We work in an industry where we determine how much we make in a year — it’s not decided by some far-away corporation, and it’s completely within our control thanks to the incentives and commissions that power our work. That’s why my year starts out with a golden number: The amount of money I want to make over the course of the next 365 days.
Here’s how you can come up with yours, too.
Assess your needs.
At the end of every year, my wife and I sit down and look at the year ahead and take an honest look at our needs and goals. Is a known medical expense looming? Do we want to pay down debt or increase our savings? What’s the number that would make us feel the most comfortable and secure as we plan for the foreseeable and unforeseeable expenses that lie ahead? That amount becomes our take-home pay.
Do the math.
Let’s say you’d like to make $100,000 in 2020. You’ll need to look at your tax bracket to determine the additional funds you’ll pay to the government. Let’s say your tax rate is 25 percent. To take home $100,000, you’ll need to make $125,000.
Next, research the median home price for your county. In Ada County, that’s $354,405.
Now, let’s take a look at your commission. If you make a 3 percent commission, for example, you can expect to make $10,632.15 on a $354,405 sale. Don’t forget to count your company fee — if you’re charged $500 on every transaction, you’re actually making $10,132.15 per sale.
To make $125,000, then, you’ll need to generate 12.34 transactions in 2020. (Let’s say 13, just to be safe.) Sounds so simple when you put numbers to your goals, but truly, it can be just that simple.
Visualize your goal.
Put your goal number where you can see it, like above your desk or as the background picture on your desktop. When you see what you’re working toward every day, it’s harder to procrastinate or shirk the tasks that will help you get to where you want to be.
Revisit what has worked in the past.
It pays to be strategic about the work you’ll put into your goal. I like to look back at the previous year and figure out what generated a sale for me.
Let’s say five interactions generated one transaction. If I want to make 13 sales, I need to schedule 65 interactions, or 5-6 per month. But I can also count on a 20 percent cancellation rate for those interactions, which means that my real target number should be about 7-8 interactions per month.
Make your time count.
I know that every meeting offers the possibility of more income, so I make them work for me. I’m a big fan of breakfast meetings. Why? Because people don’t get out of bed in the morning unless they’re motivated to do business.
It pays to take a mindful approach to your time. If you’re invited to play golf or to go out to lunch, assess whether it can help you move forward. If not, you might want to take a pass.
Check in with yourself.
A monthly scoreboard is vital to your success. I like to keep track of my progress using a spreadsheet and check in monthly to course correct. It’s the same idea as getting on a scale every morning — it’s not about shaming yourself into losing weight, it’s about seeing what worked or didn’t work the day before. Take each step forward or back for the lesson that it is.
This method works equally well for teams. If there’s a target you want your team to hit, share it. Use your team meetings as an opportunity to celebrate progress or determine how your team can work better together — who needs help or a boost? Again, assessments are not about pointing fingers. They’re about working together toward a common goal.
Work with real partners.
When you look back at your year, determine which partners helped you reach your goals and which ones hindered your success. If you can’t pinpoint how your title company helped you in 2019, it’s time to shop for a new one.
A company like Fidelity National Title adds value through tools, networking, candid conversations, and classes. We want our clients to describe us as true partners — that’s how we think of them, and it’s the secret to our success. We’re here to help you. When you succeed, we do, too. Let us help you build your TEAM (Title Escrow Agent Mortgage). Once you establish that group the TEAM (Together Everyone Achieves More) becomes possible!
We’re looking forward to a very successful 2020. We’re here to make sure you do, too.
Phil Archer is vice president - Treasure Valley manager at Fidelity National Title.