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Archive for new agents

Aug
26

Your Mutual Expectations Dialogue

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Do you explain your expectations in a friendly, yet firm manner? Or, do you just hope things work out and that your candidate ‘gets’ your values and culture?

I have done 2 short videos on these very important topics. The first video addresses establishing standards (minimum expectations). The first video was in my previous blog. The second video explains how to address these expectations with the agent.

Here’s the second video: Your Mutual Expectations Dialogue

Here are the documents I mentioned to help you think through and put your standards in place:

Establishing your Standards for your Agents

Up and Running in 30 Days Goals and Standards

Up and Running in Real Estate Commitment Letter

Use the information here, along with the standards documents, to raise the performance of your team to a much higher level!

Is your onboarding process creating loyalty or ‘buyer’s remorse’?

What do your agents think about your onboarding process?

In my earlier blogs, we’ve explored the importance of onboarding, and some of the common mistakes we all make. I am in the midst of a consulting assignment with a real estate company. They asked me to evaluate their onboarding process and make recommendations. To do that, I created and did an onboarding questionnaire. In this blog, I’m using ‘we’ do protray the company leadership and me.

I promised I’d share my onboarding questionnaire, so here it is.

Have you ever found out what your agents think about your process? Now is an excellent time to do this. Use my questionnaire and add your own questions. I asked these questions over the phone. At first, agents were reticent to share. Then, as I explained we were working to tighten the process, they opened up, and gave us great information. The bottom line: They were thrilled we had asked them! It made them feel an important part of the organization.

When you ask: Don’t judge, and don’t criticize. Just accept the information or probe for more detail.

My Results of My Survey

I’m going to share the results of my survey here with you. Some of the results were surprising; some were predictable.

What We Did With the Results of the Survey

We held a series of meetings to discuss the results. We then assigned duties to make this whole process better. We hired a person whose main job is to ‘dog those agents’ tracks through the complete onboarding process. Do you think this will result in a better retention record? We do.

Your turn: What are you doing to assure your onboarding process continues the excitement and loyalty you set up during your interview process? Or, have you thought about it?

Want to talk about my helping you create a world-class onboarding process? Email me at carla@carlacross.com or call me at 425-392-6914. Let’s get this to mastery level!

clockOnboarding: Those critical first seven days. Find out why that first week is so critical.

First: What does new agent onboarding and training have to do with retention? According to two recent studies–a whole lot!

In this blog, I’ll address some of the results and its ramifications for real state companies–from the survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Why Bother with a Great Onboarding System?

Because you’ll have much great retention! According to the SHRM study, companies that leave onboarding to chance experience higher than 50% failure rates when it comes to retaining new talent.

Question: Do you have a great orientation system? Are you leaving anything to chance? Does your new agent feel like he/she is in a fog for the first few months?

If you want a template and suggestions of what should be included in your orientation, click here.

Those New Hires Check Outa There Fast! (Faster than you Think!)

According to the same SHRM survey, 67% of millennials are already thinking of looking for their next job on day ONE!

Question:

Tips for Those First Critical Seven Days:

  1. Manager sends a welcome email  or snail mail (better) to new agent on day one.
  2. Each day’s activities are completely outlined so the new agent knows exactly how to proceed (you’re building in habits of success).
  3. The first week’s activities include shadowing and lunch with one of your senior colleagues. (If you have an advisory council, this is a perfect match!)
  4. Welcome gift given to the new agent on day one.
  5. End of first day checklist completed with manager
  6. Round table or lunch set up with your influential agents to welcome the new agent
  7. Use a detailed, prioritized action-plan checklist, like Up and Running in 30 Days, to assure the new agent knows exactly what to do, how to do it, and is held accountable to it.

Outcome: 69% of new employees are more likely to stay more than three years if they have experienced a well-structured onboarding program.

So, how does your onboarding system stack up?

Find out: Regularly survey your agents who have been with you 6 months to find out what they found valuable and how it could be improved. Why not have the best onboarding/retention system in the industry?

A Survey for You to Use: Next

In my next blog, I’ll share the survey I just did in an office where I’m consulting on their onboarding system. Boy, did I get some great feedback!

How’s Your Quick-Start Program Working?

Up and Running_5e largerBoth these onboarding studies prove that leaving the new agent’s orientation, training, and start to chance just doesn’t cut it. Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days: updates in 5th edition. This invaluable book is only $32.95 plus shipping, and has been used by thousands of new agents to launch successful careers. Order here.

What could your retention rate be if you had a superior onboarding system?

 

 

interview with clip boardOnboarding: Is it causing attrition or retention in your company? Do you know? Do you know how awesome (or not) your onboarding system is? Have you done a survey? (more about that in later blogs).

The biggest lesson in the onboarding process is starting each new agent with a proven lead generating plan.

What Does Onboarding Include?

One study I used in Up and Running in 30 Days was the Inman Select Special Report: How to Fix New Agent Onboarding. The Inman report didn’t define what was included in Onboarding. From reading the study, however, Inman included initial training, coaching, and mentoring. I am going to add basic orientation and basic actions to the Onboarding process. Why? Because many real estate companies do not have adequate orientation processes. So, agents don’t get the basic direction needed to launch their businesses.

Question: What is your initial orientation like? Does it cover all the bases? If you want a template and suggestions of what should be included in your orientation, click here.

In this blog, I’ll address the results and its ramifications for real state companies–from the other survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Retention Starts in the Interview

From working with real estate companies over the past three + decades, I think that most brokers regard retention as something that we must do to keep those seasoned agents. However, according to the survey results in the SHRM study, retention decisions are made by those we hire within a very short period of time. In fact, both studies indicate retention starts prior to hiring!

Here is a major conclusion from this survey, and it what means to real estate companies.

Expectations of the job are different than what new hires heard in the interview. And, the Inman report said new agents fail because they are unprepared for the realities of working as an independent contractor. I’m sure you’ve experienced this. Your new agent is all excited about a career in real estate. But, he/she will not do the lead generating activities required to launch a career. You told the candidate he/she had to lead generate. What is wrong?

Question for you: How well do you explain the job expectations in your interview? Do you provide a prioritized job description for the new agent? (Click here to grab mine). How do you give the prospective agent a real idea of the job?

Three Tips:

  1. Prior to hiring: Have the agent shadow one of your agents who is modeling the behaviors you want.
  2. Provide the agent with the eBook What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School. This eBook tells the truth about real estate as a career! You’ll save lots of time in the interview process and winners will pick themselves.
  3. Ask the prospect agent to do an activity you feel is important: Like create a dialogue to talk to someone they know about buying/selling real estate.
  4. Prior to hiring: Give the prospective agent Up and Running in 30 Days. Ask them to review the book. In my experience, if they come back, excited to begin this specific start-up plan, they are a good match for a productivity-focused office. If they come back and reject your lead generating plan, not a good prospect!

In my next blog, I’ll discuss more of the study conclusions and what they mean to us as real estate owners. I’ll also offer tips to tighten your onboarding process. Isn’t it worth having great systems if you could increase your retention of first year agents to 75%?

Last question: What’s your retention rate now of first year agents? How much money do they make their first year in the business? Do you know?

How’s Your Quick-Start Program Working?

Up and Running_5e largerBoth these onboarding studies prove that leaving the new agent’s orientation, training, and start to chance just doesn’t cut it. Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days: updates in 5th edition. This invaluable book is only $32.95 plus shipping, and has been used by thousands of new agents to launch successful careers. Order here.

Recently, I was consulting to a training series. Here’s how the trainer introduced making calls to clients:

“Okay. Get out your phones and make a call.” Sure. The new agents are just going to jump right up and call someone and ask them for a lead. Not.

  1. Demonstrate: The trainer should have demonstrated how to make a call to a particular market.
  2. Provide script or process: The trainer should have provided a script or a process for agents to follow.
  3. Role play: The trainer should have put agents in pairs (or 3s) and had them practice so they can ‘hear’ the words and grasp the process.
  4. Debrief: The trainer should have de-brief the exercise.

Now, the students are confident they can successfully use a script or process and are ready to call ‘for real’.

Principle: Never ask students to do something ‘for real’ until they’ve done it as ‘leatherette’ (role play).

Watch the video below to see how to successfully facilitate a role play.

How have you been preparing your students for ‘real life’? Are you skipping some steps?

See my 2 instructor development and train the trainer (distance) workshops at Cross Institute.

Here are four ways to avoid boring them to tears in a training session.

I just sat in on a training session for new real estate agents, and I had trouble sitting there. Why? Because the presenter was using almost all lecture.  Yes, the agents were listening intently. Yes, they seemed eager to learn. But, that lecture was not helping them learn. They needed to get involved!

Not only that, the students were new real estate agents, scared of a new career in which everything was up to them! They needed exercises to get confidence, to create ‘buddies’, and to meld as a team.

So, instead of lecturing, try breaking up your presenter-directed lecture with these techniques:

  1. Do a warm-up to loosen up everyone, teamify, have fun, and show that it’s going to be an exciting, fun-filled, course (more about how to do a warm-up in another blog).
  2. Instead of asking a question and letting people raise their hands to answer, turn it over to the group, and work in small groups to come up with answers. Then, name a reporter and compare answers (this is the task force, which I’ll also blog about later). This makes it much more interesting to the people, they get to know each other, and they gain confidence that then can come up with good answers.
  3. Pair up people to have them compare opinions, thoughts, and answers. You’ll be starting the buddy system now.
  4. Use accountability: Do you have it built in? You’ll want to build in assignments to complete so the students are learning in the field. That way, they’ll pay much more attention to you and learn a lot more.

Your turn:

How can you use these methods to wake up your students, get them involved, and get them learning at a much higher level?

 

Here are the 5 great performance principles I learned from my piano teacher.

Why are these so important? Because, as trainers, we want to

change behavior,

 

 

not just impart information!

Big questions right now: Are you training with methods that actually change behavior, or are you just imparting information you think will help your students?

PS. If you want creative training techniques that really do change behavior, check out my unique course, Instructor Development WorkshopOr, see my distance learning version, Train the Trainer. Both qualify instructors to teach clock hour courses in Washington state.

Why Some Get Results–and Others Don’t

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

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

Why Use Piano Teachers as the Analogy….

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

Five Proven Components for Great Performance

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

1. Great piano teachers screen in and screen out.
They don’t let just anybody take lessons from them.

Trainers and coaches: What’s your ‘screen in’ process? Do you have one? Do you have a list of questions you ask? In our coaching company, we have a prescribed list of questions we ask potential clients (and we unfortunately have to turn down some). I even have a Coachability Assessment I provide potential clients. Click here to request your copy.

2. Great piano teachers set expected standards (minimums) during the screening process–not after the lessons start!
Those standards include: Amount of practice each day, recitals attended and played in, going to lessons, etc.

Trainers and coaches: What do you expect of your clients? Make a list of at least 5 standards now–and get the ‘mutual expectations’ agreement in writing prior to letting them into your program.

3. Great piano teachers figure out the ‘competency levels’ they want their students to attain–and when they expect them. They won’t let the students perform in front of others if the student has not reached compentency levels.

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

4. Great piano teachers get better performance because their excellent students motivate other good students to excellence.

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

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

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

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

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

Principles, System, Coaching–Putting it All Together

From talking with prominent trainers, managers, and coaches, we’ve pinpointed a need for all those training and coaching today to get the coaching they need to turn out great performers. So, each one of these 5 principles is in my initial online training program for newer agents: Up and Running in Real Estate. Check it out. Your agents will be performing better and faster with this program and principles.

Is Your Initial Training Program Getting the Results you Want?

Or, a better question: Do you know what the results are? With my online training program, Up and Running in Real Estate, you see the progress your agent is making each week. You measure the results in concrete terms. Check it out. It will save you time, and money, and give you much greater retention!

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

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

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

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

Systemize Like your Great Agents

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

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

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

Letter from the manager explaining what’s in the package

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

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

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

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

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

Are you talking too much in the interview?

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

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

Ask, Don’t Tell

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

The recruit says, “I want a deal.”

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

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

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

Use In-Depth Questionnaires to Discover Real Needs

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

This month, I’m focusing on recruiting and selecting.

Isn’tt it amazing the number of things a new manager is supposed to be able to do from day one, even though he or she isn’t trained to do those tasks? Take recruiting, for example. As As a new manager, I was expected to lead generate, get appointments, ask great questions, and select agents who would be successful. But, did I have the skills to perform those tasks with competence? You can bet not!

Even though I was a top-producing agent, I didn’tt take the time to think through, and didn’t know how to, apply the sales skills I had used to attain high sales volume to the recruiting tasks at hand. So, I, like thousands of other new managers, just did it allby ear! Along the way, I had some wins and lots of losses. Through my observations of myself and others, Ia’ve created a list of ten top mistakes, so that you can avoid the pitfalls I and others without training have fallen into.

In this blog, we’ll look at the first five. Also, I’ll add some advice I learned from all those mistakes!

1. Charge ahead to hire

It should occur to us that we need to sit in a quiet place and think about the kind of people we want to hire before we dive in. But, we are so thrilled that someone is in front of us that it doesn’t occur to us that they bring with them their values and ethics. So, if we haven’t thought out our values, our beliefs, and our perspectives first, we run the risk of hiring people who will then dictate what the company values become. Before you start interviewing, decide what you will and what you won’t stand for. Write out your values and your beliefs. Then, when you interview, check to be sure that agent carries those same values and beliefs into your office. Someone’s got to be the leader, and it better be you!

2. Recruiting to old-style management strategies

I know, I know. Just go make those calls and you will get some recruits. Yes, that’s true. But, wouldn’t it be better if you built a company that stood apart from the others because of its attractors? The greatest attractors today to a company are twofold:

Values: Does the company have values and beliefs that the agent can live by and agree with?

Focused on success of its agents: Does the company focus its energy on the success of the agents or on itself/

If you are still trying to recruit to an old-style dictatorship, or, if you’ve given up leadership. Find out what participative management is all about. Find out how to build a team. Figure out how to help each agent reach his/her goals. Now, you’re on the right track. Re-tool your business structure so you’re attractive to the entrepreneur of today and tomorrow.

3. Trying to recruit on the company features

“Our company is the largest around.” Well, guess what? If you’re a branch manager, and all your branch managers say the same thing, you’re not going to differentiate yourself that way! You must make yourself a magnet. What about your background provides a benefit to a new agent? To an experienced agent? For example, I was a musical performer and teacher. That taught me performance skills, and how to teach others performance skills. You can see the benefits to agents. I’m able to help an agent reach his goals through greater skills.

4. Not differentiating the feature from all the other companies that have the same thing

“We have a great training program.” So says every company out there. What’s so great about your program? You’d better be able to tell ’em and show ’em. For example: “Our training program has a 90% rate in our agents making a sale in the first thirty days they’re with us.” No one else in the area has success figures like that. Here’s the brochure about our program. It spells out the comprehensive five-step program for new agents. Do you want a program that assures you make money fast?

5. Trying to attract agents through price wars

We in the real estate industry just love to hire agents through the bidding wars. We either provide a lower desk fee, better commission splits, or more trinkets and trash. Guess what? That’s the chicken’s way out. In reality, price is never the best recruiter. But, if you don’t have a great company organization, if you don’t help agents meet their goals, you’re going to have to compete on price. It’s all you’ve got. Now, work hard to provide real value. After all, consumers pay 10% more for products and services they believe are of quality.

Recommendation: Read Drive–The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink. The motivators have changed, but no one has told real estate professionals!

So far, what have I left out?

Get The Insights You Need to Hire with Confidence

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