For real estate agents and team leaders, the end of October is the perfect time to start thinking about plans for next year. While consumers spend the next couple of months focused on the holidays, you can spend that time analyzing your last 12 months of data, setting goals for next year, reviewing and improving your process, and preparing yourself and your team for a successful 2022.
Start planning now. And when January 1st arrives, you’ll be ready to rock.
Dale Warner, our COO and sales/marketing extraordinaire (who has also launched four successful startups), recently hosted a webinar to share how real estate agents can calibrate their businesses for growth in 2022. You can watch the webinar for yourself or continue reading to learn about the 5 steps you should take now to prepare for next year.
5 Steps To Take Now To Prepare Your Real Estate Business For 2022
1) Get in the right mindset to accomplish your goals.
Before you even begin to start planning, you need to get your head in the right place. Mindset is everything, and Dale has been studying the subject for years. Here are some insights he shared during the webinar:
Adopt a growth mindset:
According to psychologist Carol Dweck, there are two types of mindsets: fixed and growth. With a fixed mindset, you believe that the abilities and intelligence you were born with are all you'll ever possess, and that effort is not required. But with a growth mindset, you understand that your abilities and intelligence can be developed when you put in the effort.
The person you are today doesn't have to be the person you'll be one year from now. Every second is an opportunity to improve your skills, expand your knowledge, and get closer to reaching your goals.
As Dweck said, "Becoming is better than being."
Focus on your efforts, not on winning or losing:
Dale's favorite quote is by John Wooden, legendary UCLA basketball coach:
"'Did I win? Did I lose?' Those are the wrong questions. The correct question is: 'Did I make my best effort?' That's what matters. The rest of it just gets in the way."
Put in the work, and success will follow.
Remember the fundamentals:
On the first day of his job as the UCLA basketball coach, John Wooden taught his players how to properly put on their socks and shoes. Why? Because he knew that even this most basic step would prevent blisters and squeeze an extra 1% of success out of his players.
Remember what you learned your first year as a real estate agent. The only way to achieve your fullest potential is to practice the fundamentals every day.
Practice mental contrasting:
"Mental contrasting with implementation intentions" is an exercise developed by Gabriele Oettingen, during which a person visualizes themselves successfully reaching a goal, then contrasting that by imagining the obstacles that could stand in their way, and then developing a plan for overcoming those obstacles. Oettingen says that this exercise increases goal-achieving success by 33%.
Here's how the process looks:
- Identify your goal: I want to add 100 new prospects to my database each week (500 per year). When I do, I'll earn more money for a family vacation. My wife will be proud.
- Write down limiting beliefs: I'm not good at following through. People don't like to be bothered at home.
- Identify an obstacle: I talk myself out of it or give up when I get close to the goal.
- Create an IF-THEN statement. If it's Thursday and I only have 7 prospects, I won't rationalize that I've worked hard already and I deserve a break. I'll get out and find 3 more.
By planning ahead and identifying all possible obstacles—both external and the limiting beliefs you tell yourself—you can set yourself up for success.
2. Boost accountability.
One in two managers are rated as doing "too little" when it comes to managing accountability, according to the Harvard Business Review. While you want to avoid micro-managing your employees, it's important to set expectations, set goals, and hold people accountable. When you boost your accountability process, you'll also boost job satisfaction and loyalty.
Make accountability a tradition in your real estate business. Bake it into your team culture. Hold regular one-on-one meetings to give yourself a time and place to provide honest feedback. If you're a solo agent, pick someone—anyone reliable, even if they're not in the real estate business— to be your accountability buddy, and meet once a week to check in with each other.
Meet with your entire team in a daily huddle to discuss these three things:
- What do you need help with?
- What are your 3-5 most important KPIs?
- What are you working on in the next 24 hours?
For one-on-ones, use a scorecard of outcomes and competencies:
Scorecards are better than job descriptions for holding team members (and yourself) accountable. Create a scorecard that lists outcomes and competencies.
Outcomes are concrete things that you want to happen, like how many phone calls they should make per day.
Competencies are the more abstract things you need them to be good at. On the scorecard, these can be measured with a letter grade of A, B, C, D, or F. When you have a conversation about a competency, you might say, "I want you to work on creativity and innovation. That's an area where you can improve. Right now you're at a B, and I need you to be at an A. Here are some strategies for improving on that."
And finally, make sure your team can answer these questions:
- How is your performance measured?
- Where is the line between success and failure?
- What are you accountable for and to whom are you accountable?
- According to your team leader, what's your current focus for improvement?
If they can't answer these fundamental accountability questions, it's time to step up your game.
3. Optimize your KPI tracking.
Key Performance Indicators (KPIs) are the metrics you should be tracking to measure your real estate business's success. There are two types of KPIs: leading and lagging.
Leading indicators measure behavior and help to predict outcomes. An example of a leading indicator is the number of appointments in one month. If you look at your spreadsheet and see that you had 50 appointments this month, you can predict that next month you'll get a lot of signed contracts, and in the following month you'll close a lot of deals. Other examples of leading indicators are # of doors knocked, # people met at open house, # of listing presentations, and # of accurate past client records in your database.
Lagging indicators are the final results—things like # of units sold, gross commission income (GCI), average sales price, and net promote score (NPS).
Because leading indicators affect what will happen later, you should be measuring 2 leading indicators to every 1 lagging indicator.
As Dale said in the webinar, "Try to measure twice as many of those precursors as you possibly can, because you're going to want to focus all your time and energy on those. If you're focused too much on the commission that you've earned, it's really difficult to be subconsciously paying attention to the right behaviors."
4. Improve your process.
A real estate business is a complex machine. Not only do you have finely-tuned processes for generating leads and converting them to clients, but you also have a dozen other processes for the services you provide. Now is the time to take a close look at your processes and see what you can improve.
First, map out your process.
The first step to improving your process is making sure you have it all mapped out. That means every step of your sales funnel, all the details for every different type of transaction you do—it should all be documented. Once every piece of your process is mapped out, it will be easy for you to go in and refine.
Get client feedback to learn what you can be doing better.
Proactively ask for feedback from your clients. An easy way to do this is by sending out a survey via email. When you receive negative feedback, avoid the temptation to get defensive and make excuses about why they're wrong. Instead, blame your process, and figure out how you can become better by making your process better.
Automate your process.
When used properly, automation will be a game changer for your real estate business.
Think about those tasks that you really hate—the ones that are difficult, tedious, or just plain unenjoyable. A common one is writing up weekly seller reports. You know it's a high-value task, because your clients want to be kept up-to-date on the progress of selling their home (and they want to know what you're doing to earn your commission), but it's an extremely tedious and time-consuming task.
That's where the magic of automation comes in. In a platform like Realvolve, your weekly seller reports can be automatically generated and sent to your clients. Here's how it works:
- Every task you need to complete for your seller is listed in Realvolve.
- As you complete each task, you check it off and add notes (for example, if you opened up the house for a buyer agent and their clients, you could share any feedback they had about the house).
- The weekly seller report email is a template in Realvolve that automatically pulls in all of the week's activity for that particular transaction. When it's time to send the email, all you have to do is click a button!
This is just one of the thousands of ways automation makes it extremely easy to provide white glove service that will blow your clients away. Imagine what you could do to automate all the other pieces of your process—and what you could do with all of that extra time.
Start your planning now for more real estate success in 2022
It's easy to get caught up in the approaching holidays. But while you're munching on Halloween candy and starting to think about your outdoor light display, make sure you're taking the time to plan for next year. Put in the planning work now, so you can make sure you're doing the right implementation over the next 12 months, so you can become a more successful version of yourself one year from now.
Remember, "becoming is better than being." What will you become in 2022?