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Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Archive for Business planning

bus plan 3

Note: Through November and December, I’m going to help you and your agents with your 2018 business plans. You’ll find free documents from my online business planning system for agents and owners and an invitation to a complimentary webinar. Why not subscribe to my blogs and be sure not to miss a thing?

Yes, I know. We’re supposed to have our business plans all done and ready to go prior to the New Year. But, in addition, how do we make them realistic? How do we make them action road maps?

Note: Check out my free business planning webinar (see below) AND grab the free handout–my flowchart of the owner/manager planning process.

Four Steps to Integrate Your Plan with your Agents’ Plans

Have you thought about how your agent plans impact your office plan? Unfortunately, most planning systems treat these plans as separate. Actually, they need to be integrated. Why? Because the total of the agents’ plans goals are YOUR goals too!

Take these four steps to get that business plan finished and implemented with real action steps by January first.

  1. Meet with each of your agents and assure each has a plan.
  2. Capture the goals of each of your agents: listings, listings sold, and sales. Now, add a dash of realism. Ask yourself, “Based on what the agent accomplished last year, are his/her goals realistic for this year?” Then, make any adjustments you think need to be made.
  3. Add your agents’ adjusted goals in each of the three areas. Those sums are your office business plan objectives. Why? Because your agents are the ones who actually create the listings, listings sold, and sales.
  4. Decide, in each of the action areas below, the actions you will take to assure you reach the office goals, which are a summary of your agents’ goals.

The Six Action AreasBusiness Planning for the Owner overview

Create action plans in these six areas. Using these divisions, you’ll assure that you cover all the bases.

  1. Recruiting and selection
  2. New agent productivity through training and coaching
  3. Higher production/retention for your experienced agents
  4. Marketing: Internal/external
  5. Personal/professional development
  6. Operations: financial planning/staff

For a flow chart of the leadership business plan in this blog, including these six action areas, excerpted from Beyond the Basics of Business Planningclick here.

Plan_Act_CelebrateMore from Carla Cross on Business Planning—free Webinar

Listen/look at the free webinar I’m doing Nov. 29 or Dec. 6 (you pick the best date for you and invite all your agents!). Click here for more information and registration.

bus plan 7 teamNote: Through November and December, I’m going to help you and your agents with your 2018 business plans. You’ll find free documents from my online business planning system for agents and owners and an invitation to a complimentary webinar. Why not subscribe to my blogs and be sure not to miss a thing?

In my upcoming webinar on Nov. 29 or Dec, 6 (click here), I’ll discuss the three components of a real business plan that put the inspiration and motivation into a business plan: Vision, Review, and Mission. In this blog, we’ll discuss the first component–vision.

Is your business plan missing the vision component? Below is an explanation of why having a vision is so important to the success of your business plan. In fact, I believe the lack of vision in a plan leads to a demotivating and certainly uninspiring plan.

For you managers: I think helping your agents create an inspiring and motivating plan will remove their reticence at doing a plan.

Why Vision is Important

A few years ago, business professors, Jim Collins and Jerry Porras, studied very successful companies to find out the differences between ‘stunning’ (high profits and highly regarded), and other like companies who were almost as profitable, but not so successful). They published the results in the best business book I’ve ever read, Built to Last: Successful Habits of Visionary Companies.

What did they find was the common difference between the highly profitable and merely very successful?

A common vision and values shared by every person in the company. 

Porras and Collins’ conclusion was that the desire for profits isn’t the main driver for profits. The focused and tenacious vision, shared by all in the company, was the biggest determinant for profits. 

Components of Vision 

Your vision is made up of your core ideology and your envisioned future.  

As you can see from the chart on the right, excerpted from my online business planning resource, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, your core ideology is made up of your core values and core purpose. If you look at your life, you’ll see that the things that inspire and motivate you are the things that adhere to your belief system. That’s what this part of the vision statement says about you.

Your envisioned future is made from a vivid description of this future, and BHAGs—big hairy, audacious goals. Those are goals five years out, that you really don’t think you can attain.

The Power of BHAGs

Surprisingly, as Porras and Collins found, when companies stated these goals, they actually attained them in three years! (Inspirational goals that are congruent with your core values and core ideology are powerful motivators!).

What Vision Does for Companies

Here’s Porras and Collins’s function of a vision statement:

Provides guidance about what core to preserve and what future to progress toward.  Made up of core ideology and envisioned future.

Here’s an example of a vision of one of the book’s stand-out companies:

Our basic principles have endured intact since our founders conceived them.  We distinguish between core values and practices; the core values don’t change, but the practices might.  We’ve also remained clear that profit – as important as it is – is not why the Hewlett-Packard Company exists; it exists for more fundamental reasons.”

      John Young, former CEO, Hewlett-Packard

 How to Construct your Vision

How do you want to see yourself in this business? How do you want people to talk about you and your business after you retire? What values are most important to you? What ideology do you follow in your business?

Managers’ exercise.  To figure out what your core values are, imagine that you are opening an office on Mars. You can only take three agents with you on your spaceship. Name those three agents. What are the core values of these agents? Who in your office doesn’t exhibit those values? Why is he/she still with you?

Looking back: Imagine you are at your own memorial, watching from above. What are others saying about you? What’s most memorable about you?

Voicing those BHAGs

What is a great goal you would love to accomplish in your business, but really don’t feel it’s possible for you within five years? Write it right now.

Note: In the complimentary business planning webinar, we’ll be exploring vision and agents will actually write some BHAGS!

Why We Don’t Reach Those Lofty Goals

Is that goal that’s been eluding you congruent with your core values? What I mean by that is, does that goal feel comfortable to you? For instance, if that goal is that you’ll make two million dollars, and you don’t like the feeling of that much money, because your values are aligned differently, you just aren’t going to reach that goal. That, I believe is the reason many of us don’t reach some of our goals. Those goals aren’t in alignment with our core values.

Here’s what great motivational speaker Zig Ziglar said about goal-value alignment:

You can’t consistently perform in a manner that is inconsistent with the way you see yourself.

Finding your Alive, Powerful Motivation

In my business planning system, I also provide another method to check your motivation.

Click here to get this document.

I’m convinced that we reach or don’t reach our goals based on the intensity of our desire, driven not by cold numbers, but by the warm emotion of aligned values and inspiring goals. Yogi Berra said it well:

Life is like baseball; it’s 95% mental and the other half is physical.

Plan_Act_CelebrateJoin Me Nov. 29 or Dec. 6 for My Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

Let me help you inspire your agents to plan for 2018! I’ll even provide them 4 ‘assignments’ they will be doing during the webinar to get that plan completed! And, I’ll give you dozens of tips from the managers’ perspective, too. Sign up now, because space is limited. I want to help you help your agents have an exceptional 2018!

Click here for more information and to register.

trainer at board

Why don’t you have a training calendar? Here’s how to get one now.

This month, we’re focusing on training. Why? Because you can recruit your heart out, but, if you’re not developing each agent to his/her potential, you’re not retaining! (and you have a revolving door……)

Guest Author, by Senior Coach Jodi Sipes

Authored by one of our Senior Career Coaches, Jodi Sipes, M. A., this blog shows you how to create a training calendar you’re proud of. Jodi’s advanced education in adult learning, plus her years of experience creating and implementing exceptional training for new agents, gives her a unique perspective. Here are invaluable tips as you take action to control your income in these shifting markets. You’ll make your training an awesome recruiting tool, while making it effortless to implement training week after week.

Why bother to create your year’s training calendar? With managers running in 50 directions at once, time management is a huge issue. Designing a training calendar allows managers to get their systems under control. It allows managers to delegate some training duties. Outcomes: More production, more profits, and better retention!

Your First Step in Creating that Calendar: Get the Rhythm

Before you try to create that calendar, consider the rhythm of your year. When do you hire the most agents, when is the market busiest, what seasonal issues do you want to address? For example, you’ll want to decide when is a good time to focus on listings, what issues come up at tax time, etc? This will give you a good over-view of how to plan your education and training.

Your Second Step: Decide the Major Issues You want to Train To

Now, it’s time to decide this:

If there were one thing my agents could do better that would raise productivity more than any other single thing, what would that be?

Answer that question, and you’ll get the major issues handled in that calendar. For example: If you have an office with many new people, you probably have fewer listings than you’d like. Or, your listings may be sitting in your shifting market. So, a major part of your calendar will be high-activity training to the listing process, focusing on getting marketable listings. A major mistake managers make in creating calendars is to merely drop in whatever they think agents would like! Don’t do that. You’re in control, and you need to train to the outcomes you need—and should expect.

Your Third Step: Make a System for New Agents

If you are hiring brand-new agents you will then need to schedule for them:

• Recruiting/hiring group informational events
• Orientation (Office equipment, your brokerage procedures, meet affiliates, etc.)
• New agent education (how to fill in forms, how to complete quarterly taxes, etc.–this should be in sync with MLS and Realtor Association training) At Carla Cross Seminars, Inc., we call this “Technical Training”.
• New agent start-up plan/coaching sequence so they go to work the first week. Our start-up plan and coaching companion is Up and Running in 30 Days.
• New agent skills training and practice/support sessions (how to answer objections, qualify buyers and sellers, etc.) Our complete training/coaching high accountability system for this is Advantage 2.0.

To assure you’ve covered the right bases, ask yourself about your desired outcome: What do you want your new agents to know, and be able to do in their first year?

Your Fourth Step: Make a System for your Experienced Agents

Here are some of the training issues you will want to consider:

• Sequence of business-building training (taking them to the next level)
• Yearly planning and Goals (this should be done in November of the prior year)
• Keeping them up-to-date on the law and technical issues (required classes, new forms, legal issues, new developments like more condos in the area or re-zoning)
• Life-style enhancement (time management, hiring an assistant, etc.)
• Train the Trainer class and opportunities to teach if they enjoy giving back to others (this is a great retention tool)

I know–it’s a big commitment. But, when you have your training systems fully in place, and you start measuring results, you’ll see the fruits of this labor.

Click here to grab my sample new agent training calendar.

 

logoWhy Not Make It Easy On Yourself: Up and Running is Done for You!

It takes me a year+ to write a training program, and I’ve done it several times! How long will it take you to write a program? Why reinvent the wheel? It’s enough to expect you to coach those in a program, not write it, and teach it in addition! Check out my comprehensive, high accountability, training/coaching program for agents under 2 years in the business. If you want to get them started fast, and are willing to coach them to the program, you’ll love the results. See it here.

do itHow good is your agents’ start-up plan? (Or, do they have a start-up plan?!)

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from my new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

You know what your training will do for you. So I hope you are convinced you also need to implement a business start-up plan to put all that information in perspective. But watch out—there are more poor ones than good ones out there. As a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) instructor for 12 years, I taught thousands of owners and managers nationally. I saw plenty of poor plans managers shared with me. (These were the plans they were giving their agents, too.)

Commonalities of Poor Plans

  • They are laundry lists of busywork activities interspersed with activities that actually make you money, so the agent doesn’t get any evaluative perspective to self-manage.
  • They do not prioritize lead-generating activities, so the agent thinks all types of lead generation have equal payoffs.
  • They do not have methods of setting goals, keeping track of results, and analyzing results to make changes quickly. (Up and Running provides sales ratios so you learn how many specific actions it takes to get the results you want.)
  • They do incorrectly prioritize actions. For example, as a high priority, they direct the new agent to “see all the inventory” before doing anything else. The rationale is that it’s very important to see all the inventory to build a knowledge base. It is important, but only as it relates to working with buyers and sellers. (It’s the means, not the end.) But new agents don’t want to do the high-rejection, high-risk activities such as talking to people. So they gladly see all the inventory until it becomes their job descriptions!
  • They do include plenty of “busywork” as equal priority to lead generating—such as a broker having an agent visit a title company to learn how it operates. This keeps the agent busy and out of the broker’s hair! Also, the new agent loves the broker for a while, because the broker isn’t asking the new agent to do those high-rejection activities—those activities that lead to a sale!

Bottom line: No would-be successful agent in his right mind would continue doing this type of plan any longer than he had to, because the successful agent recognizes the plan is a poor one.

* Big Idea: Be very critical before you commit to any start-up plan. It is prioritizing your mind! The start-up plan you may love because it keeps you out of sales activities isn’t the plan that is going to love you back (get you the sales you want). What you do every day becomes your job description.

An Effective Start-Up Plan

Here are the six attributes of an effective business start-up plan:

  1. Does not give equal weight to all activities
  2. Provides an organized activities schedule with certain activities prioritized first because they lead to a sale (in Up and Running, these are called “business-producing” activities)
  3. Includes an organized activities schedule with certain activities prioritized second—and explaining why (In Up and Running, these are called “business-supporting” activities)
  4. Provides a road map for a continuing plan (remember that “plan for life”?)
  5. Builds in the “why” of the plan structure, so you learn to self-manage
  6. Has a method to measure and make adjustments in your plan as you progress
  7. Has a coaching component, so someone can coach you effectively to the plan

Managers/trainers: How well did your start-up plan score? Why not try using a proven plan that gets much better results faster? You’ll increase your retention and your profits!

Up and Running_5e largerAre You Using the Best Start-Up Plan for your New Agents?

Does your plan have the detailed, prioritized checklists needed to assure a great start? Does it have built-in inspiration and motivation? Does it have dozens of tips to control the attitude? If not, you need Up and Running in 30 Days. Just out in its 5th edition, it’s the most successful book for new real estate agents ever!

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

 

 

training up stepsHow can you help your agents create a better future? In my best-selling book (the business start-up plan for the new agent), Up and Running in 30 Days, now in its 5th edition, I tackle lots of motivational, inspirational, and attitude challenges. I want to help you help your agents master the real estate business! Here’s an excerpt from the 5th edition, just out:

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

Creating the Future You Really Want

You have been in the business three weeks. {This excerpt is from week 3 of the 4-week quick start plan). Is your image of yourself different from the one you had when you started in this business? Successful performers have learned to create a completed picture of themselves as great performers—long before they are terrific performers. This helps them to predict the outcome of their efforts. If you don’t know where you’re going, you can’t get there!

Seeing Yourself in the Future as You Want to Envision YOU

Lou Tice, the founder of Pacific Institute, calls this skill self-efficacy. It is the ability to create yourself as a finished product in your head and hold that image, even though no one in the outside world has a clue that you are going to end up that way. What a skill! This technique is practiced in karate. When our son, Chris, took karate lessons he first watched great performers—black belts—performing the katas (fighting moves in a format) and kumite (actual fighting). Then he envisioned himself performing each part of these moves—just like they did. Finally, he performed the moves for his coach, very slowly, practicing perfectly.

How Coaching Supports that Future Vision

Chris’s karate coach watched carefully to ensure that he was practicing perfectly. After he perfected each move in context, he practiced performing faster. This method of creating perfect performance paid off. He won many medals in national and international competition—even while experiencing great growth spurts. His developed skill of self-efficacy ensured that his mind would hold the picture of his perfect performance. This skill has proved to be invaluable throughout his life.

* Big Idea: To become a master of whatever you want, hold your future picture of yourself more strongly than your present reality.

Develop the Professional “You”

Take a few minutes in a quiet place by yourself. Imagine yourself as the successful real estate agent you intend to be.

What will you do?

What kind of recognition and power will you gain?

What affiliations will you make that reflect your ideal of yourself as a pro?

Create a movie with you as the star, complete with the movement, color, dialogue, tastes, and smells. Make it fun, exciting, and rewarding—in color. Play it over and over in your head 20 times a day for a month. Doing this will counteract your “growth spurts”—objections, barriers, negative self-talk, lost leads—as you start your career. You must develop some mental ammunition.

Remember, people treat you as they see you.

They can’t see the new movie you have created until you start acting it out. Even then, they will try to put you back into your “old movie.” It’s human nature. Unwittingly, we help our friends fail by not becoming supporting players in their new picture. You must have a strong movie to move yourself in the direction you want to go so that others can get caught up in the new action and let go of the old.

* Big Idea: Develop an ideal future “movie” of yourself, with color, sound, and feeling.

Managers and coaches: What skills do you have to help your agent become that agent you know he/she could be?

 Up and Running_5e largerAre You Using the Best Start-Up Plan for your New Agents?

Does your plan have the detailed, prioritized checklists needed to assure a great start? Does it have built-in inspiration and motivation? Does it have dozens of tips to control the attitude? If not, you need Up and Running in 30 Days. Just out in its 5th edition, it’s the most successful book for new real estate agents ever!

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

coachingAre you helping your agents be accountable? Did you think it was even your job?

I’ve just published the 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. In it, I’ve included lots of up-to-the-minute updates. You can read some of them, in these blogs.

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

Below is an excerpt from the newest edition of the book. I’ve included the important principle of accountability, to help you help your agents follow through and see real results fast.

Why the Best Business Plans Don’t Work

You’ve heard it before. Business people make fancy, multi-page, even excellent business plans, and then fail. Why? Because making the plan doesn’t ensure success. Doing the plan does. (You wouldn’t expect that if you studied the life of Mozart you could automatically play a Mozart sonata, would you?)

*Big Idea: No success is realized without action.

If action brings about success, then why don’t people get into action?

Because it’s human nature not to! So what is the missing ingredient you need, besides a great start-up plan and action-oriented training so you have the skills to implement the plan? You need someone to be accountable to. Study after study shows that we attain our goals when we are accountable, regularly, short-term, to someone. That’s because we human beings tend to work on time frames and schedules. (Do you really get your taxes done by April 15 because you love doing them?) Those studies prove we work best on deadlines. We work best when we have a heavy workload. We work best when we have high expectations of ourselves, and we have someone—our coach—who shares those high expectations. (I know all this from being a pianist from age four, and having the privilege of being taught by exceptional piano coaches.)

* Big Idea: People succeed not because they have a plan. They succeed because they get into action and are accountable to the plan.

Keeping the priorities straight without a coach is very difficult to do.

I know what you’re going to tell me. You’re goal-oriented. You’re a self-starter. You don’t need a coach. That’s what most new agents say, and over 50 percent of them fail their first year in the business! Unless you have already attained high performance in music, sports, and the like, how would you realize that you can’t achieve those high levels of performance without a coach?

* Big Idea: The habits you form your first month in the business greatly influence your career success—forever.

Most agents have never been in a field that requires such a high degree of self-direction and the mastery of many skills to succeed. So they don’t know how easy it will be to get priorities all backwards! They also don’t realize how difficult it is to change a bad habit. If you want to be a great pianist, you’d find a great teacher, wouldn’t you? So, look at starting your real estate career just like you would look at becoming a great pianist or golfer. You need someone to be accountable to. You need a trained, committed coach, so you have deadlines, expectations, someone to help you keep those priorities straight, and someone cheer leading and believing in you.

* Big Idea: No one succeeds alone.

Owners, managers, coaches and trainers: How have you built in accountability for your programs? Do you teach a class and hope the agents take action, or do you follow up with an accountability session to check results?

Up and Running_5e largerDo You Provide Your Agents with a Proven Start-Up Plan with Accountability Built In?

Up and Running in 30 Days  has lots of up-to-the-minute updates. Plus, a proven, prioritized business start-up plan with inspiration, motivation, accountability, and action items built in. You can coach to the start-up plan, and see great results fast from your agents.

Check it out!

 

man ponderingHow good are your agents at managing their attitudes? Did you ever think about that, or think you’d need to manage that–or that they would need to consciously manage their attitudes?

I’ve just published the 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. In it, I’ve included lots of up-to-the-minute updates. You can read some of them, in these blogs.

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

Below is an excerpt from the newest edition of the book.

We’ve talked about your managing your Up and Running plan. That’s the “hard side” of the business—the facts, figures, and activities. However, there’s something else you must manage: the “soft side” of the business—your attitude.

How Our Attitudes Change with the Challenge

One of the things we managers love about a new agent is the enthusiasm with which they start. You’re excited to jump into sales. Sometimes you’re even overconfident. You tell us managers you are tenacious and that you can handle rejection. You describe yourself as a self-starter; you assure us you can motivate yourself. Then, reality takes over. You’ve always thought of yourself as a good communicator.

When You Start Lead Generating….Attitude Counts!

However, as you lead generate, you find it difficult to convince people to work with you. People somehow create many ways to reject you. You’ve always liked people, and you sense they like you. Yet they act differently with you now that you’re in sales. People make up stories to avoid you, say they “have a friend in the business,” secure information from you but do not give you information, promise to meet with you at the office—but don’t show up. You experience these feelings:

Rejection

Frustration

Impatience

Self-doubt

Inadequacy

Your image of yourself is tested. Who is the real you? The one who feels confident and tenacious and is a self-starter? Or the one who feels rejected, frustrated, inadequate, and full of self-doubt? Your attitude about the business—and yourself—is in danger of shifting from positive to negative.

* Big Idea: The best way to change your attitude from negative to positive is to get a sale.

Attitudes are Fast-Change Artists

Attitudes can change in seconds. Each day, hour, and minute, you evaluate your feelings about the business. Your experiences as you perform the activities in this plan fuel this evaluation. Your conclusions are based on your personal belief system. It’s not the activities that cause you to have a certain attitude about the business, but the conclusions you draw from your experiences with these activities. Let’s say you have knocked on 50 doors without getting a lead. What do you conclude? Agents who will fail conclude that “this won’t work in this area.” Agents who will succeed imagine themselves one step closer to a lead with every rejection. These agents realize that they must experience many rejections to get success.

* Big Idea: Tenacity is the one character attribute that is 99 percent of an agent’s success.

* Big Idea: My survey {of hundreds of new agents} showed the majority of new agents expect a sale in the first month. Not getting one puts their attitude in the dumper. Protection plan against an “in the dumper attitude”: go out and talk to lots of people—fast. That is, lead generate!

Up and Running_5e_616x800

Do You Provide Your Agents with a Proven Start-Up Plan with Attitude Advice Built In?

Up and Running in 30 Days  has lots of up-to-the-minute updates. Plus, a proven, prioritized business start-up plan with inspiration, motivation, and action items built in. You can coach to the start-up plan, and see great results fast from your agents.

Check it out!

 

 

 

bus-plan-11How good is your start-up business plan for your new agents?

I’ve just published the 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. In it, I’ve included lots of up-to-the-minute updates. You can read some of them, in these blogs.

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

Below is an excerpt from the newest edition of the book.

Managers: Check these lists against the start-up plan you use to launch your new agents (and re-launch your seasoned agents). {You DO have a proven start-up plan, don’t you?}

Critical Analysis: How Good Is That Start-Up Plan?

You know what your training will do for you. So I hope you {the new agents} are convinced you also need to implement a business start-up plan to put all that information in perspective. But watch out—there are more poor ones than good ones out there. As a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) instructor for 12 years, I taught thousands of owners and managers nationally. I saw plenty of poor plans managers shared with me. (These were the plans they were giving their agents, too.) Here are some commonalities of them:

  • They are laundry lists of busywork activities interspersed with activities that actually make you money, so the agent doesn’t get any evaluative perspective to self-manage.
  • They do not prioritize lead-generating activities, so the agent thinks all types of lead generation have equal payoffs.
  • They do not have methods of setting goals, keeping track of results, and analyzing results to make changes quickly. (Up and Running provides sales ratios so you learn how many specific actions it takes to get the results you want.)
  • They do incorrectly prioritize actions. For example, as a high priority, they direct the new agent to “see all the inventory” before doing anything else. The rationale is that it’s very important to see all the inventory to build a knowledge base. It is important, but only as it relates to working with buyers and sellers. (It’s the means, not the end.) But new agents don’t want to do the high-rejection, high-risk activities such as talking to people. So they gladly see all the inventory until it becomes their job descriptions!
  • They do include plenty of “busywork” as equal priority to lead generating—such as a broker having an agent visit a title company to learn how it operates. This keeps the agent busy and out of the broker’s hair! Also, the new agent loves the broker for a while, because the broker isn’t asking the new agent to do those high-rejection activities—those activities that lead to a sale!

Bottom line: No would-be successful agent in his right mind would continue doing this type of plan any longer than he had to, because the successful agent recognizes the plan is a poor one.

* Big Idea: Be very critical before you commit to any start-up plan. It is prioritizing your mind! The start-up plan you may love because it keeps you out of sales activities isn’t the plan that is going to love you back (get you the sales you want). What you do every day becomes your job description.

An Effective Start-Up Plan

Here are the six attributes of an effective business start-up plan:

  1. Does not give equal weight to all activities
  2. Provides an organized activities schedule with certain activities prioritized first because they lead to a sale (in Up and Running, these are called “business-producing” activities)
  3. Includes an organized activities schedule with certain activities prioritized second—and explaining why (In Up and Running, these are called “business-supporting” activities)
  4. Provides a road map for a continuing plan (remember that “plan for life”?)
  5. Builds in the “why” of the plan structure, so you learn to self-manage
  6. Has a method to measure and make adjustments in your plan as you progress
  7. Has a coaching component, so someone can coach you effectively to the plan

Up and Running_5e largerManagers and trainers: Take a look at the business start-up plan thousands of new agents use successful to launch businesses fast.

little girl with phoneReal estate trend: Lead generation is STILL King!

Dearborn Education Company just published my 5th (!) edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. It has lots of updates, including updates on 10 trends that I think newer agents should recognize—and know the pros and cons. Here’s an excerpt from my new edition of the book.

Trend Three: Lead Generation is Still King

In their excellent book, Game Plan: How Real Estate Professionals Can Thrive in an Uncertain Future, authors Steve Murray and Ian Morris also name this trend as one of the top ten for the next five years. In my view, lead generation is always king (I can’t see how it wouldn’t continue to be a number one trend and priority). But, Murray and Morris’s point is that real estate professionals who want to be successful can’t depend on leads just coming their way. Instead, they must actively go after them. That means creating systems, disciplines, priorities, and goals for capturing, working with, and keeping leads—forever. Here’s what they say:

…contact management, lead cultivation, and customer relationship management systems can and will play a huge role in determining which agents and companies are most successful.

A recent study by Active Rain (a popular real estate blog and tech information center), showed that agents who spent more money on contact relationship management (CRM) made significantly more money. It just makes sense. Agents who capture their leads via a database and then keep in touch with them via contact management software assure they keep their names in front of their potential clients, and are able to management and help many more clients.

Agents who try to organize their clients via pieces of scrap paper and remember to call them once in awhile are woefully inadequate when it comes to staying in meaningful contact with their potential clients. Which agent would you prefer working with, as a client? An agent who regularly contacted you and kept you abreast of the market, or one who either never called you or contacted you irregularly?    In that Inman Select survey I mentioned earlier {in the book}, How to Fix New Agent Onboarding, 47% of respondents stated lead generation is critical in initial training. And, they observed most new agents struggled with lead generation.  That’s why this Up and Running start-up plan is so important to follow to the letter!

Here’s what Kyle Kovats, that great ’30 under 30’ nominee, {one of my top agent contributors to the book} said: “Get out there and just do it.  Try different forms of prospecting and see what works. An ounce of action is more powerful than a ton of planning.”

Positives: For those of you who intend to be successful in sales, this trend should be a comfort. That means, if you invest in yourself, your work ethic, and your systems, you will be ahead of the pack. In Up and Running in 30 Days, I’ve laid out a plan of action for those of you who do intend this success. I’m not being facetious here. Some agents are surprised that, in fact, one must lead generate to be successful in this business.

Watch out for: Companies and/or managers who tell you that leads will simply come to you—or that they will provide them to you . That would include all those reactive (you sit and wait for the lead) lead-generating strategies:

  • The traditional ones, such as open houses and floor time or relocation leads
  • The technologically driven leads, such as software and programs that capture leads for you (they don’t just sell themselves; you must have an effective capture, engagement, and follow-up program)

Isn’t There an Easier Way?

Unfortunately, interviewers use the “we will take care of you and give you leads” strategy to convince new agents to work with them. Then, after the agent is with that office, the agent learns there is no free lunch. Do I mean that you shouldn’t accept various types of leads from others? No. (Just know that you will be paying for that lead).  But, consider this. If that lead source goes away, what are you left with? You are a first-day agent all over again! The Up and Running program will protect you from that, helping you build your own business so you always rely on yourself, not someone else.

Note: It’s very, very important that you capture your leads in a database, or better yet, in a CRM (Client Relationship Management) program from your first week in the business. Why? Because you can’t remember who those people are, and you certainly can’t remember how and when to stay in touch with them! I’ve provided a list of various databases and CRM programs in Section 14: References and Resources. I’m not endorsing any one of them. I’m just providing you several to research and to choose. See your manager for recommendations.

When I asked those agent and team leader contributors what technology is important to incorporate, here’s what they said:

“CRM and lead management tools”—Diane Honeycutt

“A really good and easy-to-use CRM”—Cerise Paton

“A good CRM”—Chris Cross

So, don’t be like the majority of new agents (and even seasoned agents!): Start using a database, or better yet, a CRM your first week in the business.

* Big Idea: To build a strong long-term business, order takers need not apply. To be successful, you must create relationship continuance, no matter your lead-generating sources.

Managers: Do you have a robust, precise lead generating program to start your new agents to success fast?

Up and Running_5e largerClick here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

 

clockOnboarding: Those critical first seven days. Find out why that first week is so critical.

First: What does new agent onboarding and training have to do with retention? According to two recent studies—a whole lot! The new fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, my new agent’s business start-up plan, has just come out. Dearborn Education is the publisher. There are many updates in this edition. Included in these updates are conclusions from these studies—conclusions that support the importance of starting each new agent with a proven lead generating plan.

(To see the updates in Up and Running in 30 Days, 5th edition, click here).

In this blog, I’ll address some of the results and its ramifications for real state companies–from the survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Why Bother with a Great Onboarding System?

Because you’ll have much great retention! According to the SHRM study, companies that leave onboarding to chance experience higher than 50% failure rates when it comes to retaining new talent.

Question: Do you have a great orientation system? Are you leaving anything to chance? Does your new agent feel like he/she’s in a fog for the first few months?

If you want a ‘template’ and suggestions of what should be included in your orientation, click here.

Those New Hires ‘Check Out’ Fast! (Faster than you Think!)

According to the same SHRM survey, 67% of millennials are already thinking of looking for their next job on day ONE!

Question: On day one, how are you cementing the relationship and helping that new person feel really welcome in your culture?

Tips for Those First Critical Seven Days:

  1. Manager sends a welcome email to new agent on day one.
  2. Each day’s activities are completely outlined so the new agent knows exactly how to proceed (you’re building in habits of success).
  3. The first week’s activities include shadowing and lunch with one of your senior colleagues.
  4. Welcome gift given to the new agent on day one.
  5. End of first day checklist completed with manager
  6. Round table or lunch set up with your influential agents to welcome the new agent
  7. Use a detailed, prioritized action-plan checklist, like Up and Running in 30 Days, to assure the new agent knows exactly what to do, how to do it, and is held accountable to it.

Outcome: 69% of new employees are more likely to stay more than three years if they’ve experienced a well-structured onboarding program.

So, how does your onboarding system stack up?

Find out: Regularly survey your agents who’ve been with you 6 months to find out what they found valuable and how it could be improved. Why not have the best onboarding/retention system in the industry?

How’s Your Quick-Start Program Working?

Up and Running_5e largerBoth these onboarding studies prove that leaving the new agent’s orientation, training, and start to chance just doesn’t cut it. Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days:  updates in 5th edition. This invaluable book is only $32.95 plus shipping, and has been used by thousands of new agents to launch successful careers. Order here.

 

 

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