Industry Perspectives

December Action Plan: 5 Areas of Focus

By Tori Sokol on November 22, 2017
Tori Sokol


By: Wendy Forsythe

2017 has been a whirlwind and here we are, staring down the pipe to the end of the year. So, let’s consider the last 40 days of 2017 -- a critical time in our businesses. People are thinking about business and strategic planning and what they want to accomplish in 2018. So as we make that shift into the last 40 days, I want to share with you five areas of focus that you’ll find really impactful as you plan for the end of the year and gear up for a successful 2018.


The end of the year is when you must be proactive with your agents, because now is the time your competitors will be calling your agents and trying to convince them to make a move. It’s also the time of year when agents are evaluating the year they had and ask themselves questions such as: Am I happy with the year I had? What do I want next year to look like? And when they’re disappointed in themselves, they tend to project that feeling onto their broker, so staying close to them and having conversations about their year is an impactful way to focus on that retention.

Book those one-on-one meetings, look at their year-to-date production, pay attention to if it’s up or down and ask where it compared to their business plan when you sat down with them at the end of last year. Show them that you care and how you can help improve their business with your leadership. Start planning your agents’ 2018 with them now. If they feel that they’ve made that plan and commitment with you, it’s going to be harder for them to move away from that and change companies. Getting them to start thinking about that change in the calendar and focusing on setting up for the coming year is a great way to focus on retention.


When we think of the year ahead, all of the points I made about retention are now flipped for you from a recruiting perspective. If agents are disappointed in themselves, they’re disappointed in their broker and they may be looking to make a change. I can tell you from my experience talking to the agents, many of them said they’re looking at making a change before the end of the year or at the beginning of next year. This means it’s high priority recruiting time for people.

I’m sharing some “magic questions” that I’ve used over the years to get the face-to-face meeting:

Magic Question #1 - Low-Level Producers
“I’m curious if you are planning to ramp up your production in 2018?” If yes, “Maybe I can help… Can we meet?”

This is a great opening question to start a business conversation with the prospect. You can then find the right angle to turn the discussion into closing for that face-to-face appointment.

Magic Question #2 - Medium-Level Producers
“I’d like to partner with a few agents who are really striving to break through to that next level in production in 2018 and who are looking for some personal coaching to do that. Is that something you might be interested in?”

This changes the dialogue from the typical recruiting call these agents get from all of your competitors. Maybe they’re not the right fit for your brokerage, maybe they’re not looking to get to the next level, but these key words typically get agents talking. When you make that initial call to your target lists, you want to get them talking, open that conversation and grab their interest so you can sit down and have a one-on-one with them.

Magic Question #3 - High Level Producers
“We are busy planning for 2018 and I was wondering what your thoughts are on the market for next year?”

Top producers can smell a recruiting call instantly, so you have to take a different approach with them. Talking from a peer to peer-- what’s happening in the market perspective-- allows you to open up the conversation enough for them to get comfortable, bring down that barrier and start talking business. Once you get into that dialogue, you can move forward asking about a face-to-face. Instead of saying, “I’d like to sit down and talk to you about joining our company,” try this: “I really appreciate your input. Why don’t we get together for coffee? I’d love to continue this conversation.” That will organically turn into a discussion about what you’re doing in your company.

So think about what your magic questions are when targeting a low-, medium- or high-level producer.


Now, book some quiet time for you and your leadership team to reflect. Our president and CEO are doing that here with our HomeSmart leadership team, so they can perform a complete review of 2017 year-to-date.

2017 results:

  • What happened in the market
  • Full KPI Review
  • # of new hires
  • # of severs
  • Net growth
  • # of transactions
  • Production per person
  • # of non producers
  • Days to first transaction
  • Quadrant agents transaction production and plan for movement!

By recapping your year, you can better prepare for the one to come.


Think about all the things that you’re doing in your company, for your agents and complete the “Keep, Start, Stop” exercise. Are there things that you should stop doing? We tend to get into this mindset that we have to offer more and more, but sometimes less is more. Offer valuable tools and services and think about what you need to revamp. Is it a new agent training? Is it an existing agent training? Is it your mentoring program? Don’t recreate something that maybe you just have to rework a little bit. On the other hand, there might be things that you should actually stop doing. So have a critical eye and look at those things that are taking time and energy, but aren’t leading to the ROI you’re looking for in your business. Finally, consider model adoption. We know that the business model works when you work the business model. So make sure when you’re thinking about your “Keep, Stop, Start,” you’re also thinking of the pillars of success that we have here at HomeSmart and incorporating them in your business.


Take care of yourself and make sure that you are a healthy and happy leader in your company. If you’re not taking care of yourself, you’re not going to be able to take care of the agents that partner with you and your family that depends on you and your success. So as you’re planning out these last 40 days, think about planning a vacation and scheduling some reenergizing time for yourself, so that you’re kicking off the end of the year with a full battery and you’re ready to start 2018 with a bang.

If you act on these five areas of focus, you can accomplish amazing things the rest of this year and next year.

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