But that desk. Papers seem to manifest during short, sit-down meetings. John’s bulletin board, which he uses to co-ordinate his time schedule, is highlighted with big black X marks and partially erased words. Times and appointments appear illegible.
The laptop computer John uses — well, let’s just say he needs an upgrade — about five years ago. He still has a flip phone.
John may be a good guy, but he is unorganized and out of date.
John may work hard and knows the business, but how many potential deals does he miss because of the clutter?
John doesn’t know and, like so many, he’s a creature of habit. The paper pile will continue to grow.
You can be different. You can cut down on missed deals by getting organized, which will also save you two important things: money and time.
Take a deep breath. Clean up and get organized.
Finding a way
Old-school tactics such as large chalkboards and color-coded paper filing systems may still have a place in a well-organized business, but for many, modern methods are much easier and more accessible. Utilize the cloud. Storing all of your information on the cloud is quickly evolving into the preferred practice among many professionals.
The benefits of cloud services are numerous. On top of saving everything, all of an agent’s important information is mobile and accessible any time a cell tower is within range.
Still, there is always room for paper copies. The importance of chalkboards may be dwindling, but effective color-coded filing systems still have some legs.
A majority of agents, especially newer agents, may already be digital and close-minded to taking time to file paperwork in a cabinet but, really, it’s a good habit to form. Sometimes, there is no substitute for a piece of paper in hand.
Here are four equipment suggestions for getting your business organized:
- Computer and printer: A computer and printer are essential for analyzing deals, preparing contracts and emailing contacts. Without a reliable printer, with a built-in scanner, deals could be stalled.
- ‘To Do’ apps: With a variety of online applications to choose from, one with an agenda remains a favorite of many successful agents. An agenda can be broken down from weeks to days to hours, and coded for urgency.
- Shred it: Don’t forget the shredder. The unsung practice of staying organized is erasing unnecessary clutter. Paper piles grow and before long, cover one desk, then the office table, then … shred it. It’s the most responsible way to handle sensitive data, including clients’ personal information such as sellers’ names and financial information.
- Briefcase: When you're on the move, traveling to inspect a property on one side of town, then to the other side of town to meet with a prospective client, a good-old fashioned briefcase is recommended to keep everything in order. A good Realtor should have a laptop and/or tablet, extra blank sales contracts and pens on hand at all times. A mobile printer could be considered a luxury to some, but, to others, a necessity.
A priority for those who strive to stay on top of their business, organization is different for every agent. Different styles for different folks, sure, but to juggle a series of deals and stay in touch with prospective clients, organization is crucial to success. Hard work is one thing. Organized hard work is the key.
Are you overwhelmed by paperwork? Have you missed meetings? Have you overlooked properties? Have you lost business opportunities? It happens when organization takes a back seat.
Relax. By establishing the following folders, either online or in a filing cabinet, and keeping them up to date, your business will be neat and tidy. All it takes is a little extra effort.
Here are six important files most organized agents keep updated:
- Executive: This file should contain all administrative paperwork, including policies, hours on the clock, business licenses and tax receipts.
- Prospective Clients: This is one of the most important files. Losing track of clients is like flushing money down the toilet. Contacting prospective clients is the foundation of an agent's business. Breaking down the file into subcategories such as hot, cold, referrals and sold can help you prioritize your time
- Buyers: With this folder, all relevant information should be divided into subsections, such as looking, offers, pending and closed.
- Sellers: This folder should include categories such as future listings, active, pending, closed and withdrawn deals.
- Advertising/Marketing: This folder will help coordinate all activities related to promoting your business. Among the categories to keep track of here include advertising and marketing campaigns, blog concepts, personal sales statistics, vendor contact lists and a business biography to update.
- Technology: Last, but not least, this folder should include templates for deals, prequalifying buyers and sellers and a transaction tracker. This is also a good place to store templates for feedback reports and common email text.
For agents comfortable with digital software, a Customer Relationship Management (CRM) platform could help them take the next career step.
CRM systems are designed to take some of the stress out of agents getting, then staying, organized. Transaction and lead management technology will enable Realtors to better manage their listings and leads.
CRM also sets reminders to send follow-up emails to promote repeat business and provide checklists for listing and closing duties.
OK, so you put in the effort and your desk no longer resembles the mountain of paperwork on John’s desk. Good job.
Now, it’s time to take advantage of your organized files and workspace. By ordering “The 5 Step Plan That Makes It Easy To List For Sale By Owners,” an easy-to-read book that will help agents increase their success with FSBOs.
The informative guide, which can be purchased for only $19, provides key insider tips. Among the tips, agents are introduced to ways to prove to homeowners they can receive more money for their homes with help from qualified agents.
It also provides dialogue to overcome common FSBO objections for not utilizing an agent.
With “The 5 Step Plan That Makes It Easy To List For Sale By Owners” and an organized system, your business is ready to grow.
Joe Nickelson is a real estate professional dedicated to helping home buyers and sellers achieve their dreams of owning property, and helping real estate agents stop using the sometimes-vicious tactics that weigh on their consciences. He believes that the Smart Agents books will, quite literally, change people’s lives for the better. Check out his full bio here!