- When seasoned real estate agents relaunch their careers, they must find clarity, carefully plan their launch and employ best practices.
Most real estate leadership positions have some sort of shelf-life; re-entry into production is a somewhat common occurrence, and my story is no different.
The overall plan
My 2017 relaunch mission is to take my business from $0 to $10 million in 10 months (by the end of the year).
My plan, not surprisingly, is based primarily on the basics, best practices, authenticity (doing what I like and am good at), top sphere, agent referrals and the right Facebook presence. I figure if anyone can do this, one of the top new agent coaches in the country can.
My previous life
My 18-year real estate career path macro progression looks something like this: solo to team to bigger team to a leadership position to sabbatical and back to solo. The sabbatical was 2016 (more on that later). The “back to solo” was a February 2017 decision.
$0 to $10 million in 10 months — this is my 2017 relaunch back into real estate production.
Why $10 million? Because $6 million was a no-brainer, $8 million was doable and $10 million was a stretch that fit nicely with the roughly 10 months (9.5) left in the year. Ten in 10: it was a simple framework for the relaunch. It’s my number. Someone else’s might be $4 million and another relauncher’s might be $44 million.
Own your number.
As the Director of Career Development at the Keller Williams Southwest Market Center in Austin, Texas, from 2011-2015, I had to have a hands-off solution in place to keep my business running.
I found an amazing business partner, which worked at a high level for few years, and then the ROI on my database started to fade.
Fast forward to 2017, I convinced my business partner that I could get more out of the sphere portion of the database, so we agreed to switch the direct marketing from her back to me to see if I could breathe some life and leads back into those relationships.
So here I was back in the driver’s seat, relaunching my business.
In this article, I am going to outline my plan and progress (about three to four months in), but first I want to comment on my 2016 sabbatical year because that opportunity (and breathing room) is what created the foundation for the relaunch; 2016 was a step back so I could step forward.
Toward the end of 2015, I was exhausted and my real estate business had wound down to a low level of referrals. After five amazing years, I left the director position on Jan. 1, 2016 and took a year off.
Academia calls it a sabbatical, Aussies call it a “gap year.” I wrote a book, designed some online training, traveled and got my health back. And then the time came when I knew it was time to relaunch my business.
As a bit of a side note, I have a theory on relaunch that applies to your real estate business and simply anything in life. If something is not working at a high level, your business, your relationship, your projects, if you’re not having fun and building an amazing life — start over.
I think a lot of agents could benefit from a reset, and simply put, can relaunch (or re-relaunch) at any time.
Where to start
I wrote it all out. First, I got really specific about what was important to me: my family, my business and my clients this time around.
What worked before and what I would like to fix this time around? I had specific financial goals for my family and a personal commitment to balance, health and clarity of mind.
I was also committed to an avoidance of my overachiever tendencies (achiever will do). More specifically I thought about:
- Why: I outlined the mission, the vision, my motivation and my goals.
- Targets: I identified my financial and personal vision, I quickly wrote out a 1-3-5 plan with the 1 being $10 million in sales volume this year. (I currently have $5.5 million in the pipeline.)
- Vetting: I spoke with at least a dozen trusted advisers, advocates, coaches and friends. These were long, involved personal conversations where I was testing my why (the mission, vision, motivation). I knew that these conversations were either going to poke holes in my commitment or strengthen my resolve. The result was that it strengthened my resolve and built a team of cheerleaders and accountability partners in the process.
- Fixing: I spent some time assessing what worked in my business before and what was less than stellar. I ran through a simple honest strengths and weaknesses exercise that helped me identify where leverage, accountability and focus could help me run an improved business this time around. We all know this conversation: it’s the “gee, if I could do (insert topic) all over again, what would I do differently the next time around?”
When I started my real estate career in 1999, I threw a bunch of parties, happy hours on the deck at my home in the woods on Shoal Creek in central Austin. Those parties launched my career back then, and I had something similar in mind this time around.
It took a couple months, but we threw a very specific relaunch party with a select group of 40 and live music at our little farm on the edge of Austin. Now, I am loving on those folks and directly asking for their support, referrals and business. It’s working.
My new CRM friend, Contactually, reminds me regularly to stay focused on a small, likely-to-refer-and-convert group of A and A-plus people. It’s working. I am staying small to build my $10 million business.
3. Best practices
I know the industry best practices inside and out, everything we teach agents to run a good business. I taught it for five years and am a better Realtor because of it.
So I did a thorough review of that list and did a little cherry picking. Here is the cherry-picked list, my key ingredients that would warrant the majority of my attention:
- Intense focus on sphere (my sweet spot).
- Major focus on managing my schedule with consistent and purposeful lead generation as the foundation of that schedule.
- Renewed focus on database and consistent follow-up (which had not been a strength in my previous life). More specifically, I found my way to Contactually. It is the first CRM I have ever loved — and I am using it everyday.
- What could I leverage? I moved very quickly on a few things. I hired contract-to-close immediately. I knew who the best was in town and wasted no time convincing them to take me on. I quickly tracked down an amazing stager. I quickly hired someone to amp up my website. I reinstated BombBomb and started using that right away. I subscribed to Spacio to go pro with my open houses. I had no time to waste — I pulled the trigger quickly on these items that had been on my brain for years.
- Accountability partners — I found a bunch of these. Not only in my vetting conversations: I found another agent doing the exact same leadership-back-to-production relaunch at the same time, and we started meeting on a weekly basis to help each other get out of the starting blocks.
4. Lead genertion and agent referrals
This simply deserves its own category. I knew I needed to tap into one of my biggest assets in this business: my national agent network. I did the math on the $10 million sales volume goal and ran the numbers as if half of those leads came with an agent referral attached.
The move-to-Austin inflow is tremendous these days, so it only makes sense to make sure I am top-of-mind with my professional network.
While we’re on the topic, since you have read this far in the article, I would be honored to be your Austin connection. (See what I did there? Yes, you can personally participate in the $0 to $10 million in 10 project.)
I am doubling-down on professional contacts by being purposeful with my travel plans: regional and national speaking engagements, Inman Connect in San Francisco in August, Keller Williams Mega Camp in September, NAGLREP conference in Palm Springs in October, CyberPros in Chicago in November — each of these trips will pay for itself in referral opportunities and move me closer to the goal.
I’ll circle back around with a follow-up article in a few months and let you know how it’s going.
And I’ll leave you with one question: If you were to start over, what would you do differently the next time around?