Every self employed person or business owner needs to read the book The Tipping Point by Malcolm Gladwell. According to the listing on Amazon.com, “The tipping point is that magic moment when an idea, trend, or social behavior crosses a threshold, tips, and spreads like wildfire.” It’s that one big break that happens and suddenly your business is an overnight success…or so it seems
Since starting our national virtual tour business, my husband and I have always said that we were just one phone call away from changing everything. We have had some amazing breaks but for the first five years of our business, we really had to hustle for every job we got. Because we specialize in healthcare virtual tours and vacation rental virtual tours, we have been lucky enough for some of those jobs to be big ones but even with that, it’s been all about the hustle.
At the beginning of 2013, I made a concerted effort to become more systemized in my marketing efforts. I decided that I would work from an objective list rather than set specific goals. Before I would set a goal to call 100 people a week but the challenge of our business is that if one of those calls said yes, then I was done calling and we were in the car to go shoot a regional hospital or hotel group and my To-Do list got set aside. Last year, I set up an operating frame work that gives me daily objectives and weekly objectives. Instead of waiting until I had an office day and trying to crank out cold calls, I set my minimum criteria to contact 5 new leads per week – one in each of our core disciplines — and to touch one contact every day. This could be an existing client or a lead that is in my pipeline.
By making my objective list manageable, I have been able to do almost all of it every day. The program I use to track my activities is called Opus Domini and the great thing about it is that certain tasks renew every day and certain tasks carry forward until I delete them. This means that I wake up with a basically clean slate each day other than the important items that I didn’t get to the day before.
I also became fanatical about using Sales Force instead of keeping handwritten notes. At the end of the day, I transfer any hand written notes into SalesForce and throw away the pages that I wrote on. This systematic, methodical approach has literally transformed our business.
Instead of managing Tasks in SalesForce, I now manage my Opportunity Pipeline and update it every day. I am the world’s worst about writing a task in SalesForce then forgetting to log into SalesForce so that when I do, I have 30 reminders. Things get lost that way but when I am looking at the Opportunity Pipeline every day and seeing the dollar signs next to those opportunities, it helps me to prioritize my activities and create tasks that are appropriate and timely rather than simple busy work.
The amazing thing is that this approach has caused our business to explode!! We were successful before but now our business runs like a well oiled machine and doesn’t have the ups and downs that we used to experience. We started 2014 with an opportunity pipeline that has 125% more pending and potential business than we made in 2013! We started the year with our biggest job of all time — photographing 115 vacation rental virtual tours in Charleston, SC during January and February. We have had one of our busiest months for real estate in Illinois despite the fact that they have had record snowfalls and the coldest winter in over 30 years.
Napolean Hill said “”When Riches begin to come they come so quickly and in such great abundance that one wonders where they have been hiding during all those lean years.” The key to getting to that tipping point for us was working diligently during the leaner years and trusting that the efforts would pay off.