Monday, December 27, 2010

If You Fail To Plan, You Are Planning to Fail

When I ran my brokerage business until last year when we were bought out, I spent a lot of time planning on where we were going the following year. I felt real good about our plan, and about what I learned in prior planning that I applied to executing and following through on the new plan. It's an interesting experience, going through your prior years plan at its transitory stage to the following year. Its like recapping a season and remembering all the turns, twists, jumps and bumps that you took during the year as you tried to get to the goalposts you set. If I'm smart, I'll learn and glean invaluable information from what we learned in prior years too, and formed by our experience and intuition we take this period to analyze where we think we see the market going, where the opportunities are within those markets, and how we plan to get there. Clearly identified your mission statement, core values, target markets, and vision in your overall Business Plan, your Annual Plan should surround your model that lends itself to attracting the right people to the bus, systems for training that provide for empowering your agents and perpetuating a productive, professional and compliant environment, and retaining your staff through support and lead generation, generating more opportunity and increasing your margins per transaction whle providing superior service. Everything you do, all the decisions you make, all fall within these specific disciplines. It mades for a more organized planning process, developing stategies and actions/tasks related to the strategies, when you know how the machine works, and what your machines economic drivers are. If you have never planned, try it. Put thought into where you want to be, and what you want your business to look like. If you want your business to grow, think of how, what and where. Make a plan, know where you are going, know the plays, know the goalposts, cause thats where the ball has to get to at the end of the day. It's so much more effective when you plan. I always use the analogy of football players to planning. If you have ever seen pro football players up close, you know they are big people. 6"3", 6'5", 250 lb, 280 lbs of solid steel, and they run into eachother at speeds of 70 miles per hour. Why? to get the football over the goal line. How" They devise plans to get it done. End runs, handoffs, passes, bombs, they planned it all and practiced it all come game day. Take away the goalposts, and you know what you have? A bunch of big guys with their hands in their pockets wondering what they are supposed to do. You have to identify what you want, where you want to be, how you want things to look, and then develop the plans and systems and know the routes you will take to make it happen. Of course, thats only part one. I learned how important it is to keep looking at the plan, keep working it and on it, keep monitoring what works, what doesnt, what can be improved and what needs to be re-evaluated. Plans, once made, are work in progress until you throw them away for the new plan, or unless you achieve them in their entirety (if that is the end game), in which case you better make a new plan or you're gonna be one real bored successful person. Good Luck and have a great 2011!!

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

How Long Does It Take For A new Realtor to Become Productive?

When I started in Real Estate almost 30 years ago, it took me 6 months to get to my first closing. Of course, things were a little different back then. There wasn't nearly the emphasis on training there is today, and technology consisted of a calculator and carbon paper. I remember my first broker, on the day I started, giving me my training. He said, "this is your desk, that's your phone, and good luck to you.". I asked, "What do I do?", and he said. "watch what other people do, and do that.". At 19 years of age, it sounded like a plan so I did that. Fortunately, I was able to figure it out, and even though my first closing took a little while (i had my first closing 6 months to the day that I started), and my first year wasn't great, I did well every year thereafter.

Today, things can be much different. Today, we as brokers can influence the learning curve more effectively than ever before. A consistent, properly executed, well thought out learning path for your new agents, coupled with consistent accountability from them to you and you to them in the overseeing of their beginning with you, will result in a more empowered and better educated agent who should be able to do their first piece of business inside of 30-60 days.

The hardest time in an agents career is the beginning of it; they still need to live day to day, they don't have any business in the pipeline, and they aren't sure when they will get any. It takes an agent with either strong vision or blind faith in their ability to overcome all those uncertainties, armed with the knowledge that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, even if they don't exactly see it yet. This is when your agents need you the most, and when you have the greatest opportunity to build your company with knowledgable, professional, loyal and high producing agents for the future. Do it right, and you, your agents and your clients will benefit.

I've been doing it, living it and being it since 1977

I figure maybe I learned something. I remember some 20+ years ago at a party, I met an old time real estate broker. When we were introduced, my friend, who had been partners with him on some ventures, told him I was a Real Estate broker. He immediately said, So, you're a real estate broker?" I replied yes, and he said , "do you know anything?" I responded, and as the words left my mouth I remember thinking what a real answer it was, I said "some days I think I do, and other days I'm not too sure. We both laughed, and the marriage began.

I remember the conversation from time to time and chuckle. I have been around about 20 some-odd years since, and I still love what we do, and I think I may have learned a bit since.

I',m not a broker anymore, I sold my brokerage business to a national entity, and now manage my own projects, work with equity funds and am having a bast. But, I do remember some things, and it would be a shame not to share them with people interested in real estate. So, I will do that, adding from time to time blogs I may have written in the past that still apply, things that may come up that I have interests in or opinions on.

I hope you find my knowledge and experiences fun and interesting, and I look forward to hearing back from some of you.