Barriers In Your Business

Barriers In Your Business

5 steps for identifying and overcoming the challenges that are holding your real estate business back.

If your business is not where you want it to be, it is because one or more barriers are keeping you from achieving this new level of success. Many business owners feel stuck at one point or another, but they don't take the time or have the perspective to determine the cause of the gridlock.

If you know a more-successful business is in your grasp and want to breakthrough, here are 5 steps you can take to begin to remove those barriers:

Step 1: Know Where You Are Going

It is difficult to determine the obstacles if you don't even know where you are going. Is your goal to sell x number of units or increase your income by y? Is it to achieve a certain level of sales that results in an award? Is it being able to afford the dream vacation you have always wanted? What is your expectation for success?

Start by writing down the end goal or goals. Don't go crazy - just start with a maximum of three goals.

Step 2: What Is your Current Status?

This helps you determine how far you need to go. If success if just around the corner, a tweak or two or a focused period of sales focus might help you break through. However, if you are at the beginning of the journey, then you are going to need a prolonged action plan.

Step 3: What Does the Path to Your Goal Look Like?

Let's look at some examples at this point:


Goal: 30 sales per year
Current Status: 20 sales per year. This business needs to increase their sales by 50% in order to achieve their goal.
Path Forward: They have determined their best way to get from current status to goal is to ramp up their communication with their past clients for new business and referrals. This agent does not currently run any campaigns for their past clients so adding a monthly mailing campaign to the 250 people in past client database should definitely have impact. In addition, they are adding a client appreciation event.
Business Needs:

  • Monthly Mailing Campaign to database of 250 past clients including templates, research, print and mail capability
  • Client Appreciation Event including plan, event venue, menu, system of invitation, RSVP, program, etc.


Goal: $300,000 gross income
Current Status: $250,000 gross income for 2023. This business needs to increase income by 20%.
Path Forward: They have determined the best way to get there is to maintain the current campaigns, but add a lead generation campaign to get a few more transactions. They are going to send letters to neighborhoods that have seen homes sell very quickly.
Business Needs:

  • Letter content that can be updated per neighborhood
  • Preprinted letterhead and envelopes
  • Postage


Goal: Dominate a neighborhood
Current Status: Have periodic sales in the neighborhood, but are not the go-to agent. The agent is receiving some of the sales, but to dominate, 30% or more of all sales would need to go to the agent.
Path Forward: In order to dominate, the agent needs to be more visible. There are only two ways to do that - time or money. The agent can spend their time by holding open houses, helping host community garage sales, generating content on a community social media pages, creating local videos, hosting community events OR they can spend their money on a community-specific mailing campaign - or both!
Business Needs:

  • A time- or money-based campaign

Step 4: Identify the Barriers

Now that the needs from point A to point B have been established, now it is time to identify the barriers and see if there is a way to overcome the barrier, is there another path forward that avoids the barrier, or is the goal not achievable with the path and barriers? For example:

Big Sur, California is no stranger to landslides and bridge damage that cuts off that community. In 2017, there were months in which the only way in or out was to take a hike through the woods. If you wanted to go to Big Sur, there were two big barriers to you getting there. Accessing via sea was also not possible due to the cliffs. If one is not an apt hiker and able to carry in one's supplies, then that is a barrier that is insurmountable and a new destination should be chosen.

With that, let's take another look at those businesses.

BUSINESS #1 needs to develop a Monthly Mailing Campaign for their past client database and will be adding a Client Appreciation Event. After doing some digging, the agent determines that having a company take care of the entire campaign including research, stats, printing, and mailing, will cost about $1000 per month. The agent is not tech- or research-savvy, so it is easy for him to make the decision to make that investment. It is hands-off and the materials are high-impact. He has determined there are no barriers here because he is surrendering and has the funds for this investment.

As for the Client Appreciation Event, he has identified a barrier. He can't figure out an event that will appeal to all of his past clients. He has young families as well as seniors who won't go out at night and busy retirees. He is willing to make an investment, but he wants to use his time or money wisely. The barrier is that there isn't a one-size-fits-all event!

That is - until he talks to his business strategist. She recommends an out-of-the-box solution to focus an appreciation event around PETS! Most of his clients have a dog or a cat. Therefore, he opts for a pet-friendly holiday photo shoot! Barrier overcome!

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BUSINESS #2 has determined they will be sending letters to neighborhoods that have seen very fast sales. They need letter content that can be updated per neighborhood situation. They had AI create a letter that they are going to edit. They need to get some letterhead and envelopes printed and have an estimate from a local printout, so mark another task off that list. Their barrier is they don't know how they are going to get addresses and print labels - that is their biggest barrier to implementing this campaign.

How many times have we run into a situation like this - we don't know how to do one aspect of a big project and it stops us from making forward progress?

Is this a barrier that can be overcome? Of course! They can:

  • See if there is someone in the office that knows how to do this or can do it for them.
  • Can someone at the company they are using to print the letterhead help or provide them with a resource?
  • What about a title company?

This barrier can be overcome! Now let's look at...

BUSINESS #3 wants to dominate the neighborhood and will need to implement a time- or money-based campaign to get there. Now, unlike Business #1, they don't have cash for someone else to handle a mail-based campaign and they don't have the tech skills to do it on their own. Lack of money is a barrier. Therefore, we need to see if we can take the time path to get there.

This agent has determined that, as a former teacher, providing content in front of a class is a skill they can definitely utilize. They are going to develop a number of classes on everything from first time homebuyers, buying an investment property, downsizing, getting your home ready for sale, creating great curb appeal, and a state of the market class. This plus holding open houses and serving on several of the more-fun-focused HOA committees is the way this agent is going to connect.

Another barrier conquered!

Step 5: Implement!

Now that you have identified barriers and how you might overcome them, there is no holding you back! Don't be afraid to do this exercise multiple times as you tweak your goals and determine additional paths for achievement. Constant improvement will get you there!

By Denise Lones CSP, CMP, M.I.R.M.
The founding partner of The Lones Group, Denise Lones has over three decades of experience in the real estate industry. With agent/broker coaching, expertise in branding, lead generation, strategic marketing, business analysis, new home project planning, product development and more, Denise is nationally recognized as the source for all things real estate. With a passion for improvement, Denise has helped thousands of real estate agents, brokers, and managers build their business to unprecedented levels of success, while helping them maintain balance and quality of life.