The Key Questions Agents are Asking Through this Crisis (Part 1)

Are you in a better position today than you were back in May? If you asked yourself these questions over the past few months, you should be … if you did not, you may want to revisit them once more.


Welcome to Mike Ferry TV. It is Monday, the week of May 11th. Time flies when you’re having fun … and I know you are having fun.

Since … let’s see … I guess it would be March 15th or 16th … I’ve now done some place in the neighborhood of 95 or 96 30-45-minute webinars for Brokers … Managers … clients … companies … all over North America. It’s been a lot of work … it’s been a lot of fun … we’ve had a lot of interesting conversations with a lot of great people … and what I’ve been doing is I’ve been answering some of the common questions that Real Estate people ask me. You may have been on some of those webinars because we’ve had … I don’t know … thousands and thousands of agents participate in these so far.

I’ll be doing them for the next several weeks until the majority of this unfortunate crisis has passed. I’ll continue doing what I’m doing, but I thought it would be good maybe this week and next week to answer some of those same questions for all of you in case you’re not able to be on one of these webinars, so you know what I’ve been discussing with our clients.

So, the first question that comes up most commonly is this … Should we expect a substantial decline in this business if this particular pandemic continues for a long time? Obviously, I don’t have a crystal ball. I can’t tell you when this is going to end. We know it’s going to end, but I would say to you very realistically that in between the government … between scientists … between the medical field … between all of us doing the things … social distancing, etc. … it’s certainly moving in the right direction towards all of us being a lot better and safer.

We have seen the month of May open up in the Real Estate industry quite rapidly compared to the month of April. So, should we expect a substantial decline? I’m going to say the answer is “no.” However, what I want you to think about is this … if you want to have some fun … I want you to look at the number of Real Estate Agents in your local Board of Realtors. Approximately how many agents are on that Board? And I’d be willing to bet that at any given time in the months of April and May … maybe 10% of them are actually working.

Unfortunately most Real Estate people are reacting like a lot of people in the world today, which is panic, fear, upset … not understanding and not paying attention to the fact that you could still live your life productively, even if you’re home isolated as so many of us are … but I also want to say to you that it is probably important to understand that a big part of the solution is what goes on here. I have said for many years … you’ve heard me say it in the past … that selling Real Estate really, truly is 50% mindset, 50% skill, 50% activities … and people say to me all the time, “Well, Mike, that’s 150%. What do you expect out of me?”

Well, I don’t expect anything more than what you’re doing. What are your expectations of yourself? Are you challenging yourself to do something in this crazy time we’re experiencing? But, see, at the same time, you have to understand that … that 150% is what the Buyers and Sellers expect from us in terms of quality of service … skills to do the deals for them that we are licensed to do for them.

So, I guess if I said this to you … the right approach today … instead of 50/50/50 … it’s 90/10. To succeed in this market is 90% mindset. It is taking control of what you’re thinking about from the moment you arise to the moment you start working … to any work that you do every day. And the fact that you’re home isolated, which you probably have been like almost all of us for 60 days or more … is part of one of those little hiccups in life we all have to deal with.

So, the mindset that Real Estate can still be done … in this case, virtually, through phone, email, fax, Zoom … all those types of things … Skype, FaceTime, DocuSign … those things are all available to us to do business and yet I keep telling my Coaching clients … and I report to them on a regular basis … how many transactions so many people are doing.

From March 15th to April 15th … because we saw this thing getting a little bit worse … and it did … we did a little listing contest among our Coaching clients … and I will say to you that not all of our Coaching clients chose to participate … and a lot that did participate didn’t qualify for this contest I put on … because what I said, to qualify … to win … you had to take 2 listings between March 15th and April 15th. I knew … and I think some of you did too … that was going to be a tough period of time for the Real Estate business … as we all learned to think about and adjust to that market we were facing at that moment. And, of course, fortunately for most of us, that market has improved.

Here’s what’s interesting … we had about 650 people out of the thousands we have in coaching that qualified and took 2 or more listings. They took 2,650 residential listings in 30 days or 4 weeks, so don’t tell me it can’t be done. Tell me you’re not interested in doing it because the fear has taken over your life. Remember, knowledge equals confidence … ignorance equals fear. If you know that business is being done … and business is being done in every city … every county … every community … every province in North America today … and it’s being done every day.

So, what I want you to think about is … the mindset that you have each morning when you get out of bed is the key to success. Can I do my job today … even for just a few hours … to keep myself in the business and engaged? Or am I going to pull the covers over my head and go back to sleep? It’s a choice that you have to make.

The second question that I keep addressing is the question of schedule. That’s a tough one. There’s no question that this home environment … this isolation … has really changed a lot of people in their whole thought process and perspectives on life. You know … the Real Estate office that you belong to and the environment that you live in in a Real Estate office in many times is not only creative and clever and energizing and comforting, it gives you a place to go … and, of course, with this home isolation … all of a sudden this place to go didn’t exist. We know that there’s Real Estate Agents in every office that never do anything. They come into the office in the morning and they have coffee and play with the file … they’re on Facebook and they’re going to Starbucks … and they’re talking to you and you’re talking to them … they’re just part of the social function of a Real Estate office. That’s gone … and it has been gone for quite a while now.

So, now this new environment of working at home … wow … who would have thought we’d ever, in our lifetime, be confined to our homes for any given length of time, which we have? My son, Matthew, about 3 or 4 weeks into this whole thing sent me a text and he goes, “Hey dad, when’s the last time you were home for 45 straight days without traveling?”

I wrote back, “Matthew, it was 45 years ago before I started my business,” because Sabrina and I … our life is traveling … on the road … doing seminars … meeting with clients like yourselves. So, this home isolation was a big change for all of us … not just for you, but for everybody. So, here’s what I’m recommending for schedule … first of all, if you’re a single man or lady and you’re in the Real Estate business, that’s a tough environment because you’re by yourself.

I have a great assistant, Laurie … we have some wonderful staff people at The Mike Ferry Organization … that are single men and ladies and they are confined by themselves to their homes … and a friend of mine sent me a great joke. He said, “My psychiatrist said that if you’re a single man or woman and if you find yourself talking to your dog every day extensively, don’t worry about it … and don’t call me. However, if you find that your dog is talking back to you, call me … you need help.” Well, you know … there’s a lot of jokes going on about this home isolation … it’s like the lady that called her next door neighbor and she said, “Mabel, how long is this home isolation supposed to last?” And Mabel said, “Well, it’s going to be on for a while … why do you ask?” And she said, “Well, my husband’s trying to get in for 3 days … when do I unlock the door?” So, you know, we’re seeing some of these little attempts at humor and to break the tension, but here’s what I want you to think about … single men and women … takes a lot of discipline, but the real challenge is for the wonderful ladies in Real Estate who are so powerful that suddenly they have two or three children, they have a spouse, they have a home … because now you have four jobs … managing your children, that’s a big job … managing your spouse … managing your home … and managing your business.

Here’s what I want you to do for schedule … and you can start this today … every morning … 8:30 … 9:00 … have a family sales meeting for 10 minutes and say to your family, “I’m going to need 3 hours today of uninterrupted time to do my job so I can provide for all of us what I’ve always provided.” But I’m not going to ask you to work from 9:00 to noon straight. I want you to work from … say … 9:00 to 10:00 … then take 20 … 30 minutes and be with your children, help them with their schoolwork, be with your spouse, take care of your house … whatever those functions are that you have to deal with … but ask for that 1 hour, uninterrupted. Then, at 11:00, ask them for 1 hour again. Then, maybe at 1:30 … 2:00 … ask for a third hour because, see, the truth is … most Real Estate Agents don’t put in 3 productive hours a day because the office and the environment of the office many times distracts us so heavily that we really don’t have a chance to really follow the schedule that we’ve set. Three hours a day … uninterrupted … break it down individually into little blocks of time is the schedule that I think you should consider and follow.

The third question is the one that’s been most interesting that I get asked the most. “Mike, are we going to see prices decline because of the challenges that we’re facing today?” I have to say to you … I do not see prices declining. Now, there’s going to be price reductions on listings that are overpriced, but price reductions on listings that are overpriced take place in a good market or bad. You know that … I know that … it’s just part of the process, but what I want you to think about is this … if your Broker … and I respect your Broker and Manager understand what I’m going to say next … I want them to reiterate this to you on a regular basis … the greatest advantage we have today is limited inventory.

Now, think about that as a statement … that it’s advantageous to have limited inventory. Now, why would it be advantageous? Because it solidifies prices. See, when there’s a lot of inventory, prices on any product or service decline. When there’s limited inventory, prices are very stable and increase. You know, it’s a very basic law of economics … supply and demand. I’ve shared this with some of the people that I was a very poor student going to school for 12 years … and I went to a Catholic grade school and high school in Orange County, California, and, you know, my middle name is David and I got D’s in all my classes and I always thought that the D stood for David so I was always pretty happy with my report card. My parents weren’t as happy as I was. I took one class my junior year of high school and I got an A. In fact, when I got the A, it was so confusing to the administration, I was called into the principal’s office and I was accused of cheating because I had only got C’s, D’s and F’s in every class … and then all of a sudden, Mike Ferry, the dumbo, got an A in a class.

I said to … our priest was our principal at our school … I think his name was Father Clair … and I remember saying to him, “I like this class. I like economics because I understand it.” I didn’t understand a lot, but here’s what I do understand … when there is limited supply, the demand is going to grow. Today, any listing you take is probably going to sell … as long as it’s reasonably priced. We’re still seeing cities all over America … when the listing is taken … in places like the month of April … and now we’re looking at the month of May and we’re seeing still, today, multiple offers on well-priced properties … because the pent up demand is there.

So, what I want you to think about is … the pricing, which is very stable today because of a limited supply of inventory, is advantageous to us … and then most listings you take is going to sell anyway, so we ought to almost hope that inventory doesn’t grow quickly because that will affect prices. Inventory’s not going to grow quickly because most agents aren’t working to get a listing … and the handful of you that do … hats off to you. So, therefore, let’s not worry about prices declining.

So, here’s the interesting question that I’m getting so much of … A lot of the public is obviously very nervous in this time … understandable … and we will commonly hear from the public, “Mike, maybe I’ll consider doing something … purchase or sell … when this crisis ends.” How do I handle this type of situation? What do I say to them to cause them to do something now? Big fallacy in Real Estate … you can’t create motivation in a person that doesn’t have motivation. See, for example, if you’re not motivated to go out and do your job and earn money, there’s nothing the Broker or Manager or I can say to change that. You can have the greatest motivating minds in history … you can have the Zig Ziglars … the Kevin Roberts … the Earl Nightingales … the Brian Tracys … the Tony Robbins … the Darren Hardys … and all these inspirational people are not going to change the lack of motivation. Either the Seller wants to sell or they don’t. They have a need and our job is to solve that need or problem. Either the Buyer has to buy or they don’t.

So, what I’m looking for, of course, is what I’ve called “Bucket A” … and Bucket A are those people that have the desire … the need to buy and sell … and our job is make sure that we take care of them and give them a service. But, today, we also have Bucket B … and Bucket B is growing virtually by the day if you’re involved in prospecting. What I want to say to you is this … the Bucket B, which the Mike Ferry theory has been … if they’re not in Bucket A, don’t pay any attention … that changed on March 1st. Now, Mike Ferry’s theory is … Bucket B … empathy, kindness, understanding, communication. People are nervous because, see, this is a very strange time in all of our lives … because, see, this particular coronavirus, we can’t see it … we can’t feel it … we can’t touch it … we can’t smell it … we don’t know if it’s around.

I had a great Broker this last week make a comment to me and I had never thought of it the way he said it, but it was so apropos … “Mike, I can walk out of my office … I can walk out of my home … I can touch something and get a disease.” We’ve never had that experience before. So, the public is nervous … and they are cautious … and they’re concerned … and our empathy and understanding and kindness that we extend to these people is vitally important … to build the relationship with Bucket B for when the market changes and they come back. So, communicate … communicate … communicate … communicate … communicate … communicate … communicate with Bucket B. You know, a newsletter … an email … a text … phone calls, where you’re talking to them … updating them as to market conditions, market reports, neighborhood news … you know, keeping them aware that the world is progressing in the world of Real Estate as we speak today.

Because, see, when this thing stops … 30 days … 60 days … who knows … 90 days … and this virus has passed us by to the major extent and the flood gates open, I want those prospects to come back to you … the person they have a relationship with based on the conversations that you’ve been having. And if you’re having a lot of good conversations and you’re keeping them informed and you’re being the calming force in this situation, they’re not going to go to somebody else when this market changes, they’re going to come to you … and that’s what we want them to do.

One more question and then we’ll think about doing this some more next week. I had a Broker say to me … and I had to cut him off … he said to me, “If my agents start prospecting … ”

I said, “Woah, wait a minute … it’s not an ‘if’ game, it’s a ‘when’ game.” W-H-E-N/you’re going to W-I-N if you prospect.

So, I said, “What are you referring to?”

He said, “Well, understanding the importance of social distancing … ” Good … “You know, what are we going to do … who do we talk to … and how do we do it?” Well, this little cell phone … it was the enemy of the majority of Real Estate people forever.

“Mike, I can’t call people … and I don’t like working on the phone … and I don’t like talking to strangers … and I don’t know what to say and people get mad and they hang up on me.” Not anymore. Now your cell phone is your greatest advocate. Why? Because everybody’s home … and when the phone rings, they answer … because they want somebody to talk to besides their spouse … besides their kids … besides their dog … besides talking to the wall.

So now the reports I’m getting from our clients all over North America every day is this … “Mike, if I call 20 people in 1 day … I get 15 conversations, whereas 60 days ago, I called 20 people … I might have 5 conversations.” So, the dynamics of the phone now is your biggest advocate … it works in your favor. Then, of course … who should I call? Obviously, A … most importantly … Past Clients. You’ve got to keep talking to your Past Clients because they’re the people that will answer the phone.

In fact, yesterday … one of the questions was this … “Who do I call first?” Past Clients. “Why do I call them first?” Because it’s a friendly voice.

You know, they like you … they love you … they trust you … they respect you … they’ve worked with you … whatever the tagline is … so they’re going to answer the phone and talk to you. You want to keep them informed. But second is your Centers of Influence … and you want to call them because they’re your big referral source. You know, 30% to 35% of your business comes from your database … Centers of Influence … and for them, you want to be the calming force … because they are nervous and they’re concerned and they’re worried … which the world is.

But the money that I want you to think about between this and next week is the phone calling Just Listed/Just Sold. And why? Let’s be real … 2 months ago, husband and wife pulls out of their home Saturday morning at 10:00 … they’re going to the shopping center … and they see a Century 21 … Coldwell Banker … Keller Williams … they see a For Sale sign in a front yard. The conversation in the car … now you know this as a fact … the conversation is, “I wonder if their home is as nice as ours. I wonder what they’re asking for their home. I bet ours would sell faster than theirs. I wonder where they’re moving to.” These are normal conversations that do not exist during home isolation because they’re not driving around. See, they’re stuck in their homes like you and I are.

So, now, if I make 20 phone calls a day around the company’s, or my personal listings and sales … people first are going to answer the phone … and second, if you engage them properly by saying, “My name is Mike and I’m in Real Estate … and … first and foremost, on behalf of my company, we hope everybody is healthy and safe in the family.”

They go, “Yeah, it is. What can I do for you?”

“I want to share with you a little update as to what’s going on in Real Estate in the community. May I share some thoughts with you?”

“That would be great.” Then you talk about some of the things going on. You look like an expert. You look like you’re active … it looks like you’re doing something in the community and that’s what we’re trying to accomplish. So, Past Clients … Centers of Influence … Just Listed/Just Sold … can you imagine … if we take the month of May, June, July … so you got the nice summer months … and you talk to 20 people a day … 5 days a week … that’s 100 … 200 … 300 … 400 … 1,200 people in 3 months … how many listings? How many sales? How many leads are you going to get?

As long as you’re conversational, ask the questions, use the scripts we have for you to use … and you’re understanding … and you’re kind … and you’re empathetic in the conversation and the tone of your voice. So, it’s either going to be a good time or a bad time for the month of May … the choice is yours. So, let’s think about some of these questions that I’m trying to answer for you. We’ll answer another set of them next week. Thank you for being with us today. Have a great week. Thank you.


Mike Ferry is the global leader in real estate coaching and training. Watch Mike each week as he discusses a variety of topics to help real estate agents and brokers. Grow your real estate business by improving your mindset, developing your skills and creating a plan of action to increase your production!