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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.

man on groundThis month, I’m featuring the lifeblood of a real estate office–hiring AND firing.

No one wants to talk about it, but, the passive-aggressive method of just letting them die isn’t leadership–it’s cowardice! Instead, we need to develop a fair method of letting those go who need to go.

Everyone has a Joe (or Josephine) in their offices. Joe has been an agent for six years. He’s the guy who makes coffee every morning. He’s the guy who takes people’s open houses (although he never picks up a customer). He’s even the guy who steps in when someone in the office can’t make their floor time (but he has never converted an inquiry to a client…). He’s also the guy who doesn’t sell a stick of real estate. Woops. I misspoke. He did sell one home once. It was during the ‘on fire’ market. Joe was on floor time. He got a walk in: A buyer who found the home himself, had cash, and was willing to write it up at Joe’s convenience. (After closing, Joe didn’t follow up with the client again. After all, the sale is over, isn’t it?)

What’s the matter with just keeping Joe?

Nothing, if you don’t care about your bottom line. Brokers tell me that a poor hire or a non-productive agent costs them nothing. Unfortunately, that’s far from the case. In this article, we’ll just beat up poor Joe. In the next article, we’ll address the new agent – poor hire.

dollar  markHere’s How Joe Costs You $$$$$–Lots of $$$$$$

If you read nothing else in this article, please read this line:

Joe is a walking billboard for failure-an effective marketing strategy that communicates your office’s failure to make him successful, and your failure to making him successful.

Joe’s “billboard” publicizes the outcomes from your recruiting, training, and coaching. Here they are.

Recruiting. You find it hard to recruit. See, likes attract. People see that Joe (or lots of Joes) are in your office. Agents do search the MLS to find out what the sales statistics are in offices. (Why would they go to an office that has low production?) Maybe you’re like me, taking over a real estate office where it was known in the area, literally, as “the place you went if you didn’t want to work.” Boy, what a great recruiting endorsement!  If so, you know that it’s a terrific uphill battle to recruit good people into a bad office. (Hint: You must get rid of the bad people first, then build on a new foundation. You can’t fool those agents!).

Training. You’re finding it hard to get agents to attend your training classes. Why? Because Joe attends every one of them-and then doesn’t take any action. So, your class endorsement is actually “those classes don’t do any good.”

Coaching. People say they want help, but they won’t go into a coaching relationship with you. Why? Because Joe tells them it won’t do any good. After all, he’s been in your office for five years, and being with you certainly hasn’t done him any good. (Joe also rains on the newer agents’ parades, by convincing them that no lead generating method you endorse is worth their time. After all, the one home Joe sold was a walk-in.)

Joe’s Making Your Success an Uphill Battle

You’ve tried to help Joe. You’ve decided you can’t help him. You’re working harder and longer. Yet, your office culture and productivity just don’t seem to improve. Ask yourself:

What percent of “Joe’s” do you have in your office right now?

Carla’s rule: If you have over 10% seasoned non-producers, you aren’t leading. They are.

In my next blog, I’ll show you a different way of evaluating your agents. It will give you a method you can trust to figure out who to keep and who to put the ‘happy trails’ record on for…..

small LM CoverAre you Unsure of Who to Hire and Who to Fire?

Why not see if Leadership Mastery Coaching can help you gain the skills and judgments to make great personnel decisions? This is a unique, one-on-one coaching program expressly for real estate leadership. Sign up for a complimentary consultation today. Make 2016 the year you break through your ceiling of achievement!

Dec
15

Can You Pass this Business Plan Exam?

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assignmentIn December, I’m featuring business planning. Suggest to your agents they check out Up and Running in 30 Days, my blog for achieving agents. I’ll provide lots of planning tips and free documents.

What should a business plan do for you? Appease your owner? (I’ve been there, so I know….) Or, should it actually provide you specific, day-to-day guidance about what to do to make your business thrive? If you’re a practical person like me, you don’t like to do ‘busy work’. You and I believe, then, that a business plan should have a practical application for every day of your business.

The ‘Business Plan’ Exam

Take this quick ‘exam’ to see how your business plan stacks up: (and give it to your agents so they can check their plans, too).

1. By going through your process of business planning, you get the ‘vision’ and mission principles to make the positioning, marketing, hiring, and termination decisions right for your particular business.        T                      F

Got that vision? Few business plans start with vision. This causes huge problems when real estate professionals try to implement—such as implementing a marketing plan.  A potential coaching client told me she ‘wasn’t very good at marketing’, and wondered how to get better. You can’t become a great marketer unless you have a very clear vision of who you are and where you expect your journey to take you. It all starts with a crystal clear idea of your vision, mission, and positioning in the market. Your business plan should contain these very important statements. Then, when you design an institutional marketing plan, you’ll be able execute your thoughts and feelings visually.

If your vision and mission aren’t well defined in your business plan, you simply have no solid foundation to make those tough leadership decisions.

2.  Your business plan starts with reviewing and researching the past year in all your business areas.                                             T                         F

Have you really reviewed your situation? If your planning ‘template’ doesn’t lead you through the analysis of key business statistics, you simply don’t know what happened. So, you can’t possibly make decisions for next year, because you don’t know whether to do it, stop doing it, or start doing something differently!

Example: In your office, what percent of your listings sold within normal market time? What was the percent of list price to sale price? Few business planning templates ask you to grab these statistics and analyze them. Yet, these are the statistics that directly point you to your strategies and tactics for the coming year.

3. Does your business plan have an ‘action plan’ area, so you can translate your yearly and monthly goals into daily actions—and actually schedule these actions?                                                      T                         F

No action plan means you just wasted a lot of time: I have seen so many business plans that only played on the ‘results’ playing field. Writing down the results you want are great, but if your plan doesn’t get down to where the rubber meets the road, (what you need to do daily), you simply are doing an exercise. In other words, you have to get past the ‘what’ and get to the ‘how’ and ‘how much’.

For example: You may say you want to increase your ‘sold’ listings by 25% in the coming year. How are you going to do that? Here are some possibilities for your action plan:

Through recruiting: Hire 12 listing agents that have demonstrated they list properties that sell quickly. That’s 1 per month. That’s 5 interviews per month. That’s 100 recruiting calls per month. Now, you can break that into weeks and days.

Through training: After researching each agent’s numbers of listings and listings to sold ratios, you are going to create and implement a high accountability training program to teach your agents the skills of successful listing. You will put your training series, which will be a series of four classes, presented 3 times a year, on a training calendar to hold yourself accountable to do them. (And, a calendar is a great recruiting tool).

4. Does your plan consist of integrated, ready-to-follow systems so you can delegate?

T                      F

Ever thought your systems WERE your plan? Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth and The E-Myth Revisited, says that a business plan consists of the integration of your systems. Most managers and agents feel they are working too many hours. They want to be able to delegate specific duties. But, without systems and processes in place, delegation is impossible.

Is your Business Salable?

Pretend you wanted to sell me your business. I walk into your office. What systems do I see? What systems can I buy from you, so I don’t have to ‘reinvent the wheel’? What systems do you have that integrate and reflect your values in the overall way you do your business? If you don’t have systems in place that I can readily take over, I might as well start my own company!

How did you do on the ‘exam’? Here’s your opportunity to think through your business at a much deeper, more meaningful level. Doing so will re-motivate you, re-ignite your passion, and provide you some solid answers for next year.

Click here for an overview of what a leadership planning system should contain.

Want to see more on business planning? Check out my online program Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. All the instructional webinars and documents are online, and very easy to complete and implement. This is a program created exclusively for real estate owners and managers. And, when you purchase the manager’s package, you also get access to all the agent’s planning videos and documents.

Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

Just did it with an enthusiastic group last week, and now it’s available to view–along with a PDF of the slides and more. See it here. Why not show it to your agents?

Blog-CoachAre you using your agents’ business plans to coach all year? If not, you’re missing out on leveraging that plan!

First, congratulations! 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. Helping the agent assess his business–where he’s been?

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

3. Includes 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.

Complimentary Business Planning Webinar Recording Available Now

Watch my complimentary business planning webinar. You’ll get lots of ideas on how to help your agents with their plans. Click here to see it (and get the slides!).

3 men and women working at tableI know you want to help your agents gain great business plans. So, here’s how to schedule your business planning process. I’m sharing some tips with you on initial scheduling for business planning and on-going coaching to a business plan. You’ll see the dates in the schedule below are in January, because this is from a live webinar series I did for a real estate company. It would be better for you to start the process sooner.  I’ll address on-going coaching in my next blog.

First, what doesn’t work:

Hand out the planning pages and say ‘have a nice day’.

Instead, you must have a schedule to assure the agent gets that plan written.

Scheduling an interview: When I’m teaching this as a course, or doing a webinar, I give the agents questions to interview their managers–questions that reveal what the managers foresee as strengths and challenges and trends in the marketplace and in their offices. See that interview scheduled below.

Here’s the schedule I’m giving to the leadership to use for their business planning process:

PDF how to get each of your agents a great business plan 1

 

This is just the first schedule. After the initial ‘help’, you must schedule individual appointments for the agent to finish his/her plan:

coaching appointment

 

Now, you’ve educated the agents about business planning. You’ve team ified and created confidence with your meeting. Finally, you’ve set appointments for individual coaching for the plan. In my next blog, we’ll discuss how to use the business plan for coaching all year, so you’re fully imbued in the success with each of your agents.

Plan_Act_CelebrateWant Some Support to Get Your Agents Business Plans?

 

Webinar coming up: Join Carla as she shows you how to make business planning fun, exciting, and creative–and get a GREAT 2016 plan.

When: Dec. 4, 1-2 PM Pacific Time (that’s 4 Eastern, 3 Central, and 2 Mountain)

Included:
The 3 critical components of a successful plan usually left out
How to make your plan truly YOURS, not someone else’s (that won’t work!)
What to STOP doing in 2016

What one thing will assure your plan works

And, much more!

If you’re a pro, if you want to create a fun, successful, fulfilling career, you need the right kind of business plan. Don’t wait to step up to the next level now. Join us!

Space is limited, so sign up now. This is a complimentary session, from Carla Cross, CRB, MA, who wrote the internationally published book on business planning, along with business planning courses for most of the major franchises. She’s tested her system ‘in the trenches’ with real agents–so she knows what works.

Click here for more information and to register. Get inspired to make a great 2016 plan!

____________________________________________________

Want Help in Getting your Agents to Plan? 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.

 

 

penguins focused on goalsDo you hate your business planning process? Here’s how to stop hating and start loving it! I’m focusing on business planning Nov. and Dec. Review all the blogs to get dozens of tips and docs to plan effectively.

It’s time to do that dreaded business plan. Here’s how to make it a love fest, not a drudgery.

It really can be fun….What if you could actually have fun making a plan—and know that the plan you made would at least double your profits for next year? Wouldn’t that be lovely? Having helped hundreds real estate professionals create plans, I’ve found an easy method to make that plan in no time. Better yet, I promise that plan will be a blueprint that will work hard for you.

We all talk about it. Few of us actually do it. Even less of us actually follow it! But, almost all of us know we should do it: make a business plan. Why do we resist? Why do we make plans (if we do) that gather dust on a shelf? I think it’s because it’s too cumbersome to make the plan. Most plans aren’t practical enough to follow. We’re going to change all that right now.

Why Your Planning Process Didn’t Work for You
Too many real estate professionals try to start planning by writing an action plan. (That should actually be the last step!). Instead, start your plan as I’ve outlined below. The surprising observation I’ve made is that it’s much faster and better to create the plan when you’ve done the preliminary steps. In fact, finding out the information below catapults you to your next year’s action plan—before you have a chance to question yourself. It assures you have a great plan, too. (And, it goes so much faster).

We’ll start with the first two steps. In my next blog, I’ll lead you through the next two steps. So, before you know it, you’ll be ready to polish the fine points of your plan.

Here are those first two steps:

1. Gather and analyze the important numbers. Gather last year’s numbers so you can analyze them quickly. (Best to have your secretary/assistant do this for you). These numbers should include the results that most greatly impact on your profitability: (You may have some other favorites. Feel free to analyze them):

a. Number of recruits/lead generation/appointment numbers
b. Net number of agents (how good were your recruiting/ retention efforts?)
c. Number of listings taken
d. Number of listings sold
e. Ratio of listings taken to listings sold
f. Number of sales
g. Balance/ratio of number of sales to listings sold
h. Expenses (what’s higher than your budget for the year?

What’s out of balance with your income and profitability? What can you change?)

Analyzing these numbers give you great big hints as to what you should do as an action plan next year. In fact, you’ll find it difficult not to think ahead to your action plan! (That’s a good thing!).

Your recruiting/lead generating plan for next year
Your retention plan for next year
Your training plan for listings next year
Your coaching plan for each agent/for you (balance of listings sold and sales?) (productivity)

Just with that first step, you almost have the action part of your business plan done!

2. Evaluating YOU. Rate yourself in the various skill areas: recruiting, selection, coaching, training, retention, staff management, etc. For agents, that would be lead generation, lead conversion, presentation skills. Technology skills, etc.

Bonus Want some planning documents? See my October newsletter. I’m including 2 bonuses this month: an internal review for agents, and a manager’s skills review for leadership (great for those managing managers, too).

What have you mastered? What do you want to improve? This becomes your personal/professional training/coaching program for next year.

Your Goal Deadline for These Two Steps

Holding ourselves accountable for what we want is very difficult! So, to help you, I’m going to ask you to create a target date to finish these two steps: Dec. 1. Why? So you’ll be ready for my next blog and the next two steps. This year: A fun, ‘got the love’ business plan! I promise you’ll stand out from the normal real estate pro who never gets around to getting one.

Plan_Act_CelebrateDoes Your Planning System Make the Grade?

If it doesn’t, check out my completely online, on demand system–one version for managers/owners, one version for agents. I’ll coach you through your plan, and provide you all the planning pages. For your agents: I’ll educate/train them in how to plan (so you don’t have to) AND provide them all their planning pages. This is a bargain, because you will have focus and direction for your company for 2016. Click here to learn about Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

 

Cincopa WordPress plugin

I’m focusing on business planning this November and December. If you’re not excited about making your business plan, watch Carla’s short video to get inspired!

Plan_Act_CelebrateHow Does Your Planning System Stack Up?

There are lots of free planning systems out there. How have they worked for you? Why not step up to a professional planning system, written by the only real estate trainer to have a book on business planning for real estate professionals published internationally. Check out Carla’s exclusive program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. It’s not just the planning pages–it’s a comprehensive ‘how to plan’ program to coach you to a great plan. Click here to find out more.

girl with inspiration sayingsFor a vast majority of real estate professionals, ‘business plan’ means writing down your goals. That’s just a small part of a full business plan. One of the most commonly left-out parts of a business plan is ‘purpose’ or ‘mission’. Do your agents know their purpose? Why are they doing what they are doing? During November and December, I’m blogging about business plans. Why not review all these blogs (including my blog for agents, Up and Running in 30 Days, and get inspired to help your agents grab great plans for 2016.

Do your agents have mission statements as part of their business plans? Why is having a mission important? How should it guide agents? You’ve heard the talks about finding your passion. But, you see your agents being over-whelmed in their careers. It’s just too much to think big when they’re  just trying to find that house or convince a buyer to work with them!

The Importance of Your Mission

This time of year, we’re encouraging everyone to create their business plans. One of the first things you’ll do in creating your own business plan is to define your mission. Why? Because, otherwise, you don’t know whether or not the actions you decide to take will fulfill your mission. This is also true of your agents.

Tackling and Bringing Down your Time Management Challenges

If agents have been in the sales business a little while, they’ve already discovered that their biggest challenge is time management.  How can they get done in a business day everything that needs getting done? That’s where your mission comes in. Creating your mission helps you prioritize all the things you’re supposed to do. It helps you decide what not to do. Most important, it helps you figure out

how to put YOU into your management and sales business successfully

Plan_Act_CelebrateGrab the Most Popular Planning Resources Exclusively for Real Estate Pros

Tired of dragging your agents kicking and screaming to a business plan? Take advantage of Carla Cross’s 2 decades of expertise. Carla teaches your agents how to plan AND you get all the planning pages. Piece of cake–and you’ll be more profitable in 2016! Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning here.

 

kid with magnifying glassWhat’s your mission? It’s time to begin writing your business plan for 2016. In November and December, I want to give you a few tips on creating various parts of your business plan. One of the important, but often-left-out parts of a business plan is your mission statement. What it is? It’s literally your mission in your business.

Mission statements answer the questions:

Why are you in this business?
What do you want to accomplish?
How are you going to achieve your mission?
What’s important to you?

Why Have a Mission Statement?

To keep yourself on track.
To decide what you will and won’t do.
To state who you work with (and to think about who you wouldn’t work with).
For time management
For clarity and focus

To convey to potential recruits what you’re about
To use as a springboard to your marketing

Mission statements should be:

• Well-defined
• Restrictive
• Complementary with your company statement (and the company statement should be reflected in any branch office/associate statements)

Mission statements are:

• Not lightly changed (usually stay the same through your
years’ business plans)
• Written in the present tense
• Do not contain objectives or goals
• Not tied to time

3 Don’ts for Mission Statements

1. Mission Statements Are Not Objectives or Goals

Mission statements are not quantifiable. Leave out any numbers – they go into your objectives. Following is an example: A person may write, “I am a profitable agent. I will make a profit of $50,000 every year.” The first part of the statement, “I am a profitable agent” has a place in a mission statement. But the last part of the statement is an objective, or quantifiable end result, and should be placed in another section of your plan. The mission statement is broader; it guides you as you make long-term decisions. The above offers some valuable tips on writing mission statements.

2. Mission Statements Aren’t Changed Lightly

Because mission statements are really statements of you as a businessperson, these statements are not lightly changed – just as you would not lightly change yourself. That does not mean that you might not work over time on how your statement is constructed, but it does mean that you do not change the essence of the statement, the specialties, the ideals – without considerable thought.

3. Mission Statements Aren’t Statements of the Future

I’ve seen many mission statements that say ‘I will be’ or ‘we will be’. No. Mission statements assume we are what we state–in the present.

Plan_Act_CelebrateWant to see many agent and company mission statements? Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Step by step, I take you through the planning process with a much more in-depth, interesting, and helpful process than you’ll find in those ‘easy squeezy’ form planning products!

There’s one for managers and one for agents.

Managers: I teach your agents how to plan in webinars. I show you how to lead the planning process. I make it really easy for you to get great plans from your agents! Check it out here.

coaching for leadershipThis month, I’m focused on leadership. And, in today’s world, managers must go much further than just to ‘manage activities’. So, let me ask you managers: What’s your job description? Did you get one prior to taking your present position with your company? Very few managers did. If you didn’t,  how do you know what to do every day? How do you know the priorities expected by your ‘boss’? (Or, if you’re the boss, how do you know your priorities? How do you know how to hold your managers accountable?)

Your Present Job Description

Here’s how to figure out the present job description you’re ‘using’. Analyze the number of hours you’re spending in

Business producing activities (recruiting, selecting, training, coaching, team building)

Business supporting activities (everything else!)

That gives you a great idea about your actual, practical job description. Is it the one you want? Is it the job description you thought you were following?

A Prototype Job Description for You

I’ve created a prototype job description with hours allocated to various types of activities.

Click here to get it and compare it with your job description analysis. What do you think of my descriptions? What do you think of my hourly allocations?

After your analysis: What do you want to change to move your office forward? Do you need to move more into leadership, and away from ‘maintenance management’?

General managers or those who hire managers: Create a job description from which to interview potential managers. Never hire without getting agreement from your candidate that he/she will execute THAT job description!

How Are You Moving your Leadership Ahead?

  If you’re wondering whether you’re on track with your leadership/management career, why not take advantage of our complimentary consultation in our Leadership Mastery coaching program? You’ll learn new models, systems, and have a chance to bounce your ideas off one of the most successful managers in the country. Click here for more information.

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