Monday, October 6, 2008

Slow Times Require Quick Changes

The economy is tanking everywhere. Real Estate is down to 60 cents on the dollar. Stock Market is shaky. Things are bad and getting worse.

It is hitting my business and once again I have made a mistake that may kill the business.

History, normally I would rent every place I have during the months of June, July and August. The closer it gets to August the quicker the pace. It would get to the point where I would be begging Landlords for more houses to fill. However, this year it was bad. Houses that used to fill up in a day are sitting half empty even after three months. Not good at all!

It got to the point that Landlords were calling me more than perspective tenants loading my voicemail asking me what was wrong. What can I say? I did everything the exact same as last year where I was EXTREMELY successful filling everything. The economy is bad. School attendance is down. Everyone is looking for a deal and holding out for that deal. People are not making as fast a decision as they were last year. Little comfort for a Landlord that is facing a half or even almost fully empty house for the school year.

So I sat down and began to analyze it. What went wrong?

Then it came to me, "I NEVER ADJUSTED WITH THE ECONOMIC CLIMATE. I never took advantage of it.".

More fortunes will be made in the next couple months than all fortunes before it. People that adjust and see the glass half full will benefit. I always remember the saying, "Buy when they cry, sell when they yell." It is so true. Normal people run away when they even hear the fact that things may get bad. Rich people run to the chaos.

Back to my business. Once I realized this I began the changes.

1) I stopped wasting time on actions that where not helping the situation. For instance, I cutout unnecessary services such as staging apartments and focused on making sure they were clean.

2) I stopped wasting time on bargain hunters. They were literally taking up my entire day and in the end I was not making anything from them. I began to tell people in the beginning, the Landlords have discounted the price according to the climate and WILL NOT discount anymore. Most time-wasters would walk and save me hours to deal will REAL customers.

3) I aggressively looked for business and actually was surprised about how effective this was (more on this in a future post). I began handwriting signs, posting them everywhere I possibly could. I would go up and down the street and talk to everyone looking for tenants.

4) I focused on my strongest (and most money making) skill, sales. You can always see when someone wants something. If I didn't see the glow from them, I moved on. If I saw it, I would not negotiate and waste time. Take it or leave it. The price is what it is. And 99% of the time they would take it.

The other thing I know I did wrong was I didn't adjust my moral thoughts on the business. I have always tried to fill places for Landlords. It was how I built the business reputation so quickly. But it was not possible this year to do that because of the climate. However, I knew I would do my best and that's what I could offer them.

What I should have did was taken on 100 times the Landlords I had with the caveat, "I cannot guarantee a full house but I can guarantee you will not be sitting with an empty house like everyone else is."

The perceived service would not have been as high as it was but neither is the ecomony.

Remember fortunes will be made NOW by people that can adjust quickly to changing times, even a change of business morals may be needed to get through it.

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