October 26, 2008

It's Different Every Day

Realtors and waiters have something in common and it's not taking orders from their customers. Anyone who has ever worked in the food service industry knows that even if they worked in the same restaurant and waited on the same 4 or 5 tables day in and day out that it would never be the same things twice. There would be different customers, different orders, different stories and different needs. You'd work different shifts with different people - fellow waiters, bartenders, busboys, hostesses and kitchen staff.

Doesn't that sound a lot like being a Realtor?

In our line of work, we not only don;t know what is going to happen each and every day, we don't know who we will encounter or be working with. Wherever we work or whomever we work with we can know that we will have a company behind us that supports our efforts. Our 14th and final Business Principle states just that:

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

The real estate community must constantly be displaying skills, services and salesmanship that makes us different so we don't become a commodity in the eyes of the public. That all begins by having a diverse sales team that works with a diverse clientele.

We learn from our differences how to handle different situations. We learn from our differences how other people wish to be treated. We learn from our differences that people desire courtesy and respect in almost every situation.

When we follow the 14 Business Principle that we have discussed over the last several months, we will continue to provide "truly remarkable service" to our customers and clients. If we deliver "truly remarkable service" to our customers and clients we will achieve our Vision Statement of "being the preferred gateway from exceptional real estate experiences."

I am very proud to work for a company that has these guiding principles and try use them in my daily decision making processes. I hope you will too.

Starting next post we going to begin looking at our individual real estate businesses and see how we can enhance and improve them. So get your tool belt ready...it's time to get to work.

Until then...Build Relationships...Solve Problems...Have Fun!

October 17, 2008

T.E.A.M - Together Everyone Achieves More

Anyone who has ever been involved with a team activity - sport, work group, organization, etc. has heard the saying "There is no I in team." The catchy acronym T.E.A.M stands for "Together Everyone Achieves More."

Our final Business Principle echoes these ideas:

We foster a culture where diversity is valued, quality of life is enhanced and individual aspirations are encouraged and fulfilled.
Everyone on the team holds equal importance to the overall mission. Regardless of color, ethnicity, background, level of skills or tenure of service, everyone is encouraged to succeed and everyone adds to the total efforts.
Lou Holtz says "it's amazing to see what a team can accomplish when nobody cares who gets the credit."There is so much individuality in a real estate transaction it makes sense that we should appreciate and respect each other's differences in style, service and effort.
Each and every deal has it's own unique aspects. Each and every party to the deal has their own unique aspects. That's what makes this job so rewarding and fun. You'll never experience the same transaction twice.
How does Business Principle #14 affect you and your business? Now that we have reviewed the Vision, Mission and 14 Business Principles, will you think about how your actions will be guided by them?
I am very proud to work for a company that has committed their ideals to paper for all to see and always try to make my decisions so my actions will support these principles. Can I count on you, diverse as you may be, to support, believe in and live these principles with me?
Until next time...Build Relationships...Solve Problems...Have Fun!

Using Photo Story to Create Community Tours

If you're looking for a new way to create some attention for your listings or the communities you serve, check out Photo Story3, a free tool from the smart people at Microsoft. It allows the user to create slide shows from digital photos that can be arranged to music or voice overs. It's easy to use and the videos can then be uploaded to public sites like YouTube, personal websites or blogs.

Check out this "Community Story" that I created for the town where I live, Upper Arlington, Ohio and see if it gives you some ideas on how to use it.

October 9, 2008

Communication Ideas in Today's Tech Saavy World

It's funny how sometimes you get the feeling that certain messages are destined to be received or sent because everywhere you turn they are coming up.

In the last few weeks I have delivered several sessions on technology and how people can harness the power of some very cool tools that are available to today's Realtor and general public. Among these cool tools are:

  • Blogger - An easy to use blog system from the fine folks at Google
  • EyeJot - Video email in a blink. Log on, sign up, connect a web-cam and start communicating with your friends, family and clients in a much more personal way
  • Jott - This really cool messaging system assures that you won't forget ideas and appointments anymore because you don't have a pen, paper, calendar or a good memory.
  • Flip Video - These easy to carry and easy to use videos cameras allow you to get pictures, on the spot testimonials or video tours of your newest listings.
  • Social networking sites such as Facebook, LinkedIn, Myspace and Meetup

We'll explore some of these in later posts but today the message I seem to be directed to post is about our overall usage of technology. Sure, there is a lot of it out there and sure, it would take a lot of time to learn how to effectively use it. But if you just blocked out 20 minutes a day to read a few blogs, 30 minutes a week to post to a blog, one hour to explore the public side of real estate web sites and stay updated on what the consumers are seeing and doing, you'd be a better Realtor.

Marketing guru and author Seth Godin has a fantastic blog and in a recent post he shares a simple quiz that you can take to determine your level of competence when it comes to succeeding in today's Web 2.0 world. Be sure to read his "Email checklist" that we should all begin to adhere to, myself included.

One other message on the same topic I received today in my blog feeds was a message directed specifically at Realtors and their email replies they commonly send to clients or potential clients. It is called "Five Phrases to Drop From Your Emails" and it comes from the very useful website CKGTV.com.

I hope you can visit some of these links as they may help you see some opportunities for you to enhance your levels of service, both internally and externally.

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

October 5, 2008

The One That Might Cost You Business?

Have you ever heard the saying "easier said than done"? One might apply that comment to a physical task such as high jumping, swinging a golf club or running a marathon. They might use that statement when speaking of time management, financial savings or political claims. You might also see how that statement could be uttered when people read our 13th Business Principle.

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

I have found it certainly is one of those principles that everyone wants to piggy back on and say that is how they run their businesses as well as the way they live their lives. I have also been alive for almost 41 years now and a full-time Realtor for over ten years and I see too many people who live "below the line" or have selective amnesia of this concept.

In most situations in real estate there is black and there is white. Anytime you have a system with black and white, people love to find areas of gray. There might be some things that are light gray while others are very dark gray.

I just know this...if you truly run your business by holding firm to your ideas of integrity and ethical standards, it will cost you business. Are you okay with that? I hope you are because these definitions seem to be very subjective to each person.

Do you review your Code of Ethics each year when they are published in REALTOR Magazine?
Have you ever questioned another Realtor's behavior or business practices?
If you felt they were acting in a manner inconsistent with the Code, did you utilize the proper protocols provided by your Board of Realtors to report this potential violation?

I often wonder why people feel they have been treated in an unethical manner by Realtors of other companies yet aren't as quick to point the finger at fellow agents within their own company. I would like to think that is because our own agents act ethically 100% of the time as that would mean our leadership, training and culture is doing what it is supposed to do.

But I also know that we are all humans and our perceptions and realities differ from person to person and from day to day.

In my humble opinion, it comes down to two things; The Golden Rule (Do unto others as you would have done to you) and Personal Accountability. Worry about yourself first, second and third and only then should you spend your time worrying about another.

I challenge all of you to continue to hold your expectations and services high above the line of ethical integrity. It will make you, your company and your industry better. And if an opportunity comes along that tempts you to go "below the line" have the courage, strength and trust in yourself to walk away and find the opportunities that are plentiful and await you "above the line."

Pay attention the next time you sit in one of the mandatory Ethics CE classes, read the Code of Ethics when it arrives in your mailbox next January, and most importantly, live the Code of Ethics in your daily activities.

What's your take on this Business Principle? Do you think there is a "line" when it comes to ethics? Are you comfortable walking away from those situations that might tempt you to go against your beliefs? Please leave me a comment.

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