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.
Here’s a ‘story problem’ (case study) from my train the trainer programs. See how you do….

What’s wrong with this training?

Most of us managers train……along with the other 100 things we have to do each day. Too often, we tend to ‘grab and go’……our training is not too well thought out–with good reason!

In my Instructor Development Workshop (live) and my online distance learning version of the course, Train the Trainer, I show attendees how to deliver their courses without droning through them.

case study

In case study, we create a situation that reflects real life. This case study can be rather long and complex. We use it to help students grapple with the ‘gray areas’ –just like we have to do in real life. 

What is a ‘case study’?

First, it isn’t what the attorneys tell us. It’s not a case that you, the instructor, talk through and give the answers. Instead, it’s a written situation that asks the students to come to several conclusions.

When is the case study used? It’s used toward the end of your course or module. 

What is the case study for?  To test the students’ judgment, understanding, and application of what you’ve taught.  

Who can (and should) use the delivery method (teaching method) of case study? Anyone who wants to ‘test’ students’ understanding, judgment, and ability to draw conclusions from the course. It’s great for mortgage lenders, title and escrow, attorneys, and home inspectors to use. in my classes, I ask students to create an appropraite case study for their course. 

What does a case study accomplish? It throws the accountability to the student. It lets the students interact, to team build, and to learn from each other. It shows you, the instructor, how well you’ve taught and what you need to review.

Here’s that case study for you. Take a look at the case study I use in my train the trainer courses to see how well students have internalized the concepts taught in my classes. I assign the case study at the end of one class, and we debrief in small groups and then generalize in the large group.  (And it  helps attendees see an example of a case study and how it is used–so they can create their own case studies easily and quickly).

How did you do? Could you name 10 things ‘Sally’ did wrong? 

Grab Great Teaching Methods

Get some new training strategies and step your training up to the next level. See my online program, Train the Trainer, in new course software. It’s fun to do and you learn great methods (plus I give you 8 ready-to-use teaching strategies).  

Take a Sneak Preview here.

When you look out at your audience, what do ou see? Not this, I hope!

Managers: Do they fall asleep when you start your meetings?

Are your sales meetings knocking their socks off? If not, help is here! Start your meeting with the tips here, and watch your agent count go way up for your sales meetings and training presentations.

Who Is a Presenter?

We’re all presenters: Any time we are in front of two or two thousand, our goal is to persuade the audience to our point of view. However, most of the time, we just get in front of people and say whatever we think of first. That lack of attention to presentation organization leads to some big presentation mistakes, and costs us sales. Instead of stumbling through a presentation, why not organize it to grab their attention, persuade them to your way of thinking, and motivate them to action?

Grab Their Attention in the Opening

Have you thought about your opening? Are you hiding in your office because you dread doing that sales meeting?

, like:

I won’t take much of your time, but

We have a lot to cover today

We won’t get through the outline

I know you don’t want to listen, but

I’m not really prepared

Attributes of Great Openings

Great openings, yes? Yet, we’ve heard them dozens of times. You don’t have to settle for whatever comes “naturally”. Instead, make your openings

Provocative

Interesting

Different

Engaging

Here are some ideas:

  1. come in a costume that gets their attention
  2. Start with a musical group
  3. Ask a provocative question
  4. Have 2-3 people do a little playlet at the beginning
  5. Have a drawing and then use the results to springboard into a discussion

Recently, I was in Napa, California teaching a large home inspection sales company how to create persuasive presentations. I first taught them the process and gave them ideas. Then, we broke into practice groups. Finally, we all meet again and debriefed. They had some great ideas and their practice created team building and sparked creativity.

You don’t have to settle for boring old meetings. Use your creativity and shake things up! You’ll get better attendance AND you’ll involve more people.

Let me know what you come up with!

Face it! Most office meetings are not well attended. In fact, they may be thought of as boring to the office’s agents! Here’s a method to put zip in that meeting and ‘up’ your attendance!

Here’s one easy way to add pizzazz to your next office meeting.

As owners and managers, you’re a meeting planner when it comes to your sales meetings. Interestingly, you have dozens of experts right in your midst that you can spotlight to bring insights and excitement to your next event. Yes, those are the great agents and leaders you work with. So, how can you use that expertise right? Hold a successful panel discussion.

But, too many panel discussions go off the tracks because of these five fatal mistakes. I’ve seen these mistakes and have developed a system and the experience as a facilitator to assure that your panel discussion goes spectacularly well.

(Note: At the end of this blog, be sure to grab my one-page panel discussion rules of the road, too. Use these to prepare your participants and create an event they’ll rave about).

The Five Fatal Mistakes–And How to avoid Them

  1. Too few or too many panelists

The Rule: No fewer than 3; no more than 6. Why? If someone doesn’t show up and you have scheduled only 3 people,   you won’t have a panel! And, if you have more than 5-6 people, you won’t have time to drill down with any of them.

  1. Too general a topic

Choose a topic that’s specific enough that you encourage real action steps and advice that the audience can take. Example: Not ‘How to sell Real Estate’ but “Best Marketing Ideas from the Experts’.

  1. Not getting the written bios/introductions from the panelists prior to the discussion

One of the facilitator’s jobs is to concisely introduce each panelist. Facilitators need a written introduction to do that properly. Don’t try to wing it! If you do, you may inadvertently make mistakes and a panelist may correct them in front of everyone!

  1. Not providing enough time for each panelist to talk.

You want a combination of panelist ‘lecturette’ (about 5-10 minutes each) and Q and A between the facilitator and panelists and the audience.

Note: The panel should last about one hour.

  1. Facilitator talks too much!

It’s not the facilitator’s show! It should shine a spotlight on the panelists.  Facilitators should prepare 5-10 questions in advance and share those questions with the panelists, so they know what to expect. You can also ask panelists what they want to be asked.

Avoiding these 5 fatal mistakes will assure you create an exceptional panel discussion, and reap accolades for your event.

Click here to grab my one-page panel discussion guide.

How can Carla help you with your presenters and instructors?  She applies the principles she learned as a performing musician to the stage to help presenters and trainers create great presentations, get enthusiastic audience participation, and reduce presentation  anxiety. See more at www.carlacross.com or contact her at carla@carlacross.com

Have you asked someone to present at your meeting, and they droned on…and on…and your attendees lost interest? Here’s a method with my planner to assure your presenters stay on point.

Do you arrange and/or lead sales meetings? If you do, you’ve probably seen this happen: 

Your presenter rambles into the presentation, wanders around in a vast wasteland of information during the presentation, and then kind of dribbles out of the presentation–no call to action, no close. After that happens a couple of times, your agents don’t want to hear from any more guests or affiliates! 

Don’t Assume the Presenter Knows How to Structure his/her Presentation! 

I’ve led or attended hundreds of real estate sales meetings. Usually, I find the guest presenter (an affiliate or vendor) is anxious to get up in front of our wonderful team and present.

He/she doesn’t know what interests or challenges the audience. He/she doesn’t know how to begin the presentation to get the audience’s attention, how to build a motivating story, and how to create a call to action.

This Presentation Planner Will Help Presenters Organize

After an especially painful group of presentations (5 all in one meeting!), I decided to create a presentation planner for affiliates/guests to use to prepare their presentations. It is based on the concepts and skills I teach in my Instructor Development Workshops and my distance learning version, Train the Trainer. 

Note: I just returned from giving my presentation Knock Their Socks Off: Tips to Make Your Best Presentation Ever, to a national home warranty company. I was so impressed because they wanted to learn the skill of crafting persuasive presentations AND they had set aside time to practice the skill and de-brief. Great skill building and team building session. 

Three Big Questions to Ask your Would-Be Presenters

  1. What’s the challenge agents (or your audience) are facing that your product/service will solve?
  2. Why should the agents (or your audience) listen to your presentation?
  3. What outcomes will agents (or your audience) have as a result from taking the actions you suggest?

Screen Your Presenters BEFORE You Let Them in Front of your Audience!

Here are three things you’ll want to do to screen would-be presenters:

  1. Have them complete the presentation planner here
  2. Ask for a bio from them with testimonials of those who have used their service or product
  3. If the presenter is going to do a course for you, get the course outline (and not just a PowerPoint presentation!) prior to engaging the presenter, along with at least 10 testimonials of those who have attended his/her session (I learned this the hard way after letting an affiliate teach a ‘class’ to my agents and found the course had no outline and the instructor had no real idea of what he was presenting…..)

Following these guidelines and using my presentation planner will assure your sales meetings are a ‘hit’ and your audience walks away with exceptional value.

Grab your Presentation Planner here.

 

Feb
11

Who Is Your Training For?

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Do you know who your ‘targets’ for training are? How is your training segmented for your various agents?

Who is your training for?

In this series, I am spotlighting training and trainers.

We segment our consumer markets when we design our marketing plans. We need to segment our ‘market’ for our training plan, too. In this case, our ‘market’ is our agents. When I ask seasoned agents about whether there is a training program in their company, they say ‘yes’. It’s for the new agent. What? Are those seasoned agents in the office chopped liver?

Use the analytical tool below to see who your training program addresses. It’s likely your training program meets the needs of your largest segment of agents. But, what about the other segments?

How to Use the Career Life Cycle. Write each of your agents in the career development phase you believe they are in. Now, underneath each column, write the training programs you have to address each phase. The Training Calendar Evaluation, which you’ll get at the end of this article, has questions to guide you in your analysis.

Note: Its really intereseting, too, if you have your assistant manager or coach also do this exercise. Then, compare the results. You will find some differences of opinion!

What did you find?

Are you ‘lop-sided’ in your office? Are you only providing training to one segment? Perhaps that’s why you’re finding it difficult to recruit those you really want. What needs to be in your training plan next year to better balance your offerings?

To get my analytical tool, Training Calendar Analysis Tool, click here.  Let me know the changes you’ve made based on your evaluation. I want to help you create training with impact, with less work from you!

Help for your Training and Trainers

Do you provide training for your presenters and trainers? I’d love to help you, and them, learn and practice these types of great, quickly applicable strategies. I do trainings and presentations for Realtor trainers, trainers of real estate companies, and affiliates.

Get in touch with me and we’ll talk about your needs. I customize each presentation, too, for YOUR specific audience needs. My background as a performing musician, coupled with my real estate sales, leadership, and training experience, gives me a unique ‘take’ on training trainers. I’d love to help you!  

If your training is missing the mark, and you’re not getting results, here’s what to do so you get more production and don’t waste your time.

Are you sure you’re offering the right training?

For the next few blogs, I’m offering tips on making your training work better. And, I’ll be offering tips for trainers, too.

Look at your training calendar. If you don’t have one, simply take a 3-month calendar and write in the training you’re providing.

At the end of this article, I’ll give you my Training Calendar Evaluator—a tool to use to see what your training really looks like. I developed this tool when I was regional director for a very large franchise. I wanted to help managers and trainers improve their training programs and calendars.

What’s the ratio of business-producing vs. business supporting training modules you have now in your training plan and calendar?

When I see some training calendars, I can see why their training is not increasing productivity. Most or all of their modules are concerned with business supporting subjects (technical knowledge): Home inspections, the law of agency, websites, social media, etc. That’s all nice, but what does it directly do with creating productivity? Here’s the path to a sale: 

Excerpted from What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School (Carla Cross, Noteworthy Publishing, Inc.)

If you want to increase productivity and profits, your training calendar needs to reflect your training in these business-producing areas.

What are you training to that will make a real difference in your productivity and profits next year? Put that in your business plan.

To get my analytical tool, Training Calendar Analysis Tool, click here. I’ve added some questions, too, in most categories, to help you think through these decisions and come up with a blazingly good training program.

Let me know the changes you’ve made based on your evaluation. I want to help you create training with impact, with less work from you!

Help for your Training and Trainers

Do you provide training for your presenters and trainers? I’d love to help you, and them, learn and practice these types of great, quickly applicable strategies. I do trainings and presentations for Realtor trainers, trainers of real estate companies, and affiliates.

Get in touch with me and we’ll talk about your needs. I customize each presentation, too, for YOUR specific audience needs. My background as a performing musician, coupled with my real estate sales, leadership, and training experience, gives me a unique ‘take’ on training trainers. I’d love to help you!  

There’s no reason to lull yuour audience into slumber! Read how to keep them on the edge of their seats!

Do you do presentations in front of people—such as in real estate offices? You may be a title rep, a home warranty specialist, a mortgage rep, a real estate manager, or a salesperson. In fact, almost all of us must get in front of people and present at some time. But, it’s not something we’re trained for. We probably don’t even realize we CAN gain a process, and get some training, to do a great job! So, we just haltingly get up, open our mouth, and hope something comes out…..

As a long-time speaker and member of the professionals’ National Speaker Association, and trainer of trainers, I’ve learned the importance of presentation—no matter what we do. Here are three big mistakes ‘amateurs’ make in presentations, and three major presentation tips that assure your sales presentations will be professional—and effective.

{See a description of my presentation to teach how to craft and give a persuasive presentation here.}

Mistake #1: Launching Right in Without a Great Opening

Recently, I was at a real estate sales meeting. I heard 5 presenters in a row all start their presentations by ‘rambling’ into them. I wasn’t sure what they wanted to say, why they were there, or why I should listen!

Solution #1: Grab a Great Start

What’s your ‘hook’? How are you going to begin your presentation? With a provocative question? With a relevant story? How does that beginning tie to your theme? Sit down and write down your beginning.

Start with a great ‘hook’—something that grabs their attention.

For example, I give a presentation (usually to affiliates) to teach people how to do a persuasive presentation. As a ‘hook’, I start at the piano. They certainly aren’t expecting that, and it gets their attention right away. Of course, then I segue to the rest of the beginning: Pose the problem, suggest your solution, and build a rosy future for following your recommendations. This works great, too, in an open house to grab the attention of the ‘looker’ who’s trying to avoid you.

Mistake #2: Not developing a cohesive solution to the problem and developing it in the middle of your presentation. Instead, these presenters I heard wandered around in a vast wasteland of incohesive facts, figures, and stores with no relationship or relevance to the ‘theme’ that should have been developed at the beginning.

Solution to #2:  Get Persuasive

You need to be selling your point of view always to your ‘audience’. That means to structure your point of view persuasively. What stories, statistics, and facts do you have to shore up your solution—the solution you promised at the beginning? How persuasive are you here?

Mistake #3: Not Crafting a Great Ending

In some of the presentations I heard, there was no ending. The presenter just ran out of time and sat down! What if you heard your favorite tune and it ended about 4 measures before the ending? It would feel and sound weird, right? Well, a presentation without a logical ending feels and sounds ‘weird’, too.

Your ending should re-state your solution that you developed throughout your presentation. It should motivate your audience to action.

Solution # 3:  Bring it Home with a Great Ending

Have you ever been at a presentation that just puttered out at the end? The speaker said, “Well, we’re out of time.” And you thought, “Good”. Remember, a persuasive presentation is just like a popular tune. Bring back the theme at the end. Close by reminding your audience of the rosy future they will have by following your recommendations. Your job during the persuasive presentation is to persuade.

Here’s my point of view: All presentations that anyone gives should be persuasive. You’re up there to persuade your audience to YOUR [oint of view, not just to regurgitate facts and figures. Otherwise, the audience could simply read a scientific report or watch a video (well, the video may be more interesting than a boring ‘live’ presenter…..)

Does your company ask their reps to do presentations? Are your reps trained, confident, and professional at them? I can help! Check out my presentation, where I teach you how to craft a great persuasive presentation. I offer this to local, regional, and national affiliates and trainers. See it here.

Why do you need a training calendar? 

I’m going to focus on training, presenting, and facilitation for these blogs. Why? Because I see a real need for us to become masters of these areas, to help our agents and affiliates succeed at a higher level.

No Training Calendar…..

–with little rhyme nor reason as to why those events are put on the calendar. Don’t let that be you!  Without a training calendar, you don’t know if your training is working to help you meet your goals. You don’t know if your training is getting results. And, your associates certainly don’t know if you have a busines plan with a training component.

What That Training Calendar Will Do for You

It will:

1. Organize your training as part of your business plan for next year

2. Have a time-saving guide to implement the training you need for your company to move forward

3. Use the training calendar to recruit (internal AND external)

What percentage of real estate trainer/managers organize their training events on a calendar? From my experience, less than 20%. In fact, I doubt most managers make training a part of their business plan! Yet, training is the second-most important component to move our productivity and profitability up (recruiting the right people is #1).

Problems with Most Training Calendars

Before you read this paragraph, if you don’t have a training calendar, grab a calendar and write down the training events you intend to do next year. Now, let’s take a look at the 3 biggest problems with training calendars:

1. They don’t focus on the training events that can change the profitability and productivity of the office (too many ‘technical’ courses, and not enough sales courses)

2. They don’t focus on training events to meet the needs of each of your career life cycles (new, growth, and maturity)--they are skewed to one group of agents–usually new)

3. They don’t consist of measurable training, so you know what works

Take a look now at my analysis tool, to help you figure out if your training calendar is doing the job:

Your Training Calendar.

Affiliates: Share this blog and training calendar analysis with your brokers. They will thank you, because they’ll save time, effort, and get more agents into those training programs.

Question for You

What did you learn from your analysis?

trainer

Let Me Help Your Trainers Refine Their Skills

I help associations and companies help their trainers become masters, try new methods, keep their audiences, awake, and become more creative. Contact me and we’ll talk about how I can help you. 

Are you rewarding the behaviors you want? And, if so, how?

In this series, I’ll be providing tips to trainers, managers, and coaches on how to get behavior change–in the most positive way. That’s the way to move people forward with confidence.

Whether you’re a trainer, a manager, or a coach, you want to see changes (for the better) in your ‘clients’. How can you accomplish that?

By catching someone doing something they should keep ‘in their repertoire’ and rewarding it.

They want to keep their audience’s attention. I’ll be blogging about that during this series. Right now, I want to narrow this down and talk about one way to get and keep your audience’s attention–and it works to motivate anyone you’re working with:

Behavior that’s rewarded is repeated.

That’s the good news–and the bad news. Generally, when you compliment or reward someone for a good behavior, they will continue that behavior. But, in addition, people will repeat bad behaviors, too, if they are rewarded for them (the prisons are filled with people who demonstrate this truism).

Negative Nellies or Bash ‘Em Bobs?

To further complicate matters, some people were raised with negative reinforcement, and respond primarily to negative reinforcement (“you’re not good enough, you’ll never be able to do this, etc.”) These are the people who beat themselves up dozens of times in their heads for any mistake they make. In evaluations, they’re always hard on others. I had one of these people tell me, “You were great, but I only gave you 8 out of 10. I never give anyone a ’10.” Well, guess what, he is harder on himself that anyone else! That’s a tough way to live, but someone people always look at the dark side.

Accentuating the Positive

I don’t think, generally, that using negative reinforcement is a good strategy to employ, whether in or out of the classroom. So, I’m going to concentrate here on positive reinforcement, and specifically how to do it in the classroom. 

Getting and Keeping Their Attention in the Classroom with Rewards

I just did an instructor update with the very capable instructors of the Realtors of South Central Kansas. One of the topics they requested was some strategies to get and keep the audience’s attention. Let’s zero in, then, on one surefire way to do that, and it’s quick and easy to implement. Not only does it keep people’s attention, it rewards them for those positive behaviors.

For example: What do you do, as an instructor, when someone does a great job in a role play you’ve set up? You reward that behavior. So, here’s the principle: 

Use giveaways for great performance.

What do I mean? Here are some:

One of your favorite books (especially related to your topic)

A pamphlet or book you wrote (I have a small book, literally a ‘small book’ of Big Ideas, that is perfect for this. See it here.*

A CD or DVD

Starbucks card

Entry into a future seminar you’re giving/webinar, etc.

*I’m doing a presentation for Fidelity National Home Warranty Company next month, on how to present at sales meetings to grab people’s attention. So, guess what I’m going to be giving to the facilitators? You got it, the Small Book of Big Ideas!

You’ll Have Everyone’s Attention!

When you reward someone in front of others for a great performance, or being the leader of a group, or being reporter, you can be assured everyone will pay attention. You’re taking the spotlight off yourself and putting it on one of your audience members. 

The big question: What are you doing with your students in the classroom that sets up an opportunity to provide positive reinforcement with rewards? (like role play, reporting, small group facilitation, etc.).

Remember, behavior that’s rewarded is repeated, and you’ll grab and keep their attention!

 

 

 

 

 

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!