December found my newsfeed littered with business planning inspiration and exuberant sales managers encouraging you to kill it in 2017. If you are like most entrepreneurs, the end of January results in a reality check. It comes in the form of the daily grind and habits decades in the making. Your big plans for 2017 seem just a bit grandiose, and your business plan lies beneath a stack of far more significant paper.
The holiday season is a wild mix of celebration, regret and overindulgence. Meanwhile, every business owner is working on a plan for next year. The smart asses amongst you will point out that planning for next year should have happened in October (which is correct but if you pulled that off you wouldn’t be reading this). Alas, this is real life and most real estate pros think about planning the Monday following Thanksgiving or Christmas.
Building Champions advocates a planning process that includes the “Core Four” which are a Life Plan, Business Vision, Business Plan and Priority Management. I have transitioned from student to advocate for their methodology although the act of planning is the key. This blog post is about what you do BEFORE all of that. Before you sit with your team and declare what 2017 looks like, take some time to let last year settle in. The business plan replacement is a three step pre-planning process that includes the following: 1) Reflect, 2) React and 3) Redirect.
The term digitization is everywhere.
It has become a mantra, a strategic planning cornerstone and the source of nightmares for entrepreneurs and Fortune 500 CEO’s alike. I met with a big time Mortgage Planner a few weeks ago. By big time, I mean 7 mil per month, small team, all self sourced. Before we wrapped up, I asked if they would grade their team on digital strength. They looked me in the eyes and said 9 out of 10.
Rather than a badge of honor, busyness is often in direct conflict with productivity. When you’re busy, you confuse motion for progress. Lifehack.org gives 20 additional reasons to not be proud of your busyness. What do you do when the length of your to-do list is rivaled only by the length of your call back list?
You have no idea how busy I am. If you are like me, hearing that grates a nerve deep inside you.
Of course you know how busy I am! Like most professionals, you’re just as busy. In our lives the demands often overwhelm the number of hours we allocate and we are forced to manage tradeoffs. Fortunately, (or unfortunately), we all have the same 8,765 hours in a year to achieve the lofty goals we set in December. You have the same amount of time as Bill Gates and (insert name of person you think is killing it here).
You know what to do. When pressed, you know exactly what your business needs. I had a business coach that started and sold companies while he served on boards and worked 30 hours a week. He always knew what to do. What most annoyed me about our relationship was that he refused to tell me what to do. He often told me, “You have certainly attended a seminar or have had a co-worker that knows the answer to this, what is it?” I would then frustratingly cycle through my experiences until I could tell him exactly what I needed to do.
Like you, I attend seminars, read blogs, connect with my peers, and consume the latest business books. I accumulate a vast store of information. I share these great ideas with my coach. His response was predictable, “Great, show me.” Many times, I find I am still not executing consistently enough on the great ideas.
The times are changing for mortgage and real estate pros. In one camp, there is an increasingly loud group proposing the future is in digital consumer direct and major disruption is eminent. The purists argue this is a relationship-based business fraught with regulation that will always be dependent on a referral and a handshake.
Telling you the sky is falling is a great way to sell books, but the reality is that mortgage and real estate will not be disrupted in the traditional sense. Those who don’t adapt will slowly be forced into new careers. My operations leader once told me, “We aren’t making any major mistakes, but if we don’t create a technology solution to track what is going on, we will die a death of a thousand paper cuts.” Every missed digital opportunity is another paper cut.
Some producers have cracked the generating business code. It is a tough one. It takes a lot of hard work, a bit of eccentricity and persistence. Those that land at the top of the mountain report the view is good, but it is lonely.
The reality is that the skills you employed to earn Top Dog status become liabilities at scale. Your brilliant “on the fly” and “solopreneur” decision models impact people, impact processes and impact your growth. One underutilized management tool in the world of top performing real estate pros is the simple rule. Before you jump to the conclusion that this is the most ridiculous blog post ever penned, hear me out.
Every day, there is a 1 million dollar prize waiting for you. If you had to summarize your UVP into the perfect elevator pitch and deliver it in front of a panel of judges and the prize was 1 million dollars, you would spend the next month practicing. What is the lifetime value of a top referral partner? The leads, the referrals from those leads, the repeat business from the entire lot. Every day, the 1 million dollar prize waits to be unlocked by that one sentence.
Knowing that, we still struggle to spit out a compelling reason for someone to choose us. If you have followed along, you realize this must be done, you have assessed your clients needs, your platform, your uniqueness and now we pull it together. Below I have outlined a couple of real life before and after elevator pitch examples.
Building your UVP is hard work. You have acknowledged your pitch needs work, found out what your customer needs and assessed your platform, it is time to explore your personal uniqueness. Caring more than the next person, providing good service, having been trapped doing the same thing for 20 years, and offering open house flyers don’t count. There is a paradigm that we need to break from that has us spouting our resume as if anyone cares.
The true pro understands, at a behavioral level, what separates them from their competitor and leverages it to add value. When you tell someone that you provide great service or spout off a product feature, you are noise. You are the static we are all working desperately to avoid in our lives. How do you avoid being reduced to static? Examine the behavioral and tactical traits that add value.