Moving on with the top ten challenges Realtors face, in this article I will talk about organization and efficiency and balancing your business schedule with your personal schedule.
My clients often ask me, how do you do it all? I tell them one step at a time. Currently I am an active agent still selling an average of 93 homes a year, the co-founder of You’re The Difference Sales & Life Coaching, the mother of two, and the co-author of Now What Do I Say?, the Real Estate objection handling book. In fact, my partner and I are in the midst of creating Now What Do I Say, Too? which will be an audio program of about 20 new objection handlers with the most common questions I see us getting right now. If you’re interested in learning more about our products, please visit our website at www.yourethedifference.com.
So as I said to get it all done and still have sanity and a personal life, I take it one step at a time. Recently I was training for my first marathon and my coach told me not to ever think about the 26.2 miles. She said to think one step at a time, not even one mile at a time but one step at a time. At first I was mentally overwhelmed with the thought of running that many miles and often while training I felt defeated mentally. Once I shifted my thoughts from having to run so many miles to having to run one step at a time it made a huge difference in my training experience. That’s really all we can control, what we’re doing right now in the moment. As you’re growing your business don’t focus on going from 10 to 50 deals a year, focus on creating one more sale. Of course have a business plan and a goal for what you want to do but thinking about it each day can create defeat if you aren’t careful.
I have a question that I ask myself all day long and have my clients post at their desk, Is what I’m doing right now going to create income for me, make a difference in my life or the lives of others? If not, consider stopping and shifting what you’re doing to something that will. At the top of each hour take a moment to look at what you did for that hour. Was it productive? Are you spending time on the things that really matter to your life and to your business? Often times we waste way more valuable time than ever imagined once we actually track what we do all day long.
I follow a schedule where I do the same thing each week. The days are a bit different for diversity but each week is the same. I do certain things at certain times throughout the day. I work in blocks of time. This compels me to be most efficient with my time because I know it’s limited for each task. If I’m not finished when that time block is up I have to move on to the next task.
My coach once told me to be Olympic with my time. What a thought., Olympic with your time. What would that mean for you? No one is going to protect your time except for you. In fact, many will try to steal and waste your time. Be willing to say no when you need to. If you want to have a highly successful Real Estate business then you must be highly efficient with your time and schedule.
The systems I have in place for my business are very simple and manual. A few things that my clients have loved and found to really benefit their business are the following:
Have a lead follow system in place in stead of having your leads on stickies, napkins, the back of paperwork, on your calendar and all over the place. I have a seller lead sheet and a buyer lead sheet. Every lead gets one of these sheets which covers all their necessary information. The lead sheets go in my follow up system based on when I want to follow up with them. My follow up system consists of two sets of file folders. The first is labeled 1-31 which represents the days of each month. The second is labeled Jan-Dec which of course represents the months of the year. I throw the lead sheet in whatever date/month I want to call them again and don’t have to think about it until that date arrives.
Have Information Notebooks in place for each area of your business. These are simply three ring binders. I have one for my listings, pendings, buyers, past clients, and policies and procedures of my office.
In the listing book I have tabs a-z and the listings go based on the street name. I have an information sheet with all the sellers contact information, a copy of the MLS input, and an activity sheet to track the showings and feedback. I carry this with me everywhere so whenever I get an ad or sign call I have all the information. I am also able to speak with and update my sellers from this book at anytime.
In the pending book I also have tabs from a-z and the pendings go based on the property address. I have an information sheet with everyone’s contact information on it., the seller, the buyer, both agents & companies, the seller and buyer’s attorney and the lender information. I have a copy of the MLS input, a closing checklist with all the things that need to be done to get to closing, and a sheet for notes.
The buyer book simply has all my buyer lead sheets in it. The lead sheet contains all the buyers contact information, the criteria of what they’re looking for, a series of questions showing what their situation is. This allows me to follow up with my buyers on a daily basis and to easily keep them posted on new activity each day. The MLS of course offers automatic updates, however I like to be in more personal contact with my buyers and having them all together in one book makes that easy.
In the past client book I have a contact information sheet with all my past clients. It gives me all their contact information, what year they bought or sold with me, the property they bought or sold, special things to remember about them and a section for notes. They are also in a computer data base for mailing, emailing, etc. This notebook is at my desk and enables me to call them throughout the year and keep in touch with them easily.
The tracking book is how I track my business. This has tabs Jan-Dec and I track my business on a monthly basis. There are five sheets behind each month. One to track listings taken, one to track listings sold, one to track buyer sales, one to track closings, and then there is a sheet to record where each deal came from so I know what’s working in my business. It’s categorized based on the marketing I do. (prospecting, ads, signs, referrals, website, etc.) It’s important to know where your business comes from so you can adjust where you’re spending your time and money. So many agents don’t have a clue as to where their business comes from and are spending thousands of dollars on self promotion and advertising schemes that may not be making a profit for them at all. It’s beneficial to look at your profit and loss statement as a business so you can adjust accordingly.
It’s also important to know where you are in your production at all times so you can track and follow your business plan. Speaking of business plan, you will definitely want to have a simple, easy to read and follow business plan. I’ve talked about that in some of my previous articles and shared what my business plan consists of. The less complicated you make it the more likely you’ll actually follow it.
I have a daily and a weekly tracking form that I use to track what I do everyday. This holds me accountable to being the most efficient with my time as well because I actually have to record and report what I do each day and each week to myself. The daily sheet covers the following:
Total hours prospecting
Total contacts made
Total appointments set
Exercise I did
What I learned today
What I enjoyed today
How I contributed today
My biggest challenge and solution idea
The weekly tracking form reports the total numbers for the week.
We all know that large corporations have systems like this in place for their employees so they can track the efficiency of each employee. This is exactly the mentality I use in managing myself. Rather than think of myself as an independent contractor who can do whatever I want all day long, I think of myself as a large corporation running a highly productive business. I study what they do, what professional athletes do, how the Olympians spend their time and energy, and I pull from their resources to be the best I can be in my business and life.
Having simple systems in place will allow you to do much more business with a clear mind, much less stress and anxiety. Everything is neat, organized, in it’s place, and readily available. I do have the Blackberry and all the computer technology, this is simply what I’ve found to work best for me and for many of the agents I coach.
It’s a choice. When my agents ask me, how do you do it?, How do you get it all done in one day? How do you have a personal life and time for your family? How are you not totally stressed out and overwhelmed? One step at a time. Where you spend your time, thoughts, and energy is your choice. There are no gimmicks, no magic pills, it’s all up to you. That’s why our company name is You’re The Difference. You have to be the one to choose to make your life and business what you want it to be.
If Scott and I can support you in any way, please call or email us. We would love to connect with you personally on a free 30 minute coaching call to answer any questions you may have and to see if coaching with us may benefit your life and your business. If you haven’t already, I invite you to visit our website to see if the products and services we offer will support your business. We have a special sneak preview of our new audio program with 5 of the new objection handlers for only $5.99 right now and some packaged items on sale. Visit us at www.yourethedifference.com