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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 Training

Are your agents resisting getting into action?

I’ve justdo it published the 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. In it, I’ve included lots of up-to-the-minute updates. You can read some of them, in these blogs.

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

Below is an excerpt from the newest edition of the book.

{To agents}

Real Estate Sales IS Challenging!

I’ll bet you didn’t know how challenging real estate sales were until now. To cope with those challenges, your creative subconscious may be coming up with ways to convince you to avoid getting into action. You might even start believing your subconscious! One of the most common reasons is the old “I can’t do that because I don’t know enough.” Or, maybe your subconscious has convinced you that you’re not organized enough to get into action, or that you’re not perfect enough.

{Managers: Do you have some agents frozen into inaction–or trying for perfection before they’ll start?}

Getting Ready to Get Ready

Ned, an agent in my office, acted in a way that is an example of creative avoidance. In the business eight months, Ned had made only one sale. However, he was in the office regularly and appeared busy with paperwork. He attended law courses and was well-informed on financing. One day I saw Ned collating maps. I asked him what he was doing. He explained that he was putting together a series of maps for a buyer’s tour. I thought that was exceptional; buyers would really want to know the whereabouts of the homes they were seeing. Unfortunately, Ned had used his strategy with only six buyers—all the buyers he had put in his car in the past eight months! He had spent his time on this nifty map system, but had not talked to enough people to get them into the car—or have the opportunity to appreciate the map system! Which is more important to your goal attainment—talking to people, qualifying them, and showing them homes, or working diligently on a map system in case you find someone who wants you to show them homes?

How People Get into Action

How do you “get into action”? In a wonderful book, The Conative Connection, Kathy Kolbe explores the ways different personalities get into action—not how we learn, but how we get into action. Some people barge ahead and worry about the details later. We start badly, but, because we’re tenacious, we surprise people by how good we finally get. Unfortunately, our supervisors often remember only how bad we were when we started. We must be tough-minded and keep at it; we must retain an image of ourselves as “finished products,” because others will not see us that way. Other people observe the action for a long time. Finally, when we feel ready to perform well, we get into action. We start slowly but well. Because of our slow start, we don’t get much positive reinforcement from our supervisors (or coach or manager), who note our lack of progress compared with others in the office. If slow starters are tenacious and believe in themselves, they become very good because they practice perfectly. Kolbe points out several “get into action” styles. This book will help you pinpoint your “get into action” style as well as the barriers and challenges you face as you start your real estate career.

Embrace Embarrassment

Go ahead—be embarrassed. There is no way to be experienced until you get experience. No agents like to take risks, be embarrassed, or have buyers and sellers guess that they are new in the business. But face it—everyone has been new in the business. Just go ahead and get those first few months over with. You will be embarrassed every day—many times. As a new agent, my most common statement to buyers or sellers was “I don’t know, but I’ll find out.” In music, little could stump me—but in real estate anything could stump me! Still, I muddled through it, and you will, too.

* Big Idea: Your ability to get into action and risk being embarrassed is one of the attributes of a successful new agent.

Why not take your time? I’ve interviewed prospective agents who told me they really didn’t want to sell real estate right away. They wanted to learn everything they could. Then, after six or eight months, they would feel ready to sell real estate. It doesn’t work that way! I wish I could tell you that you can successfully launch your real estate career by taking lots of time to “get ready.” However, if you take all the time in the world, you will fail:

Real estate is a performance art. It doesn’t matter how much you know; it only matters how you interact with people. And that takes practice and performance. To remember and emulate good performance, we need to perform right after we have heard, seen, and practiced that performance. Learning something in a class and letting that skill lie dormant for months just guarantees poor skill—and high stress.

* Big Idea: 99 percent of what we learn we learn by doing.

Managers: Are you unwittingly stopping people from getting into action by insisting on perfection?

Up and Running_5e largerDo You Have a Proven Start-Up Plan with Inspiration Built In?

Up and Running in 30 Days  has lots of up-to-the-minute updates. Plus, a proven, prioritized business start-up plan with inspiration, motivation, and action items built in. Check it out!

 

trainer sayingI’ve just published the 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. In it, I’ve included lots of up-to-the-minute updates. You can read some of them, in these blogs.

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

Below is an excerpt from the newest edition of the book.

The Value of Practice

It’s painful to learn from your mistakes with real clients. However, there’s an additional way to learn skills—practice. All too often, the value of practice is underestimated by both agents and managers. But it’s worth the effort to role-play each segment that requires sales communication with people:

  • Lead-generating scenarios
  • Following up with Internet inquiries
  • Counseling/qualifying buyer scenarios
  • Showing and closing buyer scenarios
  • Presenting and negotiating offer scenarios
  • Qualifying seller scenarios
  • Marketing/presentation scenarios
  • Price reduction/review scenarios

Managers and coaches: How many of these situations do you coach to via practice?

Agents believe that because they can talk they can sell. But we have already discussed the realities of conversation versus the special communication skills required for sales success. I guarantee that if you take seriously the practice asked of you in Up and Running, your performance with people will improve quickly and your confidence will soar. Every successful salesperson I have known who started quickly in this business organized, systematized, practiced, and perfected each step in the sales cycle.

Caution: A reason new agents start slowly or fail early is that they underestimated their need to develop a mastery of sales skills in their first months in the business. So, they fail to convert those leads!

Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

The best kind of practice increases your skill and results. Back to my piano-practicing days: as a four-year-old, I picked out tunes on the keys and added the chords. I could play pop music reasonably well. Then, at age six, I started piano lessons. As I progressed to more demanding piano teachers, I learned that “faking it ’til you made it” just would not meet their standards. In fact, my best piano teacher, Mr. Green, taught me to practice very slowly, so there weren’t any mistakes. I found that if I practiced quickly, I practiced my mistakes right along with the rest of the piece.

Although his kind of practice was tedious, it was right. By using Mr. Green’s method I became a much better pianist, gaining a degree in piano performance. Too often, real estate agents practice the mistakes and end up with a sales system that is “more mistake than effective.”

* Big Idea: Perfect practice makes perfect. Go for mastery, not just mediocrity. One of a coach’s opportunities is to help you get into action, take risks, and work toward “practicing perfectly.”

Up and Running_5e largerWhat is the ‘Music’ You Use to Coach?

You need a guide–a solid business start-up plan, with the what, how, how much, and why built in. Take a look at the new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

bus-plan-11How good is your start-up business plan for your new agents?

I’ve just published the 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. In it, I’ve included lots of up-to-the-minute updates. You can read some of them, in these blogs.

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

Below is an excerpt from the newest edition of the book.

Managers: Check these lists against the start-up plan you use to launch your new agents (and re-launch your seasoned agents). {You DO have a proven start-up plan, don’t you?}

Critical Analysis: How Good Is That Start-Up Plan?

You know what your training will do for you. So I hope you {the new agents} are convinced you also need to implement a business start-up plan to put all that information in perspective. But watch out—there are more poor ones than good ones out there. As a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) instructor for 12 years, I taught thousands of owners and managers nationally. I saw plenty of poor plans managers shared with me. (These were the plans they were giving their agents, too.) Here are some commonalities of them:

  • They are laundry lists of busywork activities interspersed with activities that actually make you money, so the agent doesn’t get any evaluative perspective to self-manage.
  • They do not prioritize lead-generating activities, so the agent thinks all types of lead generation have equal payoffs.
  • They do not have methods of setting goals, keeping track of results, and analyzing results to make changes quickly. (Up and Running provides sales ratios so you learn how many specific actions it takes to get the results you want.)
  • They do incorrectly prioritize actions. For example, as a high priority, they direct the new agent to “see all the inventory” before doing anything else. The rationale is that it’s very important to see all the inventory to build a knowledge base. It is important, but only as it relates to working with buyers and sellers. (It’s the means, not the end.) But new agents don’t want to do the high-rejection, high-risk activities such as talking to people. So they gladly see all the inventory until it becomes their job descriptions!
  • They do include plenty of “busywork” as equal priority to lead generating—such as a broker having an agent visit a title company to learn how it operates. This keeps the agent busy and out of the broker’s hair! Also, the new agent loves the broker for a while, because the broker isn’t asking the new agent to do those high-rejection activities—those activities that lead to a sale!

Bottom line: No would-be successful agent in his right mind would continue doing this type of plan any longer than he had to, because the successful agent recognizes the plan is a poor one.

* Big Idea: Be very critical before you commit to any start-up plan. It is prioritizing your mind! The start-up plan you may love because it keeps you out of sales activities isn’t the plan that is going to love you back (get you the sales you want). What you do every day becomes your job description.

An Effective Start-Up Plan

Here are the six attributes of an effective business start-up plan:

  1. Does not give equal weight to all activities
  2. Provides an organized activities schedule with certain activities prioritized first because they lead to a sale (in Up and Running, these are called “business-producing” activities)
  3. Includes an organized activities schedule with certain activities prioritized second—and explaining why (In Up and Running, these are called “business-supporting” activities)
  4. Provides a road map for a continuing plan (remember that “plan for life”?)
  5. Builds in the “why” of the plan structure, so you learn to self-manage
  6. Has a method to measure and make adjustments in your plan as you progress
  7. Has a coaching component, so someone can coach you effectively to the plan

Up and Running_5e largerManagers and trainers: Take a look at the business start-up plan thousands of new agents use successful to launch businesses fast.

audience sleepingIs your audience’s mind ‘wandering’? Here are 42 ways to keep their attention.

This month, I’m focusing on training. Why? Because you’re hiring good potential, but you need a plan to develop that potential. And, that development comes through training and coaching.

Trainers: Do they snooze when you’re in front of them? Do their eyes slowly close—and then blink open when they’re startled by something you do in the classroom? Do you feel frustrated when you can’t keep their attention?

The solution is simple: Gain more teaching skills.

Sounds easy, doesn’t it? But, the most difficult thing for us adults to do is to gain new skills. Instead, we tend to try to purchase competency (invest in software, programs, and ‘things’ that supposedly do the work for us). But, in this case, all the PowerPoints in the world can’t overcome a boring presenter!

You Can Expand Your Teaching Repertoire

Did you work to put yourself through college? I did. I found out it was much easier to put my talent to work and get paid, than to pick beans! So, when I was nineteen, I got a job playing piano in a bar. (Boy, did I learn about human nature).

When I was tickling the ivories, playing my way through college and graduate school, I noticed that, the more tunes—and styles–I mastered, (that’s the repertoire), the more tips I made. I could please more of the people more of the time. It’s the same way with teaching, or doing keynotes, or presentations, or facilitation. The more skills you hone, the easier it is to be effective in front of people.

Most Presenters Know Just One Tune and Style

Most of us who present start by getting in front of people, and naturally doing some things right. We get acceptance. We get acclaim. We find we’re good talkers in front of people. In fact, most people think that refining presentation skills are merely a function of

talking better.

So, we try to talk better. But, then, we hit our ‘ceiling of achievement’. We can’t seem to get any better. Then, we get frustrated. We try harder. That doesn’t help. Sometimes we look for someone who can help us ‘talk better’. We take a class thinking that someone will make us titillating on the stage. The interesting thing is that—it’s not the answer for most of us.

Gaining Other Presentation Skills

Sure, there are a myriad of presentation skills that help us in front of audiences. We can speak slower, speak more clearly, pause more effectively, use our bodies more effectively.  But, in addition, there are teaching methods that increase the effectiveness of our presentations. These include

Crafting of the presentation

Audience participation

Use of visuals and props

How good are you at these teaching methods? Do you tend to rely on the good old stand-by, lecture?  If so, you’re boring your audiences to death!

A Great ‘How to Teach’ Course Will Help You

I teach Instructor Development Workshop in the state of Washington. This fulfills a requirement for instructors to teach clock-hour approved courses in the state. So many times, people come into the class wanting me to ‘fix them’ so they will be fascinating in front of people. What I have to do is to teach them all those other methods to teach effectively—skills they can learn and master. It’s interesting to watch their paradigms switch from “make me another Johnny Carson or Don Rickles” to “I’m grasping great teaching methods that work for me.”

To see my upcoming courses, click here.

Those 42 Teaching Methods

One of the things I do in Instructor Development is to demonstrate to students many teaching methods. Then, we ‘take it apart’ and talk about how they would apply these methods to their own situations. I’ve developed a list of 42 Teaching Methods to summarize the course. Click here to get it.

Bring Skills to Your Company or Association

Want me to come to  your company or association and teach these methods? I’ll customize the subject matter to match what you need. I believe training is major answer to our industry’s offering value for services, and I can help you create great trainers and effective training. Click here to contact me, and we’ll talk about your needs.

training your success Trainers: Wouldn’t you love to know how to get paid MORE for the great information and training you provide?

This month, I’m focusing on training. Why? Because you’re hiring good potential, but you need a plan to develop that potential. And, that development comes through training and coaching.

Adults are Enigmatic Animals

Do you sometimes have trouble figuring out the level of expertise of a particular audience? Do you have some students say, “That was too basic.” Do you wonder how your audience likes to learn? In other words—are you in the dark about your audience background and preferences? If so, you don’t know how to ‘hit the bull’s eye’ in the classroom.

Problem Solved

You can solve many of your instructional problems simply by using a pre-conference survey.

Adults Have Learning Diversities

Children are so much easier to teach than adults. Children are relatively ‘clean slates’. They don’t know so much (and don’t know things incorrectly), and they’re eager to learn. Adults, on the other hand, come into the classroom with some terrific learning, skills—and a lot of ‘missed learning’ and baggage. To teach effectively, you must find out everything about your audience before you get in front of them.

A Lab on Finding Out Who These Students Are

Twice a year, I teach my Instructor Development Workshop in this area (Bellevue, Washington). I’ve done this for lots of years. It’s very challenging to teach, because these adults come into class with so many widely varying experiences about training. To teach them effectively, I need to know as much as possible about them before class starts.

What I Want to Learn About My Students

To prepare to teach Instructor Development, I always ask participants to answer a pre-conference survey. Here are some of the questions I ask:

  1. Have you had any formal training? Please explain.
  2. What do you want to accomplish?
  3. What do you want your students to be able to do?
  4. What are your favorite teaching methods?
  5. How do you like to learn in a classroom?

Trainers: Take this list right now and customize it for your course.

Can you guess why I ask these questions? I need to know

  • Their relative backgrounds, so I know the range of the students
  • What they want from the class, so I know their expectations (and lack of expectations!)
  • If they expect their students to change behavior as a result of the class—or if they just want students to learn ‘neat stuff’
  • How they like (and what they depend on) to teach—so I know their skill sets
  • Their favorite learning method, so I can include it in my teaching

What I Learn from Those Who Don’t Complete the Survey

That’s pretty obvious, isn’t it? In my Instructor Development course, I ask students why they think I did the survey, and what it tells me. We then discuss how to use surveys in various situations to gather information about those adult learners. I know if a student doesn’t complete the survey, they don’t find value. They may be hard to teach. Or, they were just plain too busy or distracted.

Raising the Level of Your Course—and Charging More for It

By using a pre-conference survey, you show students that there are expectations of your course. You show them that there will be more value than the ‘just show up and sit there’ type of course. You show them that you care more about them than just showing up. You show them you will customize this course specifically for them. You can charge more for your course, because you have elevated the course from the ordinary to the extraordinary.

Your Responsibilities to the Students

Gathering all that information isn’t a free ride for you! Students will expect you to use that information to customize your course, teach to various learning styles, and stretch yourself as an instructor.

Let me know how you use surveys prior to courses to increase the value of your course.

A Gift for You

During my Instructor Development Workshop, I show dozens of teaching methods. I’ve compiled a list of 42 of them. Click here to get it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ultimate_RE_Trainer

A Teaching Resource for You

Tired of your own teaching methods? Want to dial it up? Take a look at The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide. 

Learn the 6-step process to create a great workshop, so you can create your own training workshop. Grasp the 3-part process to create a persuasive presentation to motivate your associates. You’ll get the most common mistakes trainers make—and how to avoid them.

30 Checklists and Outlines

• A ‘cheat sheet’ to put together a workshop in 10 minutes
• 2 ready-to-use teaching outlines
• An example of a student outline and a coordinating teaching outline (use as a guide to submit your outline to your Dept. of Licensing)
• 28 speaker’s tips
• Example of a training calendar
• A student evaluation form
• How to get students to attend: An effective marketing flyer
• 10 minute system to create a 1-3 hour training session—one that works!
• Worksheet: How to create an in-office workshop
• 5 methods to build in student accountability and measurable results
• 6 ways to lose your ‘stage fright’
• 6 ways to keep the audience’s attention
• 10 methods to ‘control troublemakers’ in your audience
• 15 forms, systems and processes to create better training
• How to assure they’ll participate in your training session
• How to build learning theory into your practical workshops
• How to avoid talking through an hour
• Attributes of effective new agent training
• Attributes of effective experienced agent training
• How to ‘time’ your presentations so you end on time
• The 6 steps to build a workshop
• What to do when they’re not paying attention
• What to do when you’re out of time
• How to control the student who dominates questions
• How to utilize your agent talents in your training program
• A post-workshop trainer’s evaluation
• How to use role play the right way
• 5 ways to teach instead of lecturing
• The positives and pitfalls of each teaching method
• The coaching feedback loop, to motivate your students
• 28 tips for speakers
• Worksheet: attendance record
• Sample article to promote your workshop
• Sample flyer to promote your workshop
• Career Life Cycle: How to figure out who to train and the training you need
• Agent survey to discover training needs
• Your training calendar evaluator
• An example new agent training calendar
• An example of experienced agent training: The Masters Series
• How to find presenters
• How to design and present a panel discussion
• How to evaluate your training program
• 10 most common training program mistakes

Check out The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide. 

trainer sayingAre you training ‘know-it ‘alls’ or ‘do its’?

This month, I’m featuring training. Why? Because you’re probably hiring like mad in this fast market. So, if your training systems aren’t keeping up to your hiring demands, read each of these blogs.

Note: I’m doing a series of digital newsletters for trainers this year, called ‘Behind the Mic‘. If you’d like to be included in my mailing list, go to my Carla Cross website home page, www.carlacross.com. Toward the right bottom, there’s a request to join Carla’s Community. Join, and you’ll get newsletters and resources FREE as a member. If you want to only receive the Trainers’ newsletters, state you are a trainer.

Are you standing in front of your students to create better performance, or more knowledge? If you are want to train, it’s very important to clarify for yourself exactly what your role is. Why? Because it will determine the outcomes you get.

I learned this the hard way. After graduating in piano performance, I applied to and had been awarded a scholarship to UCLA as a graduate assistant in the music department. But, after I was at UCLA a few weeks, I became disillusioned, for I found out that the UCLA music department was all about ‘knowledge’, not performance. Professors earned tenure by publishing papers about sixteenth century Elizabethan madrigals–but they didn’t have to be able to play the madrigals…My interest and experience in music had been performance.

Are You After Better Performance or More Knowledge?

I’ve never forgotten that lesson about the difference in the knowledge about something–and the performance of it. Which is more important in what you’re teaching? What do you want your students to be able to do as a result of your presentation/training? Sure, just like musical performance, you must have some technique to perform. But, also like musical performance, lots of knowledge doesn’t make you a good performer.

If You Want Better Performers…..

Here are five areas to look at to assure you’re creating performers, not just know-it alls.

1. What percent of your program is instructor focused? That is, the instructor performs. If it’s more than 50%, you have a knowledge-heavy program. Model your program like the piano teacher teaches piano. He talks very little, demonstrates some, and listens to the student play and gives positive reinforcement and re-direction. The teacher knows he taught because the student can play.

2. Do you choose your instructors based on their knowledge and their ability to deliver the message attractively? Start choosing your instructors, instead, on their ability to facilitate performance. They should be able to demonstrate a role play, set up a role play, and draw conclusions. Like great piano teachers create increasingly difficult programs for their students, your instructors should be able to craft ever-increasing difficult rule plays. Think of them like creators of ‘virtual reality’.

3. Who is held accountable for the program–the instructors or the students? In most programs, we ‘relieve’ the instructor if he doesn’t get good reviews from the students. The instructor’s the only one accountable. Turn it around. 75% of the accountability should be on the students to demonstrate they have learned the skill. Why? Because, without student accountability, managers get your ‘graduates’ who can’t perform.

4. Is your focus on curriculum? Are you attempting to create value for the program to management or owners by providing more information than the other school? Most training programs could cut 50% of their curriculum and graduate better performers. Instead of focusing on curriculum, create your program as ‘virtual reality’. Have a system that provides a series of “performance building blocks”. Don’t tell them all about playing a concerto. Just tell them enough to let them ‘get their fingers on the keys’.

5. Are the objectives of your program knowledge-based? How do the students graduate from your program? Do they pass a written exam? Managers want a graduate who can perform the activities of a real estate salesperson to reasonably high performance standards. A good training program should identify, teach, observe, and coach performance in several critical performance areas until the student can perform well enough to graduate.

The Right Performance ‘Test’

As a piano performance major, each term, I had to play a ‘mini-recital’ in the music auditorium for an audience of four–all piano professors. I couldn’t just talk about music theory, or answer a multiple choice exam. I had to play. And, to pass the ‘course’, I had to play to certain set performance standards.  The more your training program resembles the ‘virtual reality’ of your specific performance, the more valuable your program to the people who hired your students –and you.

In the next blog, I’ll tell you about the latest trends in training–and why you need to adopt them now!

logoAre You Making it Hard on Yourself to Train ‘Newbies’?

Why not take off the pressure and let me help you. I’ve created a comprehensive online training/coaching program for new agents: Up and Running in Real Estate. I’ve included 25+ training videos and 50+ documents, systems, and how-tos. And, I want to include you–since your interest and dedication will make all the difference to that new agent’s success. So, I included Coaches’ Corner–all the information you need to coach an agent to this program. See more here. 

 

bus-plan-strat-8Your business plan: have you created your training calendar?

Through December, I’m focusing my blogs on business planning. Look for ready to use checklists, processes and systems to help you and your agents plan for a successful next year.

You’re putting together your business plan. How do you know what training to provide your agents? One method is to look at your profit and loss. Here’s the other way to do it. Simply provide your agents an ‘internal review ’of their sales performance mastery (or not) as part of their business planning process.

Click here to see the internal sales performance review, excerpted from my comprehensive online business planning program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

What You’ll Find When They Rate Themselves

Have your agents rate themselves on their performance skills. You will see that they rate themselves lower than you would rate them. Why? Because we’re harder on ourselves than we are on others.

Commonalities

What do you think the agents rate themselves lowest in? You’re right. Prospecting/lead generation. So, you’ll want to create – with them—a dynamic lead generating plan for next year—and coach them to it.  See the lead generating plans for seasoned agents in Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, and, for new agents, in Up and Running in Real Estate.

Planning your Training Calendar

Your training plan should be a part of your business plan. Your training plan should tackle the challenges you have noted as a part of your own business review—and of the agents’ business review. By the way, be sure those challenges you noted can be handled through training.

For example: You’ve noted an ethics problem in your office. You want your agents to ‘be more ethical’. That’s not a training problem. It is a selection problem. You can’t train your way out of the ethics we grasped when we were 5! But, you certainly can solve a listings sold problem with training. Be careful when you’re creating your training, and tackle the problems that you can solve with training.

Put That Training on a Calendar

You’ve done your own analysis of your profit and loss statement. You’ve done your analysis with your agents. You’ve made your training plan. Now, you’re going to put it on a training calendar–and use it to guide your agents, your staff–and to recruit. Not only that, you have an integrated training system that you can delegate. Good work.

Recruiting tip: Include your training calendar in your recruiting handout, in your faxes, in your emails, and in your social media. Let prospective agents know you are organized, and you are committed to their success.

Watch my 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_Celebrate

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Managers

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This all-new program does several things for you:

2 webinars teach your agents how to plan using Carla’s strategic planning system

14 planning documents are included to guide your agents right through the planning process

3 webinars for you:

1. How to Create a Great Office Plan

Included: 22 office planning documents to make it easy for you to stay on track and create a great plan

2. How to Convince your Agents to Plan

3. How to Integrate your Office and Agents’ Plans

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning: A planning system exclusively for real estate managers.

time management guy with clockManagers: Are you systemized–or, is your office piles of papers–that you can’t find when you need them? Are your systems up to speed? On a scale of 1 to 10, ten being high, how would you rate your organization and your systems? Do you seem to be grabbing at papers right before your recruiting appointment? Do you find yourself sketching a training outline five minutes prior to the training start time? If so, you’ll want to take some time to “systematize” yourself. Why?

Save time

Get more done

Lower your stress levels

Enjoy your job more

(See the end of this blog for a link to systems you need in place).

Why do Managers Need Systems?

Good agents today have systems for each process they manage. For example, an agent has a listing process system, which includes the materials, packages, and checklists to manage the process. With those systems, agents can not only the manage the process, they can delegate the right activities to their assistants. (See my blog link at the end of this blog for systems agents need).

Managers Don’t Have Nearly the Systems Agents Have

Think about the systems, processes, and checklists you, as manager, recommend that your agent create to accomplish the critical tasks, or activities, in his business. Now, compare that with the tasks you, as manager, have to accomplish in your position as “people” manager. Work from the tasks to systems to manage these tasks. To prioritize the systems you want to develop, first:

1. List the tasks you do as manager. Now, list the parallel the tasks agents do.

An example: A critical task an agent does is to prospect. Good agents have systematized that process into a marketing plan, complete with specific tactics, dates, and budget. Managers must prospect, too. They prospect for agents.

Does your prospecting (recruiting) plan for agents resemble that of your best agent’s marketing plan? Is it as systematized? Does it have the materials, time frames, budgets, and delegations that good agents have in their plans?

2. Prioritize your tasks as they relate to accomplishing your main objectives. What are the most important tasks you do as manager to assure your office makes a profit?

An example: If recruiting is very important to reaching your objective, how complete is your recruiting system? How organized is it? Who is involved with you in your recruiting plan? How well are you delegating the systems?

Your Job Description Comes First

Developing systems first requires that you’ve prioritized your job description. (Wait: Do you have a job description?) Then, you must either create or purchase systems to manage these processes. One reason managers haven’t systematized their work is that managers have few resources for systems organization. To actually systematize their work, they must create these systems from scratch. Given the myriad of activities managers must accomplish, that’s a daunting assignment. Instead, many managers stay in “crisis” management, which admittedly takes up a lot of the day, but doesn’t allow the manager to move ahead as a leader.

In contrast, agents have many resources for systems organization, both purchased and exchanged with other agents. First, there are many more agents than managers, and agents coming into the business each day. So, there is a larger market, and need, for agents’ systems. In addition, agents have led the way in organizing their businesses to delegate to assistants. It’s become ‘the thing’ to do.

Resource List of Needed Systems

Click on Managers Package and Systematize for a list of systems and process you need to manage your business with grace and lower your stress level.

Want to know what systems your agents need? Read my blog on systems for agents.

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Let Me Help you Get your Systems in Place–and How to Use Them

It would take you years to create the systems I’ve already created–and are available in my one-on-one leadership coaching program, Leadership Mastery Coaching. If you’re tired of working too hard for too little pay-off, why not do a complimentary consultation and see how Leadership Mastery can benefit you? Click here to schedule your 1/2 hour appointment.

hands of keysWhat does my piano teacher have to do with real estate coaching–or training? Everything. Here’s what I learned about coaching great performance–not from a business coach, but from my great piano teacher (in fact, I’ve had many of them.)

As you know, some pianists become great, while most others just become good enough to play the notes. It’s the same with trainers’ outcomes. Last week, 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. As you read this, ask yourself, “How am I, as a trainer and/or coach, applying these principles?” “What outcomes am I getting?”

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 Coach ability 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.  In my online coaching program for new agents, logoUp and Running in Real Estate, I’ve put these components into the program as a integral way to assure great performance.

Blog-CoachIn the prior blog, we talked about the attributes of various types of coaching/mentoring programs. Coaching, mentoring, and peer coaching terms are used with wild abandon. So, are you offering coaching, mentoring, or peer coaching? What’s the difference? Should agents get a coach–or a mentor? Have you defined those terms? Are you clear with agents as to what they’re getting in each of these categories?  Before you create a program, be sure you know what the program is and should do for that new or re-energizing agent.

Should I get a coach or mentor? Those are questions new agents (and seasoned agents) ask themselves over and over. This blog is excerpted from my eBook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School.

This advice is given to the agent entering the business, but, as a manager, read it as though you are also defining your services.

Types of Coaches

Professional coach: Someone trained to coach, who uses a specific program and who is paid to be your coach. If you’re considering a professional coach, find out the specific program the coach will use to coach you. Get expectations in writing, and give your expectations in writing. You should expect to sign a 3-12 month contract.

Manager coach or in-office coach: Someone who may be trained as a coach, who has agreed to coach you. May be paid from your commissions or from a combination of office/your commissions. May be paid on an hourly based by the agent. Be sure this coach is prepared to be your accountability coach, has a specific schedule with you, and a specific start-up plan to coach you. Otherwise, you’re just getting an ‘advice session’.

Peer coach: Someone in the office, an agent, who has agreed to be your coach. However, this could be anything from

  •           Answer questions
  •           Let you ‘shadow them’ (see how they do a listing/buyer presentation or offer presentation)
  •          Be your accountability coach

Most peer coaches don’t have a coaching program to coach to, and haven’t been trained. They are also at a loss with what to do if the agent refuses to do the work.

In my experience, the agent has the highest hopes that the peer coach will fulfill his dreams of whatever coaching is to him. The peer coach is hoping the agent just doesn’t ask too many questions!

Advice to Agents

If you’re going to work with a peer coach, get in writing exactly what that peer coach is willing to do with and for you. Bad peer coaching can turn into a nightmare—for both parties.

Agents’ advice: Dozens of experienced agents have told me they wish they had started with a professional coach. If you can find one to trust—and to follow—you’ll shorten your learning curve dramatically and easily pay for the coaching fee. Plus, you’ll establish a successful long-term career.

Getting a Mentor

What is a ‘mentor’? There’s not a clearly defined job function. Mentors are usually seasoned agents who offer to help new agents. They may

  •           Offer advice
  •           Allow you to shadow them
  •           Ask you to do parts of their business

New agents love the thought of a mentor, because they have so many questions. And, they think the mentor will be their ‘answer man’. But, I’ve observed that having an ‘answer man’ surely doesn’t guarantee success. In fact, it may impede an agent getting into action. How? An agent may think he needs more and more information before he will act. Then, he just keeps coming to the mentor for every question under the sun. And, the more the new agent knows, the more frightened he becomes. Plus, the advice received from the mentor may not be in the new agent’s best interest.

If you are considering a mentor, get in writing exactly what the mentor will do for you.

Big question: Why is the mentor willing to help you? What does the mentor expect from you?

Treat getting a coach or a mentor as an employment issue. Create good questions and interview. Armed with the advice above, you’ll make the right decision for you.

Managers: What programs do you offer? Have you defined them? What are the benefits to your prospective ‘clients’?

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Save Time Interviewing. Help Sort the Serious from the Semi-Pros!

Are you spending hours educating would-be agents on the business? If so, you need this eBook! In 282 pages, Carla Cross provides answers to hundreds of questions agents have. Help your interviewees get the advice they need, find dozens of questions to ask, and use checklists to hit the ground running before they are licensed! Check out What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School.

Managers: Use the checklist on what to do in pre-license school to hit the ground running to ‘test’ your best interviewees and get them prepared to sell real estate FAST when they are licensed.

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