Let’s start with a great saying a long time mentor of mine; Dr. Wayne Dyer has said so well. "Change the way you look at things and the things you look at change." From now on...in business, Oct 1 is the start of a New Year. Think regarding a 15-month business plan. Of course, everything you do will be a part of this year's overall production, it will also be a part of next year’s production volume. That’s the main point of this conversation we will be having. I just want to stress the importance of the decisions that are going to be made here in the coming weeks and the massive impact it can have on your goals. Your decision will take you closer to, or take you farther away from them. Stay engaged, take off the holidays, enjoy the season ahead...just don’t take off the next 2-3 months...just the actual days the holidays fall on. As we get closer and closer to the end of the year, this is a great time to get all the “things” done you haven’t had time to do; it’s a part of running a solid business. I encourage you not to get complacent and brush off the small details...after all, it’s the small things that make a BIG difference. Accept the fact that you may have to 2X or 3X your efforts. A strong mindset is always a key ingredient to having a successful business. Now, as we are coming out of the summer and head into the last quarter of the year, it is exceptionally important to manage our energy, stay focused and in action. Some parts of the year require more work at certain times of the year. An example is CPA’s. They know they are going work longer hours during tax season than other times of the year. Or retail sales, during the holidays they are open extended hours. Professional athletes play during a season and follow a different schedule the rest of the year. Florists are going to see more workload during Valentine’s Day or Mother’s Day. These are just a few examples of other businesses that adapt to the time of the year to accomplish their goals. It’s just the way it goes. For whatever reason, I have seen a trend (and it’s well known) that the closer to the end of October, the large majority of Real Estate Agents begin to pull back and “check out” until early January. That’s 2+ months. However, it’s not just two months; it's costing you 5! The two months you literally took off - PLUS the 2-3 months (or more) it can take to ramp up your business and get a momentum going again. What we do today, in most cases doesn't show up today...it pays off later...several weeks to months later. As business owners, we’re not paid hourly. We wonder how it is we fall short of our goals each year...this is one huge contributing factor. Build a deep pipeline for 2017. What’s the saying “build the well before you need the water.” We’ve said many times during this show the importance of the 5 P's - prior, planning, prevents poor performance. While the majority of agents across the country will begin to pull back, that leaves you more opportunity to capture business. I’d like to suggest you go back and look at your markets statistical data for the months of October, November, and December. Go back the last 2 or 3 years, what does the information tell you? You will notice business is taking place; you may as well get your share. Look closely at how many homes were listed and sold. When you do this you will notice there may be some seasonality occurring, however, it’s likely not as “slow” as you’d think. It’s critical that you do your own research and see it with your own eyes. If you don’t, you will become subject to what the media reports are saying or the buzz going around in your office. When you take an hour to sit down and see it for yourself, you know for sure vs. hearsay, rumor or someone else’s opinion. What I want you to take away from this research is that of all the sales that took place, tell yourself there’s no reason you can’t get your share. How many is that you want? Based on my experience working closely with many agents, closing 3-5 more deals in the last few months of the year can make as significant difference in your finances. That can equate to $25K to $50K+ depending on the average sales prices in your market. WORST case, you generate leads, which when properly nurtured will convert into closed contracts in the first quarter of next year. There’s nothing better than having great momentum to start the year off with! You can only win, just stay in action. Set yourself up for your best year ever. When you step back and look at your goals for the year, are you over achieving? If you are, congratulations! Or despite your efforts, find yourself coming up short, year after year? Of course, there are likely many factors contributing to this. One of them is likely the fact that you’re unaware how letting yourself fall into the trap that it’s “OK” to pull back at the end of the year is affecting your business. If that is a part of your business plan, then that’s an entirely different conversation. What we’re talking about here is treating your business like a real business. Afterall, how many businesses can we think of the just stop showing up for the last 2 or 2.5 months of the year?? Why in the real estate business is it so common? Many factors come into play, let’s look at a few of them so you can be sure to avoid them. First, it’s our mindset in the industry. There is a good percentage of agents/managers/brokers and owners that have bought into the limiting belief that “the market always slows down around the holidays” “No one wants to buy/sell during the holidays.” Sure, I am not naive and live in la la land. Of course, seasonality is a real thing, what I am saying is we need to stop making it an excuse and our reasoning to justify not showing up. We only contribute to this with our inactivity and thus perpetuate this seasonality even more. As we just discussed, all businesses are subject to seasonality, it’s not that it doesn’t happen, it’s what you do about it. This is why it’s so important to pull you market data, evaluate and come up with your action plan. Imagine this...you own an ice cream store, during the winter months, when people aren’t going to think “let’s go get a nice cold ice cream” do you just not open for business? No of course, not, you would have to approach business differently during that time of the year. So, now that you understand “mailing it in” the last few months of the year also impacts the first quarter of the following year, you now can (maybe for the first time) position yourself to avoid missing 3-5 months of your business being off track and never really knew what was going on at the core of the issue. It’s very common that when I am speaking with agents how few actually have a business plan to follow. No wonder a lot of agents feel lost and constantly unsure of what to do...or do next. It’s not enough to have it in your head either; it must be in writing and something you often review and tweak as needed. Goals have four parts; they have to be clear, written, specific, and measurable. So, now that we’re aware of this and how it is contributing to coming up short of our goals each year, what will you do about it? It starts with a decision to put the blinders on and go after it. Don’t forget to bring the right attitude, approach and expectations into the 4th quarter. You’re going to need all 3 to keep moving forward when you may be faced with more delayed gratification than during the spring or summer. It makes for a tougher road when we go at things alone. Let’s face it, when we step out and go after anything bigger than we’ve done before or venture into new experiences in our lives, it’s always nice to have supportive people around us. Who is this for you at home? At work? We need to be open about what we’re setting out to accomplish and with our ego checked at the door, candidly share with our support team how they can help you stay engaged, focused and in action! Check in with your manager/broker, production coach at your office and those agents that are also seeking similar goals to maintain the accountability we all can benefit from. If you find yourself resisting this, realize you’re probably a decision away from having that break through you and I both know you want to experience. There is no failure, just feedback. Are you practicing your scripts? Role-playing your presentations several times a week? Pick the one that is your biggest opportunity for growth and dedicate the next few weeks to becoming more proficient with this one area of your business. Doing this and layering in a new part every so often will help you build strong skills set and help you convert more business...with less stress!