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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.

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Motivation: Does it come from the inside or outside?

There are two ways to get that motivation, that appreciation, that support you need. We already discussed ‘going outside’ (see the earlier blog). But, there’s another method. That’s the method so few of us use: Going inside. We shy away from acknowledging our own efforts. Why? Perhaps your mom (as mine did) told us not to brag. It was unseemly to be immodest.

Not about Bragging

Acknowledging yourself is not bragging. It is not only positive, it is absolutely critical to do if we are to be effective leaders. We must use all the methods as our disposal to keep ourselves ‘up’, so we can be models for those who follow us.

Going inside. Someone you can always count on. When I was in college, I remember going sailing with a group of people. It was a gorgeous day. We sailed around the large lake, enjoying moderate winds. Then, about 6 o’clock, we decided to sail back to the dock. Problem. No wind. We had no choice but to wait for that wind to bring us back. (or use the little outboard motor, which the purest ‘captain’ was loathe to use.)

Frequently, we count on others to ‘sail us back to the dock of positive attitude’ when we’re down. Like the wind, though, they may not be there when we need them!

Draw a Different Conclusion

Actually, though, we have our own outboard motor on board–our own minds. We have the ability to change our minds about things (especially we women, men say…). We have the ability inside us to re-draw a conclusion about an event. For instance, we managers get ‘down’ when the agent we thought we were going to hire went to another agency. We can look at it as a loss, or as an opportunity to learn from the experience. If we’re good at managing our attitude, we’ll call that agent to find out what attracted that agent to the other company–and learn from the experience.

What’s your best way to get motivated? How do you you ‘tap’ those inner fires of motivation?

A Training/Coaching Program Online with Motivation Built In

As a manager, you have a million things to do. You’re expected to be ‘up’ all the time. It’s challenging to provide the motivation — the attitude–needed to keep those agents keeping on. So, I’ve built in motivation in my unique online training/coaching/accountability program, Up and Running in Real Estate.

Take a look. Let me help you train and motivate your agents to great success fast! Click here to learn more.

What’s changed about motivation–and how to take advantage of it…

Are your motivating methods working? If you’re using the methods most managers use, they aren’t working like they used to. Why? Because today’s agents just aren’t motivated by the things ‘workers’ used to respond to. Today, it’s very important that we motivate effectively, because we have to get out agents back out into the market.

Motivational Methods Must Change

In his book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink lays out a persuasive case, backed by extensive scientific studies, about why the traditional ‘carrot and stick’ motivational methods just don’t work for us today. It’s especially true with real estate professionals. Why? Because we in effect work for ourselves. We have to be self-starters, initiators, and tenacious in our pursuit of our goals. That means we have to be motivated by things other than promises of material things.

Why Money Doesn’t Work as a Motivator

First, as Pink points out, money and/or material things are good short-term motivators. (Read Herzberg’s studies on short and long-term motivation). In fact, just take a look at the number of real estate agents who are motivated to visit an open house when there’s food! But, as Herzberg and others have pointed out, money is a lousy long-term motivator. You know that if you’ve tried motivating your kids with money—or threats (the carrot and stick).

I know. The agents all say they need to make more sales. But, what have you noticed they are willing to do to make those sales? Lead generate more regularly? Make more sales calls? We all know that lead generating is the answer to that money problem. Yet, the vast majority of agents avoid lead generating as if it gave us some chronic disease! So, money is just not an effective long-term motivator.

Best Motivators to Motivate Others

Pink shows, via extensive studies, that there are three driving motivators which we should put to work today to fire ourselves up, keep those fires lit, and achieve what we want to achieve. They are:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose

Questions to Ask Your Agents to Get Them Excited Again

About  Autonomy

Are you in charge of your own business, or are you waiting for someone else to tell you what to do?

Do you expect your manager to make you go to work, or are you self-directed and self-starting?

Are you disciplined in your business, so you can enjoy that autonomy?

Seth Godin, author of Tribes,  says about autonomy: The art of the art {of autonomy} is picking your limits. That’s the autonomy I must cherish. The freedom to pick my boundaries.

My question to you: Do you have agents that you believe will never operate in autonomy? Don’t you need to invite them to another profession?

About  Mastery

Are you working just to get by, or are you consistently working to get better? What do you want to excel at? How does that translate into your business?

About Purpose

What excites you so much you can’t sleep at night?

Is there a way to translate that to your real estate business?

The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether it’s in the arts, sciences, or business.                                                                                  Teresa Amabile, Professor, Harvard University

Our Coaching Helps You Motivate

Carla Cross’s extensive background and study into effective motivation is an extra benefit to you in her Leadership Mastery coaching program. Click here for a complimentary consultation.

Great Topic for a Convention/Management Retreat

Yes, the desire and need to motivate is very strong today with managers. But, they need new information and new motivation methods for those millennials. Why not invite Carla to your next convention or management meeting and let her help your managers help more agents?

Greatest Motivational Method in the World!

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated. 

 

coachingHave an unmotivated agent? Tips to light ’em on fire!

Do you have any seasoned agents in your office who have lost their fire? There’s probably no challenge for a manager today greater than that of rejuvenating your experienced, valued agents. Even though your market is better than it was, these seasoned agents just don’t seem to be able to re-light those fires of desire. You’ve tried being supportive and empathetic. You’ve even given them leads. Nothing has seemed to work. What are you going to do to retain these agents, motivate these agents, and get them back into the fray?

Before We Start: What Doesn’t Work

As a coach, I’ve been working with management teams to save and re-generate the careers of experienced agents. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen managers make is to try to help these seasoned agents through support and empathy. That’s just not enough. And, it’s actually demeaning. Yes, some empathy is needed. But, my observation is that it too often drifts into sympathy. Instead of motivating these seasoned agents to get back at it, these well-meaning but misguided managers are sympathizing the agents into a deeper

You Can Fill the Motivational Void Left by the ‘On Fire’ Market

As a manager, you have the ability to not only provide an atmosphere, along with a platform, to motivate that agent back into the business, you can go much further than that, to “inspiration”.

Just think what would happen if you could get that seasoned, slumping, ‘stuck’ agent back into the business with fervor. The whole attitude of your office would improve. Your coaching would work. Your training would be well attended. Your bottom line would look much healthier.

Two Steps to Create an Awesome Motivational Office

I’ve created a two-step approach to re-ignite your seasoned agents. In the next few blogs, I’ll show you exactly how to not only motivate those agents, but go way beyond motivation to inspiration.

Before I give you my approach, let me ask you to think about what motivates you. What re-lights your fires of desire? How have you noticed your seasoned agents ‘checking out’? Do some observation and research before you read my next blog post.

Want to Be Approved as a Clock-Hour Instructor in Washington–and Learn from Carla?

IDW_coverGet approved for teaching real estate clock-hour approved courses. Receive 15 clock hours of continuing education credits. Learn from the only Washington’s only National Realtor Educator of the Year. Gain invaluable strategies; worth so much more than just clock hours or certification!

New! Bring the course you want to teach and we’ll apply new teaching methods for you. Get strategies to be the engaging, creative instructor you know you are!

2018 scheduled courses:

May 22-23, 2018 in Bellevue, Wa..      Click here for more information and registration.

Fall course: Oct. 23-24, 2018 in Bellevue, WA. (registration link to be included later).

Need to get approved as an instructor right away? Order our distance learning course  Train the Trainer. Fulfills the same requirements, has the same curriculum, has 15 clock hours. Take this course at your own speed and fulfill the requirements to become a Wa. state approved clock-hour instructor.

Your knowledge of my part of the business helped me to recognize ideas I can use in title insurance and escrow. Judy Williams, Chicago Title

Carla is fantastic! I will always be appreciative. Kim Emmons, manager, John L Scott, Maple Valley, Wa.

Instructor is 100% competent. Her passion, professionalism, and knowledge of the subject is passed on to her class. Mike Kerwin, Keller Williams Realty

Bonus: 30% discount on 3 of Carla’s training resources to attendees.

Space is limited. Don’t miss this opportunity! Click here for more information and registration.

 

audience sleepingHere’s how to know if you’re wasting your time training. Really!!!!  Just because you ‘have training’ doesn’t mean it’s effective.

Every company says they ‘have training’. Yet, whether you’ve been in business 2 days or 20 years, you’ve probably felt frustrated that those hours spent in class–listening to someone at the front (the ‘expert)–didn’t do you any good. There are reasons training doesn’t work—and here’s how to make it work for you, so you don’t waste precious hours in training rooms–either as an instructor or as a student.

Don’t forget: Get the Analysis of your Sales Performance Skills worksheet at the end of this blog. This is great for managers to use to plan training needs and for agents to use to assure they’re refining the skills that make a difference.

Training: Taught Right or Not?

Training doesn’t work because it’s not taught right–and the people in the class aren’t doing what needs to be done for training to make a difference in their lives.

 Here’s what training needs to help you every time you’re in class:

 Training must have action inside class to be effective for you. If you’re the instructor, you must use ‘alternative delivery methods’ to get those students into action in class. What are alternative delivery methods? All those methods used to train that aren’t lecture. (see below).

 What do I mean?

 I mean we have to look at real estate as a ‘performance art’, not a ‘knowledge pursuit’!

Big question for you: Think of your last 3 trainings. What were you doing in class? Listening to the ‘expert’? Or, were you putting to work what you were learning—while in class, so you could get valuable feedback before you ‘practiced’ on real people—your clients?

Here’s Effective Training

What you need to be doing in class to assure you can do it ‘for real’: (these are alternative delivery methods)

If it’s appropriate, you need to role play (like answering objections, giving a listing presentation, etc.)

If appropriate, you need to differentiate (like finding mistakes in a purchase and sale agreement).

If appropriate, you need to practice the actions in class and then go out and do it with a ‘real person’—the client—and come back and tell how it went (practice a listing presentation, do it ‘for real’, and come back to class and refine it).

None of these things happening in class? Make it work anyway. Take the ‘actionable’ items you learned in class and go do them—for real—within 3 days of going to class (otherwise we only remember 10% of what we heard!!!!!). Now you’ve made your own action plan.

Trainers: I did a series of 5 videos showing how to make your training work. See them on my uTube channel.

Note: I’m a bit shocked when I hear that those who took a ‘Train the Trainer’ course didn’t learn any of these methods. Just learning how to drone on (in lecture) just doesn’t cut it with today’s audiences–or with assuring your students actually can apply skills!

 Real Estate: Performance Art or Knowledge Pursuit?

 Let’s be honest: Do you know someone in your office who seems to know everything—but doesn’t sell a stick of real estate? Sure. That’s the problem with treating real estate as a ‘knowledge pursuit’. It has little to do with results.  Our profession is a performance art. How you perform in the field—with real clients—determines your success.

Big question for you: Which kind of real estate professional are you? A ‘performance art’ agent or a ‘knowledge pursuit’ agent?  Which is easier to become?

Your Training Should Resemble a Piano Lesson

As a long-time pianist and teacher, I know intimately that, if you don’t practice, you can’t play (or you play badly)! Think of effective training like a piano lesson. You practice outside class. You come prepared. You get tips and modeling from your teacher. Then you practice in class with your ‘coach’ watching and listening. Then, you ‘go out in the field’ and practice. You come back ready to perform for your coach again. That’s effective training.

Here are 3 things that don’t work in training (and things for you to avoid):

  1.  Listening for a long period of time and thinking you can do it (you already know that, from your experiences, right?)
  2. Thinking most company training will ‘do it’ for you
  3. Relying on ‘on demand’ video. Many large franchises are providing video on demand training. Brokers may be relieved that this is going to take training off their plates. I wish.

Unfortunately, video training can provide very limited production results. Why? Because people don’t learn much by watching video. Yes, they learn a little. They observe someone else doing something; they get information. But, they don’t have to take action.

When you’re ready to get results from your training, you’ll be ready to treat your training like the power tool it really can be.

Want to see an effective training program? Check out Up and Running in Real Estate.

 Don’t forget to grab that Analysis of your Sales Performance Skills here.   

And, be sure to check out my uTube channel for those 5 videos on alternative training methods.

Want to Be Approved as a Clock-Hour Instructor in Washington–and Learn from Carla?

IDW_coverGet approved for teaching real estate clock-hour approved courses. Receive 15 clock hours of continuing education credits. Learn from the only Washington’s only National Realtor Educator of the Year. Gain invaluable strategies; worth so much more than just clock hours or certification!

New! Bring the course you want to teach and we’ll apply new teaching methods for you. Get strategies to be the engaging, creative instructor you know you are!

2018 scheduled courses:

May 22-23, 2018 in Bellevue, Wa..      Click here for more information and registration.

Fall course: Oct. 23-24, 2018 in Bellevue, WA. (registration link to be included later).

Need to get approved as an instructor right away? Order our distance learning course  Train the Trainer. Fulfills the same requirements, has the same curriculum, has 15 clock hours. Take this course at your own speed and fulfill the requirements to become a Wa. state approved clock-hour instructor.

Your knowledge of my part of the business helped me to recognize ideas I can use in title insurance and escrow. Judy Williams, Chicago Title

Carla is fantastic! I will always be appreciative. Kim Emmons, manager, John L Scott, Maple Valley, Wa.

Instructor is 100% competent. Her passion, professionalism, and knowledge of the subject is passed on to her class. Mike Kerwin, Keller Williams Realty

Bonus: 30% discount on 3 of Carla’s training resources to attendees.

Space is limited. Don’t miss this opportunity! Click here for more information and registration.

 

agent with buyers with sold houseAre your agents leaving their best source of business $$$$ on the table? Most agents are. They’re missing their ‘goldmine’ business.

What’s a ‘goldmine business’? I think it’s a business that results from at least 50% referrals. Why? Because referrals

  1. Cost less
  2. Are wonderful people to work with
  3. Make you feel good!

Unfortunately, agents do not ‘mine’ this potential goldmine of business. According to the latest National Association of Realtors’ survey, only 18% of agents’ business came from referrals last year! And, a full 21% of agents said they got NO referral business!

Managers: Have you helped your agents track and analyze best sources of business? 

Questions to Ask Your Agents

Do you know how many of your sales and listings sold came from referrals in 2018?
What’s your goal for referral business in 2018?
How important are referrals to you?

I hope you’ve done your business plan for 2018. (If not, see my program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, for full business planning templates and guidance).

Two Best Strategies

1, Take every opportunity to recognize those who have helped you in your career. For example: Do you provide a closing gift? If not, what do your clients think of you? (That you just took the money and ran?)

2. Thank your referral sources profusely—at the time of the referral, not at closing. And, create ways to say ‘thanks’ for the smallest positive action! Why? You want others to think of you in a positive light. You want your communications to be effusive in your generous thank you mentality!

Big idea: Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated!

Finally: Do your agents have a referral plan? Brain storm with your fellow agents about how they create more referrals. Of course, ask for them. But, better than merely asking, show that you are thankful for your clients’ support in all your actions. You’ll create a much stronger  business AND you’ll find your business much more pleasant and rewarding.

Free giveaway: Need ideas on how to ‘thank’ your referral sources? Grab my Idea Fest: 42 Ideas to Put Into your Business Plan. Click here to get it.

Man-Walking-Up-Stairs-to-GlobeDropping 1979 practices: The evolution and why you need to know.

This blog series is taken from an article I just wrote on the history and future for real estate. But, it’s not just a look from afar. It’s an actual history of how we agents operated and how companies encouraged how we practiced real estate. But, as real estate has changed, have agents (and companies) changed their approach to real estate sales? Here’s the third blog entry.

Dependent on the Company for Success—or our Own Efforts?

Stephen Covey, in his wonderful book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, relates three phases of a person’s growth: Dependent, Independent, and Interdependent. As kids, we’re certainly reliant on our parents for everything—we’re dependent. Then, as teen-agers, we get to drive, and, voila….we become (or like to think we become) independent (and we think we know it all). Finally, as we mature, we find that going it alone is tougher than teaming with others—that we actually don’t know everything—and that others’ support, love, and consideration are supremely important to human beings. The same can be said of the evolution of companies—and, in fact, real estate companies.

The Evolution to Today—and on to Tomorrow

You can imagine that the dependent type of company brand strength would be challenged—and it was. In the 80’s the ‘independent’ real estate concept turned the business upside down. Agents had learned that they actually have much more control over their own businesses than they’d thought. They didn’t feel they needed to be managed like employees. They were ready to create and drive their own businesses and spend their own money to do it. Many thrived in this environment, but some didn’t have the business skills to take over and run their businesses like businesses.

The Internet Took away the Inventory ‘Secrets’

One powerful ‘secret’ agents had over their clients is that the clients didn’t have access to listing information. The MLS sure wanted to keep it that way. But, with the Internet, all those ‘secrets’ disappeared. Agents had to ask themselves, ‘What’s my value? If my value isn’t in knowing all about those homes (and the client doesn’t), what value do I bring?” Savvy agents realized their value lay in personal service, and the knowledge and judgment honed over years of real estate practice. So, we agents had to pivot from ‘product-centric’ to ‘agent-centric’ businesses. Not all agents made the pivot.

Time warp check: Are you able to clearly articulate your value to the client in today’s work environment? 

Today—and Tomorrow; Where are We Going?

In the past 20+ years, the emergence of the ‘interdependent’ real estate company has made this evolution go to the third round. Simply stated, all the systems and models of the company are set up to create a team atmosphere and to optimize each person’s potential. Easier said than done! The brand takes a back seat to each agent’s development.

In the next blog, we’ll look further into the interdependent model, and what it means to you as a practicing real estate professional.

Big lesson: No matter the model you work in, you must evolve your business to meet the needs of today’s real estate climate.

head in the sand a salespersonDropping 1979 practices: Get into today’s and tomorrow’s real estate world!

This blog series is taken from an article I just wrote on the history and future for real estate. But, it’s not just a look from afar. It’s an actual history of how we agents operated and how companies encouraged how we practiced real estate. But, as real estate has changed, have agents (and companies) changed their approach to real estate sales? Here’s the second blog entry.

Get to Know and Stay In Contact with Former Clients?  Why?

As you can see from my descriptions so far of how real estate was practiced when I started in the 70’s , the emphasis was not on client satisfaction.  No one taught us to interview buyers prior to hauling them around to see homes (yes, we called it ‘hauls’) or form relationships with them! No one trained us to interview sellers for needs before we ‘sold’ the seller on our services (and we basically sold company features and benefits, not what an individual agent would do for the client). No one taught us that it was important or that we were to keep clients over time. In fact, it seemed to be a ‘next’ business (find a new buyer or seller). The company took the responsibility to keep track of the clients.(And, of course, the company’s attitude was that they ‘owned’ the client).

Time warp check: Do you know agents who still don’t start client relationships with and in-depth interview process, so the client needs are discovered and met? 

Because the company was spending money on advertising, the agents assumed clients would remember the agent and perhaps come back of their own accord.

Problem: The clients remembered the company but didn’t remember the agent! Agents seemed interchangeable (and you know they’re not!).

Time warp check: Do you know agents who still don’t keep in close contact with their best source of business—those they just ‘sold’?

Dependent on the Company for Success—or our Own Efforts?

Stephen Covey, in his wonderful book, The 7 Habits of Highly Successful People, relates three phases of a person’s growth: Dependent, Independent, and Interdependent. As kids, we’re certainly reliant on our parents for everything—we’re dependent. Then, as teen-agers, we get to drive, and, voila….we become (or like to think we become) independent (and we think we know it all). Finally, as we mature, we find that going it alone is tougher than teaming with others—that we actually don’t know everything—and that others’ support, love, and consideration are supremely important to human beings. The same can be said of the evolution of companies—and, in fact, real estate companies.

The Dependent Company was Dominant

Above, I’ve described my early experience in a company as ‘dependent’. We relied on the company to create the brand, create the business, schedule our time, take care of the business side of things, and even track and re-communicate with the client.

Time warp check: Do you know agents that still operate without a business plan or a budget, relying on the company plan to suffice?

In the next blog, I’ll discuss the continuing evolution of real estate. And, I’ll relate to how many agents are still practicing–not stepping up their business to compete now. And, unwittingly, companies are encouraging these old practices through their branding and practices.

Plan_Act_CelebrateOne More Opportunity to Get My Business Planning Resources at Deep Discounts

Thought you’d get it done but it’s still on your ‘to do’ list? I want to help! So, I’ve extended my discounts on my online business planning resources through Jan. 31.

Managers: Frustrated because you can’t get your agents to plan? Problems 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.

Special discounts through Jan. 31: Purchase the agent’s planning resource, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for agents,  and save $20 (regularly $99). Use coupon code agent bus plan.

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

Purchase the manager’s planning resource, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for Managers,  with all office/company planning documents and save $50. Use coupon code manager bus plan.

Offer ends Jan. 31: Big discounts on these programs–use the coupon codes below to order.

Ready to order? Click below:

Beyond the Basics of Business planning for Managers — regularly $249, now $199 with coupon code manager bus plan 

Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for Agents  –regularly $99, now $79 with coupon code agent bus plan

Remember, this special offer expires Jan. 31, so, order now and get your business plan ready for 2018.

PS: I’ve got dozens of ideas on how you can refine your systems for tomorrow’s real estate practices–not yesterday’s….

Are we still operating as though it was 1979?

I’m writing an article about how real estate has changed for a prominent real estate magazine. Here is the first part of that article, which will be continued in the next two blogs. As I write the article, I am actually stunned as I think about the number of habits we have carried over from 1979 (even though they didn’t work real well then and they sure don’t work now.)

Agents Were Hired to Sell and ‘Service’ Listings

“Sell, sell, sell!” I’ll never forget the cry of the vice-president of our company yelling that at the end of an all-company meeting. When I started in real estate, about four decades ago (wow!), a company wanted—and expected—agents to sell houses. That’s it. The company would take care of the advertising to gain leads, business plan, finances—and charge 50% of the commissions for doing it. Does that sound onerous to you? Well, to us, entering the business, it sounded great! After all, what did we know about how to marketing to find business, how to spend our marketing dollars, how to think longer-term about our careers? No. What we thought about was that we would probably see some nice listings that day, and we’d go home and try to find a buyer for that listing.

How Agents ‘Lead Generated’

Well, they didn’t really lead generate themselves. They waited for the company to spend money to get prospective buyers and sellers to call them. Here’s how it was done:

  1. The company placed ads in newspapers. Agents were assigned ‘floor time’ to answer these inquiries. The listing agent didn’t get the calls. Unfortunately, many times agents were new, and/or hadn’t seen the homes. But, the company ‘sold’ the opportunity—and agents complained that there were few ‘qualified’ calls. Fortunately (?), sellers didn’t realize how these calls were handled–and they weren’t told anything about call handling during the listing presentation. They were just ecstatic that their home would be advertised!

Managers: Are you training your agents to tell the truth about what advertising/open houses do? Are you training your agents NOT to rely on these methods to get houses sold?

Contrarian view: As I write this, I’ll tell you how I bucked the practices of the day, because I found these practices to set up win-lose situations. Most agents sat and waited for a lead to come to them. But, since I knew 2 people when we moved to Seattle, I was afraid to ‘sit and wait’. Fortunately, I had a manager who told me to ‘go talk to people’. So, I did—for sale by owners, expired listings, farming—you name it, I did it (without any training–I just read articles and bugged agents!) I did proactive lead generating way before it was ‘in’ to do—and was named in the top 10 agents in my 400 agent company my 2nd year in the business (boy, was I surprised!).

2. Open houses: The office assigned agents to hold homes open (especially new homes). Most of the time, these weren’t the listing agents. Instead, the listing agents promised the builders that someone would hold the home open every Saturday and Sunday. So, agents (especially newer agents) were assigned these ‘opportunities’—even though the home may be on a lane in the woods….

Contrarian view: When I became  manager, I taught our agents never to promise open houses if the house wasn’t situated in a high traffic area. Why? It’s unfair to sellers AND agents. Also, we kept statistics on  how often a buyer walked in a bought the home (very, very seldom—in a normal market).

Managers: Do you keep statistics on how buyers find the home they bought? And what happens in open houses? Train your agents to educate sellers and buyers on why open houses are held and the results of them.

Big question

Managers: Are you still encouraging a ‘sit and wait’ attitude by the systems you use in your office (assigning floor time and/or open houses)? I don’t mean that these are not means to find buyers. But, buyers’ habits have changed and I’m afraid these systems and agents haven’t changed with them. Are you still operating in 1979?

bus plan 9One More Opportunity to Get My Business Planning Resources at Deep Discounts

Thought you’d get it done but it’s still on your ‘to do’ list? I want to help! So, I’ve extended my discounts on my online business planning resources through Jan. 31.

Managers: Frustrated because you can’t get your agents to plan? Problems 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.

Special discounts through Jan. 31: Purchase the agent’s planning resource, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for agents,  and save $20 (regularly $99). Use coupon code agent bus plan.

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

Purchase the manager’s planning resource, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for Managers,  with all office/company planning documents and save $50. Use coupon code manager bus plan.

Offer ends Jan. 31: Big discounts on these programs–use the coupon codes below to order.

Ready to order? Click below:

Beyond the Basics of Business planning for Managers — regularly $249, now $199 with coupon code manager bus plan 

Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for Agents  –regularly $99, now $79 with coupon code agent bus plan

Remember, this special offer expires Jan. 31, so, order now and get your business plan ready for 2018.

PS: I’ve got dozens of ideas on how you can refine your systems for tomorrow’s real estate practices–not yesterday’s….

shaking hands over computerIs technology your greatest challenge as a leader?  I just saw an advertisement for a large franchise convention. The focus will be on technology. Okay. But, what about you leaders? What are your big concerns? I’ll bet they are NOT technology. They are

1. Finding great candidates — not just anybody

2. New agents joining–getting them successful quickly; reducing turnover

3. Creating a ‘team’ atmosphere that serves as a magnet for retention

In fact, I’m afraid that most companies are focused on yesterday’s challenges. If technology were still actually the #1 focus, our agents would all be doing well, and eager to embrace technology to support those efforts. The company challenge would be just to either provide that technology or the training to use it.* That’s not the case. Companies have plenty of technology resources or access to them. It’s just that agents reject using these resources! Why? They aren’t committed to their businesses. Or, they don’t know how to use the technology. That’s a leadership training opportunity.

*If I were to look at the convention speakers, would I find someone who was working with leadership to help them counsel and consult each agent to his tech plan? To provide a calendar with tech training customized to each office needs? Without these ‘on the ground’ actions, talk about tech is pretty worthless!

Technology: A Crutch, or a Support?

If agents see technology as a crutch, or an excuse NOT to lead generate, they will look to technology to solve their income problems. Tech experts say that less than 2% of all tech leads turn into sales. But, do agents think that? No. They think that each tech lead is a guaranteed sale. They think it’s easy to convert that lead. When they find out it’s not easy and that there’s such a low conversion rate, they give up fast. Franchises have failed nationally that relied on technology to provide leads to agents. Unfortunately, those agents were sold that the company leads would guarantee them a handsome income. So, they had inflated expectations about the quality of leads. And, according to the franchise owners, the agents wouldn’t follow up on most of the leads!

Getting the Cart before the Horse

So, focusing on technology intimates that it will be the solution to a manager’ owners challenge: To get more production from his/her agents. Technology will not do that. Technology will provide support for lead generation. Technology will make it easy to track those leads and constantly communicate. But, that means there still has to be a caring, communicating human being driving that technology–the responsible agent.

Leaders: What do you think are the biggest challenges managers face today in real estate offices?  How does tech fit in?

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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.

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