Prepare For A Year We Can’t Predict
2023 will be like driving at night – time to get your headlights ready
Byline Scott Selverian, Licensed Realtor and Strategic Services Manager at Sierra Interactive
It’s a truth often repeated in our industry: what you do in Q4 of this year can, to a large degree, determine the success you’ll have in the year to come. So what can you do now to prepare for 2023, when it remains unclear what direction the shifting market will take? While the market looks different than it did 12 months — or even six months — ago, there are a few simple but critical steps you should take to set yourself up for success. Because, like a car creeping up in your side mirror, 2023 is closer than it may appear.
Audit your business
I’m a licensed Realtor, and I was also a longtime coach in the industry. One of the first questions I‘d ask my clients was, “What is the source of your business?” If you don’t know where your business is coming from, you can’t double down on what’s working or make improvements on what’s not.
Whether you’re a solo agent or you lead a team, you should also ask yourself how you can help your agents — and yourself — be more successful. You likely don’t want to be in front of the computer all day, bogged down by technology. Which solutions will help you be more productive, accountable and enable you to better prioritize leads?
Make sure you can identify what’s driving growth in your business from lead sources to agent productivity. If you can’t, you need to reevaluate your tech stack in favor of a CRM that can help maximize your investment.
Analyze the data
Second, conduct deeper analysis to understand performance over time so you can make business decisions on budget, marketing, and recruitment strategies. The analytics you pay attention to might vary based on whether you’re a broker or a team lead. My colleague Phillip Clift, licensed Realtor and Sierra Interactive’s Training and Education Manager, breaks it down this way:
“Team leads should be focused on agent activity, like the number of prospecting phone calls made and answered, and the number of listing or buyer appointments booked. Brokers should look at the money spent on each lead source, the number of leads generated and gross commission income for each lead source to measure ROI. Brokers should also analyze how long it took to convert each lead by source, as well as SEO effectiveness and engagement on their site and social media channels.”
Adjust your strategies
Next, adjust your plans and budget to prioritize the most effective strategies and tools while leaving room for experimentation. Determine whether or not your technology is growing with you (and the market) and whether your tools can support you now and in the future.
“Brokers and team leaders should look at each lead source and make adjustments to the marketing budget,” says Clift. “Based on market trends or other findings, you may need to revisit lead sources you overlooked in the past. This is also when brokers should look at systems in place, including CRMs, IDX sites, lead follow-up systems, lead-generating systems, and agent recruiting systems.”
Keep in mind: Big decisions require data over a longer period of time than you might think. While today’s market looks different from last year, that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t do a year-over-year comparison or track several years’ worth of lead trends. In fact, Crystal Nosal, Sierra’s Digital Marketing Team Manager, warns that making abrupt changes to your advertising budget based on too little data is short-sighted.
“One of the most common mistakes I see clients make when adjusting ad spend is that they make big, rapid decisions based on very little data,” Nosal explains. “Most leads who register on a website take 12 to18 months to nurture into a full sale, meaning it would take at least two to three years of data to properly audit the success of these lead sources. Some Realtors also stop ads based on cost-per-lead (CPL) metrics, even though that metric fluctuates throughout the year. It’s difficult to make data-driven decisions if you’re only looking at month-to-month CPL.”
As always, the goal for Q4 is to finish the year strong and to start to build next year’s pipeline. Armed with insight from your business audit and analysis, you’ll be better equipped to make strategic adjustments and decisions on how to gain market share to generate more qualified buyers and list more homes.