If you haven’t yet developed a business plan for the New Year, don’t worry. With unstoppable entrepreneurship, the high-performing brokers we turned to for advice revealed how they maintained their numbers as the country was shut down by COVID-19. Universally, low interest rates and high demand have contributed to their success. But they say sticking to a business plan, reviewing it regularly and modifying it as needed, has been essential to achieving their goals during the most devastating economic crisis since the Great Depression.
These brokers cover everything from developing an in-depth market analysis and creating a marketing plan, budgeting for the coming year and organizing each working day. Their thoughts can motivate you to refine your own business plan or confirm that you are on the right track.
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Larysa Domino, a real estate broker at @properties, takes her one-year goal in terms of volume and income and her average sale price into account when calculating how many deals she needs to close in the new year. “I can set a target for ads versus purchase transactions and from there, based on my history, determine the marketing I need to achieve those goals,” she says. “It’s a formula. However, she cautions that it’s important to set realistic goals: “If you can’t reach them, don’t even start with that type of goal. Execution is the key to our business.
To make sure she is spending time and money on worthwhile efforts and abandoning those that aren’t, Domino reviews her business plan on a weekly, monthly and quarterly basis. . “If you can figure out where your trades are coming from, you can assess that and make adjustments,” she says. “That’s why you constantly reassess the plan. “
In late September or early October, Lyn Harvie, a broker at Baird & Warner, begins planning for the New Year. She advises officers who have pushed back until December to buckle up and do so. “Don’t let perfection get in the way of progress,” she insists. “You can polish it along the way. It helps that Baird & Warner provides him with a business planning book that is updated every year. The template guides agents to structure their plans based on what has worked in the past and prompts them to add new layers to their marketing initiatives. “A great section is’ Think about what makes you tick,” says Harvie. “It’s so important to understand your why; why you get up every day and do this. Mine has changed several times over the years, and over the years my why wasn’t clearly defined, I struggled.
Without a doubt, the structuring of her days has helped Harvie stay the course during the pandemic. “I got up again, gave my gratitude, my affirmations, I read the word, I worked, I did some property research, I followed up on emails, I sent emails, ”she said. “Think about how you structure your day and prepare to be successful. “
Dan Kieres, management broker for Northwest Real Estate Group, is focusing his plan on “staying on top of the list.” To do this effectively, he says, understand where your business is coming from, who you’re talking to, and the message you want to convey for the brand correctly. “A lot of agents say, ‘I just sold 10 houses, look at me. I’m the best.’ Do you want someone to say “He’s obnoxious” and make it look like you don’t have time for them because you’re too busy closing other people’s business? Or do you want to be seen as ‘I just helped 10 families this month move into their dream home, here’s a review someone just wrote about me.’ He thinks it’s important to know who you are as a person, as well as an agent, as well as what sets you apart from the competition – and lead yourself with that.
Elements of an in-depth market analysis
Domino considers the real estate market and economy at the macro and micro levels and plans accordingly. “There are specific things that I’m looking at: the stock market, real estate supply and demand, and all the outside factors impacting the economy, like COVID-19,” she says. “You can set your plan over time and focus on what the market has in store. For example, COVID-19 has shifted buyer demand towards a ‘more is more’ type of housing outlook, with buyers looking for larger homes, basements and yard spaces, and double offices, Domino said. She took into account this change in the must-have lists, as well as the challenges of a low-inventory / high-demand market, and focused her business plan on conquering these barriers. “One strategy for overcoming low inventory is to focus marketing campaigns on sellers and ads, ensuring that we capture more inventory, especially at the start of this year,” she says.
Harvie takes a microscopic look at the city, as every neighborhood product and price point behaves very differently. “The media is putting out some sweeping, sweeping statements about the market, and it’s frustrating for sellers to learn that stocks are low, sales are up, and units and volume are up, but their house is not selling, ”she said. “You have to dig into the details of the data: a two-bedroom, two-bathroom home in River North doesn’t sell like it does in Lincoln Park,” she says. “The pandemic and the riots have had different impacts on different parts of the city. If officers don’t address these details, they miss the mark. To stay in the know, she tracks the day-to-day data, noting the number of units released and the number under contract.
Budget for the new year
Domino’s golden rule is to reinvest 10% of its gross income in the business. If it experiences a year of significant growth, it will bring it to 15%. “I take this budget and allocate it to my marketing plan,” she explains. “I look historically at what has worked for me in the past and focus my energy on these marketing initiatives. “
Harvie admits that budgeting is one area where she could do better. Still, she tracks expenses in QuickBooks and chats with an accountant and financial advisor quarterly, budgeting money in investment accounts and saving for taxes. Kieres has a completely different point of view. “The purpose of the business is to generate profit,” he says. “However, I don’t necessarily agree with a budget, as long as we invest in quality lead generation opportunities that can potentially deliver results down the line.” He prefers to track lead conversion rates (make the appropriate changes and shift gears if necessary) to budgeting for marketing initiatives.
Developing an effective marketing plan
Each year, after attending various conferences and learning new marketing strategies and tools, Harvie chooses to add a new marketing initiative to her business plan, rather than being inundated with all the information she has received and not to implement anything. In early December, she actually spent a week preparing marketing pieces that will automatically run at intervals throughout the year. So once she is busy again after the holidays and in the spring, she can focus only on her clients.
Kieres also automates all basic marketing activities. “Just Listed, Just Sold” mailings are released on the first of each month. Email marketing arrives on the 15th, and “farm” direct mail – the advertisements and prices of properties sold – reach all residents of a specific zip code each month. Automating these activities frees up time for Kieres to design creative marketing strategies to grow his business. For Halloween, he filmed an office levitation sketch that went viral on Facebook. “It looked like I was floating,” Kieres says. The message was, “We cover so much ground, people think we have superpowers. “
Still, there is something to be said for a personal touch. Kieres also sends direct messages to customers via email, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram, four contacts per year, one through each platform. The old-fashioned way, he sends out a total of 700 birthday cards with instant lottery tickets to customers each year, along with congratulatory notes on the closing birthday, as well as a bottle of wine. They always call him to thank him or to let him know how much money they made from the lottery ticket. Invariably, they’ll share their excitement about it with their friends and family, and that’s the point.
During the quarantine, Kieres got creative and offered to deliver groceries to customers, but also organized virtual tours of properties and virtual tours of open houses. “Our goal was to sell $ 25 million as a business, and we sold $ 33 million this year,” Kieres said. He must keep his business plan intact and stay ahead of his sphere of influence.
“There’s a saying, ‘If you don’t know where you’re going you’ll end up somewhere else,’” says Domino. “I think just sitting down, writing down the plan and making sure you follow it is the most important.”