What can you do with fifteen minutes?
Because a day in the life of a real estate agent is often dotted with appointments, you sometimes find yourself between things, with ten, fifteen, or twenty minutes before the next commitment.
When I was an agent, I found it frustrating to have those “wasted” chunks of time. Most of the phone calls I needed to make were apt to run over the time I had. I couldn’t settle down to write an ad because I’d just get my head into it when it was time to go again.
Maybe that was enough time to make a quick trip to the nearby mini-mart for a snack and a bottle of juice – and sometimes that was a good idea.
For the most part, those were wasted minutes. Instead of doing something constructive, I joined into the office chatter. They were mere minutes, but by the end of a week, they added up to hours.
You’ve heard the phrase “I’m just killing time until…” You may have even said it yourself. And what a waste that is!
Ben Franklin would not approve. In fact, he said “Dost thou love life? Then do not squander time, for that is the stuff life is made of.”
Had I had someone around to nag me back in those days, I could have avoided killing time and made good use of it instead.
I didn’t have that someone. In fact, I was surrounded by people who were merely killing time.
I can’t go backward and make up for lost time, so instead, I’ll just nag you!
Remember that I stopped selling real estate about the time that people in our small town were just beginning to use the Internet and email. No one here had heard of texting at that point.
Things have changed. Now, you can use those few minutes to connect with someone. You can send a quick “keeping in touch” email or text message to a past client or someone in your sphere. You can remind a seller of a showing appointment or send a confirmation to a buyer you’re scheduled to meet later in the day.
There’s plenty more you can do, if you prepare ahead of time.
- Make a master list.
- Create spreadsheets.
- Make a daily list.
First, the master list. Write down all the tasks you can do that can be done in 10 or 15 minutes. In addition to sending keeping in touch messages, your list might include checking your email for anything that needs an immediate response, entering checks and cash purchases into your bookkeeping program, writing a thank you note, or sharing a blog post on Facebook, LinkedIn, or one of your other social media accounts.
Next, the spreadsheet, or spreadsheets. Get out your sphere of influence database and transfer all of those names into a spreadsheet. If you need reminders about who they are, note something about them: kids, pets, hobbies, etc. Include several blank columns after each name. Now do the same with past clients.
At this point, I’d print the list and the spreadsheets and keep them on my desk. You might prefer to keep them in your computer – but either way, both the list and the spreadsheets need to be handy and easy to use.
The daily list:
How many times have you gotten to the end of a day and thought something like “Oh darn. I intended to order ink cartridges today?” Maybe you intended to look up a word or find a recipe – both tasks that would have taken only a few minutes, but got overlooked in the busy-ness of the day.
Maybe it would do you a world of good to shut your eyes and meditate for ten minutes. If so, set a timer and go for it!
Put your short tasks on a list that you’ll see when you’re waiting for your next appointment.
Now, use those tools.
When you see that you have 10 or 20 minutes before you need to leave for your next appointment, resist the urge to goof off. Instead, look at your lists and choose an activity. Then do it.
If your choice is to send “Saying hello” texts or emails, do it, then use the first blank column on your spreadsheet to record the date. This will ensure that you contact everyone on your list over time – not just the few whose names come to mind first.
When you have enough time, make phone calls to those folks, and in addition to the date, note anything important about the call so you can reference it on your next call. For instance “Did (child) have a good time at summer camp?” or “Have you gone to (city) to see that new grandchild yet?” or “How’s the new puppy doing?”
QUOTES OF THE WEEK
“Don’t be fooled by the calendar. There are only as many days in the year as you make use of. One man gets only a week’s value out of a year while another man gets a full year’s value out of a week.”
“The key is in not spending time, but in investing it.”
Stephen R. Covey
Invest the time to get personal.
As you know, I believe you should keep in touch with everyone by sending market reports, newsletters, and other “mass messages” via mail or email, so they can’t possibly forget about you when someone mentions real estate.
However, personal messages are important. They’re an indication to people that you care about more than just business – you’re interested in them as individuals.
In fact, if you have the information, another spreadsheet would be beneficial, but the information on this one should be entered into your daily calendar to-do lists. That one would list birthdays or other significant events in people’s lives.
Remember that phones are still used for making phone calls…
Making time to call on those special days will go a long way toward showing people that you’re more than a salesperson.