We’re fast approaching the final quarter of 2023. Most, if not all, of the deals that go under contract in Q4 will close in the first quarter of next year (which is the soonest you’ll see the income from those deals). And the leads you’re nurturing this fall and winter likely won’t become your clients until next spring.
So, we’re gonna ask: Do you have your business plan ready for 2024?
If the answer to that question boils down to “No,” you’re in the right place. Because you’re about to learn a few things that could explode your business in the coming year.
And we mean “explode” in the best possible way—the kind that will leave you wondering why you didn’t implement the tips in this post a lot sooner.
When should you have your business plan ready for 2024—and why?
By the time your year is half over, you learn things about your business that will influence your planning for the next year. You make mistakes and learn from them. You try things and find what works and what doesn’t (or not without some adjustments).
All of it matters. Everything you learn that helps you become a better real estate agent can also come into play when you’re planning for the future.
By the three-quarter mark, which is just around the corner, you need to incorporate those lessons into a clear and actionable business plan for the next year.
We’re not suggesting you should wait until then to write up your business plan; we’re saying it’s best to have it done by the end of September—or early October at the latest. You want a fully completed plan in place before the holiday season sets in.
If you’re wondering where to begin or how to make next year’s business plan better than the one you created for 2023, keep reading.
What should your business plan look like?
BAM co-founder Byron Lazine created a four-part series of posts detailing exactly how to create a clear, actionable, and effective business plan, starting with the must-haves exercise (in two parts), which you’ll need to calculate the number of transactions you need to close in 2024.
Articulating your must-haves, your wants, and your big goals for the year helps you create a clear vision for your business. This exercise is the best defense against shiny-object syndrome, so you can focus on the opportunities that will get you closer to your vision.
Your vision is deeply rooted in your why. And one of the most enjoyable parts of this process is creating a vision board, which gives you a daily visual reminder of the “why” behind your daily plan of action.
Just as putting pen to paper helps you internalize what you’re writing, creating a vision board with your hands helps you internalize the why behind the tangible model of your vision.
The math—and meaning—behind the method
Once you’ve calculated how many transactions you need to close in 2024, plan on closing at least 60% of those in the first half of the year, when buyers and sellers are generally more inclined to transact. And keep in mind that your income-producing window for each year closes at the end of September.
That means you’ve got nine months in 2024 to meet your income goals for the year. But you also have the final three months of 2023—hence the reason you need to have your business plan ready by then.
Now that you’ve done the math and you know your target numbers for the year, not just for income but for the transactions you need to close, you can break that down into quarterly and monthly goals.
But since transactions are, for the most part, a result of activities you’ll be undertaking on a daily basis, your business plan will be incomplete without clear objectives for each of those activities.
Those, too, can be broken down further to reveal, for example, how many appointments you need to set every day—no matter how many phone calls you need to make to set them.
Business planning dos and don’ts
We’ve reviewed last year’s blogs on business planning to gather the most helpful strategies for making the coming year your best one yet.
Every year should teach you something new about yourself and your business. And every year’s planning for the next should make the most of that.
Here are some of our favorite dos and don’ts to keep in mind:
From Tom Ferry: Do…
- Determine what worked—and what didn’t—in 2023.
- Set specific and measurable goals tied to math.
- Write out your plan, share it with others, and keep it visual throughout the year.
- Treat it like a living (i.e., changeable) document (because life happens)
- Determine the three key activities that will drive your goals for the year.
Tom Toole breaks down numbers 2–5 brilliantly in “4 Basics Your Real Estate Business Plan is Missing,” which is another must-read.
From Lisa Chinatti: Do…
- Chunk your plan down.
- Have a Plan A, Plan B, and Plan C. And if you aren’t seeing results in the first quarter, know what you will change.
- Determine how your business ties into your personal life.
From the Handsome Homebuyer: Take time every day to visualize your goals and watch them happen.
From Ray Ellen: Planning and visualizing are important, but they’re not enough. Be prepared to execute on your plan. Because without action, your plan is just words on a page.
Now for some don’ts:
- Don’t assume writing things down, making a vision board, and visualizing your goals coming to fruition can take the place of doing the activities (making phone calls, etc.)
- Don’t write off old-school activities like cold calling and door knocking just because they’re uncomfortable; if you can’t do uncomfortable, you’re in the wrong business.
- Don’t get complacent and slow down if you start getting ahead of your original monthly targets; raise the targets and keep working as if you’re falling behind.
Let me just drive home that first one for a sec. The same person who put together the four-part series on business planning—who swears that, corny as they sound, vision boards do actually work—is relentless when it comes to taking consistent, daily, purposeful action.
That’s what the best agents do. That’s what it takes. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise.
3 Tips to explode your business in 2024
Top agents become top agents by prioritizing the right things. And your business plan shows exactly what you’re prioritizing in your business and, ultimately, what that looks like on a daily basis.
Given that, here are three key takeaways to keep in mind as you plan for 2024:
- Have as many conversations as possible every day.
- Set goals based on activities—not results.
- Delegate so you can spend more time on income-producing activities
#1—Have as many conversations as possible every day
Here’s the three-step strategy for planting seeds and overcoming your fear (or loathing) of the phone:
- Unlock your phone.
- Go to the phone setting and dial a prospect’s number.
- Repeat step 2 as many times as you can (in the time allotted).
This is how you start conversations. Texts and emails aren’t enough. It’s so much harder to hang up on someone than it is to delete an email or disregard a text message. Once you’ve got someone on the phone, you’ve got their attention for at least the next few seconds.
The next part of this plan is to know what to say. And that’s where scripts come in. Start with one or a few and build on that as you go. The important thing is to actually use them.
Yes, at first, it might feel too “salesy.” So, what? Most people are selling something to someone several times a day. Sometimes that thing is just an idea. And sometimes that someone is the person in the mirror.
The important thing is not whether you’re being salesy but whether what you’re trying to sell is actually worth selling. And if you don’t believe your services as a real estate agent are worth selling, it’s time to either change that mindset or change careers.
#2—Set goals based on activities—not results
This is how Lisa Chinatti won a bet (and a Louis Vuitton bag).
If you’re setting goals for yourself—or agreeing to compete with a fellow agent—rather than focusing on a specific outcome, like the number of transactions you’ll close in a given amount of time, focus on the activities you’ll undertake to get more clients.
For example, you can control how many phone calls you make in a given day. You can also control how many appointments you set before you allow yourself to stop making phone calls.
Focus on the controllables, the things you can do, and the things you can’t change or control tend to fall more in line with your goals—not because you control them but because your consistency with the activities that get you closer to those goals also make you a better agent.
#3—Delegate, so you can spend more time on income-producing activities
If you have room in your business budget for at least one assistant, hire one as soon as possible and train them to do the work that isn’t cost-effective for you to do yourself.
Money is something you can get back. Time is not. A business that values money over time is a business that will always be in short supply of both.