Despite your assumptions of the real estate business and your personal investing career, there will be times when things don’t go your way. Even though you may be riding a wave of current success, you will eventually hit a slow patch and be forced to make adjustments. How you handle the down time and rough patches will define your business more than any successful transaction you may have completed. Almost every successful investor has experienced their fair share of lulls in the business. However, it is the ones who make it through that will stand the test of time. Remain proactive during slow patches to keep up with the industry.
It is human nature to complain when things don’t go your way. The real estate business is full of tales in which deals fall through at the 11th hour. Instead of complaining and wondering what happened to your business, you need to take action to change it. This usually starts with some self reflection as to what is causing the lack of business. Is the problem with you and your work ethic, the market you are focusing on or the type of leads you are working with? All of these things can be fairly easily changed with a different outlook on the business and some changes in personal habits.
Look at what has been successful for you in the past and what has been a disappointment. Look to see exactly where you got the leads for the successful deals from and if that formula can be replicated. Any success you may have had could have been a product of just being in the right place at the right time. If this is the case, you need to restart your business. Go back to the basics and redefine your goals. Budget, target markets, desired purchase price ranges and lead sources all need to be reexamined and ramped back up again. Once you know why your business may have been lagging, it will be easier to take steps to improve or change things.
When times are slow, it can be easy to try to force things and look at properties you may not have otherwise. As an investor, when you are cold, you should look at getting involved in a deal that will get the ball rolling again – regardless of how little you may make. The worst thing you can do is to try to make up for lost time by buying speculative properties or going out of your comfort zone in regards to location or price. By making even a small profit, you can restore some confidence and make new contacts. If you swing for the fences and miss, it may be too big of a setback to recover from.
Instead of looking at slow periods as a disappointment, they should be looked at as a perfect time to try new things. If you are slow, it can be a reflection on your networking and marketing efforts. A common mistake that new investors make is thinking that doing any marketing will generate leads. Your marketing needs to be focused on generating deals and not leads. Sure, a higher number of leads gives you a greater chance at getting a deal, but if a majority of the leads are low quality, you will be disappointed in the results. Take a look at where, when and who you are marketing to. Mailing a list just one time will have little to no impact. Your marketing needs to be something you do regularly and with a purpose. If you are slow, you should take advantage of this time to tweak any letters, emails, lists and envelopes you use in your marketing. A small change in any of these areas can result in a big return. It is always better to mail a small list multiple times than to send one or two letters to a different list every couple of months.
When things are slow, it is also a good time to get out on the road and meet new people. This should include investment associations, networking groups, realtors, attorneys, mortgage brokers and even financial planners. You can use your time to concentrate on your website and social media presence as well. The larger your network is, the more likely you are to come across a deal. It doesn’t matter if your last deal was a week ago or two months, you should be knocking on doors and handing out business cards. All it takes is one new contact to change your business. If you don’t put yourself out of a lull, you will never know what you can accomplish.
Going through slow times are not ideal, but it is also not the worst thing in the business. If you use this as a time to recalibrate your business, appreciate the value of reserves and tweak some of the things you do, it can actually help your business. The worst thing you can do is to do nothing. When you are slow, business will not fall on your lap. You have to go out and get it. Every investor goes through rough times, but if you are willing to work your way out if them, you will look back on those times with fond memories instead of regret.