February 14, 2010

What Do You Do After the Confetti Falls?

It’s been a week since the New Orleans Saints won their first Super Bowl Championship in thrilling fashion over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts. Drew Brees and the rest of his teammates from New Orleans captured the hearts of America (except maybe in Indiana) as they claimed the Vince Lombardi Trophy for the first time in their 43 year existence in the NFL. In what has become tradition in championship games these days, the confetti was launched out of the cannons as the clock hit 0:00 and the celebration began.

As you can imagine, with a city like New Orleans, the party didn’t end when the confetti ran out. This is a city, after all, who wrote the book on endless celebrations. Even after Hurricane Katrina ravaged the Gulf Coast, residents of the Crescent City and surrounding areas of Southern Louisiana had faith that they could...and would rebuild. Parades, banners and talk shows filled the next week as people weren’t showing any signs of growing old of the talk of the once laughable Saints finally claiming sports biggest trophy.

But now the work really begins for owner Tom Benson, head coach Sean Payton and quarterback Drew Brees and his teammates. The decision to make it back to the Super Bowl (scheduled for Dallas in 2011) must be made today. Will the Saints spend the next several months “living large” with private parties at Emeril’s, hanging out with their posse’s in high end gentleman’s clubs and admiring themselves in the mirror? Or will they make the personal commitment to do what it takes to make it back to the mountaintop again, sacrificing the physical and personal pains that come with victory?

How Do You Approach the Real Estate Game?

As a hard working independent contractor working in Anytown, U.S.A, it’s not very likely that you’ll be playing in The Super Bowl anytime soon but that’s because we don’t look at our business that way. We don’t have a regular season and playoffs that follow, or Pro Bowls and trophies to hoist when we win. We do, however, have to go through the same trials and tribulations of a NFL Champion if we want to be successful in our own industry.

Training Camp – Are you dedicating the time needed to “strengthen your sales muscles"? Lifting weights, running stairs and pushing your mind and body to a new level of exertion? Your “axe” can never be sharp enough, can it? Do you attend workshops in your office, log in to webinars offered by your local, state and national associations, or read more books about the industry and sales in general? Commit to be the best each time you step on that playing field.

Voluntary Workouts – A good friend of mine, Bryan Dodge, likes to say “the easier you are on yourself when no one is looking, the harder life will be on you. The harder you are on yourself when no one is looking, the easier life will be on you.” Do you practice your dialogues or listings presentations each day? Do you take the time to learn the new changes in your MLS system or update your knowledge of the Code of Ethics? No one gives you anything in this industry. You've got to want to be successful.

Reaching the Fans – Just like most NFL teams use local promotions and events to generate interest in the team, you’ll need to look at how you’re set up to attract interest from the public. What are your prospecting plans? How do you involve yourself in the local area and community? Do you have a loyal following of people who will shout your name and who want to see you hoisting the trophy when it’s all said and done?

Pre-Game Warm-ups – Have you mentally stretched yourself before working with clients? Do you have a set routine for pre-qualifying your Sellers and Buyers before you commit time to working with them? Do you deliver a pre-listing packet before every listing appointment or just the ones you’re in competition for? Do you have a mortgage partner who is your teammate, both of you focused on the end result? Are you market tested and ready to deliver more than what your clients will be expecting?

Game Day – It’s true that football games cannot be won in the first quarter…but they can be lost in the first quarter. If your first meeting with clients (Buyer Counseling Session or Listing Appointment) doesn’t go well, there’s a great chance you’ll never make it to your mini Super Bowl – the place we like to call "the closing table."

Start every new relationship with a well-thought out game plan. Know the market you’ll be working in. Have your marketing plan laid out in writing. Be prepared to handle any objections that may occur. Anticipate the needs of your clients and be empowered to take actions that will exceed their expectations.

Respect Your Opponents – Between the Code of Ethics and The Golden Rule you should be able to work well with any fellow agents or homeowners you may interact with. Just like the Saints players wear their team colors as a representation of who they are, remember your obligation is to look out for the best interests of your clients. You’re aiming to get to the closing table, so use your skills, systems and savvy to advance your interests to a victorious outcome.

Playoff Tested – In real estate, when you make it through the grind of a regular season, your hardest work is still in front of you. Getting a contract accepted is just the start of things…getting it closed is the real battle. Now is the time to focus, dotting every i and crossing every t. Just like in football, you need excellent clock management. "Time is of the essence" isn’t just a silly catch phrase so make sure you understand your responsibilities and your clients obligations to the contract.

The Big Game – Getting to the Super Bowl doesn’t give you the trophy anymore than getting to the closing table earns you a commission. The deal must be completed so be sure all the work you’ve done to this point pays off with a victory.

In real estate, we don’t shoot off confetti cannons when a closing occurs (but that would be pretty cool, wouldn't it?) but it is truly a time to celebrate and enjoy the fruits of your labor. Enjoy the moment, thank your clients for the opportunity to help them and then begin to plan for your next game. There’s just no time to stand on the podium with the trophy for too long. You’ve got people calling who want your help.

Smile, politely answer the phone and say “Who Dat?”