How To End Your Year, To Set Next Year Up For Success.

In this last episode for 2020, Jennifer shares tips on how to wrap up the year & reflect on your results, so that you can set next year up for more success.

Hello hello, Jen Percival here and you’re listening to the Women Rocking Real Estate Podcast. How is everyone doing? Are you as excited as I am to finally put this year to bed? Last year on new years eve I honestly though 2020 was gonna be like the best year ever. I was so motivated and juiced and excited for 2020. Oh my god, little did we know what was coming. Well this time around the bar is pretty low, and I’m really just hoping 2021 will not be worse than 2020 was. Having said that though, I’m still excited for next year. I feel really inspired and motivated and excited about where I’m going to take my business. I personally feel really grounded and at peace and I am so confident knowing that I’m doing exactly what I’m supposed to be doing. There’s a lot to look forward to and I’m just going to focus on controlling the controllables and deal as best as I can, with everything else.

As you all know, I gave up my office and closed my brokerage down this year and that meant moving back to working from home…..which I discovered very quickly did not work. When we bought the house we’re living in, I had an office to go to everyday and so being able to work from home was not a factor that went into our decision to buy the house we did. Well it’s very open concept and there is literally no where for me to go that is quiet. There are always children everywhere needing something from me…..mom mummy, mom, mummy mom, mum, MOM! It’s honestly impossible to focus so I told my husband we either had to move or build me an office in the backyard….well he chose the latter and my little she-shed just got finished last week. Oh my god I love it. It’s beautiful, it’s quiet, it’s cozy, it’s organized and I am totally in my zone when I’m in there.  I truly believe having an inspiring workspace is critical to being your most productive self and to stay motivated, focused and inspired. So if you don’t have anywhere in your house that you can escape to and you’ve got the budget, I highly recommend looking into an office shed. You can also get creative and write it off as a business expense, but obviously consult with your accountant about that. It has definitely added value to our house, so I think it was a good investment all around.

Alright the last episode I released was all about setting goals for next year, but in order to do that well, it’s always a good idea to pause and take inventory of how this year went. If you don’t take a good look at what worked and what didn’t, then how can you effectively grow right? So don’t make that mistake, where you just carry on doing what you’ve always done, without examining whether it’s actually working for you.

So in this episode, we’re going to look at what happened with your business this year, so that we can set next year, up for success. Let’s dive in.

To make this process a little easier, I did create a worksheet that goes along with exercise, so if you want to pause this and go download it, you can find a link in the show notes or on my website at womenrockingrealestate.com. This exercise shouldn’t take more than an hour, but it’s super important, so don’t skip it ok?

The first thing I want you do, is to reflect on what went well this year. Just jot down all the things, even if they were small wins, that you were able accomplish this year. We’ll get into your actual numbers in a minute, so for this step just focus on what your 3 biggest high level wins were.

What did you get done that you said you were going to do?

Were you more consistent with your routines?

Did you revamp your website?

Did you grow your Instagram following?

Did you start building an email list and sending out consistent monthly newsletters?

Did you get your finances sorted out and have better management over your money?

Did you start transition your business from more leases to purchases?

Next, what didn’t you get accomplished that you wanted to and why do you think that is? What stopped you from taking the actions that you needed to take? What’s getting in your way?

Ok the next step when evaluating your year,  is to take a close look at all of your lead generation efforts and how many leads it actually generated for you and of those leads, how many converted into business. So I want you to think about absolutely everything you did this past year to generate business. Big and small.

In the worksheet I created, I have these listed a bunch of common lead generation activities to help you capture them all. So I’ll name a few here to give you an idea and get you thinking:

  • Door knocking: how many leads and how many deals
  • Cold Calling: how many leads and how many deals
  • Calling your sphere
  • Open Houses
  • Networking
  • Referrals
  • Past clients
  • Sign calls
  • Postcards
  • Website
  • Instagram, Facebook or LinkedIn
  • YouTube
  • What about Paid leads and then break that down further to all the different types of paid leads

You get the idea. I want you thinking about everything you did this past year to generate business and to see how it turned out.

Now a few things to keep in mind….

Don’t fall into the trap of thinking conversions need to happen right away and if they don’t, your effort was all for naught. My philosophy around building a long-term thriving real estate business is to make it a relational one, not a transactional one. That takes time, so much more worth it in the long run, but it doesn’t happen overnight. Think of it as planting seeds and then nurturing those seeds to build know, like and trust feelings. If you do that well, I promise you will reap a harvest. So just because a lead didn’t convert this year, if you didn’t lose them all together, continue to nurture them by providing consistent value and demonstrating your authority.

So once you’ve gone through this exercise, I really like to plug the data into a spreadsheet and create a pie chart, so that you can visually see where your business is coming from. You’ll get a lot of clarity when you see it this way. To make this easy, I’ve also included a link to a google spreadsheet for you to complete this. When you open it, you just need to go to File > Make a copy. You’re also going to enter the number of deals that did transpire from those leads and that will give you your Lead Conversion Rate.

Remember, information is power. You can’t build a successful real estate business blindly, you need to know your numbers, so if you’re not tracking this stuff, start. If you are tracking it, but not looking at it, start. Use this information to your advantage, it will help you tremendously when you’re planning and executing 2021.

So once you’ve gone through and documented this, what isn’t working so well? What did you try that didn’t really give you a return and why do you think that is? Is it that it really didn’t work or is it that maybe you weren’t consistent with it?  When someone says to me, ya I tried writing some blogs and I didn’t get any business from it. Or I recorded a few videos on YouTube, but no one watched them or I did a few post card drops, but didn’t get any calls or I ran a couple facebook ads, but didn’t see any return. Well no, I’m not surprised that didn’t work. In order to truly know whether something worked or not, you have to do it consistently for at least a year, I would say. It takes time and patience to start seeing results from your efforts, so don’t do them haphazardly and don’t give up on them too soon.

Even if you did do it consistently and it didn’t work, are you sure you did it right? Just doing something, doesn’t mean you’re going to get results. Let’s using blogging for example. Just writing a blog for the sake of writing a blog is not going to get you results. The content has to be good, it has to be valuable and it has to be search engine optimized. You’ve got to write about stuff that people are searching for and you’ve got to use keywords that allow it to get found and ideally you want to embed a video into your blog so that you can take advantage of both google’s search engine and Youtubes.

So be careful not to write things off as not working, if you didn’t do it consistently for long enough and if you didn’t do it properly. Here’s another little reminder. If a strategy has worked for someone else, odds are pretty high it could work for you too. They are not one offs. So if it didn’t work for you, you need to figure out why? On the flipside, have you been doing anything consistently and properly and it’s NOT leading to any business growth? Instagram is a perfect example of this. You’ve heard me talk about how much time & energy most agents are putting into Instagram and for the vast, vast majority it does not give a return on the investment. I’m not suggesting that social media isn’t a tool you need in your tool box, but it must be a small part of your strategy and not your whole strategy. Make sense? Great.

Ok the next thing you’re going to want to reflect on and figure out, are your actual numbers. Now most of you probably go through this exercise, but just in case you tend to skip it, we’re going to cover it because like I said before, you need to know your numbers and obviously that includes your gross commissions, but we need to dive deeper than that. We also need to know your profit, because as you know, your gross commissions are not what you take home. But in order to know your profit, you’ve got to know your expenses and I’m going to guess that a lot of you kind of skip over that metric. If you don’t, well done. But for the rest of us, myself included, we are  not running a legitimate business if we don’t know our bottom line and if we aren’t running our business profitably. Now I’m not going to go into the details about how to manage your money, set budgets and track expenses in this episode, but if this is something that you’re not currently doing, I want you to put it as one of your Big 10 goals for 2021 ok?

Beyond your revenue and profit, it’s a good idea to look at your gross commissions and to drill down to get a better understanding of how it all breaks down. Obviously how it breaks down across buyers, sellers and leases, but also what your average sales transactions are across those categories, what your average commissions were across those categories and lastly when did those deals transpire. For that metric, I like to look at when the transaction took place and not necessarily when it closed. This will really help you know how you’re tracking throughout the year and if you always know that Q3 is slower than Q2, then you won’t panic when it happens. The key here is to just always have your eyes on your metrics and to recognize when things aren’t on track so that you can course correct in time.

I know this process isn’t fun or sexy, but it is critical. You can’t expect to be running a successful business, without running & knowing your numbers. So once you’ve gone through this exercise, what have you learned and how is it going to change what you do in 2021? Do you need to make some adjustments to your plans? Do you need to refocus your energy on different things? Do you need to double down on others? Take this information and use it to your advantage.

Alright this will be my last episode for 2020. I’ve got some big changes coming next year, so make sure you tune in at the start of January to hear all about it. I wish you all a safe & healthy holiday season. It is my sincere wish that we can all put 2020 behind us and ring in the new year with hope, motivation and inspiration to make 2021 better than 2020. Not your best year ever necessarily, just better than this year.

Remember the more you learn, the more you’ll earn.

I’ll see you next year!

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Download the worksheet & pre-formatted spreadsheet for this for this week’s episode, by clicking the image.

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