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Archive for standards

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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!

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.

Rate yourself on your management skills, so you’ll know what you need to work on prior to going into management (or if you’re already in management).

Are you thinking of going into management? Few of us knew the skills–or the level of skill attainment–we needed to succeed in the job. I want to help all of you who want to go into management to succeed at a high level. Thus, these blogs.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

In an earlier blog, I discussed the skills we need to have honed prior to going into management. In this blog, we’ll tackle getting those skills in certain areas.

At the end of this blog: grab my assessment tool I use in my Leadership Mastery coaching series to help new managers plan for this skill attainment.

The Biggest Skill Area Managers Need Today to Succeed

What do you think it is? It’s recruiting and selecting skill. Why? Because, there’s so much competition for good agents that a manager just can’t sit back and wait for agents to come to them. It isn’t the old days (although I never was able to do that in my ‘old days!’).

These skills are the same skills good agents use to expand their businesses. That’s why we need to hire managers who have been successful recruiters and selectors. Notice I said recruiters and selectors. I know companies brag about how mahy gross recruits they landed that month or year, but, long-term, it’s those who stay, prosper, and grow with the company that add to the profitability of all.

One of the standards you need to create when you’re hiring a manager is

How successful was that agent as a business getter? What’s the number of transactions you would accept?

How to Get Recruiting and Selecting Skills

Your company may have a course focusing on these skills. If so, take it prior to going into management. Overall, the best courses out there for management are the CRB courses, leading to the Certified Real Estate Broker designation. I highly recommend them. Here’s the link.

What’s Your Agent Track Record?

In addition, if you don’t have a track record of at least 12-20 transactions a year as an agent, in my opinion, you have not developed the skills in recruiting and selecting you will need as a successful agent. It’s my experience that agents who didn’t actively lead generate will carry that habit into management. They will balk at lead generating for agents, and they will fight upper management to the death–and to everyone’s detriment.

Resource (Some are FREE) to Gain those Management Skills

This month, I’m offering some of my management resources free with purchase of other resources. Check it out here.

Grab the leadership skill assessment here.

Managers or general managers: If you’re hiring a new manager, help them evaluate their skill levels and then create a training and coaching program to assure they get those skills before they launch their management career.

Here’s how to find out if management is in your future–and how to prepare to succeed.

** See my prioritized job description of a manager as a handout–along with the number of hours I recommend you spend in each activity.

For the past couple of months, I’ve been interviewing potential managers. I’ve found that almost none had done any ‘prep’ work to go into the position. Yet, successful managers have developed specific, somewhat unique skills to do their jobs. And, what I’ve found is that these skills must be at least partially developed before we launch ourselves into management–or else we get swamped by all these new challenges hitting us in the face!

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

In these blogs, I’ll make some recommendations to you about how to get those skills. Unfortunately, we go into management thinking either

  1. We have enough of the skills to succeed
  2. There aren’t skills needed to suceed in management
  3. I’ll learn ‘on the job’

The Best Management Training Courses Out There

Are you familiar with The CRB courses? These are offered by an arm of the National Association of Realtors, and are, by far, the best management courses out there.

Here’s the link: https://www.rebinstitute.com/. It’s called Real Estate Business Institute now. I highly recommend the courses.

When to take these courses? Before you go into management! They are offered throughout the United States (and some in Canada). I was an instructor with the Institute for 12 years, and so I know the value of these courses (I also took several of them prior to going into management).

Investigating Management

Have you interviewed at least 5 managers to find out what they do and how they got the skills to do it? If not, start your interviews now. You’ll find a wide range of management descriptions, of course. Some managers will describe what I call ‘maintenance management’–keeping the place running by doing administrative duties and listening to agent complaints. That’s not what it takes today to succeed in ‘active’ management. In fact, I think a great manager can be compared best to a great or mega-agent.

Questions you’ll want to ask:

  1. What’s your biggest challenge in management?
  2. What’s your biggest win?
  3. What’s different from management than you thought before you went into management?
  4. How do you create a real team?
  5. How do you recruit?
  6. How did you prepare to go into management?

Suggestion: Ask for a copy of the manager’s job description. I’ll bet few of them have ever seen one!

Here’s the link to the prioritized manager’s job description.

Another way to prepare to go into management: See my management resources at www.carlacross.com. 

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.

In the last blog, I named 3 things that bad hiring costs you.

There are some of those line items that are hard to quantify–but are very real. If you’ve ever hired an agent who lied to you or others, or undermined you, or talked behind your back in the kichen–you know there are very real costs to your culture.

Another real but hard to quanitify cost: Have you ever had good agents leave because they weren’t challenged? Because they felt you were hiring poor agents, and dragging down everyone’s production? If that only cost you one productive agent, it’s a lot!

What are your numbers? What does it cost you for an agent who failed? Have you ever figured it out? Let me know. As a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) instructor, I would ask managers this question. Generally, they figured the cost of a bad hire was $10,000-$30,000. What’s yours?

eBook Cover(2)
Grab Your Selection Blueprint and Gain a System

Are you wasting time interviewing those who fail? Do you want to have a systematic method of selection (just as you tell your agents to use with sellers and buyers!).  Or, do you need some guidance to figure out those you don’t want? Get Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners and make better hiring decisions.

Ready to use and immediately downloadable!

I’m giving the same advice to those interviewing while in pre-license. These preferences are excerpted from my ebook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School.A�A�

From the Prospective Interviewee’s Perspective

Youa��re getting ready to go into the interview. Do you know what youa��re looking for? Use this checklist to decide what kind of company, office, and atmosphere youa��ll feel most comfortable in.

Selling vs non-selling manager

You prefer a manager who doesna��t sell real estate.(non-competing)

You prefer a manager who sells real estate (may provide a good role model).

Managers: How will you explain the benefits you bring as a selling or non-selling manager?

Training

You prefer a formalized training program.

You prefer to a�?go it on your owna��, with the manager available to answer questions.

Managers: How will you explain the benefits of the kind of program you provide?A�

Large/Small Office

You prefer a large, busy office.

You prefer a small, more laid-back atmosphere.

Managers: How will you differentiate between the large and small offices, and explain the benefits to your type of office?

Large/Small Company

You like the idea of a large company behind your efforts.

You like the idea of a boutique, specialty company.

Managers: What are the benefits of your type of company?

Many/Few New Agents

You want to be around other new agents like you, so you prefer an office with lots of new agents.

You want to be with seasoned agents, and would rather be among the few new agents in the office.

Managers: What are the benefits of your agent mix? (Do you know what your agent mix is?)

Top Producer Assignment

You want to be assigned to a top producer to find out how that top producer works, and perhaps do work for that top producer.

You want to become an above-average producer fast, and dona��t want to be in the shadows of anyone else.

Managers: How do you explain the benefits of a mentor program to your interviewee–if you have one?

Age of Agents

You want to be around people your age.

You want to be around people of a wide range of ages and interests.

Managers: Do you know your agent age mix? How do you explain the benefits of it?

Work from Office/Work from Home

You want to work from the office, and have a desk at the office.

You want to work from home.

Managers: What’s your take on the benefits of either of these? Do you have requirements? How do you explain benefits?

No Supervision/Management

You prefer little or no a�?supervisiona��. Youa��ll go at your own speed.

You want and expect leadership and guidance as you start your career.

Managers: How much supervision do you employ? What are the benefits of your approach?

Coach/No Coach

You want a coach dedicated to your success.

You prefer to go it alone and operate independently.

Managers: Do you have a coaching program? How do you explain the benefits–or not?

Mentor/Manager

You want a mentora��someone you can go to ask questions at any time.

You want to go to your manager as your trusted adviser.

Managers: Do you have a mentor program? Who is the mentor? How do you explain benefits?

Most Important in the Interview

There are 3 important points here:

  1. Create questions based on these preferences
  2. Be ready to explain the benefits of how you work
  3. Decide your standards–what you will tolerate; what you won’t tolerate

Save Interview Time and Give Them the Straight Scoop

Are you spending hours in the interview process? Explaining the same things over and over again? Why not let Carla take some of that obligation from you, so you can spend your time in a great interview? Check outA�What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School.A�A�

 

 

bus-plan-7-teamHere are the nine big signs your manager must be fired–and some are obvious–but others are just as important but often ignored until it is way too late!

In the next few blogs, I’ll focus on ownership/general manager issues.A� The reason I’m writing this blog is that, I am seeing managers go off the rails and try to take the office with them! Unfortunately, clever managers get the support of their agents while not managing properly. With their popularity, the ‘boss’ may hesitate firing them–even when they need desperately to be fired!

Managers are Clever at ‘Buying’ Support–Especially when under Stress

Some get that support by ‘buying’ the agents–giving their favorites leads. Some get that support by creating a flurry of activity, that obscures what’s really going on behind the scenes. I know how hard it is to tell, from an agent’s perspective, if the manager is doing his/her job. As an agent myself, I watched from afar, not knowing exactly what my manager did or didn’t do. I also didn’t know the activities he was supposed to be doing–and the activities he was avoiding or refusing to do.

I’ve screened, hired and coached dozens of managers, both as a regional director for one of the largest franchises in the world, and as an independent coach. I have seen things go off the rails many times–even when the agents in the office don’t have a clue!

The Nine Signs Your Manager Must Leave

1. Refuses to recruit to your standards (minimums)–that means numbers of contacts, interviews, and hires.

2. Refuses to hire to your standards–hires anyone and calls it ‘good’.

3. Refuses to coach agents up–or out; refuses to manage via standards (minimums) of performance.

4. Refuses to do the activities as designated and trained to by the general manager (such as interviewing appropriately or teaching to your culture).

5. Refuses to uphold all aspects of the culture (hires an agent who’s a top producer but doesn’t represent the culture).

6. Takes frustrations and problems with upper management to the agents, when he/she should only discuss any problem areas directly with management.

7. Openly disrespects and berates upper management–both to agents and directly to management.

8. Acts in an adversarial and/or fearful way to anyone he perceives as an authority.

9. Shares things with agents that should not be shared.

In other words: the manager has become a liability to the culture and the office. He/she is not teaming with upper management; he doesn’t have the same vision as leadership; he is fighting for control. It’s your office and you’re the boss. You must exercise your authority now for the preservation and growth of your office.

What did I miss? Let me know and we’ll add to the list!

What are you looking for–and what aren’t you looking for–in a real estate agent?

This month, I’m featuring recruiting. Why? Because it’s the life blood of real estate success. Unfortunately, too many managers, though, don’t honor it as such.

Knock-Out Factors

First, let’s tackle what you’re not looking for! What are your knock-out factors?

Here are someA�of mine. Grab a pen and write yours. Now, include these as questions in your pre-interview phone questionnaire. (You do have one, don’t you?)

knox-pdf_page_08

(See Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners for a full list of pre-interview questions.

 

 

 

 

 

What ARE You Looking for in a Real Estate Agent?

You’ve listed the knock-out factors that would disqualify the candidate from an interview–or a second interview. Now, let’s look at what you are looking for:

Take a look at the categories below.

knox-pdf_page_09

Now, write the specific skills, talents, and qualities you’re looking for that would add to your team in your office:

 

 

 

 

 

The last question for you in this blog: Do your interview questions reflect what you’re looking for? Write your 3 favorite interview questions and see if they are revealing exactly what you’re looking for. If not, why are you asking them?

In our next blog, I’ll share the best type of interview question you can ask!

blueprint_ebook_cover4Save Time and Recruit the Right People with a great Interview Process

Are you wasting time interviewing and not hiring? Or, interviewing and hiring and then finding out they aren’t a ‘fit’? This resource will help you stop all that and provide laser focus and skills for hiring with confidence.

Check out Your Blueprint for Selecting Winners now–all online for immediate download.

hands of keysWhat 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.)

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. Last week, 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. A�In my online coaching program for new agents, logoUp and Running in Real Estate, I’ve put these components into the program as a integral way to assure great performance.