March 7, 2010

Could Your Business Use a Little "Umph"?

Over the weekend I had my first opportunity to see the band Umphrey's McGee. According to their website, Umphrey's McGee was "founded in 1997 in the shadows of the Golden Dome of Notre Dame in South Bend, Indiana. Umphrey's McGee soon made Chicago home base and set their sights on becoming one of the premier live acts in today's touring circuit. Over the course of the last ten years, the band has performed at festivals such as Bonnaroo and Lollapalooza, and continues to sell out shows in the nation's premier venues coast to coast."

I attended their sold out show at The Madison Theatre in Covington, Kentucky with a fraternity brother from The University of Florida and his wife. It was his 11th show, her 5th. I'm pretty sure that many in the overflow audience have made "attend Umphrey's McGee concert" a high priority on their "To Do" lists based on their familiarity with each song and the all important dance grooves.

As I enjoyed the show and the festival-like atmosphere, I started to think of all the great lessons that Realtors can learn from Umphrey's McGee.

Build a Following

The band has created a legion of supporters that loyally follow the band on their mini tour swings (the Covington show was the fourth stop of the week with other shows in Syracuse, Buffalo and Columbus) in much the same way that The Grateful Dead had their Deadheads.

Imagine if you had a loyal following of fans that supported your every move as a Realtor? They subscribed to your newsletters and blogs, they attended you Open Houses, they referred other people to you like my friend referred me to the band. It's gotta be cool when other people are singing your tune.

Screw the Status Quo

It seems that most stage shows these days come equipped with large viewing screens and a full blown choreography plan to amuse the paying customers. Not Umphrey's McGee. Just a very crowded stage complete with keyboards, two percussion sets and room for three guitarists. Sure they had awesome light displays and the necessary sound board equipment but there was no extra "stuff" in play just because that's what someone once said a concert should have.

How do you run your business? The way those around you run theirs? The way you've always done it because it's safe or simple? With over a million members of the National Association of Realtors, isn't now the time to open a big ol' can of creativity and be different?

Create a Community

Seth Godin talks about it in his incredible book Tribes and Umphrey's McGee has done just that. They've gathered people from all walks of life in various ages and built a loyal group of people who support the band and each other.

What are you doing in your local office, your company, your board and your larger community? Are you a visible member of the community where you work and live? Do you participate in charity events, school activities and church functions? Do you "lead by example" when it comes to doing the right thing?

Find Your Groove

Allow your groove to be just that...your groove. You shouldn't decide to dance based on whether you know the words or not. You should dance because you want to dance. Don't worry about what other people think of your dancing either. You'll be surprised at how many people want to dance as well if they can just get over "what others will think." Watch this video below to see what I mean by finding your groove. (Pay close attention to what happens after the third guy starts dancing)

Improvise When Needed

Umphrey's McGee has been labeled, fairly or unfairly, as a "Jam Band." This just means that sometimes they sing a song as it appears on one of their studio releases but usually they are using the original song as more of a guideline and then creating a blend of music, rhythm, melody and feeling. Some of their songs last minutes while others can go on for a while, oftentimes blending songs from one to the next.

If you're in real estate and you're not good at improvising, you might want to start updating that resume. It's not very often that a deal comes together without any snags, hold-ups or changes so you've got to be able to roll with those changes as they occur.

Leave Them Wanting More

As the band played their last note of the second set, no one left the packed floor because the whole room (band included) knew that there was still an encore to come. With anticipation and excitement the crowd buzzed in anticipation of what the band would play.

How can your service leave people wanting more? It should be your goal to accomplish all that your clients were expecting from the onset of your relationship but if you follow the four word rule of "under promise, over deliver" you're sure to leave your clients happy and satisfied that they received "truly remarkable service" and witnessed the best performance you were able to deliver.

If you're lucky, they do just what my friend did with me. They'll tell a friend about your performance and encourage you to "experience it for yourself."

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