Combining Activities in Workflows

I used “Activity Plans’ or ‘Campaigns’ in Real Estate specific software when I was an agent, when the software became available in 1989. (DOS program 🙂 Since then, I’ve worked with many agents/teams since 1996. expanding/developing ‘Activity Plans’ in Agent Office and a few in ‘Top Producer’ in my ‘Tech-Speed’ program.
Efficiency is obviously the desired end result – but – with regards to ‘combining activities’, I would say be cautious. There are different qualifications to use when deciding whether or not to combine them.

Keep in mind that ‘Activity Plans’ should always be constructed with the long term goal in mind that they will be used by other members of a team, whether you have one now or not.

No activity plan can hope to take every detail into account. Every transaction is unique. That said, a good activity plan can take the vast majority of the transaction’s details into account, as the vast majority of transactions are the same to a great extent. The assistant/s take care of the plan items. The agent takes care of the unique items.

1) If the activities will always be accomplished together, whether you are interrupted or not, then you MAY want to combine them. i.e.; Erect Yard Sign/ Affix Lockbox. If they are ALWAYS done together, then make them one activity. If not, then don’t. That sounds obvious, but note that I said ‘MAY’.

2) Why may?. Because if you are sending out ‘Client Listing Reports’, to the Seller/s, then you want that report to be as long as possible, to give the Seller/s the perception that you ARE doing a lot of work for them. Combining activities shortens the list, and lessens the perception. A few extra clicks to complete the activities is a small price to pay to strengthen that perception.

3) In some offices, a listing file cannot be submitted to the front office unless it ‘complete’. If that is the case in your office, then there is no need to have each form being submitted as a separate activity.Unless, once again, you want the Seller/s to be impressed with that long list.

If your office does not mandate a complete file, then they should be separate activities. One of the points of the plans is to NOT let things fall through the cracks. Separate activities ensure that. What takes more time; backpedaling when a form is forgotten, or a couple extra clicks to complete the activity?

4) One of the goals with activity plans is to have every single detail (to-do, letter, call) in the plan, anticipating the day when you either hire an assistant, or have to replace one. Every detail that is ‘in someone’s head’ becomes a liability, a potentially overlooked detail, and a learning curve, for the replacement – hence a loss of time to you, in that you have to communicate that detail to the new assistant, and/or do the backpedaling for them.

5) No detail should be on a paper list. (See Bill Luke’s letter for emphasis on that point, by a team that was big ‘paper list’ users.) Paper lists get lost. Paper lists can only be in one file, on one desk, at a time Those same details, when in ‘the plan’, can be viewed by anyone at any time, without having to waste time locating it. All participants in the transaction, can see all the details of the transaction from their computer. No more walking to someone else’s desk or file cabinet. No more need for sticky notes, voice mails, etc.

And if the agent wants to walk out of the office and review the progress of a transaction, it can be printed out, and every detail is in the report. Nothing is in anyone’s head. Nothing is on a separate paper list.

If you do not have an assistant, and you ask someone to step in for you for a day, 2, or more; everything is there.

6) The ‘Notes’ in the activity plans should be used as a ‘Dynamic Operations Manual’. They describe in detail, what the activity is about, for the benefit of the ‘new ‘assistant’. This eliminates a tremendous about of training time, and the ‘Notes’ can be changed at any time, to reflect changes in the nature of that activity, as your business changes.

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