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Archive for action plan

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.

Engagement: Do you have a plan to drive engagement with your agents in this shifted market? Or, are you waiting for your company, your association, or …… to take over? Or, do you think you just don’t have to engage?

Sometimes it takes years! I don’t want you to lose your agents–or your business.

Concrete Methods to Re-Engage Your Agents

Every week, I’ll be giving you specific actions to take to re-vitalize the communication and the activity levels of the agents in your office. I’m not just drawing these out of a hat. This is what I have done for years to encourage, tell truth, and get agents into action in challenging markets. This will set you up for great profitability, retention, and a wonderful recruiting tool. How do I know? I’ve done it several times. It works.

First: Set Up Your Plan

Don’t wait for your company or some outside force to do this for you. All well and good, but you need to step right in and be the one who literally LEADS right now. That’s right–leads. Oh, boy, I just thought of what I don’t want to happen for you: DON’T just send them to some training guru site and hope all works out (that includes me!).

What Your Plan Should Look Like

First, when I say ‘meetings’, of course I mean via Zoom or Go to Webinar, or a similar program!

As a group (and groups):

  1. New agent training at least weekly with actionable items they are to complete–must be high accountability
  2. Advanced agent training at least weekly with guests sharing best practices for this market
  3. Mastermind groups of various experience and/or production levels
  4. Office meetings weekly with guests

In other words, your training calendar must

  1. Address the needs of the various levels of your agents
  2. Be consistent and well-thought out to serve your agents with actionable items–which you then can get permission to share
  3. Create a compelling reason why your agents should re-engage frequently

You DO have a training calendar, don’t you?

With individuals:

  1. Quartile your agents using any weighing variables you feel are important (4 points for production, 3 points for culture, etc.). See who you can help (probably not the bottom quartile, but you make that call. It’s your time and energy. You deserve a pay-off…..)
  2. Look at what you’ve been urging these agents to get done for the past 6 months (or more!): their website, their bios, their databases, their presentations, etc.
  3. Choose 5 action items you want to use with each agent, and let each agent prioritize and add to these actions, add dates–so it’s their plan; or, ask each agent to come up with 5 prioritized items
  4. Set up a schedule with each agent to review actions–I’ll be helping you apply great coaching techniques so they are motivated to keep going!

What I’ll be Providing You

Besides these overview and bigger picture items, I’m going to provide you specific action items (some with templates so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel) that you can drop in in several training/coaching areas

Who Will Survive and Thrive Through this Time

I know today, there are companies and/or managers who have a ‘hands off’ approach: It’s the agent’s business and that agent decides when, how, and how much to do–alone. When the market is going nuts, that works, because the market is driving the agents. But, when the market becomes challenging, the agents are looking for leadership, for guidance, for coaching. They get lost–more easily than they will admit. Those who provide positive, clear, supportive leadership now will come out with a much stronger profit picture, a synergistic team, and a recruiting tool.

Tell me: What are YOU doing to drive action in your office right now?

               Let’s Partner to Drive your Success!

Online Training – keyboard 3d render illustration with word on blue key

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

Not just a distance learning program!

No one wants to sit in front of a computer especially now!) and learn neat stuff….

Effective online training has to have 3 things:

  1. An easy, engaging process to draw the attendee in and keep him/her interested
  2. Interaction with a real human being once inawhile
  3. Interaction and idea exchange with others in the course

Ive integrated these 3 critical factors in Up and Running in Real Estate.

  1. Engaging--I created humor, introspection, and awards to motivate attendees to keep going through the program
  2. Coaching: I will be personally group coaching agents in the program, and you have a unique opportunity to coach in the program, too.
  3. Interaction:  set up discussion groups so agents can interact and support each other 

An Easy Way to Integrate Coaching Your Agents 

Your support right now is critical. So, I waived the $99 fee for Coaches Corner (the coaching component of the program) for all who sign up prior to Sept. 1, 2020. To qualify, register at least 1 of your agents in the program. See more here.

Lets create success together!

Do you where your agents spent your money last year? Knowing is critical to their NOT having empty pockets next year. I know you’re going to help your agents create business plans this year, so I want to share these stunning surveys with you.

In my upcoming webinar, I discuss the importance of 3 critical areas you must know–and your agents must know– to succeed next year. One of these areas is the agent’s budget.

Here are the surprising results of a study on how top agents spent their marketing dollars: 

As you can see, agents spent their money NOT on the best sources of business, but on other sources. Why? Maybe because they thought these other sources were more interesting. Maybe they wanted to try something new. Maybe they didnt know where they had spent their money before, and just kept throwing it at these less-than-stellar sources.

Help your agents find out where their money went last year, and how big a bang they got for the buck. Now, you’re ready to plan for 2020.

Join Me for my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

Whether you’ve been in business 20 years or 20 minutes, you need an awesome blueprint for a great 2020–and so do your agents. Join us for this fast-paced webinar, where Carla Cross, who literally ‘wrote the book’ on real estate business planning, will help you do just that.

In this webinar, you’ll:

Get the blueprint the most successful agents and businesses use to create a plan that works. You don’t need a ‘fill in the blanks’ color by the numbers plan–you need a businessperson’s way to think through your business so you’re ready for anything that comes your way in 2020.

Gain the critical step usually left out in business planning–the step that can literally save your money and efforts from going down those dreaded planning ‘cul-de-sacs of frustration and failure

How to predict and project your 2020 results so you know your plan is going to work for you–not someone else!

Your gold mine right in front of you—and few agents are ‘mining’ it. You’ll save thousands in marketing dollars, lower your stress, and enjoy a much better business if you create the right action plan for 2020.

You’ll get some stunning and surprising statistics that will help you create the right actions for 2020, instead of guessing at what to do next.

Managers: You’ll gain tips on helping your agents plan–and how you can be a true support for their planning efforts. Just imagine what your profits would be like if every one of your agents had a workable plan?

Questions: You’ll have a chance to ask Carla your business planning questions, too. You’ll gain handouts from her business planning programs.

Space is limited, so register now! Let’s work together to create an exceptional 2020.

$$$$$$ 2 lucky people will win Carla’s complete business planning systems, too.

When: Dec. 12 (Thursday)

Time: 10-11 am, Pacific Standard Time (west coast)

What: Business planning webinar (join with your computer)

Register here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.