The start of the new year is a great time to reflect on the year that has passed and to carve out a new set of goals for the year ahead.
As a business owner, I have always enjoyed this annual ritual because it gives me the opportunity to look back at all the great things my team and company have accomplished during the year – big and small. This ritual is particularly important for real estate agents who often work independently and whose hard work and efforts typically go unnoticed by others. It’s critical for them to take the time to celebrate their wins. Equally important is the opportunity to reflect on the things that were not accomplished and the mistakes I made throughout the year. While reflecting on our mistakes is nobody’s idea of a good time, it’s still an important exercise for real estate agents because the mistakes often yield valuable lessons that help shape your future business decisions.
Every year I enjoy working with my sales team to help them refine their goals and develop plans that will help them accomplish the things they want to achieve in the year ahead. Setting and achieving goals is a skill set that I find most of us need some help with. Whether we choose to read books on the subject or find a great mentor, there are always things to learn that can help us become more effective at actually accomplishing the things we set out to do each year.
In the years that I’ve been coaching real estate agents I have found five common mistakes that sales people make year after year.
Not Setting SMART Goals
When deciding how to go about setting effective goals who better to turn to then management guru Peter Drucker. SMART is an acronym for the five key characteristics that Drucker believed were critical for effective goal setting.
Your goals should not be vague and ambiguous. Setting a goal to buy a new car for example is an ambiguous and ineffective goal because it’s not clear whether a new car means a $10K Nissan Micra or a $100K Porsche Panamera. Without a specific target, you don’t know what you’re working towards
You can’t reach your target if there’s no way of measuring what success looks like.
There’s no point in setting goals that are not achievable. Achieving your goal must be within the realm of possibility in order for it to be effective.
Is this the right goal for you to be focusing on right now? Are you the right person to be doing this? Real estate agents are often guilty of trying to do too much themselves. You need to understand what you’re great at and what you are terrible at. Focus on the things you’re great at and outsource everything else.
Setting a timeline for you to achieve your goal creates a sense of urgency to help ensure it actually gets done.
You can learn more about SMART goals here.
Not Starting with Personal Goals
I’ll often have sales people come into my office with their great ambitious goals of selling twenty houses next year but when I ask them how they got that number, they almost always don’t have a good answer.
The problem with setting your sales goals this way is that the number is often arbitrary and you haven’t made the connection to how this impacts you. How does selling 20 houses next year impact your life? How much money does this mean you’ll make after all expenses are taken into account? What is this goal going to allow you to do or experience next year that you couldn’t this year?
Very few people are motivated purely by money. Most people are motivated by the things that money allows us to experience in our personal lives.
Your personal goals should always drive your business goals!
Not Developing an Action Plan
Great, so you have your SMART personal goals which helped you create your SMART business goals for the coming year. Now what?
Many real estate agents stumble when it comes to converting their goals into an actionable plan. Most people stumble here because developing a Goal Action Plan is far more difficult than Goal Setting. Most people can sit down for a few hours and imagine what they want to achieve next year and they can even take the time to make their goals specific, measurable and time-bound. But now that you know what you want, how do you actually get there?
Developing a Goal Action Plan involves taking your big goals and breaking them down into mini projects and then converting your mini projects into discreet tasks that you need to do to actually achieve your goal.
Not Having a Goal Follow Through System
For those people who have set great goals and have a Goal Action Plan, the next important step is having a Goal Management System.
Action steps don’t complete themselves so what are you doing every day, every week and every month to make sure you’re actually getting to where you want to be.
I firmly believe in the need for systems to get things done and having a system to manage your goals is a key step in actually achieving them.
Not Measuring Your Progress
One of the main reasons real estate agents struggle when it comes to following through on their goals is that they haven’t developed a system to measure their results.
Any time you’re working on something that you know is connected to one of your goals you need to take the extra time to develop a system for measuring the results. Whether you’re starting a new advertising campaign or testing your new listing presentation, you need to track your results to see if you’re actually achieving your desired outcome.
In the coming weeks I’ll spend some time to walk through some of the techniques that I have found to be most effective in setting and achieving my goals each year.