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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.

man ponderingThis month, I’m featuring leadership. Part of leadership is to know who to hire–and when to fire. How to let someone go fairly–with grace–is a huge challenge for many managers. This challenge just came up again. I was just asked by an association of real estate companies to do a leadership webinar on standards. Before I do a ‘live’ presentation or a webinar for a particular group, I use my Pre-Conference Survey to find out exactly what their needs are.
(Note: If you do presentations for ‘outside groups’, consider making a pre-conference survey so you find out their exact needs, cultural specifics, and market differences. It makes a huge difference in your ability to deliver to their needs). This was the question that stood out most to me in the survey.

Question: How Do You Terminate Someone Fairly and Effectively?
Do you believe that the person who is failing knows he/she is failing? Of course they do. And, the longer they fail, the further down their self-esteem sinks, the further their confidence shrinks, and, finally,

the person simply quits working!

They still may be employed/contracted with you, but, they aren’t doing the things necessary to move their job forward. So, it’s not fair to simply let them continue failing. Nothing will change. You must step in.

The ‘One Last Chance’ Conversation and System
I’m a huge believer in game plans and systems for situations. That means you are fair with everyone. One of the reasons managers don’t want to fire is that they are afraid they will be unfair–or perceived as unfair. The way to take away those fears is to implement a system to give each person one last chance (this is after you have tried your normal coaching and training methods).

What’s in the One Last Chance’ Conversation
Here are the steps to terminate someone fairly and with grace.
1. Call the meeting. Do not engage in small talk. This is serious; it has no social aspect.
2. State that the person has not met your standards (minimum expectations). You DO have those in place, right?
3. Tell the person you will provide them one last chance.
4. Show them the performance system you will use (something like The On Track System to Success in 30 Days).
5. Get agreement that the person will use the system.

Make The Time Frame Short
I have been snookered by the best of them! I’ve learned to make the time frame no more than 30 days. You want that person to go right to work. You also must reserve the right to terminate at any time.

Good News: They Will Let Themselves Go 50% of the Time
You will find that many people are just waiting for you to provide that last chance, so they can face the fact they really don’t want to work. They will let themselves go.

When You Terminate
You have given them a fair chance. You have been straightforward. They have not gone to work. All you have to do in your termination conversation is to state just that. 95% of the time you will get no argument. In fact, they will thank you for being honest with them. Using these five pointers will allow you to let them go with grace, and relieve your mind that you are fair in your termination guidelines.

How do you terminate? Or, do you terminate or just let them fade into the sunset?

small LM CoverAre you Confident in your Leadership Skills?

We’re always urging agents to get a coach. But, what about you? Do you have a performance coach you trust? Just think what you could accomplish if you had the skills, technique, and confidence in what you thought was right–to manage effectively. Why not find out about Leadership Mastery Coaching? Just sign up for a complimentary consultation to match your needs to your coach, and find out if this unique performance-based program is for you. Click here to find out more.  (And–this month, sign up for Leadership Mastery Coaching and receive $1000 worth of resources–systems and training to run your business).

 

man on groundIn an earlier post, we explored 5 of the 10 biggest mistakes I’ve seen real estate recruiters make–and, admittedly, I’ve made. After all, I started like most of you–here’s your desk, here’s your phone……you know the drill…

So, here’s the rest of my list. What did I leave out? Why are we selecting so many who fail to make it in real estate?

6. Recruiting agents without the necessary skills or motivation to be
successful

There are the agents that fall over at the first objection (and there are many, even though they tell us they’re tenacious!) We keep beating our heads against stone walls recruiting agents who are deficient in the two skill sets we say are most important to real state success: technical (computer) skills and sales skills. We hire them, and then we pour thousands of dollars down a black hole trying to train them to do the things they won’t or can’t do.

Why not hire agents who already have technical and sales skills? In my program, The Complete Recruiter, I ask managers to make a list of the skills and qualities they feel are critical in the agents they hire. Please do that. Then, create questions that bring out whether an agent has the skills and qualities you need.

7. Talking too much in the ‘interview’ process

Well, it’s not really an interview process to most managers. It’s actually a talk marathon, where the manager talks to the would-be agent until the agent gets tired and agrees (or not) to join the company. That’s what dozens of agents have described as their ‘recruiting interviews’. Your first hour of the recruiting interview should be contoured like this: The interviewee talks ¾ of the time. You talk ¼. What are you doing while the interviewee is talking? Asking questions and listening. What are you listening for? Whether or not that interviewee has the necessary amounts of the skills and qualities you want. How do you assure you’ve got the complete story? Probe around that one idea until you’re completely assured that the interviewee has sufficient strength of that trait or skill.  The Complete Recruiter has lots of tips on mastering sales skills for recruiting. This is just one of them.

8. Selling all the features and benefits of the company in the same way to each recruit

That’s simply because the manager didn’t ask good questions at the beginning of the process. If he had, he would’ve discovered what needs the agent wanted met. Then, he would’ve designed his presentation to meet those needs.

9. No recruiting plan

About three years ago I was the head writer for the CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) People Management course. This course includes recruiting, selecting, training, and motivating agents for high productivity. I was excited to teach the course the first time, and was thrilled that there were about sixty managers in the course. I found that most of them had been in the business over ten years.

I wanted to create something where they could share recruiting experiences and ‘wins’, so I decided to do a little contest for ‘best recruiting campaign.’ I introduced the contest the first morning, and waited for the entries. There were none. At the beginning of the second day I asked the students if it was a dumb contest, or what seemed to be the barriers. They told me that none of them had a recruiting plan, much less a campaign!  How could you implement your recruiting ‘moves’ without a plan of action? We pound into our agents heads the idea of business plans. Yet, we don’t have plans for the most important of all our activities—recruiting. If you’re among the 95% of managers who don’t have a plan, I’ve provided a simple, straightforward method of planning in The Complete Recruiter.

10.  No system for agent follow-up

You’ve interviewed the agent. The agent doesn’t join that day. Now, what happens? In most companies—nothing! You need a contact management system. You need a contact plan. You need materials, and you need strategy. Finally, you need someone to run that plan. Hire a competent assistant and let that assistant engage your plan. This agent follow-up is really a part of your overall recruiting plan. You expect your agents to do it, and you need to do this, too, with your potential recruits. Remember, follow up until they ‘buy or die’!

It doesn’t take a masterful recruiter to win all the awards. All it really takes is determination and persistence. And, when you look at the few managers who actively recruit, you know that merely taking a stab at in  a consistent manner will win you many recruits.  Start now!

CompleteRecruiterHow is your Recruiting Plan Working?

Well, shall we be honest? You probably don’t have a plan. At least, that’s my experience in training and coaching thousands of owners and managers. If you don’t have a plan, how do you know what to do each day to find, select, and recruit those you really want? How do you measure how you’re doing? The Complete Recruiter has it all: the plan, the dialogues, the systems. Get it this month at a blazingly good price, too! Find out more here.

slide 1 Excerpts 2016 NAR profileDo your agents have what buyers value? Do you know what buyers value? Every other year, the National Association of Realtors does a survey of thousands of buyers and sellers to find out their demographics and their opinions on real estate agents. These surveys, I think, are well worth the cost of Realtor membership! Why? Because they give us valuable insights into what buyers and sellers think is important, and they give us third party facts to share with buyers and sellers.

I have used the results in these surveys in my listing and buyer resources, so that agents have proof of the claims they say are true. In the next few blogs, I’ll be sharing with you a few of the invaluable nuggets of information from the National Association of Realtors’ 2015 Survey of Buyers and Sellers.

Watch for the videos: In the next week, I’ll be making 2 videos explaining 19 big takeaways from this survey. I’ll post the video AND the PDFs of the videos so you can share them with buyers and sellers.  I’ll show you how to use these statistics and facts in your presentations and help your agents be more effective.

buyer satisfactionHow satisfied do you think buyers are in specific agent skills and qualities?

Highest valued by buyers was honesty and integrity. That’s good news for newer agents, because honesty and integrity has nothing to do with time in the business and everything to do with your ethics and character.

What do you think buyers were most dis-satisfied with?

Negotiation skills! Why? It could be because agents promised more than they delivered. Or, it could be that they just aren’t very good at negotiating. How practiced are you? Have you taken negotiation courses? Do you have a goal to increase your negotiation skills?

How can agents (and managers) prove they have the skills and qualities buyers want?

You Can’t Brag But You Need to Stand Out–How?

marketing you 3 DMisunderstanding how to make yourself stand out can cost you thousands of dollars. You know you need to differentiate yourself from the ‘pack’, but how and when?

What NOT to do: Never, ever try to put your testimonials, statements, or accomplishments within your presentation. It’s too late, and will just get in your way–and come off as bragging. Instead, follow the instructions in Marketing YOU. Share your talents and skills with potential buyers and sellers in the right way. See more here.

Managers: Order this month, and you’ll receive your own instructions on creating your ‘Book of Greatness’ for recruiting.

 

 

 

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Carla interprets the NAR survey for 2015 on buyers and sellers. See what sellers are looking for. Educate sellers with these facts.

slide 1 Excerpts 2016 NAR profileGrab the PDF of the presentation too. Click here to get it.

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Watch while Carla interprets what buyers want, from the 2015 NAR survey of buyers and sellers. Find out how to deliver to buyers. Get 19 Big Takeaways (buyers and sellers’ major learning points to use in your presentations.)

slide 1 Excerpts 2016 NAR profileGrab the PDF of this presentation. Excerpts 2015-profile-of-home-buyers pdf

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many peole standing recruitingThis month, I’m focusing on recruiting and selecting. And, I have some blazing ‘deals’ on my recruiting resources to help you get a great plan and implement it right away!

Isn’t it amazing the number of things a new manager is supposed to be able to do—from day one—even though he or she isn’t trained to do those tasks? Take recruiting, for example.  As a new manager, I was expected to prospect, get appointments, ask great questions, and select agents who would be successful. But, did I have the skills to perform those tasks with competence? You can bet not!

Even though I was a top-producing agent, I didn’t take the time to think through, and didn’t know how to, apply the sales skills I had used to attain high sales volume to the recruiting tasks at hand. So, I, like thousands of other new managers, just did it ‘by ear’. Along the way, I had some ‘wins’ and lots of ‘losses’. Through my observations of myself and others, I’ve created a list of ten top mistakes, so that you can avoid the pitfalls I—and others without training—have fallen into.

In this blog, we’ll look at the first five. Also, I’ll add some advice I learned from all those mistakes!

1. Charge ahead to hire

It should occur to us that we need to sit in a quiet place and think about the kind of people we want to hire—before we dive in. But, we are so thrilled that someone is in front of us that it doesn’t occur to us that they bring with them their values and ethics. So, if we haven’t thought out our values, our beliefs, and our perspectives first, we run the risk of hiring people who will then dictate what the company values become. Before you start interviewing, decide what you will and what you won’t stand for. Write out your values and your beliefs. Then, when you interview, check to be sure that agent carries those same values and beliefs into your office. Someone’s got to be the leader, and it better be you!

2. Recruiting to old-style management strategies

I know, I know. Just go make those calls and you will get some recruits. Yes, that’s true. But, wouldn’t it be better if you built a company that stood apart from the others because of its ‘attractors’? The greatest attractors today to a company are twofold:

a.  Does the company have values and beliefs that the agent can live by—and agree with?

b. Does the company focus its energy on the success of the agent—or on itself/

If you are still trying to recruit to an old-style dictatorship, or, if you’ve given up leadership—get a clue. Find out what participative management is all about. Find out how to build a team. Figure out how to help each agent reach his/her goals. Now, you’re on the right track. Re-tool your business structure so you’re attractive to the entrepreneur of today and tomorrow.

3. Trying to recruit on the company features

“Our company is the largest around.” Well, guess what? If you’re a branch manager, and all your branch managers say the same thing, you’re not going to differentiate yourself that way! You must make yourself a magnet. What about your background provides a benefit to a new agent? To an experienced agent? For example, I was a musical performer and teacher. That taught me performance skills, and how to teach others performance skills. You can see the benefits to agents. I’m able to help an agent reach his goals through greater skills.

4. Not differentiating the feature from all the other companies that have the same thing

“We have a great training program.” So says every company out there. What’s so great about your program? You’d better be able to tell ‘em and show ‘em. “Our training program has a 90% rate in our agents making a sale in the first thirty days they’re with us.” No one else in the area has success figures like that. Here’s the brochure about our program. It spells out the comprehensive five-step program for new agents. Do you want a program that assures you make money fast?”

5. Trying to attract agents through ‘price wars’   

We in the real estate industry just love to hire agents through the bidding wars. We either provide a lower desk fee, better commission splits, or more trinkets and trash. Guess what? That’s the chicken’s way out. In reality, price is never the best recruiter. But, if you don’t have a great company organization, if you don’t help agents meet their goals, you’re going to have to compete on price. It’s all you’ve got. Now, work hard to provide real value. After all, consumers pay 10% more for products and services they believe are of quality.

Recommendation: Read Drive–The Surprising Truth about What Motivates Us, by Daniel Pink. The motivators have changed, but no one has told real estate professionals!

So far, what have I left out?

Blazing ‘Deal’ On My Complete Recruiting Systems this Month

How’s your recruiting strategy? Have a complete system? Here it is, half price– at $120 off this month. Purchase The Complete Recruiter AND get Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners–a unique step-by-step interview process–PLUS Recruiting Objection Busters–for $120 off (Regularly $250 now $129.95 ONLY this month). This is the cost of just The Complete Recruiter!

The Complete Recruiter provides you the scripts and dialogues you need, the recruiting planner you don’t have (!), and dozens of tips to recruit the winners you want. Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners gives you an 11-step interview process to assure you interview those you want–without unpleasant surprises.  Recruiting Objection Busters shows you scripts and dialogues to counter any recruiting objection with grace, logic, and attractiveness.

Click here for more information and to order.

small CompleteRecruiter

Blueprint_Ebook_Display

men shaking handsYou hired them. Now what? Too many managers wait to get their agents into action until after training school. But, do you want them sitting around for weeks or months?

Here’s the situation: Your agent started in the business Tuesday. You have sent the agent through your orientation process, but your training program doesn’t start for another week. 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 (!)

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 preliminary 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 preliminary 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 a preliminary-to-training 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!

logoYou Don’t Have to Wait for Training School!

60% of new agents expect a sale within 2 months (that’s according to my survey of hundreds of new agents). How are they going to reach those expectations if they aren’t out lead generating in their first week in the business? Why not use the proven start-up plan that gives them the what, the how, the how much, the why–and the motivation. Up and Running in Real Estate is all online, and ready for your agent to start anytime. Check it out.

interview with clip boardSelection: If you’re a great talker, your cooked! A lot of recruiters/interviewers think that, if they’re great talkers, they’re great recruiters (same as agents think talking equals selling…..)

You’re a manager who recruits. You want to get winners in that recruiting seat. You pride yourself on being a great talker. (A manager once told me he just talks them to death–until they say they’ll join the company–what a great screening method-not!)  But, too much talking is just old-style hard ‘selling’–and that’s certainly not the bulk of an effective selection process.

Instead of muscling a sale or a ‘yes’ from a recruit….ask questions. Lots of questions. Probe to find out more. Keep finding out more until you’re really sure you know what they mean. Let me give you an example:

The recruit says, “I want a ‘deal’.”

Do you jump to a conclusion because you know what ‘deal’ means? Don’t. You may be surprised. Instead, ask questions at what ‘deal’ means to that recruit. When you know exactly what the recruit means, you can proceed to find what the really wants–instead of what someone else told him he should ask for!

A Pre-Screening Process for New Agent Candidates to Save you Time

Ask these questions before you spend time and money chasing candidates who don’t meet your standards.  Click here to get the complete process.

Use In-Depth Questionnaires to Discover Real Needs

Besides using these preliminary questions, always use written in-depth questionnaires so you’ll know

  • The benefits to the features/needs stated
  • Hidden objections you may not discover until too late
  • Motivations to buy that not even the ‘buyers’ realize they have

**Ever heard the term ‘buyers are liars’? I think that’s not really the case. I think that we don’t ask the right questions to help buyers (our recruits) clarify what they really want. Most ‘buyers’ of services don’t know what they really want. They think they want a better commission split. But, what they’re really looking for is the motivation provided by secrity. That means different things to different people. Find out what’s really motivating your candidate, not just what he says to your basic questions.

Ask the Right Questions in the Right Order and You Won’t Have to ‘Close’

Finding the motivators of your ‘buyers’ is key to helping them make the right buying decisions for themselves. All you have to do to ‘close’ is to remind them that this ‘product’ fulfills their needs. And, how do you get there? By creating and using the right questions in the right order.

Don’t forget to grab your pre-screening process:  click here.

Want to streamline your selection process and recruit more winners? Check out Your Blueprint to Selecting Winners. It’s completely digital, so you get all the information right now. Includes an 11-step proven process to interview successfully. Do you have a process or do you just ‘wing it’?

 

penguins focused on goalsAre you hiring right for the future–or are you still hiring with the principles of the past?

Recruiting today depends on a new mindset. Here are four areas to ‘right turn’ your mindset:

1. Hire to the ever more discriminating customer

According to the latest surveys, the client is not happy! We all know the client is more educated, more informed, and more demanding. We also know the client takes much longer to make a buying decision (from first Internet looks to decision take 9-28 months, according to industry leaders).

Your hires: Must be more dedicated and more tenacious to succeed. I know you think mostly of whether they can sell a house for you. But, are they good enough to make the client happy? Because that’s what your referral and return business depends on…..

2. Hire to a new business structure

The hire of today and tomorrow doesn’t want that old ‘exclusive’ structure we all built. It won’t work to say “You must be with us to succeed.” The desired structure is inclusive: Open, not hierarchical, and participative. So, drop the VP and the playing favorites to the old guard. They may be feeding you today, but they’re dying tomorrow……

Your hires: Want an inclusive atmosphere. That means more openness, independence, and diversity.

3. Hire to an interview process focused on the candidate.

The old ‘hard sell’ isn’t attractive to the hire of today and tomorrow. So, drop the 2-hour sales job and, instead, focus on getting to know the candidate.

Your hires: Get to really know each one in a well-crafted, question-focused interview process.

4. Hire as though you were actually excited to develop that individual.

The consumer is not impressed with the ‘fog the mirror’ hiring method. The right turn is to be ‘sold’ enough on each new hire to help her create the skills and the career she wants. That means to focus on coaching and small group accountability training.

Your hires: Must want to, and be capable of, developing a career with your coaching and facilitation. Your clients expect that much.

So, how does your interview process stack up? What do you want to change to hire for the future?Blueprint_Ebook_Display

Do You Have an Interview Process–or a Hot Mess?

Most of hire ‘by ear’, and worry about the rest later. If you don’t have a planned interview process, you’ll be beaten by the person who does. Here’s a unique resource to help you organize, plan, and implement a spectacular interview process to hire those you really want. Check it out here. All online, so you can apply it today, too.

man ponderingThis month, I’m featuring the lifeblood of real estate management–hiring and firing. Yes, firing!

Do you have a foolproof way to figure out who to keep and who to cut loose? In this blog, I’ll show you.

Who adds value to your environment? Hiring and firing is not a ‘black or white’ issue. There are many shades of gray. I know. I managed almost two decades. We become friends with our agents. They rely on us. We rely on them. In some cases, we become almost moms and dads to them. It becomes a very dependent environment. No one wants to disrupt it. However, you are running a business–not a social welfare state.

Use This Analytical Tool to Evaluate Your Agents

Let’s recognize that not all the value, or, to some of us, even half the value of our agents is in their ability to close sales. In other words, your top producer may not be your most desired agent. There are other valued assets they bring to the table, like:

Uphold the culture
Provide mentoring
Create stability in the office
Team player
Longevity and consistency

What are yours? Write them down.  (Use 4-6 values).

Assign a Relative Weight

Now, give each one of these values a possible rating of 0 to 4 (4 being highest). Finally, evaluate each of your agents with each of your important values.  For example, let’s say you are evaluating your top producer. In the production value, that producer would get a “4”. But, let’s say that top producer isn’t much of a team player, and you’ve evaluated her as a “1”. When you’re through evaluating that agent, add all the numbers to get a cumulative number.

Click here to see an example of an evaluative table.

What’s Your Agent’s Real Value to Your Office?

Now, you have evaluated each agent on all the values you feel are important to the success of your company. To see how they stack up, make a list of them, starting with the agent who scored the highest cumulative number. This evaluation process will give you a very different picture of who your best producers are-and who your worst office associates are.

Bottom-Line Questions to Ask Yourself

I know it’s very difficult to terminate people. In fact, one manager asked me to advise him on how to do a  ‘graceful termination.’ Really, behind termination anxiety lurks these questions. They need to be answered for you, as leader, to take the actions that your good agents are expecting from you:

Can an agent be a noteworthy negative to your reaching your goals?
Can an agent actually provide substantial energy against your culture?
What’s Joe’s value to you?
Can this value be quantified in a business sense?
What are you getting personally out of keeping Joe?
What are your next actions?
Why are you avoiding what you need to do?
Don’t you deserve more than Joe is giving you?
How does Joe feel now? Does Joe deserve an environment where he can win?

What do you use to evaluate your agents? How is it working for you?

LM CoverGet Some Help in Creating a Better 2016

Why not get some support and guidance in setting up your 2016 business plan? Do you have a recruiting plan? A career development plan? A training plan? Standards? If not, you’re still managing by the seat of your pants. Schedule a complimentary consultation to see if Leadership Mastery coaching would benefit you. In January: $1000+ bonuses in training, coaching, and recruiting programs, too. See more here. 

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