There is an ancient proverb that says failures don’t plan to fail; they simply fail to plan. Sadly, today many agents have thrown in the towel after investing months or even years learning this business. Many have had to leave a business they love because they failed to prepare properly.
It’s been said, “A goal without a plan is just a pipe dream.” I’ve met hundreds of agents who had a goal of business success, generally, but were absolutely without a clue as to how they would get there. How sad. The fact is that every single agent should have a business plan — after all, we are running a business. And I’m going to show you how I go about it. Maybe it will help you as you think about next year.
What if I gave you an actual step-by-step series of actions that are required to meet your personal business goals? Would you believe me if I told you that you could actually control your real estate destiny instead of real estate controlling your destiny? What if I told you that you could drive the car instead of being a passenger? Would you believe that? Okay, well would you like to believe it?
I’ll tell you what: I’ll share my methodology with you, and you decide. If afterwards you believe me, great. If not, you won’t hurt my feelings. If you build and follow your own plan the way I’m about to share with you, you will be successful. Wildly successful! Even in this economy. It’s really that simple. No kidding.
Now I’m not talking about a business plan like you would prepare to get a bank loan. I’m talking about an action plan that will tell you exactly, step-by-step, what you need to do every single day in order to achieve your goals. No stress. No endless wondering if you are doing the right thing. Just the simple recipe to hit your own business goals.
My method of planning is very simple. It has only two steps, and both steps are essential. Many agents will try to do step one, and skip step two. Others will try to skip to step two and neglect step one. Neither way will work. To be successful using my method, you need both steps.
Step One — Vision
Before you can begin any journey, it’s important to know where you’re going. Simple as that. Someone once said that, if you don’t know where you’re going, any direction will do. Well, I prefer to choose my destination. And having chosen where I’m going, I can then set out to build a systematic, step-by-step plan of how to get there.
Without a destination, how will you know when you arrive? You won’t. If you don’t have a specific, quantifiable goal, any result will do. If you don’t have an objective, any outcome will do. You must have a destination — a finish line — a finite, measurable, clearly defined objective. Why? Because, without one, you’re only wishing, and planning is not wishing.
I believe in the principle of vision. In order to achieve something, you have to see it first — not in the sense of seeing a physical reality, but of seeing the end result in your mind’s eye. And I’m not talking about some mind-over-matter scheme of somehow psyching yourself into super-achievement.
What I’m referring to is the simple principle that anything you create (in this case, your business) will be given life once you can see it clearly in your mind. The more clearly you see it, the likelier you are to achieve it.
In the 1950s Roger Bannister, a medical student at Oxford University, had a very specific goal: to break the 4-minute mile barrier in running. In those days, the 4-minute mile was considered by most athletes and the physiologists of that day to be unachievable. Nobody had ever done it. Therefore, it must be impossible.
But Roger was not convinced by the doubters. In fact, he was determined to achieve it – to break the 4-minute mile! So Roger approached his mission scientifically and deliberately, setting an intense workout program for himself with specific training scheduled for every single day. As he trained, he achieved several intermediate goals. Then one day it finally happened.
Roger ran the mile with a time of 3:59.4! Not only did he break the 4-minute barrier, but he shattered a psychological barrier as well. John Landy, considered one of the great milers of that era, had never gotten closer than within 1.5 seconds of the 4-minute barrier before. Yet within 46 days of Roger’s breakthrough, Landy surpassed the record with a 3:57.9, and by the end of that same year, 16 other runners had broken the 4-minute miles barrier.
Why could everyone run faster all of a sudden? Because after it could be seen, it could be achieved. What set Roger Bannister apart from the rest was his ability to see his goal clearly, even though it had never been accomplished before. He focused on his own vision and not on what he was told by those around him. He was able to accomplish the seemingly impossible because he allowed himself to see it very clearly, and then he methodically and scientifically took the steps required to achieve it.
Here is why I shared that story with you: It’s important to have as much detail as possible in your vision. Take the time to imagine your ideal real estate practice. Picture all the details. Dream until you see it all in your mind’s eye. Think of it as producing and starring in your own mental movie.
Now take the time to watch that movie again and again until you’ve memorized it. The more clearly you can picture your vision, the more likely you are to achieve it. Let me give you some practical examples of vision-driven performance. When I began in real estate, my vision included several objectives for my first year. I saw myself listing a property a week, and I told the agents in my office what I intended to do.
It started off slowly, but soon I was ahead of my objective, so I adjusted my vision to list 100 properties during my first twelve months. You know what? I failed to meet that new goal. I only listed 74. But in my first calendar year I listed 119 properties. Could I have done it without “seeing” it first? I don’t know. I doubt it. Vision drove me my success.
Here’s another example. I saw myself becoming the top listing agent in our market during my first year. I first saw it clearly in my mind, and I used that vision to move me forward until I accomplished my vision in less than six months. Could I have become the top listing agent in our market without having that vision? Maybe, but I doubt it. I do know one thing for sure: I did accomplish my objective, but only after I’d first seen it in my mind’s eye.
I could go on and on, but what’s important is that, if you can see it, you can achieve it. So take the time to get a clear picture of where you’d like to see your business in a year. Two years. Five years. Dream big! Imagine those goals as already a reality. And take the time to see the details.
When you see everything clearly, write it all down so you can refer back to it and use it to refresh your mind. I promise you that, if you do this, you’re on your way to becoming a success. In part two, I’m going to share with you how you turn this vision into reality. But don’t skip the vision. If you can see it, you can achieve it. If you can’t, you won’t.