Marketing Secret #84 Why The “Keeping Your Hands Busy” Syndrome Is Bad

What is the “Keeping Your Hands Busy” syndrome?

It is the act of moving papers around, reading important newspapers or magazines to stay educated, talking to your associates about some other company or office, etc. In other words, it is the illusion of being busy all day and not getting anything done that will make you money!

I went to help an office that was doing badly. It was owned by two men who were realtors wondering why they weren’t making any money. They hired me to figure it out.

It wasn’t my most complicated job! They were doing what I’ve seen in so many businesses, over and over. They were going home and telling their wives how tired they were from putting in a full day, working their butts off.

I want to give you a brief look at a typical day in the life of these two real estate agents, to show you the “Keeping Your Hands Busy” syndrome firsthand.


  • Get coffee and read the real estate section of yesterday’s paper.
  • Call the title office to see what happened to the closing they were going to try to get approved.
  • Talk to each other about the prospect who came in the week before, discussing what a strange      person he was.
  • Sit down to read the mail.
  • Call the client who said he might sell his home and move to a retirement community. Talk to him      for an hour.



  • Meet for 1.5 hours with a mortgage broker about a new type of loan.
  • Health insurance agent stops by to say hello…forty five minutes’ worth of hello.
  • A client stops by to pick up a copy of their MLS listing…only twenty minutes on that one.
  • A copy of Real Estate Today is picked up in order to catch up on reading. Another issue’s
    expected any day, so must read this one before the new one comes.



  • Drive over to a new listing’s house to drop off more listing sheets. Spend 45 minutes talking to the client.
  • Drop off your new seminar ads at the ad rep’s house who lives in your neighbourhood.
  • Go home…finally!

Wow! What an exhausting day! I don’t know how they do it! What a pace..I mean, how do they pay any bills or take any money home?

Does your day go like this? I sure hope not. These men were spinning their wheels and just keeping their hands busy!

What these guys were not doing is any marketing. None. They wasted the entire day messing around with each other and others.

How does that make money?

What these agents needed to do was get a marketing plan established, and execute it immediately. At least they were smart enough to call me to fix the problem.

After six months, they had an entirely new business. I had them concentrate on marketing as their #1 priority, as you should. They had to do marketing…whatever it might be…for at least four hours a day.

You know what? Their hands are really busy now, but not wasting time, kidding themselves. Their hands are busy making money!

It doesn’t matter what kind of business you’re in, your main business should be marketing and getting new existing clients/customers/patients to do business with you. That activity should take up the majority of your day.