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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.

bus-plan-7-teamThis is the time you should be lead generating for recruits and selecting carefully. So, this month, I’m spotlighting recruiting and selecting–the one step in the recruiting process that’s not well taught–or mastered.

Three Dumb Questions You Should Be Asking in the Interview

We all have our favorite interview questions. Yet, most of the time, those favorite questions don’t give us insights into our candidate (be sure to call them candidates). They give us the answers we want to hear–and the candidate wants to give us!

Before I tell you the three dumb questions, write down your favorite interview question.

Now, the three dumb questions:

1. How much money do you want to make? (or any question to which they are going to give a wild guess, interviewer-pleasing answer)

Dumb because: If the agent is new, they have no clue of what it takes to make that money. They are just throwing a number at you.

In fact, any ‘future-based’ questions fail to give you real information about that person. Why? Because they are ‘reading you’ and giving you the answers they think you want to hear.

2. Are you honest? Are you tenacious? Are you ethical?

Dumb because: Any of the ‘value questions’ are dumb because no one is going to tell you ‘no’ to them! There’s a much better way to find out the person’s ethics and values, and that’s to ask ‘behavioral predictor’ questions. (See Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners for details).

3. Will you take part in our ____________? (meetings, trainings, etc.)

Dumb because: They will usually say ‘yes’–and then not appear. Instead, you need a ‘mutual expectations’ dialogue at the end of your interview, where you lay out expectations and get agreement–in writing.

Big principle in interviewing: People behave in the future like they behaved in the past.

Find out about their past.

What questions have you been snookered on? How did you change those questions?

eBook Cover(2)What’s your Blueprint for Selection Look Like?

For an 8-step ‘sure-selection’ process, best questions to ask, and what to put in your selection packages, see Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners. This unique resource is all online, so you get instant access. Isn’t it time to polish your selection process so you don’t have to work so hard and get better results?

What are you looking for–and what aren’t you looking for–in a real estate agent?

This month, I’m featuring recruiting. Why? Because it’s the life blood of real estate success. Unfortunately, too many managers, though, don’t honor it as such.

Knock-Out Factors

First, let’s tackle what you’re not looking for! What are your knock-out factors?

Here are some of mine. Grab a pen and write yours. Now, include these as questions in your pre-interview phone questionnaire. (You do have one, don’t you?)

knox-pdf_page_08

(See Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners for a full list of pre-interview questions.

 

 

 

 

 

What ARE You Looking for in a Real Estate Agent?

You’ve listed the knock-out factors that would disqualify the candidate from an interview–or a second interview. Now, let’s look at what you are looking for:

Take a look at the categories below.

knox-pdf_page_09

Now, write the specific skills, talents, and qualities you’re looking for that would add to your team in your office:

 

 

 

 

 

The last question for you in this blog: Do your interview questions reflect what you’re looking for? Write your 3 favorite interview questions and see if they are revealing exactly what you’re looking for. If not, why are you asking them?

In our next blog, I’ll share the best type of interview question you can ask!

blueprint_ebook_cover4Save Time and Recruit the Right People with a great Interview Process

Are you wasting time interviewing and not hiring? Or, interviewing and hiring and then finding out they aren’t a ‘fit’? This resource will help you stop all that and provide laser focus and skills for hiring with confidence.

Check out Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners now–all online for immediate download.

Do you have your recruiting plan done? This month, I’m featuring recruiting. Why? Because it’s the life blood of real estate success. Unfortunately, too many managers, though, don’t honor it as such.

In a few days, I’m a guest for David Knox’s series of First Mondays webinars for leadership. My topic will be 4 strategies for successful recruiting in 2017. I’ll post the video on my website, Carla Cross, after next Monday.

Okay. Let’s get real. Do you actually have a recruiting plan? If not, how do you know what to do each day to find great agents who would love to work with you?

First, what in the heck is a recruiting plan?

knox-pdf_page_04

 

Isn’t that a great way to look at recruiting plans? They provide you a process and a system to recruit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, to have a recruiting plan that integrates into your overall process, you need a business plan. Now, you have the integration of all your systems.

So, what should be in a recruiting plan?

knox-pdf_page_05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a schematic that helps you put all these variables into context? If not, you can find a planner in Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. my comprehensive online business planning site for agents and leadership.

In my next posts, I’ll give you more tips on how to make your recruiting really pay off for 2017. But, first, get that plan done!

bus-plan-10

Do you have systems needs built into your business plan?

In December, I’m doing business planning in this blog and my blog for agents, Up and Running in 30 Days. Check back for free processes, checklists, and guidance.

From training, coaching, and teaching for many years, I’ve discovered the importance of systems and processes to back up what’s taught. It’s the difference between having the music for a 30-page Beethoven sonata–and trying to learn it by ear! (you musicians know what I mean….)

I know you have the same concerns as a broker. So, you need a systems plan in your business plan, just as I put a technology and social media planner in my 4th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days  and in Up and Running in Real Estate, my online training/coaching/accountability program.

People Systems are as Important as Software Systems

One of the mistakes we brokers make is to think all our problems will be solved if we just get everything ‘automated’ with technology. Well, let me tell you, it’s hard to automate people! Yet, we need  people systems so we can be sure no one falls through the cracks. We need to assess our systems to assure each agent, at each stage of his/her development, is worked with. Otherwise, we fail to meet our segmented agents’ needs.

For example: We may have wonderful seasoned agent training. But, we hire new agents with no orientation and no detailed, high accountability training and coaching. So, we have a huge failure rate with our new agents. Sound familiar?

Click here to get your copy of my systems survey and planner.

Use the planner to access your needs and then create an action plan for those needs in your 2012 business plan. Now, you’re on your way to saving time, money, and having systems you can delegate to free up your time.

Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

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

Click here to see the webinar and grab the handouts.

Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!

Plan_Act_Celebrate

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Managers

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This all-new program does several things for you:

2 webinars teach your agents how to plan using Carla’s strategic planning system

14 planning documents are included to guide your agents right through the planning process

3 webinars for you:

1. How to Create a Great Office Plan

Included: 22 office planning documents to make it easy for you to stay on track and create a great plan

2. How to Convince your Agents to Plan

3. How to Integrate your Office and Agents’ Plans

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning: A planning system exclusively for real estate managers.

bus-plan-strat-8Your business plan: have you created your training calendar?

Through December, I’m focusing my blogs on business planning. Look for ready to use checklists, processes and systems to help you and your agents plan for a successful next year.

You’re putting together your business plan. How do you know what training to provide your agents? One method is to look at your profit and loss. Here’s the other way to do it. Simply provide your agents an ‘internal review ’of their sales performance mastery (or not) as part of their business planning process.

Click here to see the internal sales performance review, excerpted from my comprehensive online business planning program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

What You’ll Find When They Rate Themselves

Have your agents rate themselves on their performance skills. You will see that they rate themselves lower than you would rate them. Why? Because we’re harder on ourselves than we are on others.

Commonalities

What do you think the agents rate themselves lowest in? You’re right. Prospecting/lead generation. So, you’ll want to create – with them—a dynamic lead generating plan for next year—and coach them to it.  See the lead generating plans for seasoned agents in Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, and, for new agents, in Up and Running in Real Estate.

Planning your Training Calendar

Your training plan should be a part of your business plan. Your training plan should tackle the challenges you have noted as a part of your own business review—and of the agents’ business review. By the way, be sure those challenges you noted can be handled through training.

For example: You’ve noted an ethics problem in your office. You want your agents to ‘be more ethical’. That’s not a training problem. It is a selection problem. You can’t train your way out of the ethics we grasped when we were 5! But, you certainly can solve a listings sold problem with training. Be careful when you’re creating your training, and tackle the problems that you can solve with training.

Put That Training on a Calendar

You’ve done your own analysis of your profit and loss statement. You’ve done your analysis with your agents. You’ve made your training plan. Now, you’re going to put it on a training calendar–and use it to guide your agents, your staff–and to recruit. Not only that, you have an integrated training system that you can delegate. Good work.

Recruiting tip: Include your training calendar in your recruiting handout, in your faxes, in your emails, and in your social media. Let prospective agents know you are organized, and you are committed to their success.

Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

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

Click here to see the webinar and grab the handouts.

Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!

Plan_Act_Celebrate

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Managers

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This all-new program does several things for you:

2 webinars teach your agents how to plan using Carla’s strategic planning system

14 planning documents are included to guide your agents right through the planning process

3 webinars for you:

1. How to Create a Great Office Plan

Included: 22 office planning documents to make it easy for you to stay on track and create a great plan

2. How to Convince your Agents to Plan

3. How to Integrate your Office and Agents’ Plans

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning: A planning system exclusively for real estate managers.

bus-plan-6Checklist: Keys to being a great business planning coach.

This month, I’m focusing on business planning. I want every professional to have a great plan for next year. Look for checklists, processes, and systems, too, ready to use.

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.  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. It’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 agent’s value-proposition strategy
  4. Reflects on the office’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:  George Smith, a 10-year seasoned agent, has demonstrated a consistent listing strategy.  George’s ‘success ratio’ is 40%. That is, he sells 40% of his listings in normal market time. What does that say about George’s values proposition strategy? How is George ‘using’ 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 system—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 George’s business planning consultant, you’ll be ‘testing’ George to see if he wants to change his strategy (some agents love being ‘bait and switchers’ too much to change). You’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 agent business planning system, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

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

Click here to see the webinar and grab the handouts.

Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!

Plan_Act_Celebrate

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Managers

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This all-new program does several things for you:

2 webinars teach your agents how to plan using Carla’s strategic planning system

14 planning documents are included to guide your agents right through the planning process

3 webinars for you:

1. How to Create a Great Office Plan

Included: 22 office planning documents to make it easy for you to stay on track and create a great plan

2. How to Convince your Agents to Plan

3. How to Integrate your Office and Agents’ Plans

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning: A planning system exclusively for real estate managers.

bus-plan-11Need strategies to get your agents to create great business plans? Here they are!

In November and December, I’m focusing on business planning, to help you and your agents get a great business plan for next year. Look for  checklists, processes, and systems ready to use, too.

I know it’s a lot of work to get your agents to commit to paper on anything. And, from working with thousands of agents on business planning over the years, I know the challenges. But, for us managers, the huge pay-off comes not from what’s on paper, what, what’s in the head. When we use a good business planning process we literally teach agents how to think through their businesses.

Three Huge Stealth Strategies

1. Take Away Commitment Phobia

It’s estimated we are told ‘no’ 148,000 times prior to age eighteen. No wonder we don’t want to commit to try anything! I know from teaching adults to play the piano, that adults are conditioned not to try anything new for fear of not being perfect. To many, writing a business plan means planning to fail—and then getting punished for it.

So, the first time you introduce business planning, take away the old downside of goal setting (not reaching it and getting punished),  and help your agents move in incremental steps forward—a step at a time, with lots of positive reinforcement along the way. You have to create a safe haven for first-time planners.

2. Eat the Elephant a Bite at a Time

One of the agents in an office where I just did a small group coaching series told me he put a picture of an elephant on the wall, and then literally divided the elephant into bite-sized pieces, with an action step listed on each bite. What a wonderful visual! For many of your agents, planning is just the most overwhelming process they could envision. So, simply start with one or two areas. Personally, I start with 2-3 areas in the Review. See my next blog for an example of this.

3. Make it Really Easy to Start

Have a great business planning system to provide your agents. (Never just ask them to make a business plan without a system to follow, because you’ll get all kinds of formats). Don’t overwhelm your agents with too many planning pages to start. Customize your package with each agent. If you can get each agent to look at 1-3 areas of his business, and plan change strategies for a better year in that area, you’ll have started the process—a process that will continue, grow, and reap big benefits by year three.

We Do What We See, Not What We are Told

Do you have a business plan? If not, why should your agents be interested ? Making your ‘stealth’ approach work means you must lead by example. Doing so creates a synergy between your plan and all the agents’ plans, and builds a strength that perseveres even in the toughest market.

What should be in an agent’s business planning system? Click here to see a ‘flow chart’.

Watch my Recorded Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

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

Click here to see the webinar and grab the handouts.

Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!

Plan_Act_CelebrateHow Good is Your Business Planning System?

Need a comprehensive business planning system that is designed ONLY for leadership? Most planning systems don’t cover the specific areas you need to address.

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

 

 

bus-plan-7-teamWhat should be in a business plan? In November and December, I’m featuring business planning, so you can get a great plan AND coach your agents to great plans.

So, what should be in a business plan? Goals? Action plans? You’re right, as far as it goes.  It’s not enough to either write a

Platitude-heavy mission/vision plan, with a lot of ‘we will be….’
Or
A goals-only plan

Why? Because neither version of a business plan does you much good if you want to create a business plan that is usable every day.

What’s in a Usable Business Plan

Click here to see the parts of a strategic business plan for a real estate agent (this would work for any salesperson). I created this ‘flow chart’ after being frustrated that there was no good business planning process or template for real estate salespeople. I found that there needed to be a clear ‘path’ from the big picture planning aspects (vision/mission/objectives) to the action plan. I also found there had to be a clear delineation of the parts of the action plan. Why? Agents will focus on what they find easy—the business support parts of the plan, not the lead generating parts of the plan.

Make Money—Or Not

By focusing on the review and action portions of your plan, you will have a real blueprint to follow to create success every day. Be very careful about which planning system you use. The way you think will determine the kind of plan you get. Follow the model I’ve provided her. Now, you have a usable business plan for 2017.

Want to see more on business planning? Check out my complete online business planning programs, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

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

Click here to see the webinar and grab the handouts.

Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!

Plan_Act_CelebrateHow Good is Your Business Planning System?

Need a comprehensive business planning system that is designed ONLY for leadership? Most planning systems don’t cover the specific areas you need to address.

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

 

 

coaching for leadershipHave you bullet-proofed your business plan for 2017?In November and December, I’m featuring business planning tips. Read the blogs and grab the free business planning templates I’m including from my online business planning system.

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!

Watch the Business Planning Webinar I Just Did

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

Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!

Plan_Act_CelebrateHow Good is Your Business Planning System?

Need a comprehensive business planning system that is designed ONLY for leadership? Most planning systems don’t cover the specific areas you need to address.

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

 

man ponderingBusiness planning: Are you making these 5 planning mistakes?

During November and December, I’m writing business planning blogs to help you create great plans with your agents. Check these blogs, too, for checklists, processes, and systems ready to use.  For your agents: Check out Up and Running in 30 Days, my blog for your associates.

As you make your business plan, avoid the common mistakes that many real estate professionals make. Here they are:

MISTAKE #1

Betting on a business plan that’s only about 1/4 of a plan. Many of us write down our goals. Yet, that’s not a business plan. That’s just one part of the business plan. There are six parts to a real business plan:

a. Your vision-what do you have as an “end in mind”?
b. Your review-what happened last year?
c. Your mission-what are you about?
d. Your goals-expressed in the best terms for profitability today
e. Your action plan in each of 6 areas.
f. A method to measure your results.

Which parts do you include? What would your outcomes be if you thought through your business, covering all the bases?

Click here to see and grab my chart’ of a manager’s business planning system (excerpted from Beyond the Basics of Business Planning–one program for agents, one program for leadership.)

MISTAKE #2

Ignoring the importance of ‘revenue units’ (sales and listings sold). Unfortunately, when we write our goals, we like to use those great million dollar numbers and measurements like market share. Yet, setting goals for revenue units assures that you keep your eye “on the ball”-homes sold, which make you money. There’s another huge benefit to focusing on revenue units: You can then integrate your agents’ plans with your office plan.

MISTAKE #3

Not doing a thorough review (or not doing a review at all). Looking back on your last year is so important, because it gives you the “hints” you need to write your best action plan for the next year. I think it also solves the problem of the manager trying to figure out what to do next.

For example: It’s amazing that brokers don’t know one of their most important numbers for profitability: percent of listings taken to listings sold. You may be wasting many dollars in marketing homes that won’t sell-no matter what you do. Also, your agents become unmotivated and depressed when their listings don’t sell. Knowing this ratio gives you direction for your training and coaching for the coming year. Create a higher ratio and you’ll be able to use it to recruit, too.

MISTAKE #4

Writing the plan ‘in a vacuum.’ Almost always, brokers sit down to torture themselves by writing a business plan in a room with the doors shut and no windows. But, they don’t know yet what their agents want to accomplish for the next year. The right way to plan is this: First, help each of your agents create a business plan. The sum of your agents’ goals should form the foundation for your goals. After all, your agents’ efforts should be reflected in your revenue unit goals, shouldn’t they? Yet, very few brokers even help their agents write business plans. So, they can’t really get good projections of what they think their agents will produce in the next year.

If you do assist your agents in their planning processes, you will have a much better foundation for a realistic business plan of your own. (That also means you should be consulting your agents on their business plans in November, so you’ll have all their plans together as you start creating your office plan).

MISTAKE #5

Not creating specific action plans in each of the action plan areas. Michael Gerber, a spectacular “guru” for small businesses, says “the integration of your systems is your business plan.”

In other words, if you have a real business plan, I should be able to read it, come into your office on any day, and see how you’re carrying out your business plan in recruiting, selecting, training, coaching, and marketing. You would be able to delegate many of your duties, too, because you had specific action plans for each of these areas. You would be able to measure your progress at any given point. Further, if you have created action plans that are systems, someone would be willing to buy your company from you, giving you a very attractive price! (That’s what Gerber terms “franchising.”)

Get Ahead of the Curve

If you don’t have a business plan, there’s still time to get one done. Just by thinking through your business, you’ll be ahead of 95% of your competing brokers!  If you want to make more money, gain time, delegate more to others, open another office, or create an office that’s saleable, it all starts with thinking through your business, getting it down on paper, and attaching systems to each of your action plan areas. Now, you’ve got something you can run, you can delegate, and you can sell.

Plan_Act_CelebrateMissed my complimentary business planning webinar?

Watch it here, and get all the handouts AND slides.

And, don’t forget to check out my comprehensive business planning program, all online: Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

It’s much more than just a business planning process. I train your agents and consult with you and your agents to make great plans!

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