Chaos!

On a recent coaching call with a top performing team they used the word “chaos” to describe how things were currently going.  Merriam-Webster defines Chaos as follows: a state of things in which chance is supreme; the inherent unpredictability in the behavior of a complex natural system; a state of utter confusion.

All three definitions imply a lack of control!  Further questioning led to some interesting conclusions.  Firstly, the market is the market.  Whether up, down, balanced, it is not to blame for a lack of business nor is it to blame for a lack of client commitment.  Ultimately, Realtors are totally in control of their own destiny and if they follow a disciplined approach to their operations then their production will reflect those efforts accordingly.

In this case, looking at 2016 production, they realized that over 85% of their transactions came from their sphere of influence.  Quite an astounding feat given the fact that another conclusion was that they were not communicating at all regularly with their database – no calls, personal visits, newsletter, or any other value offerings.

A recent assignment for an EMBA class involved reviewing what the most important skills were for new Realtors to succeed in real estate sales.  I suggested the following: Perseverance, Knowledge and Discipline/Focus.  The last one is the key attribute that helps agents avoid “chaos”.  Here is my short comment on it: One of the areas that I see major differences between those Realtors who are successful and those who struggle is that the successful Realtor has control of and over their time.  They pre-plan their day, week, month and year and generally do not stray from the plan.  The new Realtor typically does not stick to their plan for the week and consequently ends up chasing their own tails.

Planning is essential to having and maintaining an element of control.  If there is no business plan then your ship has no way to navigate the chaotic waters.  Furthermore, without a pre-planned set of actions for the next day, week, or month, everyone else but you will have control over your day, week and month.

There are lots of ways to gain control and the first might be to ask for help or look for an accountability partner.  Either way – get started!

Whether you say you can or you can’t, you’re right. Walt Disney

Top Six Networking Questions

One of the skills that seems to be disappearing rapidly is the art of networking.  We are all too busy typing on our “smart” phones.  What this means is that we are reverting back to talking “at” our customers and clients and are not listening enough.

Bob Burg has written a number of must-read books for anyone in sales let alone Realtors such as The Go-Giver, Go-Givers Sell More and Endless Referrals.  It is this last one which includes some really helpful advice on interacting with people in a business setting and making the most of networking opportunities.  I am only listing six of the ten that he suggests we use.  For the full list, I recommend buying his book  Endless Referrals

  1. How did you get your start in the “widget” business?
  2. What do you enjoy most about your profession?
  3. What separates you and your company from the competition?
  4. What advice would you give someone starting out in the “widget” business?
  5. What one thing would you do with your business if you knew you could not fail?
  6. What significant changes have you seen take place in your profession through the years?

The added question that he suggests asking once you have established some rapport would be: How can I know if someone I am speaking to is a good prospect for you?

As you can tell, the focus of all of these questions is on the other person and our sole objective is to listen carefully for anything that suggests there might be change in the works that could lead to a real estate requirement.  Listening is not generally a strength as mentioned earlier but is something that brings great rewards!

 

 

The Alabama Process

No, this isn’t some weird type of real estate deal or new way of handling an offer, rather it is all about how one of the most successful US College football coaches achieved consistent top performance from his teams.

Coach Nick Saban was renowned for breaking down the game into “each possession” and how to dominate the opponent.  What we are talking about is the mental side of the athlete, their mindset! “Success doesn’t come from pie-in-the-sky thinking, it’s the result of consciously doing something each day that will add to your overall excellence.”

His approach was to not talk about titles or championships but to concentrate on what you’re doing today and to build on that tomorrow.  A few of his Day-To-Day Goals should be taken to heart in any business: respect and trust your teammates, have a positive impact on someone else, be responsible and act like a champion.

Probably one of the toughest things Realtors have to deal with is the fact that for most of us it is a solitary existence.  That’s why the term “solo-preneur” is so applicable.  But this is even more a reason to embrace Coach Saban’s approach as it deals with the issue of discipline in our day to day rituals.  Which is easier for you, the pain of discipline (it’s not easy to always be disciplined) or the pain of regret (should of, could of etc..)? This is Mental Toughness – persevering when you can do something that you really don’t feel like doing.

As the old saying goes: “If you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll continue to get what you’ve always gotten. Guaranteed!”

Coach Saban’s Process

Leaders are Readers

There are two books that I am going to highly recommend to you for the month of February.

The first came recommended to me by an acquaintance who happens to be a Marketing Professor at a local college as well as a consultant.  She thought it made a lot of sense to read this given that what we as Realtors are selling is in fact invisible, i.e., our services!  The book is: Selling The Invisible: A Field Guide To Modern Marketing by Harry Beckwith.

Copies of this book can be found on Amazon, used, for a few dollars.  It is an easy read and provides some really excellent advice on how to market your services, in particular, how to explain the “value” you bring to the table.

The second suggestion is a recent publication which is one of the best “how to” books in the real estate brokerage world to date.  Written by Larry Kendall, founder of The Group Inc. and Ninja Selling in Ft. Collins, CO – the title is Ninja Selling: Subtle Skills Big Results.

This book is essentially a comprehensive overview of the Ninja Selling system and if you are struggling with your 2017 business plan, I strongly recommend you purchase this book.  It too can be found on Amazon.

 

 

 

Visual Accountability

Whiteboards?  Really? Seems “old school.”  Well, guess what, they work.  Just like vision boards and any other form of visual accountability, there is a very real and effective emotional connection between having a “picture” that tells you a story versus a report once in a while or the “it’s all in my head” format.

The truth is that every top producer I have had the privilege of working with or discussing their tracking habits, has some form of a visual accountability system. A few of them even display these where their family can see what they are up to and understand the importance of their work.

Monthly commitments like hydro, mortgage payments, loans, business expenses, are all billed with great regularity and you are expected to pay.  Similarly, external accountability of things like Warm or Hot Leads, Listing Prospects, Conditional or Firm Deals makes you take action in a more consistent and urgent manner.

So, how to set these up?  Purchase a couple of white boards: http://www.staples.com/Dry-Erase-Whiteboards/cat_CL166382  and split them into a few distinct sections: Warm/Hot Leads (Buyer or Seller), Active Listings, Conditional Deals, Closed Deals.

Your Leads Board (Warm/Hot) should have the following headings: Name/Source/Motivation.  Of course, the beauty of these systems is that you can make up whatever KPI (Key Performance Indicator) you want but the ones described above are the typical headings that most Realtors use.

The secrets to making this work are; 1) Don’t reinvent the wheel, TSW (This Stuff Works). 2) Make sure they are updated regularly.  The act of putting pen to whiteboard is a big part of embedding your goals and successes into your brain! 3) Mix it up. Use one color for buyers and one for sellers. 4) If you have a team or an assistant, get everyone involved.  If not, share it with your spouse, family.  The more the merrier.

Examples: courtesy of http://www.whiteboard-atoz.com/real-estate-listing-and-sales-board-48-x-96