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Dec. 2, 2019

How to get a listing a week: Plan to have a great 2020

You don’t have great years of production (or anything) if you don’t plan to have great years of production. You won’t set goals you are passionate about and committed to if you just throw a dart at a number and call it your transactional goal. It’s a great way to fail, whether you fall short of that goal or fail to push yourself enough to hit a number you could actually achieve with more diligence.

 

We recently devoted an entire day as a team to get off-site to work through and discuss our strategic plan for 2020. With the constant chaos presented by clients and transactions, it’s difficult to block off an extensive amount of time to clear your mind and sort through your thoughts, ideas, and goals. But it is imperative that we do so.

 

We break our strategic plan down to a number of sections that start at a high level to focus on our personal values and then work our way down to specific tasks necessary to achieve our goals. Here is how we break it down:

 

Core Values

Your core values are your non-negotiables. These are more than just business principles. They’re extremely personal convictions that permeate every aspect of your life, including your business. Our team has our core values emblazoned over the desks in our agent room to help our team members remember the principles upon which our team has been built.

 

We tend to write our core values as statements where are others will go with single words. Because it is important to our team to be viewed as excellent, we have a core value to “Differentiate with excellence.” Because we value people and relationships, we have a core value to “Build relationships you will be proud to tell your grandchildren about.” There is no amount of opportunity, transactions or money that should lead you to compromise on your core values.

 

If you haven’t taken time to do the inner work necessary to understand the values that mark your life and should in turn mark your business, there is no better time than now. It may be challenging, but it is crucial to understand your personal core values as you build your plans for 2020.

 

Why are you in the business?

No, it’s not just for the money. You can make money a bazillion different ways. Why have you chosen to do so through the avenue of residential real estate? If you step back and consider your personality, your calendar, and your responsibilities, you will pick out specific aspects of each of those things that will get you excited. You are likely to start to see some common threads that run through them.

 

Many of our team members shared some version of their passion for helping care for clients through a huge life event. Some acknowledged that they feel at home in their role because of their gifting. It may take some time to ask yourself “What about that is important to me?” repeatedly until you’re a few layers deep in your motives and desires. Don’t settle for the surface answer. Keep digging.

 

Target Market

You may go through seasons, namely early in your career where you’d say your target market is anyone looking to buy or sell. That is neither sustainable nor enjoyable.

 

Like the first two sections, it may help to start broad. On our team, we tend to focus more on people who have nice homes to sell and desire to buy nicer homes. So for us, we don’t target first-time home buyers. We historically haven’t sought out families relocating to DFW for the same reason, but the success of our YouTube Channel has led to more and more clients from other markets working with us.

 

As you get more specific, consider thinking about a couple of different groups of people. First, think long and hard about your favorite clients and what it is about them that made them your favorites. Do they listen and follow well? Are they friendly and sociable? Do they like to refer?

 

Second, consider your community. What about your friends do you love and appreciate? What makes you gravitate towards them? Odds are you’d like the same attributes in your clients.

 

The more time you spend in the industry, the more specific this ideal client can become. Perhaps you find certain personalities to be a delight to work with while others are a total nightmare for you. Maybe people with certain careers display certain attributes and character traits that attract you to working with them or deter you from working with them. Get really specific. Not everyone will fit the mold, but you will hit the mark more regularly if you know what the mark is.

 

Remember, not everyone will fit your mold as an ideal client. You should still strive to provide world-class value and customer service to each and every client you sign while treating each and every customer and prospect with the kindness and respect they deserve.

 

SWOT Analysis

A SWOT analysis is a method of evaluating your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. Strengths and weaknesses are internal. They look at your character, habits, and tendencies that prove to be either valuable or destructive. You will want to consider what you do and don’t do well, but some strengths and weaknesses will be more intangible.

 

If you’re a gifted communicator, that would obviously fall in your strengths. If you manage your time poorly, that would be a weakness. It gets more complex when you consider those intangibles. Things like empathy might be considered an intangible strength, while struggles with anxiety would fall in the category of an intangible weakness.

 

Opportunities and threats are external. They are outside factors that will have an effect on you. Learning to leverage a new lead source, implementing new systems or adding new team members can all provide tons of opportunity. A slow market, disruptive innovation in the industry or negative governmental factors will cause you headaches as threats you may encounter. These are pretty general examples that we may all deal with, but what are those opportunities and threats for you personally or your market locally?

 

Long-Term Vision

Now it starts to get more specific to your business. You will still want to give yourself room to dream a little bit by looking five-to-ten years down the road. That time frame is far enough away that you can take off the training wheels and try to determine what your big, hairy, audacious goal is for the future.

 

Consider what you want your role to look like. What will your day-to-day look like when you get to that point? Think about how you want to be viewed in your life and industry. What will people know you professionally? What is one thing you want people to identify you with most? You can’t live and die on people’s opinions, but you can consider how you want to be viewed and work towards that.

 

Then start to consider numbers. At this point, I would recommend looking at just three-to-five years down the road instead of five-to-ten. It’s much easier to predict total sales, average price point and other specific data if you put those training wheels back on in this time frame.

 

One-Year Goals

Once you have allowed yourself to dream about the long-term vision, you can zero in on what the next step is to getting there. What sort of numbers do you need to put up in 2020 to make strides towards those goals you threw out for 22, 23, 24 and beyond?

 

Again, don’t just throw a dart at this. Don’t set a goal just because it sounds cool. Take a sober-minded look at where your production was this year, then look at the data to determine how much you can really move the needle. Identify the areas where you can improve to close more deals or raise your average price point. Were you faithful to prospect as much as you said you would? If so, were you converting at a high enough level on the phone or in-person? Did you give each pillar of your business the time it needs to produce consistent business? The data will tell the story.

 

Quarterly Plan

Now how are you going to get to that goal? You have to put in the work, and this is where you’re going to hold yourself accountable to that. Take some time to determine what key tasks need to be completed in the first quarter to keep you on track with your annual goal. Breaking that annual goal down to actionable items will set you on the right track for 2020.

 

Consider if anyone else needs to be involved in the task. If it falls squarely on your shoulders, bring someone else in to hold you accountable. Set a due date for yourself. Take away the opportunity to put it off.

Nov. 7, 2019

Top Reasons to Move to Carrollton, TX: Downtown Carrolton

Making our way downtown, talking fast, and checking out the Historic Downtown Carrollton which has a wide variety of shops, services, and restaurants. Great place to check out on the west side of Dallas if you are looking at moving to or relocating to Carrollton, TX.

Nov. 6, 2019

Top Reasons to Move to Allen, TX: Allen Outlet Mall

The Allen, TX Outlet Mall has a bunch of awesome shops that are really easy to walk all around. It's located right of off 75 and is really accessible and is a great place to take the family to get some shopping done!

Nov. 5, 2019

Top Reasons to Move to Frisco, TX: Downtown Frisco

Frisco, TX has so much new development going on currently and in the near future but what about the past? Downtown Frisco keeps the old part of Frisco feeling lively and communal. Downtown Frisco is a great reason to come visit and even make Frisco, TX your home.

Nov. 4, 2019

How to get a listing a week: Expanding your ACE after Daylight Savings

On December 7, the sun will go down at 5:29 p.m. in Miami. It’s the earliest sunset of the year for the city. On December 8, Seattle will have its earliest sunset of the year when the sun goes down at 4:17 p.m. Our friends in the Pacific Northwest won’t even get out of the office in time to see the sun (If we’re honest, it will probably never come out from behind the clouds that time of year. So sad.)

 

When we turned back the clocks and enjoyed one extra glorious hour of sleep on November 3, we gave up a significant amount of daylight. These short days will present unique challenges to our industry until we spring forward on March 8.

 

Many agents see 5-8 p.m. as primetime for facetime with prospects and clients. Typically that window allows agents to get in front of people in that sweet spot between the end of the workday and sunset. The fall and winter are not necessarily conducive to that as evidenced above with the short days and early sunsets. Most agents will surrender 70-plus percent of the time that they spend in front of clients. They will accept it as seasonality and not even try to course correct.

 

Why do these early sunsets present such a challenge? First, it’s hard to show properties or have your properties shown in the dark. Buyers can’t get the best impression of a home when it’s dark out. The entire feel of the showing is different. It’s difficult to evaluate the condition of the home, namely from the exterior. As a buyer specialist, your clients may miss a house they would really like otherwise. 

 

As a marketing specialist, the prospective buyers viewing your listing may not be willing to pay as much as they would otherwise if they saw it during the day. We say that we market properties to present them in the best possible light to buyers. In the fall and winter, that needs to be treated literally.

 

Initial consultations held in that same time slot present their own challenges, even if you hold them in your office. Research shows that exposure to sunlight improves alertness, functionality and thus productivity. With shorter days and meetings in the dark, it’s easy to see why your prospects or clients could be less attentive and more drained during evening meetings than they maybe during the spring and summer. We want to be in the best position to convert, and drowsy prospects may be less ready and willing to make a decision to work with you. 

 

That’s enough of the dark side of the shortened days. What are we going to do about it? We have previously discussed the importance of an abundance mindset in the fall season when so many agents dial it back. Every season presents an opportunity, and the short days of the fall and winter are no different.

 

These shortened days provide an opportunity for you to expand your ACE; your authority, celebrity, and expertise. What does it mean to be viewed with authority, celebrity, and expertise? As an authority, you are viewed as an accepted source. You have the information and power to settle disputes and bring clarity to situations. As a celebrity, you are well-known and renowned within the industry. There is social proof that shows you to be someone who is greatly respected in their circle. As an expert, you are viewed as a specialized professional with a valuable set of skills in your field. You are among the best of the best.

 

What the heck does the sun going down earlier have to do with your positioning as an authority, celebrity or expert? Fair question. There are two specific reasons: You are better able to do business during business hours and you are better able to present unique insights to which the rest of the industry is ignorant.

 

Do you know who doesn’t care what time it gets dark? Doctors, lawyers, accountants and numerous other respected professionals who don’t need to convince patients, clients, and customers to meet with them during the business day. When these folks tell customers to show up at a given time, they do it. They value what the experts offer, so they show up when they’re told.

 

Are most realtors as educated as folks in these industries? No. That’s a common yet equally pointless objection. Don’t allow yourself to entertain such negativity. The better question to ask is “Are all realtors capable of being as knowledgeable in their respective field as those folks?” Absolutely. They are fully capable of attaining and communicating that level of expertise. Most won’t though.

 

Thanks to the shorter days, you now have even more clout behind why your prospects and clients should meet with you during the business day. You can communicate to them the challenges we previously discussed to help them understand the importance of meeting on your terms. It is in their best interest to listen to your instructions on the matter.

 

Most clients don’t want to waste their time any more than you want to waste yours. By helping them to foresee the challenges of buying and selling in this season, you’re bringing them a perspective they likely aren’t getting from anyone else. The agents that are still sticking around the market are probably doing everything the same way that they would at any other point in the year, and it’s slowing down their entire process.

 

Furthermore, by inviting them into the office during the day, you will put them in a better position to make an important decision. They will have greater focus and clarity if you meet during the day. Retention of the information about your systems and the process as a whole will be far easier than if you met in the dark after work. It is in their best interest.

 

Think about how great it would feel to better position your prospects to convert, better prepare your clients for the transaction AND get your evenings back. This can totally reshape your business.

 

And this new approach doesn’t need to be limited to the fall and winter. Implementing these strategies now can help you gain momentum heading into the spring. You can set a precedent that this is how you do business: in the office during business hours. You can establish yourself as an expert with a unique and valuable approach. You can expand your ACE in this season.

 

Meeting with prospects and clients during the business day is not a silver bullet for improving your ACE. You still need to bring top-notch information and strategies to present yourself as more comparable to a doctor, lawyer or accountant than you are to the average agent in the industry, but you’re foolish to ignore how this specific strategy and season can positively impact your perception in the marketplace.

Oct. 2, 2019

Reasons to Move to Garland, TX: Firewheel

There's dining, shopping, a mall, and even a golf course. Garland, TX is home to Firewheel, an awesome part of the city that has something for everyone. Firewheel Town Center, an open-air, urban complex with more than 100 shops - from unique boutiques to major retailers, such as Dillard's and Macy's.

Oct. 2, 2019

Listing a Week Tip: Develop an abundance mindset

“Scarcity” is a word that is used consistently in our office and probably yours as well. There is scarcity as it pertains to inventory in the current seller’s market. We market properties aggressively to create even more scarcity. Certain markets bring with them a scarcity of leads.

If not checked, this scarcity mindset might just scare us into a rut in our businesses. You may feel like there is a scarcity of opportunity in the market place as the leaves start to change color for the fall. You get down and discouraged. Because your efforts seem futile, you don’t practice the habits that have generated business in the past.

Maybe you’ve been around the block. You have a few Q4s under your belt. You’ve seen the market slow down and your production slows with it. You’ve accepted that it is what it is. You have come to terms with the fact that there is a scarcity of opportunity.

Or maybe you’re a youngster in the industry. You haven’t seen many fall and winter markets, but you already know what to expect thanks to all the Debbie Downers in your office who mailed it in after Labor Day. Time to dial it back and hope you have enough cash reserves to get you through to March.

If you find yourself in one of those two groups, I have good news for you: You will be as right or as wrong as you want to be. If you want to have a scarcity mindset and allow that to dictate your fourth quarter, go for it. You will be a product of your expectations. More for the rest of us.

But I invite you to something different. I invite you to an abundance mindset. Join us as we step into the abundance of opportunity that comes with the fall market as the Debbie Downers check out.

There is no reason not to be optimistic. You can continue to maintain the pace you have set up to this point in the year and then some. More than that, you can positively communicate with your prospects and clients about the fall market and the opportunities available to them.

Let me prove it. I ran a search of the four counties in which our team works to determine how many homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2018. The numbers were too big for MLS to spit out a number, so I narrowed it down to our ideal price points.

In our target areas and target price points, 7,249 homes sold in the fourth quarter of 2018. Let’s assume that you’re selling a listing a week. That means you need to find 13 deals in the fourth quarter. In reality, if you adjust goals seasonally, it’s probably closer to 10. We will stick with 13 though.

If an agent in our market intends to sell 13 homes in the fourth quarter in our ideal area and price point, they would need to close a whopping .179 percent of the homes that sold last fall. That means you’d need your name on one out of every 557 closings in the market.

On top of that, 3,180 homes failed to sell during the same time frame. What if you were able to convert some of those listings in the first place? What if you were the agent they signed, and you actually delivered on what you promised and did the job those other 3,180 agents couldn’t? There is an abundance of opportunities available to you.

Get out of your own way and believe in yourself. There is no reason to slow down. There is no reason to spread pessimism to your fellow agents and clients. You can achieve your goals and help your clients to do the same. Agents that sell a listing a week will keep an abundance mindset and keep driving hard in the fall.

Sept. 16, 2019

Everything You Need to Know About DFW Commute Times

Google Maps is not always accurate. How can you know how long it is going to take to get to downtown Dallas from Frisco, Allen, Plano, Fort Worth, Irving, Garland, and all the other major cities? 

Todd, a DFW Resident for over 15 years has everything you need to know to make commutes around the Metroplex.

Sept. 9, 2019

Reasons to Move to Plano, TX: Secondary Residences/Guest Houses

Plano has recently changed its laws surrounding constructing secondary residences or guesthouses on Plano citizens' properties.

Plano City Council approved an ordinance change in February that allows more residents to construct accessory dwelling units, or backyard cottages, on their properties. The ordinance change includes regulations on the dimensions, architectural design and access to parking for potential backyard cottages.

Sept. 4, 2019

Richardson, TX to revamp Sears building, add new restaurants to Richardson Square Mall

After sending developers back to the drawing board in early June, City Council unanimously approved a plan to revamp a portion of the former Richardson Square Mall site at Plano and Belt Line roads. 

Lease negotiations are underway with Chipotle, Jason’s Deli, Jersey Mike’s Subs, Starbucks, Blaze Pizza, Aspen Dental and Marble Slab Creamery, according to developer Frank Mihalopoulos.