As we head into the final month of 2016, for most of us, there will be some “downtime”. Downtime driven by both the holiday season, as well as a general slowdown of activity, especially after the first two weeks of December. This is an ideal time to start planning for 2017.
Now in our 9th year of working with over 1,000 commercial real estate professionals in our coaching programs, we have honed a process for preparing for the New Year. The process can be defined as having 5 specific steps. These steps include:
Over the next several blog posts, I will share this process with you. Today we start with the biggest step of all, and as with every impact-changing process – it’s the first step; the Review.
There are 3 reviews you need to complete before you can set a path for growth in 2017. As I noted, this is the biggest step. The three reviews include your transaction history, your prospecting efforts, and your personal marketing efforts.
Review Your Transaction History
Where do we start? We start with the past, we start with the review of what you’ve done financially, the actual transactions that you’ve completed, and all the elements associated with those opportunities. Once you understand where you are, you can identify where you are going.
Ask yourself, what was your average deal size last year, the year before that, the year since then? What clients did you work with? Which clients were the most attractive to you, both now and in the future? What were the average size deal with those clients provided for you? Where do you get those clients? What was the source? Was it a prospect call? Was it a website, off a lead, a company referral? Was it the same clients? Where were those clients and opportunities located? What market are you best to focus on moving forward? What product type have you really been successful for in the past and what product type is best for you moving forward?
Review Your Prospecting Efforts
What was your financial goal for net income goal for 2016? Money that you take home for you and your family. That’s something we really care about. What did you achieve, and what was the delta? Hopefully it was greater than your goal. If it was less than your goal, maybe you set too high of a goal. I love goals that push you, but be careful so they don’t demotivate.
How many exclusives did you secure? How many listings that you got went to closings. You want to explore that. Make sure you understand some of the ratios financially of your meetings, to listings, listings, to close. Look at the numbers. Look back on your efforts last year, and see where those are. Define your average gross commission income. What was your average net commission per closing? Of the listings/representations/assignments you secured, how many were unsuccessful?
When it comes to your clients, think about your top five clients. When I say top five, people go, “Okay so these five made the most money for me, they’re my top five.” Fine. That’s how you want to define top five, look at it that way. Some say, “No, top five really means those that provided me, and will provide me the greatest opportunities moving forward.” In 2016, this may have been one deal, but it’s going to lead to more deals down the road. That’s going to be a top client for you, or a client that always gives you multiple opportunities. Same client opportunities, or refers you. All they did is one or two deals with you maybe historically, yet they’re one of your raving fans. Therefore, they’re your top client. Identify your five top clients based on your parameters.
Finally look at your prospecting efforts. Prospecting is a disciplined act of asking for business. Think about what you did to specifically ask for business. Look back at some of the quantitative, and qualitative aspects of your prospecting. How many prospecting meetings did you hold in 2016? How many calls to you attempt vs. complete, and how many prospect letters (not emails) did you send?
Review Your Personal Marketing Efforts
Prospecting is hard enough when folks know you, or at least heard of your company. Prospecting without a personal presence is downright difficult. Your personal marketing efforts will reflect strongly on you prospecting results.
I always focus on three elements of presence, or personal marketing. Personal, Physical, and Digital. Upon your review of your personal marketing efforts in 2016, ask yourself how many personal meetings did you have from a marketing perspective? These are meetings to get to know people. These are not prospecting meetings. These are relationship building opportunities. Maybe it was going to a conference, or going to drink with the guys, or whatever it might be. How many personal marketing meetings did you hold? Look back at your calendar. This is vital to growing in 2017.
Physical marketing efforts consist of tangible items you have mailed, gifted or sent. From the physical side, mailing side, how many times did you mail out? How many times did you send out post cards, or flyers. How many gifts did you send, or articles you shared. Again, look at your calendar, look at your marketing efforts, look at your budget, look at your expenses.
Lastly, think about the digital side. Yes, the tweeting, the blogging, the LinkedIn groups, Facebook interactions, that you actually participate in. Just because you’re a member of a LinkedIn group, and you never participate that does not count. That’s probably 95% of folks out there. Think about the digital efforts. What did you do digitally? Even e-mail blasts, and newsletters.
As noted, the first step in any process of change is always the biggest. Reviewing your transactional history, prospecting efforts and personal marketing activities will take you some time. Potentially several days. But don’t forget you will have several days of “downtime” in the weeks ahead. You can either review and then implement change, or simply do what you have always done in the past. You know, and we know through 1,000’s of iterations with your commercial real estate peers, positive change, and income growth, are not products of simply doing the same thing year after year.
In the second part of this 5-part series, we will explore the best way to reflect on what you learned through the review process.
If you are eager to learn more about these key steps to Your Best CRE Year Yet, please join us for a free webinar, this Thursday, December 1 at 1:00 pm eastern, where I will be hosting a discussion related to this very same topic. I hope you will join me then. Click here to Register.