Creating $7-Figure “SYSTEMS” In Your Practice
That sounds like an MBA mouthful…but it’s essential for you to understand “Systems” fully
if you’re going to truly succeed in real estate. That’s because…if you don’t have systems running in your practice, you ARE the systems…
So what is a “System?”
A business – any business – is more than just the people involved. A business is really a product or service and documented “ways of doing things” that brings about a consistent, predictable RESULT for its client and you (the owner).
And these documented “ways of doing things” are called SYSTEMS. Ultimately, your business is just a large system of smaller systems all working together to bring a consistent, predictable…and desired result.
What are a few examples of systems for real estate?
How you manage a listing can be a system (your listing checklist: signage, entering the home into MLS, listing brochures, info tubes, hotlines, advertising, client updates and feedback, etc.) – all the ways you get a reliable, consistent result every time.
Ways you prospect for clients can be a system (your “Sales Generation Systems™”) – ads, farming, prospecting off your listings, web marketing, etc. – to bring you a steady stream of business. How you handle buyers – from qualifying to closing – can be a system.
Why are “systems” so important to your business?
We all want consistency in our lives. As humans we crave it for security. But “systems” are even more important to the successful operation of your business.
“Systems” help to create reliability in the way your business operates – whether it’s prospecting and marketing systems that produce reliable client flow…”product and service” systems that deliver excellence for each and every client…or even follow-up systems that build your Personal Market Share™ and boost your referrals, word of mouth and repeat business (as you’re learning here).
See…your goal is to have a business that is more reliant on “systems” than “people.” Why? Because people come with all kinds of quirks and inconsistencies: work skills, personality flaws, unreliability, etc.
But “systems” are Steady as the Rock of Gibraltar
That’s also why…when your business is organized around “systems,” you not only get your freedom back (you get a life!), but your business begins to run like the smooth movement of a Swiss Watch – with or without “you” involved.
And there’s one more thing…
Residual Value™ is the value of your business without “YOU” attached to it.
Having a “systems dependent” business achieves Residual Value™…it makes your business have a value in and of itself – not dependent on you.
And an intrinsic Residual Value™ to your business means it has a greater value if it’s sold. Have you ever heard of a real estate practice being sold?
Not very often. Why? Because most agents operate businesses wholly reliant on their personal involvement. When they leave, the business leaves.
But agents who build Residual Value™ create businesses with predictability that can actually be sold. Residual Value™ happens by creating and using “systems.”
And here’s even one more reason for systems: Well-run businesses – whether they’re IBM or “Sally Realtor” – are actually quite boring. The less “drama” you can introduce into your business, the more effectively it will work for you.
Systems help minimize the exceptions (i.e. crisis) that cause drama in your business.
How do you create and manage systems in your practice?
Once you understand how systems are created and managed, installing them into your business will be a snap. Oddly enough…the best way to describe how systems are created and managed is to look at the aviation industry.
When you fly on an airliner, do you know that everything on the flight…from pre-flight, through boarding, through engine start, take-off, cruise, descent, approach and landing…is managed through systems?
That’s how you get consistent, predictable results – in this case a safe arrival to your destination. Each of these systems (pre-flight, take-off, etc.) is managed by a CHECKLIST.
The combined checklists (small systems) for all the tasks involved in the flight comprise the overall SYSTEM. Makes sense, doesn’t it?
And Your Practice Works the Very Same Way
I’ve built 4 multi-million dollar companies, and I have used the very same “systems structure” with each business. I’ve never seen it fail for anyone who learns and uses it.
I’ll give you the skills and a simple structure to create your own systems, but because every business is different, it’s up to you to customize the systems to your unique business.
There are 2 types of systems you have in your practice:
TASK Systems and TIME Systems
First: TASK systems are used to accomplish some type of operation in your business.
For example…when you take a listing, you would use your “New Listing Systems” checklist (you’ll see more below).
Another example: When you run an ad, your “Ad Systems” would organize and execute the logistics: ad writing, photos, layout, placement, response mechanism, lead pick-up, lead conversion, etc.
Think through the MAJOR TASKS of your business, then create a system (and checklist) for the EXACT way you want the task to be accomplished.
Don’t worry about whether it’s right or wrong – it’s about how YOU want to operate your unique business. Follow along with me, and you’ll understand it thoroughly…
Step #1: Major Tasks
List out the Major Tasks you perform in your business: Your business is really about Listing and Buying, right? So, for listing systems (for example), you want to take out a piece of paper, and write “Listing Systems” at the top.
Then, you create your systems by simply thinking through the logistical (step-by-step) tasks of getting and successfully managing listings in your business.
Here are a few ideas that relate to the listing side of your business (notice how I thought through the listing process chronologically – from prospecting through post-closing)…
- Listing Prospecting System (your marketing plan to get listings – some of these may be “time systems,” but don’t worry about that for now)
- Pre-Listing System
- Listing Presentation System
- New Listing System
- Home Marketing System (sell home + attract buyers and listings)
- Listing Management System
- Offer and Negotiation System
- Escrow System
- Closing System
- Post-Closing System
You can do the same thing for your buyer systems – just think them through chronologically, then we’ll fill in the details in the next steps.
Step #2: Minor Tasks
Take out one piece of paper for each of the Major Tasks you outlined above, and list out ALL of the important tasks that need to be accomplished to execute the task to the standard you demand.
I call these “Minor Tasks” because they are the “Major Tasks” broken down into manageable pieces. For example, your “New Listing System” sheet (#4 from above) might be broken-out to look like…
- Listing agreement signed
- SPDS Complete New Client Welcome Gift
- Title/History Search
- Home Staging
- Photos of Home/Virtual Tour
- Home Brochure
- Enter into MLS
- Order Signs & Riders
- Info Tube Up
- Web Listing
- Sign-in Sheets/Visitor Pkg.
Do you see what we’re doing here?
We’re outlining all the details and tasks that make your services superior – and when they’re documented and systemized (even outlined on a simple piece of paper), they provide you a more consistent, predictable delivery of service.
Step #3: Procedures
IF YOU FEEL IT’S NEEDED: create PROCEDURES for exactly how you want each of the Minor Tasks completed. Some Minor Tasks are simple and intuitive and you don’t need procedures, while others may require further details or standards you want implemented.
The way to create your procedures is to simply take another piece of paper, and write the “Minor Task” at the top, then list out the step-by-step procedure of how you want the task completed.
For example, if you want your Home Brochure (#7 above) to also include important marketing tasks, such as offers for Free Consumer Reports on the back (to attract buyers to call you), then you need to detail that with your “Home Brochure” Minor Task.
Are you following me here?
Notice that we’re simply taking the Major Tasks, breaking them down to Minor Tasks, and (if needed) break them down again into detailed Procedures (so they can be easily used to train employees as you grow).
Step #4: Assign Accountability
The final step of your Systems is assigning a responsibility for completing the System.
A lot of agents create their systems on simple cards (or sheets of paper), and they use rows and columns to manage their systems checklists. Obviously, one of the columns is going to assign accountability for completing the task.
They then bind the systems (Major Tasks, Minor Tasks and Procedures) into a notebook for training and easy reference.
Remember, you have a unique practice – so don’t be afraid to create the systems exactly the way you want your business to run. You’ll know your systems are “correct” if your practice is running smoothly, delivering consistent services, with nothing falling through the cracks.
So let’s talk about the SECOND type of Systems for your practice…
TIME systems are used to accomplish something that occurs (or reoccurs) on a regular basis – whether it’s daily, weekly, monthly or yearly.
For example, if each morning you or your assistant checks on your hotline leads or inbound calls (from ads running, sign riders, or info-tube flyers), then you need to have a system to pick-up and follow-up on those leads each day.
Or if you need to present showing feedback to a homeowner of a listing each week (on, say, Fridays), you need to have a system to alert you (or your assistant) to create a report each week – or whatever the time frame you provide listing feedback.
You can create your own TIME systems by simply thinking through the tasks needed to be completed on a regular basis. Here’s the structure of the systems we use in our business…
MONTHLY (and yearly):
To create your time systems is incredibly easy and you can find a quick overview below.
STEP #1: Create DAILY/WEEKLY Systems
Take out a piece of paper for each day of the week (Monday, Tuesday, etc.). You can simply put the day of the week at the top of the page.
Then, for each day, list out (in detail) exactly what you want to have happen for that day – in order. You can be as detailed as you like to ensure everything is completed. Some TIME checklists may actually refer to your TASK checklists to make sure they’re getting done.
For example, here’s what a (partial) list for a Monday Time System may look like…
Check voice mail – client calls – Return Calls
Follow up on hotlines – lead process/follow-up
Check Listing Feedback – report
Pull Listing Activity for (area)
Pre-listing CMA’s Prep’d.
Check Escrow Status
Info Tubes Stocked
Create your Task Lists for EACH day of the week.
STEP #2: Create MONTHLY/ANNUAL Systems
Some tasks you’ll complete on a daily or weekly basis as shown above. However, some will be done only on a Monthly or Yearly basis – such as reconciling your commission reports or even your checking account.
Again, how you want to manage these is up to you, but you want to get your systems in place for Monthly/Annual tasks to be completed. Just follow the exact same instructions for your Daily/Weekly tasks, but think through the items that need to be completed on a monthly or annual basis.
It’s easy once you get started, and you can always add or refine your lists as you grow in your business.
Do this for EACH month of the year.
STEP #3: Procedures
IF YOU FEEL IT’S NEEDED, create procedures for each of the tasks for each day of the week or month of the year. Again, most tasks will be intuitive, but some will require detailed explanation of how you want the tasks to be completed to the standards you set.
The way to create your procedures is to simply take a piece of paper (for each Task on your Daily/Weekly or Monthly/Yearly lists), and write the Task at the top, then list out the step-by-step procedure of how you want the task completed.
Notice that we’re simply taking the Day, Week or Month, then breaking it down to Tasks, and (if needed) break them down again into detailed Procedures (so they can be easily used to train employees as you grow).
STEP #4: Assign Accountability
There are 2 ways to assign responsibility for TIME Systems.
The first way is to create your TIME Systems Checklists just as I showed you (Monday thru Friday, and January thru December) and have a COLUMN for WHO will be responsible for their completion. This works best when you’re a small organization.
The second way is to create TIME Systems Checklists for EACH POSITION you have in your company. So, for example, your Escrow Coordinator or Buyer Agent or Personal Assistant might have their own checklists for Daily/Weekly or Monthly/Annual tasks.
As you grow and add positions to your company, you simply add the Daily/Weekly and Monthly/Yearly Systems Checklists for new positions.
Again, either way will work – it’s just how you want to handle it in your own organization.
I hope this little article helps you understand the process of creating Systems in your business. Part of truly understanding the process is taking initiative and working through it. Start by simply committing a little mental focus to this process, getting a finely-tuned real estate business will be easier and faster than you ever thought possible.
Your production will grow, you’ll get more done each day, you’ll slash the stress and strain you face each day, and you’ll have more time for “you.”
Take out a notepad or set up checklists in Excel and start today. You can also try out Google Calendar
online or a free schedule maker
. You’ll be glad you did!
Then drop whatever you’re doing and read every word of this article.
The skill you’re about to learn is so important, it can change the level of success of your real estate practice almost overnight. Today we’re going to talk about…