Readying your business for a little downtime

Business slows down during predictable times such as summer vacation season.  So should you just ease back, sip your lemonade cooler and wait until things pick up again in the fall? Or should you take this seasonal pause to get around to doing things you put off the rest of the year? Here’s some ideas for that:

1. Sign up for some training on the TLC Calendar, or get caught up on the new Rules by going to the Real Estate Council’s Knowledge Base.

2. Are you lining up a colleague or assistant to cover you while you’re gone? Remember one of the great features in Touchbase is the ability to automatically forward any queries about your properties to another REALTOR® when you’re out of town. Go into your Touchbase profile and click on the ‘Replacements’ button. Select the name of your alternate from the drop-down list. Next, specify the covering period. Finish by clicking the button, ‘Save this Information.’

3. Let your key clients know in advance that you’ll be away and provide them with the info they’ll need to reach your replacement.

4. Does your replacement or assistant have access to everything they’ll need? With your authorization, your colleague or assistant can “assume your identity” and log in to the MLS® system as you. In Paragon, it’s called “Assume Identity”. For more information on how to set up this feature, read our Tech Tip article.

5. Set up a detailed away message letting people know exactly when you’ll be out of the office and who to contact in your absence if they need assistance. Also, be sure to let people know if you’re checking voicemails/emails/texts even sporadically while away, or if appropriate, how they can reach you in case of an emergency.

6. Set up your email auto reply and use it to professionally direct your clients: i.e. “I’m out of the office July 15 to July 31, returning on August 1. Please contact my colleague, John Smith at for immediate assistance. Our team (link to your website) is known for excellent customer care, so you are in good hands. I will respond to your email when I return.”

7.Remove the temptation to work while away! You can temporarily disable your work email address from your Smartphone and then turn it back on after your holiday. The account will still receive messages, but they just won’t show up on your device. And if you’re intending to use your phone a lot while away, remember, beware of monster roaming fees! Call your carrier before you go to set up a temporary international plan or consider using Smartphone calling apps like Skype Mobile.

8. Write and schedule newsletters and social media updates to go out in your absence. For safety, consider a vacation from social media as well. Wait until you’re back to share vacation photos. Criminals use social media to look for easy targets to burglarize.

9. If you are tech-savvy and set-up for paperless transactions and email signatures, you can always stick-handle a deal from the beach, if necessary. But, best to get familiar with this BEFORE you head out of town.

10. Above all else… enjoy your time off. Summer can be a slow business time, but it can be a time to be productive by refreshing your business, your office, and yourself.  Prefer to start your renewal by kicking off your shoes on a sandy beach?  That’s not a bad idea either!