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 Selection

Have great would-be agents studying for their real estate license exam? Pass on these proven tips to pass the first time.

You’ve interviewed that would-be agent with great potential. Here’s a method to not only stay in touch, and support them like no other manager will.

Launching Right in Real Estate, What They Won’t Teach You in Pre-License school, tells would-be agents everything they need to know to choose real estate as a career, how to prepare for the license exam, the secrets of a great interview, choosing the best company, office, and manager for each individual–every question a would-be agent has! Here’s an excerpt from the chapter on real estate exams: What to expect and how to pass that exam the first time.

Tip #1: Before each in-class session, or when you start your next online chapter, skim the new chapter for highlights. Then, read the chapter carefully. You need to get the “big picture” before you grasp the details. This is “the forest and the trees” study truism: “You can’t see the forest for the trees.” When you use this study tip, you will see both when you need to.

Learning Fact: Experts tell us we “learn what we already know.” In other words, you must have a context for what you are learning. By seeing the big picture first, you have context. Then, you fill in the blanks with the details. Works every time… I promise.

Tip #2: Right after class, review your class subjects and notes. Why? We remember only ten percent of what we’ve heard three days after we heard it.

Learning Fact: We learn through repetition. You will need to revisit each concept at least six times to commit it to memory.

Tip #3: Make a notebook (hard copy or online) with all the definitions you covered in each class session. Create test questions to match words and definitions.

Learning Fact: It takes time and repetition to make that learning stick long-term. Now you are making your learning go deeper. You are rearranging it so you really grasp it.

Tip #4: If you learn through listening, and you can’t listen to audio only, record yourself saying the definitions. Play these in your car as you drive.

Learning Fact: Use all the senses to learn. Seeing, hearing, and using the material increases your retention to 65 percent three days later.

Tip #5: Keep up with the class work. Faithfully attend every session and study every chapter. Study regularly between sessions. If you have ever gotten behind on your work in school, you know why this is important!

Take every practice exam until you are comfortable with the process and format.

Learning Fact: When you are successful doing something, your fear goes away, and you look forward to doing that again. Train yourself to win!

Taking the Test

Face it. We have all had exam anxiety at some time. Here are five pointers that will help you relax, control your emotions, and pass the test the first time you take it:

  • Read each question slowly; then, read all the possible answers. Do not jump to conclusions to mark the “right” answer. Instead, tell yourself why each answer is wrong. By the process of elimination, find the only answer you think is correct. If you find two out of four that may be correct, leave that question and come back to it.
  • Remember, the point of the exam is to limit the number of agents coming into the field. One of the ways to do this is to write exams where exam takers jump to the “right” answer. Do not fall for it!
  • Do not answer any questions unless you are absolutely sure of the answer. Skip questions for which you are unsure and come back to them. You will either remember the answer later as you “warm up,” or the remaining questions will give you some hints as to the other answers.
  • Take your time. You will have plenty of time to answer each question on the exam.
  • Build your self-confidence as you start by skimming the exam. Find some questions you are certain you can correctly answer and answer them first. Amazingly, when your mind gets warmed up, you will find you can think through questions that baffled you when you tried to attack them at the beginning of the testing period.
  • Let the test give you the answers. By reading through the complete test first, answering only the questions you are sure of, you will find hints of other answers. Your confidence will soar, and you will find you are answering more questions as the test period continues.

These tips are excerpted from my new eBook for anyone interested in real estate as a career. Carla Cross, CRB, MA, has interviewed thousands of would-be agents. As a successful real estate agent, manager, owner, regional director, and international trainer, Cross knows the questions you have—and what you may not be told—and should know. Order her new eBook here. 

Managers: Use this to inform those great potential agents while you save time so you don’t have to answer the same questions again and again. Helps the best candidates choose real estate as a career and take it seriously.

 

May
14

New! For Your Career Nights

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Here’s something to put new energy and interest into your Career Nights.

In my new book, Launching Right in Real Estate: What They Won’t Teach You in Pre-License School, I provide several self-analysis tools so people can make the decision that’s right for them. Unfortunately, often would-be agents are not informed. Instead, they’re sold. They get excited about real estate as a career, see the ‘easy money’, and think it’s for them. Not so fast. Selling real estate can be a wonderful career for the right person. And, it’s the wrong career for some people, too. 

Put the Selling Aside and Let Attendees Discover

Unfortunately, Career Nights can dissolve into sales pitches. Instead, give some time to helping attendees discover whether they are right for real estate.

Use this quick questionnaire help attendees rate themselves in the qualities that make agents successful.

Take the Questionnaire Yourself. How Many Threes Did You Give Yourself? 

You can rate yourself from “3”, which means you rate yourself as having lots of that quality, to a “1”, meaning you have not so much. 

Congratulations! Every ‘3’ represents a quality that successful agents exhibit. Here’s what I mean.

#1. Successful agents get up in the morning and start their day in a productive way. They have a great deal of self-discipline. No one has to kick them out of bed or tell them to get to work.

#2. Successful agents finish the job, even if it takes them 12 hours that day. Unsuccessful agents great selling real estate like a 9-5 job. Doesn’t work with clients!

#3. Successful agents don’t shy away from challenges. They’re always learning and striving.

#4. Successful agents don’t wait for someone to invite them. They organize, motivate, and inspire!

#5. Successful agents have a great belief in their abilities to succeed, even when others don’t.

#6. Successful agents always keep their promises; clients can count on them.

#7. Successful agents are ‘learning based’. They don’t believe their training is over after that initial office training!

#8. Successful agents love accomplishing things. That’s their motivation–not just the money.

#9. Successful agents learn to handle the great deal of rejection we get in this business. They’re very tough-minded.

#10. Successful agents are willing to jump off the high diving board without gathering every bit of information available anytime. 

What’s a Trait of Successful Agents I didn’t mention?

Let me know what I missed. There are a myriad of qualities and traits successful agents exhibit each day.  Also, let me know how this energizes and changes your Career Nights so they stand out from the others.

 

Save time. Prepare would-be agents for your great interview and for a successful career. Purchase now in pre-release for 1/2 price. Now $12.95. Release is June 1. Great for managers to use for Career Nights or information for would-be agents.

You have your favorite interview questions. But, what about the potential agent? What should they be asking YOU?

What do you think are the five most important questions the would-be agent should ask you? I know. You have your favorite interview questions. At the same time, the prospective agent has questions for you. I’m just publishing my new book, Launching Right in Real Estate: What They Won’t Teach You in Pre-License School.

In this new eBook, I answer the myriad of questions the new agent candidate has. In addition, I provide advice on whether real estate may be for them (a series of self-analyses), a look at a day in the life, so they know what to expect, and the business start-up plan to assure they make a sale fast. 

Thousands of “Interviews” have Taught me a Lot

The other day, I figured the number of interviews I had done with would-be agents. I was astounded to find it was in the thousands. Did I ever learn a lot from holding these interviews. At first, I interviewed them–well, I thought I interviewed them. But, in reality, it wasn’t an interview, it was a Q and A–and they were asking all the questions. So, I started putting all those questions and answers in handouts. Finally, one of my newer agents said, ‘You should put that in a book.” So, I did. Then, when a prospective agent wanted an “interview”, I provided them the book. When they were into the pre-license course, I would schedule an interview. What I found was that I could really do an interview. I could spend most of the time asking questions and deciding for myself whether that person would be successful in real estate, and whether she would be a ‘fit’ with my company. 

A Question for You First

Before I show you the questions that I advise readers to ask, let me ask you:

Those Five Important Questions

Your Turn: What Do You Think Prospective Agents Should Ask?

Save Time! Get More from your Interview.

You can pre-order this eBook now here.

You’ve interviewed plenty of new agents. What do you wish they had been told to prepare to sell real estate successfully?

What do you wish new agents had been told before they hit the ground? 

You could save many hours interviewing and informing would-be agents if they knew the facts–and the best questions to ask.

I’m just completing my new book, Launching Right in Real Estate: What They Won’t Teach You in Pre-License School.

I started gathering information for this book as I interviewed dozens of would-be agents. They were hungry for information. I found they had lots of misinformation, too, from various sources. So, I started gathering reams of information to hand to them. Finally, one of my agents said, “You should put that in a book.” So, I did. I’ve just written a whole new version, with the most updated facts, figures, tech, and knowledge I can find.

Lots of Info on How to Become a Zillionaire Selling Real Estate, But…

There’s little or no comprehensive information on the decision to or steps to becoming a real estate agent. Or, as I read articles, they sound too good to be true (and they probably are). The real estate agents I talk to are quick to tell me what they wish they had known prior to getting into real estate. They tell me they weren’t told the whole story. So, this book is from the perspective of the would-be agent–not the agent already in business.

In this eBook:

  • Common myths about real estate as a career
  • How to tell if this is a career you’ll love—and whether you have the habits and skills to succeed
  • How much money you can make—and when and how you’ll get paid
  • What it costs to get started—and how to budget so your money doesn’t run out before your first commission
  • 70+ areas to query your interviewer to assure you pick the right company, office, manager and team for you
  • The 5 most important interview questions to ask
  • The best first-year start-up plan to launch you right and get paid fast
  • 30 actions to take during your pre-license training to hit the ground running after you’re licensed (great to help agents make money their first month in the business!)

Not a Pie in the Sky Viewpoint

I’ll warn you. This is not a sugar-coated, everyone should become a real estate salesperson eBook. Why? Because our industry is not doing itself any favors by inviting everybody and their brother into the business (which is what we do–sorry, but we do). This book has several self-analysis tools to help readers figure out if:

  1. They will love selling real estate (several questionnaires)
  2. They are ‘wired’ to accept the actions and responsibilities of selling real estate
  3. They have the financial back-up to start the business

Can You Help Me Out Here? FREE book! 

What do you find is a misconception your interviewees carry into the interview process? What do you want me to tell them as they prepare for a career? What advice to you want me to give them? How can I help you save time in the interview process and prepare good people for a real estate career? 

Tell me me in the comments here. I’ll send you complimentary copy of the eBook, out in mid-April. Thank you for your contributions to our industry!

Pre-order your copy here. Out mid-April.
Do you think new real estate agents have a romantic–or a realistic–view of the business? Give me your advice.



The ‘romantic’ view: I’ve got my license, my business cards, I’m with a wonderful company. People will find me, be really nice to me, never offer objections, never lie to me, and do whatever I tell them. I will make lots of easy money fast, working no more than 30 hours in a hard week.

The ‘reality’: I don’t expect people to find me. I have to go out and find lots of people. I have to use my ingenuity, grit, tenacity, and never give up. I have to be able to say ‘I don’t know but I’ll find out’ a dozen times a day. I have to be able to tolerate clients not showing up, not telling the truth (come on, don’t be tough on me, it’s true….), not buying when they should, and listing with someone else. 

How do we present reality? You can help. I’m editing the 6th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, the internationally-published business-planning/action book for new agents. I’m also finishing a new book for would-be agents, Launching Right in Real Estate: What They Won’t Teach You in Pre-License School. 

Tell me what you think. I’ve made 2 surveys, one for agents and one for managers. They each will take you just a few minutes, and you’ll be helping our industry prepare people for the reality of the business, not just the romance.

Here’s the link to the survey for agents.

Here’s the link to the survey for leadership.

Please return the survey to me by Feb. 27. If you’re quoted in either book, you’ll receive a copy, of course, and acknowledgment in the book.

You know who this is. Read how he turned an exceptional basketball career into an even more successful business career.

I can’t do it. It’s someone else’s fault. If only….I’ll never be able to. I tried that once. It didn’t work. It won’t work for me. Give me (you fill in the blanks) or else I can’t succeed.

You’ve heard all these reasons why someone can’t succeed. (Makes me depressed just reading this list.) So, it’s refreshing to hear someone speak about how to succeed—with no excuses.  I don’t mean that we all don’t at times need a hand up. But, those are the few times.  They don’t become our mantra.

I just watched a video where a UPS executive interviewed Magic. Here are some of Magic’s insightful comments.

Dream it First to Live It

At age 16, Magic was a janitor while in school. He would go sit in the CEO’s chair and pretend he was the CEO; giving orders, making decisions, acting like a CEO. He said he always wanted to be an entrepreneur, not just a basketball player. Look what happened.

What are you dreaming?

On Not Giving Up

As Magic transitioned from famous, successful pro basketball player to businessman, he thought his fame would magically open doors and make him successful. He found it opened doors (they all wanted to meet him), but, it didn’t get him the funding he needed to expand his business. He was turned down ten times before a bank took a chance on him.

How tenacious are you?

Network and Lead Generate and Learn

Magic wanted to find out what was important to prominent people. He got the list of Lakers season ticket holders, and called up to 50 a day. Many met with him, and several became investors with him.

Are you lead generating with tenacity?

Tailor to your Target

Magic was an early investor in Starbucks, and has over 125 Starbucks locations today. He met with Howard Schultz, the founder and then president, and told him he needed to tailor his Starbucks businesses to his clientele. You can imagine where Magic wanted to place his Starbucks. He told Mr. Schultz he didn’t want that music that was in most Starbucks stores. He wanted Michael Jackson, Beyonce, etc. He didn’t want scones. You get the picture.

Are you targeting your marketing to your audiences?

Hire and Work with the Best

Magic says, if you find great talent, you don’t need to micro-manage them. This comes from his experience as a basketball player.

Are you affiliating with the best? Do you need to ‘up your game’ interviewing? 

Shine Your Light on Others to Succeed

As you help others succeed, you’ll succeed. Magic says his reason for being in business is to help others. He’s helped thousands of minority business people launch businesses. This comes, too, from his experience as a basketball player. His mentoring others resulted in more success for everyone.

Are you providing a hand up to qualified, determined talent?

Learn from Everyone

Magic believes everyone has something he can learn from. He values each person and seeks their contributions. He says he loves to learn and he’s constantly learning.

Are you learning from those you’re around?

Add Value

Magic believes the secret of business success is to add value. When he meets with someone, he thinks about how he can add value for that person.

Are you adding value to those you work with, coach, or teach?

Does your Interview Process Need Polishing?

Check out this system for selecting winners. Save time, money, and training. See it 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.
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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!

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?

 

 

interview with clip boardOnboarding: Is it causing attrition or retention in your company? Do you know? Do you know how awesome (or not) your onboarding system is? Have you done a survey? (more about that in later blogs).

The biggest lesson in the onboarding process is starting each new agent with a proven lead generating plan.

What Does Onboarding Include?

One study I used in Up and Running in 30 Days was the Inman Select Special Report: How to Fix New Agent Onboarding. The Inman report didn’t define what was included in Onboarding. From reading the study, however, Inman included initial training, coaching, and mentoring. I am going to add basic orientation and basic actions to the Onboarding process. Why? Because many real estate companies do not have adequate orientation processes. So, agents don’t get the basic direction needed to launch their businesses.

Question: What is your initial orientation like? Does it cover all the bases? If you want a template and suggestions of what should be included in your orientation, click here.

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

Retention Starts in the Interview

From working with real estate companies over the past three + decades, I think that most brokers regard retention as something that we must do to keep those seasoned agents. However, according to the survey results in the SHRM study, retention decisions are made by those we hire within a very short period of time. In fact, both studies indicate retention starts prior to hiring!

Here is a major conclusion from this survey, and it what means to real estate companies.

Expectations of the job are different than what new hires heard in the interview. And, the Inman report said new agents fail because they are unprepared for the realities of working as an independent contractor. I’m sure you’ve experienced this. Your new agent is all excited about a career in real estate. But, he/she will not do the lead generating activities required to launch a career. You told the candidate he/she had to lead generate. What is wrong?

Question for you: How well do you explain the job expectations in your interview? Do you provide a prioritized job description for the new agent? (Click here to grab mine). How do you give the prospective agent a real idea of the job?

Three Tips:

  1. Prior to hiring: Have the agent shadow one of your agents who is modeling the behaviors you want.
  2. Provide the agent with the eBook What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School. This eBook tells the truth about real estate as a career! You’ll save lots of time in the interview process and winners will pick themselves.
  3. Ask the prospect agent to do an activity you feel is important: Like create a dialogue to talk to someone they know about buying/selling real estate.
  4. Prior to hiring: Give the prospective agent Up and Running in 30 Days. Ask them to review the book. In my experience, if they come back, excited to begin this specific start-up plan, they are a good match for a productivity-focused office. If they come back and reject your lead generating plan, not a good prospect!

In my next blog, I’ll discuss more of the study conclusions and what they mean to us as real estate owners. I’ll also offer tips to tighten your onboarding process. Isn’t it worth having great systems if you could increase your retention of first year agents to 75%?

Last question: What’s your retention rate now of first year agents? How much money do they make their first year in the business? Do you know?

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.