Here are ten tips to gain platinum level trust. Why is gaining trust so important? Managers are also salespeople. We salespeople can’t sell anything to anyone without first establishing an exceptional level of trust–an increasingly difficult thing to do. The ten tips I shared on in a recent radio show can help sales and management professionals build a ‘platinum level’ of trust.
The Ten Tips
1. Learn non-verbal skills and apply them in writing, on the phone, and in person to establish rapport in an increasingly ‘cold inquiry’ world.
2. We believe what others say about a salesperson, not what the salesperson says about themselves. Use testimonials; check evaluation websites to see what consumers are saying about you.
Check out www.realestateratingz.com and www.incredibleagents.com. Find other sites (like Zillow and Realtor.com) that display testimonials from your agents’ clients. What are they saying about your company?
3. Help your agents create an after-the-sale survey and use it consistently. If there’s something wrong, fix it fast.
4. We believe what we see, not what we hear. Show, don’t tell. Use visual presentations consistently. And, as a trainer, I know that people retain only 10% 3 days after hearing it. But, when they also see it, they retain 60%. Which retention rate do you need to gain trust?
5. Flip your sales presentations. Ask questions—lots of questions—first. Educate. Finally, sell (well, you won’t have to sell).
6. Tell the truth attractively. Show evidence, don’t try to scare the client into action by predicting the future.
7. Evaluate the agent/client for long-term relationships. Is the agent/client someone you want to add to your ‘tribe’?
8. Use ‘tough love’ with a client to tell the truth, turn down a client—to stay true to your values. Do what’s best for the client.
9. Re-cap. Regularly, stop and re-cap with the client. Do this, too, when you can’t meet client expectations.
10. Book of Greatness: Don’t brag about yourself in the middle of a presentation. Create a ‘Book of Greatness’ to use in your pre-first visit so your clients get to know you and your approach to sales. (See Marketing You for more information on that Book of Greatness.)
How do you create trust? How do you differentiate yourself? How do you prove you really are what you say you are? In this market, everybody and their brother tells potential recruits and clients they are the best. You can’t afford to be one of the crowd!
This resource shows you, step by step, how to gain trust and differentiate yourself in a graceful, effective manner–a manner that’s comfortable for YOU. See it here.
In an earlier blog, I gave you advice about how to create a steady stream of publicity as a recruiting and image-making tool. Now, I’d like to share a few more tips on writing articles or blogs.
From writing all those articles and blogs, here are the three most important lessons I’ve learned:
- A smaller topic is better
- Less ideas are better
- More examples are better
So, in about 400-500 words, you’ll only have time for one to three ideas and examples. Make the examples ‘real life’. Also, be sure your article is as perfect as you can get it before submitting. These editors don’t have time to work with any of us in extensive editing. The person who submits articles “ready to go” gets published much more often!
How to Find Appropriate Publications for Your Talents
Pick up your favorite real estate magazine or newsletter. See the kind of articles that the publisher likes. Note the length. Ask yourself: Why would my articles be a benefit to that publication? Then, contact the publisher for article specifications and submission policies. You’re on your way to standing out as an exceptional manager!
Make a list of hard copy and Internet-based magazines and newsletters. That becomes your ‘distribution list’. Each month, I submit at least one article to my list—all at once (your contact management program is invaluable to put your PR contacts in a field so you can communicate easily). I have a ‘template’ that I use, which points out the link to the article. In it, I point out the value of the article/blog to the reader. I ask the editor to include my biography with ‘hot links’ so readers can get the free documents I usually provide with each article—and can go to my website.
Make Publicity Distribution Really Simple…..
A new resource I just discovered: Recently, I signed up for an article submission service, so I could widen my scope of influence. Check out Submit Your Article.
Now, you are on your way to free publicity, a heightened image, and much improved recruiting, and it didn’t cost you anything!
Give me your tips on using publicity as a free marketing tool.
Why not optimize your personal ‘brand’ by marketing yourself more effectively? And, with methods that cost little or nothing? Here’s a great resource for you, Marketing YOU. Check it out!
Do you want a free recruiting tool? You’re a real estate professional. You have limited advertising/recruiting funds. You want to recruit more. You want to establish your credibility as an industry leader. One of the best strategies is to write articles that get published, and use those articles in all of your marketing strategies. Here are the steps to follow to write articles that are valuable and that get published every time. The best thing about this strategy: It’s absolutely free!
The Process: Simple and Straightforward
Writing an article follows the same process composers use in writing a popular tune: It starts with the theme (A), continues with the middle, where you expand on the idea and example (B), and ends again with the theme. When I’m teaching my “Train the Trainer” course, we practice this simple structure when we create training programs.
The Eight Simple Steps to Get Started
Here are the simple steps I’ve used over the years to create articles that have gotten published hundreds of times in major real estate magazines and newsletters:
1. Decide on who your audience is, so you realize for whom you’re writing
2. Decide on the challenge (s) they have that you want to address
3. Jot down all the ideas you have about the challenges and solutions
4. Narrow the topic so you can zero in specifically on what you want to write about. The biggest mistake writers and teachers make is to choose too broad a topic for the time or word framework. For example, it’s difficult to write 500 words on how to create a team. You CAN write 500 words about why to create a team; or three strategic tips in creating a team.
5. Choose one to three ideas to discuss.
6. Arrange the topics in the order you want to discuss them
7. To expand on the ideas, present the idea clearly and then give an example. One commonality I’ve found among editors is that they want examples with the idea. Otherwise, the reader doesn’t really get the picture.
8. Close the article with the reiteration of your challenge and solution. Give your audience positive motivation to take action.
In the next few blogs, I’ll focus on ownership/general manager issues. The reason I’m writing this blog is that, I am seeing managers go off the rails and try to take the office with them! Unfortunately, clever managers get the support of their agents while not managing properly. With their popularity, the ‘boss’ may hesitate firing them–even when they need desperately to be fired!
Managers are Clever at ‘Buying’ Support–Especially when under Stress
Some get that support by ‘buying’ the agents–giving their favorites leads. Some get that support by creating a flurry of activity, that obscures what’s really going on behind the scenes. I know how hard it is to tell, from an agent’s perspective, if the manager is doing his/her job. As an agent myself, I watched from afar, not knowing exactly what my manager did or didn’t do. I also didn’t know the activities he was supposed to be doing–and the activities he was avoiding or refusing to do.
I’ve screened, hired and coached dozens of managers, both as a regional director for one of the largest franchises in the world, and as an independent coach. I have seen things go off the rails many times–even when the agents in the office don’t have a clue!
The Nine Signs Your Manager Must Leave
1. Refuses to recruit to your standards (minimums)–that means numbers of contacts, interviews, and hires.
2. Refuses to hire to your standards–hires anyone and calls it ‘good’.
3. Refuses to coach agents up–or out; refuses to manage via standards (minimums) of performance.
4. Refuses to do the activities as designated and trained to by the general manager (such as interviewing appropriately or teaching to your culture).
5. Refuses to uphold all aspects of the culture (hires an agent who’s a top producer but doesn’t represent the culture).
6. Takes frustrations and problems with upper management to the agents, when he/she should only discuss any problem areas directly with management.
7. Openly disrespects and berates upper management–both to agents and directly to management.
8. Acts in an adversarial and/or fearful way to anyone he perceives as an authority.
9. Shares things with agents that should not be shared.
In other words: the manager has become a liability to the culture and the office. He/she is not teaming with upper management; he doesn’t have the same vision as leadership; he is fighting for control. It’s your office and you’re the boss. You must exercise your authority now for the preservation and growth of your office.
What did I miss? Let me know and we’ll add to the list!
This month, I’m focusing on training. Why? Because you’re hiring good potential, but you need a plan to develop that potential. And, that development comes through training and coaching.
Trainers: Do they snooze when you’re in front of them? Do their eyes slowly close—and then blink open when they’re startled by something you do in the classroom? Do you feel frustrated when you can’t keep their attention?
Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But, the most difficult thing for us adults to do is to gain new skills. Instead, we tend to try to purchase competency (invest in software, programs, and ‘things’ that supposedly do the work for us). But, in this case, all the PowerPoints in the world can’t overcome a boring presenter!
You Can Expand Your Teaching Repertoire
Did you work to put yourself through college? I did. I found out it was much easier to put my talent to work and get paid, than to pick beans! So, when I was nineteen, I got a job playing piano in a bar. (Boy, did I learn about human nature).
When I was tickling the ivories, playing my way through college and graduate school, I noticed that, the more tunes—and styles–I mastered, (that’s the repertoire), the more tips I made. I could please more of the people more of the time. It’s the same way with teaching, or doing keynotes, or presentations, or facilitation. The more skills you hone, the easier it is to be effective in front of people.
Most Presenters Know Just One Tune and Style
Most of us who present start by getting in front of people, and naturally doing some things right. We get acceptance. We get acclaim. We find we’re good talkers in front of people. In fact, most people think that refining presentation skills are merely a function of
So, we try to talk better. But, then, we hit our ‘ceiling of achievement’. We can’t seem to get any better. Then, we get frustrated. We try harder. That doesn’t help. Sometimes we look for someone who can help us ‘talk better’. We take a class thinking that someone will make us titillating on the stage. The interesting thing is that—it’s not the answer for most of us.
Gaining Other Presentation Skills
Sure, there are a myriad of presentation skills that help us in front of audiences. We can speak slower, speak more clearly, pause more effectively, use our bodies more effectively. But, in addition, there are teaching methods that increase the effectiveness of our presentations. These include
Crafting of the presentation
Use of visuals and props
How good are you at these teaching methods? Do you tend to rely on the good old stand-by, lecture? If so, you’re boring your audiences to death!
A Great ‘How to Teach’ Course Will Help You
I teach Instructor Development Workshop in the state of Washington. This fulfills a requirement for instructors to teach clock-hour approved courses in the state. So many times, people come into the class wanting me to ‘fix them’ so they will be fascinating in front of people. What I have to do is to teach them all those other methods to teach effectively—skills they can learn and master. It’s interesting to watch their paradigms switch from “make me another Johnny Carson or Don Rickles” to “I’m grasping great teaching methods that work for me.”
To see my upcoming courses, click here.
One of the things I do in Instructor Development is to demonstrate to students many teaching methods. Then, we ‘take it apart’ and talk about how they would apply these methods to their own situations. I’ve developed a list of 42 Teaching Methods to summarize the course. Click here to get it.
Bring Skills to Your Company or Association
Want me to come to your company or association and teach these methods? I’ll customize the subject matter to match what you need. I believe training is major answer to our industry’s offering value for services, and I can help you create great trainers and effective training. Click here to contact me, and we’ll talk about your needs.
This month, I’m focusing on training. Why? Because you’re hiring good potential, but you need a plan to develop that potential. And, that development comes through training and coaching.
Adults are Enigmatic Animals
Do you sometimes have trouble figuring out the level of expertise of a particular audience? Do you have some students say, “That was too basic.” Do you wonder how your audience likes to learn? In other words—are you in the dark about your audience background and preferences? If so, you don’t know how to ‘hit the bull’s eye’ in the classroom.
You can solve many of your instructional problems simply by using a pre-conference survey.
Adults Have Learning Diversities
Children are so much easier to teach than adults. Children are relatively ‘clean slates’. They don’t know so much (and don’t know things incorrectly), and they’re eager to learn. Adults, on the other hand, come into the classroom with some terrific learning, skills—and a lot of ‘missed learning’ and baggage. To teach effectively, you must find out everything about your audience before you get in front of them.
A Lab on Finding Out Who These Students Are
Twice a year, I teach my Instructor Development Workshop in this area (Bellevue, Washington). I’ve done this for lots of years. It’s very challenging to teach, because these adults come into class with so many widely varying experiences about training. To teach them effectively, I need to know as much as possible about them before class starts.
What I Want to Learn About My Students
To prepare to teach Instructor Development, I always ask participants to answer a pre-conference survey. Here are some of the questions I ask:
- Have you had any formal training? Please explain.
- What do you want to accomplish?
- What do you want your students to be able to do?
- What are your favorite teaching methods?
- How do you like to learn in a classroom?
Trainers: Take this list right now and customize it for your course.
Can you guess why I ask these questions? I need to know
- Their relative backgrounds, so I know the range of the students
- What they want from the class, so I know their expectations (and lack of expectations!)
- If they expect their students to change behavior as a result of the class—or if they just want students to learn ‘neat stuff’
- How they like (and what they depend on) to teach—so I know their skill sets
- Their favorite learning method, so I can include it in my teaching
What I Learn from Those Who Don’t Complete the Survey
That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? In my Instructor Development course, I ask students why they think I did the survey, and what it tells me. We then discuss how to use surveys in various situations to gather information about those adult learners. I know if a student doesn’t complete the survey, they don’t find value. They may be hard to teach. Or, they were just plain too busy or distracted.
Raising the Level of Your Course—and Charging More for It
By using a pre-conference survey, you show students that there are expectations of your course. You show them that there will be more value than the ‘just show up and sit there’ type of course. You show them that you care more about them than just showing up. You show them you will customize this course specifically for them. You can charge more for your course, because you have elevated the course from the ordinary to the extraordinary.
Your Responsibilities to the Students
Gathering all that information isn’t a free ride for you! Students will expect you to use that information to customize your course, teach to various learning styles, and stretch yourself as an instructor.
Let me know how you use surveys prior to courses to increase the value of your course.
During my Instructor Development Workshop, I show dozens of teaching methods. I’ve compiled a list of 42 of them. Click here to get it.
A Teaching Resource for You
Tired of your own teaching methods? Want to dial it up? Take a look at The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide.
Learn the 6-step process to create a great workshop, so you can create your own training workshop. Grasp the 3-part process to create a persuasive presentation to motivate your associates. You’ll get the most common mistakes trainers make—and how to avoid them.
30 Checklists and Outlines
• A ‘cheat sheet’ to put together a workshop in 10 minutes
• 2 ready-to-use teaching outlines
• An example of a student outline and a coordinating teaching outline (use as a guide to submit your outline to your Dept. of Licensing)
• 28 speaker’s tips
• Example of a training calendar
• A student evaluation form
• How to get students to attend: An effective marketing flyer
• 10 minute system to create a 1-3 hour training session—one that works!
• Worksheet: How to create an in-office workshop
• 5 methods to build in student accountability and measurable results
• 6 ways to lose your ‘stage fright’
• 6 ways to keep the audience’s attention
• 10 methods to ‘control troublemakers’ in your audience
• 15 forms, systems and processes to create better training
• How to assure they’ll participate in your training session
• How to build learning theory into your practical workshops
• How to avoid talking through an hour
• Attributes of effective new agent training
• Attributes of effective experienced agent training
• How to ‘time’ your presentations so you end on time
• The 6 steps to build a workshop
• What to do when they’re not paying attention
• What to do when you’re out of time
• How to control the student who dominates questions
• How to utilize your agent talents in your training program
• A post-workshop trainer’s evaluation
• How to use role play the right way
• 5 ways to teach instead of lecturing
• The positives and pitfalls of each teaching method
• The coaching feedback loop, to motivate your students
• 28 tips for speakers
• Worksheet: attendance record
• Sample article to promote your workshop
• Sample flyer to promote your workshop
• Career Life Cycle: How to figure out who to train and the training you need
• Agent survey to discover training needs
• Your training calendar evaluator
• An example new agent training calendar
• An example of experienced agent training: The Masters Series
• How to find presenters
• How to design and present a panel discussion
• How to evaluate your training program
• 10 most common training program mistakes
This month, I’m featuring training. Why? Because you’re probably hiring like mad in this fast market. So, if your training systems aren’t keeping up to your hiring demands, read each of these blogs.
Note: I’m doing a series of digital newsletters for trainers this year, called ‘Behind the Mic‘. If you’d like to be included in my mailing list, go to my Carla Cross website home page, www.carlacross.com. Toward the right bottom, there’s a request to join Carla’s Community. Join, and you’ll get newsletters and resources FREE as a member. If you want to only receive the Trainers’ newsletters, state you are a trainer.
Are you standing in front of your students to create better performance, or more knowledge? If you are want to train, it’s very important to clarify for yourself exactly what your role is. Why? Because it will determine the outcomes you get.
I learned this the hard way. After graduating in piano performance, I applied to and had been awarded a scholarship to UCLA as a graduate assistant in the music department. But, after I was at UCLA a few weeks, I became disillusioned, for I found out that the UCLA music department was all about ‘knowledge’, not performance. Professors earned tenure by publishing papers about sixteenth century Elizabethan madrigals–but they didn’t have to be able to play the madrigals…My interest and experience in music had been performance.
Are You After Better Performance or More Knowledge?
I’ve never forgotten that lesson about the difference in the knowledge about something–and the performance of it. Which is more important in what you’re teaching? What do you want your students to be able to do as a result of your presentation/training? Sure, just like musical performance, you must have some technique to perform. But, also like musical performance, lots of knowledge doesn’t make you a good performer.
If You Want Better Performers…..
Here are five areas to look at to assure you’re creating performers, not just know-it alls.
1. What percent of your program is instructor focused? That is, the instructor performs. If it’s more than 50%, you have a knowledge-heavy program. Model your program like the piano teacher teaches piano. He talks very little, demonstrates some, and listens to the student play and gives positive reinforcement and re-direction. The teacher knows he taught because the student can play.
2. Do you choose your instructors based on their knowledge and their ability to deliver the message attractively? Start choosing your instructors, instead, on their ability to facilitate performance. They should be able to demonstrate a role play, set up a role play, and draw conclusions. Like great piano teachers create increasingly difficult programs for their students, your instructors should be able to craft ever-increasing difficult rule plays. Think of them like creators of ‘virtual reality’.
3. Who is held accountable for the program–the instructors or the students? In most programs, we ‘relieve’ the instructor if he doesn’t get good reviews from the students. The instructor’s the only one accountable. Turn it around. 75% of the accountability should be on the students to demonstrate they have learned the skill. Why? Because, without student accountability, managers get your ‘graduates’ who can’t perform.
4. Is your focus on curriculum? Are you attempting to create value for the program to management or owners by providing more information than the other school? Most training programs could cut 50% of their curriculum and graduate better performers. Instead of focusing on curriculum, create your program as ‘virtual reality’. Have a system that provides a series of “performance building blocks”. Don’t tell them all about playing a concerto. Just tell them enough to let them ‘get their fingers on the keys’.
5. Are the objectives of your program knowledge-based? How do the students graduate from your program? Do they pass a written exam? Managers want a graduate who can perform the activities of a real estate salesperson to reasonably high performance standards. A good training program should identify, teach, observe, and coach performance in several critical performance areas until the student can perform well enough to graduate.
The Right Performance ‘Test’
As a piano performance major, each term, I had to play a ‘mini-recital’ in the music auditorium for an audience of four–all piano professors. I couldn’t just talk about music theory, or answer a multiple choice exam. I had to play. And, to pass the ‘course’, I had to play to certain set performance standards. The more your training program resembles the ‘virtual reality’ of your specific performance, the more valuable your program to the people who hired your students –and you.
In the next blog, I’ll tell you about the latest trends in training–and why you need to adopt them now!
Why not take off the pressure and let me help you. I’ve created a comprehensive online training/coaching program for new agents: Up and Running in Real Estate. I’ve included 25+ training videos and 50+ documents, systems, and how-tos. And, I want to include you–since your interest and dedication will make all the difference to that new agent’s success. So, I included Coaches’ Corner–all the information you need to coach an agent to this program. See more here.
Do you use a planned, consistent interview process? If you do, you will easily discover those ‘red flag’ areas–those areas you must double-check to assure that candidate is qualified to work with you. If you don’t use a consistent interview process–when every interview is a ‘wing-it’ experience—you’re constantly thinking about what to do next. We can’t pay attention to those red flags which pop up and wave themselves in our faces. We’re seduced, too, by what we perceive as the candidate’s attractiveness for us, and we tend to ignore those red flags. If you’ve ever hired someone, and then discovered, that person had a ‘secret’ he kept from you in the interview, you know what I mean!
Methods to Discover those Very Important ‘Red Flags’
Here are some methods you can build into your interview process to avoid those costly hiring mistakes:
- Use an application consistently, or at least ask the candidate to answer some questions in writing (have all questionnaires approved by an attorney to assure they consist of legal questions)
- Ask the prospective candidate to complete some tasks prior to the interview, so you know if the are willing to make you ‘leader’ and learn from you
- Create a professional interview process you follow consistently*
- Create ‘behavioral predictor’ questions (questions based on their past) and practice those questions until you are a master at them
- Use a behavioral profile (like the DISC) to check your observations and learn more about the candidate. Learn how to ‘validate’ the behavioral profile with the candidate.
- Quit being in a hurry to hire every candidate, and choose those candidates more carefully. After all, they reflect your vision and values.
(Remember, if you do it for one, you must do it for all!)
How many of these points do you take advantage of?
For a copy of my 8-step interview process, click here.
What a Systematized Interview Process Does for You
You will not only hire better candidates, you will avoid those awful ‘surprises’ after committing to that agent (and I’ve had some doozies, as you probably have had, too). You will gain the respect of your team, because you aren’t giving them a problem, but a solution. You will find hiring winners easier, because that candidate is judging your competency as an interviewer and leader at the same time you are judging that candidate’s appropriateness for your team.
Quit ‘Winging it’ And Get Systematized!
How do you think the candidate regards you? Are you organized, systematic, and professional in your interview process? Or, do you ‘sell’ the candidate instead of asking lots of questions first? Do you have a method to capture candidates’ answers to your critical questions? Do you even have a list of questions you always ask? If you know you could polish that all-important process and hire more of those great agents you want, grab the most proven, effective interview process around: Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners. All digital so you can use it immediately!
Click here to see more.
This is the time you should be lead generating for recruits and selecting carefully. So, this month, I’m spotlighting recruiting and selecting–the one step in the recruiting process that’s not well taught–or mastered.
Three Dumb Questions You Should Be Asking in the Interview
We all have our favorite interview questions. Yet, most of the time, those favorite questions don’t give us insights into our candidate (be sure to call them candidates). They give us the answers we want to hear–and the candidate wants to give us!
Before I tell you the three dumb questions, write down your favorite interview question.
Now, the three dumb questions:
1. How much money do you want to make? (or any question to which they are going to give a wild guess, interviewer-pleasing answer)
Dumb because: If the agent is new, they have no clue of what it takes to make that money. They are just throwing a number at you.
In fact, any ‘future-based’ questions fail to give you real information about that person. Why? Because they are ‘reading you’ and giving you the answers they think you want to hear.
2. Are you honest? Are you tenacious? Are you ethical?
Dumb because: Any of the ‘value questions’ are dumb because no one is going to tell you ‘no’ to them! There’s a much better way to find out the person’s ethics and values, and that’s to ask ‘behavioral predictor’ questions. (See Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners for details).
3. Will you take part in our ____________? (meetings, trainings, etc.)
Dumb because: They will usually say ‘yes’–and then not appear. Instead, you need a ‘mutual expectations’ dialogue at the end of your interview, where you lay out expectations and get agreement–in writing.
Big principle in interviewing: People behave in the future like they behaved in the past.
Find out about their past.
What questions have you been snookered on? How did you change those questions?
For an 8-step ‘sure-selection’ process, best questions to ask, and what to put in your selection packages, see Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners. This unique resource is all online, so you get instant access. Isn’t it time to polish your selection process so you don’t have to work so hard and get better results?
What are you looking for–and what aren’t you looking for–in a real estate agent?
This month, I’m featuring recruiting. Why? Because it’s the life blood of real estate success. Unfortunately, too many managers, though, don’t honor it as such.
First, let’s tackle what you’re not looking for! What are your knock-out factors?
Here are some of mine. Grab a pen and write yours. Now, include these as questions in your pre-interview phone questionnaire. (You do have one, don’t you?)
(See Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners for a full list of pre-interview questions.
What ARE You Looking for in a Real Estate Agent?
You’ve listed the knock-out factors that would disqualify the candidate from an interview–or a second interview. Now, let’s look at what you are looking for:
Take a look at the categories below.
Now, write the specific skills, talents, and qualities you’re looking for that would add to your team in your office:
The last question for you in this blog: Do your interview questions reflect what you’re looking for? Write your 3 favorite interview questions and see if they are revealing exactly what you’re looking for. If not, why are you asking them?
In our next blog, I’ll share the best type of interview question you can ask!
Are you wasting time interviewing and not hiring? Or, interviewing and hiring and then finding out they aren’t a ‘fit’? This resource will help you stop all that and provide laser focus and skills for hiring with confidence.
Check out Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners now–all online for immediate download.