Find Your Freedom

The Why, What and How of the Entrepreneur’s Business Plan

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Over the past three weeks, with the aid of technology, I had the privilege to kick off the annual United Real Estate business planning workshops with hundreds of real estate agents from across the U.S. in attendance.  It is very satisfying to aid so many entrepreneurial individuals in understanding that freedom in business and in life is having the ability to do what you are supposed to do.  The essence of a successful plan goes beyond spreadsheets and a mission statement.  Everyone is familiar with the celebrated success stories of the start-up entrepreneur’s technology business that quickly made them rich.  We are also aware that most businesses don’t succeed past 5 years and the odds are stacked against the individual start-up. A lot of factors make up the difference between succeeding and failing in business. However, all successful entrepreneurs have a common theme to their planning process. They recognize they are not just building a business, they are creating a lifestyle.

While the projected sales numbers and profits that make up the forecast and budget of a business plan are in everyone’s game plan for success, the individuals who breakout from their competition have more than just a strategy and spreadsheets.  What successful entrepreneurs recognize is that when you open a business, particularly a real estate business, you can’t easily separate the business from you, the individual. The Why, What and How of building a plan is not just about your business, it’s also about your life story and it all starts with answering with definitive knowledge and having very specific answers to these three questions. The answers combine passion with knowledge and precise action plans that justify the hours you work, and put to ease the initial uncertainty that is part of owning your own business.

The Why – To grow a business you have to do things that are at first uncomfortable. To build new success habits you must know what you have to look forward to in the future in order to stay motivated in the present.  You have to ask yourself not only why potential customers should do business with you, but why you are personally in business. If you are like most entrepreneurs you left the certainty of a paycheck for the freedom of being your own boss.  The freedom of working for yourself also brings with it uncertainty. Your Why to take on this risk and then insure your success has to be really big. You are not just looking at what your life is today but what it can be in 5 years and also in 20 years. Done correctly, answering your Why will set the goals for your business.

The What – After you understand your true Why, then, and only then, are you ready to move to the What. Following this path greatly increases the likelihood that you will succeed. You must have a rock solid reason as to why you are going to keep striving and pushing past the setbacks that are inherently part of building a business. Goals tell us what to get, not what to do. The best sales people set goals that are not just about the outcome, but the process to get to the outcome. It is here you answer the universal equation of success for all entrepreneurs. What is the market opportunity for your business?

Total number of potential clients * conversion rate + past customers + referrals = Income

The How – The dream is known, the goal is set. It’s time to lay out your strategy on what methods you are going to deploy to reach your potential clients. The key to executing this part of your plan is knowledge and commitment.  You need to know how to reach your customers, how to communicate with them, how to stay in touch with them, and how to sell to them. To be successful as an entrepreneur you will have to commit to performing these activities for a very long time.  This requires you to continually invest in building your potential client list and also developing your personal skills. The business environment will always be changing and you have to adapt to utilize new technologies and adapt to new trends to modernize your business. Becoming a market expert will not be enough, you will also have to learn how to develop the invisible traits of determination, persistence, grit and personal accountability.

Building a business that will support the lifestyle you desire is a skill to be mastered, not just pursued. A great question to ask yourself is, have you spent more money on Starbucks this year or on your personal development? After all, true freedom is reached when you realize you are empowered to do what you are supposed to do to create your ideal life, not just what you want to do. To learn more about how to implement a plan to raise your income in real estate and improve your lifestyle, join us at the 2017 United Real Estate Convention.

All the best!

Peter

How the Three C’s of Selling Will Boost Your Income

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The sales profession is one of the largest occupational groups in the United States. It is estimated that over 15 million people work in sales related jobs.  In the real estate industry there are currently over 1.2 million Realtors. Across all industries, sales is a very competitive occupation, and one that allows the top performers to be highly compensated.

Being in sales is very similar to running your own business and in commission based sales occupations, such as working as a real estate agent, you are in-fact running your own business.  In any entrepreneurial role you must have daily habits that will ensure you manage your time effectively.  Moving past the general sales training that is made available to all individuals in a selling occupation, there are certain skills that top performers have developed that have made them excel. Here are the three “C’s” that are not taught in sales training courses and make up the intrinsic skills that separate the top 5% of sales performers from their counterparts.

Caring – All successful sales people have come to understand that they should listen to their potential clients more and speak less when they are meeting with them.  This becomes the formula for any successful sales person in both Business to Business sales and Business to Consumer sales. It is the basis for being a highly paid advisor as opposed to a sales rep. Not only do the top sales people ask more questions of their potential clients, they listen better.  Their listening skills are superior to others who just hear but don’t really understand the needs of their buyers. The top sales people have empathy for their potential clients and are able to understand the buyer’s problems or their unmet goals.  They relate to their feelings in a way that allows them to become trusted with helping the buyer reach a new level of satisfaction by guiding them to solve their problems with the solutions they have to offer.

Candor – A top sales person will focus initially on the buyers needs and not on the services they are offering. When the buyer realizes the seller cares about their problems and why those problems matter, the sales person becomes a trusted advisor.  A trusted advisor, in comparison to someone who is just selling a product, earns the right to be straight forward and honest with the potential buyer. Top sales professionals not only ask more questions than their counterparts, they also ask better questions. More developed questions stimulate thought by the buyer of what their unmet needs or desires truly are. The top sales pros do not worry about losing rapport with a buyer, as they have established trust. When you care about your profession and develop a trusted relationship with your buyer, the ability to ask them difficult questions about why they are doing things in a certain way is earned. This honest dialogue is respected by the buyer.  The odds that the buyer will choose your services or product over a competitors greatly favors the sales person who has the ability to have candid conversations with potential buyers.

Competence – Most sales professionals know how their products or services function and how they can fit a buyer’s needs.  The difference between top sales people and others is the top performers know how their services or products solve the specific problems of the buyer they are working with today. Top sales people are not generalists, they are experts in their field. This means they know more about the future of an individual buyer’s business or investments than their client does. In order to gain this expertise, the top sales professionals spend the time necessary to study their industry and work on developing their own personal skills. This gives them more experience, which allows the top sales person to express that knowledge using a question based methodology, therefore putting the buyer’s needs at the forefront.

To boost your income and separate yourself from your competition, it is not enough to commit to only completing your company’s standard sales training or your industries continuing education requirements. The key to long lasting sales success is mastering the three C’s of selling. Be certain to commit yourself to continued learning opportunities. To learn more about boosting your income in real estate to a new level, join us at the 2017 Unitedpalooza.

All the best!

Peter

How the Happiness Advantage Can Break the 80/20 Rule and Lead You to Success

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Across the United States, entrepreneurs are planning for the New Year.  2017 will be upon us in less than 60 days, and we know there will be changes in elected officials with different agendas on the national and local level. The economy may get better, it may not. We can take the predictions from the experts with a grain of salt and arrive at the safe conclusion that they are all right, and they are all wrong. Large nations and large corporations are complicated. The people who run these institutions were created as complex beings, but ones who were designed to succeed.

What everyone should have learned over the past twenty years is that industries will change, careers will change, technology will change, and to have success in life and business, you will have to make changes along the way to grow. Very few predicted the extent of the Internet boom in the late 1990’s and subsequent crash in 2001, which was then followed by the attacks on 9/11.  The steady housing growth post the dot.com crash, followed by the housing boom that defied historical growth patterns ended up turning into a severe recession by year end 2007. Regardless of the changes, there will be companies and individuals who will thrive.

As individuals, we have control over how our lives and careers will turn out. Accepting these truths is good progress. Having a process to follow for success will turn progress into a great life. Having success in your personal and professional life in 2017, just like past economic times, will be a matter of choice. You decide that it is important to have a dream and take the right action to achieve the dream. This requires performing the tasks of proper goal setting, planning, and developing certain personal traits including faith and determination. You also must decide to have personal accountability be a part of your daily life.

We are at a critical time right now where many young people are discouraged about their prospects for long-term success. With all that we have learned about success, most of us need a new map to help us stay on the correct path to succeeding. Take for instance, the tested 80-20 rule that originated in economics after an observation by an Italian economist named Vilfredo Pareto who correctly correlated in 1906 the fact that 20% percent of the population controlled 80% of the wealth. This theory became known as the “Pareto Principle” and was later observed to hold true in other aspects of life, starting in the business world where companies noticed that 20% of their customers accounted for 80% of their profits. It was later taken into further detail with the notion that 20% of sales people accounted for 80% of the sales for any given company. This 80-20 rule in sales has proven to be occurring despite the decades of research and significant investment companies made in time and money for general sales and personal development training to make their sales people productive. When you currently speak to businesses and economic leaders about this basic principle they all overwhelmingly point to the 80-20 rule moving to a 90-10 rule when it comes to the percentage of people who make the majority of the income, have the majority of the wealth, and in breaking it down further the smaller percentage of people who now in their everyday life are succeeding. It has always been difficult to break out of the 80-20 rule, and in the new connected economy, it has gotten even harder. We are at a point in time where half the people working are dissatisfied with their careers, and also at a time where half the businesses which open, end up failing. These statistics don’t include living an abundant and full life.

The question is, how do you find the most relevant information that will help you break out of the patterns that are keeping you from reaching a new level of success? The world is a crowded place with a lot of messaging. However, science and the understanding of the specific human needs we all have to meet to obtain fulfillment have come a long way. You just have to fight through the noise and the distractions to find the correct path.

One breakthrough study demonstrating how work performance can be increased came from a Harvard Psychologist who specializes in Positive Psychology and developing positive mindsets.  In his book The Happiness Advantage, Shawn Achor changed traditional thinking. We believe we should work hard in order to be happy, but he postulated that we are thinking about it backwards.  In a fast-moving and very funny Ted talk, he argues that, actually, happiness inspires us to be more productive. Take a few minutes to unwind from the election and enjoy the motivating, empowering truth behind the science that proves we are in control of our future. Click Here! 

To borrow from United Real Estate’s convention keynote speaker Mel Robbins, “What consumes your mind, controls your life.” As you put your plan together for 2017, know that you have within you the ability to create the business, career and life you want.  Starting with the right mindset is a good place to begin. To learn more about how attending the United convention can help you achieve your goals in 2017 please visit our Convention page.

All the best!

Peter