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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 sales meetings

blue ribbonsHow many of these 10 high pay-off tips do you have in your training now?

I’ve designated June my ‘Trainer Appreciation Month’, so all my blogs spotlight training. Thanks, trainers!

Too many times we provide training because it helps us attract people to our company. That’s getting only a partial benefit! If you apply the 10 tips for training below, you will see your training pay off in increased productivity, lessened expenses, and much higher customer satisfaction and retention levels. 

1. Clarify what you want the student to do—during class, and after class. (These are your training objectives. They help you create focus and stay on track–and not to go over your desired time frames! See more in The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide).

2. How well do you expect the student to do that activity? Establish competency levels. (Do you want them to be able to limp through a listing presentation, or do a masterful job?)

3. Make training a process, not an event. It takes 6-8 times of hearing something to begin to retain it! (Do you ‘dump the whole load’ because it’s faster and easier, or are you concerned with real learning?)

4. Space your training for “spaced repetition”. Skills can’t be learned in one marathon session. If your objective is to develop skills, you must create layered, spaced, repetitious workshops.

5. There must be rest and reflection between practices. Scientists have proven that skills are not retained unless there is at least 4 hours between skill-developing sessions. (Do you provide time for this within your training sessions?)

6. If it’s skills training, three quarters of the time in class should be practice—not teacher lecture.

7. Culturize as you train. The training should be from your point of view, your method of action, and your opportunity to create a strong culture within your training modules. (Is your culture built in, or have you copied trainings from other ‘training gurus’?)

8. Get feedback from the skills training in your meetings. It reinforces the skills and encourages others to take part. Take your skills to a higher level with additional masterminding.

9. Use a facilitation approach, not a lecture approach. Instead of delivering the information via lecture during class, have the students read articles, interview beforehand, listen to audios, etc. (Are you using other ‘delivery methods’ instead of just old boring lecture?”

10. Build in accountability. The student should be highly accountable for practicing the skills and for competency learning. (Do you have accountability as part of your training sessions?”

How many of these 10 high pay-off training tips are you already using? What do you need to change or incorporate to make your training pay off in real, measurable results?

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 A Free Resource to Help You

I’ve just finished a 5-part series on using other teaching methods instead of that old, boring lecture too many of us have relied upon.  Take a look at my uTube channel and watch your training results soar!


presentation powerpointJune is my designated ‘Trainer Appreciation Month’. So, I’m featuring blogs about training to help you sharpen your skills and enjoy the classroom and your sales meetings much more.

Are your sales meetings knocking their socks off–or boring them to tears? You want to keep their interest! Help is here. Organize your presentation with the three steps here, and watch your agent count go way up for your sales meetings and training presentations.

Who Is a Presenter?

We’re all presenters: Any time we’re in front of two or two thousand, our goal is to persuade the audience to our point of view. We’re presenters as agents when we do listing and buyer presentations. We’re presenters when we’re title insurance or mortgage reps, getting in front of people in sales meetings to persuade them to use our services.

Unfortunately, most of the time, we just get in front of people and say whatever we think of first. That lack of attention to presentation organization leads to some big presentation mistakes, and costs us ‘sales’. Instead of stumbling through a presentation, why not organize it to grab their attention, persuade them to your way of thinking, and motivate them to action?

Grab Their Attention in the Opening

Have you thought about your opening?  Are you hiding in your office because you dread doing that sales meeting? Are you going to a listing presentation, and have no idea how to proceed? When we haven’t organized our presentation, we come up with some really boring, off-putting openings, like:

I won’t take much of your time, but

We have a lot to cover today

We won’t get through the outline

I know you don’t want to listen, but

I’m not really prepared

You just open your presentation book, point to the pretty pages, and say, “here’s a keybox”  (I’m not kidding. I’ve seen it….)

Great openings, yes? Yet, we’ve heard them dozens of times. You don’t have to settle for whatever comes ‘naturally’. Instead, make your openings





A Middle that Educates your ‘Audience’ to your Point of View

In the middle of your presentation, add those stories, statistics, and visuals that support your point of view.  By the way, as you create that presentation, jot down your point of view.  What do you want to persuade your agents to do?

Why use Visuals?

There are two reasons to use visuals in your presentation:

We believe what we see

We retain the information much longer

As you organize your presentation, ask yourself:

What are the main, and frequently, unspoken objections my ‘audience’ will have? How do I educate them to show them the reasoning behind my point of view?

The Ending: Back to the Beginning

Have you thought about your wrap-up? Or, like many presenters, does your ending sound like this?

Well, that’s all. What do you think?

We’re out of time. Thank you. I hope you’ll list with me

I don’t have time to close.

I couldn’t get to much of the material, but you can read it

In fact, even the most professional presenters frequently have trouble with their endings. One of the main reasons is that they run out of time. Another is that they haven’t thought the ending through.

How to Do a Stunning Ending

Crafting an effecting ending is the second most important part of your presentation. (The first is the opening). To craft a great ending,

Go back to your beginning opening theme

Summarize the benefits of going ahead with you/take action

Motivate your ‘audience’ to take action

A Great Presentation is Crafted like a Pop Song

As a musician, I know that all pop tunes are constructed with this format:


This is known in the music business as the ABA format. Think of your favorite pop tune: Hum the beginning. Think of the end. They’re alike, right? It’s the middle—known as the ‘bridge’—that is the humdinger. It wanders all around. Your persuasive presentation should be crafted like that pop tune:

A         A compelling start (think Billy Joel, Neil Diamond, etc.)

B         An interesting, developed middle, with stories, statistics

A         Back to that theme, with a motivating ending

Now, you’re all set to craft a great listing or buyer presentation, great recruiting meeting or sales meeting, or awesome product/service presentation to any audience.

P. S. Practice!

Knock_Their_Socks_Off_Product_DisplayMany more tips on presentations and presentation skills are in my new resource, Knock Their Socks Off: Tips to Make your Best Presentation Ever.

And, since this is my Trainer Appreciation Month, I’m offering special pricing on my trainer resources. Check it out!


A Case Study: Training Gone Wrong

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teacher at boardHave you ever seen training go wrong? As I’m teaching Instructor Development Workshop, I include a case study for attendees to work on. This case study is the ‘story’ of a real estate manager who had the best of intentions when she created her training program. However, she made a mess of it because she followed some of the poor role models she’d had as an agent–or from watching other managers.  Why use a case study? To check the learning of the attendees. Their answers and insights help me see what I did right–and what I need to keep working on with the attendees.

Here’s the case study:

Sally, in charge of training for her real estate office, decided she had to have a full training calendar. Her listing conversion rates in her real estate were very low (less than ½ of her listings were selling in normal market time). Her agents had very low numbers of listings per agent and transactions per agent. She had 50 agents in her office, but was not making a profit. So, she asked her agents which classes they wanted. They told her they wanted classes in 1031 exchanges, risk reduction, and commercial real estate (they’ve always been interested in various topics and love knowledge for its own sake; after all, they said, you never know when you’ll need to know……….).

Sally wanted to deliver what her agents said they wanted. Because, after all, a person in Sally’s position wants to keep the agents happy. So, Sally made a training schedule with lots of lecture on various topics that the agents knew little about. Every Friday, she had a guest lecturer come in and talk about these topics. She required no outlines, no credentials, and no teaching outlines, because she thought that if someone recommended the instructor, he/she must know her subject. And, she had to fill that calendar fast!

In addition, Sally did do some ‘training’ herself on sales. Once a week, she chose a topic she thought the agents would like. These trainings were targeted at non-or low producers, because Sally thought that if she created ‘training’ for them, they would sell more real estate.

Sally’s procedure was this: She invited everyone to the classes. She used a student outline that she liked from various courses she had attended, and talked through it. (Sally didn’t know how to use alternative delivery methods). She didn’t teach to objectives, because she didn’t know what they were. Her approach was this: She got an outline, made copies of it, and told the agents that, today, they were going to talk about _________. Or, sometimes, she said, “We have a lot of material to cover.” She was trying to create lots of value by providing lots of information.

She required nothing of the agents to get into the class. She didn’t do a series, because she wanted to ‘cover a lot of material’. She did a wide array of topics, because, she figured, a wide array is better.  Sally didn’t bother to arrange the topics in any logical sequence (such as the decision-making process or the 4 steps of the sales process) because she wanted to cover many different topics. She thought the students would hear something that would help them……She didn’t require the students to do anything with the information after the class, believing that they would hear it and immediately put it to work without practice, coaching, or action plans.

After Sally got really busy, she asked some of her agents to ‘teach’ certain topics. She gave them the topics and thought they could tell the agents how they did it. Sally didn’t understand the difference between ‘how something does it’ and how to do it).

After a few months of doing this, Sally didn’t see any results in increased production.

The Exercise

Pick out at least 10 mistakes Sally made in her approach to ‘training’, and give recommendations on how Sally needs to proceed to use training to change the production and profit picture in her real estate office.

What did you pick? Have you ever made some of these errors? Unfortunately, most of the time ‘training’ is created by filling out a calendar.

In my next blog, I’ll tackle how to make your training calendar actually work to reach the goals of your office.

What training mistakes do you see?

Note: If you want to dramatically improve your real estate training, see The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide.






















































audience sleepingHave you ever been at a meeting that was absolutely painful to sit through? I just experienced that, and I could hardly wait until it was over. But, with a few guidelines, no meeting need be pain-provoking!

Tip: These guidelines work, too, for any presentation.

I’m Only Giving My Report—I Don’t Have to Have any Presentation Skills….

Why should you read this? You aren’t a professional speaker. You don’t even do presentations. You just give reports. You don’t need any public speaking skills. That’s what you think!  There are presentation strategies for giving reports, and, when you don’t know them or use them, the example is a painful experience for the attendees. So, whether you’re an agent, a manager, an assistant, it doesn’t matter. When you get up in front of people—even for a report—you owe it to your audience to be professional.

Why Prepare to Make a Report?

As with many meetings, this painful meeting consisted of reports from 8 different people. Now, I know most people regard giving a report as getting up and reading the 3-10 items on their report. Not! You need to prepare for that meeting—whether or not you are a professional speaker.

The 3 Deadly Sins in Giving those Reports—and the Remedies

1.      1. A deadly start

In this meeting, two of the 5 reporters started with ‘so’. In fact, I counted 25 ‘sos’ in one of the reports!  One of the reporters kept saying that she was not prepared because she didn’t know she didn’t have another meeting to lead after this one. Who cares?

The remedies:

Start your report without the ‘so’, the ‘uh’, or any of the filler words. Practice your first few words. Make sure they lay out what you’re going to report in a concise, friendly manner.

Stop the excuses; the audience doesn’t care! Avoid ‘we got a lot to cover’, ‘I haven’t much time’, or ‘I’m not prepared’.

2.     2.  Taking too much time

The remedy:

Practice your report and ‘time’ it. Then, add ½ more time. Why? Because you have to get set up and ready, you may have audience questions or interruptions, etc. No one ever shot the speaker for finishing early…..

3.      3. Wandering around in a vast wasteland of information

The remedy:

Write out your major points. There should be no more than 3-5. Practice not wandering off your point. Speak in concise sentences, with commas, not periods!  

Ask yourself: What do you want the audience to remember? Make these points memorable. Leave out the rest!

If you have more to say and no more time, make a handout with all the information.

Train Everyone to Make Better Reports

If you’re in management or in charge of any meeting of any time, your attendees will love you a lot more if you coaching your meeting participants in the 3 areas above. You’ll get better attendance, a more attentive audience, and will create a much more pleasurable meeting!

What are your pet peeves in meetings?

When you’re in front of a crowd–a group– or even one or two people, do you put them to sleep or are you scinttilating? If you’re presenting in front of 2 or hundreds, you must wonder at times whether your delivery is interesting. Too often, we drone through the subject, stop to tell a joke or two, and just trudge through the trenches of information until the clock tells us to stop!

Students Nodding Off Is a Sign…

Are your students nodding off as the day goes on? Do you frantically wonder how to keep their attention—all day? The answer is not what you think it is. Recently, I taught my Instructor Development course to real estate professionals and affiliates. I’ve taught this course for about fifteen years. Here’s the biggest mis-conception students come in with:

If I just learn how to be a more captivating speaker, I can keep the students’ attention for hours on end.

NOT! In today’s frantic world, the person in front of everyone cannot hope to hold students’ attention for more than 10 minutes at a time! If you think I’m wrong, just count the number of commercials in a TV break. These commercials are down to about 15 seconds apiece. The images go by so fast you can scarcely count them. In fact, we’ve become a society of easily distracted, multi-tasking, not very focused beings (watch pedestrians—or drivers—in action with a cell phone…..).

The Focus Doesn’t Have to Be On You at All Times

So, what are you going to do to ‘hold’ students’ attention? You are going to implement some teaching methods called

alternative delivery methods

Alternative delivery methods: all those methods used to teach that are NOT lecture. Examples: Town hall, task force, case study, role play, action plan.

Give your Students some Credit

People who lecture their way through a day (or days!) either

  1. Just don’t have any repertoire of alternative teaching methods


2. Just don’t think the students can be involved with theirs and others’ learning

How to Teach through Student Involvement

Instead of talking through each point you have on your PowerPoint slide or in our outline (boy, is that riveting!), use town hall, task force, case study, and role play to teach. To do that, you’ll need to take an Instructor Development course to learn those methods, and practice using them in class. (It’s also great to watch the instructor demonstrate those methods with you as a student, too).

Note: To find out when my next Instructor Development course is, go to  If you’re in Washington state, and can’t attend a live session, you can take the Train the Trainer course and get 15 clock hours and gain the qualification to become an instructor of clock hours in Washington state.

You’ll find your students know much more than you think they do about what you’re teaching. You’ll be able to clarify points of concern, use the talents in your class, and actually provide a stimulating, active learning environment. The result: your students will be energized all day.

Get Dozens of Training Tips to Polish your Training and Speaking

If you’re leading meetings, facilitating training, or speaking, you need this comprehensive training tool. It shows you how to keep the audience’s attention, how to enhance your training style, how to involve your students, and even how to create a workshop–from scratch. Check it out here.


Is There a Webinar in your Future?

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Is a webinar in your future? Everybody and their brother is doing webinars. I just finished doing a ‘live’ Instructor Development Workshop, and there was interest in webinars. So, I thought I’d write several blogs about them. Here goes. Enjoy!

Should you become a webinar ‘maven’? If you’re a

  • Trainer
  • Coach
  • Manager
  • Team leader
  • Salesperson

you may want to consider the ‘delivery method’ of a webinar. What can a webinar do for you? It can

  • Inform
  • Introduce
  • Sell
  • Increase your image

In this series, I’ll take you through the

  • Basics of webinars
  • The most common webinar mistakes
  • Some technical aspects of webinars—software, etc.
  • How to create your webinar

What can’t a webinar do? It can’t

Change people’s behavior (it’s not training. It’s education). Webinars are not the magic training bullet we’ve wished for. There are limited objectives you can accomplish by doing a webinar. (We’ll investigate this more later).

Of course, the upside of a webinar is that

  • People don’t have to travel to get to the ‘event’
  • It’s very cost-effective
  • It puts you in front of new audiences
  • You can make it ‘evergreen’ (record it and share it)

Some Basic Choices to Make Before You Start

  1. Your vehicle

Which company will you use to deliver your webinar? There are over 100 companies today offering some type of ‘screen sharing’. They range from free to $100+ a month. The free versions companies tout are for a limited number of viewers (usually 5-10). After that, figure on paying for the services. Among the most popular services are GoTo Meeting, WebEx, and BrightTalk. Whatever you choose, pick a service that will be easy for you! Getting caught in the technicalities while you are trying to be a sparkling presenter is death by webinar.

  1. What’s your message?

Decide on your topic. Is it something that would lend itself to a webinar? To find out, study webinars you’ve attended. Do some seem too wishy-washy to have been worth your time? Are some so full of facts and figures you snooze off?

Now, decide on your objectives. In other words, start with the end in mind. To write your objectives, start with this sentence,

As a result of this webinar, attendees will____________________________. Examples of objectives for a business planning webinar could be:

  • Understand the ‘flow’ of the strategic business planning process
  • Be able to differentiate between a vision and a mission statement
  • Be able to pinpoint 3 areas of concern about their business from the previous year

After I’ve written my objectives, I know the basic structure of my webinar. I can prioritize those objectives and start arranging my webinar in the right presentation order.

Your Topic: Overview or Detailed?

Is your topic an overview, or is it more detailed? Decide on the scope of your topic, and your objectives, before going further.

Common webinar mistake: Either being so ‘global’ there is little information, or being so detailed you lose the audience in facts and figures.

After deciding on your desired delivery company, and drafting your topic and objectives, you’re ready for the next step. In the next blog, we’ll discuss best presentation methods–and common presentation mistakes.

A Resource for You

To get more information on creating courses with objectives, see The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide. Not only for real estate presenters, this guide provides a step-by-step process for putting together a presentation (not just webinars), and dozens of presentation tips.

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