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Archive for Business planning

Here’s how you can inspire your agents to make great business plans. It’s all in the mission!

It’s time to do your #business plan! So, my next blogs will focus on helping you create that business plan–and getting your agents to plan. I’ll include some of the planning templates, too, from my business planning program (see below).

The Mission Creates Excitement and Inspiration

Do your agents have mission statements as part of their business plans?

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

The Importance of Your Mission

This time of year, we’re encouraging real estate professional to create their business plans.

Why? Because, otherwise, you don’t know whether or not the actions you decide to take will fulfill your mission. This is also true of your agents.

Tackling and Bringing Down your Time Management Challenges

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

how to put YOU into your management and sales business successfully

#Free Business Planning: I have a gift for you right now, to help you assist your agents in defining their missions (it works for leadership, too). Click here to get this planning tool, which is excerpted from my unique online resource Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. 

How About Creating a Real Professional Strategic Plan this Year?

Ready to step up to a real strategic business plan? Here’s help to you and to your agents. The leadership program of Beyond the Basics of Business Planning gives managers guidance in how to get their agents to plan. It gives them a #course on business planning if they want to teach it to their agents. Or, Carla will teach your agents with 2 webinars. Your leadership tuition includes all your leadership planning documents and all the agent planning documents and webinars. Check it out here.

Note: Through November and December, I’ll help you with your 2021 business plans. You’ll find free documents from my business planning system for owners. Subscribe to this blog so you won’t miss a thing.

How to get your agents to create business plans–and they’ll love it!

Let’s get real. Your agents aren’t motivated to build that business plan–and we aren’t either. We know we’re supposed to write business plans. Yet, if your agents are like 95% of real estate professionals, doing that seems just like an exercise in futility. Most business plans don’t inspire.

Leaving out the ‘Magic’?

There are components left out of most plans–components that put the inspiration and motivation into your plan and your agents’ plans. I’ll give you specific guidance for you to put that magic into business plans, so you and your agents are inspired every day to not only to complete the plan, but to use it as a very personalized and specific guide to your success.

Why Are Most Business Plans Useless?

Unfortunately, when most people write business plans, all they do is fill in some blanks with “guess” numbers. The problem here is that numbers in blanks aren’t inspiring. They aren’t motivating. They don’t call out and suggest to you that you should look at those numbers once in awhile!

What Really Motivates Us?

If numbers inspired us, we’d all be gazillionaires selling real estate. After all, we say we want to sell more homes than the average agent. We want to make more money than the average agent. You know the drill, and we’ve heard it from hundreds of agents hundreds of times. Yet, if numbers and money were motivators, our results would be different than they are. The fact is that money, in itself, is not a motivator.

Your Vision Drives Your End Game

What will people say about your business when you retire? That’s your vision. It’s really important for you, as a leader, to have a clear vision of your business. It’s just as important for your agents to have a vision.

Click here for a worksheet on vision. Inspire your agents to keep the end game in mind. Why are we doing what we are doing? In a later post, I’ll give you another tool to inspire your agents to a great plan–and you.

Ready to step up to a real strategic plan? Here’s help to you and to your agents. The leadership program of Beyond the Basics of Business Planning gives managers guidance in how to get their agents to plan. It gives them a course on business planning if they want to teach it to their agents. Or, Carla will teach your agents with 2 webinars. Your leadership tuition includes all your leadership planning documents and all the agent planning documents and webinars. Check it out here.
You are going to do a business plan for 2021. Great! But, don’t start creating your action plan until you’ve answered the 10 questions below.

Business planning! Don’t start that action plan yet. Answer the 10 questions below and you’ll know exactly what to put in your plan for 2021.

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.

Big Mistake in Business Planning: Launching Right Into your Action Plan

The most common question I get when I’m teaching business planning is, “What should I do next year?” or “What should I put in my action plan?”

That’s like starting at the end of a piece of music and working backwards (I’m a musician….). 

Managers: Coach to These 10 Questions to Help Your Agents Create Great Plans

In future blogs, we’ll investigate parts of the business planning process that must precede creating the action plan. Now, let’s look at the 10 questions we must answer from our businesses this past year so we can choose the right actions for 2021.

 

You can use this with your agents. Grab the document here. 

 

Getting serious about business planning? I can help. 

Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, my unique online program, will show you exactly how to construct a strategic plan that will work for you for 2021.

Agents: 14 documents and 2 webinars walk you right through the planning process

$149

Leadership: All agent documents and webinars, plus leadership documents and 3 webinars to help you convince your agents to plan and involve them in the planning process

$249

Purchase here and create an awesome strategic business plan for 2021.  

Bonus: Free Business Plan Coaching

Purchase by Nov. 23 and Carla will provide coaching to your business plan in a small group; 3 Zoom sessions to help you finish that plan–one per week, starting on Nov. 23. She’ll answer questions, and explore new ideas. This is a $500 value, FREE to you when you invest in Carla’s strategic business planning system now.

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.

 

In November and December, I’m featuring business planning. Why? Because we’re all told to make business plans. But, it’s estimated that only about 20% of leadership and less than that for agents–actually have plans.

What is ‘Intentional Planning’?

It’s making a behavioral-based action plan–which answers the questions What are you going to do?

When are you going to do it? 

How are you going to go about it?

The Science Behind this Component

A study in Advances in Experimental Social Psychology conducted with 8000 participants found that intentional planning was the key factor in a successful habit change. This approach increased the chance of successful change by 50-80%!

The ‘Secret’ to Change

We regularly declare our intentions. But, we rarely get specific about them. When we’re not specific, we don’t have a roadmap to chart that change. We don’t know the actions to take. In order to change our intentions from ‘general’ and ‘philosophical’ to action-based, we need to answer these questions:

What

When

How–what shall we practice? How shall we do it?

The Reason Most Business Plans Fail

As a manager and trainer, I’ve seen all sorts of business plans. I’ve seen all sorts of business planning templates. Unfortunately, many plans stay in the ‘what’–the philosophical statements or just the numbers. Inferior templates encourage this flawed thought process. So, people blithely create these business plans, focusing only on the ‘what’, set them on the shelf, and continue doing exactly what they have been doing!!! So, they get the same results.

Fire Up Your Agents with Intentional Planning

Here’s how to use intentional planning to fire up your agents. I’m always looking for tips in motivating others (and myself). I found a great article from my personal trainer. It says that ‘intentional planning’ is the biggest component to obtain your goals.

My Business Planning System ‘Forces’ This Thought Process

Having used those flawed plans and having seen my agents and other managers fail with them, I built into my business planning system and templates the when and how. So, My system actually forces the user to think through the whole process–to get to the weekly/daily action plans that will help change their business habits for the better.

How Specific is YOUR Plan?

The acid test: Could I take your business plan, follow it, and see results? If it’s not that action-oriented, you can’t follow it either!

As Michael Gerber, author of the E-Myth Real Estate Agent and the E-Myth Revisited, stated

The integration of your systems is your business plan.

Be sure the business planning system and templates you’re following direct your thinking from the ‘what’ to the when and the how. Now you’re cooking!

Managers: As you’re counseling your agents, be sure their plans get to ‘where the rubber meets the road’. Could you follow their plan–or is it just a series of numbers or high-fallutin’ statements?

Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

Get inspired to create that business plan you’ve been wanting for a better 2021!

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.

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 and your agents build exceptional plans.

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.     

 

 

We’re in a situation we’ve never faced before. Do you consider this an ‘interruption’ or an opportunity?

Is this an interruption or an opportunity?

We’ve never faced this kind of situation. Yes, we’ve been through and weathered the slumps. We’ve helped our agents change their strategies from sellers’ to buyers’ markets and back again. But, this is somewhat different.

Consider This a Unique Leadership Opportunity

On April 23, at 10 am PDT, I’ll be presenting a webinar for leadership on how to seize this time as an opportunity to lead. 

For many agents (I estimate it’s about 75% or more), this time is seen as an interruption of a great market. These agents have depended on

the market driving their businesses.

Now, in an instant, 

the agents must drive the market themselves.

But, most agents are not going to make that shift alone. You need to lead them to the concept that they now drive the market–and show them how to do that.

The Leadership Actions to Reveal Opportunities to Agents

How can you implement specific actions that work now to get your agents back into the business and connecting with their client base? Here are four methods to do just that. In the webinar, I’ll show you how to

  1. Motivate your team members to communicate value to their client base
  2. Mobilize your team to gain exceptional support
  3. Re-focus each of your agents by helping them implement a 60-Day Pivot Business Plan*
  4. Up’ your communication with specific changes

*You’ll receive my 60-Day Pivot Business Plan as my ‘thank you’ for attending this webinar. I’ll show you how to use this plan to coach your agents.

Special circumstances require special leadership actions. How have you lead your agents from an ‘interruption mindset’ to an ‘opportunity mindset’?

Leadership:

The Right

Actions to

Take

Now to

Assure 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!

You as business planning coach: How do you stack up?

This month, I’m focusing on business planning. I want every professional to have a great plan for next year. Look for checklists, processes, and systems, too, ready to use.

You’ve decided to coach your agents in creating great business plans. but, if you’ve never coached an agent in business planning, it can be quite daunting. So, what do you look for? In this blog, I’ll show you how to use this statistic:

listings taken to listings sold in normal market time.

to coach them to a better year next year. You would think agents know this statistic, but very few do. It is so important, because it

  1. Determines whether the agent makes enough money per listing or not
  2. Determines whether the agent builds a positive reputation or a poor one
  3. Reflects the agent’s value-proposition strategy
  4. Reflects on the office’s productivity and profitability

For example: George Smith, a 10-year seasoned agent, has demonstrated a consistent listing strategy. George’s success ratio is 40%. That is, he sells 40% of his listings in normal market time. What does that say about George’s values proposition strategy? How is George using his listings? Is that the culture you want perpetuated in your office?

A Different Example

Sally Overton has a different value proposition strategy. She has a 90% success ratio in listings taken to listings sold in normal market time. Obviously, she is building her referral system with her raving fans. She is making herself more money in less time. She is drastically reducing the number of complaints (and attacks on her self-esteem, too). She is a role model for best practices in her real estate office. Is that practice more in line with your culture?

Your opportunity: As George’s business planning consultant, you’ll be testing George to see if he wants to change his strategy (some agents love being a ‘bait and switch’ artist too much to change). You’ll have the opportunity to help Sally leverage her awesome conversion rates to obtain even more raving fans. (Nothing succeeds like success).

Do you know your ‘conversion numbers’ in listings taken to listings sold for your company? When you make your own plan, be sure to do a thorough review, and find this number. A high number means you’ll be able to recruit better, get better retention, have better team spirit, and your agents can build on that reputation. A low number means you have a lot to work on!

Click here for a list of common agent business planning mistakes to help you as you coach agents through the planning process.

Excerpted from my agent business planning system, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar Recording

It’s on my website now, along with the handouts, at www.carlacross.com/webinars and more (the button).

Plan_Act_Celebrate

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Managers

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This all-new 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 managers.