darren-nolander-80-20This year may be all about “2020 vision,” but I’m going to ask you to narrow your focus. The numbers I like to envision are 80/20. This theory says that 20 percent of your efforts will account for 80 percent of your overall results. Also known as the Pareto Principle, this rule helps you maximize your output where it really counts.

The Pareto Principle will allow you to understand where you can be the most effective – and with which clients. This is a quick-and-dirty strategy that requires some honest self-assessment, harsh truths and a willingness to go all-in where you can and should.

Hate networking events? Spend more time cultivating your social media presence. Have a client who is laser focused on cost? It’s probably going to be a waste of time to sing the praises of your customer service approach for the next three weeks.

Reverse engineering works well here, too. Spend your Saturday mornings chatting up the other parents on the soccer field sidelines? Have a few talking points at the ready. Feel passionate about seniors and helping them stay in their homes? Make reverse mortgages your niche.

I can’t tell you what your “thing” is or is not, just like I can’t tell you who your target demographic or what your ideal marketing strategy should be. What I cantell you is that you hold all these answers, especially if you’ve maximized your CRM tools in years’ past. Look at your progress pipeline, review your notes and watch the patterns emerge. Cold calls, social media, walk-ins, postcards, networking events, referrals, email campaigns, website traffic, real-world encounters. Look at them all and tally where the success leans.

You should also think back as best you can to your most and least successful efforts of 2019. Did you show up to an open house because a colleague dragged you, only to leave with an agent who became part of your referral network and brought you five leads? More of that, please. Did you send out 500 postcards that didn’t result in a single query? Let’s not run that campaign again – at least not in its current form – simply because it’s on the to-do calendar.

Marketing and customer service are built on knowing who your customer is, what they want and how you can get them to understand that you’re the best person to give it to them. Not everyone who wants a hamburger is going to go to McDonald’s. Some may go to In-N-Out. Others may opt for Burger King. Another group may throw on their sports coat and head to Morton’s. The general ingredients of the burger don’t change, but the secret sauce? That’s what separates one competitor from the next.

Regional Vice President - Southwest

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