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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 Marketing

sell recruiting1How’s that recruiting plan working for you? Have you reached the goals for that plan? Or, let’s get real here. Do you HAVE a recruiting plan? From my teaching thousands of real estate owners and managers, I would estimate, from my informal surveys, that less than 10% of owners/managers/recruiters have a plan. And, if you don’t have a plan, how do you know whether your plan is working?

What Goes in a Recruiting Plan?

There are many moving parts to recruiting. It’s admittedly difficult to put them in a nice, linear planner. But, I’ve done it! After seeing that most recruiters don’t have plans, I decided to make a straightforward planner that provides you a guide to use every day in recruiting.

The Five Steps in My Planner

Here’s how I organized The Recruiter Planner:

1. How many do you need? (natural ‘attrition’ and who you need to fire….) Do you want new or experienced?

2. Where are you going to find these people–sources? Which are your best sources. Do you know? Do you work these sources consistently? Divide your recruiting plan into your sources. How many recruits are you going to get from each source?

3. The numbers: How many recruiting contacts does it take you to get an appointment: How many appointments to get a ‘hire’?

4. The marketing plan: How are you going to contact and re-contact each of these sources? (Each source has a marketing plan)

5. Tracking: How are you going to track your contacts, interviews, and hires?

How Does Your Planner Stack Up?

What percent of recruiters do you believe have recruiting plans? How much of recruiting do you believe is on purpose? How much is ‘on accident’? Put that recruiting plan together TODAY and watch your profits soar!

small CompleteRecruiterDon’t Reinvent the Wheel! Get Everything You Need to Recruit Professionally

I want to help you step up your recruiting. Now is your greatest opportunity! Don’t let inaction or lack of plan put barriers in your way. This month, I have a blazing special on my Complete Recruiter. Regularly $129.95, it’s slashed to $59.95! Click here to learn more and order.  (The Recruiter Planner is included, of course.)

 

 

 

Arturo's CB officeHow recognizable is your ‘brand’? Are you spending lots of marketing dollars and not seeming to be able to increase your brand recognition?

Do your agents have a certain method of working? Would a client be able to recognize your agent apart ‘from the crowd’?

Studies show consumers think all agents are the same. In fact, they don’t have a very high opinion of them! Branding yourself and your agents as different would be good for your bottom line, don’t you think?

That’s just what this award-winning Coldwell Banker company in Mexico has done. This picture was taken of Coldwell Banker Bienes Raices at a presentation I gave to Coldwell Banker Mexico in Mexico City a few months ago. See how they are all wearing businesslike, grey/black attire.  (That’s just me messing up the continuity in the red). That really sets them apart. The owners of the franchise office, Arturo and Erika Martinez Batiz, work hard to systematize how they all work. One of their ‘branding’ efforts was that they all decided to wear ‘uniforms’. They have several business dress ‘uniforms’ that really stand out from the rest. There were about 400 agents at this presentation, and this Coldwell Banker company garnered many of the awards. And, they obviously had great pride in each other and each others’ accomplishments. They were a real team, and a pleasure to work with. (They even sat in the front rows and paid close attention–a way to a trainer’s heart, of course!).

If You Didn’t Know your Company, What Would Be Your First Impression?

When I speak somewhere, I always have first impressions of the agents in the room. Without trying to, I’m asking myself questions, like

Are they well-groomed? Are they sitting at the front of the room? Are they attentive? Are they courteous? Do they seem to be dedicated to their profession? I can pretty much come to some good conclusions about the success, dedication, and professionalism of my group in about 3 minutes in front of them!

Things That Shout First Impressions, Even If You try to Squelch Them…

  • Dress
  • Car
  • Attitude
  • Posture
  • Organization of first presentation
  • Attentiveness and curiosity/concern about the other person

How many of your agents are part-time? Don’t have data-bases? Don’t return phone calls or emails? Don’t better themselves with education/training? Aren’t ready to give organized presentations at any time? Don’t enjoy much success? All those things are speaking louder about your brand than you can fill in with words.

FOTO PREMIACION 2013(2)

Here’s another picture of the agents in this award-winning office, at the awards ceremony. They really stood out because of their consistency visually–and their consistency of professionalism!

Do a ‘brand review’. How can you increase the recognition of your brand? What are you saying about your brand that is not recognizable? How can you improve it?

 

logoGet Your Agent a Scholarship for the new Up and Running in Real Estate Program

Enter one of your agents to win  a scholarship to my new Up and Running in Real Estate program. This program is online, so agents can start at any time (no downtime until training starts!). To find out details, check out my Facebook business page, ‘like’ it, and have your agent complete the scholarship application. I want to kick off the program with worthy agents who will benefit–and make a lot more money as a result!

To enter: Must be under 2 years in the business, full-time. Three lucky scholarship winners will be named June 1. Apply now. Scholarship entries must be in by May 31.

By the way, you’ll receive a full scholarship, too, as that agent’s coach, and get entry into the Coaches’ Corner. Click here to find out more and enter.

 

letters mailHaving hired and trained probably hundreds of new agents, I know the myriad of questions they have. So, here’s the simplest, yet most effective thing you can teach your new agents (and your experienced agents) to do.

Here’s the answer to the question, “What is the one thing I should do to get business?” Yes, people are always asking me that. I think it’s because I’ve written two resources for would-be (this book will be out with all -new material and a new name, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School) and new agents: Up and Running in 30 Days. Now, we know that becoming a skilled real estate agent isn’t just one answer. But, there is one thing new agents can do that requires

No skill

No experience

No money

Little time

And, this one thing will make them stand out from the crowd better than any other one thing you could do! What is it? Simply:

Write a thank you note (a real hard copy note, not an email)

Why?

Because manners and ‘thank yous’ have gotten increasingly uncommon! You will stand out simply because you’ve taken the time, thought about that person, and cared enough to write—and put that cent stamp on it.

Cost an Issue?

New agents don’t have money, but they have time. Cost here, is not an issue! I can’t think of any excuse an agent would have to writing those notes!

Write More Than One Note

I’m not going to tell your new agents to write a certain number of notes per day. You and your agents can set your standard (that means the minimum you’ll do).*

What to Say

Thank you. Thinking about you. I appreciate you. I used your advice. Here’s something for you that would be helpful. I found the information you wanted.

Note to managers: This is also one of the strongest motivational tools you’ll ever have–writing notes to your agents with encouragement, thanks, etc. Do you do enough of it? Set your own goals now.

Big important sales principle:

Contacting people is simply finding an excuse to write, pick up the phone, or go see. Retaining salespeople is similar!

My challenge: How creative can you get?

Your agents are more creative than they think they are. Now, get them to sit down and think hard about 5 people they’ve started to work with, but need to contact now. What about them fits into any scenario for you to write that note, pick up the phone, or go see?

They are now using ‘advanced’ sales techniques, and they already know how to do all of this.

Sales meeting tip: One of the managers I know actually has agents write these notes during a sales meeting, and brainstorms the reasons one could write a note.

Proof is in the Pudding

My first year in real estate, I sold 40 homes. Also, I sent more things in the mail than any other of the 30 agents in my office. Why? Because I wanted to create a ‘critical mass’ of people who thought I was wonderful. Yes, an agent can also do this with social media. But, you want to stand out. And, you will stand out much more if you write to one person than to many. After all, you are working with that one person who will pay you thousands of dollars. He/she is worth that special, individual effort! That’s the one thing your agents  should do to get business.

*In my new online program, Up and Running in Real Estate, I have asked agents to write at least 15 notes per week. Why? Low-cost, high impact–great habit.

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 and blogs.

From writing all those articles (over 300 published to date), 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. 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!

You’ve just created a new real estate course that is getting great results. But, nobody’s showing up. You just hired a top agent, but no one knows. You need a method to differentiate yourself from all those managers telling agents “You should join our team”.  You need a press release to the rescue! Few managers take advantage of press releases, and yet, they’re very effective–and very cost-effective (from $0 to a few bucks a month, if you use a service like  Newswire or PR Web.)

Did you know that about 85% of the ‘news’ is planted? That includes press releases and articles. Whether you’re a company with one (that’s YOU) or 1000, you should be putting press releases into your marketing mix. Why?

1. They raise your credibility

2. They deliver the messages the way you want them delivered

3. You have no competition–most companies don’t bother

4. It’s no cost or low cost, and delivers big returns

Getting Started

What’s your reason for a press release? It could be

  • a new class
  • a designation
  • an honor
  • a publication you’ve been featured in
  • a new concept you’ve launched
  • a charity you founded or participated in

To create that first press release, just follow my template here. I’ve also given you an example. Let me know how press releases work for you.

Get Press for your Agents

Why not assist your agents in promoting themselves? Several of my agents had just made personal brochures with my guidance. So, I called our local newspaper and got a full-page article, with a color picture of my agents, explaining the concept and how the agents used it. Then my agents used those brochures in all kinds of promotion to help clients understand their approaches. It was a great retention tool! 

Press release template and example

May
11

How’s your PR? What PR?

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How’s your PR? What PR? Are you taking advantage of FREE marketing? You should. I hear brokers say ‘I’m too small a broker’. ‘I don’t have a marketing budget’. Good. You don’t need one. Use the strategy below and reap big recruiting rewards. 

Do you want a free recruiting tool? You’re a real estate professional. You have limited advertising/recruiting funds. You want to recruit more. You want to establish your credibility as an industry leader. One of the best strategies is to write articles that get published, and use those articles in all of your marketing strategies. Here are the steps to follow to write articles that are valuable and that get published every time. The best thing about this strategy: It’s absolutely free! Any broker of any size can do it.

The Process: Simple and Straightforward

Writing an article follows the same process composers use in writing a popular tune: It starts with the theme (A), continues with the middle, where you expand on the idea and example (B), and ends again with the theme. When I’m teaching my “Train the Trainer” course, we practice this simple structure when we create training programs.

The Eight Simple Steps to Get Started

Here are the simple steps I’ve used over the years to create articles that have gotten published hundreds of times in major real estate magazines and newsletters:

1. Decide on who your audience is, so you realize for whom you’re writing

2. Decide on the challenge (s) they have that you want to address

3. Jot down all the ideas you have about the challenges and solutions

4. Narrow the topic so you can zero in specifically on what you want to write about.  The biggest mistake writers and teachers make is to choose too broad a topic for the time or word framework.  For example, it’s difficult to write 500 words on how to create a team. You CAN write 500 words about why to create a team; or three strategic tips in creating a team.

5.  Choose one to three ideas to discuss.

6. Arrange the topics in the order you want to discuss them

7. To expand on the ideas, present the idea clearly and then give an example. One commonality I’ve found among editors is that they want examples with the idea. Otherwise, the reader doesn’t really get the picture.

8. Close the article with the reiteration of your challenge and solution. Give your audience positive motivation to take action.

In my next blog, I’ll discuss how to build your distribution list easily–and how to distribute your articles. You’re on your way to an awesome free recruiting tool!

Managers: Develop this skill and then teach your agents how to use PR effectively. Use this skill in the interview to show agents how you’ll help them expand their reach.

Social media: Usually today, articles are published electronically. When your article is published, put it on your Facebook business page and LinkedIn. Invite peole to share the article. Instant PR!

Everyone is trying to sell your agents high tech, automatic return programs. And, they’re not cheap. But, there’s one tool that brings a bigger return on investment than any tech tool–and it’s free. Having hired and trained probably hundreds of new agents, I know the myriad of questions they have. So, here’s the simplest, yet most effective thing you can teach your new agents (and your experienced agents) to do.

The Combination that Gets you Business

Here’s the answer to the question, “What is the one thing I should do to get business?” Yes, people are always asking me that. I think it’s because I’ve written two resources for would-be and new agents: Become Tomorrow’s Mega-Agent Today and Up and Running in 30 Days. Now, we know that becoming a skilled real estate agent isn’t just one answer. But, there is one thing new agents can do that requires

No skill

No experience

No money

Little time

And, this one thing will make your agents stand out from the crowd better than any other one thing they could do! What is it? Simply:

Write a thank you note (a real hard copy note, not an email)

Why?

Because manners and ‘thank yous’ have gotten increasingly uncommon! You will stand out simply because you’ve taken the time, thought about that person, and cared enough to write—and put that stamp on it.

Write More Than One Note

I’m not going to tell your new agents to write a certain number of notes per day. You and your agents can set your standard (that means the minimum you’ll do).

What to Say

Thank you. Thinking about you. I appreciate you. I used your advice. Here’s something for you that would be helpful. I found the information you wanted.

Note to managers: This is also one of the strongest motivational tools you’ll ever have–writing notes to your agents with encouragement, thanks, etc. Do you do enough of it? Set your own goals now.

Big important sales principle:

Contacting people is simply finding an excuse to write, pick up the phone, or go see. Retaining salespeople is similar!

My challenge: How creative can you get?

Your agents are more creative than they think they are. Now, get them to sit down and think hard about 5 people they’ve started to work with, but need to contact now. What about them fits into any scenario for you to write that note, pick up the phone, or go see?

They are now using ‘advanced’ sales techniques, and they already know how to do all of this.

Sales meeting tip: One of the managers I know actually has agents write these notes during a sales meeting, and brainstorms the reasons one could write a note.

Proof is in the Pudding

My first year in real estate, I sold 40 homes. Also, I sent more things in the mail than any other of the 30 agents in my office. Why? Because I wanted to create a ‘critical mass’ of people who thought I was wonderful. Yes, an agent can also do this with social media. But, you want to stand out. And, you will stand out much more if you write to one person than to many. After all, you are working with that one person who will pay you thousands of dollars. He/she is worth that special, individual effort! That’s the one thing your agents  should do to get business.

Managers, heads up: Do you always write a ‘thank you’ follow-up note after you speak to a candidate? If you just don’t think you have time, write a ‘master’ note and have your assistant write them. You’ll recruit more.

I just created a new business page for Carla Cross & Co. on Facebook. (Hey–join and take part in contests, sweepstakes, etc.). 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?)

What does that mean to you as a manager? You have to figure out the needs that they want filled, and fill them the way they want them filled. I did a webinar, Light ‘Em on Fire, for the Learning Library of the National Association of Realtors, and discussed the ins and outs of motivation–a mis-understood yet incredibly powerful tool.

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

Do you feel that your new agents are more tenuous than they need to be? Are they holding back from making lead generating contacts because they’re not confident enough? Here’s how to help them.

Most new real estate agents, think they don’t know a thing.  (And even very seasoned agents don’t take advantage of the strategy I’m sharing with you here). After you read this blog, you’ll see that’s not true that agents are really ‘new’–or that agents can’t use your skills, qualities and talents as a seasoned agent.

 I just did a series of complimentary coaching calls for those people in the Up and Running in 30 Days coaching program. First, let me congratulate one of the agents in the program, Carlena, for attaining 108 lead generating contacts in a week! I wanted to have a little fun and competition in the call, so I set up a friendly contest: Which caller on the line made the most lead generating contacts in a week? Callers could pick any week of their Up and Running program. 

Note: Look on this blog for interviews with Carlena and Emily, both doing a great job in generating many, many leads with the start-up plan as their guide. 

Agents Need Confidence to Succeed in Sales

To help the agents on the call get much more confidence, I did an exercise with them I call Bringing your Skills and Talents to Real Estate Clients. I’m sharing this with you so you can use it in your office with both new and seasoned agents.

Why is this important? When we’re new agents, we think we know nothing. We’re constantly humiliated with our lack of knowledge, and inability to handle objections. We get so tired of ‘nos’ that sometimes we forget that we are capable, honest, caring, responsible humans. We actually come into real estate with a whole adult experience of widely developed skills, qualities, and natural talents. These are much more useful to us than we give ourselves credit for.

 How is Music Helpful to Real Estate? 

Let me give you an example. As many of you know, I was (and am) a musician since age four. But, when I went into real estate, I felt like I knew nothing! And, it is true I didn’t know anything about selling real estate. But, I carried with me many great skills into the business that in turn carried me to success fast. Can you guess what some of those skills were—and are? 

Had to practice piano 2-4 hours                  Tenacity

Put off mastery for years                              Persistence

Followed direction of a coach                     Coach ability

 Application

How could I show one of these, tenacity? I actually presented an offer and got 10 counteroffers! I just never gave up, because I felt it was in the best interest of both parties to buy and sell from each other. I could show that marked-up purchase and sale agreement. Where could I share that quality? I could show testimonials from my clients in social medial, and in my Professional Portfolio.   

Bringing your Skills and Talents to Real Estate Clients Exercise 

Have your agents draw three columns. Name the first ‘skills and talents’. Name the second ‘benefits to clients’. Name the third ‘how/where to show clients’. 

Now, list at least three skills and talents from your former business life. What about these skills/talents are benefits to clients? How would you show this? Where would you show this? 

Enlist a Partner

If your agents are having some ‘mind blocks’ on how and where to show these benefits to clients, have them enlist a partner to brain storm the possibilities with each agent. Once agentsstart crafting these, they’ll get much more excited about their ability to help people—along with that confidence to expand their leads and help more people.

Managers: Use this exercise to relate to potential recruits. What skills and qualities did you ‘attach’ as benefits to recruits? How did that raise your confidence?

 If you’re like most managers, you’re not exactly rolling in cash. Yet, you need to promote yourself and your company. You need to reach out to more potential recruits. Writing articles is a great way to expanding your marketing reach–without putting out any dough! Here’s how to do it.

How to Decide What to Write and Who to Write For 

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! 

How to Construct your Article

Writing an article follows the same process composers use in writing a popular tune: It starts with the theme (A), continues with the middle, where you expand on the idea and example (B), and ends again with the theme. When I’m teaching my “Train the Trainer” course, we practice this simple structure when we create training programs.

 Steps to Create and Publish your Article

Here are the simple steps I’ve used over the years to create articles that have gotten published hundreds of times in major real estate magazines and newsletters:

   1. Decide on who your audience is, so you realize for whom you’re writing

   2. Decide on the challenge (s) they have that you want to address

  3. Jot down all the ideas you have about the challenges and solutions

  4. Narrow the topic so you can zero in specifically on what you want to write about.  The biggest mistake writers and teachers make is to choose too broad a topic for the time or word framework.  For example, it’s difficult to write 500 words on how to create a team. You CAN write 500 words about why to create a team; or three strategic tips in creating a team.

Note: You can write a longer article (1000-3000 words ) and then break it down into 400-600 word sections for a blog series.

   5.  Choose one to three ideas to discuss.

    6. Arrange the topics in the order you want to discuss them

   7. To expand on the ideas, present the idea clearly and then give an example. One commonality I’ve found among editors is that they want examples with the idea. Otherwise, the reader doesn’t really get the picture.

     8. Close the article with the reiteration of your challenge and solution, and give your audience positive motivation to take action.       

 Biggest Lessons

 From writing all those articles, here are the 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!

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