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 broker

Here’s what the Beatles and Bill Gates reveal about reaching goals.

This month, I’m writing about how we can increase our performance and results–using methods that we normally don’t discuss in real estate. This blogs are a reflection of my new keynote, “You CAN! 5 Secrets from Weird Sources that Will Get You to your Goals.” In this keynote, I investigate the performance skills I learned as a career musician–along with other ‘weird sources’. I show exactly how you can apply these secrets to your business and life to gain exceptional performance.   (and I use the piano to demonstrate!)

You know that the Beatles attained pop music mastery. You know Bill Gates did the same with technology. But, did you know what they have in common-and that you may have, too?

Before I tell you that, let me share something that happens to me often.

You’ve heard the old chestnut, Practice Makes Perfect. I certainly know that as a musician. But, how well do we apply that principle to our business lives? Is this something that is a key to our attaining our goals? I think so. Read on.

The Commonality between the Beatles and Bill Gates

In his fascinating book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell studies performers-from Mozart and the Beatles to Bill Gates. The commonality he found was that high achievers spent an average of

Ten thousand hours practicing and honing their craft to get to mastery

In other words, it isn’t talent, it isn’t just circumstance (although Gladwell points out being at the right place at the right time is important, too)-attaining exceptional performance is just slogging it out, practicing your craft, logging in ten thousand hours.

The Beatles–Having to Work Seven Days for Eight Hours a Night Was the Beset Thing that Could Happen to Them

When I read that the Beatles played in Hamburg 8 hours a night, 7 days a week-for 2 years, I instantly felt tired! I know what it’s like to perform in bars for hours! (I played piano in bars to put myself through college–what an education!) But, the Beatles said that experience was key in making them the performers they became. In an interview, John Lennon said, “We got better and got more confidence. We couldn’t help it with all the experience playing all night long…..we really had to find a new way of playing.”

Bill Gates-Practically Living at the Computer Lab

Gates describes his early years: “It was my obsession….I skipped athletes. I went up there at night. We were programming on weekends.”

Isn’t There a Shortcut?

For those of you who have never attained high performance, you don’t–and can’t-realize the importance of practice. You think that it’s just a matter of talent or luck. But, haven’t you known extremely talented people who just extinguished themselves like a flaming rocked? Haven’t you known people with all the advantages who just didn’t attain what you thought they could-or should? Of course.

Are You Willing to Put in those Ten Thousand Hours to Excel?

From the many examples in Outliers, and from my own experiences as a pianist (I have a degree in piano performance and a master’s degree in music theory), I know that practicing your craft provides the only true competence and confidence. You don’t gain mastery by talking about it. You don’t gain mastery by someone trying to motivate you. You don’t gain mastery by dabbling and calling it ‘good’. It’s practice. So, get out there, and practice and perform. Rack up those ten thousand hours, and you will achieve your goals. If the Beatles and Bill Gates didn’t take shortcuts, we shouldn’t try it that way, either. Isn’t devoting enough time to your goals important enough to you to feel the joy of attainment-of mastery?

Help Them Start on the Road to Mastery Now

What’s the secret to gaining mastery? Starting–and starting with an accurate, proven process. That’s how I created Up and Running in Real Estate–the online training, coaching, and accountability program for agents under 2 years in the business. It’s created to start people practicing, getting into action fast, and getting feedback to keep getting better. Check it out. 

 

Dec
15

Can You Pass this Business Plan Exam?

Posted by: | Comments Comments Off on Can You Pass this Business Plan Exam?

assignmentIn December, I’m featuring business planning. Suggest to your agents they check out Up and Running in 30 Days, my blog for achieving agents. I’ll provide lots of planning tips and free documents.

What should a business plan do for you? Appease your owner? (Ia��ve been there, so I knowa��.) Or, should it actually provide you specific, day-to-day guidance about what to do to make your business thrive? If youa��re a practical person like me, you dona��t like to do a�?busy worka��. You and I believe, then, that a business plan should have a practical application for every day of your business.

The ‘Business Plan’ Exam

Take this quick a�?exama�� to see how your business plan stacks up: (and give it to your agents so they can check their plans, too).

1. By going through your process of business planning, you get the a�?visiona�� and mission principles to make the positioning, marketing, hiring, and termination decisions right for your particular business.A�A�A�A�A�A� A�TA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� F

Got that vision? Few business plans start with vision. This causes huge problems when real estate professionals try to implementa��such as implementing a marketing plan.A� A potential coaching client told me she a�?wasna��t very good at marketinga��, and wondered how to get better. You cana��t become a great marketer unless you have a very clear vision of who you are and where you expect your journey to take you. It all starts with a crystal clear idea of your vision, mission, and positioning in the market. Your business plan should contain these very important statements. Then, when you design an institutional marketing plan, youa��ll be able execute your thoughts and feelings visually.

If your vision and mission arena��t well defined in your business plan, you simply have no solid foundation to make those tough leadership decisions.

2.A� Your business plan starts with reviewing and researching the past year in all your business areas.A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� TA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� F

Have you really reviewed your situation? If your planning a�?templatea�� doesna��t lead you through the analysis of key business statistics, you simply dona��t know what happened. So, you cana��t possibly make decisions for next year, because you dona��t know whether to do it, stop doing it, or start doing something differently!

Example: In your office, what percent of your listings sold within normal market time? What was the percent of list price to sale price? Few business planning templates ask you to grab these statistics and analyze them. Yet, these are the statistics that directly point you to your strategies and tactics for the coming year.

3. Does your business plan have an a�?action plana�� area, so you can translate your yearly and monthly goals into daily actionsa��and actually schedule these actions?A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� TA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� F

No action plan means you just wasted a lot of time: I have seen so many business plans that only played on the a�?resultsa�� playing field. Writing down the results you want are great, but if your plan doesna��t get down to where the rubber meets the road, (what you need to do daily), you simply are doing an exercise. In other words, you have to get past the a�?whata�� and get to the a�?howa�� and a�?how mucha��.

For example: You may say you want to increase your a�?solda�� listings by 25% in the coming year. How are you going to do that? Here are some possibilities for your action plan:

Through recruiting: Hire 12 listing agents that have demonstrated they list properties that sell quickly. Thata��s 1 per month. Thata��s 5 interviews per month. Thata��s 100 recruiting calls per month. Now, you can break that into weeks and days.

Through training: After researching each agenta��s numbers of listings and listings to sold ratios, you are going to create and implement a high accountability training program to teach your agents the skills of successful listing. You will put your training series, which will be a series of four classes, presented 3 times a year, on a training calendar to hold yourself accountable to do them. (And, a calendar is a great recruiting tool).

4. Does your plan consist of integrated, ready-to-follow systems so you can delegate?

T A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� F

Ever thought your systems WERE your plan? Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth and The E-Myth Revisited, says that a business plan consists of the integration of your systems. Most managers and agents feel they are working too many hours. They want to be able to delegate specific duties. But, without systems and processes in place, delegation is impossible.

Is your Business Salable?

Pretend you wanted to sell me your business. I walk into your office. What systems do I see? What systems can I buy from you, so I dona��t have to a�?reinvent the wheela��? What systems do you have that integrate and reflect your values in the overall way you do your business? If you don’t have systems in place that I can readily take over, I might as well start my own company!

How did you do on the a�?exama��? Herea��s your opportunity to think through your business at a much deeper, more meaningful level. Doing so will re-motivate you, re-ignite your passion, and provide you some solid answers for next year.

Click here for an overview of what a leadership planning system should contain.

Want to see more on business planning? Check out my online programA�Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. All the instructional webinars and documents are online, and very easy to complete and implement. This is a program created exclusively for real estate owners and managers. And, when you purchase the manager’s package, you also get access to all the agent’s planning videos and documents.

Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

Just did it with an enthusiastic group last week, and now it’s available to view–along with a PDF of the slides and more. See it here. Why not show it to your agents?

Comments Comments Off on Can You Pass this Business Plan Exam?

penguins focused on goalsDo you hate your business planning process? Here’s how to stop hating and start loving it! I’m focusing on business planning Nov. and Dec. Review all the blogs to get dozens of tips and docs to plan effectively.

Ita��s time to do that dreaded business plan. Herea��s how to make it a love fest, not a drudgery.

It really can be fun….What if you could actually have fun making a plana��and know that the plan you made would at least double your profits for next year? Wouldna��t that be lovely? Having helped hundreds real estate professionals create plans, Ia��ve found an easy method to make that plan in no time. Better yet, I promise that plan will be a blueprint that will work hard for you.

We all talk about it. Few of us actually do it. Even less of us actually follow it! But, almost all of us know we should do it: make a business plan. Why do we resist? Why do we make plans (if we do) that gather dust on a shelf? I think ita��s because ita��s too cumbersome to make the plan. Most plans arena��t practical enough to follow. Wea��re going to change all that right now.

Why Your Planning Process Didna��t Work for You
Too many real estate professionals try to start planning by writing an action plan. (That should actually be the last step!). Instead, start your plan as Ia��ve outlined below. The surprising observation Ia��ve made is that ita��s much faster and better to create the plan when youa��ve done the preliminary steps. In fact, finding out the information below catapults you to your next yeara��s action plana��before you have a chance to question yourself. It assures you have a great plan, too. (And, it goes so much faster).

Wea��ll start with the first two steps. In my next blog, Ia��ll lead you through the next two steps. So, before you know it, youa��ll be ready to polish the fine points of your plan.

Here are those first two steps:

1. Gather and analyze the important numbers. Gather last yeara��s numbers so you can analyze them quickly. (Best to have your secretary/assistant do this for you). These numbers should include the results that most greatly impact on your profitability: (You may have some other favorites. Feel free to analyze them):

a. Number of recruits/lead generation/appointment numbers
b. Net number of agents (how good were your recruiting/ retention efforts?)
c. Number of listings taken
d. Number of listings sold
e. Ratio of listings taken to listings sold
f. Number of sales
g. Balance/ratio of number of sales to listings sold
h. Expenses (whata��s higher than your budget for the year?

Whata��s out of balance with your income and profitability? What can you change?)

Analyzing these numbers give you great big hints as to what you should do as an action plan next year. In fact, youa��ll find it difficult not to think ahead to your action plan! (Thata��s a good thing!).

Your recruiting/lead generating plan for next year
Your retention plan for next year
Your training plan for listings next year
Your coaching plan for each agent/for you (balance of listings sold and sales?) (productivity)

Just with that first step, you almost have the action part of your business plan done!

2. Evaluating YOU. Rate yourself in the various skill areas: recruiting, selection, coaching, training, retention, staff management, etc. For agents, that would be lead generation, lead conversion, presentation skills. Technology skills, etc.

Bonus Want some planning documents? See my October newsletter. I’m including 2 bonuses this month: an internal review for agents, and a manager’s skills review for leadership (great for those managing managers, too).

What have you mastered? What do you want to improve? This becomes your personal/professional training/coaching program for next year.

Your Goal Deadline for These Two Steps

Holding ourselves accountable for what we want is very difficult! So, to help you, Ia��m going to ask you to create a target date to finish these two steps: Dec. 1. Why? So youa��ll be ready for my next blog and the next two steps. This year: A fun, a�?got the lovea�� business plan! I promise youa��ll stand out from the normal real estate pro who never gets around to getting one.

Plan_Act_CelebrateDoes Your Planning System Make the Grade?

If it doesn’t, check out my completely online, on demand system–one version for managers/owners, one version for agents. I’ll coach you through your plan, and provide you all the planning pages. For your agents: I’ll educate/train them in how to plan (so you don’t have to) AND provide them all their planning pages. This is a bargain, because you will have focus and direction for your company for 2016. Click here to learn about Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

 

girl with inspiration sayingsFor a vast majority of real estate professionals, ‘business plan’ means writing down your goals. That’s just a small part of a full business plan. One of the most commonly left-out parts of a business plan is ‘purpose’ or ‘mission’. Do your agents know their purpose? Why are they doing what they are doing? During November and December, I’m blogging about business plans. Why not review all these blogs (including my blog for agents, Up and Running in 30 Days, and get inspired to help your agents grab great plans for 2016.

Do your agents have mission statements as part of their business plans?A�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 A�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 everyone to create their business plans. One of the first things you’ll do in creating your own business plan is to define your mission. 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,A�they’ve already discovered thatA�their biggest challenge is time management.A� HowA�can theyA�get done in a business day everything that needs getting done? That’s where your mission comes in. Creating your mission helps you prioritizeA�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

Plan_Act_CelebrateGrab the Most Popular Planning Resources Exclusively for Real Estate Pros

Tired of dragging your agents kicking and screaming to a business plan? Take advantage of Carla Cross’s 2 decades of expertise. Carla teaches your agents how to plan AND you get all the planning pages. Piece of cake–and you’ll be more profitable in 2016! Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning here.

 

head in the sand a salespersonSpotlighting business planning in December! Look for tips AND free docs.

What do you want to bet that 95% of real estate agents wona��t have a business plan for 2015. But, wouldna��t it be awesome of could reverse that percentage? Here are some steps that will work for you. I know, because I got 95% of the agents in my real estate offices not only to create plans, but to actually look at them throughout the year. Herea��s how.

1. Take Away Commitment Phobia

Ita��s estimated we are told a�?noa�� 148,000 times prior to age eighteen. No wonder we dona��t want to commit to try anything! I know from teaching adults to play the piano, that adults are conditioned not to try anything new for fear of not being perfect. To many, writing a business plan means planning to faila��and then getting punished for it.

So, the first time you introduce business planning, take away the old downside of goal setting and help your agents move in incremental steps forwarda��a step at a time, with lots of positive reinforcement along the way. You have to create a safe haven for first-time planners.

2. Eat the Elephant a Bite at a Time

One of the agents in an office where I just did a small group coaching series told me he put a picture of an elephant on the wall, and then literally divided the elephant into bite-sized pieces, with an action step listed on each bite. What a wonderful visual! For many of your agents, planning is just the most overwhelming process they could envision. So, simply start with one or two areas. Personally, I start with 2-3 areas in the Review.

My favorite is listings taken to listings sold in normal market time. You would think agents know this statistic, but very few do. Ita��s so important, because it

a. Determines whether the agent makes enough money per listing or not
b. Determines whether the agent builds a positive reputation or a poor one
c. Reflects the agenta��s value-proposition strategy
d. Reflects on the officea��s productivity and profitability

Your success rate with listings sold is, in my opinion, the one most important reflection of agent value propositions out there.

For example: George Smith, a 10-year seasoned agent, has demonstrated a consistent listing strategy. Georgea��s a�?success ratioa�� is 40%. That is, he sells 40% of his listings in normal market time. What does that say about Georgea��s values proposition strategy? How is George a�?usinga�� his listings?

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 systema��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.

Your opportunity: As Georgea��s business planning consultant, youa��ll be a�?testinga�� George to see if he wants to change his strategy (some agents love being a�?bait and switchersa�� too much to change). Youa��ll have the opportunity to help Sally leverage her awesome conversion rates to obtain even more raving fans. (Nothing succeeds like success).

3. Make it Really, Really Easy to Start

Have a great business planning process to provide your agents. (Never just ask them to make a business plan, because youa��ll get all kinds of formats). Dona��t overwhelm your agents with too many planning pages to start. Customize your package with each agent. If you can get each agent to look at 1-3 areas of his business, and plan change strategies for a better year in that area, youa��ll have started the processa��a process that will continue, grow, and reap big benefits by year three.

Plan_Act_CelebrateGet Everything You Need to Help Your Agents Plan

I’ve put my 3 decades of work with business plans all online so you save time AND get your agents to create good business plans. Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning now. Special pricing through Dec. 15, too.

Man-Walking-Up-Stairs-to-GlobeThrough November and December I’m featuring business planning. Look at all the blogs for dozens of tips AND free planning documents.

Youa��ve got to cracking on those first two steps to a great business plan that I gave you in my previous blog. Now, leta��s tackle the last two steps. Admittedly, you wona��t have an in-depth plan with these steps, but, you will have thought through the most important aspects for you to get ready to tackle. (and, I think you’ll be excited to get your plan done before the end of the year!).

Step three: Evaluating YOU

Rate yourself in the various management areas: recruiting, selection, coaching, training, retention, staff management, etc.

What have you mastered? What do you want to improve? This becomes your personal/professional training/coaching program for next year.

Step Four: What if

Complete this sentence:a�?If I did these three things next year, I would increase my productivity and profitabilitya�?:

1.
2.
3.

Now, you have your a�?big rocksa�� for your business plan for next year done.

Management tip: Why not have your agents do a ‘what if’ exercises in one of your sales meetings?

Business plans: Active and Breathing, or Stuck on a Shelf?

Youa��re not making a business plan as a financial plan to get money from a bank. Youa��re not creating this wonderful, mushy visionary plan. Youa��re thinking about your specific situation, and then creating an action plan. You will actually put these actions into your monthly and weekly schedule, and act on them! This is the plan you will revisit at least monthly, to measure your actions and results against what you planned.

Make it an action plan and you will get into action.

many peole standing recruitingHave you thought about your business plan for 2014? Yes, it seems it was just summer! But, that planning season is just around the corner (I hope you’re planning in November). To help you get that plan together, I’ll be doing business planning blogs exclusively in November and December. And, I’ve got a very exciting guest blogger (or two) that you’ll be reading sometime during this series. Plus, I always provide some planning documents from my online business planning programs, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.A�

What Should be Different about your Planning Process This Year?

Business planners internationally are really changing how they do the business planning process. Yet, the real estate community is decades behind the times. One of the areas where we’re behind is who we involve in the process. We generally do it by ourselves, and then present it to our agents (if we share it at all!) That’s really, really old style! And, it just doesn’t work very well.

Gain new planners! This year, you shouldn’t do your plan by yourself. Instead, you should involve your agents in the plan. How should you do that? I will discuss this in the free business planning webinar that I’m giving Nov. 22 (see below).A� When you involve your agents in your plan, you

1. Get agents excited about a common focus for your office

2. Help agents create their plans by showing them the planning model

3. Show your agents you actually create a plan!

4. Demonstrate you are a leader

I created the business planning process through my book on business planning I wrote for real estate professionals (the only such internationally published book). Through test marketing the planning process I’ll share with you, I found out how to accomplish the 4 points above. I will show you how on Nov. 22. Join me!A� Plan_Act_Celebrate

Complimentary Business Planning Webinar Nov. 22

Join me for a complimentary business planning webinar ONLY for leadership (owners, managers, recruiters, trainers).A� We’ll discuss the 4 big shifts we need to make in our business planning to create plans that work for today and tomorrow (these are shifts the international business community is leading with. You won’t hear this in any other real estate business planning webinar, seminar, or course!

What: 4 Big Shifts You Need to Make in your Business Planning Process

When: Nov. 22

Time: 1-2 PM PST (that’s 4 PM Eastern, 3 PM Central, 2 PM Mountain)

Click here to register.

 

In November and December, I’m be featuring business planning. Suggest to your agents they check out Up and Running in 30 Days, my blog for achieving agents. I’ll provide lots of planning tips and free documents.

What should a business plan do for you? Appease your owner? (Ia��ve been there, so I knowa��.) Or, should it actually provide you specific, day-to-day guidance about what to do to make your business thrive? If youa��re a practical person like me, you dona��t like to do a�?busy worka��. You and I believe, then, that a business plan should have a practical application for every day of your business.

The ‘Business Plan’ Exam

Take this quick a�?exama�� to see how your business plan stacks up: (and give it to your agents so they can check their plans, too).

1. By going through your process of business planning, you get the a�?visiona�� and mission principles to make the positioning, marketing, hiring, and termination decisions right for your particular business.A�A�A�A�A�A� A�TA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� F

Got that vision? Few business plans start with vision. This causes huge problems when real estate professionals try to implementa��such as implementing a marketing plan.A� A potential coaching client told me she a�?wasna��t very good at marketinga��, and wondered how to get better. You cana��t become a great marketer unless you have a very clear vision of who you are and where you expect your journey to take you. It all starts with a crystal clear idea of your vision, mission, and positioning in the market. Your business plan should contain these very important statements. Then, when you design an institutional marketing plan, youa��ll be able execute your thoughts and feelings visually.

If your vision and mission arena��t well defined in your business plan, you simply have no solid foundation to make those tough leadership decisions.

2.A� Your business plan starts with reviewing and researching the past year in all your business areas.A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� TA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� F

Have you really reviewed your situation? If your planning a�?templatea�� doesna��t lead you through the analysis of key business statistics, you simply dona��t know what happened. So, you cana��t possibly make decisions for next year, because you dona��t know whether to do it, stop doing it, or start doing something differently!

Example: In your office, what percent of your listings sold within normal market time? What was the percent of list price to sale price? Few business planning templates ask you to grab these statistics and analyze them. Yet, these are the statistics that directly point you to your strategies and tactics for the coming year.

3. Does your business plan have an a�?action plana�� area, so you can translate your yearly and monthly goals into daily actionsa��and actually schedule these actions?A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� TA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� F

No action plan means you just wasted a lot of time: I have seen so many business plans that only played on the a�?resultsa�� playing field. Writing down the results you want are great, but if your plan doesna��t get down to where the rubber meets the road, (what you need to do daily), you simply are doing an exercise. In other words, you have to get past the a�?whata�� and get to the a�?howa�� and a�?how mucha��.

For example: You may say you want to increase your a�?solda�� listings by 25% in the coming year. How are you going to do that? Here are some possibilities for your action plan:

Through recruiting: Hire 12 listing agents that have demonstrated they list properties that sell quickly. Thata��s 1 per month. Thata��s 5 interviews per month. Thata��s 100 recruiting calls per month. Now, you can break that into weeks and days.

Through training: After researching each agenta��s numbers of listings and listings to sold ratios, you are going to create and implement a high accountability training program to teach your agents the skills of successful listing. You will put your training series, which will be a series of four classes, presented 3 times a year, on a training calendar to hold yourself accountable to do them. (And, a calendar is a great recruiting tool).

4. Does your plan consist of integrated, ready-to-follow systems so you can delegate?

T A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� F

Ever thought your systems WERE your plan? Michael Gerber, author of The E-Myth and The E-Myth Revisited, says that a business plan consists of the integration of your systems. Most managers and agents feel they are working too many hours. They want to be able to delegate specific duties. But, without systems and processes in place, delegation is impossible.

Is your Business Salable?

Pretend you wanted to sell me your business. I walk into your office. What systems do I see? What systems can I buy from you, so I dona��t have to a�?reinvent the wheela��? What systems do you have that integrate and reflect your values in the overall way you do your business? If you don’t have systems in place that I can readily take over, I might as well start my own company!

How did you do on the a�?exama��? Herea��s your opportunity to think through your business at a much deeper, more meaningful level. Doing so will re-motivate you, re-ignite your passion, and provide you some solid answers for next year.

Click here for an overview of what a leadership planning system should contain.

Want to see more on business planning? Check out my online programA�Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. All the instructional webinars and documents are online, and very easy to complete and implement. This is a program created exclusively for real estate owners and managers. And, when you purchase the manager’s package, you also get access to all the agent’s planning videos and documents.

Complimentary Business Planning Webinars

I’ve recorded 2 webinars for you to help you get inspired to plan for next year–and to give you information on what I believe are the biggest success strategies for the coming year. One webinar is for agents and one is for leadership.

Click here to view them.

Here are fourA�actions you can do to rev up profits right now. These sound simple, but they can be challenging to put to work. Take them one at a time.

1. Recognize that empathy alone is not enough.
Why do brokers think that a�?loving thema�� will somehow motivate agents to go to work? a�?Loving and cheerleadinga�� may suffice in a fast market, but it doesna��t work when everybody needs to face facts and go to work. Smart brokers are focusing agents on lead generating plans and holding agents accountable to that work. That demonstrates their faith in the agentsa�� ability to succeeda��and the ability of the brokersa�� program to facilitate that success.

Conclusion: No plans and no accountability suggests the manager either doesna��t care, or doesna��t have a plan to help agents achieve.

Questions to ask yourself:
How are you communicating your faith in your agentsa�� ability to achieve?
Do you hold your agents accountable to their goals?
How much faith do you have in your productivity programs (or do you have them)?

2. Set the standards of performance to define the values of the company.
Good managers arena��t afraid agents will leave. Theya��re willing to give up that one deal a year to a�?take the lid offa�� those productive people and get them fired up with other pros. If your value proposition says that you have a team of a�?quality professionalsa��, define that in terms of production. (Mycoaching Managersa�� On Track to Success in 30 Days Coaching System for Experienced Agents offers suggested activity and results standardsa��and plans to get your agents a�?leapinga�� over those standards.)

Note: A recent study to over 70,000 professionals in 116 organizations found 93% said working with a slacker actually hampered their development or decreased their productivity.

Questions to ask yourself: Are you unwittingly de-motivating your agents by keeping non-producers?

3. Put systems into place that appreciate, motivate, and inspire your agents.Studies prove that immediate, positive feedback results in higher goal attainment. How often do you appreciate your agents? Do you have an appreciation/motivational system in place? Unless ita��s planned, it wona��t happen.

4. Refine your hiring practices.
In a shifted market, brokers must hire much more carefullya��and be really tough in the interview with a top-rate, practiced a�?mutual expectationsa�� talk. (I believe only about 10% of managers have an adequate a�?mutual expectations dialogue). Not just anyone can sell in a shifted market. Now, agents must have the tenacity, gain the skills, do the lead generation, and work at least 40-50 hours a week.

Questions to ask yourself:Do you have a planned, practiced interview process?
Do you find you sometimes get a�?surprisesa�� in your hires, because you forgot to ask important questions?
Do you get agreement for your culture, values, and minimum performance expectations prior to hiring?

Tough but fair expectations coupled with an agent development plan assures profits challenging times. Thata��s the formula. Why not get your share of profits?

How would you rate your termination system: graceful or g–awful? How to let someone go fairly–with grace–is a huge challenge for many managers. This challenge just came up again. I was just asked by an association of real estate companies to do a leadership webinar on standards. Before I do a ‘live’ presentation or a webinar for a particular group, I use my Pre-Conference Survey to find out exactly what their needs are.

(Note: If you do presentations for ‘outside groups’, consider making a pre-conference survey so you find out their exact needs, cultural specifics, and market differences. It makes a huge difference in your ability to deliver to their needs). This was the question that stood out most to me in the survey.

Question: How Do You Terminate Someone Fairly and Effectively?

Do you believe that the person who is failing knows he/she is failing? Of course they do. And, the longer they fail, the further down their self-esteem sinks, the further their confidence shrinks, and, finally,

the person simply quits working!

They still may be employed/contracted with you, but, they aren’t doing the things necessary to move their job forward. So, it’s not fair to simply let them continue failing. Nothing will change. You must step in.

The ‘One Last Chance’ Conversation and System

The principle is this: Never let someone go without a process that proves to them and you that it’s the right thing to do–unless, of course, that person has done something so egregious that she must be terminated immediately.

I’m a huge believer in game plans and systems for situations. That means you are fair with everyone. One of the reasons managers don’t want to fire is that they are afraid they will be unfair–or perceived as unfair. The way to take away those fears is to implement a system to give each person one last chance (this is after you have tried your normal coaching and training methods).

Important: Everyone in your office must know there’s a system, and that each person will be treated fairly within that system.

What’s in the One Last Chance’ Conversation

Here are the steps to terminate someone fairly and with grace.

1. Call the meeting. Do not engage in small talk. This is serious; it has no social aspect.
2. State that the person has not met your standards (minimum expectations). You DO have those in place, right?
3. Tell the person you will provide them one last chance.
4. Show them the performance system you will use (something like The On Track System to Success in 30 DaysA�System for the Experienced Agent).
5. Get agreement that the person will use the system.

Make The Time Frame Short

I have been snookered by the best of them! I’ve learned to make the time frame no more than 30 days. You want that person to go right to work. You also must reserve the right to terminate at any time.

Good News: They Will Let Themselves Go 50% of the Time

You will find that many people are just waiting for you to provide that last chance, so they can face the fact they really don’t want to work. They will let themselves go.

When You Terminate

You have given them a fair chance. You have been straightforward. They have not gone to work. All you have to do in your termination conversation is to state just that. 95% of the time you will get no argument. In fact, they will thank you for being honest with them. Using these five pointers will allow you to let them go with grace, and relieve your mind that you are fair in your termination guidelines.

Get On Track with Your Business

This comprehensive resource is like having your own consultant 24/7. In each secction, you have the opportunity to analyze your strengths and challenges and make a specific plan to improve. In addition, there’s a 30-day regeneration plan. See more at The On Track to Success in 30 Days System for the Experienced Agent. This is also a wonderful tool to use to consult agents in or out of the business.