Every year in mid-November I hear the same complaint from agents. They come to me and say:
“Denise, everything is slowing down. I feel like there’s no point to doing anything right now. So I think I’ll just ramp things down and plan next year.”
While it’s a good idea to plan next year, it is a very BAD idea to slow your business down to a crawl just because we’ve entered the holiday season. If you’ve been enticed to put in less effort just because the world is entering “holiday mode,” I want you to stop it right now.
This year has been unlike any other, but that means it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your business. This is the best time to ramp up your systems and client communications, and automate as many things as possible. What is automation? It’s having a system in place so that you don’t even have to think about a certain part of your business. You have everything set up ahead of time, all ready to go.
Automation saves agents not only time and money, but headache and heart attacks. By automating certain systems in your business, you take away the pressure and stress that so many agents deal with—stress that can be avoided with the right systems in place.
After all, a stressed agent is not an effective agent. (I hear you laughing.) But seriously, there is good stress and there is bad stress. Good stress is the motivation and energy you feel when you’re putting a transaction together. That’s a happy kind of stress.
But then there’s the kind of stress where you have to send out three buyer’s packages, follow-up with five phone calls requesting information about your services, and get a marketing activity report out to a client who’s almost ready to make an offer—and all this before 4pm when you have to pick up your kids to bring them to baseball practice. That’s bad stress. Automation in your business helps get rid of bad stress.
Sending those buyer packages? Don’t print, copy, shuffle, staple, and stuff a bunch of pages from different sources into a hand-addressed envelope. Do have a prepared Buyer Package ready to print, pre-printed by commercial printers, or in an email-friendly PDF.
Those 5 phone calls requesting information? Don’t labor over a detailed email or play phone-tag all day for every single inquiry. Do send each one a prepared flyer detailing your services and business style via email.
The marketing activity report? Don’t try to type it up from scratch. Do fill in a branded template that highlights the key topics for your buyer.
Automation can be as simple as a time-line and checklist, and as robust as fully branded templates and professionally printed marketing materials. With processes set up and already in place, you can get those tasks done lickety-split.
There are 3 major areas of your business that should be automated:
In today’s day and age, there is no excuse for not having an automated follow-up program. And yet I can’t tell you how many agents there are to whom I have to say, “Stop putting stamps on your own envelopes. Have a printing company do that for you!”
You can have somebody print your mailers. You can have somebody put them in envelopes and send them out. Heck, you can even import the content of your marketing materials (like some of the systems we provide through Club Zebra).
What do I mean by “tools”?
- Buyer packages
- Listing presentations
- Marketing Activity Reports
- Annual Client Reviews
- Client surveys
- New listing letters
- Client Carrots
You never have to worry about writing another one of these once you create a template for each of them. Small changes like the name in the salutation and the address of the property are easy to copy-paste into the right place, with no extra thinking required.
- Lead Generation.
Yes, you CAN automate your lead generation. For example, let’s say you want to work with expired listings. Do you have an expired listing package all ready to go? How about a system for gathering these names on a regular basis? And another one for executing the delivery? Believe it or not, lead generation can be one of the most profitable areas of automation.
Think about everything you do on a daily basis and ask yourself, “Is there a better way to do this? Is this something I could delegate to somebody else? Who can help me with this?”
Putting these three areas of your business on autopilot this holiday season is the one task that will save you more stress than you can imagine.
By Denise Lones CSP, M.I.R.M., CDEI – The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones, brings nearly three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.