Matthew Ferrara, Philosopher

Start Succeeding in 2012 Today

It’s November 2: Do you know where your business plan is? While others are winding down for the holidays, you can gain significant market advantage if you’re ramping up for 2012 – today! Here are four ways to do it.

Recently, I had the pleasure of teaching on the same program as Rosey Koberlein, CEO of Long Realty Companies in Arizona. As we chatted beforehand, she mentioned something so smart – yet so simple – that it bears repeating to our readers: While others are winding down for the end of the year, smart companies are gearing up for next year. Her advice to people was to avoid the temptation to slow down with the holidays, and outsmart the competition by getting a two-month head start on 2012.

Simple. Smart!

Yet too often forgotten by an industry that’s stuck in its legacy mindset. Things like “all real estate is local” and “seasonality” when, in fact, the market never stops. Not locally. Nor around the holidays. Just like any other month, buyers buy, sellers sell, lenders lend, movers move and the market goes on.

It’s up to us to decide what to do with those months – just like any other day, week or month of the year. Look out competition!

Here are four ways to maximize Rosey’s advice, and start 2012 in early November:

  1. Prepare your clients. Have a conversation today with your sellers about taking advantage of the seasonality cycle. While other sellers might take their homes off the market, or limit their accessibility, your clients should move aggressively to position their price, features, conditions and accessibility during the last two months of the year. They should leverage the “holiday sales spirit” and be the shining star in the marketplace. Same for buyers: mortgage brokers, movers, and other ancillary service companies will be trying to meet their end-of-year goals, so making a decision before the end of the year could maximize their value options for completing the sale.
  2. Prospect by Season’s Greetings. Leverage the multiple holidays between now and the end of the year to dramatically increase contact points with your sphere of influence. There are more than 17 major observances – opportunities, really – in the Western calendar alone: Daylight Savings date, Veterans Day, Thanksgiving, Elections, First Day of Winter, Boxing Day, the religious holidays and New Years Eve. That’s a lot of friendly reasons to contact past clients and supporters who can send you referrals, engage your Facebook and Twitter postings, and watch your fun YouTube videos. Oh, and we suppose, open your snail mail greeting cards.
  3. Make investments early. Use the tax calendar to make your 2012 investments in November and December. Think ahead to what you’ll need to be successful in the new year – a tablet, video camera, updated laptop, smarter smartphone – and make those investments two months before others hope to receive them as wrapped gifts! Then watch some training videos or attend a workshop to build your skills long before your competition plugs them in for the first time.
  4. Show up! Remember, it’s your job. So avoid the temptation to check out or sneak out to go shopping; Simply showing up while others are idling can give you the advantage. Be the person who answers the phone, does the extra floor duty or open houses, leads the meetings and  works the room at social events.
It’s often said that we lack the time to reach out goals. Yet these simple ideas could help you turn a twelve month business plan into a fourteen month implementation strategy. Line up your advantages – clients, prospecting moments, investments and schedule – for the new year early. And you’ll be enjoying the holidays better than most, closing deals while others are closed.
  • Michelle Spalding

    Great advise, just last week I worked with one of my clients to map our her 12 month marketing plan for 2012.  She looked at the type of buyers she’d worked with during certain periods in previous years (vacation, second home, first time buyers,move up,etc.) and then backed it up a few months to gear up her marketing to capture more of those during those times.  It was a simple yet eye opening exercise and one I’ll also be holding her accountable to via email.

    It’s easy to get lazy this time of year, but I like what Earl Nightingale said “look around at what others are doing, then do the opposite, you’ll probably be more successful”

  • Ben Bock

    Great post and advice! 
    Working as a real estate tech/marketing consultant, I have been in
    hundreds of agency offices across the western US.  I am always blown away by how many agents do
    not plan their next year at all.  Most
    agency offices are ghost towns in December and January.  Those agents I do see in those months are the
    ones that “get it”.  They know they have
    a business to run and they make a plan to do so.  As soon as an agent creates a plan with
    defined goals, measurements and tasks, a powerful thing happens:  The agent gets a feeling of control and
    ownership of her/his business.  This can
    create optimism and, yes, the motivation to work hard in the months when most other
    agents go into hibernation.