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Op/Ed

How to build a stellar sales pipeline for 2016

Emotions can get in the way when you are stressed out or anxious about making a sale (or not making one). Removing emotion from the equation is necessary, however, and can help you build a serious sales pipeline for 2016.

realtor working

The holidays are supposed to be the best time of year, but they often bring out the worst in people. Some folks become depressed or anxious that the holidays need to be picture perfect—just like on television or in photos. Those very same emotions trickle into the field of real estate as agents get “stressed out” when they feel the pressure because the deal just isn’t going along smoothly.

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When emotions are running high

According to the National Association of Realtors® Member Profile 2015, the average number of annual closings per agent was 11, with many associations across the U.S. reporting the average number of annual closings as low as 5 or 6 per agent. With income tied to such a small number of transactions, it is no wonder that emotions run high. Agents become fixated on the underpinnings of each and every closing because they have such a limited number in the pipeline.

Removing emotion from the equation

Clearly, a stressful transaction is not a good thing. So, how can agents develop a thicker skin? Tom Ferry Business Coach, Joe Mendoza, states, “In working with agents from across the country, I’ve found that the best way to steer agents who are overly connected to their transactions is to encourage heavy-duty prospecting and lead generation activities. Once agents get busy with those processes and increase their sales pipeline, the tie to the drama of individual transactions disappears.”

The key, according to Mendoza, is to treat your business like a business—to develop processes and protocols that you work no matter the market. Not only will this help diminish the emotional attachment, but it will increase production as well.

3 Tips for building your sales pipeline

In order to treat your business like a business, you’ve got to both work on your business and in your business (read: Michael Gerber’s The E-Myth Revisited). Working in your business means working with clients, writing offers, and negotiating contracts. Working on your business is the key to building your sales pipeline. When you spend too much time working in your business, your sales pipeline gets neglected.

Here are 3 tips to building your sales pipeline:

1. Focus on Process Not Outcome. While it is great to have your eye on the prize, your best bet for consistent production throughout the year is to focus on daily and weekly activities. Establish systems and processes for each of your work activities—from marketing expireds to mailing past clients and everything in between.

2. Work a Regular Schedule. Create a regimented schedule for your daily and weekly activities. Set appointments with yourself for social media scheduling, preparation of email campaigns, follow up with prospects, and calling hours for FSBOs, Expired, and other leads. When you respect your schedule, you respect yourself and value your business.

3. Set Expectations and Boundaries Accordingly. Doctors and lawyers require appointments and set boundaries on their availability, and you should do so as well. It is not okay for you to stop everything and run out the door each and every time you get a phone call from an unqualified buyer lead. When you drop everything to solve someone else’s problem, you stop working “on” your business—which is the very thing that keeps the sales pipeline full.

Getting to business

So with the New Year just around the corner, it’s time to treat your business like a business. While some of your clients may be friends and acquaintances, try not to get emotionally attached to the sales outcomes. Instead, take the steps noted to focus on becoming a lead generation machine, and you’ll have a stellar 2016.

#SalesPipeline

Melissa is an in-demand business success speaker and author, as well as a real estate broker with thousands of short sale transactions under her belt. She leverages her experience as a short sale insider to motivate thousands of business professionals to plan their careers better, execute more effectively on their plan, and earn more because of it.

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