You don’t have great years of production (or anything) if you don’t plan to have great years of production. You won’t set goals you are passionate about and committed to if you just throw a dart at a number and call it your transactional goal. It’s a great way to fail, whether you fall short of that goal or fail to push yourself enough to hit a number you could actually achieve with more diligence.
We recently devoted an entire day as a team to get off-site to work through and discuss our strategic plan for 2020. With the constant chaos presented by clients and transactions, it’s difficult to block off an extensive amount of time to clear your mind and sort through your thoughts, ideas, and goals. But it is imperative that we do so.
We break our strategic plan down to a number of sections that start at a high level to focus on our personal values and then work our way down to specific tasks necessary to achieve our goals. Here is how we break it down:
Your core values are your non-negotiables. These are more than just business principles. They’re extremely personal convictions that permeate every aspect of your life, including your business. Our team has our core values emblazoned over the desks in our agent room to help our team members remember the principles upon which our team has been built.
We tend to write our core values as statements where are others will go with single words. Because it is important to our team to be viewed as excellent, we have a core value to “Differentiate with excellence.” Because we value people and relationships, we have a core value to “Build relationships you will be proud to tell your grandchildren about.” There is no amount of opportunity, transactions or money that should lead you to compromise on your core values.
If you haven’t taken time to do the inner work necessary to understand the values that mark your life and should in turn mark your business, there is no better time than now. It may be challenging, but it is crucial to understand your personal core values as you build your plans for 2020.
Why are you in the business?
No, it’s not just for the money. You can make money a bazillion different ways. Why have you chosen to do so through the avenue of residential real estate? If you step back and consider your personality, your calendar, and your responsibilities, you will pick out specific aspects of each of those things that will get you excited. You are likely to start to see some common threads that run through them.
Many of our team members shared some version of their passion for helping care for clients through a huge life event. Some acknowledged that they feel at home in their role because of their gifting. It may take some time to ask yourself “What about that is important to me?” repeatedly until you’re a few layers deep in your motives and desires. Don’t settle for the surface answer. Keep digging.
You may go through seasons, namely early in your career where you’d say your target market is anyone looking to buy or sell. That is neither sustainable nor enjoyable.
Like the first two sections, it may help to start broad. On our team, we tend to focus more on people who have nice homes to sell and desire to buy nicer homes. So for us, we don’t target first-time home buyers. We historically haven’t sought out families relocating to DFW for the same reason, but the success of our YouTube Channel has led to more and more clients from other markets working with us.
As you get more specific, consider thinking about a couple of different groups of people. First, think long and hard about your favorite clients and what it is about them that made them your favorites. Do they listen and follow well? Are they friendly and sociable? Do they like to refer?
Second, consider your community. What about your friends do you love and appreciate? What makes you gravitate towards them? Odds are you’d like the same attributes in your clients.
The more time you spend in the industry, the more specific this ideal client can become. Perhaps you find certain personalities to be a delight to work with while others are a total nightmare for you. Maybe people with certain careers display certain attributes and character traits that attract you to working with them or deter you from working with them. Get really specific. Not everyone will fit the mold, but you will hit the mark more regularly if you know what the mark is.
Remember, not everyone will fit your mold as an ideal client. You should still strive to provide world-class value and customer service to each and every client you sign while treating each and every customer and prospect with the kindness and respect they deserve.
A SWOT analysis is a method of evaluating your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal. They look at your character, habits, and tendencies that prove to be either valuable or destructive. You will want to consider what you do and don’t do well, but some strengths and weaknesses will be more intangible.
If you’re a gifted communicator, that would obviously fall in your strengths. If you manage your time poorly, that would be a weakness. It gets more complex when you consider those intangibles. Things like empathy might be considered an intangible strength, while struggles with anxiety would fall in the category of an intangible weakness.
Opportunities and threats are external. They are outside factors that will have an effect on you. Learning to leverage a new lead source, implementing new systems or adding new team members can all provide tons of opportunity. A slow market, disruptive innovation in the industry or negative governmental factors will cause you headaches as threats you may encounter. These are pretty general examples that we may all deal with, but what are those opportunities and threats for you personally or your market locally?
Now it starts to get more specific to your business. You will still want to give yourself room to dream a little bit by looking five-to-ten years down the road. That time frame is far enough away that you can take off the training wheels and try to determine what your big, hairy, audacious goal is for the future.
Consider what you want your role to look like. What will your day-to-day look like when you get to that point? Think about how you want to be viewed in your life and industry. What will people know you professionally? What is one thing you want people to identify you with most? You can’t live and die on people’s opinions, but you can consider how you want to be viewed and work towards that.
Then start to consider numbers. At this point, I would recommend looking at just three-to-five years down the road instead of five-to-ten. It’s much easier to predict total sales, average price point and other specific data if you put those training wheels back on in this time frame.
Once you have allowed yourself to dream about the long-term vision, you can zero in on what the next step is to getting there. What sort of numbers do you need to put up in 2020 to make strides towards those goals you threw out for 22, 23, 24 and beyond?
Again, don’t just throw a dart at this. Don’t set a goal just because it sounds cool. Take a sober-minded look at where your production was this year, then look at the data to determine how much you can really move the needle. Identify the areas where you can improve to close more deals or raise your average price point. Were you faithful to prospect as much as you said you would? If so, were you converting at a high enough level on the phone or in-person? Did you give each pillar of your business the time it needs to produce consistent business? The data will tell the story.
Now how are you going to get to that goal? You have to put in the work, and this is where you’re going to hold yourself accountable to that. Take some time to determine what key tasks need to be completed in the first quarter to keep you on track with your annual goal. Breaking that annual goal down to actionable items will set you on the right track for 2020.
Consider if anyone else needs to be involved in the task. If it falls squarely on your shoulders, bring someone else in to hold you accountable. Set a due date for yourself. Take away the opportunity to put it off.