Sustainable Focus & Drinking Beer

We’re headed into the fall real estate selling season, our last big bump before the slow winter months. Our attention is heavily focused on getting a few more transactions closed, but we also need to be continuing our daily prospecting that will sustain us through the slow times.

beer glasses

That focus can be achieved with a plan to start every day doing what we’re best at before anything else. Here’s a little frame of reference, from a famous country song:

“I wasn't born for diggin’ deep holes, I'm not made for pavin’ long roads....
I ain’t cut out to climb high line poles…but I'm pretty good at drinkin’ beer.”

Now I don’t particularly like country music, and this song is corny at best. But the protagonist, and the song itself, are so focused on doing one thing well, that they’re actually good at it. Despite my best efforts, sitting around a barbecue with a bunch of friends and a few cold ones, you might catch me singing along. This one trick pony isn’t trying to be everything to everyone—just really good at one thing. That focus is successful.

Lead generation and prospecting are the primary indicators of our business success. They should always, year-round, be our top priorities. When times are busy, we still need to fit in prospecting. When times are slow, it’s essential that we continue prospecting. If we’re not generating new potential clients every day, we’re ensuring ourselves of a dry spell in our businesses.

Prospecting isn’t the same for all of us, though. If you’re a confident cold-caller, you’ve got a concrete start to every day. That doesn’t work for everyone, but it doesn’t mean we can’t all start our day, every day, with at least one hour focused on prospecting.

Maybe you’re not as comfortable on the phone, but you can shake hands with the best of them. Meeting with a new chamber of commerce, Rotary club, networking group, or trade organization every day will not only be easier for you, it will be more successful because it’s your niche. Some of us interact online with brokers out of the area to generate relocation referrals. Others pen letters to past clients, write blog posts, develop website content, or just door knock the neighborhood.

Whatever you do better than your competitors, you should be spending more time doing it. We love to wear as many hats as possible as REALTORS®, but we often do it to our own mental and financial detriment. If we’re not good at it, and we don’t particularly like doing it, we should be hiring someone else to do it or finding something we do like that concentrates on our particular strengths.

Daily prospecting can be daunting, but it’s necessary for year-round consistency, and it doesn’t have to be difficult. If we start every day with a one item to-do list in the back of our heads, it becomes a constant reminder. Either I’ve prospected today and I feel good about going about the rest of my day, or I haven’t yet and I feel a bit of anxiety until I can make up for it.

Tying your daily prospecting requirement into activities that you either like, or at least don’t dislike, will be far more fruitful for your career than fighting through a painful regimen every day. Don’t make this business any harder than it already is. Like our country music friend, your life doesn’t have to be digging holes and paving roads—unless that’s what you like to do. The key to a sustainable business is consistency. Find what you’re good at, do it well, and do it every day.

Sam DeBord is Managing Broker of The Seattle Homes Group with Coldwell Banker Danforth.  He serves on the Board of Directors for WA REALTORS® and Seattle KingCounty REALTORS®, as well as writing for, Inman News, and the Seattle P-I.  You can find Sam and his team at

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