Editor’s note: This is the final article in a two-part series. Read Part 1.
If you were to ask most agents if they would like to double or even triple their income this year, the answer would be a resounding, "Yes!"
What most agents don’t realize is that unless they are brand new, they already have virtually all the tools they need to achieve this goal.
The first segment in this series delineated the difference between training, mentoring and coaching. The following case study illustrates how coaching works to create top production (and for the sake of disclosure I am the CEO of a real estate coaching site and work as a real estate trainer).
"Up or Out" coaching program
Several years ago, I worked with 12 experienced agents who were about to be fired if they didn’t improve their production. The "Up or Out" program met once per week for three months. The first two sessions were primarily coaching-based.
Part 1: Create space. In order to do more business, you must first create room in your schedule for that business to appear. To illustrate this point, I recently asked a roomful of luxury real estate agents the following question: "How many of you had a tremendous increase in your business last week before coming to this conference?"
Almost everyone in the room raised a hand. If you have ever scheduled a week’s vacation, chances are your business became incredibly busy just before you left.
When you schedule a trip, you create plenty of room in your schedule. The result is more business.
The second way you can create more space is by eliminating whatever drains you of your time and energy. To do this, the agents made a list of 100 things that were bugging them. It could be a person, a situation, or something as simple as button missing from a shirt.
Their assignment was to eliminate one item each day from the list. It made no difference where they started or what they chose. The goal was to be in action and to create an environment that was conducive to top performance.
Eliminating nonproductive activities was the third step. Several agents "fired" overpriced sellers or their buyers who had seen 50 houses but still hadn’t written an offer. Others dumped their farming programs and networking activities that weren’t generating any leads.
Part 2: Have clarity about who you want to attract. The second week, we worked with the law of attraction. We spent the better part of an hour working on what constituted an ideal client. As part of that exercise, the agents were asked to identify how they attracted their three best clients, and to identify what activity generated their worst client.
By having clarity about which clients were a good fit for their business as well as those who were not, the agents upgraded the quality of the clients they were working with and began closing more transactions.
Part 3: Visualize success. The next step was for the agents to identify something special they would like to do for themselves if they were closing plenty of transactions. Many of them wanted a new car. For this group, the fieldwork was to visit a dealership and drive their dream car. They were also to have someone take their picture sitting behind the wheel and to post it next to their computer.
Psychologists call the principle behind this approach a self-fulfilling prophecy. What we expect to happen may be more likely to happen. By making a new car "real" to their brains, it was more likely that they would set out on a path to make that purchase a reality.
Part 4: Accountability. Each week the group shared at least one win for the week, as well as their biggest challenge. In terms of coaching, it’s important that the coach endorses their clients for their wins and makes it safe for them to raise challenges they are facing.
For example, poorly trained coaches often criticize their clients when they don’t make their numbers. A more productive approach is to ask, "What got in the way?" This opens the door for finding the solution.
Part 5: Do what generated leads in the past. A common block for virtually all agents is that the moment they become busy, they often stop doing the activities that generated leads for their business.
For example, they may have been doing a prelisting package prior to each listing appointment. Because they became too busy, they stop preparing these packages. This in turn leads to a reduction in the number of listings that they take, and fewer closed transactions.
The solution is to get back to basics: What worked for you when your production was humming? If you have stopped something that used to work, it may be time to start doing that activity again.
Part 6: Let the agent do the work. When someone else tells you what to do, most agents push back or refuse to do it. A well-trained coach will brainstorm ideas about what the agent can do, but ultimately will close the session by asking, "What is the one action step that you will take this week to improve your business, and how will I know when you have completed it?"
When the agent selects what they will do, they are more likely to do it. Most importantly, they also know that the coach is holding the space for them to fulfill their commitment.
Part 7: Skills do matter. Coaching works best when agents also work on improving their skills at the same time. Once an agent receives training, coaching is what assists the agent in implementing what they have learned.
One woman chose not to finish the program and left the company. For the remaining 11 agents, they all placed at least $1 million dollars of property under contract.
The top-performing agent sold a whopping $12 million dollars of property during this program. He attributed his success to having "clarity about what he wanted to attract."