Jason O'Neil | January 6, 2023
If you’ve spent recent afternoons scribbling on the whiteboard in the conference room or a few hours scraping together some semblance of a new year strategy, let me be the first to say stop.
Stop what you are doing right now.
Did you even look at your real estate business plan from last year? I bet it was thrown into a drawer somewhere on your desk, never to be seen again.
So why would you waste more time making a business plan this year if that’s going to be the result?
Instead, why don’t you make a plan you will stick to for all 12 months?
A plan that will bring you consistent clients and results, month after month.
Let’s talk about it…
Here’s the thing about most real estate agents and their “business” plans: it’s a numbers game.
I did it for years—sit down in front of the computer, sift through spreadsheets and financials, looking for the numbers. I wanted to know how much I made last year, how I made it, and what it’s going to take to make it happen again this year.
I’d ask myself, “how many people do I need to talk with to get an appointment? How many appointments does it take to get a sale? How many sales until I can exceed my number from last year?
This is all well and good, but I was forgetting about one critical component of this plan: people.
People are everything in real estate. Without them you don’t have clients, you don’t make sales, and you don’t make money, it’s that simple. When we focus all of our attention on the numbers and meeting them, we ignore the people and their needs.
Imagine if you walked into a new restaurant and instead of taking your order, the waiter just showed up at the table with food and your bill ready to go.
They never asked what you like, or what you dislike, and simply assumed that you were hungry and going to pay for whatever was put in front of you.
What would you do?
I doubt you’re going to stick around for the meal or even come back.
Don’t be this type of real estate agent, it will only lead to shallow relationships and friction as you try to grow your network of clients.
Instead, put the people first in your business planning and start thinking from their perspective and you’ll start to find that it serves a greater group of people including yourself.
Now you’re thinking “I understand putting people first, but how do I make that happen?”
Drop the word "business" from your vocabulary.
Businesses are driven by money. Relationships are driven by communication. People are driven by both of them, but you’d be surprised at what usually comes first—hint: it’s not business.
You should already know this, but I want you to double underline and highlight this as a reminder: communication is the catalyst.
Whether you’re communicating with clients, co-workers, or contractors, it is the differentiator between successful and mediocre real estate agents.
It took me a while to figure out that “business planning” was only doing so much for the success of my clients. They were happy, but there was something missing between us. Something that showed itself when a client came calling after an ex-partner jimmied the toilet with towels and left an entire apartment flooded.
This client called me, the real estate agent, and asked for help.
I’m not a plumber or general contractor, but I was the answer. I may not have been the final solution but I was the answer at that specific moment. Why? Because I was useful. Because I communicated with him.
So what does this mean for your “business plan”?
Like I said earlier, all we are going to do is drop the “business” part and swap it for communication.
A communications plan outlines the specific strategic efforts you are going to make to engage with your clients and be useful to them throughout the year.
Unlike numbers that come with business planning, these communication opportunities are touchpoints at which you will make contact with your clients and open the floor for them to talk with you.
This does not mean you get on the phone and call your clients asking if they know anybody looking to buy a house. This is not cold emailing them when you feel like it’s been too long since you talked to them. And this is definitely not you bothering clients with the hopes they will hand you business.
This communications plan structures your engagements with clients in a pattern that fits both your schedule and theirs, without it feeling pushy whatsoever.
It will bring to light things your clients may have never considered and will empower them to spark conversation with you about their current homes or potential opportunities.
It will strengthen the relationship between you and your clients by reinforcing that you are there to help make decisions that benefit them and their goals, not you and yours.
When I stopped making business plans and started crafting communications my relationships with clients instantly changed. No longer did it feel awkward calling them up to talk because we were in touch regularly.
It opened up a flowing river of conversation between my clients and myself that was merely a single stream when I first started in this business.
Now, they don’t just call when problems arise or need something, they email me questions that have nothing to do with the house like what high schools they are looking at or which restaurants they might like in town.
Simply put, a communications plan puts people first. In doing so, you’ll come to find that your network of happy clients will grow exponentially in this new year.
I’m sure you’re wondering what a solid real estate communications plan looks like. Don’t fret, I’ve got something here that will help you with that.
Until next time…
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