Are you doing the work to attract customers to your “store” but leaving the shelves empty? Rethinking what it means to be productive.
Welcome to Monday Motivation. This is a short post with the intention to launch your week in the right mindset. Today’s topic is a foundational, yet often overlooked, element of productivity.
Productivity Secrets and Systems
Many entrepreneurs I speak to, especially real estate agents, are taken aback when I share by biggest productivity hack:
I typically do not check email or social media before noon.
There are exceptions, of course, but this is the goal.
When I speak to real estate agents about productivity and I share this with them, jaws drop. People gasp. Without fail, I hear this response:
I could never do that in my business.
I get it. The real estate industry conditions agents that our top priority is to respond to emails. According to the “experts”, the prospect will move on to another agent if the first agent doesn’t respond within 5 minutes. This creates a fear of losing business, and conditions agents to check email constantly.
Often, people wonder what I do with my mornings if I’m not checking and responding to email.
My mornings are reserved for taking inventory.
What’s Your Inventory?
Imagine if you owned a small corner grocery store. People come to your store every day to buy their groceries; they depend on you to have stocks of eggs, milk, vegetables, etc.
What would happen if they came to your store and your shelves were bare?
It’s fair to say that they would likely go to another store. And they might not return. Even if you had the best technology and the fastest checkout and the prettiest store in town. Even if you had excellent customer service. In fact, I would offer that part of having excellent customer service is to ensure you are stocked with the items that your customers desire.
If you want to stay in business and keep your customers happy, you must monitor your inventory levels and restock the shelves. A store without inventory won’t stay in business for long.
As customers, we understand that a store needs to restock. Have you ever gone to a store before it opens? You see the lights are on, and the staff is inside. Why don’t they open the doors if they are inside? They are still setting up. They are checking inventory. And if you want what that store sells, you wait for the doors to open.
Real Estate Inventory
In the real estate industry, “inventory” typically refers to apartments and houses. Brokerages and agents get very tied up in all aspects of this inventory: how to acquire it, who owns it, who has the right to market it, and how agents should be using it to get more inventory and more customers.
We speak about inventory levels as a gauge of market conditions: low inventory means it’s a seller’s market, and high inventory means it’s a buyers market.
This is one way to think about inventory.
My Inventory = Ideas and Insights
In my business, my inventory is my ideas and insights:
- defining and solving problems that my clients are facing;
- finding innovative approaches to my clients’ challenges;
- coaching my clients through the emotional minefields that are inherent in the process of change and the undertaking of major financial investments.
The value that I bring to my real estate clients is not in providing information or acquiring housing inventory, but in identifying the opportunities that fit their needs and helping them leverage those opportunities.
Even when the inventory of available homes rises, many buyers still get stuck in the process; in fact, buyers often struggle more in “buyers markets” because they lose focus on what they want. On the flip side, a home that isn’t properly positioned for the market will have trouble selling even in a seller’s market.
When I first started in real estate 10 years ago, the internet was already changing the industry. Information was becoming more available to consumers. I knew from the outset that attempting to be the fastest to respond with information was a race I couldn’t win; you can’t outrun Google. I also knew that information wasn’t the holy grail that many think it is.
In an era of too much information, the value lies not in the information itself, but in the filtering of that information: helping clients understand which information is relevant to them, and providing context, perspective and a personalized application. Clients don’t need me for information; they need me to help them create a plan that leverage the information to help them meet their objectives.
Information is a commodity carried by every other store. The only way to gain market share when you offer the same thing as everyone else is to compete on price or speed. And the internet makes information free and fast. The only race there is to the bottom.
My clients come to me for my unique ideas and insights. They are valuable because no other store carries the same supply. To most effectively serve my clients, I must make sure that my shelves are fully stocked. After all, you can’t give what you don’t have.
My morning rituals help me develop the ideas and insights that will help my clients move forward. I create space for myself to take inventory and restock the shelves, so that I can serve my clients at the highest level.
Creating this space is the foundation for all other productivity. Without fully-stocked shelves, what’s the purpose of all the other activities?
What’s your inventory? How will you restock the shelves this week?