Archive for the ‘Professional Development’ Category

Web 3.0

Recently I read a new book entitled “Marketing in The Moment,” by Michael Tasner. Very interesting thoughts and ideas about Web 3.0 marketing.

Are you prepared and ready to market to your customers and clients via mobile phones?

Have you registered a .tv domain?

Are you streaming your own television show on the Web?

These are just a few of the web 3.0 areas to consider. This next weeks meeting will show you and your team how to be ready for Web 3.0 with many other new cool ways to reach your marketplace.

If you’re not a member of GoToSalesMeeting, we would love to have you join.

Producing the Wow Effect!

In part two of my sales meeting “The New Gold Standard,” based on the book by Joseph A Michelle, I discuss the importance of “Creating a Wow” effect for your clients and customers. Many of us believe knowledge is power, but actually according to Michelle’s podcast on this same subject, knowledge is only powerful if you apply it! In this meeting we discuss the importance of taking your knowledge and making it powerful. How can your team members do this? It’s actually quite easy and effective “if” you follow the right principles. Do you know your clients birthdates, anniversaries, children’s names and birthdates, e-mail address, social media affiliations, etc? If not, you’re missing out on a wealth of data that can help you stay in touch and definitely create a “wow” effect, if you properly apply it.

Remember:

  1. Get the information you need about your clients – the more the better
  2. Take this information and put it to good use in communicating with your center of influence

Keep in mind, information is only powerful if you use It correctly.

If you need help energizing your team with new ways to maximize time management, get more customers, develop new presentation ideas, or simply to take information about existing clients and customers to make it powerful, we can help! Sign up for our sales meeting subscription today.

The Art of Customer Service

It’s funny (and yet sad) to see how employees can offer up customer service to consumers who visit their business establishments. Recently I had lunch at one of my favorite restaurants, Qdoba in St. Louis, (the Arnold Store). It was a couple of days past my Birthday, and the good folks at Qdoba had sent me a “FREE” burrito coupon in recognition of my Birthday. Unfortunately I did not print the coupon out before I left for lunch, so I quickly pulled up the offer on my iPhone and showed it to the manager at the cash register. Immediately the manager in charge snapped at me and told me she would NOT honor my Birthday coupon since I had failed to print it out. I asked about Qdoba going “Green,” and helping conserve paper and our environment and why she could not honor my Birthday offer when she could easily see all the details. She snapped again, and this time in a more hateful and aggressive tone. I was floored at her attitude, and as I sat and ate my burrito (which by the way I paid for) I promised myself that I would not visit this Qdoba store again.

As I ponder this person’s attitude for how they handled this situation, I was reminded of how many businesses “lose” business because of an employee’s dumb attitude and poor customer service. Because of this, I developed this week’s sales meeting on “Customer Service.” My questions and goals for the meeting are to help managers work with their team members on how they can provide excellent customer service. The meeting is based from the book, “The New Gold Standard – 5 Leadership Principles for Creating a Legendary Customer Experience Courtesy of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company,” by Joseph A. Michelli, McGraw Hill Publisher.

As our economy continues to go through slow and challenging times, it’s important for all employees to remember that “Customer Service” is critical, and the life-blood for many organizations. Why argue over a $6.00 burrito and someone’s Birthday coupon, even though they didn’t print it out? Here’s an idea, (and GREAT customer service) have me forward the e-mail from my iPhone to the manager’s company e-mail account so she could print it out in the back? Oh well, I’ll drive another 10 minutes to the South County or Fenton locations and enjoy my Qdoba burrito in the future. J

 

Be a Good Sport

Okay, I’m writing about something a little differently today for my sales meeting blog, but I believe it’s a needed discussion for future gatherings with your team members. The topic is on being a “Good Sport!” I’ve always prided myself of learning to lose with dignity. After all, you can’t win all the time, and if you did, it might begin to get old sooner or later. There’s a football coach in the NFL right now, (I won’t mention any names) who has had tremendous success with his team, but when he loses he can hardly shake hands with the winning coach, and quickly dashes off to his locker room to sulk. I’ve been on many athletic teams over my life where people just seemed to be “poor sports.” In fact, it even carries over into our children’s games where we witness the parents blaming the referee, official, coach or someone else for their child’s poor performance. So why write about this on my sales meeting / real estate blog? First, I’ve been snubbed twice in the last two weeks by grown adults in my hometown. Nothing to do with business, but I do believe the story will illustrate a needed point for our team members when I’m finished explaining my point in this blog. Back to the snubbing, and why I’m even writing about this, is that my wife and I recently moved back to our hometown after a short stay in St. Louis last winter. Upon moving back, we decided to explore different churches to find the place where we were being led to attend. Our old church was nice and had good people but we did not feel this is where we should attend, so we began to visit other churches in our area. One House of Worship was nice and we loved the people and I even had a good friend who attended there, but it was not where our hearts said yes to attend. After visiting another church, we quickly knew this is where we should stay.

Life is good, the people are friendly and things seem okay until about two weeks ago when I run into my friend at Wal-Mart from the church we attended several months back. Yes, you guessed it, my friend snubbed me! I couldn’t believe it, he was downright rude to me and would hardly speak. I knew immediately it was over our decision not to attend his church, (as he had called and visited me while we were attending) and now he simply chose to ignore me while we stood in the checkout lane side by side. Sure, I got over it, but two days ago I was snubbed again! This time by my (I won’t mention if it was the husband or wife) former staff person. I had to go out of my way to speak to this person and say hello, with only a brief hi and they quickly walked on by not even bothering to stop and visit. I had not seen this person for well over a year, and that was all I got was a quick and soft spoken “hi.” I was so discouraged by both of my friend’s actions that it began to bother me, and it dawned on me for the idea for this blog, “be a good sport.” It’s terrible to use a church illustration for showing how two people from two different bodies of worship treated me with little or no love at all. Jesus was all about love, and it’s one of the greatest commandments He gave us.

Here’s the bottom line and what you can stress in your sales meeting: whether it’s attending church, playing a sports game or losing a real estate transaction to another competitor, be a good sport! I’ve lost many of real estate transactions in my life to other agencies and still smiled and treated my former customers with dignity and graciousness. And yes, those people probably felt and knew in their hearts they hurt me, but when they saw my good sportsman like conduct, they always came back to do business with me in the future. And if not, hey, it’s part of doing business and you can’t let it bother you. We’re not going to sell everything to everybody we meet. We can learn from our mistakes and correct problems or issues that might cause people to go elsewhere, but don’t be a bad sport just because you lose out on a business deal, or a friend decides to attend church somewhere else. Learning to be a good sport will pay big dividends for you in everything you do!

Who Wants to Be Accountable?

Gosh, those are dreaded words for most people, or are they? Accountability, what’s it really mean? According to Webster’s Online dictionary, accountability means an obligation or willingness to accept responsibility or to account for one’s actions.” Read what Wikipedia says about accountability:

Accountability is defined as “A is accountable to B when A is obliged to inform B about A’s (past or future) actions and decisions, to justify them, and to suffer punishment in the case of eventual misconduct”.[1]

[1] Schedler, Andreas (1999). “Conceptualizing Accountability”. in Andreas Schedler, Larry Diamond, Marc F. Plattner. The Self-Restraining State: Power and Accountability in New Democracies. London: Lynne Rienner Publishers. pp. 13–28. ISBN 1-55587-773-7

The funny (or sad) thing is, in a business where we should strive for accountability on a daily, weekly and quarterly basis, very few if any of us do incorporate accountability into our workplace. Why? Why do we make accountability so difficult or “dreaded” as I referred to in the first paragraph? I believe the main reason we don’t institute good accountability programs in the workplace is that most people hate failure, and when we fail to meet up to our goals and expectations we feel a sense of a letdown to ourselves, our family and the organization. If we could somehow shift the failure aspect into a positive, it would work! How can we do this? Easy, instead of asking “why” ask “what.”

 

Don’t say – “Why didn’t you prospect this week? You said you we’re going to call on [x] number of new prospects, why?

 

Try – “What could you do differently this week to help you meet your goal of [x] new prospects?

 

I believe as managers and brokers we have to shift from the failure aspect to more of a coaching method. Use the defeats as ways to learn and grow. Make it clear from the outset that all of us will fall short or our goals and desires, but that doesn’t mean we can get back up and keep going. I love the old saying, “it’s not how many times you get knocked down, but how long you stay on the floor.”

 

Finally, for brokers and managers, accountability to your team is required and essential for your team to grow and prosper. Make accountability a coaching session and make sure you set time aside on a regular basis to help your team with accountability. For larger organizations (and even smaller groups) allow individuals to partner up with the accountability process. Make sure that these small groups meet regularly and encourage helping them and meeting on occasion to facilitate and assist with the accountability process.

 

There are some excellent books on accountability if you need to research more, and if you would like a copy of my accountability scorecard I’ve created to help with implementing this at your office please send me an e-mail and I’ll be glad to forward it to you at no cost. John@RealEstateTechGuy.com.

 

For more help with accountability visit www.RealEstateSalesMeetings.com.


The Real Estate Brokers Responsibility

I just concluded teaching a two-day seminar for the Council of Real Estate Brokers and Managers (CRB) – in Memphis, TN on “Performance Leadership,” with a wonderful group of managers and brokers from around the U.S. During this session it dawned on me the mind-boggling amount of responsibilities and duties a real estate broker/manager carries on their shoulders every day. Don’t misunderstand my statement, as I’m a 31 year veteran to the real estate industry, and I know firsthand all of the various areas a new sales associate must undertake to learn when they join your office, but for some unknown reason it’s just become second nature for me as a real estate broker/trainer. We spent the two days discussing the “ideal” sales associate, (our view and the consumers view) and then we looked at how the new and experienced agents needed to be trained, coached, mentored and what type of leadership style would work best for them. Recruiting and retention ideas were formulated as well as devising a written “Leadership Plan” to implement all the newly acquired information. Wow, what a needed and energizing experience for the real estate broker/manager!

This was my fourth time to teach this course for the CRB and I must admit the material and content finally clicked for me. I think the knowledge and needed action has always been there, but the need to organize, document and put your plans in writing finally made sense. Most importantly, stick to it! All of us have good intentions to follow a plan, but unless you take the time to formulate it and put it in writing, you’ll always fall short of the mark.

My biggest revelation from teaching the class is the “amount” of stuff we must teach and train new agents who join our firm. Policy and procedures, ethics, anti-trust, fair housing, do not call, customer relations, technology, and the list goes on and on. Sure, most of the “stuff” they’re supposed to learn in pre-license school, but everyone needs reminded and educated on a regular basis to learn and succeed. If you’re a large broker where you can delegate this out to a training manager or staff person you’re one step ahead of most brokers, but for people like me and other small to medium size broker/managers, our job description continues to get bigger and bigger. Unfortunately, the pay doesn’t seem to stay up with the increased liability and responsibilities of being a real estate broker.

So what’s the moral of this story/blog? First of all, if you have never taken the Performance Leadership class from the CRB, do so today! Call the council to find out when the next course might be offered, and or encourage your local REALTOR® board or association to offer the class to your membership. There are several excellent instructors for this course, and the brokers/managers in your area will benefit greatly from this offering. Second, begin to put your responsibilities for new and experienced agents in writing and think about ways you can fulfill and implement those plans. Think about the type of agent you want on your team and what characteristics and qualities they should meet to join your team. Ask yourself what your company’s culture and core values are, and put those thoughts and answers in writing. Remember, it’s your business, and without a proper plan (written plan) you may not always hit the mark.

If it’s not broken, leave it alone!

Recently my wife and I ate at a chain restaurant which serves Pasta that we truly enjoy. It’s a small restaurant that seats around 100 +/- customers, and several years ago would always be full of guests. This week the crowd was only a handful of people during a normal dinner time. I commented to my wife that their business had been off the last several times we had visited. Could it be the downturn in our economy that was keeping people away we thought? I don’t think so; because if I gave the name of the restaurant, many of you would know the establishment, and would agree that you can get a nice pasta dish there without spending a lot of money. One thing we did notice was that during the restaurant’s hay-day, they always sent someone around with a basket of warm breadsticks, offering additional bread to their guests at no additional charge. Now, the “free” breadsticks are no longer willfully available, unless you go to the counter and ask for them. Seems like a small thing, but I must admit it does seem burdensome to have to get up and go up to the counter to ask for another breadstick, compared to when they would come to your table and offer the same service. Ironically, their business has not been the same since this new procedure went into place.

A number of years ago a popular restaurant in my area was sold, and the first thing the new owner did was completely change the way the smorgasbord was set-up. When my dad and I ate there, he commented to me that the new owner would not last a year under his new concept. I can still remember my father (who was in retail business all his life) say to me that you don’t change something that is working right. If it’s not broken son, just leave it alone! Guess what? My dad was right, unfortunately the new owner didn’t last long, and the business was taken back over by the family, who by the way put the smorgasbord back to their father’s original (successful) concept.

This same principal holds true to our businesses today. If it’s not broken, leave it alone! Unfortunately many companies are changing things and cutting back in areas that really don’t cost a lot, but for the sake of slashing expenses, like, breadsticks will no longer be given to the guests unless they ask. If your team members like something you offer them and it doesn’t cost you an arm and a leg, but it offers a value added service back to them, then continue to provide it. Don’t cut something out just for the sake of removing it. Remember, if it’s not broken, leave it alone!