There's an old saying that "what gets measured, gets managed". And at the beginning of your property career, a lot needs to be managed - from the way you prospect and follow-up, to the way you manage the handover of a property.
Without a clear system of measurement, you won't be able to pinpoint where you need to improve, or even if you're actually performing better at all. Here's how to do it:
1. Your milestones should be breaking your goal into small, achievable steps; they should not be the goal in themselves
A milestone such as "become a millionaire" is next to useless. That may well be the goal, but the milestones should break the goal into smaller steps - such as raising income to $X by the end of the first year, and another 10 per cent higher the next, etc.
It is a common mistake though, to mistake milestones as a form of large scale goal setting. Don't confuse the two: the milestones are not the overall goal, but the small increments towards it.
The other advantage to breaking goals into milestones is that it forces you to think through a systematic plan of action. It's more productive to think about how to reach the next milestone, than to fantasize about reaching the goal.
2. Milestones must be quantifiable
By quantifying your milestones, you can tell how near or far your methods are taking you, and which of your efforts have the biggest pay-off
If your milestones aren't in a spreadsheet, or consist of no numbers, you're doing it wrong.
Saying you "conducted more viewings" this month is not a milestone. Saying you conducted two more viewings every week, and now manage three a week on average, which is an improvement of two over last quarter is a milestone.
This is important because it saves you money (no, really). For example, say you spent most of last month advertising in newspapers and magazines, whereas you're going to spend most of this month advertising on a property portal.
How many more inquiries did you get this month, versus the previous? If you spent $100 on the portal, to get 10 inquiries this month, that's $10 per prospect. If you spent $200 on a magazine ad to get five inquiries last month, that's $40 per prospect.
Your next few milestones can be to get it down to $8 per prospect, and then $5 per prospect, and so forth. This is only possible if you're quantifying results, however, and monitoring them over time.
3. Use bench marking when setting your milestones
Benchmarks help you estimate how much better or worse you're doing, compared to the median - and it helps you work out realistic targets.
Rather than set your milestones in isolation, take a look around and see what others are achieving. For example, how long should you be taking to close a deal? If real estate agents in your group are closing one deal every two months, then this is a way to benchmark yourself against them.
This ensures that you're not setting unrealistic milestones, or that you're not setting milestones so easy to reach there's no point in having them. This is especially true when you're considering adjusting milestones downward.
(E.g. if you intended to have two appointments per week, but you're only getting one per month, should you lower your targets? Having a benchmark will help you to decide. You want to at least not go below the average!)
As a bonus, trying to find out these details forces you to look more closely at your industry, and what others are doing.
As to how you get data to benchmark yourself against, that comes down to having good mentors, who can give you a detailed picture of the real estate market. Come talk to us at Navis Living Group, where we can provide in-depth knowledge and experience to aid your progress.
4. Don't just use the number of deals you close as milestones
You can also set milestones based on time. For example, aim to use different processes for handling paperwork, and see if you can cut down the time spent without losing accuracy.
You can also benchmark things other than closed cases. For example, check out how much advertising it takes the average agent in your group to get an inquiry; or check out how many hours are spent on paperwork. These all give you milestones for which you can set improvements.
Achieving small milestones, such as enhancing efficiency and reducing paperwork by an hour each week, can eventually lead to significant advantages. Consider setting milestones related to factors beyond the number of sales closed, such as time saved during your processes or the additional hours available to spend with your family.
5. Milestones should be tracked over longer periods, not just month by month
Do set milestones for long term achievements as well, such as annual targets, and track them over a longer period.
Would you say a particular property is a good deal just because its value rose this month? Or that rental is a bad idea because the market was soft just for the past three months?
Of course not - more than any others, property agents should know the importance of long term tracking. The same applies to your milestones. You shouldn't just be looking at them on a month-by-month basis. Review the numbers - including past numbers - every six months.
Some patterns take a longer time to emerge. For example, you may not realise the importance of holding events or seminars, as it's a slow burn (attendees may contact you a year or two later, after they heard you speaking).
The longer the time period in which you set and track milestones, the more clarity you'll have on which sales methods / strategies work. The quality of your data is improved by time.
Finally, remember that milestones can and should change.
Milestones shouldn't be cast in stone. It's important to anticipate adjustments as your career progresses and as you gain insights into your strengths and weaknesses. The crucial aspect of milestones is to ensure that you don't cease tracking them.
It can be tedious to open up spreadsheets and update them; but without your milestones, you're essentially trying to build a house without any blueprints. A subtle but powerful trait of top agents is that they always know what they're trying to achieve, every day.
Searching for great real estate career mentorship to shorten your learning curve?
Drop Stuart and his leaders a WhatsApp at 96919907 if you would like to find out more about his team or attend the next career seminar!
Stuart Chng, Executive Group District Director at Huttons, is a renowned leader and personality in the real estate industry.
He adores music and can play a few instruments decently without upsetting his neighbours. When not doing so, he enjoys pillow fighting with his son and coming up with silly puns which barely amuses his wife.
Professionally, he is a licensed real estate agent, investor, team leader, speaker and columnist for several property newsletters and blogs and is often quoted in media interviews on 938FM, Channel 8, PropertyReport, PropertyGuru and other publications.
Throughout his career, he has helped many clients grow their wealth through selecting great property investments and managing their portfolios actively. Read his clients' reviews here.
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