Tuesday, January 24, 2006

What does it mean to be an Agent CEO?

What would your life be like if you approached real estate as if you were the CEO of your own business? Would you have a thriving business, earning the amount of money you deserve? Would you have people doing some of the onerous tasks (like the paperwork) that you got into real estate to avoid? Would you run out and show a house to someone who just called in or would you work by appointment only with qualified prospects? Because, when you stop to think about it, you are ultimately responsible for the success or failure of your business.

Top agents have an entrepreneurial approach. They treat real estate as their business, not as a job! They think like a CEO and plan like a CEO. Their planning most often includes these 6 Steps to Success:

- Set Goals
- Create a Business Plan
- Develop a Budget
- Create processes and systematize
- Staff and delegate
- Evaluate for Effectiveness

To begin with you need to know what you want. It is critical to set financial goals, break them down into transactions needed and prospects (leads) needed to accomplish those financial goals.

When you create a business plan, one of the most important things you will be doing is planning ways to generate leads. Agents generally plan marketing and advertising campaigns. Some of their efforts are focused on building their image and name recognition. The most important aspect of marketing should be lead generation. Without enough prospects, you cannot and will not reach your financial goals.

Budgeting is essential, because you are in business to make a profit. Many agents do not even know how much they have made year to date, much less how much they have spent! You need to know how much you have coming in-and plan for it-and how much you will be spending. You should be able to evaluate what sort of return on the dollar (ROI) you are getting for your advertising/marketing spending.

Without a system in place to generate and cultivate leads, you are starting each day as a brand new agent, complete with the peaks and valleys inherent in a disorganized business.

What if you had a system to keep in touch with all of your prospects automatically? What if you had an automatic contact management system to follow-up with your past clients? Don’t you think you would be able to make more money in less time? There are Web based programs which will allow you to do just that, so you can focus your time where you have the highest return: face to face with buyers and sellers.

Since highest and best use of your time is face to face, can you delegate some of the time consuming tasks that have less impact on your bottom line. Are you doing $10/hour jobs (like filling flyer boxes) or are you doing $300/hour jobs?

Evaluate what is working: How many listing appointments does it take to obtain a listing? How many prospects do you need to obtain an appointment? How much money are you spending on advertising? How many leads are you generating? To be effective, you need to know your numbers!

How are you spending your time? Can you plan, hire help and delegate like a CEO, or do you feel like you need to do everything yourself. According to the National Association of Realtors, agents who hired assistants earned twice as much money. They also had more fun, because they delegated the tasks they didn’t want to do and concentrated on the tasks that they enjoyed and made them money, like showing, selling, negotiating and listing.

As the CEO of their own business, they had the opportunity to do the things they got into the real estate business to do: make more money and have more free time!