Starting in December every year, I take this time to plan for the coming year, what strategies worked this year, where do I need to change, how did my marketing budget work out etc…
Some examples of changes that we’ve previously made at this time of year:
- Focus on alternative financing programs when subprime borrowers could no longer obtain credit
- Programs for short sales and foreclosed homes
- Adding drip email programs
- Deleting printed postcard programs
This is a great time of year to review the year that was in real estate both for you and in general. While it’s not necessarily a good idea to go chasing every fad that’s out there, sometimes looking for a multi-year trend to capitalize on can be very profitable. For example, short sales and foreclosures are at the forefront of our minds right now but in 3 years from now they might only be a blip in the total nationwide sales (likewise 3 years ago I wonder how many agents knew what a short sale was). But I bet there are plenty of agents that survived this year because they went after this shift in business.
So as you review the tools and systems you have in place in your business, don’t take anything for granted. Don’t just assume you need this product going forward. Unfortunately, on many sales calls I am involved with, I speak with people who have spent thousands and sometimes tens of thousands of dollars on products that just aren’t working for them. They don’t want to leave it though because of the investment. Understand the concept behind a sunk cost. If you an make $100k by dumping your current product and investment $25k, and your current product is only making you $25k on a $25k investment, you should obviously move to the new product (assuming you have the budget to make the move).
Which of your systems, tools and marketing are working? Are you still spending $1000s on print advertising? If so why? Study after study proves broadcast printing that it’s a losing money effort. In speaking with agents and brokers nationwide the only true return I see from any print advertising is farming a hyperlocal area.
Have you considered an E-Farming system? Systems like Constant Contact, MailChimp, and MadMimi, offer low cost solutions that offer broadcast emailing.
Do you have a Customer Relationship Management software designed for Real Estate? Setting reminders etc for client follow up can help you break the curse of most agents, that only 6% of clients return for a follow up sale.
Are you syndicating your listings? Many of you probably are, but to just one or two sites. Why not get your Seller’s the exposure they deserve? Imagine the marketing you could do by increasing your online presence.
Do you offer virtual tours? Did you know that listings on national websites get viewed 299% more than those without?
Why not take the next few weeks, and consider dumping some of your expenses and looking into new options that are available. Review what worked for you and what didn’t.
Make a business plan for next year and try to stick with it. Take a look at the article Linsey Planeta wrote over at AgentGenius on Planning for Your Next Year in Real Estate and creating obtainable goals.