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2008-12-10 23:59:42

The Foolproof Sales Plan For 2009

“A fool with a plan can outsmart a genius with no plan.” T. Boone Pickens

You may have seen Mr. Pickens on TV lately, pushing his new energy plan. He seems to me like a straight shooter who’s got plenty of good ideas and a lot of first-rate common sense.

That’s one reason I shared his quote (and I have a couple more for you later.)

We all know there are many things in life that just don’t add up to what they’re made out to be. But one thing I’ve learned while helping Realtors improve their businesses is that planning isn’t one of them. The bottom line of T. Boone’s quote is this: planning can even make a fool smarter.

That’s why I recommend that if you do just one thing to prepare for a prosperous 2009, make sure it’s to create a sales plan. And I’ll help you get started here. Because all indications are that 2009 will continue to look the way 2008 looked.

But before I get into planning tips, I want to say something about attitude. Sure, the market may not be what you want it to be, but complaining isn’t going to do one iota to change things. And I also suggest not calling this real estate market bad. Instead, call it a new market. No one wants to be around negative people, and if you’re calling things bad, you’re being negative. Period.

Now, here are a few key tips to get ’09 off to a great start:

Stay focused on what matters.

I promised another T. Boone quote and here it is: “When you’re hunting elephants, don’t get distracted chasing rabbits.” If you’ve read any of my previous articles you may have seen what I call dollar-productive activities: Listing, prospecting, selling and negotiating. If you’re putting anything else in your 2009 sales plan, you’re “chasing rabbits.”

Optimize your lead management.

Add to your plan ways to improve how you manage your leads. And look for specific ways to add urgency to handling those leads. We know, for example, that if you respond to a lead within 15 minutes, you have an 85 percent chance of connecting with that lead.

Improve your sales technique.

 ‘Oh but Bob, I’ve been selling real estate for 20 years, I don’t have room to get better.’ Believe me, I’ve heard that one before. You know what Tiger Woods does after a round of golf. He practices. If Tiger needs practice, we all need practice! Build into your plan at least three classes, seminars or workshops that have to do with improving your sales technique. (And if you’re a broker, make continuing education in sales a must.)

Perform a SWOT analysis.

While looking at 2009, consider (and write down) your Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities and Threats. Seek ways to use and capitalize on your strengths and opportunities, and improve and overcome your weaknesses and threats. If you’re thorough and honest in this exercise, you’ll not only find it useful, but also objective.   

I’d like to leave you with this final tip: Have someone hold you accountable to your plan. I know Realtors are an independent lot, but having someone, a coach, a colleague, a mentor or friend offer feedback, support and assistance, I think, is one the most important parts of any sales plan.

So I’ll end with another T. Boone quote: “Work eight hours and sleep eight hours, and make sure that they are not the same eight hours.”

Best of luck to you and yours for a happy and healthy 2009!

Bob Corcoran is a nationally recognized speaker and author who is founder and president of Corcoran Consulting Inc. ,  an international consulting and coaching company that specializes in performance coaching and the implementation of sound business systems into the residential or commercial broker or agent’s existing practice. They can be reached at 1-800-957-8353.

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