• Every successful brand starts with a plan -- get your concrete business plan in place for 2017.
  • Let sources such as Inman be your best friend! Research, read and study what experts in your industry are doing, and see what you can do to emulate them.
  • Get ready to be social -- get your sphere lists in order, and work on cleaning up your online reputation.

We are just now getting into the holiday season, and I know a lot of real estate agents want to relax, rest and sort of “glide” through the end of the year.

They might have hit their commission numbers, and they know that the market tends to slow as people prepare for the holidays and family time.

Although this might be true, it’s not the time to put your business on the back burner. In fact, top agents are using this time to get themselves ready for 2017 by working on some important tasks they might not have gotten to in busier times.

Here are five tasks worth tackling during slow times — before 2017 kicks off.

1. Update your sphere and contact lists

This is the perfect time of year to go through your emails, social media accounts, etc., and add those contacts to your sphere list.

The first step of email marketing and many other pieces come from having a set list that you direct your messaging toward.

As you send out those holiday cards to past clients and your contacts, take the time to build out an excel sheet as well to upload into your CRM system. (And if you aren’t doing holiday cards or using some sort of CRM system, learn about their importance.)

2. Outline your annual business plan

If you have not created a business plan in the past, you owe it to yourself and your business to do one for 2017.

In talking with agents around the country as well as real estate coaches, the first thing they attribute success in real estate (and almost any business) to is having a solid plan.

Download one of the free templates from a real estate coach, and work on developing concrete goals for next year. Make a plan of action and a commitment to yourself to execute it.

3. Read and absorb everything you can

What are the leaders in the market doing? What new technologies could you be using as an agent to make your life easier and provide a better service to your clients?

These are the types of questions top agents are asking themselves this time of year to see what they can implement into their businesses for next year.

Taking advantage of resources (such as Inman) to see what agents around the country are doing to help their customers and make their lives easier is the perfect use of your time as daily business slows down.

Research, and then implement!

4. Research, and clean up your online reputation

Now is also a great time to see what the “message” on the internet is about you. What reviews have been left on sites such as Yelp, Trulia, Zillow, etc.?

What social media comments and interactions might you have missed or still need to reply to?

Going through and spending time to clean up your online presence is just as important as buying new clothes for the new year. These comments live on forever on the world wide web — make sure the message about you is one you want people to be reading.

5. Plan your marketing budget and plans for 2017

So many of my clients are responsive with their marketing efforts — and spending. They get contacted about an ad they can place in a local publication and throw $250 here and another $400 there.

This is not the way to effectively create buzz about your brand.

I work with clients to establish budgets for brand marketing as well as individual listing marketing that will work together to create maximum impact.

Take the time to determine your average commission per transaction, and set aside an amount you feel comfortable investing in your business.

Want to be more “hands-off”? Consider hiring a marketing professional to advise and guide you as you head into the new year.

This is a time of year to be with your family and friends and celebrate your successes from 2016. But it is also a great time to think about where you want to be in 2017 and the things you need to do to get yourself there.

Spend some time researching, planning, budgeting and working now to see even more success next year!

Gregory Kiep is the director of marketing at Charlesgate Realty. You can find out more about him at GregoryKiep.com or follow him onLinkedIn or Facebook.

Email Gregory Kiep.

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