When was your first job in real estate?
My father was in real estate for 50 years, and was the owner/broker of his own real estate company. I started working with him 1989. I actively sold real estate as an agent and a broker for 15 years.
Why did you want to be in real estate?
I was lucky enough to have been exposed to it all my life because of my father, so I was always very comfortable with the industry. At one point I went to law school and briefly practiced as an attorney, where I instantly found myself practicing real estate law for a large law firm. Since then I have owned and/or operated real estate brokerages, development companies, property management companies, escrow/title companies, licensing schools, and of course now also a real estate coaching & consulting company. I love everything about the industry.
What prompted you to move into coaching?
I have been coaching for about 20 years now. It has always been my favorite role in the industry. Although I truly enjoyed managing the operations of companies and even selling real estate myself, I always found a way to make coaching agents, teams, managers and brokers the most important part of my duties. I am proud to say that the brokerages that I have owned or operated have repeatedly been recognized as some of the fastest growing and top producing real estate companies in North America. I attribute a lot of that success to the coaching and training systems we were able to implement in those organizations.
Eventually, Icenhower Coaching & Consulting became my way to make these systems and materials available to everyone in the industry. Now many of our coaching clients are some of the highest producing agents, teams & brokers in North America.
What do you see as your "value proposition" for a potential client?
I feel that a lot of real estate coaching and training materials miss the mark with their clients. They aren’t customized to fit the needs of a particular client. Different clients have different needs, strengths and weaknesses. Some can easily afford and are willing to invest money into marketing, others would prefer to perform specific activities to generate business. Agents work in different price points, have different behavioral profiles, and have different amounts of time that they can devote to the business.
All of these differences are what make the real estate industry so unique and amazing. There are many ways to succeed in the business, and Icenhower Coaching & Consulting does not attempt to fit all clients into one system. Instead, we offer a customized approach tailored to the strengths of the client.
What is the biggest challenge most agents face?
Time and money. There are generally two ways to generate business in real estate: 1. Agents must invest the time and effort to generate business through their own activities; and/or 2. Agents must spend money on marketing and other lead sources to generate leads. Both are typically uncomfortable and involve many difficult choices and decisions.
Many people have a natural fear of prospecting and rejection. How do you get your agent/client over such a fear?
Success is the best remedy for fear in sales. Positive results quickly diminish the pain associated with difficult activities. It helps to have clients generate business in a way that adds value to prospects and clients. If agents feel that they are helping people, rather than selling people, they tend to get into action much more readily.
How do you coach your clients on time management strategies and especially dealing with procrastination?
At a bare minimum, a coach must hold agents accountable to completing the activities that get them where they want to go. Procrastination and excuses about available time are the enemies of productivity. In fact, I actually outline several key concepts of coaching clients in time management and procrastination in my latest book COACH – Coaching for Business Performance that was released earlier this year. In summary, agents must fiercely protect “their” time. When I say “their” time, I refer to their personal time and their business generation time; as opposed to time servicing existing clients.
For example, if agents could carve out just 2 hours a week day to devote to generating new business, that would equate to more than 250 hours per year of time spent in alignment with their goals of increasing their net income. Put in perspective, that’s only 10 hours per week spent on the agents’ needs, with the rest being devoted to customer service activities. If you take a 40-hour work week, that still allows 75% of the remaining time devoted to existing clients. Most business don’t devote 75% of their time and resources to customer service and only 25% to sales and marketing.
So time-blocking and calendaring time for the agent is critical for business balance as well. Of course, holding agents accountable to time management disciplines is also a critical component.
How do you coach your clients on maintaining a healthy work/life balance?
This depends on the individual client’s goals and must be custom fit to the agent. Training on time management practices, scripts and dialogues go a long way to protecting time in the calendar for life balance. People pleasing can be an agent’s worst enemy, so prioritizing and learning how to say “no” are skill sets that successful agents must master in order to have any longevity in the business. However, many of our clients also want a business that functions without them long enough to take lengthy vacations, spend more time with their family or even run on their own. This starts with the creation of systems, making smart hires, and leveraging tasks to the right people.
Are great sellers made or born? Explain.
Although sales may come easier to some then others, being good at sales is definitely a learned behavior. We have seen even the most reserved and unskilled agents become masterful at selling. The key is that they have to believe in their message and what they are trying to accomplish. Time on task is also very helpful. So practice can certainly speed the process up.
Do you use an accountability coach? Why or why not?
Currently I do not. I certainly have had coaches many times in the past, and it would probably even be a good idea to do so now. However, our company serves as a very effective accountability group. We meet weekly and all hold each other accountable to daily, weekly and monthly activities that are in direct alignment with our annual and long-term goals. We definitely practice what we preach, and trust me, if I don’t do what I am supposed to do I hear about it right away!