5 steps to more real estate sales

Take some advice from Nike's slogan and 'just do it'

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“Just do it” has been Nike’s slogan for years. And when it comes to getting fit, they are right.

You won’t get fit by talking about going to the gym. You need to “just do it.”

Achieving higher real estate sales is no different. My slogan this year is, “Stop dreaming. Start doing.” It is time.

So what can you do to increase business? The answer is simple. As one of my successful agents says, though, “Real estate is a simple business. It is not an easy business. But it is a simple business.” So, too, is the process of growing your business. Here are five simple rules that will ensure growth.

1. Write down your goals. You have likely heard about the study done on the 1979 Harvard graduating class — or perhaps you heard it was done on the 1953 Yale graduates. The story goes that 3 percent of the graduating students wrote down their goals. When they returned for a reunion, they had outearned the 97 percent who had not written down their goals.

Well, it never happened. It is an urban legend. Thankfully, a real study was done that proves you are more likely to obtain your written goals. A study conducted at Dominican University showed that writing down goals increased the likelihood that they would be achieved by 42 percent. And participants who emailed regular progress reports to their friends were 25 percent more likely to achieve their goals than those who had only written them down. That’s an excellent reason to find an “accountability partner” or business coach.

You might wonder, “What should my goals be?” Many of my agents will write down the number of transactions, overall dollar volume or yearly income that they would like to achieve.

2. Have a plan to get there. It is not enough to have goals. You need a clear plan to achieve those goals, and this program needs to be part of your list of goals. In real estate sales, your plan should include lead generation, marketing, networking and follow-up. The loftier your goals, the more work you will need to do.

Be sure your plan makes good use of your strengths and your unique value proposition. It must also be specific. Write down when you will do something and how you will do it. Create a calendar of action items that you will complete.

3. Get in front of people. Real estate is a people business. When I talk to an agent who is struggling, that agent is usually hiding behind a computer or holed up in a home office.

Computers don’t buy homes. People buy homes. The more people you meet, the more likely you are to sell someone a home. Some experts suggest that it takes 50 introductions to achieve one sale. So, if you want to sell 10 homes, you need to talk with 500 people throughout the course of the year. If that target sounds daunting, just remember: That is fewer than 1.5 people per day. (But do not ask me how to meet half of an individual — I still do not know.)

You might wonder where you are going to find these people. An easy place to start is by developing your professional network. Begin with mortgage agents, financial advisers, CPAs, interior designers, real estate attorneys and contractors. Once you regularly start going out with new colleagues for coffee or lunch, you will find it easier to do more. Ask them what they are doing to be successful — you just might learn something.

4. Use a follow-up plan to keep in touch with everyone. After you meet these people and you have made a personal connection — either on the phone or in person — have a plan to keep in touch. You need a follow-up plan for each category: cold leads, warm leads, active clients, past clients, colleagues, and so on. There are apps that make this easier to manage.

Client relationship managers (CRMs) like Contactually, Top Producer, REthink, RealtyJuggler and Wise Agent offer customizable solutions. How frequently you reach out is up to you.

5. Be personal in everything you do. I love handwritten notes. They convey a thoughtful feeling that is rare these days — like something you would get from your grandmother. After I meet someone for the first time, I write him or her a note letting my new friend know that I enjoyed our time together.

For regular outreach, you might use an email newsletter. If you do not have a marketing department, you can make one yourself with a program like MailChimp or Constant Contact. It does not need to be lengthy or complicated. Just convey some useful information like market trends or new listings.

There they are — the five simple steps. It will not be easy, but nothing worth doing ever is. If you do not commit to achieving more this year, when will you do it? And why wait until then?

Stop dreaming … and start doing.

Colleen Barry is the director of productivity for Gibson Sotheby’s International Realty in Boston/Cambridge.