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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 Up and Running in 30 Days–4th Edition

When agents interview, they understandably want to know what the company is going to do for them.   In reverse, Do you tell them what your company expects from them?

Sobering thought: If  the company doesn’t expect anything from the agent, how much effort will they the company put out to see the agent is successful?

The Ten Things

From working as an agent for 8 years, and managing agents for almost two decades, I’ve drawn some conclusions about the ‘turnabout’s fair play’ that I believe agents owe managers. I’ve also listed these in Up and Running in 30 Days, to give agents a ‘heads up’. I believe if managers are willing to give 100% support through training and coaching each agent to success, agents need to give it their best, too. Here are agents’ ten commandments:

  1. Do the work. You know what it is!
  2. Don’t argue.
  3. Don’t make excuses for not doing your start-up plan.
  4. Don’t tell the manager you’ve been in the business two weeks and you have a better way.
  5. Do thank your manager frequently.
  6. Do tell other agents that you appreciate your manager’s efforts.
  7. Do tell other new agents you meet in other companies that you have a great manager.
  8. Don’t bug other people in the office to find another answer because you didn’t like your manager’s answer.
  9. Don’t change the Up and Running plan because you “don’t like it”. (You just don’t like lead generating, do you?)

10. Don’t miss a coaching appointment!

I’d love to hear what you think of my ‘ten commandments.’ Are there others you think are important? Before you hire an agent, get agreement on what you will do for the agent–and what that agent will do for you!

Getting agreement on what we both expect before deciding to work together is key to a happy partnership. The only surprises I want agents to have after they start are good ones!

You interview for real estate agents. What traits and qualities are you looking for?  Before you look at my take on it, write at least 5 traits of the successful real estate salesperson. Now,  take a look at my list below. Although there are as many approaches to the real estate business as there are people, there are certain qualities that are common to successful real estate professionals:

High personal initiative. Do what you know needs to be done even if no one else is doing it!

Tenacity. Studies show most salespeople give up after the second ‘no’. Yet, most customers only say ‘yes’ after they’ve said ‘no’ 5 times! Never give up.

Risk taker. Doing it before you have all the answers–taking risks–is a big part of starting your career successfully.

Accountability to yourself. Plan your week and work your plan. No one else will do it for you in the real estate business.

Reliability to others. The consumer rates “trustworthiness” as the most important attribute they need in a real estate agent. Keep your promises.

Willingness to learn. In this warp-speed changing business, being a life-long learner is critical to success in a real estate career.

Enthusiasm. Would you buy anything from anyone who wasn’t convinced himself that the product or service was important to you? And could convey his excitement and enthusiasm?

Handling rejection. Absolute faith in your own convictions and your own self-worth helps you weather those thousands of ‘nos’ and keep going to get a ‘yes’.

Creativity. Doing it like we’ve always done it just won’t work in this changing environment. Try it differently. Put you into the sales equation for great success.

This list is excerpted from my book for would-be and new real estate agents, coming out in 2013 mid-year. The name is What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School. How do your agents stack up? Are you hiring those who have what it takes?  What else do you think it takes today?

From training and coaching hundreds of new agents, I’ve discovered that, many times, their expectations don’t match the manager’s expectations. This can cause havoc and dissatisfaction from both parties. Do you know what your new agents’ expectations for the first sale are? If you don’t, your start-up plan (or lack of) may actually cause the agent to be so discouraged he will leave your office.  For example: Perhaps you feel that you will just give that new agent all the time he needs to produce. But, that new agent is thinking he expects to make a sale right now! Your casual attitude about his success may cause him to seek a more focused manager.

Agents’ Expectations for their First Sale

 A few years ago, I did a very revealing survey of hundreds of new agents. (That survey is in my new book for would-be and new real estate agents, out soon).  I asked these new agents when they wanted their first sale. What do you think the majority said? 

                                        within their first month in the business. 

Hit the Ground Running….or Crawling?

 My assumption: Most agents want a sale fast. Why? They expect it, and they need it for their self-esteem. If you are familiar with my business start-up plan, Up and Running in 30 Days, you know I start agents right into the business so they can realize that sale within their  first month. This is, unfortunately, very unlike the start most agents get (they get a very slow start—keep reading!).

 If Agents Expect a Sale in the First Month, What Do Their Managers Expect?

 If the new agent expects high earnings fast, what did his manager expect from him?  I also asked that question in my survey. Most of the respondents from the survey didn’t know what their manager’s expectations were.  71% of the respondents didn’t know even the minimum expectations of their managers–the minimum production standards they would have to meet to have their contracts renewed the second year.

 Why is Matching Minimums and Goals Important?

 To assure that the new agent and manager see ‘eye to eye’, you need

  • mutual expectations in writing prior to hiring on
  • to share the exact business activity plan the agent will be coached to
  • proof to the new agent that the plan works!

A Manager’s Honest Comment

When I was VP in charge of training for a large regional franchise, a manager called me to ask what she could do to help someone produce. The first question I asked was,  “How long has this agent been in real estate?” The answer: One year–and she hadn’t made a sale! I asked the manager,  “Why are you still retaining that agent?” The manager replied, “It took me a long time to make a sale in real estate and I just want to give them a chance.” How mis-directed!

What Going a Year without Making a Sale Means

Simply, it means the agent has not been lead generating. Short-term, if an agent has been lead generating and has not made a sale, it’s just a matter of numbers and skill. That’s coachable. But, if an agent hasn’t been lead generating–and goes one full year without a sale, it means that agent is just waiting for a happy accident. Agents can’t make a career on happy accidents.

The Manager Had No Idea What The Agent Had Been Doing

The manager’s game plan for the agent was ‘let’s just wait and see what happens.’ She had absolutely no idea of what this agent was doing every day to generate business. Some game plan…

Manager’s Expectations Indicate the Kind of Game Plan they Use

Because this manager had such low expectations of her agent, the manager had no game plan. She just let that agent fail for a year. I believe that’s cruel and unusual punishment!

Be sure you have expectations of the agents they agree to fulfill, and that you have a game plan designed to reach those expectations–and beyond.

What are your expecctations and how do you assure it’s a ‘match’–prior to affiliation?

Here are four actions you can do to rev up profits right now. These sound simple, but they can be challenging to put to work. Take them one at a time.

1. Recognize that empathy alone is not enough.
Why do brokers think that ‘loving them’ will somehow motivate agents to go to work? ‘Loving and cheerleading’ may suffice in a fast market, but it doesn’t work when everybody needs to face facts and go to work. Smart brokers are focusing agents on lead generating plans and holding agents accountable to that work. That demonstrates their faith in the agents’ ability to succeed—and the ability of the brokers’ program to facilitate that success.

Conclusion: No plans and no accountability suggests the manager either doesn’t care, or doesn’t have a plan to help agents achieve.

Questions to ask yourself:
How are you communicating your faith in your agents’ ability to achieve?
Do you hold your agents accountable to their goals?
How much faith do you have in your productivity programs (or do you have them)?

2. Set the standards of performance to define the values of the company.
Good managers aren’t afraid agents will leave. They’re willing to give up that one deal a year to ‘take the lid off’ those productive people and get them fired up with other pros. If your value proposition says that you have a team of ‘quality professionals’, define that in terms of production. (Mycoaching Managers’ On Track to Success in 30 Days Coaching System for Experienced Agents offers suggested activity and results standards—and plans to get your agents ‘leaping’ over those standards.)

Note: A recent study to over 70,000 professionals in 116 organizations found 93% said working with a slacker actually hampered their development or decreased their productivity.

Questions to ask yourself: Are you unwittingly de-motivating your agents by keeping non-producers?

3. Put systems into place that appreciate, motivate, and inspire your agents.Studies prove that immediate, positive feedback results in higher goal attainment. How often do you appreciate your agents? Do you have an appreciation/motivational system in place? Unless it’s planned, it won’t happen.

4. Refine your hiring practices.
In a shifted market, brokers must hire much more carefully—and be really tough in the interview with a top-rate, practiced ‘mutual expectations’ talk. (I believe only about 10% of managers have an adequate ‘mutual expectations dialogue). Not just anyone can sell in a shifted market. Now, agents must have the tenacity, gain the skills, do the lead generation, and work at least 40-50 hours a week.

Questions to ask yourself:Do you have a planned, practiced interview process?
Do you find you sometimes get ‘surprises’ in your hires, because you forgot to ask important questions?
Do you get agreement for your culture, values, and minimum performance expectations prior to hiring?

Tough but fair expectations coupled with an agent development plan assures profits challenging times. That’s the formula. Why not get your share of profits?

 Are you getting your new agents up and running—or are they slow and crawling? 

As managers and recruiters, we’re looking for new agents who want to make money fast. So, from one perspective, we’re pleased when the new agent sitting in front of us tells us that he expects to make $100,000 his first year in real estate. My survey of 155 new agents has shown that most agents coming into the business today have high expectations. 92% of the new agents surveyed “planned” to make more than the median income of all Realtors. The most stunning statistic, though, from these new agents, was that 65% expected incomes way above the average Realtor –their first year in the business!  What does that mean to us managers and trainers? We need to have a ‘start-fast’ program to deliver—or these agents will be at another company or out of the business way before they get even one sale!

Focused on Business Development—or Training?

Another stunning finding from the survey was that 62% of the new agents expected to get a check in their first sixty days in the business!  They expect to hit the ground running.   To do this, the new agent’s focus needs to be on business development, not on learning neat stuff. Normally, companies put the new agent into a ‘curriculum based’ program to tell them everything they’ll ever need to know about real estate. However, as a manager, I found that my new agents created early success when they focused rather on a business plan that contained heavy business-producing activities. (Think of it as ‘on the job training’—not college classroom book-learning.)

Is Your Activity Plan Supporting—or Inhibiting Success?

Look at your new agent orientation checklists, training schedules, and assignments.  Think of training and new agent business plans as two separate areas. That business plan for the new agent should be at least as important as the information and practice they receive in the training school. It should put them to work and get them into the field their second week in the business. Otherwise, they’ll never reach their goals.

Low Expectations Sabotage Productivity

If the new agent expects high earnings fast, what did his manager expect from him?  Most of the respondents from the survey didn’t know.  71% of the respondents didn’t know even the minimum expectations of their managers–the minimum production standards they would have to meet to have their contracts renewed the second year. To assure that the new agent and manager see ‘eye to eye’, put mutual expectations in writing in the interview period. Show the prospective agent the exact business activity plan* that the agent will use to create success, and get agreement that the plan will work–and that the agent will work the plan.

 Changing emphasis gets better results. Through looking at your emphasis, asking yourself about your own expectations, and adjusting your training and business-developing programs, you can see much better, faster results from your new agents. You’ll find, too, that your experienced agents will want to take advantage of the business-producing program you’ve created for your new agents. Bottom line: More productivity, more profitability for all!h

The Most Popular Start-Up Plan Ever Published

Looking for a proven start-up plan to get your agents in the field and producing–right now? It’s here, now in its new 4th edition (and soon to be an online, training and coaching cource with high accountability!). Click here to see more.

Right now, I’m writing a new agent training program for a major national franchise. In it, I’m guarding against the very training mistakes that cause agents to fail. (See below for what I’ve built into the program). Obviously, new agent training isn’t working very well. About half of all agents who go into real estate sales in a given year fail.  In this blog, I’ll name 3 big mistakes most training programs make, and the ‘cure’ for these mistakes.

Big question: For all that time, money, and effort you spend on training, don’t you deserve a pay-off? Why are you using it as merely a recruiting tool? I don’t believe you’re getting your money’s worth…..

Those Mistakes Most Training Programs Make

1. Don’t make agents do any work

Well, duh. If the agents don’t put to work what has just been taught in the classroom, what’s the point?

Cure: Spaced repetition training. Teach something in class, and then have the agent do it ‘for real’ in the field and report back. I know it’s harder to do, but you’ll get results. Worth it, right?

2. No accountability for action

This is kind of like #1, but I’m going to focus on lead generation here. We teach all types of lead generation techniques, and then don’t expect agents to go out and use those methods immediately and report back. No wonder they wait 6-8 months to  talk to people!

Cure: Make the course a lead generation/follow-up course with high accountability. Get an agreement prior to starting that the agent will do the work.

3. Wrong topics stressed

Take a look at that training outline. Where are the biggest modules? I’ll bet they are in the ‘technical’ area. Okay. They need to learn how to write purchase and sale agreements. But, how about all the actual business-running topics: Business start-up plan, lead generation, sales skills, time management and organization……How big an outline do these have? I’ll bet just a few pages. So, what do you think the agents think is most important?

Cure: Be sure your course focuses on business-producing activities–in the right order and foundationed by a business start-up plan–and the business-supporting activites that support the business producing activites.  (See Up and Running in 30 days, 4th edition, for these priorities).

Let Me Ask That Question Again

For all that time, money, and effort you spend on training, don’t you deserve a pay-off? Why are you using it as merely a recruiting tool? I don’t believe you’re getting your money’s worth…..

What do you think is most important to assure your new agent training gets results?

 

 Are you giving your new agents every opportunity to succeed? Do they have start-up plans? Are they being coached weekly in those plans? Iam proud that Dearborn Financial Publishing has just released my 4th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. It features technology recommendations, a social media planner, a technology planner, and dozens more updates. Take a look at a short video I just did for the publisher:

Yes. Your new agents attend training. But, that doesn’t give them a detailed hour by hour schedule, nor a lead generating plan to follow. It DOES provide them lots of information. Their problem is in prioritizing it. Unfortunately, 95% of new agents start without a start-up plan! So, they waste so much time, money, and energy chasing one idea after another. You can get a coherent, proven, completely contemporary plan with the new 4th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

And, in this new edition, I offer tips to coaches to support their agents as they work through the plan–and get a sale in 30 days!

Click here to take a look at what’s in the new 4th edition.

 

 

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