An Agent's Guide on How to Align Business & Team Goals
Mentioned in this post…
As the lead Agent, how can you align your goals with the tasks of your individual team members to really achieve your desired listing and sales goals for the year?
To be able to really make progress toward goals for your business, we recently talked about the value of developing business strategies either at year end or the beginning of a new year. It's a perfect time to review and reassess to see what worked and what didn't work. You can find out more about this in January's post - BUSINESS PLANNING STRATEGIES FOR REAL ESTATE TEAMS. It's also a way to confirm concrete goals so your team can take action on them.
So, you’ve reviewed 2017 (or the prior quarter), now what?
How can Agents make sure their 2018 goals get divided into individual roles and individual goals for each member of the team?
Each facet of an Agent's goals can then be turned into: what are the tasks and workload for the people on the team that will execute making that happen? Let's use a formula as an example.
An Agent has a sales goal for how many deals they want to close at the end of the year or how many listings they want to take for the year. Let’s call this “A”. You need to start from there and go backwards to see the workload for the administrative team.
- In order to have “A” successfully closed sales, how many accepted offers are you expecting both from listings sold as well as buyer sales? This is “B”.
- In order to have “B” accepted offers, how many listings do you plan to take during the year? This is “C”.
- In order to have “C” listings, how many listing appointments do you have to go on in order to take that many listings? This is “D”.
- In order to go on “D” listing appointments, how many contacts are you going to make each day day, each week, each month, each year in order to achieve that end goal of sales? This is “E”.
Now let’s do this with actual numbers. Note: The data and ratios I’m using are based on ratios that my clients and top industry resources have shared. The data for your business will be based on your own history so look through your history and do your own calculations and projections.
- A = 50 successful sales (this year)
- B = 58 accepted offers
- C = 60 listings secured
- D = 70 listing appointments with sellers
- E = 5,000 contacts (23 per day for 215 days of prospecting per year)
The goals, and the formula to achieve them, turn into workload for the administrative team which they need to prioritize, plan and execute. When we’ve got numbers and goals with assigned tasks, your team can know what to do to move toward. Example: If on your team you have a listing coordinator, that person has a variety of tasks to balance - researching any of your lead generation phone numbers, keeping track of your database, helping to prepare a listing presentation, entering new listing data, marketing and helping to launch a listing, all of those tasks become a part of how they're going to help you reach “E” contacts. The goals of the listing coordinator, for example, can also have ‘standard for desired completion’ timeline of when these tasks are to be accomplished. Let me show you.
I recently created an Excel spreadsheet that allows the sales process for Agents to then be rolled into individual tasks and goals for people on the team that you can download here.
For example, if you need phone numbers to be researched and you want those by 8:00am or 9:00am every morning, then that's a standard for that person to reach that's part of their goals. If you want to have a new listing packet prepared and sent the day before a listing appointment that's another standard for the listing coordinator to meet. If when you get a new listing agreement signed, you want a follow-up phone call and an email to go out to the seller the next business day, that's a standard for them to reach, that's one of their goals.
If you want new listings launched within four business days of taking a signed listing agreement including photography and a property description, then that would be a standard for your listing coordinator to meet.
This means you need to have a process, and if you also have standards of desired timeline in your business, then you give the people on your team both the tasks, as well as the timeframe, in which to accomplish these tasks in order for the Agent to reach their goals.
What if you have goals that aren’t as tangible? How do you measure that? What does that look like?
Say you have customer service goals where you say you want exceptional customer service. What are the tasks involved for the team in providing exceptional customer service? This could mean that throughout a transaction that the listing manager, as well as perhaps your transaction manager, will ask the client, “How are we doing?.” Or, will the Agent ask that when they make calls to follow up with clients?
Are you requesting that clients provide an online review or to fill out a customer survey? When those things are asked of the client, that can be tracked and therefore that can be a part of achieving the goals of the team. You can count how many reviews the team receives, but you can also certainly track how many times it was asked since we can't really control if the client will follow through. Each member of the team can ASK for referrals, and ASK ‘how are we doing in providing services to you as you sell (or buy) a property?’.
These techniques are some very practical ways of taking an Agent’s goals (particularly for transactions) broken down by the tasks and the roles of the people on the team. Having standards of when those tasks should be accomplished is important so that individual team members can plan, anticipate and participate in tracking the achievements. This way, every member of the team is helping the Agent reach their ultimate business goals!
So, how can the team actually make time and work on these 2018 goals while everyday transactions are happening? What are some tools or tips that each team member and the Agent can use to make sure you're spending time on your 2018 goals?
There are two categories to this answer, one of which is time blocking and the other is transparency.
In terms of time blocking, if you can control 2-3 hours of an 8-hour day that still leaves you five hours to react to the needs of the business during the day.
You can really create pockets of time to take action - both for planning and to take proactive action. You can put in your schedule in the morning, for example, to spend 1.5-2 hours making outgoing phone calls, outgoing emails, following up on things that happened the day before on transactions and on projects. You can also plan to take 1 hour in the afternoon to take proactive action toward achieving those goals (making client calls, asking how are we doing and would you take the time to fill out an online review for us?, etc.). You can make an enormous amount of progress in a limited amount of time.
During those time blocks, it is okay to not answer the phone; let the phone go to voicemail, turn off your email, turn off your calendar reminders and do that for increments of 15 minutes, 30 minutes. Then, respond to any inquiries, instead of react.
Let your team know this is the plan in your schedule. The Agent and the team can coordinate this kind of schedule so team members can cover for each other on the phone so different team members can take 15 to 30 minutes of concentrated time to take proactive action and focus.
If there is a transparency between who is doing what activities during the day, you can also begin to support one another to accomplish that. The Agent and the administrative support team and other members of the team can have shared calendars or project management software, like Asana, to achieve a level of transparency.
I'm reminded with subjects like this about one of the books that I love, The 4 Disciplines of Execution by McChesney, Covey and Huling. One of the concepts that this book talks about is how you must take action in increments toward larger goals throughout your day or week in order to achieve goals, particularly projects that are outside of your everyday transactional business.
We can't wait for the transactions to stop in order to make progress on projects. This means these 15-minute or 30-minute increments of achieving certain activities are necessary.
Maybe you’re building a website, for example. You're never going to have two full days dedicated to this project when you don't have anything else to do. You're going to have to work on the website a little bit at a time with a target date to finish. If you want to revise your entire listing presentation, that will have to be broken down into what I call bite-sized pieces and worked on a little bit at a time. Then, you will manage the project, one step at a time, to get to the target date for completion. Remember to keep the editing and your team approval process in mind when setting up the steps and dates to accomplish the project.
I hope these concepts, examples and tools have been helpful and that they can assist you to achieve goals that are important to you.
T.E.A.M. = Together Everyone Achieves More