It’s hard to believe that we are approaching the year’s mid-point. The past few years have been non-stop, head-down, 24/7 kind of days. Not that any of us are complaining, but the sheer volume of business has kept us deep in the weeds. I’m sure many of us have not taken the time to see how we are tracking against our annual business plan.
My mother and business partner, Nan Shanahan, and I have used business planning at our brokerage since we opened the company in 2007. In November, we typically start having one-on-one discussions with our agents, helping them set production goals and identify a path to achieve them.
We then roll up every agent’s production goals and establish a company goal. This approach creates a strong sense of accountability, camaraderie and collaboration as each agent understands that their efforts are a critical component of the company’s overall success. It also creates an atmosphere where we all support and celebrate each other’s successes.
At a recent sales meeting, we discussed the need to take a moment to pause, reflect and regroup — not just on our business but on our life as well. Rather than make it a complicated process, we boiled it down to three easy things:
Clean your desk
Whether you work from home or at an office — or possibly even both — your desk is HQ for your business. I’m sure that I’m not the only one who has a desk disaster piled high with files, receipts and scratch pads. So this is a great time to clean up, reorganize and restock.
I always love the start of the year when I get new notebooks, a new calendar and my favorite pens. Recreate that experience with a mid-year office overhaul to rekindle the excitement of starting anew.
Organize your receipts — you will be thanking yourself come tax time. File, scan or shred documents as appropriate. Get your calendar in order. Log in important dates and activities that align with your business and your personal life.
Revisit your sphere
Considering how busy we have been with the buying frenzy of the past two years, it’s possible we haven’t analyzed precisely where our business has been coming from. As price increases moderate and mortgage rates increase, buyer activity has slowed down slightly.
This pause provides time to determine who is still a viable prospect and who is not. It’s also a great time to check in with people you haven’t been able to connect with while so deep in the weeds. Think about who in your sphere needs you now, as well as those who will be in the next round of people you target for business.
Conversely, think about the people who are no longer considered potential prospects, and make a note to move on. It’s important to understand that not all business is good business.
Some clients can take up a disproportionate amount of time, which comes at a cost to your other clients, your family and your life. It’s also important to stand firm on your price, principles, etc. and agree to part ways if necessary.
While scary and very hard to do, walking away from that deal allows you to focus on the business that brings you joy. I encourage all of my agents to consider the ROI of a deal and have boundaries that allow them to focus on what they like and are good at.
Get back to basics
I believe that agents need to know their numbers, both their own business and the market. The mid-year point of the year is a great time to revisit annual goals and check on the progress toward those goals.
Agents should also know the numbers that relate to their market. Clients want information that they can’t readily find on a website, so to showcase value, agents should be familiar with data points such as inventory levels, median sales price and list-to-sale ratio. It’s also helpful to articulate trends, such as which price bands are most active or what type of housing stock is moving quickly.
It’s also important to understand what percentage of your business comes from repeat customers, referrals, open houses, direct marketing, etc. Understanding what has worked for you can help allocate your time to work the angles that have best performed for you.
Real estate is not a business held to quarterly performance goals, so it is really important for our independent contractor agents to stay on track in the way that works for them.
I have found over the years that it’s most effective to meet agents where they are; to take their lead on how they want to monitor their business; leverage the tools, insights, and support we provide; and give them the room to succeed in their way.
As we enter the second half of the year, encouraging agents to pause and reset is yet another way to ensure their success.