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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In the last blog, I named 3 things that bad hiring costs you.

There are some of those line items that are hard to quantify–but are very real. If you’ve ever hired an agent who lied to you or others, or undermined you, or talked behind your back in the kichen–you know there are very real costs to your culture.

Another real but hard to quanitify cost: Have you ever had good agents leave because they weren’t challenged? Because they felt you were hiring poor agents, and dragging down everyone’s production? If that only cost you one productive agent, it’s a lot!

What are your numbers? What does it cost you for an agent who failed? Have you ever figured it out? Let me know. As a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) instructor, I would ask managers this question. Generally, they figured the cost of a bad hire was $10,000-$30,000. What’s yours?

eBook Cover(2)
Grab Your Selection Blueprint and Gain a System

Are you wasting time interviewing those who fail? Do you want to have a systematic method of selection (just as you tell your agents to use with sellers and buyers!).  Or, do you need some guidance to figure out those you don’t want? Get Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners and make better hiring decisions.

Ready to use and immediately downloadable!

Here’s why just hiring more may not be best for you. This month, I’m focusing on hiring–and termination. Why? Because they are the most important activities you can do. And, they determine the profitability and culture of your company.

Do you know how much poor hiring practices cost you? Most brokers don’t realize they are doing irreparable damage to their companies by hiring those who aren’t going to go right to work and keeping those who won’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. Sure, I’ll come to your office. I’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. Not.

2. Kills your recruiting message.

Do you have a training program? Do you use it to recruit? Here’s the real message: We have a training program. All our new agents go through it. We don’t get any results from the program, so it really doesn’t work. But, join us. You can’t possibly show how successful your training program makes your agents because your training program can’t possibly get results from poor people in and no actions and accountability required.

3. De-motivates your agents to provide referrals to you.

Why would one of your good agents possibly refer someone to you when your good agent doesn’t see those you hired starting right out and making money fast?

As the Market Shifts: It Won’t Cover Up an Inadequate Selection Process

In a fast market, accidental sales buoy up poor agents and make them look as though they were actually selling enough real estate to be a median agent. When the market shifts, so do the agents ‘ mirage of decent production. With that shifted market, brokers need to hire with purpose (using a stringent, professional interview process). Then, they need to 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, I’ll give you some line items that will probably double what you think a bad hire costs. Let’s see what you think first. Poor hiring practices really, really hurts brokers, both financially and emotionally.

Here’s what you need to know about training, from my piano teachers.

Special Blog for Anyone Who Trains and Coaches

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.

1. Great piano teachers screen their students in and screen their students 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, Systems, 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. Check out Leadership Mastery Coaching.

Are Your Agents Still Selling with These Two Ineffective Strategies? Do you need to put new strategies in your training and coaching?

Florida Realtor just interviewed me for an article on the sales strategies that agents are still using–but that don’t work. I thought that was such a great topic that I want to share them with you here. So, these blogs will each explore 2 habits. This is great for agents  and managers to think about, because these habits and strategies can wreck your results!

My first two strategies were no database or contact management and using a ‘love ’em and leave ’em mentality. The next two ‘no-no’s were not customizing your presentations–or just ‘going verbal’, and not qualifying your leads.

The last two are:

  1. Thinking ‘training’ is just for ‘newbies’
  2. Little or no proactive lead generation

Who’s Training For?

Often, when I ask an agent about training, they said “I’ve gone through the company new agent training program. I’ve been trained.” Sure. That’s like saying, I took one piano lesson so now I can play a Beethoven sonata. Not quite…..Or, almost as bad: As agents become more ‘seasoned’, they get new technical information, but don’t take classes in presenting, sales techniques, or management. In other words, they’re not growing as professionals.

Managers: What training do you offer your agents to keep them growing after your new agent training? What training do you offer the seasoned agent to ‘push them back’ to growth and excitement?

Little or No Proactive Lead Generation

No, I don’t mean ‘sit and wait’ for a lead–like from floor time, or leads from your manager, or relo leads–or those lead generation  companies.Ii mean ‘you go out and get the lead’. That’s your insurance plan, and it will protect you when times get tougher (and they will).

Managers: Do you help your agents build in a lead generation plan into their business plans? Do you help them be accountable to the plan? To measure the plan?

What are your ‘old strategies’ that you see agents doing that they need to dr

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Managers: Do you help your agents build in a lead generation plan into their business plans? Do you help them be accountable to the plan? To measure the plan?

What are your ‘old strategies’ that you see agents doing that they need to drop now?

What? Here are MORE strategies that don’t work anymore.

Florida Realtor just interviewed me for an article on the sales strategies that agents are still using–but that don’t work. I thought that was such a great topic that I want to share them with you here. So, these blogs will each explore 2 habits. This is great for managers to think about, because these habits and strategies can wreck your training–or make it effective!

My first two strategies were no database or contact management and using a ‘love ’em and leave ’em mentality. Now, here are those next two ‘no-no’s.

  1. Not qualifying your buyer or seller

You’d think that agents would learn and use qualifying methods because they’re always challenged by ‘time management’. But, no. For some reason, many agents still believe that any client is a good client. So, they waste hundreds of hours either hauling non-buyers around–or listing properties that won’t sell. Even in this hot market! I know, this market is generally very forgiving. But, it always won’t be that way!

Managers: How are you teaching your agents to qualify buyers and sellers? Do you have them role play their qualifying procedures? Do you have them identify knockout factors and establish standards for working with buyers and sellers?  (If you want great ‘courses’ for these things, check out Your Complete Buyer’s Agent Toolkit and Your Complete Power Listing System. They’re resources with all the background and documents agents need to do great qualifying interviews. And, they’ll provide you comprehensive courses in those subjects, too).

2.  Not using a visual presentation for buyers and sellers

This goes with #1. I separated them, though, because both need to happen so the agents fully informs the client and finds out if the client is ‘for real’.

 And, most people are visual learners. Finally, agents (and generally salespeople) are not deemed the most trustworthy people on the planet (just perception, not truth!). Usually visual substantiation and 3rd party endorsements and statistics add immeasuable credibility.

Managers: Do you work with your agents to create visual presentations with real substantiation for their claims (like, ‘our listings sell faster’). Do you help each agent create their personalized presentations to spotlight that agent, or do you rely on general company overviews (won’t work anymore!).

Resources: If you want great ‘courses’ for these things, check out Your Complete Buyer’s Agent Toolkit and Your Complete Power Listing System. They’re resources with all the background and documents and visual presentations agents need to do great qualifying interviews. And, they’ll provide you comprehensive courses in those subjects, too).

What do you think are habits and strategies that agents are still using that just won’t propel them forward in today’s competitive environment?

 

Here are 2 sales strategies that don’t work anymore–although they still are being used by your agents!

I just did an interview for Florida Realtor. They’re doing an article on the things that don’t work anymore in real estate sales. I thought that was a fascinating subject, and  I came up with several sales strategies that we need to drop out of our ‘toolboxes’. Here are 2. (next few will be in future blogs).

  1. No database/contact management

It used to be–we kept our leads on pieces of paper or index cars–if we kept them at all! And, we got away with it, because real estate was more of a ‘next business’–even though that’s never the best way to run it! Even now, the majority of agents don’t have a contact management system–and many don’t even have their leads and clients in a database. Why is this important? Because the agents who DO capture and keep their clients will beat out the others who rely on memory–or, worse yet, just use a ‘next’ mentality.

Managers: When do you suggest an agent start capturing leads in a database? When do you suggest they start using contact management, and create their ongoing marketing plans through it? Do you have an accountability system for these? (assuring they DO create that database in their first week in the business, and start using contact management to manage their contacts and marketing plans).

2. Love ’em and leave ’em mentality

I chose this next because it goes perfectly with the ‘no database’ mentality. I read that only about 1/3 of agents ever go back to the client they sold a house to! So, they concentrate on getting a new client. Yet, studies also show it costs 6-9 times more to get a new client than to keep an old one! What does this mean? That agents are wasting a lot of time trying to find more strangers to convince to work with them than to keep in contact with current/past clients and get referrals (much easier to do and much less expensive).

Managers: What does this mean to you? That your training needs to expand to client retention. Do you have  that in your training? Do you consult with your agents regularly on their client retention plans? Do you teach them that client retention is as or more important than client acquisition?

Let me know what you think agents need to quit doing to thrive in this real estate climate.

A New Resource to Inspire and Motivate Your Agents

I just took many of the sales and inspirational ‘quotes’ from my book, Up and Running in 30 Days, and put them into this ‘little book’. In it, I show 80+ sales principles with short explanations. They are the principles agents need to succeed–along with lots of motivation and inspiration.

These little books make great ‘congratulation’ and Christmas gifts! Order 5 Big Ideas at $25 plus shipping. See more here.

What do you do if someone won’t get into action?

This month, I’m featuring tips to get your agents–and you into action better–and faster. Why? Because real estate is a ‘performance art’, not a knowledge pursuit!

(Note: Watch for my new little book, it’s literally a ‘little book’, with the quotes I’ve coined (or copied, I’m sure), over the years. The quote above is from the book, too). Oh, the name of the book: Big Ideas (in a little book). By the way, the book is a great gift to your agents–and will give you 80+ quotes for meeting discussions, too.

Real Estate Sales IS Challenging!

I’ll bet your agents didn’t know how challenging real estate sales were until now. To cope with those challenges, our creative subconscious may be coming up with ways to convince us to avoid getting into action. We might even start believing your subconscious! One of the most common reasons is the old “I can’t do that because I don’t know enough.” Or, maybe your subconscious has convinced you that you’re not organized enough to get into action, or that you’re not perfect enough.

Getting Ready to Get Ready

Ned, an agent in my office, acted in a way that is an example of creative avoidance. In the business eight months, Ned had made only one sale. However, he was in the office regularly and appeared busy with paperwork. He attended law courses and was well-informed on financing. One day I saw Ned collating maps. I asked him what he was doing. He explained that he was putting together a series of maps for a buyer’s tour. I thought that was exceptional; buyers would really want to know the whereabouts of the homes they were seeing. (Today, Ned would be using apps for that–and spending lots of time getting the right apps and exactly the right ‘maps’……..)

Unfortunately, Ned had used his strategy with only six buyers—all the buyers he had put in his car in the past eight months! He had spent his time on this nifty map system, but had not talked to enough people to get them into the car—or have the opportunity to appreciate the map system! Which is more important to your goal attainment—talking to people, qualifying them, and showing them homes, or working diligently on a map system in case you find someone who wants you to show them homes?

How People Get into Action

How do you “get into action”? How do your agents get into action? In a wonderful book, The Conative Connection, Kathy Kolbe explores the ways different personalities get into action—not how we learn, but how we get into action. Some people barge ahead and worry about the details later. We start badly, but, because we’re tenacious, we surprise people by how good we finally get. Unfortunately, our supervisors often remember only how bad we were when we started. We must be tough-minded and keep at it; we must retain an image of ourselves as “finished products,” because others will not see us that way. Other people observe the action for a long time. Finally, when we feel ready to perform well, we get into action. We start slowly but well.

Slow Starters May be Deceptively Competent!

Because of our slow start, we don’t get much positive reinforcement from our supervisors (or coach or manager), who note our lack of progress compared with others in the office. If slow starters are tenacious and believe in themselves, they become very good because they practice perfectly. Kolbe points out several “get into action” styles. This book will help you pinpoint your “get into action” style as well as the barriers and challenges various types of ‘action starters’ face as they start their real estate careers.

Help Your Agents Embrace Embarrassment

Go ahead—be embarrassed. There is no way to be experienced until you get experience. No agents like to take risks, be embarrassed, or have buyers and sellers guess that they are new in the business. But face it—everyone has been new in the business. Just go ahead and get those first few months over with. You will be embarrassed every day—many times. As a new agent, my most common statement to buyers or sellers was “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” In music, little could stump me—but in real estate anything could stump me! Still, I muddled through it, and you will, too.

* Big Idea: Your ability to get into action and risk being embarrassed is one of the attributes of a successful new agent (or manager!).

Why not take your time? I’ve interviewed prospective agents who told me they really didn’t want to sell real estate right away. They wanted to learn everything they could. Then, after six or eight months, they would feel ready to sell real estate. It doesn’t work that way! I wish I could tell you that agents can successfully launch real estate careers by taking lots of time to “get ready.” However, if you take all the time in the world, you will fail. Why? Because lack of success is a great de-motivator!

. To remember and emulate good performance, we need to perform right after we have heard, seen, and practiced that performance. Learning something in a class and letting that skill lie dormant for months just guarantees poor skill—and high stress.

* Big Idea: 99 percent of what we learn we learn by doing.

On a scale of 1-10, 10 being “I jump right into action”, how would you rate yourself in getting into action?

Let Me Help Your Agents Get Into Action with More Confidence

It can seem like every day in real estate is a new challenge! I know–I remember those days well! Why not get the best start (or re-start) possible? Take a look at my innovative online, training/accountability program, Up and Running in Real Estate. There’s a coaching component, too, so you can track your agents’ successes and coach them along the way. Check it out here.

Here’s what the Beatles and Bill Gates reveal about reaching goals.

This month, I’m writing about how we can increase our performance and results–using methods that we normally don’t discuss in real estate. This blogs are a reflection of my new keynote, “You CAN! 5 Secrets from Weird Sources that Will Get You to your Goals.” In this keynote, I investigate the performance skills I learned as a career musician–along with other ‘weird sources’. I show exactly how you can apply these secrets to your business and life to gain exceptional performance.   (and I use the piano to demonstrate!)

You know that the Beatles attained pop music mastery. You know Bill Gates did the same with technology. But, did you know what they have in common-and that you may have, too?

Before I tell you that, let me share something that happens to me often.

You’ve heard the old chestnut, Practice Makes Perfect. I certainly know that as a musician. But, how well do we apply that principle to our business lives? Is this something that is a key to our attaining our goals? I think so. Read on.

The Commonality between the Beatles and Bill Gates

In his fascinating book, Outliers, Malcolm Gladwell studies performers-from Mozart and the Beatles to Bill Gates. The commonality he found was that high achievers spent an average of

Ten thousand hours practicing and honing their craft to get to mastery

In other words, it isn’t talent, it isn’t just circumstance (although Gladwell points out being at the right place at the right time is important, too)-attaining exceptional performance is just slogging it out, practicing your craft, logging in ten thousand hours.

The Beatles–Having to Work Seven Days for Eight Hours a Night Was the Beset Thing that Could Happen to Them

When I read that the Beatles played in Hamburg 8 hours a night, 7 days a week-for 2 years, I instantly felt tired! I know what it’s like to perform in bars for hours! (I played piano in bars to put myself through college–what an education!) But, the Beatles said that experience was key in making them the performers they became. In an interview, John Lennon said, “We got better and got more confidence. We couldn’t help it with all the experience playing all night long…..we really had to find a new way of playing.”

Bill Gates-Practically Living at the Computer Lab

Gates describes his early years: “It was my obsession….I skipped athletes. I went up there at night. We were programming on weekends.”

Isn’t There a Shortcut?

For those of you who have never attained high performance, you don’t–and can’t-realize the importance of practice. You think that it’s just a matter of talent or luck. But, haven’t you known extremely talented people who just extinguished themselves like a flaming rocked? Haven’t you known people with all the advantages who just didn’t attain what you thought they could-or should? Of course.

Are You Willing to Put in those Ten Thousand Hours to Excel?

From the many examples in Outliers, and from my own experiences as a pianist (I have a degree in piano performance and a master’s degree in music theory), I know that practicing your craft provides the only true competence and confidence. You don’t gain mastery by talking about it. You don’t gain mastery by someone trying to motivate you. You don’t gain mastery by dabbling and calling it ‘good’. It’s practice. So, get out there, and practice and perform. Rack up those ten thousand hours, and you will achieve your goals. If the Beatles and Bill Gates didn’t take shortcuts, we shouldn’t try it that way, either. Isn’t devoting enough time to your goals important enough to you to feel the joy of attainment-of mastery?

Help Them Start on the Road to Mastery Now

What’s the secret to gaining mastery? Starting–and starting with an accurate, proven process. That’s how I created Up and Running in Real Estate–the online training, coaching, and accountability program for agents under 2 years in the business. It’s created to start people practicing, getting into action fast, and getting feedback to keep getting better. Check it out. 

 

Here’s more from Mr. Rogers–on how to use your talents and skills to contribute.

In my earlier blog, I discussed what we can learn from Mr. Rogers. Here’s more.  I’ve been thinking about his legacy, because there’s a new movie about his philosophies: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

First, who was “Mr. Rogers”? Best known from his children’s show, which ran from 1968 to 2000, Fred Rogers was so much more—a minister, a musician with a degree in music composition, and chief puppeteer of his show. I’ve always enjoyed his quotes, because many of them are from his experiences as a musician (as am I).

From What We Do to What We Can Contribute

I don’t know about you, but I got bored selling real estate after about 5 years. All those split levels started looking the same! So, let’s say you’ve mastered what you do (and maybe have become bored with the routine of your life!). Then, what do you do? How about doing like Mr. Rogers did: Shine your light and talents outward to influence others in positive ways.

Note to managers, trainers, and coaches: Do an exercise where each person names a talent/skill they have. Then, have their partner ‘translate’ how that skill can be translated to others. Example: “People tend to tell me their secrets and their fears.” Partner: How about gaining some coaching expertise and start coaching to help people?

Let me know what you come up with. I’ve found that it’s easier for someone else to be creative about your talents and skills that it is for you to be! Here’s to a very fulfilling, rich, and contributive year!

Let Me Help You Help Your Newer Agents!

I want YOU to be the hero here! So many times, I’ve talked with managers who want to design training and coaching programs to help their agents. But, I know, from experience, it takes thousands of hours and test marketing to create effective, results-based training. So, why not let me do the heavy lifting and you coach to the program? Check out Up and Running in Real Estate, my online training, coaching, and accountability plan with an amazing, results-centered business start-up plan. You (and I) will be helping more people faster! Check it out here.