Do you know the difference between a long game and a short game? It pretty much applies everywhere in life, including real estate.
Allow me to use food as our first example. Let’s say you grab a dollar hamburger from a fast food establishment and scarf it down quickly in your car. You’re full — but also feeling moderately grossed out.
Now, in the second scenario, let’s say you go to the grocery store or butcher, buy fresh ground beef, make a patty and cook a burger in your kitchen at home. Which one is going to be more fulfilling and nourishing? Which will taste better? We all know the answer, but sometimes, the short game seems more appealing.
Patrick Johnson has definitely learned the difference between striving for short-term success and establishing long-term goals. He’s developed ways to keep a long game going for the benefit of his business and his clients. We had the opportunity to chat with him about his last few years in the field and how he has set himself up for success.
Remember when you were a new agent filled with enthusiasm to run your own real estate business, interact with clients, and of course, make a great living? Once reality sets in, most agents realize that building a successful real estate business doesn’t happen overnight. Perhaps you’re a new agent reading these words. Trust us when we say you aren’t alone in your struggle.
The truth is, it takes a good amount of time to build up a client base and a sphere of influence — and that’s what leads to more business. The idea that an agent can meet strangers over and over and get them to list is, in fact, an example of short-game thinking. Like most new agents, Patrick underestimated how difficult his first year would be.
“Getting into the industry was tough. That was a hard year,” he says. “I mean, a low income, and basically having to lean on people around me, just to make sure I could get through it.”
But the good news is, as Patrick realized, that things get better with a foolproof strategy in place. While agents can’t assume work will just fall into their laps, sticking to a plan can make a steady difference.
“If you really stretch it out over my last five years, there’s been growth the entire time, which is good. And this year has been nothing short of spectacular in comparison with the other years,” Patrick adds.
So what’s so wrong with a short game? In real estate (or really any business), a short game can be defined as a bunch of quick successes without consideration for long-term success, and it’s a trap to which many agents (especially new ones) fall prey. When Patrick was fortunate enough to have a lot of opportunities in a row, he found himself having to turn people away — and he felt uneasy about it because he knew he had to find a way to keep up with present and future clients alike.
“I was blessed in the sense that I didn’t need those deals, but I was angered in the sense that I wanted those deals. You know what I mean? So that helped me think, OK, well, I am just not spending enough time with these people because I am busy, all over the place and closing deals.”
The issue with focusing your time and effort on short-term success is that future business can be lost in the process.
“I think there might have been a convenience factor or something else that played a role in this, where somebody just decided not to call me when they were ready, and they just went for the option that was there,” he says.
Switch to the Long Game for Better Results
Patrick found out he would need to craft a longer game with potential clients, and the results of doing so aren’t always immediate.
“What I’m looking to do now is put together a fan base type of situation,” he says. “You don’t always get that immediate business shoved back in your face just because you’re out there and you’re friends with someone.”
Patrick values the opportunity to give his marketing materials to potential clients as a tool that cements his expertise in their minds, whether they currently need a real estate agent or not.
In addition, he frequently relies on video and online content.
“I just stay in front of them,” he explains. “You know, just little things like that. I just didn’t spend time or money on it in the past. I think there’s a lot of good that can be done face to face. But I feel like I’m never going to grow and max out if I’m not improving my content. I consider how can I proactively and strategically put my face in front of people and get more deals and have more time.”
Patrick says that as of now, the seeds he planted years ago have sprouted into new business, and he’s therefore realized the importance of planting early and being patient when it comes to growth.
“I’ve gotten a ton of business over the years from people that I met five years ago,” he says. “Little things like that. The investment of your time does come back around. It’s just how you use it.”