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Got GOSPA?/Users/adamp/Desktop/Stuff for FAR/Magazine Assets/JUN08/Images/Makeover

Our expert shows this part-time sales associate how to set Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Plans and Actions for full-time success.

When you ask most people what they’re going to do when they retire, they smile broadly as they envision countless rounds of golf or days spent lounging with a good book. For Eleith Hudson, selling real estate is what she’s planning to do in her retirement. She’s had her license for more than two decades and has always wanted to be in the practice full time but hasn’t been able to break away from her job as a nurse.  “I work labor and delivery … need I say more?” jokes Hudson, a sales associate with Florida Star Realty Inc. in Miramar. But her retirement from nursing is in the not-too-distant future. “Time is drawing near,” she says, “and it’s time for me to start taking care of me now.” She’s so determined to make a go of real estate that she recently spent a week’s vacation in the classroom—studying for her broker’s license. “I’m so close and have painstakingly obtained all the pieces to begin my new profession, but I need guidance to organize everything appropriately,” she adds.
Bring in the Expert
Hoping to get that guidance, Hudson consulted with real estate trainer Jay Barber. Here’s what he had to say.

1. Follow a Formula
Barber prescribes a no-nonsense formula based on the training he received as an IBM salesman back in the 1970s. He calls it “GOSPA” (an acronym for Goals, Objectives, Strategies, Plans and Actions), and while he can’t guarantee it will help Hudson to finally create the career of her dreams, he feels it has the potential to improve her odds. “In this market, it’s critical that you follow a formula like GOSPA so you know what you’re doing and, more importantly, why you should or shouldn’t be doing it.”

2. Own Your Goals
Since the “G” in GOSPA is for goals, Barber wants Hudson to clear her mind and write down one or two statements describing what she wants to achieve in her career. “If you don’t write it down, Eleith, you don’t believe it,” he says. “Think of your goal as the top of a pyramid. Everything you do will support this goal and have a cascading effect. For example, maybe your first goal is monetary and you want to equal the income you currently make in nursing. Or maybe you want to list X number of properties each month. Or, as a long-term goal, you might want to be recognized as Realtor® of the Year. Make sure your goals are specific and attainable. And, above all, believe in them.” Barber notes that goals rarely change, so Hudson should revisit them annually to see if they still apply and update them if they don’t.

3. Find Your Objectives
Objectives are the steps that Hudson must take to satisfy her goals. And, according to Barber, it may take several objectives to reach just one goal. If her goal is to live to 85, for example, he says her objectives would include all the things she can do to improve her chances of reaching that age  (e.g., getting enough exercise, eating right and renouncing unhealthy habits). If her goal is to generate a six-figure income, her objectives will include calculating how many houses she needs to sell within a specific price range to meet that goal. Hudson’s objectives generally won’t change, Barber says, unless circumstances alter her goals. He encourages her to re-evaluate her objectives about every six months to make sure they still support her goal.
“My recommendation is that you print out your goals and objectives on a piece of paper, frame it and hang it over your desk so you look at it every day,” says Barber.

4. Devise Strategies
As her third step in the GOSPA formula, Hudson must figure out which strategies to put into practice. Barber explains that strategies form the piece of the puzzle that will allow Hudson to implement the objectives she needs to follow in order to reach a particular goal. Take, for example, Hudson’s hypothetical goal of generating a six-figure income. She will need to have a strategy to meet each objective in support of that goal (in her case, to sell X number of houses at X sales price). Her strategy could also include how she’s going to meet the objectives needed to generate listings.

It’s easy to confuse strategies with objectives, says Barber, who points out that strategies are the “how-to” component of objectives. For
example, if Hudson has a lot of listings but buyers are scarce, her strategy, or how-to, might include coming up with ways to better market those listings to buyers.

5. Plan It
The fourth element of Barber’s GOSPA formula is the plan that Hudson will need to devise to accomplish a specific strategy. For example, if her strategy involves learning how to better market herself, she’ll need to come up with a plan that outlines the specific things that will help her implement that strategy. “You should ask yourself, ‘OK, what am I going to do to support my strategy?’” Barber explains. “It could be to work closely with your broker [in a mentor/student situation] or … to team up with a top-producing sales associate,” he says.

“Plans are of a much shorter duration than the rest of the GOSPA,” Barber continues. “They are three-month or four-month steps. You’re going to try some things and they’re not going to work, so you’ll have to revisit your plans and in some cases your strategies every 30 to 60 days.”

6. Act on It
Finally, Barber explains that actions are the specific activities that Hudson will implement to put her plans into action. “Plans are ‘OK, how do I identify actions that will get me from point A to point B?’” he explains. “And actions are ‘How do we get there?’”

Again, if her goal is to generate a six-figure income, her objective would be to sell X amount of real estate, followed by a strategy to work in a specific price range. Her plan would likely include deciding which neighborhoods to farm, and her actions might include marketing herself to homeowners within 30 to 60 days.

“Remember, Eleith, everything you do must tie in to your GOSPA,” says Barber. “It takes discipline and constant revision. Maybe one of your objectives wasn’t realistic. Or maybe it’s the strategy and the way you were going about it. About every three months, look at your plans and actions, and ask, ‘Where am I?’ With the limited amount of free time that you have, it seems GOSPA will be even more important for you because you need to know what you’re doing and why. Follow it and take little steps leading up to the ultimate goal of where you want to be.”