Take action for a successful, productive new year

As you transition to the new year, now is the time to think “strategy!” How will you change your business plan in the new year? Here are some suggestions.

1. Invest in a smart phone. Smart phones will help you stay on the cutting edge of technology and help you manage your business remotely. If you have a smart phone make sure you are optimizing its use. The power of the smart phone is amazing and fascinating and can be a rock-solid time-saver if you use it properly. Check with your smart phone vendor on training classes to help you utilize all the unique features of your phone. Or check out YouTube videos. Plus, it helps you stay in touch with your clients which is what they want. In 2010, we saw successful agents move farther head with the use of advanced mobile technology including the iPad. Tablet devices help you stay mobile and offer the ability to deliver powerful listing presentations to potential clients.

2. Stay abreast of new year, new laws. The Illinois Association of REALTORS® works hard to protect your business interests in Springfield at the State Capitol through our lobbying and governmental affairs program. Keep abreast of new laws that impact your business. Be sure to read the January Illinois REALTOR® Magazine article “New Year, New Laws” by IAR Assistant Director of Governmental Affairs Julie Sullivan on new laws that could affect you in your business in 2011. Stay tuned to the IARactioncenter.org on a regular basis for updates as the Illinois General Assembly starts a new legislative year beginning in January.

3. Make your plans as you prepare to meet the mandates of the new real estate license law. Check out the transition flow charts in the January Illinois REALTOR® Magazine for the transition to the new license law which begins May 1, 2011 through April 30, 2012. The salesperson license will be phased to the broker license and a new managing broker license category has been created. The transition period lasts one year and you may use the transition period to obtain one license. Begin setting your strategy. To help you get ready to take the state-approved proficiency exam for the upcoming transition period, IAR has developed an exam prep training program. The exam prep is being offered at over 50 pre-license branch locations statewide. Check www.illinoisrealtor.org for details on courses nearest you. The state-approved proficiency exam is available. The actual classroom transition courses will be approved after the first part of 2011. Learn more about what you need to know about the transition to the new law at IARlicenselaw.org.

4. Take out your business plan, dust it off and rewrite it for the new year. What do you want to do differently in 2011? What solid, fresh marketing strategies do you have for each property you have listed? What do you need to change-up with your listing presentations to impress those clients who are considering you to list their property? What new creative staging ideas do you have? Read up on how you can advance your technology skills and study the value of how photos and video can help to market property in order to impress new buyers. Look to the various tools and resources available to you on realtor.org.

5. Reconnect with past clients and current and old friends. Get out and be social in these winter months to help you build your base of contacts. Get on Facebook and explore how other key social media outlets like blogging or Twitter can help you build your community base. Be entertaining in your Facebook posts and optimistic about the real estate market in 2011. Comment on articles you’ve read or market information you can share. Watch for housing market data released monthly from IAR and NAR. When out and about, talk up the value of homeownership. Utilize the NAR surround sound talking points and other homeownership talking points at www.realtor.org/homeownership. Use HouseLogic to auto-populate your website with key interesting content for your clients. It’s fast and is a free, easy resource for you.

6. Protect your business interests. Utilize the vast resources available to you in the newly created IAR Risk Management Toolkit. It’s a one-stop shop for risk management tools and information that can help you reduce or manage your risk in the real estate brokerage business. A unique member service exclusive to you. Just one of the many free member services available to you through the IAR member service program.

7. Serve your local/state/national association. There are many opportunities to serve the REALTOR® Association on committees and special task forces that need your input. Contribute your views and expand your networking powerbase with REALTORS® from across the state—start locally and take advantage of programs there. Attend the IAR Capitol Conference on April 5, 2011 in Springfield and attend the IAR Business Meetings that week to learn what activities your state association is involved in. Exchange ideas and learn from others.

Get started, aim and take action for a successful, productive new year!

About the Author:

Jon Broadbooks is vice president for communications at Illinois REALTORS®.

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