Start Planning for an Improved New Year

Put agents on the right path in 2016 by helping them objectively look at their business in 2015.

December 2, 2015

We all see the annual end-of-year lull approaching as sales slow during the holiday season. This year, why not make the most of that extra time by getting your agents focused and energized on the upcoming year?

When I served as a managing principal broker for my company, Windermere Stellar, I loved scheduling face-to-face meetings with agents who were interested in analyzing their past year’s performance in order to gain insight for what to focus on during the upcoming months.

Our planning meetings would follow this basic structure:

1. Current Year Analysis: My first goal for these meetings was to help agents take a critical look at their businesses and articulate their desired areas of growth. To get there, I reviewed every piece of sales data for the entire year with the agent. Each listing, each buyer, and each price point was examined. Then I’d ask my agents what they want their average sales price to be in the coming year and how many transactions they’d like to have.

While this may seem like a mountain of data to organize, we’d collect it easily by using a printout of each agent’s listings and sales with names, addresses, and sales prices included. Our agents now have easy access to this information through Moxi Works, our online customer service management program. Together, we’d look for trends (negative, positive, or neutral) and review strategies for improving their weak spots. It’s amazing, the insight you can gain by taking a careful look at the available data.

2. Review Successes: After reviewing the data, I’d discuss what they did well in the previous year. One agent might be especially successful with open houses, while another may have seen several new referrals from past clients. A third agent might have had great results by being active in local networking groups. Once those were reviewed, we’d look to see what successful activities could be repeated or increased. My goal here was not to reinvent the wheel but to double down on what had already been successful.

3. Provide Action Items: All this new insight isn’t very useful if there’s no outlet for it. At the end of the meeting, I would provide two or three actionable suggestions each agent could use in the new year. These items could be simple or complex, but they’ll be different for each agent based on their data, desired growth areas, and abilities. When my agents walked away from these meetings with a few achievable ideas to improve their business, they were happier and more productive.

Meet Your Agents Where They Are

If you plan on starting your own year-end meetings, it’s important to remember not all your agents will have the same strengths and weaknesses, so give them tools they’re likely to use. I call this “meeting them where they are.” A digital customer database would be a fantastic tool for some agents, but others who are less tech-savvy might be intimidated by this suggestion. They might see better results by asking someone new out to lunch each week or scheduling a new open house. I would try to tailor the coaching so that each agent would be motivated to use at least one of the suggestions every day.

The wealth of information available to the average agent can be overwhelming, and as a result, many don’t make the necessary adjustments that will bring growth. These end-of-year meetings help agents focus on their results, successes, areas for improvement, and the action items that will help them achieve their goals. It’s a win for the agents, a win for the managing principal brokers, and a win for the company.

After a long year, it would be easy to let a slow December disappear into the holidays and family gatherings. Instead, be disciplined, and use a bit of that free time intentionally pursing an improved new year


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Joan Allen is a co-owner of Windermere Stellar and cochair of the Windermere Foundation. As co-owner of Windermere Stellar, Joan provides overall strategies for management, marketing, and company direction. Joan works with multiple nonprofits in the region as cochair of the local Windermere Foundation, which supports charitable organizations that assist low-income children and families. She also serves on the board of directors for New Avenues for Youth, Bridge Meadows, and Providence Portland Medical Center, and is an advisory board member for Girls Inc.