Line ‘em up, knock ‘em down

Agents who set realistic sales targets and keep focused on them will find it easier to stay ahead when market conditions get tough, writes Alex Whitlock.

Successful salespeople the world over share one common trait: the ability to hit targets.

Whether you set them for yourself or they are set for you, sales targets without a doubt greatly increase productivity.

So, how should you go about setting realistic targets for the year that lies ahead?

First up, it is useful to remember that a sales team may not hit every target every time.

That said, as long as the targets chosen are realistic, they are usually achieved.

Before setting your sales goals for the year ahead, there are a couple of important points you should consider to ensure you have the best chance of success.

Too many agents set themselves impossible sales targets. They need to bear in mind that while the domestic economy appears to be picking up, and appetite for financing and purchasing property is on the rise, 2011 will nevertheless pose challenges.

To set targets that are realistic and achievable you must also consider the factors outside the control of your business and how that may impact demand. These, of course, include the health of the global economy, the rising cost of living as well as events nearer home.

One of the key reasons to set sales targets, however, is to help you stay on track in the face of major market fluctuations.

Real estate is affected by so many variables that it’s easy to become a victim of the market rather than a master of your own destination.

Rate changes, housing supply and demand and consumer confidence all have a nasty habit of fluctuating, and if you’re not focused on business goals you can quickly find your performance wavering.

One of the most effective methods for setting targets is to base them on past sales performance.

You might be all revved up for the year ahead, with grand plans to work harder, smarter, or both, but your success can best be measured against how you’ve succeeded in the past.

Sales targets need to be based on tangibles, and the best place to start is to consider the overall desired result.

For example, say you want to increase property sales from $1 million per month to $1.25 million, a 25 per cent jump and a reasonable goal.

You then review your average sales performance from the previous year and consider whether it can be improved and what resources would be involved in doing so.

If you were able to generate $1 million based on a given schedule of meetings, marketing, prospecting and the associated administrative work, is it realistic to expect to increase this by 25 per cent?

It might mean another couple of nights away from the family, conducting open houses or after hours inspections, several more lunches or attending networking events to generate new prospects – and more.

Is it possible to actually fit all of this into your day, and if not, do you have the capacity to hire outside assistance, such as a part time administrative assistant or another agent, even if they are part time? Is it all worthwhile considering your work/life balance?

If you don’t have a clear idea of what you’d like to achieve with your business, you’re always likely to fall short. It’s all too easy to let sales targets fall by the wayside – particularly for agents who’ve been around for a few years.

Remember, as long as your targets are realistic and achievable you’ll find they pave the way for greater success.

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