Part of being a good agent is thinking into the future and planning.
With the end of the year approaching, there are a few weeks left for you to:
- Close out current listings
- Win listings for next year
- Build rapport for the future
But in order to do those three things, you need to plan and figure out what is the most important to you. If your office is booming and you currently have 15 listings to handle, then pipelining may not be your number-one priority, as you will want to close out deals for next year, with the remaining ones providing a platform of stock for you to get stuck in to early 2015. However, if you, like most agents, are wanting to win more listings and prepare for next year, then you need to do these three things before the year is out:
- Get back on the phones
Now is a great time to start prospecting, and on a large scale. Getting in touch with the market will give people ample time to consider selling their home over the holiday period, when you are forced to be inactive. This is much better for you, rather than the prospects taking three to four weeks to decide if they want to sell their home in the middle of prime season. If you have had some success in a particular market this year, you should be doing two things in those suburbs. Firstly, letterbox-dropping every home, wishing them well over the holidays and asking if they want to get in touch to discuss a possible campaign in the New Year. Secondly, calling these homes to notify them of recent and relevant results you have had this year. If you can call a prospect and say you received $150,000 over reserve for a house in their street, and asking them if they are interested in getting an appraisal early next year, you will be giving them information while not putting them on the spot. When they find out the appraisal is 100 per cent free and that you can organise it when it suits them, the uptake will be a lot higher.
- Create a due date for 'everything'
The end of the year is really good for setting deadlines. The first thing you should be doing is picking up the phone to every person you are currently working with and saying, "There are three weeks for me to work on whatever you need to get a deal done – what needs to happen? How can we make this happen, and is there anything further you need to see from me?" By doing this, you re-evaluate time expectations and can re-establish what will be done by the end of the year. This is really important, because otherwise, vendors and prospects may not hear from you until February, and you can have a really tough time convincing them you care about them if you haven't set deadlines about when you will be back in touch. You should establish a date via email with every person you need to. At the end of the year, they should receive a Christmas card and well wishes, with a closing paragraph stating: "I wish you the best over the holiday period. I'll be back in the office on [insert date] and I'll give you a call on the [insert date] to check in. This is something very few agents do and will help a lot. Also, make this personal. If you've dealt with a prospect looking to find a home in Port Melbourne, send a message saying:
Whilst we haven't had luck finding you your dream home in Port Melbourne so far, I'm really confident that we will be able to find the perfect place in 2015. You've been great to work with and I know that when we do eventually find you your little cottage across from the beach, you, Samantha and little Jack will absolutely love living there.
Have a nice break, and let's tackle this together in the first week of February. If you need me, you can get in touch whenever you need and I'll do my best to be back in touch ASAP. (Please note I'll be overseas from the 14th Jan to 31st Jan and will not have communications access.) Otherwise I'll give you a call on the 3rd of February and hope to see you at my 2015 market introduction meeting on the 6th February at our offices, 121 Beach Street, Newport, 6:00pm.
Licensed Estate Agent"
3. Organise an end-of-year event, and a beginning-of-year event
A really good thing to look at doing, and planning over the next week or two, are two events. One to finish off this year and, more importantly, one to start next year. A lot of people plan Christmas events and say goodbye for the break, and don't get in touch until six months later. One way to avoid this is to establish an end-of-year event, a small Christmas drinks gathering that, whilst it may cost you a bit, is a great networking event and something your prospects and clients will appreciate. After you have done that, the next thing you do will make you stand out even more. In mid-January, send out an invitation to your lists informing them that you are presenting a market seminar and update on what to expect for 2015. People come back from holidays with energy, and crave information. They don't want to miss out on what the market may have in store, so organising an event for next year, in around mid-February, will be well received and put you on the front foot as THEIR go-to agent throughout the year. It can't be stressed how important an early-year engagement with your clients is.
These are the three most important things you can do to wrap up what has been a sensational 2014. If you get these three things in place, it will relieve your anxiety and prevent you being worried about coming back with no plan of action to tackle 2015.
Rocky Bartolotto is the national sales director for homely.com.au. Rocky's extensive experience in introducing new product offerings to the market and client management abilities makes him one of the most knowledgeable property specialists in the country. In addition to his time working in the online space, Rocky is also one of Sydney’s top auctioneers, with over 4,000 auctions performed through his business. He is the director and chief auctioneer at Property Auction Services.