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How many phone numbers do you know?

being a professional Mar 11, 2023

Do you know your own phone number?

What about your spouse's number?  Your kids?

Chances are you may know your number, but not too many other peoples.  You do not know those numbers because a) you don't need to anymore - they are already stored in your phone; b) your brain isn't designed to hold lots of information in the moment, i.e. working memory.

You can search the internet regarding our memory - you will find all sorts of conflicting data. Mostly you will see that previous research thought humans maxed out at 7 items (phone numbers are seven digits).  BTW:  I am not talking about the tricks and systems for improving what we can remember, I am simply referencing what we default to.  Much of the current research is now pointing to most people can only hold a few things in memory at a time - like three to four.

When you get up in the morning, what are you thinking about?  Depending on what all is happening in your life, if you have young kids, or aging parents, you may have some real support things you need to do.  But many people start thinking about the things they need "to do" today.  I did the same thing this morning.

What finally struck me:  I can only think of a handful of things at one time.  I have 50 things I could be doing, that I feel need to be done.  But at any given moment, I can only come up with three to five.


When you think about your business, is it systematized?  Or is it more of, well, what is calling my attention today?  And what is calling your attention can only be held in your memory - three to five things at a time.  If you have a transaction or two going, or a listing or two or three - you have lots going on.  Mostly you can only think about the business you are currently doing - your mind has no capacity left to go out and do the other thing that is most important in your business:  develop and nurture relationships.  

So maybe...when you are doing business, your brain has limited capacity to go develop business because you're out of memory. (Not to mention no one wants to go out and do that anyway - whole other topic!)

When you have no active business, and you know you need to develop business, what's the problem?  There are many, but let's focus on two.  The first is, you don't want to!  Reaching out to people, for most agents, is not comfortable (not going to go into ALL the reasons why this is the case, but you likely know this is 99% true for you).  The second problem, and the one I am focusing on here, is that your brain is...confused.  You simply do not have a system for processing how you reach out to people.  There are SO many ways to do it, and if you have not picked the one or two by which you will do it, you will default to...none.  In fact, you will default to what you do every day, which is:  what grabs your attention.  And what grabs your attention:  the three or four things in your working memory!

Now, I am purely speculating here.  I have no hard research, simply my observations.  But I invite you to look for yourself.  And one more BTW: for MANY agents, what grabs their attention:  social media.  Social media is not your database!  Social media, for most agents, is NOT developing and nurturing relationships.  You develop and nurture relationships and you keep track of them in a database - because again, your brain cannot hold all of that information.

The more I think about this the more I realize how lucky I was to have landed on door knocking.  I only had to do ONE thing every day:  go to the doors.  That was it!  If you look at your database (if you have one), what you see is LOTS of things to do!  Too many!  It tells you all the people you haven't called, the people you know that are missing from the database, the errors in the database, the people who are new in the database that need to be tagged and processed, and...  Can you see already that there are TOO MANY things!!! Our brains can't handle it!

If I gave you a list every day of THREE things to do - and I was going to pay you $2,500 a day for every day you did that, would you do it?  (Some quick math: if you worked 100 days at $2,500 = $250,000; wanna earn more?  200 days = $500,000!). Notice I didn't say "could", I said would.  You all could.  But *would* you?  Three things every day is very simple.  The problem is you have too many things, and you don't have one or two things that are absolutely critical.  

The good news here - yes, this really is good news - whatever overwhelm or frustration you may have felt in the past (or right now), it's totally normal!  The way out of this nightmare is through it.  You can't do everything.  You can't get it all done.  And you definitely can't get everything done in one day.

If you don't have a database, then your ONLY job is to GET one!  Pick one over the next 7 days and start!

If you have a database, but no one is in it, what should you do?  Start with all your closings over the last 12 months.  Who closed last month?  Enter them in your database.  Then go to the month before.  The month before that.  Each day simply do one month.  That's it.  Not all of it at once.  One bite per day.

What if you have a database that has 3,000 people in it, and you have no idea WTF is going on in there?  Same thing!  Start with the people that closed last month, then the month before, then the month before.  Then move on to your biggest referral sources, your favorite people, etc.  (Another trick:  take EVERYONE in your database, and tag them with something like #Unprocessed.  Then every day spend 30 minutes going through the unprocessed list until they are all processed.  Mostly you will be archiving and deleting them.)

This is all good news:  we don't need to remember stuff!

The only thing we must do every work day:  develop and nurture relationships.  The simpler you can make that process the better.  You don't need to remember people's phone numbers, but you must call them. :-)