Imagine waking up every day fueled by the power of knowing exactly what targets to hit, where to channel your energy, and how to propel your income forward. 

My 2023 efforts to operational efficiency, amidst the hustle of life, was a game changer for my business. I zeroed in on my ‘one thing’ – mastering the art of tracking and measuring key business metrics. Focusing on methods Tom Toole shared during a Tom Ferry Summit in 2022— and through a lot of trial and error—I created my own version of a tracker. This wasn’t just about boosting revenue; it was about syncing my professional growth with personal fulfillment. 

In this article, I’ll share the secrets to harnessing the power of strategic planning to build a thriving real estate business—on your terms.

Step 1: Take a Deep Dive into your 2023 transactions

To catapult your business to new heights, you must dive deep into your 2023 numbers. It’s time to dissect your lead generation pillars with laser-focused intentionality. 

Here are the key metrics to unlock:

  • Lead source and closed volume from every transaction, focusing on volume to pinpoint high-revenue pillars
  • Total marketing spend for each pillar
  • Total transactions for both sellers and buyers
  • Average commissions – both for selling and buying

My Real-Life Lead Source Analysis

  • Geo Farm: 17.5% of production volume, 50% of marketing spend
  • Social Media and Google: 25% of production volume, 25% of marketing spend
  • Networking & Community Involvement: 17.5% of production volume, 0% of marketing spend 
  • Sphere of Influence Repeat and Referral: 25% of production volume, 5% of marketing spend 
  • Client Repeat and Referral: 15% of production volume, 10% of marketing spend 
  • Open Houses: 0% of production volume, 5% of marketing spend 

Step 2: Evaluate and Energize Your Marketing Tactics

List out every marketing effort from 2023, alongside the expenses. 

But here’s the twist – single out and evaluate the activities that didn’t yield transactions. Did they fill your pipeline, or were they misfired strategies? 

Now comes the power move: streamline your focus. Celebrate the lead sources that not only brought in revenue but also fueled positive energy into your work. It’s time to pivot away from energy-drainers and amplify what truly works and resonates with you (and your schedule).

My Real-Life Marketing Tactics Analysis

Where did I fall flat?

Based on my 2023 numbers it appears the 14 Open Houses I held last year were a waste of my time, but that’s not the full story. The truth is, about 50% were either outside my regular service areas or I slacked on the action plan. And the other 50% added half a dozen leads to my pipeline for 2024. This is definitely a pillar I will maintain, and I plan to leverage a team member to cover some open houses, prioritizing my time and increasing the target metrics.  

Step 3: Building Out Your Playbook for 2024

The key metrics you just evaluated serve as the foundation for your strategic planning. This insight is your roadmap to win in 2024 by designing a future that’s more profitable and fulfilling. 

The secret sauce? A straightforward SOP for each lead source. Focus on:

  • An action-packed plan for each lead pillar
  • A timeline that’s not just dates but a roadmap for successful execution
  • A budget that serves you as an investment 

Remember, it’s not about complex documents; it’s about creating a playbook that’s clear, functional, and ready for action.

My Real-Life Playbook for My Geographical Farm

Action plan: Focus on the following key activities that move the needle. Some of these include their own SOPs, while others have checklists that are time-blocked in my schedule (but more on that another day).

  • 15 CMAs per week with a phone call on the day it’s mailed
  • 25 postcard mailers per year to 1500 doors 
  • Additional Coming Soon, Just Listed and Just Sold postcards for all farm listings 
  • 3 events per year for key communities 
  • 3 event invitations per year to key communities 
  • Mega open houses within farm  
  • 2 pop bys per year
  • Run targeted geographical ads on Facebook, Google, YouTube
  • Circle dial all closed transactions, regardless of brokerage 
  • Mail “I have a buyer” letters when applicable
  • Call anytime I have a buyer, there’s an event, an open house, a new listing or closed sale, any relevant local news etc. Call as much as possible!

Timeline: I build a timeline for all my marketing efforts by month. These don’t need to be firm numbers, but you do need an idea of when you will be executing your marketing efforts, so you have ample time to execute. Based on the seasonality of my local market I scheduled 2024 as follows:

  • January: 3 mailers, 1 pop by
  • February: 3 mailers
  • March: 3 mailers, 1 pop by
  • April: 2 mailers, 1 invitation, 1 event
  • May: 2 mailers
  • June: 2 mailers, 1 invitation, 1 event
  • July: 1 mailer
  • August: 1 mailer
  • September: 2 mailers
  • October: 2 mailers
  • November: 2 mailers, 1 invitation
  • December: 2 mailers, 1 event

Budget: It’s crucial to understand what pillars are your biggest expense and plan accordingly. Here’s how mine is broken down:

  • 15 CMAs per week: $1,000
  • 25 postcard mailers: $13,500
  • Additional Coming Soon, Just Listed and Just Sold postcard for all listings: $3,500
  • 3 events per year for key communities: $1,500
  • 3 event invitations per year: $2,000
  • 2 pop by items per year: $1,500
  • Run targeted geographical ads on Facebook and Google: $2,000

Next, determine the targeted number of transactions you anticipate from your marketing efforts around each pillar for 2024. To really hone in on an accurate prediction, build on last year’s transactions and thoroughly assess the effectiveness of each lead pillar. Consider the number of transactions generated, the time invested, and the financial outlay. This analysis is key to predicting the performance of these lead pillars in 2024. 

Ask yourself:

  • Do you anticipate an increase, decrease, or stability in the number of transactions?
  • Have there been any refinements or additions to your strategies that could enhance outcomes?

My real-life analysis of expected transactions

Here’s how I built my 2024 transaction goal of four closings for my geographical farm. In 2023, I closed one sale, with one new listing at the end of the year and another in my pipeline. 

I sent 18 mailers, held three events, and did not call nearly as much as I should have. For 2024, my strategy includes over 25 mailers, three events, 15 CMAs per week, targeted digital ads, quarterly seller seminars, and time blocks for making my calls. 

I anticipate an increase in the number of transactions from one to four based on my additional action plans and strategy refinement, and I increased my marketing spend from $10,000 in 2023 to $25,000 in 2024.

Step 4: Project Transactions and GCI Like a Pro

Now, combine all your lead pillars to foresee your total transactions. Split them into buyers and sellers. Apply last year’s average prices to forecast your 2024 transaction volume and gross commission income (GCI). This is where your strategy translates into anticipated reve

My real-life 2024 projections for anticipated revenue

23 total transactions: Based on the targeted transaction count per lead pillar, I anticipate 23 transactions broken down as follows: Geo Farm: 4 transactions, Social Media and Google: 4 transactions, Networking & Community Involvement: 3 transactions, Sphere of Influence Repeat and Referral: 4 transactions, Client Repeat and Referral: 4 transactions, Open Houses: 2 transactions, Seller Seminars: 1 transaction, Expired Listings: 1 transaction

11 listings at an average price point of $850,000 = $9,350,000 sell-side volume: This number is based on reviewing each lead pillar and using historical data on what percent of transactions are sellers. Then I took my average price point for sell-side transactions in 2023, increased the average by 15% because many of the systems I have implemented are targeting higher price points, and calculated the average price per listing of $850,000.

12 buyers at an average price point of $725,000 = $8,700,00 buy side volume: This number is based on reviewing each lead pillar and using historical data on what percent of transactions are buyers. Then I took my average price point for buy-side transactions in 2023 to get the average price per buy side of $725,000.

Total Production volume = $18,050,000: For the record, $18,050,000 sounds absolutely insane to me, but 11 listings and 12 buyers at the projected price points based on my clearly defined strategies sounds completely doable. 

Total GCI = $477,612: Using my 2023 sales, I found that my average sell-side commission was 2.875%, and my average buy-side commission of 2.4%. Now multiply the average sell-side commission of 2.875% by the projected sell-side volume (2.875% x $9,250.000 volume = $268,812 GCI) and the average buy-side commission of 2.4% with the projected buy-side volume (2.875% x $8,700.000 volume = $208,800 GCI). Finally, combine the two to find the total CGI ($268,812 + 208,800 = $477,612)

Remember, the true power lies not in planning but in the consistent execution and relentless refinement of your strategies. 

Time to get to work!