There’s a lot that goes into the typical day of a Chicago real estate broker. Here at the Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park office, one of the things that we encourage all of our agents to focus on is making sure that they are putting their time to the highest and best use. For new and experienced brokers alike, this often comes down to understanding the difference between the activities that generate new business, and the activities that service the business you already have.
Too often, I see agents get caught up in servicing their business at the expense of generating new opportunities. While this may feel productive in the moment because you’re doing a lot of things, it often means that you’re not focusing on the activities that will actually allow you to grow your business, and make it more sustainable and lucrative for the long haul.
As I’ve noted on this blog before: As entrepreneurs and brokers, our number one job is to generate business for ourselves. As a real estate agent, if you don’t have clients to serve, you don’t have a business.
Let me put it this way. If you spend all your time on servicing one deal, and that deal closes, what comes next? You go to your pipeline and it’s empty — because you haven’t been doing any lead generation in the meantime.
So, what are the differences between business generating and business servicing activities; how should agents be maximizing their time, and what tools does our office offer to make both processes simpler and more streamlined? Let’s dig in.
Working On Your Business: Generation Activities
Broadly speaking, business generation activities refer to anything that helps you find new opportunities, capture leads, or create new business. My fellow managers and I call this working on your business.
As a broker, your number one responsibility is on making sure that you are keeping your pipeline full – because, as mentioned before, without the clients, you have no business to serve.
- Business generating activities include all types of lead generation and follow-up, including:
- Nurturing your sphere/database
- Prospecting for new contacts (through geographic farming, networking, cold calling, etc.)
- Listing appointments and buyer appointments
- Open houses
- Social media and other digital marketing activities
In a nutshell, all of these are ways that you can produce more business for yourself.
So, why do agents fail to prioritize business generating — even when they know it’s important? One of the common missteps I see is that agents get too focused on the now, and put all of their attention on what’s right in front of them. Often, this is a byproduct of a scarcity mindset. Especially as a newer-to-the-business broker who is not used to bringing in income without a 9-to-5, it is easy to want to put all of your effort into the client you have right in front of you. It’s natural to want to do everything you can to make sure you’re able to get them to closing and do a good job, so that in time you can get referrals, get more business, and, above all, make that commission check.
But when you put all of your time into one or two clients, what gets sacrificed? It’s almost always lead generation. It’s the next opportunity. The most efficient and productive brokers I know have learned to not get so focused on the now that they forget about the business-building activities. In fact, they put systems in place that allow them to scale up their businesses and grow their pipeline at all times — without ever sacrificing client service.
How Baird & Warner Makes Business Generation Easier
Baird & Warner agents get access to a comprehensive set of tools and resources designed to help brokers increase their efficiency, so that all agents can focus on what’s most important – building their businesses.
For example, let’s consider nurturing your database and keeping your sphere engaged. On the digital side, our best-in-class CRM system empowers agents to set up automated workflows to generate custom emails for holidays and birthdays; produce updated market reports; and send regular email newsletters with fresh content from our dedicated marketing department.
And it doesn’t stop there. Our marketing services department has created an enormous and ever-growing library of “grab and go” templates, including branded notecards for sending handwritten messages; tags for pop-by gifts; and even social media templates that make it easier for agents to execute their digital marketing strategies without having to create anything from scratch.
Our agents also get unparalleled support at the office level. As just one example? For agents looking to grow their sphere through open houses, we have worked with our brokers to develop an open house system that helps streamline every single step of the process — from the prep work, to the day-of execution, to the follow-ups. Plus, Baird & Warner has different partnerships with other technologies that make it easier for agents to convert leads into business. One of my favorite programs is called LoLo, short for Locals Supporting Locals. This is a client-gifting program that anyone at Baird & Warner can sign up for. It’s extremely inexpensive, and it enables agents to email or text a small gift to a local business on a monthly basis to their clients anywhere within the Chicagoland region.
Working In Your Business: Servicing Activities
Business servicing refers to the activities that agents do to service the clients they already have, which may include:
- Showing listings
- Exchanging and following up on emails and phone calls
- Going to appraisals and inspections
- Doing buyer tours
- Scheduling appointments and maintaining your calendar
As I mentioned earlier, all of these activities can feel very important in the moment — because you want to make sure you’re doing a great job taking care of your clients. But before long, it’s really easy to get caught up and bogged down in all of it.
We call this working in the business. It’s all the things you need to do to keep your business moving forward, but it’s not the things that are actually growing your business and setting it up for the future.
How Baird & Warner Makes Business Servicing Easier
Baird & Warner offers a wide variety of tools and systems that agents can leverage to help manage many of those common business servicing activities — freeing up time in their schedules to make sure they’re focusing on business generating.
This includes our signature Balance program, which allows brokers to scale their time while growing their business. Balance can help take numerous time-consuming tasks off your to-do list, so that you can truly focus on taking your business to the next level.
One incredible feature is broker support services. With broker support, you can simply log into the Balance app and put out a request to hire a trained and licensed Baird & Warner agent to help you with a business servicing activity — from handling showings, to hosting open houses, to attending an inspection, to going to an appraisal, to overseeing a photography appointment. It’s all about freeing your time up, so that you can invest it back into generating more business for yourself.
Our brokers also have access to contract care services. With contract care, agents can hire a transaction coordinator that will help with all of the coordination of paperwork and scheduling, to keep things moving forward seamlessly from contract to closing. It’s like having an assistant on-demand — freeing you up from so much of the back-and-forth that can eat up your time, and cost you valuable opportunities.
Another key part of our Balance program is listing launch. With listing launch, you can hire a trained specialist to actually help you with kicking off a listing — from getting everything set up in the MLS, to helping you prepare your marketing materials, to handling administrative tasks.
Bottom line? At Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park, our agents have the ability to build a team–on-demand — getting the qualified assistance they need, when they need it, without having to jump through hoops. It’s all about giving busy agents time back to focus on the activities that matter most.
What’s Next for Your Real Estate Business?
As a broker, the two things that you’re doing in your business are ultimately generating leads and servicing clients. It’s important to regularly check in with yourself and reflect. Where are you spending most of your time? Do you need to reassess that and see if you are using your time wisely? Are there tools that can help you put your time to the highest and best use? Do you have a management team that you can trust to talk over your business plan, and refocus on what works?
At Baird & Warner, experienced agents have access to an unbeatable workshop furnished with ingenious tools and staffed with resourceful individuals all with the same goal in mind — your success.
Just behind your personal motivation and drive, finding the right office is one of the most important factors in determining your success in real estate. All of us at Baird & Warner – Lincoln Park take pride in maintaining an office culture that promotes continuous improvement and that provides unparalleled levels of control, convenience, efficiency, and satisfaction for both our agents and clients.Interested in becoming part of a brokerage that just had a record-crushing year? Curious about how our office’s training, support, and services can help take your business to the next level? If you’re interested in talking about your career in real estate, we are always here to listen! Whether you are considering a career change or looking for a new partner in your existing business, I truly look forward to connecting. Get in touch today to get the conversation started.