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Take a vacation already: 5 excuses real estate agents make — shot down

09/11/2017

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Would you like to travel more? Been a while since you’ve had a vacation? Is finding time difficult in this whacky topsy-turvy world of real estate?

You are not alone. Just about everyone would like to travel and vacation more.

When real estate agents talk about why they don’t travel as much as they’d like to, I often hear the following excuses:

“I can’t afford to.” “How can I travel when I have an active listing or a sale pending?” “I don’t have time to plan a vacation.” “I don’t know where to go.” “Why bother traveling? I would spend the trip on my phone and laptop.” “Each time a trip gets close, I realize I just don’t have time to go.”

Below are some ideas on how to handle these obstacles. These are tips and tricks I have shared with my agents, several of whom are now seeing and doing more than they ever have before.

‘I can’t afford to.’

Of the entire list above, this one has the most merit. It is difficult to travel and vacation when you are struggling financially. However, you need time to recharge, and being away from the everyday routine of work is a great way to do it. And it can be done on a budget.

Truth be told, those who have been on adventures with me know that I am not a luxurious traveller. Sure, on my first trip to New York I stayed in a suite at the Waldorf because that’s where the Eddie Murphy’s Prince Akeem stayed in the movie Coming to America, but not since.

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For our wedding night, my wife and I stayed in a suite at the Ahwahnee in Yosemite National Park, but every other trip to the park has involved either pitching a tent or staying in one of the unheated canvas shacks in Curry Village.

Trips to dozens of countries around the world have consisted of stays in hotel rooms that have zero luxury but were where all the action is for under $20 a night.

If you’ve never tried Airbnb, you can stay for a fraction of “normal” prices.

Inside the lower 48 states, national parks have been a favorite of ours.

How many of our states have you seen? How many could you drive to? What sights are there to see if you were to drive eight hours or less?

Get a map, draw an eight-hour circle around your spot, and start there. It’s pretty inexpensive to see a new place when you can keep costs down. And a trip does not automatically equal seven days.

It could be three, four, five or more. It all depends on where you are at that moment in your life. But it certainly should not remain at zero.

‘How can I travel when I have an active listing or a sale pending?’

Sorry, but this is a lame excuse. Either you will never travel or you will be doing no business due to burnout. Neither is an acceptable option. You must learn to keep your business moving, even when you’re not in the office.

So, how can you “cover” things while you are away?

Pretty much every agent falls into one of two categories: an individual agent or a member of a team.

If you are on a team, the answer is right in front of you. Find someone else on the team, and ask if he or she could cover for you in case something comes up while you are away. Then offer to do the same for him or her.

It’s a match made in heaven. You can both travel more and have someone you know and trust back at home steering the ship.

If you are an individual agent, simply use the same formula with another independent agent in your office.

‘I don’t have time to plan a vacation.’

Also lame. You have lots of time for everything else. Remember the old saying, “We make time for what’s important to us.”

It’s not that hard to plan a vacation these days. We have Google, Trip Advisor and like a million other travel websites and apps available to help with that. Get out of 1981, and start planning.

Honestly, for me the planning is an amazing component to each and every trip. I get to dream about the trip for months or years before it happens, and that makes it last longer and feel more satisfying.

The worst excuse I sometimes hear is “I don’t know where to go.” There is a whole wide world out there. How can you not want to go somewhere?

Close your eyes, point to somewhere on a map, and make that be your spot. It’s better than going nowhere.

‘Why bother traveling? I would spend the entire trip on my phone and laptop.’

This is probably the excuse I hear most often, and it is just the result of poor time management and poor discipline. It’s mostly a mindset issue.

For starters, you should set up your business, usually meaning your client expectations, better before leaving on a trip. If you do a good job of setting the expectations about how often you will be in contact and at what times, then they won’t feel abandoned.

So now you have a short work window. When that time ends, put your electronics down, and go enjoy your trip until the next pre-determined time.

You see, planning better and having the discipline to follow the plan is very important. The mindset that the world can’t go on without you needs to be jettisoned, and you need to accept that you simply are not as important as you think to the transaction or issue at hand.

Now, I know some of you have already thought, “See, I’m working everyday. It’s not a vacation.”

Try waking up two hours earlier or staying up two hours later. This is the another way to “cover” your business. Give up some sleep each day, and you can travel the world while giving up practically no “real” vacation time.  Do your “work” either before or after vacation activities. Here is a personal example.

In China, my wife and I woke at 4:30 a.m. every day (craziest time zone difference ever to California) and worked until 6 a.m. We showered, dressed and were on the road visiting sites like the Great Wall, Forbidden City and Llama Temple by 8 a.m.

We had full days and were home in bed and exhausted each night. My wife listed two properties while we were in China, one in Beijing and another in Shanghai.

She also had two homes go pending and closed another sale. That made for a very productive 12-day trip to the far east, wouldn’t you say?

Sure, we gave up a little sleep, but none of our travel time or vacation.

‘Each time a trip gets close, I realize I just don’t have time to go anymore.’

Travel planning involves actual planning, not wishing. If you don’t get it on a calendar with solid dates and times and locations, it more than likely will never become a reality.

A great way to make it more real is to not only plan the destination but also the activities.

For example, the rest of my 2017 as well as all of my 2018 is already mapped out. Not only where I am going, but also what I am doing in each and every city.

How do I already have all of that planned? Simple, I took time to plan it. Once the trip becomes clear, then having it not happen is no longer an option. It’s real It’s tangible. It’s going to happen.

Here is a phenomenal website for planning activities and experiences on the cheap — memories to last a lifetime.

So stop thinking, and start doing. Make a change for the better — take time off to enjoy life.

Dan Smith is an authorspeaker, strategist and team leader in Mission Viejo, California. Follow him on Facebook.

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