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 Training

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.

Here are three hot tips to get them to go to training. This month, I’m featuring training. 

Here are 3 surefire ways to get your agents to attend—and get recruits to attend, too! This is from Jodi Sipes, senior coach and great instructor.

1) Leverage Affiliates
Title representatives, mortgage brokers, escrow companies, home inspectors, and others can support your training calendar by adding lunches and other incentives to improve attendance. The best benefit is that this is a win for everyone, and forges bonds between agents and affiliates. The benefit for the affiliate: They get in front of your agents and get to know them—building trust. The benefit for the agents: They get hands-on training from people who are “out there doing it now,” and they get to know a variety of affiliates so they can decide if they would like to do business with them.

2) Create Positive Expectations for their Accomplishments
For new agents, create a booklet that details all the classes you expect them to attend in their first year. You can use this to set mutual expectations at the time of hiring. Create dates for them to attend. Check off each class as they complete it, and celebrate their growth! Everyone should celebrate when they get their first listings and sales, too. The booklet helps them keep it all straight, and is a tool for you to keep track of their progress, as well. Yes, it’s fine to have a digital checklist. But, we believe what we see. We really tune in to tactile, too. So, take advantage of the various ways people learn and access their emotions.

3) Be Lavish in your Recognition/Improved Performance
Have drawings or special prizes and recognition at meetings for the agents who grow to a new level through the office training. Use their testimonials when you market the classes to your agents. Get creative ! Use audio and video testimonials. When an agent admires the performance of another, they will want to model what they do.

It’s  a Process, not an Event

Putting together world-class training is a process, and will not be all you want it to be right away. It takes planning, support from your agents and affiliates, and time to catch on and develop. You can grow and improve each year!

More in New Agent Development SystemsWhat is a ‘new agent development system?‘ It is an integrated system of coaching and training to take your new agent from his first day in the office, through initial training, and coaching to success.  

We are here to support your agent development systems. Talk to us about coaching you in developing world class training with our knowledge and systems. You’ll go further faster, and have time to do all the other management duties you know you should be doing!

audience sleepingHow to get them to attend training?

A common complaint of managers is that they can’t get their agents to come to training. For the next few weeks, I’m concentrating on training.  Why? Because it should be a huge part of your value proposition. After all, you can’t just recruit them–can you? You need also to have a complete development system. Coaching and training ARE a huge part of that agent development system.

Having trouble getting them to training? I turned to one of our senior coaches, Jodi Sipes, M. A. Here, Jodi shows you how to market your training to attract your agents and get them excited as students. Jodi’s advanced education in adult learning, plus her years of experience creating and implementing exceptional training for new agents, gives her a unique perspective.

Don’t be Dull! Set up Themes to Pique the Curiosity and Up the Attendance

Don’t just list the topics you are going to present. Create themes. For example: Listing month! New Year Planning! Spotlight on Buyers! Now that you have the over view of training and components put together, make sure that they compliment and support each other. For instance, when you are training new agents with the Up and Running in Real Estate training schedule, you should have supplementary training/practice days in your office. This is also a great place for experienced agents to grow as trainers—plus, their time will be saved, as they will teach everyone at once, instead of having a bunch of new agents knocking on their door with questions all the time.

Get Creative! Give it a Provocative Title

We see lots of training calendars in our training consulting. Most of them are dull as old brick! Don’t just list the topic. Instead, get creative. Make the topic interesting, even provocative. Put a new ‘spin’ on the topic. For ideas, read the names of programs given at your state and national Realtor conventions. Some of the topic names are really creative!

Give it a Double Punch for Double Learning

Don’t just teach the curriculum. Find ways to expand that subject from all the angles. For example: When you have a new agent training section on listing presentations you should have a top Realtor from your office give a demonstration on an effective listing presentation or an effective CMA. When you work with Buyer’s presentations, have a lender come explain the issues and requirements buyers face. Lead follow up and business planning create a good time for software vendors to show their programs. Marketing sections offer an opportunity for affiliates to show how they can support agents, and for vendors to show how their products can support agents. These supplementary classes are great for all agents of all levels.

Alternate Formal with Casual for the Unexpected

It’s also great to incorporate casual (brown-bag lunch—agent “Rap” session) support groups to encourage agents to share their ideas and frustrations. This creates a “teamwork” feel to your office, and helps agents through current challenges. When the manager shows up at these for the first part, agents can get their questions answered in a format that answers these for many agents—saving the manager time!

Putting together world-class training is a process, and will not be all you want it to be right away. It takes planning, support from your agents and affiliates, and time to catch on and develop. You can grow and improve each year.

We are here to support your agent development systems. Talk to us about coaching you in developing world class training. You’ll go further faster, and have time to do all the other management duties you know you should be doing.

LM CoverAre Your Agents Developing Quickly?

Let us help you create a recruiting, coaching, and training plan that works to get you–and them–more productivity faster. We’ll help you career complete Career Development Systems for both new and seasoned agents. Now, you have systems. You can expand. you can relax a little. Why not check out Leadership Mastery Coaching with a complimentary consultation?

Blog-CoachYou worked hard to help your agents gain business plans for the coming year. Now, optimize that work!

Are you using your agents’ business plans to coach all year? If not, you’re missing out on leveraging that plan!

First, congratulations! You’ve helped your agents each gain a business plan. That’s a huge key to their success–but only the first step. Now, how can you capitalize on all that work (both you and the agents?) It’s not enough to teach them to plan, or even to sit down with each agent and work through their plans. In order to really help them use those plans as a guide all year,  use that business plan as a platform from which to coach the agent all year.

Here are the basics of coaching to a business plan.

How often should you coach?

That depends on the agent. For newer agents, coach more frequently (at least monthly). For seasoned agents, coach a minimum of quarterly and better yet, monthly.

What should you coach to?

You’ve provided your agent with a method to set goals in finding, working with, and closing clients (I hope you’re using my Beyond the Basics of Business Planning system.) You have provided your agent a method to measure results. You’re going to use the numbers that the agent is generating by measuring the results of his business plan:

First, the goals: Lead generation, listings, listings sold, sales.

Lead generation

Listing/sales appointments

Listings

Listings sold

Sales

You’re going to help the agent translate the activity numbers into ratios so the agent knows the work he must do to reach his goals.

Why bother to use the business plan as a foundation for coaching?

Because, otherwise, you’re just giving advice or doing ‘crisis management’. You want to be perceived as a trusted business coach, helping the agent grow his/her business.

Big questions: Is the planning system you’re using

1. Helping the agent assess his business–where he’s been?

2. Helping the agent set realistic goals and an action plan that translates into daily activities?

3. Includes an accurate method to measure the activities and results of the activities so you and the agent can make fast adjustments?

Man-Walking-Up-Stairs-to-GlobeWant 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.

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.

head in the sand a salespersonDo your agents have their business plans for this year? Have you been avoiding the issue, hoping they would do it on their own? Not going to happen…..What’s YOUR plan to get them business plans?

What Doesn’t Work

It doesn’t work to hand them those planning documents and tell them to get them done. It’s useless. You need to teach them the process, be involved in the process, and coach them through the process. Then, you’ll motivate them to complete those plans. Also, when you treat this as important, they will respond.

What Does Work

Here are 3 ways to get your agents to do business plans:

1. Get the best planning ‘templates’ you can find, so your agents have a good planning process to follow

2. Do a class on business planning, using a proven step-wise process, along with the planning templates you’re going to use (In my online business planning system, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, I have 2 webinars for your agents to take them right through the process, along with the documents. I also have provided you the outline for a class, if you’d like to teach it. You can use my agent webinars in your class, too).

3. Sit down with each agent and help that agent flesh out the plan. It may take more than 1 meeting. Are you willing to commit?

Level of Support

If you’re willing to provide that level of support, you will have much a better chance of getting business plans for each of your agents.

Question: Did YOU create a business plan for your office? It’s not too late to get that done, too. Then you’ll know exactly how to make a plan. (See my online program, Beyond the Basics of Business Planning, for the documents and guidance you need to create a great office plan.)

Man-Walking-Up-Stairs-to-GlobeWant Some Support to Get Your Agents Business Plans?

Why not 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.

Here’s how you can inspire your agents to make great business plans. It’s all in the mission!

It’s time to do your #business plan! So, my next blogs will focus on helping you create that business plan–and getting your agents to plan. I’ll include some of the planning templates, too, from my business planning program (see below).

The Mission Creates Excitement and Inspiration

Do your agents have mission statements as part of their business plans?

Why is having a mission important? How should it guide agents? You’ve heard the talks about finding your passion. But, you see your agents being over-whelmed in their careers. It’s just too much to think big when they’re just trying to find that house or convince a buyer to work with them!

The Importance of Your Mission

This time of year, we’re encouraging real estate professional to create their business plans.

Why? Because, otherwise, you don’t know whether or not the actions you decide to take will fulfill your mission. This is also true of your agents.

Tackling and Bringing Down your Time Management Challenges

If agents have been in the sales business a little while, they’ve already discovered that their biggest challenge is time management. How can they get done in a business day everything that needs getting done? That’s where your mission comes in. Creating your mission helps you prioritize all the things you’re supposed to do. It helps you decide what not to do. Most important, it helps you figure out

how to put YOU into your management and sales business successfully

#Free Business Planning: I have a gift for you right now, to help you assist your agents in defining their missions (it works for leadership, too). Click here to get this planning tool, which is excerpted from my unique online resource Beyond the Basics of Business Planning. 

How About Creating a Real Professional Strategic Plan this Year?

Ready to step up to a real strategic business plan? Here’s help to you and to your agents. The leadership program of Beyond the Basics of Business Planning gives managers guidance in how to get their agents to plan. It gives them a #course on business planning if they want to teach it to their agents. Or, Carla will teach your agents with 2 webinars. Your leadership tuition includes all your leadership planning documents and all the agent planning documents and webinars. Check it out here.

Build this into your training; get better audience attention.

According to my informal surveys, real estate trainers say that keeping the audience’s attention is their biggest challenge. Here’s an easy and fun way to put a great motivator into your online training.

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

Reward the Behaviors You Want

What do you want your attendees to do? Pay attention, coordinate with each other, do work outside class? Decide first what is important o you–and them. Then, choose some rewards for the behaviors you want in your virtual classroom.

Behavior Wanted: Put the Ideas to Work after Class

Recently, I did a webinar on how to convert your classroom course to online.  I wanted to help attendees take these ideas and immediately apply them to their courses. I was concerned that, because there was lots of material in a short period of time, attendees could be overwhelmed and not know how to start. So,  I promised I’d send my Big Ideas in a Little Book to the first 10 people who emailed me after the webinar, telling me what they were going to implement right away.

I will also follow up with my ten ‘winners’ to find out how they’ve implemented their ideas. This can form another blog or article, and give them some publicity (if they want it), too.

Question: What ‘reward’ could you offer to participants for finishing work, or promising to put to work some of the ideas in your webinar?

To the left is another example. In my Train the Trainer distance learning program (15 clock hours), I’ve created ‘badges’ that are rewarded for good work. This is just one way I can show that I appreciate the work and dedication of the participants.

Rewards for Doing the Work

A large real estate company I consult to decided to put their initial training course online. Although I know it’s not as simple as turning on the camera, I still found a myriad of operations that needed to be addressed. But, most importantly, I wanted to address the motivation issue. How could I keep the attendees’ attention and compel them to do the work outside class?

Three Solutions

  1. Provide small, immediate rewards for doing the work. Studies show that small rewards, awarded immediately, work much better than big rewards held back until weeks into a course. So, I asked affiliates to provide small rewards that will be handed out (virtually) each week for those who finish all the work.
  2. Reward through creating accountability partners. We’re also pairing up people, and will create some awards for partners who finish the work.
  3. Public” acknowledgment.  The training manager will de-brief attendees at the beginning of each session, and choose ‘heroes’ to acknowledge (those who have done outstanding work).

How do you use rewards as motivators in your online classes?

Help is Here…. 

Want some help in taking your classroom online? Want to get great attention, better long-term learning, and enthusiastic attendees? Call me at 425-392-6914 or email me at carla@carlacross.com. I’d love to put my three+ decades of working with real estate trainers just like you to work to make online training fun, fast, and rewarding!

Your classroom style is awesome! How does it translate to virtual delivery?

You’re great in the classroom. So, are you great on camera? Maybe, maybe not. 

What Makes Us Effective in the Classroom

Most of the time, real estate presenters use lecture and discussion to deliver their messages. It works ‘live’ because we have energy, we have physical presence, and we can add movement to keep the audience’s attention. We even use a high range of vocal inflections. Even though lecture and discussion delivery methods don’t get much participation from audiences, they still can work in short presentations because of the energy, presence, movement, and dynamics we use in the classroom. 

On Camera, It’s a Different Game

Unfortunately, when we present online, we lose

  • our physical presence
  • much of our physical energy
  • our ability to move around
  • our ability to approach the audience and create dialogue with them
  • our ability to use a wide range of vocal dynamics

Using Alternative Teaching Methods Online

When we’re teaching online, we have to stretch our skills and employ some different teaching methods to get participation and keep the audience’s attention. These include:

  • Using break-out rooms
  • Using handouts for work before, during, and after the presentation
  • Using chat feature
  • Using engaging PowerPoint presentations
  • Using whiteboard
  • Using music
  • Using more than one presenter
  • Using polls

Audience Presentation Tip

Use at least one method of audience participation every 5-6 minutes during your presentation so you keep your audience’s attention and interest.

What About You?

How many of these features do you use right now when you teach online? What can you incorporate to get that high audience participation you need?

 

Challenged with getting your classroom to work online? I’d love to help you. Having done webinars for over 15 years, and taught Instructor Development Workshops for three decades, I know how to make your classroom work online easily so you’ll have more fun teaching. Contact me and we’ll talk! 425-392-6914 or carla@carlacross.com.

It’s here now, and it’s here to stay. Why not take this time to refine your online training skills?

Do you need to go online with your presentations and courses’?  In real estate, we’re not doing any ‘live’ teaching. So, this is a great time, to adjust your communication and training strategy to reach out.

I’ve been doing webinars for years, and, I learned so much working with pros like Amy Chorew while I presented through National Association of Realtors doing business planning webinars. I really worked on my technique, and was always rated in the top three presenters.

Unfortunately, many of the Zoom training and presentations have been–shall I say it–boring! Here is what I learned from the best, the mistakes I’ve made as I’ve learned, and the strategies that will help you create effective online communications and training as we go forward.    

Today, you need to take your training courses online if you’re a

  • Trainer
  • Coach
  • Manager
  • Team leader
  • Salesperson

and in today’s world, we HAVE to communicate digitally–at least for awhile. The good news is that it forces us to get really good at this type of communication so we can reach more people more effectively. I hate it when I ask people what they think of webinars and they say that last PowerPoint presentation was

boring/dull/repetitive/ill-organized/no fun……..

But, if you’re skilled at presenting online, you can

  • Inform
  • Introduce
  • Sell
  • Increase your image

Webinars: An Easy Solution to Training

What can a webinar do? First, what it can’t do. Don’t expect it to  

Change people’s behavior (it’s not training. It’s education). Webinars are not the magic training bullet we’ve wished for. There are limited objectives you can accomplish by doing a webinar. But, I’ve discovered some methods to help ‘attendees’ internalize and apply what they’re learning (see my Train the Trainer sneak preview below).

Of course, the upside of a online training/webinar is that

  • People don’t have to travel to get to the an event
  • It’s very cost-effective
  • It puts you in front of new audiences
  • You can make it evergreen (record it and share it)

Some Basic Choices to Make Before You Start

  1. Your vehicle

Which company will you use to deliver your webinar? There are over 100 companies today offering some type of screen sharing. They range from free to $100+ a month. The free versions companies tout are for a limited number of viewers (usually 5-10). After that, figure on paying for the services. Among the most popular services are Zoom, GoTo Meeting, WebEx, and BrightTalk. Whatever you choose, pick a service that will be easy for you! Getting caught in the technicalities while you are trying to be a sparkling presenter is death by webinar.

  1. What’s your message?

Boy, this one seems so easy, and yet, it’s where most of us go way off the rails. Why? We try to do too much in too little time with too little organization! (Just like we do in ‘live’ classes). But, it’s more fatal digitally, because it is more challenging to hold people’s attention. So, the next few tips are critical to the success  of your training.

Decide on your topic. Is it something that would lend itself to a webinar? To find out, study webinars you’ve attended. Do some seem too wishy-washy to have been worth your time? Are some so full of facts and figures you snooze off?

Decide on your objectives. In other words, start with the end in mind.  What do you see, hear, and feel the attendees doing at the end of your presentation?

To write your objectives, start with this sentence,

As a result of this webinar, attendees will____________________________. Examples of objectives for a business planning webinar could be:

  • Understand the flow of the strategic business planning process
  • Be able to differentiate between a vision and a mission statement
  • Be able to pinpoint 3 areas of concern about their business from the previous year

After I’ve written my objectives, I know the basic structure of my webinar. I can prioritize those objectives and start arranging my webinar in the right presentation order.

Your Topic: Overview or Detailed?

Is your topic an overview, or is it more detailed? Decide on the scope of your topic, and your objectives, before going further.

Common webinar mistake: Either being so global there is little information, or being so detailed you lose the audience in facts and figures.

Sound Familiar?

If you’ve taken my Instructor Development Workshop or my online learning version, Train the Trainer, you’ve learned what objectives are and how to write and apply them in creating your training/presentation/digital class. 

After deciding on your desired delivery company, and drafting your topic and objectives, you’re ready for the next step. In the next blog, we’ll discuss best presentation methods–and common presentation mistakes.

See What a Digital Course Looks Like and How it’s Organized

Necessity is the mother of invention!!!! Oh, boy, have I learned that. I decided to put my distance learning program in new course software. In doing so, I’ve found out how to help people internalize important concepts and apply them to great, concrete, immediately-usable results. Here’s a sneak preview of my Train the Trainer program. It fulfills the requirement for attendees to teach clock hour approved courses in Washington state, and is accredited for 15 clock hours.

Train the Trainer Sneak Preview

In later posts, I’ll share some strategies I’ve found work really well in creating online presentations and courses that involve, inform, and entertain.