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 Real Estate

Do you think new real estate agents have a romantic–or a realistic–view of the business? Give me your advice.



The ‘romantic’ view: I’ve got my license, my business cards, I’m with a wonderful company. People will find me, be really nice to me, never offer objections, never lie to me, and do whatever I tell them. I will make lots of easy money fast, working no more than 30 hours in a hard week.

The ‘reality’: I don’t expect people to find me. I have to go out and find lots of people. I have to use my ingenuity, grit, tenacity, and never give up. I have to be able to say ‘I don’t know but I’ll find out’ a dozen times a day. I have to be able to tolerate clients not showing up, not telling the truth (come on, don’t be tough on me, it’s true….), not buying when they should, and listing with someone else. 

How do we present reality? You can help. I’m editing the 6th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, the internationally-published business-planning/action book for new agents. I’m also finishing a new book for would-be agents, Launching Right in Real Estate: What They Won’t Teach You in Pre-License School. 

Tell me what you think. I’ve made 2 surveys, one for agents and one for managers. They each will take you just a few minutes, and you’ll be helping our industry prepare people for the reality of the business, not just the romance.

Here’s the link to the survey for agents.

Here’s the link to the survey for leadership.

Please return the survey to me by Feb. 27. If you’re quoted in either book, you’ll receive a copy, of course, and acknowledgment in the book.

Feb
19

Give Me Your Expert Advice!

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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!

Well, I couldn’t resist…although this blog has a completely different meaning and outcome from this picture!

Here’s when agents’ demands are a good thing. 

As a manager, admit that, when you see certain agents coming toward you, your instinct is to run the other way! I’m not talking about those situations, though. I’m addressing those new agents. They probably won’t make demands. In fact, they may be afraid to approach you.

An Agent Who Seeks You Out Is More Likely to Succeed

. Inversely, agents who hang back, afraid to ask for the manager’s guidance, in my observation, will be less successful. Why? Because it takes intestinal fortitude (guts) to launch a real estate business. It takes jumping in, taking risks, and willingness to fail. It takes the same qualities to be proactive in seeking out the manager’s help.

Failing, hiding, and leaving. Over and over, I see agents failing, avoiding their manager (even when he asks to help), and then leaving. Unfortunately, these agents often tell their side of the story–that they didn’t get enough ‘support’. They are right. Secret agents don’t get a lot of support. But, that’s not the fault of the manager.

Confidence in Oneself Is Behind the Action

Agents who come forward to ask for help–or to thank the manager for help–are more confident in their own abilities. They want to succeed. They’re willing to be guided by their managers. These attributes show me, again and again, that they are future success stories. 

Advice to agents: If your manager doesn’t come forward to ask to coach you, go to her! I really appreciate new agents who consistently make appointments with me to let me know what they are doing, how they are doing it, and how I can assist them. That’s managing the manager! Obviously, these new agents get more of my attention, concern, and positive strokes—the fuel for motivation.

See more on how new agents can work successfully with their managers in Up and Running in 30 Days.

Here are three hot tips to get them to go to training. This month, I’m featuring training. 

Here are 3 surefire ways to get your agents to attend—and get recruits to attend, too! This is from Jodi Sipes, senior coach and great instructor.

1) Leverage Affiliates
Title representatives, mortgage brokers, escrow companies, home inspectors, and others can support your training calendar by adding lunches and other incentives to improve attendance. The best benefit is that this is a win for everyone, and forges bonds between agents and affiliates. The benefit for the affiliate: They get in front of your agents and get to know them—building trust. The benefit for the agents: They get hands-on training from people who are “out there doing it now,” and they get to know a variety of affiliates so they can decide if they would like to do business with them.

2) Create Positive Expectations for their Accomplishments
For new agents, create a booklet that details all the classes you expect them to attend in their first year. You can use this to set mutual expectations at the time of hiring. Create dates for them to attend. Check off each class as they complete it, and celebrate their growth! Everyone should celebrate when they get their first listings and sales, too. The booklet helps them keep it all straight, and is a tool for you to keep track of their progress, as well. Yes, it’s fine to have a digital checklist. But, we believe what we see. We really tune in to tactile, too. So, take advantage of the various ways people learn and access their emotions.

3) Be Lavish in your Recognition/Improved Performance
Have drawings or special prizes and recognition at meetings for the agents who grow to a new level through the office training. Use their testimonials when you market the classes to your agents. Get creative ! Use audio and video testimonials. When an agent admires the performance of another, they will want to model what they do.

It’s  a Process, not an Event

Putting together world-class training is a process, and will not be all you want it to be right away. It takes planning, support from your agents and affiliates, and time to catch on and develop. You can grow and improve each year!

More in New Agent Development SystemsWhat is a ‘new agent development system?‘ It is an integrated system of coaching and training to take your new agent from his first day in the office, through initial training, and coaching to success.  

We are here to support your agent development systems. Talk to us about coaching you in developing world class training with our knowledge and systems. You’ll go further faster, and have time to do all the other management duties you know you should be doing!

audience sleepingHow to get them to attend training?

A common complaint of managers is that they can’t get their agents to come to training. For the next few weeks, I’m concentrating on training.  Why? Because it should be a huge part of your value proposition. After all, you can’t just recruit them–can you? You need also to have a complete development system. Coaching and training ARE a huge part of that agent development system.

Having trouble getting them to training? I turned to one of our senior coaches, Jodi Sipes, M. A. Here, Jodi shows you how to market your training to attract your agents and get them excited as students. Jodi’s advanced education in adult learning, plus her years of experience creating and implementing exceptional training for new agents, gives her a unique perspective.

Don’t be Dull! Set up Themes to Pique the Curiosity and Up the Attendance

Don’t just list the topics you are going to present. Create themes. For example: Listing month! New Year Planning! Spotlight on Buyers! Now that you have the over view of training and components put together, make sure that they compliment and support each other. For instance, when you are training new agents with the Up and Running in Real Estate training schedule, you should have supplementary training/practice days in your office. This is also a great place for experienced agents to grow as trainers—plus, their time will be saved, as they will teach everyone at once, instead of having a bunch of new agents knocking on their door with questions all the time.

Get Creative! Give it a Provocative Title

We see lots of training calendars in our training consulting. Most of them are dull as old brick! Don’t just list the topic. Instead, get creative. Make the topic interesting, even provocative. Put a new ‘spin’ on the topic. For ideas, read the names of programs given at your state and national Realtor conventions. Some of the topic names are really creative!

Give it a Double Punch for Double Learning

Don’t just teach the curriculum. Find ways to expand that subject from all the angles. For example: When you have a new agent training section on listing presentations you should have a top Realtor from your office give a demonstration on an effective listing presentation or an effective CMA. When you work with Buyer’s presentations, have a lender come explain the issues and requirements buyers face. Lead follow up and business planning create a good time for software vendors to show their programs. Marketing sections offer an opportunity for affiliates to show how they can support agents, and for vendors to show how their products can support agents. These supplementary classes are great for all agents of all levels.

Alternate Formal with Casual for the Unexpected

It’s also great to incorporate casual (brown-bag lunch—agent “Rap” session) support groups to encourage agents to share their ideas and frustrations. This creates a “teamwork” feel to your office, and helps agents through current challenges. When the manager shows up at these for the first part, agents can get their questions answered in a format that answers these for many agents—saving the manager time!

Putting together world-class training is a process, and will not be all you want it to be right away. It takes planning, support from your agents and affiliates, and time to catch on and develop. You can grow and improve each year.

We are here to support your agent development systems. Talk to us about coaching you in developing world class training. You’ll go further faster, and have time to do all the other management duties you know you should be doing.

LM CoverAre Your Agents Developing Quickly?

Let us help you create a recruiting, coaching, and training plan that works to get you–and them–more productivity faster. We’ll help you career complete Career Development Systems for both new and seasoned agents. Now, you have systems. You can expand. you can relax a little. Why not check out Leadership Mastery Coaching with a complimentary consultation?

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.