How to Create the Best Real Estate Business Plan

Chris Heller,December 13, 2021

Notebook,With,Toolls,And,Notes,About,Dividends.You’re a successful real estate agent, but you’d like to step to the next level. To do that, you want to create a better business plan for next year. So, how do you start? By filling out that form your manager gave you, asking for your goals for next year? Or, maybe you’re attending those trainings where seminar gurus give you 30 things to do next year. That will put you in a quandary because you don’t know how to choose! Please don’t leap to either one. Before you commit, take a look back at your last year (In the strategic planning process, it’s called the ‘business review’.) Using the same thought process successful businesses use to create effective business plans will give you clarity.

Note: See the complete strategic business planning process, customized for real estate professionals at Beyond the Basics of Business Planning

Time To Scope Your Business Plan: Small Adjustments Pay Big Dividends

You and Your Business are Unique

Don’t copy someone else’s plan or commit to pie in the sky numbers until you know your three business indicators here. Armed with that information, you can pick and choose your actions and goals wisely, because you know they will work for you.

money and calculator image1. Where’s your money been going? It makes sense the money you invest in your career should be giving you pay-offs equal to your investment. Unfortunately, many agents don’t know where they spent the bulk of their money last year. Even if you haven’t been generating monthly profit and loss statements, go back over the past four months. Add up the moneys you’ve spent to generate business in each of your ‘target markets’–those identifiable groups of people that you build programs around to get business (geographical farm, first-time buyers, return and referral business, etc.) Where are you spending most of your money? Are you getting a good enough ‘return on your investment’? 

Building Your Business Best

From working with agents in my business planning courses and systems, I’ve observed that many agents don’t build a business plan around their best source of business: ‘sold’ customers and clients. Marketing surveys show that it costs six to nine times as much to get a new customer as to keep an old one. So, if you spend more money on your best source, and less on your other sources, you’ll optimize your investment.

Confident,Insurance,Agent,Broker,Man,Holding,Document,And,Present,Pointing2. What are your ‘success’ ratios? Most agents don’t know this one: What are your ratios of listings taken to listings sold? How many of your sellers are you making happy? How many of those sellers are so delighted with your service that they will refer more people to you? In my opinion, a good agent should target  a 80-90%  success ratio in this area. Why? We all know we need to promote ourselves. The most successful, believable promotions are based on our success records–what we’ve done, not promises. If you have a sign on your desk that says “If you don’t list, you don’t last”–tear it up. Instead, put up a sign that reads, “If your listings don’t sell, you don’t last. Small adjustments, big dividends. (Plus you’ll save lots of marketing dollars.)

Note: I’ve created a short questionnaire to help you find the answers to the most important questions about how you did your business in the past year. It’s part of that all important strategic planning review). Click here to get it. 

Real,Estate,Agent,And,Sales,Manager,Team,Analysis,Pricing,Of3. How ‘delighted’ are your clients? Most so-called ‘business plans’ in real estate merely are goal-setting grids. Focusing only on the end results suggests that the ends justify the means. However, the consumer sure doesn’t think so! These goal setting grids alone lead agents to miss the point of the decade: Top-flight customer service begets more business. That is, it’s not just what you do, but how you do it. What level of service are you providing? Is it just good enough to get through the transaction? Or, is it so great that your clients are thoroughly delighted? (Delighted consumers refer business to you–less cost and more effort equals big pay-offs, right?)

Build Delight into your Business Plan

New agent meeting with clients for the first timeWhat can you build into your business plan to assure you’re regularly delighting those you work with? One of the agents in featured in many of my books, Rick Franz, provides surveys weekly during the time he works with buyers and sellers. He wants clients to know he cares how they feel about the service during the process, and that he’s dedicated to providing the best service they’ve ever had. No wonder Rick is a fabulously successful agent, and a great tribute to our industry.

Don’t Worry About the Tactics

If you’ve been gathering those dozens of tactics seminar gurus have suggested you MUST do, your head is probably spinning. That’s not the way to go about creating an effective business plan. Instead, take time to use the strategic planning process, which includes your business review. Commit one hour out of your day now to assess the three areas here and plan adjustments. The bonus: With your answers, you can pick from that myriad of action plans you’ve gathered and choose the ones that support your major goals. Now you have the ‘why’ for your plan, and you’ll be inspired to create and implement your unique business plan.

About the Author

For more than three decades, Carla Cross has worked exclusively with real estate professionals and affiliates to improve their skills, productivity, and profits. She is known throughout the industry as a trainer of trainers. Earning this reputation through  creating comprehensive training programs, she has written and implemented programs for most of the major international real estate franchises.

Last Updated: 3/11/2022

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