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Archive for customer service

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.

do itHere’s the easiest, least expensive, and effective thing your agents can do to get business.

Having hired and trained probably hundreds of new agents, I know the myriad of questions they have. So, here’s the simplest, yet most effective thing you can teach your new agents (and your experienced agents) to do.

Herea��s the answer to the question, a�?What is the one thing I should do to get business?a�? Yes, people are always asking me that. I think ita��s because Ia��ve written two resources for would-be and new agents: What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License SchoolA� and Up and Running in 30 Days . By the way, Up and Running was just published in its 5th edition!

Now, we know that becoming a skilled real estate agent isna��t just one answer. But, there is one thing new agents can do that requires

No skill

No experience

No money

Little time

And, this one thing will make you stand out from the crowd better than any other one thing you could do! What is it? Simply:

Write a thank you note (a real hard copy note, not an email)


Because manners and a�?thank yousa�� have gotten increasingly uncommon! You will stand out simply because youa��ve taken the time, thought about that person, and cared enough to writea��and put that stamp on it.

Write More Than One Note

Ia��m not going to tell your new agents to write a certain number of notes per day. You and your agents can set your standard (that means the minimum youa��ll do).

What to Say

Thank you. Thinking about you. I appreciate you. I used your advice. Herea��s something for you that would be helpful. I found the information you wanted.

Note to managers: This is also one of the strongest motivational tools you’ll ever have–writing notes to your agents with encouragement, thanks, etc. Do you do enough of it? Set your own goals now.

Big important sales principle:

Contacting people is simply finding an excuse to write, pick up the phone, or go see. Retaining salespeople is similar!

My challenge: How creative can you get?

Your agents are more creative than they think they are. Now, get them to sit down and think hard about 5 people they’ve started to work with, but need to contact now. What about them fits into any scenario for you to write that note, pick up the phone, or go see?

They are now using a�?advanceda�� sales techniques, and they already know how to do all of this.

Sales meeting tip: One of the managers I know actually has agents write these notes during a sales meeting, and brainstorms the reasons one could write a note.

Proof is in the Pudding

My first year in real estate, I sold 40 homes. Also, I sent more things in the mail than any other of the 30 agents in my office. Why? Because I wanted to create a a�?critical massa�� of people who thought I was wonderful. Yes, an agent can also do this with social media. But, you want to stand out. And, you will stand out much more if you write to one person than to many. After all, you are working with that one person who will pay you thousands of dollars. He/she is worth that special, individual effort! That’s the one thing your agentsA� should do to get business.

Managers: How are you making this simple tip work for you and your agents?

Up and Running_5e largerHelp Your Agents Get a Sale Much Faster!

Why not provide your agents a proven business start-up plan, along with hundreds of success tips? Check out the new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

Do your agents have a trust ‘issue’ with their clients? (Look for the Trust Evaluator link below. Use it with your agents to test their ‘trust quotients’–great meeting topic).

We’re always telling our agents to ‘work smarter’, not harder. Yet, what does that mean? For one thing, in this low-trust world, it means creating highA�trust as a foundation for any sales action and decision. Yet, in the ‘on fire’ market of the past, agents didn’t have to work very hard at creating trust. The market forced decisions and the consumers ended up buying from an agent they may not really know. Those days are over.

Why Creating Trust is a $$$ Issue

Do you know how much more it costs to get a new client than to keep an old one? Marketers tell us 6-9 times more. So, it’s just good business sense to train your agents to create high trust with clients for return and referral business.

How You Can Help Your Agents Create Trust

Salespeople can’t sell anything to anyone without first establishing an exceptional level of trust–an increasingly difficult thing to do. The ten tips below shared on in a recent radio show help sales professionals build a ‘platinum level’ of trust.

Five Tips to Raise your Agents’ Client Trust Levels

Here are 5 tips, with special comments to you as a leader–in blue.

1. Learn non-verbal skills and apply them in writing, on the phone, and in person to establish rapport in an increasingly a�?cold inquirya�� world.A�

Are you teaching them Neuro-Linguistic Programming (NL))? Are you working with them to pace and mirror in interactive workshops?

2. We believe what others say about a salesperson, not what the salesperson says about themselves. Use testimonials; check evaluation websites to see what consumers are saying about you.

Are you checking out what the consumers are saying about your agents on the web?

Look atA� and

3. Create an after-the-sale survey and use it consistently. If therea��s something wrong, fix it fast.

Do you have an after sale survey that you send out from the office? How do you handle surveys that are less than stellar?

4. We believe what we see, not what we hear. Show, dona��t tell. Use visual presentations consistently.

Are you working with your agents to practice showing evidence?

5. Flip your sales presentations. Ask questionsa��lots of questionsa��first. Educate. Finally, sell (well, you wona��t have to sell).

Do you have a planned presentation you teach agents–and have them practice until they are ‘killer’?

Click here to get your Trust Evaluator.

Whack: Toss the mantra a�?our agents are our customersa��. The real customer is demanding we pay attention to thema��or else.A�A�

Many brokers call their agents their a�?customersa��. We thought that, by calling our agents our customers, we would please them, create loyalty and forge recruiting tools. This trend of calling agents a�?customersa�� was a reaction to the old-style a�?father knows besta�� management. Not a bad thought, but, unfortunately, too limiting. We assumed that, if we provided the services agents wanted, everything would be wonderful.

That thought process has sure gotten us into trouble. Why? Because we forgot that the person who actually pays commissions is called a a�?buyera�� or a a�?sellera��a��the end user. If the end user is unhappy, they vote with their feet. The result of our lack of focusing on the end user is plummeting commissions and alternative a�?agent-litea�� companies, relying much more on technology than personal service.A�

The bigger business world got it long ago. When is the last time you were asked about the level of service in a business you were using? Ia��ll bet you are asked at least once a week. The bigger world of business discovered long ago that they had to satisfy the needs of the consumer-and that those needs were escalating by the minute.A�

How do we put the real consumer first, providing the services that make them so happy they would never leave us?


  1. Quit hiring non-committed agents. They simply will not do the work, create a business, and serve consumer needs to warrant a a�?generousa�� commission
  2. Establish standards of production for your agents. What do you expect of thema��and when?
  3. Accept that a low-producing agent cannot and does not provide excellent servicea��and the consumer knows that
  4. Pretend you are a consumer. Which of your agents would you want to work with? Which of your agents wouldna��t you want to buy a home from?

If your agents aren’t your customers, what are they? Perhaps partners, as one very successful franchise has termed them. You decide.A�

Get Real Leadership Strategies

Do you want to step into a better leadership style? Be more effective? Recruit more and better? I’ve created a very special, unique program for managers and owners: Once a month I share a specific leadershp strategy to recruit, choose, train, coach, and retain winners. These are proven strategies to get you out of a rut, take you past crisis management, and energize and inspire your team. See more at 365 Leadership. This new series closes for enrollment March 15. Find out more here.


Are you building your online reputation with purpose? A�In the last blog, we talked about how our reputation has gone online–and the dangers that accrue if we stay affiliated with those that don’t represent the best ‘us’. Now, here’s how to build that reputation the best way.

Survey, Survey, Survey

Does your company send surveys after the sale? Do you call all those who dona��t return the survey? (Theya��re not mad enough to dump on you, but theya��re probably not happy enough to eagerly complete the survey). Do you fix problems fast? If so, you are in the a�?vast minoritya�� of real estate companies.

Associations are Starting To Survey

One Realtor association, the Houston Association of Realtors, has decided to regularly survey consumers on behalf of their members. In just a short period of time, the Houston association has gotten a staggering 47% response rate! I think that means the consumer really, really, wants to tell us what he thinks of us.

Don’t have a survey? Click here to get my After Sale Survey.

Suggestion: Send it from the office. Or, ask an independent company to send it. You’ll get a much better return rate.

A�A�Rebuilding Trust: The Hidden Challenge

A�The hidden, and I think, biggest challenge in real estate today is rebuilding trust. For, without trust, you cana��t form rapport. You cana��t move the sale forward. You certainly cana��t get to a�?yesa��. You cana��t get good evaluations. So, evaluations and action on them need to become a huge part of our sales strategy. Not only do we need to let consumers know what others think of us, we need to make those testimonials available in hard copies, on our website, in our blogs, and in these new sales agent evaluation websites.

It was amazing to me, as I read the feedback from consumers, that the agent probably didna��t knowa��or carea��that those very negative testimonials were virtually a�?circling the globea��. Take charge of your reputation now by surveying, coaching your agents, and separating yourself from those agents who are not helping you build your invaluable reputation.


How’s Your Online Reputation?

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Is your online reputation building–or eroding your profits?A� For years, our industry has hired agents to a�?see if they work outa��–to a�?give them a chancea��. We are proud that we a�?hire from our guta��. We brag that we have great intuition about who will be successful in real estate. And, unfortunately, that gut and our intuition keep letting us down. Now, the reputation we’ve gotten from those hiring practices is viewed from a much larger perspecctive.A�

A�Reputation and Referral: Ita��s No Longer Done Just Word of Mouth

A�Ia��ll bet youa��re familiar with Angiea��s List, or Yelp, where products and services are rated by consumers. Just think. If you were a roofing contractor, and you got poor ratings, it could literally ruin your business. Now, leta��s relate these online evaluations to real estate agents. Are agent ratings now available to the millions of people using the Internet? Yes! In fact, some are on Yelp. In addition, though, new websites devoted only to evaluating real estate agents are springing up. Check these out:

A�www.realestateratingz.comA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� www.incredibleagents.comA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� www.zilllow.comA�A�

Word of mouth is wonderful, but, since ita��s verbal, it is not very memorable and cana��t cover a very wide area. But, Internet postings can stay forevera��either to haunt you or support your reputation. Read the reviews on the sites Ia��ve mentioned in this article. Some of them are from raving fans. But, many of them are from very dissatisfied customers.

People Love to Spread their Unhappiness….

You know, too, from experience, that unhappy people are much more likely to spread their unhappiness than are moderately happy people. In fact, the marketers tell us, on average, the unhappy person tells eleven people. Now, with the Internet, unhappy people have a much greater impact on yours and your real estate agentsa�� business and profits.

A�Consumers Just Dona��t Love Us Anymore

A�The recent survey by the California Association of Realtors shows some stunning and alarming trends about customer service expectations and delivery. In 2005, Internet consumers rated their overall satisfaction with their agent at almost 90%, while traditional buyers rated their overall satisfaction at 37%. However, in the ensuing years, the ratings have plummeted. In 2009, both Internet and traditional buyers only rated their overall satisfaction with their agent at 4%!A� (The ratings of Internet and traditional buyers now are equal). In other words, consumer expectations of what an agent should do for them are just not being met.

Dissatisfaction and Ability to Broadcast Should Give the Industry a a�?Heads Upa��

A�Ita��s true that the past few years have been very challenging for real estate agents. They have had to deal with customer distrust, indecision, short sales, and REOs. Ita��s much more difficult to bring a sale to closing. Yet, this is the very atmosphere in which agents should be perceived as much more valuable to the consumer. Instead, the consumer is judging the service received from the agent very harshly. There are several reasons for this:

  • Unrealistic expectations from consumers
  • Inability of the agent to adequately educate the consumer
  • Too many a�?dual careera�� (read that as part-timers) and undedicated agents in our industry

A�In my next blog, I’ll provide you a survey you can use to gain great testimonials–and fix any problems fast.

Real estate managers: What do buyers really want from your agents? Yes, we can guess, but, do we really know? As some of you know, Ia��ve been a musician almost all my life. From the time I was four, I was a�?tickling the ivoriesa��.A�A�As you can imagine, Ia��ve been through countless examinations, ratings, adjudications, and contests. Ia��m very familiar with rating systems. One of the ways to get great performance is to know by which perimeters youa��ll be evaluated.

A�How Would your AgentsA�Rate a ’10’?

For example: What would constitute the consumers rating yourA� agentA�a a�?10a�� (out of 10)? Ita��s very frustrating when you dona��t know what great performance looks, sounds, and feels like. If youa��ve ever been evaluated and gotten a less than stellar evaluation, you know how frustrating it is to be rated as less than stellara��but not know what constituted a�?greata�� in the eyes of those rating us.A�A�A�

Read What Consumers Want from Buyersa�� Agents

A�Besides surveying buyers and asking them to rate agents, the California Association of Realtors asked buyers exactly what they wanted from those buyersa�� agents. Here’s what buyers said:

A�A�What We Can Learn to Help Us Get those Great Ratings

A�As you can see, consumers expectedA�agents to be experts at whateverA�they were doing. They dona��t wantA�agents to try to help them in areas whereA�they’re not competent (like trying to sell foreclosures without adequate education).A� What does that mean to us? The obvious. IfA�our agentsA�going to delve into short sales and foreclosures,A� our agents A�need to dedicateA�themselves to becoming an expert.

My question to you managers/trainers: Are you specifically training to the skills consumers (buyers) said they wanted from their agents? What does your training schedule look like? Do you have a training calendar that includes these areas? What areas are you training to, right now, that fulfil consumer demands?

What does the consumer want? DeliveringA�to their satisfactionA�means more money, less time, and a better business fpr us. Wouldna��t you love to hear people talking about your agents A�in the most glowing terms? Would you love to help your agents doubleA�their eferral business while cutting your marketing costs by 75%? You can. Read on.A�

Would you agree? The more we can fulfill the clienta��s expectations, the more referrals we can expect from that client. A�And, we all know referrals is the name of the game. Referrals cost us much less, and the client referred to us loves us already. Plus, by making the client ecstatic, we have a reason to charge those generous commissions we lovea��and we should.

A�Obvious Question–Not an Obvious Customer-Agent Service Match

You may the above question and answer are obvious. But, we should slow down and really think about it. Why? Because the gap between client expectations and general agent performance has, in the evaluation of the consumer, become a chasm. And, unless we can breach that gap, our commissions will keep sliding downward.

A�Time to Think a�?Outside Ina��

A�As you read this, stop yourself from thinking a�?inside outa�� (What we like to think about ourselves). I, like you, have spent most of my adult working life as a Realtor. I sold hundreds of homes. I hired, trained, and coached thousands of agents. Ita��s painful for me, as it is for all of us, to look at ourselves from a�?the outsidea��. But, if we want to sustain our practices in the best way possible, we have to close that gap between what we think of ourselves and what consumers think of our practices. We have to think a�?outside ina�� (look at ourselves from the consumer perspective).

A�Buyers Talka��Leta��s ListenA�

Take a look at this survey of 2009 from the California Association of Realtors.


A�CAR asked buyers to rate the overall satisfaction level with their buyera��s agent. Wow! 4 out of 100! Now, I know thata��s not true of your agents, but, it is what those thousands of buyers rated those thousands of agents they dealt with. Is 4 out of 100 good enough to get referrals? Is it good enough to sustain a�?generousa�� commission levels? I dona��t think so, do you?

A�Our Reputation as an Industry is Impacted By Every Agenta��s PracticeA�

Yes. I know most Realtors are independent contractors. We like to think we are not impacted by othersa�� practices. But, in truth, study after study shows we are. The consumer judges us generally by the level of practice of the agent with whom they have contact. Then, we a�?inherita�� that reputationa��whether we earned it or not. And, when we have that less than sterling reputation, we have to dig ourselves out of the hole to prove wea��re not a�?one of thosea��. Ita��s there, and we have to recognize it.A�

What do YOU Think?

What do you think the consumer wants that he/she’s not getting? In the next blog, I’ll show you what they said (what they wanted from buyers).

Have you ever met anyone who would admit they provided poor customer service? Ia��ll bet not. Yet, wea��ve all stood around waiting in a restaurant to be noticeda��while the hostess or server gossiped with the other staffa��and then seemed as though we were interrupting something important to want to be served!

How would you rate your agents on customer service? Are they working from the ‘eyes of the beholder’ or are they thinking ‘inside out’? (from their point of view)

Which Service Would You Recommend?

I just experienced a situation thata��s a good example of good and terrible customer service. I wanted a pop-up window on my new website ( to invite viewers to get my new eBook, Getting to Yes: Ten Powerful Tools to Bash those Barriers to Purchasing Today and join my newsletter community. So, in May, I ordered and paid for the recommended pop-up. I got a receipt from the credit card company. Thata��s all I got. I didna��t get any follow-up emailsa��no communication.

When I got ready to implement the pop-up, the website wouldna��t let me register! So, I emailed AND called the owner. He didna��t respond. I called and emailed again. He didna��t respond. This went on for 3-4 weeks. Finally, I got frustrated and bought a different pop-up.

A Different Experience

I immediately got a welcome email from the second company. Then, I got 2 more emails. And, I finally got the 4th emaila��all within the first week. Each email thanked me for being a customer and offered me helpful tips.

A Little Latea��..

Right after I gave up on that first pop-up, the owner emailed me with the log in information.

So, which pop-up do you think I kept, and which pop-up did I ask for my money back? You got it.

Customer service is 90% of sales today.

Our Experiences Let Us Be Fortune Tellers

I dona��t know for sure, do I, whichA� pop-up will provide the best on-going service. I dona��t know which pop-up is best. But, what I do know, is that, given my experience, the first pop-up isna��t going to help me out if I get stuck!

What About Your Agents’ Service

What does your agents’A� response rate say about them? Do they have a a�?professional rulea�� about when you respond to inquiries? Most agents dona��t. In fact, a recent National Association of Realtors survey said that half the Realtors NEVER respond to internet inquiries.

Ita��s So Easy to Stand Out from the Crowd

You dona��t have to be a top producer. You dona��t have to be a technical genius. All you have to do to succeed is to put yourself in your customera��s shoes and think,

a�?How would I like to be treated? How would I like to be answered? What makes me trust a person? What makes me walk away from the product or service?a�? Youa��ve got it. Youa��re on your way to a stellar reputation and business.