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Archive for Career Success

Jul
18

Why You NEED a Training Calendar

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Why do you need a training calendar? Do you have one now? You need one for several reasons.

First, the majority of real estate offices do not have training calendars. Instead, they schedule things as they come up–with little rhyme nor as to why those events are put on the calendar. Don’t let that be you!

Here’s what creating a training calendar will do for you:

1. Organize your training as part of your business plan for next year

2. Have a time-saving guide to implement the training you need for your company to move forward

3. Use the training calendar to recruit (internal AND external)

In October (Oct. 3-4 in Bellevue, Wa.) , I’m doing my live version of Instructor Development Workshop. As a bonus, I’m going to share my training calendar analysis tool. (And you can grab it at the end of this blog, too).

small write outline

In fact, I doubt most managers make training a part of their business plan! Yet, training is the second-most important component to move our productivity and profitability up (recruiting the right people is #1).

Problems with Most Training Calendars

Before you read this paragraph, if you don’t have a training calendar, grab a calendar and write down the training events you intend to do next year. Now, let’s take a look at the 3 biggest problems with training calendars:

1. They don’t focus on the training events that can change the profitability and productivity of the office (too many ‘technical’ courses, and not enough sales courses)

2. They don’t focus on training events to meet the needs of each of your career life cycles (new, growth, and maturity)--they are skewed to one group of agents–usually new)

3. They don’t consist of measurable training, so you know what works

Take a look now at my analysis too, Your Training Calendar.

Question for You

What did you learn from your analysis?

trainer

Check out my training resources here.

Is your onboarding process creating loyalty or ‘buyer’s remorse’?

What do your agents think about your onboarding process?

In my earlier blogs, we’ve explored the importance of onboarding, and some of the common mistakes we all make. I am in the midst of a consulting assignment with a real estate company. They asked me to evaluate their onboarding process and make recommendations. To do that, I created and did an onboarding questionnaire. In this blog, I’m using ‘we’ do protray the company leadership and me.

I promised I’d share my onboarding questionnaire, so here it is.

Have you ever found out what your agents think about your process? Now is an excellent time to do this. Use my questionnaire and add your own questions. I asked these questions over the phone. At first, agents were reticent to share. Then, as I explained we were working to tighten the process, they opened up, and gave us great information. The bottom line: They were thrilled we had asked them! It made them feel an important part of the organization.

When you ask: Don’t judge, and don’t criticize. Just accept the information or probe for more detail.

My Results of My Survey

I’m going to share the results of my survey here with you. Some of the results were surprising; some were predictable.

What We Did With the Results of the Survey

We held a series of meetings to discuss the results. We then assigned duties to make this whole process better. We hired a person whose main job is to ‘dog those agents’ tracks through the complete onboarding process. Do you think this will result in a better retention record? We do.

Your turn: What are you doing to assure your onboarding process continues the excitement and loyalty you set up during your interview process? Or, have you thought about it?

Want to talk about my helping you create a world-class onboarding process? Email me at carla@carlacross.com or call me at 425-392-6914. Let’s get this to mastery level!

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!

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 is 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 Outa There 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:

Tips for Those First Critical Seven Days:

  1. Manager sends a welcome email  or snail mail (better) 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. (If you have an advisory council, this is a perfect match!)
  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 have experienced a well-structured onboarding program.

So, how does your onboarding system stack up?

Find out: Regularly survey your agents who have 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?

A Survey for You to Use: Next

In my next blog, I’ll share the survey I just did in an office where I’m consulting on their onboarding system. Boy, did I get some great feedback!

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.

What could your retention rate be if you had a superior onboarding system?

 

 

Here are the 5 great performance principles I learned from my piano teacher.

Why are these so important? Because, as trainers, we want to

change behavior,

 

 

not just impart information!

Big questions right now: Are you training with methods that actually change behavior, or are you just imparting information you think will help your students?

PS. If you want creative training techniques that really do change behavior, check out my unique course, Instructor Development WorkshopOr, see my distance learning version, Train the Trainer. Both qualify instructors to teach clock hour courses in Washington state.

Why Some Get Results–and Others Don’t

Recently, one of my coaching clients (an owner of a real estate company) asked me, “Why do some trainers and coaches get great results and others don’t–but seem to be working as hard?”

Great question, huh? In fact, if we trainer/coach types knew that answer, we could build our systems so that we assured great performance! So, I went back to my ‘former life’–that as a musician and piano/flute teacher, and thought, “Why do some piano teachers create great performers–and others don’t?”

Why Use Piano Teachers as the Analogy….

I use the analogy of the piano teacher, because it’s easy to hear differences in sloppy and great performance. I’m sure you’ve heard 2 people play the same piece of music. One plays it accurately and one just kind of slops through it. Or, some piano teachers’ students drop out, unmotivated to practice, while others stay motivated, challenged, and achieve high performance–even if they don’t seem to have great talent.

Five Proven Components for Great Performance

From having taken piano lessons since age six, gaining a degree in piano performance, and having taught piano at the grade, high school, and college level, I’ve had an opportunity to see the great and the not-so-great–both teachers and performers. Here are the five components I’ve discovered make the biggest difference in great performance (which is what you want to shoot for when you teach!).

1. Great piano teachers screen in and screen out.
They don’t let just anybody take lessons from them.

Trainers and coaches: What’s your ‘screen in’ process? Do you have one? Do you have a list of questions you ask? In our coaching company, we have a prescribed list of questions we ask potential clients (and we unfortunately have to turn down some). I even have a Coachability Assessment I provide potential clients. Click here to request your copy.

2. Great piano teachers set expected standards (minimums) during the screening process–not after the lessons start!
Those standards include: Amount of practice each day, recitals attended and played in, going to lessons, etc.

Trainers and coaches: What do you expect of your clients? Make a list of at least 5 standards now–and get the ‘mutual expectations’ agreement in writing prior to letting them into your program.

3. Great piano teachers figure out the ‘competency levels’ they want their students to attain–and when they expect them. They won’t let the students perform in front of others if the student has not reached compentency levels.

Trainers and coaches: How good do you expect your students to get in that one-month training program you’ve been doing? Do you even measure skill levels? Which skill levels to you measure? How? Do you have your students practice their listing presentations until they reach the level of competency you believe the real client expects? What an eye-opener! Make a list now of 5 skills and the level of competency you want your students to attain in your training program. You’ll see your outcomes go way up just by doing this.

4. Great piano teachers get better performance because their excellent students motivate other good students to excellence.

Trainers and coaches: Have you ever gotten yourself into the situation where you felt like you were way above the other people in your group? This isn’t an ego thing–it’s just a ‘I don’t belong here’ thing. Likes attract. Good performers motivate other good performers. Excellent performers stay. Are you creating a self-motivating group–or, are you creating a situation where your good performers will leave for a team that is ‘more like them’? This goes back to those ‘screen in’ and setting competency principles. I know we all feel challenged when people don’t appear motivated. Here’s one of the secrets to fire them up!

5. Great piano teachers provide lavish praise–when deserved.

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

If you have competency levels, you have a way and a reason to praise. Your students/clients know when they have reached those levels–and can expect praise, too! In fact, strong students/clients will ask you for praise. Write down the 5-10 methods you use to appreciate and praise good performance. If you can’t get to 10, figure them out.

But, what about the method? The specific coaching, the training? Yes, the method is important, but the coaching/training techniques above are much more important. I’ve heard some great performers and some poor performers all playing the same kind of music from the same method. At the same time, great methods should have some ‘built-in’ features that assure the trainer/coach is achieving these 5 principles.

Principles, System, Coaching–Putting it All Together

From talking with prominent trainers, managers, and coaches, we’ve pinpointed a need for all those training and coaching today to get the coaching they need to turn out great performers. So, each one of these 5 principles is in my initial online training program for newer agents: Up and Running in Real Estate. Check it out. Your agents will be performing better and faster with this program and principles.

Is Your Initial Training Program Getting the Results you Want?

Or, a better question: Do you know what the results are? With my online training program, Up and Running in Real Estate, you see the progress your agent is making each week. You measure the results in concrete terms. Check it out. It will save you time, and money, and give you much greater retention!

Going into management? How are you going to motivate?

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

As managers, we agonize over how to motivating our agents/employees. Yet, we generally know little about how motivation really works. Here is one psychologist’s view on motivation, with tips on how to make it work for you in the workplace.

Different strokes for different folks. We think people are motivated by whatever motivates us. If we like to be up in front of hundreds and receive those number one trophies, we assume others do, too. Not true. MCClelland, a psychologist who wrote lots about motivation (see Achieving Society, Power is the Great Motivator), observed that people were motivated by one of these motivators:

a. achievement
b. affiliation
c. power

Identifying Who’s Who

What are some actions that achievers demonstrate?

What are some actions affiliators demonstrate?

What are some actions power people demonstrate?

Which one are you motivated by? How do you know? Think of a time in your life when you were very motivated by something. Was that ‘something’ categorized as achievement, affiliation, or power? You can ask your team members that same question, and find out their dominant motivator (and just observe them in action, too!).

Managing to the Motivators

McClelland said, that, if you’re managing an achiever, you should:

  • provide clear-cut goals
  • give prompt feedback

Managing an affiliator? You should:

  • treat him/her as an individual
  • be emphathetic
  • provide encouragement

With the power person, you should:

  • set clear guidelines
  • talk about how to win
  • speak in terms of results

Who Challenges You?

To really put this to work, pick a person you manage that you find challenging. Pinpoint their main motivator. Try the actions McClelland suggests. I’ll bet you’ll not only get more cooperation, you’ll start to feel ‘in tune’ with that person–and provide the atmosphere for them where they can be motivated–their way.

For your next sales meeting: Explain McClleland’s approach to motivators. Ask agents about 3 times in their lives when they were really motivated to achieve something. Then, explain the 3 categories, and ask agents to choose their dominant motivator.

Get The Insights You Need to Hire with Confidence

If you’re a new manager. You’ll want to cut your time frame by interviewing more effectively. You work so hard to gain those interviews. But, do you have planned interview process that assures you pick winners? (And assures the candidates are impressed with you….) Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners, with new information about what desired agents of today are looking for, is a guide to create your unique attractors, how to put together a powerful presentation, and a completely new video showing exactly how to craft the best ‘crystal ball’ type of questions. Learn more here.

So you’re thinking of going into management. One of the great actions effective managers do is to create and implement a training program that actually gets results.

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

Grab your training calendar from your office (you do have a training calendar, don’t you?). Do you believe that training is getting the biggest ‘bang’ for your training buck (effort expended, talent needed, results expected)?

Maybe you’re taking part in the training program. Are you frustrated because your training isn’t getting results? Or, people just aren’t showing up? Or, worse yet, falling asleep in that factoid-heavy class?

If you have access to your office’s profit and loss statements: Maybe you have a specific problem you’ve noticed when you read your latest profit and loss statement. For instance: Perhaps your agents are giving too many commission concessions.

Training can Solve Some Challenges–and Not Others

When you go into management, you’ll see various challenges that training can solve (and some challenges training can’t solve!). Decide which challenges you can solve by providing training (like increasing listings sold) and which challenges can’t be corrected by more training (ethical issues are hard to re-train to, since people’s ethics are pretty hard-wired into them in their early years!).

Pretend now you’re in management. If you’re experiencing any of these challenges, you’ll love the tool here. I’m providing an insightful analytical tool to discover what’s right–and wrong–with your training.

Three main reasons training isn’t working:

1. It isn’t tied to the problems you want to solve in your office (agents not productive enough, commissions too low, etc.)
2. It doesn’t teach your agents to perform better–just gives information
3. It isn’t exciting enough–teacher just drones on and on…..

As I work with owners, managers and trainers internationally, I see these same three problems crop up over and over.

How to Figure Out What’s Wrong with that training Program

From working with many managers over a period of years, I’ve created an analytical tool to figure out what’s good, bad, and ugly about that training program. Use it in your office. Or, if you have the guts, use it with your manager and then create a plan to create better training–with goals for specific, measurable results.

Click here to get your analytical tool — along with tips to correct your training to make it pay off.

Managers: Do you have someone you know would be a great manager? Start working with that person now. Get them into training. Have them take a great Instructor Development Course, team train, and, finally, start training on your program.

Affiliates: Share this with the managers/trainers in the offices you call on. Use these tips, too, to streamline the training you provide.

The Complete Training Guide for Real Estate–Gain Skills and Techniques

Here’s the comprehensive training tool that will help you create great training programs, become a confident, effective trainer, and help many more people succeed in real estate! Check it out here.

Rate yourself on your management skills, so you’ll know what you need to work on prior to going into management (or if you’re already in management).

Are you thinking of going into management? Few of us knew the skills–or the level of skill attainment–we needed to succeed in the job. I want to help all of you who want to go into management to succeed at a high level. Thus, these blogs.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

In an earlier blog, I discussed the skills we need to have honed prior to going into management. In this blog, we’ll tackle getting those skills in certain areas.

At the end of this blog: grab my assessment tool I use in my Leadership Mastery coaching series to help new managers plan for this skill attainment.

The Biggest Skill Area Managers Need Today to Succeed

What do you think it is? It’s recruiting and selecting skill. Why? Because, there’s so much competition for good agents that a manager just can’t sit back and wait for agents to come to them. It isn’t the old days (although I never was able to do that in my ‘old days!’).

These skills are the same skills good agents use to expand their businesses. That’s why we need to hire managers who have been successful recruiters and selectors. Notice I said recruiters and selectors. I know companies brag about how mahy gross recruits they landed that month or year, but, long-term, it’s those who stay, prosper, and grow with the company that add to the profitability of all.

One of the standards you need to create when you’re hiring a manager is

How successful was that agent as a business getter? What’s the number of transactions you would accept?

How to Get Recruiting and Selecting Skills

Your company may have a course focusing on these skills. If so, take it prior to going into management. Overall, the best courses out there for management are the CRB courses, leading to the Certified Real Estate Broker designation. I highly recommend them. Here’s the link.

What’s Your Agent Track Record?

In addition, if you don’t have a track record of at least 12-20 transactions a year as an agent, in my opinion, you have not developed the skills in recruiting and selecting you will need as a successful agent. It’s my experience that agents who didn’t actively lead generate will carry that habit into management. They will balk at lead generating for agents, and they will fight upper management to the death–and to everyone’s detriment.

Resource (Some are FREE) to Gain those Management Skills

This month, I’m offering some of my management resources free with purchase of other resources. Check it out here.

Grab the leadership skill assessment here.

Managers or general managers: If you’re hiring a new manager, help them evaluate their skill levels and then create a training and coaching program to assure they get those skills before they launch their management career.

Here’s how to find out if management is in your future–and how to prepare to succeed.

** See my prioritized job description of a manager as a handout–along with the number of hours I recommend you spend in each activity.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

In these blogs, I’ll make some recommendations to you about how to get those skills. Unfortunately, we go into management thinking either

  1. We have enough of the skills to succeed
  2. There aren’t skills needed to suceed in management
  3. I’ll learn ‘on the job’

The Best Management Training Courses Out There

Are you familiar with The CRB courses? These are offered by an arm of the National Association of Realtors, and are, by far, the best management courses out there.

Here’s the link: https://www.rebinstitute.com/. It’s called Real Estate Business Institute now. I highly recommend the courses.

When to take these courses? Before you go into management! They are offered throughout the United States (and some in Canada). I was an instructor with the Institute for 12 years, and so I know the value of these courses (I also took several of them prior to going into management).

Investigating Management

Have you interviewed at least 5 managers to find out what they do and how they got the skills to do it? If not, start your interviews now. You’ll find a wide range of management descriptions, of course. Some managers will describe what I call ‘maintenance management’–keeping the place running by doing administrative duties and listening to agent complaints. That’s not what it takes today to succeed in ‘active’ management. In fact, I think a great manager can be compared best to a great or mega-agent.

Questions you’ll want to ask:

  1. What’s your biggest challenge in management?
  2. What’s your biggest win?
  3. What’s different from management than you thought before you went into management?
  4. How do you create a real team?
  5. How do you recruit?
  6. How did you prepare to go into management?

Suggestion: Ask for a copy of the manager’s job description. I’ll bet few of them have ever seen one!

Here’s the link to the prioritized manager’s job description.

Another way to prepare to go into management: See my management resources at www.carlacross.com. 

Want to go into management? Try ‘perfect practice’ to get the skills you need BEFORE you jump into the job.

This month, I’m taking what I’ve learned as a musical performer from age 4 to the world of leadership and sales. (And, read my musical quotes at the end of each blog. I hope you’ll get a chuckle!)

Are You Prepared–or Just Hopeful?

My son owns a real estate company, and I help him initially screen candidates for manager and assistant manager. He has created a very detailed job description for any of those applying. Yet, we see two problems:

  1. Most of the candidates do not meet the qualifications the job requires
  2. Even the borrderline candidates have done nothing to prepare themselves for the job

For several years, I was a regional director of now the largest real estate company in the world. One of my jobs was finding and screening leadership. Boy, did I learn a lot! So, with that experience, I’m writing some tips here for those of you who want to step from sales into management (and for those looking for leadership). I’m not going to address the first problem. For example, some candidates just haven’t had job experience of any type in real estate. Although I know there are exceptions, generally, if you haven’t successfully sold real estate, you won’t understand, emphasize and be able to ‘develop’ agents successfully.

The Principle to Prepare: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Of course, this principle comes from my world of music. I learned this from my college piano professor.

. That means hundreds or thousands of hours in the practice room, not in performing! (In other words, you have to practice your little heart out before they’ll let you loose in front of discerning people!) It’s drudgery and you wonder what you’re accomplishing. But, this perfect practice pays off when you have to perform in front of thousands and put to use your ‘muscle memory’. When you’re performing all those notes so quickly, you don’t have time to consciously figure out where your fingers should go (just like you do’t have time in an interview to figure out a good interview process!!!!)

What This Means to Your Preparation for Management

Here’s a straightforward job description for a successful leadership-manager:

Find and develop people

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

How Are You going to Develop Those Skills–Before You Get into Performance?

Go through the checklist/description above. Ask yourself: Have you devleoped those skills? If not, are you going to wait and ‘wing it’ on the job? As a pianist, I wouldn’t dare ever get in front of people to perform without having practiced!

Next blog: Suggestions in how to do that perfect practice in each of these areas.

Managers: Share this blog with those who are interested in going into leadership. In later blogs, I’ll share some analytical tools I’ve developed to help you help others develop their leadership skills.

Just for chuckles:

“I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.” — Woody Allen

It’s time to do your business plan! So, my blogs through December and early January will focus on helping you create that business plan–and getting your agents to plan.

You’ve decided to coach your agents in creating great business plans. but, if you’ve never coached an agent in business planning, it can be quite daunting.A� So, what do you look for? In this blog, I’ll show you how to use their statistic

listings taken to listings sold in normal market time.

to coach them to a better year next year. You would think agents know this statistic, but very few do. Ita��s so important, because it

  1. Determines whether the agent makes enough money per listing or not
  2. Determines whether the agent builds a positive reputation or a poor one
  3. Reflects the agenta��s value-proposition strategy
  4. Reflects on the officea��s productivity and profitability

Your success rate with listings sold is, in my opinion, the one most important reflection of agent value propositions out there.

For example: A�George Smith, a 10-year seasoned agent, has demonstrated a consistent listing strategy. A�Georgea��s a�?success ratioa�� is 40%. That is, he sells 40% of his listings in normal market time. What does that say about Georgea��s values proposition strategy? How is George a�?usinga�� his listings? Is that the culture you want perpetuated in your office?

Sally Overton has a different value proposition strategy. She has a 90% success ratio in listings taken to listings sold in normal market time. Obviously, she is building her referral systema��her raving fans. She is making herself more money in less time. She is drastically reducing the number of complaints (and attacks on her self-esteem, too). She is a role model for best practices in her real estate office. Is that practice more in line with your culture?

Your opportunity: As Georgea��s business planning consultant, youa��ll be a�?testinga�� George to see if he wants tochange his strategy (some agents love being a�?bait and switchersa�� too much to change). Youa��ll have the opportunity to help Sally leverage her awesome conversion rates to obtain even more raving fans. (Nothing succeeds like success).

Do you know your ‘conversion numbers’ in listings taken to listings sold for your company? When you make your own plan, be sure to do a thorough review, and find this number. A high number means you’ll be able to recruit better, get better retention, have better team spirit, and your agents can build on that reputation. A low number means you have a lot to work on!

Click here for a list of common agent business planning mistakes to help you as you coach agents through the planning process.

Excerpted from my online agent business planning system, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Grab My Online Business Planning Program

Thought you’d get it done but it’s still on your ‘to do’ list? I want to help!

Managers: Frustrated because you can’t get your agents to plan? Problem solved! I’ve put my exclusive planning pages online–plus webinars to help you get through that plan fast. Don’t wait another year for business success. See more here.

Managers: I’ll teach your agents how to plan, too! Included in your Manager’s Package!

 

Ready to order? Click below:

Beyond the Basics of Business planning for Managers  $249 (includes all the agent planning materials, too!)

Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for Agents  $99