We have a good friend who is now retired from a long and immensely successful career in sales. His experience began in the 1950's selling televisions. From there he went on to own an art gallery, he built homes, he even owned a wig store for a period of time. He eventually retired as the President of national company that took multi-million dollars businesses to market. He is full of wisdom and good advice and one of his favorite expressions is "Now and then, you have to take time to sharpen your saw." (It's actually the 7th Habit in Steven Covey's book The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People). Covey's belief is that we have to find balance in our lives through renewal, through social connections, exercise, meditaion, and learning. For me, it's about taking time to do the things we have to do to make sure we're always on top of our game; making sure we don't become dull from the day to day wear and tear of running our business and our lives.
In the real estate business, keeping your saw sharp can mean any number of things and they're all important if you want to be successful in the long run. It certainly means taking training classes, whether they are online or in the classroom. When I have down time, I'll log onto the Keller Williams site and go to the Keller Williams University for training videos on any number of subjects. I also have Inman News delivered to my email box every morning for a quick info fix with my coffee.
Our website is probably the biggest tool we own and keeping it sharp requires regular maintenance. We're constantly tweaking the listings, checking for dead links, and adding new content. In the winter, when business slows down, we use that time to do heavy maintenance on the site like swapping out pictures, creating new links, rebuilding pages, etc. This past season, we stayed busy all through the winter so as a result of the extra bit of business we decided to dedicate some of the proceeds to a whole new web site. Of course, building a new website is a post for another day!
Blogging has become another major tool that should be in everyone's tool box and you need to keep up with that. But do you take time to read other blogs...looking for new things you can learn? A couple of years ago when I discovered Active Rain I spent a lot of time reading posts about a variety of subjects, including SEO and Blogging, staging before and afters, and others. There was a wealth of information that I used to improve our business and I can truthfully say that the things I learned just by poking around on Active Rain changed our business - for the better!
But as Covey points out, it's not just about work and learning. It's also about connections. When we're caught up in our day to day lives it's easy to lose track of the outside world...especially when our world is focused on trying to make a living. Sometimes I look up to discover it's Friday already and I've spent most of the week putting out fires, tending to day to day responsibilites, and taking care of clients needs, though not necessarily in that order. And even though I've never really been good at "time blocking" I look for time when I can step out and find ways to sharpen up the edges a bit. It might mean watching a training video or researching something I need to know more about. But it might also mean making time to sit and read a new book that has nothing to do with business. Or it might mean clearing my head by taking the dog for a long walk. The truth is, it can be hard to carve out time to keep your saws sharp. But if you do, I'm convinced you'll have honed your skills and gained the knowledge to cut a clear path to success.
Photo by Flickr
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