- As business slows, it's natural to want to take time off, but this is a great time for growth.
- Make yourself visible at community events, and offer your help where you can.
- Don't wait until the new year to work on resolutions to get organized.
Don’t pump the brakes in November.
In the brokerages I’ve worked in, every year around this time managers deliver one valuable piece of advice to their agents: don’t take the last two months of the year off.
In November, it’s tempting as business slows to use the time to do a bit of self-care, to get caught up in family events, to take a vacation or two and maybe to put real estate on pause until things start getting busy in the new year.
But just because many people’s focus is on Thanksgiving turkey or holiday parties doesn’t mean that we can put our businesses on hold. Used correctly, this is actually a brilliant time of the year for two main points of focus: making connections and getting organized.
Small Business Saturday on November 26 has now become a national event, and many small businesses participate. Some neighborhoods also host “shop the block” events.
As a real estate agent or brokerage, there are two main ways you can take part. The route many brokerages take is to use the time to host an open house event in their offices with coffee and sweet treats.
Another way to use this open house opportunity is to invite local artists or artisans without a shop of their own to use your space for the day, and that way they will encourage their fan bases to visit your location.
Another way to participate is to be a support system for the small businesses around you. Put your money where your local heart is, and shop for your gifts at these stores during these special events.
You can also drop off coffee or lunch for local business owners who you know will be very busy on this day. Or host a wrap-up and wind-down event at your office with food and drinks at the end of the event, and invite all your business neighbors to come, talk about the day and relax.
Similarly, choosing your holiday gifts to give to clients from local businesses can help the individual business, and it can also send a message to clients that you actively care about and are aware of the business community around you.
Last year, my holiday gifts to the agents I worked with were bags of coffee from a friend who has his own roasting company. It wasn’t just a gift; it was a gift with a story that I could tell about a young entrepreneur in the community and that made it more memorable for the recipient.
Just say yes
You will likely get invited to a lot of events during the holiday season. It can be tempting to say no, but one of the things that should make this prime time for real estate is that there are so many holiday events to attend.
You can volunteer at events handing out meals or give gifts at parties hosted by your friends, neighbors and businesses. Ask how you can help.
We are known for both who we are and what we do. If you are the person who always brings the sugar cookies or volunteers to clean up, it will be noticed and appreciated.
Sometimes we forget that even our presence is a gift. Showing up, telling someone how great an event is and sending a follow-up thank you for the invitation can go a long way.
When you aren’t out making the rounds and being seen, this is the time of the year for wrap-up and plan for next year. Start getting organized for the coming tax season by organizing your business expenses.
While you are reviewing what you spent, you can start considering whether it is an expense you will want to continue in the new year.
It’s very easy to put certain expenses on autopilot but ask yourself if you are using all the technology you are paying for. Can you use it better?
You don’t have to wait for New Year’s Day to start habits of organization. Why not start now? Is there something you can learn and put into practice in this time while you are potentially doing fewer transactions?
If you are like most agents, you might have noticed that your resolutions to blog all the time, send out newsletters or post on social media have fallen by the wayside. It happens to all of us.
Now is a great time to stockpile content. I like to call these types of activities “gifts to future me.” If you have imagery and posts ready to go now, you can deploy them when the time is ready.
Once you have this content, make sure it gets used. One of the quickest things to do is build out a rudimentary editorial calendar in Google Drive, Excel or even on a whiteboard.
Map out what you will be talking about each month in terms of newsletters, mailers, etc. Evergreen content and newsletter reminders on subjects such as property tax deadlines or spring cleaning can be prepared ahead of time. You can also shoot video content to deploy later as well or build scripts for future live videos.
Now is also a great time to review all of your templates and decide if you want to freshen things up. Depending on your brokerage, this can be a time to meet with marketing team members when they are a little less busy prepping urgent listing presentations and sales materials.
Go over your budget in detail. Did you spend more than you expected to on marketing and advertising? What was the return on your investment? Where can you spend more in 2017, and where should you spend less?
Sometimes advertising doesn’t yield direct results, and visibility can be hard to measure, but there should be a positive relationship between increase in spending and increase in business over the course of one year. If there isn’t, it’s time to re-evaluate.
There’s a natural lift of excitement that comes with the prospect of a new year, and a little bit of preparation can serve as rocket fuel, getting you excited for the new year.
When everyone else returns to work in the new year, you will be ready with renewed connections, better organization and an action plan for the coming year.