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Archive for lead generation

3 men and women working at tableTrend: Teaming–advantages and disadvantages.

These trends are from my new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from this book. As a manager, read the thoughts on teaming and ask yourself, “Am I supporting teaming? Do I have enough control over my teams?”

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

What is ‘teaming’?

It is affiliating yourself with a a�?rainmakera�? agent, an agent who will deliver leads to you, for which youa��ll pay a portion of your commission. Youa��re teaming up with that agent to do the work that the rainmaker agent doesna��t have time to do. First, teaming doesna��t mean partneringa��two agents working together. If you join a team, you are working for that rainmaker agent.

Generally, agents who grow teams have been in the business at least a few years. Theya��ve developed a large business. To grow their businesses, they need to a�?duplicate and delegate.a�? So they hire assistants and buyersa�� agentsa��agents who work with buyers the rainmaker agent has generated. Many times they hire new agents and train them in their methods.

How Joining a Team Can Help a New Agent

Teaming helps agents obtain leads as they start up business. While agents earn the most in commission dollars when they generate their leads themselves, a new agent may need to pay for someone elsea��s lead generation to begin to develop business. There is a downside to this approach, however. Agents can become complacent and sit and wait for leads. They wona��t generatea��until they get tired of paying for someone elsea��s leads.

Questions to Ask the Rainmaker1.A� How many leads will I get per week?2.A� How do you manage the team?

3.A� How will you train me?

4.A� How much turnover has the team had?

5.A� Can I sell homes from my own leads, and what will you charge me?

6. Do you expect me to generate my own leads? How many?

Positives of teaming:

  • You may be able to jump-start your career with leads given to you.

Watch out for:

  • Be careful to choose a rainmaker who really has enough good leads to distribute to you.
  • Sit in on her team meeting to see how she manages the team.
  • Find out if and how the rainmaker will train you. Find out how much turnover there has been on the team.
  • Find out whether you can sell and list houses outside the teama��and how much the rainmaker would charge you if you did.
  • Read the contract the rainmaker asks you to sign and be sure you understand the consequences of your involvement.

Is he or she a leader?

Evaluate how good a leader that rainmaker is. Some rainmakers are great salespeople but lousy leaders, and so their team never gels. Most team leaders ultimately expect their team members to generate their own leads, in addition to team leads. If you cana��t meet the rainmakera��s expectations, you are terminated. Be willing and ready to take the responsibilities of team membership seriously.

* Big Idea: If they arena��t your leads, youa��re starting the real estate business all over again when you leave the team.

Question: Have you thought about joining a team? Or, if you joined a team, how did it work out?

Up and Running_5e largerAre You Using the Best Start-Up Plan for your New Agents?

Does your plan have the detailed, prioritized checklists needed to assure a great start? Does it have built-in inspiration and motivation? Does it have dozens of tips to control the attitude? If not, you need Up and Running in 30 Days. Just out in its 5th edition, it’s the most successful book for new real estate agents ever!

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

shaking hands over computerClient relationship management: When do your agents start–and how can you help them capture and keep clients from day one?

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from my new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

{Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.}

Client Relationship Management Supports Great Time Management

One of the biggest benefits of Up and Running in 30 Days is gaining strategies to conquer time managementa��prioritization and organization. A new agent starts with little concept of whata��s importanta��so everything becomes importanta��or everything becomes unimportant! Their priorities get skewed because of bad training, hiding in low-impact activities, or really not knowing whata��s important. So, time management becomes an agenta��s biggest challengea��whether that agent is in the business three days or thirty years.

The Biggest Key to Effective Time Management

One of the biggest ways to constantly move ahead is to organize your contacts and leads into a database from day one. Yet, very few new agents do this. Why?

  1. They dona��t think ita��s important for them now (they dona��t realize that every person they meet could be a gold minea��if they track that person, constantly communicate with that person, and show that they care more than a commission!)
  2. They dona��t think they can afford a client relationship management. Yet, almost everyone has Outlook on their computers. Or, title companies over free contact management. There really is no excuse for not utilizing some type of electronic organization from day one!

For this 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, I asked successful first year agents and leaders of teams what they felt contributed to an agenta��s successa��and what detracted. When I asked those agent and team leader contributors what technology is important to incorporate, herea��s what they said:

a�?CRM and lead management toolsa�?a��Diane Honeycutt

a�?A really good and easy-to-use CRMa�?a��Cerise Paton

a�?A good CRMa�?a��Chris Cross. Yet, Chris has told me that, when he teaches a new agent course, only about 10% of those new agents are populating even a database, although, their assignment is to populate it aggressively.

According to Gary Richter, having a CRM is critical to his success: a�?For me having a CRM to track my leads and contacts is absolutely critical. I live in that database daily.a�?

Picture this: You meet a potential client, and a competing agent like Gary meets that potential client, too,A� The other agent (Gary) consistently followed up and kept in toucha��and you didna��t. Who would finally earn that commission from that client? Dona��t lose out because you are trying to operate without a CRMa��and have a haphazard follow-up marketing plan!

So, dona��t be like the majority of new agents (and even seasoned agents!): Start using a database, or better yet, a CRM your first week in the business.

A�Bottom Line: Youa��ll Make More Money!

A recent study by Active Rain (a popular real estate blog and tech information center), showed that agents who spent more money on contact relationship management (CRM) made significantly more money. It just makes sense. Agents who capture their leads via a database and then keep in touch with them via contact management software assure they keep their names in front of their potential clients, and are able to management and help many more clients. Agents who try to organize their clients via pieces of scrap paper and remember to call them once in awhile are woefully inadequate when it comes to staying in meaningful contact with their potential clients. Which agent would you prefer working with, as a client? An agent who regularly contacted you and kept you abreast of the market, or one who either never called you or contacted you irregularly?

So, the big lesson here is to organize all your contacts into a database, or better yet, client relationship managementa��from day one! Which CRM should you use? Dona��t dither around! Choose one and start. You can always expert your contacts to a more robust program later.

Note: I got lots of recommendations on CRMs from my tech experts for Up and Running in 30 Days. I have made an extensive Resources section in this 5th edition of Up and RunningA� to list all the resources, including all types of technology, training, and support resources.

Managers: Using Up and Running with its extensive resources will save you so much time–and your agents will thank you forever!

Up and Running_5e largerAre You Using the Best Start-Up Plan for your New Agents?

Does your plan have the detailed, prioritized checklists needed to assure a great start? Does it have built-in inspiration and motivation? Does it have dozens of tips to control the attitude? If not, you need Up and Running in 30 Days. Just out in its 5th edition, it’s the most successful book for new real estate agents ever!

Click here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

 

do itHere’s the easiest, least expensive, and effective thing your agents can do to get business.

Having hired and trained probably hundreds of new agents, I know the myriad of questions they have. So, here’s the simplest, yet most effective thing you can teach your new agents (and your experienced agents) to do.

Herea��s the answer to the question, a�?What is the one thing I should do to get business?a�? Yes, people are always asking me that. I think ita��s because Ia��ve written two resources for would-be and new agents: What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License SchoolA� and Up and Running in 30 Days . By the way, Up and Running was just published in its 5th edition!

Now, we know that becoming a skilled real estate agent isna��t just one answer. But, there is one thing new agents can do that requires

No skill

No experience

No money

Little time

And, this one thing will make you stand out from the crowd better than any other one thing you could do! What is it? Simply:

Write a thank you note (a real hard copy note, not an email)

Why?

Because manners and a�?thank yousa�� have gotten increasingly uncommon! You will stand out simply because youa��ve taken the time, thought about that person, and cared enough to writea��and put that stamp on it.

Write More Than One Note

Ia��m not going to tell your new agents to write a certain number of notes per day. You and your agents can set your standard (that means the minimum youa��ll do).

What to Say

Thank you. Thinking about you. I appreciate you. I used your advice. Herea��s something for you that would be helpful. I found the information you wanted.

Note to managers: This is also one of the strongest motivational tools you’ll ever have–writing notes to your agents with encouragement, thanks, etc. Do you do enough of it? Set your own goals now.

Big important sales principle:

Contacting people is simply finding an excuse to write, pick up the phone, or go see. Retaining salespeople is similar!

My challenge: How creative can you get?

Your agents are more creative than they think they are. Now, get them to sit down and think hard about 5 people they’ve started to work with, but need to contact now. What about them fits into any scenario for you to write that note, pick up the phone, or go see?

They are now using a�?advanceda�� sales techniques, and they already know how to do all of this.

Sales meeting tip: One of the managers I know actually has agents write these notes during a sales meeting, and brainstorms the reasons one could write a note.

Proof is in the Pudding

My first year in real estate, I sold 40 homes. Also, I sent more things in the mail than any other of the 30 agents in my office. Why? Because I wanted to create a a�?critical massa�� of people who thought I was wonderful. Yes, an agent can also do this with social media. But, you want to stand out. And, you will stand out much more if you write to one person than to many. After all, you are working with that one person who will pay you thousands of dollars. He/she is worth that special, individual effort! That’s the one thing your agentsA� should do to get business.

Managers: How are you making this simple tip work for you and your agents?

Up and Running_5e largerHelp Your Agents Get a Sale Much Faster!

Why not provide your agents a proven business start-up plan, along with hundreds of success tips? Check out the new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

little girl with phoneReal estate trend: Lead generation is STILL King!

Dearborn Education Company just published my 5th (!) edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. It has lots of updates, including updates on 10 trends that I think newer agents should recognizea��and know the pros and cons. Herea��s an excerpt from my new edition of the book.

Trend Three: Lead Generation is Still King

In their excellent book, Game Plan: How Real Estate Professionals Can Thrive in an Uncertain Future, authors Steve Murray and Ian Morris also name this trend as one of the top ten for the next five years. In my view, lead generation is always king (I cana��t see how it wouldna��t continue to be a number one trend and priority). But, Murray and Morrisa��s point is that real estate professionals who want to be successful cana��t depend on leads just coming their way. Instead, they must actively go after them. That means creating systems, disciplines, priorities, and goals for capturing, working with, and keeping leadsa��forever. Herea��s what they say:

…contact management, lead cultivation, and customer relationship management systems can and will play a huge role in determining which agents and companies are most successful.

A recent study by Active Rain (a popular real estate blog and tech information center), showed that agents who spent more money on contact relationship management (CRM) made significantly more money. It just makes sense. Agents who capture their leads via a database and then keep in touch with them via contact management software assure they keep their names in front of their potential clients, and are able to management and help many more clients.

Agents who try to organize their clients via pieces of scrap paper and remember to call them once in awhile are woefully inadequate when it comes to staying in meaningful contact with their potential clients. Which agent would you prefer working with, as a client? An agent who regularly contacted you and kept you abreast of the market, or one who either never called you or contacted you irregularly?A�A�A� In that Inman Select survey I mentioned earlier {in the book}, How to Fix New Agent Onboarding, 47% of respondents stated lead generation is critical in initial training. And, they observed most new agents struggled with lead generation.A� Thata��s why this Up and Running start-up plan is so important to follow to the letter!

Herea��s what Kyle Kovats, that great a��30 under 30a�� nominee, {one of my top agent contributors to the book} said: a�?Get out there and just do it.A� Try different forms of prospecting and see what works. An ounce of action is more powerful than a ton of planning.a�?

Positives: For those of you who intend to be successful in sales, this trend should be a comfort. That means, if you invest in yourself, your work ethic, and your systems, you will be ahead of the pack. In Up and Running in 30 Days, Ia��ve laid out a plan of action for those of you who do intend this success. Ia��m not being facetious here. Some agents are surprised that, in fact, one must lead generate to be successful in this business.

Watch out for: Companies and/or managers who tell you that leads will simply come to youa��or that they will provide them to you . That would include all those reactive (you sit and wait for the lead) lead-generating strategies:

  • The traditional ones, such as open houses and floor time or relocation leads
  • The technologically driven leads, such as software and programs that capture leads for you (they dona��t just sell themselves; you must have an effective capture, engagement, and follow-up program)

Isn’t There an Easier Way?

Unfortunately, interviewers use the a�?we will take care of you and give you leadsa�? strategy to convince new agents to work with them. Then, after the agent is with that office, the agent learns there is no free lunch. Do I mean that you shouldna��t accept various types of leads from others? No. (Just know that you will be paying for that lead).A� But, consider this. If that lead source goes away, what are you left with? You are a first-day agent all over again! The Up and Running program will protect you from that, helping you build your own business so you always rely on yourself, not someone else.

Note: Ita��s very, very important that you capture your leads in a database, or better yet, in a CRM (Client Relationship Management) program from your first week in the business. Why? Because you cana��t remember who those people are, and you certainly cana��t remember how and when to stay in touch with them! Ia��ve provided a list of various databases and CRM programs in Section 14: References and Resources. Ia��m not endorsing any one of them. Ia��m just providing you several to research and to choose. See your manager for recommendations.

When I asked those agent and team leader contributors what technology is important to incorporate, herea��s what they said:

a�?CRM and lead management toolsa�?a��Diane Honeycutt

a�?A really good and easy-to-use CRMa�?a��Cerise Paton

a�?A good CRMa�?a��Chris Cross

So, dona��t be like the majority of new agents (and even seasoned agents!): Start using a database, or better yet, a CRM your first week in the business.

* Big Idea: To build a strong long-term business, order takers need not apply. To be successful, you must create relationship continuance, no matter your lead-generating sources.

Managers: Do you have a robust, precise lead generating program to start your new agents to success fast?

Up and Running_5e largerClick here to see the updates in my fifth edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

 

man ponderingSelling real estate: Whata��s farming got to do with it?

Noa��I dona��t mean farming the fields to reap the food. Well, yes I doa��in a different context. In real estate sales, a�?farminga�� means contacting people in a specific market (can be a geographical area), forming a business relationship with them over time, and making that area/target market your specialty. Through time, people get to know and trust you, and will turn to you for their real estate needs.

Recently, an office with whom I consult invited a master real estate a�?farmera�� who farms a specific geographic area to share with us his secrets to great success. Steve Hicks, agent with Windermere Wall Street in downtown Seattle, has enjoyed a dominant market share (thata��s his PERSONAL market share, not the company!) in Queen Anne, a very upscale, historically-significant area of Seattle, Washington.
So, guess what? When people in Queen Anne are thinking buying or selling, who do you think they think of? Yesa��Steve Hicks. How would you like to have that name recognition? How would you like to go to a listing presentation with respect for your expertise already built in? Steve has established that.

Here are 3 big principles Steve shared with the group, mainly seasoned, successful agents on the Eastside of Puget Sound.

1. Recognition, Trust, and Business Doesna��t Come from a a�?Once Is Enougha�? Approach

One of the big lessons Steve left with the group was that, to be successful, you must focus your efforts. Why? Because people buy and sell real estate with people they know and trust. They buy and sell real estate with those they believe have expertise in the area. That trust and respect doesna��t happen in a a�?once is enougha�� approach. Today, agents in the great Puget Sound can roam far and wide to list and sell homes. What they dona��t realize, though, is that they are not establishing a recognition for excellence, expertise, and trustworthiness.

Big lesson: What does this mean to you if youa��re a small business owner, a salesperson in another field, or a recruiter?
That our goal is to establish a trusting relationship over a period of time, building a reputation for trustworthiness and excellence. Too many times, we launch our businesses thinking wea��re something special, something differenta��and we expect success in a nano-second.

Stop and reflect: What are you doing to create a reputation thata��s spotless, thata��s trustworthy, and thata��s there for the long run?

2. Contact, Capture, and Follow-up is Key to Relationship-Building

Steve didna��t become the a�?master farmera�� overnight. He built his business through constant reflection, taking risks, and trying new things. Most importantly, he built his business by first knocking on doors to establish that relationship. At the same time, he captured each persona��s name and contact information, first, by writing it down, and then establishing a database and contact management system. Then, he dutifully followed up. Sounds simple, but, how many salespeople contacta��and then dona��t capture? Or, they capture, and dona��t follow up. Steve says there are 22,000+ agents in his multiple listing service. He knows he must out contact, capture, and follow up to stand out.

Big lesson: No matter if youa��re in real estate or in another field, if you want to build a business, immediately establish a method to contact, capture, and follow up.

Stop and reflect: Are you a service business, like a dentist, window washer, or car detailer? Do you have a list of all your clients in a database? Do you contact them regularly? If not, youa��re leaving thousands of easy dollars on the table!

3. Consistency is Key

Too often, we think, since wea��re trustworthy, since wea��re nice people, since we work hard, people will recognize that and instantly work with us. Wrong. It takes dozens of contacts or time to establish a trusting business relationship. Steve has a marketing plan that includes a monthly newsletter. This newsletter includes information about homes for sale and homes that have sold. It is short and concise. Steve writes his own newsletter, but advises agents to start with as company-or other resource written newsletter. Why? The most important consideration is to be consistent.

Big lesson: No matter what your business is, you need a consistent marketing plan to a�?toucha�� your would-be and present/past clients at least monthly. With 22,000+ real estate agents in the area, your potential/present client is easily a�?swayeda�� to someone else if youa��re not relentlessly consistent.

Stop and reflect: Do you have a marketing plan? Are you consistent? How many easy sales are you missing because you are treating your business like a a�?once is enougha��?

My personal thanks to Steve Hicks for sharing his expertise with others in our industry to improve our client service. Starting with my years as a piano performer and teacher, I learned that the very best in any profession have several common traits. One of them is that they generously share their knowledge with no fear that someone will a�?steala�� their ideas. Second is that they are constantly challenging themselves to get better. Steve Hicks reflects both of these exceptional success qualities.

How can youA� use these principles yourself? How can you use them with your agents?

logoIf Your Agents Aren’t Buying Into Lead Generation, You Need this Program!

What if your culture was that productive agents are the norm? What if all your agents lead generated? How much more profitable would you be? If you want increased profits, take a look at Carla’s revolutionary online training/coaching program, Up and Running in Real Estate.

Is your office productivity-focused? Or, is it basically a social gathering place? What’s important to your agents?A�Do you know how you can tell? It’s in your agents’ attitude about lead generation. Do they run home to lead generate? Or, are they proud to pick up the phone and lead generate in your office?

What Percent of Your Agents Actively Lead Generate?

Do you know? Find out. Do your agents ask you if they will have to lead generate to be successful? Too many times, agents look at lead generating as a a�?last resorta��. In their minds, they are saying to themselves,A�

a�?If nothing else works, Ia��ll pick up the phone.a�?A�

So, their lead generating efforts are too little, too latea��and done without much skill. In fact, they spend too much time and energy negating various methods of lead generation. They say things like,A�

a�?It wona��t work for me in my area.a�?

a�?I tried that once. It doesna��t work.a�?

a�?Isna��t there something new?a�?

a�?Ia��ll wait for people to come to me.a�?

a�?I am going to company that provides leads.a�?

a�?Ia��ll join a team and they will provide me as many golden leads as I want.a�?A�

What Are You Telling Them in the Interview?

Too many times, we whitewash the real estate sales game in the interview. I’ve heard managers say things like, “You won’t have to lead generate with us. We’ll provide you leads.” Or, “Our floor time is great.” Those are set-ups for failure. Look at your interview process and be sure you aren’t shining on that candidate, only to see them fail later on.

Don’t Let Them Shunt Lead Generating Aside–They WillA�Fail in Real Estate!

Instead of spending countless hours, energy, and money trying to avoid lead generating, help your agents make lead generating the cornerstone ofA�their businesses, not the exception to the rule.

A�Follow the Sales Path to Results

The sales path, as explained in Up and Running in 30 Days, is:

A�Lead generate

A�Interview and qualify buyers or

Interview and qualify sellers

A�List marketable properties or

Show buyers homes

A�Listing sells orA�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�

Make a sale

A�The last two activites are the only 2 activities that make us money!

It all starts with lead generation. If your agents areA�avoiding it, ask yourself ‘why’? PerhapsA�they need to be someone’s assistant, or find a job that doesn’t requireA�them to self-start. Instead of doing everything to avoid lead generating, help change your culture to embrace it.A�Teach them and hold them accountable toA�a new method every week. It’s the most important aspect ofA�your agents’ success.