<< Go Back


“A goal without a plan is just a wish.”  — Antoine De Saint Exupéry

With less than 40 days left in the year, it’s absolutely time to get ready for 2017. Real estate broker, writer, and speaker, Melissa Zavala, recently joined us for a webinar to share how to clearly define your vision and develop the success strategies necessary to create a game-changing business plan for 2017. Melissa discussed how to:

  • Set personal and professional goals you can achieve.
  • Identify potential obstacles and how you can easily overcome them.
  • Adjust your attitude to stay on track.
  • Stay focused on the right things by using three time-management tips.
  • Implement five hot prospecting and marketing ideas.
  • Measure your success.

As you wrap up 2016, don’t wait until January to start planning and preparing your business for next year.

Understand the market of the moment. Given the recent election, it is crucial that you understand how the new presidency could impact the field of real estate. Melissa referenced articles about this topic in Inman and Forbes. She stressed the importance of reading these articles so that you and your team can react and adapt to market changes.

Review your 2016 performance. Melissa shared her production analysis chart to help agents assess their business in 2016. This chart includes reviewing your transactions and writing down the address, sales price, source, whether it was a buyer or seller who merited the transaction, the community, and the property type. Tip: if you’ve received a lot of business from one specific source, make sure you thank them by sending them something special during the holidays. Melissa also suggested looking at your sources of business, which may have included open houses, cold calls, door knocking, social media, email marketing, referral networks, FSBOs, your personal website, etc. This will help you understand what is working well and what areas and sources of business to explore in 2017.

Identify your strengths. One of the most helpful things you can do is to conduct a DISC Assessment on yourself. A DISC Assessment (Decisive [dominance], Interactive [interpersonal], Stability, Cautious) is a behavioral traits assessment to help you identify your areas of strength. Melissa noted that ninety-five percent of mega-team leaders in real estate show to be “Decisive” and “Interpersonal.” Once you know your own strengths, you can select activities geared toward your strong points for your business, thereby leveraging your personal strengths to become more successful. Simply Google “Free DISC Assessment” to find an online test.

List the best uses of your time. What income-producing activities are you best at? What are the best uses of your time? For example, Melissa makes the most of her time by creating her email newsletter — something she enjoys doing that also provides value to others. A bad use of her time would include answering the phones in their property management division to handle maintenance issues. Simply put, spend your time on things you enjoy doing and are good at.

Consider time wasters. List all the real estate activities that can be done by someone else. This might include delivering signs or flyers, meeting a home inspector or scanning documents. Ask yourself: Do I have to do this myself or can someone else do it for me? Delegate these tasks to someone else so that you can focus on income activities.

Identify support staff. Don’t let the “but-it-only-takes-a-few-minutes” excuse trap you into doing tasks you should leave for others. Identify support staff and determine what things you can offload. It’s also worth seeing if preferred providers (e.g., sales representatives, lenders) may be able to help you. For instance, if your client gives you a document that needs to be delivered to the lender, see if someone from the lender’s office or the settlement company sales rep can pick it up from you. You may be surprised how many people around you can save you time.

Create a process for everything you do. Make a list of activities that you consistently do, then write down or record a video of the process for each activity. If there is a process for it, you may not have to do it yourself. Once you do that, create a training manual for areas of business that require processes such as listing management, social media posting, transaction file management, email marketing, internet lead management, and expired or FSBO prospecting.

Create a schedule. Working in real estate can be unpredictable, but you can schedule repeat activities each week to increase productivity. Use a scheduling app that syncs across all your devices, and try not to break the schedule unless there is an emergency (an angry client does not count). Creating a regular schedule that you stick to will have long-term benefits for your business. In addition, everything needs to be on your calendar as it will increase the likelihood that you do it.

Put systems on autopilot. Think about which daily activities can be on autopilot and which ones require minimal human intervention. Here are a few ideas:

  • Drip Campaigns: RSS drip campaigns allow you to send content (e.g., blogs, news) out from your website once per week, and you can easily add new emails to the list.
  • Property Alerts: These are automated daily or weekly alerts as properties come on the market. Internet leads can easily opt-in for automated alerts and you can manually add any buyer prospects.
  • Inbound Marketing Campaigns: Create plans and pathways for different inbound marketing campaigns and use automated responses when applicable.
  • Social Media Posting: Schedule posts in advance and outsource posting when applicable. Use posting platforms such as Hootsuite or Buffer to schedule and post content across multiple platforms. In addition, make sure you are tracking your results through social media monitoring tools or Google Analytics. Surprisingly, only 45% of marketing CEOs know their results.

Melissa shared her top tools to help you succeed which includes a good CRM, Evernote, Dropbox, calendar app, social media management platform, a reliable email provider, and a solid daily and weekly plan.

Catch the full webinar recording here and organize, prioritize, and strategize for 2017 by downloading Melissa’s Pipeline Planner.