What are your goals for your real estate business in 2020?
To reach 1 million in sales? Hit 10K followers on Instagram? Start 30 new conversations per month?
Depending on your business situation, these could be great goals, but we’re willing to bet that they’re not.
One of the biggest mistakes that real estate agents make is setting their goals based on what other agents are doing. This is a sure-fire road to failure. Why? If your goals don’t align with your market, budget, past results, and overall strategy, you will end up wasting vast amounts of time and money.
If you really want to kill it in 2020 and set goals that make sense for YOUR business, it pays to take the time to create a comprehensive business plan.
Read on to learn all the essential information to include in your 2020 business plan (plus a free template!), how to analyze your results from 2019 inform your decisions for 2020, and goal setting strategies to set you up for success 💪
Before diving into your plan for 2020, it’s essential to take a look at where you’re at now. When thinking about your goals, it’s tempting to just pull numbers out of thin air. But if you’re not basing your plan off of realistic numbers, there’s no point in creating a plan at all. Be smart about your planning, and you’ll find yourself in a much better place come December 2020.
Sales Volume and Income
Lead Sources and Conversations
Marketing and Social Media Presence
After you answer these questions, step back and take some time to really think about what worked for you, what didn’t. This should be your foundation for fleshing out your business plan and goals for 2020.
Arguably the most important part of any business is to clearly define exactly who you are, what you offer, what sets you apart, and WHY you do business.
Think back to question 3 of your 2019 analysis:
Do you have a clear mission and brand? Does all of your marketing reflect your brand?
If you answered no to either of those questions, 2020 is your time to define your who, what, and why.
What you write here should serve as a guideline as your overall branding for your business. Your brand is the foundation of how you market yourself and should be reflected anywhere that you communicate about your business: all of your social media channels, your website, all print materials that you distribute, email marketing, and any other public-facing platforms.
Spend time on this section to think about what sets you apart, and how you will brand your business.
All of this comes together in your business description. This is where you’ll want to outline your mission statement, philosophy and values, and your target market. You should also outline the services that you provide.
A good business description should clearly communicate who you are, where you’re located, what you stand for, what you offer, and why you’re the best agent in the area in just a few sentences.
Remember, your business description should be reflected on all of your channels.
Let’s take a look at how one Minnesota real estate agent, Thea Velic, does just that.
“I come from a professional background in marketing & design as well as photography. Utilizing the communication & creative skills I’ve learned in past positions I strive to always find ways to DO MORE for our clients.”
She also reflects this description on her Instagram profile. Here she shares the same information about her business, but in a format adapted to the visual nature of the platform.
In Thea’s Instagram profile, she clearly shows her name, location, contact information, and what sets her apart (her experience in design, marketing, and photography). She also showcases her services in her Instagram highlights. Scrolling through her photos on her profile, you can clearly see that she’s a marketing and branding expert from her photo quality and attention to detail. From her description and branding, you get the impression that she is the clear choice for anyone in the area who wants to make sure their real estate agent does an incredible job marketing their home!
Another real estate agent who's killing it with his branding and business description is Luis Iglesias, a luxury realtor based in Miami. Let's take a look at his description on his website:
“Luis Iglesias is the founder and principal broker of Iglesias Realty Group. He has been involved in the world of real estate for over a decade and is regarded as one of South Florida’s Top Producing Real Estate Brokers. He is also known for his expertise in Luxury Real Estate and has a strong portfolio of discerning, elite clientele including professional athletes and celebrities.”
You can tell immediately from this description what Luis is all about. He’s a luxury agent who obviously has a ton of experience and top-notch clients, as well as public recognition as one of the top brokers in his area. His target market is clearly those looking to buy or sell a luxury property. Just like Thea, Luis also reflects this description in his Instagram profile, both in his bio and photos featuring breathtaking luxury homes with stunning ocean views.
Both agents have different target markets, different skillsets, and different locations, but they’ve both got some killer descriptions. What makes them great is that they focus on what sets them apart, and showcase their strengths.
After you’ve clearly defined your business and services, and what sets you apart, your next step is to do an in-depth market analysis. Narrow in on any changes and trends in the market. How much do different types of homes sell for? What are the most popular neighborhoods? How long are homes on the market? How are client needs or preferences changing?
Use these trends to identify opportunities for your business in 2020. Also keep an eye out for market saturation. Where does it not make sense to pursue buyers and sellers this year?
With over 2 million real estate agents in the United States, competition in the industry is fierce. In order to be successful, it’s essential to have a clear understanding of the playing field. Once you know the strengths and weaknesses of your competition, you then can identify areas of opportunity where you can come out on top.
Pay close attention to any unfulfilled niches that you can take advantage of, and also areas that are already saturated where it might be more difficult to win clients and close deals.
You can have an incredible business, but you’ll never be successful if no one knows about it. This is where your marketing plan comes in.
Here, you’ll outline exactly which marketing and advertising tactics you’ll use to reach your target audience.
These can include your website, social media marketing, email marketing, content marketing, word-of-mouth, print marketing materials, and more. Think about what makes the most sense for your business in terms of your budget, location, and services, target market, and competition, and how many conversations you can generate from each method.
You'll also want to lay out how you want to market your business to customers, or your positioning. Your positioning considers the strengths and weaknesses of your business, the needs of your customers and market, and the position of competitors (conveniently, exactly what you've outlined in your business plan so far 😄).
Your positioning will help you determine the images and messaging you’ll use to represent your brand in your marketing materials. Finally, include your promotional budget for each channel that you use to market your business.
This is where your entire business plan comes together in one, easy-to-read page. Your SWOT, or strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, and threats, will give you a clear picture of where your business stands in 2020.
Think of your SWOT as a summary of your entire business plan. From all the information that you put together, what are your biggest strengths as a real estate agent? Maybe it’s your 10 years of experience working with first-time homebuyers. Maybe it’s your killer Facebook ads strategy that gets tons of exposure for your listings. Or maybe you have over 5,000 likes on your Facebook business page, with an awesome engagement rate. Whatever they may be, these are the things that will make you a competitive force in the market in 2020.
Follow the same process to uncover your biggest weaknesses. What will be your biggest challenges? This could be your inexperience in the industry, a small advertising budget, or anything that will make it more difficult to achieve your goals.
Finally, define your opportunities and threats. These are usually external factors that can impact your success, such as a booming local market (opportunity), or a projected drop in retirees moving to your area (threat).
Once you’ve completed your SWOT Analysis, print it out, stick it on your bulletin board, your fridge, your notebook, or wherever you’re sure you’ll see it every day. This will help you keep your focus, and visualize your short-term and long-term goals for your business.
Now comes the most important part: translating your business plan into a reality. Achieving anything starts with creating a solid plan (your business plan), and setting a SMART goal.
Every goal you create should be specific, measurable, attainable, realistic, and time-bound (SMART!) A good place to start is by looking at your numbers from last year, which you should have answered at the beginning of this blog post.
Think realistically about how much you can increase those numbers, and then write down the specific actions that you will need to take to reach each of your goals.
These goals will be your focus for 2020, and you should spend all of your energy working to meet them, so make sure that your goals align with your overall vision for your business.
Creating a business plan is your opportunity to discover opportunities that you may not have considered, determine your expenses and budget for lead generation, and uncover what tactics will actually work for your business and bring a high ROI. Remember that this is a living document, and plan to revisit it as there are changes in your market and competition. Ready to set yourself up for success in 2020? Download our free business plan template for real estate agents 👇