May 29, 2008

Do You Believe In Yourself?

Some people thrive in the spotlight while others are at their best in the background. Certain personalities excel when the pressure is on and others can crumble when they feel people are watching their actions.

Examples are obvious in the world of sports because that's where we see pressure being faced on a daily basis. Who wants the ball in their hands when the game is on the line? Michael Jordan and Larry Bird were two of the most clutch players in basketball history. Joe Montana or John Elway come to mind in the NFL. If you're a baseball fan and your team needs a big hit, give me Derek Jeter.

In the world of real estate, "clutch players" as they are referred to in sports might not be that obvious. Maybe that's because we don't really think of real estate as a team sport...but we should.

  • You create a team with your clients, their lender, inspector, attorney and anyone else involved in the transaction.
  • You are part of a team with your local office, your local company, your local Board of Realtors and so on, all the way up to the brand you are affiliated with.
  • If we use the name "Realtor", we are all part of the National Association of Realtors and that is a team that has been intact for over 100 years.

So how do we "step up to the plate" as independent contractors and still carry the weight of our team on our shoulders? We understand Business Principle #4:

"We embrace our Vision and Mission believing that our individual performance affects the success of everyone"

If everyone agent, manager and staff person within our company focused everyday on providing "truly remarkable service" - our Mission - then there is no doubt in my mind that we would "be the preferred gateway for exceptional real estate experiences" - our Vision. Do you believe that?

Every one of us has a chance to shine in the spotlight and when we do it affects every one of us. When we answer the phones professionally and with enthusiasm, it shows the caller how Coldwell Banker treats customers. The way a potential buyer is treated at an Coldwell Banker Open House in Atlanta can affect their impression of the Coldwell Banker company in Cincinnati. The services delivered by a listing agent in Columbus will impact the Seller decision to work with a Coldwell Banker buyers agent in Santa Fe.

In one of my favorite books of all time, QBQ! The Question Behind the Question by John Miller, the idea of believing how you impact the company and how the company impacts you is crystal clear in Chapter 24 titled "An Integrity Test."

"Here's an integrity test for anyone who's part of an organization: Does what we say about our organization while we're at work match what we say at home? If it's positive at work and negative a few hours later at home, we have a choice to make. Here's an idea we should all consider:
Believe or leave.
Sound harsh? Maybe. But if the organization is no longer a vehicle to help us reach our life goals, why would we stay?
Answering that question honestly is part of practicing personal accountability."

The book by Miller, along with the follow up Flipping the Switch are both high on my list of suggested reads so perhaps you could check out the rest of the messages in these books and see how they apply to your business...and mine. (For more information on The QBQ!, visit their web site here)

If you haven't been reading all of these posts, it might be a great time to go back and review the early posts about the Vision and Mission statements. Business Principle #4 doesn't even begin to make sense until we know what it is we are trying to embrace.

What do you think? How does your actions affect other people in your office? The company? Our industry? Reply to this post with your thoughts.

Until next time...Build relationships...Solve Problems...Have fun.

QBQ! The Question Behind the Question and Flipping the Switch are both written by John G. Miller and published by Denver Press

May 15, 2008

Bobby Fischer, Gary Kasparov and You

Chess is a game of strategy and tactics. So is real estate. One of the basic skills a good chess player has intuitively or will develop as they gain "game experience" is the ability to anticipate their opponents next move. Many times, a game of chess is lost by jumping to conclusions or not taking the time to clearly review the board and determine all options in front of you.

The chess analogy is perfect for this week's Business Principle. It's number #3 on our list of 14 and it's one of the most important to master in order to achieve our "truly remarkable service" Mission.

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

1. Today's consumer doesn't want a "product focused" salesperson to assist them, they want a "needs focused" salesperson. Consumers are more concerned with "what is in it for me" as opposed to "what do you have to sell me?" It is for this reason that we need to survey our chess board before making our first move. Identify... the needs of others


  • A waiter promptly fills your glass of water before you can even turn to look for her.

  • The hostess brings a booster seat with her as she seats a family with a small child.

  • The car dealer has pre-arranged for a rental car when you drop off your automobile for service.
All of these are examples of people anticipating the needs of their customers. When we can take a "under promise, over deliver" approach, our clients will remember us. Anticipate the needs of others

3. Realtors love to bask in the concept of being an "independent contractor." No boss man to answer to, no time clock to punch, no assembly-line protocols to follow. The feeling of control in our industry is powerful yet at many times can leave us looking for some guiding light. Today's agents must be confident in their own skills and knowledge that they can do the right thing. The training you have received should help you overcome any obstacles you may face.

If you are going to wear the "independent contractor" badge then you should know that you have the power to do what it takes to make things right. Warren G. Bennis once said, "Managers are people who do things right; leaders are people who do the right thing." We are...empowered to take actions

4. Successful sales can probably be boiled down into three simple rules: Give the customer what they want, when they want it and at a price they are willing to pay. Now please re-read that statement. I didn't say at the lowest price or the "price you think they want to pay of they could get it at the lowest price possible." We must always be showing the "value" we bring to the transaction because in the absence of value, price will always be a determining factor.

Meeting someones expectations and exceeding them are too different issues. There is a sign on my wall that says:

The 57 Rules to "Delivering the Goods"

#1 Deliver the goods

#2 The other #56 don't matter

If we don't do what we said we were going to do, "truly remarkable service" will never be an option. What we must do is find every opportunity to "wow." Find out if the client drinks coffee and show up at the appointment with a fresh cup of Starbucks. Send Happy Birthday cards to their children. Call and wish them Happy Anniversary. Send a hand written thank you note for every referral they send. Exceed their expectations.

How do you identify your clients needs? What do you look for to anticipate ways to assist them? How can you increase your feeling of empowerment? Tell me some of the things you might do to "exceed expectations." Please add your comment and let us know what you think.

Until next time...Build relationships...solve problems...and have fun!