July 10, 2010

Be Careful When Setting Expectations

It's always good to know exactly what it is you're getting into, isn't it? Goals can be realized, success can be attained and a lot of heartbreak can be avoided if everyone can agree on what is expected at the beginning of an event, mission or job. Whether you're in real estate or the National Basketball Association, be careful you don't set your expectations so high that success is unattainable.

The Heat Is On!

Thursday Night NBA All Star and reigning league MVP LeBron James announced his decision to accept a free agent contract with the Miami Heat, officially closing his 7-year career with the Cleveland Cavaliers. James will be joining All Star free agents Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade in Miami (Bosh left Toronto, Wade re-signed with Miami) in an effort to help the Heat win another NBA title and bring James and Bosh their first rings.

Dwayne Wade referred to the three players as "arguably the best trio to ever play the game of basketball." I hope that Kareem Abdul Jabbar, Magic Johnson and James Worthy weren't listening. LeBron said he's not there to win just one championship but even said they might win more than seven? As good as the 25-year-old star is, those are some pretty high expectations, aren't they?

How Will You Handle the Heat?

Do you establish expectations with your clients? Are you learning about their time frames and how quickly they might be thinking the process will take? Many times, buyers think it will take them several weeks and 50+ showings to find the right house. Wouldn't you like to know that ahead of time so you're not frustrated at driving them around weekend after weekend?

What about some pre-qualifying of your next buyers so you can determine how much home they're likely to get for their budget? What if they have the proverbial "champagne taste and a beer budget"? Isn't it better to educate them while they're still in your office rather than when you're looking at houses that aren't what they thought they were looking for?

When meeting with Sellers, how do you handle their expectations? They want the highest price possible in the shortest time but what does that mean? Is your idea of the highest price possible and their idea anywhere close to the same dollar amount? I know agents who would be excited to get an accepted contract on a listing in some parts of town in less than 100 days. Without establishing the proper expectations ahead of time, that could be three months longer than the Seller was expecting to wait.

What's the Over/Under?

In sports gambling, bettors can place wagers on the score of games being over a certain number or under a certain number. Sometimes bets are placed on the number of games a team will win in the season. I heard the early "over/under" line for The Heat next year is 70 wins, meaning that if you "bet the over" you think they will win 71 or more games (out of 82 regular season games).

I don't know which way I'd lean in that bet but I do know that if you really want to exceed people's expectations in real estate, and anything else for that matter, I suggest you follow the Under/Over Principle....

Under Promise and Over Deliver

It's easy to talk a big game in sports before the season begins. It's easy to tell people what you have done in the past. But as life has proven to everyone reading this right now, "saying" and "doing" are usually two very different things.

A common refrain for Sellers to say to Realtors at a listing presentation is "well, the other agent said they would list it at $_______," showing their unhappiness with your lower suggested asking price. Clearly an expectation was established by the previous Realtor that may or may not be attainable. If the number you have suggested to get the results they are seeking is below that number, you must confidently look the Sellers in the eyes and say "Did the other agent say they would list it at that price or sell it at that price?"

I am positive that LeBron James thought he would have won a NBA Championship by now with The Cavaliers. He hasn't. He has fallen short of his expectations so far.

Will Miami secure the NBA Championship next June? They might. They certainly have three very good players who bring a wealth of talent to the court each and every night but their team still needs to outscore their opponent. We'll see next year, won't we. I know the three players (Bosh, James and Wade) have very high expectations for what they hope to accomplish.

Just don't be surprised if there aren't 29 other teams in the NBA that start off the season with the same expectations as the three guys who have certainly turned up the heat on themselves in Miami.