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Do you have a great start-up plan?

May is my designated Training Month. So, I’m writing blogs on training for both this blog and my blog for managers and trainers, Management in a Minute. (Help your manager with training!)

You know what your training will do for you. So I hope you are con­vinced you also need to implement a business start-up plan to put all that information in perspective. But watch out—

. As a CRB (Certified Real Estate Broker) instructor for 12 years, I taught thousands of owners and managers nationally. I saw plenty of poor plans managers shared with me. (These were the plans they were giving their agents, too.)

Some commonalities of those bad plans:

  1. No priorities: They are laundry lists of busywork activities interspersed with activities that actually make you money, so the agent doesn’t get any evaluative perspective to create an effective business
  2. Activities not spotlighted: They do not prioritize lead-generating activities, so the agent thinks all types of lead generation have equal payoffs.
  3. No Tracking: They do not have methods of setting goals, keeping track of results, and analyzing results to make changes quickly. (Up and Running provides sales ratios so you learn how many specific actions it takes to get the results you want.)
  4. Priorities lead to defeat: They do incorrectly prioritize actions. For example, as a high prior­ity, they direct the new agent to “see all the inventory” before doing anything else. The rationale is that it’s very important to see all the inventory to build a knowledge base. It is important, but only as it relates to working with buyers and sellers. (It’s the means, not the end.) But new agents don’t want to do the high-rejection, high-risk activities such as talking to people. So they gladly see all the inven­tory until it becomes their job descriptions
  5. Busywork is accentuated: They do include plenty of “busywork” as equal priority to lead generating—such as a broker having an agent visit a title company to learn how it operates. This keeps the agent busy and out of the broker’s hair! Also, the new agent loves the broker for a while, because the broker isn’t asking the new agent to do those high- rejection activities—those activities that lead to a sale!

Be very critical before you commit to any start-up plan. It is prior­itizing your mind! The start-up plan you may love because it keeps you out of sales activities isn’t the plan that is going to love you back (get you the sales you want). What you do every day becomes your job description.

Let me know your evaluation of your start-up plan with the above points.

(This blog is excerpted from Up and Running in 30 Days.)

Up and Running in Real Estate Starts You Right to an Exceptional Career

If you’ve been in the business less than 2 years and you’re not getting the success you deserve, you need to give yourself the gift of this program. All the training, coaching, and supporting documents are online, so you can go at your own speed and go back as many times as you want.

How this program is different: It is foundationed with a business start-up plan, so you learn how to self-manage a successful business, not just do activities. And, there’s nothing else to buy–no extra cards that stay in your trunk! (And, there’s a coaching component for your manager so support you every step of the way!).

Take a look and launch or re-launch your career right!

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Here are the five critical points you must have for your new agent training. May is my Trainer Appreciation Month, so I’m focusing on training for this blog.

You’re an agent just licensed. Or, perhaps, you’re an agent with less than two years in the business. You want to be as successful as you can possibly be. You believe that some of that success will be due to your training program. You’re looking for a great training program. What should you expect from a training program?

What to Look For: Five Critical Points

If you’re looking for effective training to get your career started fast, you need to choose a training program that has these features:

  1. The objective is fast productivity, not just knowledge. When you interview, ask what the objectives of training are with that company. If it’s just knowledge, run the other way! You will know a lot, but you won’t be in business very long!
  2. The training program has business-producing expectations and goals. For example, if you expect to make money fast, your training program needs to help you learn to set prospecting goals and attain them. That doesn’t mean lecturing in class. That means you have an activity plan and are working in the field during the class duration. That also means that you aren’t in class all day.
  3. The training program is built around a business start-up plan. Ask to see the company’s business start-up plan for you. If it isn’t sales-producing, it isn’t a real start-up plan.
  4. Sales skills are practiced by the students in class. How can you expect to be competent with clients if you haven’t gained competency and confidence in the classroom? Clients are very discriminating these days. They expect agents to know what they’re doing! During the interview, ask for a description of how the students spend class time. If the manager says the students listen all the time, pick up your materials and go to the next interview. You need skills training; you don’t need to know everything the instructor knows.
  5. Expectations for achievement in sales developing and packaging are clear. Is this a college-level training? In college, students are expected to perform during the course. If you’re not expected to practice outside class, and get your sales packages together (like listing and buyer presentations), then this isn’t a real training. It’s just a time-eating event. Wouldn’t your consumer expect you to have a high level of competence? Then, your training program must deliver.

Armed with these 5 critical expectations, you can choose a training program that is dedicated to assuring you quick results, high sales skill, and confidence with consumers. Why settle for less?

1/2 Price Training Resources–Pass on to your Training Director!

May is my Trainer Appreciation Month. I’ve packaged 2 resources for you at half price when you purchase both (with coupon code trainer):

Knock Their Socks Off: Tips to Make your Best Presentation Ever: Regularly $69.95

Grab these effective presentation skills the master keynoters use.

How to Write a Course with Substance, Sizzle, and ‘Sell’: Regularly $129.95

No other resource available like this: follow an effective blueprint to create that effective course.

Purchase BOTH this month for $100 (plus shipping)

How to order: Just put the code trainer in the coupon area of your order (must order both to get the discount).   Offer expires May 31 so order now and get Carla’s expert help on presentations AND course writing!

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Going into real estate: How to find the best circumstance for you.

New or prospective agents: What kind of office do you prefer?

You’re getting ready to go into the interview. Do you know what you’re looking for? Use this checklist to decide what kind of company, office, and atmosphere you’ll feel most comfortable in.

Big caveat: Today, more than ever, companies with gazillions of dollars to spend to procure agents seem to be willing to tell them whatever agents want to hear. Unfortunately, it’s seldom such a rosy picture. Do your ‘due diligence’ and act like a sleuth! It’s your life you’re ‘loaning’ to whatever company you join.

These preferences are excerpted from my ebook, What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School.

Selling vs non-selling manager

You prefer a manager who doesn’t sell real estate.(non-competing)

You prefer a manager who sells real estate (may provide a good role model).

Training

You prefer a formalized training program.

You prefer to ‘go it on your own’, with the manager available to answer questions.

Large/Small Office

You prefer a large, busy office.

You prefer a small, more laid-back atmosphere.

Large/Small Company

You like the idea of a large company behind your efforts.

You like the idea of a boutique, specialty company.

Many/Few New Agents

You want to be around other new agents like you, so you prefer an office with lots of new agents.

You want to be with seasoned agents, and would rather be among the few new agents in the office.

Top Producer Assignment

You want to be assigned to a top producer to find out how that top producer works, and perhaps do work for that top producer.

You want to become an above-average producer fast, and don’t want to be in the shadows of anyone else.

Age of Agents

You want to be around people your age.

You want to be around people of a wide range of ages and interests.

Work from Office/Work from Home

You want to work from the office, and have a desk at the office.

You want to work from home.

No Supervision/Management

You prefer little or no ‘supervision’. You’ll go at your own speed.

You want and expect leadership and guidance as you start your career.

Coach/No Coach

You want a coach dedicated to your success.

You prefer to go it alone and operate independently.

Mentor/Manager

You want a mentor—someone you can go to ask questions at any time.

You want to go to your manager as your trusted adviser.

Did You Change Your Mind after the Interview?

I hope you kept an open mind. Sometimes our views change when we hear benefits that make sense to us. Be sure you’re choosing a manager, office, and company that reflect your values, culture, and preferences.

In the book below, I offer the pros and cons of the questions above. Look past the easy, attractive answers and treat this like the business it is!

Want the Straight Scoop on Real Estate Sales?

From interviewing thousands of prospective agents, I’ve learned their concerns. Here’s the unvarnished truth–along with the facts–about selling real estate. You’ll be armed and dangerous (!) in the best sense of the word–going into the interview with this invaluable information.

Check out my eBook: What They Don’t Teach You in Pre-License School.

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New agents: When should you start lead generating? You can’t start yet, can you? (Read on…..)

You’re a new agent, and you feel you need to do all kinds of things before you actually start talking to people. I know. You’re scared spitless to start actually selling real estate. So, instead, you do all the other ‘stuff’ that keeps you out of trouble–that is, away from clients! That other stuff includes:

Paperwork

Blogging

Social networking (do some of those people do anything else?!)

Going to classes (you just have to know everything before you talk to a person, don’t you?)

And, the very worst, I think, looking at pretty houses (without a client in mind).

Why Are These Activities So Bad?

If you are using Up and Running in 30 Days, or are enrolled in Up and Running in Real Estate, you already know the answer. Those activities actually keep you away from selling real estate. As we say in Up and Running,

Yes, I know. You want to be educated. You want all that training. You want to be confident. But, here’s the big secret:

Performance increases competence and confidence. (not knowledge and not talking about it!!!!!!!)

False Confidence from Getting Ready to Get Ready

The problem about thinking you are getting confidence from all the Support Activities I listed above is that they don’t really make you confident. You just think you are getting somewhere for a short period of time.

99% of learning comes from doing, not watching, not hearing, and not reading.

Do it and you will gain confidence and competence. What are you waiting for? When are you going to start talking to people with purpose–so you can make money?

Get with the Program and Make some Money!

For most of us, we do much better with a structure and a coach. It’s true of physical training, of musical training, and certainly of real estate sales training!

Check out the program that gets you on track and keeps you on track, creating the habits of success. Up and Running in Real Estate can launch or re-launch your career to the career you deserve! Check it out here.

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Are you thinking of going into management? Here’s how to get ready to train.

To help you: At the end of this blog, grab my analytical tool to see how effective your office training program actually is–and recommendations on how to improve it.

One of the great actions effective managers do is to create and implement a training program that actually gets results. I know you want to help others attain their goals, and training is one of the best ways you can do this–if you’re a good trainer, have great programs, and focus on measurable results.

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

Grab your training calendar from your office (you do have a training calendar, don’t you?). Do you believe that training is getting the biggest ‘bang’ for your training buck (effort expended, talent needed, results expected)?

Maybe you’re taking part in the training program. Are you frustrated because your training isn’t getting results? Or, people just aren’t showing up? Or, worse yet, falling asleep in that factoid-heavy class?

If you have access to your office’s profit and loss statements: Maybe you have a specific problem you’ve noticed when you read your latest profit and loss statement. For instance: Perhaps your agents are giving too many commission concessions.

Training can Solve Some Challenges–and Not Others

When you go into management, you’ll see various challenges that training can solve (and some challenges training can’t solve!). Decide which challenges you can solve by providing training (like increasing listings sold) and which challenges can’t be corrected by more training (ethical issues are hard to re-train to, since people’s ethics are pretty hard-wired into them in their early years!).

Pretend now you’re in management. If you’re experiencing any of these challenges, you’ll love the tool here. I’m providing an insightful analytical tool to discover what’s right–and wrong–with your training.

Three main reasons training isn’t working:

1. It isn’t tied to the problems you want to solve in your office (agents not productive enough, commissions too low, etc.)
2. It doesn’t teach your agents to perform better–just gives information
3. It isn’t exciting enough–teacher just drones on and on…..

As I work with owners, managers and trainers internationally, I see these same three problems crop up over and over.

How to Figure Out What’s Wrong with that training Program

Grab it here. Use it in your office. Or, if you have the guts, use it with your manager and then create a plan to create better training–with goals for specific, measurable results.

Click here to get your analytical tool — along with tips to correct your training to make it pay off.

Managers: Do you have someone you know would be a great manager? Start working with that person now. Get them into training. Have them take a great Instructor Development Course, team train, and, finally, start training on your program.

Affiliates: Share this with the managers/trainers in the offices you call on. Use these tips, too, to streamline the training you provide.

The Complete Training Guide for Real Estate–Gain Skills and Techniques

Here’s the comprehensive training tool that will help you create great training programs, become a confident, effective trainer, and help many more people succeed in real estate! Check it out here.

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How much time should you spend in these management activities I’ve listed in the handout below?

If you’re thinking about going into management, you’re probably going to ‘model’ what you’ve seen done in your real estate office by your present manager. That may be good–or bad, depending on how your manager manages his/her activities.

This month, I’m featuring blogs regarding going into management. Why? I’ve been interviewing for that next great leader. Unfortunately, I’ve found few candidates have prepared at all for management. (Read my earlier blogs for preparation needed).

In my Leadership Mastery Coaching program, I provide several analysis tools to help new managers get started right with the best practices. At the end of this blog, grab my Time Analysis for Managers. Use this to set up your schedule (if you’re going into management). If you’re already in management or managing managers, use this to help managers get their priorities right for success.

Where Managers Go Right–and Wrong

In my most popular book, Up and Running in 30 Days, the new agent’s start-up plan, I divide all the activities an agent could do into two categories: business producing or business supporting. Business producing are those activities where the agent is finding, working with, and closing clients. Business supporting are all the rest of the activities. Where do you think agents go wrong? They spend too much time in business-supporting activities.

Now, let’s compare that to the categories and activities managers do. They also divide themselves nicely into busininess-producing and business supporting. (Take a look at my handout at the end of this blog). Where do you think managers go right in prioritizing their activities? They spend the majority of their time in business producing activities: Finding and working with productive agents. (not just crisis management, though).

How do You Spend Your Time?

In fact, failing managers become masters of the technical aspects of the business, and spend lots of time preparing and playing technology. (Sound familiar to those of you managing failing agents?) There’s nothing wrong with knowing the technical aspects of real estate and using technology. But, the failing manager focuses and ‘lives’ there.

What’s Your Conclusion?

Let me know how you used this analysis tool. General managers: What did you find when you had a manager use this tool? What changes will you help them make?

Grab my Time Analysis for Managers. Use this to set up your schedule (if you’re going into management). If you’re already in management or managing managers, use this to help managers get their priorities right for success.

Resources (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.

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Taking that next step into management? Get the skills first.

At the end of this blog, I’ve provided a rating assessment that I use in my Leadership Mastery coaching. You can 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?

As I said, the greatest skill managers need are recruiting and selecting skills. 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.

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Are you destined for management?

Here’s how to find out if management is in your future–and how to prepare to succeed.

** See my prioritized job description of a manager as a handout–along with the number of hours I recommend you spend in each activity.

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.

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

In these blogs, I’ll make some recommendations to you about how to get those skills. Unfortunately, we go into management thinking either

  1. We have enough of the skills to succeed
  2. There aren’t skills needed to suceed in management
  3. I’ll learn ‘on the job’

The Best Management Training Courses Out There

Are you familiar with The CRB courses? These are offered by an arm of the National Association of Realtors, and are, by far, the best management courses out there.

Here’s the link: https://www.rebinstitute.com/. It’s called Real Estate Business Institute now. I highly recommend the courses.

When to take these courses? Before you go into management! They are offered throughout the United States (and some in Canada). I was an instructor with the Institute for 12 years, and so I know the value of these courses (I also took several of them prior to going into management).

Investigating Management

Have you interviewed at least 5 managers to find out what they do and how they got the skills to do it? If not, start your interviews now. You’ll find a wide range of management descriptions, of course. Some managers will describe what I call ‘maintenance management’–keeping the place running by doing administrative duties and listening to agent complaints. That’s not what it takes today to succeed in ‘active’ management. In fact, I think a great manager can be compared best to a great or mega-agent.

Questions you’ll want to ask:

  1. What’s your biggest challenge in management?
  2. What’s your biggest win?
  3. What’s different from management than you thought before you went into management?
  4. How do you create a real team?
  5. How do you recruit?
  6. How did you prepare to go into management?

Suggestion: Ask for a copy of the manager’s job description. I’ll bet few of them have ever seen one!

Here’s the link to the prioritized manager’s job description.

Another way to prepare to go into management: See my management resources at www.carlacross.com. 

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Want to go into some type of leadership? Maybe management, or coaching, or training? Try ‘perfect practice’ to get the skills you need BEFORE you jump into the job.

This month, I’m taking what I’ve learned as a musical performer from age 4 to the world of leadership and sales. (And, read my musical quotes at the end of each blog. I hope you’ll get a chuckle!)

Are You Prepared–or Just Hopeful?

My son owns a real estate company, and I help him initially screen candidates for manager and assistant manager. He has created a very detailed job description for any of those applying. Yet, we see two problems:

  1. Most of the candidates do not meet the qualifications the job requires
  2. Even the borrderline candidates have done nothing to prepare themselves for the job

For several years, I was a regional director of now the largest real estate company in the world. One of my jobs was finding and screening leadership. Boy, did I learn a lot! So, with that experience, I’m writing some tips here for those of you who want to step from sales into management (and for those looking for leadership). I’m not going to address the first problem. For example, some candidates just haven’t had job experience of any type in real estate. Although I know there are exceptions, generally, if you haven’t successfully sold real estate, you won’t understand, emphasize and be able to ‘develop’ agents successfully.

The Principle to Prepare: Perfect Practice Makes Perfect

Of course, this principle comes from my world of music. I learned this from my college piano professor. In order to play perfectly, one has to practice perfectly. That means hundreds or thousands of hours in the practice room, not in performing! (In other words, you have to practice your little heart out before they’ll let you loose in front of discerning people!) It’s drudgery and you wonder what you’re accomplishing. But, this perfect practice pays off when you have to perform in front of thousands and put to use your ‘muscle memory’. When you’re performing all those notes so quickly, you don’t have time to consciously figure out where your fingers should go (just like you do’t have time in an interview to figure out a good interview process!!!!)

What This Means to Your Preparation for Management

Skills you need to effectively develop individuals:

  • Lead generation/recruiting/presentation skills
  •  Interviewing/selection skills (both for agents and staff)
  • Coaching skills (along with a proven coaching approach)
  • Training skills
  • Management: Ability to create and implement a business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a training plan as part of your business plan
  • Ability to create and implement a leadership council, for participative management/ develop that leadership
  • Ability to create meaningful office and staff meetings

How Are You going to Develop Those Skills–Before You Get into Performance?

Go through the checklist/description above. Ask yourself: Have you developed those skills? If not, are you going to wait and ‘wing it’ on the job? As a pianist, I wouldn’t dare ever get in front of people to perform without having practiced!

Next blog: Suggestions in how to do that perfect practice in each of these areas.

Managers: Share this blog with those who are interested in going into leadership. In later blogs, I’ll share some analytical tools I’ve developed to help you help others develop their leadership skills.

Just for chuckles:

“I can’t listen to that much Wagner. I start getting the urge to conquer Poland.” — Woody Allen

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Are you really being ‘real’ to your clients?

This month, I’m taking what I’ve learned as a musical performer from age 4 to the world of leadership and sales. (And, read my musical quotes at the end of each blog. I hope you’ll get a chuckle!)

Are You Just Following a ‘Template’?

As a musical performer, I know you first have to learn the music (the ‘template’). But then, you have to add YOU. That is, you have to add the interpretation that ‘speaks’ to you personally. Otherwise, it’s just notes on a page. So many times, I’ve seen leadership and salespeople merely follow the template. That’s great for a beginning, but it doesn’t create a connection to others. In fact, it creates a dissonance. You know what I mean. You’ve heard a salesperson say, “Does 1 PM or 2 PM Tuesday work for you?” You probably want to scream (as I do), “Be human, you’re not an automaton.” Now, it’s fine to give people choices, but, if you sound as though you just memorized those words, and are not actually interacting with another human being, you’re creating distrust, not rust!

Adding YOU, the Personal Benefit

Get past the templates. As a salesperson, you bring to your clients some very unique and valued attributes. However, many times salespeople do not use these attributes to commnicate and gain trust. Instead, they rely on the old ‘templates’–those cliches and sayings that we just don’t find ‘ring true’. For example: You have a background in art. Are you using that background to communicate and ‘share’ YOU with your clients? Are you using that skill visually in your presentations?  If not, you’re missing an opportunity to relate. And, in this day in age, relationships are what hold a client to the agent over time.

Here’s a great quote that expresses what I’m suggesting:

Live your truth. Express your love. Share your enthusiasm. Take action towards your dreams. Walk your talk. Dance and sing to your music. Embrace your blessings. Make today worth remembering. ― Steve Maraboli

What’s YOUR Music?

Translation: I don’t want them to memorize each word. Instead, I want them to feel the rhythm of the process and follow that. The outcomes: Great presentations with relaxed presenters! You’re adding YOU to the template, which makes you believable.

Your Turn

Look back on your life.

Want guidance in how to teach with verve and confidence? Check out all my training guides at my website, carlacross.com.

Just for Fun

Last night at Carnegie Hall, Jack Benny played Mendelssohn. Mendelssohn lost.

Harold C. Schonberg

When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano.

Bob Hope, on Phyllis Diller

Remember Jack Benny and Phyllis Diller? They may not have been concert artists, but they used their musical talent to differentiate themselv

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