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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 communication

audience sleeping

When you’re presenting: Are they awake AND interested?

I’m featuring training this month.

If you’re presenting in front of 2 or hundreds, you must wonder at times whether your delivery is interesting. Too often, we drone through the subject, stop to tell a joke or two, and just trudge through the trenches of information until the clock tells us to stop!

Are your students nodding off as the day goes on? Do you frantically wonder how to keep their attention—all day? The answer is not what you think it is. Last week, I taught my Instructor Development course to real estate professionals and affiliates. I’ve taught this course for about fifteen years. Here’s the biggest mis-conception students come in with:

If I’m just learn how to be a more captivating speaker, I can keep the students’ attention for hours on end.

NOT! In today’s frantic world, the person in front of everyone cannot hope to hold students’ attention for more than 10 minutes at a time! If you think I’m wrong, just count the number of commercials in a TV break. These commercials are down to about 15 seconds apiece. The images go by so fast you can scarcely count them. In fact, we’ve become a society of easily distracted, multi-tasking, not very focused beings (watch pedestrians—or drivers—in action with a cell phone…..).

The Focus Doesn’t Have to Be On You at All Times

So, what are you going to do to ‘hold’ students’ attention? You are going to implement some teaching methods called

alternative delivery methods

Alternative delivery methods: all those methods used to teach that are NOT lecture. Examples: Town hall, task force, case study, role play, action plan.

Give your Students some Credit

People who lecture their way through a day (or days!) either

  1. Just don’t have any repertoire of alternative teaching methods

or

2. Just don’t think the students can be involved with theirs and others’ learning

How to Teach through Student Involvement

Instead of talking through each point you have on your PowerPoint slide or in our outline (boy, is that riveting!), use town hall, task force, case study, and role play to teach. To do that, you’ll need to take an Instructor Development course to learn those methods, and practice using them in class.

Note: My next ‘live’ Instructor Development Workshop will be in Bellevue, Washington, Oct. 5-6, 2017. Click here for more information and registration. This course satisfies the requirement to teach clock hour courses in Washington State, and carries 15 clock hours.

You’ll find your students know much more than you think they do about what you’re teaching. You’ll be able to clarify points of concern, use the talents in your class, and actually provide a stimulating, active learning environment. The result: your students will be energized all day.

References: Here are two training tools for those who want to present and train more effectively: Knock Their Socks Off: Tips to Make your Presentation the Best Ever, and The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide. Find them at www.carlacross.com.

training up stepsThis blog addresses another one of the 10 trends I’ve identified in the 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

This trend addresses segmentation: It’s no longer effective to market the same way to everyone. And, it’s no longer okay to try to appeal to all client segments. Even if you choose 3-5 segments, you must learn to speak to each in its own language.

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from this book. As a manager, read the thoughts on segmentation and ask yourself, “Am I teaching my agents how to identify their best markets? Am I helping them segment and market to that segment?”

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

Now: Four Distinct Segmentations of Buyers

As a new agent, I know you’re just concerned about finding someone who wants to purchase or sell a home! Yet, let’s think past just that. There are now four distinct segmentations of buyers (meaning those who want to buy our services of buying or selling a home). As you think about these distinct groups, ask yourself, “How do I have to adjust my selling style, my technology, my communication, and my expectations for each of these distinct groups? Which groups will I naturally relate to?”

  1. Traditionals—those older baby-boomers who are retiring
  2. Baby-boomers—getting ready for retirement, these folks make up the second largest buying population and have the greatest assets
  3. Gen-X—these folks have purchased first homes, but because of the housing bust, hadn’t been able to move up
  4. Millennials—(Gen Y) first-time home buyers, typically looking for affordable housing, such as condos, co-ops, and so on

In the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 report, Home Buyer and Seller Generational Trends, Gen Y (millennials) comprises the largest share of home buyers, at 32%. This trend will continue, as their large numbers combined with improving personal financial conditions will enable these buyers to move the market. Gen X has the largest share of first-time sellers at 68%. Read this report to see buyer and selling habits of these various ‘target’ (segmented) markets, and choose your markets carefully.

  • Positives: If you are able to adjust in the areas mentioned here, you can relate and sell to more people. To be successful, you must be flexible and sensitive to these differing needs and desires.
  • Watch out for: Don’t try to lump all these needs into one. The average real estate agent is in his 50s; the average buyer is in his 30s. Also, minorities will account for many more clients in the future, yet minorities are a small part of the real estate community. In many areas, buyers are frequently more tech-savvy than agents (that’s generally true in the Seattle area, where I live, because of Microsoft® and related businesses). Also, agents tend to work the market as they’ve known it. They are relating to the past, rather than accessing trends and working the market they’re given. Be sure to stay updated on where the market is going (your manager is a great source of this information).

* Big Idea: One size fits all is no longer applicable to real estate sales. Agents must specialize in each of the niches they want to serve.

shaking hands over computerTrend: Consumers are choosing agents differently. This is trend # 9 of 10 trends I’ve identified as very important for new agents to recognize. These trends are from my new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from this book.

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

Also: Check the end of this blog for your free ‘end of sale’ survey to capture and keep more loyal clients.

How Consumer Habits have Changed

Traditionally, consumers either stumbled upon an agent (e.g., going into an open house) or got a referral from a friend. Although that’s still true, consumers have another powerful method to choose an agent: the Internet. Increasingly, consumers are looking at evaluations on Internet sites such as Zillow or LinkedIn to find out what other clients thought about that agent. Take a look yourself. Some of the evaluations are wonderful. Some are stunningly awful. And all are very public! There are even specific agent-rating sites such as www.realestateratingz.com and www.incredibleagents.com. Also, take a look at Zillow, which has agent ratings now. Bank of America and USAA are also getting into the game. You must work for long-term customer engagement and great ratings to sustain your real estate business. This will continue as a trend, and, I believe, change the way consumers choose and keep their agents!

* Big Idea: It costs six to nine times more to get a new client than to keep an existing client. Retention is king, and reputation is key.

{In the book, I’ve given positives and ‘watch fors’ to agents so they have great judgment on how to use these trends.}

  • Positives: It will be great for those competent, caring agents who really take care of their clients. It is easier now for potential clients to get feedback from third-party sources, clients just like them.
  • Watch out for: Doing a next kind of business, where you don’t care what happens after the sale. The client has recourse now, of the most expensive kind—a poor review!

Tip: Always use a ‘after sale’ survey to find out what your clients thought of your service. If you’d like a sample survey form, click here.

Managers: Have you read your agents’ clients’ feedback online? Make it a regular habit!

Up and Running_5e largerAre You Using the Best Start-Up Plan for your New Agents?

Does your plan have the detailed, prioritized checklists needed to assure a great start? Does it have built-in inspiration and motivation? Does it have dozens of tips to control the attitude? If not, you need Up and Running in 30 Days. Just out in its 5th edition, it’s the most successful book for new real estate agents ever!

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

 

shaking hands over computerClient relationship management: When do your agents start–and how can you help them capture and keep clients from day one?

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from my new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

Client Relationship Management Supports Great Time Management

One of the biggest benefits of Up and Running in 30 Days is gaining strategies to conquer time management—prioritization and organization. A new agent starts with little concept of what’s important—so everything becomes important—or everything becomes unimportant! Their priorities get skewed because of bad training, hiding in low-impact activities, or really not knowing what’s important. So, time management becomes an agent’s biggest challenge—whether that agent is in the business three days or thirty years.

The Biggest Key to Effective Time Management

One of the biggest ways to constantly move ahead is to organize your contacts and leads into a database from day one. Yet, very few new agents do this. Why?

  1. They don’t think it’s important for them now (they don’t realize that every person they meet could be a gold mine—if they track that person, constantly communicate with that person, and show that they care more than a commission!)
  2. They don’t think they can afford a client relationship management. Yet, almost everyone has Outlook on their computers. Or, title companies over free contact management. There really is no excuse for not utilizing some type of electronic organization from day one!

For this 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, I asked successful first year agents and leaders of teams what they felt contributed to an agent’s success—and what detracted. When I asked those agent and team leader contributors what technology is important to incorporate, here’s what they said:

“CRM and lead management tools”—Diane Honeycutt

“A really good and easy-to-use CRM”—Cerise Paton

“A good CRM”—Chris Cross. Yet, Chris has told me that, when he teaches a new agent course, only about 10% of those new agents are populating even a database, although, their assignment is to populate it aggressively.

According to Gary Richter, having a CRM is critical to his success: “For me having a CRM to track my leads and contacts is absolutely critical. I live in that database daily.”

Picture this: You meet a potential client, and a competing agent like Gary meets that potential client, too,  The other agent (Gary) consistently followed up and kept in touch—and you didn’t. Who would finally earn that commission from that client? Don’t lose out because you are trying to operate without a CRM—and have a haphazard follow-up marketing plan!

So, don’t be like the majority of new agents (and even seasoned agents!): Start using a database, or better yet, a CRM your first week in the business.

 Bottom Line: You’ll Make More Money!

A recent study by Active Rain (a popular real estate blog and tech information center), showed that agents who spent more money on contact relationship management (CRM) made significantly more money. It just makes sense. Agents who capture their leads via a database and then keep in touch with them via contact management software assure they keep their names in front of their potential clients, and are able to management and help many more clients. Agents who try to organize their clients via pieces of scrap paper and remember to call them once in awhile are woefully inadequate when it comes to staying in meaningful contact with their potential clients. Which agent would you prefer working with, as a client? An agent who regularly contacted you and kept you abreast of the market, or one who either never called you or contacted you irregularly?

So, the big lesson here is to organize all your contacts into a database, or better yet, client relationship management—from day one! Which CRM should you use? Don’t dither around! Choose one and start. You can always expert your contacts to a more robust program later.

Note: I got lots of recommendations on CRMs from my tech experts for Up and Running in 30 Days. I have made an extensive Resources section in this 5th edition of Up and Running  to list all the resources, including all types of technology, training, and support resources.

Managers: Using Up and Running with its extensive resources will save you so much time–and your agents will thank you forever!

Up and Running_5e largerAre You Using the Best Start-Up Plan for your New Agents?

Does your plan have the detailed, prioritized checklists needed to assure a great start? Does it have built-in inspiration and motivation? Does it have dozens of tips to control the attitude? If not, you need Up and Running in 30 Days. Just out in its 5th edition, it’s the most successful book for new real estate agents ever!

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

 

little girl with phoneIs your phone voice driving them away? Recently, I did a presentation to a group of Luxury Agent Specialists. It was about sound and it’s impact on others. We usually think of visual impact. But, as agents, we come across way more people initially via email or phone than we do by sight. So, isn’t it time to polish your ‘phone voice’? It’s probably the first ‘warm’ impression people get of you (I call email ‘cold communication’ because it vastly shrinks the three major ways we communicate: sight, sound, and feeling).

Don’t Mistake Technology as the ‘End’ 

We are so focused on technology today, that we are in danger of forgetting to effectively use that technology. Here’s an example. When I phone an agent today, I have no idea where that agent will answer his or her phone—or from what phone the call is being answered. And, I don’t really care. Technology allows the phone to follow the agent. That’s great. Here’s what’s not so great. The agent’s message is so dull, powerless, or mumbled that it doesn’t sound as though the agent wants to talk to me. Or, the agent’s message is so long, that I’m impatient by the time I get to leave the message.

Make a Superior Phone Message

For three days, listen carefully to the tone, intent, and messages your hear in phone messages. Listen carefully to how agents, managers, and your affiliates answer the phone at their offices. What do you think? If you didn’t know these people, what would you think of them? Are they excited to hear from you, or are they bored?

Here are 4 important tips to remember when recording your own message:

  1. Stand up—you’ll sound as though you have much more energy.
  2. Write out your script first—and be sure it’s not too long. I don’t really care where you’re going to be all day!
  3. Modulate your voice pleasantly. Try to get some resonance.
  4. Sound as though you’re looking forward to hearing from me!

Re-record Your Phone Message

Practice your phone message several times before you record it. Then, record and listen critically. Don’t just use the first recording. Make sure your ‘phone voice’ is the best first impression you can make.

P. S. Managers: Call each of your agents’ phone mails. What’s the impression you get? Are they professional? Do they state the company name? Do they represent your culture and image?

Create a quick class in phone messaging using the information in this blog.

what-they-dont-3d_cover croppedWasting Time Educating Too Much in Initial Interviews?

Why don’t you let me do the heavy lifting and answer those dozens of questions prospective agents ask? In my eBook, What They  Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School, I answer hundreds of these questions–and give them the straight scoop on real estate as a career. There are also valuable self-assessment tools, too, to see if these would-be agents are good successful agent candidates. Order it and get it immediately–plus a unique checklist, Hit the Ground Running–what to do with that agent prior to their getting their real estate license. You’ll hire more winners who make more money fast!  

 

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