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Archive for Leadership

We’re in a situation we’ve never faced before. Do you consider this an ‘interruption’ or an opportunity?

Is this an interruption or an opportunity?

We’ve never faced this kind of situation. Yes, we’ve been through and weathered the slumps. We’ve helped our agents change their strategies from sellers’ to buyers’ markets and back again. But, this is somewhat different.

Consider This a Unique Leadership Opportunity

On April 23, at 10 am PDT, I’ll be presenting a webinar for leadership on how to seize this time as an opportunity to lead. 

For many agents (I estimate it’s about 75% or more), this time is seen as an interruption of a great market. These agents have depended on

the market driving their businesses.

Now, in an instant, 

the agents must drive the market themselves.

But, most agents are not going to make that shift alone. You need to lead them to the concept that they now drive the market–and show them how to do that.

The Leadership Actions to Reveal Opportunities to Agents

How can you implement specific actions that work now to get your agents back into the business and connecting with their client base? Here are four methods to do just that. In the webinar, I’ll show you how to

  1. Motivate your team members to communicate value to their client base
  2. Mobilize your team to gain exceptional support
  3. Re-focus each of your agents by helping them implement a 60-Day Pivot Business Plan*
  4. Up’ your communication with specific changes

*You’ll receive my 60-Day Pivot Business Plan as my ‘thank you’ for attending this webinar. I’ll show you how to use this plan to coach your agents.

Special circumstances require special leadership actions. How have you lead your agents from an ‘interruption mindset’ to an ‘opportunity mindset’?

Leadership:

The Right

Actions to

Take

Now to

Assure Profits

Later

Join me for this fast-paced, 45-minute webinar exclusively for leadership April 23 (Thursday), at 10 am PDT. Click here for more information and to register.

Your business plan wasn’t crafted for Covid. What’s your plan now?

Do you have your 60-day pivot business plan in place?

Congratulations to you if you made a 2020 business plan. However, none of us could have foreseen the events of the past two months. Those events have called for a different plan–both for you and for your agents.

5 Big Questions to Answer Right Now

Next Thursday (April 23), I’ll be doing a 45-minute webinar exclusively for leadership on actions to take right now to retain agents and plan for profits. Here’s more information on that.

To prepare for this webinar, here are some questions leadership needs to ask themselves to evaluate whether they’ve got everything they need in place to lead in this uncertain environment.

  1. What are you doing right now to communicate regularly with each agent in your office? Do you have a schedule? Have you helped each agent with a pivot business plan? (I’ll be providing a template for you to use with your agents after the webinar).
  2. What’s your agent mix? How many new agents, growth agents, mature agents in your mix? Do you have a plan for each group to move them forward? (I’ll provide you a tool to segment your agents).
  3. How have you changed your training to continue it without disruption? Are you doing ‘live’ online events, or have you contracted with an outside source to assure your training has continuity?
  4. Who else have you enlisted to help retain your agents? Do you have any teaming in place?
  5. What’s the morale like in your office? With each agent? What actions are you taking to improve each person’s outlook so they will continue their business in a meaningful way now?

Answering these questions will prepare you for the actions I’ll be suggesting to you during the webinar next Thursday, April 23, starting at 10 am Pacific Daylight Time.

The good news: This is the time when leaders can LEAD. The feelings of insecurity, of fear of income loss, fear of sickness–all can overwhelm our agents unless we step forward with positive leadership actions. The actions I’ll be suggesting to you next week will build loyalty and retain your good agents, preparing for a market re-emergence.

Leadership:

The Actions

to Take Now

to Preserve

Profits Later

Join me for this fast-paced, 45-minute webinar exclusively for leadership April 23 (Thursday), at 10 am PDT. Click here for more information and to register.

Engagement: Do you have a plan to drive engagement with your agents in this shifted market? Or, are you waiting for your company, your association, or …… to take over? Or, do you think you just don’t have to engage?

Sometimes it takes years! I don’t want you to lose your agents–or your business.

Concrete Methods to Re-Engage Your Agents

Every week, I’ll be giving you specific actions to take to re-vitalize the communication and the activity levels of the agents in your office. I’m not just drawing these out of a hat. This is what I have done for years to encourage, tell truth, and get agents into action in challenging markets. This will set you up for great profitability, retention, and a wonderful recruiting tool. How do I know? I’ve done it several times. It works.

First: Set Up Your Plan

Don’t wait for your company or some outside force to do this for you. All well and good, but you need to step right in and be the one who literally LEADS right now. That’s right–leads. Oh, boy, I just thought of what I don’t want to happen for you: DON’T just send them to some training guru site and hope all works out (that includes me!).

What Your Plan Should Look Like

First, when I say ‘meetings’, of course I mean via Zoom or Go to Webinar, or a similar program!

As a group (and groups):

  1. New agent training at least weekly with actionable items they are to complete–must be high accountability
  2. Advanced agent training at least weekly with guests sharing best practices for this market
  3. Mastermind groups of various experience and/or production levels
  4. Office meetings weekly with guests

In other words, your training calendar must

  1. Address the needs of the various levels of your agents
  2. Be consistent and well-thought out to serve your agents with actionable items–which you then can get permission to share
  3. Create a compelling reason why your agents should re-engage frequently

You DO have a training calendar, don’t you?

With individuals:

  1. Quartile your agents using any weighing variables you feel are important (4 points for production, 3 points for culture, etc.). See who you can help (probably not the bottom quartile, but you make that call. It’s your time and energy. You deserve a pay-off…..)
  2. Look at what you’ve been urging these agents to get done for the past 6 months (or more!): their website, their bios, their databases, their presentations, etc.
  3. Choose 5 action items you want to use with each agent, and let each agent prioritize and add to these actions, add dates–so it’s their plan; or, ask each agent to come up with 5 prioritized items
  4. Set up a schedule with each agent to review actions–I’ll be helping you apply great coaching techniques so they are motivated to keep going!

What I’ll be Providing You

Besides these overview and bigger picture items, I’m going to provide you specific action items (some with templates so you don’t have to reinvent the wheel) that you can drop in in several training/coaching areas

Who Will Survive and Thrive Through this Time

I know today, there are companies and/or managers who have a ‘hands off’ approach: It’s the agent’s business and that agent decides when, how, and how much to do–alone. When the market is going nuts, that works, because the market is driving the agents. But, when the market becomes challenging, the agents are looking for leadership, for guidance, for coaching. They get lost–more easily than they will admit. Those who provide positive, clear, supportive leadership now will come out with a much stronger profit picture, a synergistic team, and a recruiting tool.

Tell me: What are YOU doing to drive action in your office right now?

               Let’s Partner to Drive your Success!

Online Training – keyboard 3d render illustration with word on blue key

Why reinvent the wheel right now? Take advantage of my online training program, Up and Running in Real Estate, created from my smash hit, proven business start-up program Up and Running in 30 Days. 

Not just a distance learning program!

No one wants to sit in front of a computer especially now!) and learn neat stuff….

Effective online training has to have 3 things:

  1. An easy, engaging process to draw the attendee in and keep him/her interested
  2. Interaction with a real human being once inawhile
  3. Interaction and idea exchange with others in the course

Ive integrated these 3 critical factors in Up and Running in Real Estate.

  1. Engaging--I created humor, introspection, and awards to motivate attendees to keep going through the program
  2. Coaching: I will be personally group coaching agents in the program, and you have a unique opportunity to coach in the program, too.
  3. Interaction:  set up discussion groups so agents can interact and support each other 

An Easy Way to Integrate Coaching Your Agents 

Your support right now is critical. So, I waived the $99 fee for Coaches Corner (the coaching component of the program) for all who sign up prior to Sept. 1, 2020. To qualify, register at least 1 of your agents in the program. See more here.

Lets create success together!

Mar
10

What’s Wrong with This Training?

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Here’s a ‘story problem’ (case study) from my train the trainer programs. See how you do….

What’s wrong with this training?

Most of us managers train……along with the other 100 things we have to do each day. Too often, we tend to ‘grab and go’……our training is not too well thought out–with good reason!

In my Instructor Development Workshop (live) and my online distance learning version of the course, Train the Trainer, I show attendees how to deliver their courses without droning through them.

case study

In case study, we create a situation that reflects real life. This case study can be rather long and complex. We use it to help students grapple with the ‘gray areas’ –just like we have to do in real life. 

What is a ‘case study’?

First, it isn’t what the attorneys tell us. It’s not a case that you, the instructor, talk through and give the answers. Instead, it’s a written situation that asks the students to come to several conclusions.

When is the case study used? It’s used toward the end of your course or module. 

What is the case study for?  To test the students’ judgment, understanding, and application of what you’ve taught.  

Who can (and should) use the delivery method (teaching method) of case study? Anyone who wants to ‘test’ students’ understanding, judgment, and ability to draw conclusions from the course. It’s great for mortgage lenders, title and escrow, attorneys, and home inspectors to use. in my classes, I ask students to create an appropraite case study for their course. 

What does a case study accomplish? It throws the accountability to the student. It lets the students interact, to team build, and to learn from each other. It shows you, the instructor, how well you’ve taught and what you need to review.

Here’s that case study for you. Take a look at the case study I use in my train the trainer courses to see how well students have internalized the concepts taught in my classes. I assign the case study at the end of one class, and we debrief in small groups and then generalize in the large group.  (And it  helps attendees see an example of a case study and how it is used–so they can create their own case studies easily and quickly).

How did you do? Could you name 10 things ‘Sally’ did wrong? 

Grab Great Teaching Methods

Get some new training strategies and step your training up to the next level. See my online program, Train the Trainer, in new course software. It’s fun to do and you learn great methods (plus I give you 8 ready-to-use teaching strategies).  

Take a Sneak Preview here.

When you look out at your audience, what do ou see? Not this, I hope!

Managers: Do they fall asleep when you start your meetings?

Are your sales meetings knocking their socks off? If not, help is here! Start your meeting with the tips here, and watch your agent count go way up for your sales meetings and training presentations.

Who Is a Presenter?

We’re all presenters: Any time we are in front of two or two thousand, our goal is to persuade the audience to our point of view. However, most of the time, we just get in front of people and say whatever we think of first. That lack of attention to presentation organization leads to some big presentation mistakes, and costs us sales. Instead of stumbling through a presentation, why not organize it to grab their attention, persuade them to your way of thinking, and motivate them to action?

Grab Their Attention in the Opening

Have you thought about your opening? Are you hiding in your office because you dread doing that sales meeting?

, like:

I won’t take much of your time, but

We have a lot to cover today

We won’t get through the outline

I know you don’t want to listen, but

I’m not really prepared

Attributes of Great Openings

Great openings, yes? Yet, we’ve heard them dozens of times. You don’t have to settle for whatever comes “naturally”. Instead, make your openings

Provocative

Interesting

Different

Engaging

Here are some ideas:

  1. come in a costume that gets their attention
  2. Start with a musical group
  3. Ask a provocative question
  4. Have 2-3 people do a little playlet at the beginning
  5. Have a drawing and then use the results to springboard into a discussion

Recently, I was in Napa, California teaching a large home inspection sales company how to create persuasive presentations. I first taught them the process and gave them ideas. Then, we broke into practice groups. Finally, we all meet again and debriefed. They had some great ideas and their practice created team building and sparked creativity.

You don’t have to settle for boring old meetings. Use your creativity and shake things up! You’ll get better attendance AND you’ll involve more people.

Let me know what you come up with!

Face it! Most office meetings are not well attended. In fact, they may be thought of as boring to the office’s agents! Here’s a method to put zip in that meeting and ‘up’ your attendance!

Here’s one easy way to add pizzazz to your next office meeting.

As owners and managers, you’re a meeting planner when it comes to your sales meetings. Interestingly, you have dozens of experts right in your midst that you can spotlight to bring insights and excitement to your next event. Yes, those are the great agents and leaders you work with. So, how can you use that expertise right? Hold a successful panel discussion.

But, too many panel discussions go off the tracks because of these five fatal mistakes. I’ve seen these mistakes and have developed a system and the experience as a facilitator to assure that your panel discussion goes spectacularly well.

(Note: At the end of this blog, be sure to grab my one-page panel discussion rules of the road, too. Use these to prepare your participants and create an event they’ll rave about).

The Five Fatal Mistakes–And How to avoid Them

  1. Too few or too many panelists

The Rule: No fewer than 3; no more than 6. Why? If someone doesn’t show up and you have scheduled only 3 people,   you won’t have a panel! And, if you have more than 5-6 people, you won’t have time to drill down with any of them.

  1. Too general a topic

Choose a topic that’s specific enough that you encourage real action steps and advice that the audience can take. Example: Not ‘How to sell Real Estate’ but “Best Marketing Ideas from the Experts’.

  1. Not getting the written bios/introductions from the panelists prior to the discussion

One of the facilitator’s jobs is to concisely introduce each panelist. Facilitators need a written introduction to do that properly. Don’t try to wing it! If you do, you may inadvertently make mistakes and a panelist may correct them in front of everyone!

  1. Not providing enough time for each panelist to talk.

You want a combination of panelist ‘lecturette’ (about 5-10 minutes each) and Q and A between the facilitator and panelists and the audience.

Note: The panel should last about one hour.

  1. Facilitator talks too much!

It’s not the facilitator’s show! It should shine a spotlight on the panelists.  Facilitators should prepare 5-10 questions in advance and share those questions with the panelists, so they know what to expect. You can also ask panelists what they want to be asked.

Avoiding these 5 fatal mistakes will assure you create an exceptional panel discussion, and reap accolades for your event.

Click here to grab my one-page panel discussion guide.

How can Carla help you with your presenters and instructors?  She applies the principles she learned as a performing musician to the stage to help presenters and trainers create great presentations, get enthusiastic audience participation, and reduce presentation  anxiety. See more at www.carlacross.com or contact her at carla@carlacross.com

Have you asked someone to present at your meeting, and they droned on…and on…and your attendees lost interest? Here’s a method with my planner to assure your presenters stay on point.

Do you arrange and/or lead sales meetings? If you do, you’ve probably seen this happen: 

Your presenter rambles into the presentation, wanders around in a vast wasteland of information during the presentation, and then kind of dribbles out of the presentation–no call to action, no close. After that happens a couple of times, your agents don’t want to hear from any more guests or affiliates! 

Don’t Assume the Presenter Knows How to Structure his/her Presentation! 

I’ve led or attended hundreds of real estate sales meetings. Usually, I find the guest presenter (an affiliate or vendor) is anxious to get up in front of our wonderful team and present.

He/she doesn’t know what interests or challenges the audience. He/she doesn’t know how to begin the presentation to get the audience’s attention, how to build a motivating story, and how to create a call to action.

This Presentation Planner Will Help Presenters Organize

After an especially painful group of presentations (5 all in one meeting!), I decided to create a presentation planner for affiliates/guests to use to prepare their presentations. It is based on the concepts and skills I teach in my Instructor Development Workshops and my distance learning version, Train the Trainer. 

Note: I just returned from giving my presentation Knock Their Socks Off: Tips to Make Your Best Presentation Ever, to a national home warranty company. I was so impressed because they wanted to learn the skill of crafting persuasive presentations AND they had set aside time to practice the skill and de-brief. Great skill building and team building session. 

Three Big Questions to Ask your Would-Be Presenters

  1. What’s the challenge agents (or your audience) are facing that your product/service will solve?
  2. Why should the agents (or your audience) listen to your presentation?
  3. What outcomes will agents (or your audience) have as a result from taking the actions you suggest?

Screen Your Presenters BEFORE You Let Them in Front of your Audience!

Here are three things you’ll want to do to screen would-be presenters:

  1. Have them complete the presentation planner here
  2. Ask for a bio from them with testimonials of those who have used their service or product
  3. If the presenter is going to do a course for you, get the course outline (and not just a PowerPoint presentation!) prior to engaging the presenter, along with at least 10 testimonials of those who have attended his/her session (I learned this the hard way after letting an affiliate teach a ‘class’ to my agents and found the course had no outline and the instructor had no real idea of what he was presenting…..)

Following these guidelines and using my presentation planner will assure your sales meetings are a ‘hit’ and your audience walks away with exceptional value.

Grab your Presentation Planner here.

 

If your training is missing the mark, and you’re not getting results, here’s what to do so you get more production and don’t waste your time.

Are you sure you’re offering the right training?

For the next few blogs, I’m offering tips on making your training work better. And, I’ll be offering tips for trainers, too.

Look at your training calendar. If you don’t have one, simply take a 3-month calendar and write in the training you’re providing.

At the end of this article, I’ll give you my Training Calendar Evaluator—a tool to use to see what your training really looks like. I developed this tool when I was regional director for a very large franchise. I wanted to help managers and trainers improve their training programs and calendars.

What’s the ratio of business-producing vs. business supporting training modules you have now in your training plan and calendar?

When I see some training calendars, I can see why their training is not increasing productivity. Most or all of their modules are concerned with business supporting subjects (technical knowledge): Home inspections, the law of agency, websites, social media, etc. That’s all nice, but what does it directly do with creating productivity? Here’s the path to a sale: 

Excerpted from What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School (Carla Cross, Noteworthy Publishing, Inc.)

If you want to increase productivity and profits, your training calendar needs to reflect your training in these business-producing areas.

What are you training to that will make a real difference in your productivity and profits next year? Put that in your business plan.

To get my analytical tool, Training Calendar Analysis Tool, click here. I’ve added some questions, too, in most categories, to help you think through these decisions and come up with a blazingly good training program.

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!  

There’s no reason to lull yuour audience into slumber! Read how to keep them on the edge of their seats!

Do you do presentations in front of people—such as in real estate offices? You may be a title rep, a home warranty specialist, a mortgage rep, a real estate manager, or a salesperson. In fact, almost all of us must get in front of people and present at some time. But, it’s not something we’re trained for. We probably don’t even realize we CAN gain a process, and get some training, to do a great job! So, we just haltingly get up, open our mouth, and hope something comes out…..

As a long-time speaker and member of the professionals’ National Speaker Association, and trainer of trainers, I’ve learned the importance of presentation—no matter what we do. Here are three big mistakes ‘amateurs’ make in presentations, and three major presentation tips that assure your sales presentations will be professional—and effective.

{See a description of my presentation to teach how to craft and give a persuasive presentation here.}

Mistake #1: Launching Right in Without a Great Opening

Recently, I was at a real estate sales meeting. I heard 5 presenters in a row all start their presentations by ‘rambling’ into them. I wasn’t sure what they wanted to say, why they were there, or why I should listen!

Solution #1: Grab a Great Start

What’s your ‘hook’? How are you going to begin your presentation? With a provocative question? With a relevant story? How does that beginning tie to your theme? Sit down and write down your beginning.

Start with a great ‘hook’—something that grabs their attention.

For example, I give a presentation (usually to affiliates) to teach people how to do a persuasive presentation. As a ‘hook’, I start at the piano. They certainly aren’t expecting that, and it gets their attention right away. Of course, then I segue to the rest of the beginning: Pose the problem, suggest your solution, and build a rosy future for following your recommendations. This works great, too, in an open house to grab the attention of the ‘looker’ who’s trying to avoid you.

Mistake #2: Not developing a cohesive solution to the problem and developing it in the middle of your presentation. Instead, these presenters I heard wandered around in a vast wasteland of incohesive facts, figures, and stores with no relationship or relevance to the ‘theme’ that should have been developed at the beginning.

Solution to #2:  Get Persuasive

You need to be selling your point of view always to your ‘audience’. That means to structure your point of view persuasively. What stories, statistics, and facts do you have to shore up your solution—the solution you promised at the beginning? How persuasive are you here?

Mistake #3: Not Crafting a Great Ending

In some of the presentations I heard, there was no ending. The presenter just ran out of time and sat down! What if you heard your favorite tune and it ended about 4 measures before the ending? It would feel and sound weird, right? Well, a presentation without a logical ending feels and sounds ‘weird’, too.

Your ending should re-state your solution that you developed throughout your presentation. It should motivate your audience to action.

Solution # 3:  Bring it Home with a Great Ending

Have you ever been at a presentation that just puttered out at the end? The speaker said, “Well, we’re out of time.” And you thought, “Good”. Remember, a persuasive presentation is just like a popular tune. Bring back the theme at the end. Close by reminding your audience of the rosy future they will have by following your recommendations. Your job during the persuasive presentation is to persuade.

Here’s my point of view: All presentations that anyone gives should be persuasive. You’re up there to persuade your audience to YOUR [oint of view, not just to regurgitate facts and figures. Otherwise, the audience could simply read a scientific report or watch a video (well, the video may be more interesting than a boring ‘live’ presenter…..)

Does your company ask their reps to do presentations? Are your reps trained, confident, and professional at them? I can help! Check out my presentation, where I teach you how to craft a great persuasive presentation. I offer this to local, regional, and national affiliates and trainers. See it here.

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.