December 26th 2018

Planning for Next Year

Let me ask you a question…



As you look towards 2019, are you planning to sell more homes than you did in 2018?

I think most of us would say HECK YES!

We all start the year feeling charged-up and ready to do better than we did last year. However, to stay the course and sell more over the course of an entire year, you need specific goals, a substantiated plan to back up those goals, and most importantly, support to help you overcome obstacles that may pop-up and keep you from reaching your goals.  

And that’s where Garry and I want to help!

As real estate professionals, we’re often “lone rangers,” and we think we have to figure it all out on our own. But as part of The Paperless Agent community, you’re surrounded with smart, motivated agents who are happy to help.

So, here’s what you need to do. In the comments section below, answer the following questions:

What are your goals for 2019?
What were your biggest challenges in 2018?
What obstacles do you anticipate in 2019?

In the comments section below, we want to have an active discussion and pool the knowledge of The Paperless Agent community.

Chances are, someone has encountered the same obstacles and challenges you’re facing and will share some insights or tips for overcoming those obstacles.

Likewise, you have experience that can benefit someone else!

Finally, by stating your goals, you’ll be making a public commitment that will help keep you accountable.

So go ahead and answer the questions above, and then read what other people are writing. If you have a tip to share, write it down in the comments!

We’ll be reading your comments and chiming in as well!


  1. I fell short of my goals for 2018. I have been in the business for 28 years and do ok but not as well as I’d like to do. I provide excellent customer service to clients that I have but I do not generate enough new clients. If I’m honest here are my weaknesses:
    1. I’m technologically challenged.
    2. My social media presence is not strong.
    3. I struggle to manage my profile, info, home sales, etc... on all platforms such as my website, Zillow, LinkedIn,, etc...
    4. I do publish a monthly newsletter, send letters to specific neighborhoods from time to time, but I’m not great at staying in front of people.
    5. I have a limited budget.

    Suggestions on how you manage?? Thanks!

    • Utilizing the courses in my Paperless Agent Dashboard have helped me to refine my social media skills & posting strategy. Social media advertising costs way less than print ads, so perhaps you could focus on strengthening this area of your business to help generate leads. Best wishes to you & Happy New Year!!?

    • Angelia,

      My first recommendation is to change some of your language... being tech challenged is a state of knowledge and skill, not a character attribute. Researcher Carol Dweck has done some great work in the field of mindsets. What she has found is that people who achieve at higher levels share a similar mindset... which is that we can learn and develop to achieve.

      Most of us, however, think in a "fixed mindset" which is that we are "born" with a certain level of skill, talent, and knowledge and we can change it. Changing your social presence and improving your online identity are projects that have a beginning and end, they aren't never ending.

      Sure you can alway improve, but it's not like the old days where you had to post social content every day to keep things fresh. I would start with learning and getting knowledge because it will show you what you actually need to do instead of what you think you need to do.

      In this area, I think Michele gives good advice. I also suggest looking at your 3 things you showed (i'm not counting your tech challenged comment of limited budget because those are perceived constraints, the others are things you can work on to change).

      Pick one (the easiest one) and start there. That way you'll have an accomplishment. And then move on the the next... if you could make a dent on any three in the next 90 days, your year is going to be looking a lot better. Because you'll be fixing the things that plagued the last year.

      Thanks for sharing your challenges, I appreciate your candor and willingness to share. You're helping others just by sharing your challenges. Thanks!

    • For your social media presence, find one or two realtors doing it the way you wish you were doing it and imitate the heck out of them. All the better is they are in another market. ? Second on social, realize that it rarely brings clients. It's more like a place that people look to check out your bona fides - so don't stress! Post and share from others any info that makes you look like the expert for your farm. The good news about this is that it's cheap, cheap, cheap. You're already the local expert (especially after 28 years!). You just need to share info that lets other people know this. They don't read minds.

  2. 2019 goals include hitting $10MM in sales, cleaning up my CRM, having a consistent plan/ schedule to reach out to my A peeps and a consistent streamlined, engaging social network plan. Biggest obstacle this year was lack of inventory - several of my buyers just got discouraged and postponed the search til 2019 Inventory will continue to be an issue both for buyers and sellers that want to move up. With your help, 2019 will rock!

    • I'm always on the lookout and pay particular attention to educational articles on creating urgency with clients (it's like practically a hobby with me ?). I'm not saying that your buyers are wrong for delaying, but there may be legitimate reasons to compromise and pull the trigger now or soon. Watch for this kind of content and put the reasons in front of your clients. For starters, we're going to see at least two more interest rate increases in 2019 and maybe more. Those buyers are going to see their buying power go down. You and I know this, but don't assume they understand it.

    • Always keep in mind there are other ways to find inventory:
      *Expired Listings
      *Withdrawn Listings
      *Door knocking

      I have used these to find additional homes for my buyers in the past!

  3. My goal for 2019 is to do 25 transactions.
    The biggest challenge I had in 2018 was time management.
    My baby was born in 2017.
    It was a big challenge to be a new parent taking care of a baby and work at the same time.
    I will find the balance between work and family to make it work in 2019!

    • Eileen,

      According to goal theory researcher Edwin Locke (whose work spans multiple decades on the topic), having conflicting goals is a main saboteur of goal achievement. When two goals conflict (in time, money, resource) then we will intentionally or unintentionally choose to invest our time, money and resource into the goal that is more important to us.

      Finding that balance will take a very serious and thoughtful approach to solving the conflict of time. As a father of 4, I know how time can be the constraint, forcing us to choose whether that time goes to family or work. In order manage my own time, I know I have to say no to a lot of things. I have to have discipline in adhering to my time blocks on my calendar. And I have to be realistic about what I can do in a day. The "just hustle harder" mantra only lasts until reality sets in and you've got a baby who won't fall asleep at night, then showing homes all day on a saturday on only two hours of sleep. There's no more hustle left after a day like that.

      I would encourage you to take a hard look at your calendar and how you've spent your time to see what can be changed. Are there things you have to say "no" to? For me this is eating lunch out. That used to be an hour a day spent with people eating a meal... which I found valuable and fun. But it's not one I can afford regularly... that was 3 or 4 hours a week I saved just by changing my lunch habits. You may have to invest in getting help to hangout with baby while you do focused work activities... maybe just a few hours a week.

      I know with a little guided effort and support, you'll get it worked out! There are lots of parents in our industry who have "cracked the code". I'm curious to see if others have some experience they can share. You may want to post in the private FB group as well to get tips if you're a member. Thanks for sharing!

  4. Yes need 2019 plan

  5. Goal for 2019 -- double my income
    Obstacles in 2018 -- low demand in my market
    Obstacles in 2019 -- lower demand in my market

    • Kelly,

      A recommendation I have is to examine further where your business has come from. There are always market obstacles (too little inventory, too much inventory, financing, affordability, etc.).

      One way to increase business is to know where your business has come from. That will help you better understand where to focus to get more business. Perhaps you have a source or two of business that could be greatly expanded. Maybe there's business being left on the table by over looked sources. Maybe there's new channels to tap into that you've not considered before.

      Most of us don't have a good sense exactly where our business comes from and where to go or what to do to get more of of. I would encourage you to tally up where each client came from in the last year and see if that provides you with an insight or two. 80% of your sales are likely coming from only 20% of activity. And you're probably spending 80% of your time on activity that produce only 20% of your sales. Do you know what those things are? Can you shift some of that unproductive activity to more results producing activity?

      Thanks for sharing!

    • Maybe tweak your market? I've read several articles on the math to determine if a farm area is viable. I think Tom Ferry writes about this, but I'm sure you can google the concept. If your farm is not viable, you can't change that. As one of my favorite mentors puts it, "Growth is math!" Good luck!

  6. My goal is 40 closed transactions. Goals to achieve that:
    1.) weekly videos on Youtube so that it develops into a major prospecting tool.
    2.) valuable FB video ads consistently.
    3.) create a clear productivity system via LEAP
    4.) master Garry’s updated listing presentation
    5.) set up a calendar & system to automate social media systems & presence
    6.) door knock one day per week - because I love it ? and because I meet a lot of my niche people there.
    7.) I’ve just set up an Accountability Partner with another Paperless Agent member. ?

    Anticipated Obstacles: 1.) My daughter & her 2 young children recently moved backed home due to a separation. May need time to help them. 2.) Can I keep up the steam all year without getting burnt out? 3.) I often spend LOTS of time with each client, especially the elder ones.

    2018 Issues: I did not start the year with a clear goal or plan. Lots of wishes, but no defined path to get there.

    • Mary, I love how specific and concrete your plans are for your goals. I also appreciate the candor in evaluating potential conflicts and identifying areas to fix. I think your chances are looking great for 2019!

    • Ah family. Those challenges are so extra hard on the mamas! Just know that you're already off to a great start with having a plan and accountability partner! Keep your eye on the plan but give yourself lots of permission to loaf a little when you need it. ❤?

  7. My main goal is to open my own brokerage this year. My mother passed away in January 2018 and I was really in a funk for most of the year. Now, I am rallying back, getting my mindset right and focusing on consistent systems to ensure success. I am ready to make 2019 my best year yet!

    • Janet, my condolences to you and your family. My father, who was my best friend, passed away January 21, 2108. It was a disaster! He was my rock and my guide in life, including being an amazing advisor in real estate matters. I lost motivation and interest in life, which really cost me quite a bit of business and opportunity. I was sad and depressed and felt like I’d be a failure without him. Now that it’s December and we are all looking forward to a successful new year, I have decided to pull myself out of my darkness; change my way of thinking; build a master mind group of realtors who are motivated to rebuild their careers after losing a loved on; and forge ahead to win in 2019! Please let me know if you’re interested in joining my group. I am just quickly starting to put it together so we can have a great year in real estate despite our loss.

  8. My goal is a bit different. Of course it is to make more money. I do property management. My goal is to increase my business by 100 properties. What would be the best approach? People dont walk around wearing hats that advertize they are investors. What would be my best marketing audience? Thanks, Julie

    • Have you looked into marketing to other agents? They have the clients and if you offer them a referral fee and a promise that you will not solicit sales business from their clients, that could be a great audience!

  9. I love this post! They say that if you don't share your goals publicly, it's too easy to ignore them. I have huge goals for 2019. I am going to close $50M in transactions personally and grow my team. This is a big uptick from 2018's production, following major surgery in late 2017 (a challenge in 2018 for sure). To accomplish this goal, I'm getting ready to launch an SEO-supercharged new website, committing major advertising dollars to google and FB, and I'm working a very specific Sphere of Influence campaign designed to account for at least $35M of my production. For the rest of my production, I have the math figured out for bringing and converting enough online leads to bring the transactions I need. My biggest challenges in 2018, other than my post surgery recovery and teenager, have been getting leads from various sources into my CRM and getting my CRM database segmented and set up wtih nurturing sequences, as well as respecting the dedicated block of time marked on my calendar for the last year for personalized database outreach. My biggest challenges for 2019 are funding my aggressive advertising plans (to be addressed by focusing first on my lower cost SOI campaign), getting myself on video (have taken several classes, this will happen!) and getting my facebook ads designed and queued up (I'm working a class right now to finish this). Whew! Bring it on! I have a kid starting college in 2020. This is my time. ???

    • Tracy, great work... one suggestion I have for you on the advertising budget is to be aggressive in finding what is working and what isn't. There's a great book on this by Perry Marshall called 80/20 Sales and Marketing. The idea is that you get 80% of your result from 20% of your effort... Pareto's Law/Principle. I recently took this approach to my own ad spend and found that about 35% of our ad spend was working and the rest was breaking even. Of the 65% breaking even, I found I could easily stop the bottom 3% without any repercussion.

      Right now, I'm working on transitioning the rest to content and campaigns that are currently in the 20% of effort producing 80% of the results. In this way I can shift more of the non-producing ad spend to producing ad spend and have a disproportionate increase in results. I encourage everyone to monitor their ad spend closely and track and evaluate what 20% of the ad spend is producing 80% of the result... and start to move more effort/spend into that 20%. Based on what you've shared, I like your chances for 2019!

  10. WHAT HAPPENED: In 2018 had 2 goal levels. 1 was survival and 1 was the big win. I didn't even make the survival goal. In fact, my income is down 50% from my career high of 2016. Why? Because I chose to volunteer as Chairperson for a major community event and it took my focus off of my business. My community involvement took priority over my business. BIG Mistake!!!! 2019 GOALS:1. deepen relationships I already have professionally both online and offline; 2. Win the day by doing my daily written activities; 3. Attend 1 networking event every week and add 1 person to my database to expand the number of my relationships. These 3 consistent activities will get me to my goal of $180K GCI by 12/31/19 working 40 hour weeks and taking 4 weeks and 10 holidays off. 2019 Concerns: 1. Don't run any events. Focus on my business CONSISTENTLY every day and track it.

  11. WHAT HAPPENED: In 2018 had 2 goal levels. 1 was survival and 1 was the big win. I didn't even make the survival goal. In fact, my income is down 50% from my career high of 2016. Why? Because I chose to volunteer as Chairperson for a major community event and it took my focus off of my business. My community involvement took priority over my business. BIG Mistake!!!! 2019 GOALS:1. deepen relationships I already have professionally both online and offline; 2. Win the day by doing my daily written activities; 3. Attend 1 networking event every week and add 1 person to my database to expand the number of my relationships. These 3 consistent activities will get me to my goal of $180K GCI by 12/31/19 working 40 hour weeks and taking 4 weeks and 10 holidays off. 2019 Concerns: 1. Don't run any events. Focus on my business CONSISTENTLY every day and track it!

  12. Saw your email today and spent quality time with my thoughts on performance and how to improve. THANK YOU for the jumpstart! Upon review, 9 of my 15 sales were from my sphere whether is was a past client or a referral from a past client. I did not reach my goal of 20 sales. Considerable time spent with corporate referrals without a completed transaction, mostly due to lack of inventory and the quality of our Florida waterways.
    Keep hearing that I should embrace a social media presence and was encouraged by Tracy's comments above so will get started in 2019. Reviewed my Zillow and sites to see the lack of recommendations so am reaching out to sphere for ratings.

  13. After being a broker and owning my own brokerages, I decided to this year to get my NMLS to do loans and I achieved that. Though I will continue to represent clients in real estate, I will be focusing more on doing loans, and doing so with empathy, providing solutions and better communication with my realtor partners, because I know how I as a broker wished all lenders approached transactions. My 2019 goal is to originate 30 loans and have 10 real estate transactions. As for the real estate, I intend to be more interactive with my sphere. For loans, I am still trying to figure it out, but, initially, I will talk to realtors that I have known from 18 years of representation, and hope that they will give me a chance to originate their clients loans once they realize I can beat most places and save their clients some money. My 2018 challenges have been personal and family illness. My goal is to know that they are there, and not feed into those challenges.
    If there are any professionals out there who want to see if I can save their clients money, I can do loans in most states. Please give me a chance. Plus, I work with a lender who has been in the business since the 90s.

  14. I have been a licensed realtor for well over a year. I have made only two sales with the help of my sister who is a seasoned agent. Due to limited funds, its difficult to afford a coach in which I really need. I need someone to hold me accountable, show me step by step on how to get started. This year, I plan to watch several videos, I would like to attend a Tom Ferry seminar. I need to learn how to gain clients . I'm just a little lost in organizing my time and what to do first. I plan to have gain enough knowledge to be ready to gain clients by the end of feburary and move for forward.

    • Judith,

      You may wish to speak with your broker about this or perhaps your sister. Quite often it is helpful to work with someone who has their systems in place and learn from just need to compensate them with some a small % of your first 6 deals?

  15. Hi, I’m in the second year of doing real estate. My challenges are negotiations that keep deals together and keeping prospective customers to stay engaged with me.
    Your webinar on FB was useful, because I don’t get FB, and they don’t have a phone number to call.

  16. Great, I really like it! Youre awesome

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