Have you ever felt the week just whirled by, and you’re not even sure what you accomplished? We can feel awfully busy answering emails, taking calls, and handling the occasional “emergency,” but at the end, did those tasks carry us closer to what we want to be (or goal we want to achieve)?
Goal setting is a train track you build. They are the ‘bumpers’ that bounce you back into place, on the road to success. In fact, goal setting is one of the four techniques the military used to increase Navy SEAL passing rates from 25% to 33%.
Stephen Cooley, who runs the #1 Keller Williams team in South Carolina, did something similar:
If you’ve been aiming to increase your market stronghold or close X% more transactions, maybe the answer isn’t “Let’s do more marketing.” or “I need to hire people to help me.” Maybe it’s setting goals. And no, I’m not talking about New Year resolutions.
I’m talking about real goals. Real estate is a distractive world. Emails, phone calls, texts, and Facebook messages hit us from every direction. We lose focus all the time. You need something to keep you on track.
So, I’m going to show you how Stephen Cooley keeps his team on track … using goal setting worksheets.
No Goal without a Plan
Stephen Cooley and his agents use a derivative of Keller Williams’ 1-3-5 Goal Setting Template, mixed with SMART goals. They break down ‘what’ their goal is and then define the action plan to achieving it.
Stephen Cooley also likes to compare the goals to last year — to make sure they’re being ambitious, yet reasonable at the same time. It’s always good to work from a benchmark. You want to challenge yourself, but you don’t want to make it impossible.
Here’s what a similar template to what the Stephen Cooley Real Estate Group uses:
FREE WORKSHEET: Download Goal Setting Worksheet & Example Template
And here’s an example of one filled out:
How to Set Goals in Real Estate
A lot of real estate professionals have heard about SMART goals (smart, measurable, achievable, relevant, and time-bound). But it doesn’t alleviate a critical question: What if I have no idea what I want?
Well, there’s a solution. Imagine your funeral. Spooky, right?
Researchers say thinking about your death is a good thing. Awareness of mortality can improve physical health and help us prioritize our goals and values. Even non-conscious thinking about death — say walking by a cemetery — could prompt positive changes and promote helping others.
So, spend a minute imagining a friend standing up at your funeral and reflecting on your professional legacy. What do they talk about?
Next, you have to play the Goldilocks Game — balancing your goals. Though many of us know about SMART goals, sometimes keeping them vague creates higher rates of success. However, being specific prevents procrastination. It’s a double-edged sword.
The trick is to structure your goals so you’re learning during the process. It’s not about out-doing somebody. Goals are for you, not other people. Competing can often create jerks in the office.
What Made Stephen Cooley’s Team Different?
Three things: 1) Time management 2) Organized workflows 3) Pre-planning. A lot of people set a goal and then imagine achieving it. They think if they focus on the victory, it will keep them optimistic and motivate them. Quite the opposite, however.
The road to accomplishing your goals is muddy. It’s hard. It’s not pretty. When people hit these challenges, they often give up. They don’t prepare for the challenge. Instead they prepare for the victory speech.
Stephen Cooley knew this, so he made sure to distill the right behaviors for his real estate agents. He blocked off their tasks to only the productive tasks. He organized their leads and subsequent follow-up. And when he wanted to expand into other neighborhoods or markets, he planned ahead. He tried to anticipate the challenges and made preparations for them. It’s why his business closed $110 million in sales when the average price point of homes is between $100-200k. That is a huge achievement.
Stephen Cooley’s Success = Goal Setting
Stephen Cooley’s success didn’t come from hiring all-star agents. It didn’t come from large advertising budgets either. It came from goal setting. He made it easy by creating a step-by-step plan that broke the arduous journey into small victories rather than a long, drawn out war. It kept his staff motivated and now he’s #1 in South Carolina.
Success doesn’t always have to be flashy. Sometimes it’s simple planning and goal setting.