Focusing on realistic and attainable goals is critical when establishing business and personal ambitions. Shorter-term goals allow you to zero in on what needs to be done now to meet them. Here’s how you can plan for the short and long term.

When I earned my real estate license, one of the first pieces of advice I received from my principal broker was to establish a written business plan with specific goals and objectives.

After meeting with him, I remember sitting down and doing just that. I wrote out a detailed plan and listed all the goals I wanted to reach in my first year selling real estate.

My goals centered around the number of prospects I needed to add to my database, the prospects whom I wanted to convert to clients, the volume of business I needed to sell to survive, and the various streams of revenue for my business. These goals were long-term and part of a twelve-month strategy to get me up and going in the business. Many of them were pretty ambitious, but I was confident I could reach them.

At the end of my first year in the business, I reviewed my list and discovered I only reached about 55 percent of my original goals. I had a great first year and made a decent amount of money, but I did not accomplish everything I set out to do. I was frustrated at not being able to do a better job of checking items off my goals list.

After talking to my broker and several veteran agents, I discovered I was concentrating more on reaching long-term goals than trying to accomplish shorter, more attainable goals. I soon realized I had to change my methodology for goal setting and focus on goals that were short-term.

Focusing on realistic and attainable goals is critical when establishing business and personal goals. These types of goals are always shorter and much less complicated. Shorter-term goals allow you to zero in on what needs to be done now to meet them. Set these goals in one-day, seven-day, and 30-day segments. I call it the “1-7-30 goal-setting method.” Consider the following examples for these three types of goals.

Daily goals (One day)

These goals are high-priority, immediate, and should be reached between 12 and 24 hours. Every morning, or the previous evening, write down what you want or need to accomplish in the day ahead.

Ask yourself:

  • How many calls will I make to prospects?
  • How many calls will I make to past clients?
  • What follow-up should I do with my current listings or active contracts?
  • What items in my transactions need to be addressed?

Remember to also list any personal items that need to be accomplished during the day.

Weekly goals (7 day)

Not as urgent as one-day goals, these goals may incorporate some of the one-day goals you set. They should address larger issues or projects you need to accomplish in the next seven days. An example of a seven-day goal might be developing a new marketing or promotional piece for your business, meeting with your broker on how to work with relocation clients or planning a broker or public open house.

Monthly goals (30 day)

Thirty-day goals are a little longer-term, but they are still within reach. Maybe you need to take a class to obtain continuing education credit for license renewal, build a new website for your business, or create a marketing plan to work with a particular demographic group.

These goals are a bit more complicated and broader in scope than the others, but they can easily be met.

Effective goal tracking

Goals are worthless if they are not accurately measured, so you need to track your progress with each one. It is important to see how you are doing and determine why you did or did not reach them.

Tracking goals allows you not only to look at what you can mark off your list, but it also gives you an indication of how productive you are during a day, a week, and a month.

Start goal setting now

You may have goals you would like to accomplish in the next three, five, and ten years. Long-term goals are not all bad. However, shorter, achievable goals allow you to remain more productive and grow your business faster.

Focusing on long-term goals creates more stress since you may feel as if you have a long way to go to reach them. Longer-term goals also take your attention away from what needs to be addressed now or in the not-too-distant future.

Start tomorrow morning — or better yet — this evening, on one-day goal setting. Sit down, grab a pen and a piece of paper, and write down what you need to accomplish tomorrow, next week, and by the end of the month.

Keep track of what you wrote and see how well you did in checking items off the list.

John Giffen is Director of Broker Operations for Benchmark Realty, LLC in Franklin, Tennessee. He is the author of “Do You Have a Minute? An Award-Winning Real Estate Managing Broker Reveals Keys for Industry Success.”

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