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

Is your handout enhancing or detracting from your presentation or course?

Here’s why your handout just can’t be your PowerPoint slides.

I know. It’s easy to rely on those slides. Some presenters just read the slides, word for word. How interesting. How entertaining. That’s how to keep your audience engaged–not. Just as bad, some trainers use those slides as the outline or handouts. Here’s why that’s not in your best interest–or your audience’s.

  1. You’ve just given out your presentation via your slides in advance–so your audience doesn’t have to pay attention to you! You’ve seen it. You hand out the ‘outline’–just the PowerPoint slides–and your audience immediately flips through all of them. Now, why do you have to be there? You don’t, and they know it! You’ve just given away all your mystery, your interest, and the reason for you to be there to command their attention.
  2. It looks lazy–and it is. If you want to impress your audience with your training expertise, your outline and/or handouts goes a long way in this regard. Which would you be more impressed with, those slides as a handout (which they are going to see in a minute), or a handout that was a ‘keeper’ for attendees to use practically in their own businesses? 

Solutions

  1. Make your outline or handout something that audiences interact with during the presentation. Tomorrow, I’ll be doing my ‘live’ workshop on how to teach: Instructor Development Workshop. During the workshop I’ll have attendees apply what they’re learning to their own teaching and courses. Written right into the outline, the attendees with answer questions and grapple with the real application of what I’m teaching in that module. I’ve put these questionnaires and applications into the course so they appear 6 times. I call this ‘reflection time’. So, they will walk out with ready-to-use solutions to their presentation challenges. I want them to refer to that outline indefinitely, and use it as a resource. I want them to remember me forever, not just try to recall my name during these two days.
  2. Include handouts that are useful AFTER your event. Because we’re doing so many more virtual events, I’m including a small module on how to use the course strategies in a virtual presentation. I’ve created a 2-page handout–a checklist for attendees to use as they create their presentations. I hope this will be ‘evergreen’–that they will use this checklist forever and think of me!

Become Memorable

Doing your presentation is an opportunity to educate. And, it’s an opportunity to become memorable. Many of you reading this are affiliates who want more business. Many of you are managers who want great recruits. Leaving something with your attendees that they will use in their own businesses assures you are memorable. They will remember your expertise and your determination to go the extra way to help them succeed.

Join us for a unique Mastermind group, where we’ll work on our presentation skills and courses. Carla will facilitate, and you’ll have an opportunity to work directly with her and others in the group. You’ll also have the opportunity to try out parts of your course to see how it works. Contact Carla at 425-392-6914 or carla@carlacross.com to find out more. 

8 weeks; weekly Zoom conferencing; $499. 

Our brains are phenomenal. They protect us. But, our clients’ built-in responses ‘trick’ our agents into thinking ‘no’ means ‘no’ forever. How many transactions are lost because agents give up too quickly?

No means no, right? No, it doesn’t. Watch this short video to find out who it takes several ‘nos’ to get to ‘yes’. How many more deals could you and your agents complete if you could help them graciously get past the ‘nos’ to ‘yes’?

Training tip: Use this video to start a discussion on how to keep the relationship going, and how to avoid that final ‘no’. You will be amazed at the increased number of transactions your agents will complete.

Save time. You don’t have enough time to provide the answers those prospective agents want. Instead, provide this new eBook, with answers to the myriad of questions they ask. You’ll help them choose real estate as the right career, and prepare them for a real interview. Preorder now, and receive a bonus: 30 things to Do in Pre-License School to Hit the Ground Running. Check it out here. Regularly $24.95/preorder until June 1 publication date at half price–$12.95.
Feb
19

Give Me Your Expert Advice!

Posted by: | Comments (0)
How can we ‘stack the deck’ so new agents succeed more often? More $ for you, easier to recruit….

Give me your expert advice!

What are new agents doing that causes them to succeed–or fail? What do you want in a start-up program that will help more of your new agents do well–and do it fast? What’s missing in the training and coaching programs you’ve been using?

I’m editing Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s business start-up plan, for the 6th edition, due to be out in mid-2021.  In it, I show the what, how, why, and how much of real estate activities needed to do well quickly. Up and Running is very specific, and is easy to use to coach new agents to productivity fast. It has the specific prioritized weekly schedule and activities that future-exceptional agents do to assure a sale fast.

Many updates: The 6th edition has lots of updates, including a new section on promoting yourself through social media, new tech new agents need, and alternative methods of lead generation.

In the next blog, I’ll share more of what I’m putting into this wildly-successful program and get your input, too.

In my blog for agents, Up and Running in 30 Days, I am asking for their advice too, with a separate questionnaire.  

What’s Your Advice?

As one of the new features of the 6th edition, I’m incorporating great managers’ advice to new agents. And, I’m providing dozens of coaching tips to help managers and motivate the new agent and keep him/her in the game.

Here’s what I’m asking:

  1. What do new successful agents do consistently that agents who fail don’t do?
  2. What common mistakes do new agents make that cost them time, money–and hinder their success?
  3. Would you advise a new agent to (why or why not)

–join a team

–have a mentor

–hire a professional coach

  1. What should a new agent look for in a training program?
  2. Other advice you provide to a new agent?

Comments: Do you have advice to me about what’s missing in training and coaching programs? Just put that in comments here. 

Your name:                                                         Email:

Company name:                                                           Your Phone:

Number of agents in your office:

How to Get your Advice to Me

You can write comments to this post with answers to these questions.  

Or, you can download the questionnaire to your computer, complete the questionnaire, save it, and email it to me at carla@carlacross.com. Here is the questionnaire.  You will be assisting thousands of new agents as they begin their careers, and, I think you’ll find that being published will help your ‘street cred’ with those you want to hire!

If I’m able to use your comments in my book, you will receive a complimentary copy of Up and Running, acknowledgment of your comments, AND lots of PR–to help you in your recruiting as an expert in helping new agents.

P. S. Please get your comments to me by Feb. 24, so I can meet the publisher’s deadline for submitting the edited book. Thank you!

Use these questions to counsel your agents and inspire them to create plans that will work for them.

At the end of each year, I dedicate these blogs to all my real estate friends who are doing business plans. 

Don’t Start at the End of the Planning Process!

Managers: You’ve heard it over and over. “What actions should I put in my business plan for next year?” “What should I do?” “Give me what to do so I’ll do everything right next year.” Unfortunately, that’s doing your business plan backwards. It’s like starting at the end of a piece of music and playing it to the beginning.

What You CAN ‘Copy’ for a Great Business Plan every Time

Another thing you may have heard from agents: “Give me a business plan.” or “I want to use _______’s plan.” That’s another big mistake. It’s your business and it needs to be your plan.  However, what you can copy is the process for a great plan. In fact, Dwight D. Eisenhower (former US President), said, “The planning is everything. The plan is nothing.” What he meant was that it’s the thought process that’s important. So, use a planning process that takes you and your agents through the necessary steps. (See Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, for an online business planning system based on the strategic planning process).

10 Questions to Ask Your Agents so They Can Create the Right Action Plan for Them

Recently, I did a business planning webinar for an association. I provided attendees with 10 questions to ask themselves. The answers to these questions provide the guidance needed to create that effective, individualized business plan. Here are those questions for you to use as you create your plan. 

Counseling your Agents with these Questions will Motivate Them

What percent of your agents do you expect to have good business plans for this next year? Using these 10 questions with each of your agents in a coaching session will motivate them to create plans that work. Let me know your results!

Strategic-Business-Planning-10-Questions-to-Ask

Want Some Support to Get Your Agents Business Plans?

Contact me to find out how I can educate your agents on business planning and support and coach you as a leader. Give me a call at 425.392-6914 or email me at carla@carlacross.com. I can do a webinar series for you, supply you will all the planning documents, and help your leadership coach your agents–at a very affordable cost with big pay-off for you.

Apr
30

Connections, not Sales

Posted by: | Comments (0)
Are your agents giving a ‘hand up’ to their clients at this time? Making connections?

Connections, Not Sales

The biggest change in your agent’s real estate business plan has to be in their short-term goals. All business plans have a lead generation component. That means we’re actively looking for listing leads and buyer leads. Our dialogues and our marketing materials are designed to bring us those leads.

 What does that mean? That means our communication needs to be

  • Supportive
  • Positive
  • Helpful
  • Meaningful
  • Relationship-based

That means we’re not looking for that big, money-making result. We’re really in a

“pre-lead” phase.

Why Connections?

Remember Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs? It states that we must meet the lowest unmet need before we can be motivated to meet higher needs. What are the majority of people’s needs now?

  • Comfort
  • Shelter
  • Enough food and supplies (toilet paper!)
  • Fear of sickness
  • Fear of losing one’s job—or of making payments

Where are we on Maslow’s Hierarchy? We are close to the bottom—that need to meet very basic needs. Maslow calls those Safety or Security needs. That’s why agents’ messages have to be reassuring. You have to establish trust. You have to provide a safe harbor for your clients and potential clients.

Re-Designing that Business Plan

Instead of thinking ‘how am I going to get leads’? Think ‘how am I going to connect’? Help your agents design messages to their best target markets with connection as their goal. That means, too, that you must identify those markets and make your messages meaningful to those markets.

I just did a complimentary webinar for Real Estate Professionals called “Build Your Business Right Now to Position for Success Later”.

You can  see the video and grab the materials at my websiteI also have a 60-Day Business Plan template for all attendees so they can easily complete their plans. 

Outcomes of a Re-Designed Plan

The irony of this re-design is that your agents are going to create listing and sales opportunities because your client base is looking for that connection now. When they find it, they will walk one step closer to a transaction with you—even when you didn’t ask. The danger in ‘laying out’ (as we say in the music performance business when we’re told not to play) is that you’ll be way behind the curve when the market comes back. Those people agents considered clients found the agents were a ‘secret agent’ when they needed connections and information. They have turned to a new source of connections because you didn’t communicate. Don’t let that happen.

Start Today

From working with hundreds of real estate professionals during this time, I know clients are so grateful for these connections. Each agent has something to offer. Don’t keep it a secret. Help your agents share information, concern, and a positive attitude today. Not only will you reap real estate business in the future, they will feel better for having given value to their clients.     

 

 

You’ve taught courses in your office. Now, you can’t. Before you turn on the camera read my four ‘must haves’.

Your training calendar looked phenomenal. Until now. Why? It was all ‘live’. Yes, ‘live’ training is best, but it’s impossible now. So, how are you going to pivot to effective online training?

Just Turn on the Camera–Not

We can get away with a lot when we are ‘live’. We can wander a bit from the outline the audience will forgive us.   After all, we have an audience with whom to interact. We take questions, we create debate, we tell those great war stories. 

Is Your Course Really a ‘Course’?

I’ve taught real estate professionals and affiliates how to train for over three decades. I’ve seen dozens of their ‘courses’. Unfortunately, most aren’t courses. They’re streams of information. They’re not well-organized. They don’t have the end in mind–objectives. They don’t have various delivery methods (teaching methods other than that old boring lecture). Even though those problems don’t show up so badly in the live classroom, they show up with a vengeance when going online.

You’ll Need These Four Strategies in your Online Course

How are you going to avoid droning on until you get to the end of that hour you’ve booked to train? Here are the four things you need in your online presentation or course:

  1. An blazingly good course organization, created from learning objectives (having the end in mind)*

*See my 3 models to create your presentation or course in Train the Trainer, my online version of my training course

     2.  An easy, engaging process to draw the attendee in and keep him/her interested (methods to avoid droning on forever in a lecture) (self-analysis, reflection, case studies to complete)

    3.  Interaction and idea exchange with others in the course (adults learn from others)           

     4. Action plans and reviews so you can see your attendees putting your concepts and skills to work 

Before You Choose that Seminar Guru’s ‘Training’ Course

You may decide to go outside your office to find online training. Does that course have those 4 attributes I listed above? Who is the course for? Does it have accountability? Does the course have a method for you to coach the agent to the course? What will the agent accomplish through taking the course?

Choosing the right online training can make the difference between ‘still in recession’ three months from now or ‘back up and running’ to profits.

Call me at 425-392-6914 if you have questions about how to switch successfully to online training.

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

Catch a sneak preview here.

This online training for new agents (and seasoned agents who want a jump-start) has the attributes I listed above. There’s one more important component left out of others’ online training:

YOU

I want you to be able to fully support your agents’ success–and grab their loyalty forever. So, I have waived the $99 fee for Coaches Corner (the coaching component of Up and Running in Real Estate) for all who sign up prior to Sept. 1, 2020. To qualify, register at least 1 of your agents in the Up and Running in Real Estate program. See more here.

Lets create success together!

Questions? Call me and we’ll discuss whether this program would be a ‘fit’ for you and your agents: 425-392-6914.

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!

 

clockOnboarding: Those critical first seven days. Find out why that first week is so critical.

First: What does new agent onboarding and training have to do with retention? According to two recent studies–a whole lot!

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

Why Bother with a Great Onboarding System?

Because you’ll have much great retention! According to the SHRM study, companies that leave onboarding to chance experience higher than 50% failure rates when it comes to retaining new talent.

Question: Do you have a great orientation system? Are you leaving anything to chance? Does your new agent feel like he/she is in a fog for the first few months?

If you want a template and suggestions of what should be included in your orientation, click here.

Those New Hires Check Outa There Fast! (Faster than you Think!)

According to the same SHRM survey, 67% of millennials are already thinking of looking for their next job on day ONE!

Question:

Tips for Those First Critical Seven Days:

  1. Manager sends a welcome email  or snail mail (better) to new agent on day one.
  2. Each day’s activities are completely outlined so the new agent knows exactly how to proceed (you’re building in habits of success).
  3. The first week’s activities include shadowing and lunch with one of your senior colleagues. (If you have an advisory council, this is a perfect match!)
  4. Welcome gift given to the new agent on day one.
  5. End of first day checklist completed with manager
  6. Round table or lunch set up with your influential agents to welcome the new agent
  7. Use a detailed, prioritized action-plan checklist, like Up and Running in 30 Days, to assure the new agent knows exactly what to do, how to do it, and is held accountable to it.

Outcome: 69% of new employees are more likely to stay more than three years if they have experienced a well-structured onboarding program.

So, how does your onboarding system stack up?

Find out: Regularly survey your agents who have been with you 6 months to find out what they found valuable and how it could be improved. Why not have the best onboarding/retention system in the industry?

A Survey for You to Use: Next

In my next blog, I’ll share the survey I just did in an office where I’m consulting on their onboarding system. Boy, did I get some great feedback!

How’s Your Quick-Start Program Working?

Up and Running_5e largerBoth these onboarding studies prove that leaving the new agent’s orientation, training, and start to chance just doesn’t cut it. Take a look at what’s new in Up and Running in 30 Days: updates in 5th edition. This invaluable book is only $32.95 plus shipping, and has been used by thousands of new agents to launch successful careers. Order here.

What could your retention rate be if you had a superior onboarding system?

 

 

Think back to the last time you qualified a buyer, a seller, or a recruiting candidate. How much talking did you do? How many questions did you ask? Unfortunately, too many of us go into sales because we’re good talkers. Then, we wonder why we’re not burning up the world selling real estate. It’s because we’re talking too much. The same is true with us managers when we start recruiting/selectingHere are some recommendations on talk vs. listening. You’l make more sales and gain more recruits with these tips.

How Much Talking?

Why? Because you want to gather all the information you can from your client or recruiting candidate. How come? Because you have to have that information do decide

  1. If you want that person as a client or agent recruit
  2. Do you want to do a presentation

Also, if we don’t know their hidden needs and sub-conscious motivations, how are we going to help them make buying decisions?

Here’s what that process should look like, whether you’re an agent or a broker.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

excerpted from The Complete Recruiter.

Why don’t we ask more Questions?

If it’s so important to ask all those questions, why don’t we do it?

  1. We get nervous, so we talk
  2. We don’t have the questions
  3. We don’t understand the significance
  4. We’ve focused on the tell or the sell, thinking that was the way to convince people to work with us

The Significance of the Questions

How do we know when we haven’t been able to sell something to a client? They don’t buy. But, here’s the problem. It’s way too late then. Sure. We can become masters at objection-countering, memorization, and jam it down their throats. But, that’s an awfully old-fashioned way to try to sell, and consumers hate that today.

Closing and then Answering Objections– Not Today’s Best Method

We take all kinds of classes to learn to answer objections and close. We think that we’re supposed to sell, sell–get those objections and answer them so beautifully that the client acquiesces and falls at our feet, buying whatever we want them to buy. Happens once in awhile. But, we don’t gain loyal clients who will refer us to others. Instead, we create lots of buyers with buyers’ remorse.

I hope you’re now convinced to ask questions. In the next blog, I’ll discuss more about this process, and give you some questions you can ask to screen potential new recruits–before you get them into your office (a great time saver).

Before I leave: How many questions do you ask a potential recruit? Are you satisfied with your selection process?

 

Want to streamline your selection process and recruit more winners? Check out Your Blueprint to Selecting Winners. I’ll give you great questions to ask. But, better than that, I’ll show you how to craft questions to discover exactly what YOU”RE looking for.

 

 

 

Here’s what to do if you’re interviewing and the candidate says, “I hate the word ‘salesperson’.”

Ever been interviewing and, you think, Darn, this is going really well. The person looks good, smells good, and talks good. The person is likable. The person eagerly answers your questions. Then, somehow, you bring up the word ‘salesperson’. (In fact, throw that into your interviewing repertoire: “What does the word ‘salesperson’ mean to you?” And be ready for the responses below).

After you ask that question, all that positive energy that had been in the interview comes to a screeching halt, because the person says,

I don’t want to be called a ‘salesperson’.

You’re thinking, Woooooh up there. I thought I was interviewing for a sales job. What’s going on here?

What Do They Want to Be?

I just wrote a blog for for a large blogpost in which I chastised real estate agents for the ‘shortcut’ mentality of trying to use technology so they didn’t have to talk to the people. (Yes, it’s true. They think that’s smart. Just read their comments back to me.) At least two things became apparent from the very strong comments:


2. Some agents think technology will take away the need for agents to form relationships (These are the licensees who love houses. They just hate people).

So, When you hear the comment ‘I don’t want to be called a ‘salesperson’, consider:

1. That person will be resistant to any kind of sales training (which means they won’t be willing to ask insightful questions to determine buyer/seller qualifications–and so they won’t be willing to close)
2. That person will want a different ‘label’ on the business card. Something like ‘consultant’ or ‘educator’.
3. That person will feel most comfortable being as far away from potential prospects as possible!
4. That person doesn’t want to sell; that person wants to be the happy recipient of someone else’s work to get the ‘lead’
5. That person won’t work to create trust and long-term relationships, because they don’t think that’s the point

What This Means to You

You already know 90% of what I’m going to tell you here. The bottom line is that this person doesn’t respect the art, science, and skill of becoming a competent salesperson. They’re not going to your sales training. They’re going to discount any help you try to give them on communication skills development. They going to think that mastering the knowledge and technology of real estate will make them successful. They’re going to wait until you give them leads, and then they are going to discount these leads because they aren’t “good enough”.

Should You HIre This Person?

I know. You hired one person once who had the traits mentioned above and they were successful selling real estate. Okay. But, are you going to base your interviewing decisions on Las Vegas odds? Better not. Probe more to find out what that person thinks ‘salesperson’ means. Find out their prior sales training. Delve deeply into this question and their answers, so you’ll hire those who love sales.

Get The Insights You Need to Hire with Confidence

You work so hard to gain those interviews. But, do you have planned interview process that assures you pick winners? (And assures the candidates are impressed with you….) Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners, with new information about what desired agents of today are looking for, is a guide to create your unique attractors, how to put together a powerful presentation, and a completely new video showing exactly how to craft the best ‘crystal ball’ type of questions. Learn more here.