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Archive for trends

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.

shaking hands over computerTrend: Consumers are choosing agents differently. This is trend # 9 of 10 trends I’ve identified as very important for new agents to recognize. These trends are from my new 5th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

This month, I’m featuring excerpts from this book.

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

Also: Check the end of this blog for your free ‘end of sale’ survey to capture and keep more loyal clients.

How Consumer Habits have Changed

Traditionally, consumers either stumbled upon an agent (e.g., going into an open house) or got a referral from a friend. Although thata��s still true, consumers have another powerful method to choose an agent: the Internet. Increasingly, consumers are looking at evaluations on Internet sites such as Zillow or LinkedIn to find out what other clients thought about that agent. Take a look yourself. Some of the evaluations are wonderful. Some are stunningly awful. And all are very public! There are even specific agent-rating sites such as and Also, take a look at Zillow, which has agent ratings now. Bank of America and USAA are also getting into the game. You must work for long-term customer engagement and great ratings to sustain your real estate business. This will continue as a trend, and, I believe, change the way consumers choose and keep their agents!

* Big Idea: It costs six to nine times more to get a new client than to keep an existing client. Retention is king, and reputation is key.

{In the book, I’ve given positives and ‘watch fors’ to agents so they have great judgment on how to use these trends.}

  • Positives: It will be great for those competent, caring agents who really take care of their clients. It is easier now for potential clients to get feedback from third-party sources, clients just like them.
  • Watch out for: Doing a next kind of business, where you dona��t care what happens after the sale. The client has recourse now, of the most expensive kinda��a poor review!

Tip: Always use a a�?after salea�� survey to find out what your clients thought of your service. If youa��d like a sample survey form, click here.

Managers: Have you read your agents’ clients’ feedback online? Make it a regular habit!

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.


training up stepsEvery time a National Association of Realtor survey comes out, I eagerly get it. Why? It gives us clues into the trends and directions of our industry.A� There are two major reports that come out yearly or every two years: The Member Profile and the Profile of Buyers and Sellers. I highly recommend you get these reports* and use them to educate buyers and sellers. Youa��ll find you become much more credible when youa��re using statistics from a third party source, instead of trying to convince buyers and sellers youa��re righta��because you know youa��re right!

Before you read this, take my true-false a�?exama�� to test what you know about Realtor trends. Click here to get it.

How did you do on the true-false a�?exama��? I didna��t create it to a�?testa�� you. I created it to crush some old assumptions. And, I want to point out what some of these trends mean to you and what we need to do about them.

Note: These reports are available at at a discount for Realtors:

In the next few blogs, I’ll discuss some of theseA�true-false statements and show how theya��re important to you and your agents. Ia��ve put the number of the statement before my comments. Let’s tackle #11 first, since it’s time to review your business for last year (2016) and help your agents put together their business plans for 2017.

  1. According to the survey, a total of 32% of a Realtor’s business came from past clients and referrals. Doesna��t that seem like very low numbers to you? In fact, 29% of Realtors said they got NO repeat business! That means, as a real estate owner once told me, a�?That agent is in the business one year twenty times.a�? And, even more shocking: 21% of Realtors said they got NO business through referrals! And, the median was only 18%.

Do you know what your agents’ sources of business numbers are? If youa��re a committed real estate agent, you should be getting 70%+ of your business fromA� past clients and referrals. Measure your sources of business right now, and make a plan to capture ____% of your business from these best sources for 2017. Join me in my complimentary business planning webinar on Nov. 8 and I’ll tell you what I think a ‘safe’ number would be as a goal.

Plan_Act_CelebrateComplimentary Business Planning Webinar Coming Up Nov. 8–Grab your Seat NOW!

If youa��re like most real estate professionals, you create some type of a business plan this year. But, maybe it didna��t work for you. Or, maybea��you just didna��t work it! Join us Nov. 8 at 3 PM Pacific time) to get the answers you needa��and the inspirationa��to make a bullet-proof plan for next year.

During this fast-paced webinar youa��ll see:

  • Why your plan probably didna��t work for youa��and what to do about it
  • How to definitely find out what will work for YOU (not someone elsea��s plan!)
  • How to anticipate market shifts (!)
  • What to STOP doing in 2017
  • What one thing will assure your business plan works
  • Bonus: 10 Creative Marketing Ideas for your plan

Included handouts:

  1. The strategic planning process created exclusively for real estate professionals by Carla Cross
  2. Review: Your best sources of business (so you know what to keep doing and where to stop spending marketing $$$$$)

Managers: Youa��ll get tips on how to help your agents create great plans!

Click here for more information on the webinar and to register.

audience sleepingWhy isn’t your training working for you? Every company says they ‘have training’. Yet, whether you’ve been in business 2 days or 20 years, you’ve probably felt frustrated that those hours spent in class–listening to someone at the front (the ‘expert)–didn’t do you any good. Therea��s one reason training doesna��t worka��and herea��s how to make it work for you, so you dona��t waste precious hours in training rooms.

Dona��t forget: Get the Analysis of your Sales Performance Skills worksheet at the end of this blog. This is great for managers to use to plan training needs and for agents to use to assure theya��re refining the skills that make a difference.

Training doesn’t work because it’s not taught right–and the people in the class aren’t doing what needs to be done for training to make a difference in their lives.

A�Herea��s what training needs to help you every time youa��re in class:

A�Training must have action inside class to be effective for you

What do I mean?

A�I mean we have to look at real estate as a a�?performance arta��, not a a�?knowledge pursuita��!

Big question for you: Think of your last 3 trainings–that you took–or you facilitated. What were you doing in class? Listening to the a�?experta��? Or, were you putting to work what you were learninga��while in class, so you could get valuable feedback before you a�?practiceda�� on real peoplea��your clients?

What you need to be doing in class to assure you can do it a�?for reala��:

  • If ita��s appropriate, you need to role play (like answering objections, giving a listing presentation, etc.)
  • If appropriate, you need to differentiate (like finding mistakes in a purchase and sale agreement).
  • If appropriate, you need to practice the actions in class and then go out and do it with a a�?real persona��a��the clienta��and come back and tell how it went (practice a listing presentation, do it a�?for reala��, and come back to class and refine it).

None of these things happening in class? Make it work anyway. Take the a�?actionablea�� items you learned in class and go do thema��for reala��within 3 days of going to class (otherwise we only remember 10% of what we heard!!!!!). Now youa��ve made your own action plan.

Trainers: I just did a series of 5 videos showing how to make your training work. See them on my uTube channel.

Real Estate: Performance Art or Knowledge Pursuit?

Leta��s be honest: Do you know someone in your office who seems to know everythinga��but doesna��t sell a stick of real estate? Sure. Thata��s the problem with treating real estate as a a�?knowledge pursuita��. It has little to do with results. Ita��s a performance art. How you perform in the fielda��with real clientsa��determines your success.

Big question for you: Which kind of agent are you? A a�?performance arta�� agent or a a�?knowledge pursuita�� agent? A�Which is easier to become?

Your Training Should Resemble a Piano Lesson

As a long-time pianist and teacher, I know intimately that, if you dona��t practice, you cana��t play (or you play badly)! Think of effective training like a piano lesson. You practice outside class. You come prepared. You get tips and modeling from your teacher. Then you practice in class with your a�?coacha�� watching and listening. Then, you a�?go out in the fielda�� and practice. You come back ready to perform for your coach again. Thata��s effective training.

Here are 3 things that dona��t work in training (and things for you to avoid):

  1. Listening for a long period of time and thinking you can do it (you already know that, from your experiences, right?)
  2. Thinking most company training will a�?do ita�� for you
  3. Relying on a�?on demanda�� video. Many large franchises are providing video on demand training. Brokers may be relieved that this is going to take training off their plates. I wish. Unfortunately, video training can provide very limited production results. Why? Because people dona��t learn much by watching video. Yes, they learn a little. They observe someone else doing something; they get information. But, they dona��t have to take action.

When youa��re ready to get results from your training, youa��ll be ready to treat your training like the power tool it really can be.

logoWant to see an effective training program? Check out Up and Running in Real Estate.

Dona��t forget to grab that Analysis of your Sales Performance Skills here. Tell me how it worked for you.

Right now, I’m writing a new agent training program for a major national franchise. In it,A�I’m guarding against the very training mistakes that cause agents to fail. (See below for what I’ve built into the program). Obviously, new agent training isn’t working very well. About half of all agents who go into real estate sales in a given year fail. A�In this blog, I’ll nameA�3 big mistakes most training programs make, and the ‘cure’ for these mistakes.

Big question: For all that time, money, and effort you spend on training, don’t you deserve a pay-off? Why are you using it as merely a recruiting tool? I don’t believe you’re getting your money’s worth…..

Those Mistakes Most Training Programs Make

1. Don’t make agents do any work

Well, duh. If the agents don’t put to work what has just been taught in the classroom, what’s the point?

Cure: Spaced repetition training. Teach something in class, and then have the agent do it ‘for real’ in the field and report back. I know it’s harder to do, but you’ll get results. Worth it, right?

2. No accountability for action

This is kind of like #1, but I’m going to focus on lead generation here. We teach all types of lead generation techniques, and then don’t expect agents to go out and use those methods immediately and report back. No wonder they wait 6-8 months toA� talk to people!

Cure: Make the course a lead generation/follow-up course with high accountability. Get an agreement prior to starting that the agent will do the work.

3. Wrong topics stressed

Take a look at that training outline. Where are the biggest modules? I’ll bet they are in the ‘technical’ area. Okay. They need to learn how to write purchase and sale agreements. But, how about all the actual business-running topics: Business start-up plan, lead generation, sales skills, time management and organization……How big an outline do these have? I’ll bet just a few pages. So, whatA�do you think the agents think is most important?

Cure: Be sure your course focuses on business-producing activities–in the right order and foundationed by a business start-up plan–and the business-supporting activites that support the business producing activites.A� (See Up and Running in 30 days, 4th edition, for these priorities).

Let Me Ask That Question Again

For all that time, money, and effort you spend on training, don’t you deserve a pay-off? Why are you using it as merely a recruiting tool? I don’t believe you’re getting your money’s worth…..

What do you think is most important to assure your new agent training gets results?


A�Are you giving your new agents every opportunity to succeed? Do they have start-up plans? Are they being coached weekly in those plans? Iam proud that Dearborn Financial Publishing has just released my 4th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days. It features technology recommendations, a social media planner, a technology planner, and dozens more updates. Take a look at a short video I just did for the publisher:

Yes. Your new agents attend training. But, that doesn’t give them a detailed hour by hour schedule, nor a lead generating plan to follow. It DOES provide them lots of information. Their problem is in prioritizing it. Unfortunately, 95% of new agents start without a start-up plan! So, they waste so much time, money, and energy chasing one idea after another. You can get a coherent, proven, completely contemporary plan with the new 4th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days.

And, in this new edition, I offer tips to coaches to support their agents as they work through the plan–and get a sale in 30 days!

Click here to take a look at what’s in the new 4th edition.



Managersa�� time is their most valuable asset (along with their agents). With a majority of managers today also selling real estate, their time allotment is precious. Yet, theya��re told take the time to a�?coacha�� agents to help them succeed. Read how to determine who to coach and when to decline and/or quit coachinga��and keep your sanity and self-esteem while doing it!A�

Whose Fault Is It When They Fail?

A few years ago, I was facilitating a panel of exceptional trainers at the Realtors National Convention. During the question period, a fellow stood up and said, a�?Ia��ve tried all the training and coaching methods you mentioned. But, three of my agents just dona��t respond. What am I doing wrong?a�?A�

What do you think is the answer? It is that hea��s not doing anything wronga��except, choosing the wrong people to train and coach!A�

Like many of us, I went into management to help people succeed. So, as a new manager, I tried to train and coach all the agents who wanted (or needed) to step up to the next level. From that experience, I found that I couldna��t help those who didna��t want to be helped.A�

Why Coach Your Agents?A�

I have turned around two failing real estate offices. In the first instance, I didna��t know what I was doing and failed my way to success. The second time, I knew what I was doing, because I figured out the patterns that I had used the first timea��intuitively. But, the agents in the second office had no confidence, at first, that I could do it. So, Ia��ve had real life experiences in coaching agents to successa��in an environment where they didna��t believe in themselvesa��or me.A�

A New Vision Must Form the Foundation for your Coaching

In both instances, I created a completely different vision and team in each office. The second was more dramatic, since the agents had never had any vision or focused leadership and were enjoying an extreme a�?victima�� posture. They desperately wanted someone to paint a picture of the future that was bright and attainable. They had given up on painting such a vision. My job was to create a bright, vibrant vision, mission, and the teamwork to attain it. In one year, using the four steps I’ll explain in my next blog, I had created a six-figure profit and completely changed the atmosphere and culture in the office.

Readers: What mistakes are you making in those you choose to coach? What have your failures taught you? How do you choose your ‘coaching clients’ now? What did you put in place prior to starting your coacing/

Ita��s What Happened When We Werena��t Looking that Defeats Us….

I just finished the 4th edition of Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s business start-up plan. To do this, I updated the trends, and told new agents what those trends should mean to them as they start their businesses. But, let’s talk about trends from a management perspective. Are you anticipating them or chasing them? The last few blogs were concerned with trends and management long-term habits. It’s hard to change those habits. One way to convinnce yourself, though, that it really is time to make some changes is to look at current trends and see if you areA�

recognizing them

watching them


anticipatingA�them and implementing new strategies

A�Being able to identify a trend or micro-trend is an art and a science. Ita��s difficult for us brokers to step back and look at a bigger picture, because we are so busy running our businesses. And, many of our models of success a��and successful businesses–are based on old business practices (like hiring everyone who walks in the door). a�?If it works, dona��t break ita�? is our favorite mantra. Yet, that very philosophy has lowered our commission structures, threatened our consumer base, and made our good agents unhappy with our offices (if wea��re keeping non-producers and have no standards).

A�Getting a a�?whack up the side of the heada�� from this very challenging market now may be enough for us to take another look at our business practices and ask, a�?Is that the best we can do?a�?A�

How to Proceed. Choose one area of concern that you have with your business. (Hint: the foundation of all change in a real estate office is the implementation of standards). Write a plan for implementing that change. Take action in one area, and you will see how it positively affects other areas. Mentally get out of real estate for awhile. Look at other successful businesses to see how they handle their customers, their employees, their standards. Get a coach or consultant to help you as you make these changes, so you do these things with purpose, congruent to your core values. There are some of you reading this that will actually change the industry for the better!



In this series, I’m sharing some ‘whack up the side of the head’ for managers. Here’s today’s whack: a�?Father knows besta�� is so fifties old-style management.A�

In the fifties, a�?father knows besta�� was the preferred management style. The CEO made the decisions. The agents, the workers, sold real estate. Unfortunately, too, many managers took that top-down management style clear to the doting parent extreme. When you act like the parent, guess what the agents are supposed to act like? The kids. That management style caused a rebellion from agents in the seventies, when they decided they a�?didna��t need a managera�� (a parent) and left the traditional a�?parental stylea�� management real estate offices for offices promising more independence.A�

The Extreme ‘Father’

Many managers have taken that parental management style to the extreme in a challenging market. I call this the a�?loving parenta�� manager. The a�?loving managera�� dialogue sounds like this: a�?If I just love them enough they will come back and go to work. I feel sorry for them. I just need to be there for them because times are so tough.a�?A�

Unexpected results. There are, unfortunately, negative outcomes from this management style:A�

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 1. This style appeals to the non-producer.A� Loving your agents bleeds clear into sympathy, and sympathy encourages victimization. And victimization encourages non-action.A�

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 2. This style treats adults like little kids. When a three year old skins her knee, we kiss the knee to make it better, and put a cute little band-aid on it to comfort that three-year old. Why are we treating our agents like three-year olds?A�A�

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� 3. This style drives producers crazy, lowers their production, and they ultimately leave. A recent study from The Ripple Effect, a Washington , D. C. management training and research firm, asked over 70,000 executives, managers and employees in 116 organizations what kind of impact underperformers were having on their workplaces? Eighty-seven percent said working with a slacker actually made them want to change jobs (retention issues, anyone?). Ninety-three percent said it had hampered their development or decreased their productivity.A�

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� Poor producers cause producers to produce less.

A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A� Poor producers cause good producers to leave.A�


  1. Respect each agent as a responsible adult. Have an adult conversation with each agent. Ask that agent if he/she intends to work in real estate? Ask for a commitment to a work plan. After all, this is a business, not a love-fest!
  2. Move your a�?love them into businessa�� actions toward a�?business lovea��. Ask yourself: Is it fair that they work in the business to enjoy those commissions they want to earn? Is it fair to expect that they work even half as had as you work? Is it fair to expect that they keep honing their skills, keep getting better? Is it fair for you to expect them to invest in their businesses?

A�The irony of the a�?adult-stylea�� manager, foundationed in standards, is that it actually is the kinder of the management stylesa��by far. Why would we want to keep agents in careers where they were failing? Why would we want to provide sympathy instead of helping them create and implement a plan of action?

Leadership by the Month

Do you want to step into a better leadership style? Be more effective? Recruit more and better? I’ve created a very special, unique program for managers and owners: Once a month I share a specific leadershp strategy to recruit, choose, train, coach, and retain winners. These are proven strategies to get you out of a rut, take you past crisis management, and energize and inspire your team. See more at 365 Leadership. This new series closes for enrollment March 15. Find out more here.



A�This January and February, I’m featuring the topic ‘leadership’. Why? Because it’s one of the biggest real estate industry trends (and probably world trends) of 2012 and beyond. Look for leadership strategies and trends (not just in the real estate industry), plus ready-to-use documents to go from ‘maintenance management’ to leadership. And, check out my complimentary recorded A�webinar for leadership. See more below, too.A�A�A�A�A�A�A�A�

The market was on fire. To take advantage of that situation, the majority of brokers were hiring everyone that walked in the door They knew even the least dedicated agent could find a friend, a relativea��a strangera��to sell a house. Most brokers considered the business as a a�?bigger is bettera�� proposition.A�

The a�?on firea�� agent mentality. Agents scoffed at the notion of business plans. They didna��t need business plans. They were too busy. They didna��t need training. Who needs training or coaching when buyers and sellers find them? In truth, there were plenty of opportunities to make money in real estate without much dedication, hard work, and skill required. So, thata��s what brokers got: Lots of agents having happy a�?accidentsa��, not skilled, not very committed to the long terma��but making some money.A�

Happy Sales Accidents Come to a Screeching HaltA�

Then, things changed. Those a�?fair-to-middlina�� agents having many happy a�?accidentsa�� in an on fire market werena��t really a�?fair-toa��middlina��. In a more challenging market, their deficiencies showed up. They became one-to-two transaction agents who had a few lucky accidents and sold some houses. Even though we love to tell agents to create referral businesses, we would all agree that closing one to two transactions yearly will never create the critical mass needed to drive a referral business.A�

Agents reacted quickly to market change. Realizing that the market wouldna��t be so forgiving, agents found a�?real’ jobs. But, in most cases, they kept their licenses with the brokerage, hoping to run into someone with whom they could work. Some hoped that this was just a blip in the market and that the fire would rise from the ashes again soon.A�

Brokers less quick to adapt. While agents sought other jobs or relied on other sources of income, most brokers took no actions. So, brokers were left with half their office a�?checked outa��. They languished about their work force. a�?How can we get them to work?a�? they asked. The answer is simple but not what brokers want to hear. Most agents who had a few happy accidents in the former market arena��t willing to lead generate to make sales.A�

Bottom line: What worked in an a�?on firea�� market just doesna��t work when the market isna��t a�?pushinga�� sales.A�

Get Whacked and Make the Changes Needed to ProfitA�

My dad used to say when my sister and I were behaving badly he thought we needed a a�?whack up the side of the heada��. Dona��t worry. He didna��t actually do it, but we did pay attention when he said it, because we knew it was time to stop, look, and listena��and change our behavior! Ita��s time, I think, for brokers to get that a�?whack up the side of the heada��, too.A�

In my next few blogs, I’ll provide that ‘whack up the side of the head’ I believe we brokers need to move our businesses past ‘maintenance to leadership.

Gain Innovative Action Strategies

Do you want to step into a better leadership style? Be more effecctive? Recruit more and better? I’ve created a very special, unique program for managers and owners: Once a month I share a specific leadershp strategy to recruit, choose, train, coach, and retain winners. These are proven strategies to get you out of a rut, take you past crisis management, and energize and inspire your team. See more at 365 Leadership. This new series closes for enrollment March 15. Find out more here.