• Setting a "big, hairy, audacious goal" is a powerful technique that can help agents experience substantial increases in their income.
  • Agents are already running at peak capacity and can’t envision how making more might be tied to doing less or conducting their business in a different way.
  • Shifting your mindset and understanding your goals can lead to a powerful change in your business.

You’re setting your income goals for 2016. In 2015, you did $30 million in sales. You set your goal for 2016 at $33 million so that you will hit the magic number of $1 million in gross commission income (GCI).

When you tell your coach your goal, he asks you to double it! How do you respond?

Verl Workman

Verl Workman

Verl Workman, one of real estate’s most successful speakers and trainers, recently shared this story about one of his 1:1 coaching clients. His request that his client double his goal was met with resistance — “Verl, when is enough enough?”

The power of BHAGs

When Workman began his story, my assumption was that he using the technique of setting a BHAG — a big, hairy, audacious goal. This is a powerful technique that can help agents experience substantial increases in their income.

For example, if you made $50,000 in net commission income last year, you might set a BHAG of reaching $100,000 this year.

The reasoning behind setting a BHAG is that if you set your goal at $100,000, you are much more likely to exceed the $50,000 number that you hit before. In other words, even if you only hit 75 percent of your goal, you still have increased your income by 50 percent ($25,000.)

‘I can’t possibly do that!’

It’s always fun to ask agents who are attending a business planning class to do a BHAG. The first step in the process is to have them write down their income goal for this year. The second step is to have them double it.

The room grows restless as the agents comply. You then ask them to double it again. The audible moans and groans in the room reveal how strong the resistance actually is.

Even when I was coaching top-producing agents one-on-one, the resistance to this approach was fierce: “That’s impossible!” “That’s a pipe dream,” or “I can’t work any harder.”

Even after I explain the concept of a BHAG, a few would buy in, but most still resist.

Resetting your mindset

What’s blocking these agents? It’s their mindset. They fall into the trap of thinking they must work harder, that they must uncover some secret way to convert more paid leads from Zillow, or complicate their lives more with more transactions or building a team.

In their defense, they are already running at peak capacity and can’t envision how making more might be tied to doing less or conducting their business in a different way.

Part of this attitude is due to trainers and speakers who constantly harp on building your pipeline with more leads by hiring a telemarketer, knocking on more doors, sending out more mailers, doing more pop-bys, and calling on more expired and for-sale-by-owner (FSBO) listings.

Many agents shy away from these activities because they recognize they would be hounding potential clients to death and more importantly, they are not in alignment with who the agent is. So what are the alternatives?

The most successful agent or the happiest agent?

Ira Serkes

Ira Serkes

Ira Serkes of Pacific Union in Berkeley, California, answered the question, “When is enough enough,” when he decided that rather than trying to be the most successful real estate agent in Berkeley, that he wanted to be the happiest agent in Berkeley.

Serkes’ strategy was to create very specific standards about the clients with whom he would work. They had to be looking for property within a very limited radius from his office, they had to be in a specific price range, plus they had to be nice people. If they didn’t meet all of his criteria, he referred them to another capable agent.

The result was that he was happier, his clients were fun to work with, and his income shot up substantially from the referrals he was making to other agents. Rather than dealing with the hassles of starting and managing a team, Serkes guesses that he probably netted about the same amount of money by focusing on being the happiest agent.

Giving, not taking

Workman’s client who asked, “When is enough enough?” was using a very different approach to building his business. For him, growing his business wasn’t about doing more calls or converting more Internet leads — it was about providing better service to his community and actively giving back to others.

He donates 10 percent of his net proceeds to charity. Moreover, everyone on his team is expected to be active in community causes whether it’s charitable fund raising, volunteering at a school or their place of worship, or working at a local food bank.

Workman has retooled his coaching and training business to specialize in working with this type of client, including one who did $200 million in sales last year using this approach.

A growing trend among millennials

The real estate community in some respects has always been divided into two camps. One camp is filled with agents focused on the Me-Me-Me show, who only care about doing their numbers and ever increasing commission goals.

The other camp has integrated serving their community as the foundation for their business. This is a growing trend, especially among millennials, who often search agents based upon not only their competence, but upon their service to others as well.

Consequently, when Workman’s client asked, “When is enough, enough?” Workman replied, “When you have taken care of your family and there is no one left to help.”

“I’m going for it!” his client replied.

Ultimately, you have a choice — which camp do you want to be in?

Bernice Ross, CEO of RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles and two best-selling real estate books. Learn about her training programs at www.RealEstateCoach.com/AgentTraining and www.RealEstateCoach.com/newagent

Email Bernice Ross.

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