Every week, we ask a real estate professional for their Short List, a collection of tips and recommendations on an essential topic in real estate. This week, we talked with Mary Beth Lake, an associate broker with Harry Norman, Realtors in Buckhead Northwest, for her best practices for creating a successful business plan.
5. Set Big Fat Hairy Goals – Those goals should make you really feel the adrenaline run up your spine and make your hair stand on end. They should be in a variety of areas for a Realtor’s business plan: volume, units closed, listings taken/closed, and average sales price are the basics.
They should be measurable and specific – not “I want to do better than last year,” but “I want to sell 52 units at an average sales price of $300,000.” If you hit your goals from last year, make sure that they are set at least marginally higher, so that you have to push yourself that much more. Don’t set the bar too low. The worst thing you could do is hit your goal in September and feel like you can slack off the last quarter of the year. That will not only affect Q4, but Q1 of the next year.
4. Write Down Your Goals – Write them in your business plan and write them some place that you will see every day at work. Let someone know what your goals are – either your broker, accountability partner or team members. Accountability helps keep you on task, even if it’s just the idea that you might be embarrassed if you don’t hit your goals.
3. Be a Lifelong Learner – Take a step back from your day-to-day business and really explore what are new, better ways of doing things. What are fresh approaches to marketing? What is a new way to stay in touch with past clients? What are four or five new things that you could implement next year that would really compliment what you are already doing or change how you are getting leads, spending your time, marketing, etc.? Go to conferences, classes and networking events to find out what your peers are doing.
2. Write Down the Specific Things You are Going To Do To Reach Those Goals – What activities will help you achieve these goals that you’ve set? Marketing tactics, networking events, prospecting activities, etc. should all be included, as well as a timeline for accomplishing each of these specific activities. For example: “I will start farming my neighborhood by sponsoring the neighborhood website by February, sending out six direct mail items bi-monthly and attending four HOA events.”
Reference that list often throughout the year. As you start to get busy, you’ll forget about all of the great ideas you had and committed to, but this will help everything move forward towards your goals.
1. Track! – Track your progress. Keep a running list, in writing, of the following: your lead pipeline; activities that you have committed to; and sales activity. This will help in several ways. It will keep you motivated because you will be able to see what successes you are having. It will also begin to show you patterns on where your time, energy and money are paying off or not paying off. If you’ve farmed your neighborhood for three years and only gotten three leads, maybe it’s not working and not worth the expense. But, if the time you are giving to an organization is giving you lead after lead, devote more time to cultivating and marketing that business source.
Mary Beth Lake is an associate broker with Harry Norman, Realtors in Buckhead Northwest. A Million Dollar Club member in 2005, 2006 and 2007, Mary Beth is an Accredited Relocation Specialist, Senior Marketing Consultant and Graduate Realtor Institute Designation.