Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Archive for Business planning

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

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

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

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

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

Coaches provide the Framework for Good Performance

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

Accountability in the Real Estate Office: Coaches Have Three Jobs

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

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

Anything Goes…

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

Watch What They Do 

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

What New Agents Say They Expect

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

Expecting ‘Dumb Luck’ to Carry them to Success

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

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

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

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

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

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

Lead Generating on Purpose

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

20 contacts to get one buyer or seller lead

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

3 listing appointments to gain one marketable listing

80% of listings sell

80% of transactions close

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

 

    

Here’s the straight scoop on real estate as a career: Launching Right in Real Estate: What They Won’t Teach You in Pre License School. I’ve put the principles of a business start-up-plan, and I’ve laid out exactly what it takes to create a successful career-fast. Pre-order now here. Available April 30. $24.95 300 pages/eBook.
Feb
19

Give Me Your Expert Advice!

Posted by: | Comments (0)
How can we ‘stack the deck’ so new agents succeed more often? More $ for you, easier to recruit….

Give me your expert advice!

What are new agents doing that causes them to succeed–or fail? What do you want in a start-up program that will help more of your new agents do well–and do it fast? What’s missing in the training and coaching programs you’ve been using?

I’m editing Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s business start-up plan, for the 6th edition, due to be out in mid-2021.  In it, I show the what, how, why, and how much of real estate activities needed to do well quickly. Up and Running is very specific, and is easy to use to coach new agents to productivity fast. It has the specific prioritized weekly schedule and activities that future-exceptional agents do to assure a sale fast.

Many updates: The 6th edition has lots of updates, including a new section on promoting yourself through social media, new tech new agents need, and alternative methods of lead generation.

In the next blog, I’ll share more of what I’m putting into this wildly-successful program and get your input, too.

In my blog for agents, Up and Running in 30 Days, I am asking for their advice too, with a separate questionnaire.  

What’s Your Advice?

As one of the new features of the 6th edition, I’m incorporating great managers’ advice to new agents. And, I’m providing dozens of coaching tips to help managers and motivate the new agent and keep him/her in the game.

Here’s what I’m asking:

  1. What do new successful agents do consistently that agents who fail don’t do?
  2. What common mistakes do new agents make that cost them time, money–and hinder their success?
  3. Would you advise a new agent to (why or why not)

–join a team

–have a mentor

–hire a professional coach

  1. What should a new agent look for in a training program?
  2. Other advice you provide to a new agent?

Comments: Do you have advice to me about what’s missing in training and coaching programs? Just put that in comments here. 

Your name:                                                         Email:

Company name:                                                           Your Phone:

Number of agents in your office:

How to Get your Advice to Me

You can write comments to this post with answers to these questions.  

Or, you can download the questionnaire to your computer, complete the questionnaire, save it, and email it to me at carla@carlacross.com. Here is the questionnaire.  You will be assisting thousands of new agents as they begin their careers, and, I think you’ll find that being published will help your ‘street cred’ with those you want to hire!

If I’m able to use your comments in my book, you will receive a complimentary copy of Up and Running, acknowledgment of your comments, AND lots of PR–to help you in your recruiting as an expert in helping new agents.

P. S. Please get your comments to me by Feb. 24, so I can meet the publisher’s deadline for submitting the edited book. Thank you!

Can you add the inspiration to your business plan? Why? So you’ll actually look at it and follow it! Unfortunately, most business planning systems just ask you to fill in some forms. Boy, that’s really inspiring….not!

So, how do you inspire yourself (and your team) to create and use your plan?

Create your mission.

What is it? 

A statement that defines your real estate career in these areas:

  • What you do
  • What you specialize in
    What you are selling in real estate
    What areas/target markets you specialize in
    What kind of services you provide  

As important as your mission is in defining what you will do, it also is restrictive, because it guides you in deciding what you won’t do.

Mission statements are:

  •  Not lightly changed
  • Written in the present tense
  • Not objectives
  • Not tied to time 

Some examples:

To take my clients step by step through the home buying, selling, or building process as a consultant who approaches each transaction with empathy, integrity, and professionalism, resulting in a nearly 100% referral real estate practice.

We provide superior service to each individual represented by The Farnsworth Team.  Our goal is to ensure that our customers and clients have every advantage as we begin, process, and conclude our real estate transaction.

I am a real estate professional.
I specialize in residential properties.
My clients and customers are upwardly mobile and established professionals.
My premise of service is to find out what people want and help them get it.
I proceed with honest, intelligent effort.
I bring to my clients a sincere concern for their welfare.

Gain my mission worksheet here and inspire yourself, your team, and your clients.

Let me know how the mission works for you. I’d love to see your mission statement, too. Email me at carla@carlacross.com. Thanks!

More Help in Business Planning

Want more guidance, specific, targeted worksheets, and help in creating that awesome 2021 strategic business plan? See Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, my online program–one for real estate agents, one for leadership. I’ll guide you right through the process.

Bonus: Invest in Beyond the Basics of Business Planning before Jan. 15 and I’ll also coach you through your plan, with 3 coaching sessions, starting the third week in January. 

Less than 2 years in the business or have you done less than 8 transactions: You need my business start-up planning program for agents under 2 years in the business: Up and Running in Real Estate. Regularly $249, it’s $199 for you if you register by Jan. 15 and use the code make $ now.   

 
 
 
 

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.

Do you have a social media plan for 2021?

In the last two months of this year, I’m featuring business planning.

How have your agents integrated social media into their business plans? Where does it go? In the marketing part of their plans. That’s pretty easy. But, what should social media to do for agents? Sell houses? Get calls to them? Increase their (and your) image? Before we can answer that, we have to define types of marketing and how to measure its success.

Does Social Media Work?

One of the biggest questions agents ask is,  “Does social media work?” Well, that depends on what you expect it to do for you. To make any of marketing effective, the marketer must first decide what the objectives are for that marketing. Then, marketers can set up appropriate measurement tools.

The Two Types and Objectives of Marketing

Merchandise: That means advertising a product or a service to get the phone to ring, or to get a specific, immediate response. An example of merchandise advertising would be placing a home ad in the newspaper or placing a home ad on Facebook.

Institutional: That means advertising that increases your image, cements your uniqueness in the mind of the consumer, and/or establishes you as the agent of choice. These are not placements that make the phone ring, or get an immediate response. Instead, this kind of marketing is more subtle. It is also more difficult to measure, but, it can be measured. How? By establishing a baseline of consumer perceptions about the product or service, and then measuring the consumer perception after the campaign. (Best to hire a professional marketing service to do this, because it requires expertise).

What do Agents Expect from Social Media Efforts?

If agents are placing homes on Facebook, they probably expect to get inquiries on those homes. Are they getting them? Do they have a method to measure results? Or, if they’re not expecting an immediate response, why are they putting the home there? To show Facebook friends they are successful? The marketer must decide.

If agents (or you) are blogging, what to you expect to get from blogging? If you are establishing yourself as a neighborhood expert or expert in certain types of homes, you should be able to see more acceptance and trust from the consumer after you consistently and frequently add to your blog.

Don’t Give Up!

Frequency and consistency are the by-words of marketers. Yet, advertising executives always complain that their clients expect results too quickly and change their campaigns way too soon. Just think. How many times did you have to hear that pop tune until you started recognizing it? How long until you could hum it? Probably anywhere from 8-20 times!

In my business planning system for real estate agents,  (with a section for managers), I show agents how to create a marketing plan. Put your social media into that plan, be clear about your objectives, and set up consistent and frequent efforts to your best target markets. Now, you are using social media as part of your overall marketing strategy.

Do you have your business plan done this year?

Check out my free business planning information for you in the recorded webinar, available at Carla-Cross.com/free webinars and more. You will get my exclusive strategic planning system flow chart, plus a 10-question planner to help you in creating a great business plan. 

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.

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.