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 interviewing

You’ve interviewed dozens–maybe hundreds of would-be agents. What behaviors have you seen them exhibit that indicate they will be successful in real estate?

What are behaviors that #successful agents exhibit? What are the #attributes of successful real estate agents?

Make your list here. Now, compare it to the behaviors I listed in my book I wrote to educate prospective real estate agents. 

What They May Exhibit that will Assure Failure

It may be easier to make a list of the behaviors that assure someone won’t make money fast enough in our competitive, self-starting business:

  1. Never had a job until mid-twenties.
  2. Still lives at home.
  3. Doesn’t have to make a living.
  4. Has never taken initiative to try something new. 
  5. Hates having to reach out to talk to people.
  6. Loves technology; fears people.
  7. Has had 7 jobs in 7 years.
  8. Doesn’t believe in having to learn from someone or be led.
  9. Gives up easily.

What should I add to that list?

How to Use this Information in the # Real Estate Interview Process

Are you familiar with behavior-based questions? They are questions that ask a person about his past behavior. Why? Because past behavior determines future behavior. (Not always, just 95% of the time. Do you like those odds?) I don’t mean that what someone does specifically determines she will do that again. This is what I mean:

As you listen to a person tell a story about his past, listen for themes that run through the story. For example: One of the behaviors good agents exhibit is tenacity. They just don’t give up. They accept rejection and keep going. If someone or something is difficult, they wade through it. 

The question: Think of a time in your life when you thought of giving up–a time when you really wanted something, but getting it seemed difficult or out of reach. Describe what happened. 

Don’t interrupt. Don’t ask another question. Just hum, agree, or probe. Find out all you can about that story. As you listen, ask yourself:

Does that person have enough ________________ to be a success in real estate?

Your turn. Look at my list of behaviors. What should I add?

I’m updating my book for prospective agents. Please help me create a book that’s different, insightful, and helpful to both the prospective agent and the manager/interviewer. Thank 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.

It’s probably the toughest thing we do–hire a manager. And, there’s little information to help us. That’s why I wrote this series of blogs. 

Past Experience is a Huge Benefit

Look for a person who has been trained in another business as a trainer/coach/leader. This is really important. When I was finding and screening leadership for one of the largest franchises in the world, I found that the really magic ingredient was that the potential leader had already had some experience in the skills of management. (sometimes not in real estate).

The Second Pre-requisite to a Successful Management Hire

Now, go back and prioritize those duties–with the most important ones first. Here is what I hope your list says–in this order:

Recruit

Select

Train

Coach

Lead: Challenge and inspire seasoned agents to the next career level (retention)

Manage staff

Time Frames for Important Activities

Did you add time frames to that job description? If not, go back and do it now. You don’t want a manager that pushes recruiting to the last hour in the day and then doesn’t get to it!

To get my manager’s detailed job description with hours expected, plus a time analysis you can use for all your managers, click here.

Doing all the other Stuff…..

Where does the rest of the go? I know. You have on your list: Broker questions; crisis management; floor schedules; write ads.

Guess what? You can get just about anybody to do those jobs. In fact, instead of hiring a real sales manager, if all you need is operations, hire an administrative assistant who can and will do it all (except for the broker questions, which you can field, or hire one of your good agents to field).

The All-too Common Problem: Hiring an Operations Manager

I find too many owners or general managers who needs to hire and manage a manager are settling for an a operations manager when what they desperately need is a people developing manager.

What does a people developing manager do?

Finds the right people and develops them into productive salespeople who return a profit to you

You don’t need a babysitter. You don’t need just an answer man (or woman). You don’t need merely an operations person. You shouldn’t settle for just a a crisis manager. You need someone who will focus on and drive

recruiting and productivity--to lead that office into greater profitability, not just take up space in the manager’s office!

Get my manager’s detailed job description, plus a time analysis you can use for all your managers: click here.

What didn’t I say in these blogs that you believe is important in hiring a great manager? Let me know. Watch for the next blogs for more in hiring that next great manager.

Experience is the best teacher! As regional director for now the largest real estate company in the world, I screened dozens of would-be leadership. I learned a great screen process and how to find the kind of leaders needed for real estate offices. Why not let me help you? Get a complimentary consultation to see if working with me is a ‘fit’ for you. Check out Leadership Mastery Coaching.
This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is The-Power-of-Standards-1024x576.jpg
Do your agents know what’s expected of them? Or, is ANYTHING expected of them? What are your standards of practice?

Unfortunately, unlike most businesses that are clear in their performance expectations, we either skip this conversation entirely or gloss over it.

I have done 2 short videos on these very important topics. The first video addresses establishing standards (minimum expectations). The second video explains how to address these expectations with the agent. I’m including the first video today. In my next blog, I’ll show you the second video.

Click here to go to the first video.

Take a look at the first video here: Establishing Standards and Mutual Expectations

Here are the documents I mentioned to help you think through and put your standards in place:

Establishing Your Hiring/Retention Standards for your Agents

Up and Running in 30 Days Goals and Standards

Up and Running in Real Estate Commitment Letter

Use the information here, along with the standards documents, to raise the performance of your team to a much higher level!

Let me know how you’re doing with this! Remember, be careful about establishing your standards and how you implement them!

interview with clip boardOnboarding: Is it causing attrition or retention in your company? Do you know? Do you know how awesome (or not) your onboarding system is? Have you done a survey? (more about that in later blogs).

The biggest lesson in the onboarding process is starting each new agent with a proven lead generating plan.

What Does Onboarding Include?

One study I used in Up and Running in 30 Days was the Inman Select Special Report: How to Fix New Agent Onboarding. The Inman report didn’t define what was included in Onboarding. From reading the study, however, Inman included initial training, coaching, and mentoring. I am going to add basic orientation and basic actions to the Onboarding process. Why? Because many real estate companies do not have adequate orientation processes. So, agents don’t get the basic direction needed to launch their businesses.

Question: What is your initial orientation like? Does it cover all the bases? If you want a template and suggestions of what should be included in your orientation, click here.

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

Retention Starts in the Interview

From working with real estate companies over the past three + decades, I think that most brokers regard retention as something that we must do to keep those seasoned agents. However, according to the survey results in the SHRM study, retention decisions are made by those we hire within a very short period of time. In fact, both studies indicate retention starts prior to hiring!

Here is a major conclusion from this survey, and it what means to real estate companies.

Expectations of the job are different than what new hires heard in the interview. And, the Inman report said new agents fail because they are unprepared for the realities of working as an independent contractor. I’m sure you’ve experienced this. Your new agent is all excited about a career in real estate. But, he/she will not do the lead generating activities required to launch a career. You told the candidate he/she had to lead generate. What is wrong?

Question for you: How well do you explain the job expectations in your interview? Do you provide a prioritized job description for the new agent? (Click here to grab mine). How do you give the prospective agent a real idea of the job?

Three Tips:

  1. Prior to hiring: Have the agent shadow one of your agents who is modeling the behaviors you want.
  2. Provide the agent with the eBook What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School. This eBook tells the truth about real estate as a career! You’ll save lots of time in the interview process and winners will pick themselves.
  3. Ask the prospect agent to do an activity you feel is important: Like create a dialogue to talk to someone they know about buying/selling real estate.
  4. Prior to hiring: Give the prospective agent Up and Running in 30 Days. Ask them to review the book. In my experience, if they come back, excited to begin this specific start-up plan, they are a good match for a productivity-focused office. If they come back and reject your lead generating plan, not a good prospect!

In my next blog, I’ll discuss more of the study conclusions and what they mean to us as real estate owners. I’ll also offer tips to tighten your onboarding process. Isn’t it worth having great systems if you could increase your retention of first year agents to 75%?

Last question: What’s your retention rate now of first year agents? How much money do they make their first year in the business? Do you know?

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.

How much time should you spend in these management activities I’ve listed in the handout below?

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

In my Leadership Mastery Coaching program, I provide several analysis tools to help new managers get started right with the best practices. At the end of this blog, grab my Time Analysis for Managers. Use this to set up your schedule (if you’re going into management). If you’re already in management or managing managers, use this to help managers get their priorities right for success.

Where Managers Go Right–and Wrong

In my most popular book, Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s start-up plan, I divide all the activities an agent could do into two categories: business producing or business supporting. Business producing are those activities where the agent is finding, working with, and closing clients. Business supporting are all the rest of the activities. Where do you think agents go wrong? They spend too much time in business-supporting activities.

Now, let’s compare that to the categories and activities managers do. They also divide themselves nicely into busininess-producing and business supporting. (Take a look at my handout at the end of this blog).

How do You Spend Your Time?

From working with hundreds of managers in my Leadership Mastery program, I see that successful managers spend the majority of their time in business producing activities. The failing managers spend most of their time in business supporting activities. In fact, they become masters of the technical aspects of the business, and spend lots of time preparing and playing technology. (Sound familiar to those of you managing failing agents?) There’s nothing wrong with knowing the technical aspects of real estate and using technology. But, the failing manager focuses and ‘lives’ there.

What’s Your Conclusion?

Let me know how you used this analysis tool. General managers: What did you find when you had a manager use this tool? What changes will you help them make?

Grab my Time Analysis for Managers. Use this to set up your schedule (if you’re going into management). If you’re already in management or managing managers, use this to help managers get their priorities right for success.

Resources (Some are FREE) to Gain those Management Skills

This month, I’m offering some of my management resources free with purchase of other resources. Check it out here.

Rate yourself on your management skills, so you’ll know what you need to work on prior to going into management (or if you’re already in management).

Are you thinking of going into management? Few of us knew the skills–or the level of skill attainment–we needed to succeed in the job. I want to help all of you who want to go into management to succeed at a high level. Thus, these blogs.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

In an earlier blog, I discussed the skills we need to have honed prior to going into management. In this blog, we’ll tackle getting those skills in certain areas.

At the end of this blog: grab my assessment tool I use in my Leadership Mastery coaching series to help new managers plan for this skill attainment.

The Biggest Skill Area Managers Need Today to Succeed

What do you think it is? It’s recruiting and selecting skill. Why? Because, there’s so much competition for good agents that a manager just can’t sit back and wait for agents to come to them. It isn’t the old days (although I never was able to do that in my ‘old days!’).

These skills are the same skills good agents use to expand their businesses. That’s why we need to hire managers who have been successful recruiters and selectors. Notice I said recruiters and selectors. I know companies brag about how mahy gross recruits they landed that month or year, but, long-term, it’s those who stay, prosper, and grow with the company that add to the profitability of all.

One of the standards you need to create when you’re hiring a manager is

How successful was that agent as a business getter? What’s the number of transactions you would accept?

How to Get Recruiting and Selecting Skills

Your company may have a course focusing on these skills. If so, take it prior to going into management. Overall, the best courses out there for management are the CRB courses, leading to the Certified Real Estate Broker designation. I highly recommend them. Here’s the link.

What’s Your Agent Track Record?

In addition, if you don’t have a track record of at least 12-20 transactions a year as an agent, in my opinion, you have not developed the skills in recruiting and selecting you will need as a successful agent. It’s my experience that agents who didn’t actively lead generate will carry that habit into management. They will balk at lead generating for agents, and they will fight upper management to the death–and to everyone’s detriment.

Resource (Some are FREE) to Gain those Management Skills

This month, I’m offering some of my management resources free with purchase of other resources. Check it out here.

Grab the leadership skill assessment here.

Managers or general managers: If you’re hiring a new manager, help them evaluate their skill levels and then create a training and coaching program to assure they get those skills before they launch their management career.

Here’s how to find out if management is in your future–and how to prepare to succeed.

** See my prioritized job description of a manager as a handout–along with the number of hours I recommend you spend in each activity.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

In these blogs, I’ll make some recommendations to you about how to get those skills. Unfortunately, we go into management thinking either

  1. We have enough of the skills to succeed
  2. There aren’t skills needed to suceed in management
  3. I’ll learn ‘on the job’

The Best Management Training Courses Out There

Are you familiar with The CRB courses? These are offered by an arm of the National Association of Realtors, and are, by far, the best management courses out there.

Here’s the link: https://www.rebinstitute.com/. It’s called Real Estate Business Institute now. I highly recommend the courses.

When to take these courses? Before you go into management! They are offered throughout the United States (and some in Canada). I was an instructor with the Institute for 12 years, and so I know the value of these courses (I also took several of them prior to going into management).

Investigating Management

Have you interviewed at least 5 managers to find out what they do and how they got the skills to do it? If not, start your interviews now. You’ll find a wide range of management descriptions, of course. Some managers will describe what I call ‘maintenance management’–keeping the place running by doing administrative duties and listening to agent complaints. That’s not what it takes today to succeed in ‘active’ management. In fact, I think a great manager can be compared best to a great or mega-agent.

Questions you’ll want to ask:

  1. What’s your biggest challenge in management?
  2. What’s your biggest win?
  3. What’s different from management than you thought before you went into management?
  4. How do you create a real team?
  5. How do you recruit?
  6. How did you prepare to go into management?

Suggestion: Ask for a copy of the manager’s job description. I’ll bet few of them have ever seen one!

Here’s the link to the prioritized manager’s job description.

Another way to prepare to go into management: See my management resources at www.carlacross.com. 

Want to go into management? Try ‘perfect practice’ to get the skills you need BEFORE you jump into the job.

This month, I’m taking what I’ve learned as a musical performer from age 4 to the world of leadership and sales. (And, read my musical quotes at the end of each blog. I hope you’ll get a chuckle!)

Are You Prepared–or Just Hopeful?

My son owns a real estate company, and I help him initially screen candidates for manager and assistant manager. He has created a very detailed job description for any of those applying. Yet, we see two problems:

  1. Most of the candidates do not meet the qualifications the job requires
  2. Even the borrderline candidates have done nothing to prepare themselves for the job

For several years, I was a regional director of now the largest real estate company in the world. One of my jobs was finding and screening leadership. Boy, did I learn a lot! So, with that experience, I’m writing some tips here for those of you who want to step from sales into management (and for those looking for leadership). I’m not going to address the first problem. For example, some candidates just haven’t had job experience of any type in real estate. Although I know there are exceptions, generally, if you haven’t successfully sold real estate, you won’t understand, emphasize and be able to ‘develop’ agents successfully.

The Principle to Prepare: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Of course, this principle comes from my world of music. I learned this from my college piano professor.

. That means hundreds or thousands of hours in the practice room, not in performing! (In other words, you have to practice your little heart out before they’ll let you loose in front of discerning people!) It’s drudgery and you wonder what you’re accomplishing. But, this perfect practice pays off when you have to perform in front of thousands and put to use your ‘muscle memory’. When you’re performing all those notes so quickly, you don’t have time to consciously figure out where your fingers should go (just like you do’t have time in an interview to figure out a good interview process!!!!)

What This Means to Your Preparation for Management

Here’s a straightforward job description for a successful leadership-manager:

Find and develop people

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

How Are You going to Develop Those Skills–Before You Get into Performance?

Go through the checklist/description above. Ask yourself: Have you devleoped those skills? If not, are you going to wait and ‘wing it’ on the job? As a pianist, I wouldn’t dare ever get in front of people to perform without having practiced!

Next blog: Suggestions in how to do that perfect practice in each of these areas.

Managers: Share this blog with those who are interested in going into leadership. In later blogs, I’ll share some analytical tools I’ve developed to help you help others develop their leadership skills.

Just for chuckles:

“I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.” — Woody Allen