Did you know that the number reason businesses fail to grow is because they don’t have a plan? If you haven’t given any thought to planning for your business, it’s time to start. Having a business plan that builds and manages a sales pipeline is the best way to generate a steady stream of future business. 

Get your business ready for 2020 by identifying opportunities, setting your goals, choosing strategies for success, and tracking your progress to build a long-term, sustainable growth model. 

The Changes You Need to Make

The first part of the planning process involves auditing your business to see what changes you need to make. Assess your business with a ‘SWOT analysis’ weighing your strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats. It is also helpful to identify the reasons you haven’t been able to hit existing goals. The two biggest reasons agents don’t hit their goals are 1, not enough leads in their pipeline or 2, those leads are going somewhere else to buy/sell a home. 

Next, pick a plan of attack for your business based on your SWOT analysis and assessment of business goals. Focus on lead generation (adding more leads to your pipeline), pipeline management (improving your lead conversion and nurturing) or both. 

Strategies for Success

Investing in your business doesn’t mean focus your approach on one strategy. Incorporate multiple different strategies for business planning that will complement each other and help grow your business.  Identify areas where you’d like to grow or change and use those to define your strategies. After you define your strategies, invest in resources (time or money) which will best serve your goals. 

Lead Generation

If you are focusing on lead generation, adding more new leads to develop in your pipeline should be your primary concern. 75% of business comes from leads that are already in your pipeline, but the only way to grow your business is by adding new people to your pipeline. Lead generation is not a process that you do once a year; it must be year-round.

Lead generation is a constant in real estate and even the most successful agents continue to add new leads into their pipeline because it maintains their success. New leads should be found through a variety of different means. Diversify your approaches to advertising for your business. Plan and budget for each quarter to add the amount of leads that your business needs. Adding leads to your pipeline should not be looked at as an expense because it is the means of which your business will grow.

Consistency is also essential for lead generation because of the drawn-out nature of the real estate sales cycle. Consistency ensures new leads are added to your pipeline all year long therefore eliminating dry spells in lead conversions and your income. Utilize your website to connect and be the center of your lead generation to make the pipeline management easier for you and your leads. 

If you’re having trouble determining the amount of leads you need to add to your pipeline next year use the following recommendation based on transactions per year:

  • 0-1 Transactions: Must add 10 new leads each month
  • 1-2 Transactions: Must add 20 new leads each month
  • 2-3 Transactions: Must add 30 new leads each month
  • 3-4 Transactions: Must add 40 new leads each month
  • 5-6 Transactions Must add 50-80 new leads each month and multiple lead sources
  • 7-8 Transactions: Must add 80 new leads each month and multiple lead sources 

Pipeline Management

If a lack of pipeline management is the reason you are not hitting your business goals, follow effective lead conversion strategies beginning at the planning stage. Understanding the consumer is one problem a lot of agents face because of recent changes in consumer behavior. Today’s consumer is online more than ever. In fact, 90% of buying decisions start online so your #1 goal when engaging leads should be to get them back to your website. Agents far too often spend more time worrying about expenses and closing deals rather than nurturing the relationships that their business is built on which, in turn, will close more deals. 

THE TRUTH: If you’re not managing your relationships, you’re not closing deals

Understanding the buyer & seller timelines will help you recognize where a consumer is in their sales cycle. The average consumer shops online for 10 weeks and looks at 10 homes, so you must recognize that even the initial research part of the sales cycle is drawn-out. Avoid asking a consumer how soon they are looking to buy or sell. Instead you can guide them through their sales cycle at their own pace while still consistently providing relevant information to them. Keep in mind that 74% of buyers are choosing the sales and professional company that was the first to add VALUE and INSIGHT into the buying journey.

Knowledge is power when it comes to developing new leads. The more lead insight you have the more relationships you’ll create. Get insight and information to create a compelling event that aligns with the consumer. Use resources like Spokeo, Facebook, and Pipl to search and find details about a lead to better nurture them through your pipeline. Trying to understand the consumer and engage with them online is crucial for lead conversions.

Today’s consumer does not want to meet in person right away or talk on the phone. Roughly 80% of all calls go to voicemail and 90% of first-time voicemails are never returned. Consumers start online and stay online, so create personalized emails and put out social media content with the intent to get them back to your website.

Use the following 6 strategies for new lead management and incorporate them into your business plan:
  1. Create a listing alert for each new lead
    • Use information from your website not the MLS
    • Utilize MLS when a lead is deeper in your pipeline.
  2. Send relevant listings via email.
  3. Assign leads to a marketing campaign.
  4. Provide leads with a monthly market report.
  5. Send appropriate community and school information.
  6. Provide relevant real estate information to each lead.

Stop Leads From Going to Your Competition

Lead generation and pipeline management go hand and hand to prevent leads from going to your competition. By continuously adding leads to your pipeline and nurturing them through their consumer journey with consistent and relevant contact, you eliminate the need to go elsewhere for information. When you do a good job of developing a new lead you have a better shot at getting access to their network (some are paid, and some should be free).

Remember the behaviors that you must respond to if you want to keep leads in your pipeline:
  • Viewed Homes
  • Saved Homes
  • Contact Me
  • Updated Contact Info
  • Requested Pre-Approval
  • Zip Code/Neighborhood Change 

Preparing for Next Year

Revisit and reference your goals and ask yourself ‘how will I get where I need to be and when will I accomplish my goals?’. Creating your marketing plan is the next step in business planning. Establish a mission statement that gives your business a reason for existence, points of difference that set your business apart from the rest, and a targeting plan to direct clients in their real estate journey. Ensure that your goals align with your marketing to drive everyone back to your website. 

Calculating your expenses and success are also imperative in business planning. Create a ‘Living Expenses Worksheet’ and calculate annual business expenses to measure, monitor, and adjust your strategies to help you better achieve your goals. In terms of transactions, determine your average commission per transaction to set your income goal. For leads, calculate prospects required per year and break it down to the daily number you need. Remember that achieving your goals and growing your business is a process and your success is dependent on smart business planning for the long-term.

While you plan your business for next year consider diversifying your advertising through more than one lead channel that drives leads back to your website. Traditional marketing, social media, and search engines are all channels to identify leads.

  • Traditional Marketing: listing syndication, referrals, repeat clients, print marketing, farm marketing, open houses
  • Social Media: Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, Nextdoor, YouTube
  • Search Engines: Google, Bing, Yahoo, SEO, SEM

Try out each of the types of channels for your business and if you don’t like the results then change the process. You and your approach determine success.

How Diverse Solutions Can Help

Don’t have time to do your own advertising and want to focus on other aspects of business planning? Diverse Solutions’ Traffic Workx is a guaranteed way to receive targeted traffic driven to your website. The main purpose of your website is to be a money-maker, and the Diverse Solutions advertising team is dedicated to place active buyers and sellers in your area in front of YOU every month. You can spend more time working with clients instead researching keywords and managing ad campaigns while Diverse Solutions uses targeted trafficking through Google and Bing to create ads catered to your business. 

Traffic Workx

The Diverse Solutions advertising team creates ads for your business that:

  • Are exclusive to you – ads send consumers directly to your branded website
  • Target specific areas – ads are for your preferred cities
  • Guaranteed in quantity – consistent traffic of unique visitors EVERY month
  • Website Conversions – visitors are driven to the most relevant pages on your website

Traffic Workx provides consumers with instant gratification and engagement by letting your website go to work, delivering . The content on your site will begin engaging the consumer immediate. Traffic Workx also enables the consumer to connect directly with you. When the consumer is directed to your website you can set up your own registration settings to develop the new lead and get them back to your website.   

Next Steps for Success

  • Arrange time to work with Jordan Torres with our Diverse Solutions team on website content, improving lead generation, and pipeline management.
  • Call 425-732-4015 today or email [email protected]
  • Add Traffic Workx to help you quickly build a pipeline for next year