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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 Real Estate

Your new agent started in the business Tuesday. You have sent the agent through your orientation process, but your training program doesn’t start for another three weeks.  Have you thought about what that agent will be doing from now until the start of training? Unless you organize that experience, the answer is…..

nothing!

My survey of hundreds of agents with less than three months in the business shows that new agents expect to get a sale in their first month in the business (!). So, if you want to retain them and keep them motivated, you just can’t afford to let them sit around and get bad habits for 2-4 weeks.

What do you do to assure that agent gets a fast start in the business?  First, here’s what NOT to do:

  • Tell them to ‘see the inventory’ The problem is that they’ll think that’s the job description of a real estate agent: “Become an inventory expert”. Some agents have been known to inspect the inventory for years before they would talk to a human being about buying or selling a home! And, by that time, their money is all gone and their motivation to be successful has shrunk to nonexistence.
  • Give them your own activity sheet that you used umpteen years ago–to keep them occupied. Watch out. They’ll follow literally whatever activities you tell them to do. And, they’ll use the same priorities you have. So, if you put first on your activity list, “Interview a mortgage company to see what services they provide,” they’ll think that ‘getting ready to get ready’ is a high priority. Then, when you ask them to go talk to people about buying and selling real estate, they’ll look at you as if you’d just told them to fly. After all, doing research is a much safer activity than lead generating.
  • Give them nothing specific to do and see what happens. The other agents will probably keep them busy with administrative work (!). Or, the new agents will just love spending time with other agents going to brokers’ open houses and eating food. They’ll think that any activity directed by an experienced agent is a good one….

Two Truisms about Human Nature and Sales 

First truism: Only about one out of a hundred new agents is a ‘natural, talented’ salesperson, who will figure out how to prioritize business producing activities on his/her own. All others need a prioritized, highly structured start-up plan so they can succeed. They need sales activities prioritized first (lead generating, showing, closing). Then, they can implement a job description for success.

Second truism: In the absence of a precisely, well-thought out prioritized start-up activity plan, most salespeople will create a plan for a ‘slow start’. They’ll form hard-to-break bad habits, scheduling easy-to-do, low pay-off activities—because they’re easier and non-threatening. These include paperwork, inspecting homes, follow-up, database management, meetings, and training. They’ll think that, if an activity is scheduled by the office, it must be a high-payoff activity.

What do you do with your new agents to get them on the ground running the first week in the business?

logoAfter Orientation: What happens Next?

If you’re waiting for your training program to start to ‘start’ your agents, you’re unwittingly helping them get bad habits! Take a look at my online training/coaching/accountability program, Up and Running in Real Estate. Because it’s online, agents start when they should–not when your training program starts! There’s a coaching component, too.

How many more sales could you get (and how much more profitable could you be) if your new agents hit the ground running?

Check out Up and Running in Real Estate now.

hands of keysThis month, the spotlight is on training. My question: Is your real estate training like playing the piano–or attending a concert? If it’s effective, it’s taught like teaching to play the piano.

Next question: What does a piano teacher know about real estate? Well, perhaps he or she doesn’t know the specifics, but, my piano teacher sure taught me the principles of training and coaching. Those principles are directly transferable to real estate training and coaching.

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, for two reasons:

1. We don’t want to just impart knowledge to our real estate students–we need to get them into action–into performance

2. Piano teachers 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.

Do you follow these methods in your coaching and training? If you want to get better results, implement them now!

Trying to Build your Own Training? Why Not Let me Do It For You

logoYes, you know your stuff. But, do you know how to create effective training? And, more importantly, do you have time to do it? It takes 6 months to a year to build a training program (I know, I’ve done it several times for international franchises). Then, you have to test market it, revise it, and–constantly revise it! Instead of reinventing the wheel, add your unique coaching skills to Up and Running in Real Estate.  It’s online so your agents can go at their own speed–and you can coach and hold them accountable to results.

Get better results from your new agents in much less time. What a recruiting tool! See more here.

Blog-CoachHow coach able are you? (Not everyone is a good coaching prospect….).  Are you trying to coach an agent and not getting anywhere? Maybe that person isn’t coach able. See below for my ‘coach ability’ evaluator’ to help you find out if you’re coach able (and use it with your agents)..

In an earlier blog, we explored the first attribute for coach ability–motivation. Here are the two other big attributes I’ve identified, from my many years being coached (first as a musician and then as a real estate professional), and as a coach.

Do You Recognize Mentors or Coaches Who Partnered in your Success?

It is amazing to me how many real estate professionals say they ‘work alone’. They say they have nothing to do with anyone in their office, and impact no one. (Really? Our actions impact no one? That must mean we’re pretty insignificant…) While real estate success is certainly due to one’s efforts, to think that we are virtual ‘islands’ of knowledge and action is not only ludicrous—it’s dangerous. Before you fall for that ‘I alone am responsible for my success’, I have a question:

Who in your life mentored you, coached you, parented you, advised you, encouraged you—and set you straight when you needed it? How many people can you name? This can be positive or negative, too. We learn as much or more from a bad experience as a good one!

If you truly can’t name anyone, you don’t believe that others can help you ‘break through your ceiling of achievement’. Could that mean YOU don’t believe you can break through…..or that you have great fear of ‘being flexible’?

How Accountable Are You Willing to Be?

This is actually the ‘biggie’. If you’re not willing to be accountable to your own actions—and to your coach—DON”T start a coaching relationship! I know many of you think accountability is a dirty word. It’s true that some coaches (sports, music, etc.) have accentuated the down side of accountability—being punitive, negative, critical…(There are a lot of inept coaches out there.) No wonder people don’t want to be accountable if they think they will be punished for any wrong action (or inaction). But, that’s not what I’m talking about. I’m talking about a situation where you make a promise and keep it. In doing the promised action, you are guaranteed to get praise—and results.

The Natural Reticence to Answer to Anyone

Recently I launched an online training/coaching/accountability results-based program called Up and Running in Real Estate. I essentially put the principles and processes from my best-selling book Up and Running in 30 Days online. But, it’s now 8 weeks of planned actions—my business start- up plan step by step. I built in the parameters I have learned assure the greatest success:

• A coaching component
• Lots of encouragement
• Processes and systems that are ‘self-teaching’
• Accountability.

Guess what many participants do with the program? They do some of the work (they love the multiple choice tests) but don’t do the business-producing work. By their actions, they are not accountable to themselves or to their coaches. So, of course, they aren’t getting the results—and they can’t get appreciation and recognition—two big drivers to continue the motivation. How unfortunate!

My question to you: What times in your life have you been accountable to actions and to someone else—and enjoyed the experience? Are you running away from accountability because you haven’t experienced the ‘up’ side?

So, are you coach able?

Armed with the answers to the questions in this article, you can assess whether you will benefit from a coach. And, managers and coaches, you can help your potential client figure out whether she is a good candidate for coaching.

The Coach Ability Evaluator

I have been coached by the ‘best in the business, first as a musician and then as a real estate professional. I’ve learned what works. Because of my performance background, the coaching methods we use at Carla Cross Coaching are much different than most. From all these experiences, I’ve discovered who is coach able and who is not. Find out more here.

Click here to take my Coach Ability Evaluator.

Mgrs UpRun Cover

Free Coaching Resource to Thank You Coaches

To thank all you coaches out there, I’m GIVING AWAY my $99 resource, Managers’ Coaching Companion to Up and Running in 30 Days. Why? It was created to partner with the 3rd edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. Now, the 4th edition is published (and a new ‘delivery’ of my coaching help is available at Up and Running in Real Estate). The coaching companion I’m giving away this month still has lots of value. With 109 pages, 2 audio CDs, and 1 ‘document’ CD I’ve packed this resource with dozens of coaching strategies, tips, and questions for coaches to use in ANY coaching situation. Just pay shipping and handling and I’ll get one out to you–while they last. And, thanks, coaches, for your dedication to raising the standards of our industry. Click here for a description and to order.

Agents: Forward this blog to your managers and tell them to take advantage of my offer. They’ll get lots of practical, proven information on productivity coaching (I know, I’ve done these strategies for over 2 decades!).

Agents: Feel free to forward this information to your managers. I think all those in leadership need awesome coaching skills!

Agents: Want to learn more about our exclusive one-on-one coaching for leadership (not some warmed-over sales agent program!)? See Leadership Mastery Coaching.

coaching hand upIf you’re coaching: Are you missing the ‘secret ingredient’? If so, you’re not going to get good results.

Coaching is a ‘buzzword’ in the world of business today, and especially in the world of real estate. Why? We have more committed people coming into real estate to make it a real business, not just to sell a few houses. And, it costs much more money to enter and run a real estate sales career than it did years ago. So, committed agents are looking for methods to assure their successes.

Years ago, I discovered that changing an office’s production for the better, and thus, increasing the bottom line, didn’t have anything to do with ‘managing an office’. Instead, it had everything to do with training small groups and coaching individuals to greater successes. However, I found I was one of the few managers that took that approach. Even though my office became number one in productivity per agent and profitability in the company, it didn’t seem that the other managers thought coaching individuals was ‘key’ to that accomplishment.

From what agents tell me today, I’m sorry to say that it still seems the case. I’m afraid many managers try to increase their salespeople’s performances with the ‘group’ approach. I know that doesn’t work very well. In my ‘other life’, I was a performing pianist and teacher. I taught piano classes and individual piano lessons. I found that students didn’t learn to play very well in a piano class. They needed individual attention, so they could build on their individual strengths, and learn the skills of perfect practice. I believe the same principles of increasing performance are true of sales. After all, sales success is measured by our performance of it, not our knowledge of it, isn’t it? Mastering the skills of sales and business management seems to me foundationed on the same principles as mastering any skill.

The Coaching Feedback Loop

One of the biggest mistakes coaches make is in the feedback (evaluation) part of coaching.

What is the ‘coaching feedback contour’? It’s the framework for performance feedback in a coaching session. The ‘contour’ shows you how to coach performance so that you encourage good performance, and motivate your ‘client’ (the person you are coaching) to better performance.

Coaching Performance Feedback

Step One                                     Step Two                                      Step Three
Positives First                          Re-Direct/Questions               Positive Reinforcement

What I (you) liked Next time, how could I know you can…
What I (you) attempted you…….. (what Encouragement
What I (you) did ‘new’ resources are available

Do you include this coaching ‘contour’ in your coaching sessions?

In the next blog, I’ll go more deeply into each step for you.

thumbnail-1Give Your Newer Agents Some Positive Results!

Why not get your newer agents into a situation that gives you great results? They will accomplish more than you ever thought they could. Check out Up and Running in Real Estate. Coaching is built in! Also, check out Coaches’ Corner, where Carla provides dozens of coaching ideas and specific coaching guidance for each session of this program.

 

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.

snarling manHow did you get that aberrant behavior? I mean, that agent who only sees you when something is wrong? And, it happens over and over again. It may not be only the agent causing that kind of behavior.

As a musician, I know when I play a piece of music people like, they clap. That makes us musicians feel good. In fact, it makes us want to play more music. Another way to look at it is

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

As managers, we need to use our motivational tools with great skill. Unfortunately, once in awhile, with certain personalities, we unwittingly start rewarding behavior we really don’t want repeated.

The Dreaded Visit from Sally

You’re managing a busy office. There are lots of people in your office that you look forward to seeing. Then, there’s……..Sally. She’s the person who corners you in your office with a complaint. In fact, it’s always a complaint! (You start wondering how she can keep thinking up new ones…) It doesn’t take long until you dread seeing Sally. You even make excuses not to talk to Sally. But, Sally is tenacious. She catches you when you’re not looking–and tosses another monkey for you to catch, nurture, feed, and keep forever (you remember the ‘monkey on your back’, don’t you?) At this point, you have a choice to make:

1. Give Sally the attention she wants for her complaint–reward the behavior
or
2. Change the game to one of positive reinforcement for the behaviors you want from Sally

Giving it Back to Sally–Differently

Instead of always reacting to Sally’s complaint (she can really come up with doozies, can’t she…), take a different tack. Get on the ‘offensive’. Invite Sally to lunch, or to coffee–anything to get her out of her attack mode and frame of reference. Explain you want an opportunity to get to know her better.

Changing Frames of Reference Can Get Behavioral Changes

Your job is to start providing rewards for the behaviors you want, instead of rewarding the behaviors Sally is exhibiting naturally. Sally has learned to create uproar, controversy, and to get attention through her negativity. Changing the ‘view’ and the behavior-reward process will provide you an opportunity to create a much better relationship with Sally–to the point where you will actually look forward to her visits!

What have you done to change the ‘behavior that’s rewarded is repeated’ pattern?

logoTraining with the Right Rewards Built In

Did you ever think about training with the ‘behavior that’s rewarded is repeated’ principles? I’ve included that principle in my online training/coaching/accountability program, Up and Running in Real Estate. If you’re hiring new agents who don’t make a sale in their first 3 months, or have newer agents languishing in non-production, you need this program! Take a look.

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?

 

audience sleepingWhy isn’t your training working for you? Every company says they ‘have training’. Yet, whether you’ve been in business 2 days or 20 years, you’ve probably felt frustrated that those hours spent in class–listening to someone at the front (the ‘expert)–didn’t do you any good. There’s one reason training doesn’t work—and here’s how to make it work for you, so you don’t waste precious hours in training rooms.

Don’t forget: Get the Analysis of your Sales Performance Skills worksheet at the end of this blog. This is great for managers to use to plan training needs and for agents to use to assure they’re refining the skills that make a difference.

Training doesn’t work because it’s not taught right–and the people in the class aren’t doing what needs to be done for training to make a difference in their lives.

 Here’s what training needs to help you every time you’re in class:

 Training must have action inside class to be effective for you

What do I mean?

 I mean we have to look at real estate as a ‘performance art’, not a ‘knowledge pursuit’!

Big question for you: Think of your last 3 trainings–that you took–or you facilitated. What were you doing in class? Listening to the ‘expert’? Or, were you putting to work what you were learning—while in class, so you could get valuable feedback before you ‘practiced’ on real people—your clients?

What you need to be doing in class to assure you can do it ‘for real’:

  • If it’s appropriate, you need to role play (like answering objections, giving a listing presentation, etc.)
  • If appropriate, you need to differentiate (like finding mistakes in a purchase and sale agreement).
  • If appropriate, you need to practice the actions in class and then go out and do it with a ‘real person’—the client—and come back and tell how it went (practice a listing presentation, do it ‘for real’, and come back to class and refine it).

None of these things happening in class? Make it work anyway. Take the ‘actionable’ items you learned in class and go do them—for real—within 3 days of going to class (otherwise we only remember 10% of what we heard!!!!!). Now you’ve made your own action plan.

Trainers: I just did a series of 5 videos showing how to make your training work. See them on my uTube channel.

Real Estate: Performance Art or Knowledge Pursuit?

Let’s be honest: Do you know someone in your office who seems to know everything—but doesn’t sell a stick of real estate? Sure. That’s the problem with treating real estate as a ‘knowledge pursuit’. It has little to do with results. It’s a performance art. How you perform in the field—with real clients—determines your success.

Big question for you: Which kind of agent are you? A ‘performance art’ agent or a ‘knowledge pursuit’ agent?  Which is easier to become?

Your Training Should Resemble a Piano Lesson

As a long-time pianist and teacher, I know intimately that, if you don’t practice, you can’t play (or you play badly)! Think of effective training like a piano lesson. You practice outside class. You come prepared. You get tips and modeling from your teacher. Then you practice in class with your ‘coach’ watching and listening. Then, you ‘go out in the field’ and practice. You come back ready to perform for your coach again. That’s effective training.

Here are 3 things that don’t work in training (and things for you to avoid):

  1. Listening for a long period of time and thinking you can do it (you already know that, from your experiences, right?)
  2. Thinking most company training will ‘do it’ for you
  3. Relying on ‘on demand’ video. Many large franchises are providing video on demand training. Brokers may be relieved that this is going to take training off their plates. I wish. Unfortunately, video training can provide very limited production results. Why? Because people don’t learn much by watching video. Yes, they learn a little. They observe someone else doing something; they get information. But, they don’t have to take action.

When you’re ready to get results from your training, you’ll be ready to treat your training like the power tool it really can be.

logoWant to see an effective training program? Check out Up and Running in Real Estate.

Don’t forget to grab that Analysis of your Sales Performance Skills here. Tell me how it worked for you.

question mark collage

I’ve designated July as my ‘Coach Appreciation Month’. Thanks to all you awesome coaches who help raise the standards of the industry.

Which should you use: Coaching, mentoring, or consulting? Browse any real estate industry publication and you’ll likely find articles about sales coaching, consulting or mentoring. These terms, often used synonymously, denote different methodologies for the professional development of sales associates. But which method is appropriate for each of your agents?

Choosing the Right Program for the Person

A mentoring program is ideal for agents who have mastered the basics of working with buyers and sellers—not agents who are performing below minimum production standards (i.e., new agents). In contrast, a coaching program with tight structure is appropriate for newer agents—or agents who are performing under your standards. Finally, a consultant serves as a “sounding board” for more experienced agents and leads them through the process of self-discovery.

New Agents Need More Than Mentors

The use of mentors with brand-new sales associates erroneously results from their urgent need to have someone available to answer all of their questions, all the time. Mentoring, when used with new agents, often means they learn about knowledge as opposed to skills. New agents get smart intellectually and attend many classes. But the problem is, the mentees may not go out and actually sell real estate. Their natural tendency is to want more and more information, without putting that knowledge into action. New agents think that information will make them confident, when, in fact, it’s the practicing of skills that will make them confident. So, mentoring is most appropriate when coupled with a strong, structured coaching program.

Coaching to a Specific Game Plan

Coaching assists new, inexperienced agents get into action by following a specific game plan. If you’re going to be a coach, the No. 1 priority is to have a specific and accurate game plan. Selling real estate requires a series of skill sets and a series of activities that are linear. The game plan has to include what to do and why to do it. (See Up and Running in Real Estate for an example).  Avoid turning your coaching sessions into ‘how to do it’ (that’s training, and exposes that you don’t have adequate training to support your coaching program…..)

What Should Happen in your Coaching Session

During a coaching session, for example, broker/owners need to ask agents, “Did you do the actions we agreed on you last week?” A direct approach is needed because you’re teaching agents job priorities. If they did complete their assignments, then listen to their accounting of them. If they didn’t, immediately stop the session.

Why Are You Trying to Motivate ‘In-Action’?

But brokers or managers usually don’t quit here. Instead, they try to motivate agents by asking why they didn’t complete their assignments. That’s not appropriate in coaching; there’s no coaching without agent action and accountability. Don’t try to motivate. Repeat the assignment: Call 50 people in your area and ask them about buying or selling properties. Tell new agents the ‘why’ behind this activity.” Another mistake coaches make when the agent doesn’t do the work is that they fill the time by answering the agent’s ‘I’ve always wondered’ or ‘if it ever happens’ questions, like, “If I ever sold a home, which purchase and sale agreement form would I use?” Make a ‘deal’ with new agents. When they’ve completed their assignments as promised, you’ll answer these types of questions.

Are You Coaching to Get the Agent Past your Standards? (Minimum sales expectations)

Critical to coaching new sales associates are mutually acceptable standards. These are minimum expectations (not goals) with attached consequences. Use a coaching accountability contract that includes standards and goals. In such a contract, broker/owners need to define what they want sales associates to accomplish, what the minimum requirements are, and what will happen when sales associates are under/at/over those minimum requirements. Then you are in agreement.

Your Coaching Checklist

For your new agents: Do you have

  • An accountability contract you have signed during the interview process?
  •   A coaching discussion with a would-be client that includes standards and goals and consequences?
  •   A game plan that precisely sets out priorities, actions, and accountability?
  •   A training program that trains ‘how’ to do each of the actions in the coaching program?

What do you need to ‘shore up’ to create that effective coaching program?

Mgrs UpRun CoverThank You, Coaches–FREE Resource for You

To thank all you coaches out there, I’m GIVING AWAY my $99 resource, Managers’ Coaching Companion to Up and Running in 30 Days. Why? It was created to partner with the 3rd edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. Now, the 4th edition is published (and a new ‘delivery’ of my coaching help is available at Up and Running in Real Estate). The coaching companion I’m giving away this month still has lots of value. With 109 pages, 2 audio CDs, and 1 ‘document’ CD I’ve packed this resource with dozens of coaching strategies, tips, and questions for coaches to use in ANY coaching situation. Just pay shipping and handling and I’ll get one out to you–while they last. And, thanks, coaches, for your dedication to raising the standards of our industry. Click here for a description and to order.

Agents: Forward this blog to your managers and tell them to take advantage of my offer. They’ll get lots of practical, proven information on productivity coaching (I know, I’ve done these strategies for over 2 decades!).

Want to know more about my one-on-one coaching programs? See our managers’ program, Leadership Mastery.

 

man jumping through paperYour agent started in the business Tuesday. You have sent the agent through your orientation process, but your training program doesn’t start for another three weeks. What do you do? Well, here’s what NOT to do:

• Tell them to ‘just see the inventory and get acquainted’ (they’ll think that’s the job description and some have been know to inspect the inventory for years before they would talk to a human being prospect!)
• Give them your own activity sheet that you used upteen years ago–to keep them occupied
• Give them nothing and see what happens—the other agents will probably keep them busy with administrative work (!)

Unwittingly, too many managers are giving their agents a ‘slow start’ plan!

Watch Out for the Truisms

Truism number one: Only about one out of a hundred new agents is a ‘natural, talented’ salesperson, who will figure out how to prioritize activities on his/her own

Truism number two: In the absence of a precisely, well-thought out prioritized start-up activity plan, most salespeople will create a plan for a ‘slow start’; they’ll form hard-to-break bad habits, scheduling easy-to-do, low pay-off activities—because they’re easier and non-threatening

Here’s What to Do

Use a start-up plan that has the same priorities as the business plan you’re going to teach and coach them to during their training period. (You are going to start them with a proven start-up plan, aren’t you? And, you’re going to coach them into doing that plan until it becomes habit, 30-90 days, aren’t you?) Why use a plan that has the same priorities as your chosen business start-up plan? So the agent doesn’t get conflicting priorities. And, remember, in the face of conflict, we all take the easiest way out. That’s not good for fast income!

Here’s what to look for in an activity plan:

• It has the same priorities of business activities as your training start-up plan, so your agent ‘gets the picture’ of success from day one
• It gives your agent meaningful activities to complete prior to starting your training program
• It doesn’t require anyone in the office training that agent—until your training program starts
• It forms the basis for first-day coaching, if you want it to
• It takes advantage of your affiliates (mortgage, title, inspectors, etc.) who want to form relationships with your agents—to teach them the basics of the technical aspects of real estate

Consistency Equals Productivity

Your job as a manager/trainer is to create—or choose—a preliminary plan, a start-up plan, and a training program that all present the agent’s job description in the same manner with the same priorities—so your agent has a clear roadmap on how to succeed every day. Doing so assures you have to hire less new agents to meet your recruiting goals, you’ll have more success that you can promote to recruit, and more real dollars will flow to your bottom lines—and theirs!

logoWhy Not Let Carla Provide your ‘Success Template’?

How many years would it take you to create a top-rated coaching/training/accountability program? Do you have that much time? Why not cut your time frame dramatically and get to the good part: coaching and consulting your agents to high productivity fast. Sure, there’s still a lot of work and responsibility there. But, you have Carla’s experience and expertise at your side 24/7. Take a look at Up and Running in Real Estate. It is a comprehensive training/coaching/high accountability program for agents under 2 years in the business.

Are you willing to coach your agents to success? See the Coaches’ Corner. Everything you need to be the best coach for your agent in Up and Running in Real Estate.

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