As we recover from our usual Thanksgiving overindulgence, our thoughts naturally gravitate to “end of year” considerations and “what’s next” contemplations.
And, for many in real estate, from now to the New Year represents what is traditionally the slowest time of the year.
Reflect | Reconsider | Recalibrate
So, that makes “now” the perfect time for all of us to reflect, reconsider and recalibrate all that we are doing in this crazy, ever-shifting and always-becoming-more dynamic game of real estate.
And rather than give you specific advice – and, truly, is ANY advice “one-size-fits-all” in real estate? – I want to help YOU advise you on the best course of action to take in 2012. And I want to do that by asking you a series of questions.
So, I’m going to be a little bit zen-like in my approach.Sort of like Yoda from Star Wars (“Do or do not; there is no ‘try'”) or David Carradine from the old Kung-Fu TV series (“I do not seek answers, but rather to understand the question”) might do.
As I wrote this post, I was surprised at how many thoughts bubbled to the surface of my mind – and a lot of what occurred to me, while somewhat obvious in retrospect, was new. Hopefully, this will be a similar process of self-discovery, self-analysis and intellectual stimulation for you. And hopefully that will lead to some concrete, tangible action steps for you as you head into a new year.
31 Days of Re-evaluation
So, without further ado, here are the questions (I would suggest you write down your responses; I find that the act of writing engages the brain on a deeper and more powerful level):
1. What is the biggest change you’ve seen in the real estate industry in the last two years?
2. How have you changed your strategy to adapt to your response to the prior question?
3. Is your income trending up or down? What are the reasons you think it is trending the way that it is?
4. Studies show that, more and more, buyers are finding the home they end up buying online on their own. How are you changing your approach with buyers – how you find them, how you engage them, the manner in which you serve them – to react to that trend?
5. What is your strategy for syndicating listings?
6. What is your unique selling proposition, is it truly unique and how are you messaging your USP to the world?
7. What is your branding strategy, and is it consistently reflected in all of your marketing?
8. How do you measure the ROI of your marketing efforts?
9. Studies show that the human brain tends to ignore marketing that is platitudinal in nature. Is your marketing platitudinal in nature, and, if it is, what will you do to improve it (check this outif you’re not sure of what I’m talking about)?
10. What is your “Why” (check this out if you’re not sure what I mean), and do your actions line up with it?
11. What are your Mission Statement and Core Values? Are they actually documented, and do you share them with your clients/your team/your office/the world?
12. How current is your client database, and what are you doing to optimize it?
13. What are your biggest weaknesses, and what are you doing to improve in those areas?
14. Who are the primary competitors in your marketplace, and what are they doing that you are not?
15. What are the primary things that buyers and sellers look for when selecting an agent, and how are you demonstrating that you have those characteristics to potential clients (hint: review the National Association of REALTORS™ Profile of Home Buyers and Sellers for the answers)?
16. How do you stay current on coming changes and trends in the industry?
17. What is your attitude toward change? Do you embrace it, or resist it? And if you do resist it, why?
18. It is often said that “insanity is doing the same thing over and over, and expecting different results.” Are there things that you continue to do that do not produce solid results, and, if so, why do you continue doing them?
19. How current is your website, and when is the last time you gave it a refreshing?
20. From an SEO perspective, how competitive is your website?
21. At what rate are you converting web leads, and are you getting better or worse at that? If you are not getting better, what are you doing to fix that?
22. What is your strategy regarding video, and why?
23. What is your strategy regarding Facebook, and why?
24. Are you actively “building a tribe” online? And, if not, why not?
25. Are you getting the appropriate support and training from your broker (if you are an agent) or your brand (if you are a broker)? If not, why do you remain where you are?
26. Many believe that the future of real estate is more consultative in nature; if you agree, what are you doing to position yourself to take advantage of this trend?
27. Are you being held accountable by anyone for the results of your efforts, and, if not, why not?
28. What is the biggest change you expect to occur in the real estate industry in the next two years?
29. How have you changed your strategy to adapt to your response to the prior question?
30. What are your goals for 2012, and are they documented in a formal business plan of some sort? If not, why not?
I might suggest you pick one question per day during December (I only listed 30 questions; you can take Christmas off – ha ha) and really think about it.
I hope this exercise triggers something inside you that finds its way into your strategic plan for 2012…