Virtual Coaching: How Good Are You?

Online assessment tools help you pinpoint your selling strengths and weaknesses.

February 1, 2003

Dear Mr. Internet,
I think that coaching would be a great way to help me increase my productivity, but it is so expensive. Is there an alternative to coaching that can be found online?—Michael Salas, Coldwell Banker, Corona del Mar, Calif.

Dear Michael,
I am a firm believer in the power of coaching and have worked with many throughout my own career. Sales coaching's main benefit is that it provides objective feedback on your performance and methods, thus enabling you to make necessary adjustments to grow your business.

However, hiring a coach can be an expensive, costing several hundred to one thousand dollars or more per month. Fortunately, there is another way to get this valuable feedback, and it’s as close as your Web browser.

Your Virtual Sales Coach

Real Estate Simulator™ is sales skills assessment software developed by a Canadian company called Upward Motion. It's an extremely innovative, quick, and affordable approach to evaluating your current sales capabilities and pinpointing areas for improvement. The program's creators worked with many top real estate professionals to determine top producers' common characteristics. The system was then statistically tested by administering it to salespeople at all skill / production levels. The results of those tests showed that Real Estate Simulator has a very strong ability to reflect a sales associate's likely production level. Click here to learn more about how this system was developed and tested.

Once you purchase a Real Estate Simulator assessment (currently about US $49--much less than even one coaching session), you can immediately download the necessary software and use it to evaluate three primary areas of your current skills.

  1. Sales Ability. This is by far the assessment's most interesting and innovative feature. The software uses video clips of actors pretending to be potential buyers and sellers to give you experience of “interacting” with them in sales situations. Each clip is typically less than 30 seconds long. After viewing a segment, you’ll be asked how you would respond to the "prospect's" questions, statements, or objections. This is so realistic that in taking this part of the evaluation I found myself feeling the same emotions I used to experience selling real estate. Ultimately, this process will accurately measure your ability to: build rapport, manage the sales process, listen effectively, and close the sale. Click here to view a very cool demo of how this video simulation works (and get ready to sweat a little!)
  2. Personality Profile. It's no secret that certain personality types are more conducive to a high-performing sales career than others. This part of the assessment is similar to most personality profile tests; it asks you a series of questions and you rate your response on a continuum from "strongly disagree" to "strongly agree." What comes back is an amazingly accurate assessment of your extroversion (your tendency to be outgoing) and assertiveness, conscientiousness (your ability to stay focused on objectives and goals), and emotional resilience (your ability to handle factors such as stress, uncertainty, and rejection.)
  3. General Aptitude. This is essentially a timed IQ test that measures your ability to solve problems, process information, and learn new concepts.The assumption behind this particular assessment is that top performers tend to be quicker on their feet.

The entire assessment takes no more than 40 to 60 minutes. Once you’ve completed the exercises, you’ll be able to access a detailed report on the results immediately. In addition to giving you objective feedback on your respective strengths and weaknesses, you will also see where you fit within a collective profile of top producers who have taken the same assessment.

Now this is where the "coaching" part comes in. Armed with this third-party objective snapshot of your current abilities, you'll know what kind of corrective action to improve your sales results. For example, my profile showed a very high general sales ability, but it also indicated a weaker than desirable ability to close the sale. Using my assessment results as a clear roadmap, I can concentrate on obtaining training and coaching just to improve my closing ability. I don’t waste time, money, or energy blindly taking other types of sales courses I don’t need.

It’s not too hard to imagine how brokers will find this tool to be a powerful way to evaluate potential associates as well. Imagine joining a firm where the broker gives you this assessment and then provides a personalized training program to shore up your weak areas based on the results. In this way, the broker and the company’s staff become your own personal coaching team--a powerful incentive for top talent to join their firm.

The initial step in any coaching situation--whether it’s sports, speaking or sales--is an assessment of where you are currently, so you know where to concentrate your efforts to reach your goals. And thanks to the power of the Internet, you now don't have to hire an expensive coach to start the process.

Tip of the Month

Imagine being coached by the "best of the best" in the real estate sales field. Visualize sessions where they shared all their secrets about marketing, business planning, operations, and more with you. That would be pretty awesome wouldn't it? Well, for only $29.95 a month, you can have access to that and a whole lot more with the iSucceed program at Real This site is another form of online coaching, but with a twist. All the materials presented are "field-proven" by the top producers in the industry.

Once you’ve registered online, you can attend live phone-in seminars, download forms and materials actually used by top producers, view business plans, and much more. This site is truly a cornucopia of proven success strategies that simple does not exist anywhere else.

In fact, there is so much here that it is easy to become paralyzed by so many choices. That said, perhaps the best approach is to start with your business plan (yes, there are courses on that, too), and then implement only the modules that will help you execute your plan.

This is another great example of how real-world coaching for your business is just a mouse-click away!

Michael Russer, a.k.a. Mr. Internet®, is CEO of Russer Communications. He is a leading speaker and author in the real estate industry and has been writing about Internet marketing and virtual outsourcing since the dawn of the commercial Internet.

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