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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 lead generation

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.

 

shaking hands over computerDearborn Education Company just released my 5th edition (!) of Up and Running in 30 Days. This book is literally the new agent’s business start-up plan. In addition, I’ve provided lots of training and advice to assure new agents know what to do and how to do it.

One of the updates in this edition is the technology new agents really need—and what they don’t need, so they don’t waste their previous dollars!

What My Technology Experts Told Me

Use technology to support your dynamic business. The easiest way to organize the names of prospects and clients is on a computer. If you’re not in the technology world now—jump in. You’ll need technology to do the following (these are not my priorities, just a list):

Technology Recommendations from Up and Running

Use technology to support your dynamic business. The easiest way to organize the names of prospects and clients is on a computer. If you’re not in the technology world now—jump in. You’ll need technology to do the following (these are not my priorities, just a list):

  1. Work from wherever you are with a laptop so you can find properties, do market analysis, and create presentations anywhere, anytime
  2. Organize your prospects, clients, and affiliates (such as mortgage lenders) in a database (if you’re not extremely computer literate, start with Microsoft Outlook, which almost everyone already has on their computers)
  3. Organize your follow-up programs for specific target markets via  client relationship management (CRM)
  4. Capture and follow up on your Internet leads with Internet lead follow-­up technology designed for that purpose
  5. Measure your progress to your goals with specific software
  6. Keep in contact with your customers via cell phone and pager (you will find it truly amazing how few agents return phone calls)
  7. Carry your contacts (database), schedule, and so on with you on a personal digital assistant
  8. Create a personal Web site and/or blog that promotes you and/or provides your prospects and clients access to information they value, such as updates on their property, marketing, or transaction progress
  9. Take pictures with a digital camera and add them to your Web site or your flyers
  10. Invest in a video flip camera so you can promote yourself and your listings via video
  11. Budget for your expenses, track expenses, and create, implement, and analyze your profit and loss statements with financial software (such as QuickBooks, Quicken, or Mint)

Note: See the References and Resources section in UP and Running in 30 Days  for resources for these valuable tools. And, the reference section offers dozens of references for other software, training, etc.

Get Advice Before You Invest

These references include only a few of the technologies agents use in business. Before you buy anything, interview three technology-savvy, high-producing agents in your office and identify the technologies they consider important. Don’t expect your real estate company to provide them, although seasoned agents within your organization may be willing to provide direction on the best use of technology. Also, see your manager for advice on the most up-to-date technology you need to perform.

Caveat: Don’t run around buying every marketing program and tech tool from vendors. As Gary Richter, one of the newer, successful agents quoted in my book, advises: “There are many different programs and systems that vendors will try to sell to you as a new agent. Many overlap in capabilities. Pick one that works for you and stick with it.”

Up and Running_5e largerTake 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.

Up and Running_5e largerI just received my copy of my 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s business start-up plan. Dearborn Education, a division of Kaplan, Inc., has published this book since its first edition. I’ve put lots of updates in this 2017 edition, including advice from successful newer agents. Rather than my trying to convince you of these principles myself, here’s what they’ve said:

On Training

Here’s a quote from Kyle Kovats, who was recently chosen as one of the finalists for the “30 under 30” honors from the National Association of Realtors.  These select nominations are agents chosen because they are under 30 and very successful in the business.

Kyle advises: “Find a broker who has a comprehensive training program. Ask if you can speak with agents who have gone through it to get the agents’ perspective on whether it was helpful.”

{Note: Up and Running in 30 Days has tips for you new agents in choosing the right training program—a training program that actually assures you launch a great career).

The Importance of Coaches and Mentors

There’s a lot more to success than just attending even a great training program. Read this from Merrilee Prochaska, “I wish I had understood the importance of a mentor/coach before I began.”

{Up and Running in 30 Days discusses the trend toward coaches, and provides guidance in choosing the right coach for you.}

On What They Wish They’d Done Differently

It’s not all a smooth ride! Here are some comments from Cerise Paton, on what she wishes she would have done differently: “Followed up more and more consistently; understood the time and discipline and numbers needed for lead generation and lead conversion; recognizing the time it took to build trust; going on more appointments, failing more often, and getting better, practicing presentations with friends”.

Gary Richter’s comment on what he would do differently could apply to most new agents: “Contact all of my sphere and ask for business.” Gary admits he was reticent to ask them all for business.

On Prioritizing Your Activities and Lead Generation Sources

Don’t take my word for it that clearly prioritizing your activities as business-producing or business-supporting is key to success. Hear it from Gary Richter, who used Up and Running in 30 Days to start his career. He says his priorities are big reasons he’s succeeding now: “I am cognizant of my daily activities and recognized them as either business producing or business supporting. I spend the majority of my time on business-producing activities.”

And, Diane Honeycutt states, “Take the advice in this plan and be sure you’re not a ‘secret agent’! Develop a work plan and stick to it”.

Here’s what Kyle Kovats, that great ’30 under 30’ nominee, 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.”

Gary Richter advises: “Get off your computer and go out into the areas. Focus on business-producing activities.”

More great advice from Kyle Kovats: “Be relentless. Follow up with handwritten letters rather than the generic form letters/cards most agents send people. Be unique.”

On the Importance of Client Relationship Management Technology

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 who put off capturing all those leads in a database and then, even better a CRM!) Start using a database, or better yet, a CRM your first week in the business.

On Spending Money for Leads

Here’s some advice from one of those Top 30 Under 30 finalists, James Pierce: “Don’t pay a dime to sites like Zillow, etc.”

From Cerise Paton: “You will get a lot of calls to sell you leads, google placement, banner ads, shopping carts, you name it. Don’t do it. It either has no value, or you’re not ready for it, or you can’t afford it”

Tip for managers: As you read these comments, ask yourself, “How is my training, coaching, and business start-up plan keeping my new agents on track?” What needs to be changed or refined so I get better results?”

How about YOU?

Are you following these principles? How many have you rejected or violated in your first few months in the business? Why? Success isn’t always easy, but it always has patterns and leaves clues! Don’t try and re-invent the wheel. Follow a proven plan with assured results and you will be wildly successful!

Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days:  updates in 5th edition.

training up stepsEvery time a National Association of Realtor survey comes out, I eagerly get it. Why? It gives us clues into the trends and directions of our industry.  There are two major reports that come out yearly or every two years: The Member Profile and the Profile of Buyers and Sellers. I highly recommend you get these reports* and use them to educate buyers and sellers. You’ll find you become much more credible when you’re using statistics from a third party source, instead of trying to convince buyers and sellers you’re right—because you know you’re right!

Before you read this, take my true-false ‘exam’ to test what you know about Realtor trends. Click here to get it.

How did you do on the true-false ‘exam’? I didn’t create it to ‘test’ you. I created it to crush some old assumptions. And, I want to point out what some of these trends mean to you and what we need to do about them.

Note: These reports are available at Realtor.org at a discount for Realtors:

http://www.realtor.org/research-and-statistics/research-reports

In the next few blogs, I’ll discuss some of these true-false statements and show how they’re important to you and your agents. I’ve put the number of the statement before my comments. Let’s tackle #11 first, since it’s time to review your business for last year (2016) and help your agents put together their business plans for 2017.

  1. According to the survey, a total of 32% of a Realtor’s business came from past clients and referrals. Doesn’t that seem like very low numbers to you? In fact, 29% of Realtors said they got NO repeat business! That means, as a real estate owner once told me, “That agent is in the business one year twenty times.” And, even more shocking: 21% of Realtors said they got NO business through referrals! And, the median was only 18%.

Do you know what your agents’ sources of business numbers are? If you’re a committed real estate agent, you should be getting 70%+ of your business from  past clients and referrals. Measure your sources of business right now, and make a plan to capture ____% of your business from these best sources for 2017. Join me in my complimentary business planning webinar on Nov. 8 and I’ll tell you what I think a ‘safe’ number would be as a goal.

Plan_Act_CelebrateComplimentary Business Planning Webinar Coming Up Nov. 8–Grab your Seat NOW!

If you’re like most real estate professionals, you create some type of a business plan this year. But, maybe it didn’t work for you. Or, maybe—you just didn’t work it! Join us Nov. 8 at 3 PM Pacific time) to get the answers you need—and the inspiration—to make a bullet-proof plan for next year.

During this fast-paced webinar you’ll see:

  • Why your plan probably didn’t work for you—and what to do about it
  • How to definitely find out what will work for YOU (not someone else’s plan!)
  • How to anticipate market shifts (!)
  • What to STOP doing in 2017
  • What one thing will assure your business plan works
  • Bonus: 10 Creative Marketing Ideas for your plan

Included handouts:

  1. The strategic planning process created exclusively for real estate professionals by Carla Cross
  2. Review: Your best sources of business (so you know what to keep doing and where to stop spending marketing $$$$$)

Managers: You’ll get tips on how to help your agents create great plans!

Click here for more information on the webinar and to register.

coaching teaching skillsHow badly do you really want your training to pay off? I just got done reviewing a training program to see if the attributes for effectiveness were there. Most of them weren’t. And, frankly, I think they weren’t there because no one cared enough to assure they WERE there. Why? Because it’s regarded as just too much trouble! That’s the sad truth. But, why do we bother to train if we can’t expect a measurable outcome? What if I could absolutely guarantee you, that, if you put these 4 principles in place, you will see results in your training, turn out productive agents, and have a great recruiting tool. How much would that be worth to you? (I don’t mean how much would you pay for this, but how much effort would you be willing to put into it?)

Here are the four principles/attributes that need to be in place:

1. Expectations/Accountability

How will you hold agents accountable to work to be done in the program? What are the ‘rules’? When do you explain the rules? Do you have a commitment letter?

2. Work during the course

Do you have the agents completing work during the course? Lead generation, packaging, presentations, etc. If not, how do you know they can do what you taught?

3. Measurable results

Are you having the agents measure their results? If not, how are you going to use the program to recruit? How will you know the program worked?

4. Fixed curriculum and highly trained instructors

Do you have a written curriculum with course objectives? If not, are you just wandering around in a wasteland of information?

Are your instructors trained in participative teaching methods? Are you monitoring your instructors so you know they are teaching skills, not just talking or providing war stories?

Grade yourself on each of the attributes above. What did you excel at? What do you need to improve?

How awesome could your training be if it had these 4 principles/attributes in place?

logoHere’s a Program with the Principles Written Into the Training

It’s deceptively challenging to include those 4 principles/attributes above in a training program. Yet, if they aren’t there, your training can’t be effective. Why not look at the unique UP and Running in Real Estate, written by National Realtor Educator of the Year Carla Cross. This online program is terrific for those hiring 1-4 agents a month, because the agent can start the program at any time, and work through the program, while jumping ahead to needed topics–and going back. Check it out here. Also: There’s a coaching component, so you can fully support your agent’s success.

 

trainer hand in airThis 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……)

By the way, check out my website for a free coaching product ($100 value) as my thanks to all you trainer/coaches.

“Oh, no. I’ve been doing EVERYTHING wrong!” That’s what one of my attendees groaned after I explained the training calendar evaluation tool I created to help trainers assess their training programs. Too often, I see training programs thrown together from various cobbled (and ripped off….) sources. Sure. You can do that and call it your training program. But, it makes for a disjointed, shattered ‘picture’ of your company and culture. And, it doesn’t work to get what you want—more production and profits.

Here, I want to share an analysis tool I created that will help you see the good and challenging parts of your training program and tune it up to really make a difference in your company.

Do You Really Have a Training Program?

When asked this question in a National Association of Realtors’ survey, the majority of the brokers said they did have a training program. But, what does that mean? What does it encompass? How would I know you had a real program? Here are the three questions to ask yourself to see if you really have any type of cohesive, coherent training program focused on the results you want:

1. Is your training program a part of your business plan?
2. Have you created a training calendar so you know what you’re doing and when you’re doing it?
3. Could I look at your calendar and see exactly why you had scheduled those events—and that they had cohesiveness to your ‘big picture’?

Evaluate your Training Program Now

The training calendar evaluation tool I mentioned above is invaluable to see how effective your training program really is—and to target the changes you want to make so you’re training with purpose.

At the end of this blog, I’ll share it with you. First, let’s walk through it.

What Kind of Training Are You Offering?

Look at your training calendar. If you don’t have one, simply take a 3-month calendar and write in the training you’re providing.
What’s the ratio of business-producing vs. business supporting training modules? When I see some training calendars, I can see why their training is not increasing productivity. All their modules are concerned with business supporting subjects (technical knowledge): home inspections, the law of agency, websites, social media, etc. That’s all nice, but what does it directly do with creating productivity? Here’s the path to a sale:

Lead generation

Interviews/qualifying buyers and sellers

Listing homes/showing homes

Selling a home/listing sells        $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$

If you want to increase productivity and profits, your training calendar needs to reflect your training in these business-producing areas.

What are you training to that will make a real difference in your productivity and profits next year? Put that in your business plan.

What Does Your Profit and Loss Statement Tell You to Train To?

Take a look at your P and L. What’s your ratio of listings sold to sales? Do you like that ratio? Would you like it to be different? Do you want more sold listings? If so, start training to that. When I took over a failing office, I saw the ratio of listings taken to listings sold was a miserable 30%! So, I started action-focused training on the whole listing process. I had them role-playing their hearts out. I did a listing presentation play-offs  In short, I trained them specifically to change that ratio for the better. By the end of three years, our ‘conversion’ ratios were 85%–the highest in the area.
What is your training accomplishing? What do you need it to accomplish? Want can you measure?

Who Are You Training?

We segment our markets when we design our marketing plans. We need to segment our ‘market’ for our training plan, too. In this case, our ‘market’ is our agents. When I ask seasoned agents about whether there is a training program in their company, they say ‘yes’. It’s for the new agent. What? Are those seasoned agents in the office chopped liver?

Click here to grab the training calendar evaluator.

Tell me: How would you rate your training, on a scale of 1-10, 10 being fantastic? What can you do to improve it?

man ponderingSelling real estate: What’s farming got to do with it?

No—I don’t mean farming the fields to reap the food. Well, yes I do—in a different context. In real estate sales, ‘farming’ means contacting people in a specific market (can be a geographical area), forming a business relationship with them over time, and making that area/target market your specialty. Through time, people get to know and trust you, and will turn to you for their real estate needs.

Recently, an office with whom I consult invited a master real estate ‘farmer’ who farms a specific geographic area to share with us his secrets to great success. Steve Hicks, agent with Windermere Wall Street in downtown Seattle, has enjoyed a dominant market share (that’s his PERSONAL market share, not the company!) in Queen Anne, a very upscale, historically-significant area of Seattle, Washington.
So, guess what? When people in Queen Anne are thinking buying or selling, who do you think they think of? Yes—Steve Hicks. How would you like to have that name recognition? How would you like to go to a listing presentation with respect for your expertise already built in? Steve has established that.

Here are 3 big principles Steve shared with the group, mainly seasoned, successful agents on the Eastside of Puget Sound.

1. Recognition, Trust, and Business Doesn’t Come from a “Once Is Enough” Approach

One of the big lessons Steve left with the group was that, to be successful, you must focus your efforts. Why? Because people buy and sell real estate with people they know and trust. They buy and sell real estate with those they believe have expertise in the area. That trust and respect doesn’t happen in a ‘once is enough’ approach. Today, agents in the great Puget Sound can roam far and wide to list and sell homes. What they don’t realize, though, is that they are not establishing a recognition for excellence, expertise, and trustworthiness.

Big lesson: What does this mean to you if you’re a small business owner, a salesperson in another field, or a recruiter?
That our goal is to establish a trusting relationship over a period of time, building a reputation for trustworthiness and excellence. Too many times, we launch our businesses thinking we’re something special, something different—and we expect success in a nano-second.

Stop and reflect: What are you doing to create a reputation that’s spotless, that’s trustworthy, and that’s there for the long run?

2. Contact, Capture, and Follow-up is Key to Relationship-Building

Steve didn’t become the ‘master farmer’ overnight. He built his business through constant reflection, taking risks, and trying new things. Most importantly, he built his business by first knocking on doors to establish that relationship. At the same time, he captured each person’s name and contact information, first, by writing it down, and then establishing a database and contact management system. Then, he dutifully followed up. Sounds simple, but, how many salespeople contact—and then don’t capture? Or, they capture, and don’t follow up. Steve says there are 22,000+ agents in his multiple listing service. He knows he must out contact, capture, and follow up to stand out.

Big lesson: No matter if you’re in real estate or in another field, if you want to build a business, immediately establish a method to contact, capture, and follow up.

Stop and reflect: Are you a service business, like a dentist, window washer, or car detailer? Do you have a list of all your clients in a database? Do you contact them regularly? If not, you’re leaving thousands of easy dollars on the table!

3. Consistency is Key

Too often, we think, since we’re trustworthy, since we’re nice people, since we work hard, people will recognize that and instantly work with us. Wrong. It takes dozens of contacts or time to establish a trusting business relationship. Steve has a marketing plan that includes a monthly newsletter. This newsletter includes information about homes for sale and homes that have sold. It is short and concise. Steve writes his own newsletter, but advises agents to start with as company-or other resource written newsletter. Why? The most important consideration is to be consistent.

Big lesson: No matter what your business is, you need a consistent marketing plan to ‘touch’ your would-be and present/past clients at least monthly. With 22,000+ real estate agents in the area, your potential/present client is easily ‘swayed’ to someone else if you’re not relentlessly consistent.

Stop and reflect: Do you have a marketing plan? Are you consistent? How many easy sales are you missing because you are treating your business like a ‘once is enough’?

My personal thanks to Steve Hicks for sharing his expertise with others in our industry to improve our client service. Starting with my years as a piano performer and teacher, I learned that the very best in any profession have several common traits. One of them is that they generously share their knowledge with no fear that someone will ‘steal’ their ideas. Second is that they are constantly challenging themselves to get better. Steve Hicks reflects both of these exceptional success qualities.

How can you  use these principles yourself? How can you use them with your agents?

logoIf Your Agents Aren’t Buying Into Lead Generation, You Need this Program!

What if your culture was that productive agents are the norm? What if all your agents lead generated? How much more profitable would you be? If you want increased profits, take a look at Carla’s revolutionary online training/coaching program, Up and Running in Real Estate.

assignmentThis month is recruiting month on my blog.

What reasons have you run across, as a recruiter, that people give in telling you why they won’t move? I

n the previous blog, we explored the first three reasons agents stay–and how to move them. Here are the 6 reasons:

  1.      Starting over is time-consuming.
  2.          Re-branding can take away from your productivity.
  3.          They are ‘happy where they are’.
  4.          They aren’t convinced the grass is greener.
  5.          They are afraid of change.
  6.          They have gotten an offer from their present ownership to entice them to stay (better commission split, freebies, ownership, etc.)—they’re ‘bought back’.

Now, we’ll tackle the last 3. By the way, don’t forget to grab my transition plan below.

Which of these barriers have you experienced as a recruiter/interviewer?

How to Fire Up that Discontent

Before we go to reasons 4, 5, and 6, let’s discuss a little more about #3: I’m happy where I am.  Sure. They all (or most of them) say that. My question to you is,  Are you asking the right questions of the candidate? You should be asking questions to help that candidate reveal areas of discontent. For example: Has the candidate been in the business several years? Does he have some frustration in the direction the company is taking? If he has voiced concerns to you, keep asking probing questions about those concerns to raise his level of discontent. Don’t worry. You won’t create discontent where he has none! But, many times we just live with that discontent—just like I did with that bathroom–because we’ve too complacent to do something about it!  I want you to practice with someone to increase that pain. Don’t jump to the better picture with you or solve the problem until you’ve explored the depth and reasons for that pain.

One of the agents I recruited told me she was ‘happy where she was’, and proceeded to tell me all the things she wanted changed in the company—and was frustrated she couldn’t change them. After our conversation, I said, ‘You sure sound happy!’ She laughed, and then joined our company. Sometimes just acknowledging the discontent lets the candidate move off dead center.

  1. They Aren’t Convinced the Grass is Greener

Earlier, I said some reasons for staying are valid. I believe that the grass isn’t always greener. At least, not the kind of grass some managers fertilize! For instance, a better commission split rarely solves a production problem. But, agents try to solve it by going to an in-expensive desk fee company. Sure, less expenses are the easy way to think the problem is solved. But, the underlying cause of low production is still there. The greener grass is actually a manager with the systems to help that agent produce more successfully. Although the commission splits and fees must be competitive, they rarely resolve the real problem—discontent with the production level.

  1. They are Afraid of Change

Is there anyone who isn’t afraid of change? No matter what we say, we are where we are because we are more comfortable with that than the unknown. How can you help that candidate become acclimated to the ‘new’?

  • ·        Invite the candidate to your training sessions. 
  • ·        Offer to coach the agent.
  • ·        Invite the agent to social functions.
  • ·        Include the agent in your newsletters and social media.
  • ·        Show the agent around your office and introduce him/her to your associates.

In other words, start treating the agent like she’s with you—before she is.

  1. They are ‘bought back’.

What does this say to the agents in that office? “You’re much less valuable than the less than loyal person who is leaving us.” I don’t believe in buying back an agent. You ruin your teamwork and become less than a fair leader. Instead, of getting in a bidding war for the agent, simply recruit the other agents in that office who can’t be thrilled when they find out they are second-class citizens!

How do you handle these ‘status quo’ decisions? The more skilled you become at ‘disrupting’ the status quo, the more candidates you recruit.

Don’t forget to grab my transition plan. Click here.

Do You Have an Effective Recruiting Plan?

small CompleteRecruiter

Want recruiting strategies? Don’t have a recruiting plan? Get my comprehensive resource, The Complete Recruiter.  Click here to see it.

Do You Have a Selection System?

Blueprint_Ebook_DisplayOr, you can get them into your office, but you’re having trouble picking winners? Check out my dandy eBook, Your Blueprint to Selecting Winners.

hand with keyCongratulations! You’ve helped your agents each gain a business plan. That’s a huge key to their success–but only the first step. Now, how can you capitalize on all that work (both you and the agents?) It’s not enough to teach them to plan, or even to sit down with each agent and work through their plans. In order to really help them use those plans as a guide all year, you need to use that business plan as a platform from which to coach the agent all year.

Here are the basics of coaching to a business plan.

How often should you coach?

That depends on the agent. For newer agents, coach more frequently (at least monthly). For seasoned agents, coach a minimum of quarterly and better yet, monthly.

What should you coach to?

You’re going to use the numbers that the agent is generating by measuring the results of his business plan:

First, the goals: listings sold, sales, listings. Then, you’re going to help that agent measure activities:

Lead generation

Listing/sales appointments

You’re going to help the agent translate the activity numbers into ratios so the agent knows the work he must do to reach his goals.

Why bother to use the business plan as a foundation for coaching?

Because, otherwise, you’re just giving advice or doing ‘crisis management’. You want to be perceived as a trusted business coach, helping the agent grow his/her business.

Big questions: Is the planning system you’re using

1. Help the agent assess his business–where he’s been?

2. Help the agent set realistic goals and an action plan that translates into daily activities?

3. Has an accurate method to measure the activities and results of the activities so you and the agent can make fast adjustments?

Man-Walking-Up-Stairs-to-GlobeWant Some Support to Get Your Agents Business Plans?

Why not contact me to find out how I can educate your agents on business planning and support and coach you as a leader. Give me a call at 425.392-6914 or email me at carla@carlacross.com. I can do a webinar series for you, supply you will all the planning documents, and help your leadership coach your agents–at a very affordable cost with big pay-off for you.

clockThrough December, I’m focusing on business planning in my blogs. Look for checklists, processes, and systems–ready to use.

Business Planning: Is Time Management One of your Agents’ Biggest Challenges?

If you’re like most of us, (and your agents), you have much more on your ‘to do’ list than you get to during your business day. What does that have to do with business planning? At this time of year, we need to analyze how we spent our time. Then, we can make adjustments for next year. All of us have the same amount of time, yet, some people seem to know how to optimize it.

We Don’t Manage Time

The notion that we manage time is actually a mis-nomer. We manage activities. Have you ever known an agent who comes into the office every day, seems to work hard, yet makes little money? That person would tell you he manages his time. Yet, his time is spent doing the wrong activities. (Or, maybe, he intends to spend his time in non-productive activities…….).

As managers, you can be very influential in helping agents better manage those activities through their business plan.

A Major Principle for Great Time/Activity Management

In Up and Running in 30 Days, (use this program if you’re under a year in the business for business planning) I introduced the principle of categorizing activities so that you can tell whether you are spending your time in activities that will make you money—or not. All real estate activities can be categorized as either

Business producing or

Business supporting

Which are which: Those activities that have you meeting people directly (lead generation), working with people, and selling houses are business producing. All the rest are business supporting. Do your agents know the difference? Use the following analysis tool to help your agents see how they are spending their time. It will literally tell them (and you) why they are making the money they are making!

Click here to get my time/activity analysis, excerpted from my online business planning resources for agents and managers, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Let me know what you found out from your time/activity analysis, and the changes you’re making for next year’s business plan.

Plan_Act_CelebrateGrab the Business Planning System Internationally Published Exclusively for Real Estate Pros

If you’re tired of filling in the blanks with numbers that mean little to you, it’s time to step up to a real strategic planning system–a system made exclusively for real estate pros. Check it out at Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

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