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Jul
18

Why You NEED a Training Calendar

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Why do you need a training calendar? Do you have one now? You need one for several reasons.

First, the majority of real estate offices do not have training calendars. Instead, they schedule things as they come up–with little rhyme nor as to why those events are put on the calendar. Don’t let that be you!

Here’s what creating a training calendar will do for you:

1. Organize your training as part of your business plan for next year

2. Have a time-saving guide to implement the training you need for your company to move forward

3. Use the training calendar to recruit (internal AND external)

In October (Oct. 3-4 in Bellevue, Wa.) , I’m doing my live version of Instructor Development Workshop. As a bonus, I’m going to share my training calendar analysis tool. (And you can grab it at the end of this blog, too).

small write outline

In fact, I doubt most managers make training a part of their business plan! Yet, training is the second-most important component to move our productivity and profitability up (recruiting the right people is #1).

Problems with Most Training Calendars

Before you read this paragraph, if you don’t have a training calendar, grab a calendar and write down the training events you intend to do next year. Now, let’s take a look at the 3 biggest problems with training calendars:

1. They don’t focus on the training events that can change the profitability and productivity of the office (too many ‘technical’ courses, and not enough sales courses)

2. They don’t focus on training events to meet the needs of each of your career life cycles (new, growth, and maturity)--they are skewed to one group of agents–usually new)

3. They don’t consist of measurable training, so you know what works

Take a look now at my analysis too, Your Training Calendar.

Question for You

What did you learn from your analysis?

trainer

Check out my training resources here.

Is your onboarding process creating loyalty or ‘buyer’s remorse’?

What do your agents think about your onboarding process?

In my earlier blogs, we’ve explored the importance of onboarding, and some of the common mistakes we all make. I am in the midst of a consulting assignment with a real estate company. They asked me to evaluate their onboarding process and make recommendations. To do that, I created and did an onboarding questionnaire. In this blog, I’m using ‘we’ do protray the company leadership and me.

I promised I’d share my onboarding questionnaire, so here it is.

Have you ever found out what your agents think about your process? Now is an excellent time to do this. Use my questionnaire and add your own questions. I asked these questions over the phone. At first, agents were reticent to share. Then, as I explained we were working to tighten the process, they opened up, and gave us great information. The bottom line: They were thrilled we had asked them! It made them feel an important part of the organization.

When you ask: Don’t judge, and don’t criticize. Just accept the information or probe for more detail.

My Results of My Survey

I’m going to share the results of my survey here with you. Some of the results were surprising; some were predictable.

What We Did With the Results of the Survey

We held a series of meetings to discuss the results. We then assigned duties to make this whole process better. We hired a person whose main job is to ‘dog those agents’ tracks through the complete onboarding process. Do you think this will result in a better retention record? We do.

Your turn: What are you doing to assure your onboarding process continues the excitement and loyalty you set up during your interview process? Or, have you thought about it?

Want to talk about my helping you create a world-class onboarding process? Email me at carla@carlacross.com or call me at 425-392-6914. Let’s get this to mastery level!

clockOnboarding: Those critical first seven days. Find out why that first week is so critical.

First: What does new agent onboarding and training have to do with retention? According to two recent studies–a whole lot!

In this blog, I’ll address some of the results and its ramifications for real state companies–from the survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Why Bother with a Great Onboarding System?

Because you’ll have much great retention! According to the SHRM study, companies that leave onboarding to chance experience higher than 50% failure rates when it comes to retaining new talent.

Question: Do you have a great orientation system? Are you leaving anything to chance? Does your new agent feel like he/she is in a fog for the first few months?

If you want a template and suggestions of what should be included in your orientation, click here.

Those New Hires Check Outa There Fast! (Faster than you Think!)

According to the same SHRM survey, 67% of millennials are already thinking of looking for their next job on day ONE!

Question:

Tips for Those First Critical Seven Days:

  1. Manager sends a welcome email  or snail mail (better) to new agent on day one.
  2. Each day’s activities are completely outlined so the new agent knows exactly how to proceed (you’re building in habits of success).
  3. The first week’s activities include shadowing and lunch with one of your senior colleagues. (If you have an advisory council, this is a perfect match!)
  4. Welcome gift given to the new agent on day one.
  5. End of first day checklist completed with manager
  6. Round table or lunch set up with your influential agents to welcome the new agent
  7. Use a detailed, prioritized action-plan checklist, like Up and Running in 30 Days, to assure the new agent knows exactly what to do, how to do it, and is held accountable to it.

Outcome: 69% of new employees are more likely to stay more than three years if they have experienced a well-structured onboarding program.

So, how does your onboarding system stack up?

Find out: Regularly survey your agents who have been with you 6 months to find out what they found valuable and how it could be improved. Why not have the best onboarding/retention system in the industry?

A Survey for You to Use: Next

In my next blog, I’ll share the survey I just did in an office where I’m consulting on their onboarding system. Boy, did I get some great feedback!

How’s Your Quick-Start Program Working?

Up and Running_5e largerBoth these onboarding studies prove that leaving the new agent’s orientation, training, and start to chance just doesn’t cut it. Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days: updates in 5th edition. This invaluable book is only $32.95 plus shipping, and has been used by thousands of new agents to launch successful careers. Order here.

What could your retention rate be if you had a superior onboarding system?

 

 

interview with clip boardOnboarding: Is it causing attrition or retention in your company? Do you know? Do you know how awesome (or not) your onboarding system is? Have you done a survey? (more about that in later blogs).

The biggest lesson in the onboarding process is starting each new agent with a proven lead generating plan.

What Does Onboarding Include?

One study I used in Up and Running in 30 Days was the Inman Select Special Report: How to Fix New Agent Onboarding. The Inman report didn’t define what was included in Onboarding. From reading the study, however, Inman included initial training, coaching, and mentoring. I am going to add basic orientation and basic actions to the Onboarding process. Why? Because many real estate companies do not have adequate orientation processes. So, agents don’t get the basic direction needed to launch their businesses.

Question: What is your initial orientation like? Does it cover all the bases? If you want a template and suggestions of what should be included in your orientation, click here.

In this blog, I’ll address the results and its ramifications for real state companies–from the other survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Retention Starts in the Interview

From working with real estate companies over the past three + decades, I think that most brokers regard retention as something that we must do to keep those seasoned agents. However, according to the survey results in the SHRM study, retention decisions are made by those we hire within a very short period of time. In fact, both studies indicate retention starts prior to hiring!

Here is a major conclusion from this survey, and it what means to real estate companies.

Expectations of the job are different than what new hires heard in the interview. And, the Inman report said new agents fail because they are unprepared for the realities of working as an independent contractor. I’m sure you’ve experienced this. Your new agent is all excited about a career in real estate. But, he/she will not do the lead generating activities required to launch a career. You told the candidate he/she had to lead generate. What is wrong?

Question for you: How well do you explain the job expectations in your interview? Do you provide a prioritized job description for the new agent? (Click here to grab mine). How do you give the prospective agent a real idea of the job?

Three Tips:

  1. Prior to hiring: Have the agent shadow one of your agents who is modeling the behaviors you want.
  2. Provide the agent with the eBook What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School. This eBook tells the truth about real estate as a career! You’ll save lots of time in the interview process and winners will pick themselves.
  3. Ask the prospect agent to do an activity you feel is important: Like create a dialogue to talk to someone they know about buying/selling real estate.
  4. Prior to hiring: Give the prospective agent Up and Running in 30 Days. Ask them to review the book. In my experience, if they come back, excited to begin this specific start-up plan, they are a good match for a productivity-focused office. If they come back and reject your lead generating plan, not a good prospect!

In my next blog, I’ll discuss more of the study conclusions and what they mean to us as real estate owners. I’ll also offer tips to tighten your onboarding process. Isn’t it worth having great systems if you could increase your retention of first year agents to 75%?

Last question: What’s your retention rate now of first year agents? How much money do they make their first year in the business? Do you know?

How’s Your Quick-Start Program Working?

Up and Running_5e largerBoth these onboarding studies prove that leaving the new agent’s orientation, training, and start to chance just doesn’t cut it. Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days: updates in 5th edition. This invaluable book is only $32.95 plus shipping, and has been used by thousands of new agents to launch successful careers. Order here.

Recently, I was consulting to a training series. Here’s how the trainer introduced making calls to clients:

“Okay. Get out your phones and make a call.” Sure. The new agents are just going to jump right up and call someone and ask them for a lead. Not.

  1. Demonstrate: The trainer should have demonstrated how to make a call to a particular market.
  2. Provide script or process: The trainer should have provided a script or a process for agents to follow.
  3. Role play: The trainer should have put agents in pairs (or 3s) and had them practice so they can ‘hear’ the words and grasp the process.
  4. Debrief: The trainer should have de-brief the exercise.

Now, the students are confident they can successfully use a script or process and are ready to call ‘for real’.

Principle: Never ask students to do something ‘for real’ until they’ve done it as ‘leatherette’ (role play).

Watch the video below to see how to successfully facilitate a role play.

How have you been preparing your students for ‘real life’? Are you skipping some steps?

See my 2 instructor development and train the trainer (distance) workshops at Cross Institute.

Here are four ways to avoid boring them to tears in a training session.

I just sat in on a training session for new real estate agents, and I had trouble sitting there. Why? Because the presenter was using almost all lecture.  Yes, the agents were listening intently. Yes, they seemed eager to learn. But, that lecture was not helping them learn. They needed to get involved!

Not only that, the students were new real estate agents, scared of a new career in which everything was up to them! They needed exercises to get confidence, to create ‘buddies’, and to meld as a team.

So, instead of lecturing, try breaking up your presenter-directed lecture with these techniques:

  1. Do a warm-up to loosen up everyone, teamify, have fun, and show that it’s going to be an exciting, fun-filled, course (more about how to do a warm-up in another blog).
  2. Instead of asking a question and letting people raise their hands to answer, turn it over to the group, and work in small groups to come up with answers. Then, name a reporter and compare answers (this is the task force, which I’ll also blog about later). This makes it much more interesting to the people, they get to know each other, and they gain confidence that then can come up with good answers.
  3. Pair up people to have them compare opinions, thoughts, and answers. You’ll be starting the buddy system now.
  4. Use accountability: Do you have it built in? You’ll want to build in assignments to complete so the students are learning in the field. That way, they’ll pay much more attention to you and learn a lot more.

Your turn:

How can you use these methods to wake up your students, get them involved, and get them learning at a much higher level?

 

Here’s a great way to teach: the case study. It’s a technique almost every trainer/presenter can use to break up that monotomous and less than effective teaching method too many of us rely on–the lecture.

This month, I’m focusing on training and trainers. Why? Because you actually have the ability to change lives!

In my last blog, I provided a video on the case study.

What’s a case study?

A small group exercise that has people working on a ‘story problem’. This ‘story problem’ can be quite intricate and long. It should have elements that you’ve taught earlier. Usually, case studies are given toward the end of the course to put judgment to work and check learning. It has the ‘story problem’. Then, it asks students to make decisions about the ‘story’ based on what they’ve learned in your course.

Click here for an example of a case study I use when I teach Instructor Development Workshop.

Why Use a Case Study?

. It also tells you if you need to spend some time in certain areas.

Get More Great Reviews, Too!

The bonus for your using the case study? You’ll get more students really enjoying the course, learning better, and giving you great reviews!

Gain My Perspective on Teaching AND New Skills!

Want more teaching skills? Join me for one of my instructor workshops. They have 15 clock hours and fulfill the qualifications to become an instructor in Washington state for clock hour courses. The next one ‘live’ is coming up Oct. 3-4 in Bellevue. See more here.

Or, if you want to get certified to teach clock hour courses and learn great new teaching skills ‘on your own time’, check out my distance learning version of the course, Train the Trainer.

Have you already taken instructor courses? If so, you’ll love my advanced course, Beyond the Basics: Training Techniques to Make that Course Come Alive. We use your course and put exciting, innovative teaching methods into it so you gain confidence AND the skills to energize your courses. I’m teaching this course ‘live’ Oct. 23-24 in Bellevue (7.5 clock hours, too).

Top tips for trainers: Use the Case Study.

This month, I’m focused on helping trainers refine their skills. So, I’ll be sharing some short videos I’ve made to explain various types of teaching techniques.

Is lecture your favorite method of teaching? Maybe you think it’s your only way! Wrong!!!! In fact, relying on lecture and ‘wimpy’ discussion makes you lose control of your audience–and bore them to tears. Instead, use what we trainers term ‘alternative delivery methods’–teaching alternatives to lecture. Your students will learn much more, will be more participative–and love you to death!

Watch this video on ‘case study’–one of the teaching techniques almost every instructor can put into almost every class.

Want more teaching skills? Join me for one of my instructor workshops. They have 15 clock hours and fulfill the qualifications to become an instructor in Washington state for clock hour courses. The next one ‘live’ is coming up Oct. 3-4 in Bellevue. See more here.

Or, if you want to get certified to teach clock hour courses and learn great new teaching skills ‘on your own time’, check out my distance learning version of the course, Train the Trainer.

Have you already taken instructor courses? If so, you’ll love my advanced course, Beyond the Basics: Training Techniques to Make that Course Come Alive. We use your course and put exciting, innovative teaching methods into it so you gain confidence AND the skills to energize your courses. I’m teaching this course ‘live’ Oct. 23-24 in Bellevue (7.5 clock hours, too).

You can always see all my courses, the calendar, and resources at www.crossinstitute.com.

Here’s how not to have an out-of-control classroom!

In an earlier blog, I gave you some tips to controlling audiences. There’s no reason your class attendees should feel the class is out of control. After all, it’s up to us to keep that class interested, interesting, and moving. Here are more tips to do just that.

  1. Limit the general discussion. You are behind time (You did time your class and put your time frame on your outline, didn’t you?). You see 5 hands raised and you need to move on. Here’s the phrase:

We have time for 2 more questions.

2. Stop the chatty Kathys. There are a few techniques you can use that work.

Walk away from Kathy so she can’t catch your eye and/or wave her hand in your face.

Ask each person to write it down first. (stops the hand jerking into the air!)

Ask the person to tell another person, not the whole group.

Ask for feedback this way: What did you hear {your work partner} say that you really liked?

Quit teaching only from the front of the room. Be sure you can walk down the aisle, and, if you have a mike, it allows you to do so. Making eye contact and respecting the learners in all parts of the room is graceful and effective.

Handling Really Tough Situations

Sometimes, once in a great while, someone just has a meltdown. If that happens, take a short break. Take that person out of the class (never, ever address a concern in front of others, or try to rival a stand-up comedian, the sarcastic but always funny Don Rickles. You aren’t and you’ll lose). Use this dialogue when you get that person alone:

“I’m feeling badly {be sure and use the word feeling} about what’s going on in there. What can I do to make this a good learning experience for you?” Or, “We need to move ahead and can’t seem to do so. What can I do for you so we can move ahead together?”

When all else fails, personally and privately invite that person out of the class.

Who is Important?

The learning of the majority of the class is what is important. It’s up to you as training/facilitator/presenter to gain and use the skills that assure a great course experience. In my opinion, it’s not the ‘student’s fault he/she is successful at disrupting the class (most of the time!). It’s the inability of the instructor to artfully use the strategies above to defuse the situation.

Keep honing those skills, and thank you for dedicating your experience to our industry!

P. S. Don’t forget to gain 42 Innovative Presentation Methods that increase your effectiveness, click here.

Ultimate_RE_Trainer

Tips, Tricks, and Just Plan Great Strategies for the Real Estate Trainer

It’s harder than ever to provide effective training today. So, we need all the new strategies we can get! The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide helps you through all types of situations, and provides dozens of ideas for you to use. See it here. 164 pages/4 audios. $129.95 plus shipping. Click here to find out more.


Does your course ‘fit’ the adult learner?

May is my designated Trainer Appreciation Month. So, I’m writing a blog series to help trainers teach and write great courses. And, I’m offering special discounts on my resources for trainers. See them here.

Most real estate courses are not written with adult learning principles in mind. So, let’s look at these truisms and write our courses to reach the adult learner effectively. This is one of the areas we address in my resource on how to write a course (click here to see it).

From writing courses for most of the major real estate franchises, and training thousands of real estate instructors, I’ve found some undeniable truisms. Here’s one:

Why Write a Course for the Adult Learner?

Benefits to teaching to these principles in your course:

  • Adults aren’t bored (!)
  • Adults feel important
  • Adults pay attention
  • Adults retain more
  • Adults feel protected; low risk environment
  • Adults like you better
  • Easier for you to teach!

The Big Principles to Keep in Mind

Adults learn through association.

We learn what we already know. Two fellows teaching community colleges instructors how to teach shared that one with me. How insightful!

How do skilled presenters accomplish this in a course environment?

Do you relate what you’re teaching to the adult’s prior experience? Or, do you jump right into a complex theory and expect your students to keep up…..

Adults learn by doing

Life is do it yourself. Do you have your students doing an action in class? What happens in your course to assure the students are doing? How do you know they can do whatever it is you are teaching them to do? Observe it in class, of course!

Retention soars when adults do and say something at the same time. How are you using this principle in your course?

How much doing of significance do you have planned in your class?

Big principle: How we retain information is directly related to how we acquire that information.

Would you say that instructors are most concerned with short-term, or long-term student learning?

Adults learn from each other

Use teaching methods to encourage information exchange.

How do you assure students are exchanging information? Are you using various alternative delivery methods (not lecture) to assure students are learning not only from you, but from one another?

Adults learn through repetition

Use several approaches to the same concept/process. Does your course offer review and repetition to assure students are really learning?

Adults learn through rapid recall

What rapid recall methods have you seen used in the classroom? Do you do this so you ‘tie up’ each section before you move on?

Adults seek to satisfy individual needs

Experience levels vary greatly. How would an instructor find out each student’s individual experience levels prior to getting into the classroom?When I’m teaching Instructor Development Workshop, I provide each attendee a ‘pre-conference survey’ at registration, so I can see the needs and level of learning of that person. Even the words used give me some powerful hints about each attendee’s priorities and beliefs!

Adults learn practical information.

They want information and skills to directly apply to their lives–right away.

How have you seen instructors assure that the information is not only applicable, but that the student applies the information to their challenges, while in the classroom? Are you assuring that each of your attendee translates the course information/skills into action plans?

Go back to the course your teaching or writing and see if you are adequately addressing how adults learn. Doing so is one of the attributes of a real course, not just an ‘information overload!

Expert Guidance to Write that Great Course–at a $30 discount this Month!

If you’re serious about writing that great course, this is the resource for you. Step by step, Carla Cross, who has written courses for Re/Max, Better Homes and Gardens, Keller Williams Realty, GMAC, Royal LePage, and CRB, shows you exactly how to create your course and your outline. And, for those Washington state instructors, she shares tips on how to get your course approved for clock hours.

This resource is digital. You will get access immediately.

May Trainer Appreciation Month bonus: Keys to a Killer Introduction

This ‘how to write a course’ includes:

2 instructional videos
Templates to use as guides for course creation
Examples of courses
2 ‘cheat sheets’ to write your course modules

Tips on how to write teaching methods right into that course, so you can sell it!

Guidance in how to get your course approved in Washington state.

With 95 pages, this resource, along with the 2 instructional videos, shows you exactly how to create a course that has substance, sizzle, and ‘sell’!

May Trainer Appreciation Month price: $99.95 with coupon create course. (Regularly $129.95. Save $30)

Click here for more information and to order. You’ll get immediate access to the 95-page resource guide and 2 instructional videos. Remember, to get your discount use the coupon code create course.