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In the famous fable “The Ant and the Grasshopper,” a diligent ant toils throughout the summer to gather enough food to survive the looming winter, while a grasshopper spends all of his time singing. As winter approaches, the starving grasshopper begs the ant for some food, only to be rebuffed for his laziness. The parable, of course, is obvious: It’s prudent to put the time in today to prepare for changes on the horizon.

That lesson is just as true for real estate professionals as it is for ants and grasshoppers. While most may find the thought of winter and the chill it typically brings to real estate depressing, a little prep today can ease the winter blues.

To get you started on taking the steps that will help you weather the cold, we’ve put together a few tips to consider:

1. Determine professional development goals and identify opportunities

While the slowdown that generally occurs during colder months can seem like a drag, there is a silver lining: you gain free time that can be used to enhance your skills. But don’t wait until the trees are bare before you start thinking about your goals and the avenues you’ll need to take to reach them; start reflecting today on the direction you’d like pursue to continue your real estate education. Professional development options abound, including an abundance of online training options, but you’ll want to research them now to lock in any early bird discounts and protect against the risk that they may be booked.

2. Develop marketing campaigns now

A proper marketing campaign can mean the difference between a sales slump and a banner year for deals. But you don’t want to be like the grasshopper and wait until the first frost before you start harvesting what you need to build and implement an effective marketing plan. Begin your research today to gain the insight you’ll need to put your marketing plan into action before the winter doldrums take hold.

SEE ALSO: 25 Effective Real Estate Marketing Ideas | Top Free Marketing Tools for Real Estate Agents & Brokers | Real Estate Marketing During the Holidays

3. Look at past data to know what to expect

Just because home sales tend to trend downward during winter doesn’t mean all markets will see the same dips. Leverage an in-depth analytics tool like ShowingTime’s MarketStats solutions to view historical data to get an idea of what the upcoming winter may look like in terms of seasonal demand and develop a plan accordingly. While the old adage about past performance not being indicative of future results remains a good one to keep in mind, you should be able to develop a rough idea of what your market will look like under most market conditions.

4. Enhance your toolset

Even if you anticipate a sales slowdown, boosting your repertoire of showing management and communications tools can make good sense for your business. If you’re like the thousands of real estate professionals who already use the ShowingTime Appointment Center, then consider upgrades like ShowingTime Appointment Center Plus and ShowingTime Live Connect to increase your operational efficiency. Employing those solutions today when business is brisk can free up time to help you take the necessary steps to plan for any slowdown to come.

Winter doesn’t have to snow on your parade. By taking the right steps today and employing the right mindset, you can be sure your business is running full steam all year long.

Don’t get caught off guard by changing seasonal demand. Take advantage of ShowingTime upgrades like ShowingTime Appointment Center Plus and ShowingTime Live Connect to free up your time today to build your business so it can thrive tomorrow. Click the button below to speak with a member of the ShowingTime sales team to talk about your business needs.