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.

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do itHow good is your agents’ start-up plan? (Or, do they have a start-up plan?!)

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from my new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

You know what your training will do for you. So I hope you are convinced you also need to implement a business start-up plan to put all that information in perspective. But watch outa��there are more poor ones than good ones out there. As a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) instructor for 12 years, I taught thousands of owners and managers nationally. I saw plenty of poor plans managers shared with me. (These were the plans they were giving their agents, too.)

Commonalities of Poor Plans

  • They are laundry lists of busywork activities interspersed with activities that actually make you money, so the agent doesna��t get any evaluative perspective to self-manage.
  • They do not prioritize lead-generating activities, so the agent thinks all types of lead generation have equal payoffs.
  • They do not have methods of setting goals, keeping track of results, and analyzing results to make changes quickly. (Up and Running provides sales ratios so you learn how many specific actions it takes to get the results you want.)
  • They do incorrectly prioritize actions. For example, as a high priority, they direct the new agent to a�?see all the inventorya�? before doing anything else. The rationale is that ita��s very important to see all the inventory to build a knowledge base. It is important, but only as it relates to working with buyers and sellers. (Ita��s the means, not the end.) But new agents dona��t want to do the high-rejection, high-risk activities such as talking to people. So they gladly see all the inventory until it becomes their job descriptions!
  • They do include plenty of a�?busyworka�? as equal priority to lead generatinga��such as a broker having an agent visit a title company to learn how it operates. This keeps the agent busy and out of the brokera��s hair! Also, the new agent loves the broker for a while, because the broker isna��t asking the new agent to do those high-rejection activitiesa��those activities that lead to a sale!

Bottom line: No would-be successful agent in his right mind would continue doing this type of plan any longer than he had to, because the successful agent recognizes the plan is a poor one.

* Big Idea: Be very critical before you commit to any start-up plan. It is prioritizing your mind! The start-up plan you may love because it keeps you out of sales activities isna��t the plan that is going to love you back (get you the sales you want). What you do every day becomes your job description.

An Effective Start-Up Plan

Here are the six attributes of an effective business start-up plan:

  1. Does not give equal weight to all activities
  2. Provides an organized activities schedule with certain activities prioritized first because they lead to a sale (in Up and Running, these are called a�?business-producinga�? activities)
  3. Includes an organized activities schedule with certain activities prioritized seconda��and explaining why (In Up and Running, these are called a�?business-supportinga�? activities)
  4. Provides a road map for a continuing plan (remember that a�?plan for lifea�??)
  5. Builds in the a�?whya�? of the plan structure, so you learn to self-manage
  6. Has a method to measure and make adjustments in your plan as you progress
  7. Has a coaching component, so someone can coach you effectively to the plan

Managers/trainers: How well did your start-up plan score? Why not try using a proven plan that gets much better results faster? You’ll increase your retention and your profits!

Up and Running_5e largerAre You Using the Best Start-Up Plan for your New Agents?

Does your plan have the detailed, prioritized checklists needed to assure a great start? Does it have built-in inspiration and motivation? Does it have dozens of tips to control the attitude? If not, you need Up and Running in 30 Days. Just out in its 5th edition, it’s the most successful book for new real estate agents ever!

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

 

 

head in the sand a salespersonHere’s why brokers who think failing agents costs them 0 are wrong. Yes, many brokers tell me that unproductive agents don’t cost them a thing.

But, A�most brokers dona��t realize they are doing irreparable damage to their companies by hiring those who arena��t going to go right to worka��and keeping those who wona��t work. Here are the 3 biggest consequences to poor selection I see.

1. Stops you from hiring great producers. Likes attract. How can brokers hope to hire that great producer when they have more than 10% of their office as non-producers? I can see it now. a�?Sure, Ia��ll come to your office. Ia��m a top producer, and I just love to be dragged down by those non-producers. It will be my pleasure to waste my time with them.a�? Not.

2. Kills your recruiting message.
Do you have a training program? Do you use it to recruit? Herea��s the real message: a�?We have a training program. All our new agents go through it. We dona��t get any results from the program, so it really doesna��t work. But, join us.a�? You cana��t possibly show how successful your training program makes your agents because your training program cana��t possibly get resultsa��poor people in and no actions and accountability required.

3. De-motivates your agents to provide referrals to you.
Your outcomes and hiring practices speak more loudly than you could possible speak. Why would one of your good agents possibly refer someone to you when your good agent doesna��t see those you hired starting right out and making money fast?

If Your Market’s on Fire, You May be Kidding Yourself
In a fast market, a�?accidental salesa�� buoy poor agents and make them look as though they were actually selling enough real estate to be a a�?mediana�� agent. But, be aware: When the market turns, so do the agentsa�� a�?miragea�� of decent production. So, it’s best toA�hire with purpose (using a stringent, professional interview process). Then, A�put agents right to work with a proven start-up plan.

Please Tell Me What You Think
What do you think a non-productive agent costs the company? In my next blog, Ia��ll give you some line items that will probably double what you think a bad hire costs. Leta��s see what you think first. Poor hiring practices really, really hurts brokersa��both financially and emotionally.

Are You Hitting your Ceiling of Achievement?

You encourage your agents to get coaching. Or, perhaps you coach them. You know how important having someone ‘see you from the outside’ is. But, how about you? Are you going it alone? I know, from managing so many years, it’s a lot lonelier worldLM Cover than being an agent. Who do you bounce ideas off? Who do you trust as your mentor? Check out Leadership Mastery coaching today.

Sign up for a Complimentary Consultation to see if Leadership Mastery would benefit you. What do you haveA�to lose?

Bonus for new coaching clients this month: $1000+ of Carla Crossa��s recruiting, training, and coaching resources FREE ! Includes:

The Complete Recruiter, at $129.95 valuea��the strategies, planner, and dialogues you need to recruit winners

Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners, a complete interviewing guide, a $79.95 valuea��free.

Recruiting Objection Busters, scripts and dialogues to counter the toughest recruiting objections, a $40 value

Business Planning for the Owner, Manager, and Team Builder,a $100 value

Operations/Orientation Manuals and Checklists, a $30 value

Coaching Companions to coach new or experienced agents, a $200 value

Advantage 2.0 facilitator guide, a complete training program (a $500 value)

Click here to learn more about Leadership Mastery Coaching.

Click here to schedule a complimentary consultation to find out more about the program, ask questions, and see if ita��s a a�?matcha��. After your consultation, youa��ll receive a a�?thank youa�� of a 2-pack management audio CD series.

hands of keysAre you getting the best performance from your agents? Is there something you can do to get better performance and results?Have you ever considered that you have the power to do that?

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! We don’t talk about ‘performance’ in the real estate industry. But, isn’t that the key to more production and profits? If the agent doesn’t do great lead generation, do exceptional presentations, and use exceptional performance skills working with and closing clients, the agent fails — those are all performance issues.

To get some insights, then, into performance,A� 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.

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 Coachability 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. These are the systems I’ve integrated into my training programs, such as Up and Running in Real Estate. Are you integrating these 5 performance points into your coaching and training?

 

Aug
26

Are You Afraid to Terminate?

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head in the sand a salespersonAre you afraid to terminate? Do you, as I have, put your head in the sand and hope things will change? 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

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).

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 Days).
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.

What’s your biggest mistake in termination? Let me know and I’ll share mine with you, too.

On Track Mgr Pkg 2nd edition webYou Need a System to See if They’ll Go to Work!

The On track to Success in 30 Days System will provide you the plan, the support, and the coaching you need to see if this person just needs a fresh start–or whether they don’t intend to go to work. See it here.

blue ribbonsHere are four tips to increase your agents’ chances of reaching their goals. The previous blog explored the power of intention in planning. So, how do we ‘supersize’ intentions so they last all year–and longer?

Here are four tips:

1.A�A�A�A� Include the a�?whya��

Why do you want this? Be specific. Make it full of passion and a�?technicolora��. This gives you purpose to what you want to achieve. Be sure ita��s something you really wanta��not something someone else wants for you (are they your goals or othersa�� goals?)

2.A�A�A�A� Concentrate on one intention at a time.

If you take too big a bite, you choke. So, focus on one thing you want to accomplish at a time. Use a calendar and put an intention for the quarter, for example.

3.A�A�A�A� Make it specific. Spell out exactly what youa��re going to do.

A�For example, if ita��s lead generation, say who youa��re going to contact, when, where, and what youa��ll say. Make a tracking system, too. Pretend youa��re giving this action plan to someone else. Could they follow it?

4.A�A�A�A� Repeat the strategy session every three months.

Research showed that intentions start to diminish. But, doing a a�?re-strategya�� session every three months renewed the intensity of the intention. So, Sit down and ask yourself those a�?whya�� questions every three months. A�

Managers: Teach your agents to have intention in their plans. Help them with their 3-month review strategy. Youa��ll be assisting them to form life-long habits of achievement. Everyone wins.

Plan_Act_CelebrateGet More Business Planning Help Here

Take a look at the 2 webinars I did on business planning. There’s one for leadership and one for agents. I hope you’ll get both information AND inspiration!

Click here to see them.

Looking for a business planning systems that really covers the bases? Check out my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

I’ve got all the analysis tools you’ll need for your business plan–and for your agents’ plans. Don’t let 2014 be less than it should be because you don’t have all the information

A�

teacher at boardWhat is your plan for your agents for BEFORE your formal training starts? Your agent started in the business Tuesday. You have sent the agent through your orientation process, but your training program doesna��t start for three more weeks. What do you do? Well, herea��s what NOT to do:

a�? Tell them to a�?just see the inventory and get acquainteda�� (theya��ll think thata��s the job description and some have been know to inspect the inventory for years before they would talk to a human being prospect!)

a�? Give them your own activity sheet that you used mupteen years ago–to keep them occupied

a�? Give them nothing and see what happensa��the other agents will probably keep them busy with administrative work (!)

Give them things to do that are easy so they will think they’re in real estate…..(but they won’t make any money…..)

Watch Out for the Truisms

Truism number one: Only about one out of a hundred new agents is a a�?natural, talenteda�� salesperson, who will figure out how to prioritize activities on his/her own

Truism number two: In the absence of a precisely, well-thought out prioritized start-up activity plan, most salespeople will create a plan for a a�?slow starta��; theya��ll form hard-to-break bad habits, scheduling easy-to-do, low pay-off activitiesa��because theya��re easier and non-threatening

Here’s What to Do

Introduce them to aA�business start-up plan thatA� they can implement the second week they are in the business (they expect a sale in 30-60 days, so you’d better start now!).A� Otherwise, they will wait around the office and copy what the other agents they see are doing:

  • Drinking coffee
  • Gossiping
  • Arranging papers
  • Playing computer
  • Inspecting pretty homes (well, the ones that have good food….)

Herea��s what to look for in a business start-up plan:

a�? It has the same priorities of business activities as your training, so your agent a�?gets the picturea�� of success from day one

a�? It gives your agent meaningful activities to complete prior to starting your training program

a�? It doesna��t require anyone in the office training that agenta��until your training program starts

a�? It forms the basis for first-day coaching, if you want it to

a�? It coordinates a training program done byA�your affiliates (mortgage, title, inspectors, etc.) who want to form relationships with your agentsa��to teach them the basics of the technical aspects of real estate (I call this a Business Foundations series).

To get a copy of a prototype Business Foundations course series, click here.

Consistency Equals Productivity

Your job as a manager/trainer is to createa��or choosea��a start-up plan and a training program that all present the agenta��s job description in the same manner with the same prioritiesa��so your agent has a clear roadmap on how to succeed every day. Doing so assures you have to hire less new agents to meet your recruiting goals, youa��ll have more success that you can promote to recruit, and more real dollars will flow to your bottom linesa��and theirs!

Want to save time AND be more profitable? See the program below, which combines a business start-up plan AND the training needed to get that agent out the door and into production right now!

logoUp and Running in Real Estate Starts Your AgentA�Right to an Exceptional Career

Congratulations to the 3 winners of the scholarships for my new UP and Running in Real Estate program:

Jeffery Doescher of Apollo Realty in Cocoa Beach, Florida

Stacy Coppola of Coldwell Banker in Castro Valley, California

Bessie Selfridge of Coldwell Banker in Port St Lucie, FL

You can bet they are going to get the secrets of becoming a top producer–and get into action with the most proven business start-up plan in the business!

Do you have newer agents who you know should succeed? Please do them a favor and have they enroll in Up and Running in Real Estate. All the training, coaching, and supporting documents are online, so agents can go at their own speed and go back as many times as they want. How this program is different: It is foundationed with a business start-up plan, so agents learn how to self-manage a successful business, not just do activities. And, there’s nothing else to buy–no extra cards that stay in their trunks! (And, there’s a coaching component for you to support your agent every step of the way!).

Check it out and see how you canA�help your agents can reach their potential–and beyond!

motivation(Sorry, I couldn’t resist the picture….).

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 new book, 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: 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

Light’ Em on Firelight em on fire Cross motivational presentation

Why not invite me to speak to your leadership team about effective motivation? I’ll point out the common strategies managers use that actually de-motivate, and how to create motivators that work long-term to create a better team atmosphere, more production, and bottom-line profits. Contact me at carla@carlacross.com for more information.

Are your systems up to speed? On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being high, how would you rate your organization and your systems? Do you seem to be grabbing at papers right before your recruiting appointment? Do you find yourself sketching a training outline five minutes prior to the training start time? If so, youa��ll want to take some time to a�?systematizea�? yourself. Why?

Save time

Get more done

Lower your stress levels

Enjoy your job more

(See the end of this blog for a link to systems you need in place).

Why do Managers Need Systems?

Good agents today have systems for each process they manage. For example, an agent has a listing process system, which includes the materials, packages, and checklists to manage the process. With those systems, agents can not only the manage the process, they can delegate the right activities to their assistants.

Managers Dona��t Have Nearly the Systems Agents Have

Think about the systems, processes, and checklists you, as manager, recommend that your agent create to accomplish the critical tasks, or activities, in his business. Now, compare that with the tasks you, as manager, have to accomplish in your position as “people” manager. Work from the tasks to systems to manage these tasks. To prioritize the systems you want to develop, first:

1. List the tasks you do as manager. Now, list the parallel the tasks agents do.

An example: A critical task an agent does is to prospect. Good agents have systematized that process into a marketing plan, complete with specific tactics, dates, and budget. Managers must prospect, too. They prospect for agents.

Does your prospecting (recruiting) plan for agents resemble that of your best agent’s marketing plan? Is it as systematized? Does it have the materials, time frames, budgets, and delegations that good agents have in their plans?

2. Prioritize your tasks as they relate to accomplishing your main objectives. What are the most important tasks you do as manager to assure your office makes a profit?

An example: If recruiting is very important to reaching your objective, how complete is your recruiting system? How organized is it? Who is involved with you in your recruiting plan? How well are you delegating the systems?

Your Job Description Comes First

Developing systems first requires that you’ve prioritized your job description. (Wait: Do you have a job description?) Then, you must either create or purchase systems to manage these processes. One reason managers haven’t systematized their work is that managers have few resources for systems organization. To actually systematize their work, they must create these systems from scratch. Given the myriad of activities managers must accomplish, that’s a daunting assignment. Instead, many managers stay in “crisis” management, which admittedly takes up a lot of the day, but doesn’t allow the manager to move ahead as a leader.

In contrast, agents have many resources for systems organization, both purchased and exchanged with other agents. First, there are many more agents than managers, and agents coming into the business each day. So, there is a larger market, and need, for agents’ systems. In addition, agents have led the way in organizing their businesses to delegate to assistants. It’s become ‘the thing’ to do.

Resource List of Needed Systems

Click here for a list of systems and process you need to manage your business with grace and lower your stress level.

Agents with two careers are on the rise. Are they harming your reputation? In Stefan Swanepoela��s publication, Trends Report 2010, he calls the real estate licensee with another job the a�?dual careera�� agent. Thata��s what we used to call the a�?part-timera��. Although a�?dual careera�� sounds much more important than a�?part-timea��, the result is the same: Less time to devote to the consumer. Being pulled in two directions is very difficult. The conflict that an agent feels when he has another job is causing the consumer to rate our service lower than ever before.

Dual Careerists Are a Growing Trend

More and more real estate agents are getting second jobs to make ends meet. In fact, the 2009 National Association of Realtorsa�� Member Profile says that 26% of Realtors stated that real estate was not their only occupation. (Ia��m sure that many more licensees who arena��t Realtors have other major sources of income). In addition, less than half of all Realtors surveyed reported that real estate was their primary source of household income.

Is the Dual Careerist Doing the Industry More Harm than Good?

Having been an agent, manager and owner a long time, I know how difficult it is at times for an agent to a�?hang in therea��, put their heads down, and keep working through tough times. Ita��s a great temptation, and a relief for many to take that other job just to a�?tide them overa��. From the brokera��s perspective, too, keeping the agent at least licensed with the brokerage to get that one transaction seems to be better than losing that one transaction.

Several problems accrue, when the agent gets another job:

  1. The agenta��s mind, energy, and dollars drift away from the needs of the consumer because the agent must focus on another job
  2. The agent cana��t keep up on the technical, legal, and business developments
  3. The consumer demands just cana��t be met when the agent is unavailable for large blocks of time
  4. The broker must carry a much bigger responsibility for the agenta��s transactions

If you are a broker who finds more and more of your agents getting other jobs, ask yourself, “What do I need to do to get these agents’ careers off the ground so they don’t need second jobs?” Now, get the game plans and coaching expertise you need to get on the ‘offensive’ with agents’ careers.

Are your agents drowning in clutter? If I walked into your office, (or your agents’ offices), could I see processes and systems they use? Could I see the checklists, posted, so that I knew they followed a regular, proven procedure for each group of activities? Could I see pre-made, ready to use, presentations for buyers and sellers? Could I see binders labeled with each subject (like a�?listing processa��), and filled with a�?how-tosa�� for assistants (or themselves inside? Or, would I see stacks of disorganized papers?

Having been in sales and management a long time, I understand how difficult it is to organize that blizzard of information. And, admittedly, youa��ll have to keep changing your organization as you progress. Yet, until you meet the organizational challenge, you cana��t really move forward. It’s up to us, too, as managers, to help our agents step ahead of clutter and into effective time management.

There are two reasons to organize.A� The first is that it provides much better customer service. If Ia��m the consumer today, I want to know that your agents trustworthya��that youa��re good for your word. If I can see that the systems, I know that you will have a much better chance of keeping your word to me. Ia��m using the word a�?seea�?, because we believe what we see, not what we hear.

The second reason is that it provides your agents and you much better time management. The agenta��s biggest challenge is to find a way to make the same amount of money and quit working 24/7. Creating systems will take a long way toward that goal.

Below are some checklists of the processes and systems agents need in place to take their careers to the next level. Take this system inventory now with your agents now.

Here are the minimum systems agents need:

For sellers:

  • Lead generating system (should be run with contact management software)
  • Automated process for following the lead from first contact through listing
  • Visual marketing presentation and a system for having them pre-done and always ready to go
  • Pre-first visit presentation and a system to have them packaged, ready to use
  • System for following the listing from first listed to after closing (can be automated with use of a contact management program)
  • After close/client retention system (can be automated)
  • Your personal marketing systema��a marketing plan that can be automated and delegated to someone

For buyers:

  • Lead generating systema��driven by contact management
  • System to follow the buyer from first contact to sale (can be automated)
  • Visual buyer presentationa��packaged and ready to use
  • Pre-first visit presentationa��packaged and ready to use
  • Checklists: process during buying/before closing/after closinga��client retention
  • Your personal marketing system

How to begin. Real estate professionals are doers. We talk our way through processes.A� We dread organizing things, and frankly, wea��re not good at it. So, how do we begin?

Start with one system or process at a time. Gather your agents for a workshop. Make a list and prioritize it for the systems they believe they need first. Put a date to start, and a date for completion (I know, therea��s that organization again!). Youa��ll find that the first is the hardest, and then, it starts to actually get easy! Ita��s a skill like anything else. Bottom line: Systematization allows you to actually run a business, not just run after buyers and sellers.

Note: If you want to make it easy on yourself and your agents, get The Complete Buyera��s Agent Toolkit and Your Client-Based Marketing System, the complete buyer and seller systems, with dozens of checklists, processes, and presentations already created for you.

Now, you’re on your way to ‘unclutter’ the clutter!

Webinar: How to Motivate

Webinar: How to Motivate

Mark your calendars: On March 17, at 2 P. M. EST, I’m doing another webinar for the NAR Learning Library. This is a ‘must attend’ for managers, because I’m going to be delving into the fascinating and misunderstood) arena of motivation: Light Em on Fire: Newest Motivational Strategies. Click here for more information.