August 7, 2011

Hey Realtors - It's Okay to Be a Little Petty

Today I got to do one of my favorite things - cut the grass.

I'm serious. I love to mow my lawn. Sometimes I even double cut it just so I can get it looking really good, even though, much like a new haircut or a kid's clean bedroom, it will only look good for a few days.

As I usually do while cutting the grass, I was listening to my iPod. Sometimes I listen to podcasts such as John Jantsch's Duct Tape Marketing, Harvard Business Review's Idea Cast, comedy podcasts by Josh Sneed (Detention) or Chris Hardwick (The Nerdist) or real estate chat like Raise the Bar Radio hosted by Michael McClure and Todd Waller from Professional One (which I highly recommend you check out some of their previous episodes as well as subscribe to their new episodes).

Sometimes I just hit shuffle and listen to a mix of the 1000's of songs I have in there. Sometimes I utilize the Genius feature which compiles playlists of similar music based on genre and songs I listen to a lot.

Today, I listened to my favorite artist - Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers - and I couldn't help but think of some of the things Realtors can learn from Petty's song titles.

Photo courtesy of Match the Hatch via Flickr

Learning to Fly - Are you taking advantage of the training, education and mentoring being offered by your broker, local board or National Association of Realtors?

Runnin' Down a Dream - If you don't know where you're going, how will you know when you get there? Creating and following a business plan is really no different from getting in the car for a family vacation and having a map to your destination. Check it often and make adjustments as needed.

I Need to Know - If there is one thing your clients and potential clients count on you for it is knowing the market. Are you studying your hot sheets every day? Do you have a good gauge on the current inventory in your local markets, what is pending and what has sold so far this year?

Breakdown - No, I'm not referring to the mental struggles of Realtors. I'm more focused on an agent taking the process of working with a Buyer or a Seller and breaking it down into simple, repeatable steps. Have you developed systems for every possible occurrence in your business? If not, why not? If you have, when was the last time you reviewed them? A system is only good if the steps in it are current and relevant to the user and the end customer.

You Don't Know How It Feels - When was the last time you actually role played dialogues, objections or scenarios that might occur today, tomorrow or next week? I always joke with my students that doctors have it easy. They get to work on cadavers, so no matter how poorly they do in their practice sessions, their "role play partners" are already dead. If you don't role play on a regular basis, you just might be killing your next opportunity for business. 

Don't Come Around Here No More - That might be what you here from For Sale by Owners and Expired Listings but don't let it discourage you. In challenging markets like the one out there right now, people who want to sell need us now more than ever. Stay persistent and always seek to offer value. Build relationships first, seek to solve problems second. Don't start selling until the potential client has expressed a need.

Time to Move On - While we want to be in front of a lot of potential clients, if they don't have the required motivation or ability to actually do something, find another client. It's been said that the only agent who would take an overpriced listing is a desperate agent. If you can't get the right price, the right terms and the right commission, find another Seller. At least aim for two of the three. Otherwise, walk away. It will be quite empowering.

Photo courtesy of Julio Enriquez via Flickr
 You Got Lucky - Have you ever had one of your past clients call you back out of the blue and ask you to come list their house? That's a great feeling, isn't it? Especially when you haven't been in consistent contact with them since your last transaction. Don't leave your future business to luck. Develop a planned out, consistent follow up plan that includes social media, direct mail, phone calls and face-to-face contact on a regular basis.

Even The Losers - You can learn a lot from the deals you didn't get...if you ask. Next time you lose a listing to a competitor, don't pout. Call the Sellers and wish them well on the sale of their home. After you show them your professionalism, ask them if there is anything they can tell you about your presentation that will help you become better next time or if there was something that you could have done differently. Do the same with potential buyers who end up choosing to work with someone else. Who knows? Your genuine approach just might keep you in the running should something go wrong.

Free Fallin' - The market is challenging right now, no doubt about it. Just like the song, keep a simple tune in your head that there are opportunities out there and you're just the person who can help find them.

Too Much Ain't Enough - Profit is not a dirty word. Neither is sales. Use your knowledge, competence and determination and blend it with the Code of Ethics and you'll be in great shape to keep growing your business.

I Won't Back Down - Even the best Realtor will face rejection. But if you're just faced with resistance, stalling or one of the standard objections, are you prepared to handle it with a phrase, dialogue, facial expression or stance? Prepare for every presentation as if you will get every objection in the book so when you do "knock it out of the park" they will just look at you smiling and say "when can you start?"

The Waiting (see below) - You don't know where your next deal will be coming from so instead of waiting for it to come to you, get out there and make something happen. Get proactive, not reactive.

It'll All Work Out - It all starts with a positive attitude. No matter what happens today, you must stay focused on the things you can control and then make it happen.

Built to Last - When you stop treating your career as a real estate business and start treating it as a real business, that is when your success will start to blossom. Everything up to today has created a great foundation. Now start adding on the next level of your career. It will be fun to watch it grow knowing you have a sturdy base.

Into the Great Wide Open - After 20 albums/CDs and 40+ years of making awesome rock and roll, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers continue to have fun doing what they do best. That's a pretty good example to follow for anyone in real estate who wants to be a star. Keep looking ahead to all the possibilities this career offers.

Most importantly, keep building relationships, solving problems and having fun.

Here's a cool video on the story behind Petty's classic song The Waiting. (click here if you don't see the video below)