Agent Vacations: 5 Practical Tips for Taking Time Off Without Losing Business
Ask any agent to describe the first thing that usually happens when they go on vacation and you will hear answers like this:
- The leads start pouring in.
- Someone hits the lottery and calls me, asking to see the most expensive home ever listed.
- Every deal I have in escrow blows up.
It seems like a vacation is the best way to jump-start your business. Murphy’s Law, right?
It’s a mixed blessing of sorts. You love the surge in business, but at the same time you really need the rest and relaxation that a vacation can give you.
So what can you do when your long-awaited vacation looms? Here are five practical tips you can try to take time off without losing business.
Plan, plan, plan
Of course you need to plan your flight, hotel, and maybe your entire itinerary depending on how scheduled you like things to be. In this case, I mean planning for how a vacation will impact your business. Try to anticipate what might happen while you are away and plan accordingly. Also, think about jetting off to a tropical island when the real estate business is seasonally slow (going somewhere during the off-season might just save you money too).
Like many real estate professionals, you probably had a previous career before getting licensed to sell real estate. When you went on vacation, a co-worker covered for you, right? Why should it be any different in real estate? Sure, you’re an independent contractor, but you know other real estate independent contractors. There are probably other agents in your office that can help cover for you. Set that coverage up before you leave on vacation. Work out compensation before you need to call on help. That could consist of referral fees, flat rates for certain activities, or even a trade — you cover for me and I’ll cover for you. The key is working it out in advance so there are no surprises.
The last thing you want is for a current client to email you while you are chilling on the beach and have them receive an auto-response that says you are away but Betty Sue is covering for you. So tell them before you leave. Introduce them to Betty so that they feel comfortable with them and realize they are being left in capable hands.
Don’t stop at notifying current clients. Be sure to notify your regular partners too like title and escrow officers, closing attorneys and inspectors. There are many fingers in the real estate transaction pie. Overcommunicate that you’ll be out.
Set up automatic responses
Yes, I just said that the last thing you want is for a client to get an auto-response. The really last thing you want is for a client to receive no response at all. Set up email autoresponders that contain contact information about who is covering for you. In the same vein, set up contact forwarding for your lead generation activities. You’ll want to keep filling that lead pipeline while you are out. Use a system like Zillow’s contact forwarding to make sure that any new leads that come in during your vacation get handled appropriately.
Enjoy your time off!
While this may not seem like a tip, it is super important nonetheless. Vacation is good for the body and mind. It is an opportunity to rest, relax and recharge. If your entire vacation is spent worrying about your real estate business, or instead of spending time with your spouse or family, you are in the hotel room answering email, putting out transaction fires and grinding through leads, then there’s really no point in even being on vacation.
So plan ahead, let people know, find some coverage and set up tools to help you so that you can take time off and enjoy a well-deserved vacation. You’ve earned it!