Creating the ultimate "system" - Makeover

Real Estate Broker/Owner with Intero Real Estate CA BRE #01191946

I've looked at a lot of "systems" that involve everything from lead generation to customer satisfaction.  Some are good, some are a waste of time, all of them cost money.  A lot of money.  And none of them...absolutely none...are just right for me.  I need to create my own "Ultimate System".

Start:  A Vision

I've had a strategic vision for a long time...focus on luxury real estate.  There has been some success but not as much as I'd like.  There has to be more to what I offer, so that means focusing on defining a brand.  What is it that I really offer and how different is that from anyone else.

To stand out, my brand vision is to offer a breadth of services on par with a five-star hotel.  A highly personalized client experience that means whatever the client wants...within reason...they get.  We do the job so well they don't want anyone else.

How do I define what that means?  Easy - just make a list of everything I want to offer or do.  Then segment the list into two categories - what I do now and what I want to do.

Foundation:  Four Aspects of Business

I've determined there are four major areas of my business.  They are:

  • Lead generation
  • Client/Transaction Management
  • Customer Satisfaction/Retention
  • Operations

Within each of those are a set of processes that define how I do business.  The way I do it may not be the same as the way someone else does it.  It's not better, per se, just different.  So, within each of those areas I need to write out all the things I do within each area.  For example, in lead generation I might include online ads, print ads, and social mixers.  I might do the first two and not the third.  Documenting what I do in each major area begins to organize my system.

These four major areas are documented in a series of Powerpoint slides that start with the high-level major areas.  I've started and will continue to create more slides that show the details of each individual area and their relationships to each other.

Details:  Creating Checklists

The one thing I don't do well is track what I'm doing.  I'm fairly organized and overall I have a handle on things but nothing is centralized.  There's no clear method of tracking my clients, deals, advertising, expenses, and on and on.  For me to improve my business, I need to take the things I do, organized in those four major areas, and create checklists.

The power of the checklist - a step-by-step list of everything you need to do - is a powerful tool.  It cuts out the waste and makes things efficient.  All I have to do is create it.  So, I'll be using Microsoft Excel (or you could use Google Apps) to create a list of what each process requires me to do.  Now I've got the core of "The Ultimate System".  I can now check off every step of everything I do to run my business.

Execution:  Implementing Technology

Depending on the process, I will need to implement a wide range of technologies.  There is a wide range of software that can be used to accomplish these goals.  Here's a list of the technologies I have already determined will be used:

  • Lead Generation - Zillow, Trulia, Craigslist, Youtube, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, my own website, and others
  • Client Management - E-Agents, MLS Listings
  • Transaction Management - Transaction Point
  • Digital Signatures - Docusign
  • Virtual Tours -
  • Blogging - Activerain, Wordpress (TBD)
  • Customer Satisfaction - Custom website (with call center backup)
  • Online Storage - Google Drive
  • Budget and Expenses - Expensify

All of these could be changed depending on how well they perform.  Consistantly I'll be using Microsoft Office apps to create tracking spreasheets and checklists.  Those are supported by Google Apps so anything I upload to the Google Drive can be shared by others as needed.  Almost everything I'm using is free or very inexpensive.

So, that's the how I'm going to put it all together.  As of now, this process has been started but it's a long way from completion.  I expect the entire system to be documented and in place by the end of August.  Some aspects are already in place and that's resulting in more business.  For example, lead generation processes were updated and have resulted in a 400% increase in leads.  Those changes included using bits from the IMSD program, Brian Buffini, and my own ideas.



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Ellie Penaranda
239.776.5077 Downing-Frye Realty - Naples, FL
Naples Florida Real Estate - Waterfront & Beach Co

Bryan, great way of breaking it down... August being our slowest month of the year we usually regroup and look at the whole picture, this was a timely post for me, thanks.

Jul 28, 2012 03:58 AM #20
Chris and Dick Dovorany
Homes for Sale in Naples, Bonita Springs and Estero, Florida - Naples, FL
Broker/Associate at Premiere Plus Realty

Very nice.  I would assume that your yearly business plan is equally impressive.

Jul 28, 2012 04:09 AM #21
Iris Stuart
none - Santa Rosa, CA

Bryan, you have a great game plan layed out.  I've bookmarked your post as I'll be moving soon and will need to get serious about developing my business in a new area.  As a relative newbie to RE I'm using this challenge to learn from  experienced agents.  AR is a wonderful place to learn! Thank you!   

Jul 28, 2012 04:36 AM #22
Sandy Acevedo
951-290-8588 - Chino Hills, CA
RE/MAX Masters, Inland Empire Homes for Sale

Hi Bryan, this makes it look like you are practically where you want to be. This layout is impressive. Good luck, I know you will do it!

Jul 28, 2012 06:50 AM #23
Jennifer Chiongbian
Specializing in all types of Manhattan apts & townhouses - Manhattan, NY
Real Estate Broker - NYC

Great roadmap on how to get your goals to materialize without spending too much money!

Jul 28, 2012 07:34 AM #24
Melissa Zavala
Broadpoint Properties - Escondido, CA
Broker, Escondido Real Estate, San Diego County

This is a good roadmap and I like the way that you have outlined your goals. Have a nice weekend.

Jul 28, 2012 08:54 AM #25
Erica Ramus
Erica Ramus - Ramus Realty Group - Pottsville, PA - Pottsville, PA
MRE, Schuylkill County PA Real Estate

We are using many of these as well. I love Google Drive and sharing documents with clients that way. We also have been using Realty Juggler for our coordination of CRM, income/goal tracking, and transaction management. It's got a 90 day free trial and it's $99/month per agent, which for our office is just what we need. I need to work more on my checklists, though!

Jul 28, 2012 10:10 AM #26
John Juarez
The Medford Real Estate Team - Fremont, CA

One of the most challenging aspects of being a Realtor is that we are business practitioners. We are responsible for finding business, doing business and accounting for business and everything that goes into those functions.

The perfect system does not exist but the search goes on.

Jul 28, 2012 10:22 AM #27
Gary Frimann
Eagle Ridge Realty / Signature Homes & Estates - Gilroy, CA
REALTOR and Broker

Looks liike a complete and throrough plan.  I agree with your first paragraph-- nothing works better and more cheaply, than out own plan.

Jul 28, 2012 11:31 AM #28
Laura Murray
Weichert - Silver Spring, MD
Search Montgomery Co., MD for homes

Isn't it good to get it all in writing.  That is the first step to bringing clarity to a plan.  Obviously the next step is action.  Good luck to you.

Jul 28, 2012 11:35 AM #29
What Not To Renovate - Milan B.
Palm Coast, FL
We provide tips & trends on home renos & designs

Hi Bryan,

Thanks for sharing this timely blog. I'm currently in the process of changing my lead generation system and processes.

I may need to borrow a few ideas from your good looking plan :)


Jul 28, 2012 12:47 PM #30
Doug Bullwinkel
Envoy Mortgage - Roseville, CA
NMLS #281609

It looks like you just made it in time for the deadline.  Great post.   You presented some good ideas for us to follow.  Good luck in the contest.

Jul 28, 2012 01:39 PM #31
Evelyn Kennedy
Alain Pinel Realtors - Alameda, CA
Alameda, Real Estate, Alameda, CA


I like your plan and the actions it will take to accomplish that plan.  I am tackle a similar plan to increase my efficient with a new contact management system.  I'll be interested to hear what systems work best for you.

Jul 28, 2012 02:15 PM #32
Tammie White, Broker
Franklin Homes Realty LLC - Franklin, TN
Franklin TN Homes for Sale

Bryan, this is a winner. You have done some excellent work here. My husband is joining me in the business soon. I have bookmarked this for his reading. It's a nice overview of what we should all strive to do.

Jul 28, 2012 03:56 PM #33
Praful Thakkar
LAER Realty Partners - Andover, MA
Andover, MA: Andover Luxury Homes For Sale

Bryan, what a plan! Virutally flaw-less.

I know, it's easy to do and it's easy not to do, too. Isn't that the difference between success and failure?

Jul 28, 2012 04:10 PM #34
Christine Donovan
Donovan Blatt Realty - Costa Mesa, CA
Broker/Attorney 714-319-9751 DRE01267479 - Costa M

Bryan - I'm working on checklists and implementing some of my own organization.  It's a little daunting.

Jul 28, 2012 04:37 PM #35
Phil Leng
Retired - Kirkland, WA
Phil Leng - Retired
Hi Bryan, An ambitious endeavor. I have no doubt you will pull it off! Phil
Jul 28, 2012 07:12 PM #36
Linda Urbick
RealtyOne Group - San Ramon, CA
Selling San Ramon Valley - 925-786-5132

Bryan - I was just having this conversation and getting ready to sit down and outline a plan to increase my leads so this post was very timely. It just proves having a strategic plan with definitive steps will keep me focused. Thanks

Jul 29, 2012 08:18 AM #37
Laura Murray
Weichert - Silver Spring, MD
Search Montgomery Co., MD for homes

Went back an read some of the comments.  i really really like Fernando's idea of getting a private Wordpress to keep info/guides for clients and co-workers.

Jul 31, 2012 11:05 AM #38
Charles Stallions
Charles Stallions Real Estate Services - Pensacola, FL
800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl.

Making that list and checking it twice Bryan Umm where have I heard that before. LOL. I am big on list and systems

Aug 10, 2012 01:42 PM #39
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