Systems & Checklists

Imagine if you turned up to your first open for inspection at a newly listed property and you’d forgotten the key. Picture a would-be vendor requesting recent area sales at a listing presentation and you discover you’ve forgotten to prepare them. Or what if your nerves prevent you from being able to remember your key points when negotiating with a likely buyer on a sale.

All of these things and many more can and do go wrong throughout real estate agents’ careers.

The good news is that they don’t have to and a few simple systems and checklists can help ensure you’re not wasting valuable time and money and squandering your reputation. Systems are a way of doing a task in a particular way to ensure the same result is achieved over and over again.

The downfall of operating with systems alone is that you’re likely to have so many of them that it’s hard to keep up and know what needs to be done when and how. The solution is to use checklists to make sure all the many details of your daily business operations are remembered.

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Systems combined with checklists ensure you maintain your performance at a consistently high level. A sales checklist allows you to manage every element of a sale from start to finish without forgetting a vital factor. It covers elements like organising photography and copywriting, having the vendor approve marketing, ordering brochures, running successful opens, negotiating offers and settlement. All of these processes are vital and if you get them wrong it can damage your relationship with the buyer or vendor and throw a spanner in the works of a successful sale.

Having a checklist ensures you don’t miss a beat, your systems flow smoothly and you don’t expose the agency to potential risk. However, no one is perfect and hurdles will arise from time to time.

A business also rarely remains without change and when these happen it’s important to include any deviations or mistakes in a revised checklist. I have two categories for checklist updates: “what works well” and “even better if”.

Every time something is missed or goes wrong in my business it gets added to one of those categories and the appropriate checklist to ensure it doesn’t happen again. Another benefit of using checklists is that they are ideal training aids when you employ someone new. They offer a standardised map of all the systems a new employee needs to learn and follow, and puts them immediately in sync with your business.

A rule of thumb I recommend is implementing a system for any activity where two or more steps are involved. This will ensure you work successfully and consistently. Maintaining checklists is the easiest way to manage all of your systems and workflow. Applications such as Asana are an ideal way to organise your checklists so they are easily accessible via your smartphone or computer.

Using checklists and systems in your business will ensure you never miss a beat, because even the smallest details matter.