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RISMEDIA, February 24, 2009-What were your accomplishments this past year? A favored gauge for real estate professionals when building a short or long term business plan is to examine the bottom line-how many commission checks they deposited last month, last quarter, the past six months or over the past twelve months.

However, this basic level of awareness too often becomes the solitary reference for putting together a business plan for professional and financial growth. Without a deeper Drill Down, that so-called business plan is nothing more than a wish list with numbers soon to be set aside and forgotten.

The absence of a business plan is cited as one of the major reasons why businesses fail. In our industry, it is a major reason for a high percentage of early exits, frustrating stagnation in personal productivity and, at times, a disheartening return on an agent’s long hours and hard work.

There is an old adage that before you know where you’re going you need to know where you are now. In our business, the now is Current Reality.

In the development of a meaningful and effective business plan, the Current Reality cannot be limited to the WHAT you did achieve; it’s imperative that it’s accompanied by answers to HOW you got it done. The Drill Down is all about getting to the bottom of the HOW.

No one knows better than you how much time, skill, knowledge and effort you apply to keep a deal together and what goes into a successful transaction. So give yourself a self-appreciation pat on the back and then ask, “How was this business generated?”

On a sheet of paper make two columns. The first column will identify the completed transaction and which side(s) you controlled, buyer or seller. If both, list them separately.

Next, maintaining factual integrity, use the second column to classify the procuring cause of how you got that buyer or seller with either an L or a D. For example, was the buyer a walk-in while you were on floor time? I think you would use an “L” for LUCK. What if that buyer called your office and asked for you by name because they saw it on a yard sign? I would unshakably agree with your classification of “D” for DESIGN. You get the picture?

Here’s another comparison. One agent’s business development actions are limited to one or two mass mailings per year. The mailing reaches a homeowner who, at that moment, is thinking of selling. She calls the agent, a listing appointment is made resulting in a listing taken, and eventually a sale is achieved.

Another agent maintains a highly professional and informative real estate Blog about a particular neighborhood and does a bi-monthly Market Update mailing or e-mail. One of her regular readers is thinking of selling and contacts that agent. It leads to a listing appointment, listing taken and eventually a sale. Who gets the “L” and who gets the “D?”

I think we’ll agree, there aren’t too many people who would reject a bit of luck in their personal and business life journey, but what is our opinion of a business whose survival and growth is mostly dependant on luck? After compiling and classifying your transactions, add up the L’s and the D’s. Make a comparison. What is your Current Reality? What is the dominant procuring category for your success? Which statement will be your driving force for future business: “Gee, I’m lucky. I’ll keep my fingers crossed so that it stays that way” or “I want and will have more D’s. My Marketing and Name Branding activities will be the dominant procuring cause for my success.”

Debra Asher is the CEO of ProCalibre Associates, a company focused on the skills and business development of today’s real estate professionals.

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