Your 10-Step Action Plan To Rock 2020

In this week's episode, Jen walks you through a 10-step action plan to turn your 2020 goals into a reality. You'll want a pen and paper for this episode, but you can download a worksheet for the exercise.

Well hey there and welcome back to another episode of the Women Rocking Real Estate podcast. I’m your host Jen Percival and I’m so genuinely grateful that you’re here listening to me. In the last few weeks, I have had a bunch of ladies reach out to me with the most kind, encouraging and sweet messages. I can’t tell you how much it has meant to me. When I’m creating these episodes I have absolutely no idea if they’re resonating or helping people, so getting messages is so incredibly rewarding. So I just wanted to give a shout out to Megan, Nicole, Melissa, Lisa, Sarah and Anna…thank you so much for your messages and to Oresta, Jessica, Angie, Gail and Heather thank you so much for leaving such nice comments on my website.

Alright before we dive into today's episode, I just wanted to warmly welcome all the ladies that joined my beta launch of Online Marketing Made Simple.

Here’s the thing about working in real estate, not everyone that gets into this industry comes from a business background. In fact the vast majority don’t. A lot of women get into real estate thinking that they’re just going to be buying and selling homes and they haven’t really considered that they are going to be running a full fledged business and real estate is just the service you offer.

Running a business successfully is no small undertaking. When you get your real estate license you’re basically taught how to transact in real estate, but most programs out there don’t remotely teach enough about how to run a business. And that is where so many people fall short.

You need to have a solid understanding of finance, operations, sales, systems and processes just to have a proper foundation to build your business on. But then there’s the whole branding, marketing and advertising side of things and it is probably the most underestimated aspect of most agent’s businesses.

Before getting into real estate, I spent 13 years in the corporate world being trained by some of the best branding and marketing experts in the country. Then I spent the last 11 years honing that craft in my own businesses. That’s almost 25 years of direct marketing training and I’m still learning. Do you know how many courses I’ve taken this year? I’ve spent about $10,000 to keep myself up to date. Because that’s the thing with marketing, it’s always changing.

So if you are not an expert and you’re not hiring someone to help you with your branding, marketing and advertising, you really should be learning how to do it properly yourself. Do not underestimate the impact this stuff will have on your success, it’s huge.

So that’s why I created Online Marketing Made Simple. I wanted to provide an option for those women who don’t have marketing backgrounds and who can’t afford to hire someone to do it for them yet.

There’s lots of marketing training out there, but it’s either not specific to real estate or it’s taught by someone who’s never worked in real estate and doesn’t really understand the nuances of this business. The other stuff out there is taught by companies that are trying to get you to use their services or sell you on their tech platform. There’s a bias there.

I wanted to do the research on all the options out there and provide unbiased branding, marketing and advertising advice for women in real estate. And then I wanted to create a course the simplifies the whole process in a way that is really easy to understand and implement. So that’s what Online Marketing Made Simple is all about. I’m so excited to take my beta group from zero to online marketing hero. Unfortunately there are too many of you to mention, but I’m excited to get to know each and every one of you!

Alright, enough about that, let’s jump into today's episode….

It is now November and things tend to slow down in real estate this time of year, so this is the perfect time to start planning for how you’re going to make 2020 your best year ever.

When I say that, I’m not talking about dreaming of lots of listings and lots of numbers in your bank account. I’m talking about getting crystal clear on where you want to go and EXACTLY how you’re going to get there. In order to do that though, you need to know where you’ve been.

So in today's episode, I’m going to give you the 10 steps needed to make your 2020 plan not just a dream, but a reality.

So let’s get started…

Step 1 - Historical Analysis

In order to effectively plan for the future, we have to look at history. So step 1 is to do recap of 2019. You’re going to want to look at all the business you did and create a spreadsheet with the quantity of listings, buyers, leases and referrals, the commission income you earned, the percentage of your overall business and what your average commission was for listings, buyers and leases. I know this is hard to visualize when you’re listening to this, so I will link to a cheat sheet in the show notes to help you work through this exercise.

You want to do this exercise every year you’re in business, so if you don’t have these numbers for past years, go back and complete it for every year you’ve been in business. If you’re new to the business and you don’t have historical data yet, you’re going to need to make some assumptions based on average sales prices and commissions in your market.

The next thing you need to really understand, is where business is coming to you from and is it different for buyers, sellers or leases? I create a pie chart for buyers and one for sellers in a spreadsheet and I go through every deal I did and every lead that came in and I put in where they came from It’s a great visual way to see your business from a distance and really helps you to understand where to focus your time and investment.

The last thing you want to do in this step is write down what you did really well. What were all the things you accomplished this year? If you made a plan for 2019, what did you get done that you said you were going to do? Next what did you want to achieve but didn’t and why not?

Step 2 - Your Freedom Metric

Ok moving along to Step 2 is setting your goals and targets for 2020. But before we get to that, it’s a good idea to understand what your freedom metric is. We talked about this in the last episode, but it is #1 thing we all strive for when we first got into real estate and that is creating freedom.

Freedom To live life on your own terms..
Freedom To be able to do what you love each day..
Freedom To live where you want to live..
Freedom To spend quality time with the people in your life that really matter.

Achieving this lifestyle comes down to just ONE NUMBER in your business.

A number that you must focus on solely with all your energy until it is reached.…and that is your freedom metric. It is your monthly revenue number that allows you to finally take a step back and breathe.
To know that the bills are going to be paid and that there will still be money left over at the end of the month. Money that will start affording you that lifestyle you dreamed of when you first started your business.

So what is your freedom metric? Calculate the amount of money you need to make, to pay able to pay for your business and personal expenses and still have enough income left over to live the lifestyle you desire.

The next step is where many agents fall short. They’ll set a target, but they don’t really do an analysis of what it’s going to take to reach that target. So you want to take your freedom metric and figure out exactly how many listings, purchases and leases it’s going to take to reach it. This is where you look at your historical numbers. For illustration purposes, let’s say you want to make $100,000 and you know historically 60% of your business comes from Buyers, 30% from sellers and 10% from leases.

Then that means you’re going to have to make $60,000 from buyers and if you know on average you make about $10,000 from each buyer, you’re going to need 6 buyers.

Same exercise from sellers - if you want to reach your $100k target, you need to make $30k from sellers. If you make on average $10k from sellers, you need 3 listings.

For leases if you make an average of $1000 per lease, you need 10 leases to make the remaining $10k

So now you know you need 6 buyers, 3 listings and 10 leases to hit your freedom metric. I want you to write those down on a whiteboard somewhere and put little stick figures beside each category. This will keep it front and centre and as you do those deals, cross off a stick figure. Make sense

Alright now that we have targets and we know exactly what numbers we have to achieve, you need to put that aside and focus on what activities you’re going to do to reach those targets. At the end of the day, you don’t have control over whether you actually make those numbers, but you DO have control over whether you did what you said you were going to do to try and get there.

The next 5 steps are all about brainstorming. I want you to get a notebook and find a dedicated an hour or two of quiet, undistracted time where you can start brainstorming all of the following things. This isn’t a time to make decisions, it is just a brain dump. So don’t judge the ideas that come to you, just let them flow.

Step 3 - The More you Learn the More You'll Earn

Ok let’s get started…..I end every single podcast with the same saying - who knows what it is? I wish I could hear you yelling it out. It is The more you learn, the more you’ll earn. The reason I end every podcast with that, is because it’s true and probably the biggest influencer of your success. The more you learn, the better you’ll do in this business, so step 3 should be is to brainstorm all of the ways that you’re going to learn more this year. Think about courses, workshops, conferences and seminars you could go to. Mentors you could job shadow. I want you to Look into all the books you could read - target one a month. Oh as an aside, I have zero time to read books, but I have loads of time I spend in the car driving to appointments, carpooling my kids around and driving back and forth from our cottage and audible is my best friend in the whole world. If you’re not using audible to learn more, you’re missing out!

Obviously I’m also a big fan of podcasts. There is so much great free information out there, but don’t just listen to real estate related podcasts and books. The real learning will come from listening to things you might not know much about, so spread your horizons.

While I’m talking about free vs paid education…it is important to note that studies have shown that when people invest in their education they get a lot more out of it. When people pay, they pay more attention.

Step 4 - Grow Who You Know

Ok So now that you’ve listed all the free and paid ways you’re going to invest in your learning for 2020, step 4 is to list how you are going to grow who you know.

As you’ve probably heard me say on repeat by now that to succeed in this business you have to be focused on growing who you know, ideally by one new person every single day. Unless you make a conscious effort to do that though, it won’t happen. You actually need a plan of how you’re going to increase your network by over 300 people a year. So in this step you’re going to brainstorm all of the ways that you could meet new people in 2020 and the definition of meeting someone is that you find out their name. It is not to tell them you’re in real estate, it is just to meet them.

So start getting into the habit of striking up conversations every where you go. Do you know how many people I have met doing my hair and makeup at the tennis club I belong to? I’m sitting in the same spot with someone else for about 20 minutes - great opportunity to strike up a conversation.

But the more repetitive the interactions are and the deeper you get to know someone the better, so when you’re brainstorming this list, try to think of activities where you’re can get to know a group of people on a regular basis - think book clubs, classes, sports teams, moms groups, church events, the dog park, running groups, you get the picture. When you can combine exercise with networking that is very productive and efficient!

Alright before we move on to step 5, I’ve said this a million times, but Remember you are meeting people for the sake of meeting people, not to try and push your agenda to let them know you’re in real estate and fish for business. No you’re only agenda is to meet them, get to know them and add value to their life every chance you can. That’s it. Nothing more.

Ok just to recap where we’re at, because this has been a pretty actionable episode and if you’re not writing this stuff down, it can be hard to keep track.

Step 1 was to look at your past years in real estate and to analyze them to better understand where your business has come from and what your average business metrics are.

Step 2 was to understand your freedom metric and to determine exactly how many buyers, listings and leases you’ll have to have to get there.

Step 3 was to brainstorm all the ways you’re going to invest time and money into educating yourself more.

And Step 4 was to create a list of all the ways you’re going to grow who you know in 2020.

Step 5 - Marketing & Advertising

Moving along to step 5 now which is how you’re going to reach your targets with marketing and advertising. If you watched my webinar, you know about my 5 step formula for generating online leads using evergreen content marketing, social media marketing, email marketing, Facebook advertising and google. You also know that the 3 rules for it to work is that you have to do all 5 steps, you have to execute each properly and you must do them consistently.

The trap a lot of realtors fall into, is thinking they can only really market themselves when they have listings. But your listings don’t actually differentiate you. Buyers can find those listings on a plethora of other websites. The better way to differentiate yourself with your online marketing is by building authority as a local expert in your community by creating valuable, relevant evergreen content and then infusing that content with your personality, knowledge and insights.

You’re also going to plan out any Print advertising that you could do. There is still a place for print in real estate as long as you are targeted in what you do and consistent. Here in Toronto it’s comical how many real estate postcards I get in the mail, it’s very much a me too strategy and is basically just killing trees. But every market is different and in some communities unaddressed ad mail is still effective. If you’re going to do it, as I said do it consistently for the year and get creative with it. Make your print materials stand out and encourage engagement by running contests or giveaways.

Lastly you’ll want to explore ways that you could grow your business with Events & Promotions. It’s a good idea to research all of the community events going on throughout the year and to see if there are ways that you could leverage them. So in this step you need to brainstorm all of the ways that you’re going to use marketing and advertising to grow your business.

Step 6 - Client Retention

Next up, is Step 6 which is about client retention. This is where you’re going to brainstorm the ways you will stay in touch with current and past clients and prospects. You’re also going to list all the ways you can strengthen relationships so they don’t forget about you throughout the year.

Step 7 - Operations

In Step 7 - I want you thinking about the operation of your business and to brainstorm all the ways that you could implement new Systems & Processes into your business. Think about Technology you could be taking advantage of, or productivity tools, or time management strategies.

So after you’re done all that brainstorming, you should have pages and pages of written ideas. Now obviously you can’t implement all of those ideas, but I want you to go through them and put a plan together which is Step 8.

Step 8 - Make a Plan

From each of those categories decide what you’re going to do and when you’re going to do it.

Use whatever tool works for you whether it be a digital tool or a planner that you actually write in. I personally need to physically write this stuff out, so I still have an old fashioned printed planner and it’s actually a custom one that I developed for our brokerage. The key here is to plan everything out for the year and put it in writing in a way that you can track it. At the beginning of every month you will know exactly what you have committed to doing and that will help hold you accountable to actually completing it.

Step 9 - Develop Your Budget

Once you’ve got a plan in place, Step 9 is to create a budget for your plan. The magic number you should allocate to expenses is 30%. So if your freedom metric is $100k then you should expect to spend about $30k on your business. So you’re now going to assign costs to everything in your plan and if it comes out to more than 30% of your freedom metric, then you’re going to need to dial some stuff back.

The way the profit first strategy works is to take 30% of every commission cheque you get and put it in a separate account. That is what you’ve got to work with at any given moment for your marketing and advertising budget. So you’re not going to go spend $30k at the beginning of the year. You’re only going to spend what is in your expenses budget. Make sense?

Alright just to recap all the steps for your Action Plan:

So Step 1 was to look at your past years in real estate and to analyze them to better understand where your business has come from and what your average metrics are.

Step 2 was to understand your freedom metric and to determine exactly how many buyers, listings and leases you’ll have to have to get there.

Step 3 was to brainstorm all the ways you’re going to invest time and money into educating yourself more.

And Step 4 was to create a list of all the ways you’re going to grow who you know in 2020.

Step 5 was to brainstorm all of the ways you can grow your business with marketing and advertising

Step 6 was all about Client Retention and how you’re going to stay top of mind throughout the year

Step 7 was about your business operations. The systems and processes you can implement to keep a tightly running ship.

Step 8 was to go through all the things you brainstormed and to put a monthly plan together of exactly what activities you’re going to be doing to reach your freedom metric

And Step 9 was to create a budget for your business plan and to allocate 30% of every commission cheque towards your business expenses.

Step 10 - Personal Goals

Last but most importantly is step 10 which is identifying your personal goals. What do you want to accomplish personally this year? I recommend you brainstorm things in the categories of health both physical and mental, relationships, family, recreation, habits, leisure, balance, etc. Get crystal clear on who you want to be at the end of the year and how you spent your time. Then write it down at the beginning of every week as a reminder to stay on track.

Alright ladies that brings us to the end of this weeks podcast. I hope that you found it helpful and that you’ve got an action plan ready to make 2020 your best year ever.

Next week’s episode is all about setting yourself and your transactions up for success. We’re going to dive into all the things that you can do in your business day to day to keep clients happy and to ensure you have a glowing reviews for social proof all over the internet. When it comes to real estate, an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure, so make sure you tune in next week.

I will see you next monday same time same place and Remember the more you learn, the more you’ll earn.

Until next time!

Show Links:

  • Learn more about my courses for Realtors here.
  • Learn more about my Website Templates for Realtors here and here.
  • Learn more about my Business Organization System here.
  • Learn more about my Group Coaching here.
  • Learn more about my 1:1 Coaching here.
  • Learn how you can work with me at eXp Realty here.

Let's connect:

  • Follow me on Instagram here.
  • Get a Curated Podcast Playlist here.
  • Take my Realtor Personality Quiz here.