Planning a Successful Year: 6 Steps
Remember: The best-laid plans lead to nothing without solid action
By Tom Ninness, vice president and regional production manager, Cherry Creek Mortgage
This time of year is perfect
for setting new goals. But this
process involves a lot of planning,
which will mean nothing without the effort
to move ahead and take action.
Here are six steps to get you started in
making this a successful year.
1. Analyze your business: Ask the following questions.
■ Where do you want to be for the com-
■ How many of your leads generate how
many closings and in how many hours?
■ What is your hourly rate?
■ Where are the leads coming from? Are
they solid or time-wasters?
■ How effective is your office time?
Are you working effectively or just killing
2. Calculate your desired income: Break
this down by month, by week, by day and
by hour. First, determine the number of
transactions you need to make your desired
income. For example, you could decide that
to make $100,000 a year, you must complete
22 transactions. Assuming that you can
close 25 percent of all transactions that
cross your desk, divide 22 by 25 percent
to determine you need 88 appointments
a year to create $100,000. If your lead-to-appointment conversion ratio is 20 percent,
you will need 440 leads (88 divided by 20
percent) to make this work.
3. Search for leads: With all those leads
necessary to create a steady flow of appointments and closings, it will take some
serious planning. It’s now time to start
listing potential leads.
Reach into areas you’ve never considered, and remember that each person
knows an average of 250 people. If people
you know don’t need your services, they
could know someone who does.
Equally important is carving out the
daily time to prospect. Put the office on
hold, change your voice mail to indicate
specific times of the day for returning
calls, and hit the phone for serious calling.
Expect to spend at least two hours per day
digging up leads. Field your professional
referral sources and the usual friends, family and neighbors for leads. Remember that
sharing leads is a two-way street; giving is
as important as receiving.
4. Plan wisely: The cliché goes: “People
don’t plan to fail, but they sometimes
fail to plan.” Building a plan before you
arrive for work makes it easier to achieve
Don’t allow the phone or visitors to
direct your time. Allowing people with
the loudest voices to demand your attention, rather than taking care of the most-important priorities on your plate, will
continually sabotage your daily actions.
Always know your next step toward productive action.
5. Manage your appetite: What seems to
be overwhelming now can be broken down
into smaller, more-manageable prospects.
For example, say that tomorrow, you plan
to work on a three-hour project. But with
interruptions and meetings, finding a
three-hour chunk of time is difficult — and
you might put off the task because there
seems to be no time for it. Instead, schedule
a small bite, a step or two that might take
20 or 30 minutes. Then put the next step
on the “to do” list and the next step after
that on the following day’s list. You may
take several days, but you will finish the
In addition, remember that interruptions tend to occur early in the day versus later in the day and early in the week
instead of later in the week. Plan projects
around those interruption patterns.
6. Set a deadline: Have you ever failed to
achieve a New Year’s resolution? If so, it’s
likely that you didn’t set a deadline. Deadlines move us to action. Without a deadline,
things wind up in our “as soon as possible”
pile, a Neverland where items are attended
to “someday” or “when I get the time.”
Create a deadline that will move you to
action. Make the elephant on your list the
priority, eliminate procrastination, build
your action plan and make it a successful
year from here on out.
Tom Ninness is vice
president and regional
production manager for
Cherry Creek Mortgage
in Denver. He also is
the president of Summit Champions Inc. and
creator of The 90-Day
Journey to Your Sales Success, a 90-day action plan for the sales professional. To learn
more, go to www.90dayjourney.com and
www.summitchampions.com. Contact Ninness at firstname.lastname@example.org
or (720) 221-4396.
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