May 26th - 2014

Goal setting in real estate

With the arrival of spring, we are often filled with a sense of renewal. This is an ideal time to assess our business plan and set new goals.

Woman working on laptop

by Chris Salmans

Woman working on laptopWith the arrival of spring, we are often filled with a sense of renewal. This is an ideal time to assess our business plan and set new goals.

In life we regularly work towards goals, large or small. Sometimes we set goals without even realizing it. However, many of us struggle a few months after creating our goals as our motivation begins to fade. Haven’t we all experienced a feeling at the end of the year when the goals we so vigorously set 12 months ago have not been met? You may be familiar with the acronym SMART (specific, measurable, attainable, relevant and time-bound) as it relates to goals. But why do we so often fail to achieve our goals? I have found it incredibly helpful to try to identify my driving purpose, create an environment of accountability in my business, and seek daily inspiration to motivate me to achieve my goals.

Purpose -- Sometimes we fail to meet goals because we don't understand the real purpose behind them. It is vital to identify our underlying motivation or purpose -- why we want something. Without a strong purpose, we can easily flounder and lose focus. A great exercise to address this is to take two minutes and quickly write down everything that is important to you. Then circle the five most important items, look at the circled points and determine the most crucial one. Many people initially state that wealth is their top purpose. However, after they evaluate their priorities, those same people often realize that money is not their main driver. Like many things, money is just a vehicle for obtaining more intrinsic desires. For example, someone who says they want a family vacation may realize that their goal is not money, but the family time that could be bought with those extra funds. By identifying and acknowledging the underlying purpose behind your goals, you will stay focused and motivated.

Accountability -- Being self-employed as a REALTOR® has many wonderful benefits, flexibility being one of them. However, that flexibility can be accompanied by a lack of oversight or accountability. Our profession can be great for those with a high level of self-motivation, but I believe everyone can benefit from an environment of accountability. I love watching athletes compete in sports, and a common denominator for successful athletes is a coach who supports them behind the scene. Coaches bring a sense of objectivity as they push athletes in their training to reach their potential and meet goals. Not only do coaches provide encouragement, but they also bring a different perspective to assess performance. Similarly, real estate agents can thrive if they are willing to create conditions of accountability. Is there a manager or trainer in your office whom you could utilize as a coach? What about another REALTOR® willing to mentor you? Do you have a friend in another line of work who can check your progress regularly? Many professional coaches offer local services. Others may be willing to coach from a distance, online or by phone. Whatever route you choose, look for someone who will hold your feet to the fire and keep you on track to accomplish your goals.

Daily inspiration -- The challenges of the daily grind make it easy to get discouraged or distracted from our goals. My approach is to remind myself every day of my goals and driving purpose. I have created an inspiration board in my office that includes a family photo, a picture of the number of units I want to sell, and a photo of a place where I want to spend my next family vacation. Some people frame an inspirational quote, insert daily pop-ups on their phone or email, attend training sessions, listen to inspirational speakers, or read success stories by others. Be creative and look for ways to encourage and remind yourself every single day of what you aim to accomplish and why.

Setting and meeting goals is an essential part of a business plan in real estate. Did you accomplish your goals for the past 12 months? I encourage you to evaluate your goals carefully in the coming year and identify your driving purpose, create an environment of accountability for your business, and look for ways to find daily inspiration. Chris Salmans

Chris Salmans is a REALTOR® in Peterborough, Ontario. He recently served as a volunteer on the marketing and communication committee of the Ontario Real Estate Association. 

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