This week my travels found me first in San Diego, where I was invited by Sam Guillen and John Stenberg of Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices California Properties to speak to the team. From there, I went to Irvine, CA and end my week in San Jose, CA, where Robert Cruz will be installed as president of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals® (NAHREP) Silicon Valley. This week I also took the opportunity to finish my business plan for 2017 and will have my entire year mapped out by Saturday, Oct. 1.
Some might ask, a business plan in October? Yes, you read that right. Because over the decades I’ve worked in real estate, I’ve learned most real estate agents—and most companies—have a cash flow problem during January and February. The perennial issue makes sense when you understand that real estate works on a 90 day cycle; what you do today will pay off three months from now and concurrently, what you don’t do today will cause suffering and headache three months down the road.
That’s why it’s important to complete your 2017 business planning a full 90 days before the start of the New Year so that when Jan. 1 rolls around, you’ll be ready to hit the ground running.
But a warning: Don’t just review a draft of your business plan, tell yourself you’ll complete it in October and carry on with your day. Commit to business planning and then get it done!
Another important thing to consider as October draws near is how you’ll connect with current and future clients during all the parties, gatherings and events that take place between Halloween and New Year’s Eve. These celebrations present ideal opportunities to prospect for new clients, strengthen existing relationships and grow your business in the year ahead.
Remember to make a good first impression. A firm handshake, a positive attitude, a strong self-image and a smile go a long way when connecting with people. You can also connect with people through correspondence. You’d be amazed at how far a simple holiday card can take you!
For my own business strategy, I used to send out a holiday card in a very specific way and it had a huge impact on my business. Here’s what I did: I used a photo of my family and on the back, handwrote a personal holiday greeting to the recipient. I also handwrote every single envelope (no electronic labels here), used an actual holiday stamp and mailed the card on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving so it arrived in mailboxes on Black Friday, the busiest shopping day of the entire year. Why Black Friday? Because just as the rush of Christmas shopping begins (and people are in a consumer’s frame of mind) your card is the first thing they’ll see and you can bet they’ll hang that picture on their refrigerator or put it on their kitchen table and leave it there all throughout the holiday season.
So, what’s the message? Plan for 2017 right now. Complete your business plan, start hand writing your holiday cards and know that with real estate on a 90-day cycle, for us in this industry, the new year has already begun.