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Archive for Real Estate

You work hard when you provide training. How do you assure, though, that your attendees actually take home strategies they know are useful to them?

Trainers: How do you assure that your attendees actually capture strategies that they feel will help them in their careers? Or, do you just expect them to be able to make the leap from what you’re teaching to how they’ll use the information and skills?

The strategy I’m explaining below is excerpted from my training programs, which certify instructors in Washington state to teach clock-hour approved courses. See Train the Trainer, my distance-learning version, or Instructor Development Workshop, my live version. Both can be found at Cross Institute.

The situation: The attendees sits all the way through that day-long class. In the after-class evaluation, he says, “I didn’t get anything I could use.” Oh, boy. Here you’ve worked hard to bring each attendee the strategies needed to propel careers forward. Yet, this attendee (and it’s a common problem), said he didn’t get anything useful from the class.

What’s going on? What’s going on is that attendees may not have a method to translate what you’ve shared in class to apply to their own situations. You need to provide them a method to ‘translate’ your strategies to their solutions, and capture those translations to put to use once they’re out of class.

The Action Plan Method

Here’s a great method to do just that. At the end of your warm-up, or, at least in the first 1/2 hour of your presentation, introduce the action plan. In this section, I have given you a couple of examples of action plans. Also in this section, I’ve made a sheet called your action plan. Put this sheet in your handout, or make it a separate sheet.

Take a look at the Action Plan template here.

If I were teaching this class ‘live’, I would ask attendees to take this sheet out of your handbook and keep it beside you, as you go through this course. I encourage you to include an action plan ‘template’ in your outline when you’re teaching,  and ask the students to take it out of their handbook, and keep it beside them as they go through the course so they can capture action items. These action items don’t have to be things that you say. it’s whatever pops into their heads. Many times when I’m teaching, I tell people that the person with the longest action list gets the most out of the course. So if they paid $250 for the course, and they’ve got an action list of four pages, they really got a $2500 course. Whereas the person who paid $250 for the course, and has three items on the action list, probably should have paid only $50 for the course! (Or, at least that’s the value they got, because they couldn’t apply all the principles and skills to become a better instructor).

It’s not the information you get. It’s what you do with it.

Including this step increases your adult learner’s desire and ability to create practical action steps to implementing the concepts and skills you are teaching.

Adult learners many times don’t have the skills to translate the concepts you’re teaching to ‘real life’. Using the Action Plan process teaches them to learn better.

How do you provide ‘reflection time’ so that your attendees have a quiet moment to think through possible action items and commit?

Let me know how this terrific method works for you!

Can I help your association or business be better in front of an audience? I’d love to create a customized training for you. Here’s what you can accomplish with me:
1. Create an effective 3-60 minute persuasive presentation, so you’ll get more business when you’re in front of 2 or 200 (especially great for affiliates–mortgage and title reps, home warranty companies)
2. Learn and apply new teaching methods to keep our audience engaged–so you’ll get great reviews and more trainings
3. Get exciting, easy, and effective creative training strategies to put more ‘zip’ in your presentations–and polish your courses
Contact me at carla@carlacross.com or call me at 425-392-6914 and we’ll explore how I can help!
How many ways do you teach–and how often do you change your delivery? Is your class boring–or exhilarating to your attendees?

Quick! Count the number of ways you teach. Are you a ‘one-trick’ pony, or do you vary your teaching methods and strategies often?

The picture is from the last Instructor Development Workshop I just taught. My awesome attendees posted what they thought were the most valuable teaching strategies they got from the session. Wow–they won’t be boring presenters now!

Are you stuck in one method?

We all have a favorite method to teach. Why? Because it’s our behavioral ‘style’. Many of us in the real estate industry like to lecture. Admittedly, it’s the easiest. We can control the audience–we think! We are the whole show. We don’t want input. After all, we must know more than the students, right? We are experts. We want to provide lots of information, and we don’t have much time to do it. So, we talk–and talk–and talk.

The problem with the presenter being the whole show…..

Unfortunately, though, the attendees get real tired of hearing us in about 10-15 minutes. Oh, I know. A very few lecturers can be entertainng for longer than that. But, learning studies show that learning drops way off in a short period of time when the students are not involved.

How much do you want your students to learn–and retain?

You would think, that, the more we talk, the faster we talk, and the more information we provide, the more the students grasp and remember. But, as you can see from the study below, that’s not the case. If we’re just talking, the student retains only 20%. But, if we’re using various other training methods, the student retention goes WAY UP.

The REAL Reason We Rely on Lecture

OK. I’m going to throw back the covers on a dirty little secret: We lecture because we aren’t trained in other methods of teaching. In addition, the courses we are given to teach are not even courses–they’re little books, or ‘streams of consciousness’. So we grab them and talk.

The other big problem with relying on lecture

When I teach Instructor Development, the attendees always want to know how to deal with the ‘chatty Cathys’ or the ‘disruptive Dans’. So, let’s look at how those challenges occur. They occur when we rely on lecture. It’s easy to lose control when someone wants to take over and teach the class to us, or argue, or comment with a war story! And, that only occurs when you lecture or hold a discussion.

Divide and conquer

What if you could develop alternative methods to deliver your content? What if you could divide them in various ways so those chatty Cathys and disruptive Dans couldn’t run their schticks? What if you could control your audience with grace? What if you could help your attendees learn more and retain better? What if your attendees could find your training fun, exhilarating, exciting, and engaging? It’s possible if you learn and use other methods of teaching. That’s what we explore and practice in my Instructor Development Workshop, and my distance learning version, Train the Trainer.

Let me help your association or business quit those old boring lectures and make every course come alive with new, creative teaching methods. I’ll customize a training to meet your needs.
Are you doing sales presentations and need to capture interest and action?
Are you doing clock hour trainings and want to put the excitement and participation in your course?
Do you want me to certify your instructors to teach clock hour courses? Contact me and we’ll get it done! carla@carlacross.com
How do you start your course? Is it encouraging, inviting, and accomplishes something? Or, do you just wander into your subject?

Here are three common mistakes we make in starting a course–and what to do to launch it right. This is excerpted from my Train the Trainer distance learning program, that qualifies as an approval method to become a clock-hour instructor in Washington state. 

  1. Mistake One: Not doing a warm-up, or the wrong warm-up

In starting a course,  step one is to create rapport. To do that you use warm-ups. Have you ever been in a class where students were directed to introduce themselves and say what they did? That was a kind of a warm-up, and but it’s just so boring!  You hear about three or four people and you’re thinking, “Oh, please, please just quit before you get to 30 or 40 of them.” You don’t really learn anything, do you? Avoid those kinds of warm ups. In the resource section of Train the Trainer, and my ‘live’ version, Instructor Development Workshop, there’s a list of great books with warm ups and exercises. Get those books, and start thinking about what warm up would be appropriate to what you’re teaching.

My Warm-Up for the ‘live’ Instructor Development Course

When I’m teaching this course live, I start it by inviting people to tell me who their best teacher was, and why. Actually, I don’t have them tell me.  I have them tell each other. Then, we make a list of best teacher attributes. We get people talking to each other, we get them refining things, we get them sharing common things that they have experienced.

Later, when I ask little tougher questions, they’re going to contribute because they know I’m not going to hurt them! And, the people in the class aren’t going to hurt them.

Why I Use the ‘Best Teacher’ Warm-Up

 Why do I use the warm up of the best teacher? Because that’s part of the course. See if you can come up with a warm up that lead you segues you into what you’re going to teach.

2. Mistake Two: Spending Too Much Time Telling about YOU

Have you ever been in a course where the instructor spent the first half-hour (or more), telling the attendees about himself/herself? Don’t do that! You’ll see, from , my courses,  there’s a natural flow to the four-step course launch process. It doesn’t include a half-hour on instructor bio! Instead, you can introduce yourself in 3 minutes. And, provide your bio–and most importantly–why you’re qualified to teach this course–in your outline, in your pre-course email, in a handout, etc.

3. Mistake Three: Launching Right into the Course By Saying ‘We’ve Got a Lot to Cover’

Oh, how exciting!!! It’s about as exciting as saying ‘I’ll never get through that outline, so bear with me.” If you have 3-4 hours of class, take time to go through the four steps as I’ve described in my courses. Those steps include telling the benefits the attendees will get from the course, and then asking them what they want from the course. 

Launching your course is the most important part of the whole experience. People remember the beginning and the end. Be sure your beginning is carefully ‘choreographed’, and you do what needs to be done for specific reasons–not because you saw someone else do it!

Want some methods to ramp up your training? Keep them interested? Reduce your anxiety? Control those pesky audience members? Join me for my unique take on Instructor Development Workshop, coming up Oct. 3-4, 2019 in Bellevue, Wa. Click here to register.
How many times have you walked into a training room to teach and found it arranged improperly? Here’s how to assure you start right BEFORE training begins!

Trainers: Here are some pointers on setting up your room so you achieve the highest learning from your efforts. (excerpted from my upcoming Train the Trainer 2.0 distance learning course–all in new software; coming in November).

Note: At the end of this blog, grab my schematic of various room configurations. Decide which is best for your training purposes.

Many times I walk into a room and it’s not set up right, even though I gave the meeting planner a schematic of exactly how I want the room arranged. I have to be there at least an hour before to get it set up right (and I highly recommend you always check out the room beforehand and get to the meeting room an hour before you speak).

The Magic of the Chevron

What do I mean by chevron? That means the chairs or desks are arranged in a V, with the point at the back of the room. The reason for the V is that the people at the outside corners of the room, or along the side of the room, can see the instructor. If the desks or chairs are arranged straight across the room, the students are not facing toward where you are in the middle.

What about Round Tables?

 Round tables are great if you’re facilitating a lot and people are going to work together. But, round tables may work against you because they take up a lot of room. Let’s say you’ve got 100 people in the room and they’re at round tables. You’ve got a lot of space to cover. Also, if you’re going to be switching deliveries often (that’s how you teach, to avoid lecture) (and I hope you are), you may be asking people to switch tables frequently and that can be confusing. Be sure you match your room configuration with the kind of teaching that you’re going to do.

Is the Room Big Enough?

Sometimes the room isn’t big enough. When I’m doing this distance learning Train the Trainer class as a live class, (Instructor Development Workshop--coming up Oct. 3-4, 2019 in Bellevue, Wa), I need to have a room at least twice as big as one would need if I was just doing a lecture; because I’m dividing people up and they have to have room to roam. They have to have room to do exercises, And, on day two, students are going to actually do a presentation to their peers. I either have to have quite a large room where I can separate into groups of eight or nine people, or I have to have two or three rooms depending on how big the class is. Do you have some special considerations? Be sure to spell them out to your meeting planner prior to your presentation.

Communicate with Your Meeting Planner

Be sure to communicate with the meeting planner the room space you need. I have a 3-page schematic and description for my Instructor Development Workshop set-up so I don’t have any surprises when I get to the room!

Grab the schematic on room configurations here.

 

 

 

 

 

Finding your next great manager requires you to think through exactly what you want. See my qualifications below.

In my earlier post, we discussed finding that next great manager. Now, here’s more information you need to get that great leader–that person you’ll enjoy working with!

You are Not Done Describing the Job

You need to attach your performance standards for management activities (minimum expectations for that person to retain his/her job) in each of these areas.

For example:

How many hours a week do you expect your manager to recruit? (lead generate)

How many lead generating calls do you expect your manager to make per week?

How many interviews do you expect your manager to hold per week?

How many hours a week do you expect your manager to interview and select?

What are the selection standards you expect from your manager (who should be hired and who should not)?

How many hours a week do you expect your manager to train?

How many hours a week do you expect your manager to coach?

Who do you expect your manager to coach?

What leadership activities do you expect of your manager?

What staff/operation activities to you expect?

What do you expect your manager to do to increase the bottom line?

Decide this in terms of:

How many recruits per month (decide on your ratio of new or experienced)

Production per month

Moving your experienced agents from ____ revenue units (sales and listings sold) to ________ revenue units by _____________ (date)

Profitability increase of __________ in _____________ months

Standards Agreement Usually Missed in the Hiring Process

This specific standards agreement is usually missing in the hiring process. It takes awhile during our coaching sessions to develop a workable standards agreement for each situation. But, without a standards agreement, you haven’t laid out exactly what the job expectations are. You have no method to coach and hold your new manager accountable. And, if you need to terminate, you should have measureable reasons to terminate.

Now, armed with your description of the ideal manager, your job description, and your standards agreement, you are ready to search for that people developing manager who will take your company to greater productivity.

Carla is standing by to coach you to choosing your next great leader. Her background as a regional director where she screened dozens of leadership candidates has given her a unique perspective on the process. Why not see if Leadership Mastery Coaching is a ‘fit’ for you? Click here for a complimentary consultation.

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.
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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!

Do you tell everyone that your agents are a ‘team’. Really? Read what it means to be a ‘team’, and some of the steps to take to get there–and the benefits.

‘Team’–or, “You’re on your Own”

In real estate, for years we said,

“We don’t need to think of ourselves as a team. We’re independent contractors. We work alone.”

That perspective has certainly changed in the last few years, and it’s a continuing trend. Why? Because the challenges are so much greater. The needs for specialists is so much greater. Both managers and agents are learning the benefits of a synergystic team. And, for managers, it gives them an opportunity to stop that old ‘top-down’ management style and step into participative management

Who Has Supported You in your Life?

Think of a time in your life when you accomplished something noteworthy. Were you completely alone? Or was someone with you? If someone was involved in your accomplishment, think of how that person was involved. Did he or she help you get that done? Taught you the skills to do that job? Encouraged you?

That exercise always elicits smiles, warm memories and enthusiasm. And no one with whom I’ve done that exercise has ever said that he or she accomplished something important alone. Wow–you were a part of a ‘team’!

Management tip: Try that in your real estate office. See what kind of response you get. Then hold a discussion using the points in this and my next blog.

No One Succeeds Alone

What about talented people? Can they master skills alone? The answer is no. (I said ‘master’, not slop through……). Since I have been a musician from age four, I thought about my musical experiences and how much musicians can accomplish alone–or not. I concluded as I thought about my musician friends, that, no one could succeed to a high level without outside coaching.

As I grew up, I watched innately talented musicians get stuck. Why? They could take themselves only so far without some coaching. (You would call that ‘playing by ear’ For example, many found they had to learn to read music to achieve their goals. Why? It is impossible to learn a Beethoven sonata by ear–accurately! It is simply too long. I don’t know anyone who taught him- or herself to read music alone. And that just the basics.

We musicians know that we can’t hear ourselves play or sing well enough to correct all our mistakes. We tend to get into bad habits, and keep repeating them. We need a coach with a great ear to help us refine our performances. And the need for coaching never ends, as long as we want to maintain levels of performance.

Who Is Supporting You to Master Real Estate Management?

It is time to acknowledge that none of us can master real estate alone. How did we ever create the folklore that we had to work alone in our endeavors to achieve accomplishments in real estate? I can’t think of a skill that anyone can master where the practititioner had no teaching, coaching, mentoring or encouragement.

We Damaged the Real Estate Industry….

By perpetuating this folklore, we have damaged the real estate industry. We did the easy, expedient and inexpensive thing: We told our sales associates that this was an an ndependent business–that they were in business for themselves. (We are, to great extent, but that doesn’t assume we hve the SKILLS to run those businesses!) We trashed our training programs. We forced our sales associates to seek outside coaching and consulting.

What we got was a very uneven standard of performance, and we created adversarial relationships among sales associates and between sales associates and managers. What we allowed were uncommon goals, more competition, less cooperation–and we did it with a bunch of people who already are highly competitive. We threw out leadership and what we got was anarchy, in some cases.

Leadership Steps

Start coaching your sales associates again. Help them discover that no one achieves alone. Then start building a team atmosphere. What do I mean by a team? Not what you might think. Don’t get up in front of your sales associates and say, “We will accomplish more together as a team.” So now we are a team. That’s ludicrous. And yet, that’s exactly why so many teamwork concepts fail. Teamwork is not an announcement. It is a process–a process that requires skills that many managers, and sports coaches, have not mastered.

What Exactly is a ‘Team’?

A team is not a rah-rah group of people drawn together in a power play. A team isn’t a social group. A team isn’t a group of people who agree to do things the manager’s way, or whoever is the a boss– such as the dominant sales associate. A team is two or more people working on a common task, focused on mutually agreed to and mutually beneficial results.

You can think of the team acronym, “Together Everyone Accomplishes More.”

What do you think? What’s your experience in a ‘go it alone’ atmosphere, versus a team atmosphere?

Every company says they have training. But, can you prove it? Does each program you present have a reason to be there? Read how to create a training calendar that reflects your challenges and goals.

No training plan or calendar? Here’s how to put together a great one!

In a couple of months, you’ll be thinking about creating your business plan for the next year (already?!!!!). How do you know what training to provide your agents? One method is to look at your profit and loss. In addition, you need to find out training needs–from your agents’ perspective. Simply provide your agents an internal review of their sales performance mastery (or not) as part of their business planning process.

Click here to see the internal sales performance review, excerpted from my comprehensive online business planning program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning.

What You’ll Find When They Rate Themselves


Have your agents rate themselves on their performance skills. You will probably see that they rate themselves lower than you would rate them. Why? Because we’re harder on ourselves than we are on others.

Commonalities

What do you think the agents rate themselves lowest in? You are right. Prospecting/lead generation. So, you’ll want to create series with them–a dynamic lead generating plan for next year–and train and coach them to it. See the lead generating plans for seasoned agents in Beyond the Basics of Business Planning,And, for new agents, in Up and Running in Real Estate.

Planning your Training Calendar


Your training plan should be a part of your business plan. Your training plan should tackle the challenges you have noted as a part of your own business review and of the agents’ business review. By the way, be sure those challenges you noted can be handled through training.

Are All Your Challenges Solved by Training? Not!

For example: You’ve noted an ethics problem in your office. You want your agents to “be more ethical”. That is not a training problem. It is a selection problem. You cannot train your way out of the ethics we adopted when we were 5! But, you certainly can solve a listings sold problem with training. Be careful when you are creating your training, and tackle the problems that you can solve with training.

Put That Training on a Calendar

You’ve done your own analysis of your profit and loss statement. You’ve done your analysis with your agents. You’ve made your training plan. Now, you’re going to put it on a training calendar–and use it to guide your agents, your staff–and to recruit. Not only that, you have an integrated training system that you can delegate. Good work.

Recruiting tip: Include your training calendar in your recruiting handout, in your faxes, in your emails, and in your social media. Let prospective agents know you are organized, and you are committed to their success.

An Analysis Handout For You

In my last blog, I discussed creating a training calendar. Click here to get my analysis tool to help you assess the effectiveness of your training calendar.

Comprehensive Online Business Planning Program for Leadership

Do you find it difficult to get your agents to plan? Do you put off doing your office plan? Here’s your solution. This convenient online 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 leadership.

Jul
18

Why You NEED a Training Calendar

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Why do you need a training calendar? Do you have one now? You need one for several reasons.

First, the majority of real estate offices do not have training calendars. Instead, they schedule things as they come up–with little rhyme nor as to why those events are put on the calendar. Don’t let that be you!

Here’s what creating a training calendar will do for you:

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)

In October (Oct. 3-4 in Bellevue, Wa.) , I’m doing my live version of Instructor Development Workshop. As a bonus, I’m going to share my training calendar analysis tool. (And you can grab it at the end of this blog, too).

small write outline

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 too, Your Training Calendar.

Question for You

What did you learn from your analysis?

trainer

Check out my training resources here.