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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.

Archive for Career Success

shaking hands over computerDearborn Education Company just released my 5th edition (!) of Up and Running in 30 Days. This book is literally the new agent’s business start-up plan. In addition, I’ve provided lots of training and advice to assure new agents know what to do and how to do it.

One of the updates in this edition is the technology new agents really need—and what they don’t need, so they don’t waste their previous dollars!

What My Technology Experts Told Me

Use technology to support your dynamic business. The easiest way to organize the names of prospects and clients is on a computer. If you’re not in the technology world now—jump in. You’ll need technology to do the following (these are not my priorities, just a list):

Technology Recommendations from Up and Running

Use technology to support your dynamic business. The easiest way to organize the names of prospects and clients is on a computer. If you’re not in the technology world now—jump in. You’ll need technology to do the following (these are not my priorities, just a list):

  1. Work from wherever you are with a laptop so you can find properties, do market analysis, and create presentations anywhere, anytime
  2. Organize your prospects, clients, and affiliates (such as mortgage lenders) in a database (if you’re not extremely computer literate, start with Microsoft Outlook, which almost everyone already has on their computers)
  3. Organize your follow-up programs for specific target markets via  client relationship management (CRM)
  4. Capture and follow up on your Internet leads with Internet lead follow-­up technology designed for that purpose
  5. Measure your progress to your goals with specific software
  6. Keep in contact with your customers via cell phone and pager (you will find it truly amazing how few agents return phone calls)
  7. Carry your contacts (database), schedule, and so on with you on a personal digital assistant
  8. Create a personal Web site and/or blog that promotes you and/or provides your prospects and clients access to information they value, such as updates on their property, marketing, or transaction progress
  9. Take pictures with a digital camera and add them to your Web site or your flyers
  10. Invest in a video flip camera so you can promote yourself and your listings via video
  11. Budget for your expenses, track expenses, and create, implement, and analyze your profit and loss statements with financial software (such as QuickBooks, Quicken, or Mint)

Note: See the References and Resources section in UP and Running in 30 Days  for resources for these valuable tools. And, the reference section offers dozens of references for other software, training, etc.

Get Advice Before You Invest

These references include only a few of the technologies agents use in business. Before you buy anything, interview three technology-savvy, high-producing agents in your office and identify the technologies they consider important. Don’t expect your real estate company to provide them, although seasoned agents within your organization may be willing to provide direction on the best use of technology. Also, see your manager for advice on the most up-to-date technology you need to perform.

Caveat: Don’t run around buying every marketing program and tech tool from vendors. As Gary Richter, one of the newer, successful agents quoted in my book, advises: “There are many different programs and systems that vendors will try to sell to you as a new agent. Many overlap in capabilities. Pick one that works for you and stick with it.”

Up and Running_5e largerTake 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.

audience sleepingIs your audience’s mind ‘wandering’? Here are 42 ways to keep their attention.

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?

The solution is simple: Gain more teaching skills.

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

talking better.

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

Audience participation

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.

Those 42 Teaching Methods

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.

trainer sayingAre you training ‘know-it ‘alls’ or ‘do its’?

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!

logoAre You Making it Hard on Yourself to Train ‘Newbies’?

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. 

 

red flagDo 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:

  1. 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)
  2. 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
  3. Create a professional interview process you follow consistently*
  4. Create ‘behavioral predictor’ questions (questions based on their past) and practice those questions until you are a master at them
  5. 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.
  6. 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.

blueprint_ebook_cover4

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.

bus-plan-7-teamWhat should be in a business plan? In November and December, I’m featuring business planning, so you can get a great plan AND coach your agents to great plans.

So, what should be in a business plan? Goals? Action plans? You’re right, as far as it goes.  It’s not enough to either write a

Platitude-heavy mission/vision plan, with a lot of ‘we will be….’
Or
A goals-only plan

Why? Because neither version of a business plan does you much good if you want to create a business plan that is usable every day.

What’s in a Usable Business Plan

Click here to see the parts of a strategic business plan for a real estate agent (this would work for any salesperson). I created this ‘flow chart’ after being frustrated that there was no good business planning process or template for real estate salespeople. I found that there needed to be a clear ‘path’ from the big picture planning aspects (vision/mission/objectives) to the action plan. I also found there had to be a clear delineation of the parts of the action plan. Why? Agents will focus on what they find easy—the business support parts of the plan, not the lead generating parts of the plan.

Make Money—Or Not

By focusing on the review and action portions of your plan, you will have a real blueprint to follow to create success every day. Be very careful about which planning system you use. The way you think will determine the kind of plan you get. Follow the model I’ve provided her. Now, you have a usable business plan for 2017.

Want to see more on business planning? Check out my complete online business planning programs, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

During this fast-paced webinar you’ll see:

  • Why your plan probably didn’t work for you—and what to do about it
  • How to definitely find out what will work for YOU (not someone else’s plan!)
  • How to anticipate market shifts (!)
  • What to STOP doing in 2017
  • What one thing will assure your business plan works
  • Bonus: 10 Creative Marketing Ideas for your plan

Included handouts:

  1. The strategic planning process created exclusively for real estate professionals by Carla Cross
  2. Review: Your best sources of business

Click here to see the webinar and grab the handouts.

Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!

Plan_Act_CelebrateHow Good is Your Business Planning System?

Need a comprehensive business planning system that is designed ONLY for leadership? Most planning systems don’t cover the specific areas you need to address.

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

 

 

kid with magnifying glassAge disparity between clients and their agents and what it means to you!

Before you read this, take my true-false ‘exam’ to test what you know about Realtor trends. Click here to get it.

How did you do on the true-false ‘exam’? I didn’t create it to ‘test’ you. I created it to crush some old assumptions. And, I want to point out what some of these trends mean to you and what we need to do about them.

Every time a National Association of Realtor survey comes out, I eagerly get it. Why? It gives us clues into the trends and directions of our industry.  There are two major reports that come out yearly or every two years: The Member Profile and the Profile of Buyers and Sellers. I highly recommend you get these reports* and use them to educate buyers and sellers. You’ll find you become much more credible when you’re using statistics from a third party source, instead of trying to convince buyers and sellers you’re right—because you know you’re right!

Note: These reports are available at Realtor.org at a discount for Realtors:

http://www.realtor.org/research-and-statistics/research-reports

Now, let’s take a look another of these true-false statements (see my previous blog for the first commentary) Here’s how these statistics are important to you. I’ve put the number of the statement before my comments.

  1. False the median age of a Realtor has decreased. This, on its face is great. But, the median age of a buyer is still 44 years. And, the largest group of buyers (28%) are in the 25 to 34 age group. What does that mean to you? As a manager, you’ll want to hire those who relate to the target markets you serve. Also, members are starting to retire. (Is this true in your real estate office? How are you going to keep your office fresh and alive?) Those 65 years and over dropped to 16 percent from 25 percent in 2015.

Because only 13% of agents coming into the business are under 30, we have two challenges:

  1. Because the average age of a Realtor is 53, they are less fluent in social media and even computer skills.
  2. Because the largest group of buyers is aged 25-34, we have a mis-match between the agent generation and the buyer generation.

Managers: Solve the problem. Hire more younger agents AND those making real estate their first career!

Managers: What are you seeing in your office? In your area? Are these trends borne out there? What are you doing about it?

Plan_Act_CelebrateComplimentary Business Planning Webinar Coming Up Nov. 8–Grab your Seat NOW!

If you’re like most real estate professionals, you create some type of a business plan this year. But, maybe it didn’t work for you. Or, maybe—you just didn’t work it! Join us Nov. 8 at 3 PM Pacific time) to get the answers you need—and the inspiration—to make a bullet-proof plan for next year.

During this fast-paced webinar you’ll see:

Why your plan probably didn’t work for you—and what to do about it

  • How to definitely find out what will work for YOU (not someone else’s plan!)
  • How to anticipate market shifts (!)
  • What to STOP doing in 2017
  • What one thing will assure your business plan works
    • Bonus: 10 Creative Marketing Ideas for your plan

    Included handouts:

    1. The strategic planning process created exclusively for real estate professionals by Carla Cross
    2. Review: Your best sources of business (so you know what to keep doing and where to stop spending marketing $$$$$)

    Managers: You’ll get tips on how to help your agents create great plans!

    Click here for more information on the webinar and to register.

Affiliates: You’re welcome to invite your agent and manager clients!

coaching hand upIt’s getting toward the end of the year. It’s time to coach again, so I’m featuring coaching tips this month.

Here’s how to motivate the ‘tough case’ agent.

Do you have any seasoned agents in your office who have lost their fire? There’s probably no challenge for a manager today greater than that of rejuvenating your experienced, valued agents. Even though your market is better than it was, these seasoned agents just don’t seem to be able to re-light those fires of desire. You’ve tried being supportive and empathetic. You’ve even given them leads. Nothing has seemed to work. What are you going to do to retain these agents, motivate these agents, and get them back into the fray?

Before We Start: What Doesn’t Work

As a coach, I’ve been working with management teams to save and re-generate the careers of experienced agents. One of the biggest mistakes I’ve seen managers make is to try to help these seasoned agents through support and empathy. That’s just not enough. And, it’s actually demeaning. Yes, some empathy is needed. But, my observation is that it too often drifts into sympathy. Instead of motivating these seasoned agents to get back at it, these well-meaning but misguided managers are sympathizing the agents into a deeper

Motivating in an On Fire Market

Do agents actually slump in a great market? Of course. They sit around and watch others’ success and wonder what’s wrong with them. But, in my experience, few have the ability to analyze what’s going on and actually make a plan for effective change. As a manager, you have the ability to not only provide an atmosphere, along with a platform, to motivate that agent back into the business, you can go much further than that, to “inspiration”.

Just think what would happen if you could get that seasoned, slumping, ‘stuck’ agent back into the business with fervor. The whole attitude of your office would improve. Your coaching would work. Your training would be well attended. Your bottom line would look much healthier.

Two Steps to Create an Awesome Motivational Office

I’ve created a two-step approach to re-ignite your seasoned agents. In the next few blogs, I’ll show you exactly how to not only motivate those agents, but go way beyond motivation to inspiration.

Before I give you my approach, let me ask you to think about what motivates you. What re-lights your fires of desire? How have you noticed your seasoned agents ‘checking out’? Do some observation and research before you read my next blog post.

LM CoverOur Coaching Helps You Motivate

Carla Cross’s extensive background and study into effective motivation is an extra benefit to you in her Leadership Mastery coaching program. Click here for a complimentary consultation.

2 girls for magnetsAre your career nights frankly boring? Here are some tips to put some pep into them.  Are they dazzling, informative, and truthful? Or, do you just plow through the material and hope, at the end, you’ve ‘covered the material’? Career Nights are one of the 11 methods of finding recruits. Why not optimize your chances of finding more winners?

See the bonus for your Career Nights, too, at the end of this blog.

Here are three ways to assure your Career Nights involve, provoke, and capture the attention and imagination of your audience.

1. Help them discover their own business attributes

Are you using some analytical tools that help the attendees discover if they would be a ‘fit’ for real estate sales? In my new eBook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School, I provide some analytical questionnaires for would-be agents so they can discovered whether they would love real estate sales.

Point: It’s much more interesting talking about yourself than hearing others talk!

2. Provide them a solid job description

But, don’t just hand it out. Instead, work with them in listing business-producing or business supporting activities. Help them prioritize the activities that make them money–and cost them time. What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School has a job description for a successful real estate agent. Do you provide a job description at least–during your interview?

Point: Most agents never get a job description, and end up doing many things that don’t make a difference in their careers.

3. Help them discover their ideal job

In the pre-license ebook, I have attendees answer a questionnaire that helps them discover their ideal job. The truth is that some people will love selling real estate, and many won’t. Wouldn’t it be better for everyone involved to figure that out prior to making the decision to go sell real estate?

Point: We don’t need more licensees. We need more people who will love selling real estate and be compelled to do it well!

What do you include in your Career Nights that makes it exciting, involving, and truthful? Is it helping you choose winners?

This month, when you order my eBook below, I’ll include the documents from the eBook ready to use in your Career Nights.

Save Time and Make your Interviews Work for You

what-they-dont-3d_coverSee more about that eBook here. There are dozens of ideas you can incorporate into Career Nights, your interviews, and your recruiting packages.

You’ll save hundreds of hours in time, too, so you won’t have to do ‘informational sessions and can concentrate on those invaluable screening interviews.

 

bag of moneyManagers: Why aren’t you training for sales during pre-licensing? You hire them–then you just wait until they have their licenses to start training.

Give Them a Head Start Instead

Have you thought about a ‘head start’ program for your newbies? If you’re like 98% of managers, you wait to start training your agents until AFTER they join your office as newbies. Why? Think how much faster they could go if they had lots of the organization and training under their belts prior to their first day in the business?  Okay. I know. Until they are licensed, they can’t do the things licensed agents can do. But, they can do many things. And all those things get them ready to hit the ground running. At the end of this blog, I’m providing you my checklist, 30 Things to Do Right (In Pre-License School) Now to Hit the Ground Running. (from my informative eBook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School).

We Lose Lots of Time Because They are Not Prepared to Start the Business

You know the drill. We hire that new agent. We spend the first 1-2 weeks with them getting the ‘orientated’. We have checklists to assure they get their keys, join the Realtor association, etc., etc., etc. How long do you estimate it takes the new agent just to get those orientation checklists finished? 2-4 weeks? In some cases, they never finish them!!!!! Not only that, they probably think that finishing those checklists assures they are going to be successful agents.  Ha!

When Do Your New Agents Start Lead Generating?

My studies show that new agents want to make a sale their first month in the business. But, when do you think they start lead generating? Do you know? (Better track that so you know who’s going to work). I believe they put off the inevitable as long as possible, hoping ‘there’s another way!’ In fact, the more ‘get ready to get ready’ work you have them doing as licensees, the worse their habits become and the less money they make!

A Different Method to Get Them a Check Fast

Instead of waiting until they are licensed, why not get them prepared to sell real estate while they are in pre-license school? They can do things like

  • Decide on the database/CRM they want to use and learn how to use it
  • Populate their databases with 100-300 potential clients
  • Prepare an email/hard copy note/letter to all those in their database saying they’ve joined_____________ real estate company

30 Things to Do While in Pre-License School

In fact, as I was writing my eBook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School, I started thinking about how we could really prepare agents to sell real estate–lots of real estate. That’s how I came up with this checklist. Click here to get it.

How to Recruit with the Checklist

This list is not only helpful to those you know you’re hiring, it’s a very effective recruiting tool. It proves to your potential recruits that you care about their career success–even before you hire them!

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Offer this checklist to all your new licensee candidates
  • Offer this checklist for your Career Nights
  • Offer this checklist in your ads (newspaper, Craig’s List, Facebook, etc.)

Take It a Step Further

Why not create a 4-6 module course based on this checklist. Do it evenings, with assignments for the attendees. You’ll be able to see who is willing to go to work. Now, you’ll be able to hire the best!

what-they-dont-3d_coverSave Time! Prepare Your New Agents to Sell Real Estate Fast and Well

This 280+ page eBook is packed with questionnaires, advice, processes, and systems to prepare that pre-licensee for the real world of real estate. You’ll save precious interview time and help winners choose you. See What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School. Only $14.95, and immediately downloadable. Now, a Kindle version, too.

P. S. This book will save you hours if interview time because it will weed out the ‘hang my license’ bothersome ones…..unless you want non-producers, of course!

interview with clip boardDo you know the best question you can ask a candidate? I know. You have your favorite questions. And, this month, I’m going to focus on the selection process. Why? Because we managers have the least training in it, yet more hinges on our skill in this process than any other–maybe except lead generating for recruiting.

What’s your favorite interview question? In the next few blogs, we’ll discuss types of interview questions. Some are great, some are okay–but some are misleading or worthless.

The Category of Question You Should Always Include

Are your favorite questions present or future-based? If so, beware. You’re being misled. I’ll explain more in a future blog. But, for now, I just want to focus on the category of question that assures you get the truth about the candidate: the past-based question.   That question begins with “In the past, was there a time when you…………………” Why is that type of question so powerful? Because candidates seldom lie about their past when they are posed a question like that. Also, even though this is the best type of question you can ask, few managers are trained to ask a majority of this type of question. In a later blog, I’ll show you more about creating this type of question to find out the quality you’re looking for.

The Question You Want to Ask

Here it is: “When did you get your first job?”

Why is that so powerful? Because it demonstrates the qualities you’re looking for. According to my surveys of thousands of real estate pros, the vast majority of successful real estate pros started working as kids! This shows their ingenuity, belief in themselves, and determination that they alone are in charge of their destinies. Imagine some of the answers you’ll get, and what those answers will tell you:

“I got my first job at age thirteen.”

or

“I just started looking for a job. I’ve been living with my parents. They support me, and I really want to find the right job for me (I’m 27 years old).

What do these answers tell me about the candidate’s likely success in a business that requires self-confidence, ingenuity, tenacity, and ability to do it themselves?

Keep Probing about that Answer

One of the big mistakes we interviewers make is that we jump from question to question before we find out what’s really going on. So, don’t do that! Stay on that same question/answer and probe. Imagine some of the probing questions you can ask about that first answer: “How did you happen to get the job?” “Why did you want a job?” How long did you keep the job?” What did having a job at age 13 teach you?” What will the answers tell you?

Sometimes Our First Job Tells us what We DON”T Want to Do the Rest of our Lives

The reason that I wrote this blog is that I just read an article about Fred Hassan, CEO of Warbug Pincus, a private-equity firm. He said his first job was a produce picker and cannery worker. He said he learned about getting up early and working hard. And, he said it convinced him that he was very lucky to get to go to college and escape manual labor. I had a similar experience. As a 6th grader, I started picking strawberries and beans in our little town of Lebanon, Oregon. It was back-breaking, hard, sweaty work, and I vowed I’d use my brains and my talent to make a living–instead of doing manual labor!

Let me know the answers and insights you get from asking the question, “When did you get your first job?” (Remember to stay on that question and probe, probe, probe!)

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