Succeeding in 2023 will be easier with these four real estate systems in place.
First, you’ll benefit from a system that shows you where to spend your marketing dollars.
The first real estate system every agent needs is one that keeps track of where your clients come from. Not leads, but actual clients – because you can get a thousand “going nowhere” leads from a variety of (expensive) places.
When you’re bombarded with offers for programs that promise big results, it’s easy to be lured into wasting a LOT of money. So before you buy into the latest and greatest, look to see where your past clients came from.
Where did your actual customers and clients come from last year?
What prompted them to choose you? If you don’t know, then it’s time to create a system for keeping track. It could be a spreadsheet, either in your computer or on paper.
Keeping track, of course, begins with knowing. Unless they obviously came from a capture form on your website, responded to postal mail or an email, or told you when they first made contact, you’ll need to ask.
If the answer isn’t obvious, do remember to ask.
If the answer is “on line,” try to learn where. Was it your agent bio, your content-rich website, or your blog posts that convinced those prospects that you’re the one? Back when I was a broker, that was the hardest part for my agents – they simply couldn’t remember to ask.
Perhaps clients are reaching you through a capture form on your website. If so, what did you offer in return for their contact information?
If you have more than one capture form, do create a system that lets you know which form is bringing in leads. Remember to add names when you’re tracking leads – so you’ll know which turned into clients.
If your clients came from prospecting, were you prospecting a geographic area or a specialized niche? Which prospecting messages worked best? Were you using email or postal mail? Letters or postcards?
Name or number each of your prospecting messages and make note of who responded after each was sent out. How many messages had that person received before responding? Remember that prospecting is a trust and relationship building exercise – it often takes weeks or even months to produce results.
Be sure to note the replies the same day you get them, lest that task gets swept away and forgotten while you’re busy doing other things.
If you DO know what marketing brought you the most 2022 transactions, make it a priority to do more of what worked – and eliminate what didn’t work.
Create real estate systems for maintaining consistency in marketing.
Marketing is vital to a real estate career, and yet it is all too often the task that gets pushed aside when you’re busy. That’s why so many agents experience a roller coaster income.
This year, create the systems and have the discipline to maintain consistency.
If you’re mailing or emailing prospecting letters, it’s easy to create systems that will keep working even when you’re too busy to think about it. Here’s how…
Personal contact is important, so stop now and decide when you will make the time to do it consistently.
For instance, set aside time to pick up the phone and call past clients, those in your sphere, and prospective clients. You don’t have to call each of them every week, but calling every month would be beneficial to you.
Don’t make it a sales call – make it a friendly call. Ask about their families or their plans for an upcoming holiday. If they’ve purchased a home, ask if they’ve met the neighbors. In other words, just be interested in them.
Put that time in your daily/weekly/or monthly calendar and don’t deviate unless a true urgency interferes. You CAN arrange appointments around your marketing schedule if you treat your marketing time like you would any other appointment.
You may be using several other marketing methods.
You might be advertising in homes magazines or local publications. You might be sponsoring school ball teams. You might be writing a column for a local newspaper. You might be door knocking or volunteering with a non-profit. You might be speaking at Senior Citizen functions or assisting a lender who offers first time buyer seminars. You might be manning a booth at a home show.
But those aren’t all the choices. There are even more ways to market yourself, as you can see in this post about focus and self-discipline. Choose more than one marketing method, but beware of choosing too many and becoming overwhelmed. Like everyone else, you only have 24 hours in a day, and consistency is paramount. Don’t start something you can’t continue.
If so, when a new client says that’s how they found you, record that information.
What about trying something new?
Before you plunge ahead with a new and expensive marketing method, try to talk with other agents who have used or are using it. You’ll find dozens of programs you can buy into, but are they worth the money or the time? Quite often the answer will be no.
Create real estate systems for keeping track of your transactions.
If you have a transaction coordinator – wonderful! If not, then it’s up to you to make sure that everything gets done – and done on time.
Back when I was an agent, we used paper forms and file folders to keep everything together. I wrote a checklist on the outside of each file folder and made notes showing when each task was completed – and any follow up necessary. I also used a day planner to make sure I didn’t forget anything.
You may do it all electronically now, but however you keep track, you should have an “at a glance” list of things to be done for each transaction, along with the dates by which they must be completed.
Set up real estate systems to keep track of your finances.
I have a friend who stuffs all of his receipts into a box throughout the year. Then in about March he starts trying to sort them to deliver to his tax preparer. He always files for an extension because he’s never ready. Part of that is because he dreads the job and puts it off.
Don’t follow him!
Keep those records current all year long, so you don’t have a dreaded hassle at tax time.
If you love bookkeeping and just naturally do it with a pencil and ledgers, then keep doing what you’re doing.
If you’re ending up like my friend, stuffing everything in a box and dreading the job at the end of the year, take the time to set up systems. If you don’t have a bookkeeping program on your computer – get one. Then use it consistently.
Set time aside at regular intervals to enter your checks, credit card charges, and cash purchases – although programs like Quicken will automate a lot of it for you. Those programs will also tell you where you’re spending your money, so you can create budgets and maintain control.
Back when my husband was building custom homes, it was easy for me to stay current on bookkeeping. I had no choice but to do payroll one night each week, so I just stayed at it until everything for both of our businesses was caught up. And yes, I did have some late nights. But I didn’t get behind.
It’s good to review everything at year’s end, just to make sure nothing was mis-filed. Once that’s done it sure is nice to push a button and have a print-out ready for your tax preparer.
Set up your real estate systems now…
Each of the real estate systems you set up and use will free your time for the most important task: Being in front of buyers and/or sellers.
So just do it – and let this be the year that you don’t feel stressed from going seventeen directions at once.