Every successful business has one thing in common. Every failing business probably lacks the very same thing.
I'm talking about systems. Systems are standardized procedures and plans that run, for the most part, automatically. They free you from the tasks of your business so you can concentrate on providing five-star service.
Systems are the engine that powers a business. Without them, a business can run for a while. Eventually, however, the burden of starting from scratch with each transaction will slow things down to a crawl.
This is the situation in which most agents who don't implement systems find themselves. The amount of business grows - which is a good thing - but it becomes overwhelming to take care of the minute details of each transaction. This can lead to burnout.
The surefire method of avoiding this trap is to put systems to use in every area of your business. The top areas to include are:
Very few agents have learned how to implement a lead generation system. The ones who do tell me, "Denise, I wish I had done this sooner! I'm amazed at how this brings in a steady stream of clients."
A lead generation system is actually a "moneymaking system". It's there for you as a regular drip of business - whether it's boom time or bust time.
The problem most agents face with implementing lead generation systems is doing it when desperate. Lead generation done every once in a while can produce results, but when it's done regularly - instead of desperately - it produces amazing results.
A desperate mode never feels good to your clients. If you feel everything hinging on one sale too heavily, the client will feel pressured. Not a good feeling.
But when you have a consistent lead generation system in place, you never have to worry about this happening because there's always another prospect in the pipeline.
Another neglected area for most agents, this is something you need to do regularly. You should be following up consistently with your past clients, present clients, and potential clients.
Ask yourself, "What do each of these databases get from me consistently that a) reminds them that I'm still their local real estate expert and b) provides them with helpful information?"
You need to remind people that you're still out there. By providing timely and relevant information, you're doing so in a non-threatening manner that keeps you in the back of their minds for the day they need you.
If you're not in contact with your databases an absolute minimum of once per month, then you simply will not remain in their minds. It is critical that you keep this system running like clockwork.
Do you have a system for when you list a home? I mean a series of 18-20 steps that you do automatically each and every time you list a property.
How about when you pend a property? Do you send out a letter congratulating your client? Do you send out a pending-to-close calendar so they know everything that's going to happen every step of the way?
By having client care systems in place all ready to go, you show your clients that you are a true professional. There's no "winging it". You let them know that you've got the entire plan covered in detail. Plus, little touches like the congratulation letter make a powerful impact in their minds.
Many - if not most - agents are good with people but not-so-good with paper. Quite often I visit an agent's office to find paperwork strewn everywhere. Files in disarray. Everything out of order.
What system do you have in your business to keep paperwork as simple as possible? It's so important to keep this area under control because I guarantee that eventually something will fall through the cracks. Legally, this could present problems for a real estate agent.
You don't want this to happen to you. Paperwork is a pain, but it's something for which we all need a system.