Every year in January real estate agents look to the past year for clues about what worked well for them and what they could do better. It is a time of revitalization and slate is wiped clean of the previous year’s wins and losses. It is a time to start fresh and begin doing all the things that you wanted to get to, maybe even vowed to get to, but never did.
Although we are several weeks into the year already, I am hearing from a number of agents that it took them a while to get into the swing of things after the holidays. If this sounds like you, I have some resolutions to help you jump start your year:
10. Send out real estate information to your database every month by mail
If every year you promise yourself that, “this year will be different,” and that you will stay in contact with your database each and every month, be sure 2014 is the year you actually do it! Set yourself up for success this year by being realistic about what you can and cannot do. This way you don’t wind up looking up at the calendar in November wondering where the year has gone. If you know that you lack the discipline to do a monthly mailer then have someone else do it. We help many agents do their monthly follow-up because they just are not going to do it. This gives them peace of mind that their database is being well taken care of.
9. Focus on connecting with people and being present in public
Real estate is a people business. It is a business whose success depends greatly on your ability to make connections with people. If you are shy, then join a group that you can be a part of, enjoy, and grow relationships within. Join a committee or volunteer, do anything to that helps you make connections with others.
8. Focus on connecting with your loved ones and being present at home
No amount of success in your business will make up for failure at home. I have had the opportunity to work with so many agents over the years that have expressed their regret about not being present while at home. The pressures and stress from the business seem to follow them and they often can’t seem to leave it at the door when they get home. This causes them to be grumpy and distant and not truly focused on their family. Put down your work troubles. Leave them at the door and engage and connect with the most important people in your world.
7. Enter your expenses each month so you don’t have a huge task to do at the end of the year
Keeping track of money is a big challenge for many agents. Just when they should be ready to go in January and February, many agents find themselves weighed down with the daunting task of organizing their bills, receipts and expenses in order to file their taxes. Find a simple system that you can do every single month so this task does not become an overwhelming feat. Remember to tackle this big task one small bite at a time. If you look at your finances each and every month then you quickly learn where you are going overboard and that will help you make better business decisions.
6. Focus on getting one business project done every month
Every client that I have ever worked with has unfinished projects. That is the nature of our business. I encourage agents to make a list of all the one-time tasks or projects (such as building a website, creating a buyers package, or refining their listing system) that they want to complete in their business. Once this list is complete I ask them to put those tasks into a priority list, assign one task per month, and to commit to getting that done. This is a great way to get a lot of projects completed in a slow and steady manner. Slow and steady wins the race in real estate.
5. Take a look at your physical spaces and determine what is working and what is not
Your physical surroundings are critical to you being able to complete tasks and work efficiently. If your office space is cluttered, then it’s hard to work at your best level. I have worked with so many agents over the years to help them purge and clean offices that are out of control. The relief an agent feels when they get themselves organized is monumental and can really help to jump start your year.
4. Determine a new rule for working with sellers and live by it
Look back at the past year and ask yourself, “What have I learned from working with sellers?” What successes did you have and what lessons can you take from what didn’t work for you? If you kept a listing or two on the market for too long, then it is time to create a price reduction program that will help sellers understand why keeping their home overpriced is detrimental to their overall bottom line. Perhaps you need to improve the pricing part of your listing presentation to prevent overpriced listings. Think about what didn’t work so well and create rules to keep those things from happening again.
3. Determine a new rule for working with buyers and live by it
Every time you step out with a buyer you learn something new. Perhaps you showed too many homes to your buyers or spent hours and hours driving around with buyers who were not pre-qualified. Look back to see how you could improve your services for buyers and implement a new system for working with them that honors your time as well as theirs. Improving your game could be something as simple as adding a concierge basket to your car for your buyers (a basket filled with beverages and snacks for the buyer) or making sure you have a discussion about pre-qualification before anyone begins driving around with you.
2. Plan your vacations and days off for 2014 now
Look back to last year and ask yourself if you were happy with the amount of time off you took. Chances are you were not and you need to change that for this year. Real estate agents that can take time off on a regular basis allow their mind and body to get the much-needed rest it craves and it helps an agent stay at the top of their game. Planning ahead is essential because if you don’t there is a very good chance that it will be December before you know it.
1. Edit, edit, edit
This is by far the MOST important resolution of them all. Editing out of your business and life all the things that are not serving you well is essential in today’s very fast paced world. Perhaps you need to edit the amount of time you are spending online or checking your emails. Editing out buyers and sellers who aren’t serious or require too much of your energy is critical to the overall health of you and your business.
Take the time to really take a close look at your business and life and choose a resolution or two that you know in your gut speaks to you. Here’s to a wonderful 2014!
Now you tell us! What are your business resolutions for the new year?