Are rituals better than routine in real estate?

‘Ideal day’, ‘follow the process’ and ‘routine’ are all common phrases you hear in real estate that are designed to help agents generate the most deals and the best results.

But is there another way to do business?

Dom Price says there is – rituals.

The Atlassian work futurist says in many professions, including real estate, it’s easy to become focused on completing a rigid timetable of activities without connecting those actions to the outcome you need to be successful.

Speaking exclusively to Elite Agent at Ready24 recently, Dom noted the secret to creating successful rituals over a rigid routine was to focus on achieving an outcome, rather than an output.

Why rituals?

Dom says the nature of his work, including the amount of travel he is required to do, along with having 18-month-old twins at home means routines quickly fall by the wayside.

“So routine went early on, and then I didn’t have anything and it was just chaos for about a year and a half,” he notes.

“It was like the wild west and I remember sitting there one day and noticing that I was just exhausted. 

“The blank piece of paper wasn’t working, so I was like, ‘What’s in the middle’?”

Dom notes that he knew he needed some structure but that it also needed to be fluid and generate results.

“The ingredients were really simple, in theory,” he says.

“I asked myself, ‘What outcomes do I want to have and what impact do I want to have?’

“Then I looked at how do I best understand the steps I can take today to have that impact?”

Dom’s ritual

Dom says his main ritual starts on a Friday. 

He gives an update of 280 characters or less of each project he is working on and anyone on his team can see where he is up to.

His team does the same, but doesn’t get those updates until Monday, when he reads them and uses them to create a to-do list for his week.

Sometimes Dom jumps in to help his team if they’re struggling or need guidance, but otherwise he stays out of the way. 

“Sometimes my logic says me intervening will slow them down and I’m not going to amplify them, I’m going to inhibit them,” he notes.

“Then there’s another team that my spidey senses tell me there might be something going on there, so I see if they could use some help.

“I structure my week to spend time on the most impactful things… and about 25 per cent of that is predictable, but it’s not the whole week.

“If you predict our whole week and have a whole structure then you miss all the serendipity and if you have no structure then all you get is serendipity but you achieve very little.

Outcome versus output

Dom notes that a common mistake in planning an ideal day or ideal week is that people focus on doing tasks not on achieving results.

“The reality is you could make 25 calls but they could be the wrong calls,” he notes, putting the idea into real estate terminology.

“It’s the balance of business versus effective. What if you only needed to make five calls, if they were the right calls?”

Dom says it’s important to beware of “vanity metrics” and to instead focus on achieving an outcome or a desired impact.

“I think in modern business, we get carried away with the activity,” he says.

“You did 15 things, but did the 15 things convert to what you wanted to happen?

“Outcome. Get the outcome.”

Dom says if you stay focused on the output versus the outcome, mediocrity creeps in. 

“It kicks in when you get to the end of the week and you’re like, ‘I did my 100 tasks’ but then you ask, ‘were any of them effective’? And you answer ‘no’ but you say you did them and you’ll do them next week.”

Dom Price on stage at Ready24.

Know your zone

When it comes to completing any task, Dom points out that not all are created equal. 

He notes that his most creative time of the day is 8pm to 9.30pm so doing his most creative tasks at 9am would not be wise.

He says you need to ‘know your zones’ and do the right tasks at the right time for you, not at a predetermined time for someone else’s ideal day.

It’s also critical to view your output in terms of who relies on your work to be done in order for them to proceed with their tasks.

“You’ve got to know who is left or right of you in any process,” Dom says.

Meet your customers where they are

A crucial component doing the right tasks at the right times also involves considering what your clients want and need.

“Adaptability is critical,” Dom says. 

“If you comply with the process that says make your calls by 10am, you’ve potentially not met your customer in the middle but someone else has.

“They may be at work and would rather you call after work, but someone else has flexed to meet them.”

But it’s always….

Irrespective of the industry, Dom says a common phrase he hears from those reluctant or fearful of change is “I’ve always done it that way”.

The key is for people to understand the consequence of trying something different will likely be positive but, even if it isn’t, it’s unlikely to be catastrophic.

“The downside risk is tiny, but the upside is quite high,” he notes.

“Sometimes we get in our own way and that compliance or following a process is more important than using our brain.

“When we engage our brain we can pretty much achieve anything.”

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Kylie Dulhunty

Kylie Dulhunty is the Editor at Elite Agent.