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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 Recruiting

do itHere’s the easiest, least expensive, and effective thing your agents can do to get business.

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.

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: What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School  and Up and Running in 30 Days . By the way, Up and Running was just published in its 5th edition!

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 you 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 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: How are you making this simple tip work for you and your agents?

Up and Running_5e largerHelp Your Agents Get a Sale Much Faster!

Why not provide your agents a proven business start-up plan, along with hundreds of success tips? Check out the new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

audience sleepingAre you getting the biggest ‘bang’ for your training buck?

Are you frustrated because your training isn’t getting results? Or, people just aren’t showing up? Or, worse yet, falling asleep in that factoid-heavy class?

Maybe you have a specific problem you’ve noticed when you read your latest profit and loss statement. For instance: Perhaps your agents are giving too many commission concessions.

If you’re experiencing any of these challenges, you’ll love the tool here. I’m providing an insightful analytical tool to discover what’s right–and wrong–with your training.

Three main reasons your training isn’t working:

1. It isn’t tied to the problems you want to solve in your office (agents not productive enough, commissions too low, etc.)
2. It doesn’t teach your agents to perform better–just gives information
3. It isn’t exciting enough–teacher just drones on and on…..

As I work with owners, managers and trainers internationally, I see these same three problems crop up over and over.

Click here to get your analytical tool — along with tips to correct your training to make it pay off.

Affiliates: Share this with the managers/trainers in the offices you call on. Use these tips, too, to streamline the training you provide.

coachingWant Help in Improving your Training?

Why not get some assistance in refining your training, creating or improving your training calendars, and energizing your courses with refreshing and effective training methods? Carla Cross has helped the major franchises internationally do just that, and she will help you, too.

Customized coaching to:

  • Improve training, training calendars and results 
  • Insert more exciting training methods into courses to improve attendance
  • Create methods to assure better training results
  • Contact Carla to find out how she can help you get better results from your training. Each coaching series is customized to meet your needs and get the results you want.

These series range from 2 sessions to 6, depending on your needs. Carla will work with you one-on-one or with your group of trainers.

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! The new fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, my new agent’s business start-up plan, has just come out. Dearborn Education is the publisher. There are many updates in this edition. Included in these updates are conclusions from these studies—conclusions that support the importance of starting each new agent with a proven lead generating plan.

(To see the updates in Up and Running in 30 Days, 5th edition, click here).

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’s 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 Out’ 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: On day one, how are you cementing the relationship and helping that new person feel really welcome in your culture?

Tips for Those First Critical Seven Days:

  1. Manager sends a welcome email 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.
  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’ve experienced a well-structured onboarding program.

So, how does your onboarding system stack up?

Find out: Regularly survey your agents who’ve 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?

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.

 

 

interview with clip boardWhat does new agent onboarding have to do with retention? According to two recent studies—a whole lot! The new fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, my new agent’s business start-up plan, has just come out. Dearborn Education is the publisher. There are many updates in this edition. Included in these updates are conclusions from these studies—conclusions that support the importance of the principles in Up and Running. The biggest is starting each new agent with a proven lead generating plan.

(To see the updates in Up and Running in 30 Days, 5th edition, click here).

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’s 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’s 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

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.

coaching for leadershipWant a no/low cost effective marketing method? Here’s an inexpensive, yet very effective method to stand out from the crowd—writing articles to establish yourself  as the “real estate manager of choice”.

We become managers because we love to succeed through others. Most managers thrill to track their agents’ development—and recognize that at least part of those agents’ successes are attributed to the managers who support them  So, great managers develop the skills of training, coaching, and consulting—the methods they use to develop their agents’ careers.

However, it’s not enough to have the skills. These managers must also help agents find them! In this blog, I explore an inexpensive, very effective method for managers to use to promote themselves. (It works, too for agents to promote themselves as experts effectively and inexpensively).

The Problem

You can have the best product or service in the world. Yet, if you don’t let others know about it, the product or service doesn’t succeed. It’s the same way with managers. Too often, these same highly skilled, highly effective managers think that agents will, on their own, simply figure out that these managers are exceptional and join them. Not so. Unfortunately, many agents think that their success will be due to other factors such as:

The amount of good floor time given in a particular office–or Internet leads, or Relo leads–or any of those ‘reactive’ lead sources unscrupulous managers promise agents to get them to sign up!

The name of the company

The real estate market at the time

The amount of desk fee or commission structure

If any of these were true, the agents in that particular office would all be making the money of their dreams! We know that’s not so. You know you’re a great manager. You know you’ve helped agents succeed at a high level—fast. How do you promote this fact to hire more great producers?

Advertising And Public Relations: Do You Have Both in your Recruiting Strategy?

Too often, real estate companies and managers use a one-dimensional approach to recruiting. They look to institutional advertising only to recruit agents, just as they look to home advertising to find buyers and sellers. There are three concerns with relying on paid advertising only for recruiting:

1. The agent is over-communicated with today—everyone’s doing it

2. The cost of mail and newspaper advertising is ever-increasing

3.  It relies on the strategy that all managers are the same, it’s just the company that’s better

Revving Up your PR

Instead of spending so much money in advertising, and/or relying only on one type of marketing, expand your recruiting strategy to a different method of promotion: public relations (PR). Specifically, add to your recruiting strategy writing articles, getting them published, and using them for various recruiting tactics. You can use the same articles in your blogs. Why PR? First, it costs nothing except your time. Second, an article has a much higher ‘trust’ level than an ad. Third, you’ve got little competition. Fourth, you can use those articles in a myriad of ways to promote yourself:

In mailers

In your office entry “Book of Greatness” *

*See the link below for the contents in a Book of Greatness

In your pre-first visit recruiting package

In your recruiting presentation

Click here to get your complimentary ‘how to':

Create your recruiting Book of Greatness for your entry.

 

 

 

 

 

 

marketing you 3 DHow to ‘Market’ your Brand

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

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

 

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

The Ten Tips

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

marketing you 3 DHow to ‘Market’ your Brand

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

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

 

many peole standing recruitingGrab this FREE recruiting tool: Publicity.

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!

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.

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

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

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

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

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

The Nine Signs Your Manager Must Leave

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

red flagDo you use a planned, consistent interview process? If you do, you will easily discover those ‘red flag’ areas–those areas you must double-check to assure that candidate is qualified to work with you. If you don’t use a consistent interview process–when every interview is a ‘wing-it’ experience—you’re constantly thinking about what to do next. We can’t pay attention to those red flags which pop up and wave themselves in our faces. We’re seduced, too, by what we perceive as the candidate’s attractiveness for us, and we tend to ignore those red flags. If you’ve ever hired someone, and then discovered, that person had a ‘secret’ he kept from you in the interview, you know what I mean!

Methods to Discover those Very Important ‘Red Flags’

Here are some methods you can build into your interview process to avoid those costly hiring mistakes:

  1. Use an application consistently, or at least ask the candidate to answer some questions in writing (have all questionnaires approved by an attorney to assure they consist of legal questions)
  2. Ask the prospective candidate to complete some tasks prior to the interview, so you know if the are willing to make you ‘leader’ and learn from you
  3. Create a professional interview process you follow consistently*
  4. Create ‘behavioral predictor’ questions (questions based on their past) and practice those questions until you are a master at them
  5. Use a behavioral profile (like the DISC) to check your observations and learn more about the candidate. Learn how to ‘validate’ the behavioral profile with the candidate.
  6. Quit being in a hurry to hire every candidate, and choose those candidates more carefully. After all, they reflect your vision and values.

(Remember, if you do it for one, you must do it for all!)

How many of these points do you take advantage of?

For a copy of my 8-step interview process, click here.

What a Systematized Interview Process Does for You 

You will not only hire better candidates, you will avoid those awful ‘surprises’ after committing to that agent (and I’ve had some doozies, as you probably have had, too). You will gain the respect of your team, because you aren’t giving them a problem, but a solution. You will find hiring winners easier, because that candidate is judging your competency as an interviewer and leader at the same time you are judging that candidate’s appropriateness for your team.

blueprint_ebook_cover4

Quit ‘Winging it’ And Get Systematized!

How do you think the candidate regards you? Are you organized, systematic, and professional in your interview process? Or, do you ‘sell’ the candidate instead of asking lots of questions first? Do you have a method to capture candidates’ answers to your critical questions? Do you even have a list of questions you always ask? If you know you could polish that all-important process and hire more of those great agents you want, grab the most proven, effective interview process around: Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners. All digital so you can use it immediately!

Click here to see more.

bus-plan-7-teamThis is the time you should be lead generating for recruits and selecting carefully. So, this month, I’m spotlighting recruiting and selecting–the one step in the recruiting process that’s not well taught–or mastered.

Three Dumb Questions You Should Be Asking in the Interview

We all have our favorite interview questions. Yet, most of the time, those favorite questions don’t give us insights into our candidate (be sure to call them candidates). They give us the answers we want to hear–and the candidate wants to give us!

Before I tell you the three dumb questions, write down your favorite interview question.

Now, the three dumb questions:

1. How much money do you want to make? (or any question to which they are going to give a wild guess, interviewer-pleasing answer)

Dumb because: If the agent is new, they have no clue of what it takes to make that money. They are just throwing a number at you.

In fact, any ‘future-based’ questions fail to give you real information about that person. Why? Because they are ‘reading you’ and giving you the answers they think you want to hear.

2. Are you honest? Are you tenacious? Are you ethical?

Dumb because: Any of the ‘value questions’ are dumb because no one is going to tell you ‘no’ to them! There’s a much better way to find out the person’s ethics and values, and that’s to ask ‘behavioral predictor’ questions. (See Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners for details).

3. Will you take part in our ____________? (meetings, trainings, etc.)

Dumb because: They will usually say ‘yes’–and then not appear. Instead, you need a ‘mutual expectations’ dialogue at the end of your interview, where you lay out expectations and get agreement–in writing.

Big principle in interviewing: People behave in the future like they behaved in the past.

Find out about their past.

What questions have you been snookered on? How did you change those questions?

eBook Cover(2)What’s your Blueprint for Selection Look Like?

For an 8-step ‘sure-selection’ process, best questions to ask, and what to put in your selection packages, see Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners. This unique resource is all online, so you get instant access. Isn’t it time to polish your selection process so you don’t have to work so hard and get better results?

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