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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 Motivation

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.

 

 

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

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

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

Before We Start: What Doesn’t Work

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

Motivating in an On Fire Market

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

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

Two Steps to Create an Awesome Motivational Office

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

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

LM CoverOur Coaching Helps You Motivate

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

coaching-standing-in-the-light If you’re coaching: Are you really motivating? This month, I’m focusing on coaching. Why? Because we have one more quarter to reach our goals. Coaching is proven to help all of us stay focused and get what we really want!

Are your motivating methods working? If you’re using the methods most managers use, they aren’t working like they used to. Why? Because today’s agents just aren’t motivated by the things ‘workers’ used to respond to. Today, it’s very important that we motivate effectively, because we have to get our agents into the market with confidence–and tenacity!

Motivational Methods Must Change

In his revealing and surprising book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink lays out a persuasive case, backed by extensive scientific studies, about why the traditional ‘carrot and stick’ motivational methods just don’t work for us today. It’s especially true with real estate professionals. Why? Because we in effect work for ourselves. We have to be self-starters, initiators, and tenacious in our pursuit of our goals. That means we have to be motivated by things other than promises of material things.

Why Money Doesn’t Work as a Motivator

First, as Pink points out, money and/or material things are good short-term motivators. (Read Herzberg’s studies on short and long-term motivation). In fact, just take a look at the number of real estate agents who are motivated to visit an open house when there’s food! But, as Herzberg and others have pointed out, money is a lousy long-term motivator. You know that if you’ve tried motivating your kids with money—or threats (the carrot and stick).

I know. The agents all say they need to make more sales. But, what have you noticed they are willing to do to make those sales? Lead generate more regularly? Make more sales calls? We all know that lead generating is the answer to that money problem. Yet, the vast majority of agents avoid lead generating as if it gave us some chronic disease! So, money is just not an effective long-term motivator.

Best Motivators to Motivate Others

Pink shows, via extensive studies, that there are three driving motivators which we should put to work today to fire ourselves up, keep those fires lit, and achieve what we want to achieve. They are:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose

Questions to Ask Your Agents to Get Them Excited Again

About  Autonomy

  • Are you in charge of your own business, or are you waiting for someone else to tell you what to do?
  • Do you expect your manager to make you go to work, or are you self-directed and self-starting?
  • Are you disciplined in your business, so you can enjoy that autonomy?

Seth Godin, author of Tribes,  says about autonomy: The art of the art {of autonomy} is picking your limits. That’s the autonomy I must cherish. The freedom to pick my boundaries.

My question to you: Do you have agents that you believe will never operate in autonomy? Don’t you need to invite them to another profession?

About  Mastery

  • Are you working just to get by, or are you consistently working to get better? What do you want to excel at? How does that translate into your business?

About Purpose

  • What excites you so much you can’t sleep at night?
  • Is there a way to translate that to your real estate business?

The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether it’s in the arts, sciences, or business.                                                                                  Teresa Amabile, Professor, Harvard University

More about effective motivation today: I’ve taken these new motivational techniques straight to the real estate industry with my new speaking presentation, Light ‘Em on Fire: Newest Motivators to Inspire your Team. Email me for information on bringing this inspiring presentation to you.

LM CoverOur Coaching Helps You Motivate

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

motivation signIf you manage someone: Are your motivating methods working? If you’re using the methods most managers use, they aren’t working like they used to. Why? Because today’s agents just aren’t motivated by the things ‘workers’ used to respond to. Today, it’s very important that we motivate effectively, because we have to get our agents into the market.

Motivational Methods Must Change

In his revealing book, Drive: The Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us, Daniel Pink lays out a persuasive case, backed by extensive scientific studies, about why the traditional ‘carrot and stick’ motivational methods just don’t work for us today. It’s especially true with real estate professionals. Why? Because we in effect work for ourselves. We have to be self-starters, initiators, and tenacious in our pursuit of our goals. That means we have to be motivated by things other than promises of material things.

Why Money Doesn’t Work as a Motivator

First, as Pink points out, money and/or material things are good short-term motivators. (Read Herzberg’s studies on short and long-term motivation). In fact, just take a look at the number of real estate agents who are motivated to visit an open house when there’s food! But, as Herzberg and others have pointed out, money is a lousy long-term motivator. You know that if you’ve tried motivating your kids with money—or threats (the carrot and stick).

I know. The agents all say they need to make more sales. But, what have you noticed they are willing to do to make those sales? Lead generate more regularly? Make more sales calls? We all know that lead generating is the answer to that money problem. Yet, the vast majority of agents avoid lead generating as if it gave us some chronic disease! So, money is just not an effective long-term motivator.

Best Motivators to Motivate Others

Pink shows, via extensive studies, that there are three driving motivators which we should put to work today to fire ourselves up, keep those fires lit, and achieve what we want to achieve. They are:

  1. Autonomy
  2. Mastery
  3. Purpose

Questions to Ask Your Agents to Get Them Excited Again

About  Autonomy

Are you in charge of your own business, or are you waiting for someone else to tell you what to do?

Do you expect your manager to make you go to work, or are you self-directed and self-starting?

Are you disciplined in your business, so you can enjoy that autonomy?

Seth Godin, author of Tribes,  says about autonomy: The art of the art {of autonomy} is picking your limits. That’s the autonomy I must cherish. The freedom to pick my boundaries.

My question to you: Do you have agents that you believe will never operate in autonomy? Don’t you need to invite them to another profession?

About  Mastery

Are you working just to get by, or are you consistently working to get better? What do you want to excel at? How does that translate into your business?

About Purpose

What excites you so much you can’t sleep at night?

Is there a way to translate that to your real estate business?

The desire to do something because you find it deeply satisfying and personally challenging inspires the highest levels of creativity, whether it’s in the arts, sciences, or business.

Teresa Amabile, Professor, Harvard University

What changes have you seen in what motivates people? The signs are all around you!

LM CoverOur Coaching Helps You Motivate

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

coaching hand upHave you made someone’s day today? Many times, we’re so caught up in our challenges and putting out fires we forget to give a little time to appreciating the positive actions others take. Yesterday, I got a very touching card in the mail from my friends at the Northwest Chapter of the National Speakers’ Association. I’ve been a member of National Speakers’ Association for over 2 decades, and have been very active in our chapter, although I’m not now. Even though I know only a few board members, they all took the time to write me a note for a challenge my family is experiencing. It not only made my day, it made me feel as though I had made a positive impression on their lives at some point!

So, if you want to lift yourself up, take the time to lift someone else up! It not only will make that person feel wonderful, it will make you feel wonderful.

Motivation and Appreciation

As managers and trainers, we know the need to motivate. Yet, most of us aren’t students of motivation. No need to memorize psychologists’ names or read thousands of pages on motivational theory. To motivate best, you just need to apply this key principle:

The best positive motivator is appreciation

What do you appreciate? I don’t mean necessarily trophies in front of thousands! (Some people hate that one!) I mean those little things. Why appreciate to motivate?

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

How often do you appreciate? Much more than you think! (When is the last time you heard someone grumble because they were appreciated? Not!)

One minute action for the day: Make a list of the different ways you motivate by appreciating. Now, tally the number of times you have motivated someone using one of your appreciation motivators this week. How high can you go? The more you appreciate, the better behavior you get.

For a list of 25 ways to appreciate, plus basic principles of motivation, click here.

Upping your appreciation motivation gets you something we managers yearn for: Appreciation for our hard work…..

Let Me Help Motivate your Agents to Greatness!

logoManagers have huge responsibilities. I know–I did that job for almost 2 decades! Let me help you. Up and Running in Real Estate has lots of positive motivation and encouragement built right in. It also has a coaching component, to make it easy for you to track your agents’ progress. Take a look. I’ll help you guide your agents, train your agents, and motivate your agents.

coaching hand upDo you think you can coach everyone? You may want to think again! At the end of this blog, I’ve included an evaluator to use with your potential ‘clients’ to see if they are actually coaching potentials.

I’ve been coached and have been a coach most of my life (first music, then real estate). But, I don’t believe that all people can benefit from coaching. Most managers and coaches will tell you everyone needs a coach. After all, no great performers move past their ‘ceilings of achievement’ without a coach. I certainly know that as a pianist.

But, not everyone can benefit from a coach. Why? Because some people aren’t very ‘coach able’. Another way to say it is that they aren’t ready to be coached. So, before you waste your money on coaching (yes, I’m willing to say it!), let’s explore what it takes to benefit from coaching.

What It Takes to be Coach able

There are 15 questions on the coach ability evaluator. But, in this blog and the next are 3 attributes I believe you need if you are to get the very most from any coaching experience.

 How Strong is your ‘Why’?

Why do you want to be coached? How motivated are you to break through your ‘ceiling of achievement’? Why is that important? Because your coach can’t provide you with the all the ‘fire in the belly’ you’ll need to keep on keeping on (although many coaching clients expect their coach to find a motivation that’s not there…..).

 motivation cycleHow the Motivation Works

Let’s look at how motivation works. First, you have an unrealized discontent. Maybe you have been schlepping along at 5, 10, or maybe even 30 transactions a year. But, at some level, you realize you are working way beneath your potential (step #1). So, you start looking at others who started in the business about the same time as you (#2). You see they are attaining more results faster. Then, you start looking around for a coach (#3). You take a big breath, take out your checkbook, and start working with a coach (#4). It’s not easy. It means doing things you have avoided doing, changing beliefs, expanding your horizons—and just plain working hard.  But, it’s worth it, because you’re seeing results (#5).

I just took myself through the motivational cycle. For years, I’ve tried to lose weight. But, I just didn’t have that ‘fire in the belly’. For some strange reason, this time, though, I found it! In February, I paid lots of money to a weight-loss program (yes, I believe that if you have appreciable ‘skin in the game’ you’re more likely to stick with it). At the same time I hired a personal trainer. Talk about baptism by fire! But, the combination of my own motivation and the environment that I      placed myself in has attributed to my continued motivation—and I’ve lost 40 pounds (and have about 15 to go, but, it’s kind of a piece of cake (woops) now.

My question to you:  How motivated are you? Is the environment you are in motivating to you? Challenging? Encouraging?

Want to see if your potential ‘clients’ will be good coaching clients? Click here to grab my Coach Ability evaluator.  In my next post, we’ll explore 2 more big determinants of coach ability.

What have you found determines coach ability? When have you been wrong about the coaching potential of one of your agents? How can we avoid that?

Feb
03

You Hired Them…Now What?

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men shaking handsYou hired them. Now what? Too many managers wait to get their agents into action until after training school. But, do you want them sitting around for weeks or months?

Here’s the situation: Your agent started in the business Tuesday. You have sent the agent through your orientation process, but your training program doesn’t start for another week. What do you do? Well, here’s what NOT to do:

• Tell them to ‘just see the inventory and get acquainted’ (they’ll think that’s the job description and some have been know to inspect the inventory for years before they would talk to a human being prospect!)
• Give them your own activity sheet that you used upteen years ago–to keep them occupied
• Give them nothing and see what happens—the other agents will probably keep them busy with administrative work (!)

Watch Out for the Truisms

Truism number one: Only about one out of a hundred new agents is a ‘natural, talented’ salesperson, who will figure out how to prioritize activities on his/her own

Truism number two: In the absence of a precisely, well-thought out prioritized start-up activity plan, most salespeople will create a plan for a ‘slow start’; they’ll form hard-to-break bad habits, scheduling easy-to-do, low pay-off activities—because they’re easier and non-threatening

Here’s What to Do

Use a preliminary start-up plan that has the same priorities as the business plan you’re going to teach and coach them to during their training period. (You are going to start them with a proven start-up plan, aren’t you? And, you’re going to coach them into doing that plan until it becomes habit, 30-90 days, aren’t you?) Why use a preliminary plan that has the same priorities as your chosen business start-up plan? So the agent doesn’t get conflicting priorities. And, remember, in the face of conflict, we all take the easiest way out. That’s not good for fast income!

Here’s what to look for in a preliminary-to-training activity plan:

• It has the same priorities of business activities as your training start-up plan, so your agent ‘gets the picture’ of success from day one
• It gives your agent meaningful activities to complete prior to starting your training program
• It doesn’t require anyone in the office training that agent—until your training program starts
• It forms the basis for first-day coaching, if you want it to
• It takes advantage of your affiliates (mortgage, title, inspectors, etc.) who want to form relationships with your agents—to teach them the basics of the technical aspects of real estate

Consistency Equals Productivity

Your job as a manager/trainer is to create—or choose—a preliminary plan, a start-up plan, and a training program that all present the agent’s job description in the same manner with the same priorities—so your agent has a clear roadmap on how to succeed every day. Doing so assures you have to hire less new agents to meet your recruiting goals, you’ll have more success that you can promote to recruit, and more real dollars will flow to your bottom lines—and theirs!

logoYou Don’t Have to Wait for Training School!

60% of new agents expect a sale within 2 months (that’s according to my survey of hundreds of new agents). How are they going to reach those expectations if they aren’t out lead generating in their first week in the business? Why not use the proven start-up plan that gives them the what, the how, the how much, the why–and the motivation. Up and Running in Real Estate is all online, and ready for your agent to start anytime. Check it out.

kid with magnifying glassWhat’s your mission? It’s time to begin writing your business plan for 2016. In November and December, I want to give you a few tips on creating various parts of your business plan. One of the important, but often-left-out parts of a business plan is your mission statement. What it is? It’s literally your mission in your business.

Mission statements answer the questions:

Why are you in this business?
What do you want to accomplish?
How are you going to achieve your mission?
What’s important to you?

Why Have a Mission Statement?

To keep yourself on track.
To decide what you will and won’t do.
To state who you work with (and to think about who you wouldn’t work with).
For time management
For clarity and focus

To convey to potential recruits what you’re about
To use as a springboard to your marketing

Mission statements should be:

• Well-defined
• Restrictive
• Complementary with your company statement (and the company statement should be reflected in any branch office/associate statements)

Mission statements are:

• Not lightly changed (usually stay the same through your
years’ business plans)
• Written in the present tense
• Do not contain objectives or goals
• Not tied to time

3 Don’ts for Mission Statements

1. Mission Statements Are Not Objectives or Goals

Mission statements are not quantifiable. Leave out any numbers – they go into your objectives. Following is an example: A person may write, “I am a profitable agent. I will make a profit of $50,000 every year.” The first part of the statement, “I am a profitable agent” has a place in a mission statement. But the last part of the statement is an objective, or quantifiable end result, and should be placed in another section of your plan. The mission statement is broader; it guides you as you make long-term decisions. The above offers some valuable tips on writing mission statements.

2. Mission Statements Aren’t Changed Lightly

Because mission statements are really statements of you as a businessperson, these statements are not lightly changed – just as you would not lightly change yourself. That does not mean that you might not work over time on how your statement is constructed, but it does mean that you do not change the essence of the statement, the specialties, the ideals – without considerable thought.

3. Mission Statements Aren’t Statements of the Future

I’ve seen many mission statements that say ‘I will be’ or ‘we will be’. No. Mission statements assume we are what we state–in the present.

Plan_Act_CelebrateWant to see many agent and company mission statements? Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Step by step, I take you through the planning process with a much more in-depth, interesting, and helpful process than you’ll find in those ‘easy squeezy’ form planning products!

There’s one for managers and one for agents.

Managers: I teach your agents how to plan in webinars. I show you how to lead the planning process. I make it really easy for you to get great plans from your agents! Check it out here.

girl with inspiration sayingsThis month, I’m focused on leadership….easy to talk about, challenging to do.

Leadership: Have you ever thought of your office as your orchestra, with you as conductor? As a flutist and music major, I played in exceptional orchestras and for great conductors all through high school and college.  I experienced how great conductors pulled the orchestra together as a team to create an awesome, inspiring, focused sound—the sound of one instrument.  You could think of this as a vision-focused team.

To do this the overall sound had to have been planned, practiced, nurtured, and led by the conductor—the leader with the end vision in mind.

Where’s the Real Estate Leadership Today?

The development of the orchestra by its leader is a good analogy to use to take a fresh look at how we lead, the things we encourage, and the actions and attitudes we tolerate.  After all, the broker/leader’s challenge is the same as an orchestra conductor’s: To create an atmosphere of common focus, shared values, and teamwork for mutual success.  So, for this blog, I’ll use the orchestral analogy to explore a common problem in real estate offices—negativity–a problem that I believe few managers consciously address well.

When an Agent Hears a Different Tune, Who is Really Leading?

A few days ago, a newer agent in another state who had bought my program, Up and Running in 30 Days, called me to ask this question: “How do I keep my spirit and motivation high when the agents in my office are so negative?”  This is not the first time I’ve been asked this question.  I hear it hundreds of times each year, as I talk to your newer agents and those experienced agents who are struggling.

Yet, I don’t think brokers realize the extent of this negative atmosphere—or the irreparable damage it causes. Worse yet, some brokers actually take actions—or allow situations–that actually ‘nurture negativity’. Why? Simply because they haven’t  thought through the ramifications of their actions as leaders.  How do I know this?  Brokers tell me various ‘solutions’ to their lack of common focus–solutions which really encourage negativity!

Rewarding Negativity Gets More of It….

Let’s take the problem of negative people in a real estate office. This is how many brokers ‘handle’ that problem.  They simply advise the new agent not to talk about business to Sally, Bill, or George, because they’re negative.  Oh, sure.  That’s like the orchestral conductor saying to the oboists, “Don’t listen to the flute section because they’re not playing it right.  Just listen to the clarinets.”  If the conductor did that, he’d have several different versions of the symphony going on.  Let’s get real.  The agent listens to whoever talks to him, because he believes there is only one orchestra in the office (what a thought)!  The manager, though, by her actions, is creating four or five!

They ‘Get’ The Tune and the Rhythm Every Day Intuitively and Automatically

We brokers delude ourselves that, by attempting to ‘segregate’ the agent’s conversations, the agent will hear only what we want them to hear, believe only what we want them to believe, and perform only how we want them to perform. Only in our dreams!

Why Look at the Problem?

Because a strong ‘negative motivation factor’ costs brokers money and wasted effort.  In teaching CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) courses, I’ve found that brokers estimate it costs ten to thirty thousand dollars to hire a new agent who fails in six months! I know you work hard at recruiting.  Doesn’t it make sense, then, to assure that the agent you recruit experiences the very best, most focused, team-oriented atmosphere available?

Your Turn

What have you found supposed ‘leaders’ do that actually inhibits reaching their vision? How do you avoid it and what positive actions do you take?

small LM CoverGetting Ahead in Leadership Faster

Do you advise your agents to be coached? Do you want to coach them? Are they receptive? One of the things leaders do is to ‘do as I do, not as I say’. Have you considered getting a coach? Why not take part in our complimentary consultation to see if our Leadership Mastery Coaching is for you?  Click here to find out more and request a one-on-one consultation with Carla Cross.

 

man ponderingSelling real estate: What’s farming got to do with it?

No—I don’t mean farming the fields to reap the food. Well, yes I do—in a different context. In real estate sales, ‘farming’ means contacting people in a specific market (can be a geographical area), forming a business relationship with them over time, and making that area/target market your specialty. Through time, people get to know and trust you, and will turn to you for their real estate needs.

Recently, an office with whom I consult invited a master real estate ‘farmer’ who farms a specific geographic area to share with us his secrets to great success. Steve Hicks, agent with Windermere Wall Street in downtown Seattle, has enjoyed a dominant market share (that’s his PERSONAL market share, not the company!) in Queen Anne, a very upscale, historically-significant area of Seattle, Washington.
So, guess what? When people in Queen Anne are thinking buying or selling, who do you think they think of? Yes—Steve Hicks. How would you like to have that name recognition? How would you like to go to a listing presentation with respect for your expertise already built in? Steve has established that.

Here are 3 big principles Steve shared with the group, mainly seasoned, successful agents on the Eastside of Puget Sound.

1. Recognition, Trust, and Business Doesn’t Come from a “Once Is Enough” Approach

One of the big lessons Steve left with the group was that, to be successful, you must focus your efforts. Why? Because people buy and sell real estate with people they know and trust. They buy and sell real estate with those they believe have expertise in the area. That trust and respect doesn’t happen in a ‘once is enough’ approach. Today, agents in the great Puget Sound can roam far and wide to list and sell homes. What they don’t realize, though, is that they are not establishing a recognition for excellence, expertise, and trustworthiness.

Big lesson: What does this mean to you if you’re a small business owner, a salesperson in another field, or a recruiter?
That our goal is to establish a trusting relationship over a period of time, building a reputation for trustworthiness and excellence. Too many times, we launch our businesses thinking we’re something special, something different—and we expect success in a nano-second.

Stop and reflect: What are you doing to create a reputation that’s spotless, that’s trustworthy, and that’s there for the long run?

2. Contact, Capture, and Follow-up is Key to Relationship-Building

Steve didn’t become the ‘master farmer’ overnight. He built his business through constant reflection, taking risks, and trying new things. Most importantly, he built his business by first knocking on doors to establish that relationship. At the same time, he captured each person’s name and contact information, first, by writing it down, and then establishing a database and contact management system. Then, he dutifully followed up. Sounds simple, but, how many salespeople contact—and then don’t capture? Or, they capture, and don’t follow up. Steve says there are 22,000+ agents in his multiple listing service. He knows he must out contact, capture, and follow up to stand out.

Big lesson: No matter if you’re in real estate or in another field, if you want to build a business, immediately establish a method to contact, capture, and follow up.

Stop and reflect: Are you a service business, like a dentist, window washer, or car detailer? Do you have a list of all your clients in a database? Do you contact them regularly? If not, you’re leaving thousands of easy dollars on the table!

3. Consistency is Key

Too often, we think, since we’re trustworthy, since we’re nice people, since we work hard, people will recognize that and instantly work with us. Wrong. It takes dozens of contacts or time to establish a trusting business relationship. Steve has a marketing plan that includes a monthly newsletter. This newsletter includes information about homes for sale and homes that have sold. It is short and concise. Steve writes his own newsletter, but advises agents to start with as company-or other resource written newsletter. Why? The most important consideration is to be consistent.

Big lesson: No matter what your business is, you need a consistent marketing plan to ‘touch’ your would-be and present/past clients at least monthly. With 22,000+ real estate agents in the area, your potential/present client is easily ‘swayed’ to someone else if you’re not relentlessly consistent.

Stop and reflect: Do you have a marketing plan? Are you consistent? How many easy sales are you missing because you are treating your business like a ‘once is enough’?

My personal thanks to Steve Hicks for sharing his expertise with others in our industry to improve our client service. Starting with my years as a piano performer and teacher, I learned that the very best in any profession have several common traits. One of them is that they generously share their knowledge with no fear that someone will ‘steal’ their ideas. Second is that they are constantly challenging themselves to get better. Steve Hicks reflects both of these exceptional success qualities.

How can you  use these principles yourself? How can you use them with your agents?

logoIf Your Agents Aren’t Buying Into Lead Generation, You Need this Program!

What if your culture was that productive agents are the norm? What if all your agents lead generated? How much more profitable would you be? If you want increased profits, take a look at Carla’s revolutionary online training/coaching program, Up and Running in Real Estate.

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