Fourth Quarter Crunch: Start With the Numbers!
An Interview with Julie Escobar This week I wanted to revisit an interview with with my old friend and real estate columnist Julie Escobar on fourth quarter success strategies for real estate professionals. We mixed a little laughing & learning to share some insights and best practices for heading out of this year on a high and hitting next with a solid head start -- thought it might be fun to share it with all of you as well...
Here’s a peek into our conversation...
Julie: Hey Floyd! Thanks for your time today! With a little better than three months left in the year we both know that what sales professionals do NOW will determine what kind of holidays they have and how they hit the ground running in January. What are a couple of your best fourth quarter strategies for success?
Floyd: Hi Julie, it’s my pleasure! I think there are two questions facing salespeople right now. First, “how do I hit my goal for the year?” and secondly, “How do I position myself to start the new year off with momentum?” In terms of hitting your goal for the year, the first thing you have to do is convert that goal to numbers. In other words, what percentage of the way to your goal are you? Are you on track or how far off track are you really? Next, you have to convert that number to daily production. Then work your formula from there. So if you’re a real estate agent for example, you can break your goal down by listings. How many more listings do you need to hit that number? How many appointments do you need to get those listings? How many contacts do you need to make to get those appointments? So, my advice is this – spend a little time off by yourself and look the rest of your year numerically and decide what you have to do to hit your goal. Numbers will always tell you exactly what to do.
Next thing you have to look at is how important it really is to you to hit your goal. Do you go for it or adjust downward? We all know what winners do and what losers do – in terms of pouring the energy into your daily activities -- that’s where it you have to begin.
From there - do the basics. There’s an old phrase that I learned from Bill Gove, “How do you go from good to great? Don’t forget what brung ya.” (That was Bill’s style!) In other words, during those times when you’re at your best what were you doing? Do that. Or as Zig Ziglar says, “Search your memory bank the answers are in there.”
Julie: Oh I can hear it now…“But Floyd – how do I do that?” Right?
Floyd: Oh yeah, I’ve heard that a time or two. Some smart “basics” to start with? Pairing up with someone else is always healthy. Find an integrity partner that you like and respect who also has goals to hit and help each other out. I also recommend staying BOOKED. I wouldn’t shut down for the holidays until I knew that I already had the first two weeks of 2012 booked. The salespeople who don’t start booking themselves until January 3rd or 4th are giving everyone else a head start. (Take advantage of it!) Plus you can have a more peaceful holiday knowing you’ve already got things in place to hit the ground running next year.
Julie: Great advice. I’m a big fan of working together to ensure everyone’s on track. What else can they do to ensure they start the new year strong?
Floyd: Complete your circles. For most of you, there are at least some unfinished systems, solutions or projects that you’ve been “meaning to” get implemented. Get those in place. Maybe it’s a database, or a marketing system or a virtual assistant or all of the above. Take advantage of the slow moments to make the business decisions and systems implementations you need to complete those circles. You’ll be better prepared for the new year and you’ll have more peace of mind because you won’t have unfinished business looming over your head.
Julie: Yeah, those incomplete circles make me nutty too! You often talk about winning “formulas.” Can you share a winning formula for our real estate friends?
Floyd: The most basic formula in real estate is that your inventory level will determine your income level. If a person did anything for themselves to ensure their success this year and next - it’s to focus your energies this last quarter on building your inventory. If you can start your January with a larger inventory than you’re carrying now your odds greatly increase on having a successful year.
Julie: Floyd, our market shifts have left a lot of people feeling overwhelmed, down and in a reactionary rather than a proactive mode. What are some ways that you stay motivated and can you share a couple of tips to help folks get re-focused, re-energized and ready to turn their obstacles into opportunities?
Floyd: Well that reminds me of the kind of like the guy that says the doctor, “Doc, every time I move my arm like this it hurts.” And the doctor says, “Stop moving it like that.” People who are reactionary rather than proactive are not in positive control of their lives or careers --- and because of that they will always have more aches and pains than the rest of us. It’s a personal decision every day. Things come up – they always will. But it’s up to you how you handle those interruptions. If you know to hit your goal & complete your circles by the end of the year you have to do this, this and this each day and you commit to it – then commit. If something comes up you have to decide – ok, is this something I have to take care of now that I know will take me off track or is it something I can manage after I’ve completed my tasks for the day?
Sometimes people live their whole lives in a pattern where no matter what they have planned they let other people or situations control their time. We have a phrase that we teach in my classes, “Nobody slaps me around anymore!” (How many of you have heard that?) Listen, you have to stay in positive control of your time, activity and mindset – or someone else will and they don’t have to pay your bills! No one is going to call you up in a year and say I’m sending you a check for $50k as my way of apologizing for taking control of your time this year.” So, guess what – it’s up to you.
Julie: Ok-that made me laugh – great analogy. It’s true though – it’s easy to get off track…
Floyd: Oh yeah, happens every year. Right around Halloween is where people’s mentality starts leaning towards that “after the holidays” type thinking. Then thanksgiving rolls around and they really get into the “after the holidays” mode. Before you know it we’re closing in on New Year’s and then they start saying, “Well after the first of the year.” It starts off small; put this off, that off, this customer on hold, that project on hold and it snowballs.
A good salesperson takes positive control of that situation. They wisely equip themselves with everything they need to stay on track. For example, they know every answer to questions like “What are the benefits of buying a house or putting a house on the market before the first of the year?” “Should I wait for the market to change?” “Will our home sell during the holidays?” A great salesperson gets creative about knowing every benefit, and overcoming any objection (whatever time of year it is!) When you let your creative imagination get rolling – it’s amazing what you can come up with.
In our business, where people still have to talk to people though – the bottom line is you have to get voice-to- voice or face-to-face. Social media is outstanding for creating interest, building your brand and capturing the attention of the consumer – but in what we do – people aren’t going to buy or sell unless the like us, trust us and know that we’ve got their best interests at heart. It still comes down to the relationship with the person.
Julie: Awesome Floyd – any last nuggets for us?
Floyd: Just to remember that nothing lasts. Not the good or the bad. There are a lot of great things happening out there right now. If you haven’t experienced it yet – hang in there. The good is coming. I always say that times are good - put some in your left pocket to save for when they aren’t. Counting our blessings gives great perspective. So if success is what you want in your sites -- start by looking at your numbers, close those circles, get yourself booked and count your blessings!
Julie: Thanks Floyd – terrific advice as always – wishing YOU and yours a terrific fourth quarter and an amazing holiday season ahead!
If you want to learn more about how you can easily put some of those systems in place, close those circles and get yourself booked for the new year, visit the folks at ProspectsPLUS! online at http://www.prospectsplus.com/specials.aspx or call their incredible marketing team at 866.405.3638 today!