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.

  • 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

1. Clarity

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?”

2. Launch

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?

Julie Nelson is the chief success officer at The Nelson Project, Keller Williams Realty in Austin, Texas. You can follow her on YouTube or Twitter

Email Julie Nelson

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