In this episode of Top 5, Verl Workman of Workman Success Systems shares his Top 5 Reasons to Hire a Real Estate Coach.
Pre-Listing Packages are important, but in this episode of Power Tools, we talk about two big reasons why.
I’ve been on something of a documentary/video course/non-fiction kick lately. If you’ve read this blog long enough, you know that I love to read, but I like to have something on in the background when I am working at night. These are some of the titles, in no particular order, that have caught my attention recently. I hope that you enjoy them as much as I did.
1) The Crown
I’ll be the first to tell you that as a red-blooded, bacon-eating, gun-toting, Texan, I was surprised to like this series because let’s be honest, who needs a silly bunch of entitled, British figureheads? Not only is this series very well done from almost every perspective, but it also teaches a very valuable lesson about patience and endurance. While the rest of the world, at times, crumbled around her, Queen Elizabeth plays the long game better than most. Likewise, serious Realtors should be looking years into the future, not to next week’s closing or yesterday’s short appraisal.
2) Chef’s Table and Abstract
These are both outstanding series that highlight amazing artists. Chef’s Table follows a groundbreaking chef in each episode and tells their story. Abstract does similarly for artists, from illustrators to shoe designers. I am inspired by and love learning from creatives, specifically those whose lessons can translate to business. For agents, I love these to stimulate creativity and take your train of thought down an unconventional path. Think about the way these artists and chefs challenge traditional thinking.
3) Inside Bill’s Brain: Decoding Bill Gates
If nothing else, it’s cool as shit to see the daily routine of one of the world’s smartest and wealthiest men. What I liked about this limited series, though, was the controlled scheduling by which Bill Gates lives his life. I tend to get off-task very quickly. I try to make up for it by being very strict with my schedule, but nothing like Bill. I also am inspired by how much he reads and his drive to impact the world and leave it a better place.
4) Jiro Dreams of Sushi
Subtitle warning. You better be ready to read a movie. If you invest the time, however, you won’t be disappointed. Jiro Dreams of Sushi tells the tale of Jiro Ono, possibly the most renowned Sushi chef ever. This show is an ode to discipline, practice, and persistence. When Brokers and coaches tell agents that it’s the little things done repeatedly, every day, that build a successful business, they should just tell people to watch this documentary.
5) The Black Godfather
Never heard of Clarence Avant? You’re probably not alone. Uncensored, unabashed, and relentless, Clarence might be one of the most influential black men in America that nobody knows. Just watch the list of Hollywood stars, politicians, and musicians that agree to go on camera to celebrate the life Avant. There are a host of lessons here, but these are my favorites: always be yourself, know & demand your value, we are better together than apart, it’s not what you know, it’s who you know, and each one, teach one.
6) Brene Brown: The Call to Courage
Ok, I admit it. I was late to the Brene Brown party. Just watch this. It’s all about being vulnerable and how that creates strength in a person. In real estate, there is something of a funny dichotomy. If you’re male, you are supposed to conform to traditional norms. If you’re female, you are expected to put on a mask and hide any vulnerability. Nonsense, says Brene Brown. Go watch this and think about how you can use this to help grow your business.
7) Self Made: Inpired by the Life of Madam CJ Walker
I wrote about this story on Facebook from a web video I saw a couple of years ago. It’s the story of America’s first, self-made female millionaire. Born a slave, Madam CJ Walker eventually lived next door to the Rockefellers after building a hair care empire. Wonderfully acted by Octavia Spencer, this series won’t disappoint. It’s an inspiring story of overcoming incredible obstacles, never taking no for an answer, focusing on quality, and caring about people being their best selves.
8) The Battered Bastards of Baseball
Heartwarming, hilarious, and heartbreaking at the same time, this tale of the Portland Mavericks is a seriously fun watch. Established by Kurt Russel’s father, Bing, the ragtag team of independent players challenged the establishment, broke all of the rules, and had a hell of a good time doing it. In the meantime, they laid the foundation, at a time when there were none, for future independent baseball teams. Agents should watch with an eye towards breaking tradition and challenging the status quo.
9) Minimalism: A Documentary About the Important Things
Last summer, I made two tragic mistakes. The first was spending a weekend in a tiny house with my family. The second was taking an RV trip with the aforementioned family. Never again. I need more space. That said, this is a story about getting rid of the unnecessary and focusing on the important. I know A LOT of Realtors who could benefit from that advice. If you like this show, give Essentialism a read. You won’t be disappointed.
10) Hip-Hop Evolution
If you grew up in the last 30 years or just like hip hop, watch it. I don’t know how many business lessons can be drawn from it, but all work and no play make Chance a dull boy. This is pure awesomeness.
What are you watching?
I’m not a huge fan, at all, of new year’s resolutions. I just think that choosing a day to all of a sudden change your life is generally foolish, proven by the number of broken resolutions by the end of January. The symbolism of the new year as a time for new things isn’t lost on me. However, if you need January 1 to come around to tell you that your ass is fat & that you need to lose weight, I hate to break it to you, but you haven’t been being really honest with yourself for all of the time it took for your ass to get fat (I say this as I am, in fact, trying to skinny up my fat ass).
In the past, I have tried to use a theme as a direction for goal setting for the year. A couple of years ago we set a theme for the year that has really taken over our direction for all goal setting. That theme, “Do For, Not To” has become a sort of secondary mission statement & corporate philosophy.
So, this year, not liking to set resolutions & not putting a theme to the year, I am at something of a loss on how to express the plan for the year. Before any of you jump in & say choose a word that you’ll focus on for the year, no. Just, no. That’s nearly as bad as the resolution thing. Maybe worse.
I’ve known for months that the overall plan for the year would be process efficiency. After a year of extreme growth, we are going to invest a significant amount of time on hammering down the basics. We’ll be applying the “Do For, Not To” philosophy to every aspect of our business to make sure that, as we grow, we do so in an easily replicable, efficient, & high-culture way.
There have been two ideas running around in my head over the past few weeks as I have really tried to figure out what 2020 is going to look like. Not really words to theme the year. Not really resolutions. Not really even a goal-setting standard. Just two ideas that have really been nagging at me.
First, simplicity. After reading Essentialism by Greg McKeown, which I recommend, I have been thinking more & more about cutting the extraneous bullshit from my life. Then I’ve been watching documentaries & reading books about super-high performers in business & life. All of these people shared something in common that I am woefully terrible at doing. They all simplified the basics in their life. From things like Zuck and Steve Jobs wearing the same thing every day to Warren Buffett literally doing almost the exact same thing every morning of his life, they were sticklers for freeing up their minds from having to make trivial decisions. So, I am working on routine. My hope is that it will allow me to focus my time, thoughts, and resources on the most important things I need to be focused on doing.
The second thing is something I have been trying to define in a word & just can’t. The first word I thought about was “intentional”, but that’s not the right word. Also, I sure as hell hope we’ve already been intentional. We owe it to all of our agents, clients, community partners, & vendors. It’s more like intentionality combined with foundational combined with evergreen. Confused? Yeah, me too. The point is that as we take a look at literally every aspect of how we run our business, I want our approach to be from a position that we are re-laying the foundation of the business. What we did originally has served us well these last five+ years, but now it is time to revamp, refresh, & reassure that the processes we develop now will last us years into the future while enhancing our culture & our service offering. It’s a tall order, but so are our long-term goals.
There you have it. That’s the plan. As they say, it’s always best to share your plan publicly. Apparently it makes you far more likely to achieve it. I’ll be honest with you, the routing part is going to be the hard one for me. I’m a work in progress, though, & will continue to focus on the progress.
Hope your 2020 is amazing!
A couple of weeks ago I published a blog post lamenting the poor or, more often, non-existent follow-up practices of most agents by offering the option of using political advocacy as an opportunity for providing resourceful, topical content to clients and prospects. This week, as I started planning out my post, I ran into what some people might consider a little bit of writer’s block. So, I went back to the topic of follow-up for agents and the one thing I hear most when coaching my agents.
What do I send to a client or prospect? How do I do it without being annoying or invasive?
Coming up with consistent, relevant, topical content is tough. There’s no doubt about it. I’m a huge fan of both Chris Smith of Curaytor and Dan Stewart of Happy Grasshopper. I think that both of them are truly experts in not only putting together plans for quality content, but more importantly, in my opinion, understanding the psychology of agents, clients, and prospects. This understanding of the way agents and the public think allow them to formulate and fabricate follow-up programs and content, whether original or curated that can be game changers for agents. They are truly content kings, and if you’re interested, available for hire to help you with your marketing.
So, I’d like to take a few minutes and discuss content in general and then discuss why it may or may not be important.
In my opinion, here are the 3 C’s of Content, because I’m clever like that:
Curated content is non-original content that can come from any number of sources. It could come from social media, the news, other people’s blog posts, and/or just about any source you can imagine. For example, last week in our local market there were news stories from several outlets about how the calculation of people’s credit scores would be changing towards the end of the year as FICO adopted a new scoring system. This would be a great story to send to clients. It’s topical for real estate, it’s relevant to just about anyone in your database, and it sets you apart as a resource to your clients and prospects.
Curated content is perfectly fine for any agent out there. I find that curated content is awesome for social media, but certainly has a place in more traditional follow-up media like mass or programmed email. You could use several curated articles in a monthly newsletter setting or just a scheduled “touching base” email. The only real negative to curated content is if you’re trying to use your content to drive SEO to your site. It just won’t work as well. Which brings us to…
Created content is totally your original content. You create the content, publish it to your website/blog/whatever and then link your email topics and social media posts to that content. Created content really gives you the opportunity to showcase your skills and expertise. However, the big drawback to created content is the time and effort it takes. Trust me, writing this blog, even just once a week, can be a drag to come up with good content and present it in a readable format. If you’ll recall, the second sentence of this particular post was lamenting my writer’s block before it turned it into the absolute gold you’re reading right now!
That being said, I am extremely particular about my content and create it almost exclusively for my follow-up. About the only time that I use curated content in my marketing or follow-up is on social media. For most everyone else that isn’t a total control freak on this stuff, I think a healthy mix of curated and created content is a pretty solid plan. There is, however, never a time for…
That’s right, there’s never a time for crap content. What is crap content, you ask? Crap content is stuff like the garbage HouseLogic content that NAR provides for you as part of your membership. Here’s a bunch of completely generic articles that don’t really pertain to anyone at all and are going to bore the shit out of your clients so much that they’ll unsubscribe from your list and you’ll never get a referral again. That’s crap. That’s a do to, not for action. Your goal with follow-up, and everything else, should be to do for, not to. I don’t care to see your dancing leprechaun on St. Patrick’s Day or some cheesy ghost gif on Halloween. That’s total garbage and I already have like 50 other assholes sending me that crap every holiday. Don’t do crap content.
Why Content Matters
It may seem like a pretty simple answer, but it really goes beyond the surface. The simple answer is because you need to be doing follow-up and if you’re going to send stuff out it might as well be relatively decent. But the truth of the matter is that your regularly scheduled, consistent follow-up is going to be the thing in front of your clients’ eyes more than anything else. As such, it is probably your number one brand extension. So, if you’re sending canned crap content, people are going to think of you in similar terms. If you’re sending resourceful, personalized, topical and relevant content, you will be seen in the same light. If your goal is to be the resource to your clients and prospects on all things real estate, then be that in your service, in your marketing, and damn sure in your follow-up.
Why Content Might Not Matter At All
On the other hand, it totally might not matter at all. As I’ve lamented on here more than once, Realtors, in general, do a horrible job at follow-up, if they even follow-up at all. Just about every measured and measurable statistic on Realtor communication, follow-up, etc. clearly shows that next to none is the norm in the industry. So, at the end of the day, maybe just sending something at all is enough. I mean, I’d much rather see a really cool video clip of how they turn the Chicago River green on St. Paddy’s than your dancing leprechaun, but, hey, if you’re the only one sending it to me at least I got something. The fact that you are doing anything is better than probably 90% of your competitors. So, while I’d certainly love to see you send something that isn’t crap, your crappy message is better than nothing.
So, I guess the bottom line, 1000 words after my writer’s block lifted, is that if you aren’t doing follow-up or CRM touches or social media marketing, please start. No, seriously, stop reading this and start right now. If you don’t have a CRM and aren’t using it you aren’t running a business set for continued growth. If you are, good job! If you’re sending crappy content, that’s ok for now, but promise me you’ll work on curated and created content. You don’t have to be an expert writer to create and you don’t have to spend hours scouring every inch of the interwebs to find good curated content.
Being an entrepreneur often means being on a metaphorical island all by yourself. Not very many people understand how your time is pulled in a myriad of directions, employing skills (or sometimes lack thereof) that you didn’t know you had, and becoming a jack of all trades while only a master of one. It’s not unusual to see the tasks that you really need to get done get set aside in favor of whatever you feel needs to be done right this second. Naturally, as soon as you put that fire out, the next one pops up. The result is that you continue to delay the things that drive your business while you take care of minor things to keep your business running.
The problem, as I see it, is not a delegation problem or a time management problem. Too often, the things that are distracting you from accomplishing your priority tasks are things that require it be you and need to be done in a timely manner. In my opinion, this is an accountability issue. Generally speaking, unless you have a true partner, a business coach, or a mentor relationship in place, you are probably also responsible for holding yourself accountable for your actions. I think that is a problem when it comes to 99% of the people out there. It’s hard to come home after a 20 hour day and say you didn’t work hard or get things accomplished, even when you didn’t accomplish the things your business really needed for you to accomplish.
So, how do you, in a world of real distractions, set everything aside and focus only on the tasks that truly need to be accomplished?
You have to, as far as I can see it, find a way to be held accountable. The problem with that is most entrepreneurs also don’t really care for being held accountable and so they seek out someone who will act like they are holding them accountable, but really is just having a five-minute conversation with them. What the entrepreneur struggling with accountability issues needs is someone who will, legitimately and with a blow torch, hold their feet to the fire.
So, who is that person? It depends. I think there are more examples of who that person isn’t than who that person is. That person isn’t, usually, your spouse. It should never, in my opinion, be an employee. It usually isn’t your best friend, brother, sister, parent, or anyone else that either a) doesn’t understand what you’re really doing, and b) isn’t tough enough to hold you truly accountable. Frankly, I think that the best person for this job is a coach. Because they are independent, they can do or say whatever it takes to get you to do the things you need to do. Moreover, because you pay for them, you are more likely to get your money’s worth. It’s kind of like the difference between getting a gym membership and hiring a trainer.
The bottom line is this: if you’re struggling with achieving the things in your business that you need to do to be successful, I believe an accountability partner is the key to getting back on track. Try it for a few months and see if it works for you.
Have you ever found yourself facing a project to complete but, instead of starting, first you feel like you need to do some research, or get organized, or clean your office? Or maybe it was a personal goal like a diet you wanted to start, but you just need to get through this weekend first because you’re going to be out of town? Or, my personal favorite, have you ever been asked if you were ready to start doing (insert thing you’re supposed to be doing here) and simply answered no because you before you start you needed to do (insert thing you think you need to do first here).
At the end of the day, it’s all procrastination.
The question that matters for the purpose of this post, though, is why. Why are you putting off what you know you need to do, what you know you need to do? In my experience the answer generally boils down to one of two things, or sometimes both. The first is laziness and the second is a desire or need to have whatever the project is 100% perfect before unveiling it to the world. The first one is the easiest to tackle, so let’s get that out of the way.
If you’re lazy and you know it clap your hands. Hopefully you aren’t clapping your hands right now, but some of you may be. So, without coming off as horribly rude, if you did, update your resume and get out of here. Real estate is a 24/7 hustle. Sustained success in this industry is not for the lazy. I hate to burst your bubble, but there are no overnight successes and HGTV isn’t waiting outside your testing center ready to give you a show as soon as you pass your licensing exam. Truth be told, we have enough lazy Realtors in the industry. We don’t need another one.
So, you can either get your ass up and go to work or get out of the way of those who do. The choice is yours.
Now, let’s get to the real point here.
Getting Ready to Get Ready
The idea of getting ready to get ready, or procrastinating in exchange for action is neither a new concept nor is it really unnatural. It’s why procrastination is such a problem for so many people. I mean, how many hundreds of books have been written on the subject? When you see people who seem to accomplish a great deal, it is usually not a natural thing. It’s usually a practiced skill, like any other skill. But there’s more to it than just having the initiative to tackle a project. Anyone can start on a project. The key is to finish your project, at least enough to launch it.
It Will Never Be Perfect
Do you own a smartphone? If you don’t, we need to have another discussion, but for now we will assume you do. Every couple of months I’m sure, like I do, you get a new update to the software on your phone, right? Of course you do. So, here’s the question. Why didn’t Apple or Samsung or LG or hopefully not Blackberry wait until every single aspect of their software was 100% perfect forever before releasing it? I mean, aren’t these updates just an admittance of failure?
No, of course they aren’t an admittance of failure. They’re a normal part of auditing systems and updating them for what is relevant at the time. Why then, do we feel like we have to have every aspect of a project perfect before releasing it? Our database has to be perfectly organized, classified, and every aspect of our follow-up system in place before we would even consider the idea of sending an email. We wouldn’t dream of publishing a website without every single last detail being perfectly in place. But why?
How about instead, as you organize and classify your database, you also call them? How about you put your follow-up program to work right now instead of waiting until you’ve written or created every single piece of content that will go out over the next 24 months? The bottom line is that it will never, ever be perfect. Ever. You will make adjustments as you go along or you will find yourself with the most perfect yellow pages ad of all time. In the immortal words of Nike, Just Do It!
You Don’t Know What You Need Until You Do
Until you start, you won’t really know what you need to do to finish. You can plan and scheme and dream, but until you get your hands dirty and actually start, you won’t know what you need to be able to finish. Dan Sullivan, executive coach and co-host of the popular 10X Talks podcast, calls it the 80% Principle. Based on all of the plans you make, you’ll probably be able to finish about 80% of your project. 80% is good enough. Launch it and then put the finishing touches on it. Seek counsel, audit, adjust, and continue to do so at regular intervals to ensure that your plan stays on track for the long-run.
Its A Marathon, Not A Sprint
I get it, you’re a Type A personality. I know. We all are. You’re a control freak. We all are. You feel like unless it’s ready it will make you look unprofessional. I get it. We’ve all been there. Remember, Rome wasn’t built-in a day and neither will your business be. Ten years from now you will likely look back and laugh at how much you worried over this stuff. The point is that if you never start the journey, you’ll never know. Sometimes the first step is the hardest, but, once you make it, each ensuing step becomes easier and easier.
Very Few Others Are Doing It
To wrap this up, let me drop a bit of unadulterated honesty on you. 90% of your competition isn’t doing it. Doing what you ask? Anything. Truly, they aren’t. Less than half of your competitors are using a CRM (and most probably aren’t really using one, they just pay for one), fewer than 10% use video, and the list goes on and on. Almost every statistic available on what agents do for follow-up and marketing is pretty embarrassing, really. So, as you sit there fretting over whether or not whatever you’re working on is good enough, just remember that 80% of anything is way, way better than 0% of nothing.
From the last post, you know that our brokerage has started a monthly Book Club. Our first book was Seven Levels of Communication by Michael Maher. As promised, a couple of times, here is my review of the book.
Bottom line: If you’re in sales or marketing, you need to read this book.
I have a general rule to judge the quality of a business book – If you can take two things out of a book and apply them to your business, it was worth the read. In the case of Seven Levels of Communication, if you can’t take a dozen tips out of this book, read it again. Seriously. It’s that good. Did I mention that I was serious? I don’t want to sit here and gush over 150 pages of paper, but this might be one of the best business books I have ever read.
First, Maher does a great job writing in parable format. The book follows a real estate agent, Rick Masters, as he transforms from a near drop-out to top producer through a coaching program that walks through the 7 Levels. I’m a huge fan of story-telling in non-fiction and Maher does it in a way that is both engaging and lacking arrogance. Honestly, as valuable as the information is, I’m not a fan of books by people like John Maxwell because they tend to be too much “Look at me and what I’ve done and you should be just like me.” This book is written from a perspective of a Coach and, as such, comes off as genuine and truly helpful.
Now, about the tips that the book gives you. The information contained in the book isn’t a reinvention of the wheel. To tell the truth, I imagine that the end product that Rick Masters becomes looks a whole lot like top salespeople from about 30 years ago. He’s more personal, caring, and doesn’t rely on technology and other new gimmicks to build his business. Instead, he relies on tried and true messaging and communication, but he does it with a plan and strategy.
The other great part of this book is that none of the strategies are really that hard to implement or expensive. The result of these strategies is a business that every agent dreams of, one built on referrals. The trick, like with everything else, is that the strategies have to be implemented with a personal touch and executed with discipline and consistency.
So, here’s the deal. I’m not going to reveal everything in the book because you really need to read it. I will tell you this, you will probably want to read it twice. Once you’ve read it once, you can go back
and take it tip by tip to implement in your business. Trust me, it’s worth it.
In conclusion, if you feel like you’re in a rut and need to get out of it, or your new to the business and want to get a jump-start, or are already producing at a good clip and want to take it to the next level, you need to read Seven Levels of Communication. Even if you only get a couple of things out of it or only implement a couple of the strategies, you will without doubt see the results in your business. You can pick up a copy on our Reading List page. Do it.
Our second book, Miracle Morning for Real Estate Agents, will be the next book review. You can also pick it up on the Reading List page.
Not to get all deep and philosophical about things right out of the gate, but I have a serious fear for my children and my children’s generation. It’s a lack of communication skills. Between messaging and Snapchat and emojis and texting in slang or abbreviations, I have a serious fear that the communication skills necessary for success are quickly going by the wayside. I try, the best I can, to limit screen time, make my kids tell me stories or even just about their days, and teach them to look others in the eye when they are talking to them. I want them in speech in debate as they get older. Why?
I truly believe that your ability to communicate your point, regardless of what you are doing, is pivotal to your ability to be successful.
You may be asking yourself at this point just what the hell this has to do with real estate. It’s this simple: if you really get down to the nuts and bolts of what we do, we communicate. We aren’t the parties to a transaction. We aren’t attorneys or title experts. We aren’t lenders or mortgage experts. We communicate. From discovery to service to follow-up, we communicate. We discover needs and wants, we set expectations, we relay information and documentation, we problem solve, and we close. All of that, again, at the base level, is communication.
What is brand building? What is advertising? If you can’t guess by now, it’s communication, it’s story-telling. How you communicate your value to your audience is the essential part of creating brand recognition. Creating a solid call-to-action is an essential part of lead generation and capture. Taking those leads from interest to client is a direct result of your ability to tell your story and show interest in their story.
How can you become the first thing people think of when they think of real estate? Continuous brand building and consistent messaging are key to brand awareness with your potential clients. Whether you choose to be topical, clever, or resourceful in your communication to prospective clients, your delivery of the message over time is the key to your success. Being able to do it without being annoying is also pretty important.
Servicing the Client
From the time the prospective customer becomes a client to the time you close the transaction, your communication revolves around the service you provide. Beginning with the discovery phase, you have to be able to communicate with your clients to be able to best serve their needs and wants. Once you’ve done that, and found them either the home they want to buy or an offer suitable for acceptance, your communication expertise in negotiation becomes key. After that, you become a conduit for communication between all of the involved vendors, agents, title people, lenders, and, of course, parties to the transaction. Since we have beaten the expectation setting part of this like a dead horse on this blog, I will forgo it for now, but it is vital. Holding your client’s hands through the process with clear communication is key to creating a smooth transaction. Creating a smooth transaction is key to creating a happy client. Creating happy clients is key to building your referral base.
Building Your Referral Base
Do you have a plan to create a referral engine? When you’re with a prospective client, and then a client, and then a past client, how do you approach the topic of getting referrals? When do you start? If you don’t have that plan in place, I would submit to you that your business is not working for you. That doesn’t mean that your business isn’t working. It just isn’t working for you.
A plan to build a consistent stream of revenue from your current and past clients is pivotal. It should start the first time you meet a prospective client. It should continue throughout the sale/purchase. And, here’s the important part, it should never stop. Ever. The great thing about this plan is that a great deal of it can be achieved automatically through a CRM. You have to have the plan though.
Protecting Yourself and Your Clients
It pains me to say this, but we live in a world where everyone wants to sue everyone when they don’t get their way. In case you were wondering, you are one of the everyone. In this world we live in, we communicate in an ever-increasing number of ways. While I am a huge fan of face-to-face and telephone communication, it should be noted, for your protection and the protection of your clients, that everything should be followed-up in writing. Keep texts and emails. Store whatever other medium you might use to communicate, but make sure that verbal conversations are then put into writing to ensure that everyone is on the same page.
I’ll give you an example. In our new agent training classes we have an exercise we do. The new agents pair up and sit back to back. One agent is given a simple drawing like a house or a bird or a fish. Without telling his/her partner what the drawing is, they have to describe how to draw it. The results are often comical in a classroom setting, but are a perfect example of how easily verbal miscommunication can occur. Follow it up in writing to make sure that your house or bird or fish matches their house or bird or fish.
Going back to the original point, understanding that your primary role as an agent, as a business owner, is communication will help drive your processes and systems. Being an expert communicator will make the difference in your level of success. Even if it is not your strongest natural strength, it is one that can be rather easily developed. Whether you choose to join an organization like Toastmasters or just develop and practice scripts, working on your communication plan is something that should be done daily.
In the course of a “normal” real estate transaction there are more ways for something to go wrong than the general public can imagine. It’s one of the many reasons why the general public doesn’t find value in the work a good Realtor does on their behalf. It’s also not the stuff they show on HGTV. The potential bumps in the road are numerous. The good news, however, is that, if handled correctly, these bumps in the road can be handled. Most aren’t fatal to the transaction. So, where’s the “but”? The “but” is whether or not you handle them like a butt or like a professional.
Through properly setting expectations with a client, proper presentation of the problem to the client, and cooperation with your fellow professionals, most bumps in the road in a transaction can be overcome.
Now, that’s not to say that there aren’t problems that can’t be overcome. There are, and if you haven’t experienced it yet, you will. That is, unfortunately, a part of the business and something that has to be dealt with from time to time.
In a previous post, we talked about setting expectations at length. So, I am not going to rewrite that post for the sake of this one. The bottom line is this: people don’t like surprises, especially in what can already be a stressful situation. So, don’t let it be a surprise. Setting expectations from the beginning and reiterating those expectations throughout the process will keep your client both prepared for these situations and aware that you know about them and are working on their behalf. Building value in yourself is the bonus.
The hidden beauty of setting expectations is that it allows you to present a problem as it arises in a way that doesn’t come as a surprise to the client. How you present a problem to your client, either buyer or seller, is key. If you freak out, they’ll freak out. If you come in laying blame, they will too, and most likely on you. If you come in bad-mouthing the other agent or other party to the transaction, they will feel like you are not in control.
The correct way to present a problem is to, first, go back to the expectation you already set. For example, “Remember, Mr. and Mrs. Seller when we talked about (fill in the blank)? Well, here is what’s going on.” Second, you review what you have already done or are doing to resolve the problem. This, again, builds value in you and what you do. Finally, you leave them with the plan and what could or could not happen in the end. Set a time to follow-up and be very communicative throughout the process. How you present the problem to the client will directly influence not only the way they react to the problem, but how they deal with the problem as you work through it.
Yes, I know, it is hard to be as good as you are. I know that there are very few agents capable of the level of awesomeness you bring to the table daily. I completely understand. However, from time to time you are going to have to entertain these other agents in an effort to serve your clients and make the money you’ve earned. We’ve also talked about cooperating agents in other posts before so I won’t get too deep into it.
Being able to creatively solve problems with the other agent, lender, and/or title company is how you will successfully navigate the treacherous path that pops up when there are difficulties in a transaction. The ability to bring all parties and vendors together to create win-win situations is how you show your true professionalism in times of need. That’s what makes you awesome, not only to your client, but to your fellow professionals as well.
Anyone can navigate their way through a simple real estate transaction. Anyone can also screw up a somewhat difficult transaction. Don’t be anyone. Be better than that. Show your value to your clients. Be the agent that other agents want to be like when they grow up. Having processes and systems in place in your business to deal with difficult situations, unforeseen problems, and less than stellar vendors, agents, and parties on the other side of the transaction is paramount to your success. That’s how you differentiate yourself and become an all-star.