Deb's Lake Conroe Real Estate & Stuff! : Cutting Costs Yet Gaining Business in 2009~Work Smart Not Hard.

Cutting Costs Yet Gaining Business in 2009~Work Smart Not Hard.

It's a general consensus that we are all watching our marketing and overhead dollars this new year. If you've not yet written your 2009 business plan it's still not too late. Whether you are a lone Wolf or a member of a huge Team your written plan is necessary for success!success_moneyman.jpg Success Money image by innet_album

First of all what is your goal for the year? What is your required income and how do you plan to get there? Or, do you plan to find a new company or make a personal move this year? All of these "plans" of yours must be written down, analyzed and planned for you to get there successfully.

How are you going to cut costs without losing business? Which areas of your dollars spent are gaining you the most return? Is that magazine you are putting your listings in getting you enough leads to justify the monthly payment?

What and where are your leads coming from? Are the leads viable? Of the closings you have had in the year 2008~where did the leads generate from? Was it word of mouth or from your advertising? Does it pay you to maintain an office? What about the overhead? Did you receive enough traffic generated by the office itself to cover the costs and put money in your pocket?

We are becoming a virtual world. Active Rain is the proof in the pudding. We are making friends we would never have had the opportunity to meet without this huge network of "us".

Use it. Social networking requires nothing of you but your time and sincerity.

Maybe it's time to expand your world and spend less money!


1. Analyze.

2. Write it down.

3. Adjust plan accordingly.

4. Keep detailed records.

5. Don't be afraid to try something new.

6. Learn Network Marketing~it's the wave of the future.

 7. Position yourself and stick to it.

And, don't forget to refer to your plan often. Track what is working and what is not and adjust the plan to your successes.  Check and review in writing at a minimum of once a month to track your progress. If it's not working simply do something else!

Out with the old and in with the new! You will find you can become much more effective and spend less money.The Key To a Successful Transaction is in the Hands of Your Agent, Brooks Prime Properties.

Work smart~Not hard.


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Comment balloon 74 commentsDeb Brooks • January 12 2009 11:31AM


Makes perfect sense Deb!  Back to the basics...with a plan!  Much success!

Melinda Peterson ~ Real Estate Cafe

Posted by Melinda (Mel) Peterson, The Blessed Realtor - ABR, CRS (Real Estate Cafe LLC) about 11 years ago

Deb Basically this is my game plan although I gave up print advertising years ago.

Posted by Gayle Balaban, E. TN Waterfront Real Estate (The Best Spot Realty/Waterfront Real Estate/Ooltewah Real E) about 11 years ago

onlin has made it less expensive to market directly if you know how to do it.

Posted by Mike Russell, Overland Park Kansas Real Estate (Mike Russell & Associates) about 11 years ago

I have always bought into just about every gimmick there is to help gain buyer & seller leads. Last year a cut the cord and my expenses down to less than a shoestring. The last quarter of the year I listed 20 properties without spending a dime. It was all face to face meetings. Expireds and FSBO's by knocking on the door or calling for the appointment.


Posted by Mike & Cindy Jones, Real Estate - (904) 874-0422 - Jacksonville, Fl (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Florida Network Realty) about 11 years ago

Deb, excellent practical thoughts for business planning for '09. I especially liked your thoughts about analyzing where your leads that closed came from.

Posted by Gary Woltal, Assoc. Broker Realtor SFR Dallas Ft. Worth (Keller Williams Realty) about 11 years ago

Good ideas and thoughts. I have been told it is all about controlling expenses.


Posted by Tony Grego, 317-663-4173 #1 Trade Association for Alternative Inv (REISA - 317-663-4173) about 11 years ago

Deb, this certainly is very good advice to all of us!  Tracking results is so, so important!

Posted by Patricia Kennedy, Home in the Capital (RLAH Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Thank you for the really good post today with tips about where our best time and dollar should be spent.


Patricia Aulson   Portsmouth NH Real Estate

Posted by Patricia Aulson, Realtor - Portsmouth NH Homes-Hampton NH Homes (BERKSHIRE HATHAWAY HOME SERVICES Verani Realty NH Real Estate ) about 11 years ago

Melinda, We should just keep doing our best! If we do, the business will come.

Gayle, I still have one magazine...well, I just cancelled it.

Michael, The Internet is the greatest!

Mike and Cindy, Don't let them get your money...go make it.


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Sage advice from a wise (and super sweet!) woman! I love the "expand your world" part...that's what it's going to take!

Posted by Colleen Fischesser Northwest Property Shop, A Tradition of Trust in the Pacific NW since 1990! (RE/MAX Advantage | Managing Broker) about 11 years ago

Gary, Analyzing the leads will point us in the right direction!

Tony, I know it's a part of it that's for sure!

Patricia, tracking is a great way to determine where to go next.

Patricia A, You are so very welcome and I hope it helps.

Colleen! I'm glad you liked it and I hope it helped my friend~talk to you soon~


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

I recently stopped all pay per click advertising...I have found blogging and social networking combined with the SEO methods I have learned through this networks is much more effective and has proven to be a great hobby as well.

Posted by Christine McInerney, The McInerney Team, Knoxville TN Homes For Sale (Great Life RE) about 11 years ago

     Great wrap up and review of what's needed to have a successful 2009 in real estate and life. I like that it is short & concise. And if we do not plan, then of course we are sure to miss opportunities that come along. Let's all make it a great one!

Posted by Pat Argo, CRS (Keller Williams Realty of Brevard) about 11 years ago

Thats the best motto to live by.

Posted by John Cannata, Texas Home Mortgage - Purchase or Refinance (214-728-0449 about 11 years ago

Deb, we are dropping our one magazine. Its cost vs. value just doesn't add up anymore. We also cut loose our SEO company who didn't even get us one sale. We were getting more business on our site when we were doing it ourselves.

Posted by Sharon Alters, Realtor - Homes for Sale Fleming Island FL (Coldwell Banker Vanguard Realty - 904-673-2308) about 11 years ago

I like the way you think! We can do more if we just apply ourselves in new ways.

Posted by Evelyn Johnston, The People You Know, Like and Trust! (Friends & Neighbors Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Christine, I've found that it's always better to do it yourself. If you have the time to study and implement the what the google gods want it's a piece of pie, or is that cake? Either one I'm making myself hungry.

Pat, I am sooooo with you! Let's make it a great 2009 and leave no business behind!

John, tonight you are a man of few words...long weekend?

Sharon, I am too. Or, I just did. I think it felt like a lot of pressure to be in there with the other companies. We've watched their numbers and it's not helping them, what's the point? You will probably find that you don't miss it.

Evelyn, thank you! Being positive sure beats stinkin' thinkin'. See you around soon!


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Those are some very good questions to help make a productive, cost saving business plan for 2009, Deb.

Great Post,


Posted by Shawn Davis, Homes For Sale, Genesee County, Michigan (Home Crossings, P.C.) about 11 years ago

Thanks for the great post. It is time to get back to the basics and know what is working for us and what is not! If it's not ..cut it loose!

Posted by Dorie Dillard CRS GRI ABR, Serving Buyers & Sellers in NW Austin Real Estate (Coldwell Banker United Realtors® ~ 512.750.6899) about 11 years ago

Morning Deb,

Good record keeping is such a great aid to preparing a business plan in the subsequent year. Knowing what worked and didn't allows us to weed out and employ the performing agents from the year past.

Posted by Harold "Hal" Place (A1 Connection Realty, Inc.) about 11 years ago

Deb, I 've started doing a lot more analysis lately. It is critical. As the saying goes...."If you always do what you always'll always get what you always got..which is likely not enough business to make a living.

Posted by Barb Szabo, CRS, E-pro Realtor, Cleveland Ohio Homes (RE/MAX Trinity Brecksville Ohio) about 11 years ago

At the end of 2007, I realized how much business came from Activerain and blogging and I started to go out full force with blogs and comments and I plan to do maybe even more in 2009!

Social Networking certainly is working and I plan to work it and work it hard, the added bonus that it is free is just good business.

Todd Clark, Helping Families Home -

Posted by Respect Realty LLC, Brokers - Oregon / SW Washington Real Estate (Respect Realty LLC) about 11 years ago

Deb - Nicely done!  I have always enjoyed saying, "Work Smart...AND Hard". 

Posted by Jason Crouch, Broker - Austin Texas Real Estate (512-796-7653) (Austin Texas Homes, LLC) about 11 years ago

That is exactly what you have to do in 2009.  It has been working for me so far.  I have been prospecting regularly, and it is starting to pay off.  I am getting more referrals.

Posted by Carol Swain, Realtor, Bucks County, Pa (Keller Williams Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Deb - great simple and realistic post on the importance of a written plan.  As the old saying goes, "People don't plan to fail, they fail to plan!"

Posted by Christine Wade - Real Estate Virtual Assistant, Proud to Serve Your Real Estate Support Needs (Christine Wade) about 11 years ago

I am using the phone more to talk person to person rather than mail and email.


Posted by Team Honeycutt (Allen Tate) about 11 years ago

Deb~Congrats on the feature! Your post was a gentle, yet firm reminder that we can't keep doing the same things over and over again and expect different results. Happy New Year!

Posted by LaShawn Norden, REALTOR, (321) 377-0157, Your Real Estate Advocate in Central FL (Keller Williams Heritage Realty) about 11 years ago

Deb, the key word here is work SMART and at the same time work HARD. That's my motto. Every client deserves the BEST that you can give.

Posted by Gena Riede, Real Estate Broker - Sacramento CA Real Estate (916) 417-2699 (Riede Real Estate, Lic. 01310792) about 11 years ago

Shawn, These are the questions we've had to ask ourselves too.

Dorie, I'm doing a large bit of cutting right now and I don't think it will hurt a thing.

Hal, yes. The record keeping is one of my fallbacks. It's all written.

Barb, EXACTLY! If you keep doing the same thing and expect different results it means you're crazy!

Todd, Social netwroking is just amazing. The strength in numbers really matters.

Jason, I don't have a clue why I have not been saying that! Especially since that's precisely what I do! Thank you very much. I'm sure your business plan is already working for you!


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Great Post, I just started my real estate company and I need to find ways to cut cost.


Posted by Chaunta about 11 years ago

Carol, You're already working "smart and hard" ~ Good job.

Christine, I like your quote. It should have been in the post. Thanks.

Allen, That's the best way. You will reap great rewards.

LaShawn, Thank you and Happy New Year to you too.

Gena, Yes they do. And, we can all improve upon our service.

Happy New Year all!



Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Deb - thanks for an excllent article. So glad this was featured as it points out some critical issues we all need to consider. I know I can do a better job of analyzing my marketing dollars and what works and what does not. i alrady took steps to cancel some things that I don't think were adding any value. 2009 is shapinh up to be a challenging year but with all the rsources out there is seems a good time to re-evaluate, and perhaps make some changes. It is not just about spending money, is it?!


Posted by Jeff Dowler, CRS, The Southern California Relocation Dude (eXp Realty of California) about 11 years ago


Great post. I think in 2009 agents are going to start using link tracking services like to track how many hits their links are getting.

Take for instance if I put my listings on Trulia, Zillow, Cyber Homes, Real Seekr and I want to know which sites are giving me the best exposure. I can use to create 5 different links that all point to my one listing, then I can check and see which of the 5 different links had the most hits. This allows me to figure out what sites are worth paying for and what sites are not.

It's very important to track activity when it comes to marketing. Just thought I would share some money saving strategy.

Matt Rains

Posted by Matt Rains (Real Estate Technology Online) about 11 years ago

Deb - I went back into my 2008 revenues to analyze where my best resources were. It was both blogging and my SOI (both are those I spend the least on). But time can also be translated into dollars so I gues, there you have it.

Later, Loreena

Posted by Loreena and Michael Yeo, Real Estate Agents (3:16 team REALTY ~ Locally-owned Prosper TX Real Estate Co.) about 11 years ago

great advice. working smart and not hard has always been my philosophy.


Posted by Josh Murphy, Belfair WA Real Estate, 360-710-3972 (Windermere Peninsula Properties) about 11 years ago

Hi Deb (Hon),

This is a great post reminding everyone that cash flow is the number one rule of staying in business. Getting more bang for your buck is critical is today's economy. Congratulations on the Feature! AR is so good because it's very affordable and it works in many ways. Finding places to advertise for free is good.


Posted by Debra and Scott Brooks, Lake Conroe Real Estate and Luxury Home Specialists! (Brooks Prime Properties, Lake Conroe) about 11 years ago

Deb, I work very hard at my market value blogging on Sharing my knowledge positions me as a local expert. Thank you Active Rain!

Posted by Vickie Nagy, Vickie Jean the Palm Springs Condo Queen (Coldwell Banker Residential Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Thanks Deb .. good to hear from you!  You are sooo right about refocusing for the new year!  pippa

Posted by Pippa Mac, The Woodlands TX Real Estate (Chevaux Group Realtor, The Woodlands and Spring) about 11 years ago

Chaunta, Good Luck in your new business!

Jeff, thank you. No, it's not about spending money. We can spend till we're blue in the face but if it yields no results then what's the point? What does yield results? Social media...

Dave, I agree. This is why I feel the social media route is the one to take. We create a TEAM.

Matt, I will look into the tracking idea. I can certainly see the need. Thanks!

Loreena, way to go girl! Have a fantastic 2009! I think you will.



Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Awesome post Deb!  I need to sit down and do my biz plan - I did a good job of using one last year.  It just seems like time is always going so fast and there just aren't enough hours in the day!

Posted by Emily Lowe, Nashville TN Realtor (The Lipman Group | Sotheby's International Realty) about 11 years ago

Excellent article Deb. I know I would like to improve even further on my online presence including my blog. I know that there is not a lot of cost but my time. I have seen a tremendous return so far:)

Posted by Bill Gassett, Metrowest Massachusetts Real Estate (RE/MAX Executive Realty) about 11 years ago

Just finished my business plan for 2009.  Thanks for reminding us

Posted by Dianne Barody, Pensacola Florida Real Estate (Century 21 AmeriSouth Realty) about 11 years ago

I like #7 "Position yourself and stick to it" I think in difficult times we tend not to stick with things long enough to actually let them work. Thanks for the ides.

Posted by Diana Corcoran, Rhinebeck Real Estate (Berkshire Hathaway Home Services Hudson Valley Properties) about 11 years ago

Thanks for the post.  Seems to be a vital need this year to make a plan.  and everyother year.

Posted by Carol Judd, Vernal Utah Real Estate (New Star Real Estate) about 11 years ago

Important to watch what is working and what is not and cut out the fluff or non productive items.

Posted by Bob & Carolin Benjamin, East Phoenix Arizona Homes (Benjamin Realty LLC) about 11 years ago

Emily, the days do seem to get shorter don't they? Maybe that comes with age...or simply staying busy. Good job on having your plan done. Do it for 2009 now and all will be perfect...

Bill, thanks! So, you're getting most of it from your outside blog instead of AR? Or, is it the AR outside blog? JC....

Dianne, good girl and great job!

Diana, that' the most difficult one of all...

Carol, this year we just don't know what we're going to get so we MUST PLAN.

Bob and Carolin, after sitting down and looking at our costs I was flabbergasted. EEEEWWWW. Had to cut them!


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

I think the tracking part is something that many agents I communicate with on a regular basis don't do.  It's hard enough to get answers to: Where do you find your clients from?  You would think you are trying to steal state secrets...

Posted by Chris Olsen, Broker Owner Cleveland Ohio Real Estate (Olsen Ziegler Realty) about 11 years ago

Chris, I agree with you! When I ask people where they found me the answer is .... on the net. I dig deeper but all I get is...well somewhere on the web. Now, that does me a lot of good! Ha! LOL


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Deb, My goal for 2009 is to some how get around to writing out my goals for 2009:) I am terrible when it comes to this stuff. This year I got as far as making an outline and I actually have 3 pages of notes with my thoughts. But written goals or action plan.

I am very very busy though. I just don't do well with detail stuff.

Posted by Bryant Tutas, Selling Florida one home at a time (Tutas Towne Realty, Inc and Garden Views Realty, LLC) about 11 years ago

Broker Bryant,

You've had your hands full and I'm glad to hear you're busy. Is the market picking up there? Ours is steadily slow. I wish it were better but I "plan" to make it better! I do hope TLW is feeling well! I have a strong feeling that the both of you are going to be really blessed in 2009. It's inevitable with a TEAM like us behind you. Take care of each other and go get 'um tiger...keep that roar coming!

Happy New Year my friends...


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Double Glazing will be tough for 2009 what a good blod though, energy efficiency is on every ones mind worldwide so GO GREEN SAVE ENERGY SAVE MONEY AT

Posted by double glazing about 11 years ago

Hi Deb, I believe in cutting the fat but there comes a time when you have to just work a little harder (or a lot) and that is where I am at. I have decided to not cut anymore and to expand and it is working. Good Luck and Happy Selling.

Posted by Charles Stallions, 800-309-3414 - Pensacola, Pace or Gulf Breeze, Fl. (Charles Stallions Real Estate Services ) about 11 years ago

Hello Deb,
I think I've cut costs everywhere I can.  It is a difficult call to know what and where to cut out without affecting  business.  Your advice is right on target--keeping track of what is working and what is not is so crucial.

Congratulations on the Feature - well deserved!

Posted by Cynthia Tilghman, Realtor® Onslow County NC Home Specialist (Kingsbridge Realty, Inc) about 11 years ago

Deb, a budget is just that a budget, it has to be revised and tweaked as the market changes. I dropped my final print ad in November, it was in my small time paper and was not that expensive but it had to business.

Posted by Missy Caulk, Savvy Realtor - Ann Arbor Real Estate (Missy Caulk TEAM) about 11 years ago

Double Glazing? You didn't leave your name...good luck going green!

Charles, working smart doesn't have to be hard. A huge amount of client contact and simply placing your client's needs first goes a long way in this business. Don't work too hard my friend! I'm glad it's working for you. And, I guess it all depends on our definition of "hard work". I love what I do and rarely consider it work!

Happy New Year~

Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Missy, yep. If it's not working then why spend the money. Nowadays each penny counts. We don't know what's happening in our near futures! Thank you my friend,


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago


Are you and Scott husband and wife?

Good posts.  I am all for working smarter and cheaper.

Posted by Brenda Harmon (Century 21 Beal, Inc College Station, Texas) about 11 years ago


That's what we're doing. I've always been a true believer of getting our name out just doesn't have to cost so much! Less can be more!

Brenda, yes ma'am. At least I'll claim him...not sure about the other way around! LOL


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

I'm working harder than ever regarding my goals and desired income. I have wonderful aspirations for 2009. I like your planning steps - easy to follow. We (I) too often make things WAY too difficult.

Posted by Stephen Kappre, Helping You Home (KW Hometown) about 11 years ago

Steve, You're right about making it too difficult! We just need to record our direction and goals. If we recorded every detail 2009 would be over before we got the thing written! LOL.


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

Am signed up for Keller Williams 32-12-3 class and will be blogging on year end goals etc as I go along.

Posted by Kathleen Lordbock, Keller Williams Realty Professionals (Broker/Short Sale & Staging Specialist) about 11 years ago

Excellent advice---our brokers have been helping us with these ideas too.

Posted by Diane Bell, Hilton Head Real Estate, Bluffton (Charter 1 Real Estate, Hilton Head, Bluffton, SC) about 11 years ago

Kathleen, KW has a lot of great training classes. Take them seriously and learn all you can~good luck.

Diane, thank you. Hilton Head huh? I'm gonna look you up!


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago


I agree this is a great time to take advantage of the Internet for advertising, education, and networking. It will help your bottom line, and keep you connected to the outside.


Posted by Marcy Moyer, Probate, Trust, and Investment Specialist (eXp Realty of California Silicon Valley Probate, Trust, and Investment Sales) about 11 years ago

Deb, just what we needed in the new year!  Great stuff, thanks so much!

Posted by Cristal Drake, Realtor - Fullerton Real Estate (Prudential California Realty) about 11 years ago

Marcy, there are just sooo many awesome ways to advertise without spending a ton of money! Thanks for the comment.

Cristal, thank you my friend. High praise from one of my faves~


Posted by Deb Brooks (Brooks Prime Properties Wichita Falls Texas) about 11 years ago

It is amazing how many people don't have a plan.  Where it is generating leads, networking, blogging, increasing SEO, etc., I write down the goal, break it down to several milestones and then list the tasks.  I review.  I analyze.  I adjust.   Some agents sent the goal without having a plan.  It is like setting sail without a rudder.  Thanks for the good advice and great reminders.

Posted by Ryan Shaughnessy, Broker/Attorney - Your Lafayette Square Real Estate Partner (PREA Signature Realty - about 11 years ago

Good points on making a plan and making some tough decisions about what works. Interestingly, it's not just real estate that is shifting away from print marketing. Look at what's happened to newspapers and the way that we all get our news these days and the loss of advertising revenue. It's shifting to online advertising. Gotta follow the market.

Posted by Judy Peterson, "Superb Service, Superb Results" (Berkshire Hathaway HomeServices Fox&Roach Realtors ) about 11 years ago

Deb - thanks for the reminder post. I'm closing the books for last year today. Business plan is partially done will finish by week-end. Also, a very critical analysis of expenses will be a large portion of the business plan. If it is not working cut, cut, cut! Oh my, guess I better get started................


Posted by Linda Breeding (Keller Williams Realty ) about 11 years ago

Deb, I posted something close to this last night and frankly am a big proponent. Mine did not have as much depth. The only thing is I would change the wording of item number 6. Network marketing as a concept has been around since the beginning of time. The basic constructs of meeting people, building credibility and networking to that group is old. The only difference today are the vehicles in whic we do it. The vehicle is of course the internet, the name we now give it is social media. Thanks though, your post is awesome.

Posted by Bo Hussung (Bell Title /Triserv LLC) about 11 years ago

Deb, Great information for all of us and me especially. I always have trouble writing a business plan. Print advertising has long been a waste of time except for the Sellers. Our leads are internet generated and I am always looking for good, cost effective cheap internet sites.



Posted by Jacqueline Tolstyka, Realtor - Selling Beautiful Northern Michigan (Coldwell Banker Schmidt Realtors) about 11 years ago

Down market are great for us to regain our focus and find errors on what works and does not work.  I just found out today that our group sold 25 homes under $250k.  We lose money on listing below $250.  Good slap in the face today.  Sometimes we need a slap to be smart. Nice post...

Posted by TIM MONCRIEF, Over 2,000 homes sold….. (Tim Monciref) about 11 years ago
I think you really hit the nail on the head.  It is important to know what works and what doesn't and plan accordingly. 
I am relatively new to the AR network.  Like most agents, I joined put up my profile and that was that.  Then I kept getting the AR emails....finally got intrigued....started reading....started commenting...then finally jumped in and began to blog.  I read these stories about agents getting clients or leads from AR.  I have no doubt that these are live possibilities and that would be great!  But for me the real gold is in posts like this one!  Now I know why they make them little "gold" stars!!!!!!!

Lori Cofer Pullman WA

Posted by Lori Churchill Cofer, Realtor - 509-330-0086 - Pullman, WA (Beasley Realty) about 11 years ago

... love this blog ! ...will go back over my business plan tonight and see if I can enhance it ...

Great suggestions Deb !!

Posted by Sheldon Neal, That British Agent Bergen County NJ (Bergen County, NJ - RE/MAX Real Estate Limited) about 11 years ago