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   ARTICLE   |   From Scotsman Guide Residential Edition   |   June 2006

Staying Up in a Downturn

When things are slow, use your time wisely to improve your business

The past five years have been better than ever for the real estate and mortgage industry. Recent statistics show that employment growth has skyrocketed in the past five years and that this industry now employs nearly 10 percent of the workers in the United States.

On the other hand, the real estate and mortgage industry is subject to many cycles. Certainly, the cycle of interest rates and the economy are closely tied. And as we move through 2006, higher rates are causing somewhat of a slowdown in business.

There are two directions you can travel in response to this change: Pull back and try to survive or make structural changes in your business.

The first direction involves a combination of paring back expenses and trying to increase your marketing activities balance declining production. Of course, with most other businesses facing the same economic circumstances, most traditional activities will produce less positive results.

With the second direction, you realize that you now have the time to analyze your business. Perhaps you bought a software program two years ago that was designed to save you time, money and/or increase your conversion rates. This is the time to implement such technological solutions that will make a difference in your business in the long term.

Focus on education and marketing systems, as well as on setting long-term goals and making large decisions for your business’s future.

  • Education: Regardless of your experience or success, if you stop learning, your business and professional development will eventually die. Few have time for training or professional development when things are busy. A slow period is the time to implement such training in technological solutions, products, marketing or compliance issues.
  • Marketing systems: If you choose not to advertise more in a declining market to save money, you can still shore up your marketing systems. The key is to choose systems that will help you build for the future. Your sphere is the key to your most-effective marketing actions. You must grow it, hit your targets and move up membersYou can spend more money on advertising and receive an ever-decreasing return in a market downturn, or you could build upon your foundation, which will increase your effectiveness for many years.
  • Long-term goals: A downturn is certainly time to rethink what are accomplishing on a daily basis and to make sure that these activities align with your long-term goals. Long-term goals deal with issues such as retirement, security for your family, quality of life and long-term career goals such as starting a business or getting a promotion. We often go through life chasing the next deal but never spend a second deciding whether that deal will take us closer to or further from our long-term goals. What better time to deal with these issues than when we have extra time to change our business model in a way that we can better align our short-term activities with these long-term objectives?
  • Consider major decisions: Slow times are the best times to make major investments and changes. You now have an abundance of your most precious resource: time. And others are more likely to be able to help you. Even recruiting is easier because others are not buried under large “pipelines” of business.

Finally, consider this major question: If not now, when?


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