It’s that time again.  Year-end always brings with it a look back at the past year and a look forward to next year.  So, what are your goals for next year?  One of the things that I see most often, with both new and experienced agents alike, is a lack of control of their business.  The results of that lack of control manifest themselves in different ways, but it almost always come back to the core issue of control.

I often refer to the agents having these problems as fire fighters.  Why?  Fire fighters, by nature, are reactive.  They don’t go to a house and put water on it to prevent a fire.  They wait until an alarm sounds and then go to the scene of the fire.  Too many agents do the same thing.  Instead of being proactive, they wait until something happens that requires their attention and then rush to put that fire out.  The result is a sense of never-ending drama and, ultimately, a lack of client satisfaction.

The question we have to ask ourselves is:  “If we know that 70% or more of our business is going to come from past clients and our sphere of influence, why would we purposely do things to sabotage ourselves with those people?”

So, how can we as agents stop the drama, stop the fire fighting, and exceed expectations with our clients?  Here are three steps you can take in your business today, before the new year starts, to help take control of your business.

1) Realize It Is Your Business

This may seem like a no-brainer, but if more agents approached their business as a business owner would, it would change a lot.  Can you ever imagine a situation where a CEO of a company would just play it by ear?  Of course not.  You need to step back from the minutia of your day-to-day activities and take a big picture look at where you have been, where you are, and where you need to go.  Write down your findings and use that to complete step 2.

2) Systematize Everything You Can

This is a huge step for most agents.  I will warn you, this step takes time.  What are the tasks you must do?  Marketing, prospecting, transaction management, client service, and accounting are just a few that come to mine.  Your list will vary based on experience and what your business looks like today.  Whether you use checklists or formal policy or use an online resource like a CRM system or Evernote, set guidelines for every task.  Every single one.  When you are finished, you can set up your calendar to accommodate the tasks.  Hint: you might find that you can hand off several tasks to an assistant now!

3) Learn to Set Expectations Correctly

Which one of these things steals more of your time: phone calls, emails, clients, or team members?  If one, or all, of those are taking away from the things you need to do grow your business, set expectations properly ahead of time with people and they will not be disappointed when you don’t immediately jump whenever they say to.  It is extremely liberating to do so.  You are a person and you have limitations.  You are a finite resource.  Also, you need time away now and then.  Let people know what those limitations are.  Set your email auto-response: “Thank you for your email.  I will be returning emails today between 11-12 p.m. and 4-5 p.m.  If your email comes in after 5:00, it will be returned the following day.”  Do the same on voice mail and your office door.  You can still answer a call and/or email if you want, but you don’t have to and they won’t expect it.  Your productivity is key to you being able to provide raving fans service so safeguard it as best you can!

Take a day or two and get out of the office.  Sit down and examine your business and what you can do to make next year your best year ever!  You are the only one who can take control of your business.


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