Eight percent of Realtors do 80 percent of the business, according to Century 21's Troop Real Estate School. If you want to be counted among this elite group, you'll need to ramp up your game.
1. Get Real About the Numbers
You need to know where you are today before you can set goals for the future. Analyze your activities and results from the past year to give yourself a starting point. Create a spreadsheet showing how many appointments it took to list a property or get an exclusive buyer's agreement, and compare the number of clients you represented to the number of sides you closed as a listing agent and selling agent.
Next, list all of your marketing activities and note how much business each one generated. From those numbers, figure out how much each activity cost for each dollar they generated. For example, if you spent $1,000 on newspaper ads that generated $20,000 in commissions, the ads cost 5 percent of every dollar.
Now note your gross commission, and subtract from it your expenses. Dues, income tax, office expenses, advertising and marketing, gas, entertainment, gifts and continuing education are examples of expenses you should be tracking and forecasting.
2. It's Not a Job -- It's a Business
Agents often make the mistake of keeping all their commissions as salary, and then they scramble to stay afloat when business slows or dues time rolls around. Your commission isn't your salary. It's business revenue from which you draw your salary. That shift in perspective is crucial to your long-term success.
If you haven't written a business plan before, it's vital that you do it now. Use the figures from your analysis to set goals for the coming year. Start with a target salary and work back to the amount of commissions you'll need to generate it. Then look at your current efforts' results to determine what adjustments you need to bring in more business.
You'll also need to create a budget around your business plan. If you've been lax in tracking expenses before, you need to get serious about knowing where your money is going. Make this part of your weekly routine.
3. Create Systems to Boost Productivity
The easiest and cheapest way to increase your business is to make better use of your current resources.
- Adjust your presentation so that it packs a more powerful punch.
- Write scripts for conversations you have frequently, to help you stay focused and in control of your appointments.
- Use out-of-the-box software or develop a customer relationship management spreadsheet to help you keep track of your sphere of influence and identify opportunities to touch base with them.
- Use your commitment to increasing your business to negotiate a higher split
4. It's Not All About Work
True success in your business goes hand in hand with success in every area of your life. Increasing your productivity frees up time and energy you can devote to creating balance and increasing opportunities to take care of yourself and the people important to you. You need to eat well and exercise; spend quality time with family and friends; explore hobbies and interests; and shore up your household finances. If you're struggling in these regards, consider hiring a life coach. A coach can help you identify where you're deficient, help you figure out why you're falling short, and hold you accountable for making the changes necessary to create a life that's gratifying in every respect. With the best life coach training, you'll be in a better position to make deliberate, proactive decisions.
If you've been in business long enough to have survived a license renewal or are approaching renewal time, you're already off to a great start; Inman notes that just 20 percent of new agents make it that far. By working smarter and keeping your eye on the big picture, you can really soar.