Commentary by Rich Levin
RISMEDIA, Nov. 21, 2007-As I said in part one, your 2007 is quickly coming to an end. It is a natural lull and a perfect time to look at your business plan. Evaluate your progress and evaluate the effectiveness of your plan. Or, if you did not create a business plan at the beginning of the year, now is the perfect time to look at your progress and begin to put an effective plan in place for 2008.
Even if you have not completed part one you will find the information in part two extremely valuable. In part one you determined how many appointments per week with new people are required for you to hit your goals.
For most of you it was less than two appointments per week. So consider that two appointments per week with new buyers or sellers would lead you to sell more Real Estate than ever before. This is simple but true for over 80% of the agents.
It is true provided that you have at least an adequate listing presentation and buyer presentation.
So here are the next questions in your Business Plan.
(1) Do you get more than half of the listings that you go on presentations for?
(2) Do you sell more than half of the buyers that you start working with?
(3) Are you showing less than ten houses to each buyer?
(4) Do most of your negotiations end in two rounds or less?
If the answer to any of these questions is no, then working on strengthening your presentations needs to be a goal in your business plan for this year.
If the answer to all of these questions is yes, your presentations are strong. You can skip to the section below on Marketing.
Look at your listing presentation and decide what needs attention. Do you spend enough time preparing, particularly preparing pricing? Do you build strong rapport before you sit down? Do you have a marketing plan that you present with strength and engage the seller as you present it? Are you confident in your presentation of price? Do you ask for a decision to hire you?
In your buyer presentation, do you meet with the buyer early in the relationship? Do you ask a lot of questions about their wants, needs, and lifestyle to identify their motivation and level of urgency? Do you review the entire buying process and provide them with copies of all the documentation they will see? Do you explain what they can expect from you and request what you expect from them including their loyalty? Do you ensure that they are financially qualified?
There are ten questions here. As you look at your buyer and seller presentations asking yourself these questions you will uncover other areas to strengthen. When you show a property are you leading at first, then watching, and choosing when to ask open ended questions, when to use tie down questions, when to use alternative choices, and when to ask trial closing questions.
– Do you show an average of more than five to ten properties to each buyer?
– Are you recognizing buying signs? When you see buying signs do you have comfortable methodology to lead the buyers to sit down and write an offer?
– Do your negotiations go smoothly with you in control? Or do your negotiations often go back and forth many times with parties getting upset with each other?
I ask you these questions because we are building your plan for the year not addressing the strengths and weaknesses that these answers reveal. As you answer these questions make a list of the questions that reveal areas to address that you are certain will make you more money, save you time, give you confidence and peace of mind.
Consider how to resolve the issues that these questions reveal. Where will you learn the skill or gain the knowledge to strengthen the area you identify. Then build that time to learn and grow stronger into your 2008 Business Plan.
Have you sent any mailings this year? What business came from them?
What Web sites do you have? On what Web sites do your listings appear? What other Web tools, services, or strategies have you employed? What leads have come from them?
What advertising, particularly personal marketing ads have you done this year? What results have you seen from them?
Marketing can be either a strong foundation to your business with a huge return on your investment in it or a money pit; which, the huge return or the money pit completely depends on your marketing decisions.
The key to good decision making with your marketing is simply to measure the effectiveness of any marketing campaign by the results it brings you.
Does your marketing lead to more appointments, sales and listings? If you follow my instruction in part one regarding tracking your appointments you will be able to determine this accurately and quickly enough to make effective and very cost effective marketing decisions.
Top agents market effectively, period. Lesser agents market less effectively. This is the most important component to your lasting success.
What marketing efforts do you want to continue for the balance of the year? What efforts do you want to put permanently in place? What do you want to experiment with?
My experience with thousands of agents is that intelligent direct mail brings the highest return. Smart Web strategies are second. Public media is usually a distant third. There are exceptions.
If you trust it you will probably have more success. Let your results in more appointments, sales, and listings guide your decisions. To re-examine Part One, visit http://rismedia.com/2007-11-12/how-to-create-your-most-successful-2008-business-plan-part-one/
Repeat and referral business is the reward of your years in real estate. It is not automatic. You get the reward of huge and ever increasing repeat and referral business when you combine your marketing efforts (so people remember you) and quality service?
It is unfortunate but true that delivering quality service in Real Estate is not enough. Many times the agent is doing a great job but is not communicating regularly with the client. You have to both serve your clients well and communicate regularly with them.
Quality service starts with your first contact and continues forever.
Do you get back to people in a timely manner? Do you get back to people when you say you will? Do you speak to your listed sellers weekly; so they are confident in your efforts? Do you communicate weekly with clients who have pending transactions so they know that you are there for them protecting their interests to the end and beyond?
Do you describe your service in detail in your listing and buyer presentations? Do you speak regularly to the people to whom you are sending new listings? Do you pay extra attention and step up your contact between mortgage commitment and closing? Do you stay in touch a few times the first month the person is in their new home?
This earns you the right to stay in touch comfortably forever. What system do you use to track your contact and the progress of your listings and pendings?
As you look at these questions what are the top three things that if put them in place are most likely to significantly increase your client satisfaction next year? You may already realize that this higher level of service also results in more peace of mind for you and more repeat and referral business forever?
If you are beginning to despair over learning all of these things, building all of these skills and systems you are normal.
What you will find is that just being aware of these things will add significantly to your success. Creating the plan adds more. Continually taking action on the plan is the habit and practice of the highest producers.
It is simply smart, consistent work with strong self belief. If you question your ability to implement the work or strengthen your self esteem; that is exactly what our coaching relationships do for you.
Your Winning Results
Complete these parts of your Business Plan; your Presentations, Marketing and Service. Working on each of these parts leads to more business in any market. These are truly the heart and core of your business. That deserves repeating. Your Presentations, Your Marketing and Your Service are the core, the heart of your business.
My top clients never stop working on these three skills and systems. They continuously improve their presentations, expand and enhance their marketing and add quality to their service while streamlining it and delegating parts of it. Once you have chosen the areas that you are going to work on, set goals for those areas by year’s end and actually schedule time in your calendar to achieve these goals.
In Part Three
In the concluding part of this series we will look at whether an assistant or building a team is in your plans and how to evaluate your current staff and choose areas of improvement. We will look at your technology tools and make some decisions about what would be the best additions and decisions for this year. We round out your Business Plan looking at your personal finances, your quality of life, your self-belief, your self-confidence, and your self-esteem. You will make some choices whether any or all of these important areas are priorities that need attention.