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Time to PlanAnother year has come and gone. This is a natural time to reflect back on the year, celebrate accomplishments/milestones and look forward to 2015. How did you do? Was 2014 as productive as you’d hoped? If not, what was holding you back? What can you work on in 2015 to get you to where you and your office need to be? Here are some ideas and tips to help get you started on a brighter and more successful 2015:

Now is a great time to burnish your credentials. Year after year, surveys show that higher education results in higher income. Take some time to explore any enhanced skills that will lead to new client opportunities, smoother transactions and greater agent confidence. And if it’s time for continuing education for license renewal, why not look for options that will give you and your staff some real skills along with the hours? Many states accept coursework for designations like the Accredited Buyer’s Representative (ABR®) as CE credit hours. Consult your state’s real estate commission for details.

Take some time for community involvement. Volunteering pays dividends not only to those you help, but also to yourself. Show that you’re a member of your community by working with the charity or organization of your choice. Not only will you be helping a worthy cause, you’ll be reminding your neighbors of your brand, expertise and community involvement.

Revisit your marketing collateral and your brand. When was the last time you updated your marketing materials? One thing is guaranteed: Your local market is not the same as it was a year ago. Gather testimonials from your most recent clients. Look for trends that you and your agents have noted over the last year. Review your collateral and incorporate the latest statistics and data. Your MLS or local REALTOR® board should have market metrics at the ready. Also, be sure to check out research from NAR, especially the newly released NAR Profile of Home Buyers & Sellers. Real Estate Buyer’s Agent Council (REBAC) members should take advantage of up-to-date member resources, such as the Home Buyer’s Toolkit, brochures and consumer handouts to keep materials fresh and timely.

Along with updating your materials, it pays to look at how you’re marketing your firm. What has worked in the past might not be a good investment now. Take some time to find out where your advertising dollars can be used most effectively. For the new year, try exploring a different marketing channel to see what it brings. As long as you’re willing to spend a little time, you generally don’t have to invest much money to get started. Additionally, your agents might already be exploring new avenues that would be easy to fold into the larger firm’s marketing mix.

These are only some of the many ways you can work on a brighter 2015. From all of us here at REBAC, I would like to wish you a happy and joyous holiday season and continued success in the new year!

Marc Gould is vice president, Business Specialties, for the National Association of REALTORS® and executive director of REBAC.

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