I’ve never understood the concept of spring cleaning. (Some may argue I don’t understand the concept of any cleaning, but that’s another subject for another day.) Perhaps it has something to do with the hibernation habits of those living in places where the daytime December high isn’t in the 60s or 70s.
Since I entered the real estate business, the Thanksgiving through New Years time period has been my own cleaning period – the time when websites are updated or revamped, the time when I start making plans for the following years (some of which I’ll actually keep), the time when the blizzard of papers in my office get scanned and filed for posterity and/or the Arizona Department of Real Estate.
The most difficult bit of cleaning this far has been the paring of the database. Much as I was less than thrilled to see my favorite tree trimmed back severely to allow new growth to occur, eliminating 50 percent of the names in my allegedly active database was a bit heart-wrenching.
Real estate seems to be a business of what if’s, not the least of which is “what if the folks whose information I am deleting suddenly decide to buy.” I’ve had clients wait two years before purchasing so it’s not like it’s a totally unheard of concept. It took some mental aerobics to get to the point where I could tell myself that it was okay to let go.
This, in a nutshell, is why I truly prefer working by referral whenever possible. It’s stultifying to think how much time and effort is expended trying to reach out to people who, quite often, would prefer not to be reached out to. (So why do I do it? Because now and again, you discover the people who pass along a real number want to speak to a real person for guidance.)
And when it comes to sending hand-written notes, check-in e-mails and the rest, it seems to make more sense to send them to people who won’t dump them in the trash unopened. It’s common sense.
It’s also not easy to someone who is competitive by nature and comes from a corporate world where all that mattered were the numbers – how many calls did my people take, how much down time was there, what kind of production did my brokers post, etc. Even after seven years, it’s hard to dismiss concepts which in my world are remarkably irrelevant.
But it’s the only way my business, much like my beloved one-time and soon-to-be-again shade tree, will grow.