I have talked recently with a number of financial planners, Realtors, mortgage brokers and loan officers and all I hear is the same thing: business is slow. Well, I’m not very surprised given the state of the market. The stock market is all over the map, the housing boom is bust, and lending is tighter than 1980s clothing styles.
So…. what to do with your time? For some, board up the windows and go home. But for most of us, it is a perfect time to prepare for when the markets are good again.
- Go buy yourself a new piece of hardware or software that will let you communicate faster and better with your clients than ever before and work with it until it actually does what you want. If that’s a BlackBerry that lets you see and respond to email instantly, than go learn how to work the device and keyboard.
- Spend some time thinking about your biggest bottlenecks — the things that take the most time — and figure out how to speed it up. Is it processing paperwork? Look for automated systems that help do this faster. Is it waiting on someone else? Figure out how to get them involved sooner or figure out what you can do during the downtime to keep the deals moving along.
- Unhappy with a business relationship? Now’s the perfect time to make a change. A lot of people are leaving the industry and those remaining are stronger for it. If you are a Realtor, go talk to a bunch of loan officers or mortgage brokers to see how others compare.
- Bone up on something you should know but don’t. Realtors, you better learn the ins and outs of mortgages and make sure you are reviewing paperwork coming from the lenders.
- Go interview your customers to understand what you can do better and be more attractive to others like them. People love it when you ask for input and help.
- Read a book. I find inspiration in all kinds of places, even if they are not directly related to my business. A couple of interesting ones I have read recently include Diary of a Real Estate Rookie by Alison Rogers and Wikinomics by Tapscott and Williams.
Now’s the time to get yourself ready for the next wave. It won’t be long — it will come. And then you won’t have time to do the little things that makes business better.