Peter Gilchrist doesn’t mince his words when you ask him about goal setting.
“I see goal setting as being a crock,” he declares in his typical no-nonsense manner.
“So many people believe that if you write a goal, then it’s real.
“In reality, it’s nothing. “It’s just a number on a piece of paper.”
A renowned real estate coach with more than 30 years of experience, Peter is one of several experts who view traditional goal setting with a different mindset.
Caroline Bolderston says there’s so much more to goal setting than just boosting your Gross Commission Income, while Josh Phegan believes there’s too much emphasis on sales agents having a business plan.
The trio agrees a more holistic approach is needed and there’s so much more to success than just numbers after a dollar sign.
LIFE FIRST, BUSINESS SECOND
Peter’s philosophy is a simple one: Life first, business second.
“This business should not be your life but rather what funds what you want to do with your life,” he says.
“If you’re going to bed with your mobile phone under your pillow and if you’re looking at Facebook before you say good morning to your partner, then you’re stuffed.”
But surely he doesn’t really not believe in goal setting, I hear you asking.
“Most coaches, most franchises have a business plan 20 pages long with 20 different KPIs, and you walk out of a goal setting meeting feeling like you’ve just got a pay rise,” Peter says.
“But what you’ve got is nothing. Nothing has changed.
“I think goal setting is failing us. We’re always chasing the horizon.”
WIDER, BROADER, SOFTER
Instead of setting goals, Peter urges agents to set intentions.
Isn’t that just a different term for the same thing, I hear you wondering.
Peter says it may seem like it, but he stresses that an intention is wider, broader, softer and easier to stay connected to.
That connection is pivotal to staying on track and realising your intentions.
“If we’re using money as an example and a sales agent is saying they wrote $350,000 last year so they’ll do $500,000 this year, and then they get two months down the track and they’re nowhere near it, what happens?” Peter says.
“They totally disconnect. They think it’s all a waste of time and they’ll try again next year.”
Instead, Peter urges agents to set an intention such as seeing how far you can take your desire to boost your GCI.
He says many people focus on the outcome and work backwards from the final goal, which means when things go wrong, agents beat themselves up.
“An agent came to me doing $1 million and wanting to get to $1.3 million,” Peter recalls.
“I told them to forget about the $1.3 million and to set an intention of heading towards $2 million.
“This is broader, wider and softer. Then I urged them to goal set the activity.
“I’m not interested in what you want to do next June; I’m interested in what you’re doing this afternoon.
“Set goals for that and go and do the best you can.”
At the end of the day, it’s important to analyse if you achieved what you set out to, and if you didn’t, ask yourself what got in the way.
Simply writing down that you want to make 50 calls isn’t enough, you have to reflect on what prevented you from reaching that immediate, afternoon target.
“You can write goals all day long, but they’re not going to be achieved if you’re not open to the results and finding out what is preventing you from stepping into that space,” Peter says.
Peter also believes a portion of future success is predetermined and influenced by factors such as upbringing, life influences and personality.
“One of the great myths is that everyone else or anyone else knows what’s good for you better than you do,” he says.
“It’s not as simple as sitting in front of a $2 million agent and having that be transferable.
“If it was that easy, why wouldn’t everyone choose to write $1 million?
“They’ve been shown how, so why aren’t they doing it?
“It’s because they’re not programmed to do it.
“Being aware of things such as who taught you about money, about delegation, about work ethic and what they taught you is more important than sitting with someone and writing numbers in a box.”
Keeping track of and holding awareness around what has been happening in your life and business in recent months is also key.
SHORT BUSINESS PLANS
Peter prefers a 90-day business plan that’s no more than four pages long and includes examining what has gone well in the past three months, what needs to change, what you need to stop doing and what you need to start doing.
Beginning with being grateful for what you have already achieved is the perfect starting point, and Peter encourages his charges to celebrate their results.
“People won’t watch a video that’s more than a minute long, so trying to get them focused on a 12-month block is a waste of breath,” he says.
“Ask yourself what’s going on in your life.”
Caroline Bolderston, of Being Bold, has been coaching in the real estate industry for more than 16 years, and says the more agents solely focus on money, the more miserable they tend to be.
Like Peter, she says GCI is a target rather than a goal.
“GCI is a vehicle to achieve your goals,” Caroline says.
“GCI itself is not the goal.”
A HOLISTIC APPROACH
Caroline encourages her charges to take a broader, more encompassing view when setting goals, including adopting a wheel of life approach where agents break their lives down into different categories.
She encourages agents to consider eight segments, including health and fitness, family and friends, career, finances and wealth, their significant other, personal growth, recreation and leisure and spiritual or soul-fulfilling.
“There is so much more to goal setting than just the money,” Caroline says.
“I’ve had agents come to me many times saying ‘I’ve got the money, but now what?’
“They haven’t taken the time to look at those segments and ask themselves what they want to achieve in those areas.”
Caroline says goals don’t work until they have planning behind them.
Before that, they are just an idea.
So she urges those she coaches to set a goal, be clear on what it looks like, and to know what they are going to do to reach it.
She also cautions that a goal must be realistic.
“You need to rate yourself in each of those segments and if, for example, you put a two in friends and family then don’t write down being a 10 as a goal,” she says.
“That might be where you want to end up, but people have to understand that you can’t take enormous leaps and reach all of them.
“It would be better to focus on how you can take that two to four because that 20 per cent shift is going to be doable.”
BE SMART ABOUT IT
It may be an oldie, but it’s still a goodie, and Caroline still urges agents to use the SMART acronym when formulating goals.
It stands for smart, measurable, actionable, realistic and time-bound.
“The minute I mention goals, I see people get nervous, fearful and lost,” Caroline says.
“They don’t know how to go about it or when they’ve written goals in the past it hasn’t worked, and they’re fearful it’s never going to happen.
“SMART is the easiest way to flesh out a goal, but it’s the action part of it that is most important.
“Yet actions are the biggest thing I see missing.”
Caroline believes actions are often missing because the goal is too big and the agent hasn’t broken the goal down into manageable ways of achieving it.
“If you want to do better in your family and friends segment and take that from a two to a four, you have to know what you’re going to do to achieve that.
“You might decide to host a Sunday roast once a month, then you need to communicate that to your family and you decide to do that by the end of the week, with the first roast scheduled for the last Sunday of every month.”
Tuning into your mental health is another area Caroline says is vital, and it’s important to manage workload and expectations, so you don’t get overwhelmed.
There’s nothing wrong with having those eight different segments, but you do need to focus on each one individually.
“Focus on one section a fortnight across the next four months,” she says.
“Sit with a mentor or colleague and dedicate 90 minutes to this.
“That’s all it takes once you know how to do it.”
For real estate speaker, trainer and coach Josh Phegan, the end of the year isn’t time to wind down, but rather gear up for 2020.
He says while many of us were slacking off in Melbourne Cup Week, the best agents were starting to list for next year.
“Our best clients set a number and don’t go on holiday until they’ve listed that number of homes for 2020 campaigns.”
FUEL FOR THE FIRE
Josh says a goal is a personal marker for the ambition of what you want in your life.
Just like Peter and Caroline, he believes money is only one component.
“It’s the fuel for the fire,” Josh says.
“You have to have something you want out in front of you.”
Josh says his goal setting always starts with reviewing the list of his achievements from the current year, analysing what went well and whether to include similar goals next time.
“I use different buckets including personal, professional, family, health, finances, passive income, travel, adventure, creativity, spiritual and relationships,” he says.
“Write out your goals and keep them on your phone.
“Review them every week.
“Write out your achievements as they happen and read over them to drive up your gratitude.”
A SYSTEMATIC APPROACH
When it comes to achieving goals, Josh encourages agents to have a mentor to keep you accountable. He says there’s only one reason people fail.
“The only reason a goal isn’t achieved is because you don’t have a system for it,” he says.
“It’s either a person or a system. “If it’s important, you’ll find a way.”