On this 203rd episode of my Monday Morning Pep Talk, I'll cover a topic that is not talked about enough in the world of real estate brokerage and really doesn't fit specifically into one section of Take Flight. Because of that, I am going to discuss the seasonality of your business and how best to navigate it. We know that farmers plant in the spring and harvest in the fall, and that businesses have planting and harvesting seasons as well. Your real estate brokerage business has seasons and they differ by each market with some overall national similarities. The weather, local economies, travel and tourism and seasonal resident migration are all reasons that drive the seasonality of different hyper local markets. For your own mental well-being, you will need proper business planning and expectation-setting for your family/friends and clients for you to fully embrace and navigate the seasonality of your business. My hope is that you embrace it not disregard it. On this episode, I'll give you 7 areas of your life and business that you should consider:
- The "real estate year" is different than a calendar year. It starts October 1, not January 1. The one thing that the vast majority of markets have in common is that April, May, June, June and July make up the majority of months for real estate closings. That means that your clients will start entering the top of your sales funnel in October, November, December, January and February. Because of this, you need to wrap up your "real estate year" on September 30, paving the way for you to focus on your real estate sales cycle that resets each October 1. There are a lot of brokerages and brokers that encourage business planning in January, causing poor planning on many levels. The 12 Week Year model is a much better business planning model because it syncs more naturally with the seasonality of our business throughout the calendar year. Because of real estate brokerage's seasonality, doesn't it make more sense to business plan quarterly with a 3-year vision/goal as the focus? Re-listen to Take Flight Episode #185 "Plan Your Flight" for more on this topic and re-read 12 Week Year by Brian Moran for a refresher.
- Save your big, time-intensive projects and initiatives for Q3 and Q4 (your off season). On next week's episode, I will show you how to audit your business. After that audit, your big projects and initiatives will reveal themselves.
- During those Q1 and Q2 months of each year, your main focus should be "harvesting," with your quarterly goals and initiatives focused primarily on executing consistently what you built in the preceding Q3 and Q4 months.
- What are "No Fly Zones"? NFZs are those periods of time during the year when your clients are traditionally focused on family and their lives. They are usually the 2-3 weeks prior to the start of school in August and the last few weeks of December. During this time, you do not actively reach out to your Top 100 except for social media and other soft approaches. Note: personally, I find these weeks in August "slower" and harder to define than the last couple weeks of December.
- Re-define work: Showing properties, negotiating contracts and attending closings are all easy to define as "work.” Brokers/advisors have a hard time defining database management projects, lead generation tactics, and business planning as work. During those "slower times" of the year, redefine those crucial projects and tasks as "work" and you won't feel as "slow.”
- Preplan Vacations and Downtime Around Seasonality. In February of 2022, I wrote an MMPT called "The Life Hack I Wish I Had Learned Earlier” (Episode #140) when I was on a short weekend trip to Key Biscayne, FL with my family. I intended for that call to be short but I started writing and kept writing. Revisit it here. It talks about how to pre-plan your travel strategically and timely. My battle cry is "Happy Agents Sell More Real Estate" so I have a lot of important thoughts on this topic. Please, please, please take me seriously on the importance of scheduling time to decompress away from work. Front load your annual calendar with travel and downtime. Taking care of yourself doesn't mean you'll make less money. In fact, you'll be more successful in every category of your life, especially your health and relationships. In Chapter 14 of Buy Back Your Time, Dan Martell talks about how he pre loads his year. This is another book I highly recommend.
- Set a monthly personal budget. You need to have a plan to build up your operating accounts during the "harvest season" so you'll be financially secure during those months that don't see as many closings. As a good guide, you should have 6 months plus of operating expenses both in your business and in your personal accounts while making the goal to get to 12 months. There is so much stress created for brokers/advisors when proper planning in this area is not done regularly. If you have not read The Psychology of Money by Morgan Housel, put it next in your reading list queue.
Team, hopefully this was a helpful reminder to look at the seasonality of your business in your particular hyper local market and plan accordingly in all aspects of your life and business. Your family, friends and clients will thank you.