Years ago, when my daughter was still a toddler, I recall driving down a major arterial road one fall evening only to hear her blurt out from the car seat behind, “pumpkin!” For the life of me, I couldn’t figure out what it was she had seen amidst the myriad of street lights, bill boards and store fronts. Certainly, there was nothing remotely pumpkin-like that I could recognize. Traveling a half mile further there it was; a Halloween decoration beckoning shoppers to come inside and purchase their costumes, a pumpkin in all its Charley Brown “Great Pumpkin” glory. She had nailed it from blocks away.
I pondered the moment, wondering what mechanism it was in my daughter’s brain which made it possible for her to pick this one object out of what must have been for her a sensory smorgasbord. I’ve come to understand it as the synaptic process Reticular Activation. In a nutshell, when the brain focuses on or recognizes a particular image, then extraneous information is filtered, leaving only that which is pertinent at the brain’s cognitive forefront. For Logan, the image of a pumpkin was the only object for which she had any relative context or experience. It’s not unlike when we decide to purchase a new car. On the day I bought mine, all I saw on the road were other Audis of its make and model.
In our current market, there is ample noise and distraction from news reports of plummeting housing prices nationally to the implosion of the secondary loan market. While there is much truth in the telling, for those of us making our livings selling real estate, it really serves to distract from the business at hand.
There is no more important moment than now to focus in on the core practices of your business, returning to the basics which make it work. The heady days of rampant market speculation, multiple offer frenzies and house flipping mania are behind us for the immediate future at least. While there continue to be robust sectors across the country, the market as a whole has changed. It’s something new and unfamiliar for many real estate professionals in the industry today especially as, statistically, most have not been practicing for more than five to seven years.
This is a time of easy distraction. As the holidays descend upon us, offering a plentitude of excuses not to work, or downbeat news of the economy persists, it’s easy to become unfocused and complacent; to take in all the billboards and shiny lights while driving past that all important sign you need to see. So take stock. Look at your business and evaluate whether or not you are doing those things necessary to prime your pipeline for 2008. Ask yourself what activities you could do differently to generate new leads. Contact your customers with season’s greetings. If you have a vision for your business, hone in on it. Remove the extraneous information and confirm you doing everything right in your day-to-day endeavors to achieve it. If your vision is changing, then revise your systems. There are still plenty of homes being listed and sold and only those agents who are showing up to work on their businesses remain in the game.