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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

Up and Running_5e largerI just received my copy of my 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s business start-up plan. Dearborn Education, a division of Kaplan, Inc., has published this book since its first edition. I’ve put lots of updates in this 2017 edition, including advice from successful newer agents. Rather than my trying to convince you of these principles myself, here’s what they’ve said:

On Training

Here’s a quote from Kyle Kovats, who was recently chosen as one of the finalists for the “30 under 30” honors from the National Association of Realtors.  These select nominations are agents chosen because they are under 30 and very successful in the business.

Kyle advises: “Find a broker who has a comprehensive training program. Ask if you can speak with agents who have gone through it to get the agents’ perspective on whether it was helpful.”

{Note: Up and Running in 30 Days has tips for you new agents in choosing the right training program—a training program that actually assures you launch a great career).

The Importance of Coaches and Mentors

There’s a lot more to success than just attending even a great training program. Read this from Merrilee Prochaska, “I wish I had understood the importance of a mentor/coach before I began.”

{Up and Running in 30 Days discusses the trend toward coaches, and provides guidance in choosing the right coach for you.}

On What They Wish They’d Done Differently

It’s not all a smooth ride! Here are some comments from Cerise Paton, on what she wishes she would have done differently: “Followed up more and more consistently; understood the time and discipline and numbers needed for lead generation and lead conversion; recognizing the time it took to build trust; going on more appointments, failing more often, and getting better, practicing presentations with friends”.

Gary Richter’s comment on what he would do differently could apply to most new agents: “Contact all of my sphere and ask for business.” Gary admits he was reticent to ask them all for business.

On Prioritizing Your Activities and Lead Generation Sources

Don’t take my word for it that clearly prioritizing your activities as business-producing or business-supporting is key to success. Hear it from Gary Richter, who used Up and Running in 30 Days to start his career. He says his priorities are big reasons he’s succeeding now: “I am cognizant of my daily activities and recognized them as either business producing or business supporting. I spend the majority of my time on business-producing activities.”

And, Diane Honeycutt states, “Take the advice in this plan and be sure you’re not a ‘secret agent’! Develop a work plan and stick to it”.

Here’s what Kyle Kovats, that great ’30 under 30’ nominee, said: “Get out there and just do it.  Try different forms of prospecting and see what works. An ounce of action is more powerful than a ton of planning.”

Gary Richter advises: “Get off your computer and go out into the areas. Focus on business-producing activities.”

More great advice from Kyle Kovats: “Be relentless. Follow up with handwritten letters rather than the generic form letters/cards most agents send people. Be unique.”

On the Importance of Client Relationship Management Technology

When I asked those agent and team leader contributors what technology is important to incorporate, here’s what they said:

“CRM and lead management tools”—Diane Honeycutt

“A really good and easy-to-use CRM”—Cerise Paton

“A good CRM”—Chris Cross

So, don’t be like the majority of new agents (and even seasoned agents who put off capturing all those leads in a database and then, even better a CRM!) Start using a database, or better yet, a CRM your first week in the business.

On Spending Money for Leads

Here’s some advice from one of those Top 30 Under 30 finalists, James Pierce: “Don’t pay a dime to sites like Zillow, etc.”

From Cerise Paton: “You will get a lot of calls to sell you leads, google placement, banner ads, shopping carts, you name it. Don’t do it. It either has no value, or you’re not ready for it, or you can’t afford it”

Tip for managers: As you read these comments, ask yourself, “How is my training, coaching, and business start-up plan keeping my new agents on track?” What needs to be changed or refined so I get better results?”

How about YOU?

Are you following these principles? How many have you rejected or violated in your first few months in the business? Why? Success isn’t always easy, but it always has patterns and leaves clues! Don’t try and re-invent the wheel. Follow a proven plan with assured results and you will be wildly successful!

Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days:  updates in 5th edition.

bus-plan-11Need strategies to get your agents to create great business plans? Here they are!

In November and December, I’m focusing on business planning, to help you and your agents get a great business plan for next year. Look for  checklists, processes, and systems ready to use, too.

I know it’s a lot of work to get your agents to commit to paper on anything. And, from working with thousands of agents on business planning over the years, I know the challenges. But, for us managers, the huge pay-off comes not from what’s on paper, what, what’s in the head. When we use a good business planning process we literally teach agents how to think through their businesses.

Three Huge Stealth Strategies

1. Take Away Commitment Phobia

It’s estimated we are told ‘no’ 148,000 times prior to age eighteen. No wonder we don’t want to commit to try anything! I know from teaching adults to play the piano, that adults are conditioned not to try anything new for fear of not being perfect. To many, writing a business plan means planning to fail—and then getting punished for it.

So, the first time you introduce business planning, take away the old downside of goal setting (not reaching it and getting punished),  and help your agents move in incremental steps forward—a step at a time, with lots of positive reinforcement along the way. You have to create a safe haven for first-time planners.

2. Eat the Elephant a Bite at a Time

One of the agents in an office where I just did a small group coaching series told me he put a picture of an elephant on the wall, and then literally divided the elephant into bite-sized pieces, with an action step listed on each bite. What a wonderful visual! For many of your agents, planning is just the most overwhelming process they could envision. So, simply start with one or two areas. Personally, I start with 2-3 areas in the Review. See my next blog for an example of this.

3. Make it Really Easy to Start

Have a great business planning system to provide your agents. (Never just ask them to make a business plan without a system to follow, because you’ll get all kinds of formats). Don’t overwhelm your agents with too many planning pages to start. Customize your package with each agent. If you can get each agent to look at 1-3 areas of his business, and plan change strategies for a better year in that area, you’ll have started the process—a process that will continue, grow, and reap big benefits by year three.

We Do What We See, Not What We are Told

Do you have a business plan? If not, why should your agents be interested ? Making your ‘stealth’ approach work means you must lead by example. Doing so creates a synergy between your plan and all the agents’ plans, and builds a strength that perseveres even in the toughest market.

What should be in an agent’s business planning system? Click here to see a ‘flow chart’.

Watch my Recorded Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

During this fast-paced webinar you’ll see:

  • Why your plan probably didn’t work for you—and what to do about it
  • How to definitely find out what will work for YOU (not someone else’s plan!)
  • How to anticipate market shifts (!)
  • What to STOP doing in 2017
  • What one thing will assure your business plan works
  • Bonus: 10 Creative Marketing Ideas for your plan

Included handouts:

  1. The strategic planning process created exclusively for real estate professionals by Carla Cross
  2. Review: Your best sources of business

Click here to see the webinar and grab the handouts.

Here’s to a great 2017 with your polished business plan!

Plan_Act_CelebrateHow Good is Your Business Planning System?

Need a comprehensive business planning system that is designed ONLY for leadership? Most planning systems don’t cover the specific areas you need to address.

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

 

 

man pointing questionnaireCan you answer these business planning questions?

For November and December, I’m featuring business planning. I want to help you get a great plan for 2017! You’ll see complimentary handouts and lots of business planning tips.

See my complimentary business planning webinar, too, coming up November 8.

Click here for more information on the webinar and to register.

Managers: Invite your agents and get these questions answered, too, prior to the webinar!

The three questions: 

1. What percent of your listings sold in normal market time last year?

2. How much money did you spend on your best source of business?

3. What should you do differently in 2017 to make more money, keep more money, and spend less time?

These are three of the questions we’ll explore in our complimentary business planning webinar. Carla will give you tips on ratios, expenses, and tactics to assure you’re not spinning your wheels in 2017.

Plan_Act_CelebrateHow to Bullet-Proof your Business Plan for 2017

If you’re like most real estate professionals, you create some type of a business plan this year. But, maybe it didn’t work for you. Or, maybe—you just didn’t work it! Join us Nov. 8 at 3 PM Pacific time) to get the answers you need—and the inspiration—to make a bullet-proof plan for next year.

During this fast-paced webinar you’ll see:

  • Why your plan probably didn’t work for you—and what to do about it
  • How to definitely find out what will work for YOU (not someone else’s plan!)
  • How to anticipate market shifts (!)
  • What to STOP doing in 2017
  • What one thing will assure your business plan works
  • Bonus: 10 Creative Marketing Ideas for your plan

Included handouts:

  1. The strategic planning process created exclusively for real estate professionals by Carla Cross
  2. Review: Your best sources of business

Carla Cross, CRB, MA, is the only real estate professional ever to have had her business planning system published internationally and used by thousands of successful real estate professionals. Carla also has written a business planning program for CRB, leading to the Certified Real Estate Broker designation. She’s an acknowledged expert, and has been working with Realtors for over 2 decades, test marketing her planning system and seeing results. Let’s work together to create an unassailable plan for 2017.

Managers: You’ll get tips on how to help your agents create great plans!

Click here for more information on the webinar and to register.

 

bag of moneyManagers: Why aren’t you training for sales during pre-licensing? You hire them–then you just wait until they have their licenses to start training.

Give Them a Head Start Instead

Have you thought about a ‘head start’ program for your newbies? If you’re like 98% of managers, you wait to start training your agents until AFTER they join your office as newbies. Why? Think how much faster they could go if they had lots of the organization and training under their belts prior to their first day in the business?  Okay. I know. Until they are licensed, they can’t do the things licensed agents can do. But, they can do many things. And all those things get them ready to hit the ground running. At the end of this blog, I’m providing you my checklist, 30 Things to Do Right (In Pre-License School) Now to Hit the Ground Running. (from my informative eBook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School).

We Lose Lots of Time Because They are Not Prepared to Start the Business

You know the drill. We hire that new agent. We spend the first 1-2 weeks with them getting the ‘orientated’. We have checklists to assure they get their keys, join the Realtor association, etc., etc., etc. How long do you estimate it takes the new agent just to get those orientation checklists finished? 2-4 weeks? In some cases, they never finish them!!!!! Not only that, they probably think that finishing those checklists assures they are going to be successful agents.  Ha!

When Do Your New Agents Start Lead Generating?

My studies show that new agents want to make a sale their first month in the business. But, when do you think they start lead generating? Do you know? (Better track that so you know who’s going to work). I believe they put off the inevitable as long as possible, hoping ‘there’s another way!’ In fact, the more ‘get ready to get ready’ work you have them doing as licensees, the worse their habits become and the less money they make!

A Different Method to Get Them a Check Fast

Instead of waiting until they are licensed, why not get them prepared to sell real estate while they are in pre-license school? They can do things like

  • Decide on the database/CRM they want to use and learn how to use it
  • Populate their databases with 100-300 potential clients
  • Prepare an email/hard copy note/letter to all those in their database saying they’ve joined_____________ real estate company

30 Things to Do While in Pre-License School

In fact, as I was writing my eBook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School, I started thinking about how we could really prepare agents to sell real estate–lots of real estate. That’s how I came up with this checklist. Click here to get it.

How to Recruit with the Checklist

This list is not only helpful to those you know you’re hiring, it’s a very effective recruiting tool. It proves to your potential recruits that you care about their career success–even before you hire them!

Here are a few suggestions:

  • Offer this checklist to all your new licensee candidates
  • Offer this checklist for your Career Nights
  • Offer this checklist in your ads (newspaper, Craig’s List, Facebook, etc.)

Take It a Step Further

Why not create a 4-6 module course based on this checklist. Do it evenings, with assignments for the attendees. You’ll be able to see who is willing to go to work. Now, you’ll be able to hire the best!

what-they-dont-3d_coverSave Time! Prepare Your New Agents to Sell Real Estate Fast and Well

This 280+ page eBook is packed with questionnaires, advice, processes, and systems to prepare that pre-licensee for the real world of real estate. You’ll save precious interview time and help winners choose you. See What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School. Only $14.95, and immediately downloadable. Now, a Kindle version, too.

P. S. This book will save you hours if interview time because it will weed out the ‘hang my license’ bothersome ones…..unless you want non-producers, of course!

little girl with phoneIs your phone voice driving them away? Recently, I did a presentation to a group of Luxury Agent Specialists. It was about sound and it’s impact on others. We usually think of visual impact. But, as agents, we come across way more people initially via email or phone than we do by sight. So, isn’t it time to polish your ‘phone voice’? It’s probably the first ‘warm’ impression people get of you (I call email ‘cold communication’ because it vastly shrinks the three major ways we communicate: sight, sound, and feeling).

Don’t Mistake Technology as the ‘End’ 

We are so focused on technology today, that we are in danger of forgetting to effectively use that technology. Here’s an example. When I phone an agent today, I have no idea where that agent will answer his or her phone—or from what phone the call is being answered. And, I don’t really care. Technology allows the phone to follow the agent. That’s great. Here’s what’s not so great. The agent’s message is so dull, powerless, or mumbled that it doesn’t sound as though the agent wants to talk to me. Or, the agent’s message is so long, that I’m impatient by the time I get to leave the message.

Make a Superior Phone Message

For three days, listen carefully to the tone, intent, and messages your hear in phone messages. Listen carefully to how agents, managers, and your affiliates answer the phone at their offices. What do you think? If you didn’t know these people, what would you think of them? Are they excited to hear from you, or are they bored?

Here are 4 important tips to remember when recording your own message:

  1. Stand up—you’ll sound as though you have much more energy.
  2. Write out your script first—and be sure it’s not too long. I don’t really care where you’re going to be all day!
  3. Modulate your voice pleasantly. Try to get some resonance.
  4. Sound as though you’re looking forward to hearing from me!

Re-record Your Phone Message

Practice your phone message several times before you record it. Then, record and listen critically. Don’t just use the first recording. Make sure your ‘phone voice’ is the best first impression you can make.

P. S. Managers: Call each of your agents’ phone mails. What’s the impression you get? Are they professional? Do they state the company name? Do they represent your culture and image?

Create a quick class in phone messaging using the information in this blog.

what-they-dont-3d_cover croppedWasting Time Educating Too Much in Initial Interviews?

Why don’t you let me do the heavy lifting and answer those dozens of questions prospective agents ask? In my eBook, What They  Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School, I answer hundreds of these questions–and give them the straight scoop on real estate as a career. There are also valuable self-assessment tools, too, to see if these would-be agents are good successful agent candidates. Order it and get it immediately–plus a unique checklist, Hit the Ground Running–what to do with that agent prior to their getting their real estate license. You’ll hire more winners who make more money fast!  

 

coaching teaching skillsWhat’s your advice for new agents? I’m editing Up and Running in 30 Days for the 5th edition, due to be out in early 2017. As you probably know, Up and Running in 30 Days is literally the new agent’s start-up plan. In it, I show the what, how, why, and how much of real estate activities needed to do well quickly. Up and Running is very specific, and is easy to use to coach new agents to productivity fast.

Asking New Agents for their Advice

I’m in the midst right now of asking 1-3 year successful agents for their advice for the new agent. I will use these quotes throughout the book, to reinforce the start-up plan principles. If you have a successful 1-3 year agent that you’d like featured, you can forward my questionnaire here.

What’s Your Advice?

As one of the new features of the 5th edition, I’m incorporating great managers’ advice to new agents. Here’s what I’m asking:

  1. What do new successful agents do consistently that agents who fail don’t do?

 

  1. What common mistakes do new agents make that cost them time, money–and hinder their success?

 

  1. Would you advise a new agent to (why or why not)

–join a team

–have a mentor

–hire a professional coach

  1. What should a new agent look for in a training program?

 

 

  1. Other advice you provide to a new agent?

 

 

Your name:

Company name:

Number of agents in your office:

Number of agents you’ve hired that have completed at least 10 transactions their first year in the business:

How to Get your Advice to Me

If you’d like to write a comment to this post with answers to these questions, your comments will be relayed to me. If I’m able to use them in my book, you will receive a complimentary copy of Up and Running AND lots of PR–to help you in your recruiting as an expert in helping new agents.

Or, if you’d like to complete the questionnaire and email it to me, Here is the questionnaire. Just complete it and email it to carla@carlacross.com. You will be assisting thousands of new agents as they begin their careers, and, I think you’ll find that being published will help your ‘street cred’ with those you want to hire!

Sep
09

7 Leadership Truisms to Lead By

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This month, I’m featuring the topic ‘leadership’. Why? Because new leadership styles are one of the biggest real estate industry trends (and probably world trends) of this decade and beyond. Look for leadership strategies and trends (not just in the real estate industry), plus ready-to-use documents to go from ‘maintenance management’ to leadership. Also: more agents are forming a company within a company, to build their brand, their team, and expand to other markets. The minute an agent hires an assistant, he/she goes into management and must exhibit leadership skills. What a challenge!

Is your leadership style ‘tell them what to do and expect them to do it’? It seems so easy. You’re the chairperson or manager. Just take charge, tell people what to do, and they’ll do it. NOT. It’s just not that simple. At least, it’s not that simple unless systems are already in place and people on the committee know what their tasks are.

Seven Truisms about Effective Participative Leadership 

It’s not enough today to be good at a traditional leadership style. In fact, you have to really ‘turn your leadership style’ upside down to become effective. You must become a ‘participative’ leader. Here are seven truisms to help you flex your natural style toward more participation from your team members.

Truism #1: New chairpeople don’t know what’s expected of them

Just because people accept the title it doesn’t mean they know how to proceed with the job. Most people have never chaired a committee, so they don’t have the skills. It’s especially challenging when it’s a new task. They need to have clear direction, a job description, job responsibilities, and exactly who to go to when the job doesn’t get done.

Truism #2: People don’t know HOW to get it done 

Even when people know what to do, they don’t usually have checklists, systems, deadlines, and assignments to get it done; it doesn’t work to leave it to a person (95% of the time, the other 5% will figure it out on their own) to decide how to get the job done.

Truism #3: Myth: “Leaders are the  “idea people” and aren’t supposed to get into implementation (someone else will figure out how to get the work done)

When leaders say that, they immediately put others into the “secretary” mode. Their mentality is, someone else beneath them should be able to figure out how to get that done. That’s a secretarial or assistant’s job, isn’t it? But, your committee members don’t work for you. They work with you. You can’t expect someone to raise his hand and offer to be your assistant because you came up with the idea.

Truism #4: Verbal-type people resist processes and systems

There is a natural resistance in us (maybe especially in we verbal-type people) to organizing processes and systems. We love to talk about the idea. We don’t like to clarify exactly how that idea gets into process.

Truism #5: We ‘big idea’ people think we can delegate systemization to an assistant  

Having worked with assistants for over 15 years, I have found that not true. Assistants need help in systemizing any process that YOU want done. They are good at systemizing their own processes–but not good at all at systemizing ours!

Truism #6: Leaders know committees take most of their time REPORTING to the larger group, not deciding on issues or processes

A mistake that committees make is to try to design processes within the large committee meeting. Instead, create task forces to report back quickly to you.

Truism #7: When accountability factors aren’t built in, things don’t get done.

This is a dicey issue, because you’re working with volunteers. Or, in the case of a real estate company, with independent contractors. At the same time, your association or business also expects the services and programs you promised. There’s a great difference between “do it the way you want” and expecting results and “do it the way you want” and let’s check how it’s going regularly.

Sharpening Your Participative Leadership Skills

What truisms do you want to add from your experiences in leadership? What do you see of yourself in these truisms? How can these help you lead? What needs to be done in  your leadership position to gain greater skills? These skills are learned over time, and the pay-off is an association or business that is ‘owned’ by all those involved, with empowerment assured.

Starting in January: A Leadership By the Month Coaching Series

small 365_leadership_logoHow do you ‘learn’ leadership? Mostly, it’s taught with platitudes and sayings. But, you really learn how to lead by observing actions of leaders and then putting those actions in play yourself. that’s what we’ll do in this 12-part coaching series. Each month, we’ll introduce a new leadership strategy and ask you, in the 365 Leadership Coaching Club, to implement it. These strategies will grow your business and help you adapt new leadership skills. Watch for more coming soon!

Who’s this for: All managers, general managers, owners, and agent team builders.

coaching teaching skillsHow badly do you really want your training to pay off? I just got done reviewing a training program to see if the attributes for effectiveness were there. Most of them weren’t. And, frankly, I think they weren’t there because no one cared enough to assure they WERE there. Why? Because it’s regarded as just too much trouble! That’s the sad truth. But, why do we bother to train if we can’t expect a measurable outcome? What if I could absolutely guarantee you, that, if you put these 4 principles in place, you will see results in your training, turn out productive agents, and have a great recruiting tool. How much would that be worth to you? (I don’t mean how much would you pay for this, but how much effort would you be willing to put into it?)

Here are the four principles/attributes that need to be in place:

1. Expectations/Accountability

How will you hold agents accountable to work to be done in the program? What are the ‘rules’? When do you explain the rules? Do you have a commitment letter?

2. Work during the course

Do you have the agents completing work during the course? Lead generation, packaging, presentations, etc. If not, how do you know they can do what you taught?

3. Measurable results

Are you having the agents measure their results? If not, how are you going to use the program to recruit? How will you know the program worked?

4. Fixed curriculum and highly trained instructors

Do you have a written curriculum with course objectives? If not, are you just wandering around in a wasteland of information?

Are your instructors trained in participative teaching methods? Are you monitoring your instructors so you know they are teaching skills, not just talking or providing war stories?

Grade yourself on each of the attributes above. What did you excel at? What do you need to improve?

How awesome could your training be if it had these 4 principles/attributes in place?

logoHere’s a Program with the Principles Written Into the Training

It’s deceptively challenging to include those 4 principles/attributes above in a training program. Yet, if they aren’t there, your training can’t be effective. Why not look at the unique UP and Running in Real Estate, written by National Realtor Educator of the Year Carla Cross. This online program is terrific for those hiring 1-4 agents a month, because the agent can start the program at any time, and work through the program, while jumping ahead to needed topics–and going back. Check it out here. Also: There’s a coaching component, so you can fully support your agent’s success.

 

clockThrough December, I’m focusing on business planning in my blogs. Look for checklists, processes, and systems–ready to use.

Business Planning: Is Time Management One of your Agents’ Biggest Challenges?

If you’re like most of us, (and your agents), you have much more on your ‘to do’ list than you get to during your business day. What does that have to do with business planning? At this time of year, we need to analyze how we spent our time. Then, we can make adjustments for next year. All of us have the same amount of time, yet, some people seem to know how to optimize it.

We Don’t Manage Time

The notion that we manage time is actually a mis-nomer. We manage activities. Have you ever known an agent who comes into the office every day, seems to work hard, yet makes little money? That person would tell you he manages his time. Yet, his time is spent doing the wrong activities. (Or, maybe, he intends to spend his time in non-productive activities…….).

As managers, you can be very influential in helping agents better manage those activities through their business plan.

A Major Principle for Great Time/Activity Management

In Up and Running in 30 Days, (use this program if you’re under a year in the business for business planning) I introduced the principle of categorizing activities so that you can tell whether you are spending your time in activities that will make you money—or not. All real estate activities can be categorized as either

Business producing or

Business supporting

Which are which: Those activities that have you meeting people directly (lead generation), working with people, and selling houses are business producing. All the rest are business supporting. Do your agents know the difference? Use the following analysis tool to help your agents see how they are spending their time. It will literally tell them (and you) why they are making the money they are making!

Click here to get my time/activity analysis, excerpted from my online business planning resources for agents and managers, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Let me know what you found out from your time/activity analysis, and the changes you’re making for next year’s business plan.

Plan_Act_CelebrateGrab the Business Planning System Internationally Published Exclusively for Real Estate Pros

If you’re tired of filling in the blanks with numbers that mean little to you, it’s time to step up to a real strategic planning system–a system made exclusively for real estate pros. Check it out at Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

hands of keysAre you getting the best performance from your agents? Is there something you can do to get better performance and results?Have you ever considered that you have the power to do that?

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! We don’t talk about ‘performance’ in the real estate industry. But, isn’t that the key to more production and profits? If the agent doesn’t do great lead generation, do exceptional presentations, and use exceptional performance skills working with and closing clients, the agent fails — those are all performance issues.

To get some insights, then, into performance,  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.

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. 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.

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.

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. These are the systems I’ve integrated into my training programs, such as Up and Running in Real Estate. Are you integrating these 5 performance points into your coaching and training?

 

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