Start the new year off Nov. 1 and boost January, February closings

Would you like to have your best year ever in 2014? If so, there are two important steps you can take now to make next year your most productive year ever.

As we begin the last quarter of 2013, many agents find themselves winding down, especially as the holidays approach. Even the small percentage of agents who create a business plan often wait until the end of the year.

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Start 2014 on Nov. 1

If you want your 2014 to start strong in January, the first step is to create your business plan now and to treat Nov. 1, 2013, as the first day of the year. The temptation in November and December is to give way to the “it’s the holidays” excuse. Most agents work less during these months, and the result is that they have a substantial dip in their closings in January and February.

To avoid having this happen to you, plan on working through the holidays. While there are definitely fewer clients, those who are in the market are highly motivated. Also, since many people decorate their homes, this is a time when both individual homes and entire neighborhoods can be quite beautiful, especially at night.

Another important reason to push hard through the holidays is that the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) requirements may make it much more difficult for low down payment buyers to obtain financing. This could result in a market slowdown. Consequently, it’s smart for owners who are thinking about selling to list and sell their property now. If they wait, their house may be worth less due to tougher lending standards shrinking the buyer pool.

What is your personal production profile?

Another important reason to push hard through the holidays is that the qualified residential mortgage (QRM) requirements may make it much more difficult for low down payment buyers to obtain financing. This could result in a market slowdown.

I started speaking and coaching on this concept about two years ago, and it has proven to be one of the most powerful ways that agents can build their businesses. Many gurus will tell you to “do it my way because it works.” The truth is that if you hate cold calling or door knocking, no matter how well it works, sooner or later you will stop doing it.

A much better approach is to use the law of attraction. Here’s what to do:

1. List your closed transactions for 2013

The first step is to identify what you have already attracted. The secret here is to build on your strengths. Rather than trying to force yourself to do something you don’t want to do or that you don’t do well, you will achieve better results by expanding on what is already working.

2. Note the price ranges and locations with the most activity

If you’re like most agents, you will see clusters usually based upon both location and price. Identify the top one or two locations and price ranges where you did the most business in 2013. Plan on making this area/price range a primary niche for your business starting now. Concentrate your prospecting efforts here.

3. What activity generated the lead?

Did you know that most agents have no idea what percentage of their leads came from the Web, open houses, referrals or other lead generation activities? If you’re not already tracking this information, go through your list and make your best guess. Next, begin tracking this data for every single transaction. Here’s why:

First, tracking this data allows you to spot which activities generate the most closed business. It also lets you identify where you are spending money that is not producing results. The secret is to shift your marketing money from these unproductive categories and to allocate it to where you are having the greatest success.

4. What is the age and family status of your clients?

In most cases, you will find that you will attract clients from a specific age group and who have other characteristics in common. For example, one of my coaching clients discovered that most of her clients were in their 40s. She also was surprised to find that almost half of them were either single or going through a divorce.

In terms of how to apply this to her marketing, it would be smart for her to target the specific needs of this group, including prospecting for listings that serve this specific market niche.

5. What careers do they share?

When most agents do this exercise, they often discover that they attract people from very specific careers. For the agent in the example above, almost 90 percent of her business was coming from the high-tech industry. Again, look for patterns and adjust your marketing efforts to concentrate on those professions.

6. Where are they from?

Most agents who work with relocation leads track this data. Using the agent in the example above, she discovered that about 18 percent of her business was coming from people outside the U.S. Consequently, it was smart for her to devote part of her marketing to reaching the international market. She could do this by advertising in the local paper that serves her buyers, translating her listings using Immobel or Proxio, as well as actively seeking to develop referrals from her past international clients.

If you take these simple steps now, you will be cashing commission checks in January and February as opposed to trying to recuperate from the “holiday hangover” to your business.

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