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 goal setting

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.

Breaking through those barriers: Keys to higher performance from an unlikely source–my piano teacher. 

This year, I’m focusing on performance–higher performance for agents, leadership, and trainers. All of these principles are foundationed in those actions that create higher performance taken from a field that absolutely depends on increasing performance–music.

What does my piano teacher have to do with real estate coaching–or training? Everything. Here’s what I learned about coaching great performance–not from a business coach, but from my great piano teacher (in fact, I’ve had many of them.)

Good or Great?

As you know, some pianists become great, while most others just become good enough to play the notes. It’s the same with trainers’ outcomes. Recently, one of my coaching clients (an owner of a real estate company) asked me, “Why do some trainers and coaches get great results and others don’t–but seem to be working as hard?”

Great question, huh? In fact, if we trainer/coach types knew that answer, we could build our systems so that we assured great performance! So, I went back to my ‘former life’–that as a musician and piano/flute teacher, and thought, “Why do some piano teachers create great performers–and others don’t?”

Why Use Piano Teachers as the Analogy….

I use the analogy of the piano teacher, because it’s easy to hear differences in sloppy and great performance. I’m sure you’ve heard 2 people play the same piece of music. One plays it accurately and one just kind of slops through it. Or, some piano teachers’ students drop out, unmotivated to practice, while others stay motivated, challenged, and achieve high performance–even if they don’t seem to have great talent.

Five Proven Components for Great Performance

From having taken piano lessons since age six, gaining a degree in piano performance, and having taught piano at the grade, high school, and college level, I’ve had an opportunity to see the great and the not-so-great–both teachers and performers. Here are the five components I’ve discovered make the biggest difference in great performance. As you read this, ask yourself, “How am I, as a trainer and/or coach, applying these principles?” “What outcomes am I getting?”

1. Great piano teachers screen in and screen out.

They don’t let just anybody take lessons from them. Trainers and coaches: What’s your ‘screen in’ process? Do you have one? Do you have a list of questions you ask? In our coaching company, we have a prescribed list of questions we ask potential clients (and we unfortunately have to turn down some). I even have a Coach ability Assessment I provide potential clients.

Click here to request your copy.

2. Great piano teachers set expected standards (minimums) during the screening process–not after the lessons start!

Those standards include: Amount of practice each day, recitals attended and played in, going to lessons, etc. What do you expect of your clients? Make a list of at least 5 standards now–and get the ‘mutual expectations’ agreement in writing prior to letting them into your program.

3. Great piano teachers figure out the ‘competency levels’ they want their students to attain–and when they expect them.

How good do you expect your students to get in that one-month training program you’ve been doing? Do you even measure skill levels? Which skill levels to you measure? How? Do you have your students practice their listing presentations until they reach the level of competency you believe the real client expects? What an eye-opener! Make a list now of 5 skills and the level of competency you want your students to attain in your training program. You’ll see your outcomes go way up just by doing this.

4. Great piano teachers get better performance because their excellent students motivate other good students to excellence.

Have you ever gotten yourself into the situation where you felt like you were way above the other people in your group? This isn’t an ego thing–it’s just a ‘I don’t belong here’ thing. Likes attract. Good performers motivate other good performers. Excellent performers stay. Are you creating a self-motivating group–or, are you creating a situation where your good performers will leave for a team that is ‘more like them’? This goes back to those ‘screen in’ and setting competency principles. I know we all feel challenged when people don’t appear motivated. Here’s one of the secrets to fire them up!

5. Great piano teachers provide lavish praise–when deserved.

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

If you have competency levels, you have a way and a reason to praise. Your students/clients know when they have reached those levels–and can expect praise, too! In fact, strong students/clients will ask you for praise. Write down the 5-10 methods you use to appreciate and praise good performance. If you can’t get to 10, figure them out.

But, what about the method? The specific coaching, the training? Yes, the method is important, but the coaching/training techniques above are much more important. I’ve heard some great performers and some poor performers all playing the same kind of music from the same method. At the same time, great methods should have some ‘built-in’ features that assure the trainer/coach is achieving these 5 principles.

Principles, System, Coaching–Putting it All Together

From talking with prominent trainers, managers, and coaches, we’ve pinpointed a need for all those training and coaching today to get the coaching they need to turn out great performers. In my online coaching program for new agents, logoUp and Running in Real Estate, I’ve put these components into the program as an integral way to assure great performance. 

Just updated and revised to make it an easy and fun experience!

 

In these posts in November and December, I’ll be featuring business planning strategies. Watch for  checklists, processes, and systems--ready to use, too. I want to help you and your agents create a great business plan for next year!

This post’s ‘gift’ is my after sale survey. See the link in the body of the blog.

Coaching your agents: Before your agents launch right into that business plan for next year, take a look back. Why? Your history will provide clues about how to save time and money for next year.

1. Where’s your money been going? It makes sense that the money you invest in your career  should be giving you pay-offs equal to your investment. Unfortunately, many agents don’t know where they spent the bulk of their money last year. Go back over the past four months.

Add up the moneys you’ve spent to generate business in each of your ‘target markets’–those identifiable groups of people that you build programs around to get business (geographical farm, first-time buyers, etc.) Where are you spending most of your money? Are you getting a good enough ‘return on your investment’? You’ll use this analysis to build your budget for next year, too.

From working with agents in my business planning course, I’ve observed that many agents don’t build a business plan around their best source of business: ‘sold’ customers and clients. Marketing surveys show that it costs six to nine times as much to get a new customer as to keep an old one. So, if you spend more money on your best source, and less on your other sources, you’ll optimize your investment.

2. What are your ‘success’ ratios? Most agents don’t know this one:

What are your ratios of listings taken to listings sold?

How many of your sellers are you making happy?

How many of those sellers are so delighted with your service that they will refer more people to you? In my opinion, a good agent should target  a 80-90%  success ratio in this area.

Why? We all know we need to promote ourselves. The most successful, believable promotions are based on our success records–what we’ve done, not promises. If you have a sign on your desk that says “If you don’t list, you don’t last”–tear it up. Instead, put up a sign that reads, “If your listings don’t sell, you don’t last. Small adjustments, big dividends. (Plus you’ll save lots of marketing dollars.)

3. How ‘delighted’ are your customers? Most so-called ‘business plans’ in real estate merely are goal-setting grids. Focusing only on the ends suggests that the ends justify the means. However, the consumer sure doesn’t think so! These goal setting grids alone lead agents to miss the point of the decade: Top-flight customer service begets more business. That is, not just what you do, but how you do it.

What level of customer service are you providing? Is it just good enough to get through the transaction? Or, is it so great that your customers and clients are thoroughly delighted? (Delighted consumers refer business to you–less cost and more effort equals big pay-offs, right?)  What can you build into your business plan to assure that you’re regularly delighting those you work with?

One of the agents in featured in many of my books, Rick Franz, now provides surveys weekly during the time he works with buyers and sellers. He wants clients to know he cares how they feel about the service, and that he’s dedicated to providing the best service they’ve ever had. Pretty competitive, yes?

Click here to get my after sale survey, one of the dozens of strategies ready to use in my business planning system.

Although there are dozens of areas to scope in your plan, just taking one hour out of your day now to assess these three areas–and plan adjustments–will assure you make more money this year–and create a better, more pleasant long-term career.

Be Strategic In Your Planning this Year!

Why not create a great plan, with the flexibility to change with the times? It’s all online now, and you can plan as you go. There’s a planning system for leadership, and, when you buy the leadership plan, you also get entry to the agents’ planning system. Take a look at Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Webinar on 2010 business planning

Webinar on 2010 business planning

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.

What do you want to bet that 95% of real estate agents wona��t have a business plan for 2019. 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.

What to 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.

Grab My Online Business Planning Program–at Discounts!

Thought you’d get it done but it’s still on your ‘to do’ list? I want to help! So, I’ve adding a discount on my online business planning resources through Dec. 31.

Managers: Frustrated because you can’t get your agents to plan? Problems solved! I’ve put my exclusive planning pages online–plus webinars to help you get through that plan fast. Don’t wait another year for business success. See more here.

Special discounts through Dec. 31: Purchase the agent’s planning resource, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for agents,  and save $20 (regularly $99). Use coupon code agent bus plan.

Managers: I’ll teach your agents how to plan, too! Included in your Manager’s Package!

Purchase the manager’s planning resource, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for Managers,  with all office/company planning documents and save $50. Use coupon code manager bus plan.

Offer ends Dec. 31: Big discounts on these programs–use the coupon codes below to order.

Ready to order? Click below:

Beyond the Basics of Business planning for Managers — regularly $249, now $199 with coupon code manager bus plan 

Beyond the Basics of Business Planning for Agents  –regularly $99, now $79 with coupon code agent bus plan

Remember, this special offer expires Dec. 31, so, order now and get your business plan ready for 2019.

 

What’s changed about motivation–and how to take advantage of it…

Are your motivating methods working? If you’re using the methods most managers use, they aren’t working like they used to. Why? Because today’s agents just aren’t motivated by the things ‘workers’ used to respond to. Today, it’s very important that we motivate effectively, because we have to get out agents back out into the market.

Motivational Methods Must Change

In his book,A�Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink lays out a persuasive case, backed by extensive scientific studies, about why the traditional a�?carrot and sticka�� motivational methods just dona��t work for us today. Ita��s especially true with real estate professionals. Why? Because we in effect work for ourselves. We have to be self-starters, initiators, and tenacious in our pursuit of our goals. That means we have to be motivated by things other than promises of material things.

Why Money Doesna��t Work as a Motivator

First, as Pink points out, money and/or material things are good short-term motivators. (Read Herzberga��s studies on short and long-term motivation). In fact, just take a look at the number of real estate agents who are motivated to visit an open house when therea��s food! But, as Herzberg and others have pointed out, money is a lousy long-term motivator. You know that if youa��ve tried motivating your kids with moneya��or threats (the carrot and stick).

I know. The agents all say they need to make more sales. But, what have you noticed they are willing to do to make those sales? Lead generate more regularly? Make more sales calls? We all know that lead generating is the answer to that money problem. Yet, the vast majority of agents avoid lead generating as if it gave us some chronic disease! So, money is just not an effective long-term motivator.

Best Motivators to Motivate Others

Pink shows, via extensive studies, that there are three driving motivators which we should put to work today to fire ourselves up, keep those fires lit, and achieve what we want to achieve. They are:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose

Questions to Ask Your Agents to Get Them Excited Again

AboutA� Autonomy

Are you in charge of your own business, or are you waiting for someone else to tell you what to do?

Do you expect your manager to make you go to work, or are you self-directed and self-starting?

Are you disciplined in your business, so you can enjoy that autonomy?

Seth Godin, author of Tribes,A� says about autonomy:A�The art of the art {of autonomy} is picking your limits. Thata��s the autonomy I must cherish. The freedom to pick my boundaries.

My question to you: Do you have agents that you believe will never operate in autonomy? Don’t you need to invite them to another profession?

AboutA� Mastery

Are you working just to get by, or are you consistently working to get better? What do you want to excel at? How does that translate into your business?

About Purpose

What excites you so much you cana��t sleep at night?

Is there a way to translate that to your real estate business?

The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether ita��s in the arts, sciences, or business. 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�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� Teresa Amabile, Professor, Harvard University

Our Coaching Helps You Motivate

Carla Cross’s extensive background and study into effective motivation is an extra benefit to you in her Leadership Mastery coaching program.A�Click hereA�for a complimentary consultation.

Great Topic for a Convention/Management Retreat

Yes, the desire and need to motivate is very strong today with managers. But, they need new information and new motivation methods for those millennials. Why not invite Carla to your next convention or management meeting and let her help your managers help more agents?

Greatest Motivational Method in the World!

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.A�

 

In November and December, I’m featuring business planning. Check out my blog for agents, Up and Running in 30 Days.

Do you haveA�action plans for each of your specific action areas built into your business plan?

So often, our business plans are ‘big picture’. It’s lovely, it’s inspirational–and it’s utterly not useful to our everyday practice! For a business plan to work, it has to have the ‘big picture’ parts (vision, review, mission, objectives) AND the action plan parts–those things you really intend to do each day and week. These are the actions that result in reaching your monthly and yearly goals.

What Action Plans do Leaders Need?

Here’s a graphic from Business Planning for the Owner, Manager, and Team Leader. You can see the specific action areas I think you need in your business plan. I made these divisions so that you actually could create action plans that had relevance to what you do every day. And, accomplishing actions in these areas assures you are taking daily steps to reach your goals.

Action Plans Must Relate to Your Goals

Too often, when we get to the weekly and daily tasks, the actions that effect our bottom line just don’t happen.

For example: You’ll see that recruiting plans are one area of our action plans. But, life gets in the way and we just don’t recruit. So, to assure you do the actions you KNOW will result in greater productivity and profits, use these divisions and make your specific plans. In my business planning systems, I’ve made detailed, fill-in forms that assure you think through and make action plans for each of these areas–action plans you can rely on. Otherwise, my experience shows that brokers just don’t get to the details of action planning.

Click here to get a copy of these action plan areas.A�

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.

 

A�

During November and December, I’m writing about business planning, to inspire you to get your business plan done for next year. Managers, see Up and Running in 30 Days for agents’ businsss planning tips.

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.

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. 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.

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.

From training and coaching hundreds of new agents, I’ve discovered that, many times, their expectations don’t match the manager’s expectations. This can cause havoc and dissatisfaction from both parties. Do you know what your new agents’ expectations for the first sale are?A�If you don’t, your start-up plan (or lack of) may actually cause the agent toA�be so discouraged he will leave your office.A� For example: Perhaps you feel that you will just give that new agent all the time he needs to produce. But, that new agent is thinking he expects to make a sale right now! Your casual attitude about his success may cause him to seek a more focused manager.

Agents’ Expectations for their First Sale

A�A few years ago, I did a very revealing survey of hundreds of new agents. (That survey is inA�my new book for would-be and new real estate agents, out soon). A�I askedA�these new agentsA�when they wanted their first sale. What do you think the majority said?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� within their first month in the business.A�

Hit the Ground Running….or Crawling?

A�My assumption: Most agents want a sale fast. Why? They expect it, and they need it for their self-esteem. If you are familiar withA�my business start-up plan, Up and Running in 30 Days, you know I start agents right into the business soA�they can realize that sale withinA�their A�first month. This is, unfortunately, very unlike the start most agents get (they get a very slow starta��keep reading!).

A�If Agents Expect a Sale in the First Month, What Do Their Managers Expect?

A�If the new agent expects high earnings fast, what did his manager expect from him?A� I also asked that question in my survey. Most of the respondents from the survey didn’t know what their managera��s expectations were.A� 71% of the respondents didn’t know even the minimum expectations of their managers–the minimum production standards they would have to meet to have their contracts renewed the second year.

A�Why is Matching Minimums and Goals Important?

A�To assure that the new agent and manager see ‘eye to eye’, you need

  • mutual expectations in writing prior to hiring on
  • toA�share the exact business activity planA�the agentA�will be coached to
  • proof to the new agent that the plan works!

A Manager’s Honest Comment

When I was VP in charge of training for a large regional franchise, a manager called me to ask what she could do to help someone produce. The first question I asked was,A� “How long has this agent been in real estate?” The answer: One year–and she hadn’t made a sale! I asked the manager,A� “Why are you still retaining that agent?” The manager replied, “It took me a long time to make a sale in real estate and I just want to give them a chance.” How mis-directed!

What Going a YearA�without Making a Sale Means

Simply, it means the agent has not been lead generating. Short-term, if an agent has been lead generating and has not made a sale, it’s just a matter of numbers and skill. That’s coachable. But, if an agent hasn’t been lead generating–and goes one full year without a sale, it means that agent is just waiting for a happy accident.A�Agents can’t make a career on happy accidents.

The Manager Had No Idea What The Agent Had Been Doing

The manager’s game plan for the agent was ‘let’s just wait and see what happens.’ She had absolutely no idea of what this agent was doing every day to generate business. Some game plan…

Manager’s Expectations Indicate the Kind of Game Plan they Use

Because this manager had such low expectations of her agent, the manager had no game plan. She just let that agent fail for a year. I believe that’s cruel and unusual punishment!

Be sure you haveA�expectations of the agents they agree to fulfill, and that you have a game plan designed to reach those expectations–and beyond.

What are your expecctations and how do you assure it’s a ‘match’–prior to affiliation?

You’re the coach. You’re helping that seasoned agent re-energize his/her business. The agent asks you,

“How much lead generation do I HAVE to do, coach?A�”

What do you tell the agent? I have a strict, preciseA�lead generating plan with ratios of success in Up and Running in 30 Days. I also have a plan for the seasoned agent in On Track to Success in 30 Days System. But, it’s not quite that simple.

Three Variables to Keep in Mind

I wish I could give youA�one tight, proven formula. There are variables that make specific formulas difficult to pin down.

Success by the Numbers

A�I set the expectations for the Up and Running in 30 Days business start-up program based on my experience on the number of contacts it takes to get a lead, then a sale. But, it also depends on several variables, as explained in Up and Running:

1. Type of contact–how warm or cold is it?

How much trust has been established? The warmer the contact, the more trust is already there. So, it takes less contacts in a ‘warm’ target market (like people you know or past clients) to convert to a lead, than to a ‘cold contact’. For example, the Internet marketing companies say it takes 200 contacts to equal one sale.

2. The agent’s sales skill, competency, and tenacity.

How good is the agent at opening sales conversations? How good is the agent at finding out needs? Asking insightful questions? Listening? Guiding the conversation with focus toward a goal of moving the sales process forward? The better the agent is at sales skills, the easier he/she will find it to sell–and the betterA�the lead and conversion ratios.

3. The market–buyers and sellers are more hesitant to ‘turn themselves in’ today.

Sales skills come back into play here. It’s not a market where people just fall all over themselves to buy and sell real estate. You have to have skills, tenacity, and competency.

How can you tell the numbers it takes?

Provide a tracking process as you coach. (There are tracking Excel spreadsheets with goals and ‘actuals’ in both Up and Running and on Track). Set up goalsA�for each target market and trackA�the agent’sA�conversion rates with him/her . Now you know the specific work it takes forA�the agentA�to generate a lead, create an interview, work with buyers and sellers, and get sales results. Armed with those numbers, you can customize a program like Up and Running.

The problem: Most agents work way too few lead generationA�numbers and sources. In fact, they have so few, ita��s impossible to extrapolate ratios. That’s why Up and Running and the four -week regeneration plan in the On Track to Success in 30 Days System (for seasoned agents) have such big numbers–it’s an insurance plan.

Getting to the Finish Line

What your agent needs to succeed: Tenacity, a business generation plan, and action. Help each agent set A�goals and keepA�accomplishments. Analyze them. Point out their best sources of business and help them work them with consistency. Teach classes and have them practice and polish sales skills. Remember, you are helping each agent, one at a time, develop an enviable career.

Ita��s the new year. Are you ready to move that ceiling of achievement youa��ve been batting your head against? 2010 is the year you can do it! Without new skills, we just keeping working harder, not smarter. The really bad thing about continuing to beat your head against that ceiling, is that it hurts more and more. You spend more energy just trying to accomplish the same thing.

A�Too Much Energy, Too Little Results

A�Worse yet, we bounce off that ceiling and hit a new low every thing we get up the energy to try to break through it. Not only that, the last few years have been discouraging for many in real estate. Dona��t give up on yourself! You do have the talent, the skill, and the determination to succeed at a much higher level again.

A�All Performers Hit a�?Ceilings of Achievementa��

A�As a long-time performing pianist and flutist (I spent the first thirty years of my life playing and teaching music), I had to learn how to constantly change up my playing for the better. In these next few blogs, Ia��m going to share what I learned as a musician that will change your 2010 performance dramaticallya��for the better.

A�You Arena��t as Good as You Can Bea��I Promise

A�I just did a talk for our areaa��s Womena��s Council, on how to have a much better 2010a��how to smash through that ceiling of achievement. (Title: Everything I learned about Achievement I learned from Ticklinga�� the Ivoriesa��also the title of my latest keynote).

A�As a four-year old, I climbed up on the piano bench and figured out, by ear, how to play a�?Sue City Suea�?a��with bass notes, chords, rhythm, melodya��the whole shebang. I was acclaimed as a little kid. However, as I got a little older, I found that playing by ear just wasna��t getting me to be a better player. Herea��s what I did to get to concert artistry level, and earn a bachelora��s in piano performancea��and how you can translate these performance principles to your real estate business.

A�Get from a�?By Eara�� via your Talent to Conscious Systemization

A�As a musician, I know that no one can play very well when they try learning only by hearing (playing a�?by eara��). To progress pass a a�?whiz-bang, arena��t you wonderfula�� amateur level, musicians must learn to read music, get a great teacher, and learn to practice perfectly. Generally, their teacher/coach will teach them how to practice, and provide the best editions of music. They will teach them will a specific system. The better the system, the coach, the music, and the practice, the higher the performancea��the sky is the limit.

A�The First Time You Do Something Isna��t As Good as it Gets!

A�What does that mean to a real estate professional? Most of us started selling or managing a�?by eara��. Some of us were talented, and that carried us pretty well for quite a while. But, then, we hit our a�?ceiling of achievementa��, and found we were working 24/7 and expending way too much energya��and money. The way out:

  1. A�Grasp systems (the best systems you can find)
  2. Follow processes and checklists
  3. Get a great coach
  4. Practice as perfectly as you can

A�Practitionersa��Watch Those Actions, Not Just the Words

A�Unfortunately, we real estate professionals dona��t realize that we are judged on our performance, not our knowledge. So, when you get all antsy because you think you need more classes, stop and think about your performance level, not your knowledge level. Spend more time evaluating your performance, and pay someone to coach to you get better (all performers, whether musicians or golfers, do this, by the way). Critique your systems, and keep refining them because they will subconsciously affect your performance levels.

A�If I had a piano, Ia��d demonstrate these points (I do use the piano in the keynote!).

A�What Do You Want to Work on This Yeara��from a�?By Eara�� to Systematic?

A�Do you have some business plan goals for yourself this year to raise your ceiling of achievement? What do you believe is most valuable for you to work on?