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Archive for business planning

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

What is ‘Intentional Planning’?

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

When are you going to do it? 

How are you going to go about it?

The Science Behind this Component

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

The ‘Secret’ to Change

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

What

When

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

The Reason Most Business Plans Fail

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

Fire Up Your Agents with Intentional Planning

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

My Business Planning System ‘Forces’ This Thought Process

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

How Specific is YOUR Plan?

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

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

The integration of your systems is your business plan.

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

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

Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

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

It’s been a chaotic, year, where our best laid plans have been tossed upside down. That’s why doing a fresh, creative business plan is so important right now.

Register here for How to Build the Best Business Plan Ever.

You’ll gain:

  • A new way to think through your business so you have a plan that works
  • The missing planning step that assures your plan will work for you
  • The biggest change to make to thrive in 2021
  • Insights with 10 questions to answer BEFORE you commit to action
  • The seven best recommendations to put in your plan

Included: Strategic business planning handouts and 2 bonuses for managers

When: November 16 (Monday)                     1-2 PM Pacific Standard Time

Register now.

I created the only internationally published book for real estate agents on business planning, and I can help you and your agents build exceptional plans.

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

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

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

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

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

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

listings taken to listings sold in normal market time.

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

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

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

A Different Example

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

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

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

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

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

Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar Recording

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

Plan_Act_Celebrate

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Managers

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This all-new program does several things for you:

2 webinars teach your agents how to plan using Carla’s strategic planning system

14 planning documents are included to guide your agents right through the planning process

3 webinars for you:

1. How to Create a Great Office Plan

Included: 22 office planning documents to make it easy for you to stay on track and create a great plan

2. How to Convince your Agents to Plan

3. How to Integrate your Office and Agents’ Plans

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning: A planning system exclusively for real estate managers.

Do you where your agents spent your money last year? Knowing is critical to their NOT having empty pockets next year. I know you’re going to help your agents create business plans this year, so I want to share these stunning surveys with you.

In my upcoming webinar, I discuss the importance of 3 critical areas you must know–and your agents must know– to succeed next year. One of these areas is the agent’s budget.

Here are the surprising results of a study on how top agents spent their marketing dollars: 

As you can see, agents spent their money NOT on the best sources of business, but on other sources. Why? Maybe because they thought these other sources were more interesting. Maybe they wanted to try something new. Maybe they didnt know where they had spent their money before, and just kept throwing it at these less-than-stellar sources.

Help your agents find out where their money went last year, and how big a bang they got for the buck. Now, you’re ready to plan for 2020.

Join Me for my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

Whether you’ve been in business 20 years or 20 minutes, you need an awesome blueprint for a great 2020–and so do your agents. Join us for this fast-paced webinar, where Carla Cross, who literally ‘wrote the book’ on real estate business planning, will help you do just that.

In this webinar, you’ll:

Get the blueprint the most successful agents and businesses use to create a plan that works. You don’t need a ‘fill in the blanks’ color by the numbers plan–you need a businessperson’s way to think through your business so you’re ready for anything that comes your way in 2020.

Gain the critical step usually left out in business planning–the step that can literally save your money and efforts from going down those dreaded planning ‘cul-de-sacs of frustration and failure

How to predict and project your 2020 results so you know your plan is going to work for you–not someone else!

Your gold mine right in front of you—and few agents are ‘mining’ it. You’ll save thousands in marketing dollars, lower your stress, and enjoy a much better business if you create the right action plan for 2020.

You’ll get some stunning and surprising statistics that will help you create the right actions for 2020, instead of guessing at what to do next.

Managers: You’ll gain tips on helping your agents plan–and how you can be a true support for their planning efforts. Just imagine what your profits would be like if every one of your agents had a workable plan?

Questions: You’ll have a chance to ask Carla your business planning questions, too. You’ll gain handouts from her business planning programs.

Space is limited, so register now! Let’s work together to create an exceptional 2020.

$$$$$$ 2 lucky people will win Carla’s complete business planning systems, too.

When: Dec. 12 (Thursday)

Time: 10-11 am, Pacific Standard Time (west coast)

What: Business planning webinar (join with your computer)

Register here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.

Throughout November and December, I’m focusing my blogs on business planning, so you have plenty of information to create a great plan. Look for checklists, processes, and systems--ready to use, too.

Agents, managers, and trainers: If you’ve been in the business any length of time, you know how much more challenging this business is than it used to be! Yet, most of the information we are still getting is about day-to-day selling and managing.

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

Why Business Analysis?

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

Here are the tools you’ll need in your business planning toolkit, whether a manager or an agent:*

  • Time analysis (watch my next blog for a questionnaire to analyze your time management)
  • Business plan activity review
  • Expense/budget review
  • Profit and loss statement review

1. Your time analysis. Do you have the analysis tools to see where your business is, and where you want to take it? With a time analysis tool, you can see what your priorities are. It’s amazing how many agents and managers have no idea where they spend the bulk of their time. Look at your schedule for the last week. Did you spend time in the areas that are most productive for you? If not, why not?

2. Business plan activity review tool. This allows you to capture the history of your business in a way that clarifies your direction. For example, does the tool you use ask you where you got your business last year? Does it ask you the percent of your listings you sold in normal market time? Managers, does your tool ask you the numbers of agents you interviewed, and your conversion rate? Find the tools that ask you the right questions.

3. The expense and budget review. How many agents have a budget? How many managers and owners? All businesspeople set budgets and review them. After all, it’s about profitability in a business, not productivity! At best, you want to use tools that are similar to the ones used by others at the same business level as you, so you can analyze like problems and solutions.

4. The profit and loss statement review. How many agents do you think have a profit and loss statement—and review it? I believe, less than 5%.  Yet, if you don’t know where your money went, you can’t analyze its effectiveness. Use Quicken or Quickbooks to get a handle on your money.

Analyzing your business in these four areas gives you a great ‘handle’ on your business habits, your strengths, your challenges–and the areas you want to change for a more successful year next year.

*Grab All the Tools You’ll Need 

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

Think back to last year: Did your agents embrace business planning? here are tips to get more of your agents great plans.

Note: Through November and December, I’m going to help you with your 2020 business plans. You’ll find free documents from my business planning system for owners and an invitation to a complimentary webinar. Why not subscribe and be sure not to miss a thing?

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’?

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.

It’s what we want to do with the money.

And that’s as individual as we are. Martin Luther King didn’t say, “I have a business plan.” He said, “II have a dream.” You must include the dream part–the emotional driver–of your future in your business plans to make that plan useful to you. That means, you as a business consultant, need to include the three ‘missing’ parts of business plans that I describe below.

Building the Why Into your Business Plans

That’s the motivator. In other words, we have to have a big why. Most business plans don’t build in the why. So, they fall flat, and leave us cold. That’s why agents don’t want to go through the exercise of creating them. Managers always commiserate that they can’t get their agents to write business plans. You wouldn’t want to write a plan, either, if you know it wouldn’t help you with your business the next year.

The Tools to Find that Why

Most people think of business plans as projections of numbers. But, that’s not all there is to a real strategic plan. There are three parts of a business plan that provide that inspiration, that motivation. Those are the parts of the planning process that are most frequently left out:

  1. Your vision--why you’re in this business; how you see yourself after you retire
  2. Your review–what happened in your business that will make an impact on your business in the future
  3. Your mission–who are you in the business

In the next few blogs, I’ll show you how to create these parts of your business plan and get your agents to plan, so you give yourself the inspiration and motivation you need to create and implement your plan.

Ready to create your plan? Take a look at my online business planning program, with all the guidance and forms you need: Beyond The Basics of Business Planning. You’ll get entry as a leader and entry to the program for your agents, too.
Every company says they have training. But, can you prove it? Does each program you present have a reason to be there? Read how to create a training calendar that reflects your challenges and goals.

No training plan or calendar? Here’s how to put together a great one!

In a couple of months, you’ll be thinking about creating your business plan for the next year (already?!!!!). How do you know what training to provide your agents? One method is to look at your profit and loss. In addition, you need to find out training needs–from your agents’ perspective. Simply provide your agents an internal review of their sales performance mastery (or not) as part of their business planning process.

Click here to see the internal sales performance review, excerpted from my comprehensive online business planning program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

What You’ll Find When They Rate Themselves


Have your agents rate themselves on their performance skills. You will probably see that they rate themselves lower than you would rate them. Why? Because we’re harder on ourselves than we are on others.

Commonalities

What do you think the agents rate themselves lowest in? You are right. Prospecting/lead generation. So, you’ll want to create series with them–a dynamic lead generating plan for next year–and train and coach them to it. See the lead generating plans for seasoned agents in Beyond the Basics of Business Planning,And, for new agents, in Up and Running in Real Estate.

Planning your Training Calendar


Your training plan should be a part of your business plan. Your training plan should tackle the challenges you have noted as a part of your own business review and of the agents’ business review. By the way, be sure those challenges you noted can be handled through training.

Are All Your Challenges Solved by Training? Not!

For example: You’ve noted an ethics problem in your office. You want your agents to “be more ethical”. That is not a training problem. It is a selection problem. You cannot train your way out of the ethics we adopted when we were 5! But, you certainly can solve a listings sold problem with training. Be careful when you are creating your training, and tackle the problems that you can solve with training.

Put That Training on a Calendar

You’ve done your own analysis of your profit and loss statement. You’ve done your analysis with your agents. You’ve made your training plan. Now, you’re going to put it on a training calendar–and use it to guide your agents, your staff–and to recruit. Not only that, you have an integrated training system that you can delegate. Good work.

Recruiting tip: Include your training calendar in your recruiting handout, in your faxes, in your emails, and in your social media. Let prospective agents know you are organized, and you are committed to their success.

An Analysis Handout For You

In my last blog, I discussed creating a training calendar. Click here to get my analysis tool to help you assess the effectiveness of your training calendar.

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Leadership

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This convenient online program does several things for you:

2 webinars teach your agents how to plan using Carla’s strategic planning system

14 planning documents are included to guide your agents right through the planning process

3 webinars for you:

1. How to Create a Great Office Plan

Included: 22 office planning documents to make it easy for you to stay on track and create a great plan

2. How to Convince your Agents to Plan

3. How to Integrate your Office and Agents’ Plans

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning: A planning system exclusively for real estate leadership.