Efficiency is the desired end result
– but – with regards to Combining Activities in Activity Plans, I would advise that you think things through before starting There are different considerations 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 goal is 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. The majority of transactions are the same to a great extent. The assistant takes care of the plan items. The agent takes care of the unique items.
What are the considerations?
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. This gives 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) One of the more difficult aspects of a listing activity plan for instance, is keeping it both functional and impressive to the clients. A typical listing plan’s activities are very heavily weighted to the first week or two. Sending the Sellers a Seller report weekly would include all the details you’ve been doing. After the first couple weeks the activity level goes down significantly other than showings and feedback. This would not be the time to combine activities for instance.You want to consider beefing up that report by adding maybe weekly activities like Promoted in weekly office meeting, Sent flier to local agents or Searched MLS for Agents with these Buyer needs and contacted. The goal is to show the Sellers consistent activity in your Seller reports.
4) In some offices, a listing or transaction 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 reminding you that you need it?
5) 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. This means 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.
6) No detail should be on a paper list. (See Bill Luke’s letter towards the bottom of that page 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 activity 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 is out of the office and wants to 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.
7) 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 amount of training time. Another benefit is that the notes can be changed at any time to reflect changes in the nature of that activity as your business changes. The next time they use it, they will see the new procedure.
The best thing you can do when creating Activity Plans/Workflows is to sit down and build a flowchart that delineates what you have to do in the order you have to do it. Here is a list of free flowchart utilities. This is when you make decisions such as combining activities in activity plans or not, as well as many others. Combining activities should only be done when there is no benefit to having them separately. Having it all laid out in a flowchart will make it easier.
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