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Here’s why your agents aren’t achieving their potential–and what you can do about it

Here’s why your agents aren’t achieving to their potential, and what you can do about it. 

Each week, I do a live Zoom coaching call with all those agents and coaches in my Up and Running in Real Estate program. This week, we talked about why many agents don’t make it in real estate–or fail to achieve their goals. 

We’re New: How Would We Know what Good Performance Looks Like?

I surveyed 400 agents under three months in the business to find out their expectations for income–and when they expected to make their first sale. (See Launching Right in Real Estate: What They Won’t Teach You in Pre-License School). The majority of these agents said they expected (not wanted, but expected) to make their first sale in 30 days. What does that mean? They must go to work lead generating their first week in the office. But, most agents feel they just can’t go talk to people. They need training. Lots of training. So, they sit in the classroom for weeks, soaking up the expertise of the instructors. Then, unfortunately, their money runs out before they really get started. Their self-esteem goes in the dumper. They don’t know what good performance looks like.

Coaches provide the Framework for Good Performance

Let’s say you want to learn to play the piano. So, you come to me for piano lessons (I taught piano for several years). We have our first lesson, and I give you the assignment: Practice the lesson a half hour a day.  That is the expectation. You are accountable to play for me next week–and to play up to an acceptable standard. I’m serious that this is the way you’ll learn to play. But, you don’t practice that week. When you come to your lesson, guess what? I’ll have to fire myself as your teacher. Why? Because my reputation depends on your being able to play. Not only that, you told me you wanted to learn to play the piano. 

Accountability in the Real Estate Office: Coaches Have Three Jobs

Your new agent just doesn’t know what’s expected of her. She doesn’t know what it takes to succeed.

  1. Your first job as her coach is to lay out a program that will get her the sales she desires in the time frame she desires. That’s the ‘music’.
  2. Your second job is to provide expectations. 
  3. Your third job is to hold her accountable to the actions she agreed to do. 

Anything Goes…

In many real estate offices today, there are no expectations. There isn’t any accountability. Even though we provide training and good advice, agents get the idea they can take it or leave it. When they leave it, they fail. Because we don’t carry through, agents think they don’t have to do certain activities to achieve. 

How do you use the laws of achievement (a plan, expectations, and accountability) to help your agents succeed?

 

I’ve put the plan, expectations, and accountability all in my online program, Up And Running in Real Estate . Check it out here.

They all have high aspirations in the interview. But, how can you predict who will really be successful–fast?

Here’s how to absolutely predict they will be successful selling real estate.

Nope, it’s not about behavioral profiles. Although they are somewhat accurate, there are qualities, traits, and skills that most profiles don’t measure. It’s not the entrancing, rehearsed answers they give you to your equally entrancing questions during the interview. Words are cheap. It’s about measuring activities.

Watch What They Do 

Yes, you’re going to ask the right type of questions during your interview (See ‘behavioral predictor questions’ in The Complete Recruiter and Your Blueprint to Select Winners). However, even when their answers are on track, they’re not actions–yet. Instead, watch and measure what they do from the first day in the business.

What New Agents Say They Expect

What does that mean? When do they have to start looking for leads? That first week in the business! Yet, how many of them start lead generating even in the first month?

Expecting ‘Dumb Luck’ to Carry them to Success

Inevitably, there is a new agent who has an Aunt Martha in his back pocket. That is, Aunt Martha wants to buy a home, and has told nephew Tommy she’ll wait until he gets his license to purchase from him. Ca-ching. Dumb luck. Tommy concludes that’s how the business goes. You just wait for someone to find you and sell them a home. We know that’s not the norm, though. Unfortunately, Tommy’s going to wait a long time for that next transaction! The ‘dumb luck’ approach to the business results in low results. Since the ‘dumb luck’ agent isn’t doing a business start-up plan, we have no way of predicting results, because we can’t measure business-producing activities. We can only measure other ‘dumb luck’ agent incomes. That’s way too late to actively coach–or to terminate with purpose.

Are You a Pardon the Expression–‘Dumb Luck’ Manager or a Business Start-up Coach?

 Dumb luck managers just look at results; sales and listings sold. So, they are not aware that agents may be failing for months. If new agents expect to make a sale in month one, how many months do you think it takes for them to get dis enheartened? 2-3? Not long. So, once they’re mentally and emotionally out of the business, they will resist any help from you. They’ve decided they can’t make it in the business. They’ll stay awhile, though, for ‘dumb luck’ transactions. 

Leave Them Alone–They will Leave–and You’ll be Surprised

They’re nice. They are team players. Although they aren’t selling much real estate, they’re not causing problems, so you leave them alone. One day, they come in and tell you they are going to ABC Realty, because they will get ‘support’ there. They have a marketing person to help them, etc., etc., etc. You are surprised and dismayed. You thought they were happy with you, even though they weren’t experiencing much ‘dumb ‘luck–or any kind of luck. That’s the problem with leaving them alone until they fail. It’s too late for them–and you. It’s a huge retention problem. 

Tip: Even though they keep rebuffing your efforts at ‘help’, keep trying to put them into a business start-up plan, so they’ll come to the conclusion that you are on their side, and that is the way to create a concrete, predictable business. Then, if they leave, they leave without blaming you, or trying it with another company who provides ‘more support’.

Lead Generating on Purpose

Do you start your new agents in a specific lead generating plan their first week in the office? Is it made up of prioritized lead generating activities? Does it have ratios of activities to results, so the new agent knows whether he is on track to his goals? Here are my activity ratios that will result in 8-12 transactions the first year in the business:

20 contacts to get one buyer or seller lead

8 times of putting people in the car to sell someone a home

3 listing appointments to gain one marketable listing

80% of listings sell

80% of transactions close

What are the ratios in your office? Do you coach your agents to those ratios? Do they know the work it takes to consistently generate the income they want to generate? Or, are they counting on ‘dumb luck’?

 

    

Here’s the straight scoop on real estate as a career: Launching Right in Real Estate: What They Won’t Teach You in Pre License School. I’ve put the principles of a business start-up-plan, and I’ve laid out exactly what it takes to create a successful career-fast. Pre-order now here. Available April 30. $24.95 300 pages/eBook.

Blog-CoachYou worked hard to help your agents gain business plans for the coming year. Now, optimize that work!

Are 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,  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’ve provided your agent with a method to set goals in finding, working with, and closing clients (I hope you’re using my Beyond the Basics of Business Planning system.) You have provided your agent a method to measure results. You’re going to use the numbers that the agent is generating by measuring the results of his business plan:

First, the goals: Lead generation, listings, listings sold, sales.

Lead generation

Listing/sales appointments

Listings

Listings sold

Sales

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?

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.

Use these questions to counsel your agents and inspire them to create plans that will work for them.

At the end of each year, I dedicate these blogs to all my real estate friends who are doing business plans. 

Don’t Start at the End of the Planning Process!

Managers: You’ve heard it over and over. “What actions should I put in my business plan for next year?” “What should I do?” “Give me what to do so I’ll do everything right next year.” Unfortunately, that’s doing your business plan backwards. It’s like starting at the end of a piece of music and playing it to the beginning.

What You CAN ‘Copy’ for a Great Business Plan every Time

Another thing you may have heard from agents: “Give me a business plan.” or “I want to use _______’s plan.” That’s another big mistake. It’s your business and it needs to be your plan.  However, what you can copy is the process for a great plan. In fact, Dwight D. Eisenhower (former US President), said, “The planning is everything. The plan is nothing.” What he meant was that it’s the thought process that’s important. So, use a planning process that takes you and your agents through the necessary steps. (See Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, for an online business planning system based on the strategic planning process).

10 Questions to Ask Your Agents so They Can Create the Right Action Plan for Them

Recently, I did a business planning webinar for an association. I provided attendees with 10 questions to ask themselves. The answers to these questions provide the guidance needed to create that effective, individualized business plan. Here are those questions for you to use as you create your plan. 

Counseling your Agents with these Questions will Motivate Them

What percent of your agents do you expect to have good business plans for this next year? Using these 10 questions with each of your agents in a coaching session will motivate them to create plans that work. Let me know your results!

Strategic-Business-Planning-10-Questions-to-Ask

Want Some Support to Get Your Agents Business Plans?

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.

head in the sand a salespersonDo your agents have their business plans for this year? Have you been avoiding the issue, hoping they would do it on their own? Not going to happen…..What’s YOUR plan to get them business plans?

What Doesn’t Work

It doesn’t work to hand them those planning documents and tell them to get them done. It’s useless. You need to teach them the process, be involved in the process, and coach them through the process. Then, you’ll motivate them to complete those plans. Also, when you treat this as important, they will respond.

What Does Work

Here are 3 ways to get your agents to do business plans:

1. Get the best planning ‘templates’ you can find, so your agents have a good planning process to follow

2. Do a class on business planning, using a proven step-wise process, along with the planning templates you’re going to use (In my online business planning system, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, I have 2 webinars for your agents to take them right through the process, along with the documents. I also have provided you the outline for a class, if you’d like to teach it. You can use my agent webinars in your class, too).

3. Sit down with each agent and help that agent flesh out the plan. It may take more than 1 meeting. Are you willing to commit?

Level of Support

If you’re willing to provide that level of support, you will have much a better chance of getting business plans for each of your agents.

Question: Did YOU create a business plan for your office? It’s not too late to get that done, too. Then you’ll know exactly how to make a plan. (See my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, for the documents and guidance you need to create a great office plan.)

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.

Throughout November and December, I’m focusing my blogs on #business planning, so you have plenty of information to create a great plan. Look for #business planning checklists, processes, samples, and systems--ready to use, too.

Agents, managers, and trainers: If you’ve been in the business any length of time, you know how much more challenging this business is than it used to be! That’s why creating a real #strategic business plan is so important now.

(See the complete process, templates, and samples in Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.)

Biggest Business Planning Mistake

Yes, we all want to know what to do next year to be more successful. So, we want to create effective action plans. That’s great. But, if we don’t take the step below first, we end up with

badly thought-out action plans

indecision as to what to do

The point is: Don’t try to start with the action plan. Start with the analysis of your business.

Why Business Analysis?

Here are the tools you’ll need in your #business planning toolkit, whether a manager or an agent:*

  • Time analysis (watch my next blog for a questionnaire to analyze your time management)
  • Business plan activity review
  • Expense/budget review
  • Profit and loss statement review

1. Your time analysis. Do you have the analysis tools to see where your business is, and where you want to take it? With a time analysis tool, you can see what your priorities are. It’s amazing how many agents and managers have no idea where they spend the bulk of their time. Look at your schedule for the last week. Did you spend time in the areas that are most productive for you? If not, why not?

2. Business plan activity review tool. This allows you to capture the history of your business in a way that clarifies your direction. For example, does the tool you use ask you where you got your business last year? Does it ask you the percent of your listings you sold in normal market time? Managers, does your tool ask you the numbers of agents you interviewed, and your conversion rate? Find the tools that ask you the right questions.

3. The expense and budget review. How many agents have a budget? How many managers and owners? All businesspeople set budgets and review them. After all, it’s about profitability in a business, not productivity! At best, you want to use tools that are similar to the ones used by others at the same business level as you, so you can analyze like problems and solutions.

4. The profit and loss statement review. How many agents do you think have a profit and loss statement—and review it? I believe, less than 5%.  Yet, if you don’t know where your money went, you can’t analyze its effectiveness. Use Quicken or Quickbooks to get a handle on your money.

Analyzing your business in these four areas gives you a great ‘handle’ on your business habits, your strengths, your challenges–and the areas you want to change for a more successful year next year.

Real estate leadership: Here’s the #strategic business planning process I created to put together a strategic business plan for your office or company. After working with this and companies for years, I was able to customize the thought process to address our major concerns. Grab it here.

Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

Complimentary Webinar

It’s been a chaotic, year, where our best laid plans have been tossed upside down. That’s why doing a fresh, creative business plan is so important right now.

Register here for How to Build the Best Business Plan Ever. (complimentary webinar).

You’ll gain:

  • A new way to think through your business so you have a plan that works
  • The missing planning step that assures your plan will work for you
  • The biggest change to make to thrive in 2021
  • Insights with 10 questions to answer BEFORE you commit to action
  • The seven best recommendations to put in your plan

Included: Strategic business planning handouts and 2 bonuses for managers

When: November 16 (Monday)                     1-2 PM Pacific Standard Time

Register now.

I created the only internationally published book for real estate agents on business planning, and I can help you build exceptional plans.

 

Everyone’s doing virtual presentations. But, how good are they? Here is what to watch for.

Virtual presentations: Three biggest red flags in virtual presentations today.

  1. Too much ‘tell’, not enough ‘show’

We’re onstage. We’re wowing them with our humor, our movement, and our audience interaction. Good. Now, switch to virtual. We don’t really have a stage. We don’t have freedom of movement. We don’t have that energetic audience interaction. What do we do? Try harder? Keep the same modalities of presentation? 

No. We need to show more and tell less. Instead of tell people how to do a listing presentation, show them through the steps. Show them examples.

Question: What could you switch to ‘show’ to be more interesting, more memorable, teach more effectively?

2. Less stationery; more audience movement.

Sitting in front a screen even for an hour is exhausting. It’s exhausting to present for that long, too. A huge presenter challenge is #how to keep the audience’s attention. One way is to increase the audience’s movements. Some of these suggestions are from a great article on #virtual training in Training magazine, by the wonderful trainer Bob Pike.

Have your audience get up. What for? Find something that’s pertinent to the conversation and bring it back to the screen. Or–find something blue (or red, or whatever color you want) and bring it to the screen. Tell significance.

Write down two action items in your handout (great for #business planning, which I’ll be doing in a few weeks). When you’re done, type ‘up ‘and stand up for 30 seconds.

Question: How do you change the pace by #involving your audience every four minutes? How do you move the audience (I mean physically?)

3. Figuring out the technology while you’re teaching–not before

Yes, there do seem to be surprises. But, if we practice beforehand, we reduce those surprises. It’s just like practicing the piano. I’ve been a pianist since I was four. I would never, ever get up in front of an audience to play the piano (seriously) unless I had practiced my little heart out. After all, perfect practice makes perfect. I owe it to the audience.

Question: How much practice do you do? Are you ready to perform at a high level?

Masterclass From Classroom to Online

Watch for my virtual training coming up on how to take your presentation online with verve.

Apr
30

Connections, not Sales

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Are your agents giving a ‘hand up’ to their clients at this time? Making connections?

Connections, Not Sales

The biggest change in your agent’s real estate business plan has to be in their short-term goals. All business plans have a lead generation component. That means we’re actively looking for listing leads and buyer leads. Our dialogues and our marketing materials are designed to bring us those leads.

 What does that mean? That means our communication needs to be

  • Supportive
  • Positive
  • Helpful
  • Meaningful
  • Relationship-based

That means we’re not looking for that big, money-making result. We’re really in a

“pre-lead” phase.

Why Connections?

Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? It states that we must meet the lowest unmet need before we can be motivated to meet higher needs. What are the majority of people’s needs now?

  • Comfort
  • Shelter
  • Enough food and supplies (toilet paper!)
  • Fear of sickness
  • Fear of losing one’s job—or of making payments

Where are we on Maslow’s Hierarchy? We are close to the bottom—that need to meet very basic needs. Maslow calls those Safety or Security needs. That’s why agents’ messages have to be reassuring. You have to establish trust. You have to provide a safe harbor for your clients and potential clients.

Re-Designing that Business Plan

Instead of thinking ‘how am I going to get leads’? Think ‘how am I going to connect’? Help your agents design messages to their best target markets with connection as their goal. That means, too, that you must identify those markets and make your messages meaningful to those markets.

I just did a complimentary webinar for Real Estate Professionals called “Build Your Business Right Now to Position for Success Later”.

You can  see the video and grab the materials at my websiteI also have a 60-Day Business Plan template for all attendees so they can easily complete their plans. 

Outcomes of a Re-Designed Plan

The irony of this re-design is that your agents are going to create listing and sales opportunities because your client base is looking for that connection now. When they find it, they will walk one step closer to a transaction with you—even when you didn’t ask. The danger in ‘laying out’ (as we say in the music performance business when we’re told not to play) is that you’ll be way behind the curve when the market comes back. Those people agents considered clients found the agents were a ‘secret agent’ when they needed connections and information. They have turned to a new source of connections because you didn’t communicate. Don’t let that happen.

Start Today

From working with hundreds of real estate professionals during this time, I know clients are so grateful for these connections. Each agent has something to offer. Don’t keep it a secret. Help your agents share information, concern, and a positive attitude today. Not only will you reap real estate business in the future, they will feel better for having given value to their clients.     

 

 

Your business plan wasn’t crafted for Covid. What’s your plan now?

Do you have your 60-day pivot business plan in place?

Congratulations to you if you made a 2020 business plan. However, none of us could have foreseen the events of the past two months. Those events have called for a different plan–both for you and for your agents.

5 Big Questions to Answer Right Now

Next Thursday (April 23), I’ll be doing a 45-minute webinar exclusively for leadership on actions to take right now to retain agents and plan for profits. Here’s more information on that.

To prepare for this webinar, here are some questions leadership needs to ask themselves to evaluate whether they’ve got everything they need in place to lead in this uncertain environment.

  1. What are you doing right now to communicate regularly with each agent in your office? Do you have a schedule? Have you helped each agent with a pivot business plan? (I’ll be providing a template for you to use with your agents after the webinar).
  2. What’s your agent mix? How many new agents, growth agents, mature agents in your mix? Do you have a plan for each group to move them forward? (I’ll provide you a tool to segment your agents).
  3. How have you changed your training to continue it without disruption? Are you doing ‘live’ online events, or have you contracted with an outside source to assure your training has continuity?
  4. Who else have you enlisted to help retain your agents? Do you have any teaming in place?
  5. What’s the morale like in your office? With each agent? What actions are you taking to improve each person’s outlook so they will continue their business in a meaningful way now?

Answering these questions will prepare you for the actions I’ll be suggesting to you during the webinar next Thursday, April 23, starting at 10 am Pacific Daylight Time.

The good news: This is the time when leaders can LEAD. The feelings of insecurity, of fear of income loss, fear of sickness–all can overwhelm our agents unless we step forward with positive leadership actions. The actions I’ll be suggesting to you next week will build loyalty and retain your good agents, preparing for a market re-emergence.

Leadership:

The Actions

to Take Now

to Preserve

Profits Later

Join me for this fast-paced, 45-minute webinar exclusively for leadership April 23 (Thursday), at 10 am PDT. Click here for more information and to register.

You’ve taught courses in your office. Now, you can’t. Before you turn on the camera read my four ‘must haves’.

Your training calendar looked phenomenal. Until now. Why? It was all ‘live’. Yes, ‘live’ training is best, but it’s impossible now. So, how are you going to pivot to effective online training?

Just Turn on the Camera–Not

We can get away with a lot when we are ‘live’. We can wander a bit from the outline the audience will forgive us.   After all, we have an audience with whom to interact. We take questions, we create debate, we tell those great war stories. 

Is Your Course Really a ‘Course’?

I’ve taught real estate professionals and affiliates how to train for over three decades. I’ve seen dozens of their ‘courses’. Unfortunately, most aren’t courses. They’re streams of information. They’re not well-organized. They don’t have the end in mind–objectives. They don’t have various delivery methods (teaching methods other than that old boring lecture). Even though those problems don’t show up so badly in the live classroom, they show up with a vengeance when going online.

You’ll Need These Four Strategies in your Online Course

How are you going to avoid droning on until you get to the end of that hour you’ve booked to train? Here are the four things you need in your online presentation or course:

  1. An blazingly good course organization, created from learning objectives (having the end in mind)*

*See my 3 models to create your presentation or course in Train the Trainer, my online version of my training course

     2.  An easy, engaging process to draw the attendee in and keep him/her interested (methods to avoid droning on forever in a lecture) (self-analysis, reflection, case studies to complete)

    3.  Interaction and idea exchange with others in the course (adults learn from others)           

     4. Action plans and reviews so you can see your attendees putting your concepts and skills to work 

Before You Choose that Seminar Guru’s ‘Training’ Course

You may decide to go outside your office to find online training. Does that course have those 4 attributes I listed above? Who is the course for? Does it have accountability? Does the course have a method for you to coach the agent to the course? What will the agent accomplish through taking the course?

Choosing the right online training can make the difference between ‘still in recession’ three months from now or ‘back up and running’ to profits.

Call me at 425-392-6914 if you have questions about how to switch successfully to online training.

Why reinvent the wheel right now? Take advantage of my online training program, Up and Running in Real Estate, created from my smash hit, the proven business start-up program for new agents– Up and Running in 30 Days. 

Catch a sneak preview here.

This online training for new agents (and seasoned agents who want a jump-start) has the attributes I listed above. There’s one more important component left out of others’ online training:

YOU

I want you to be able to fully support your agents’ success–and grab their loyalty forever. So, I have waived the $99 fee for Coaches Corner (the coaching component of Up and Running in Real Estate) for all who sign up prior to Sept. 1, 2020. To qualify, register at least 1 of your agents in the Up and Running in Real Estate program. See more here.

Lets create success together!

Questions? Call me and we’ll discuss whether this program would be a ‘fit’ for you and your agents: 425-392-6914.