Now is the time to make 2024 successful!Nov 29, 2023
If you were to ask me what is the one thing that most successful agents do to ensure success, I would have to say planning. I work with, and know, a lot of successful agents and all but a couple are very good at planning. Yes, there are successful agents who are very bad at planning, so it certainly is not a prerequisite. But proper planning definitely increases your odds and makes your life more enjoyable!
Most agents who are successful but are poor at planning are in a constant state of chasing their tails. They live very stressful lives and are always on the go. They make up for planning by working extremely long hours and having little time for themselves. They will admit, and even brag, that they thrive on chaos. Look, I’m not trying to judge here, live and let live, but I have to believe that eventually they will burn out or have a medical issue that will stop them from being in chaos all the time. I’ve seen it many times.
Planning for your upcoming year is vital to having the type of success that most agents strive for. A more consistent business that provides a stream of leads through planned marketing activities is achievable with proper planning, and now is the time to prepare for success in 2024.
Some of us, (that would be me), LOVE planning and can go overboard with formulas, projections, and analysis to the point where it can be detrimental if you’re not careful. You can spend hours, days, or even weeks analyzing stats to come to the same conclusion as if you had just done a basic analysis. So let’s stick to some basics that you must know to properly plan.
Where did your business in 2023 come from? Go through each of your closed transactions and source where each lead came from. Hopefully, you have a tracking system in your CRM or even just a simple spreadsheet to track your leads as they come in. This will make life easier for planning. Whatever marketing produced the most closed deals needs to be expanded in the coming year. How did you market to these folks and what specifically worked best? Rinse and repeat!
Where did your money go? You must know where all of your business dollars went! Hopefully, you use QuickBooks or some other accounting software. But even if you are the type that just stuffs receipts in a shoe box, you must go through that shoe box and see where you spent the money! Once you figure out where it all went, determine what was necessary and what could be reduced or even eliminated.
What was your ROI for each of your marketing strategies? Return on investment is vital to running a business. Go through each marketing strategy that you spent money and time on in 2023 and determine how much in earnings you received in return for that investment. Whichever gave the largest ROI, rinse and repeat!
What was your gross commission income, average sales price, average income per side, and average commission percentage? All of these numbers are vital in planning for the upcoming year. You must know where you have been to get to where you want to go! Once you determine these numbers it is simple to apply an estimated percentage of increase or decrease for 2024 based on what you feel the market will do.
Determine your assumptions on what your market will do in 2024. This is vital, not only for planning, but to be the professional that your clients expect you to be. How many times do folks ask you what is going to happen in the market? I would guess it happens to me at least twice a week. Now I could say, “Oh my crystal ball is broken.” But our clients look to us for knowledge in the industry. You need to do the research and make a determination of what you think 2024 will be like in your market. Look at your local and state association predictions, NAR predictions, and economic predictions for your market, then make your own determination. It won’t be perfect, but it doesn’t have to be, it’s an estimate based on the facts that you have at this time. The important part of assumptions is to adjust them quarterly as the market unfolds, but you must also adjust your budget!
Do the math and complete a budget. Now bring all of this together, you know what worked in marketing in 2023, you know what you made and where it came from, and you have an assumption of what your market is going to do next year, now put in a budget! If you don’t currently have a budget, you need to do one. It can be a simple spreadsheet, or customize an existing format, it doesn’t matter, as long as you understand it. I coach my clients to do two columns in their budget; one is what I call ENOUGH, which is what it takes to pay themselves what they need to live their current lifestyle with the basics and keep the business running. The other column is called MORE THAN ENOUGH, this is where they input goals for the year, both business and personal. For example, if I want to buy a new boat, I need to make xx amount more in income to pay for it. Then I work backward, and the math tells me how I can do that. Either increase my number of sides, my average sale, my average commission, or all 3! (The boat I want is very expensive!)
As I mentioned above, these are just the basics of planning. I could go on and on about analysis of marketing, expenses, income, projections, etc. But as a minimum, you must know where your business comes from and how much it cost to get that business! Without those numbers, you are just spitting in the wind! Make 2024 your best year yet by starting your planning now!
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