It was Benjamin Franklin who famously said, “failing to plan is planning to fail.” Goal setting is perhaps one of the most important strategies for any business owner. Real estate agents are no exception. Whether you’re a lead broker or an agent on a real estate team, your success depends on the strategy you put in place.
Setting goals is easier said than done. However, real estate agents can use the SMART method to create realistic and specific goals, determine how to achieve them, and then measure the outcomes with relative ease. Today, we’re showing you how to use the SMART method to create goals that will help your business thrive.
Why Goals Are Important to Business
All business owners want to experience forward progress. But without a plan, there can be no progress. Setting a goal is like moving the finish line further towards the horizon. You know where you’re going, you know how you’re going to get there, and once you cross that finish line, you’ll marvel at how far you’ve come.
We know that goal-setting is essential for all areas of our life, including our real estate businesses. Setting goals allows us to fine-tune our intentions and guides our thoughts and actions towards the desired result. Multiple studies have proven that goal setting is closely linked with higher performance, higher self-esteem, and greater success.
Goal setting signals our brains that change is on the way. Sometimes, achieving desired results requires us to change our behaviors which, as we all know, isn’t easy to do. However, when we set goals with intention and constantly remind ourselves of those desired outcomes, we are more likely to change our habits and behaviors. When we change our habits, we create new neuropathways in our brains, leading to more favorable outcomes.
The SMART Method
There are many ways to set your professional goals. However, one of the most popular is the SMART Method. By creating goals that are realistic and time-sensitive, you have more chance of seeing short-term success.
For instance, setting a lofty goal like “increase my sales over the next five years” isn’t a bad goal. In fact, it’s wise to have long-term plans for your business. But it’s not specific enough, and the “finish line” is five years away. By then, your plans – or even your entire life – may look much different.
In contrast, creating a goal like, “Use a new marketing tool to reach 50 potential clients by the end of this quarter” is measurable, specific, and time-sensitive. It’s a smaller, more manageable goal that helps you narrow your focus. Additionally, measurable goals are easier to achieve. Your brain loves the positive reinforcement it gets when you achieve a goal. Therefore, you’ll be more likely to continue setting goals and working toward them.
Creating goals for your real estate business doesn’t have to be complicated. Start with something relatively minor. Using the SMART method, think about what you want to achieve professionally in the near future, then use the framework to build out those goals.
S – Specific
Getting specific allows you to narrow in on a particular action. When writing this piece of your goal, start with a verb (an action word) that might impact your business:
Think of the “S” as the mission statement of your goal. What is it you want to achieve? This isn’t the place for talking about how you’ll accomplish this goal; it’s just stating the goal in specific terms.
Try to answer as many of the “W” questions as possible in this section: Who, What, When, Where, and Why.
Examples might include:
- Invest $3,000 into a new marketing strategy targeted at millennial first-time buyers.
- Implement a new safety and security plan for team members.
- Update my existing website by the end of the quarter to include IDX integration and updated content.
- Hire a buyers’ agent who has at least two years’ experience in our local market.
M – Measurable
Now that you have a goal in mind, determine how you will determine when you’ve met this goal. That is, what benchmarks must you reach in order to feel this goal is accomplished?
For instance, in the first example above, you might consider the goal completed once you spend $3,000. Or, you might consider one new millennial buyer a success. Whatever benchmark you decide, make it detailed. Don’t leave room for ambiguity. Set a clear finish line, so you’ll know exactly when you’ve crossed that threshold.
A – Achievable
Now that you’ve set your goal, check that it’s attainable and achievable. Is this goal well within your capabilities, given your skills, financial means, etc.? Are you in control of this goal, or are you setting a goal that relies heavily on others?
Take a close look at your current schedule. Do you have time to dedicate to achieving this goal? Do you need more training before you can reach this goal? Do you feel that this goal is possible within the timeframe and parameters you set? Will you need help reaching this goal, or can you complete the tasks alone?
While it’s important to stretch yourself and move towards progress and growth, it’s also vital to set realistic expectations. Make sure your goal is something you can attain without stretching yourself too thin or taking unnecessary personal, professional, or financial risks.
R – Relevant
Take a look at the goal you’ve written. Is it relevant to your real estate business as a whole? Does it align with the brokerage firm’s overall goals and practices? Does it align with your personal and professional values?
Ask yourself these questions:
- Does this goal make sense based on what I’m already doing?
- Is this the right time to make these changes?
- Does this goal match my firm’s larger purpose and long-term goals?
- Does this align with my personal and professional values?
If you can’t answer “yes” to these questions, you may want to go back to the drawing board.
T – Time-Based
Don’t leave your goal open-ended. The SMART Method requires an end date. Give yourself a realistic deadline, but make sure you have a timeframe to achieve this goal.
Again, make sure this timeline is realistic and achievable. Setting a deadline of three weeks to completely revamp your safety plan is probably unrealistic and will only set you up for disappointment. Instead, consider your current schedule and the time necessary to complete the task. Then, set a deadline that you feel you can meet successfully.
Acting on Your Goals
The SMART Method certainly helps you develop professional goals, but only you can act on them and bring them to fruition. Once you have clear goals in mind, you can increase your chances of success by taking the following actions:
Write Them Down
One study found that those who write down their goals were 33% more likely to achieve them than those who merely thought about their goals. Keep these written goals somewhere you can look at them often and remind yourself what you’re working toward.
Share Them with Your Team
Sharing your SMART Method goals with a co-worker, fellow agent, or brokerage team increases accountability. Ask those around you to ask about your progress and keep you on track.
Visualize the Result
Athletes often use visualization to picture themselves performing flawlessly and reaching their ideal outcome. But visualization doesn’t need to be kept on the field. Visualization in a business setting can be just as valuable.
Take a moment to close your eyes and picture what will happen when you reach your goal. How will you feel? Whom might it impact? How might you view yourself and your business differently?
Review Your Goals Often
It’s okay to change your goals. Life happens. Business slows (or gets too crazy to focus on much else). Make it a point to review your goals every so often, assessing whether or not they’re still realistic and achievable. Make changes as necessary, regroup, and keep moving towards that finish line.