Episode 54: The Nitty Gritty of Goal-Setting with Kenny

Episode 54: The Nitty Gritty of Goal-Setting with Kenny

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Hello and welcome to The Thoughtful Realtor podcast. This is a podcast where we sit down for insights and stories and conversations about all things real estate, running a real estate team here in California, and how we find our way as leaders and business partners.

I'm Kenny Gong, one of the founders and partners of Willowmar Real Estate, and today's episode is a one-on-one just between you and me, all about setting goals as a real estate agent. And this is something near and dear to my heart—and something I am so blessed to get to do every day—as I support lots of real estate agents as they go after their own personal and professional goals, whether that is as a Willowmar agent or any of the other real estate agents that I mentor.

I also hope that this isn't just for real estate agents, but that this can be applied to anyone in any professional realm. So, let's start at something that's fairly obvious, but still I think really helpful to say out loud and to mention, which is that goal setting is so personal. Everyone has their own business, their own strengths, their own areas of improvement, and goal setting has to be personal because the day-to-day actions of a professional really, really need to be intrinsically motivated.

And, they have to be designed to fit an individual's life and their own individual work styles. And that being said: I really, really like to create some structure for folks so that there's some scaffolding for agents to hang their goals onto. And this year, I actually started framing goals and goal settings within little bursts of twelve weeks with a thirteenth rest week instead of three-month quarters.

I like having goals that are a little tighter in timeline so that there's more opportunity to celebrate accomplishments and equally important to pivot any actions if we're finding that they're just not working out. But, before we get too specific on any actions or sequence of actions, the structure I encourage my agents to work with begins at a high level, and I ask for folks to first think about these questions.

So, the first one is: “What will a great life look like for you at the end of these twelve weeks?”

The next question is: “What will meaningfully drive your highest vision for personal and professional success?”

And then the final question that I like to have folks think about at a high level before they get too specific is: “What can you 100-percent own and commit to?” And this last one is really huge because I try never to be in a position where I'm telling people what their goals should be.

I think my role as a coach is to not hold people accountable, but rather to set up the structure and the support for people to hold themselves accountable. So again, that last question is so important. What can you 100-percent own and commit to?

Once we have a sense of what those goals can be, we think about what can be most essential and most impactful for them. And then we write them out each to be as specific and measurable as possible. And I also like to really encourage folks to do this for both their work and their life.

So, for example, it could be: “I will close five transactions in the next twelve weeks.” Or it could be: “I want to lose ten pounds in the next twelve weeks.” Or, “I want to be more connected to X number of friends and loved ones through regular, authentically connected conversations” could be another one.

And for real estate agents, a lot of times, this is tracked to their client numbers. So for example, this could be the number of touch points that they're having with people in their community, in their sphere of influence, or the number of new prospective clients that they're able to add to their list.

It could also be the number of buyer consultations or seller consultations. Sometimes, it's the number of offers written; sometimes, it's the number of transactions closed. But one thing about the last thing is I really discourage people from spending too much of their focus, trying to have a goal of the number of transactions closed—just because a lot of times, the number of transactions that are closed is completely out of the agent's control, right?

Sometimes it is, and there's so many factors that go into getting a contract ratified, accepted, and then closing it out. If people are going to have numbers as their goal, I like to do it on new agency agreements. So, this could be the number of people that an agent is signing up and formally agreeing to work with as either a buyer or a seller—or even as a landlord of an investment property. So a rental agreement for that landlord can also be considered a new agency agreement.

Having agency agreement signed is a really good indication of whether someone is successful in getting to those consultations. And then, once they get to the consultation, of course, there's still a long way to go before you can get to the closed transaction. But I think it's a much more helpful indicator of where an agent is at.

Okay, so once we have some goals—and I always recommend no more than three big goals—we get to the fun stuff! And the fun stuff is: where we get to think about how we arrive at those goals.

So, goal setting is not only envisioning what success looks like, which could be personal success and professional success, life success as well as business success, but it is also especially creating space to have an intentional, strategic, and thoughtful plan of how to get there.

And so, mapping out how to strategically align your goals in twelve weeks is such a wonderful, challenging process, right? Because we're choosing actions that will hopefully get us to that final destination, but we're also modulating how hard those actions may be for us to accomplish—or how easy!

Because a lot of times, what I suggest and recommend agents do is to choose actions or a sequence of actions that are challenging enough to push you out of your comfort zone but that don't feel impossible, that are not impossible, right?

We still want to get to a place where you're able to accomplish the goal, but feel like you're really, really pushing yourself out of your comfort zone so that you're actually in a place of growth. And, I think that is a really great place to envision, and I think that is the heart and soul of goal setting, right, is to actually think about: “Okay, how am I going to get to that goal in a way that is strategic and thoughtful and intentional about actually having steps towards getting there?” and being on the path and maintaining that path.

So, some examples could be getting coffee with two past clients or prospects every week, or it could be texting X number of clients or prospects every week, hosting X number of open houses every week. Any of those sorts of things, I think, are really great actions that can lead to someone's goals, especially when it comes to real estate agents.

And once someone has goals, what I really think is the fun part is the accountability huddles that I get to have with the people that I coach. So at Willowmar, we have weekly accountability huddles where our agents share how their week went. They also share a little bit of an accountability score that we calculate. So that accountability score is: how many actions did they want to accomplish in that week and how many did they actually get done? And doing a little bit of division in order to come up with that score.

So each agent will share their score, share some things that went right, some things that were challenging for them, and any lessons learned. This accountability score is a bit of gamification. And that's what I kind of love is that there's a chance to kind of say, “Oh, how many actions did I want to do versus how many did I actually do?” And I always tell folks that we're not aiming for a 100-percent accountability score, we're aiming for about 80 to 85, maybe 90 percent.

But if there is a significantly lower score, it's not about punishment or penalty, it's just about observation, right? If someone gets a lower score, maybe it's that they were just having a really, really tough week, so we can ask them what happened: “Do you need any support because of the tough week that you had?”

And we can also just mark it off and say, “Okay, it was a tough week. You weren't able to go after all of your goals. So be gentle with yourself, let it go and let's move on.” So, a low score could mean that, which I think is really helpful to acknowledge and recognize and reflect on.

A lower score could also mean that you've overcommitted and you just have to figure out a way to reduce the number of upcoming actions because you might have bitten off a little bit too much than you can chew—which is totally okay and something that we can possibly do, especially if we have big audacious and ambitious goals.

And so, that's okay. And a low score could also mean that we have undercommitted, that we haven't found goals or actions that are truly and intrinsically motivating to us. And again, it's not to be about punishing, or it's not to be about penalizing. It's just observing and figuring out if there's pivots that we need to make.

And yes, there is a tracker that I use with all of the agents that I coach. It's a Google Sheet. It is fairly simple, and it's something that we pull up every single week during our accountability huddles. And I am happy to share that Google Sheet if that is something that you would be interested in, so please let me know.

And so that's it. And that's how I think about goal setting with all of the agents that I coach and mentor. And also as a final note, before we close out on the nitty-gritty of goal setting, I have to say that as much as I love goals and going after them and achieving them—as you might have gotten a sense of in listening to this episode—I also think it's really important to hold goals gently, right?

To hold ourselves gently, especially during those times in our lives that are just really, really challenging; during those times when it feels like nothing is moving or going like it's supposed to. In those moments, goals can feel stifling, and so it is a really good practice to figure out how are we holding those goals as gently as possible.

So with that, we have reached the end of this short little one-on-one episode. I just love goals. I really, really do. Not as a way to fall into the trap of hustle culture, but rather as a way to vision and create a compass that points us in the right direction. This is about visioning and thinking about what will a great life look like, right? This is about what will meaningfully drive your highest vision for personal and professional success. And that kind of thinking is incredibly powerful. I think it's one of the only ways that we can get to where we really, really truly want to go.

So, let us know about your own experiences in goal setting, whether as a fellow real estate agent or any other profession that you might be in. I would love to hear them. And as always, you can find us at Willowmar.com or on Instagram @thoughtfulrealtor, and you can reach out to us directly.

And if you haven't already, please hit that subscribe button and leave us a review. We read each one of your reviews and always appreciate when you share the love too. So thank you so much for listening, and until next time, bye!

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