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Archive for business plan analysis

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.

If your training is missing the mark, and you’re not getting results, here’s what to do so you get more production and don’t waste your time.

Are you sure you’re offering the right training?

For the next few blogs, I’m offering tips on making your training work better. And, I’ll be offering tips for trainers, too.

Look at your training calendar. If you don’t have one, simply take a 3-month calendar and write in the training you’re providing.

At the end of this article, I’ll give you my Training Calendar Evaluator—a tool to use to see what your training really looks like. I developed this tool when I was regional director for a very large franchise. I wanted to help managers and trainers improve their training programs and calendars.

What’s the ratio of business-producing vs. business supporting training modules you have now in your training plan and calendar?

When I see some training calendars, I can see why their training is not increasing productivity. Most or all of their modules are concerned with business supporting subjects (technical knowledge): Home inspections, the law of agency, websites, social media, etc. That’s all nice, but what does it directly do with creating productivity? Here’s the path to a sale: 

Excerpted from What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School (Carla Cross, Noteworthy Publishing, Inc.)

If you want to increase productivity and profits, your training calendar needs to reflect your training in these business-producing areas.

What are you training to that will make a real difference in your productivity and profits next year? Put that in your business plan.

To get my analytical tool, Training Calendar Analysis Tool, click here. I’ve added some questions, too, in most categories, to help you think through these decisions and come up with a blazingly good training program.

Let me know the changes you’ve made based on your evaluation. I want to help you create training with impact, with less work from you!

Help for your Training and Trainers

Do you provide training for your presenters and trainers? I’d love to help you, and them, learn and practice these types of great, quickly applicable strategies. I do trainings and presentations for Realtor trainers, trainers of real estate companies, and affiliates.

Get in touch with me and we’ll talk about your needs. I customize each presentation, too, for YOUR specific audience needs. My background as a performing musician, coupled with my real estate sales, leadership, and training experience, gives me a unique ‘take’ on training trainers. I’d love to help you!  

Got your business plan done? Why not get dozens of tips to polish (or start) that plan) by looking at the webinar I did a couple of weeks ago?

You’ll get guidelines to organize your whole plan, and you’ll get tips to assure that plan works for 2020!

Click here to see the video and get all the handouts, too. Happy New Year!

In these posts in November and December, I’ll be featuring business planning strategies. Watch for  checklists, processes, and systems--ready to use, too. I want to help you and your agents create a great business plan for next year!

This post’s ‘gift’ is my after sale survey. See the link in the body of the blog.

Coaching your agents: Before your agents launch right into that business plan for next year, take a look back. Why? Your history will provide clues about how to save time and money for next year.

1. Where’s your money been going? It makes sense that the money you invest in your career  should be giving you pay-offs equal to your investment. Unfortunately, many agents don’t know where they spent the bulk of their money last year. Go back over the past four months.

Add up the moneys you’ve spent to generate business in each of your ‘target markets’–those identifiable groups of people that you build programs around to get business (geographical farm, first-time buyers, etc.) Where are you spending most of your money? Are you getting a good enough ‘return on your investment’? You’ll use this analysis to build your budget for next year, too.

From working with agents in my business planning course, I’ve observed that many agents don’t build a business plan around their best source of business: ‘sold’ customers and clients. Marketing surveys show that it costs six to nine times as much to get a new customer as to keep an old one. So, if you spend more money on your best source, and less on your other sources, you’ll optimize your investment.

2. What are your ‘success’ ratios? Most agents don’t know this one:

What are your ratios of listings taken to listings sold?

How many of your sellers are you making happy?

How many of those sellers are so delighted with your service that they will refer more people to you? In my opinion, a good agent should target  a 80-90%  success ratio in this area.

Why? We all know we need to promote ourselves. The most successful, believable promotions are based on our success records–what we’ve done, not promises. If you have a sign on your desk that says “If you don’t list, you don’t last”–tear it up. Instead, put up a sign that reads, “If your listings don’t sell, you don’t last. Small adjustments, big dividends. (Plus you’ll save lots of marketing dollars.)

3. How ‘delighted’ are your customers? Most so-called ‘business plans’ in real estate merely are goal-setting grids. Focusing only on the ends suggests that the ends justify the means. However, the consumer sure doesn’t think so! These goal setting grids alone lead agents to miss the point of the decade: Top-flight customer service begets more business. That is, not just what you do, but how you do it.

What level of customer service are you providing? Is it just good enough to get through the transaction? Or, is it so great that your customers and clients are thoroughly delighted? (Delighted consumers refer business to you–less cost and more effort equals big pay-offs, right?)  What can you build into your business plan to assure that you’re regularly delighting those you work with?

One of the agents in featured in many of my books, Rick Franz, now provides surveys weekly during the time he works with buyers and sellers. He wants clients to know he cares how they feel about the service, and that he’s dedicated to providing the best service they’ve ever had. Pretty competitive, yes?

Click here to get my after sale survey, one of the dozens of strategies ready to use in my business planning system.

Although there are dozens of areas to scope in your plan, just taking one hour out of your day now to assess these three areas–and plan adjustments–will assure you make more money this year–and create a better, more pleasant long-term career.

Be Strategic In Your Planning this Year!

Why not create a great plan, with the flexibility to change with the times? It’s all online now, and you can plan as you go. There’s a planning system for leadership, and, when you buy the leadership plan, you also get entry to the agents’ planning system. Take a look at Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

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 checklists, processes, 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! Yet, most of the information we are still getting is about day-to-day selling and managing.

However, we’ve learned that we can’t just keep completing tasks and get ahead. We know that, after we’ve conquered sales and management basic skills, we still have a whole group of other skills to master. Those are called ‘business skills’, and they require as much dedication to master as do those sales and managing skills. One business skill is we need is analyzing your business.

Why Business Analysis?

If we don’t know where we’ve been, how can we decide on best strategies for the next year?

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.

*Grab All the Tools You’ll Need 

All these analysis tools all in one place–my online business planning program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. Take a look here. There’s a program for agents and a program for leadership. The leaderhship program includes the agents’ program, so you can share that with your whole office.