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Archive for action plan

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.

Every company says they have training. But, can you prove it? Does each program you present have a reason to be there? Read how to create a training calendar that reflects your challenges and goals.

No training plan or calendar? Here’s how to put together a great one!

In a couple of months, you’ll be thinking about creating your business plan for the next year (already?!!!!). How do you know what training to provide your agents? One method is to look at your profit and loss. In addition, you need to find out training needs–from your agents’ perspective. 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 probably 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 are right. Prospecting/lead generation. So, you’ll want to create series with them–a dynamic lead generating plan for next year–and train 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.

Are All Your Challenges Solved by Training? Not!

For example: You’ve noted an ethics problem in your office. You want your agents to “be more ethical”. That is not a training problem. It is a selection problem. You cannot train your way out of the ethics we adopted when we were 5! But, you certainly can solve a listings sold problem with training. Be careful when you are 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.

An Analysis Handout For You

In my last blog, I discussed creating a training calendar. Click here to get my analysis tool to help you assess the effectiveness of your training calendar.

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Leadership

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This convenient online 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 leadership.

Here are the 5 great performance principles I learned from my piano teacher.

Why are these so important? Because, as trainers, we want to

change behavior,

 

 

not just impart information!

Big questions right now: Are you training with methods that actually change behavior, or are you just imparting information you think will help your students?

PS. If you want creative training techniques that really do change behavior, check out my unique course, Instructor Development WorkshopOr, see my distance learning version, Train the Trainer. Both qualify instructors to teach clock hour courses in Washington state.

Why Some Get Results–and Others Don’t

Recently, one of my coaching clients (an owner of a real estate company) asked me, “Why do some trainers and coaches get great results and others don’t–but seem to be working as hard?”

Great question, huh? In fact, if we trainer/coach types knew that answer, we could build our systems so that we assured great performance! So, I went back to my ‘former life’–that as a musician and piano/flute teacher, and thought, “Why do some piano teachers create great performers–and others don’t?”

Why Use Piano Teachers as the Analogy….

I use the analogy of the piano teacher, because it’s easy to hear differences in sloppy and great performance. I’m sure you’ve heard 2 people play the same piece of music. One plays it accurately and one just kind of slops through it. Or, some piano teachers’ students drop out, unmotivated to practice, while others stay motivated, challenged, and achieve high performance–even if they don’t seem to have great talent.

Five Proven Components for Great Performance

From having taken piano lessons since age six, gaining a degree in piano performance, and having taught piano at the grade, high school, and college level, I’ve had an opportunity to see the great and the not-so-great–both teachers and performers. Here are the five components I’ve discovered make the biggest difference in great performance (which is what you want to shoot for when you teach!).

1. Great piano teachers screen in and screen out.
They don’t let just anybody take lessons from them.

Trainers and coaches: What’s your ‘screen in’ process? Do you have one? Do you have a list of questions you ask? In our coaching company, we have a prescribed list of questions we ask potential clients (and we unfortunately have to turn down some). I even have a Coachability Assessment I provide potential clients. Click here to request your copy.

2. Great piano teachers set expected standards (minimums) during the screening process–not after the lessons start!
Those standards include: Amount of practice each day, recitals attended and played in, going to lessons, etc.

Trainers and coaches: What do you expect of your clients? Make a list of at least 5 standards now–and get the ‘mutual expectations’ agreement in writing prior to letting them into your program.

3. Great piano teachers figure out the ‘competency levels’ they want their students to attain–and when they expect them. They won’t let the students perform in front of others if the student has not reached compentency levels.

Trainers and coaches: How good do you expect your students to get in that one-month training program you’ve been doing? Do you even measure skill levels? Which skill levels to you measure? How? Do you have your students practice their listing presentations until they reach the level of competency you believe the real client expects? What an eye-opener! Make a list now of 5 skills and the level of competency you want your students to attain in your training program. You’ll see your outcomes go way up just by doing this.

4. Great piano teachers get better performance because their excellent students motivate other good students to excellence.

Trainers and coaches: Have you ever gotten yourself into the situation where you felt like you were way above the other people in your group? This isn’t an ego thing–it’s just a ‘I don’t belong here’ thing. Likes attract. Good performers motivate other good performers. Excellent performers stay. Are you creating a self-motivating group–or, are you creating a situation where your good performers will leave for a team that is ‘more like them’? This goes back to those ‘screen in’ and setting competency principles. I know we all feel challenged when people don’t appear motivated. Here’s one of the secrets to fire them up!

5. Great piano teachers provide lavish praise–when deserved.

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

If you have competency levels, you have a way and a reason to praise. Your students/clients know when they have reached those levels–and can expect praise, too! In fact, strong students/clients will ask you for praise. Write down the 5-10 methods you use to appreciate and praise good performance. If you can’t get to 10, figure them out.

But, what about the method? The specific coaching, the training? Yes, the method is important, but the coaching/training techniques above are much more important. I’ve heard some great performers and some poor performers all playing the same kind of music from the same method. At the same time, great methods should have some ‘built-in’ features that assure the trainer/coach is achieving these 5 principles.

Principles, System, Coaching–Putting it All Together

From talking with prominent trainers, managers, and coaches, we’ve pinpointed a need for all those training and coaching today to get the coaching they need to turn out great performers. So, each one of these 5 principles is in my initial online training program for newer agents: Up and Running in Real Estate. Check it out. Your agents will be performing better and faster with this program and principles.

Is Your Initial Training Program Getting the Results you Want?

Or, a better question: Do you know what the results are? With my online training program, Up and Running in Real Estate, you see the progress your agent is making each week. You measure the results in concrete terms. Check it out. It will save you time, and money, and give you much greater retention!

How much time should you spend in these management activities I’ve listed in the handout below?

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

In my Leadership Mastery Coaching program, I provide several analysis tools to help new managers get started right with the best practices. At the end of this blog, grab my Time Analysis for Managers. Use this to set up your schedule (if you’re going into management). If you’re already in management or managing managers, use this to help managers get their priorities right for success.

Where Managers Go Right–and Wrong

In my most popular book, Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s start-up plan, I divide all the activities an agent could do into two categories: business producing or business supporting. Business producing are those activities where the agent is finding, working with, and closing clients. Business supporting are all the rest of the activities. Where do you think agents go wrong? They spend too much time in business-supporting activities.

Now, let’s compare that to the categories and activities managers do. They also divide themselves nicely into busininess-producing and business supporting. (Take a look at my handout at the end of this blog).

How do You Spend Your Time?

From working with hundreds of managers in my Leadership Mastery program, I see that successful managers spend the majority of their time in business producing activities. The failing managers spend most of their time in business supporting activities. In fact, they become masters of the technical aspects of the business, and spend lots of time preparing and playing technology. (Sound familiar to those of you managing failing agents?) There’s nothing wrong with knowing the technical aspects of real estate and using technology. But, the failing manager focuses and ‘lives’ there.

What’s Your Conclusion?

Let me know how you used this analysis tool. General managers: What did you find when you had a manager use this tool? What changes will you help them make?

Grab my Time Analysis for Managers. Use this to set up your schedule (if you’re going into management). If you’re already in management or managing managers, use this to help managers get their priorities right for success.

Resources (Some are FREE) to Gain those Management Skills

This month, I’m offering some of my management resources free with purchase of other resources. Check it out here.

It’s time to do your business plan! So, my blogs for December and early January focus on helping you create that business plan–and getting your agents to plan.

So often, our business plans are ‘big picture’. It’s lovely, it’s inspirational–and it’s utterly not useful to our everyday practice! For a business plan to work, it has to have the ‘big picture’ parts (vision, review, mission, objectives) AND the action plan parts–those things you really intend to do each day and week. These are the actions that result in reaching your monthly and yearly goals.

What Action Plans do Leaders Need?

Here’s a graphic from my online resource, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. You can see the specific action areas I think you need in your business plan. I made these divisions so that you actually could create action plans that had relevance to what you do every day. And, accomplishing actions in these areas assures you are taking daily steps to reach your goals.

Action Plans Must Relate to Your Goals

Too often, when we get to the weekly and daily tasks, the actions that effect our bottom line just don’t happen.

For example: You’ll see that recruiting plans are one area of our action plans. But, life gets in the way and we just don’t recruit. So, to assure you do the actions you KNOW will result in greater productivity and profits, use these divisions and make your specific plans. In my business planning systems, I’ve made detailed, fill-in forms that assure you think through and make action plans for each of these areas–action plans you can rely on. Otherwise, my experience shows that brokers just don’t get to the details of action planning.

Click here to get a copy of these action plan areas.

Grab My Online Business Planning Program

Thought you’d get it done but it’s still on your ‘to do’ list? I want to help!

Managers: Frustrated because you can’t get your agents to plan? Problem solved! I’ve put my exclusive planning pages online–plus webinars to help you get through that plan fast. Don’t wait another year for business success. See more here.

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

 

Ready to order? Click below:

Beyond the Basics of Business planning for Managers  $249 (includes all the agent planning materials, too!)

Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for Agents  $99