it out of my bag here. I recommend sorry, for getting Off mic there, I recommend everyone if you can see this, it is about the world’s tiniest little notebook. And the reason this and I carry this, it’s made by a company called Rhodia. But there’s a million companies that make little notebooks. So you certainly can find one, you know, online or at, you know, any sort of, you know, local store that that has any sort of office supplies. And what I recommend is this is a good way to clear up all of the rumblings in one’s mind when there are unfinished tasks. Anytime you have an idea, or to do anything that comes into your mind, the moment you have it, write it down and get it out of your mind, the end of the day, then review everything create an action plan, we all know to do that. What I will tell you is ideas, especially when you’re a business owner, you have to think about your business and you might have a really great idea. And then we know that you know, two minutes later, it’s likely to be gone. Because you have all these other things coming at you, you need to get it out of your head and onto paper, it will I could not believe how important that was this is really based off of getting things done by David Allen, which is a very, very popular and now famous sort of methodology, which is a very difficult getting things done if anyone’s tried to implement it also known as GTD, it’s very challenging, but at the very least, all of us can just carry around a little piece of paper or notebook and anytime an idea or to do comes in write it down, you will be so surprised how much more peaceful your mind will be just it won’t be rattling around in your head and then have a dedicated time in the morning or in the evening to go back through those those ideas into dues and scheduling them out and add you know adding to your to do system like Chris uses. Is it tick, tick, tick, tick. Yeah, tick tick.
I use I use my the one I use is called Todoist there’s a million different to do list, you know, apps and services, they’re they’re all good. Pick one and stick with it. Consistency is the key I carry around a little piece of paper and a pen, I have a little tiny pen to go with this little tiny notebook. It’s my this notebook is no more than two and a half inches tall. It’s that small and I just write little ideas. And otherwise, at the end of the day, if I don’t There’s times when I don’t do that. And then I’m like great example going to the grocery store. If I don’t write out everything I need to buy ahead of time, I’m aimless, I’m walking around aimlessly, I can’t remember what I’m supposed to get, I have to look at everything to remember am I supposed to get that. Whereas if I write it down, I just go out I’m just going line item by line item. So everyone write down your ideas and your to dues and you’ll you’ll probably just find your day is going to go a lot smoother. And you’ll have more time for more ideas to comment as a result of getting the old ideas out. Well, Chris, those are unbelievably great suggestions for helping our agents our listeners manage their time. So again, we want to thank you for coming on from the clothes.com we are closed dot coms biggest fans, please everyone who is listening, go visit the clothes.com subscribe to their newsletter, visit their website, bookmark it, because not only it’s a very the information, the articles they provide on their number one, they’re very digestible, but they’re lengthy. I can’t tell you how many times I might be preparing for a real estate training with our agents. And I might think, Okay, let me see what new marketing ideas are happening in real estate. So I’ll just Google new marketing ideas for real estate 2020 Or something to that effect. And I come up with these, you know, pretty bare bones lists from different blogs, usually not very inventive or exciting. It’s a lot of old recycled ideas. The clothes does not do this. What I love about the clothes is they actually put a tremendous amount of thought they have an amazing editorial staff that goes through and really researches these articles. It’s a lot of fact based stuff. There’s a lot of statistics, and the articles are all worth your time. There’s no low quality content there, which is why we’re so excited that they’re partnered with us for the show because it’s our favorite real estate website for helping agents get to that next level. So everyone Go check out the clothes.com Check out the clothes Pro as well two week free trial. How cool is that. And you can continue on. They’ve got all sorts of great courses that you can participate with there and coaching group coaching sessions. So, Chris, thank you once again for being on the show on behalf of our listeners, you always bring great content two are just like you guys do at the close. So this is awesome for our listeners. So thank you. And on behalf of Chris and myself, we want to thank all of our listeners and viewers, we’re going to remind everyone to tell a friend think of one other agent that could benefit from hearing from this great series of suggestions on how to better manage real estate professionals time send them a link to this podcast. You can find us on Facebook facebook.com forward slash keeping it real pod or go to our website, keeping it real pod.com Or just pull up any sort of podcast app if you’re not already subscribed, we’re on every app and just look for keeping it real. You’ll find us and tell another person about us and we’ll continue to grow. Chris, thank you again so much. We will see you next month.
Chris Linsell 1:01:04
Looking forward to it. Always a pleasure DJ