During an Inman Connect session Tuesday, brokers Christian Ross and Craig Wilburn offered tips on how to be ready for anything 2021 throws your way.

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Given how 2020 threw a pandemic-induced curveball, the future still feels unpredictable.

Despite uncertainty over vaccination rollouts and the end of lockdown, however, having a solid game plan can pave the way for a successful 2021 even in the face of the unexpected. The key, according to panelists Tuesday at a Connect session entitled, “How to Futurecast Your 2021 Game Plan,” is setting clear goals and staying in communication with both clients and agents.

Craig Wilburn

“The vision for this year begins in October of last year but if you haven’t started yet, you can still make some progress now,” Craig Wilburn, the president of  Team Dynamo at Keller Williams Realty, said during the session.

Here are five tips for preparing your real estate business for anything that 2021 throws your way:

  • Plan Out Your Year

While the experiences of 2020 may have soured many Realtors on creating detailed plans, creating a game plan is always a better strategy than winging it, Wilburn said. He recommends taking a full day with your team to set up short- and long-term goals and draw up a joint VTO (Vision-Traction-Organizer). This can include a mission statement, core values, big goals and a marketing strategy that everyone in the office can draw back on throughout the year.

“When we’re talking about futurecasting we have to realize that unexpected things happen and we have to always be in audit mode,” Christian Ross, managing broker at Engel & Völkers Atlanta said. “Make sure that you’re also putting when to audit the experience that you’re giving to your clients, the experience that you’re giving to your agents into your calendar.”

Keep Yourself (And Your Team) In Check

Regular check-ins with your team, yourself and the goals you set will help everybody stay on top of what is happening in your real estate business. While individual goals can and should change in the face of new events, communication and self-audits will help you stay on top of what is going on with your real estate business rather than being surprised by sudden changes later on.

“We focus on what we call lead measures and we track every single week,” Wilburn said. “We meet together, individually, to speak specifically about accountability and what each person has to do to [achieve] the lead measures for that week

Keep That COVID-19 Connection

Despite vaccination efforts and some agents’ hopeful plans for the future, the pandemic is not over yet.

Calling clients to check in and doing livestreams on social media are just some of the strategies many agents picked up at the beginning of the pandemic. While most markets are booming and the need for these “extras” may not always feel important, now is still the time to continue connecting with new clients while making old ones feel valued.

“How are you connecting with your agents?” Ross asked. “How are you connecting with your community? How are you bringing them together for their growth? How are you integrating both of those?”

Christian Ross

Video, Video, Video

The pandemic has pushed many agents to embrace and improve their video game.

Ross argues this should be a constant priority no matter what the future brings.Knowing how to find clients, do virtual tours and sell homes sight-unseen will help not only in the case of extended short-term lockdowns but will also in other unexpected situations long into the future.

“Make sure that you’re truly incorporating video,” Ross said. “If for some reason your entire marketing plan that you put together for 2021 doesn’t include video, look at your marketing plan again and see what can be turned into video.”

Burnout Is Bad

The start of the year can be an incredibly busy time — the above-mentioned goal-setting and desire to have the best year ever can put an entire team into overdrive. But burning out and stretching yourself too thin too early will often lead to a worse result overall than steady, measured work. Remind your team (and yourself) to take regular breaks from work.

“Real estate is not supposed to be your life,” Wilburn said. “It’s supposed to fund your life.”

Email Veronika Bondarenko

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