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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 Leadership

Apr
04

Create your ‘Fans’!

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applause for fansCreate your ‘fans’! Yes, you want to create those who think you’re wonderful! Why? Because they are loyal and they are your best recruiters.

It occurred to me that the words “followers” (Twitter) and “fans” (Facebook) are borrowed from the performance world–a world I lived in for many years. I thought you’d like to get some skills in creating ‘fans’ or ‘followers’–not just how to use these programs, but, more importantly, how to create FF’s–admirers.

What’s ‘Admirable’?

If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably involved somehow in managing people (that includes managing families, too!). So, it would be helpful to know how to create admirers–in the best sense of the word. Why? Admirers do several things for you (and you must do several things for them, of course):

They refer others to you with enthusiasm
They provide ‘positive grapevine’ promotion for you
They help you discover strengths you may not have known you have (think branding)
They see the best in you when you’re sometimes not seeing it in yourself!

What You Need to Do to Create ‘Admirers’

I worked my way through college and graduate school playing piano in bars (I sure learned a lot about human nature!). As a musician, I learned, to have admirers, I had to do 2 things:
1. Play the music they wanted to hear
2. Play the music they wanted to hear the way they wanted to hear it

To do this, I learned literally thousands of tunes and dozens of styles. Now, I was set to gain followers/admirers (and tips, of course!. In other words, you have to make yourself someone that can be admired (when did you take your last true ‘people management’ course?)

Appreciation: The best Tool to Gain Admirers

There are many ways to gain ‘followers’. The easiest is to lavishly use appreciation. How often do you appreciate? Probably not as often as you could. This is one of the most effective, low-cost, and happy methods to motivate and gain admirers you can imagine. Yet, few managers use this effectively (and I mean to be sincere about it, of course). I’ve created a white paper on the principles of motivation, along with over 25 ways to appreciate. Click here to get your copy.

I appreciate you and your support and comments on this management blog!

marketing you 3 DHow to Create Fans and ‘Market’ your Brand

How do you create trust? How do you differentiate yourself? How do you prove you really are what you say you are? In this market, everybody and their brother tells potential recruits and clients they are the best. You can’t afford to be one of the crowd! And, it’s more believable when others (your ‘fans’) tell potential recruits how wonderful you are.

This resource shows you, step by step, how to gain trust and differentiate yourself in a graceful, effective manner–a manner that’s comfortable for YOU. See it here.

 

 

coachingHere are ten tips to gain platinum level trust. Why is gaining trust so important? Managers are also salespeople. We salespeople can’t sell anything to anyone without first establishing an exceptional level of trust–an increasingly difficult thing to do. The ten tips I shared on in a recent radio show can help sales and management professionals build a ‘platinum level’ of trust.

The Ten Tips

1. Learn non-verbal skills and apply them in writing, on the phone, and in person to establish rapport in an increasingly ‘cold inquiry’ world.

2. We believe what others say about a salesperson, not what the salesperson says about themselves. Use testimonials; check evaluation websites to see what consumers are saying about you.

Check out www.realestateratingz.com and www.incredibleagents.com. Find other sites (like Zillow and Realtor.com) that display testimonials from your agents’ clients. What are they saying about your company?

3. Help your agents create an after-the-sale survey and use it consistently. If there’s something wrong, fix it fast.

4. We believe what we see, not what we hear. Show, don’t tell. Use visual presentations consistently. And, as a trainer, I know that people retain only 10% 3 days after hearing it. But, when they also see it, they retain 60%. Which retention rate do you need to gain trust?

5. Flip your sales presentations. Ask questions—lots of questions—first. Educate. Finally, sell (well, you won’t have to sell).

6. Tell the truth attractively. Show evidence, don’t try to scare the client into action by predicting  the future.

7. Evaluate the agent/client for long-term relationships. Is the agent/client someone you want to add to your ‘tribe’?

8. Use ‘tough love’ with a client to tell the truth, turn down a client—to stay true to your values. Do what’s best for the client.

9. Re-cap. Regularly, stop and re-cap with the client. Do this, too, when you can’t meet client expectations.

10. Book of Greatness: Don’t brag about yourself in the middle of a presentation. Create a ‘Book of Greatness’ to use in your pre-first visit so your clients get to know you and your approach to sales.  (See Marketing You for more information on that Book of Greatness.)

marketing you 3 DHow to ‘Market’ your Brand

How do you create trust? How do you differentiate yourself? How do you prove you really are what you say you are? In this market, everybody and their brother tells potential recruits and clients they are the best. You can’t afford to be one of the crowd!

This resource shows you, step by step, how to gain trust and differentiate yourself in a graceful, effective manner–a manner that’s comfortable for YOU. See it here.

 

dollar  markHere are more tips on using publicity for FREE marketing.

In an earlier blog, I gave you advice about how to create a steady stream of publicity as a recruiting and image-making tool. Now, I’d like to share a few more tips on writing articles or blogs.

From writing all those articles and blogs, here are the three most important lessons I’ve learned:

  1. A smaller topic is better
  2. Less ideas are better
  3. More examples are better

So, in about 400-500 words, you’ll only have time for one to three ideas and examples. Make the examples ‘real life’. Also, be sure your article is as perfect as you can get it before submitting. These editors don’t have time to work with any of us in extensive editing. The person who submits articles “ready to go” gets published much more often!

How to Find Appropriate Publications for Your Talents

Pick up your favorite real estate magazine or newsletter. See the kind of articles that the publisher likes. Note the length. Ask yourself: Why would my articles be a benefit to that publication? Then, contact the publisher for article specifications and submission policies. You’re on your way to standing out as an exceptional manager!

Make a list of hard copy and Internet-based magazines and newsletters. That becomes your ‘distribution list’. Each month, I submit at least one article to my list—all at once (your contact management program is invaluable to put your PR contacts in a field so you can communicate easily). I have a ‘template’ that I use, which points out the link to the article. In it, I point out the value of the article/blog to the reader. I ask the editor to include my biography with ‘hot links’ so readers can get the free documents I usually provide with each article—and can go to my website.

Make Publicity Distribution Really Simple…..

A new resource I just discovered: Recently, I signed up for an article submission service, so I could widen my scope of influence. Check out Submit Your Article.

Now, you are on your way to free publicity, a heightened image, and much improved recruiting, and it didn’t cost you anything!

Give me your tips on using publicity as a free marketing tool.

marketing you 3 DWant More Tips on Marketing YOU?

Why not optimize your personal ‘brand’ by marketing yourself more effectively? And, with methods that cost little or nothing? Here’s a great resource for you, Marketing YOU. Check it out!

bus-plan-7-teamHere are the nine big signs your manager must be fired–and some are obvious–but others are just as important but often ignored until it is way too late!

In the next few blogs, I’ll focus on ownership/general manager issues.  The reason I’m writing this blog is that, I am seeing managers go off the rails and try to take the office with them! Unfortunately, clever managers get the support of their agents while not managing properly. With their popularity, the ‘boss’ may hesitate firing them–even when they need desperately to be fired!

Managers are Clever at ‘Buying’ Support–Especially when under Stress

Some get that support by ‘buying’ the agents–giving their favorites leads. Some get that support by creating a flurry of activity, that obscures what’s really going on behind the scenes. I know how hard it is to tell, from an agent’s perspective, if the manager is doing his/her job. As an agent myself, I watched from afar, not knowing exactly what my manager did or didn’t do. I also didn’t know the activities he was supposed to be doing–and the activities he was avoiding or refusing to do.

I’ve screened, hired and coached dozens of managers, both as a regional director for one of the largest franchises in the world, and as an independent coach. I have seen things go off the rails many times–even when the agents in the office don’t have a clue!

The Nine Signs Your Manager Must Leave

1. Refuses to recruit to your standards (minimums)–that means numbers of contacts, interviews, and hires.

2. Refuses to hire to your standards–hires anyone and calls it ‘good’.

3. Refuses to coach agents up–or out; refuses to manage via standards (minimums) of performance.

4. Refuses to do the activities as designated and trained to by the general manager (such as interviewing appropriately or teaching to your culture).

5. Refuses to uphold all aspects of the culture (hires an agent who’s a top producer but doesn’t represent the culture).

6. Takes frustrations and problems with upper management to the agents, when he/she should only discuss any problem areas directly with management.

7. Openly disrespects and berates upper management–both to agents and directly to management.

8. Acts in an adversarial and/or fearful way to anyone he perceives as an authority.

9. Shares things with agents that should not be shared.

In other words: the manager has become a liability to the culture and the office. He/she is not teaming with upper management; he doesn’t have the same vision as leadership; he is fighting for control. It’s your office and you’re the boss. You must exercise your authority now for the preservation and growth of your office.

What did I miss? Let me know and we’ll add to the list!

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.

What are you looking for–and what aren’t you looking for–in a real estate agent?

This month, I’m featuring recruiting. Why? Because it’s the life blood of real estate success. Unfortunately, too many managers, though, don’t honor it as such.

Knock-Out Factors

First, let’s tackle what you’re not looking for! What are your knock-out factors?

Here are some of mine. Grab a pen and write yours. Now, include these as questions in your pre-interview phone questionnaire. (You do have one, don’t you?)

knox-pdf_page_08

(See Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners for a full list of pre-interview questions.

 

 

 

 

 

What ARE You Looking for in a Real Estate Agent?

You’ve listed the knock-out factors that would disqualify the candidate from an interview–or a second interview. Now, let’s look at what you are looking for:

Take a look at the categories below.

knox-pdf_page_09

Now, write the specific skills, talents, and qualities you’re looking for that would add to your team in your office:

 

 

 

 

 

The last question for you in this blog: Do your interview questions reflect what you’re looking for? Write your 3 favorite interview questions and see if they are revealing exactly what you’re looking for. If not, why are you asking them?

In our next blog, I’ll share the best type of interview question you can ask!

blueprint_ebook_cover4Save Time and Recruit the Right People with a great Interview Process

Are you wasting time interviewing and not hiring? Or, interviewing and hiring and then finding out they aren’t a ‘fit’? This resource will help you stop all that and provide laser focus and skills for hiring with confidence.

Check out Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners now–all online for immediate download.

Do you have your recruiting plan done? This month, I’m featuring recruiting. Why? Because it’s the life blood of real estate success. Unfortunately, too many managers, though, don’t honor it as such.

In a few days, I’m a guest for David Knox’s series of First Mondays webinars for leadership. My topic will be 4 strategies for successful recruiting in 2017. I’ll post the video on my website, Carla Cross, after next Monday.

Okay. Let’s get real. Do you actually have a recruiting plan? If not, how do you know what to do each day to find great agents who would love to work with you?

First, what in the heck is a recruiting plan?

knox-pdf_page_04

 

Isn’t that a great way to look at recruiting plans? They provide you a process and a system to recruit.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, to have a recruiting plan that integrates into your overall process, you need a business plan. Now, you have the integration of all your systems.

So, what should be in a recruiting plan?

knox-pdf_page_05

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Do you have a schematic that helps you put all these variables into context? If not, you can find a planner in Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. my comprehensive online business planning site for agents and leadership.

In my next posts, I’ll give you more tips on how to make your recruiting really pay off for 2017. But, first, get that plan done!

bus-plan-10

Do you have systems needs built into your business plan?

In December, I’m doing business planning in this blog and my blog for agents, Up and Running in 30 Days. Check back for free processes, checklists, and guidance.

From training, coaching, and teaching for many years, I’ve discovered the importance of systems and processes to back up what’s taught. It’s the difference between having the music for a 30-page Beethoven sonata–and trying to learn it by ear! (you musicians know what I mean….)

I know you have the same concerns as a broker. So, you need a systems plan in your business plan, just as I put a technology and social media planner in my 4th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days  and in Up and Running in Real Estate, my online training/coaching/accountability program.

People Systems are as Important as Software Systems

One of the mistakes we brokers make is to think all our problems will be solved if we just get everything ‘automated’ with technology. Well, let me tell you, it’s hard to automate people! Yet, we need  people systems so we can be sure no one falls through the cracks. We need to assess our systems to assure each agent, at each stage of his/her development, is worked with. Otherwise, we fail to meet our segmented agents’ needs.

For example: We may have wonderful seasoned agent training. But, we hire new agents with no orientation and no detailed, high accountability training and coaching. So, we have a huge failure rate with our new agents. Sound familiar?

Click here to get your copy of my systems survey and planner.

Use the planner to access your needs and then create an action plan for those needs in your 2012 business plan. Now, you’re on your way to saving time, money, and having systems you can delegate to free up your time.

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_Celebrate

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Managers

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This all-new program does several things for you:

2 webinars teach your agents how to plan using Carla’s strategic planning system

14 planning documents are included to guide your agents right through the planning process

3 webinars for you:

1. How to Create a Great Office Plan

Included: 22 office planning documents to make it easy for you to stay on track and create a great plan

2. How to Convince your Agents to Plan

3. How to Integrate your Office and Agents’ Plans

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning: A planning system exclusively for real estate managers.

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