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Archive for communication

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?

 


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.



Not a speaker? Here are four tips to present like a pro.

We’ve all been there. We’ve been asked to speak for ten minutes to a group of people. Our first reaction is extreme fear. Our second reaction is,

1.Slow Down

Most speakers, amateurs or professionals, speak too fast. Slow down. Pretend you are speaking to a huge room and project your voice to the back of the room. You’ll find yourself going slower and using more inflection (vocal dynamics) . Better delivery!

2. Get Persuasive

There is a process for everything, including crafting a persuasive presentation. It’s simple. It’s the structure of your favorite popular tune: ABA. In other words, it starts with a theme, develops the ‘bridge’ in the middle, (supporting information to your point of view), and ends with the same theme.

Free giveaway in this blog: Click here for my Persuasive Presentation process.

3.Launch with a Great Start

How are you going to begin your presentation? With a provocative question? With a relevant story? How does that beginning tie to your theme? Sit down and write down your beginning. Post the problem, suggest your solution, and build a rosy future for following your recommendations.

4. Bring it Home with a Great Ending

Have you ever been at a presentation that just puttered out at the end? The speaker said, “Well, we’re out of time.” And you thought, “Good”…..Remember, it’s just like a popular tune. Bring back the theme at the end. Close with reminding the audience of the rosy future they will have by following your recommendations. Remember, your job during the persuasive presentation is to persuade. And, here’s my point of view: All presentations that anyone gives should be persuasive. Otherwise, simply read a book!

Let Me Work with Your Trainers to Create Better Presentations

Are your courses boring? Are those presentations great for taking a nap? Are you instructors talking through every outline? And, most importantly, are your courses not filling up? It’s time to invite me to work with your instructor group.

Contact me and we’ll work out the best solution for you!

Share this with your presenters: Click here for my Persuasive Presentation process.

 

Here are 4 ways your meetings go wrong, and a planner to assure they go right.

This month, I’m focusing on the main responsibilities of a real estate manager. If you’re going into management, how are you going to make your meetings exciting, interesting, and participative?

Death By Meeting…….

If you haven’t been in a meeting that went sideways, you probably haven’t attended enough meetings! I just attended a meeting that was almost painful to experience. It went on and on, with little organization. The speakers had no rhyme nor reason to their presentations. And, finally, I wasn’t even sure what we were to do as a result of this meeting!

As I sat there, I thought, “How can I help meeting planners/managers/presenters avoid the mistakes I’m experiencing and plan a meeting that works every time?” I came up with this Presentation Planner and Promotion form. Using it with your presenters will assure that you avoid these four big mistakes:

1. No promotion to your target audience for the meeting
2. No focus to the meeting–no theme, no stated benefits to the target audience
3. Presenters do not have a format from which to create their presentations–so they just wander around in a vast wasteland of facts and figures
4. There’s no call to action as a result of the speaker or of the meeting

Promoting Your Event

So, my Presentation Planner includes a section on promotion. After all, as you plan your presentation, you’ll naturally think:

  • Who is the event targeted to?
  • What are the 3 major benefits to this target audience?
  • What will they walk away with?
  • Where will I promote it?

The planner I created will help you avoid the 4 common mistakes listed above. It not only assures a persuasive presentation, it helps you promote the event, too!

Click here to grab your Presentation/Promotion Planner.

I’m Here to Help You Become a Great Leader!

If you’re new to management, or you’re being challenged in management, I can help. My Leadership Mastery individual, custom coaching program will help you master the major activities of management–stepping you from ‘maintenance management’ to true leadership. Check out my program here. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.

What personal benefit are you giving your agents?

This month, I’m taking what I’ve learned as a musical performer from age 4 to the world of leadership and sales. (And, read my musical quotes at the end of each blog. I hope you’ll get a chuckle!)

Are You Just Following a ‘Template’?

As a musical performer, I know you first have to learn the music (the ‘template’). But then, you have to add YOU. That is, you have to add the interpretation that ‘speaks’ to you personally. Otherwise, it’s just notes on a page. So many times, I’ve seen leadership and salespeople merely follow the template. That’s great for a beginning, but it doesn’t create a connection to others. In fact, it creates a dissonance. You know what I mean. You’ve heard a salesperson say, “Does 1 PM or 2 PM Tuesday work for you?” You probably want to scream (as I do), “Be human, you’re not an automaton.” Now, it’s fine to give people choices, but, if you sound as though you just memorized those words, and are not actually interacting with another human being, you’re creating distrust, not rust!

Adding YOU, the Personal Benefit

As a leader, you bring to your associates some very unique and valued attributes. However, many times leaders do not use these attributes to commnicate and gain trust. Instead, they rely on the old ‘templates’–those cliches and sayings that we just don’t find ‘ring true’. For example: You have a background in art. Are you using that background to communicate and ‘share’ YOU with your agents? If not, you’re missing an opportunity to relate. And, in this day in age, relationships are what hold a person in a company.

Here’s a great quote that expresses what I’m suggesting:

Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering. ― Steve Maraboli

What’s YOUR Music?

When I’m teaching people how to be great instructors (Instructor Development Workshop), I give them ‘templates’ to follow to create course modules. However, I tell them to just ‘listen to the music, not the words.’ Translation: I don’t want them to memorize each word. Instead, I want them to feel the rhythm of the process and follow that. The outcomes: Great presentations with relaxed presenters!

Your Turn

Look back on your life.

What life experiences have added to your success? What skills do you bring to what you do today? How can you communicate those as a benefit to those you serve?

Want guidance in how to teach with verve and confidence? Check out all my training guides at my website, carlacross.com.

Just for Fun

Last night at Carnegie Hall, Jack Benny played Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn lost.

Harold C. Schonberg

When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano.

Bob Hope, on Phyllis Diller

Remember Jack Benny and Phyllis Diller? They may not have been concert artists, but they used their musical talent to differentiate themselves–and make light of it, too!

Recruiting: Here’s what you need in your post-interview package. This month, I’m focusing on recruiting and selecting systems, to help you work faster and better and recruiter winners.

Remember the Chinese water torture? Drip, drip, a drip at a time. That’s the key to recruiting successfully. Here’s another drip you’ll want to provide your candidate after that first interview. This is another package with the information you think the candidate will find useful. Here’s why:

We remember only 10% of what we heard three days later!

Unfortunately, candidates don’t remember much of what we discuss in the interview. Or, they remember it wrongly. It seems easy to us, but, it becomes a muddle to them when they interview five companies in as many days. So, take the time to assemble what I call the after first-visit package or post-interview process. In it, you’ll reiterate important points, and again differentiate yourself and your company.

Systemize Like your Great Agents

Great agents assemble these packages for sellers and buyers. You are modeling the behaviors you want to teach the agent. You can explain the parallels in the interview process. This is a very strong recruiting strategy. The old adages

In Your Post-First Visit (Post-Interview) Package

Here is a sample list of the materials you may include in an after-first visit recruiting package. Note that some of the material is duplicating your pre-first visit package. Also, sometimes you won’t have the opportunity to provide a pre-first visit package. Of course, you’ll always have the ability to customize each package. However, it’s much easier to do this from a prepared package than to start from scratch each time.

Letter from the manager explaining what’s in the package

  •  Training calendar (you do have one, don’t you?)
  • Training brochure
  • Company/office/manager story
  •  Attractive company/office/manager statistics
  •  Articles featuring company/manager
  •  Costs of affiliating  with explanations

Bottom Line: You’ree Proving your Competency to Each Candidate With Every Recruiting Process You Do

Well-assembled packages reflect clear thought processes. Merely putting these together will clarify your recruiting and selection story. It will help you figure out and communicate your culture and values. It will provide you differentiation and memorability. It says to the candidate, I prepared for you. Your time is valuable. I am here to dedicate my skills and talents to help you develop your business.

You will recruit more and better agents, you will save time, and you will be able to delegate or clone yourself by hiring a manager or recruiter when the need arises.

Want to avoid re-inventing the wheel? Check out my recruiting resources here.CompleteRecruiterfor web OBrecuiter

Are you talking too much in the interview?

A lot of recruiters/interviewers think that, if they’re great talkers, they’re great recruiters (same as agents think talking equals selling…..)

You’re a manager who recruits. You want to get winners in that recruiting seat. You pride yourself on being a great talker. (A manager once told me he just talks them to death–until they say they’ll join the company–what a great screening method-not!) But, too much talking is just old-style hard ‘selling’–and that’s certainly not the bulk of an effective selection process.

Ask, Don’t Tell

Probe to find out more. Keep finding out more until you’re really sure you know what they mean. Let me give you an example:

The recruit says, “I want a deal.”

Do you jump to a conclusion because you know what a deal means? Don’t. You may be surprised. Instead, ask questions at what does a deal mean to that recruit? When you know exactly what the recruit means, you can proceed to find what he really wants–instead of what someone else told him he should ask for!

A Pre-Screening Process for New Agent Candidates to Save you Time

Ask these questions before you spend time and money chasing candidates who don’t meet your standards. Click here to get my knockout factors on the phone.

Use In-Depth Questionnaires to Discover Real Needs

Besides using these preliminary questions, always use written in-depth questionnaires so you’ll know

  • The benefits to the features/needs stated
  • Hidden objections you may not discover until too late
  • Motivations to buy that not even the buyers realize they have

Ever heard the term “buyers are liars”? I think that’s not really the case. I think that we don’t ask the right questions to help buyers (our recruits) clarify what they really want. Most ?buyers of services don’t know what they really want. They think they want a better commission split. But, what they’re really looking for is the motivation provided by secrity. That means different things to different people. Find out what’s really motivating your candidate, not just what he says to your basic questions.

Ask the Right Questions in the Right Order and You Won’t Have to Close

Finding the motivators of your buyers (recruit/candidate) is key to helping them make the right buying decisions for themselves. All you have to do to close is to remind them that this product fulfills their needs. And, how do you get there? By creating and using the right questions in the right order.

Don’t forget to grab your pre-screening process–knockout factors to ask on the phone: click here.

Want to streamline your selection process and recruit more winners? Check out Your Blueprint to Selecting Winners. It’s completely digital, so you get all the information right now. Includes an 11-step proven process to interview successfully. Do you have a process or do you just ‘wing it’?

 

Here’s what to do if you’re interviewing and the candidate says, “I hate the word ‘salesperson’.”

Ever been interviewing and, you think, Darn, this is going really well. The person looks good, smells good, and talks good. The person is likable. The person eagerly answers your questions. Then, somehow, you bring up the word ‘salesperson’. (In fact, throw that into your interviewing repertoire: “What does the word ‘salesperson’ mean to you?” And be ready for the responses below).

After you ask that question, all that positive energy that had been in the interview comes to a screeching halt, because the person says,

I don’t want to be called a ‘salesperson’.

You’re thinking, Woooooh up there. I thought I was interviewing for a sales job. What’s going on here?

What Do They Want to Be?

I just wrote a blog for for a large blogpost in which I chastised real estate agents for the ‘shortcut’ mentality of trying to use technology so they didn’t have to talk to the people. (Yes, it’s true. They think that’s smart. Just read their comments back to me.) At least two things became apparent from the very strong comments:


2. Some agents think technology will take away the need for agents to form relationships (These are the licensees who love houses. They just hate people).

So, When you hear the comment ‘I don’t want to be called a ‘salesperson’, consider:

1. That person will be resistant to any kind of sales training (which means they won’t be willing to ask insightful questions to determine buyer/seller qualifications–and so they won’t be willing to close)
2. That person will want a different ‘label’ on the business card. Something like ‘consultant’ or ‘educator’.
3. That person will feel most comfortable being as far away from potential prospects as possible!
4. That person doesn’t want to sell; that person wants to be the happy recipient of someone else’s work to get the ‘lead’
5. That person won’t work to create trust and long-term relationships, because they don’t think that’s the point

What This Means to You

You already know 90% of what I’m going to tell you here. The bottom line is that this person doesn’t respect the art, science, and skill of becoming a competent salesperson. They’re not going to your sales training. They’re going to discount any help you try to give them on communication skills development. They going to think that mastering the knowledge and technology of real estate will make them successful. They’re going to wait until you give them leads, and then they are going to discount these leads because they aren’t “good enough”.

Should You HIre This Person?

I know. You hired one person once who had the traits mentioned above and they were successful selling real estate. Okay. But, are you going to base your interviewing decisions on Las Vegas odds? Better not. Probe more to find out what that person thinks ‘salesperson’ means. Find out their prior sales training. Delve deeply into this question and their answers, so you’ll hire those who love sales.

Get The Insights You Need to Hire with Confidence

You work so hard to gain those interviews. But, do you have planned interview process that assures you pick winners? (And assures the candidates are impressed with you….) Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners, with new information about what desired agents of today are looking for, is a guide to create your unique attractors, how to put together a powerful presentation, and a completely new video showing exactly how to craft the best ‘crystal ball’ type of questions. Learn more here.

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

Special Blog for Anyone Who Trains and Coaches

Recently, one of my coaching clients (an owner of a real estate company) asked me, “Why do some trainers and coaches get great results and others don’t–but seem to be working as hard?”

Great question, huh? In fact, if we trainer/coach types knew that answer, we could build our systems so that we assured great performance! So, I went back to my ‘former life’–that as a musician and piano/flute teacher, and thought, “Why do some piano teachers create great performers–and others don’t?”

Why Use Piano Teachers as the Analogy….

I use the analogy of the piano teacher, because it’s easy to hear differences in sloppy and great performance. I’m sure you’ve heard 2 people play the same piece of music. One plays it accurately and one just kind of slops through it. Or, some piano teachers’ students drop out, unmotivated to practice, while others stay motivated, challenged, and achieve high performance–even if they don’t seem to have great talent.

Five Proven Components for Great Performance

From having taken piano lessons since age six, gaining a degree in piano performance, and having taught piano at the grade, high school, and college level, I’ve had an opportunity to see the great and the not-so-great–both teachers and performers. Here are the five components I’ve discovered make the biggest difference in great performance.

1. Great piano teachers screen their students in and screen their students out.
They don’t let just anybody take lessons from them. Trainers and coaches: What’s your ‘screen in’ process? Do you have one? Do you have a list of questions you ask? In our coaching company, we have a prescribed list of questions we ask potential clients (and we unfortunately have to turn down some). I even have a Coachability Assessment I provide potential clients. Click here to request your copy.

2. Great piano teachers set expected standards (minimums) during the screening process–not after the lessons start!
Those standards include: Amount of practice each day, recitals attended and played in, going to lessons, etc. What do you expect of your clients? Make a list of at least 5 standards now–and get the ‘mutual expectations’ agreement in writing prior to letting them into your program.

3. Great piano teachers figure out the ‘competency levels’ they want their students to attain–and when they expect them.
How good do you expect your students to get in that one-month training program you’ve been doing? Do you even measure skill levels? Which skill levels to you measure? How? Do you have your students practice their listing presentations until they reach the level of competency you believe the real client expects? What an eye-opener! Make a list now of 5 skills and the level of competency you want your students to attain in your training program. You’ll see your outcomes go way up just by doing this.

4. Great piano teachers get better performance because their excellent students motivate other good students to excellence.
Have you ever gotten yourself into the situation where you felt like you were way above the other people in your group? This isn’t an ego thing–it’s just a ‘I don’t belong here’ thing. Likes attract. Good performers motivate other good performers. Excellent performers stay. Are you creating a self-motivating group–or, are you creating a situation where your good performers will leave for a team that is ‘more like them’? This goes back to those ‘screen in’ and setting competency principles. I know we all feel challenged when people don’t appear motivated. Here’s one of the secrets to fire them up!

5. Great piano teachers provide lavish praise–when deserved.

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

If you have competency levels, you have a way and a reason to praise. Your students/clients know when they have reached those levels–and can expect praise, too! In fact, strong students/clients will ask you for praise. Write down the 5-10 methods you use to appreciate and praise good performance. If you can’t get to 10, figure them out.

But, what about the method? The specific coaching, the training? Yes, the method is important, but the coaching/training techniques above are much more important. I’ve heard some great performers and some poor performers all playing the same kind of music from the same method. At the same time, great methods should have some ‘built-in’ features that assure the trainer/coach is achieving these 5 principles.

Principles, Systems, Coaching–Putting it All Together

From talking with prominent trainers, managers, and coaches, we’ve pinpointed a need for all those training and coaching today to get the coaching they need to turn out great performers. Check out Leadership Mastery Coaching.

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

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

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

  1. Not qualifying your buyer or seller

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

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

2.  Not using a visual presentation for buyers and sellers

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

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

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

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

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