So apparently I have my priorities all mixed up.
I didn't realize this, of course, until I took a class in "Time Management for Real Estate Agents." I knew I needed help with time management, but I didn't know how very wrong I've been for all of these years.
I heard a lot of stuff I expected to hear -- about how I need to block my time, and how I'm supposed to budget more time for "income generating" activities and less for "administrative" activities. And I learned what "administrative" activities are. They're things I could delegate to someone else. You know, things like filing and scheduling and filling out paperwork.
And working with my current clients.
You see, once I've "hooked" you, once you go from being a "potential" client" to being a "current" client, working with you is no longer an income-generating activity. Apparently, according to the Gurus of Real Estate Time Management, that money is already in the bank and I'm supposed to spending my precious time out there with the people I haven't yet convinced to work with me. Or not work with me, depending on how I budget my time. That, I was told, is why the really successful real estate professionals hire buyer's agents. They delegate the task of shlepping buyers around to find their new homes, so they can spend that time chasing new clients.
And I'm thinking "So why did I bother getting into this business in the first place?"
I understand that there are only so many hours in the day, and that some agents get so busy that they have no choice but to hire buyer's agents to help them. But here's the thing: I like "shlepping" buyers around. I consider it a great privilege to be a part of this momentous event in their life -- finding the place they will call "home" for the foreseeable future. I like the time I spend with them. I like the relationships I build with them. I like getting to know them and their families and their kids. I like that they remain in my life as friends long after the transaction is over.
Here's the other thing: I don't like the idea of spending all of my time selling future "clients" on working with me if they won't, in fact, actually be working with me.
None of this is to say that a good team isn't important. I am already surrounded by some great people -- my office staff, my managing broker, my favorite lender Deana Hollstein, my favorite inspector Rick Slocum, my favorite handyman Mike Jones, and my favorite title closer Monica Butler. As my business continues to grow, I can see where I will need more help with transaction coordination, office management, scheduling, etc.
But here is the difference: I am willing to delegate -- paperwork, administration, specialized duties for which I am not specialized. But I am not willing to delegate what I consider to be the core of my business -- working directly with you, buyers and sellers, in what is probably one of the largest and most significant personal business transactions of your life. Serving my clients comes first -- before marketing, before schmoozing. I figure it's the right thing to do, and I figure I'd rather have a satisfied clients telling friends about me than to spend my time developing slick marketing pieces while my precious clients are passed off to someone else.
Other agents may have different business models, and they may do quite well with them. But this is what what I do, and why I do it.
And it's why I will perhaps never make the big time. Which is really perfectly okay with me.