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 Career Success

Do you think new real estate agents have a romantic–or a realistic–view of the business? Give me your advice.



The ‘romantic’ view: I’ve got my license, my business cards, I’m with a wonderful company. People will find me, be really nice to me, never offer objections, never lie to me, and do whatever I tell them. I will make lots of easy money fast, working no more than 30 hours in a hard week.

The ‘reality’: I don’t expect people to find me. I have to go out and find lots of people. I have to use my ingenuity, grit, tenacity, and never give up. I have to be able to say ‘I don’t know but I’ll find out’ a dozen times a day. I have to be able to tolerate clients not showing up, not telling the truth (come on, don’t be tough on me, it’s true….), not buying when they should, and listing with someone else. 

How do we present reality? You can help. I’m editing the 6th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, the internationally-published business-planning/action book for new agents. I’m also finishing a new book for would-be agents, Launching Right in Real Estate: What They Won’t Teach You in Pre-License School. 

Tell me what you think. I’ve made 2 surveys, one for agents and one for managers. They each will take you just a few minutes, and you’ll be helping our industry prepare people for the reality of the business, not just the romance.

Here’s the link to the survey for agents.

Here’s the link to the survey for leadership.

Please return the survey to me by Feb. 27. If you’re quoted in either book, you’ll receive a copy, of course, and acknowledgment in the book.

Feb
19

Give Me Your Expert Advice!

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How can we ‘stack the deck’ so new agents succeed more often? More $ for you, easier to recruit….

Give me your expert advice!

What are new agents doing that causes them to succeed–or fail? What do you want in a start-up program that will help more of your new agents do well–and do it fast? What’s missing in the training and coaching programs you’ve been using?

I’m editing Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s business start-up plan, for the 6th edition, due to be out in mid-2021.  In it, I show the what, how, why, and how much of real estate activities needed to do well quickly. Up and Running is very specific, and is easy to use to coach new agents to productivity fast. It has the specific prioritized weekly schedule and activities that future-exceptional agents do to assure a sale fast.

Many updates: The 6th edition has lots of updates, including a new section on promoting yourself through social media, new tech new agents need, and alternative methods of lead generation.

In the next blog, I’ll share more of what I’m putting into this wildly-successful program and get your input, too.

In my blog for agents, Up and Running in 30 Days, I am asking for their advice too, with a separate questionnaire.  

What’s Your Advice?

As one of the new features of the 6th edition, I’m incorporating great managers’ advice to new agents. And, I’m providing dozens of coaching tips to help managers and motivate the new agent and keep him/her in the game.

Here’s what I’m asking:

  1. What do new successful agents do consistently that agents who fail don’t do?
  2. What common mistakes do new agents make that cost them time, money–and hinder their success?
  3. Would you advise a new agent to (why or why not)

–join a team

–have a mentor

–hire a professional coach

  1. What should a new agent look for in a training program?
  2. Other advice you provide to a new agent?

Comments: Do you have advice to me about what’s missing in training and coaching programs? Just put that in comments here. 

Your name:                                                         Email:

Company name:                                                           Your Phone:

Number of agents in your office:

How to Get your Advice to Me

You can write comments to this post with answers to these questions.  

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

If I’m able to use your comments in my book, you will receive a complimentary copy of Up and Running, acknowledgment of your comments, AND lots of PR–to help you in your recruiting as an expert in helping new agents.

P. S. Please get your comments to me by Feb. 24, so I can meet the publisher’s deadline for submitting the edited book. Thank you!

Blog-CoachYou worked hard to help your agents gain business plans for the coming year. Now, optimize that work!

Are you using your agents’ business plans to coach all year? If not, you’re missing out on leveraging that plan!

First, congratulations! You’ve helped your agents each gain a business plan. That’s a huge key to their success–but only the first step. Now, how can you capitalize on all that work (both you and the agents?) It’s not enough to teach them to plan, or even to sit down with each agent and work through their plans. In order to really help them use those plans as a guide all year,  use that business plan as a platform from which to coach the agent all year.

Here are the basics of coaching to a business plan.

How often should you coach?

That depends on the agent. For newer agents, coach more frequently (at least monthly). For seasoned agents, coach a minimum of quarterly and better yet, monthly.

What should you coach to?

You’ve provided your agent with a method to set goals in finding, working with, and closing clients (I hope you’re using my Beyond the Basics of Business Planning system.) You have provided your agent a method to measure results. You’re going to use the numbers that the agent is generating by measuring the results of his business plan:

First, the goals: Lead generation, listings, listings sold, sales.

Lead generation

Listing/sales appointments

Listings

Listings sold

Sales

You’re going to help the agent translate the activity numbers into ratios so the agent knows the work he must do to reach his goals.

Why bother to use the business plan as a foundation for coaching?

Because, otherwise, you’re just giving advice or doing ‘crisis management’. You want to be perceived as a trusted business coach, helping the agent grow his/her business.

Big questions: Is the planning system you’re using

1. Helping the agent assess his business–where he’s been?

2. Helping the agent set realistic goals and an action plan that translates into daily activities?

3. Includes an accurate method to measure the activities and results of the activities so you and the agent can make fast adjustments?

Man-Walking-Up-Stairs-to-GlobeWant Some Support to Get Your Agents Business Plans?

Contact me to find out how I can educate your agents on business planning and support and coach you as a leader. Give me a call at 425.392-6914 or email me at carla@carlacross.com. I can do a webinar series for you, supply you will all the planning documents, and help your leadership coach your agents–at a very affordable cost with big pay-off for you.

head in the sand a salespersonDo your agents have their business plans for this year? Have you been avoiding the issue, hoping they would do it on their own? Not going to happen…..What’s YOUR plan to get them business plans?

What Doesn’t Work

It doesn’t work to hand them those planning documents and tell them to get them done. It’s useless. You need to teach them the process, be involved in the process, and coach them through the process. Then, you’ll motivate them to complete those plans. Also, when you treat this as important, they will respond.

What Does Work

Here are 3 ways to get your agents to do business plans:

1. Get the best planning ‘templates’ you can find, so your agents have a good planning process to follow

2. Do a class on business planning, using a proven step-wise process, along with the planning templates you’re going to use (In my online business planning system, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, I have 2 webinars for your agents to take them right through the process, along with the documents. I also have provided you the outline for a class, if you’d like to teach it. You can use my agent webinars in your class, too).

3. Sit down with each agent and help that agent flesh out the plan. It may take more than 1 meeting. Are you willing to commit?

Level of Support

If you’re willing to provide that level of support, you will have much a better chance of getting business plans for each of your agents.

Question: Did YOU create a business plan for your office? It’s not too late to get that done, too. Then you’ll know exactly how to make a plan. (See my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, for the documents and guidance you need to create a great office plan.)

Man-Walking-Up-Stairs-to-GlobeWant Some Support to Get Your Agents Business Plans?

Why not contact me to find out how I can educate your agents on business planning and support and coach you as a leader. Give me a call at 425.392-6914 or email me at carla@carlacross.com. I can do a webinar series for you, supply you will all the planning documents, and help your leadership coach your agents–at a very affordable cost with big pay-off for you.

You’ve probably interviewed dozens of would-be agents. What do you wish they had known before they committed to a real estate career?

What should an agent know before committing to real estate as a career?

After interviewing dozens of would-be agents, I had compiled a stack of paper that I handed out to interviewees. I was trying to educate them so they could make a good career decision. One day, one of my recent recruits said, “You should put that in a book.” So, I did. Now, I’m creating a new edition of the book. I’ve renamed the book

Launching Right in Real Estate: What They Won’t Teach You in Pre-License School.

What should be in the book? What’s most important for that would-be agent to know? What mistakes do would-be agents make in choosing companies? What could I add to make

Saving Management Time

From all those interviews, I found I wasn’t really interviewing. I was educating. What could I include in the book that would save you interview time, and prepare the candidate for a real interview?

What misconceptions do would-be agents bring into the business that cause them to start slowly or fail?

Blast-Off for Launching Right

I’m planning on having the edits done by Dec. 1, so the eBook will be available a few weeks after that. Please add your experience and expertise so I know the contents will be useful to real estate managers.

Just leave me a comment and contribute to our industry. Thank you!

You know who this is. Read how he turned an exceptional basketball career into an even more successful business career.

I can’t do it. It’s someone else’s fault. If only….I’ll never be able to. I tried that once. It didn’t work. It won’t work for me. Give me (you fill in the blanks) or else I can’t succeed.

You’ve heard all these reasons why someone can’t succeed. (Makes me depressed just reading this list.) So, it’s refreshing to hear someone speak about how to succeed—with no excuses.  I don’t mean that we all don’t at times need a hand up. But, those are the few times.  They don’t become our mantra.

I just watched a video where a UPS executive interviewed Magic. Here are some of Magic’s insightful comments.

Dream it First to Live It

At age 16, Magic was a janitor while in school. He would go sit in the CEO’s chair and pretend he was the CEO; giving orders, making decisions, acting like a CEO. He said he always wanted to be an entrepreneur, not just a basketball player. Look what happened.

What are you dreaming?

On Not Giving Up

As Magic transitioned from famous, successful pro basketball player to businessman, he thought his fame would magically open doors and make him successful. He found it opened doors (they all wanted to meet him), but, it didn’t get him the funding he needed to expand his business. He was turned down ten times before a bank took a chance on him.

How tenacious are you?

Network and Lead Generate and Learn

Magic wanted to find out what was important to prominent people. He got the list of Lakers season ticket holders, and called up to 50 a day. Many met with him, and several became investors with him.

Are you lead generating with tenacity?

Tailor to your Target

Magic was an early investor in Starbucks, and has over 125 Starbucks locations today. He met with Howard Schultz, the founder and then president, and told him he needed to tailor his Starbucks businesses to his clientele. You can imagine where Magic wanted to place his Starbucks. He told Mr. Schultz he didn’t want that music that was in most Starbucks stores. He wanted Michael Jackson, Beyonce, etc. He didn’t want scones. You get the picture.

Are you targeting your marketing to your audiences?

Hire and Work with the Best

Magic says, if you find great talent, you don’t need to micro-manage them. This comes from his experience as a basketball player.

Are you affiliating with the best? Do you need to ‘up your game’ interviewing? 

Shine Your Light on Others to Succeed

As you help others succeed, you’ll succeed. Magic says his reason for being in business is to help others. He’s helped thousands of minority business people launch businesses. This comes, too, from his experience as a basketball player. His mentoring others resulted in more success for everyone.

Are you providing a hand up to qualified, determined talent?

Learn from Everyone

Magic believes everyone has something he can learn from. He values each person and seeks their contributions. He says he loves to learn and he’s constantly learning.

Are you learning from those you’re around?

Add Value

Magic believes the secret of business success is to add value. When he meets with someone, he thinks about how he can add value for that person.

Are you adding value to those you work with, coach, or teach?

Does your Interview Process Need Polishing?

Check out this system for selecting winners. Save time, money, and training. See it here.

Feb
11

Who Is Your Training For?

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Do you know who your ‘targets’ for training are? How is your training segmented for your various agents?

Who is your training for?

In this series, I am spotlighting training and trainers.

We segment our consumer markets when we design our marketing plans. We need to segment our ‘market’ for our training plan, too. In this case, our ‘market’ is our agents. When I ask seasoned agents about whether there is a training program in their company, they say ‘yes’. It’s for the new agent. What? Are those seasoned agents in the office chopped liver?

Use the analytical tool below to see who your training program addresses. It’s likely your training program meets the needs of your largest segment of agents. But, what about the other segments?

How to Use the Career Life Cycle. Write each of your agents in the career development phase you believe they are in. Now, underneath each column, write the training programs you have to address each phase. The Training Calendar Evaluation, which you’ll get at the end of this article, has questions to guide you in your analysis.

Note: Its really intereseting, too, if you have your assistant manager or coach also do this exercise. Then, compare the results. You will find some differences of opinion!

What did you find?

Are you ‘lop-sided’ in your office? Are you only providing training to one segment? Perhaps that’s why you’re finding it difficult to recruit those you really want. What needs to be in your training plan next year to better balance your offerings?

To get my analytical tool, Training Calendar Analysis Tool, click here.  Let me know the changes you’ve made based on your evaluation. I want to help you create training with impact, with less work from you!

Help for your Training and Trainers

Do you provide training for your presenters and trainers? I’d love to help you, and them, learn and practice these types of great, quickly applicable strategies. I do trainings and presentations for Realtor trainers, trainers of real estate companies, and affiliates.

Get in touch with me and we’ll talk about your needs. I customize each presentation, too, for YOUR specific audience needs. My background as a performing musician, coupled with my real estate sales, leadership, and training experience, gives me a unique ‘take’ on training trainers. I’d love to help you!  

Jan
22

Got Your Training Calendar Done?

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Why do you need a training calendar? 

I’m going to focus on training, presenting, and facilitation for these blogs. Why? Because I see a real need for us to become masters of these areas, to help our agents and affiliates succeed at a higher level.

No Training Calendar…..

–with little rhyme nor reason as to why those events are put on the calendar. Don’t let that be you!  Without a training calendar, you don’t know if your training is working to help you meet your goals. You don’t know if your training is getting results. And, your associates certainly don’t know if you have a busines plan with a training component.

What That Training Calendar Will Do for You

It will:

1. Organize your training as part of your business plan for next year

2. Have a time-saving guide to implement the training you need for your company to move forward

3. Use the training calendar to recruit (internal AND external)

What percentage of real estate trainer/managers organize their training events on a calendar? From my experience, less than 20%. In fact, I doubt most managers make training a part of their business plan! Yet, training is the second-most important component to move our productivity and profitability up (recruiting the right people is #1).

Problems with Most Training Calendars

Before you read this paragraph, if you don’t have a training calendar, grab a calendar and write down the training events you intend to do next year. Now, let’s take a look at the 3 biggest problems with training calendars:

1. They don’t focus on the training events that can change the profitability and productivity of the office (too many ‘technical’ courses, and not enough sales courses)

2. They don’t focus on training events to meet the needs of each of your career life cycles (new, growth, and maturity)--they are skewed to one group of agents–usually new)

3. They don’t consist of measurable training, so you know what works

Take a look now at my analysis tool, to help you figure out if your training calendar is doing the job:

Your Training Calendar.

Affiliates: Share this blog and training calendar analysis with your brokers. They will thank you, because they’ll save time, effort, and get more agents into those training programs.

Question for You

What did you learn from your analysis?

trainer

Let Me Help Your Trainers Refine Their Skills

I help associations and companies help their trainers become masters, try new methods, keep their audiences, awake, and become more creative. Contact me and we’ll talk about how I can help you. 

Is your onboarding process creating loyalty or ‘buyer’s remorse’?

What do your agents think about your onboarding process?

In my earlier blogs, we’ve explored the importance of onboarding, and some of the common mistakes we all make. I am in the midst of a consulting assignment with a real estate company. They asked me to evaluate their onboarding process and make recommendations. To do that, I created and did an onboarding questionnaire. In this blog, I’m using ‘we’ do protray the company leadership and me.

I promised I’d share my onboarding questionnaire, so here it is.

Have you ever found out what your agents think about your process? Now is an excellent time to do this. Use my questionnaire and add your own questions. I asked these questions over the phone. At first, agents were reticent to share. Then, as I explained we were working to tighten the process, they opened up, and gave us great information. The bottom line: They were thrilled we had asked them! It made them feel an important part of the organization.

When you ask: Don’t judge, and don’t criticize. Just accept the information or probe for more detail.

My Results of My Survey

I’m going to share the results of my survey here with you. Some of the results were surprising; some were predictable.

What We Did With the Results of the Survey

We held a series of meetings to discuss the results. We then assigned duties to make this whole process better. We hired a person whose main job is to ‘dog those agents’ tracks through the complete onboarding process. Do you think this will result in a better retention record? We do.

Your turn: What are you doing to assure your onboarding process continues the excitement and loyalty you set up during your interview process? Or, have you thought about it?

Want to talk about my helping you create a world-class onboarding process? Email me at carla@carlacross.com or call me at 425-392-6914. Let’s get this to mastery level!

clockOnboarding: Those critical first seven days. Find out why that first week is so critical.

First: What does new agent onboarding and training have to do with retention? According to two recent studies–a whole lot!

In this blog, I’ll address some of the results and its ramifications for real state companies–from the survey published by the Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM).

Why Bother with a Great Onboarding System?

Because you’ll have much great retention! According to the SHRM study, companies that leave onboarding to chance experience higher than 50% failure rates when it comes to retaining new talent.

Question: Do you have a great orientation system? Are you leaving anything to chance? Does your new agent feel like he/she is in a fog for the first few months?

If you want a template and suggestions of what should be included in your orientation, click here.

Those New Hires Check Outa There Fast! (Faster than you Think!)

According to the same SHRM survey, 67% of millennials are already thinking of looking for their next job on day ONE!

Question:

Tips for Those First Critical Seven Days:

  1. Manager sends a welcome email  or snail mail (better) to new agent on day one.
  2. Each day’s activities are completely outlined so the new agent knows exactly how to proceed (you’re building in habits of success).
  3. The first week’s activities include shadowing and lunch with one of your senior colleagues. (If you have an advisory council, this is a perfect match!)
  4. Welcome gift given to the new agent on day one.
  5. End of first day checklist completed with manager
  6. Round table or lunch set up with your influential agents to welcome the new agent
  7. Use a detailed, prioritized action-plan checklist, like Up and Running in 30 Days, to assure the new agent knows exactly what to do, how to do it, and is held accountable to it.

Outcome: 69% of new employees are more likely to stay more than three years if they have experienced a well-structured onboarding program.

So, how does your onboarding system stack up?

Find out: Regularly survey your agents who have been with you 6 months to find out what they found valuable and how it could be improved. Why not have the best onboarding/retention system in the industry?

A Survey for You to Use: Next

In my next blog, I’ll share the survey I just did in an office where I’m consulting on their onboarding system. Boy, did I get some great feedback!

How’s Your Quick-Start Program Working?

Up and Running_5e largerBoth these onboarding studies prove that leaving the new agent’s orientation, training, and start to chance just doesn’t cut it. Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days: updates in 5th edition. This invaluable book is only $32.95 plus shipping, and has been used by thousands of new agents to launch successful careers. Order here.

What could your retention rate be if you had a superior onboarding system?