Process Training for Business Improvement
There is a big difference between a property manager who views training as an event and one who sees it as a process. Event leaders believe that sales skills can be developed in a day or with a single training session. Process leaders know that skills are developed daily, not in a day.
Have you ever attended a seminar or training event where you felt the desire to change, but found yourself back in your regular routine just a few days later? I know I have. I have gone to numerous seminars and returned with a bunch of new ideas that I’m excited about only to get sucked back into my daily routine. Later, I’ve found my notes and been reminded about ideas that I still haven’t implemented or done.
After having this experience several times, I realized that implementation of the best ideas was the most important result for me after attending a seminar or event training. Prioritizing the best ideas and blocking out time to implement them will help you develop skills that will be a tremendous benefit for your business.
I’ve since realized that if I’m going to improve, I have to view my own personal development as a leader as a process, and not an event. It is the consistent process of steadiness that helps anyone become something or someone. This is an important principle to understand because if you are going to help others on your team develop their skills to really improve and make changes, it is only going to happen with a focused process or system and time. You can’t become who you need to be when you remain who you are.
I think this is an important principle to discuss because expecting one training meeting to make lasting change for your leasing agents, virtual assistants, or really any member of your team is foolish. This event training will never have the power of focused practice that comes from process training.
Most property managers think they have more skills than they really do. In good economic times, you don’t have to possess as many selling skills to be successful at selling. However, in tough economic times, only the best trained and developed property managers will consistently close the door and help investors maximize the value they get from their investments.
The harsh reality is that because many property managers think their skills are better than they are, they don’t think they need to spend time on training. As a result, they don’t. As the leader of your business, you have to set the tone for process learning by improving yourself. You have to help your team members implement a well-thought-out personal development plan and process to get there. You need to show up for trainings and get involved.
It can’t be done in a single setting. Training that lasts requires a process and a system. For example, you can’t transfer sales skills with one training session. The journey of improvement involves consistent study and application. Mastering any skill set takes time and practice to develop into a lasting habit.
Unfortunately, most property managers don’t have a development plan to continually get better at selling. If you haven’t read or studied anything on selling in the past month or six months, the reality is that your skills aren’t as sharp as you think you are. You realize this when an owner that you meet with has an objection that you haven’t encountered in a while and it holds you back from closing the door. Stay sharp by constantly improving your skills. If you don’t, they will stagnate by default.
Ask yourself this: Why do you go to summits or seminars, return to your business excited, and then allow yourself to get sucked back into your old routine where you react to fires instead of consciously creating improvement? Why does this happen?
Marshall Goldsmith makes this point in his book Mojo:
“When people initiate a personal campaign to improve themselves—for example, lose weight, shed a bad habit, exercise more, be nicer to their co-workers (or family members), run a marathon, learn a new language, play a musical instrument, etc.—there is a high probability that they will fail. At some point, early in the game or near the finish line, most people will abandon their campaign to get better.
“Why do people give up? My daughter Kelly helped me review the research on goal achievement—and we came up with six major reasons:
- It takes longer than we thought. Our need for instant gratification trumps our patience and discipline.
- It’s more difficult than we thought. Improvement is hard. If it were easy, we’d already be better.
- We have other things to do. Distractions tempt us to take our eyes off the ball.
- We don’t get the expected reward. We lose weight but we can’t get a date. We put in the extra effort, but the boss doesn’t notice or care. This creates frustration rather than inspiration to persist.
- We declare victory too soon. We lose a few pounds and say, ‘Let’s order pizza.’
- We have to do it forever. It’s not enough that we quit smoking. We can’t have another cigarette for the rest of time. Maintenance is rough!”—Mojo, pp. 127-128.
He continues: “Most of us don’t articulate these reasons to ourselves. We simply accept defeat and vow to do better the next time. What’s going on here is not merely a failure of discipline, or an unrealistic vision of our future, or being overwhelmed by distractions or frustration. It’s a crisis of optimism. After the first easy wave of success, when improvement gets harder to maintain, our efforts can seem more hopeless than hopeful. If you’ve ever gone on a diet and shed the first few pounds swiftly, only to hit a wall where the pounds don’t fall off so quickly as you get nearer your target weight, you know the feeling. You lose your initial burst of optimism, and optimism is the fuel that drives the engine of change.”—Mojo, p. 128.
While all business skills are learnable, they take time to master. We can’t expect to become the best property manager in the world by reading a book every now and then, listening to a podcast, or attending a training conference once a year. If you want to get good at something, you have to commit yourself to the process and consistently and persistently work at developing the skill until it is mastered.
My father had a sign on the wall of his farrier shop that made a big impression on me. It said, “Amateurs practice until they get it right. Professionals practice until they can’t get it wrong.” Are you creating a climate of process training in your business where you and your team members practice their skills until they can’t get them wrong? What difference would that have on your overall sales and closing ratios?
Let me be clear. I’m not knocking event training. It is important. Events that inspire, motivate and encourage us to improve and make changes are the start of change, but the real battles are won at home and in the business in our daily lives as we struggle to implement the new skills we’ve learned. It is not enough to know something; you gain true mastery by becoming something.
Becoming something is a challenge because as we observe others in their varying journeys of skill development, it is easy to see the result, but ignore the process. We see the person who is great at closing sales, but we don’t see the process it took to master the individual skill sets of selling. Comparing the strengths of others who have mastered a skill we may be weak in can cause many to quit before they begin (since they feel the resistance of one of the reasons Marshall Goldsmith mentioned above). However, when we realize that since one person has successfully mastered a skill, we can too, it gives us the optimism to keep at the daily task of improvement. Our own small achievements also give us hope that we can develop and master the same skill if we are willing to begin and stick with the process.
The question I have for you is this: How deeply committed are you as the leader of your business to really developing your skills or helping your team members develop and improve their skills as property managers?
Will you overcome the six obstacles of resistance to improve mentioned by Goldsmith and do whatever it takes to learn the skill you set out to master?
I’ve always admired others in athletics, business or life who seem to have incredible abilities or skills. You see Olympic champions receive their medals, but never really understand how hard these individuals worked at the rote process to acquire the skills that make them champions. Never forget that in developing any skill set, it is much easier to see the result than the process.
There is an old saying: Champions don’t become champions in the ring—they are merely recognized there. There are hours and hours of training, practice, sweat, blood, and tears that go into the making of a champion that most people never see. It is easy to be reminded of this when watching the Olympics. You see talented athletes day after day doing incredible things, yet few really understand what they have sacrificed to develop the skills necessary to compete at that level. It reminds me of something boxing great Muhammad Ali once said. He said: “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.”
The journey of becoming who you need to be and the process of truly developing the myriad of business skills it takes to be successful in the property management business is difficult. It is hard. But it is worth it. The sacrifice of paying the price now to study and become the best at sales, marketing, or any other business skill will allow you to build a business that will help you provide for you and your family now and in the future.
I like this statement by former heavyweight champ Joe Frazier. He said: “You can map out a fight plan or a life plan. But when the action starts, you’re down to your reflexes. That’s where your road work shows. If you cheated on that in the dark of the morning, you’re getting found out now under the bright lights.”
This is so true of the skills of property management and adding doors. When the consultation begins, you’re down to your reflexes. This is where your preparation and commitment to develop your skills shows. This is where your ability to effectively persuade results in a signed property management agreement or in an “I’ll get back to you” investor.
If you want to see where someone really develops their skills, look at their daily routine. Are you and those on your team developing your sales skills daily? Are you reading and studying and practicing the skills daily that will help you become a master of the process of an exceptional property manager?
Remember, the secret to your future success is hidden in your daily routine. Every business skill develops daily, not in a day. Choose and commit to be a process leader and your property management business will grow by leaps and bounds.