We are approaching the end of the first 90 days of 2009 and an assessment of how the year has gone so far seems appropriate. Hopefully, we are all working from a business plan that has identified 3-5 high payoff activities. These activities, if done consistently, will equate to a higher probability of us achieving our overall goals for 2009.
The first 90 days of any year are the most critical because they set the pace for the busiest stretch in the real estate industry, spring and summer. Here are a few key questions to ask yourself as you reflect on the first quarter of 2009 and plan for the future.
Do I have time set aside each day to focus on my high-payoff activities? Time blocking is an excellent way to plan your day around the most important priorities in your life and business. It is so easy for us to get caught up in the tyranny of the urgent. I recommend reading Time Traps by Todd Duncan and First Things First by Stephen Covey if you need some help in this area.
Are my high-payoff activities "paying off"? Many times we commit to activities that keep us busy and we feel like we are accomplishing a lot each day. However, this can be a dangerous road to travel down if we don't keep our eyes on our "business dashboard". We need to be constantly monitoring our progress and how efficient our business engine is running. If your high-payoff activities are not producing results ask yourself a few more questions:
Are the activities right, but is my message or delivery (communication) in need of change? Make sure you are not trying to "sell" before you have "connected" with your prospect or past client. You can't sell them something if you don't know what they need. This requires you to ask questions and have relevant and valued solutions for their needs.
Do I need to increase the frequency of my high-payoff activities? Again, our activities might be right, but they might be requiring more time or a greater frequency to yield the same results. Perhaps it now takes you 20 calls to your Sphere of Influence to produce one lead where in the past it took only 8 calls. It might take you 50 doors knocks instead of 25 to get one long-term prospect.
Do I need to stop what I'm doing and re-establish new high-payoff activities? If you have done everything you can to produce results from your current activities and still nothing is paying off, its time for a change. I recommend talking with your peers to find out what they are doing that is working. Talk to a variety of agents, new and experienced to see what activities, tools and technology they are using to generate business.
How is the balance between my life and business? Probably the most important question for you in this first 90 days. We've moved past "working smarter not harder". In this market it takes both which means more hours focused on work during the weekend. Don't get sucked into neglecting your most important life priorities and relationships. Spend a few minutes today to identify the most important relationships in your life, and write down 3 specific action items that you will do with or for that person before the end of the 2nd quarter. Make sure that you are spending time on yourself as well. Don't neglect your physical, mental, and spiritual health. Identify 3-5 things that will give you at least 3-5 hours per week that are focused just on meeting your needs.
Am I still passionate about this business and does my attitude reflect it? Attitude is NOT everything but it is the difference maker between those that will be successful and those that will not. Right now our commitment to real estate is sort of like a commitment to someone you make in marriage. You promise to love and commit to your spouse in times of sickness and health. Well, right now our industry is feeling a little under the weather to say it mildly, and our personal business may be in need of a defibrillator. We have to ask ourselves if we are committed to this business as a career. If so, hang in there, stay focused, learn from your failures, and stay committed to your passion. If not, get out now! Don't waste any more time and go find your true passion, even if it means starting from scratch. You'll be much happier and so will everyone else around you.
I hope these questions help you do a thoughtful assessment of your first 90 days of 2009. If I can be of any help, please don't hesitate to contact me for a quick coaching session.
Make it a great day!