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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.

 

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!  

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. 

Are you rewarding the behaviors you want? And, if so, how?

In this series, I’ll be providing tips to trainers, managers, and coaches on how to get behavior change–in the most positive way. That’s the way to move people forward with confidence.

Whether you’re a trainer, a manager, or a coach, you want to see changes (for the better) in your ‘clients’. How can you accomplish that?

By catching someone doing something they should keep ‘in their repertoire’ and rewarding it.

They want to keep their audience’s attention. I’ll be blogging about that during this series. Right now, I want to narrow this down and talk about one way to get and keep your audience’s attention–and it works to motivate anyone you’re working with:

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

That’s the good news–and the bad news. Generally, when you compliment or reward someone for a good behavior, they will continue that behavior. But, in addition, people will repeat bad behaviors, too, if they are rewarded for them (the prisons are filled with people who demonstrate this truism).

Negative Nellies or Bash ‘Em Bobs?

To further complicate matters, some people were raised with negative reinforcement, and respond primarily to negative reinforcement (“you’re not good enough, you’ll never be able to do this, etc.”) These are the people who beat themselves up dozens of times in their heads for any mistake they make. In evaluations, they’re always hard on others. I had one of these people tell me, “You were great, but I only gave you 8 out of 10. I never give anyone a ’10.” Well, guess what, he is harder on himself that anyone else! That’s a tough way to live, but someone people always look at the dark side.

Accentuating the Positive

I don’t think, generally, that using negative reinforcement is a good strategy to employ, whether in or out of the classroom. So, I’m going to concentrate here on positive reinforcement, and specifically how to do it in the classroom. 

Getting and Keeping Their Attention in the Classroom with Rewards

I just did an instructor update with the very capable instructors of the Realtors of South Central Kansas. One of the topics they requested was some strategies to get and keep the audience’s attention. Let’s zero in, then, on one surefire way to do that, and it’s quick and easy to implement. Not only does it keep people’s attention, it rewards them for those positive behaviors.

For example: What do you do, as an instructor, when someone does a great job in a role play you’ve set up? You reward that behavior. So, here’s the principle: 

Use giveaways for great performance.

What do I mean? Here are some:

One of your favorite books (especially related to your topic)

A pamphlet or book you wrote (I have a small book, literally a ‘small book’ of Big Ideas, that is perfect for this. See it here.*

A CD or DVD

Starbucks card

Entry into a future seminar you’re giving/webinar, etc.

*I’m doing a presentation for Fidelity National Home Warranty Company next month, on how to present at sales meetings to grab people’s attention. So, guess what I’m going to be giving to the facilitators? You got it, the Small Book of Big Ideas!

You’ll Have Everyone’s Attention!

When you reward someone in front of others for a great performance, or being the leader of a group, or being reporter, you can be assured everyone will pay attention. You’re taking the spotlight off yourself and putting it on one of your audience members. 

The big question: What are you doing with your students in the classroom that sets up an opportunity to provide positive reinforcement with rewards? (like role play, reporting, small group facilitation, etc.).

Remember, behavior that’s rewarded is repeated, and you’ll grab and keep their attention!

 

 

 

 

 

Breaking through those barriers: Keys to higher performance from an unlikely source–my piano teacher. 

This year, I’m focusing on performance–higher performance for agents, leadership, and trainers. All of these principles are foundationed in those actions that create higher performance taken from a field that absolutely depends on increasing performance–music.

What does my piano teacher have to do with real estate coaching–or training? Everything. Here’s what I learned about coaching great performance–not from a business coach, but from my great piano teacher (in fact, I’ve had many of them.)

Good or Great?

As you know, some pianists become great, while most others just become good enough to play the notes. It’s the same with trainers’ outcomes. Recently, one of my coaching clients (an owner of a real estate company) asked me, “Why do some trainers and coaches get great results and others don’t–but seem to be working as hard?”

Great question, huh? In fact, if we trainer/coach types knew that answer, we could build our systems so that we assured great performance! So, I went back to my ‘former life’–that as a musician and piano/flute teacher, and thought, “Why do some piano teachers create great performers–and others don’t?”

Why Use Piano Teachers as the Analogy….

I use the analogy of the piano teacher, because it’s easy to hear differences in sloppy and great performance. I’m sure you’ve heard 2 people play the same piece of music. One plays it accurately and one just kind of slops through it. Or, some piano teachers’ students drop out, unmotivated to practice, while others stay motivated, challenged, and achieve high performance–even if they don’t seem to have great talent.

Five Proven Components for Great Performance

From having taken piano lessons since age six, gaining a degree in piano performance, and having taught piano at the grade, high school, and college level, I’ve had an opportunity to see the great and the not-so-great–both teachers and performers. Here are the five components I’ve discovered make the biggest difference in great performance. As you read this, ask yourself, “How am I, as a trainer and/or coach, applying these principles?” “What outcomes am I getting?”

1. Great piano teachers screen in and screen out.

They don’t let just anybody take lessons from them. Trainers and coaches: What’s your ‘screen in’ process? Do you have one? Do you have a list of questions you ask? In our coaching company, we have a prescribed list of questions we ask potential clients (and we unfortunately have to turn down some). I even have a Coach ability Assessment I provide potential clients.

Click here to request your copy.

2. Great piano teachers set expected standards (minimums) during the screening process–not after the lessons start!

Those standards include: Amount of practice each day, recitals attended and played in, going to lessons, etc. What do you expect of your clients? Make a list of at least 5 standards now–and get the ‘mutual expectations’ agreement in writing prior to letting them into your program.

3. Great piano teachers figure out the ‘competency levels’ they want their students to attain–and when they expect them.

How good do you expect your students to get in that one-month training program you’ve been doing? Do you even measure skill levels? Which skill levels to you measure? How? Do you have your students practice their listing presentations until they reach the level of competency you believe the real client expects? What an eye-opener! Make a list now of 5 skills and the level of competency you want your students to attain in your training program. You’ll see your outcomes go way up just by doing this.

4. Great piano teachers get better performance because their excellent students motivate other good students to excellence.

Have you ever gotten yourself into the situation where you felt like you were way above the other people in your group? This isn’t an ego thing–it’s just a ‘I don’t belong here’ thing. Likes attract. Good performers motivate other good performers. Excellent performers stay. Are you creating a self-motivating group–or, are you creating a situation where your good performers will leave for a team that is ‘more like them’? This goes back to those ‘screen in’ and setting competency principles. I know we all feel challenged when people don’t appear motivated. Here’s one of the secrets to fire them up!

5. Great piano teachers provide lavish praise–when deserved.

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

If you have competency levels, you have a way and a reason to praise. Your students/clients know when they have reached those levels–and can expect praise, too! In fact, strong students/clients will ask you for praise. Write down the 5-10 methods you use to appreciate and praise good performance. If you can’t get to 10, figure them out.

But, what about the method? The specific coaching, the training? Yes, the method is important, but the coaching/training techniques above are much more important. I’ve heard some great performers and some poor performers all playing the same kind of music from the same method. At the same time, great methods should have some ‘built-in’ features that assure the trainer/coach is achieving these 5 principles.

Principles, System, Coaching–Putting it All Together

From talking with prominent trainers, managers, and coaches, we’ve pinpointed a need for all those training and coaching today to get the coaching they need to turn out great performers. In my online coaching program for new agents, logoUp and Running in Real Estate, I’ve put these components into the program as an integral way to assure great performance. 

Just updated and revised to make it an easy and fun experience!

 

Got your business plan done? Why not get dozens of tips to polish (or start) that plan) by looking at the webinar I did a couple of weeks ago?

You’ll get guidelines to organize your whole plan, and you’ll get tips to assure that plan works for 2020!

Click here to see the video and get all the handouts, too. Happy New Year!

You as business planning coach: How do you stack up?

This month, I’m focusing on business planning. I want every professional to have a great plan for next year. Look for checklists, processes, and systems, too, ready to use.

You’ve decided to coach your agents in creating great business plans. but, if you’ve never coached an agent in business planning, it can be quite daunting. So, what do you look for? In this blog, I’ll show you how to use this statistic:

listings taken to listings sold in normal market time.

to coach them to a better year next year. You would think agents know this statistic, but very few do. It is so important, because it

  1. Determines whether the agent makes enough money per listing or not
  2. Determines whether the agent builds a positive reputation or a poor one
  3. Reflects the agent’s value-proposition strategy
  4. Reflects on the office’s productivity and profitability

For example: George Smith, a 10-year seasoned agent, has demonstrated a consistent listing strategy. George’s success ratio is 40%. That is, he sells 40% of his listings in normal market time. What does that say about George’s values proposition strategy? How is George using his listings? Is that the culture you want perpetuated in your office?

A Different Example

Sally Overton has a different value proposition strategy. She has a 90% success ratio in listings taken to listings sold in normal market time. Obviously, she is building her referral system with her raving fans. She is making herself more money in less time. She is drastically reducing the number of complaints (and attacks on her self-esteem, too). She is a role model for best practices in her real estate office. Is that practice more in line with your culture?

Your opportunity: As George’s business planning consultant, you’ll be testing George to see if he wants to change his strategy (some agents love being a ‘bait and switch’ artist too much to change). You’ll have the opportunity to help Sally leverage her awesome conversion rates to obtain even more raving fans. (Nothing succeeds like success).

Do you know your ‘conversion numbers’ in listings taken to listings sold for your company? When you make your own plan, be sure to do a thorough review, and find this number. A high number means you’ll be able to recruit better, get better retention, have better team spirit, and your agents can build on that reputation. A low number means you have a lot to work on!

Click here for a list of common agent business planning mistakes to help you as you coach agents through the planning process.

Excerpted from my agent business planning system, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

Watch my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar Recording

It’s on my website now, along with the handouts, at www.carlacross.com/webinars and more (the button).

Plan_Act_Celebrate

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Managers

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This all-new program does several things for you:

2 webinars teach your agents how to plan using Carla’s strategic planning system

14 planning documents are included to guide your agents right through the planning process

3 webinars for you:

1. How to Create a Great Office Plan

Included: 22 office planning documents to make it easy for you to stay on track and create a great plan

2. How to Convince your Agents to Plan

3. How to Integrate your Office and Agents’ Plans

Check out Beyond the Basics of Business Planning: A planning system exclusively for real estate managers.

Do you where your agents spent your money last year? Knowing is critical to their NOT having empty pockets next year. I know you’re going to help your agents create business plans this year, so I want to share these stunning surveys with you.

In my upcoming webinar, I discuss the importance of 3 critical areas you must know–and your agents must know– to succeed next year. One of these areas is the agent’s budget.

Here are the surprising results of a study on how top agents spent their marketing dollars: 

As you can see, agents spent their money NOT on the best sources of business, but on other sources. Why? Maybe because they thought these other sources were more interesting. Maybe they wanted to try something new. Maybe they didnt know where they had spent their money before, and just kept throwing it at these less-than-stellar sources.

Help your agents find out where their money went last year, and how big a bang they got for the buck. Now, you’re ready to plan for 2020.

Join Me for my Complimentary Business Planning Webinar

Whether you’ve been in business 20 years or 20 minutes, you need an awesome blueprint for a great 2020–and so do your agents. Join us for this fast-paced webinar, where Carla Cross, who literally ‘wrote the book’ on real estate business planning, will help you do just that.

In this webinar, you’ll:

Get the blueprint the most successful agents and businesses use to create a plan that works. You don’t need a ‘fill in the blanks’ color by the numbers plan–you need a businessperson’s way to think through your business so you’re ready for anything that comes your way in 2020.

Gain the critical step usually left out in business planning–the step that can literally save your money and efforts from going down those dreaded planning ‘cul-de-sacs of frustration and failure

How to predict and project your 2020 results so you know your plan is going to work for you–not someone else!

Your gold mine right in front of you—and few agents are ‘mining’ it. You’ll save thousands in marketing dollars, lower your stress, and enjoy a much better business if you create the right action plan for 2020.

You’ll get some stunning and surprising statistics that will help you create the right actions for 2020, instead of guessing at what to do next.

Managers: You’ll gain tips on helping your agents plan–and how you can be a true support for their planning efforts. Just imagine what your profits would be like if every one of your agents had a workable plan?

Questions: You’ll have a chance to ask Carla your business planning questions, too. You’ll gain handouts from her business planning programs.

Space is limited, so register now! Let’s work together to create an exceptional 2020.

$$$$$$ 2 lucky people will win Carla’s complete business planning systems, too.

When: Dec. 12 (Thursday)

Time: 10-11 am, Pacific Standard Time (west coast)

What: Business planning webinar (join with your computer)

Register here.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation email containing information about joining the webinar.