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Monday, February 7, 2011

Find Success in the New Year

Find Success in the New Year
The new year is typically a time of personal renewal and anticipation for things to come. If you want to get off to a solid start and sustain your energy level through 2011, you should practice these three habits.
By Dirk Zeller | January 2011

There is nothing like tearing off the calendar page and exposing the clear, open road of a new year ahead. The anticipation and expectation of success is high. For self-motivated professionals, their energy level and willingness to engage in new, productive actions is at the forefront of their minds.

Here are three steps to sustain those feelings and that energy throughout the year so you can finish with the same level you’re starting with right now:

Construct a Numbers-Based Business Plan

I realize some of you reading this might already have this in place, or think you do. But I have found few practitioners and brokers really construct a quality business plan annually, and fewer still review it regularly.

The question I would ask is: Does it go far enough? Is the plan broken down at least to the number of appointments you need for the listing side and buyer side of the business? How many listing appointments do you need? What is the typical conversion rate on the leads you generate per source? (That also should be factored into your business plan.) What are your core objectives and projects for the year?

Start Every Day With a Clean Slate

Treat each day as if the sales board was blank. The best salespeople realize they have to get up and find new clients every day. They still focus on serving the clients they have well, but they’re always on the lookout for new ones. Don’t look at the board with your listings and sales on it. Treat today as a day where you are at zero and you need to find a new client to serve.

Evaluate Your Work Rhythm

Most people have a rhythm to how they work most effectively. There are two core areas to evaluate:

The time during the day when you’re most effective.
The length of work weeks before a break or vacation is needed.

Let’s look at the first. When do you have more energy, intensity, and focus? When does your mind react the quickest, and when do you tend to stay on task? This block of time is where you should be putting the most challenging, valuable, and important actions for your business. For a salesperson, those are the lead-generating actions of the business, where you align your best time with your highest-dollar actions.

The second area is length of time we can work in weeks before we lose our edge. In today’s market, the margin for error with clients and prospects has shrunk to the smallest level I have seen in more than 20 years. If you’re just a bit off of your “A” game, it can cost you a lot in terms of income. How many weeks can you work before you need a break? How long of a break do you need to recharge your batteries? Do you need a whole week, or do a few days away take care of it?

When I discovered this it really transformed my work intensity and quality. I recognized that I could really work about nine weeks with really high intensity. After that point, I had lost the edge; my effectiveness started to trail off. With each following week, it got progressively worse. I needed four days — completely unplugged — to have a full recharge.

Interestingly, I now need five days. This change could be due to aging, more children, or the added complexity of business today. Any number of factors contribute to the amount of time actually needed to recharge, including the advent of smartphones, social media, and the highly connected world we live in. It is harder to truly unplug today than before, but it’s probably more important than ever before, too. You have to know your rhythm to boost your production, effectiveness, and energy level throughout the year.

The key to a better year is carrying the feelings, excitement and passion you have to the end of 2011. The longer you can extend it into the new year, the higher the odds you will achieve the goals you have set.

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