Whether you’re a new real estate broker or an industry veteran, you may be wondering how to set professional objectives -- either for yourself or for your larger team. By using the SMART goal-setting strategy, you’ll be able to create ones that can help increase your productivity and stay focused on your ambitions and aspirations.
Not sure where to begin? Our tips and examples of business goals can help you achieve real and measurable success as a real estate broker.
What Are SMART Business Goals?
Goals are an invaluable tool for keeping yourself motivated and focused as you go about your day to day. However, not all goals are created equal, and poorly designed ones can quickly lead you and your team off-course if you’re not careful. That’s where the S.M.A.R.T. acronym comes in: It’s a simple, yet highly effective strategy for creating both short- and long-term goals that provide you with structure and focus, which can ultimately translate into success.
The SMART acronym stands for:
- S pecific
- M easurable
- A chievable
- R ealistic (or sometimes Relevant)
- T ime-bound
Below, we’ll explain what each part of the acronym signifies in terms of creating goals, as well as provide examples for each.
A goal that meets the “specific” criterion is one that provides clarity on what needs to be done, why it needs to happen, and who will be involved in making it happen. To do this, start by answering the five “W” questions: Who, what, when, where, and why. So, you might ask: What do we want to do? Why do we need to do this? Who on our team should be involved in this? Where will we implement this?
Example of a 'Specific' Real Estate Goal
Instead of writing something like:
“Increase revenue by 20 percent next year.”
A more “specific” goal would look something like this:
“Work with the marketing team to add digital marketing and social media strategies that will increase revenue by 20 percent by December of next year.”
A measurable goal is one that provides you with tangible evidence of your team’s progress (or lack thereof). Think about it this way: If you don’t have a way of measuring your team’s successes, how do you know if what you’re doing is working -- or, more importantly, if it ISN’T working? To figure out what this “success” metric is, try answering this question: How will you know when the goal has been achieved? How can success (or failure) be measured? Once you’ve identified what that metric is, get a benchmark (or initial) measurement for where you are now so that you can use that as a comparison point going forward.
Example of a 'Measurable' Real Estate Goal
Instead of saying something like:
“List five properties over $600,000 throughout brokerage.”
A “measurable” goal would sound something like:
“Get each agent to close at least one $600,000 property (or more) between Feb. 1 and May 30.”
A goal that’s “achievable” is one that’s challenging enough to be compelling, but isn’t impossible. Additionally, you’ll also need the skills, knowledge, and resources necessary to accomplish it. You’ll know when you’ve created a good “achievable” goal because it’ll allow your team to take some risks, provide you with daily inspiration, and pave the way for a successful business. However, you’ll need to know where to draw the line and identify a goal that’s simply too hard to reach. (By the way, creating “reach” goals is okay. Just make a separate bucket for them.)
Example of an 'Achievable' Real Estate Goal
Instead of writing something like:
“Grow business by 400 percent.”
An “achievable” goal would sound something like:
“Hire three more top-tier agents by Feb. 28, and grow business by 250 percent by Dec. 31.”
This is the step where you think through the actual logistics involved in going after your goal. Do you have enough money to make this goal happen? Can you commit to the time that's required to meet this goal? Or do you need more manpower to help make it happen? Be hard-headed with yourself and your business from the get-go to ensure that your goals are realistic.
Example of a 'Realistic' Real Estate Goal
A “realistic” goal would sound something like:
Hire three more top-tier agents with a compensation split of at least 70/30. Aim to grow business by 20 percent by Oct. 31.
A “time-bound” goal is one that has a clear start and end date. This a crucial step in the goal-setting process because it provides you with a sense of urgency while also preventing you from spending more time on your goal than you have to. To figure out a realistic timeframe, think back to similar goals or projects your team’s worked on in the past and figure out how long it took to complete them. Make sure to build in a buffer to account for any seasonal changes or unforeseen circumstances that could temporarily derail your team’s progress. Once you’ve taken all this into account, you should be able to set a realistic due date to hit your goal. (And remember: If your team does hit a snag or two along the way, that’s totally fine. It’s important to be flexible, especially when it comes to long-term goals. However, it’s crucial that you prevent those unforeseen circumstances from derailing your team’s progress for too long or else you could find yourselves veering way too off-track.)
Example of a 'Time-Bound' Real Estate Goal
Using the same example above, a good “time-bound” goal could be something like:
“Aim to grow business by 20 percent by Oct. 31 -- with a push date of Dec. 31.”
The 5-Step Strategy for Creating Your Own SMART Business Goals
As you can see, SMART business goals can play an integral role in helping you shape and grow your brokerage. If you’re unsure of how to get started, or what types of goals you should be setting, here’s a quick step-by-step guide.
Step #1: Identify your goal’s theme.
Your first step should be to figure out the general type of goal you’d like to set. Do you want to get more new business leads? Do you want to close on more homes than last year? Take this time to think through the milestones that would spell success for yourself or for your business, then hone in on the one that you feel is most important to focus on right now. (It’s okay if your goal isn’t specific yet - that part comes next.)
Step #2: Clarify the specifics of your target goal.
Once you have a general idea of the type of goal you want to hit, your next step is to figure out exactly what it is that you’re trying to accomplish. (This is where the “Specific” part of the SMART acronym comes in.) If your goal is to find new business leads and clients in the year to come, that's not specific enough. Think about how you will accomplish this goal by asking yourself specific questions, like: Who will find new clients (i.e., is it you or someone else on your team)? How will you find them? When do you need to find new clients by? What will you do to keep new clients engaged? These questions will help you hone in on a specific goal that can set up your team for success.
Step #3: Determine how you’ll measure success.
Now that you have the specifics nailed down, you’ll need to figure out what metric(s) will help you to track your progress. You can use either integers (e.g., “X new business leads”) or percentages (e.g., 20 percent increase); either way, make sure you set a specific number so your team knows what they’re working toward.
Step #4: Get a gut check. Is this actually doable?
Here’s where the “Achievable” and “Realistic” parts of the SMART acronym come into play. As we mentioned before, the ideal SMART goal is one that forces you to challenge and push yourself, but isn’t impossible to reach. It also needs to be one that doesn’t require more logistical support and resources (e.g., time, money, skills) than you have at your disposal. Think back to similar projects either your or your team’s worked on and see how your target goal stacks up. For example, say that your goal is to get 100 new business leads in three months. In order to hit that, you calculate that you’d need to have a significantly bigger budget than what you allotted for similar lead-gen projects in the past. In this case, you may want to consider adjusting your goal to better match the resources you have on hand.
Step #5: Set a deadline for your goal.
Your final step in creating a SMART business goal is to set a realistic deadline for accomplishing it. Having a set timeframe in place will help give you and your team a sense of urgency to hit it in a timely manner. And if you aren’t able to succeed, the deadline will also provide you with a natural hard stop.
4 Tips for Achieving Your SMART Real Estate Goals
The following tips can help you flesh out your ambitions and, ultimately, achieve success for your brokerage. Depending on how involved or complex your goals are, you might want to consider finding a business mentor to help you work toward these goals and keep yourself focused as you go.
Tip #1: Write a list of your professional strengths and weaknesses.
This exercise will help you identify the areas in which you excel in real estate, both as an individual and as business owner, as well as those in which you hope to grow. By doing this, you can create different types of goals that either let you flex the strengths you already have, or allow you to develop and hone the areas in which you’d like to improve.
Tip #2: Start small.
Start out by setting a small goal that’s fairly easy to complete. Once you check one off your list, you’ll feel even more motivated to tackle some larger aspirations.
Tip #3: Be flexible.
Remember that you may need to modify your goals along the way, and that’s okay. Don’t put too much pressure on yourself, especially if you’re just starting out. Being flexible with your professional goals gives you room to grow and allows you to tweak your ambitions without feeling locked into anything.
Tip #4: Celebrate the wins.
You’ve put in the hard work; you deserve to acknowledge what you did and how far you’ve come.
10 Examples of SMART Goals for Real Estate
Are you feeling ready to set some SMART goals for yourself and your team, but you don’t know where to start? If you need a little guidance on where to begin, here are 10 examples of excellent SMART goals that actual real estate brokers have set for themselves. Feel free to adopt any of the goals on this list, or use them as inspiration to create your own.
Example #1: “Within 18 hours of meeting a new or potential client, I will send a follow-up card or email letting them know I’m here to help.”
Example #2: “At the end of each week, I will review all new client and business leads and write down ways I can acquire more.”
Example #3: “I will develop a budget for my business for the first six months, as well as the first year.”
Example #4: “Once a month, I will check in with my professional mentor.”
Example #5: “To stay current in my field, I will attend one real estate broker conference every six months.”
Example #6: “During the next two years, I will hire an assistant to help with office-related tasks.”
Example #7: “After I establish a budget, I will set aside money for a marketing plan to advertise my services.”
Example #8: “I will ask my clients for reviews that can be featured on my Facebook page or business’ website.”
Example #9: “I will attend one real estate networking event each month.”
Example #10: “I will take two weeks off during the winter and summer to focus on rest and reconnecting with my family.”
So go ahead: Write down some business goals for yourself and for your team. Once you have those kernels written down, go back over them and use our step-by-step guide to turn them into SMART business objectives. Good luck!
Image courtesy of iStock.com/Piotrekswat