Bitter Bob

G$ Consultation – Enter Agent Bob

G$:       Hello Bob.  How are you?

Bob:     OK Greg, thanks.

G$:       I was just reading your bio.  It looks great.  You’ve been an agent for 5 years?

Bob:     Yup.  Feels like a lifetime.

G$:       How do you like the business?

Bob:     I hate it.  The clients are all jerks.  I never catch a break.  I’m not making any money and frankly it sucks.

G$:       I understand…a lot of experienced agents are having difficulties the last 6 months.

Bob:     It’s a nightmare and I really am thinking about doing something else.

G$:       I’m looking at your production history here and I see you made over $100K 3 years in a row in 05, 06 & 07.

Bob:     Yes, I did but 08 & 09 were terrible.  I had 5 buyers that I was sure were going to buy this year but they didn’t pan out.

G$:       You and about 5,000 other agents had the same problem last year Bob.

Bob:     Whatever…it just sucks.

G$:       Do you want my help Bob?

Bob:     Isn’t that why we are here?

G$:       Not necessarily.  Why are you here?

Bob:     My manager said I should come because you were my last hope.

G$:       Do you know why?

Bob:     I’m not sure but it’s probably because I’ve only closed 4 rentals this year.

G$:       How do you feel about your production this year?

Bob:     I told you it sucks.  Those guys should fire me.

G$:       Do you want to be fired?

Bob:     Not really, I guess.

G$:       Do you want my help?

Bob:     What do I have to lose at this point?

G$:       But do you want it?

Bob:     Yes, I guess…yes, I do.

G$:       Good.  That’s the first step.  Now we have a chance.

Bob:     What do you mean, “we”?

G$:       We’re partners in this Bob.  My job is to help you and I can’t help you unless you want to be helped.

Bob:     If you want to help me then tell me how to sell apartments in this market because I really hate rentals now.

G$:       I will do that but I need to know if you believe I can help you.  Do you?

Bob:     I know the business.

G$:       (nods his head in silence)

Bob:     (long pause)…All right.

G$:       All right?

Bob:     (laughs) Yes, I believe you can help me.

G$:       (smiles) Good.  Now we really have a good chance.

Bob:     You crack me up.

G$:       Just doing my thing…I was talking to your manager and she said you used to rent 6 or 8 apartments a month.

Bob:     Yeah I did…back in the old days but the market was different then.  Now I’m more into sales.  Can we talk about that?    

G$:       I’ve been in sales for 25 years.  I want you to sell apartments, believe me.  We’ll get there before we are done.

Bob:     I’m listening.

G$:       Good.  Let’s start with this…How much money do you need to pay your bills this year?

Bob:     Minimum?  Well, about $80K to break even.

G$:       How much did you make last year?

Bob:     $43K.

G$:       So your business ran at a deficit last year and I guess 4 rentals in the first quarter of this year and no sales isn’t helping?

Bob:     No, it’s not.  It’s a disaster…just terrible.

G$:       Bob does it makes sense that the same actions on your part will probably equal the same results?

Bob:     Yes, yes, I know but it’s not me…it’s the market!!!

G$:       You mean the market changed?

Bob:     Duh…of course it changed.

G$:       Let me see if I have this right…the market changed…you did the same things that used to work…and your income was cut in half, correct?

Bob:     Well, if you put it that way…

G$:       Am I wrong?

Bob:     I guess not.

G$:       New sales volume has gone down 30 plus percent over the last 2 years in number of transactions depending on who you believe.  Do you agree?

Bob:     Sure.

G$:       In addition, prices have come down substantially which means smaller commissions on the deals as well, correct?

Bob:     What the hell are you trying to do?  Talk me out of doing sales for God’s sake?

G$:       No, of course not.  What I’m trying to do is develop a business plan with you that will help you survive until the market improves.

Bob:     Survive?

G$:       Yes Bob, survive.  One of the common denominators of success is the ability to adapt and survive a market downturn like this.

Bob:     Makes sense.

G$:       How many apartments have you sold now in your career?

Bob:     I think about 30 or close to it.

G$:       In 2007 you closed over 10 sales, right?

Bob:     Actually 14.

G$:       And you will again someday and maybe even more than that.

Bob:     From your mouth straight to God’s ear, Baby.

G$:       All we need to do is make sure you last in the business until things turn around a little.

Bob:     I hear you.

G$:       Good.  In 2005 you made $110K.  Did you close any sales that year?

Bob:     No but I put 3 in contract that closed later on.

G$:       So then in 2005 you made over $100K just in rentals?

Bob:     Sure did…I was a machine back then.

G$:       Could you do that again?

Bob:     I hate rentals, Man…all that running around…$1,400 walk-ups…$2,400 2-beds…I don’t want to do that again.

G$:       How much are your bills this month?

Bob:     You’re killing me.

G$:       Are you closing a sale soon?

Bob:     You know I’m not.

G$:       The people you write the checks to don’t care if the money comes from sales or rentals.

Bob:     I know.

G$:       If you rented 4 apartments a month…just 1 per week…could you pay your bills?

Bob:     Yes.

G$:       We both know you are going to sell some apartments this year, right?

Bob:     Yeah, eventually.

G$:       But not as many as 2007, right?

Bob:     That’s highly unlikely.

G$:       So we have a choice…make a lot less…or adapt our business plan.

Bob:     I hate rentals.

G$:       For you Bob…think of it as a means to an end.

Bob:     Rent enough to pay the bills?

G$:       Exactly…you shouldn’t hate rentals…you should love them…they will keep you alive!

Bob:     But I want to sell.

G$:       How many sales appointments do you have a week these days?

Bob:     Not sure, it varies…maybe 3 or 4 on average.

G$:       OK.  Then how many rental appointments a week would you need to close a deal a week?

Bob:     5 to 7 maybe.

G$:       It sounds like 10 appointments a week then…sales and rentals combined.  Can you do that?

Bob:     If I get in the right head.

G$:       Well then, if you get in the right head, you will rent 1 apartment a week and still sell too and the sales will be gravy.

Bob:     Can we talk sales?

G$:       We are!  Do you keep track of your clients?

Bob:     Of course.  I got on that band wagon a long time ago.

G$:       Then all these rental clients you work with this year will turn into your buyers of the future.

Bob:     Good point.  That’s how I got started doing sales.

G$:       And it will happen again.  When we come out of this downturn you will be one of the top earning agents in town!

Bob:     I guess you could say that for a lot of agents, couldn’t you?

G$:       I say it every day Bob.  Did I help you?

Bob:     Yes…yes, you did Greg.  Thank you.

G$:       Do you believe you will succeed?

Bob:     You know what…yes, I do!

G$:       So do I!