Business Planning for the Year Ahead: Putting Growth Strategies in Place

Oct 13, 2019 by

This month’s National Association of REALTORS® Power Broker Roundtable discusses planning strategically for 2020.


Jim Imhoff
, Chairman, First Weber Real Estate, Madison, Wis., Liaison for Large Firms & Industry Relations, the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR)


Drayton Saunders
, President, Michael Saunders & Company, Sarasota, Fla.


Diane Glass, COO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices KoenigRubloff Realty Group, Chicago


Candace Adams, President & CEO, Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices New England Properties, Westchester Properties and New York Properties

Jim Imhoff:
Baseball Hall of Famer Yogi Berra once said, “If you don’t know where you’re going, you might wind up someplace else.” The Yankees superstar, whose quirky use of language was the butt of a thousand jokes, was right on the mark on this one. If you don’t map out your strategy for growth, you don’t stand much of a chance of getting anywhere, much less where you want to be. With 2020 right around the corner, the time is now for savvy brokers—and agents—to get business strategies in place. First question for the brokerage: Do we handle this internally, or do we pay an outside facilitator? Drayton?

Drayton Saunders: Brokers, like agents, are easily distracted by the next shiny penny—or, as some call it, by the next perceived “disruptor.” But if you’re going to grow, you need to stay focused—to keep your eye on the prize. It may be that an experienced outside facilitator can help identify the market trends and specific issues you need to address and map out workable strategies for dealing with them.

JI: I think some brokers are a little scared to bring in a facilitator. They think they can’t justify the cost, because it can run into thousands of dollars. But sometimes it takes a neutral, unbiased eye to see things as they are and identify what we need to do in order to grow. That can be critical for understanding not just the potential risk factors—the environmental scan, if you will—but what is commonly called “SWOT”: our strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats. Surveying those factors is the first step to strategizing—and putting down in black and white—how we will navigate through them.

Diane Glass: In the definitive business planning guideline we’ve developed, goal setting is critical. We’re using the MoxiWorks platform to keep us on track to increase profitability, recruitment and retention and to provide our agents with a CRM that leverages their strengths and gives them a working way forward: What should I do more of? What should I do less of? How can I best nurture long-term leads?

Candace Adams:
I think timing is essential. Our company business-planning process begins in late summer and is finalized in October. It goes to managers in early November, and they are charged with making certain every agent has a plan in place before the end of the year. All plans are flexible and modifiable, but everyone—even our top producers—needs to measure their strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats, and have a plan in place to aggressively address them.

JI: Who’s responsible for seeing these processes through? And what about accountability?

CA: Managers see that every agent has a formal plan in place, but we know that agents have different skill sets. We work in a very supportive environment, and results speak for themselves, of course—but we do schedule quarterly check-ups, and we adhere to that.

DS: Software like MoxiWorks helps agents stay on track, but accountability is key. Our managers are constantly monitoring. We don’t want to overwhelm our agents, but we do stay in touch. How are you doing? What do you need? What can we do to help?

DG: The value of a formal business plan is that it gives you a framework and a practical, hands-on process that helps you step back and look at what you’ve been doing, how you’ve been doing it, and how you can do it better—no matter the shiny pennies or disruptors.

JI: I think most brokers are diligent about helping agents plan and stay on track. But the path to growth starts with the brokerage. Who keeps us on track? In our company, we do an annual agent survey—a review by our agents to determine how we, as a company, are doing to support and inspire their success. We want them to rate our training programs, our information technology and our face-to-face support. We typically get a response from more than 70 percent of our agents, and they don’t pull any punches. It’s revealing—and it’s a good way to measure our accountability as a brokerage so we can strategize the best ways forward for the company and for the agent.

CA: We all want our agents to be thorough and professional—to go the extra mile and do it the right way, every time—and I agree, that starts with the brokerage.

DS: Which brings us back to the premise: A comprehensive business plan—for both the company and the agent—is the first step toward energizing growth.

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How to Finish the Year Strong

Sep 6, 2019 by

What you do now will determine how you close out this year and kick-start next year. As we head into the fourth quarter, the time is now to put actions in place that will help you hit your goals, finish this year strong and start next on amazing footing.

Let’s take a look at four ways you can put that in motion!

First, close those circles. When you have unfinished projects and things in your life, it zaps your energy and robs you of bandwidth you need to accomplish big things. Like that junk drawer in the kitchen that tugs at your energy every time you walk by it—we have things in our business life that do the same thing. This week take the Warren Buffett approach and choose 1-3 things that are tugging at you and knock them off the to-do list. When you do, you’ll have a sense of accomplishment that will boost your energy, rather than drain it.

Second, do a tech checkup. Top producers understand that tech tools are literally powering their real estate businesses. From apps to CRMs to virtual staging and photography tools, learn what tools your competitors are using to help them soar past their competition.

Third, build your listing inventory. Seriously, I can’t urge you strongly enough to put all systems in place to build your listing inventory. I get that inventory is tight across the country. In fact, it’s one of the top concerns I hear from both agents and brokers. Having the right skills and lead sources to take more listings is key.

Fourth, make those calls. To build your listing inventory before the new year, you’re going to have to put in the prospecting time. I recommend you set aside at least one hour every other day to pick up the phone and make those calls. You can call lead sources such as FSBOs and Expireds, and also your sphere of influence—friends, family, colleagues, acquaintances. Strike up that real estate conversation. You may want to offer something of value such as a Home Value Report or a Neighborhood Market Report. We’ve got dialogues for just about every lead source opportunity there is in our classroom—check them out today and hit the phones.

These are great habits and strategies to put in place every month that will help you create a success track that you can stick to!  You can do this! We’re here to help.

Darryl Davis, bestselling author of “How to Become a Power Agent in Real Estate and owner of Darryl Davis Seminars, has trained and coached over 100,000 real estate professionals around the globe for more than 27 years. He is the founder of the Next Level® real estate training system, The Power Program®, which has helped agents double their production over their previous year. For more information, and the new agent tools that can help take you to your Next Level®, please contact or visit

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Fed: Rates Increased for Second Time This Year

Jun 13, 2018 by

As predicted by all officials, the Fed raised rates for the second time in 2018—from 1.75 percent to 2 percent. The remainder of 2018 and 2019 may see more gradual hikes, with analysts predicting two more increases by year’s end in order to curb future inflation concerns following reports of a strong labor market and economic conditions.

“In view of realized and expected labor market conditions and inflation, the Committee decided to raise the target range for the federal funds rate to 1-3/4 to 2 percent. The stance of monetary policy remains accommodative, thereby supporting strong labor market conditions and a sustained return to 2 percent inflation,” according to a Fed statement.

“Consistent with its statutory mandate, the Committee seeks to foster maximum employment and price stability,” the statement continued. “The Committee expects that further gradual increases in the target range for the federal funds rate will be consistent with sustained expansion of economic activity, strong labor market conditions and inflation near the Committee’s symmetric 2 percent objective over the medium term.”

Indicators point to a healthy market with a declining unemployment rate and strong job gains.

“Job gains have been strong, on average, in recent months, and the unemployment rate has declined. Recent data suggest that growth of household spending has picked up, while business fixed investment has continued to grow strongly. On a 12-month basis, both overall inflation and inflation for items other than food and energy have moved close to 2 percent. Indicators of longer-term inflation expectations are little changed, on balance,” according to a Fed statement.

The impact on mortgage rates? The cost of borrowing may continue to rise from the current average of 4.54 percent for a 30-year fixed rate mortgage, which dipped for the second consecutive week according to Freddie Mac—a short-term departure from the recent string of increases and which led to a 4 percent increase in purchase applications.

“We are still in the middle innings of rising interest rates; consumers should expect another three or four rounds of interest rate increases over the next 18 months” said Lawrence Yun, chief economist of the National Association of REALTORS® (NAR), in a statement. “Mortgage rates will consequently continue to nudge higher. Fortunately, the economy is strong and wages are rising. If housing supply can be increased through more home building, then the negative impact of rising interest rates can be mitigated.”

Dominguez_Liz_60x60_4cLiz Dominguez is RISMedia’s associate content editor. Email her your real estate news ideas at For the latest real estate news and trends, bookmark

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