April 28, 2008

Goodwill Should Be More Than a Charitable Concept

Let's open up the toolbox and analyze our next Business Principles this week. It's #2 and it's one of my favorites because in today's ever-changing market, it is so important.

We are Goodwill Ambassadors who always speak positively about our industry, our company and each other.

Now, saying we are "Ambassadors" of anything is a pretty high expectation to set but one I think everyone should be happy to strive for. Are you willing to accept the new role? It doesn't come with diplomatic immunity or a swanky residence in foreign country but it does come with some responsibility to rise above the stereotypes and preconceived ideas of what a Realtor does for a living.

  • Has the media painted a negative picture of our roles in today's environment? You bet.
  • Do frustrated homeowners blame Realtors for their irresponsible spending and weak financial management skills? Yes Sir!
  • Is the lending industry grabbing anything they can to pull down with them for years of poor business practices? Yes they are.
  • Houses aren't selling so it's easy blame the real estate community the way an obese kid's parent blames McDonald's.
  • "My home's value has dropped," cries the unmotivated Seller. "Why can't the Realtors earn their fee?"
  • "I heard it was a Buyer's market so I'll just send over some insultingly low offers" says the tire-kicking buyer.
  • Realtors charge how much????? But I thought selling your home is easy, isn't it?

It doesn't matter where you turn, the song remains the same. It appears to me that each morning when we wake up these days, we should be adding a review of Business Principle #2 to our shower, shave and tooth brushing routine. We need all the help we can get and we are going to have to toot that horn ourselves because no one else is going to do it.

It starts with "speaking positively about our industry." Be sure you are updated on daily statistics such as current days on market, average sales price and list to sales price ratios. Do you think the average person knows just how many homes sold in 2007? Are you keep your ears to the ground for new loan programs or government support programs for struggling homeowners? Remember, the New York Giants couldn't have won the Super Bowl if the NFL wasn't a strong, viable league. We must continue to be proud to wear the "R" from the National Association of Realtors.

We "always speak positively...(about) our company" is the next part of the Business Principle. Let's all take some time to count our blessings for what we have here at Coldwell Banker. As far as the "Five T's" we've got the best of the best: Tools, Training, Technology, Tradition and Teamwork. Let's not spend our time looking at the things we don't have, let's focus on what we do have. John F. Kennedy said it best when he said "Ask not what your country can do for you but what you can do for your country." The "Power of Sold" is more than a campaign... it's becoming a crusade against negative news in today's markets.

And finally, we "always speaking positively...(about) each other." This job isn't easy, there are lots of emotions involved and plenty of moving parts we must maintain. However, those are not reasons that we should ever spend our time, efforts and energy criticizing or castigating each other. If more and more people worried about themselves and less about others, this final aspect of the Business Principle would be easier to accomplish.

It's been said many times by our local President, Joe King - "Each one of us represents all of us." I'll do my best to represent you...What will you do today to represent me?

How do you interpret this Business Principle? How can you make your role as "Goodwill Ambassador" an important, respected position of authority? Will you "walk the walk and talk the talk"? Please add a comment to this blog and tell us what you think.

Until next time...Build Relationships...Solve Problems...and Have Fun

April 17, 2008

The Golden Rule?

Let's start exploring the 14 Business Principles that should help form our experiences, strengthen our beliefs and guide our actions. The first Business Principle is...

We consistently treat everyone with courtesy and respect

It's a great one to start with but it almost sounds too simple to put in writing, doesn't it? I mean, in the words of Rodney King, " why can't we all just get along?"

Before we look at how this principle should be interpreted and applied, let's look at some of examples of why it might have been written:

  • Agents show up late for showings (or sometimes they don't even show up at all).

  • Homeowners requests for all visitors to remove shoes during showings. "This doesn't apply to me," thinks the inconsiderate visitor.

  • Judging people by their appearance, clothing or vehicles. This could be customers, clients or fellow co-workers.

  • Yelling at hourly employees when the fax machine doesn't work, a file is missing or a phone call is mishandled.

The previous scenarios are examples only and do not represent specific actions of any particular agent or broker

I think the reason why this specific business principle is consistently applied every day in our offices, company and industry is because it isn't something new that people need to learn. For most, it's been a rule we have known since childhood. It is simply the Golden Rule written a different way, isn't it? ~ "Do unto others as you would have done to you."

We all want to feel like we apply this 100% of the time, regardless of our situations, positions or locations but we continuously need to ask ourselves if we do. Each day, simply ask yourself this question - "what can I do to make other people feel special or important?"

There is a sales associate in our Newark office with Coldwell Banker King Thompson who epitomizes this principle. Patrick Guanciale has been an agent for decades. His father is an agent and his son is now in the business following in his footsteps. Patrick knows his business inside and out. He is well known in his hometown of Newark by residents old and new and his is active in his community. Patrick is one of our top associates but I can tell you his success has little to do with his knowledge of how to write a contract or holding open houses. Patrick is successful because he makes everyone he encounters feel special.

I had the privilege of attending the wedding of Patrick's son Andrew. You couldn't help but be amazed at the reception that followed the wonderful ceremony. Sure, every person at that event was there to celebrate the marriage of Andrew and Jill Guanciale (and it was a great celebration) but everyone was also returning the courtesy and respect that Patrick and his family had given to them at one point or another.

Whether he knew these people from charity work in Licking County, supporting Andrew's school and sports teams, friends of Andrew and Jill's, assisting the Newark Fire Department or perhaps they were just one of the hundreds of families - many second and third generation clients have been helped by the Guanciale family - they all had one word that would describe Patrick Guanciale. R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

Aretha Franklin couldn't have said it better herself.

Patrick certainly isn't alone in our company as someone who demonstrates the qualities of principle #1. There's Michael Hinckley in Hyde Park, Mike Carruthers in Bexley, Randy Wax in the Marketing Department and Cheery Malone in Crestview Hills. Leaders like Joe Reis from NRT and rookies like Charity Foster in the Ohio/Indiana West Regional Office, we all can offer courtesy and respect.

  • Deliver your showing feedback before the co-op agent requests it. (So simple yet so seldom done)

  • Say please and thank you - especially to the office staff who often are taken for granted.
    Keep the negotiations between the Buyer and Seller. It may not turn out like you hoped but that's no reason to make it personal.

  • Answer each question like it was the first time it was asked. Even if it is really the fortieth time you've heard it. Remember...it probably was this person's first time asking.

  • Invite your office manager out for drinks after work. Yep - they can have bad days too.

  • Remember how sacred and nervous you were on that first day in the office? Remember it and welcome the new team member to the company. He or she will know they made the right choice.

  • And if nothing else comes to mind...smile.

We have a pretty cool job, don't we? We get to help people solve some of the biggest, most important problems they will face in their lives. Sure it can be tough at times but as the old saying goes - tough times don't last, tough people do. We'll make it through this changing market and we'll certainly enjoy it a whole lot more if we consistently treat everyone with courtesy and respect.

Next post we'll explore Business Principle #2 - We are Goodwill Ambassadors who always speak positively about our industry, our company and each other.

Until then, let me know of a specific time when you were able to apply B.P.#1 or maybe when it was applied on you?

Remember...Build relationships...Solve problems...Have fun.

April 13, 2008

Exploring our Business Principles

Now that we have defined the concepts and details of Vision and Mission statements, let's spend the next few posts looking into the 14 Business Principles of Realogy. They are:

1. We consistently treat everyone with courtesy and respect

2. We are Goodwill Ambassadors who always speak positively about our industry, our company and each other.

3. We identify and anticipate the needs of others and are empowered to take actions that exceed their expectations.

4. We embrace our vision and mission statements believing that our individual performance affects the success of everyone.

5. We are committed to personal growth, professional development and innovation in the pursuit of excellence.

6. Our demeanor, appearance and facilities reflect our high standards.

7. We encourage an open exchange of ideas throughout the organization.

8. We are committed to identifying inefficiencies and communicating concerns, thus enabling us to improve our performance and systems.

9. We are responsible for protecting the assets and resources of our company.

10. We utilize our superior tools, resources and systems to provide our customers with exceptional service and guidance.

11. To provide the highest level of service, we support our family of companies and strategic partners.

12. We seek opportunities to recognize excellence.

13. As people of integrity, we conduct ourselves with the highest ethical standards.

14. We foster a culture where diversity is valued, quality of life is enhanced and individual aspirations are encouraged and fulfilled.

A pretty good list of principles that, when reflected upon regularly, help to guide our actions towards the vision of becoming the "preferred gateway for exceptional real estate experiences."

Over the next few weeks, The Realtor's Toolbox will take a detailed look at each of the 14 principles and explore how they can be interpreted and utilized to impact our services and eventual success.

Until then...Build relationships...Solve problems...Have fun!