Whether you’re a newly minted agent or an experienced pro, business planning can be a challenging task. But there’s a simple-to-follow approach that’ll help you create a timeless plan for your business — and it starts by answering these key questions.
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Business planning can be a daunting process, especially for new agents. You might be asking yourself: How many contacts do I have to make before I generate a lead? How many leads does it take before I take a listing or write a contract? How many of those deals actually close? What if there was a better way to build a business plan that had nothing to do with these factors and had the benefit of being effective in any type of market?
For most agents, the process of business planning is so daunting they end up doing nothing. It’s easy to understand when you look at all the steps you’re supposed to follow:
- Set your income goal.
- Decide which types of lead generation activities you will use and what percentage of time you will allocate to each type.
- For each type of lead generation activity, calculate how many leads it takes to generate a closed transaction by determining:
- The number of contacts each lead generation strategy requires to generate a lead.
- What percentage of those leads become clients.
- The percentage of those clients that ultimately close a transaction.
- Calculate how many hours you must prospect to make the number of contacts, leads, conversions and closed transactions required to hit your financial goals.
- Schedule your weekly prospecting time, and consistently follow your plan.
- Adjust your plan to adapt to market shifts.
The ‘timeless’ business plan
Although the approach above definitely works, there’s a different approach that is both “timeless” and simple to follow. To create a “timeless” business plan for your real estate practice, answer the five following key questions.
1. Start with ‘why’
Simon Sinek’s book Start with Why addresses how to identify your personal “big why.” According to Sinek, “your ‘Big Why’ is the driving reason you do what you do. When you hit a ceiling of achievement, it’s your BIG WHY that keeps you pushing. It’s the reason you keep going even when you want to give up.”
Examples of a “big why” include making enough money to provide your special needs child with all the special support he or she needs or raising money for breast cancer victims like your sister who lost her house as she struggled to pay her medical bills and survive.
On the other hand, income goals or striving to become the No. 1 agent are not examples of a “big why.” They are the result.
Begin your “timeless” business plan by identifying both your business and personal “big why.” (When you set your “big why” for your business, be sure to attach an income goal to it.)
Next, ask yourself is your “why” big enough to motivate you to keep going no matter how difficult things may become? If not, you need a bigger “big why.”
2. Who do I serve currently?
The shift here is from focusing on making your numbers to identifying who you are naturally attracting in your business. Make a list of your last 12 months of closed transactions.
For each transaction, search for what your clients share in common. Most agents attract two or three different categories from each group below. For example:
- Do they share a common career such as teaching or working in high tech?
- Where are they in life — just starting out, married or single, with or without children, retired, etc.?
- Do you attract more people from a specific generation (baby boomers, Gen X or millennials)?
- What types of properties do they buy most often — single-family or condo, entry-level, mid-market, luxury, multigenerational or investment?
- What do they do for fun and recreation?
- What did you like about working with them?
- Most importantly, what do you have in common with them?
As the saying goes, “You attract who you are.” By identifying the characteristics of who you are currently attracting, you now have the profile of your ideal client and where to concentrate your marketing.
To attract even more ideal clients, concentrate on becoming more like the clients you want to attract. For example, if you want to attract clients who are easy to work with, make sure you’re easy to work with, too. If you want your business clients to refer people to your business, make sure you make referrals to their businesses.
It’s also important to say “no” to those individuals who don’t respect you or share the same standards of integrity. By the same token, if they’re so demanding that they will make your life miserable if you work with them, refer them elsewhere.
3. What 2 prospecting activities generated the most closed transactions for you over the past 12 months?
The 80-20 rule says 80 percent of your transactions will come from the top 20 percent of your activities. As you review your closed transactions, identify what type of prospecting (referral, online leads, cold calling, etc.) generated each client.
Concentrate at least 80 percent of your lead generation efforts using your top two lead generation strategies to attract more of your ideal clients.
4. How can I better serve my clients and my community, and create a positive experience with anyone I interact with?
The law of reciprocity says, “Whatever you do to others comes back to you.” In other words, the more you give to others, the more others will give back to you. If you bend the rules or aren’t always forthcoming about what’s happening in a transaction, you’ll experience the same behaviors from your clients.
An important point to note: The person who helps you is seldom the person you helped. For example, if you volunteer at a charity, you may attract a client from a sign call who shares your passion for volunteering.
Furthermore, the more you focus on raising your personal standards and your personal self-growth, the higher quality of client you will attract.
5. Here’s the ‘timeless’ business plan to follow each day. Ask yourself:
What are the three most important business and personal actions I need to take today to fulfill my “big why,” and achieve my business and personal goals?
If you stay focused on accomplishing each of those three business and personal action steps each day, you have set in motion what is required to have a great business and a great life.
Bernice Ross, President and CEO of BrokerageUP and RealEstateCoach.com, is a national speaker, author and trainer with over 1,000 published articles. Learn about her broker/manager training programs designed for women, by women, at BrokerageUp.com and her new agent sales training at RealEstateCoach.com/newagent.