Got a minute? If you're a busy manager, that's about all you have. That's why Carla Cross, management coach, speaker, and author, has created this blog just for you, with ready-to-use tips to master management through people.

Archive for sales meetings

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!

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.

 

Recently, I was consulting to a training series. Here’s how the trainer introduced making calls to clients:

“Okay. Get out your phones and make a call.” Sure. The new agents are just going to jump right up and call someone and ask them for a lead. Not.

  1. Demonstrate: The trainer should have demonstrated how to make a call to a particular market.
  2. Provide script or process: The trainer should have provided a script or a process for agents to follow.
  3. Role play: The trainer should have put agents in pairs (or 3s) and had them practice so they can ‘hear’ the words and grasp the process.
  4. Debrief: The trainer should have de-brief the exercise.

Now, the students are confident they can successfully use a script or process and are ready to call ‘for real’.

Principle: Never ask students to do something ‘for real’ until they’ve done it as ‘leatherette’ (role play).

Watch the video below to see how to successfully facilitate a role play.

How have you been preparing your students for ‘real life’? Are you skipping some steps?

See my 2 instructor development and train the trainer (distance) workshops at Cross Institute.

Here’s how not to have an out-of-control classroom!

In an earlier blog, I gave you some tips to controlling audiences. There’s no reason your class attendees should feel the class is out of control. After all, it’s up to us to keep that class interested, interesting, and moving. Here are more tips to do just that.

  1. Limit the general discussion. You are behind time (You did time your class and put your time frame on your outline, didn’t you?). You see 5 hands raised and you need to move on. Here’s the phrase:

We have time for 2 more questions.

2. Stop the chatty Kathys. There are a few techniques you can use that work.

Walk away from Kathy so she can’t catch your eye and/or wave her hand in your face.

Ask each person to write it down first. (stops the hand jerking into the air!)

Ask the person to tell another person, not the whole group.

Ask for feedback this way: What did you hear {your work partner} say that you really liked?

Quit teaching only from the front of the room. Be sure you can walk down the aisle, and, if you have a mike, it allows you to do so. Making eye contact and respecting the learners in all parts of the room is graceful and effective.

Handling Really Tough Situations

Sometimes, once in a great while, someone just has a meltdown. If that happens, take a short break. Take that person out of the class (never, ever address a concern in front of others, or try to rival a stand-up comedian, the sarcastic but always funny Don Rickles. You aren’t and you’ll lose). Use this dialogue when you get that person alone:

“I’m feeling badly {be sure and use the word feeling} about what’s going on in there. What can I do to make this a good learning experience for you?” Or, “We need to move ahead and can’t seem to do so. What can I do for you so we can move ahead together?”

When all else fails, personally and privately invite that person out of the class.

Who is Important?

The learning of the majority of the class is what is important. It’s up to you as training/facilitator/presenter to gain and use the skills that assure a great course experience. In my opinion, it’s not the ‘student’s fault he/she is successful at disrupting the class (most of the time!). It’s the inability of the instructor to artfully use the strategies above to defuse the situation.

Keep honing those skills, and thank you for dedicating your experience to our industry!

P. S. Don’t forget to gain 42 Innovative Presentation Methods that increase your effectiveness, click here.

Ultimate_RE_Trainer

Tips, Tricks, and Just Plan Great Strategies for the Real Estate Trainer

It’s harder than ever to provide effective training today. So, we need all the new strategies we can get! The Ultimate Real Estate Trainer’s Guide helps you through all types of situations, and provides dozens of ideas for you to use. See it here. 164 pages/4 audios. $129.95 plus shipping. Click here to find out more.

Creating a course? Here are the 6 ‘ws’ you need to answer to assure you have a course–a good course!

Trainers: Here are some tips on how to gain focus on that great course you want to create–that course that’s been bouncing around in your head for years! In my next few blogs, I’m going to give you some specific tips to make your course truly ‘teachable’. Why? From teaching for over 2 decades, I’ve found many courses are not actually very ‘teachable’. In fact, they are either

1) Streams of consciousness

or

2) Information dump

If you’ve picked up someone else’s course’, and tried to teach it, I’ll bet you know what I mean. Unfortunately, too many times, courses are written from an ‘information organization’ perspective, not a teaching perspective. In fact, because so many instructors have expressed frustration, I’ve just finished a resource on how to write a course (see below).

Gaining Focus for your Course

Let’s look at the 6 W’s that you should answer before starting to create your course: The What, Why, Who, When, Where, What Next of your course, so you can clarify what you want to accomplish and gain focus. As I give you these, take time to answer each of these questions.

What course do you want to create?

That’s certainly okay in a course, but not as a whole course. Instead, you have a ‘persuasive presentation’. Sometimes we want to impart our beliefs to people or make them ‘be’ in some way, but that’s not a course. (Be responsible, be customer-service oriented, etc.) Now, it’s true that can be one of the objectives of a course, but, just getting in front of people and telling them how they should be won’t make it as a course!

Do you see this course as an overview? An introduction? Comprehensive? A series?

Why? What are your compelling reason(s) to create this course? Be sure it’s not just all about you….

Who is this course for? What segment of the population do you want to address? One of the mistakes we make is not narrowing our focus to the level of expertise of our desired target audience.

What is their level of learning in your topic right now?

Who would not benefit from your course?

Do you need to narrow your scope for this course?

Where (type of delivery)

Is this course ‘live’? Is it distance learning? Will it be given as a webinar? Your decisions will direct you to the delivery methods (how you will teach).

Note: If you haven’t taken my Instructor Development Workshop, this would be your first step. Or, you can take the distance learning version, Train the Trainer.

Armed with the answers to the 6 W’s, you can gain a laser focus for your course, and go to the next step of course creation.

Expert Guidance to Write that Great Course!

SSS_coverIf you’re serious about writing that great course, this is the resource for you. Step by step, Carla Cross, who has written courses for Re/Max, Better Homes and Gardens, Keller Williams Realty, GMAC, Royal LePage, and CRB, shows you exactly how to create your course and your outline. And, for those Washington state instructors, she shares tips on how to get your course approved for clock hours.

Check out How to Write Your Course with Substance, Sizzle, and ‘Sell’.

This resource is digital. You will get access immediately.

Bonus: Keys to a Killer Introduction. Most introductions are boring! Find out how to make yours sparkle AND inform. Plus, your introduction should make people enthusiastic about hearing you and adopting your ideas. This eBook and videos will show you how to make your introduction really work for you.

Includes:

2 instructional videos

Challenge: How would you teach this? Without lecturing!!!

In a month from now, I’ll be doing a training on how to make your courses come alive. Why? Because, unfortunately, most real estate courses consist of someone at the front of the room droning on…..and on….and on. Now, I don’t think that’s the instructor’s fault, to an extent. I think it’s the fault of the course writer.

The Challenge: Few Courses Written for the Instructor to Teach

You innocently pick up the course outline (it’s big and heavy, of course), and you start talking. How long does it take for your audience to quit listening and play with their phones? 3 minutes? 10 minutes? Probably no longer than that.

It Doesn’t Matter if You’re an Expert–or an Expert Lecturer

In truth, our attention spans have shrunken–and continue to shrink. So, we instructors just can’t talk through that outline and expect to keep the audience’s attention. But, what do we do instead? In this series of blogs, I’ll show you how to take part of that outline and make it more interesting.

In Most Cases, YOU Have to Also Put in the Teaching Methods

Since few courses have these teaching methods written in, you’ll have to develop the skills to take that boring outline and put in various and varied teaching methods. Find out how to do that in my upcoming course: Beyond the Basics: Advanced Skills to Make that Course Come Alive, coming up April 23-24 (approved for 7.5 clock hours in Washington state).

Divide and Conquer: Using the Task Force

One of the reasons our real estate audiences get antsy is that they don’t like to sit quietly. But, you’ve probably seen the room get out of control if you encourage wild, unabated discussion! So, how do you help them talk and still control the situation? Divide and Conquer. Instead of having them all talk in open discussion, use the small group method. That’s called ‘task force’, because you’re literally putting them into small groups to work on a task they can accomplish.

Here’s an example of how to take the facts in that outline and throw them to the audience to reveal. Think of it this way: Instead of you–standing up in front of everyone and telling, and telling, and telling, you ask small groups to tackle parts of your topic and come up with solutions.

The Example of a Task Force

I teach Instructor Development Workshop, (coming April 9-10 in Bellevue, Wa), which certifies instructors in the state of Washinton to teach clock-hour approved courses. In one part of the outline, the topic is How Adults Learn. I have 3 pages in that outline that innumerate all the ways adults learn, including obstacles to adult learning.

Your turn: If I were to give you that outline and ask you to teach it, how would you proceed? You might just talk through those 3 pages, reading what I’d written. Hate to tell you, but that would be so boring! (And you wouldn’t learn what your audience does and does not know!) Instead, here’s how I do it.

Using the Task Force to Explore ‘How Adults Learn’

Here’s how I teach this section. I divide that topic into 4 areas: How adults learn, the obstacles to adult learning, the attributes of the real estate adult learner, and effective retention techniques.

See the slide from my Insructor Development Workshop I use that gives instructions to the task forces here.

Here are 2 Keys to doing Task Forces:

  1. The tasks must be something that the attendees can accomplish from information they already have
  2. The tasks must be meaningful to what you’re teaching

Task Forces Must be Meaningful: And a Springboard

Look at the last sentence in the slide. That’s my ‘springboard’. I’m asking the attendees to figure out ‘what does it mean to me?” That’s the relevance of the exercise.

In later blogs, I’ll give you tips on using this and other ‘divide and conquer’ methods to make your teaching–and their learning–much more enjoyable! You’ll get great reviews and return customers!

Let me Help your Instructors Put Pizazzz into those Courses

There are 2 ways I can help you: If you’re in Washington state, come to my class April 23-24. Or, invite me to your company anywhere in the US or Canada and I’ll customize a special session for you. I use YOUR outlines and we actually put in the methods and teach them. You’ll get much better attendance at your courses, have excited, enthusiastic instructors, and find it easier to get return business!

Contact me to find out how I can help. Let’s make your courses shine!

Not a speaker? Here are four tips to present like a pro.

We’ve all been there. We’ve been asked to speak for ten minutes to a group of people. Our first reaction is extreme fear. Our second reaction is,

1.Slow Down

Most speakers, amateurs or professionals, speak too fast. Slow down. Pretend you are speaking to a huge room and project your voice to the back of the room. You’ll find yourself going slower and using more inflection (vocal dynamics) . Better delivery!

2. Get Persuasive

There is a process for everything, including crafting a persuasive presentation. It’s simple. It’s the structure of your favorite popular tune: ABA. In other words, it starts with a theme, develops the ‘bridge’ in the middle, (supporting information to your point of view), and ends with the same theme.

Free giveaway in this blog: Click here for my Persuasive Presentation process.

3.Launch with a Great Start

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. Post the problem, suggest your solution, and build a rosy future for following your recommendations.

4. 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, it’s just like a popular tune. Bring back the theme at the end. Close with reminding the audience of the rosy future they will have by following your recommendations. Remember, your job during the persuasive presentation is to persuade. And, here’s my point of view: All presentations that anyone gives should be persuasive. Otherwise, simply read a book!

Let Me Work with Your Trainers to Create Better Presentations

Are your courses boring? Are those presentations great for taking a nap? Are you instructors talking through every outline? And, most importantly, are your courses not filling up? It’s time to invite me to work with your instructor group.

Contact me and we’ll work out the best solution for you!

Share this with your presenters: Click here for my Persuasive Presentation process.

 

Here are 4 ways your meetings go wrong, and a planner to assure they go right.

This month, I’m focusing on the main responsibilities of a real estate manager. If you’re going into management, how are you going to make your meetings exciting, interesting, and participative?

Death By Meeting…….

If you haven’t been in a meeting that went sideways, you probably haven’t attended enough meetings! I just attended a meeting that was almost painful to experience. It went on and on, with little organization. The speakers had no rhyme nor reason to their presentations. And, finally, I wasn’t even sure what we were to do as a result of this meeting!

As I sat there, I thought, “How can I help meeting planners/managers/presenters avoid the mistakes I’m experiencing and plan a meeting that works every time?” I came up with this Presentation Planner and Promotion form. Using it with your presenters will assure that you avoid these four big mistakes:

1. No promotion to your target audience for the meeting
2. No focus to the meeting–no theme, no stated benefits to the target audience
3. Presenters do not have a format from which to create their presentations–so they just wander around in a vast wasteland of facts and figures
4. There’s no call to action as a result of the speaker or of the meeting

Promoting Your Event

So, my Presentation Planner includes a section on promotion. After all, as you plan your presentation, you’ll naturally think:

  • Who is the event targeted to?
  • What are the 3 major benefits to this target audience?
  • What will they walk away with?
  • Where will I promote it?

The planner I created will help you avoid the 4 common mistakes listed above. It not only assures a persuasive presentation, it helps you promote the event, too!

Click here to grab your Presentation/Promotion Planner.

I’m Here to Help You Become a Great Leader!

If you’re new to management, or you’re being challenged in management, I can help. My Leadership Mastery individual, custom coaching program will help you master the major activities of management–stepping you from ‘maintenance management’ to true leadership. Check out my program here. Contact me for a complimentary consultation.