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A critical component to business success in the new year is gaining insight through reflection and analysis. In order to move forward in a strategic manner, it is important to pause and review what and who defined your success in 2012. Those details will offer insight into what pillars of your business will encourage growth in the new year.

With that in mind, we sat down with Dirk Zeller, CEO of Real Estate Champions, Inc., to discuss what it takes to succeed as a real estate professional in 2013.

Q: As agents build a plan for the new year, where should they begin?

A: Your first step should be a deep analysis into 2012 business results. Take a look at how many leads were received and what the primary source of those leads was over the last year. Without that insight, it is impossible to determine what your conversion rate was and how that will transfer into an estimation of required leads to hit 2013 goals.

Real estate sales are more strategic than ever. Use a spreadsheet to track source, lead, sale and cost.

Q: Where should agents place their energy and attention in 2013?

A: There are more leads than ever before in the real estate business and that will continue in 2013. Now is the perfect time to get back to the fundamentals that built your business. This includes:

• Picking up the phone and engaging your prospects rather than expecting technology to do the sales conversion
• Getting face-to-face with prospects and selling your value instead of allowing social media and other online marketing to build your business on its own
• Sharpening your lead generation skills by increasing your time spent involved in lead generation activities
• Creating a strategic road map that includes daily activities to support growth and reach

An example might look like:


Q: Why is a marketing plan important to success in 2013?

A: In speaking with agents, the majority say they prefer referrals to any other source of leads. Yet, few agents create an ongoing communication/marketing plan to actually acquire referrals.

Keep yourself in front of your top referral sources regularly with a consistent method of communication. It’s imperative that you let those top referrers know they mean more to you than just a paycheck.

As you set goals for 2013, ask yourself a few questions:

• What are some strategies that you have thought about, or seen other agents use, that would help you stay in contact with your valued clients and customers?
• How often, in your opinion, do you need to make contact with your referral sources to assure business from them?
• How many referrals could you get from a satisfied client or customer if you kept in contact with them eight to 12 times a year? How much is that worth to you?
• How much of your money would you be willing to spend in a year to get the return on investment that you decided upon (number of referrals)?

The bottom line is this: In order to succeed, you must stop looking at yourself as a REALTOR® and, instead, as a business owner. Once you run your business as a business and align your wants, needs and skill set with your goals, you have the ability to make 2013 your best year yet.

Amy Chorew is vice president of platform development at Better Homes and Gardens Real Estate LLC.