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Archive for communication

Jun
19

What We Can Learn from Mr. Rogers

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What can we learn from Mr. Rogers?

I’ll bet we would all agree that today the world is more divisive than ever—in every way! So, we can’t move forward. We’re spending all our energy defending our thinking…..even when we should be looking at it critically—and honestly looking at other points of view.

What does that mean for us, as businesspeople (and us people in general)? That perhaps the energy we’re expending in one direction isn’t giving us the kind of pay-off that we ultimately will find most rewarding (and not just monetarily). Although I have some general conclusions here, I also have some exercises for managers to use with their associates to help them reach their potentials.

Mr. Rogers to the Rescue

The solution to our divisive world may be with a person who had a long-running children’s show—Fred Rogers. 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 been thinking about his legacy, because there’s a new movie about his philosophies: “Won’t You Be My Neighbor?”

Mr. Rogers’s Big Lessons for Us

 Morgan Neville, Academy Award winning filmmaker, is the creator of the Mr. Rogers’s film mentioned above. From studying Rogers’s lessons, Neville boiled it down to one thing: radical kindness. “He talked about grace all the time … As a minister himself, he saw the idea of grace is the undeserved goodness bestowed on you by God. In other words, being good to someone whether or not they deserve it, and whether or not you’re going to get anything back. You just do good to other people, for the sake of doing good. And that is essentially what Fred was preaching all along.”

Question:

Big Lesson from Mr. Rogers about Attaining Mastery

As a coach, first in music, then in business, I see potential in people that they sometimes don’t see in themselves. What I can’t tell, though, is their ability to stick with it from beginner to mastery. As a musician, I know that only practice makes perfect. (And perfect practice makes your performance truly perfect—getting to mastery). You just don’t sit down at the piano the first time and play a Beethoven sonata well!). Yet, too many times, I see people settling for ‘first time performance’ as their standard.

What Mr. Rogers Says about Learning and Practice

For years, I’ve given a little book as a gift to clients, referrals, etc. This book is The World According to Mister Rogers. I love it because, as a musician, it has quotes that I know to be true. Here’s one that’s so appropriate because it reminds me of what new real estate agents (and new managers) sometimes think:

When I was young (about eight or ten years old), I was trying to learn so many things all at once, things like the piano and organ and algebra and cooking and typing, and I even started to take clarinet lessons. But, I just didn’t practice the clarinet, so I didn’t learn. I think I wanted to learn by magic. ….But magic doesn’t work with learning, not with anything really worthwhile.

Note to managers: Lead a discussion on the difference between ‘first tries’ and mastery. Brainstorm some methods to attain mastery. Brainstorm the stumbling blocks to getting better. Create some ‘next steps’ for those who want to get to mastery (get a coach, become a mentor, take a ‘how to train program, become a trainer, become a coach)

Help to Practice Perfectly and Get Farther Faster

There are several unique ‘learning strategies’ imbedded in my online training/coaching/accountability start-up program for agents under 2 years in the business. I didn’t learn these ‘learning strategies’ in real estate–I learned them as a practicing classical/jazz musician. They work to get better performance faster–and motivate us to go right back and do it again! Check out my unique program, Up and Running in Real Estate. There’s even a coaching component so you can be involved with your agents–without spending thousands of hours at it! Check it out here.

If you teach: tips to stop them from being bored!

Let’s get honest. Do your students get bored when you present? As a student, you know those 71/2 clock hour courses can be killers! The presenter goes on and on. It may be great information, but, after _____ minutes (you fill in your blank), you just zone out (usually about 10-15 minutes!). And, sellers and buyers feel the same way about boring presentations.

Here are 2 quick tips to rev up your presentations, increase your effectiveness, and keep your a�?audiencea�� riveted.

  1. Ask more questions

Dona��t go over 3 minutes in a listing or buyer presentation without asking a question. How about your presentations? Do you drone on for A? hour or an hour without involving your audience? Quit right now. Thata��s where your audience a�?controla�� problems starta��when ita��s all about you.

Action: Write down a question you can ask during your normal a�?lecturea�� period. Or, as a listing or buyera��s agent, write down a question you can ask instead of droning on over 3-4 minutes.

  1. Quit lecturing your way through all that time!

Instead, break up that lecture with some questions. Better yet, use a�?alternative delivery methodsa�� (all those methods to teach besides lecture!). Those would include breaking students into task forces, or giving small groups a case study to tackle, or role play.

You can even do some of this with your sellers and buyers. Involve them in the process!

Action: If youa��ve taken an instructor development course, go back and see where the instructor used a�?alternative delivery methodsa��. Then, find a place in your presentation where you could use one of these methods. Keep expanding your horizons!

The result: Youa��ll have more enthusiastic a�?receiversa��. Youa��ll have more fun teaching, and youa��ll greatly reduce any audience a�?controla�� challenges.

Click here to grab my ‘workshop cheat sheet’, which shows you how to put alternative delivery methods into any workshop–and in which order so they ‘flow’ right.

Is the Course You Teach Just a Lecture (read ‘boring’ to students!)?

Is the class youa��re teaching (or supposed to teach) full of facts and figures? And, therea��s no instructor manual or guidance in how to teach it? Are you finding yourself talking through ita��talking for hours? (Even boring yourselfa��) Are you struggling to make that course come alive?

If you want to energize your course, keep your audience interested, and change their outcomes for the better, you need this unique course!

Bottom line: Youa��ll walk out of this course with the skills to take any boring class and make it highly participative, useful, and fun to teach. Youa��ll get the 3 best methods to use, how to use them, and when to use them to a�?plug them intoa�� any course at the right time. Youa��ll even have time to try out your new methods in your own course and get feedbacka��and watch others, too.A� Why not energize your course, have a better time teaching, and gain business all at the same time?

When: Sept. 12 and 14 (2 half days, so you can polish your course)

Time: 9:30 am to 1:30 pm each day

Where: Bellevue, Wa.

Investment: $149

Accredited for 7.5 clock hours in Washington state

Not in Washington? Contact Carla to bring her to your company or association and invigorate your courses so your students clamor to come back! (and they learn a lot!)

Click here to register.

Polish your presentation skills: three quick, effective tips to make all the difference in your impact.

Managers, trainers, salespeople, and even a�?real peoplea�� present frequently in front of one–to hundreds of people. Unfortunately, most presenters (yes, you become a presenter when youa��re selling!), arena��t trained with the best presentation tools. Instead, they just a�?wing ita��. So, we in the audience (or your clients) are frequently bored silly. It doesna��t have to be that way. Take a look at the three tipsa��tips Ia��ve learned first as a musician, then as a speaker, in front of hundreds of people. These tips will make your next time in front of a few a��or manya��enjoyable, memorable, and equally enjoyable for your audience or client.

Three Powerful Presentera��s Tips

Death by Lecture

  1. Don’t lecture for more than 10 minutes. Adults just don’t have that long an attention span (too much on our minds!). Change it up. Use various “alternative delivery methods”–methods to teach other than lecture. In myA�Instructor Development WorkshopA�course, I help students learn these teaching methods by modeling them so they can observe me teaching. Then, we de-brief on what we did. Finally, each student teaches a short module using creative methods, and the rest of the students provide feedback. (We really only learn when we do something).A�DoingA�greatly increases confidence–and competence.

Question: If youa��re in sales or management: Are you talking through your listing or recruiting presentation because you know a lot? How long will it take until the person in front of you gets a�?glassy eyesa��?

Do Something Else Before You Talk too Much

2. When you want to change adults’ perceptions, beliefs, or knowledge, don’t just start talking to them.A�You may be setting up an adversarial relationshipa��and youa��re too predictable! You may just cause them to shrink more into their beliefs, and to defend those beliefs (have you observed students who live to argue with the instructor?)

How to tackle the ‘old belief’ challenge:

Prepare students or your clients to learn something new. For example: Use a ‘true-false’ or ‘multiple choice’ to start the presentation, or to check learning. I do this in myA�Instructor Development Workshop courseA�in the middle, and ask students how they would have answered at the beginning of the course–and then contrast that with their new perceptions and learning. It creates lots of ‘ahas’ with them, and further cements their learning experience.

Tip: If youa��re in sales: Use a fun true-false survey for sellers to use prior to meeting you. It can have lots of fallacies and misinformation, and will set up your presentation to help sellers get the real facts and make the best decision for them.

Quit Relying on the ‘Screen’ to Talk for YOU!!!

3. Don’t just read from the PowerPoint on the screenA�(and, just as onerous, provide the student with the PowerPoint as the “outline”.) If an instructor does that, I feel I want to just take that outline and leave. I can read, thank you! Too many presenters/trainers rely on PowerPoint to do the teaching. Instead, invest in a a�?pointera�� that allows you to make the screen blank. Remember: YOU are the presenter, not your Powerpoint!

Tip: If youa��re in sales or management: Dona��t just drone on from your presentation manual. (thata��s your Powerpoint in this instance.) Instead, Use questions, handouts, pauses, and summaries to give your presentation contour and interest.

Use that Right Brain of Yours

Effective presenting is much more than just talking. It should be creative. Use all the “attention strategies” at your disposal (that means to get them into your repertoire).

Suggestions to get creative:

Use props, stories, various audio-visual aids, and handouts to control the audience “contour”. I learned this as a musician playing for dancing. You direct how you want the audience to dance by the music you pick, and you ‘contour’ the whole experience (slower to faster, then back to slow). As a great instructor/ facilitator/presenter, you can direct your audience (clients) in an awesome learning experience. It just depends on the skills you bring to the table.

Tip: Adapt your creativity to your presentation to clients. They’ll appreciate your innovative approach and you’ll become memorable–not just another voice!

Ita��s Worth the Effort

A�Most presenters/trainers arena��t in it for the big bucks (where are those big bucks, again?). Theya��re in it to assist others. Gaining and practicing presentation skills helps us give back better. The bonus: Deep appreciation from our audience or your client. Wea��ve even been known to change lives for the better! No amount of money can provide that sense of accomplishment.

Carla’s next innovativeA�Instructor Development WorkshopA�is coming up May 22-23, 2018 in Bellevue. Washington.A�Click hereA�for specifics.

Resources to Present More EffectivelyA�

Take a look at Carla’s comprehensive training resource,A�The Ultimate Real Estate Trainera��s Guide,A�and her presentation resource,A�Knock Their Socks Off: Skills to Make Your Best Presentation Ever.A�A�See all her coaching and training resources atA�www.carlacross.com.

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 attentiona��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. Ia��ve taught this course for about fifteen years. Herea��s the biggest mis-conception students come in with:

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

NOT! In todaya��s frantic world, the person in front of everyone cannot hope to hold studentsa�� attention for more than 10 minutes at a time! If you think Ia��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, wea��ve become a society of easily distracted, multi-tasking, not very focused beings (watch pedestriansa��or driversa��in action with a cell phonea��..).

The Focus Doesna��t Have to Be On You at All Times

So, what are you going to do to a�?holda�� studentsa�� 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 dona��t have any repertoire of alternative teaching methods

or

2. Just dona��t think the students can be involved with theirs and othersa�� 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, youa��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.

Youa��ll find your students know much more than you think they do about what youa��re teaching. Youa��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:A�Here are two training tools for those who want to present and train more effectively:A�Knock Their Socks Off: Tips to Make your Presentation the Best Ever,A�andA�The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide.A�Find them atA�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 youa��re just concerned about finding someone who wants to purchase or sell a home! Yet, leta��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, a�?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?a�?

  1. Traditionalsa��those older baby-boomers who are retiring
  2. Baby-boomersa��getting ready for retirement, these folks make up the second largest buying population and have the greatest assets
  3. Gen-Xa��these folks have purchased first homes, but because of the housing bust, hadna��t been able to move up
  4. Millennialsa��(Gen Y) first-time home buyers, typically looking for affordable housing, such as condos, co-ops, and so on

In the National Association of Realtorsa�� 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 a�?targeta�� (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: Dona��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 (thata��s generally true in the Seattle area, where I live, because of MicrosoftA� and related businesses). Also, agents tend to work the market as theya��ve known it. They are relating to the past, rather than accessing trends and working the market theya��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 thata��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 dona��t care what happens after the sale. The client has recourse now, of the most expensive kinda��a poor review!

Tip: Always use a a�?after salea�� survey to find out what your clients thought of your service. If youa��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 managementa��prioritization and organization. A new agent starts with little concept of whata��s importanta��so everything becomes importanta��or everything becomes unimportant! Their priorities get skewed because of bad training, hiding in low-impact activities, or really not knowing whata��s important. So, time management becomes an agenta��s biggest challengea��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 dona��t think ita��s important for them now (they dona��t realize that every person they meet could be a gold minea��if they track that person, constantly communicate with that person, and show that they care more than a commission!)
  2. They dona��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 agenta��s successa��and what detracted. When I asked those agent and team leader contributors what technology is important to incorporate, herea��s what they said:

a�?CRM and lead management toolsa�?a��Diane Honeycutt

a�?A really good and easy-to-use CRMa�?a��Cerise Paton

a�?A good CRMa�?a��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: a�?For me having a CRM to track my leads and contacts is absolutely critical. I live in that database daily.a�?

Picture this: You meet a potential client, and a competing agent like Gary meets that potential client, too,A� The other agent (Gary) consistently followed up and kept in toucha��and you didna��t. Who would finally earn that commission from that client? Dona��t lose out because you are trying to operate without a CRMa��and have a haphazard follow-up marketing plan!

So, dona��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.

A�Bottom Line: Youa��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 managementa��from day one! Which CRM should you use? Dona��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 RunningA� 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 shrinksA�the three major ways we communicate: sight, sound, and feeling).

Don’t Mistake Technology as the ‘End’A�

We are so focused on technology today, that we are in danger of forgetting to effectively use that technology. Herea��s an example. When I phone an agent today, I have no idea where that agent will answer his or her phonea��or from what phone the call is being answered. And, I dona��t really care. Technology allows the phone to follow the agent. Thata��s great.A�Herea��s whata��s not so great. The agenta��s message is so dull, powerless, or mumbled that it doesna��t sound as though the agent wants to talk to me. Or, the agenta��s message is so long, that Ia��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 inA�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 upa��youa��ll sound as though you have much more energy.
  2. Write out your script firsta��and be sure ita��s not too long. I dona��t really care where youa��re going to be all day!
  3. Modulate your voice pleasantly. Try to get some resonance.
  4. Sound as though youa��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 A�Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School,A�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!A�A�