How to use the holiday season to set yourself up for your best year ever

Real estate professionals, will you hit the ground running in 2014?

The period between Christmas and New Year is a great time to prepare for the year ahead. It’s an opportunity to set yourself up so that you hit the ground running in 2014.

Of course, if you’re planning on having a break, have a break. Don’t be one of those agents who complain about Christmas Day buyer inquiries.

Instead, come back from your holidays refreshed and raring to go. To make sure this happens:

  • Set up Do Not Disturb on your iPhone.
  • Create a whitelist of people that can call. Push the rest of your calls to voicemail.
  • Change your voicemail and let people know when they can expect a return call. People understand that you need a break and will appreciate you being direct.
  • Create an Outlook Out Of Office reply for emails sent direct to you. Let people know when you’ll return their emails.
  • Set up a ListingLeads account. Create an auto-responder for all inquires from the major portals. Tell people when you’ll be back on deck and who to speak to if they can’t wait.

If you’re working through the break, make your time count by tackling these jobs. They’ll help you prepare for 2014 and will have you at full speed from day one.

First, tally up the total number of appraisals you completed during the year. Do the same with the number of properties you listed.
Calculate your listing-to-appraisal ratio for the year.

How much gross commission (GC) did you settle this year?

How much of your GC was attributable to the sale of your listings? Divide that number by the number of listings sold to calculate your GC/listing ratio.

Write down how much you want settle next year. Divide that number by your GC/listing. You now have the number of properties you’ll need to list to earn your GC target for the year.

Using your listing-to-appraisal ratio calculate how many appraisals you’ll need to complete to to hit your listing target. Divide this number by 48 and you’ll have the number of appraisals you’ll need to complete every working week.

Now, develop a concrete plan to generate enough leads to hit that target. You’ll want to think about:

  • Email marketing,
  • Buyer matching,
  • Letterbox drops,
  • Direct mail,
  • Phone canvassing,
  • Property portal advertising,
  • Local newspaper advertising,
  • Repeat and referral business.

Next, answer these questions:

  1. How can I improve my listing-to-appraisal ratio?
  2. How can I improve my GC per listing?
  3. What do I need to do to become a better negotiator?
  4. How can I improve the number of inbound appraisal leads I receive?
  5. How can I improve my days on market number?
  6. How can I generate more repeat and referral business?

Now, decide on the improvements you can make to your marketing by answering these questions:

  1. Do my emails have a clear, compelling call-to-action? Do people know what you want them to do next?
  2. Do my letterbox drops have a purpose? Do they convey a proven track record of success?
  3. Am I addicted to tele-canvassing or are there ways I could use warm calls?
  4. Am I leveraging my email marketing with offline marketing?
  5. How much work am I putting into maintaining contact with market appraisal contacts and past sale and listing clients?
  6. How can I make my personal marketing consistent and more compelling?
  7. Does my marketing catch people’s attention or does it look like my competitors’ advertising with a different logo?

Based on these answers make a list of changes that you’ll make this year.

Write down the resources you’ll need to make these changes. For example, if you’re going to create a monthly stay-in-touch email you’ll need an email template designer, a copywriter and someone who’ll pull it all together so that you can hit the send button. Use LinkedIn and Facebook to find the suppliers – graphic designers, videographers, writers – and support staff that you’ll need in 2014. Make appointments to meet with them in the first week of the new year.

Want more to do during the break? Then here’s 41 further things to do that will help you clear the decks for a massive 2014.

  1. Write a handwritten thank you to everyone who had an impact on your life in 2013. Thank them for their support and offer to return the favour.
  2. Record your body mass index (BMI).
  3. Update your will. If you don’t have one, make a time to meet a lawyer.
  4. Record the number of people on your database. Set yourself a challenge to double that in 2014.
  5. Write down the number of times your whole database heard from you in 2013. Aim to increase that number in 2014.
  6. Go for a long walk, on your own. Finish the walk at a coffee shop, then start writing. Keep writing until your mind is empty. You’ll feel inspired.
  7. Book yourself in for a medical.Get the tests that are recommended for your age and gender.
  8. Book an appointment with the dentist. Good dental health has benefits beyond a killer smile.
  9. Read an autobiography.
  10. Read a business book.
  11. Listen to the podcasts you missed during the year.
  12. Organise your email folders. Get your inbox down to zero.
  13. Update your LinkedIn profile with a recent photo and professional information.
  14. Tidy up your database. Remove contacts you haven’t emailed or spoken to in the last 6 months.
  15. Clean your desk. File, archive or bin any papers that you aren’t working on right now.
  16. Destroy paperwork that has passed its Archive Until date.
  17. Tidy up your My Documents folder and your computer’s Desktop. Create folders for commonly used files. Delete files that are no longer required.
  18. Create a training calendar. Along with CPD training, plan to attend at least 1 major conference and 1 non-CPD training day next year.
  19. Create free time in your calendar for your kids’ sports carnivals and school excursions.
  20. Unsubscribe from email newsletters that you haven’t read recently.
  21. Add important birthdays and anniversaries to your diary.
  22. Tidy up your Outlook contacts. Delete records that you don’t instantly recognise.
  23. Resole your work shoes.
  24. Take your work clothes to a tailor for mending.
  25. Clean out your closet. Donate anything you haven’t worn for 12 months to the Salvos or Good Sammy.
  26. Clean and polish your car. Book it in for a service and make sure your tyres are in good condition.
  27. Renew your listing presentation kit. Replace anything that looks tired or is out of date.
  28. Clean out your filing cabinet. Throw out old brochures and shred old business documents.
  29. Clean out your desk drawers.
  30. Clean your home open signs. Touch up the paintwork. Make them look all shiny and new.
  31. Create a password recipe then change all your passwords.
  32. Or buy yourself a reputable password management package.
  33. Backup your work and home computer.
  34. Backup your smartphone.
  35. Change the password on your iPhone.
  36. Update your antivirus software.
  37. Update the operating system (Windows/Mac iOSX) on your computer and smartphone.
  38. Update the software on your computer. Use the most recent versions. They’re safer and usually faster.
  39. Update your policies and procedures manual.
  40. Start an Evernote account. Use it to make a note of ideas, store recipes, and update your business plan.
  41. Start writing fresh copy for your website. Use Evernote, of course.

Still got time on your hands? Call me on 0419 538 838 and we’ll catch up for a coffee.

Image by Dan Moyle via Flickr.

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About Peter Fletcher

Speaker, trainer, and consultant helping real estate agents sort out their online communication strategy.

@peterfletcher - Google+

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