By Cheri Alguire

Production planning is as much about problem solving and perspective as it is about the numbers. Why? Because you know you will not always hit your numbers. (If you do, you probably were not challenging yourself enough during the visioning process.) And not hitting the numbers obviously means you have a problem. You may be overspending the budget and/or under producing the income. Not hitting the numbers for an entire quarter might not just mean a problem, but a genuine crisis.
So it is important when production planning to focus not just on target numbers, but on the potential problems related to production so that you can plan proactively to stay in business with a smile. Let’s look at some Givens.
#1 You are in control of more than you think. If you chart the numbers for first quarter and fall short, what do you do? (First of all, you always review the numbers.) If first quarter is lean, be prepared for you and others to blame outside influences. Oh, the market. Oh, those fickle buyers. Oh, those unrealistic, so-and-so sellers. Oh, those banks. Slap yourself and your teammates awake! The market is what the market is. Buyers and Sellers are simply responding to it. YOU are the expert. YOU need to take control. Take control of their expectations. Take control of your own emotions. Adjust your numbers if necessary for the rest of the year, but take control of your sales. If you were successful before this market, there is absolutely no reason you can’t be successful now. You have the experience and the skills. If you are new to this market, you have no excuse to be anything but successful because you don’t know the difference! If you were three sales short in the first quarter, plan now what it takes to make up those three in quarter two.
#2 There are some things you cannot control. Let go! A teammate’s sudden divorce is going to affect your business. No doubt about it. Can you influence that event? No. (Even if you offer the unhappy couple an all-paid expenses weekend at the Poconos in a heart-shaped tub, their relationship will not change because of your generosity and desperate attempt at keeping your top buyer agent happy and productive.) Curse fate all you like, but know that the teammate will have court dates, down days, and need extra time off to be with the kids. Let go off the idea that life is unfair and provide as best you can for the loss in production through your own efforts or added staff. Know that these things happen. Deal.
#3 Not to overuse and abuse the often quoted, Attitude is Everything, but it is. The mindset you get up with every day determines the success of your production plan. Is the market everything you read about in the papers or hear about on the TODAY SHOW? Is the sky really falling? If you believe it, your numbers certainly will reflect that view.  On the other hand, if you wake up each day seeing opportunity and, yes, fun in the current real estate market, your numbers will bloom and grow with every positive step. It’s not a Pollyanna world, but neither is it Oscar the Grouches. Your perspective determines outcome.
Plan for the numbers.  Plan for the problems.  Plan for success