Posts Tagged ‘Time Management’

Ask Denise: Social Media

April 20, 2011

Q: I know social media is an important marketing component. What percentage of my time should be devoted to social media? 

A: You’re right – social media is a very important part of your overall marketing strategy. It will take you time to ramp up, and time to manage it on a regular basis. However, remember that first and foremost you are a real estate agent — you make money by putting sellers and buyers together, and closing transactions. Recently I’ve been talking to agents who have gotten so caught up in the social media world that they are spending too much of their time posting, tweeting, and reading/commenting on blogs. While you need to pay attention to social media, and you should be involved in the online conversation, I caution you to not get so wrapped up that you start losing clients — and business!


Ask Denise: Time Management

April 14, 2011

Q: I have too much to do every week and am getting behind. How do I manage my time more effectively? I feel like I’m drowning!

A: Any time I hear an agent feel like they’re losing focus I know they’re not doing what I call “the hour of power”. You’ve probably heard me talk about the hour of power before. It’s as simple as this: set aside an hour of time each and every day where you work on projects that will improve your business. During that time you DO NOT call clients, email clients, text clients, or communicate with clients in any way. Instead, tackle those projects that will provide a long-term benefit to your business – such as the development of your website, the creation of a buyer or seller package, or the development of a brochure that describes your services. If possible, have your hour of power at the same time every day, and try to do it in a spot with as few distractions as possible.

Where Will Your Business Be Four Weeks From Now?

April 13, 2011

Without intervention, it will probably be exactly where it is today.

Now, if you’re exactly where you want to be … great!

But if you are searching for more success, or you need a jolt of inspiration, you need to join us on Safari to learn how to make business-building changes that will carry your forward.

Are you ready to set aside your belief that “the market” will dictate your success?  (Hint: we are coaching clients who are having their best year EVER!)   Do you love the synergy that comes from a room full of people focused on making a positive change in their business?  Is it just time to plan for a better business – one that you’ll love for years to come?

If you answered yes to any one of these questions, we want to see you at one of our upcoming Safari events.

Need more details?  Click here to learn more!

Turn Lost Opportunities Into Realized Opportunities: the Need for a Detailed Communication Plan

January 5, 2011

In the last two Zebra Reports I’ve been talking about the idea of Lost Opportunity and what it means to your business. Lost Opportunity business is business you can have, and it is income you should have. Don’t lose those opportunities simply because you didn’t have a plan to keep them in your pipeline. No more Lost Opportunities in 2011!

What’s the one essential thing that I think you must have?  A communication plan—as part of your overall business plan—that will solidify your relationship with your past, current and potential clients.

Recently, an agent I work with said, “Denise, I have a basic plan to stay in touch, but I never seem to follow it. What am I doing wrong?”  Once we looked at the reasons he wasn’t following it, the answer was right in front of him. He knew he needed a plan, and in the back of his mind he had an idea of what it looked like, but he didn’t’ have any details to guide him.

Most agents have the same problem. They may have a client communication plan in the back of their mind—they may even have it written into a yearly calendar. But if, on any given month, the notation simply says “call sphere”, it is easy to drop the ball. If you don’t know what to say, and if you don’t have details to guide you, your communication plan quickly falls to the bottom of your list. Nobody likes random calls. We don’t like making them; we know others don’t like receiving them. Random calls feel way too much like a ‘sales’ call. You won’t have to make random calls when you have a detailed plan.

Most of us are much better at following a plan. What if, in early January, your communication plan said ‘Call sphere to alert them about the predictions article.” Granted, you have to have your predictions article ready to mail out, but now you have a reason to make a quick call as well. The call sounds like this: “I just sent you my predictions article for the 2011 real estate market. If you have any questions, give me a call. Otherwise, I hope you find my article interesting and helpful.”

If you have to give last-minute thought to what to say, how to say it, or what your message is, the call will simply not be as successful as it might be when you have an actual plan for calling. When you have your plan and the details—even the script, it’s easy.

“Okay,” you say, “but it’s hard to figure out what to send, or what to call about.”

We created the visual chart, below, to make it easy for you to build a communication plan for your entire sphere, including additional communication options for your past andyour potential clients.

Sphere Database

Past Clients

Potential Clients
(buying or selling within the next year)

12  Monthly Real Estate Mailings




Annual Client Review and Client Appreciation Event


Weekly Communication


  • 12 Monthly Real Estate Mailings – here is an easy formula:
    • Six articles a year. These must be real estate specific.
    • Four quarterly real estate reports specific to your/their market.
    • One annual review
    • One predictions article
  • Weekly Communication for potential clients (less than a year from a transaction) should include market specific data:

Sample items for potential buyers:

  • Appreciation rates in different neighborhoods
  • Home comparison reports for different neighborhoods
  • Video tours of neighborhoods. This is especially important if they are not familiar with all the neighborhoods they might choose from.
  • Listing and sold data

All this information helps buyers begin to learn more about the market, learn where the best values are, and calm the sometimes overwhelming feeling new buyers have.

Sample items for potential sellers:

  • Regular listing, pending and sold reports
  • Days on Market reports
  • List-to-sales-price ratios
  • Inventory numbers

Not-yet-ready-to-sell clients have to get used to what comparable homes are selling for on the open market. This may not be the time in their life where their real estate will sell for what they want. You have to educate them. Be their expert and provide them with honest, accurate data on a very regular basis.

Send one of these at least once a month, and follow up with a phone call or email the other weeks. Yes, you may even count your monthly mailing to your sphere as communication for one of those weeks!:

Using this plan, and building in the details that you need to keep you on track, you will significantly strengthen your relationship with each person in your database and position yourself as their real estate expert.

Let’s recap. Regardless of whom you need to communicate with you must have a consistent, well thought-out weekly, monthly and annual plan that includes all the details you need to make your plan actually work for you. With a strong communication plan, business will come your way more easily!

Do you need more help creating a communication plan?

Join us for our 2011 Safari on January 12th and 13th at the Redmond Marriott Town Center. We’ll help you build your own customized 2011 business plan, including a communication plan that will keep you top-of-mind with everyone in your database and keep a steady flow of business in your pipeline.

I am truly excited about this upcoming Safari as I know everyone is going to walk away with the tools they need to make great strides in their business and systems in 2011. I hope you will join me!

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI

This Week’s Featured Product: How to Create a Business Plan that Will Really Make You Money

December 21, 2010

We’ve lowered our prices on several of our downloadable audio products! Many now just $19!

This week’s featured product:
How to Create a Business Plan that Will Really
Make You Money

A business plan without a specific set of action steps is nothing more than an exercise in goal planning. A successful business plan will be the blueprint for your business’s success.

Learn to create a plan that will get you the results you need and learn the exact steps you must take to get EXACTLY where you want to go.


Select a title to view more information and purchase

How-to Series:
How to Hold a Successful Client Appreciation Event
How to Handle Floor Calls
How to Manage Your Tasks, Not Your Time
How to Build Your Business Using an Assistant
How to Create a Business Plan that will Make You Money
How to Get Started in Real Estate
How to Handle Any Objection
How to Handle Floor Calls
How to Lead Your Office to Unprecedented Success
How to Make Money Now … Not Later

Powerful Listing Presentation Techniques

Lead Generation:
Networking Groups
Niche Marketing
Blogging for Business
Your Website

Marketing Help:
Successful Closings
Creating a Buyer’s Package
Creating a Seller’s Package

Visit our website for more information!

Featured Product: How to Manage Your Tasks, Not Your Time

November 15, 2010

We’ve lowered our prices on several of our downloadable audio products! Many now just $19!

This week’s featured product:
How to Manage Your Tasks, Not Your Time

Most Real Estate Agents spin their wheels day-to-day rushing around taking care of the most urgent need placed in front of them at that time. Learn how to run your entire business using task management not time management.

The nature of Real Estate makes time management impossible. The nature of the typical Real Estate agent makes task management a perfect solution for the type of business they are in.

You will be given task management ideas, checklists, forms and plans to completely revolutionize the way you do business.

Click on a title to view and purchase
Marketing Help:
Successful Closings
Creating a Buyer’s Package
Creating a Seller’s Package

Lead Generation:
Networking Groups
Niche Marketing
Blogging for Business
Your Website

How-to Series:
How to Hold a Successful Client Appreciation Event
How to Handle Floor Calls
How to Manage Your Tasks, Not Your Time
How to Build Your Business Using an Assistant

Visit our website for more information!

The Call That Could Change Your Business!

November 1, 2010

If you are ready – I mean REALLY ready – to fix what is wrong in your business, then I WANT TO HELP YOU!!

But I have to warn you … I am not going to suggest buying a $39 CD … I am only going to make suggestions that have the ability to change your business and change your life.

Please join me on Thursday, November 4th at 10:00 am for a phone call that will focus on your particular business challenges. I urge you to hit me with your best shot! There is no one whose business we cannot change – but the change has to start with you.

On the call, I’m also going to tell you about our brand new, comprehensive business-building, branding, and online training program called Club Zebra and we’ll answer your questions about our 2011 EVOLVE program. We have the ability to change the lives of agents right now. Are you one of those agents ready for a REAL CHANGE?

RSVP for this call by emailing or calling 360-527-8904. We will send you the phone number information after you RSVP.

Get Out of the Comfort Zone … It’s Destroying Your Business!

September 24, 2010

Think about the last time you made a major change in your life or your business.

What was it that compelled you to make such a big life decision?  What was the motivation behind it?  What was it that made you say “I have to make a change”? Was it an outside event that pushed you to make that change?

More often than not, it’s the pain and pressure of something outside our control that forces us to make changes. And yet there are some of us who prepare for such coming change by regularly stepping out of our comfort zones and performing the difficult tasks that stave off the pain and pressure—or prevent them altogether.

The way I look at life, there are three zones:

1. The Comfort Zone.

This is where most of us live our lives.  Life is good in the comfort zone.  We’re not pushed, or stressed.  Each of us has our own comfort zone.  We know where it is.  We feel it.  We’re relaxed and happy when we’re in it.

But from time to time, we must visit …

2. The Stress Zone.

This is an uncomfortable place.  We don’t like it.  It’s full of unpleasantness.

Whenever we find ourselves in the stress zone, we want to get out of it as quickly as possible.  We leap back into the comfort zone.  Ahhhh, that’s better.  We feel warm and safe again.

But that’s exactly the problem.  In order to be successful, we need to stop feeling warm and safe.  We need to do things we don’t necessarily feel like doing.

Let’s look at an example.  Let’s say your income isn’t where you want it to be.  One day, you decide to work expired listings.

You pick up the phone to call an expired listing.  Bam!  You’re in the stress zone when the person on the other end of the phone is rude or abrupt to you.  Suddenly, you’re way outside your comfort zone.  Your stomach churns.  Your palms sweat.  Your fingers tremble.

Or let’s imagine that not only is your income not where you want it to be, but you’re drowning in debt.  The collectors are calling.  You’re getting nasty certified letters in the mail informing you of a pending lawsuit.

Guess what?  You just entered:

3. The Pain and Pressure Zone.

This is the disastrous land beyond the stress zone.  This is a territory of true misery—and you’re being forced into it.  You can’t ignore it anymore!

Here’s what is so ironic about this:  part is that the reason you’re now in the pain and pressure zone is because you spent too much time in the comfort zone, not doing the work in the stress zone that would have saved you from entering the pain and pressure zone.

Does that encourage you to get on the phone and call a few more expired listings? Will you endure some little visits to the stress zone rather than eventually being forced to live in the pain and pressure zone?

The unfortunate fact is that most people make big life changes only when they suddenly find themselves in the pain and pressure zone.  But you don’t have to wait until that awful zone comes knocking on your door.  You can take active steps to avoid misery.

Smoking is a great example of this.  A man who has smoked all his life goes to the doctor about a bad cough.  He finds out he has a spot on his lung.

Suddenly, this man is in the pain and pressure zone.  He has no choice.  He’s being forced into it.  Perhaps he could have avoided it by stepping out of his comfort zone years ago by quitting smoking.  Yes, he would have placed himself in the stress zone for a while.  But it may have been a lot better than the situation he finds himself in now.

We all get there eventually.  We all have that breaking point.  We all realize that we have to put our comfort aside and do the difficult work that it takes to dig ourselves out of our troubles.

If you’re not willing to experience a little stress in the accomplishment of your goals, then you cannot be a success in real estate.  If you stay in your comfort zone, you will never make the income you need to sustain your life.

Many self-help authors and speakers promote the idea of loving what you do every minute of every day.  That’s fine, but the truth of life is that there are a lot of business tasks you’re not going to love.

Sorry, but that’s just reality.  Income does not come from warm and fuzzy feelings. Income comes from hard work and struggling against difficult odds.

Remember, it only takes a moment to be thrust into the pain and pressure zone.  None of us know when that moment is going to arrive.  We must always be prepared for it.  We must get out of our comfort zones and hop into stress zones to get done the things we need to get done.

Seriously, do something stressful today.  Call an expired listing.  Prepare for an open house.  Get your follow-up in order.  Put together your mailers.  Get your tools up to date. Organize your office.

The great thing about putting some consistent work in the stress zone is that you will be rewarded for it.  There is nothing like the feeling of satisfaction and accomplishment that comes from tackling difficult work.

Now go pick something stressful that you’ve been putting off. Get it done right now! Hurry!  Go!

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI

The Call That Could Change Your Business!

August 10, 2010

Do you feel as though you’re working hard … but not getting results?

Is it a struggle to find clients?

Is follow-up a challenge for you?

Are you open to rethinking your business?

Are you ready for a better business model?

If you answered “yes” to even one of these questions, you need to join us on for a FREE call on Friday, August 13th at 9:00 AM Pacific Daylight Time, when Denise Lones will offer lots of great free advice to get your business in gear.

Denise will be sharing her insight, based on over 25 years of success in this industry! You’ll learn:

  • The secret to many top agents’ success,
  • Why success can be as easy as looking at your business from a new angle,
  • How to position yourself for success, even in a “tough” real estate market!

If you’re ready to take actions that will move you to transactions, please join us. We’ll take your questions, offer advice, and get you on (or back on) track.

Because we need to be sure to reserve enough lines for our callers, please call us at 360-527-8904 to reserve your spot … or simply send an email to and we’ll be happy to sign you up.

This could be the call that changes your business … forever!

The “Time Management” Myth

August 6, 2010

By far, the toughest ball to juggle when running your own business is time—using it properly, freeing up more of it, and not wasting it. The solution to this challenge eludes many real estate agents.

In real estate, there are so many things we have to do. And we are burdened with the fact that there are no set hours. This is not Monday through Friday, nine-to-five kind of business. Our work schedule is fluid—which can be both a blessing and a curse.

While we don’t have to be at a desk every morning at 8:30, we do have to deal with the client who calls at 8:30 at night (just as we’re about to sit down to dinner) and says, “I need you to show me this home right now.”

When you run your own business you need to pay particular attention to time. Time is your friend, if you treat it right. If you don’t, time becomes your arch enemy. To help you, here is my #1 rule for time management:

Rule #1: There is NO SUCH THING as time management in real estate.

(Threw you for a loop there, didn’t I?)

Seriously, you can’t manage something that is unmanageable. However, what you can manage, instead of time, is tasks.

Tasks always come first. In order to get tasks done, you need to be organized. And when I say organized, I mean very organized.  A big component of this is putting together your to-do list and checking things off as you go.

My personal solution to organizing my tasks is what I call “The Hour of Power”. This is one hour I set aside every day to work on my business. I could NOT run my business without my Hour of Power. It is what keeps me on track.

During this hour, I shut my phone off. I do not answer the door. I do not respond to emails or text messages. I am completely closed off from the world to ensure maximum focus on my tasks.

Most agents let the interruptions of the day stop them from working on the projects that they need to get done. It gets to the point where many begin to believe that they have a procrastination problem.

It’s not a procrastination problem as much as it is a task management problem.They don’t know how to say no to all the interruptions that come their way, or how to insulate themselves, for short periods of time, from those same interruptions.

To master your time in real estate, you must learn to master your tasks. This is as simple as setting aside an hour a day, five days a week, for your Hour of Power. This is your time—nobody else’s. Use it to get caught up, to complete projects, to plan, and to do everything you’ve been putting off.

Here are some rules to help make sure that your Hour of Power is yours and yours alone:

  1. Do NOT look at your email.

    If you do, you’ll get sidetracked and before you know it, you’re responding to a ton of people and not getting your tasks done. I recommend that you not even open up your email during the Hour of Power.

  2. Only work on your project list and the things you haven’t finished.

    Do not work on the client who called you last night at 10:00 thinking about selling their house. The Hour of Power is NOT client time. It is your time. Client-sensitive issues get completed during client hours—which is all the hours in the rest of the day. The Hour of Power, though, is inviolable. No clients allowed.

  3. No interruptions.

    No kids. No animals. No co-workers. Make sure you’re in a place where you won’t be interrupted. If your office has a lock, use it … and put a sign on the door that says, “I’m unavailable until ____.  Thank you for respecting my time.”

  4. Do not deviate from this plan.

    If you regularly practice your Hour of Power each day, you will see a difference in your business. In fact, I believe you’ll experience it in your first week of The Hour of Power. There is nothing like a clear focus on your tasks for 60 minutes a day to get you energized and excited about what you do.

  5. Keep track of what you accomplish during your Hour of Power.

    You will eventually see that the projects you’re working on—the ones that seemed like they were monumental tasks—get done faster than you ever imagined. By keeping track of what you get done and checking off each item as it is completed, you will feel a sense of accomplishment at the end of the week.Sometimes, tasks that appear large in our minds aren’t so large in real life once we put diligent focus into them—which is exactly what The Hour of Power allows us to do.

  6. Break huge projects into smaller pieces.

    If you’re having a hard time with a project, cut it into smaller segments, one for each Hour of Power. This keeps the project from feeling overwhelming, and allows you to have small successes along the way as you complete each segment.

So, stop trying to manage time. It can’t be done. Instead, learn to manage your tasks. And remember – the best way to manage your tasks is to set aside one hour a day, every day, for your Hour of Power.

Start using this technique today.When you do, you’ll have a better handle on your projects andyour business will be re-energized with your enthusiasm for getting things done.

By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI

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