May 22, 2011

Play Ball - What Realtors Can Learn from Little Leaguers

Monday Morning Match is a quick post - maybe a quote, inspirational story or idea - intended to spark some motivation inside each of you so your week gets off to a fantastic start on Monday morning.

Today was my son Ryan's first day of baseball for his little league season. It was a beautiful day in Central Ohio as the boys played a double header and it got me thinking about some of the simple lessons Realtors can learn from little league.

Start Early - Today's first game started at 8am (on a Sunday, no less) but if you want to get your day off to a great start, get up early and set your mind right that you're going to win. Enjoy a good breakfast and have your day planned ahead of time. Ryan's To Do List today was "play baseball." What's on yours today?

Warm Up & Practice - The kids have been practicing hard for the last few weeks (in between rainstorms here in the Midwest) but it still was necessary to loosen up with some catch and a quick cycle of fielding ground balls before the game.

When was the last time you practiced your skills? Rehearsed dialogues lately? For most Realtors, the last time they practiced their listing presentation was when they gave it. Isn't that approach leaving your most important skill to luck?

Taking 15-30 minutes each day to review your skills, paperwork and technology tools might just be the trick to make you "game ready" when the next client shows up.

Know Your Position - The kids needed to feel comfortable running to their positions when the coach called out the lineup. They need to know their assignments and who covers each spot on the field. Doesn't it make sense that Realtor's should really know their "area" of assignment? Have you researched the market weekly to know the inventory, average sales price and days on the market? When a question about the market is hit your way, can you field it with a blend of competence and confidence?

Good baseball players can anticipate where the batters will hit the ball, giving themselves a better chance to get out of the inning and up to bat where they can score some runs. Good Realtors should know which way the market is moving and help clients get ahead of the prices - in either an appreciating market or a depreciating market.

Shake Off Errors - Everyone makes mistakes. Baseball players and Realtors are no exception. How you handle them is the key to your success. Do you learn from them and try to do better the next time? You need to shake them off and stay focused on the next opportunity.

You Can't Get a Hit If You Don't Swing the Bat - Ryan suffered a strike out in his first at bat but we cheered for him anyway. He didn't just stand there and let other people dictate his future. He swung the bat because he knows you can't get a hit if you don't first make contact. Sure, just making contact with the pitched ball doesn't insure you will get on base safely, but it's the first step.

In his second at bat, he stepped up confidently with a runner on third base and smoothly slapped the ball between the first and second baseman, scoring the runner from third for the teams first RBI of the season.

Good Things Happen to Those Who Hustle - Some very good advice for anyone in a sales position might be "keep your head down and get moving." Ryan's hustle to beat the throw at first base led to him being safe. He led off first and quickly stole second base on the next pitch, advanced to third on an overthrow and scored his first run of the season as the outfielders weren't able to gather the ball quickly enough.

Imagine the good things that could happen to you if you were the first person to contact that expired listing down the street, or knocked on the door the day the home owner planted his For Sale By Owner sign and started building the relationship right away. Start off each day contacting members of your "bullseye list" via phone calls and hand written notes and you're putting yourself in scoring position.

Pay Attention to the Action - When you're a nine-year-old it's easy to get distracted by any passing airplane, barking dog or loud cheering from another diamond, so paying attention to the ballgame in front of you is paramount.

Are you staying focused on your current transactions - allowing the checklists and systems you have created to keep you on track - as well as consistently blocking out time for business development activities? Are you letting social networking and chit chat around the water cooler swallow up your day? Just like we say to the kids, "Keep your eye on the ball."

Be Ready to Run - This is the first year kids have been able to steal bases and, as you can imagine, the defenses aren't exactly skilled enough to throw runners out. If you get on base, there's a pretty good chance you might score without your own team getting a hit. In this league, base runners and fielders always need to be on their toes.

Are you ready to meet with a client if an opportunity arose today? Do you put yourself in a good position to advance in your career by being in front of people at your church, gym, country club, school or maybe even your kids sporting events?

Cheer for your Teammates - Support of and for people on your team is so important. It's so much easier to get up after a failed attempt when you know your teammates are pulling for you to do better the next time. When you succeed it sure is nice to have someone to celebrate with, isn't it?

If It's Worth Doing, It's Worth Tracking - If you didn't keep score, it would just be a scrimmage - no winners and no losers. But that's usually not why people play a game. Keeping score is one way to measure your efforts and identify areas of strengths and weaknesses. The results will help you do better the next time or repeat successful actions to hopefully repeat a good outcome.

Are you tracking your prospecting efforts so you know how many calls it may take to secure an appointment and how many appointments it takes to secure a listing? How many houses do you have to show each buyer before an offer is written? It's time to get your score sheets out and aim for RBIs - Realtors Building Income.

Win or Lose with Class - Shake Hands - Kids learn at an early age that it's great to win but it's also okay to lose. Nobody starts a game hoping they'll come out on the losing side but when you do, look across the diamond and congratulate the winners. There's always another game. Whether you've won or lost, you can always do better next time.

Everything is Better with a Post Game Snack - What are you waiting for? Get out there and score some big deals, secure some new listings, sell some houses and then gather with your teammates and enjoy a cold Popsicle.

Get ready to play. It won't be long until your next game is ready to begin and the umpire yells,

"Play Ball!"