By Toby Welch
Goals are a powerful tool to have in your real estate arsenal. They point you in the direction you want to go, like a roadmap. Without goals, you can be easily distracted by external influences and spend time on back roads instead of on the freeway straight to your destination.
As real estate coach Jan O’Brien mentioned in a recent blog post, “In my 22+ years in the real estate industry, it has been my experience that the agents who actually write down their goals and utilize a real business plan always meet and usually exceed their desired outcomes. Unfortunately, less than 20 per cent (probably closer to 10 per cent) of real estate agents actually prepare a written business plan and set annual goals. I have witnessed the amazing results of those who actually create and use a business plan and set goals in all areas of their life. Statistics and various reports state that about three per cent of adults have clearly written goals and accomplish five to 10 times more than those who do not have written goals.”
Tony Dekeyser, a sales rep with Century-21 All-Pro Realty in Cobourg, Ont. is celebrating 30 years in real estate. As Dec. 31 is the end of Century 21’s fiscal year, he spends the month of December going over his goals for the next calendar year. Dekeyser says, “Setting goals helps me stay focused and keep me on track.”
Many salespeople swear by setting S.M.A.R.T. goals – these goals are specific, measureable, attainable, relevant and time-bound. For example: “I will have 50 closings by Dec. 31, 2015.” This goal is more effective than, “I’ll get more closings than last year,” or “I’ll make more money in 2015.”
What’s the big deal with writing down your goals? The act of doing so is like a firecracker to your mind; your subconscious knows what to work on and won’t stop until it’s accomplished.
Here’s how to reach your real estate goals:
- Establish what you want to accomplish and detail your goals; list them by order of importance.
- Make an action plan with steps and deadlines as to what you need to do to achieve your goals; this allows you to track your progress.
- Review your goals often to keep you motivated and focused.
- Revise your goals as you go along, if needed.
- Celebrate with a reward when you achieve a goal.
Dan Johnson, a representative with Pemberton Holmes in Duncan, B.C., shares what he considers an essential aspect of goal setting: “With any goal the most important ingredient is ‘Why?’ If your why isn’t large, powerful and clearly defined, your business won’t be either. Your why must be attached to a powerful emotion. If you consider your why to be a matter of life and death, then I guarantee you will be able to achieve your goals (or at least you’ll die trying!). Once you have established your why, you can set short-term, medium-term and long-term goals. Make sure they are realistic but at the same time don’t short-change yourself by creating ‘way too easy to attain’ goals. Make sure you stretch yourself. You’ll be impressed with your progress and success will breed more success.”
People often don’t set goals because the time commitment to do so can be intimidating. But don’t let that hold you back; it’s a proven fact that for each minute spent on goal setting, you save 10 minutes in the long run. Goals also keep us from settling into the comfort of unproductive behaviour patterns. How often have you had a day where you were busy but accomplished nothing? Goals help you avoid those days.
Holly R. Rideout, the broker/owner of Rideout Realty in St. John’s, N.L. makes goal setting a part of her business plan at the beginning of each year. Her goals include which membership organizations to be a part of, volunteer commitments, how she will campaign, markets to target, social media usage and activities, among other things. She is a proponent of goal setting. “If you don’t know where you are going, how do you expect to find your way?” she says.
What about those times when your momentum is flagging? Linking rewards or incentives to your goals is a proven technique. Even better, link others to those rewards. For example, if you get everything accomplished by noon on Friday, you’ll spend Friday afternoon swimming with the kids or having date night. Telling the pertinent people on Monday that you’ll do XY and Z with them Friday if you get your tasks done is a huge kick in the butt to be productive.
Johnson finds having goals is motivation enough. “Just having a goal before you generates enthusiasm and that enthusiasm is contagious. Not having any goals is like sitting in front of a window and staring aimlessly out of it – nothing happens, you just watch the world go by.”
Rideout finds that taking a break to regroup and recharge helps her stay motivated. As well, “To stay motivated, I like to change things up, change tactics or change organizations or groups. Also, I find it helps to read about successful agents. I recently read The One Thing by Gary Keller of Keller Williams and found it insightful and helpful. (After reading the book) the question I asked myself was, what is the one thing you are the most good at and the one thing you want to accomplish in real estate? I found the ‘one’ thing to be very inspiring because sometimes you do get discouraged.”
Goal setting has been proven to have the greatest impact on your life compared to any other achievement skill. Don’t settle for being mediocre – aim high and reach your real estate goals this year.