January 25, 2012

The Real Estate Dance?

I had the opportunity to chaperone at my daughter Riley's 7th Grade Dance Club last night. I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I arrived as one of the only Dad's who was lucky enough to be selected as a volunteer (that is what they call it when your wife signs you up for something, right?)

Now I can't speak for how my daughter felt about me being there but I really had a great time and I am pretty sure I didn't embarrass her. I was also surprised to realize how many similarities there are between what these pre-teens experienced in one hour of Dance Club and what successful Realtors will experience in their careers.

The People With Experience Are Wise and Like to Share Their Knowledge - Mr. Ron Clark is the Dance Club Instructor and he has been doing this for 40 years. He was my instructor back in the late 70's/early 80's when I attended 7th Grade Dance Club and he was my wife's instructor a few years later. The songs might have been different but the basics were still the same.

Who are the people in your office or company that you can turn to in hopes of learning a few of the "moves" that work, regardless of the tune the market is playing? Aren't the "basic steps" the things we always can fall back on and be confident they will work?

Walk In With Confidence - As the parent chaperones were getting final instructions for the evening from Mr. Clark, the kids were lining up in the school lobby. As there are almost twice as many girls as boys, most of the boys walked in with two girls on their arm. They are taught to walk in standing tall, shoulders up and looking straight ahead as they form 6 lines across the cafeteria.

How do you walk up to the door of a listing presentation? When you last approached a For Sale By Owner, did you strut confidently to the door? How much swagger do you show when you meet potential clients in your office lobby for the first time? There's a lot to be said about a person wearing their confidence on their sleeve.

The More You Practice, The Easier It Gets - This was week number three for the club and I was quite impressed with how well they knew what they were doing. The awkward, clammy hand shakes were gone and the embarrased giggles didn't seem to happen tonight. When asked to approach "their lady" for a new dance, the boys stepped up and performed as instructed.

No one likes the first phone call of the day. How nervous were you when you wrote that first purchase contract as a Rookie? Do your dialogues sound natural now after years and years of saying them in practice sessions with your fellow agents? Everyone knows that if they could practice their listing presentation more or rehearse those objection handling techniques every now and then, the butterflies would disappear and the rhythm we seek is just a song beat away.

Making Things Fun Also Makes Them Easier - The old cliche "All work and no play makes Jack a dull boy" would be so true if all these 12 and 13-year-olds did was get boring dance instruction from a stiff teacher. But they did dance moves like "the Sprinkler" and "the Lawnmower," they "shimmied" and did "the Twist." They "dribbled the ball" and then took a "jump shot." When they slid to the left they screamed "whooooooo" and the same when they slid back to the right. The kids clapped enthusiastically before and after dances. The boys high-fived and fist-bumped while the girls hugged and giggled. Even the chaperones were smiling and having a good time just watching the kids having fun.

Isn't your job easier when you're having fun? Don't your clients enjoy the process more when you are smiling, telling fun stories and easing the stress that can usually be involved in the real estate process? Every day you need to look for opportunities to make people smile or laugh. When you can make people feel comfortable, you can help them be themselves. And that is when you really start to find out how to "solve their problems" in the most efficient and effective manner.

The Power of a Group - At one point, Mr. Clark had the kids gather in groups of 8-14 people (boys and girls mixed) and form big dance circles. Then, one at a time a girl would go in the center and dance however she wanted. Everyone on the outside circle had to imitate the person in the center. Mr. Clark would call for a "switch" and the girl would pick a boy to replace her in the middle and the routine would continue. During this song, the chaperones were asked to walk around the room and select the group that was having the most fun. As you can imagine, they were all "hamming it up" when a parent went by in hopes of swaying our votes. (I'm not sure how or if they knew I was a Florida graduate but the group I voted for all dropped to their knees at the end at Tebowed in homage to Florida graduate and current Denver Broncos QB Tim Tebow)

When you work together with a team of associates in your company or board, don't you feel a boost of energy, a spark of creativity or a common bond that you're all trying to achieve the same thing? We should all find more ways to harness that power more often. Choose to soar with the eagles in your midst instead of hanging out with the turkeys.

Introduce Yourself and Make an Impression - The last thing the kids must do each week is walk arm in arm with their partner(s) and introduce themselves to their group chaperone and thank them for helping. The ladies go first and must stand tall, shake hands, make solid eye contact and loudly say, "Good evening. I am ____________________. Thanks you for helping tonight." If they did it correctly, I shook their hands back, smiled and thanked them for coming and wished them good luck. The boys then followed suit and I did my best to make sure their handshake was firm and their eye contact direct. They all did a great job.

Are you shaking enough hands? Are you making enough face to face contacts with the people in your community that can help you grow and become better? Are you looking people in the eye and asking for their business? Are you saying "thank you" to the people who matter the most?

Ready to Dance?

So what do you think? Are you ready to catch "Dance Fever" this year in your local markets and find plenty of partners to shake it up with? Will you wait for your song to be played or are you going to shout our requests? Are you dynamic enough to move from one transaction to the next the way these kids moved from The Electric Slide to the Cotton-Eyed Joe? Are you going to raise you hand when a volunteer is needed and be the first to offer your services when someone new walks in the room?

The music is pumping and the beats are thumping.

As Lee Ann Womack once sang, "I hope you dance."